ORANGE COUNTY (ORLANDO), FL JAIL

    On August 22, 2011, I was arrested, held captive in the courthouse until I had an arraignment by Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. at 6:30 pm.  The following day, I was brought to the intake room of the Orange County Jail.  


    "The fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts requires prison authorities to assist inmates in the preparation and filing of meaningful legal papers by providing prisoners with adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law."

    This quote is taken from Bounds v. Smith (430 U.S. 817), the 1977 landmark Supreme Court decision.

    However, my property, including my legal documents was seized at intake.  The legal documents were destroyed and never returned by the jail.  I was denied access to the law library during my entire 22 day stay in the jail.  Furthermore I sent 3 requests for a jury trial to Judge Perry.  He claims that he never received them.


    At the end of the first day, I was moved to the Orientation room of the jail.  The next day, I was moved to a permanent jail room for a short while, until I was transferred to the medical facility because I was over 70 years of age.  I remained in the medical facility until my discharge on September 12 at 9:00 pm.  All together, I spent 22 days in jail.

    The jail facilities were very good.  The building was modern, having been built in about 1980.  The medical facility housed 80 prisoners in two sections with the nurses office and a common dining area in between.  There was direct access to the medical facility and doctors’ offices, but only a guard could open the locked door separating the medical facility from the housing area.  An outdoor enclosed recreation area was attached to the medical unit, but only could be accessed if a guard unlocked the doors.

    There were 4 telephones in each unit of 40 beds.  Calls could be made anytime except during lock down, if you had sufficient funds in your telephone account.  No incoming calls were allowed.

    The toilet facilities consisted of 4 open metal toilet in each unit.  They were constantly cleaned and sprayed with antiseptic by the trustees.  There also were 4 showers, but only one seemed to work satisfactorily.  But this was OK, because only one inmate was allowed to shower at at one time.   There was a washing machine and dryer that the inmates could use.

    Towels could be exchanged daily; fresh blankets, sheets, underwear, and prison clothing, weekly.

    The worst feature of the place was the temperature.  It was kept cool to put it mildly.  I shivered all the time I was there.  Eventually another prisoner gave me a sweater when he was leaving the prison.  Another inmate smuggled me an extra pair of prison clothes, so I was wearing 2 sets of clothing.  The bedding consisted of one sheet, two mattress covers (one of which was used as a sheet), and one blanket.  Completely inadequate.  I shivered all night and caught a cold.  The doctor had ordered another blanket for me, but it, and another sheet and mattress cover (used as a blanket) did not arrive for two weeks.

    By Florida state law, it was required that we have outside recreation every day, weather permitting.  There was one day when it was raining heavily.  All the other days were warm and sunny.  However we only had outside recreation on 7 of the 22 days that I was in the jail.

    There was a small bookcase with reading material, mostly religious.  However, I found one excellent book entitled “The Freedom Writers Diary by   Erin Gruwell and her students.  It described the home life of 150 students of hers from the ghetto of Long Beach, CA..  I cried all the way through.  Ms Gruwell saved all of these students who went on to college and reasonable lives.  She and 45 of her students won the Anne Frank Award, the only time it was not given to a single individual.

    The other book that I read was the “Behold A Pale Horse" by William Cooper, a former naval intelligence officer.  He describes in detail with names, dates, and places some horrendous things being don by he U. S. government.

    The jail had a commissary to buy things, if you had money in your account.

    There is a law library in the prison, but inmates in the medical ward are prohibited from using it, in violation of Florida statute 33-501.301.  Thus I had neither the court record of charges nor access to the law library.  I was my own counsel, so I had to prepare to defend myself on September 1. 2011.  

     At the trial, Judge Perry was the litigant bringing charges, the judge, and the prosecuting attorney.  Only 3 of the 8 jurors who provided testimony were present, so I could not cross-examine 4 of them.  Judge Perry had denied me a jury trial in conflict with Article III. Sec 2 and Amendment VI of the U. S.Constitution and Article I.X of the Florida State Constitution.  Judge Perry decided the verdict, found me guilty, and sentenced me to 142 days in jail.

    In general, the guards, trustees, nurses, and doctors were friendly and helpful.  However there were two guards who were exceptions: the male guard at orientation,who was a former marine sergeant in Vietnam, and was a complete tyrant.  Also one of the female guards in the medical unit was not very helpful or pleasant, but these two were the exceptions.

    The inmates also were friendly and helpful.  The inmate population was about 50% Black, 25% Hispanic, and 25% Caucasian.  Also there were 1 or 2 East Asians.

    The daily schedule was:
5:00 am: breakfast
6:00–9:30 am: lock down at bunks
10:00 am nurse dispensed medicines
11:00 am: lunch
12:30–4:00: free time including recreation, religious service, visits, etc. Visits were by TV hookup with the visitor on TNV in the entrance area of the prison.  Face to face interviews occurred with my lawyer, after I retained one, and an interview by Mike Freeman of Free Talk Live Radio.
4:00 pm: nurse dispenses medicines
5:00 pm: dinner
6:00–8:00 pm: lock down at bunks
8:00-11:00 pm: free time
11:00 pm: bedtime

    The lights were never turned off or dimmed.  The religious services were like the Salvation Army saving souls.  Heavily fundamental Baptist in nature.  I went to two of these and was quite impressed with the preachers.

    Clothes exchange occurred once a week.  We also were given razors once a week to shave.  However we had to give our identity cards to get the razor, and have it returned when we we returned the razor.  Since life did not exist without an identification badge, all the razors were returned.

    My trial occurred on September 1, 2011.  After the trial, I hired attorney Adam Sudbury, who also is handling Mark Schmidter’s case.  At the bond hearing of September 12, 2011, he obtained my release for bail of $12,000, and a promise to return for any future court appearances.