Florida Prison Warden Snatches Camera from Man Recording Outside Facility (Updated)

An assistant warden at a private prison snatched a camera out of a man’s hands as he was video recording on public property from across the street of the facility Saturday afternoon.

George Dedos, assistant warden at Lake City Youthful Offender Facility in northern Florida, essentially committed strong-armed robbery against Jeffrey Gray, a Photography is Not a Crime correspondent who was out there to see if they would respect his right to video record from public property.

As you can see in the top video, it only took seconds before he was confronted by prison officials, who tried to tell him he was breaking the law.




Gray had a back-up camera in his pocket which continued recording after his first camera had been snatched – which is highly recommended if you are going to put yourself in these situations.

Dedos called Columbia County sheriff’s deputies who ended up returning Gray’s camera, but who also refused to provide him with the name of the assistant warden.

Gray later called the facility to confirm his name, then called Dedos who hung up on him.

A deputy asked Gray to see his identification but Gray refused on the basis that he wasn’t being detained on suspicion of committing a crime, so the deputy obtained his name through a license plate search because he was standing next to his car.

A deputy also advised Gray that next time he found himself in such a situation, it is probably best if he cooperated and turned off the camera.

But Gray pointed out that the camera was the only thing protecting him.

As it is now, the two videos will be the strongest piece of evidence in a possible lawsuit Gray may file against Dedos and the Lake City Youthful Offender Facility, which is owned by Corrections Corporations of America, the largest private jailer in the country, a company that makes millions on the imprisonment of citizens.

Because it is a private company, Dedos or CCA should not be able to argue for qualified immunity as a government agency would normally do in a situation like this (not that it would have a strong argument).

Over the years, Corrections Corporations of America has had its share of controversy and just last month lost its contract with Idaho for falsifying records.

But this may be the first time it finds itself in controversy over an incident that took place outside its prison walls.

UPDATE: Besides Idaho, Texas and Mississippi have also terminated contracts with CCA.

Idaho cut ties with the corporation on Wednesday, which turned the state’s largest prison into a violent hellhole inmates called “Gladiator School.” Earlier this year, CCA was caught understaffing the prison and using prison gangs to control the population. The company admitted to falsifying nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records to squeeze more money out of the state for nonexistent security work. Shift logs at the prison showed the same security guards working for 2 to 3 days at a time without breaks.

Last week, Texas closed two CCA prisons, including one with a history of suspicious prisoner deaths. One lawsuit alleges prison staff ignored an inmate’s cries for medical assistance, forcing her to give birth in a prison toilet to a baby that died four days later.

CCA was also booted from Mississippi earlier this month after multiple deadly riots over poor food and sanitation, lack of medical care, and mistreatment by guards.



About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Silly

    “It’s a free country…” One of the deputies tells him.

    • Kazu IV

      Guess that means your free to grab property out of peoples hands. Lazy ass cops want no parts of an assault charge; but if someone had DrUgS OMFG man, lock ’em up.

      • Difdi

        Can it be robbery if the stuff he grabbed was free stuff? It’s a free country after all. =P

  • $19866595

    CCA, Wackenhut (Geo Group) are all a bunch of psychopaths. There’s no such thing as ‘government for profit’ unless you want to call it by its rightful name: CORRUPTION.

    • the sage

      Wackenhut is a criminal mafia with connection into US intelligence and former black ops personnel at its highest levels. Screw with them in a meaningful way and, if the circumstances are right, they have the talent and motivation to suicide you.

  • Proud GrandPa

    Wise move to use two cameras. Excellent!
    The photog wisely was courteous and respectful, didn’t raise his voice except for a few times, and tried to lower the intensity level. This is a good example. He did not use profanity or obscenity or rant at LEOs.
    Just some additional thoughts…
    Had he turned off the obvious camera and proceeded to identify himself, he probably could have engaged the warden in conversation for use in the article. Maybe not much news value in that, but he could have asked a few “off the camera” background questions to include in his story. As it turned out he got a story anyway… only not the one he intended.
    He includes the card he gave to police and the warden. I like it, but frankly in dealing with a theft or violation of his rights, he would have done better to have used another card to assert his rights which included his id. Depends upon circumstances and his goals.
    Note: It is ironic that after asserting his right to remain silent, he proceeded to talk a lot. That could have gotten him into trouble had these been bad cops. They were good cops and affirmed his right to photo, affirmed he was not detained, and treated him with respect.
    Lastly, does anyone know if there really is a statute in FL outlawing photography of a prison? I am open minded to this possibility but skeptical.

    • steveo

      There isn’t for one for a very good reason. The 1st Amendment and Article 1 Section 4 of the Florida Constitution. No law can be enacted that restrains or abridges the freedom of the press. Federal courts are in agreement that the rights of the credentialed media are coextensive with the rights of anyone.

  • herbboy

    “next time…just comply” …smh…

    • steveo

      look next time they want to put you on the train to the labor camp masquerading as gas chamber, ……just comply”.

      • NAX

        Look, the next time anyone with a badge walks up to you and says “Let me fuck your wife”, just comply.


        • the sage

          How about the story of TSA agent that butt raped some random woman on the street who was just walking with her girlfriend…just comply.

      • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

        Yes it just makes it so much easier for us to violate your rights if you just comply.

    • Ian Battles

      “Sorry sir, people have fought for and died to defend my right to not have to “just comply”.”

  • JoeyWall

    Looks like they ID’d him from his plates when he refused ID… what’s the case law say about that?

    • Carlos_Miller

      Yes, that’s what happened. I just added that detail.

    • Carlos_Miller

      Joel Chandler might talk about that law in this video because the same thing happened to us in front of the police department in Coral Gables.


      • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

        I love those videos of you and the Chandler Brother’s.

    • steveo

      They aren’t supposed to access the FDLE database without a RAS, but they do it all the time and in this situation the higher ups wouldn’t care. Unless they were accessing it to troll for women, or find out crap about somebody cheating with the wife.

      Kind of like, the senator saying that the NSA can’t access any of the phone calls without a RAS, right, sure, oh, in that case, I believe you, now I feel safer.

      • the sage

        Still something of a detail to add to a complaint or lawsuit to further draw attention to the lack of proper procedure.

  • Hamlet

    “Comply… totality of the circumstances.”

    Land of the free…

    • Charles D Bingham

      Home of the sheeple.

  • Rob

    “But you’ve gotta look at it from their perspective”…. No he doesn’t. They’ve got to look at it from his. It’s called the 1st and the 4th Amendment, and they violated his civil rights by denying him his freedom of the press, and his right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures. Fuck their perspective, it doesn’t mean a damn thing.

    • NAX

      There is no reason to look at it from their perspective. The moment they crossed the street they left their prison authority zone.

      This is what happens when you put a cap on an applicants IQ level. I don’t know about everyone else, but I would rather have someone with a 110+ IQ enforcing our laws that may lose interest in a year and waste tax payers dollars than some 70 IQ moron who stays around forever, inflicting injustice on the citizens they are supposed to be protecting, feeding the private prisons and costing us even MORE tax dollars in law suits when they violate someones rights who won’t stand for their shit.

