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Fla. sheriff uses gov't email to bring up 27-year DUI conviction of columnist

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Baron Scicluna, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Fort Myers News-Press columnist Sam Cook wrote about the Lee County Sheriff was talking to a convicted money launderer, which is apparently against official policy. Sheriff got mad, and detailed Cook's DWI convictions (all of them over 25 years ago) by using a government email to send out to 1,600 people, then sent a taunting email to the columnist:


    And of course, the Facebook comments are what you would expect.
  2. Cook is naive if he didn't see this coming. He brings up the sheriff's association with a felon who apparently has long since served his time and been released. The sheriff fights back with Cook's equally old indiscretions.

    That would be fair game in politics, and although journalism isn't entirely the same, Cook was clearly wading into a political war whether he realized it or not.

    On another note, color me dubious that Cook "couldn't find" the bicyclist that he hit and that he was innocently changing his tire rather than frantically trying to get away. With two other DUI arrests, he's very lucky he didn't go to prison. Under today's laws, he probably would. Not that his old arrests are relevant, but if you're going to bring them up, you don't win points by being less than honest about the details.
  3. You and I think a lot alike. That was my first thought reading that passage.

    The email from the sheriff was a cheap shot, plain and simple.. But it's politics ..

    Who the hell has a policy against speaking with convicted criminals? I have never heard of such a thing ... Once they hjave served their time and all ...
  4. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Seems like that policy would make it tough for cops to use informants to help them crack cases.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Here's Cook's original column, for more context:


    Cook points out that it's in the manual that they "should" avoid felons. It doesn't say that they absolutely 100 percent "must". But at the same time, it seems that he caught the sheriff in a couple of lies with the phone records. And the felon is not only a money launderer, but also a kidnapper. Pretty serious stuff.

    Doesn't seem like anyone is being the good guy here.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Good pizza is above the law.
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