Thursday, October 20, 2016

You be the Judge...of the Judge.

I recently put up a letter to Judge Casey Rodgers regarding a letter from a Citizen to her about the group housing of sex offenders in a Brownsville neighborhood.  The house the local kids call the "Reaper House".

Why would the Citizen reach out to Judge Rodgers?  Because she is a founding Board member and champion of the organization.  She recruited Mayor Ashton Hayward to donate City resources (Saenger Theater) to REAP and to travel at City expense to a Re-Entry conference.

The Mayor even picks up the tab with our tax money when he takes her lunch.

So what does she do when she receives the letter from the Citizen?

He gets this:

On Friday, October 7, 2016 11:00 AM, "" <> wrote:

Good morning Mr. REDACTED,

My name is Anthony Castellano and I am the Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the Northern District of Florida. I am writing to set up a meeting with you, myself, and Chief Judge Rodgers to address your concerns regarding the issues and concerns you brought up in the letter you sent to Chief Judge Rodgers dated Octber 4, 2016. Would you be available either this afternoon (Friday) or sometime next Tuesday (October 11) to meet at the Federal Courthouse to discuss further? We look forward to having the opportunity to discuss your concerns. My contact information is noted below.



Now I see three potential items in the Judge's Rule Book I posted yesterday which may be at issue here:

  1. Otherwise, a judge should not personally participate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose. 
  2. However, a judge should not participate in extrajudicial activities that detract from the dignity of the judge’s office
(G) Chambers, Resources, and Staff. A judge should not to any substantial degree use judicial chambers, resources, or staff to engage in extrajudicial activities permitted by this Canon.

You be the judge.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

How can this judge ever be depended on to make "sound judgment"? Sounds like the GOBs "influence" this judges judgment.

How dare anyone assume that the laws apply to a judge! Judges are appointed to uphold the law (except when it's a GOB). Do you expect judges to obey the law also?

Anonymous said...

Don't ignore the immense intimidation factor that is inherent in the proposed meeting, location and participants.

Fed up with Pensacola said...

Pensacola is a vortex where the law only applies sometimes to some people. If you have ANY kind of authority...the law never applies to you.

Anonymous said...

$50 for a lunch? $15 for a salad? Why not? It ain't Hayward's money, it's yours and mine!

How many homeless people could this lunch have fed?

Anonymous said...

Let's see, a complainant is summoned to the judge's chambers to meet with the judge and the judge's subordinate to discuss the problems the complainant has with the judge's actions and inactions.

This is an obvious attempt to intimidate and dissuade the complainant from taking action. The judge's behavior is utterly deplorable and he or she should be removed from his or her position immediately.

Anonymous said...

Ashton Freakin Hayward AGAIN? Is everything that he's involved with crooked? That's obviously a rhetorical question but there seems to be no limit to the corruption. Of course nothing will come of this just like all of the other illegal activities he's been a party to.

Anonymous said...

this just gets worse and worse

Anonymous said...

The judge in question is a Federal Judge, she is Chief US District Court Judge for the Northern District of Florida, and as such she has been appointed for life.

Maren, you left out the important part. Did the complainant go to the meeting?

Mark Clabaugh said...

Sometimes in your effort to hold the Mayor accountable you are critical of good programs and good people.

The REAP program was started by Judge Rogers or at minimum she was there from the beginning here to address Recidivism in the Federal Court. My wife, whom I know to be a good person, has worked at REAP gardens, etc in support of this program Judge Rogers is the epitome of what I view as a compassionate, fair, yet strong Judge. She is heavily involved in many positive things such as Citizenship and her swearing in for new Citizens are something to see. She invites schools to witness this awesome event.

In short, it is POSSIBLE that the likes of Ashton Hayward could be part of something positive. I am QUITE POSITIVE he did not in most likelihood know what was going on there with regard to placement of sex offenders. I am sure that Judge Rogers like she always does advocated for a program that was close to her and Ashton Hayward agreed to be involved. This does not make the program bad, it certainly is not an indictment on Judge Rogers character and in this instance, despite all of Hayward's craziness... is not his darkest moment either.

With regard to placement, OF COURSE I do not support anyone's shortcuts to break the law. I would never suggest anyone put children and families at risk and I certainly would want a program ran with integrity and honesty. ABSOLUTELY. AND, in looking at what you presented this director made poor choices and decisions absolutely. But, this should not define the program no Judge Rogers.