      • Mic Helms

        If we’re going to have such levels ENFORCING the laws, then how smart do the people have to be who are writing them?

      • Jason Villamil

        You know that is one of those things that has bothered me ever since I heard about the 100 IQ max one of our local police departments was using to screen applicants.

        These are people we trust to walk among us with the power of life and death on their hip. These people should be the best of us. Sadly that is not the case.

    • steveo

      Let CCA know exactly what you think about this encounter with their employee George Dedos. Email link: http://www.cca.com/contact/

    • JustaVetSailorfromPennsylvania

      Very well point! There is only one perspective to consider – The Constitution.

  • Charles D Bingham

    Wow, as always Jeff handles himself with grace. I’m not so sure I would have handled my self so calmly. Assistant Warden George Dedos is a rent-a-cop, NOT a police officer and has NO extra rights off of that prison property.

  • John

    Even better than having a second camera is having a second photographer video the incident from further away. Another witness and another video of authorities breaking the law.

  • Dan Matthews

    So the police did nothing about the robbery claim. If the claim was reversed in some manner and the warden complained, I have to believe they would have arrested you. I’d complain to the PD as well, as they should have taken the proper information and hauled him away.
    The “advice” the cops gave you was BS.

    Also appeared that the 4 wheel vehicle the warden was in was NOT licensed to be on public roads.

    The cops have an idea of what the law is, the warden and his goons do not.

    • Todd Allen Oetken

      ALL law enforcement officers from coast to coast are corrupt.

      • the sage

        Your safety and the safeguarding of your rights are more assured if you assume this to be the case in all instances no matter where you are.

        • Dan Matthews

          It is unfortunate, but I agree that you have to assume they are and protect yourself accordingly, as it is not possible to identify the good from the bad.

          The incidents we see here on PINAC represent, I hope, a very small percentage of the LEOs who are on the job. However, by watching the “bad ones” many of us end up painting LEOs with the same brush.

          I think that if the JUSTICE system were not so difficult to navigate for JUSTICE, we might see changes in the LEOs and a result, in our own attitudes towards them.

          • Farid Rushdi

            I couldn’t agree more — the bad apples are just a fraction of a small percentage — most officers are true blue.

            The problem I think is the blue wall. When the bad apples do something wrong, the good officers all too often turn their head and don’t say a word and the cycle continues.

            A good officer who remains silent is just as bad as the bad ones.

          • Difdi

            I’m not law enforcement, I’m not sworn to uphold the law as an agent of the state. If I were to enact my own wall of silence (of any color) to protect a coworker from the consequences of committing a crime, the police would (rightly) see it as a crime on my part.

            So why are they unable to understand the same thing about the blue wall of silence?

          • Dan Matthews

            Give them some credit, they understand it perfectly well and choose to ignore it. With their immunity and the fact that a judge will side with them over just about any citizen, they have nothing to lose.
            Who would want to go to work every day knowing they are despised by 98% of the people they work with, especially when they might be covering your back in a life or death situation.

          • Difdi

            By that standard, no one should ever oppose the Mafia. Because they might unlawfully retaliate against you.

          • Dan Matthews

            History says that was true.
            But persistence overcame the corrupt and I believe it can happen again.

          • http://www.blog2.tshirt-doctor.com/ Pissed Off

            And that 90% are bad cops. And the 10% are slowly but surely drummed out.

          • Dan Matthews

            Probably more correct to say they left the jobs where they thought they could do some good after realizing it was a useless battle.

    • the sage

      Good point about the redneck golfcart…may not have been legal to drive on public roads and property.

      • Dan Matthews

        I think they were driving on US Park Property.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

          It was on U.S. Hwy 90, according to Google’s streetview.

          • Dan Matthews

            But they pulled into the side road(?) that Jeff was parked on. The first LEO(?) to show up was, I think, a U.S. Park Ranger, as that was probably who the warden called first, or perhaps he was able to hear the radio call. For whatever reason, the park ranger didn’t want to get involved, so they all waited until the COPs showed.
            Someplace in Jeff’s panning he shows a short sign that has something to do with the U.S. Park Service, hence the idea that they drove it on Federal property.

    • http://www.gmocrackcorn.com/ Meredith

      They all have an idea what the law is. The law is for you little people when they are sick of your shaz. They are above the law. Clearly there is assault, robbery etc. They don’t care. Just watch. Even if this issue is put before a judge…

  • Dan Matthews

    Jeff, can you tell us what your second camera was? For being a smaller camera, the results were decent.

    • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

      Dan,the back up camera is a 4th generation iPod. It has fake leather flip case that allows me to hang it from my shirt collar. It is the 64G so it allows me to record as long as the battery last. I had it running through out the duration of the encounter.

      • Dan Matthews

        Thank you.

  • Jay

    Fl statute 812.131 – Robbery by sudden snatching

    “Robbery by sudden snatching” means the taking of money or other property from the victim’s person, with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the victim or the owner of the money or other property, when, in the course of the taking, the victim was or became aware of the taking. In order to satisfy this definition, it is not necessary to show that:
    The offender used any amount of force beyond that effort necessary to obtain possession of the money or other property; or
    There was any resistance offered by the victim to the offender or that there was injury to the victim’s person.

    • Uncle_Scrappy

      Take this info to the District Attorney along with a copy of your video. Insist that they prosecute him as you have undefensible proof

      • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

        I’m meeting with my attorney on Monday

        • NAX

          Jeff! I’m sure you will, but please remember to keep us up to date on the legal stuff if you can.

          I’m really interested to see how that shakes out considering the circumstances and the video proof.

          Good play on having two cameras, I’m sure he felt dumb when he realized you were still recording with another device.

          Keep doing what you do!

          • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

            I promise I will keep PINAC updated.

          • the sage

            It is the follow up information all the way to completion that is the most valuable information in these instances and it is rarely ever provided to its conclusion.
            These create great roadmaps for others to follow knowing likely outcomes and pitfalls.

          • Proud GrandPa

            Any updates to report?

        • the sage

          And at one point of the video the prison employee stated you were free to go, thus admitting you did nothing wrong worth being held over, and then you asked for your phone once or twice and he said, “No”.

        • Barking Dog

          You need to go into the local federal civil court and get an order to show cause on the DA & the PD why they won’t take a complaint.

          Cost $300 or free if you’re poor

        • greg

          Jeffrey.please email me at cckf2004@hotmail.com..Would like to help you out..Call the sheriff personally of the county and tell him you want that suspect arrested for robbery.I am recently retired from Florida..

      • Ian Battles

        and go to the news if they dont.

    • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

      Jay,thanks for that statute. I will forward to my attorney.

  • Uncle_Scrappy

    Hopefully the photographer will swear out a complaint with the District Attorney & stay on them to prosecute this person. Also hopefully he will also file a civil lawsuit agaisnt the asst-warden, the facility & the company CCA.

