Gun Control

She Said He Said He Saw Demons. Then He Had to Give Up His Guns.

A bizarre Florida “red flag” case shows the importance of safeguards that protect people’s Second Amendment rights.

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The allegations against Kevin Morgan were alarming. They described just the sort of circumstances that Florida legislators had in mind when they approved that state's "red flag" law in 2018, three weeks after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Morgan's estranged wife, Joanie, claimed he was depressed, suicidal, and obsessed with the apocalypse, which he thought was imminent. She said he was stockpiling food, gold, guns, and ammunition in anticipation of the end times; that he talked about seeing, hearing, and wrestling with demons; and that he had performed a ritual that involved rubbing "oils" on their children and the walls of their house. She reported that he was abusing the drugs he had been prescribed for chronic pain, had talked about dismembering his former wife, had intimated he would do the same to her if she ever disrespected him, and had threatened to kill her with succinylcholine, a paralytic agent used during surgery and intubation.

On the strength of such claims, Joanie Morgan obtained a temporary domestic violence protection injunction, an involuntary psychiatric evaluation order under the Florida Mental Health Act (a.k.a. the Baker Act), and a temporary "risk protection order" under the red flag law, which authorizes the suspension of a person's Second Amendment rights when he is deemed a threat to himself or others. All three were ex parte orders, meaning they were issued without giving Kevin Morgan a chance to rebut the allegations against him.

But when it was time for a judge to decide whether the initial gun confiscation order, which was limited to 14 days, should be extended for a year, Morgan got a hearing, and the lurid picture painted by his wife disintegrated. By the end of the hearing, in an extraordinary turn of events unlike anything you are likely to see in a courtroom drama, the lawyer representing the Citrus County Sheriff's Office, which was seeking the final order, conceded that he had not met the law's evidentiary standard, and the judge agreed.

This bizarre case vividly illustrates why legal representation and meaningful judicial review are necessary to protect gun owners from unsubstantiated complaints under red flag laws, which 17 states and the District of Columbia have enacted. But it also shows that police and prosecutors, who in Florida are the only parties authorized to file red flag petitions, are not necessarily diligent about investigating allegations by people who may have an ax to grind. That problem is especially serious in the states that allow petitions by broad categories of individuals whose accounts may be colored by personal animus, including current or former spouses, lovers, and housemates as well as in-laws and close or distant blood relatives. Without adequate safeguards, respondents can lose their constitutional rights based on little more than an aggrieved individual's unverified assertions.

'It Wasn't Him That Had Gone to the House'

Circuit Judge Peter Brigham

Circuit Judge Peter Brigham issued the ex parte risk protection order against Morgan on September 18, 2018, six months after Florida's red flag law took effect, in response to a petition by Rachel Montgomery, a detective with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office. It was the first time the sheriff's office had used the law.

In the affidavit supporting her petition, Montgomery said she responded to a complaint from Joanie Morgan alleging that her husband had violated the temporary domestic violence protection injunction by returning to the house in Citrus Springs they used to share and retrieving clothing, medications, "several firearms," and his Ford Mustang. Montgomery paraphrased the claims Joanie Morgan had made in her petitions for the injunction and the Baker Act examination: that "the respondent has had a decline in mental stability over the last four months" and "has displayed irratic [sic] behaviors to include making threats to dismember a former paramour and threats to kill his entire family while yielding [sic] a vial containing a paralytic agent." She added that "the respondent has purchased several firearms and ammunition during this time period."

At this point, Montgomery later testified, she had done no investigation beyond talking to Joanie Morgan and reading her petitions. Montgomery said she subsequently discovered there was no basis for the claim that Kevin Morgan had violated the injunction by visiting the house. "I determined that it wasn't him that had gone to the house," she said. "It was actually a pool maintenance worker that had been by the house." Furthermore, "the firearms had been transferred prior to his risk protection order" in response to the domestic violence injunction, meaning there were no guns for Morgan to retrieve from the house.

Montgomery did read the Baker Act petition that led to Morgan's court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, but she did not mention the outcome of that evaluation. On September 13, 2018, police handcuffed Morgan and took him to The Centers, a mental health facility in Ocala, where he spent the night. The next day, a psychiatrist determined that he did not meet the law's criteria for involuntary treatment. A discharge form dated September 14, 2018, described Morgan as "alert and oriented" and "calm and cooperative." It explained that "Kevin was evaluated by the psychiatrist and it was determined that Kevin does not present as a danger to himself or others."

Yet here was Montgomery, four days later, asserting that there was "reasonable cause to believe" Morgan "poses a significant danger of causing personal injury" to himself or others "in the near future." Judge Brigham agreed, and there was no reason to think he wouldn't. Statewide data indicate that Florida judges always grant petitions for ex parte risk protection orders.

A follow-up mental health report from The Centers, written two days after Brigham approved the temporary risk protection order, described Morgan's appearance as "appropriate," his behavior as "compliant," his mood as "stable," his thought process as "organized," and his judgment and impulse control as "good." Based on prescription records and a drug screen, Stefanie Glover, a licensed mental health counselor at The Centers, reported that Morgan was "displaying no drug abuse." She also said Morgan "did not display any signs or symptoms of paranoia, psychosis or delusions." In the "trauma" section of the form, Glover typed: "Client is being mentally and emotionally abused by his wife. Client stated that he filed for a divorce on Monday September 17th, 2018."

Glover's conclusions about Morgan jibed with an August 29, 2018, letter from his personal physician, Ulhaus Deven. "He has shown no sign of abusing the opioids prescribed to him," Deven wrote. "He has not had any indication of depression or suicidal ideation."

'This Puts Us in an Awkward Situation'

On September 28, 2018, 10 days after Brigham issued the temporary risk protection order, he held a hearing to determine whether there was "clear and convincing evidence" that Morgan  posed "a significant danger" to himself or others. That is Florida's standard for issuing a final risk protection order, which lasts up to a year and can be renewed for another year.

At the hearing, the sheriff's office was represented by its lawyer, Robert Batsel, while Morgan was represented by Crystal River attorney J. Michael Blackstone. I listened to the official audio recording of the hearing, which lasted about two hours and 20 minutes. It included testimony by Kevin Morgan, Joanie Morgan, and her mother as well as Detective Montgomery.

In addition to refuting the claim that Kevin Morgan had violated the domestic violence injunction, Montgomery described him as "very calm" when he was taken into custody for the Baker Act examination. Responding to questions from Blackstone, she said Morgan was polite and cooperative, neither raising his voice nor behaving erratically, and seemed to be in control of his faculties.

Joanie Morgan's testimony was tearful, highly emotional, scattered, and frequently vague. She reiterated her earlier allegations and added a few more. But when Blackstone asked whether she had any evidence to corroborate what she claimed her husband had said and done, she admitted that she did not.

There were no witnesses to confirm his alleged threats and no photographs of oil on the walls, of the hypodermic needles he allegedly had stashed away to inject the succinylcholine, or of the food, gold, weapons, and ammunition he allegedly had accumulated in preparation for the end times. Nor had police ever visited the house to confirm any of those details. Blackstone also noted that, despite Joanie Morgan's portrait of her husband as dangerously deranged, she was planning to build a new house with him on property they had purchased together in April 2018, and she had left her children overnight with him that August, in the midst of his supposed breakdown, to attend a conference in Tampa.

