The Official Complaint that William Westervelt has lodged against De Soto/DOC employees.

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE TWELFTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

IN AND FOR DESOTO COUNTY, FLORIDA

CIVIL DIVISION

 

 

WILLIAM WESTERVELT, an individual,

 

            Plaintiff,

 

v.                                                                         CASE NO.: 

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS,

 a political subdivision of the state of Florida,

DAVID LAWRENCE, in his individual capacity

as Prison Warden, and PATRICK MURPHY, in his

individual capacity as Assistant Prison Warden,

 

            Defendants.

 

 

PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT

 

The plaintiff, William Westervelt, by and through his undersigned attorneys, files this Complaint against defendants, Department of Corrections, a political subdivision of the state of Florida (hereinafter “DOC”), David Lawrence, in his individual capacity as Prison Warden, and Patrick Murphy, in his individual capacity as Assistant Prison Warden and, as grounds for, would state as follows:

 

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

 

1.         This is an action for civil damages in excess of $15,000.00, exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney’s fees.

 

2.         Venue is proper for the Circuit Court of DeSoto County because:

(a) At all times relevant and material to this Complaint, Plaintiff was incarcerated within DeSoto Correctional Institute, a Florida penal facility operated by Defendant DOC, located in DeSoto County.

(b) Venue is pursuant to Florida Statutes § 47.051 because the acts that give rise to Plaintiff’s claim occurred in DeSoto County.

 

3.         At all times material to this Complaint, Defendant DOC was authorized to operate and manage DeSoto Correctional Institute, wherein Plaintiff, a Florida citizen, was serving a term of incarceration.

 

4.         At all times material to this Complaint, Defendant David Lawrence was employed as Warden of DeSoto Correctional Institute.

 

5.         At all times material to this Complaint, Defendant Patrick Murphy was employed as Assistant Warden of DeSoto Correctional Institute.

 

6.         On or about September 15, 2013, Plaintiff made members of the prison staff, specifically a guard and the Chaplin, aware of gang-related activity occurring in his unit. Plaintiff acknowledged to prison staff that while he was being harassed and pressured to take part in the gang activities, he did not wish to participate.

 

7.         On or about October 17, 2013, Plaintiff’s sister, Victoria Smith contacted the Assistant Warden, Defendant Murphy via e-mail documenting her concerns for Plaintiff’s safety with respect to threats by gang members within the prison. The e-mail was followed up with several phone calls and requests by Victoria Smith that Defendant Murphy meet with Plaintiff before he finally agreed to do so.

 

8.         During the month of October 2013, Plaintiff, hoping to alleviate the gang violence, met with Defendant Patrick Murphy and provided him with names of gang leaders as well as specific instances of gang violence and threats against the safety of Plaintiff and other inmates. No apparent action was taken by any member of prison supervision to address or even investigate these allegations.

 

9.         Over the course of the following months, the threats and harassment by members of the prison gang continued. Plaintiff and his sister, Victoria Smith, had reason to believe that the ongoing threats were intensified by the fact that Plaintiff had spoken to prison authorities about his predicament and revealed to them details about the gang’s illegal and violent tendencies. Defendants Murphy and Lawrence did nothing in response to Plaintiff’s concerns or to ensure his safety in light of the threats.

 

10. Defendants Lawrence and Murphy chose not to remove Plaintiff from a known dangerous situation, so he remained in General Population and thereby susceptible to further harassment, threats and potential bodily harm.

 

11.       At about 6:00am on January 3, 2014, one of the members of the prison gang, who had been previously named by Plaintiff as one of the leaders who had been threatening his life and safety, attacked Plaintiff and slit his throat with a knife. Plaintiff was transported out of the prison via helicopter and surgery was performed to close the neck wound.

 

12.       Defendant Lawrence contacted Plaintiff’s sister, Victoria Smith, to inform her of the incident and that Plaintiff would survive. Defendant Lawrence also told her of his decision to treat the occurrence as an aggravated assault, despite Victoria Smith’s objections. She contended that it ought to be regarded as an attempted murder based on the ongoing nature of the threats and violence.

 

 

 

 

COUNT I

(Negligence)

 

13.       Plaintiff adopts, re-alleges and affirms the allegations in Paragraphs 1 through 12 as fully incorporated herein.

 

14.       Defendant DOC, as operator of DeSoto Correctional Institute, owed a common law duty of care to those inmates in its care, custody and control.

 

15.       Defendant DOC was negligent and breached the duty of care owed to Plaintiff by allowing Plaintiff to be violently attacked by known gang members within the prison.

 

16.       Prior to the incident, Defendants Lawrence and Murphy, as well as other prison employees, were notified on several occasions by Plaintiff and by his sister, Victoria Smith, of the threats by other inmates and concern for Plaintiff’s safety.