    As the old saying goes. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Make as much Noise & trouble for them so that they notice they cant be Bullies & Nazi Wannabes

  • http://www.blog2.tshirt-doctor.com/ Pissed Off

    Another episode in their unending war against cameras.

    • Farid Rushdi


      All these departments need to do nationwide is say at roll call:

      “Citizens have a right to video you as long as they are on public property and they aren’t interfering with your duties. If you do interact with them and you were acting illegally, you’re going to be suspended without pay for a week each and every time you do it.

      So don’t do it.”

      That would end 90% of these “encounters.” So the simple answer is they don’t want to stop. They see it as an effective tool and is well worth the occasional Carlos Miller who knows his rights and stands his ground.

      • n4zhg

        The union would put a stop to that right quick.

  • Tijuana Joe

    I lived in Gainesville FLA and would drive up to Lake City just to trip out on the
    1855-vibe of the place. Prisons everywhere, I kept wondering “Where are
    all the colleges?” So it’s no surprise to see this happen; if you don’t support
    the Prison-Industrial complex that reigns supreme there you are considered a criminal. I’m surprised they didn’t lock him up on some crazy terrorism charge.

    The good news? The world gets to see what a bunch of lawless thugs these Lake CIty “lawmen”
    truly are.

    • the sage

      Having been born and raised in Florida it should be divided into two states, North and South, with the dividing line right through Orlando.
      Anything north of Orlando and you need to know Bubba-speak.
      Anything south of Orlando…se habla?

      • steveo

        I asked a guy up by Perry how he prepares “swamp cabbage”. He said, he balls it. I thought he meant you take the heart of the palm and fashion it into a ball. No, he said, I ball, it, ball, it. put it in the water and turn it up. Oh, Boil, I get it.

  • io-io

    I believe that that there are several points to be made that this situation illustrates. The most obvious is that an actual crime was committed and the police officers would do nothing about it. This is certainly the pull of a large corporation in a small town. Just being a large corporation does not give them card blank over any situation. The camera was removed with the intention of depriving its use, and recording ability.

    The largest problem I see, is the lack of valuation of a citizen’s Constitutional Rights. He gets his smart phone back, no harm no foul. Not so fast. These Rights are invaluable, and must be protected. The problem is that courts really only want to see physical damages – something is broken, someone is maimed. These rights are worth just as much and I would propose even more, since you remove a right from one, you essentially are trying to remove a right from the entire population.



    The only way to have our Constitutional Rights observed and respected is to protect the and when violated, push back the violation and fine the entity that violated them. I have no doubt that the prison warden was operating as a public official in his own mind. The sheriff alluded to that when he said that “But you’ve gotta look at it from their perspective”…. he is running a prison – a jail for the state/county/city. You might be planning a jailbreak? That was one of the questions.

    Another large problem is that the warden, had determined that there is a law, statue that does not exist, and he – takes it upon himself to defend that non-existent law. I wonder if that occurs within his prison? He took the law unto himself, and is wrong. He executed a strong armed robbery – a snatching, and what did the sheriff do about it – essentially nothing. The request for an arrest was ingorned. I am sure that if the warden had request that the sheriff make an arrest and there was a law – that it would have happened. So much for equal justice under the law.

    • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

      Lo-lo great points! This is why I love PINAC…you get a much higher level of intelligence in the comments!

      • $22798478

        Jeff, you must file charges and Sue this company. They have the money and they will settle.

    • putaro

      I don’t think it’s a matter of “big corporations” – it’s a matter of authoritarianism. The guy from the prison is an authority figure and probably known to the local cops. When I worked for Apple, most of us engineers didn’t dress or act like “authority figures.” If I had spotted someone outside the building taking pictures and gone out in my usual shorts and a T-shirt and snatched the camera from them, acting as an “Apple employee” I’m quite sure that when the cops showed up I would have wound up proned and in handcuffs. However, if “Apple Security” with their fake badges had done it, the cops would have supported them.

      The issue here is that cops support cops, wanna-be cops and other “authority figures” over the actual rule of law.

  • 911Cop

    Law enforcement can come onto public property and steal your camera and you can only file a complaint with is supervisor. Arrest him for robbery and assault. He is not above the law. His so call law enforcement authority stopped when he crossed the street out of the prison property.

    • steveo

      I’d go to the sheriff and file a formal criminal complaint against the Dedos guy. Jeff would probably end up talking to a detective, because this is a felony level complaint and if he wouldn’t take the complaint he can go to the State Attorney. Probably won’t go anywhere but it will cause the Dedos guy a lot of grief. Every time there is a robbery, they have to take the complaint in writing because insurance companies require it. And the detectives have to follow up because if you’ve ever done this about a month or two later, you’ll get a form letter from the sheriff saying that they were unable to find the perpetrator. Since, he gave it back, I’m not sure what that would be and per the below comment, the Statute covers “temporary”. So, the detective and SA would have some explaining to do.

      The private prison corporations are not well liked and the established media is eager to get some copy about stuff like this. Jeff should send copy to all the reporters he knows and that would put some pressure on the SA and detectives to at least do an investigation and put it in writing as to why they aren’t charging Dedos. Would make for some great follow up stories. As per Carlos’ update, there is no love lost on CCA with the mainstream press in FL, plus any of this controversy like this they use to embarrass Rick Scott who basically wanted to turn the labor at the prisons over to them.

      Also, Jeff wants to file a lawsuit, not federal, but under Section 768 of the Florida statutes for prior restraint. Violations of civil rights, 1st amendment, 4th amendment, and the corresponding sections in the Florida Constitution. Make them squirm.

      • the sage

        It is like I stole your car from your driveway.
        You poked your head out the window and noticed it was gone and called the sheriff.
        When the sheriff pulls up in your driveway to talk to you and investigate, I then pull up behind them in your car.
        I then get out of your car that I stole with my Big Gulp I just bought from the local 7-11 store and head back into my house right next to yours.
        Sheriff shrugs at you and says, “He gave your car back, no big deal, no crime, no foul and have a nice day.”
        I don’t think that is the way the law works.
        And if the phone is worth over $500 does that make it a felony theft?
        If it is then I would purposefully carry a 500 phone just to make the person snatching it even more of a criminal. Even warn them that if they take your property at that value it will be a felony and see if that demotivates them from taking it.

    • the sage

      Quite a distance to cross wasn’t it?
      The prison employee looked like a grain of rice from that distance when he first shouted out.

      • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

        Yeah it always amazes me how far these people will travel to put themselves directly in front of a camera then demand to have the camera out of their face!
        Dedos must have driven 2000 feet crossing two lanes of traffic the demand I turn of the camera before snatching it.

  • steveo

    Morons on patrol, again. Morons, morons, what you gonna do, what you gonna do when Jeff Gray comes for you, Morons, morons.