Joanie Morgan's mother, Susan Harper-Clements, tried to back up her daughter's portrayal of Kevin Morgan as dangerous, but the evidence she offered fell notably short. For example, she mentioned "conversations" after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. "Kevin had told me that the NRA…was all into this gun thing and that you couldn't even buy the bullets you wanted, because people were stockpiling," she said. "And he said, 'When they're all through with this, you won't be able to buy guns and ammunition.'" On cross-examination, Blackstone noted that such comments hardly proved homicidal intent. "He has never threatened anyone in your presence, has he?" he asked. "No," Harper-Clements replied.

Kevin Morgan's demeanor at the hearing was as Montgomery and the staff at The Centers had described it: calm, polite, and cooperative. He denied seeing demons, making threats, or obsessing about the apocalypse. He denied that he had recently been stockpiling guns, saying he had acquired his collection of roughly 40 rifles and handguns over the course of more than two decades. The only guns he had acquired recently, he said, were three black-powder pistols he had bought the previous spring and summer—antique replicas ill-suited for the end times.

What about the mostly empty vial of succinylcholine that his wife had presented to sheriff's deputies as evidence of Morgan's deadly designs? Morgan recalled that his wife, a nurse who had worked at two local hospitals, had once accidentally brought home just such a vial, saying she had put it in her lab coat pocket after participating in the treatment of a patient who had suffered a cardiac arrest. Morgan, who also has a nursing degree, had managed the emergency room at one of those hospitals, but he left that job in January 2015 because of a disability caused by spinal stenosis. After that, he no longer had access to drugs such as succinylcholine. Given the expiration date on the vial that his wife gave to police, Morgan said, it was clear he could not have been the person who had obtained it.

After the last witness testified, Blackstone asked Brigham to deny the petition by the sheriff's office. "The testimony, frankly, does not make any sense," he said. "There's no objective evidence for the court to base a ruling on. There's been ample opportunity. The police could have gone and looked at the inside of the house and verified that there were gold coins or gold bullion or oil on the walls or anything else. We basically only have the word of a woman that's in the early parts of a divorce. Most of the testimony has already been contradicted by Mr. Morgan. It's unpersuasive under any circumstances, and the standard is 'clear and convincing.' With all due respect to Mr. Batsel, who I think a lot of, I don't think he's carried that burden. At best, it's a swearing match."

At this point, Batsel got up and admitted that Blackstone was right. "I've conferred with my client," he said, and "they won't object to me tending to agree. This puts us in an awkward situation. The sheriff's office is coming into this with all the best intentions…The legislature has put us in a bit of a box, and that's OK; we're going to figure it out. But in a 'he said, she said,' where the evidence, I frankly will agree, does not meet 'clear and convincing,' we don't want to waste the court's time."

Blackstone thanked Batsel for his candor. "I can't tell Mr. Batsel how much I appreciate, in the world today, somebody standing up and just accepting what the facts are," he said. He also thanked the sheriff's office. "I think we're all learning as we go," he said. "It's a new statute. It's going to put huge burdens on everybody."

Brigham ratified the agreement between both sides that the sheriff's office had failed to make its case. "I don't think I've heard clear and convincing evidence," he said. "I found Mr. Morgan's testimony to be credible." Explaining his decision in an order he issued later that day, he said, "The issue came down to a credibility determination between the respondent and his current wife. The court found the respondent credible and that the petition was not proved by clear and convincing evidence. [Regarding] the only piece of physical evidence, a vial of drugs, [it] was never clearly, or convincingly, explained from whence it came."

'You Have to Go in and Prove That You're Not Guilty'

Blackstone, who supports red flag laws in principle, thinks Florida's statute worked as intended in this case. "I thought you had a well-intentioned police officer who sat on the stand and told the truth," he says. "I thought you had an exceptionally well-intentioned and competent attorney for the Citrus County Sheriff's Office who did a fabulous job. I thought I did a competent job in representing Kevin, and I thought that the law worked the way it was supposed to."

At the same time, Blackstone recognizes that it's important to have a lawyer in situations like this. "It's always dangerous to go into court without a lawyer," he notes. Without "competent counsel," he says, this case "might have turned out the same way," but "it might have turned out entirely different."

Florida, like nearly all of the states with red flag laws, does not provide court-appointed counsel for respondents. Colorado is the only state that guarantees a right to counsel for respondents who can't afford a lawyer or choose not to hire one.

Kevin Morgan

Blackstone estimates that a single red flag case ordinarily would cost $2,500 to $5,000 in legal fees. Morgan says Blackstone, who also is handling his divorce, charged him about $1,500. That was on top of the attorney fees and extra living expenses he incurred as a result of his other legal battles with his wife. "I had about $13,000 or $14,000 in savings, and by the time all this was done, I had nothing," he says. "I was lucky to have a lawyer. I was lucky to be able to afford it."

Morgan's take on Florida's red flag law is less sanguine than Blackstone's. The law ostensibly puts the burden of proof on the agency seeking an order. But in practice, Morgan says, "you have to go in and prove that you're not guilty."

The automatic issuance of ex parte orders means that when a respondent gets his day in court, the playing field is slanted sharply against him. The judge is deciding whether to maintain the presumptively protective status quo or change course and give the respondent legal access to guns he might use to kill himself or someone else. That prospect tends to loom larger than the possibility that a respondent who does not really pose a threat will unfairly but temporarily lose his Second Amendment rights. Those dynamics help explain why judges in Florida issue final orders about 95 percent of the time.

Morgan's case nevertheless shows that the standard of proof matters. In the end, both parties and the judge agreed that the sheriff's office had not presented clear and convincing evidence. While that is the standard in most states with red flag laws, four states and the District of Columbia require only proof by "a preponderance of the evidence," meaning any probability greater than 50 percent. When laws combine a low standard of proof with undefined terms such as "a significant risk," "a significant danger," or "a risk of danger," the respondent does not have much chance of prevailing.

Another safeguard is requiring that petitions be filed by police or prosecutors, as Florida does. While anyone who knows a potentially dangerous person can still share his concerns with the authorities, police are supposed to act on those concerns only when they consider them well-grounded. The idea is to have dispassionate officials evaluate complaints from people who may have personal biases. But that goal is defeated if police simply record and pass along allegations by aggrieved parties.

Even allowing for Citrus County's inexperience with the red flag law at the time it sought the orders against Morgan, one has to ask why a law enforcement agency would go to court with a case so weak that its own attorney ended up throwing in the towel at the end of the hearing. Police should not seek ex parte orders without evidence of an imminent threat, and they should not seek final orders unless they are confident they can meet the law's requirements. Such caution is especially important when judges can be expected to rubber-stamp ex parte orders and approve nearly all of the final orders police request.

The possible cost of deciding not to seek or issue an order—a preventable suicide or homicide—has to be weighed against the certain cost of suspending someone's constitutional rights. Police should conduct a thorough investigation before trying to do that. In this case, easily discoverable facts—including the existence of Morgan's supposed hypodermic needles and end times stockpile, the whereabouts of his guns prior to the temporary risk protection order, and the provenance of the succinylcholine—were either not clarified until the hearing or remained unresolved even then.

The sheriff's office "jumped into a civil action without completing a proper investigation," Morgan says. "I don't think the average person understands just how dangerous these laws are. Hopefully, if my story can get out, folks will see how easily [red flag laws] can be used against someone for revenge or to get an upper hand in [a custody dispute]. I want people to know how these laws can be used improperly, in the hope that some reforms will take place. We need protection for falsely accused individuals and stiff punishment for those who abuse the system."

