Friday, March 24, 2017


Sheriff SHOAR's mouthpiece, ROBERT LESTER McLEOD, II a/k/a "MAC McLEOD," who contends the gun recoiled forward.

So McLEOD emits oceans of emotion in a motion. When?  It was filed March 23.  Where? It was trumpeted in a page one article in the March 24, 2017 St. Augustine Record.  More page one crocodile tears for Deputy JEREMY BANKS ever even being considered a murder suspect? Where? On the front page of today's St. Augustine WRecKord!

The angry arachnid apparatchik's angry words, generating more heat than light, inflame an inflammatory story about St. Johns County Sheriff Deputy  JEREMY BANKS' motion for summary judgment in his federal court lawsuit against Agent Rodgers.

A motion for summary judgment contends there is "no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and is governed by Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

 BANKS' motion for summary judgment in quo was filed by BANKS' loudmouth louche lawyer, "MAC" McLEOD. It was filed in BANKS' lawsuit against FDLE and Special Agent Rusty Ray Rodgers. At the urging of Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, is BANKS' lawyer trying his SLAPP case in the press? How long has corrupt Sheriff DAVID SHOAR been crowing to his cronies, toadies and fellow bellicose bullies that there would "soon" be a report "proving" Michelle O'Connell committed suicide on September 2, 2010?

It has been six years, six months and 23 days since Michelle O'Connell was shot to death.  The St. Augustine Record has neglected its duty to report the news ever since.

Sheriff SHOAR's coverup is a national scandal.

SHOAR's coverup is a local embarrassment.

It's shameful that our Sheriff, in a homicide case involving one of his own deputies, refused to recuse himself, refusing to call in FDLE as his predecessors and colleagues would have done.

It's painful that our hometown newspaper has sided with a corrupt Sheriff and his minions for so long.

The Record's coverage has been execrable, influenced by advertisers and coerced by threats from McLEOD, who telephoned then-"Director of Audience and Editor" KATHY NELSON at 2 in the morning to threaten litigation over comments about BANKS' lawsuit.,10912

Last year, in one of its most one-sided stories ever, the Record quoted Sheriff SHOAR and published BANKS' incoherent attacks on the Michelle O'Connell family for seeking justice and arranging an independent autopsy, which found Ms. O'Connell's jaw was broken.  After the independent autopsy last year, SHOAR issued a 5:54 AM press release that stated:   “Molesting (sic) Michelle from her place of rest using some freelance type approach is beyond unconventional, it was reprehensible.” 

No, SHOAR, it is you who are "reprehensible."

After the autopsy, McLEOD wrote a mean-spirited column in the Record attacking the grieving O'Connell family.  What a sick twisted paper.  What a Confederacy of Dunces.

The Record recently ran one good story by reporter Jared Keever about the disciplining of two malfeasant autopsy physicians this month. Good work.

But on balance, is The Record a lapdog, not a watchdog? Does it resemble the proverbial "dog that did not bark" in a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story about detective Sherlock Holmes?

Lawyers file motions every day. Perhaps maybe twice a year, the Record runs a story about a lawyer filing a motion. When it does, it generally does not do so the day after the motion was filed.

So why a 1051 word story the day after a federal court motion is filed, without any expressed effort for fair comment by Special Agent Rodgers, his counsel, his supervisors, FDLE, the Michelle O'Connell family, law professors, or anyone?

Why a news story about a motion without quoting any actual live source?

Not even a question or followup directed to BANKS' attorney?

After the autopsy physicians' discipline vote by the Florida Board of Medial Examiners, and under continuing scrutiny by the FBI, federal courts and the news media, does Sheriff SHOAR request favorable news coverage and emotional motions from his minions?

Does SHOAR still bend the ear of anyone who will still listen to his whiny excuses for misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance?

The most analytical words in today's sloppy, shallow, one-sided article are "A judge will have to rule on the motion" (as the Record reported in its penultimate paragraph).   Yer damn straight!

A motion for summary judgment contends there is "no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and is governed by Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure:

Rule 56. Summary Judgment

(a) Motion for Summary Judgment or Partial Summary Judgment. A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense — or the part of each claim or defense — on which summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The court should state on the record the reasons for granting or denying the motion.

(b) Time to File a Motion. Unless a different time is set by local rule or the court orders otherwise, a party may file a motion for summary judgment at any time until 30 days after the close of all discovery.

(c) Procedures.

(1) Supporting Factual Positions. A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or

(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

(2) Objection That a Fact Is Not Supported by Admissible Evidence. A party may object that the material cited to support or dispute a fact cannot be presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence.

(3) Materials Not Cited. The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record.

(4) Affidavits or Declarations. An affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.

(d) When Facts Are Unavailable to the Nonmovant. If a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may:

(1) defer considering the motion or deny it;

(2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to take discovery; or

(3) issue any other appropriate order.