    2:27 on part II…The Brain Trust, your tax dollars at work.

    You Idiots still don’t realize that YOU are the story, huh?

    • silly

      I think you coined a new euphemism to replace COPS – MOPs – Morons On Patrol…

      Did you notice the first so-called ‘federal’ officer in the green and white truck who asserted that it’s illegal in florida to take pictures of a prison, but when pressed for a statute, said, “I don’t know, I don’t enforce state law.” So why did he feel he had any position to say there was a law then?

      • steveo

        Jeff’s really getting good at this, MOP fishing. He just puts the line out there and they never cease to grab it and run with the bait. This one was like he hit the school as soon as his first cast.

  • steveo

    As far as taking pictures of prisons, My brother and I had the opportunity to take pictures of one of the biggest prisons in history the “Iron Curtain” because we were about 10 miles from the Czech border in 1974. We had a German citizen with us and he said that if you guys go over there, 1) let me out of the car 2) if you lift your camera up to take pictures, they’ll shoot you, kill you and get away with it. We didn’t go.

    We don’t want to have our country lapse into a situation like the above, so that is why people like Jeff Gray do what they do.

  • NAX

    I know Jeff usually open carries or conceal carries. Would he have been within his right to shoot the asshole that stole his phone under Stand your Ground laws in Florida?

    I believe the law states that there is no obligation for the person to retreat if they are in an area they are legally allowed such as a public space. He also was assaulted by this asshole pretending to be a cop. He was also surrounded by several other assholes who had guns.

    I’ve never been in that situation, but I’m sure it’s a scary one to find yourself in. The same people who are supposed to be protecting you, sided with some private security jack off.

    Now if you would have walked up to this private prison goon, and assaulted HIM, your ass woulda got hauled off never to be seen again. But this same guy with no authority whatsoever does the shit to a citizen and he gets off.

    How the fuck do we change this shit? It’s all apart of their grand design and nobody with the ability to change it, will do so.

    You know times in this country are corrupt/sick as hell when the nation touted as the Land of the Free allows a prison for profit model, 90% occupancy clauses, victimless crime convictions, disparity between races convicted of small amounts of drug possession etc.

    Biggest prison population in the world in the country I’m supposed to be afforded the most freedoms. Oh the irony.

    • the sage

      I do believe that a guy snatching your phone, even with the physical action of grabbing or hitting your hand or arm in the process to get the phone, would not merit you pulling out your gun and actually shooting someone.
      As the level of force you are retaliating has a great disparity from the force and injury being used against you.
      In court, even with stand your ground and self-defense, this could not end up very well for you.

      But pulling your firearm with two or three other low IQ goons around could put you in a position where you wrongly get shot. So I would only do so if my life dependent upon it. But this scenario I described would be interesting to examine legally and practically as it truly is an empowered citizen that could do so should it be a valid course of action in some pressing circumstances.

      But I do not know what the outcome would be if someone did physically hit you grabbing your phone and you drew your gun to subdue the attacker from further assault. You could then inform the person that they assaulted you and you are now protecting yourself from further assault by having them lie on the ground and even the possibility of your making a “citizens arrest” for assault, battery and theft of property”. I do believe if one makes a citizens arrest it is best to call a sheriff to the scene and not local police and there may be something where you have to pay for the prosecuting attorney in your citizen’s arrest proceedings.

      And if one were to make a legit citizens arrest and then the sheriff showed up, would he not be legally obligated to take the suspect into custody?
      Would his not doing so then be an act of obstruction…or worse…aiding and abetting?

      So many things to consider.

      • Difdi

        While actually shooting the robber probably wouldn’t work out for you under Florida law, drawing a lawfully-carried weapon and demanding your property back WOULD be a justified use of force.

        It might not be the wisest course, given the proximity of an armed guard who is both accustomed to backing up a prison warden and apparently in agreement that the warden is acting in a lawful manner when he committed robbery by sudden snatching, but drawing a weapon to stop a robbery would definitely be lawful.

      • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

        Pulling the firearm would have gotten Jeff killed.

        He’s across the street from a prison, and it is 10-1 odds that they have guards on the perimeter and / or roof with rifles.

        He handled it properly.

        • Difdi

          Which would have been second degree murder.

          Good luck finding a prosecutor who is uncorrupted enough to file the charges though.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            No, it wouldn’t be second degree murder.

            “[T]he person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 776.031 (West).

            That means that as soon as Jeff drew, the guard with the rifle could and would reasonably believe that Jeff was committing a forcible felony against the Deputy Warden. Jeff would be dead, and the guard would walk, since it would be a justifiable homicide. Justifiable means that it is not a crime.

            “The statute creates an immunity from criminal prosecution. Fla. Stat. § 776.032(1) (“A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force.”).” Reagan v. Mallory, 429 Fed. Appx. 918, 920 (11th Cir. 2011).

          • Difdi

            So you’re saying that if a friend of mine is engaged in an armed robbery, and I walk in on it just in time to see the victim draw a weapon, I would not be an accomplice to the robbery or guilty of murder if I draw my own weapon and kill the victim in defense of my friend?

            Riiight. The guard might walk, but only because he wears a uniform. Us peasants would get 20-life for doing that.

            The constitution prohibits creation of a high court/low court system that has different laws and punishments for a privileged class than the peasantry. But it happens anyway.

            What you describe is what the law says should happen. And for those who are part of The System, it is what mostly happens. But it’s not what would happen for anyone else.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            That’s a red herring.

            You describe a situation where your friend is committing a forcible felony and the guard is justified in his use of force, and clearly so. The situation at the CCA facility doesn’t come close to your hypo. For one thing, neither the warden nor the guard were armed. You’ll note that Jeff in the video states that it was “strong-arm robbery”, meaning that they were unarmed. Technically the violation in Florida is Robbery by Sudden Snatching, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 812.131 which specifically excludes any force beyond grabbing the property and does not involve injury to or resistance by the victim.

            You state your friend is committing “armed robbery” meaning that he is armed.

            Completely different scenarios.

          • Difdi

            And yet, both are forcible felonies. You sir are the one flinging fish here, not me.

        • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

          Yep there were guards in those towers with rifles trained on me no doubt.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            You made the right decision.

            Good job overall Jeff.

        • Dan Matthews

          I believe there is a federal law about taking firearms into federal parks, which could be where this confrontation took place.
          If Jeff had produced a gun, even if he did not use it, he probably would be facing federal as well as local gun charges.

  • io-io

    So what would be the charges here? What would he demand the DA to charge the warden with?

    1. Assault – His person was touched during the course of the robbery.
    2. Robbery by sudden snatching – The actual taking of the smart phone / camera – was the warden wearing a taser? Was the guard wearing any type of weapon?
    3. Conspiracy – The warden came with a guard, there were two of them, and the guard was there to enforce the warden’s position and wishes.

    • io-io

      Florida Statutes 777.04 – Attempts, solicitation, and conspiracy –


      The warden took the smart phone – kept it, sheriff arrived and gave the phone back. Read the conspiracy part of this. It is covered rather nicely.