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  1. #BelieveAllWomen

    1. For the record, I never believe a divorced woman who goes into a long lament about how terrible her ex-husband was without tangible evidence.

      1. Humm, sounds familiar. As if those who disregard the lessons of history, will learn them again. Pre-Constitution, women were to blame. As the pendulum swings, it’s the men’s toxic masculinity, and the self fulfilling prophecy of higher SS rates. All ‘evidence’ is considered fact until proven otherwise in these Ex Parte courts. The standard of prof is 50/50 court admins opinion, at modern ‘Witch Trials’. Better off flipping a coin. THE PRIMARY REASON FOR EX PARTE COURTS, BACK THEN WAS TRAVEL. Ready to get your mind blown, watch the Yale sophist explain all the Voo Dooo, Voo Do, Vee Dee VD.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rHSu2oDZXE&feature=youtu.be&t=692

  2. They’ve got a similar law in my state. Though here it’s not the cops who file the order, and no proof is needed. Mere assertions are all it takes. So it turns into a “he said, she said” where her word is always believed over his. I know guys who haven’t seen their guns or children for years because the judge always sides with the spiteful ex. Can’t be too cautious you know.

    1. That’s why you gotta accuse your soon to be ex-wife first of being mentally unstable, before she accuses you.
      1. strike first
      2. strike hard
      3. no mercy

      1. And then join #MeToo as a tragic victim of sexual violence. Oh, #MeToo isn’t for that sort of sexual violence? Why not? If you’re getting screwed, does it matter who’s doing the screwing?

    2. Sounds like Washington state. I understand the guy gets totally fucked, no matter what the circumstances. My brother went through something similar in Idaho, and his lawyer, who was licensed in both, stated “while Idaho is bad, just be glad we aren’t in Washington”.

  3. So he can sue her in civil court for slander or defamation or something right? I mean, she was obviously lying and it obviously caused him significant hardship.

    And the officers and judge responsible for the ex parte order have been reprimanded and given additional training to make sure they will comply with the law in the future, right?

    1. Perhaps the transcript and recording could be used in a Baker Act hearing against the batshit crazy soon to be ex-?
      It sounds like 72 hours with a shrink might help her a lot.

      1. The irony per the article is that he cited emotional abuse in the divorce filings. Now he has that abuse already in court records.

    2. I am sure he could but he already lost his savings defending himself so it maybe hard to find an attorney to represent him especially if the ex-wife doesn’t have any real assets to go after. Plus there is always the additional cost on ones own mental/physical health going through more litigation.

      1. This expression rightfully gets ridiculed a lot around here, but, in situations like these, “think of the children.”

        It’s bad enough for the kids when one parent is being vindictive, petty, and ruthless. Sometimes, it’s better for everybody to cut your losses and try to move on.

      2. No doubt. Those with no assets and no prospects can get away with quite a bit.

    3. That’s exactly what should happen. People make false accusations all the time that result in significantly greater hardship than temporarily losing access to their guns. The police do need additional training to reduce the likelihood of this happening in the future and the ex-wife should be on the hook for not only the legal fees but for damages as well.

      That’s not an argument for repealing the law. Men are falsely accused of sexual assault against their children by spiteful exes. They deserve the same recourse as this guy does. If a guy is accused of such a thing it still only makes sense to do whatever is necessary in the immediate moment to make sure nothing else happens to the kids, or to confirm or refute the allegations. Yes it sucks. But if the alternative is to do nothing to the accused what happens when the allegations are true. This law worked pretty well for a new law. As it is invoked more over time procedures and protocols can be refined to limit the damage caused by false allegations. I don’t get the outrage.

      1. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that these laws reduce violent crime. None. There’s minimal evidence that they may reduce firearm suicides slightly (although other forms of suicide tend to rise). Which begs the question, why are we bankrupting people and putting them through a wringer like this for no public safety benefit? Is it the role of the people to broad-brush remove 2A rights to prevent a small handful of people from taking their own life?

        If you don’t have a problem with the law, you don’t know what is in the law and how it works. There is no accountability for anyone involved here. (You don’t even have to be a firearm owner to get an RPO.) The cops have *total* immunity. The spouse could potentially be charged with perjury, but it’s unlikely.

        The RPO Act is a radical expansion of police power, no more and no less. It gives police additional ways to get into and search your home and car, no more and no less. It’s being used left and right against children and in highly questionable cases like this. And the most absurd part is that at least half involve a respondent who already has some kind of firearm restriction. The RPO petition is a totally superfluous proceeding.

        Now, here’s another problem. These laws aren’t homogeneous across states. Each is somewhat different, and Florida’s is among the worst. If you get the sheriffs’ lawyers in a private room they’d say the same. But people have a tendency to lump them all together as though there is some platonic form of Red Flag Laws floating out there that can be discussed. There isn’t.

        The reason this happened isn’t because police need “more training” (god if I had a dollar…). It’s because the law is so sloppily drafted.

        So thanks for your opinion, but it doesn’t appear to be based in adequate knowledge of the facts.

      2. HERE is the outrage on these redflag laws:

        HE gets his stuff taken and limits slammed down on him, then has to poy up what I would consider to be serious money to prove a negative, a VERY difficult thing to do.

        To my knowledge only one state has anything approaching due process as a precursor to seizure or incarceration. The sheriffs admitted they did NOT do a thorugh search of his place to see if HER allegations were triue. WHY NOT? They got lazy and let HER lieing word be the on;y “evidence” in the permanent order hearing. That SHOULD have happened when they grabbed him and sent him off for a visit with the shrink. And when the shrinks report came back showing he’s as normal as the next guy, they already had his guns.

        DUE PROCESS is confirming the evidence underlying the adverse action BEFORE the action is taken. Put all those proofs supporting her fairy tale before the court as part of the ex parte order’s hearing. NOT months after the guy’s had his rights stolen.

        THen, in EVERY CASE where the informant/complainant/movant is found to have twisted or invented things, the liar goes downtown for a nice long stay at the local CrowBar Hotel, fur perjury, AND bears all the costs incurred by the falsely accused.
        What we read here is NOT due process at all, its a form of getting sold down the river.

  4. So the law worked as written

    Yawn

    1. Yes, losing your 2a rights for almost a year is working as intended. You’re then new resident dumbass Code Blue hired as an intern huh?

    2. Yeah did you miss where the guy lost his life savings defending himself against false charges. If that is justice to you; you need to get your priorities checked.

      1. he lost his ‘life savings’ by marrying the wrong woman, not over his guns

        1. He lost his life savings because of a system where he is considered guilty until proven innocent, and proving your innocence is extremely expensive. All the woman did was take advantage of the system. The system is the problem, not her.

          1. The law is working as intended: it’s supposed to hurt gun owners and men, and give women extraordinary legal powers and the ability to destroy men they don’t like without consequences to themselves.

            Any woman who takes advantage of such laws is still morally reprehensible, and while they probably can’t be held legally accountable, they can be publicly shamed and ostracized.

          2. no, it IS her, because despite the system/law being defective on its face,SHE still spun her fairy tale to “fix him” and did it for spite. Had she been honest and upright, he’d still have his guns and all his money.

