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Whistleblowing IT Director Fired By FL State Attorney 569

Posted by timothy
from the also-he-was-probably-using-a-computer dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ben Kruidbos, the IT director for the Florida State Attorney's Office who'd spoken up when important cellphone evidence he'd extracted from Trayvon Martin's cellphone was withheld by the state from the defense, was fired by messenger at 7:30 PM Friday, after closing arguments in the Zimmerman case. He was told that he could not be 'trusted to set foot in this office,' and that he was being fired for incompetence. Kruidbos had received a merit pay raise earlier this year. The firing letter also blames him for consulting a lawyer, an obvious sign of evil."
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Whistleblowing IT Director Fired By FL State Attorney

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  • So sue 'em. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:17PM (#44272189) Homepage Journal

    Hope he does. it's obviously not incompetence and blaming for seeking legal advice is just stupid to use as reasoning for incompetence.

    "that if they feel like there is wrongdoing,” they should not disclose it or seek legal guidance from a private attorney.
    “If they do speak to an attorney, then they are dead,” he said. “The State Attorney’s Office will do whatever is necessary to not only terminate them, but destroy their reputations in the process.”

    coming from state attorneys office that's actually pretty funny. saying it like that covers also seeking advice on illegal working conditions and what have you..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:19PM (#44272201)

    It sounds like the Florida State Attorney's Office has some s'plainin' to do. Withholding evidence from the defense is really, super unethical; I wouldn't be surprised if you could be disbarred for it. This is a highly politicized case, and it's not surprising that the state really wants to win it to save face, but really guys? Doing that kind of shit under the color of public authority is fucked up. Like Nifong (see Duke lacrosse) fucked up..

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:25PM (#44272223)

    Seriously, I think the state had a pretty good manslaughter case against Zimmerman, but with all the antics they've been pulling, they are just asking to get an acquittal or an overturn on appeal. You can't go and give a guy a good performance eval and a raise, and then suddenly fire him and claim that he's a bad employee when he reveals that you may have been messing with evidence.

    The worst part? Sounds like the evidence wasn't really relevant.

    I hope this guys successfully sues these idiots.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:35PM (#44272289) Homepage

    they are just asking to get an acquittal or an overturn on appeal

    What would be really disconcerting: What if they're trying to screw up the case? I mean, they weren't exactly enthusiastic about even arresting or trying Zimmerman in the first place.

  • by maz2331 (1104901) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:41PM (#44272323)

    A Brady violation is a big, big deal. And it's usually NOT a good idea to piss off the guy who has proof of wrongdoing - they just ensured that he will be a quite eager witness at their disbarrment proceedings.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:47PM (#44272353)
    Is nothing more than a dog and pony show to convict Zimmerman. I don't care either way what the verdict is - but lets call a spade a spade. The political push to prosecute him from the President down doesn't surprise me that the state was hiding evidence to support their case.
  • by tmorehen (2731547) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:49PM (#44272369)
    There was no evidence withheld from the defence: The raw data file had already been given to the defence. The IT fellow's analysis was prosecution work product, nothing more. As well, the pictures and text he found were irrelevant to the case: the girl and the gun were not at the scene nor did Martin have any marijuana on him. As well, Kruidbos had an obligation to keep information about the cases he works on confidential, particularly since he didn't raise any concerns with anyone else in the office. Consulting with a lawyer is probably ok, but not when that lawyer is a disgruntled former employee who breaks privilege by running off to the defence.
  • by causality (777677) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:51PM (#44272377)

    Seriously, I think the state had a pretty good manslaughter case against Zimmerman

    While I think Zimmerman should have stopped following Martin once the police were contacted, following someone on a public street is not actually illegal in any way in Florida. Legally Zimmerman didn't do anything wrong there. Then he was promptly jumped and attacked by Martin. Had Martin used his fists alone I would absolutely want to see Zimmerman punished, but Martin didn't stop there. Martin was slamming Zimmerman's head into the pavement, something that can cause death or permanent disabling injury. He was, in effect, using the concrete as a deadly bludgeoning weapon. Zimmerman wouldn't have had a chance to try to flee considering he was on the ground getting pounded. That lead to Martin being shot. Correct me if I have any of that wrong (not liking it doesn't make it false...).