 

17.       Based on this knowledge, it was reasonably foreseeable that Plaintiff’s life would be in danger if he continued to be housed in close proximity to the inmates who were harassing Plaintiff and repeatedly threatening his life.

 

18.       Defendant Murphy was also made aware of specific instances of violence committed by the inmates who were threatening Plaintiff. Due to the retaliatory nature of many prison gangs, it was foreseeable that the threats and harassment would escalate as a result of Plaintiff’s attempt to cooperate with prison authorities by providing this information.

 

19.       Defendants neither investigated the information that Plaintiff provided nor took any steps to protect him from further threats, intimidation, or physical retaliation from members of the prison gang.

 

20.       Defendants breached their duty of care owed to Plaintiff by failing to take reasonable measures to protect his safety, such as transferring him to another cell block or prison or addressing the recurring violent activity at its source.

 

21.       As a direct and proximate result of the negligence of the defendants, Plaintiff suffered severe bodily injury, pain and suffering, disfigurement, fear, and mental anguish. Plaintiff will have a lengthy scar across the front of his neck, making this injury permanent and continuing in nature.

 

COUNT II

(42 U.S.C. § 1983 – Eight Amendment)

 

22.       Plaintiff adopts, re-alleges and affirms the allegations in Paragraphs 1 through 12 as fully incorporated herein.

 

23.       Prisoners do not have an absolute right to be protected from violence at the hands of other inmates, but prison officials nevertheless have a duty of ordinary or reasonable care in protecting against inmate violence.

 

24.       The duty of care arises when the prison officials know of a risk to an inmate’s safety or have reason to anticipate danger. At that point, prison officials are charged with reacting reasonably in order prevent that danger from occurring.

 

25.       Prisoners are in a unique, confined environment, unable to seek help on their own or escape the danger of assault at the hands of other inmates. In light of this fact, the breach of a prison official’s duty of care to protect inmates in the care of the prison can amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

 

26.       Defendants Lawrence and Murphy were contacted on numerous occasions with regard to the gang violence that was occurring in the facility, and, specifically, the threats and harassment directed toward Plaintiff.

 

27.       Defendants Lawrence and Murphy disregarded a known or anticipated danger to Plaintiff’s safety when they failed to respond reasonably to multiple reported concerns by both Plaintiff and his sister, Victoria Smith.

 

28.       Plaintiff suffered a constitutional injury when he was brutally assaulted by another inmate as a result of defendants’ failure to address the reported concerns for his safety.

 

29.       In failing to respond to take reasonable precautions to avoid this attack, defendants demonstrated deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s constitutional rights.

 

WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff, William Westervelt, demands judgment against the defendants, jointly and severally, together with interest and reasonable costs and fees.

 

Plaintiff demands a trial by jury as to all issues.

 

DATED this 27th day of January, 2014.

 

 

 

 

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Mission for this blog has been renewed.

As the weeks have progressed,  William Westervelt has endured more than anyone in our fair legal system should ever have endured from the Florida DOC and it employees.  At this time he has been jerked around by the higher and lower powers in order to punish him in making waves for institution of the DOC. Assistant Warden Murphy and Sergeant White  who are employees of DeSoto Correctional Institution took William on a walk and threatened him to go along with the many illegal(contraband items, homosexual and other various violent activities within the “Faith based Dorm”.  This all of course before the attempted murder of William. We know and will prove that Sergeant White was instrumental is this heinous crime. 

Please review the current lawsuit William Westervelt has against the employees of the Florida Department of Corrections. Westervelt complaint.docxWestervelt complaint.docx

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William Westervelt hires attorney and law suit is filed!

As William has lost over 15 pounds due to the Attempted Murder and he has been in confinement since January 3, 2014 his spirits remain optimistic. There is much background information to his attempted murder that still cannot be discussed as the investigation and law suit is in progress.

The attorney representing William has filed a lawsuit against the DOC for violation of his Eighth Amendment Rights and the naming the incompetent and evil Warden Lawrence of Desoto C.I and his Assistant Warden Murphy whom were well aware that this incident was in the process of becoming a reality and did nothing. Although, not named in the suit the Chaplin whom was very aware of these issues also turned deaf ear on William.  He too is as guilty.  

Simultaneously,  a lawsuit against Wexford Health Services will be sued for the neglect and inadequate healthcare of an inmate. 

More to follow. 

William Westervelt and his family would like to thank the over 5300 viewers of this blog since it’s inception.  May justice prevail throughout Martin County and our fair land. 

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The Anatomy of a Cover Up! The Anatomy of a Cover Up!