            One thing SERIOSUL lacking in+ ALL these disgusting laws is the utter lack of consequences for those who spin fairy tales, blow pixiedust all over “evidence” ,stand and make false claims, then walk when their accused is exhonerated. SHE needs to be charged with feolny perjury for her false accusations. When anyone makes such claims they should be required to hve SOLID PROOF. There are standards of what constitutes valid evidence in every court in the land: Rules of Evidence they are called. Unless a piece of evidence presented to a court meets those standards, it cannot be admitted. This dragon lady’s mum also needs run downtown with the Perjury rap hanging round her scrawny neck. SHE told some whoppers to that court, too. Both were, or should have been, under oath as they testifid. A s the moment their testomony begins to fall apart then heed to get whacked, hard. What ishappening with these ridiculous laws is that ordinaty people are given unconstitutional power over others by simply making statements and not being required to back them up., and lie with impunity. NOT RIGHT This woman’s false story has resulted in this man being denied his civil rights under colour of law. That is a federal felony. Charge them both.

            1. FIRST – I do not agree with these laws at all. That said…

              To whatever extent the “accused” is exonerated, I do not agree that the accuser should always face criminal and/or civil liability. Liability for reports should be present IF AND ONLY IF the accuser acted with bad faith. Blatantly false accusations like the one in this case should lead to liability in both criminal and civil court. But a person who makes a report in good faith based on the standards of the law should not face liability just because the complaint turns out to be unfounded or insufficient to lead to a confiscation. While I completely disagree with these laws, there should be immunity from consequences ONLY for good faith reports. But failing to provide immunity for good faith reports is tantamount to invalidating the law entirely. If the law is going to be invalidated, let it be invalidated completely; not through fiat of fear of exoneration when a good faith report is made.

              To me: Good faith means telling the truth and not exaggerating. Making a report that falls short on its face can still be good faith as long as only truthful statements are made.

        2. Good point. Just because the law is unjust is no excuse for being stupid. Only marry a libertarian (assuming you’re libertarian), pro-gun, a shooter who owns guns(s), hardcore, and importantly – sane. Cut out discreetly at the first sign of crazy. Don’t fuck crazy if you can detect it. With all the dating apps, one van screen for ideology, or state in one’s profile preferences libertarian pro-gun only.

          It may be worth sacrificing a little bit of looks, body, or even intelligence, for someone who is ideologically correct and can be trusted.

          1. “one CAN screen…”

          2. Also, never get married right away. Make sure you’re in the relationship for several years, at least, before getting married, or even living together. That allows time for any craziness or differences to come to the surface. Don’t have kids for a few years, to allow any undiscovered craziness or differences to become apparent. Don’t have kids with a crazy person or with someone with too great differences. Make sure the person is stable and reliable and ideologically compatible.

      2. He should sue her for defamation and be able to collect damages as well as costs. That’s how laws are supposed to work. Bad people use the law falsely to cause hardship to others all the time. The answer is not to repeal all laws that can be abused. That would be ridiculous.

    3. Worked “as written”. Heh. So if a fucked-up law is written it’s okay with you, as long as it “works as written”?

    4. How is losing your rights, being involuntarily detained, losing your life savings and having your name besmirched unfairly working as it is designed too? Or is it your determination that the true purpose of the law is to punish gun owners just for being gun owners?

      1. You must be new here if you think “worked as intended” isn’t a sarcastic comment on the revealed preferences of the state.

        1. People can lie about any number of things that put you in jail or worse.

          People lying is not a rational reason to get rid of all laws

          1. Holy false dichotomy batman. Just own your idiocy.

          2. People lying is not a rational reason to get rid of all laws

            Nobody made that argument.

            1. Why should this law get special exemption?

          3. Violating the rights of due process and the presumption of innocence and the right to representation are all valid reasons to get rid of the law. But I know, guns are bad so we need to throw out the rest of the Bill of Rights also.

        2. No, arpinhat is a well known, albeit new, progressive troll and authoritarian to the core. It wasn’t sarcasm.

    5. If the law works so well, why not simply incarcerate the people deemed so dangerous? I mean, if you just take away their guns, they can still build a bomb or drive a car through a crowd or take their own life by jumping off a bridge. Taking someone’s guns like this barely scratches the surface of the danger these people pose to others and themselves.

      Clearly, the only rational thing to do would be to lock these people up until they can prove they’re not a danger to anyone and will never be a danger to anyone ever again.

    6. Are you happy that Trump is finally trying to make our immigration laws “work as written” too?

    7. Yeah just like the Fugitive Slave Act.

    8. Yes, the law worked as written. And the law, as written, allowed a possibly unstable, possibly simply vicious woman deprive a man of his property and cost him a great deal of time and money. Therefore the law as written is a nasty piece of work that should be repealed with all possible speed.

  5. I already know the answer…. but was the bitch if a soon to be ex wife charged with perjury?

    1. I think in a he said she said case you would basically have to have her admit to perjury. Yes, the evidence is supports his claim but not beyond a reasonable doubt, which is what you would need for perjury.

      1. I think in a he said she said case you would basically have to have her admit to perjury.

        Possibly even claim she perjured herself and insist that she be tried for it depending on the jurisdiction.

        1. I would go further. I would amend divorce law such that any party to a divorce found to have made exaggerated claims of abuse or mental instability must pay restitution for all monies expended by the other party in defending against such exaggeration, and forfeits all claim to offspring or community property, save what the victim of such exaggeration may be pleased to permit.

  6. The court,the police,and the mental health professionals keep referring to him as “cooperative”,but if he’d been entirely uncooperative while being railroaded, that also would have been entirely understandable.

    1. What do you mean… being angry at false accusations is impeachable. See kavanaugh.

    2. I really don’t like basic preparedness being held up as proper evidence:

      In this case, easily discoverable facts—including Morgan’s supposed hypodermic needles and end times stockpile

      So Mr. Sullum is implying, if the police had found these things, then it would have been all right to uphold the order? Even this, it seems, does not provide “clear and convincing evidence” of the intent to harm self or others.

      Hell, I have all that, and more, in my end-times preparedness bunker. And even the CDC is now saying, if you have a good supply of food, better to not catch a virus. Your end-times stockpile is my (now proven) simple common sense.

      1. I don’t think that is what Sullum was saying at all. I think he was saying she claimed this occurred and it could be easy to verify her claims, not that the claims in and of themselves is proof of his guilt. Not evidence that her claims of hoarding gold etc was proof he was a danger. Just that if they had found them it verified part of her story. And I am one who ridicules Sullum a lot for his stupid takes.

        1. I’l give you that. I just find it personally aggravating, I guess, that “apocalyptic stockpile” is pointed to as a sign of mental instability.
          I mean, I’m not wearing this foil hat for nuthin.

          1. Stockpiling gold is pretty crazy.

      2. I agree. I thought that rational was wrong. What business is it to the cops if he stockpiles gold or guns or food.

      3. I don’t think that’s what Sullum is implying. I think he’s trying to say that if the police had bothered to look for those things and not found them, it would have been very easy evidence that the rest of the ex-wife’s “testimony” was unreliable, too.

        1. “[U]nreliable.”

  7. The requirement that the police or prosecutors file the order doesn’t really help either. They’ll be just as prone as the judges to take the “better not take a chance” path.

  8. This doesn’t just illustrate how the law can restore violated rights but more importantly illustrates how another law is required to protect our rights before they are violated.

    People making accusations need to be held legally responsible for the veracity of their claims before the authorities act against the accused.

    Every statement that forms the basis of an accusation should be legally required to contain all the necessary details and then be notarized.