    I think it's a damned shame that Martin got himself killed at such a young age. If it were up to me there would have been no conflict, or the mere sight of a gun would have scared him off and it would have ended there, but let's be clear about this: if you want to violently attack a stranger who has not initiated violence against you, you are taking a risk. It's a poor choice to make and all the sadness in the world about what happened doesn't suddenly make this a wise move.

    Punishing Zimmerman doesn't change this reality, but it might make others who get attacked choose victimhood because they are afraid of the legal consequences of defending themselves. We already have states where homeowners hesitate to shoot a home invader because they might get in serious trouble, and all this does is lower the risk of burglarizing the law-abiding which in turn can only make burglers more bold. If being a violent criminal is a great way to remove oneself from the gene pool, I am absolutely fine with that. I have no sympathy for those who initiate violence. They live by the sword and sometimes they die by the sword. That's their choice. They are not victims. I reserve my sympathy for victims.

    The worst part? Sounds like the evidence wasn't really relevant.

    What is the value of refusing to let the jury hear this evidence? If it is truly irrelevant then it shouldn't influence their decision anyway. What damage could be done that the judge was trying to prevent by disallowing it?

    Incidentally it certainly can't be worse than the photos shown of Martin when he was twelve years old, an obvious attempt to make him look as helpless and childish as possible to further demonize Zimmerman rather than showing him as he actually was, big enough and strong enough to do some damage to another man and old enough to know better. When people have to resort to these kinds of emotional appeals and outright distortion and propaganda tactics to make their case, I have to assume it is because the facts are against them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:52PM (#44272383)

    What are you talking about? Self defense is an affirmative defense which means Zimmerman has to prove that it was self defense. Remember, the burden of proof is on the claimant. The state just has to show there is reasonable doubt to his defense. If Zimmerman had said he didn't do it then the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did. In this case he admits he did it.

    From findlaw:

    "To see how one of these defenses works, let's look at the pending Trayvon Martin trial. George Zimmerman will undoubtedly argue that he acted in self-defense as defined by Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. There's absolutely no question that he killed Martin. If he can successfully prove he acted in self-defense, the law says he cannot be convicted of murder. He will go free." (emphasis added).

    http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2012/04/what-is-an-affirmative-defense.html [findlaw.com]

    Zimmerman has to prove it. The state just has to show doubt.

    Martin didn't have to go home. If he felt threatened then Stand Your Ground says he has no duty to retreat and can confront the person. There are some states where one has to retreat, but Florida is not one of those states.

  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:53PM (#44272393)

    [i]The worst part? Sounds like the evidence wasn't really relevant.[/i]

    I watched the coverage gavel to gavel of the Zimmerman trial. What was on Trayvon Martin's phone is maybe the most damaging information of all to the State's case. It is incredibly damaging to Trayvon Martin and his family and introduces criminal findings against them.

    The State withheld evidence that Trayvon Martin was dealing and using drugs, dealing illegal firearms, and was in possession of an illegal firearm. And that Trayvon Martin was into fighting and beating people up and had punched someone in the nose earlier that month. And that he had assaulted a public bus driver and the police showed up but the driver was told to continue his route and not press charges.

    There is also significantly strong evidence that Trayvon Martin's father was working with his son to acquire illegal weapons and that his father's nickname 'Fruit' was used amongst organized gang circles. There are texts that mention buying and selling pistols. And even a photo of Trayvon holding an illegal pistol. The photo is all over the internet and is not hard to find. The State withheld all of this and forced the defending attorneys to run around in circles to obtain the phone data.

