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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
being don by he U. S. government.
The jail had a commissary to buy things, if you
money in your account.
There is a law library in the prison, but
the medical ward are prohibited from using it, in violation of Florida
statute 33-501.301. Thus I had neither the court record of
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
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
visits, etc. Visits were by TV hookup with the visitor on TNV in the
entrance area of the prison. Face to face interviews occurred
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
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
were given razors once a week to shave. However we had to give
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
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