    If it’s shown to be a lie, the accuser should be punished to the full extent of the law and also compensate any damages.

    Call it due process.

    1. The answer to bad laws is more laws?

      1. People in general are pretty stupid and corrupt so bad laws, ones that poorly address a need, are inevitable.

        Then yes better laws are required.

        1. Or better yet, the courts could realize this law violates multiple rights assured in the bill of rights and throw the fucker out.

          1. I don’t see how it’s better to violate someone’s rights until all the lawyers have argued their cases in court over years.

            It seems to me that a legal incentive not to make false or unclear accusations would be a “better” solution.

            1. Here’s stormfag Mizek again, looking for a “better” “final” solution.

    2. I suspect that the proponents of “red flag” laws would fight desperately to keep that accountability out of the law. A cynic might be inclined to think their goal is to avoid accountability.

    3. “”People making accusations need to be held legally responsible for the veracity of their claims before the authorities act against the accused.””

      Law enforcement should be held accountable as well. Assuming they have a responsibility to ensure their acts are actually justified. But we believed the complainant should not be any better of a defense than we were following orders.

      1. In the absence of hard video evidence, police need to believe complaints.

        We need laws to prevent false and misunderstood complaints. Police need to be ordered by law to take clear and legal statements.

        Stupid corrupt people also need a reason not to make false complaints.

        1. By saying cops need to believe complaints in absence of proof, you’re basically encouraging false complaints. Now the burden of proof is on the accused to prove the complaint false. That’s the exact opposite of how the system is supposed to work.

        2. Believing the complaints without evidence sounds an awful lot like guilty until proven innocent.

        3. “”Police need to be ordered by law to take clear and legal statements.””

          And if they don’t? What about cops that make shit up like the Narcs did in Houston?

        4. Police need to act fast when there is an imminent threat. Proof may not arrive in time.

          That’s why they need to believe what they are told and why there needs to be serious legal consequences for making false or misleading accusations.

          Police need to record statements accurately (audio video) and be trained to ensure they are clear, meet the criteria for action and are legally binding before they act on them.

          1. Police need to act fast when there is an imminent threat. Proof may not arrive in time.

            Much like cops.

            1. Yes, just like you want them to when you tell them a killer is on his way to you.

              Without proof.

  9. Obsessed with the apocalypse? So they are going to take the guns away from all Latter Day Saints?

    1. yeah this. ^^

  10. But it also shows that police and prosecutors, who in Florida are the only parties authorized to file red flag petitions, are not necessarily diligent about investigating allegations by people who may have an ax to grind.

    You better believe having an axe to grind is a big red flag right there, mister.

  11. Let’s count the things wrong with this story:

    1) Judge deprived a person of their right to representation.
    2) Judge deprived a person of this 2A rights without representation and with zero evidence.
    3) Judge temporarily deprived a person of their freedom without any chance to represent themselves.
    4) Ex perjured herself and was not charged.
    5) Ex not responsible for the loss of money and time and other damages she caused (I hope he sues the shit out of her and wins, but this should have been automatic).
    6) The prosecutor and judge seem to think it would have been wholly reasonable to deprive this guy of his Constitutional rights if the cops had found evidence that he likes to hoard gold, smears oil on his walls, or has a lot of guns. Where is that exception in the Second Amendment? Also they talk about how polite he was, as if it actually matters. I’d be pissed if I was arrested and stripped of my rights without due process, and it wouldn’t make me any more or less innocent.

    1. Since this is a story of court proceedings, most of this is BS
      People get arrested every day and held, then released with no charges
      they are not ‘stripped of their rights’ or denied ‘due process’

      gun rights are no more special than other rights

      1. “”People get arrested every day and held, then released with no charges””

        Seems you have no issue with that.

        1. So having a trial and all that ‘stuff’ is unimportant?
          And we should just ‘know’ that they are innocent or guilty and act accordingly

          It is the process, and gun rights are just another right

          And less important than the right to, you know, be alive, so yeah, having his guns stored elsewhere for 2 weeks is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things

          1. “”So having a trial and all that ‘stuff’ is unimportant?””

            Who said that?

            Cops every day arrest people because fuck you that’s why. Sure many of them are released and no charges filed. But harm starts at arrest. You seem to shrug you shoulders when it happens.

            1. Also trials, especially civil trials, take place every day without anyone being arrested.

              If I called the police right now and said “ariniant1 said he’s coming to my house to kill me, he needs to be arrested right away!” Unless they found him on the way to my house with a weapon in his car or on his person, they’d likely conduct a minor investigation on the spot and then arrest me for filing a false report.

      2. So arresting people with not enough evidence to charge them isn’t a violation of the rights? Have you read the bill of r8ghta, specifically amendments 4-8?

        1. Better yet, are you [arpiniant1] saying it’s no big deal if you get arrested every day and held, because “most of this is BS” ?

          1. I’m saying it could happen, even with no ill will on anyone’s part, and to say otherwise is to deny all law enforcement etc.

            ‘That is him, he robbed the bank’

            Of course they are going to arrest me, hold me, unless I say, you know no it wasn’t’ me.
            Even with an alibi it would probably take longer and more money to clear it up
            No I am not ok with it, but it happens

            1. So that excuses it? No you are an authoritarian asshat who is seemly okay with people’s rights being violated because it just happens.

              1. I’m saying your silly arguments are not persuasive, that this is no worse than any other arrest that does not result in a conviction and if you wanted to make a point other than whining you would come up with realistic alternatives, which you do not

                1. No you are worshipping the state. And my arguments that this a clear violations of multiple rights you only answer is “well it happens all the time, so no big deal”. My response is it shouldn’t happen all the time. And that isn’t an excuse to forgive it in this case.

                2. Well arrests that don’t result in a conviction can be pretty awful. People lose their life savings like thos guy. If you get arrested while on bail you go back to jail. Maybe lose your job. It may take years to settle. It’s not a small thing.

            2. And you accuse Trump of being a tyrant…

              1. HE is not smart enough to be a tyrant, but A for effort

                1. Oh you are so good at this. Nice rejoinder. Since you are simplistic and peurile, let me explain I am being sarcastic, because I think you would truly think I am giving you a compliment, rather then ridiculing you.

            3. You do realize that arresting you for robbing the bank:
              – requires probable cause on the part of the arresting officer – a higher standard than required here
              – requires the state to provide an attorney if you cannot afford one – a protection not available here
              – requires that the state put you in front of a judge and either charge you or release you pretty much immediately – not after a 10 day delay as here
              – requires evidence “beyond reasonable doubt” before making the deprivation of your rights permanent – not the substantially lower standards here.
              – has a number of other checks and balances to ensure fairness and the presumption of innocence – checks and balances which are either weaker or non-existent here.

              1. Great points. Someone accuse one of the legislators who wrote this bill and maybe then we’ll see a change.

            4. Even if there was no evidence that a fucking bank was even robbed? That is about the equivalent here. Police are supposed to INVESTIGATE before they just start arresting people.

              1. “”Police are supposed to INVESTIGATE before they just start arresting people.”‘

                Yep. The idea that arrest first and let the courts sort it out is what bad cops believe. There was an NYPD narc detective that was nailed for falsely arresting people. The cop responded saying the judges would let them go.