1.    They receive a complaint from victims alleging very serious or criminal misconduct by the MCSO,

2.    They deliberately omit reviewing the most serious allegations,

3.    They treat multiple citizen victims as if there is only one,

4.    They pretend that the violation was not a crime but just a rules/policy violation.

5.    They allow the MCSO employee to lie and then pretend that he was truthful,

6.    They pretend to discipline the wrongdoing MCSO employee by claiming they               reprimanded him,

7.    They promote the wrongdoing Lieutenant to Captain within two months,

8.    They write a false report claiming that they have done a “thorough” and “complete” investigation,

9.    They add that they have taken all the actions necessary against the wrongdoer,

10.  Their report forecloses any further action by the State Attorney and/or the FDLE.

But wait, there’s more,
But you’ll have to look under the rug to find it.

Ira B. Robins                                                     Salvatore Rastrelli
Post Office Box 302                                                        3110 South East Slater Street                       
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201                                      Stuart, Florida 34997
414-305-8832                                                                   772-215-1162
irarobins@gmail.com                                     salvatore@rastrelliinvestigations.com

 

 

Investigative Experts” has submitted the following complaint to Governor Rick Scott,  Attorney General Pam Bondi, United States Congressman Patrick Murphy, United States Attorney Ft. Pierce, and 19th District State Attorney Bruce Colton.

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A small victory for William Westervelt!

A small victory was achieved today as the Department of Corrections have approved unanimously that Williams should be moved to a Region 1 or Region 2 Correctional Inst. for his safety..

This validates the fact that there is a threat that lies within Martin County and that the DOC is openminded to suggestions with enough nudging.  William is still in confinement due to the fault the the De Soto CI Warden Lawrence.

William is healing and praying for a safe and responsible environment to work on his current law suites. 

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Why was William Westervelt sent to Martin County when he fears this attempted murder may have connections to this county?

 William is still healing from his attempted murder that took place on January 3rd at DeSoto C.I.. . He is still in confinement for 30 days due to the retaliatory acts of Warden Lawrence of De Soto Correctional.

 William has been moved from Desoto to South Florida Reception Center for the protection of his life.

The person(s) responsible for the actual brutal act of the attempted murder has been caught.  There is still the mystery of who were the instigator(s). We have maintained a theory that the tentacles of this crime could reach to Martin County Florida. William and his family have information and documentation that is pointing in that direction. 

Why might there be suspicion that Martin County Justice might be involved? The erased video of a crime on William from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, the falsified Internal Affairs report from the MCSO and the refusal to answer the many FS 119 requests demonstrate a violation of the many laws MCSO refuse to acknowledge and uphold upon themselves. Instead of acknowledging any mistakes, wrongdoing or dealing with it they hire a high-priced law firm to represent them in covering their short comings and to crush the opponent.  Relinquishing responsibility and wrong doing.

The the Criminal law suit pending, possess so much damming evidence against several judicial civil servants that would remove there immunity status and could ruin their careers and lives. The only line of defense these civil servants is to make sure this legal information is never brought before the court. Consequently, William has be shut down several times in Martin County, whereas Judge Sherwood Bauer is one of the biggest offenders of this act.  

This blog has been somewhat successful with over 4500 viewers and I think we all can contend that there is bad blood between the justice system In Martin County.

William Westervelt fears for his life especially in Martin County after the unsubstantiated sentencing by the State Attorneys office and the aggressive threats by D/S Kukuvka in the Martin County Jail illuminated by video. 

So is it coincidence that William Westervelt is transferred to Martin County C.I. when there were 19 other institutions available?  

The goal is to make sure that William is safe especially in Martin County until other arrangement can be made.  

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A plea to Sheriff Snyder to reopen erased video Investigation as it is incomplete.

As Judge McCann and the Martin County Sheriffs Office are winding down the the law suit of the erased video tape of D/S Kukuvka aggressively threatening William simply ignoring and denying every thing that comes there way, William will not ever give up on the truth.  Here is a letter to the Sheriff asking for a new Investigation due to new evidence that proves that D/S Kukuvka was back at the MCJ and due to the first video it is very likely he did  perform the the second act towards William and why was the second video erased. The response from the MCSO was to hire a high priced attorney to cover their actions.  Why could they not be responsible and accountable?  

Deputy Sheriff William Crowder

MARTIN COUNTY Sheriffs Dept.

800 SOUTHEAST MONTERERY ROAD

STUART, FLORIDA 34994 

 

Re: William C. Westervelt   IA Affairs Report 09-12

 

Dear Sheriff William Crowder,

 

 I am contacting you today, as the MCSD has not fully complied with the above noted IA inquiry. The MCSD was asked repeatedly over a period of 15 months for specific videos  and specific times.  This request has been partially provided. When I spoke to Lt. Neal, of MCJ, he indicated IA, only requested a specific portion of our request. Fifteen months into the process we received another portion of the requested video, it was blank with the time continuum still counting. To date, with still no an explanation as to the erasing /deletion of the video footage time 7:24:12 through 8:37:06 in the holding/booking area of the Martin County Jail on July 17 2009.  Coincidently, the time in which the second criminal allegation incident/assault D/S Joseph Kukuvka initiated on William Westervelt in the Martin County Jail.

