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Get Out Your Hip-waders

I am beginning to like Tom McLaughlin. He’s the reporter for the Northwest Florida Daily News who has been following the Charlie Morris [the local Sheriff] saga. His lead sentence in his article today, Morris appears in court, requests public defender, was snark worthy of a blogger:

PENSACOLA – Suspended Sheriff Charlie Morris, a retired Air Force major who until recently was pulling down six figures as Okaloosa County’s ranking law enforcement officer, can’t afford a lawyer.

Morris affirmed what U.S. Magistrate Judge Miles Davis read from an affidavit – that he was no longer working and that all his real estate holdings were “totally encumbered.

“I have no liquid funds at all,” Morris told the magistrate.

I forgot that Charlie was retired military. He would be drawing half-pay for a major, plus a number of other benefits, like health care, that should enable him to live comfortably in this area with no other income. Having been Sheriff for a dozen years, he would have made about a million or so dollars in salary from the county on top of his retirement.

It should be interesting finding out where all the money went, and why he obviously needed more.

3 comments

1 Kryten42 { 03.10.09 at 1:36 am }

Ahhhh! The plot thickens. 😉

It would be very interesting to dig into his military career. Generally, if someone is corrupt in one place, it’s a good bet he was corrupt elsewhere. Assuming of course he’s found to be corrupt, which given all the info thus far, is a good bet. Either that, or he is amazingly stupid. 😉

Same old all over the World. Police Corruption here was so rife in NSW & Vic during the the 70’s & 80’s especially that the serious crim’s used to hide their stashes at Police Stations because they were safe from all other nosy types. The only got caught out because one of the big drug lords decided to take some friends to Qld and whoop it up like it was Sydney. A big mistake. They had no sense of humor in Qld in those days, And Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen would get seriously pissed if any other crim tried to muscle in on his turf! And especially stupid in the 80’s as Sir Joh was paranoid as hell after a letter bomb injured two of his staff in his office while he was out in ’75. But luckily for the World, most crims are not very bright and arrogant as hell, especially after a decade of nose candy abuse. 🙂 They are generally their own worst enemy, otherwise, most would never be caught. Most honest cop’s I know always said that they only catch the big crim’s by pure luck usually. 🙂

2 Badtux { 03.10.09 at 2:36 am }

Here’s the sort of crime that the small-town sheriff of the rural area where I’m from handles:

The Sheriff’s office gets a call that someone has broken in to one of the general stores. A deputy responds and finds the window shattered apparently by a large rock. One of the perps cut himself on the glass getting in and the footprints of two different people are observed on the blood-stained floor. Upon talking with the irate store owner, he finds that the cash register and safe were ignored, the perps went for beer. They stole four cases of Budweiser, and a case of Coors. Convinced now that he is pursuing criminals of obvious bad taste in beer, the deputy notices an empty beer can near the back door of the store. He observes that said back door is unlocked and slightly ajar, and opens it further and notes another empty beer can a few yards further, towards the woods. He follows a trail of empty beer cans through the woods, and comes to the house of a local ne’er-do-well. He observes one perp passed out on the front porch, the other perp passed out halfway through the door, a half dozen empty beer cans scattered around them matching the description of what was stolen from the store, and a sack with beer cases between them. He cuffs the two together through the front-porch railing, and then calls for backup to help haul them off to jail. He doesn’t bother reading them their rights, because they’re passed out, but will do so later at the jail when they come to in the drunk tank.

That’s the kind of crime that they solve around my place :-).

Meanwhile, it will sure be interesting to find out where that money went. I still can’t help but think that there’s more to this story than what we’re being told. If it’s just a case of a dirty sheriff taking kickbacks, well, if the IRS and FBI went after every dirty sheriff taking kickbacks in the South, there’d be mighty few sheriffs left south of the Mason-Dixon line. So I have to think it’s more than that. This guy is in hock to some mighty mobbed-up people, is what I’m thinking, and the FBI is going to do their best to turn him…

We’ll find out within the next year or so, I suppose. I just have to remember, curiosity never killed the penguin :-).

– Badtux the Curious Penguin

Badtux´s last blog post..The War on Drugs empties gun stores

3 Bryan { 03.10.09 at 3:00 pm }

I need to do an update, because looking through the ‘Net I finally found an official biography and discovered why I didn’t remember he was a “retired” officer – because he wasn’t.

Working back the dates he left the Air Force in 1991 or ’92, with 18 years in, 2 years short of retirement. That doesn’t make me suspicious because I remember that dumping majors just short of retirement was part of Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney’s approach to management. He started a massive “reduction in force” the day after Gulf War I ended and anyone approaching retirement was given a pink slip. Thousands of military people were screwed out their retirements.

He was in the Air Force Security Police, which doesn’t have much in the way of promotion opportunities for officers.

He only has 16 years in the peace officer’s retirement system, so a conviction will cost him that, as, like the military, you need 20 years to qualify.

He has a master’s degree, but it’s in criminal justice, so his teaching opportunities will be gone with conviction.

He is pretty much in the middle of a major meltdown.

Of interest is the fact that the interm sheriff wants the state to come in and audit the department’s evidence room. There has been a lot of DEA activity in the area, and some major drug busts. Spooner may be wondering if some of the evidence from those raids is missing.

It’s so interesting when Republicans are in charge.