            5. True, this happens. But a more anologous case would be … if he said “that is him, he robbed a bank, he has a demon painted in oil on his car,” and, instead of doing the ride, you were able to talk to the people in charge, say “hey, I just took the bus in from Weewatchie, here’s my ticket” … and be released on the spot after the officer talks to the bus driver and verifies your story?

    2. Also they talk about how polite he was, as if it actually matters.

      That probably helped him more than anything else. If he had been like “I know my rights!” it’s unlikely the cops would have helped him at all.

    3. A couple minor corrections:
      1 – The legislature deprived the person of representation. The judge had no discretion on that one.
      4 – Yet. (I know, it’s a long shot that anyone will prosecute the ex but we can still hope.)

      1. Look at the dates involved. This happened in 2018. If they haven’t filed by now, they aren’t going to.

  12. The whole protection order laws need to be looked at, not just the red flag laws. It is so easy to obtain a protection order in most states and it prejudices the courts in divorce hearing that divorce lawyers routinely advise the clients, especially females, to get one even if they don’t feel threatened because it favors them in the subsequent divorce hearings. My brother went through the same thing. His wife was cheating on him and set it up so that her liver confronted my brother when he got home from work. She then called the cops, went to an abuse shelter and filed a protection order against him, because he got angry with her lover. The Coeur d’Alene police even admitted it was likely he was the one being abused but the Post Falls department and the abuse shelter didn’t care, they still filed the protection order. Luckily he had a good lawyer and the judge was reasonable upon hearing the testimony of the responding officers. The judge actually scolded her, her lawyer and the abuse shelter in the court room for using the laws. Since the abuse shelter helped her flee the state afterwards, against Idaho law because she took the kids, the judge also told them the could be held as accessories to felony child abduction. Oh and the abuse shelter told us, me, my wife and my parents that we could call anytime to check on the kids but when I did call they turned me into the Post Falls PD who tried to file charges with the Anchorage (my wife and I Lived in Anchorage at the time) PD to try and file harassment charges which could have lost me my nursing license. Luckily the Anchorage PD told them to go piss up a rope (the detective who contacted me actually mentioned that this were nearly his exact words) but did warn me not to call them again, for my own safety. I should mention the Post Falls OD called me and harassed me and threatened me, despite the Anchorage PD telling them to pound sand. I promptly called their lieutenant who defended their actions. I also called the CDA PD, who told me they also were frustrated with the PF PD and that they were no longer cooperating with this certain abuse shelter because of this case and it was straining their relationship with the Post Falls PD. Their lieutenant told me he was calling their (PF PD) to tell them to back off but he didn’t think it would go anywhere because they had no authority, even though the incident took place in CDA, but because she was in Post Falls she was out of their jurisdiction. The CDA PD was also pissed when they found out she had left the state with the kids because they had specifically told her she couldn’t.

    1. The system has been set up to favor women and mothers. I assume it’s in response to “years of the patriarchy” but it’s gone completely overboard. Equality isn’t enough. Must seek revenge against all men for abuses against women in the past.

      1. Basically. And people ridicule the men’s rights movement, but here I agree with them 100%.

    2. On a related note my brother did file kidnapping charges but dropped them when she returned (after the Colorado Springs PD served her with the papers from Idaho ordering her to return home, she had tried to file for divorce and child custody in Colorado, but luckily Colorado declined saying she wasn’t a resident and had to file in Idaho, where kidnapping charges were pending). My brother dropped the charges and withdrew his divorce order (despite the lawyers advice) he thought it was best for the kids. She later cheated on him again and because Idaho is a joint custody state, he had to share custody and pay child support. Even after he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and was on disability they forced him to pay child support and threatened him with legal action after he fell behind. He was dying and the bitch still went after him for child support. Unfortunately, after his death she got custody. She eventually kicked out one of my nephews, who is a minor. My parents took him in but she refused to sign paperwork until the court forced her too, giving my parents custody, because she didn’t want to lose the social security check. My parents now adopted my nephew and he at least has a real shot at having a semi-normal life. His older brother is 18 and living on the streets, she forced him to skip school to work and despite us contacting CPS, nothing was ever done. He has no degree and is battling depression. My parents have offered to take him in, but he has refused.
      The youngest boy has been suspended multiple times for fighting and is barely not flunking out of school. CPS still doesn’t care, her current husband’s family is well connected with the Lewiston PD and they refuse to do anything about her despite the kids counselors, teachers and my parents all filing abuse charges.
      Her husband choked my one nephew, the one my parents adopted and all he got was unsupervised parole. The reason she kicked him out was because after the parole ended her husband put my nephew in a choke hold and my nephew bit him, so she kicked him out. She also kicked my brother’s step son out but Washington state police contacted Idaho State Police who forced her to take him back in because he was also a minor. Of course they didn’t arrest her or charge her. It is nearly impossible for grandparents to get custody if there is a living parent in Idaho. It is so fucked up. I now realize, along with all the stories of overzealous CPS cases, realize CPS doesn’t care about kids are actually in danger but like to go after more stable parents because they are more likely to be compliant.
      As a side note after my brother’s death she only took them to a month of counseling and then told them to get over it, to stop referring to my brother as their Dad but call him Scott and she insisted that they now call her husband dad. My one nephew refused, the one living with my parents. That is one of the reasons his step father abused him. She stopped taking them to counseling because the counselor wouldn’t take her side. She also doctor shops until she finds a doctor willing to prescribe medications to keep them under control. We have all of this documented, but still no luck with CPS. My nephew was on four or five different medications at the time my parents got him. All prescribed by different doctors for his anger control (gee I wonder why he was angry). When my parents took him to their doctor, the doctor said that those meds, at that strength should never be prescribed together, especially to a minor. He is now off all of his meds and is going to graduate on time (he was almost a year behind when my parents got custody) and has made the honor roll a couple of times. He plans on going in the Army, but because of medications she had prescribed for him he is having some difficulty getting a medical waiver, despite the fact that his current doctor said none were justified and we’re actually counter indicated. Oh and my parents got him actual grief counseling which is also a red flag for the MEPPS in Spokane. He is planning on moving in with us after graduation so he can go to the MEPPS here in Montana, where the physicians are more understanding. I guess the doctor at the Spokane MEPPS loves to DQ for health reasons recruits for just about anything. Several recruiters and friends of mine who are still in the Reserves back home, have told me she is a real bitch and makes up her own rules. But she is protected because of her longevity and despite multiple complaints nothing can be done. And people wonder why I distrust the government. Sorry for the rant.

      1. Dude, I can empathize with a lot of that. I’ve been through the CPS wringer and you’re right that they don’t care about the kids. Just load them up with meds to make them compliant and make sure that mom gets custody. It’s all about empowering mom and punishing dad for being a man. In my case an individual clinician controlled the entire show. She hated me (she was a man-hater in general, so her hatred towards me wasn’t anything special) and made all kinds of false reports. She exaggerated anything bad I did while omitting the good, and did the opposite with mom. The lawyers and judge listened to her because she’s the licensed professional while I’m just the father. They completely ignored testimony from my parents because they’re not licensed professionals. Now my daughter is morbidly obese thanks to the medication. Her mom doesn’t interact with her at all beyond handing her a remote and a tablet. Meanwhile I’m paying their mortgage with the child support. The system is fucked.

        1. My daughter is only ten so she has no say in the matter. She hates living with her mom. Home is with Papa, yet she only sees me every other weekend. Her mom moved to a place two hours away (in direct violation of a court order, but the court didn’t care) to prevent weekday visits. It’s heartbreaking.