      784.011 Assault.—

      (1) An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful
      threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled
      with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a
      well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.

      (2) Whoever commits an assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of
      the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

      784.03 Battery; felony battery.—

      (1)(a) The offense of battery occurs when a person:

      1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or

      2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.

      (b) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who commits
      battery commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as
      provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

      (2) A person who has one prior conviction for battery, aggravated
      battery, or felony battery and who commits any second or subsequent
      battery commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in
      s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. For purposes of this subsection,
      “conviction” means a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea
      or a trial, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld or a plea of
      nolo contendere is entered.

      784.048 Stalking; definitions; penalties.—

      (1) As used in this section, the term:

       ”Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific
      person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and
      serves no legitimate purpose.

      (b) ”Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a
      series of acts over a period of time, however short, which evidences a
      continuity of purpose. The term does not include constitutionally
      protected activity such as picketing or other organized protests.

      (c) ”Credible threat” means a verbal or nonverbal threat, or a
      combination of the two, including threats delivered by electronic
      communication or implied by a pattern of conduct, which places the
      person who is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her
      safety or the safety of his or her family members or individuals
      closely associated with the person, and which is made with the apparent
      ability to carry out the threat to cause such harm. It is not necessary
      to prove that the person making the threat had the intent to actually
      carry out the threat. The present incarceration of the person making the
      threat is not a bar to prosecution under this section.

    • the sage

      The charge of robbery further solidified when the journalist was informed he was free to go but without his smart phone. Pretty much an admission that the journalist did nothing to warrant being held, detained or arrested, but his property was to be illegally kept by the criminal who snatched it under circumstances having nothing to do with the commission of a crime or enforcing of a law.

      God I love this website and its contributors…thanks to all.
      One of the best out there for this type of information.

      • Farid Rushdi

        Agreed 100%.

        What someone has to explain to me is why we are the minority; why is it that the vast majority of Americans are perfectly happy to hand over their rights because an officer asks us to.

        An officer who says to me, “By rights you don’t have to but would you let me see your ID?” gets it each and every time. Ask me to help and I will. But don’t pretend I have to.

        Same thing applies to photography. Ask me not to photograph, give me a good reason and I’ll consider it. “Hey, what we’re doing is sensitive — you have the right but would you mind not videoing right now?” Maybe yes, maybe no. Probably no.

        But be honest, for goodness sake.

    • Art Lee

      Robbery by snatching does not require the victim to resist nor that the offender use any more force than was necessary to take the camera in this case . The substance of the law is clear here.

  • Virtualfrog

    Although Jeff did not push the point of arresting the warden he could have. There is certinly enough proof of the warden’s crime. If the officer then refused to do so the officer could be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.

    839.24 Penalty for failure to perform duty required of officer.—A sheriff, county court judge, prosecuting officer, court reporter, stenographer, interpreter, or other officer required to perform any duty under the criminal procedure law who willfully fails to perform his or her duty shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.


    • the sage

      These charges could always be pursued and applied at a later time and perhaps more safely when not on the street in the heat of the moment with armed cops who are siding with armed corporate goons.
      The individuals rights and the true enforcement of law against the phone thief were not even afterthoughts on the minds of law enforcement.

    • Ian Battles

      Plus, Title 18, Chapter 13, Section 242 of the US Code makes it a federal crime for
      a public official to use their official authority under color of law to violate a civil, statutory or constitutional right. A simple oral directive issued in their official capacity to stop exercising the right is worth a year in prison or a $1,000 fine or both.

      Aka, a cop is committing a federal crime by telling you to stop filming.

      • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

        Do you have any authority to support that statement? That the request alone, without other action, creates a violation? I’m unaware of any case that has held that, the cases always require more than a simple request.

        • Harry balzanya

          So your claiming if no one has been charged in the past with a crime he cant be charged with the crime? The law is clear. The first amendment is clear. Just because the law is filled with dirtbag cops and dirtbag lawyers making it up as they go along doesnt mean they can ignore the law .

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            No, I’m saying you can’t make stuff up after the fact and then charge someone with it. It is a long-standing principle of law. Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege.

          • harry balzanya

            Title 18, Chapter 13, Section 242 of the US Code was not made up after the fact and just because no one has been charged with violating that portion ofvthe law in the past does not mean they cant be charged now.the law is the law past prescedent does not matter.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            OK, so how are you going to get past the Rule of Lenity?

          • Harry Balzanya

            There is nothing even remotely vague of ambiguous about the statute, The words Whoever and Any are clear, The first amendment is clear, prior restraint and why it is unconstitutional is clear. There is no discussion, that is why scumbag lawyers judges and cops have purposely chosen NOT to discuss it, it could not be any more clear.

            Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation,
            or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory,
            Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any
            rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the
            Constitution or laws of the United States

          • Difdi

            When a man with a gun, in uniform, backed by the full might of the state comes up to you and implies he will use that might against you if you don’t stop exercising your rights guaranteed by statutes, constitution and case law, then yes his oral orders would violate 18USC242.

            Case law can modify the interpreted meaning of a statute, even strike down part or all of a statute. But in the absence of case law, the text of the statute, unmodified, holds firm.

            Statutes do not become unenforceable if there is no body of case law around them, that would be absurd. If the absence of case law DID negate the statute, then the first person accused of violating the law could not be convicted, since you can’t make up laws and apply them after the fact. If case law were that critically important, only the second (and subsequent) time the law was violated could someone be convicted. That’s nonsense!

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            You still haven’t described an offense. It is not an offense for an officer to request that you stop filming.

            I can walk up to you on the street and request that you give me $100. If you give it to me, I have not committed an offense.

            If on the other hand, I demand $100 and threaten to injure you, then I have committed an offense. So long as the officer has not demanded you stop filming AND taken other action to enforce that demand, he has not committed a crime.

            What you are proposing IS ambiguous, in that you are claiming that a request is equivalent to a deprivation of rights. It is not so defined in the statute, nor in any case law. Therefore it must be construed in favor of the officer.

          • Harry Balzanya

            “WE can see your id then we can get you on out of here”, AS he is holding the Mr grays property. He was in fact detaining Mr Gray he did NOT immediately return MR grays property, Every moment he denied Mr gray the camera he denied Mr grays right to record a newsworthy event. HE was in fact Holding MR Gray against his will. MR gray repeatedly demanded his property he repeatedly asked to leave, HE COULD NOT leave, unless he gave ID. NO reasonable person would believe he was free to leave when the officer clearly demanded his ID before “he was going to let him get on out of here”. . THEN they refused to arrest the criminal and have denied this VICTIMS right to justice under the law.

            Your correct anyone who obeys a question is being tricked. Officer I do not DO requests unless you issue me a actual order phrased as a order I am under no obligation to do anything. I do not do requests.

      • Difdi

        Is plagiarism okay now? You cut and pasted that from one of my earlier posts.