    The judge also ruled that none of the phone data on Trayvon Martin's phone was admissible. Why? Because there was no hard proof that Trayvon was actually the one operating the phone when those messages were sent and received. And that "anyone could have been operating Trayvon's phone at any time". The phone was DOUBLE password protected and took the State an entire year to crack. But the State said in court that even a "seven-year-old child could have cracked the phone and sent those messages". The judge agreed.

    This case is disgusting. It is clear from top to bottom that it was rigged. When you have even the President of the United States deliberately poisoning the jury pool by commenting on the situation without knowing any discovery evidence years before a trial begins it is unreal. The State of Florida is out of control. This entire affair was a political theater event designed to win some elections.

  • Re:So sue 'em. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:57PM (#44272419)

    I hope he does sue, and that he wins. It may be an uphill battle though. Prosecutors have tremendous discretion in how they conduct cases, and enormous protection under the law, although it looks to me like this is well over the line. Besides suing, he should consider bringing a complaint before the Bar. Not turning over possible exculpatory evidence would seem to be an ethics violation.

    I can't say this is surprising though since the prosecution appears to be motivated more my politics than the actual legal situation.

    In Audio Recording, Department of Justice Official Urges Protesters to Seek ‘Justice’ for Trayvon Martin [pjmedia.com]
    Branco Cartoon – Fanning the Flames [legalinsurrection.com]
    Racial politics supported by State power come down on George Zimmerman [legalinsurrection.com]

  • by tdelaney (458893) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @08:03PM (#44272445)

    Was the computer assigned to him to be wiped clean as part of his duties as IT Director? The letter doesn't say.

  • Re: Do good ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Luckyo (1726890) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @08:05PM (#44272459)

    Actually socialism is pretty close to what you had during cold war in US because you had to care for your people to win it. High taxes on the rich, fairly solid safety net for the poor. It was there in the 60s and 70s. And it was dismantled in 90s after cold war ended.

    It's funny when propaganda says the exact opposite of what actually ends up happening, and people swallow it. And then think they're "thinking against what government wants us to think".

    You may also want to note that least corrupt countries in the world are socialist, while most corrupt are capitalist.

  • Re:So sue 'em. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fast turtle (1118037) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @08:35PM (#44272617) Journal

    The main issue is that the Prosecution withheld material information from the defense, denying the accused a "Fair Trial" which means they now have legitimate grounds to apeal and overturn any conviction made. In fact, if the evidence that the prosecution failed to provide to the defense shows a clear case of innocence, the prosecution can be sanctioned by the court for failing to abide. Keep in mind that judges do not like their time wasted by some witch hunt and if that is the case, the prosecution is going to get their asses reamed by the judge.

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday July 13, 2013 @08:46PM (#44272661)

    While I think Zimmerman should have stopped following Martin once the police were contacted, following someone on a public street is not actually illegal in any way in Florida.

    Wait until you get a girlfriend and ask her how she feels when some guy starts following her on the street. It may not be illegal. But that is not the same as being innocent.

    Then he was promptly jumped and attacked by Martin.

    That is Zimmerman's story. Whether that is factual or not cannot be determined any more because the other person is dead.

    Zimmerman wouldn't have had a chance to try to flee considering he was on the ground getting pounded.

    That would be after Zimmerman decided to follow Martin and got out of his car and kept following Martin. Even if the events happened in that way it is a bit strange to talk of fleeing AFTER the confrontation that Zimmerman apparently wanted had happened.

    That lead to Martin being shot.

    No. Zimmerman could have NOT carried a gun which is what the neighborhood watches recommend. Zimmerman could have stayed in his car which is what the neighborhood watches recommend. Zimmerman could have NOT followed Martin which is what the neighborhood watches recommend. Only after breaking each of those rules was Zimmerman armed and in a fist fight.

    Since he was losing the fight, he shot the other guy.

    If it were up to me there would have been no conflict, or the mere sight of a gun would have scared him off and it would have ended there, but let's be clear about this: if you want to violently attack a stranger who has not initiated violence against you, you are taking a risk

    Except that it was Zimmerman who initiated the conflict by following Martin. Again, when you get a girlfriend, ask her about a stranger who starts following her.

