Judge John Sloop needs to be locked up Nov 22, 2005 14:25:01 GMT -5
Post by on Nov 22, 2005 14:25:01 GMT -5
Mix-up that put 11 people in jail
What follows are Seminole County Judge John Sloop's actions Dec. 3, 2004. Times are approximate, based on sworn statements from several witnesses.
9 a.m.: Sloop begins his morning session in Courtroom 1A of the new Seminole Criminal Justice Center. He hears 2 hours of misdemeanor and traffic cases.
11 a.m.: Sloop finishes for the morning. He orders the arrest of anyone who failed to appear, then leaves the courtroom but not the building. He eats a lunch of popcorn.
11:15 a.m.: In the adjacent courtroom, Seminole County Judge Ralph Eriksson nears the end of his morning docket and notices several people waiting for their cases to be called. He questions them, discovers they were sent by mistake to his courtroom and sends them next-door to Sloop's.
Sloop's bailiff, Seminole County Deputy Olliander Csisko, goes to Sloop's office to tell him that a crowd of people scheduled for the morning session has just come into his courtroom. Sloop tells her the 11 defendants should be arrested.
11:20 a.m.: Eriksson's bailiff, Deputy John Hartman, tells Csisko the whole thing is a mix-up and that those defendants had been sitting in his courtroom all morning. Csisko tells him it's too late; Sloop wants them arrested.
11:30 a.m.: In a hallway behind his courtroom, Hartman tells Sloop about the mix-up, but Sloop insists the people be arrested. Several deputies, with faces like 'pallbearers,' according to Eriksson, go to Sloop's courtroom and begin handcuffing the defendants. At least one defendant is yelling and crying. All are placed in chains, taken to jail and strip-searched.
Shortly before noon: Eriksson and County Judge Mark Herr tell Sloop that the whole thing is a mistake, but he takes no action. Minutes later, he leaves the building to run errands -- among other things, to get parts for a trailer.
1:15 p.m.: Herr and Eriksson again talk to Sloop about the mix-up and urge him to release the defendants. Sloop says the defendants could be lying, but that he will look into it later that afternoon.
1:30 p.m.: Sloop begins his afternoon hearings.
About 2 p.m.: Herr, convinced that the defendants should be released, orders paperwork drawn up to do it himself. Chief Judge James E.C. Perry also learns about the mix-up and begins to work separately on their release.
2:15-2:30 p.m.: Sloop and Herr talk again, and Sloop signs orders, authorizing the defendants' release. Sloop now says he thought they would be freed in short order. They were locked up for about 8 hours.