(e) Failing to Properly Support or Address a Fact. If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party’s assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may:

(1) give an opportunity to properly support or address the fact;

(2) consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion;

(3) grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials — including the facts considered undisputed — show that the movant is entitled to it; or

(4) issue any other appropriate order.

(f) Judgment Independent of the Motion. After giving notice and a reasonable time to respond, the court may:

(1) grant summary judgment for a nonmovant;

(2) grant the motion on grounds not raised by a party;or

(3) consider summary judgment on its own after identifying for the parties material facts that may not be genuinely in dispute.

(g) Failing to Grant All the Requested Relief. If the court does not grant all the relief requested by the motion, it may enter an order stating any material fact — including an item of damages or other relief — that is not genuinely in dispute and treating the fact as established in the case.

(h) Affidavit or Declaration Submitted in Bad Faith. If satisfied that an affidavit or declaration under this rule is submitted in bad faith or solely for delay, the court — after notice and a reasonable time to respond — may order the submitting party to pay the other party the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, it incurred as a result. An offending party or attorney may also be held in contempt or subjected to other appropriate sanctions.

(As amended Dec. 27, 1946, eff. Mar. 19, 1948; Jan. 21, 1963, eff. July 1, 1963; Mar. 2, 1987, eff. Aug. 1, 1987; Apr. 30, 2007, eff. Dec. 1, 2007; Mar. 26, 2009, eff. Dec. 1, 2009; Apr. 28, 2010, eff. Dec. 1, 2010.)

The Record breathlessly reports BANKS' summary judgment motion in a 1051 word news story here:

Posted March 24, 2017 05:26 am - Updated March 24, 2017 05:43 am
Deputy Banks’ attorney claims FDLE agent’s credibility ‘destroyed’

Attorneys for St. Johns County sheriff’s deputy Jeremy Banks filed a motion in a federal court in Jacksonville Thursday claiming Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent Rusty Rodgers “destroyed” his own credibility and asking that his defenses and pleadings be thrown out in an ongoing civil rights and malicious prosecution suit brought against the embattled agent.

An FDLE report released last March said Rodgers’ investigation into the 2010 death of Michelle O’Connell was “substandard” and that Rodgers, among other things, left details out when documenting an interview, added a word to a quote in multiple affidavits and failed to document a text message in his investigative report.

According to a news release, attorney Mac McLeod, representing Banks, seeks (by striking Rodgers’ defenses) to proceed with determining any damages “awardable” to Banks “who has endured years of false allegations he was responsible for his girlfriend’s death, which was ruled a suicide by 3 separate medical examiners and 2 State Attorneys.”

Banks sued Rodgers in 2014, claiming Rodgers worked under a theory Banks was to blame in O’Connell’s death.

O’Connell died of a gunshot wound through her mouth on Sept. 2, 2010, in Banks’ home. Banks was, and still is, a sheriff’s deputy. The gun that fired the fatal shot was his service weapon.

The death, initially investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, was eventually ruled a suicide by the local District 23 Medical Examiner’s Office.

Last month, the state’s Medical Examiners Commission recommended disciplinary action for Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Predrag Bulic and associate medical examiner Dr. Frederick Hobin, both involved in the 2010 investigation. The vote came after a panel found probable cause both men violated Florida statutes and “practice guidelines” in their handling — and the office’s handling — of documents associated with the case.

Some members of O’Connell’s family have said she wouldn’t have killed herself and some have questioned the integrity of the original investigation and believe Banks is responsible, though he has denied any wrongdoing.

Thursday’s motion is the latest development in ongoing proceedings that have played out in the courts and the media since the 2010 death.

The motion, which characterizes Rodgers’ conduct as a “cancer” to the justice system, claims Rodgers “repeatedly engaged in outright misrepresentations and perjury” while testifying under oath, providing several examples.

In the motion, McLeod claims Rodgers took “extreme and unlawful measures” to make sure Banks was charged with O’Connell’s murder, despite “overwhelming evidence” and the medical examiner reports indicating otherwise. The motion also says Rodgers initially admitted in his deposition “he did not have (or even consider) probable cause” to believe Banks was “criminally culpable.”

“Rodgers aggressively advocated his unsupported theory Banks was guilty of murder to others, including Michelle’s family members, Banks’ employer, witnesses, law enforcement officials, prosecutors and their investigators, medical examiners and a County Judge,” the motion continues. “Among the many instances of his intentional misconduct, Rodgers manipulated evidence to suit his theory, communicated false factual representations indicating Banks’ culpability to others and knowingly omitted significant exculpatory evidence, in an effort to have the official suicide findings changed to homicide and charges brought against Banks for murder.”

The motion says Rodgers’ efforts continued after the conclusion of his investigation despite independent findings by two state attorneys’ offices that there was insufficient probable cause to bring charges against Banks for any crime.