 

 Although, the investigation was signed off as completed on Aug. 27 2009, it was not provided to me until November 24, 2009. Only provided after my persistent efforts to obtain it. Included with the investigated report was a CD with only a partial time frame of the incident. Thus began another bout with the MCSD in order to obtain the missing video footage in which your office refused to comply. Finally, on Oct 28 2010, we were forced to file a Writ of Mandamus, requesting a court order forcing the Martin County Sheriffs Department to comply.  Within a week, my brother William Westervelt, whom is serving time at Desoto C.I. was contacted by telephone by Terence Nolan, Legal Advisor for the MCSD. Terence Nolan explained that a certain portion of the video footage that was requested had been unexplainably blacked out/ deleted. Mr. Nolan would send the remaining portion to me, Victoria Smith. A week later a telephonic conference was set up with my attorney Jeff Gnencko and Mr. Nolan. At which point, Mr. Nolan when asked why the video footage was deleted he stated he could not answer. 

 

  How could this IA report be completed and signed off on by the MCSD IA Department, when the realization of the footage was missing/blacked out? Why wasn’t the information of the blacked out portion of the video footage noted in the original IA investigation? Why was an investigation NOT initiated as to the erasing/deletions of the video footage in the Martin County Jail?  Especially, after your Legal Advisor, Terence Nolan became aware of this serious issue.  Is this not a serious issue for the MCSD to investigate? 

 

At this point we have several requests to The Martin County Sheriffs Department ie: the IA, Records Dept. and Legal Advisor Terence Nolan as for the original request for footage of the quad camera during specific times. Still, the request has not been fully complied with to date. The last conversation Legal Advisor Terence Nolan had with our attorney Jeffery Gnecko, my husband Jerry A. Smith PhD., and William Westervelt in November 2010 was, that he had no explanation for the deletion/black out of the Martin County Jail video surveillance system during the second alleged incident.  As you must know, this is a very serious issue on many levels.  

 

 Attached, you will find another F.S. 119 request on the specifics revolving around the “missing video footage” debacle. 

 

 Since 2005 I have been acting on behalf of my brother William Westervelt. Unfortunately, I have received the proverbial run around up non compliance to coincide with stacks of paper work (some relevant to 119 requests others not) illuminating an unprecedented amount of mistakes, errors and loss of department documents, now all documented.  I will hope to receive relevant answers on the quest for my next round of F.S. 119 requests from your agency before proceeding further on these issues.

 

Sincerely,

Victoria Smith


 

September 22 , 2013

 

 

 

Victoria W. Smith

 

26 Cartway Lane

 

Berwyn, PA 19312

 

 

 

Sheriff William D. Snyder

 

Martin County Sheriff Office

 

Stuart, Fla.  34994

 

 

 

Re: William D. Snyder reply Investigation Inquiry 09-02

 

 

 

It appears your internal review was more about process and not substance. Not withstanding your supposed review by the Director of Professional Standards and the Director of Legal Affairs, how can you dismiss the new evidence that proves D/S Kukuvka return to the Martin County Jail for another booking at 7:30 AM, coinciding with the time of the second assault, while the IA report only covered up to 7:08:25 when Kukukva exited the building for the first time?

 

 

 

The IA report explicitly states Kukuvka left the facility at 7:08 AM, implying he could have not been present at the 7:30 AM event. This is the cornerstone of their conclusion that Kukuvka could not have committed the second offense on William.  With all do respect, you need to direct your investigators to look into the time from 7:08 AM through 8:30 AMVideo evidence clearly shows Sheriff employees watching the event happen, even though they claim not to have “seen” anything. 

 

 

 

If you choose not to investigate D/S Kukuvka’s activities at or about 7:30 AM, then you are choosing to ignore the evidence in lieu of something else. It is clearly notated in yourarrest affidavits the Kukuvka was back in the MCJ at 7:30 a.m. the time of the second offense on William. Why would you not instruct YOUR Internal Affairs Division to explicitly look at Kukuvka’s activities during a time they claim he was out of the jail? Why would you jeopardize your career as Deputy Sheriff for a fundamentally flawed internal investigation, one that is so easily proven to your constituents?

 

 

 

Your actions now will determine whether you are part of the problem or solution. Up to now, you personally where not involved with the alleged criminal activities that might have occurred on July 17, 2009. However, failing to ignore the significant evidence that has come to light regarding Kukuvka’s activities in the jail could place you squarely in the middle of this ongoing legal challenge.

 

 

 

In Florida, transparency is not up to the whim or grace of public officials. Instead, it is an enforceable right. 

 

— Attorney General Pam Bondi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sincerely

 

Victoria Smith

 

 



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