        2. Idaho made my brother pay child support even when he had custody of them for three months each summer, because she had to maintain a home and food for when they returned. I asked them the logic of this since my brother also had to provide them a home and food, and logically speaking, while he had custody doesn’t his living expenses go up. I was basically told to shut the fuck up, that’s why.

          1. They wouldn’t even reduce it. And once he got to sick to work, the state told him he could revisit the child support but had to file an additional $700 court fee. Yeah he is to sick to work and can’t afford his child support but he has $700 laying around to pay for new fees. On a side note the social worker in Lewiston was very sympathetic but her ha D’s were tied. She had even reported the mother to CPS but her boss told her to stop and just do her job. She apologized when two months before he died she was forced to make him pay the child support and the mother and her husband sat there gloating. And the new husband called him a deadbeat and told him not to get behind again. She kicked him out of the office and said “just take your damn money and shut up”. I should say at the time my brother was hooked up to a portable IV pump getting chemo, which wasn’t to save his life but just to prolong it a couple of months more. The doctors all agreed his cancer was way to advanced to treat successfully, the best they could do was give him some extra time, when he was first diagnosed. He was basically being treated for reflux and other stomach complaints for years before someone discovered it was actually colon cancer. No one looked for it because he was in his late 20s.

            1. This clinician reported me to CPS because my daughter said I spanked her when she was little, but hadn’t touched her in years. Can’t be too careful. She reported me again because I was “getting physical” by pulling my daughter’s feet to the floor in an effort to get her out of bed. In both cases CPS ended up laughing at her, but they had a duty to investigate. Meanwhile my daughter stumbles across porn while watching tv at her mom’s and the clinician berated me for insinuating that mom could possibly allow that to happen. I’m positive that that would have resulted in a finding, which is why it was swept under the rug. I’m done talking about this. It makes me feel sick inside. I’m probably gonna skip lunch.

  13. Child support and custody agreements suck

    Make better choices

    1. Fuck you. Sometimes people make choices that look good at the time only to realize that it was a mistake later. So just fuck you.

      1. very articulate and convincing

        1. Unlike “make better choices”. Must be nice to have never made a mistake.

        2. Considering the high brow level of your comment, I only felt it was justified to reply with an equally thoughtful response.

          1. And what kind of lack of self awareness does it take, for someone who posts such a sophomoric and shallow remake as make better choices, to then ridicule someone else for making a shallow remark in response? Do you really think I should put any more effort into countering your remark then you put into writing such a purile piece of shit?

        3. I’ll second soldiermedic76’s “fuck you.” You really are a judgmental asshole.

  14. Where are those efing “Federal Courts” overturning this clear un- Constitutional law?? The corrupt courts seem to have a lot of time blocking Trump from banning Muslim savages, and MS-13 gangbangers from entering our country.

    1. because there is no constitutional right for the crazy to own firearms
      because it contains due process

      1. Where is the crazy exception in the Bill of Rights and how does this follow due process? He was denied his rights and then had to prove that he was safe enough to get them back. Yes, the state pretends it is presuming he is innocent but he had to submit to psychiatric evaluation, against his will to prove he was safe. That is him having to prove his innocence.

      2. Is there also no constitutional right for the crazy to not be forced to self-incriminate? Do they lose their right to not be subject to cruel and unusual punishments? Are we allowed to billet soldiers in their home?

        1. You do not have a 5th Amendment right not to testify in civil proceedings like this or to avoid incriminating yourself as mentally ill. In most of these cases, the Sheriff (or local PD) is the one to call the respondent first. The respondent can invoke the 5th if his answer might incriminate him in an actual criminal matter, but he can’t just issue a blanket refusal to testify like in a criminal case.

          And I have in fact seen people testify in their defense in RPO proceedings and THEN get criminally charged based in part on the testimony.

      3. Uh ‘crazy’ is not the preferred nomenclature. Reality-challenged, please.

    2. You have to work your way through state courts first. The only way you can skip to federal court (generally speaking) is in a preenforcement dec action.

      It’ll get there, but the courts are slow. I think the one out of the 1st DCA is at the Florida Supreme Court, and I know the lawyer’s arguments (many same as mine – vagueness, due process etc), If the Florida Supreme Court strikes it down, no need for federal court.

  15. “I thought you had a well-intentioned police officer who sat on the stand and told the truth,” he says.

    No, you had a lazy police officer who blew off the investigation part of her job and simply failed to lie convincingly on the stand.

    You had the sheriff’s office, having looked over the ‘evidence’ collected, decided to go ahead – probably because they expected this to be a rubber-stamp affair – with putting this man through this bullshit.

    No one who was in that courtroom could possibly think that this was the system working. The system working would have seen this thrown out before it got to a hearing.

  16. They threw a man into a mental hospital overnight. The man was forced to lose a day of his life and thousands of dollars of his own money. The wife will still be able to use these actions as evidence in her divorce.

    This is how it’s supposed to happen? This is the INTENDED result?

    While this is obviously the most egregious example of the law, I do find it distressing that the victim in this situation suffered 100% of the impacts, and the wife, who not only committed perjury, but actually fabricated evidence (the medicine bottle), received no punishment at all. There have been some estimates that up to 50% of restraining orders are simple harassment techniques to use against husbands in divorces. Given the complete and utter lack of consequences even when it’s proven beyond any reasonable doubt that she perjured herself, I see no reason why a woman should not lie through her teeth.

    1. The process is the punishment.

  17. How dare you suggest a woman going through such a stressful, emotional situation as a divorce would lie on her husband.

    I bet she probably hasn’t even been getting coached by all her friends on how to properly screw him over to maximize her cash and prizes.

  18. “But your Honor! He has Dungeons and Dragons books! Isn’t that proof of demon worship?”

    1. Oh shit. I better hide my player’s manual.

    2. “But, your honor! He plays World of Warcraft! Isn’t that just a murder simulator!?”

  19. Ok like 18 of you guys have summoned me here. Maybe I was the demon….

    but in all seriousness, this isn’t even an outlier. Some of the cases I’ve handled have been as stupid as this one. I do hope folks start paying attention.

    Kendra Parris

  20. “It was actually a pool maintenance worker that had been by the house.”

    So it was the pool boy coming by the house…

    Chicka-wow…

    1. She also attended a “conference” in Tampa.

  21. Given the expiration date on the vial that his wife gave to police, Morgan said, it was clear he could not have been the person who had obtained it.

    Given that she tried to use this against Morgan, it tough to argue that she accidentally took it home. If nothing else, the hospital should fire her and/or her nursing license revoked.

  22. I’m so tickled to find out my boss from my first legal job (I was a 2L summer law clerk in Robert Batson’s firm 30+ years ago) is still showing the unwavering ethical compass that impressed me way back when.

      1. No. After 32 years as an attorney, I have met a lot of lawyers that believe that “zealous representation” is advancing your client’s position, even if it is not well-founded in law or fact. “If the facts are on your side, pound the facts! If the law is on your side, pound the law! If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table!” was actually discussed in law school as we discussed the boundaries of “zealous representation”.

        Sadly, it’s a darned big deal when an attorney explains to their client that the other side is right and they shouldn’t keep fighting (which is costly to the other side) when they are the ones in the wrong. I have personally heard lawyers state that they would keep fighting because their client had lots more money than their opponent and the opponent couldn’t afford to fight long enough to win.