  • Ian Battles

    Hey Jeff, press robbery charges and sue these assholes into the poorhouse!

    • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

      You have my word… I will

      • edgarsamuel

        A lot of us have your back. We just have to know what you need and how we can get it to you.

      • Dan Matthews

        Jeff, follow the advice of your lawyer. Unless there is money to be made, you won’t get much support from a lawyer.

      • Proud GrandPa

        Yes, that is the wise way to handle this matter. I am sure the police didn’t know what to do. Had this been a bar fight or a parking lot scuffle, the police would have taken everyone to the station for interviews.


        Even if civilians had lost a phone to a security guard, probably the court would not sentence him, but just fine him, and the police would not get credit in their statistics for a good arrest. That is a demotivator in petty crime work.
        Still ask a lawyer. Are you prepared to pay the lawyer if he wants hourly instead of percentage payment? You see, you could win, but be awarded the sum of one dollar. A lawyer might consider how this would payoff. Just wondering, Jeff.

  • Mic Helms

    Until they start getting hit where it hurts, this will continue. Remember that anyone who violates your rights has done so without the protection of their official position or office. This means that if an “official” violates your rights, you need to treat them as if they were NAKED and sue them as such… PERSONALLY.

  • edgarsamuel

    If Dedos doesn’t respect the rights of adults in a public space, imagine how he treats kids under his control.

  • harry balzanya

    The little golf cart on a public road no plates no inspection stickers no tickets issued

    • Dan Matthews

      That may not be true. There didn’t appear to be the plates we are used to seeing, but they MAY be licensed in another fashion, but I would still address it.

  • BonghornLeghorn

    Time for a 2nd American Revolution.

    • the sage

      It looks to be, with video cameras, this is the very 2nd American Revolution of which you speak.

  • Robo

    Should’ve placed him under citizens arrest and had the sheriff take him into custody.

  • 5555555555

    You are too weak. You had every right to have that guy put under arrest for theft.

    It’s amazing how fools like you act like you’re doing good, but you completely lack the will power to follow through.

    These thugs are never going to change until we force them to change. You had the opportunity to force these asshole cops to do their job and arrest one of their own, and you let them off the hook.

    It’s amazing how many citizens are just fine with letting government officials do whatever they want with no repercussions, and for no reason other than because they happened to pass the idiot tests and get a government job.

    • Dan Matthews

      Can you please tell me where you posted your videos of you being in a similar situation and handling it much differently than Jeff?
      You obviously have a great deal of experience that could help all of us.
      Can’t wait to see your video.

  • LBrothers

    This is a perfect example of the core of the problem with police or police wannabes. They know the law. They just give less of a fuck every day. Anyone who asserts his rights to any degree is considered an uncooperative scumbag and has to be taught a lesson. And, until qualified immunity ends (which is beyond doubtful), it isn’t going to change.

    • Farid Rushdi

      I think another problem is that after 9/11 the number of police-type officers on the streets went through the roof. It’s like an expansion sports team — it dilutes the quality of the pool by expanding it.

      More cops, less training. It’s a volatile situation.

    • Difdi

      One of my aunts had jury duty in a civil case recently. The suit was about a wrongful death, and the state tried to argue that the deceased contributed to her death(and was therefore more at fault for it than the state) because she was uncooperative with officers while under arrest.

      The lack of cooperation in question was that while she was being put through field sobriety tests, she was unable (not unwilling, she tried multiple times) to touch her nose with her finger.

      By that standard, almost anything could be uncooperative behavior. Order someone to flap their arms and fly? Gravity renders them uncooperative.


    ARE AMERICANS going to lose all their freedom ,before they realize who the enimies of freedom ARE????YOUR POLICE GANGS,they are terrorists,and you keep kissing their ass,THEY HAVE MORE THEN PROVED,their DEMONS FROM HELL,you think their humans,THEY AREN’T,…WAKEUP,your going to be eaten alive,but worse your children are in grave danger,AND YOU KEEP KISSING THEIR ASS,WAKEUP,demons from hell are taking over your country,WAKEUP,the LORD warned you who these animals were,demons from hell and your still asleep……………………….

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

      Ooohhh Kaaaay….

      • Proud GrandPa

        Freedom of speech applies to all viewpoints and messages. Our Christian Founding Fathers protected our God-given rights in the Bill of RIghts. The first amendment protects unpopular speech, not just politically correct liberal speech.
        One kind of speech and photography NOT protected is the sale, possession, use of or distribution of child pornography including child rape and child murder. Guess what? The ACLU thinks the first amendment protects the sale and possession of CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. So far law firms I support have beaten the ACLU in court over this issue.

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

          Except the Founding Fathers were primarily Deists, not Christian, including the first four Presidents.

          Adams even told other nations (in a treaty) that the United States was in no way a “Christian nation.”

          I’m not fond of the liberal whackjobs on the left either, of so-called politically correct speech or speech codes, or of totally unlimited speech (as in child porn is not protected). Basically zealots of any type have little to offer the nation, although their speech is certainly protected.

          My point is that religious whackjobs, such as the above, do more damage to the christian community than they help. I’ve heard people comment that if the christian community includes people like Westboro Baptist and David Koresh that they want no part of it.

          • Proud GrandPa

            You are mistaken. 42 of the 44 were Christian. The term deist as used in the 1700 meant what theist means today. By the current standards of definitions, Billy Graham and Mother Theresa would have been deists.


            The Christian Founding Fathers professed a personal relationship with God, hardly something a modern Deist would do. They stopped deliberations several times to pray for guidance, something a modern Deist would not do. George Washington wrote, “It is impossible to rule the world without God and the Bible.”, something a modern Deist would never do.


            Many of the founding fathers had Christian seminary educations and several were pastors of Christian churches. They were Christians.

            If you want more information about the history of America’s founding fathers and their Christian beliefs, web search this for yourself from a variety of sources. Don’t believe what you were fed in public (government) schools run by the public (government) controlled education labor union.


            Lastly I agree that our nation is not a Christian state-church nation. We were founded upon Christian values.


            Thanks for agreeing that whackjobs of the left or right should not be allowed to impose politically-correct speech codes. So far the major threat to freedom comes mainly from the left. People of the left and right should fight for free speech.

          • Chris McKenna

            By any definition, Mother Theresa was, and is, a Roman Catholic, not merely a theist.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            No, the term meant pretty much the same as it means today. Compare Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) (“One who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed
            religion, but follows the light of nature and reason, as his only guides
            in doctrine and practice; a freethinker.”) with American Heritage Dictionary (4th ed., 2000) (“The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.”).

            The quote from Washington has been shown to be a fake, first published in 1835 by James Paulding. The fake quote is attributed to both his 1795 Thanksgiving Proclamation and his Farewell Address, but it appears in neither. If you look at Washington’s language, his description of the Deity was always in Deist terms such as Great Architect of the Universe, etc.