The REAP program has been successful in reducing Recidivism. The most vulnerable part of reentry into society is just after release. In many cases you have probation, you are required to get a job and part of that is having somewhere you can stay. Contrary to popular belief, many many many people exit prison wanting a better life and not to return to crime. In the Federal System, many of those people may not have even committed a violent crime or pornography etc. They were convicted of drugs, money laundering, white collar crimes, computer crimes, etc as well.

Enter the State - I am not aware when REAP was extended to the State program, however, those individuals reentering society face the same problems. Obviously your not aware of the enormous cost of incarceration, however, we are better off as a society if we can reintroduce individuals convicted of a crime to be productive in Society. This means State criminals as well. However, again this is a service that was sorely needed in Pensacola.

NIMBY - I can understand the entire NIMBY thing and I think that there is no evidence supporting that having a REAP home near you does not increase your likelihood of crime in that area even though logic may say otherwise. These individuals are closely supervised and in most cases on Probation. If they Violate, they do not pass go, collect 200.00... it is a No bond, hearing and more likely than not back to Jail. The threshold for a VOP is much lower. In fact, I would argue that other criminal elements in and around that neighborhood have an equal or better chance of committing a crime there. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THERE ARE ALWAYS BAD APPLES IN EVERY BASKET so I am not naive enough to discount it entirely.

In summation, the REAP program is a GOOD program that does reduce recidivism and helps to reintegrate people into society by giving them a chance when they exit prison. Otherwise, you dump them on the street in many cases with no hope, no roof over their head and no prospects.... in desperation, they will revert to the only thing they know to survive. This is a SAD COMMENTARY if we are more worried about AShton than all the good and potential a program like this has.

Anonymous said...

Hayward pays off everybody with everybody else's money and city council, SAO, the Feds all know it but do nothing about it. He has paid off lawyers, former employees, contractors, friends, and even a federal judge. No wonder he does what he does. He is untouchable. This is reminiscent of the old mafia.

Anonymous said...

We dont need people appointed for life to any wonder our country is so messed up...

Anonymous said...

Did you miss the part about sexual predators next to a school bus stop? Did you miss the part about charging rent and forced to make repairs and work as assigned? Did you miss the part where staff refused to deliver requested information about a charity which is a violation of the IRS tax code and could result in loss of charitable status? And did you miss the part where convicted and disbarred individual represented themselves to be legal council was discourteous and hung up? That sir or madam is not a good program. There may be benefits to re-entry convicts which is a success factor you are siting, but to assess such a poorly managed entity as a good program when procedure and profit for local bank took precedence over risk to the local community and coverup became operating policy is error on your statement. Rogers further compounded by breaking law to include her assistant and her office space as part of her response. She would have been more appropriately acting if she invited the individual to meet her at REAP headquarters with board members present. Or if she felt legal/criminal actions were indicated with a member of local prosecutor's office. Having good intentions and some good components does not make a Good Program. Total benefits and costs to community must be weighed at a cost per result ratio, as well as review of policies and procedures ongoing and periodically for strategic evaluation. Window dressing can make anything feel good, drilling down for realities is board and patron solicitors responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Mark, the extreme profit margins being collected should not fall into the hands of the sentencing Judge. This is an extortion scheme targeting vulnerable people. THAT is the problem.

Anonymous said...

Ashton Hayward cares nothing about REAP or ex-convicts having a second chance. His motivation to support Casey Rogers is as obvious as our need for oxygen. I'm sure your wife is a good person but don't allow that to alter good judgment as is the case with Judge Rogers. The families who live near the REAP houses could care less about good intentions. And for goodness sake, please don't try to minimize what Ashton Hayward has done by calling what he's done "crazy". Criminal would be a more accurate description which goes back to why he is such good friends with a federal judge. On one hand you say that you're not naive yet you fail to see Hayward for who he has always shown himself to be and that's a preppy thug.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Clabaugh, you are so right about REAP being a good program. Since you have made it clear that you are an advocate, when will you start pushing to get a few REAP houses in your neighborhood? Or is it just a "good program" when it's in my neighborhood? Your comment about "other criminal elements around that neighborhood" tells me a lot about you. I'm sure no one in your neighborhood has ever committed crime.