        Recall, neither the sheriff nor Robert Batsel wrote the law (which is clearly a horror show). I certainly wish the sheriff’s office had done a better job of its statutory duty to investigate complaints. But it’s worth celebrating when someone gives up, rather than keeping fighting (legally, it could have gone on for a few years at least, with appeals to the 5th District Court of Appeals and possibly farther. *That* process is the punishment–and by simply acknowledging the flaws of the sheriff’s case (which probably were only learned at the hearing), he did the right (but uncommon) thing–acting as I had hoped (when I entered law school) that lawyers *would* act.

    1. Are you on the right article?

      1. Yeah, I think so (even if I didn’t notice autocorrect hijacked Batsel’s name).

  23. One way to cut down on cases like this is to put the financial onus where it belongs. If the state loses the case, it must pay all of the expenses (lawyer, missed time at work, exceptional living expenses, etc.) of the victim. If malfeasance is shown in respect to state or local officials (i.e. Detective Rachel Montgomery, who apparently couldn’t detect diddly), then they also bear personal financial culpability.

    1. Unfortunately, the statute explicitly gives law enforcement total immunity (not just qualified immunity) when it comes to filing or deciding not to file an RPO. A person can be charged with a felony for lying during the hearing, but that’s technically the case anyway with perjury. It’s a notoriously rare charge for the SA to bring, so nobody is really being held to account for filing inaccurate petitions.

      In fact, you can’t even sue for defamation because of something called litigation privilege.

      I haven’t been able to get anyone in the legislature to make the tiniest, most reasonable fixes. I have an appeal out of the 2d DCA, I know the 1st DCA appeal is being taken to the Florida Supreme Court, so we’ll see if they do their jobs.

  24. As I read the above article, the following comes through, with troubling clarity. It seems that most any cock and bull piece of fiction told by a woman is taken as gospel. Who knows why being an unanswered question. In this case, the ex husband was put through the proverbial wringer, before the facts of the matter were determined, which leaves open, unanswered it seems the following question. What penalty does the troublemaker, the woman suffer, having been shown to be the instigator of false charges.

    1. I had one in which the woman was stalking the man. Stalked him to the point HE called police. They arrived and she ran up to them with a sob story before he could talk to them. He got Baker Acted and hit with an RPO. I got it dismissed, but this is common.

      I also had one out of Hillsborough where it was all based on the boyfriend’s best friend’s story (he hated the GF), which he couldn’t keep straight in court.

      It’s frustrating, because the statute says that an RPO petition is supposed to be based on a sworn affidavit. That means an affidavit based on personal knowledge. Officers should not be the ones signing sworn affidavits in these cases because it’s not based on their personal knowledge; it’s based on someone else’s story, so the officer can’t even be held to the oath or the perjury standard. (The only time a sworn affidavit, for example a probablw cause affidavit, may be based on someone else’s knowledge is when it’s a fellow officer or a credible informant, basically).

      So I’ll get to court and file a motion to dismiss for failure to follow the requirements of the statute by submitting a sworn affidavit based on personal knowledge, and the court’s like “Denied, everyone’s here now so now they can swear to it now.” Maddening.

      1. “because the statute says that an RPO petition is supposed to be based on a sworn affidavit. “

        So the law I suggested, that would have prevented this abuse, already exists. The police don’t follow it because the courts don’t demand they do.

        Who fires judges?

        1. Right. I’m actually going to push back hard next time this happens. Because this practice effectively obviates the requirement that only law enforcement petition for an RPO.

          Actually, this reminds me. There was a great judge out of Highlands, my first case out of the county before they started going balls-to-the-wall with these things.

          The police hadn’t witnessed anything. It was all hearsay. They also didn’t bring their lawyer to court (I played it smart that time and didn’t make an appearance until the day of, so they came unprepared… now they always bring the lawyer). So when it was over and the judge denied it, he pulled me and the cop up and said, “Look, the way this statute is written is a dud. Unless you guys are on the scene to witness what happened, I don’t know how you meet your burden.”

          He got it. Most judges don’t.

          1. “Right. I’m actually going to push back hard next time this happens.”

            Great sentiment. You against the corrupt system. Halls of justice…power chambers.

            Until you piss off a judge and your boss tells you to back off if you like your job. The whole system is stacked against you. Then you feel like bugsplat on a windshield.

            Don’t get me wrong. The corrupt can be beaten. Their vulnerability is their greed, which makes them stupid.

  25. “ The police could have gone and looked at the inside of the house and verified that there were gold coins or gold bullion or oil on the walls or anything else. ”

    And what if they did find gold coins in the house? I bet the lady had more gold in her house than he did in his.

  26. This is an absolutely outstanding article. It captures precisely the (ahem) reason we’re seeing astonishing growth in the numbers of counties installing 2nd Amendment sanctuary commitments. Florida has joined a small band of ignorant, tyrannical states that are shoving the U.S. to the brink of catastrophe.

    The Supreme Court isn’t about to jeopardize its own reputation by reducing the ability of private citizens to defend themselves. It’s especially important because currently, half the nation’s murders occur in only 63 counties while the other half are spread across the other 3,081 counties. Said another way, 15 percent had one murder and 54 percent of the nation’s counties had no murders at all.

    The obvious reason is federal and state resources alone are woefully inadequate to enforce such allegations and could not begin to undertake such efforts without local law enforcement assistance. If deputizing hundreds of thousands to actively resist federal and state efforts is representative of the whole movement, it’s a single issue rebellion which could rapidly expand.

    Hundreds of counties already have proclaimed sanctuary status and almost 70 percent of the counties nationwide are projected to declare allegiance to the Constitution and refusal to enforce laws that violate it. That would comprise 472 counties with only one murder per year plus 1,700 counties that have no murders at all. If that materializes, a desirable result would force federal and state enforcement to concentrate on the 63 counties (2% of the total) where half of America’s murders occur.

  27. What sucks about the Florida law is the lack of legal representation for the poor. Guy was lucky he had that much in savings. What happens to someone like me, barely scraping by on $731 a month in SSI for a permanent disability?

    My idiot state (Oregon) passed a red flag law a few years ago and I have not heard much of anything about it since.

  28. Morgan seems to be the Republican member of God’s Own Prohibitionists from central casting, like Robert Dear–definitely toward the center of that bell curve. And the Political State judges, also from central casting, dutifully point to the where 2A says “well regulated”, avoiding all mention of red flag buzzwords like “Free” and “shall not be infringed.” So why does Sullum not hit them where it hurts by analyzing the Equal Rights Amendment women were lobbying for back when Reason and the LP were unheard-of?

  29. Stay At Home  Mom From New York Shared Her Secret On How She Was Able To Rake In $1500 Weekly From Online Work Just 3 Weeks After Losing Her Old Job…….. Read more  

  30. Stay At Home Mom From New York Shared Her Secret On How She Was Able To Rake In $1500 Weekly From Online Work Just 3 Weeks After Losing Her Old Job………… Read more  

  31. If they can drag the guy in for a “mental health evaluation” within a few days, then why the hell can’t they bring him into court at the start of all this? Good thing he was so “calm and cooperative”… I may have been mad as hell.

    And the Gov’t should pay for a lawyer. You should not have to pay for a lawyer to prove your innocence. Guilty until proven innocent…. This just seem back-assward. In the end, I agree… this is a feature, not a bug in the law. It IS working as intended. The process is the punishment for those who dare choose to own guns.

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