Saturday, November 04, 2017

Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed Against Ex-Deputy Scott James O'Connell

On November 1, 2017, Seventh Circuit Assistant State's Attorney Katelyn Knaak Johnston filed a "No Information" with the Clerk of Courts, dropping domestic violence battery charges against former Deputy Scott James O'Connell for the alleged July 5, 2017 punching of his wife, Beth O'Connnell.

When Scott O'Connell was arrested on July 6, 2017, St. Johns County Sheriff DAVID SHOAR saw to it that it was trumpeted in local news media.  No one missed the inference that SHOAR was throwing Scott O'Connell to the curb, on unpaid leave (JEREMY BANKS was on paid leave for fourteen months while an inept investigation was conducted of whether he killed his girlfriend, Michelle O'Connell).

Scott O'Connell later resigned.

The ASA's November 1, 2017 dismissal of domestic violence battery charges was not reported anywhere.  The dismissal clears Scott O'Connell, who could now be hired by another agency, such as the St. Augustine Beach Police Department.

SHOAR fired Scott O'Connell in 2011 after he threatened to blow up the Sheriff's Department after special prosecutor BRADLEY KING refused to file charges against JEREMY BANKS.  In 2017, reporter Walt Bogdanich The New York Times revealed that SHOAR hired KING's nineteen son as a deputy and that KING listed SHOAR as the first of ten references on his application to become a member of the Florida Supreme Court.    KING never got the job, the result of his phlegmatic response to questions asked by Jason Unger, Chair of the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission last year -- asked about the case, KING read at the Commission from a tab in a notebook.

Scott O'Connell was rehired after SHOAR subjected him and his wife BETH to a bizarre, transcribed, unsworn interview, in which SHOAR asked nervous questions about The New York Times and FDLE investigations.   As an implied or explicit condition of his rehiring, O'Connell served as a bullet in SHOAR's gun, filing a lawsuit, using the same lawyer representing JEREMY BANKS, claiming that he he had suffered from "intentional infliction emotional distress" from FDLE Agent Rusty Ray Rodgers' investigation of the September 2, 2010 death of his sister, Michelle O'Connell.

Bottom line: Sheriff DAVID SHOAR no longer has suzerainty over Scott O'Connell.

Michelle O'Connell was shot to death in the home of Sheriff's Deputy JEREMY BANKS in BANKS' home with BANKS' service weapon, in unusually suspicious circumstances (ineptly attempted to be covered up by Sheriff SHOAR and his buddy, State's Attorney RALPH JOSEPH LARIZZA).

Again, note that under suspicion of killing his girlfriend, Deputy JEREMY BANKS was placed on paid leave for fourteen months pending alleged investigation.  The case was featured in The New York Times, PBS Frontline and other national media, with a furious Sheriff SHOAR emitting pejoratives at three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Walt Bogdanich.

Scott O'Connell's "intentional emotional distress" lawsuit against FDLE was dismissed.  His lawsuit against Agent Rodgers is moribund and susceptible of dismissal by Circuit Judge J. Michael Traynor, as nothing has been filed in the case since September 2016.  Scott O'Connell was represented in that case by lawyer ROBERT LESTER McLEOD, II, at SHOAR's behest.

From Historic City News (November 10, 2017):

Scott O’Connell cleared of misdemeanor battery charges

Historic City News has confirmed reports that Scott O’Connell will not be prosecuted after he was arrested and charged by St Johns County Sheriff David B. Shoar for the crime of domestic violence battery; a first-degree misdemeanor.
Under duress of impending termination following his July 6, 2017 arrest, O’Connell offered his resignation from the agency on July 28th, still maintaining his innocence — as he had from the outset.
Resignation in hand, Shoar’s internal affairs bureau released their conclusion that the charges leveled against O’Connell could not be sustained; clearing him of any violation of policy in the eyes of the department. The conclusion cited a lack of physical evidence, O’Connell’s “continued denial,” and his wife’s “recanting of her original testimony and her refusal to fully cooperate by answering pertinent questions.”
Likewise, on October 30, 2017, Jacksonville Assistant State Attorney Katelyn Knaak Johnston, issued a disposition notice stating that, after reviewing the evidence, the Fourth Judicial Circuit division chief found no information and she declined to prosecute O’Connell “for these charges and any civil charges listed on the Arrest and Booking Report”. The documents were filed in St Johns County on November 1st.
Judge Charles Tinlin released the defendant’s bond and closed the case; however, O’Connell has not returned to work as a St Johns County deputy sheriff, regardless of the findings.

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