    We already have states where homeowners hesitate to shoot a home invader because they might get in serious trouble, and all this does is lower the risk of burglarizing the law-abiding which in turn can only make burglers more bold.

    So a burglar is more bold because the homeowner might NOT shoot him? I don't think so.

  • Re: Do good ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 13, 2013 @09:03PM (#44272743)

    My boy came a cropper off his bike the other day, made a right mess of himself. Took him to the emergency ward at a nearby hospital for immediate patching up, and we took him to our local GP for a checkup a couple of days later. Coincidentally he had a dentist's appointment (booked months beforehand) this week so the dentist was able to give his mouth an exam as well because he got a mouthful of stones and his gums got lacerated.

    Hospital care, visit to the doctor, and dental care all in one week.

    Expense to me, total: zero

    Living in a socialist country that looks after its citizens: priceless

  • Re: Do good ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @09:26PM (#44272875)

    "The Soviet Union didn't "give up" on anything. They were one of the world's leading powers with all the benefits of such."

    Hardly. They were only "one of the world's leading powers" because they were willing to starve their own citizens in order to be one. (Unless, of course, they were ranking members of the Party.)

    Their economy started sucking immediately after the "peoples' revolution" and never recovered. They managed for quite a while but economically, things were NEVER good under "Communist" Russia. Communist in quotes because in practice they -- and everybody else for that matter -- never came anywhere near an actual Communist political / economic system. They only made it as far as very bad Socialists.

    And the main reason they managed to be a world power for as long as they did, was because of massive access to natural resources. If the U.S. had ever had anything like the resources the Soviets controlled, the world would be 100% American now.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @09:30PM (#44272889) Homepage

    YES! The Victim caused his own death. It's a key and important factor in all of this. The claim is self-defense. Without the ability to show that the victim was also an drug-using, assailant with a history of violence and other criminal behavior, how can anyone ever prove self-defense? What evidence could serve to prove self-defense? Well, I suppose there was the uninjured body of Trayvon Martin... uninjured except for that bullet wound. Then there's all the head and face wounds all over Zimmerman. There was that eye-witness too. None of those matter right?

    Blaming the victim is an important and relevant part of ensuring a fair trial. Just because someone is a victim does not mean they were completely innocent.

  • Re: Do good ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dns_server (696283) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:34AM (#44274489)

    Socialist countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand are quite low on the corruption index, far better than capitalist america.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index [wikipedia.org]

  • Re: Do good ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <plasticfish@info.gmail@com> on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:49AM (#44274561)

    Well, here in Sweden, my partner's emergency surgery a couple of years ago cost us a grand total of 4000 SEK (call it US$750). About a third of this was for cab fare to and from the hospital. Most of the rest was registration fees.

  • Re: Do good ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @03:01PM (#44278795) Homepage
    It's a wonder after WWII ended, that magic was performed and the Nazis were suddenly no longer socialists but some sort of space alien. It certainly wasn't like that when it was happening.

    "We have backed the wrong horse in Spain. We would have done better to back the Republicans. They represent the people. We could always have converted these socialists into good National Socialists later. The people around Franco are all reactionary clerics, aristocrats, and moneybags â" they've nothing in common with us Nazis at all!"
    -- Adolf Hitler, April 1938

    "True socialism is the welfare of all the people, and not of one class at the expense of others. Therefore we oppose class warfare."
    -- Adolf Hitler, November 12, 1922

    "I, on the other hand, have been striving for twenty years with a minimum of intervention and without destroying our production, to arrive at a new Socialist order in Germany which not only eliminates unemployment but also permits the worker to receive an ever greater share of the fruits of his labor.

    The success of this policy of economic and social reconstruction of our people, which by systematically eliminating differences of rank and class, has a true peoples' community as the final aim of the world."
    -- Adolf Hitler

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