Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sheriff Gordon Smith, A Black Eye on the Bradford County, Florida Sheriff's Department

Florida is not my favorite state. It is a cesspool of political/ police corruption and Predator Panic. But the Bradford County Sheriff's Office has taken the cake with its latest publicity stunt. The small-time Sheriff has placed road signs in front of the houses of registrants in hopes of chasing them out of town.

"So far, 18 signs have gone up in cement buried deep into the ground on public property near the homes of offenders settled in and around the town of Starke — causing one so-called sex predator to leave town and two others to consider taking off...Says Smith: “I have no sympathy for them (sexual predators), and if they don’t like their options of the sign, move!”

The trophy photos for the sheriff and the Abu Ghraib guys are eerily similar
Despite all this, Sheriff Gordon Smith claims he will protect those people targeted by those signs from vigilante violence, but I have my doubts.

I'd like to point out he has deleted criticism on his FB page. He simply needs to read some of the internet comments to see why this is a bad idea:

SheriffGordon Smith seems to have some kind of sign fetish. He was recently sued over a rather gaudy 10 Commandments display. I wonder if he really believes Jesus would approve of the Sheriff's signs?

What Sheriff Gordon Smith has done violates the Constitution. In State of Kansas v. Schad, the courts ruled the signs run counter to efforts at rehabilitation:

Similarly, in the present case, the signage conditions exact a very harsh censure against Schad. Although Schad had been convicted of a sexual offense, the imposed signage conditions would work against any rehabilitation while on probation because wherever Schad would be, he would be “branded.” The signage conditions would not be helpful in restoring Schad to the ranks of society’s productive citizens…

Under the facts of this case, the probation conditions requiring Schad to post signs around his house and on his car announcing his sex offender status were not reasonably related to the rehabilitative goal of probation or to the protection of the victim and society. In short, probation is not to shield guilty individuals from the consequences of their crimes, but it is an attempt to reform their attitudes about acting out in a criminal way. Here, the signage conditions made Schad an object of condemnation and ridicule. The signage conditions only confirmed society’s outrage against Schad. The signage conditions were simply a punitive measure not reasonably related to rehabilitation.

Even the Fark website, which is usually filled with pro-sex-offender-law types, has been blasting this publicity stunt:

I have been a long time activist, been studying these issues for well over a decade now, and if there was ever  a constant in my studies it is this --the ones who make the most noise about "sex offenders" tend to have the most to hide. The Bradford County Sheriff's Office has quite a series of embarrassing scandals in their own department. Maybe that's why they need this diversion:

A Bradford County Reserve Deputy is in the Bradford County Jail for getting into a physical argument with his wife. According to the Bradford County Sheriff's Office, Ronald Gassaway's wife told their deputies at a gas station there that she was injured by Gassaway.

A 49-year-old former corrections officer and one of Bradford County Sheriff’s Office’s most-wanted has been found in Puerto Rico after an email tip led to him, according to authorities.

A Bradford county corrections officer is accused of trying to kill a co-worker after investigators said he shot her in the face. 

A former Bradford County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested on charges of having sex with a teenage girl while he was on duty as a high school resource officer at the girl’s school.

Maybe we should be posting signs in the yards of Bradford County Sheriff's deputies instead. They seem to be the ones we should be worried about.

 One last thing, I find it extremely creepy this harassment is posted right next to a call for the "National Day of Prayer."


  1. Maddy Farfan said...

    What a punk... What a slimy, "law enforcement" punk. Let the civil lawsuits fly in Bradford County, Florida! What a devious, slimy devil you are Sheriff Gordon Smith. May you totally reap what you have sown... and what you have 'sown' is the whirlwind. This this NOT bode well well for you, Sheriff Gordon Smith, nor for the residents and for the moment, unsuspecting taxpayers of Bradford county, Fl.

  2. I sincerely hope that there exists an attorney with the guts to take on this case. Many over-the-top ordinances have been overturned in California. Florida attorneys, get smart. Let the jerks in Bradford County pay your fees!!

  3. I would like you to know that Gordon Smith supports sex offenders. Jimmy Clark is a registered offender that has Gordon Smith's full backing to play at the local highschool. All because Gordon Smith has known him since childhood. Talk about picking favorites.

  4. Apparently he only supports the one.