Also under the microscope are Rodgers’ sworn statements throughout the litigation denying conversations and circumstances reported by others or making counter accusations. In his deposition, Rodgers repeatedly denied telling anyone Banks murdered Michelle O’Connell.

Rodgers at one point testified he had conveyed to others that O’Connell “didn’t kill herself” (rather than saying Banks had murdered her). At another point, he said there was a “good possibility,” based on the evidence, that Banks and O’Connell “might have been fighting over the gun and that the gun accidentally went off.” Asked to clarify his statement on the gun “accidentally going off intraorally,” Rodgers said it was “just a theory” and that he “didn’t say accidentally.”

Among the witnesses cited in the motion as demonstrating Rodgers’ “untruthful testimony,” are County Judge Charles Tinlin, St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Rob Hardwick (former state attorney investigator) and former St. Johns County deputy Scott O’Connell (Michelle’s brother, who filed a civil suit of his own against Rodgers, also in 2014).

When asked what Rodgers told him when applying for a warrant, Tinlin testified Rodgers had told him Banks “put her on her knees and shot her in the mouth with a handgun.”

Hardwick testified Rodgers’ claim he had never opined or suggested to anyone Michelle O’Connell was murdered was a “blatant lie.”

“He came into our office convinced that it was a murder we were working, period,” Hardwick said in his deposition. “It never wavered off murder from the day I met him.”

Scott O’Connell had testified: “When he told me that my sister was executed by Jeremy Banks on her knees and where she was screaming for her life, those types of things stand out.”

“Defendant’s only explanation is that everyone is lying except him,” the motion said.

Other similar instances are outlined in the 26-page motion, which also accuses Rodgers of “coaching” witnesses and trying to influence witnesses prior to on-the-record interviews in an attempt to get charges brought against Banks — and later lying about the conduct while under oath.

As written in the motion: “Defendant Rodgers’ false, misleading and inconsistent testimony throughout the discovery process is so pervasive and extreme, and involves so many material issues, it has destroyed Defendant’s credibility on all issues, significantly undermined the integrity of this action, and caused substantial amounts of time and expense in rebuttal work by Plaintiff’s counsel. Given the prevalence of his lies and their effect on pivotal issues and allegations in this case, Defendant’s misconduct unfairly hampers the presentation of Plaintiff’s claims and interferes with the Court’s ability to impartially determine whether genuine issues of fact exist.”

A judge will have to rule on the motion.

Rodgers was suspended with pay throughout the three-year investigation by FDLE, which came at the request of St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar. It was reported at the time of Rodgers’ reinstatement, also last March, that he had received counseling and would receive remedial training regarding procedures for documenting investigative reports.


Michael Jones
Rodgers may or may not have operated any differently than investigators normally use in the majority of these type of investigations irregardless Michelle was executed and a grand jury presented with the latest autopsy and all previous facts would result in a homicide indictment. It is still a cover up.

Barb Smith
The only one who has lost credibility is Banks, and he did that right from the start. Remember the FB picture of him in uniform flipping the bird at the camera? If he wins this lawsuit and gets more than a nickel it will just prove that the justice system - both criminal and civil - is very badly broken.

Tammy Chapman
Hardwick??!! The very same Hardwick who supports forensic staff that determined (in another "suicide"') that the High Velocity Impact Blood Spatter on the palm of the victim's (supposed shooting) hand was caused by ... "postmortem tissue donation"??!! Evidently Hardwick believes that blood travels at 100+ mph during a postmortem... contradicting one of the top blood spatter analysts in the world!! The same Hardwick who missed the shell placement in the cylinder and then blamed it on responding officers 'clearing the weapon'. These same responding officers .., who failed to note any of this in their affidavits and is also contradicted by Samaritans at the scene? The list is a long one. This is the guy you want investigating your loved one's untimely death?? Really??!!
Hardwick doesn't analyze evidence, he ignores it or manipulates it. His complicity is staggering, and he's the last person in the world to be judging anyone's work ethic!!
Cats in a litter box.


Warren Celli said...

Ed Slavin said; "It's painful that our hometown newspaper has sided with a corrupt Sheriff and his minions for so long."

The Saint Augustine Wreckit is not a "hometown newspaper" Ed; it is the mealy menticide mouth masking the collusion betwixt and between our hijacked gangster government, our self serving bloviating business community and their corrupt lap dog law enforcement.

The only language they understand is ka-ching (the sounds made by a cash register).

If you want justice for Michelle O'Connell you must BOYCOTT!

Justice for Michelle will lift ALL oppressed groups and go a long way towards restoring the now scam 'rule of law' in Saint John's County.

Here is information to create a simple; what, when, where, why and how boycott handout! (Highlight and right click to view page.)

The April 22 pleinair protest would be a great day to begin!

Anonymous said...

good post Ed! Something Shoar does stink around here!