Thursday, November 15, 2012


Many years ago when I was a Prosecutor in Florida, I received an unusual call from a local Judge who had an excellent reputation. The Judge said he was the victim of a crime. He didn't want it to be public. He asked if I would draw up an arrest warrant based on his statement and submit it to another Judge. 
I understood that even those who are a direct part of the Florida Criminal Justice System often don't have a full grasp of the role others have within the system.
What I told him was this - every victim of a crime must first go thru the police, they'll investigate, then a prosecutor will be randomly assigned to your case, otherwise the entire prosecution will be tainted because it began in a questionable manner. 

as David killed goliath so a shirtless FBI agent in Tampa has killed the careers of two of America's best Generals by not respecting privacy rights
Caravaggio, David  or Shirtless FBI. 1609
I thought of that Judge's call during the recent email scandal enveloping the CIA and the American Military. The scandal began as all good scandals should, right here in Tampa Bay, Florida. But when a local 'civilian liaison' to the Air Force base complained to a friend in the FBI (a friend on good enough terms with her to have emailed shirtless pictures of himself to her) about possibly harassing emails the FBI agent seems to have forgotten how the Criminal Justice System in America should work.
Clearwater Criminal Attorneys familiar with how the FBI typical operates in the Middle District of Florida are surprised that a Federal investigation could be initiated as press reports have described. 
Here is what he should have told his friend about how the criminal justice system works not unlike what I said to that Judge so many years ago:
1. He could not be objective. Because he had some kind of friendly relationship with the victim his involvement should have ended immediately upon telling her with whom and how to make a proper complaint.
2.  Although using the internet for harassment by sending threatening messages may constitute a federal crime, the FBI rarely if ever initiates investigations for such low level crime, but would file the charge incident to other larger offenses such as Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine or Complex Scheme to Defraud involving millions of dollars. 
What seems to have happened is that an FBI agent forgot about the need to be objective, instead launching a bulldog Electronic Surveillance for a friend, without considering the loss of privacy that investigation could cause to others. His failures in good judgment have done more to destroy American defenses than any actual spy network, something which should cause real concern within the Government. 
Clearwater Criminal Lawyers urge agents at the FBI to remember that investigations and security concerns must always be balanced with our constitutional rights to privacy.