            Washington, Jefferson, and Madison were definitely Deists, Adams was likely a Deist. His treaty language I spoke of was “not in any sense founded on the Christian religion” Treaty with Tripoli, 1796.

          • Proud GrandPa

            Excellent research. I thank you and will look into it. Am skeptical, but appreciate your notes and lookup work.

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            If you want to take this off-line, I’m willing to discuss it with you in more depth at excoplawstudent – @ – yahoo.com (take out the dashes).

  • Pravda01

    America’s privately owned prison system is in fact a racist concentration camp system which also deploys slave labor. Made in America is made often made in America’s prison concentration camp system.

    • Proud GrandPa

      Rather outrageous and unsupported by facts, eh?
      Let us offer evidence. I believe America’s private prisons are not racist concentration camps. I believe workers in prisons are not slaves. I have some valid reasons for these beliefs. But that is for another forum…

  • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

    You know, I’m looking at a lot of the comments here about what Jeff should or should not have done. With the exception of very few posters here, such as Steveo, Carlos, and a few others on the photographers side, and myself and the infrequent other officers that stop by, none of the people commenting have been in that situation.

    It’s all well and good to say that Jeff should have made a citizen’s arrest, or pressed the deputies to make an arrest, but none of you were there. He could read the body language and evaluate the situation much better than you can, seeing just one little perspective from the video. From experience, I can tell you that 1) the video doesn’t show everything, and 2) off-camera actions have an impact on the situation.

    • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

      ECLS, I could tell that the Columbia County Depjties were not going to arrest Warden Dedos. Also I was afraid that if I unlocked my iPod to show them the video evidence there was a good chance the video could get “accidentally”deleted.
      I felt it was best to get the heck out of their while I had the chance. I felt it was safer for me to deal with this on Monday with my attorney.
      Thanks for your support.

      • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

        I think you showed good judgment. Better to handle it through the courts instead of pushing a no-win situation on the side of the road, with the odds stacked against you.

      • Ian Battles

        Exactly. Be calm and polite at the scene and give em’ hell in the courtroom.

  • Bob

    The police were at pains to identify the cameraman, but then they said they didn’t know who the warden was? Either they actually didn’t identify him, in which case they had no interest whatsoever in the robbery claim, or they did identify the warden and just lied about it claiming they didn’t know. Either way, it was another aspect of the blue wall of silence.

    • Dan Matthews

      As I mentioned in another comment, the lack of a name tells me they were being dishonest, or had no plans of filing a report.

    • Dan Matthews

      Since a report was filed, it can be assumed that the cop knew the warden’s name, but I wouldn’t put it past the cop to say that when he walked by Jeff, he did not have the wardens name.

      It would be nice to listen to the radio traffic to see if the dispatcher told the cops the name of the complaintent, as if he didn’t already know his name.

  • bj

    Jeff, I can understand why your hands were shaking. I was nervous just watching! You conducted yourself with incredible dignity in a very difficult situation. I admire what you do for Constitutional (and human) rights and I’m not even from the US! I sincerely hope there is a just outcome to this incident. I await with interest.

  • http://www.anzmi.net/ Davidski

    First thing, that little dinky toy they drove on the highway has no tags, therefore it is not licenced, registered or insured for that activity, charges for that can be laid. Secondly, in the case of the dickhead even reaching to touch my person or property would result in one unconscious dickhead. Lastly, fuck the police fuck the jailers and fuck the arseholes who think this should not happen, the very reason this gentleman went and made this scenario a reality is to show just how much like sheep everyone is when it comes to cops or pseudo cops. I would make a law suit, not a potential one, a fair dinkum bonafide submission to the courts for relief and I would also petition the cops to do their job and arrest that arsehole.

    • Dan Matthews

      Dave, no offense, but I hope you don’t own any guns.

      • http://www.anzmi.net/ Davidski

        LOL, don’t need them when up that close and personal.

        • Dan Matthews

          Just in case we might meet some day, can you tell me how long your reach is?

          • http://www.anzmi.net/ Davidski

            I only reach for people who hurt others, or harm others and animals or who generally do the wrong thing, you would be needing to come to Australia then mess up badly to get onto my radar lol…I am a good guy really :-)

          • Dan Matthews

            Do you now or have you ever played rugby?
            Hope you were not impacted by the fires a few years back, the videos were unbelieveable.

          • http://www.anzmi.net/ Davidski

            I did play rugby yes lol….and no the fires happened on the other side of the country from where I was, I was in Western Australia but watching it was heart breaking. I was however flooded in twice in 2012/2013 while in Queensland, not fun.

          • Dan Matthews

            I’ve seen videos of the fires and the floods, terrible. You people come from a strong heritage.

  • http://www.blog2.tshirt-doctor.com/ Pissed Off

    An Open Message to Police & Military


    Video du jour.

  • Boomer

    Jeff, I heartily applaud you for remaining calm during this horrible violation of your rights, both as a photographer and as a citizen. Bravo, to you, for once again proving the course you take is the right course.

    Noting that, two immediate items jumped out at me from the videos. First was one of the county officers informing you that Dedos was also a member of “law enforcement”. While that may be true in the technical sense that he’s involved in running a prison, it’s also quite true that he’s an employee of a private corporation, CCA. I’d defer to ECLS for more clarity on this, but it would seem to me that by Dedos actions he has opened CCA up to a lawsuit. And, since Dedos isn’t a sworn government agent I would believe there is no qualified immunity shielding him for suffering the consequences of his actions.

    The other item that gave me concern was the officer telling you that you were free to go, but without your property. Now that, as my late grandfather used to say, is where the stench reaches the nostrils. As you were not being detained for any reason, under any suspicion of committing a crime of any consequence, by what possible legal authority is the officer allowed to hold your property? Without a warrant? It reminded me greatly of that idiot Valerio who told you that you were free to go but refused to return your drivers license, which he held for no reason at all, except to harass you.

    The wrongs noted in these videos are disturbing, and sad.

    I hope that whatever action you pursue ends up decidedly in your favor.

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

      Private entities can be law enforcement. The Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railroad both have police departments. Many private universities have officers with full police power (in Texas SMU, TCU, Rice, etc).

      I don’t believe that non-governmental law enforcement officers are entitled to qualified immunity, but it would take a good amount of research and I frankly don’t have the time for it right now.

      The same on the property issue – Jeff is better off talking to his lawyer, rather than me making general comments that could approach or step over the line of practicing law.

      My personal opinion, as a former cop, was that I should issue at least a citation for simple battery based on the warden’s own statement that he took the camera by force. But officer’s have the discretion to take or not take action, so it is up to the officer on the scene.

      • Dan Matthews

        “Private entities can be law enforcement.”
        I understand that, but I would think that authority would be for a specific property and anything outside of that property would not fall under their authority.
        Would this be true?

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

          It depends on state law. In Texas, IIRC, railroad police have statewide jurisdiction except for traffic violations. So do the Special Rangers of the Southwest Cattlemen’s Association. Private university cops have jurisdiction only on their property.

