Routinely affirming the finding of its Probable Cause Panel, the Florida Medical Examiners Board voted to punish two physicians for lawbreaking related to the O'Connell case. Dr. FREDERICK HOBIN, M.D. was proposed to be suspended for six months and Dr. PREDRAG BULIC, M.D. was proposed to be put on probation for a year.
Each will be served with a formal written complaint, probably by the end of March.
Each has the right to a hearing on disputed facts before an independent Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings (DOAH).
The DOAH ALJ may hear additional evidence and will make findings of fact and conclusions of law, in a Recommended Decision and Order, which would be heard by the Commission in May. Penalties could even be greater based upon new evidence.
Dr. BULIC attended the February 24, 2017 meeting but Dr. HOBIN stayed home. Dr. BULIC did not speak.
In May, the Commission will also consider whether BULIC should be reappointed for another three years. On February 23rd, I suggested the Medical Examiners Commission meet in St. Augustine City Hall in our City Commission chambers, a/k/a the Alcazar Room. The public has the right to speak up to five minutes on agenda items at Medical Examiners Commission meetings.
The Medical Examiner is an independent district that receives local funds and uses our building and our County Attorney to run interference. It is neither a state nor local agency, but an independent district, which is overseen by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.
Of course, "law and justice are like distant cousins, sometimes not even on speaking terms."
--- Marlon Brando as a South African attorney under Apartheid, in the movie, A Dry White Season.
To those of us in the "reality-based community," February 24, 2017 came as a relief. To others, like St Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR, it was a shock. Our Florida Medical Examiners Commission voted to do the right thing. Despite pressures that destroyed evidence, destroyed careers and are destroying our democracy, the system has begun to work in the case of Michelle O'Connell. In my younger years as an attorney for the downtrodden, I was honored to litigate whistleblower cases against retaliatory employers willing to say and do anything. I saw powerful sociopaths and their environmental and personal devastation and carnage firsthand -- careers destroyed (eventually including my own).
Yet the experience of watching Sheriff DAVID SHOAR here in St. Johns County has no equal. He is unique. History is catching up with him, for as Robert Kennedy said in South Africa on the Day of Affirmation in 1966, "each time a [person] stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, [s]he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples can form a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
As Carl Sagan told our American Bar Association 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights observation in Atlanta in 1991, the legal method and scientific method are similar, with the chance for "successive approximations at the truth." While the findings of the Hearing Panel reflect a compromise, it's not over yet. There's more to come on the O'Connell case. The doctors' trial will reveal more truth (if they request one). Dr. PREDRAG BULIC's reappointment would appear unlikely in light of his allowing public access to bare naked autopsy pictures of Michelle O'Connell in violation of the Dale Earnhardt law.
Sheriff SHOAR is an angry sociopath, angry that We, the People are questioning him.
SHOAR can go pound sand on one of our lovely Atlantic Ocean beaches.
For as Carl Sagan wrote, "If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us. In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon-haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.”
And no, Sheriff SHOAR, we don't believe that guns recoil forward, we don't believe your self-investigation ukase that Michelle O'Connell committed suicide, and we don't believe YOU.
SHOAR had his name legally changed from "HOAR" in 1994 and was elected Sheriff in 2004.
HOAR's henchmen closed our universal primary to get himself re-elected with $250,000 in tainted money.
You have no respect for democracy, HOAR.
You have no respect for law and order.
You attacked a grieving family in a 5:24 AM press release in which you accused them of "molesting" Michelle's body by having a proper autopsy done, finally.
At long last, you have no sense of decency, sir, in the immortal words of attorney Joseph N. Welch to Senator JOSEPH McCARTHY (R-Wisc).:
After the August 2016 Dallas police shootings, you emitted an angry ten minute video in which you stated you were "mad," in a thuggish video that was unadorned by any sense of healing.
You have no credibility left.
You are disgrace in the eyes of St. Johns County, our Nation and our planet.
Waiting for the FBI to knock on your door, HOAR?
Thinking of resigning, like President RICHARD MILHOUS NIXON?
Thinking of escaping to a country without an extradition treaty, perhaps, or changing your surname back to "HOAR?"
Herewith, my three-mails to the Commission, first before and then after its vote, and three local news stories, each flawed but a "first rough draft of history."
From: Ed Slavin
Sent: Wed, Feb 22, 2017 11:11 am
Subject: Three Complaints Against Dr. Predrag Bulic, M.D. and Dr. Frederick Hobin, M.D. before Florida Medical Examiners Commission
7. County Attorney Patrick Francis McCormack "took several months" to "provide all the requested documents," and "not all the requested documents and photographs," dragging his heels and demanding statutory citations. Please subpoena to the hearing Mr. McCormack to testify at the hearing relating to this obstruction of justice. There is no attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine protection for government attorneys.
From: Ed Slavin
Sent: Thu, Feb 23, 2017 5:32 pm
Subject: Suggested Venue for May 2017 meeting of Florida Medical Examiners Commission in the Alcazar Room, 75 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida
2. Our St. Augustine City Commission chambers -- known as the Alcazar Room -- is located on the first floor of the Lightner Museum and City Hall, at 75 King Street, across the street from the Casa Monica Hotel, in the center of our historic downtown. The Alcazar Room was recently refurbished due to flood damage from Hurricane Matthew. The historic 1888 former hotel building is in the center of the historic area of Our Nation's Oldest City.
From: Ed Slavin
Sent: Fri, Feb 24, 2017 2:02 pm
Subject: Re: Three Complaints Against Dr. Predrag Bulic, M.D. and Dr. Frederick Hobin, M.D. before Florida Medical Examiners Commission
1. I would like to commend you (and your FDLE staff) for your work on these two cases, decided today in Orlando.