If even the reason for Florida Today publishing Motion to recuse Brevard County judges denied can be believed, Gary Bennett’s attorneys filed a motion to have all Brevard County, FL judges recused from involvement in his case because of Judge John Dean Moxley’s involvement as a former prosecutor in Bennett’s trial as well as related upset convictions in which jailhouse informants and discredited dog handler John Preston had testified and other untenable trial tactics had been deployed.
Juan Ramos, Wilton Dedge and Bill Dillon have gotten out from under Moxley, informants, Preston and other untenable trial tactics. Reporter John Torres wrote only of Dedge and Dillon’s upset convictions. As to the history of Preston’s being discredited, charges against Ohio’s Dale Sutton were vacated on March 3, 1983, with Preston found a perjurer and a fraud. Reporter Torres wrote Arizona and 1984.
Torres brought Orange County prosecutor Jeffrey Ashton into the article, make it even less credible.
Linroy Bottoson was convicted in Orange County under the same circumstances that Ramos, Dedge, Dillon, Bennett and others were convicted in the Brevard circuit. Bottoson was executed in 2002 although the jailhouse informant had recanted and Orange County Deputy Greer (a real dog handler) had blown Preston’s testimony out of the water. The disparagements of Bottoson’s schizophrenia read like canned recitations of an “qualified expert” always available to transmute long-term mental illness into mental health.
Obviously, Orange County’s stake in upholding Preston convictions is so high that the only reason Bennet’s case should have landed there is if Preston testified in every judicial circuit in Florida with lesser consequences. Which is likely why Ashton was available for comment … to spin Orange’s tainted involvement into something shiny (and whiney).
Gov. Crist’s June 19, 2009 Executive Order 09-174 indicated that Bennett’s case was indeed transfered to Orange County because State Attorney Wolfinger had served as one of Gary Bennett’s (and Juan Ramos’) public defenders, but the transfer had nothing to do with hearing a motion to recuse Brevard judges.
The Order said: “WHEREAS, the Honorable NORMAN R. Wolfinger, to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest or impropriety, has voluntarily disqualified himself and has requested the executive assignment of another State Attorney with respect to the investigation and potential prosecution of this case and all related matters.”
Reporting untruthfully took Torres off the hook for explaining how Wolfinger suddenly perceived no conflict in supervising prosecutors in investigating, prosecuting and all other matters upon the Order’s expiration last June.
So what’s the truth? Bennett’s attorney’s claim about Preston … which I used to title this post.