          Each state is different.

  • Ron

    Smile. You have just been “jeffed”

  • io-io

    I want to float this concept – when the warden committed robbery / theft of the smartphone, he actually stole MULTIPLE distinct items; specifically, the physical smartphone itself, and the Copyrighted video – essentially the Intellectual Property (IP) of the photographer, denying its use. The photographer upon starting to take the video, immediately created a Copyright of the video for himself.

    The video comes in TWO parts also. The video itself, and for the creator – the photographer, the Copyright rights. This is VERY Important, because in order to have a Copyright Infringement, the COPYRIGHT holder (the photographer) needs to have:

    1. The copyright holder must have a valid copyright.
    2. The person who is allegedly infringing must have access to the copyrighted work.
    3. The duplication of the copyrighted work must be outside any fair use.

    When the warden committed the theft, he stole:
    1. The physical smartphone device
    2. The video contained on the smartphone device
    3. The photographer’s ability to:
    a) register his Copyright (needs have the video to register it with the Copyright Office)- necessary to pursue commercial damages
    b) removed the Copyright holder’s access to their own Copyrighted work
    c) the ability to use his Copyright to his advantage (no access to the video)
    d) the Copyright holder’s ability to claim Copyright Infringement (which is worth up to $150,000 per instance and infraction).


    This is very important, because this now places this theft squarely within Grand Theft, which is a Felony – possibly sending the warden back to his own prison as a “guest”. The warden had physical possession of the smartphone containing the video, therefore had access to the Copyrighted video – denying the photographer/copyright holder access and thus worth up to $150,000 per instance. You also have to assume that the warden was going to view the video which would be yet another copyright infringement and the potential for another $150,000 fine.


    Florida Statutes – 812.014 Theft.—(1) A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
    (a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.
    (b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.

    The word “temporarily ” is very important here, the smartphone, and the video were stolen from the photographer, depriving him of the smartphone, video, and his ability to exercise all of his Intellectual Property (the Copyright to the video) for at least a few minutes – all documented on the second video.

    Then when you couple the use of the video in a news gathering perspective, and its denial to be published (here) by stealing the video, you potentially have a very large case – both in dollar amount, the potential of a Felony conviction, and an entire new Intellectual Property theft set of charges.

    Another aspect to this is the quasi-governmental entity of the prison company. Are they acting as a private concern, or as a Governmental body. As a Governmental body – the Constitution and the Bill of Rights applies. The first and fourth amendments apply to the government denying speech and taking property (without a warrant). The sheriff certain provided deference to the photographer, giving the warden additional leeway (you are free to go, but not returning the smartphone, video and the ability of the photographer to exercise their IP/Copyright rights).

    • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

      Copyright is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government and you can’t aggregate it to the value of the phone for the state prosecution. Also, while the penalty of a copyright violation is $150K, that is not the value of the intellectual property.

      CCA is a private entity, and is not a governmental entity.

      • io-io

        ExCop-LawStudent – You are missing the basic concept, by stealing the smartphone, the warden is also stealing the photographer’s ability to fully exercise his Copyright. Copyright Infringement is indeed federal (Copyright theft is different than Copyright Infringement, essentially its Intellectual Property theft – phone is real property, video is intellectual property – two different types of theft, thus two separate theft charges in my mind), however if you apply stealing the video before the video has been registered, then the theft is reducing the photographer’s access to fully utilize his copyright at the time of the origination. What I am proposing is theft of 3 different items – the smart phone, the video, and his ability to fully execute and enjoy his full copyright. Also, if the smartphone was filled with applications, the warden also stole each of those individual applications, each of which is a wholly separate item. The Florida theft statue has a section for stealing a truck trailer – same concept.

        You are right that the Copyright Infringement violation can be up to $150K (or as little as $200), and is not the “worth”, however the MPAA / RIAA have sought and received substantial sums for recordings (~$100K) that sell for a dollar ($1) in the Apple App store. What the video is worth varies – to Carlos it is worth at least 130 comments and who knows how many views – which all translates into advertising revenue (since Carlos is in the business of renting our eyeballs for his advertisers).

        I fully understand that CCA is a private entity, however the question that was asked, was if CCA and the warden, who is being handled by the sheriff as more of a public official than that of the citizen photographer. Also, within the state, does CCA (and hence the warden) have any additional rights (via operating the prison for the state – has the state conferred on to CCA any additional rights that an ordinary citizen does not have?) than that of a private company (in any other business), and if so is the warden assuming, exerting and utilizing these (assumed rights) within this interaction with the photographer through the sheriff

        • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

          The Florida courts don’t have subject matter jurisdiction for copyright violations. “No State court shall have jurisdiction over
          any claim for relief arising under any Act of Congress relating to
          patents, plant variety protection, or copyrights.” 28 U.S.C.S. § 1338(a).

          So your idea of “copyright theft” would still be a federal question.

          The actual value to Carlos is moot – he doesn’t own the video, Jeff does.

          I don’t know about additional rights without a lot of research, which I’m not going to do.

          • Art Lee

            Ex would not the warden qualify as a government agent ?

          • http://excoplawstudent.wordpress.com/ ExCop-Lawyer

            He doesn’t work for the government, but for a private corporation.

  • Dan Matthews

    It would be fun to have 10-15 photographers show up at the picnic area to have lunch and then walk to the area Jeff was in and start taking pictures of the prison. It would be nice to have a scanner to hear the traffic, not against the law.

    With the police knowing that a law is not being broken,would they show up? If they did,what would they have to say,especially with a dozen cameras pointed at them.

    A nice touch would be to arrive and depart by taxi so that there was no vehicle traceability to a photog, and therefore no need for the photographers to have driver’s licenses with them.

  • david

    Imagine if Jeff had been convicted of a felony somewhere down the road in his life. what do you think would have happened to him even though he was within his rights?

  • Kirkus1964

    So, what happened in the end? Update?

  • FSUAric

    856.021 Loitering or prowling; penalty.—

    (1) It is unlawful for any person to loiter or prowl in a place, at a time or in a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals, under circumstances that warrant a justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity.

    (2) Among the circumstances which may be considered in determining whether such alarm or immediate concern is warranted is the fact that the person takes flight upon appearance of a law enforcement officer, refuses to identify himself or herself, or manifestly endeavors to conceal himself or herself or any object. Unless flight by the person or other circumstance makes it impracticable, a law enforcement officer shall, prior to any arrest for an offense under this section, afford the person an opportunity to dispel any alarm or immediate concern which would otherwise be warranted by requesting the person to identify himself or herself and explain his or her presence and conduct. No person shall be convicted of an offense under this section if the law enforcement officer did not comply with this procedure or if it appears at trial that the explanation given by the person is true and, if believed by the officer at the time, would have dispelled the alarm or immediate concern.

  • pinbalwyz

    Actually, many state prison systems have been using inmate gangs to control and intimidate their population for years. i.e. This isn’t new.