Archive for mistaken identity

Does The Punishment Fit The Crime?


Clay County Jail

Hold onto your seats. Another kerfuffle of justice in... You got it, Florida. What are they putting in the orange juice out there?

If you live in the Sunshine State and your name is Cody Williams, you're not alone. And if you were born in the same year and attended the same high school, chances are you're not the luckiest guy in the world right now.

According to MailOnline:

The case started when a girl from Clay High School in Green Cove Springs claiming to have had sex with a boy named Cody Williams on or around Halloween in 2012.

The victim - who was under 12 but her age has not been disclosed - told investigators what the boy looked like and where he attended school, reported The Florida Times-Union.

Two months later police arrested Cody Lee Williams of Green Cove Springs.

This Cody Lee Williams:

Cody Raymond Williams 1

So, despite his protestations of innocence, off to jail he went --

The police were so confident they had the right guy, they called the victim, told her the assailant had been arrested and she could rest more easily. They'd taken the sexual offender off the streets.

Unfortunately for Cody Lee Williams, the police didn't do their homework nor their obligation of having a line up or showing the victim a picture of the accused. They just held him and refused to investigate any further. Finally Cody Lee's mother prevailed and they held a line-up. The victim told the police that her assailant wasn't in the line-up. They had the wrong guy.

They wanted Cody Raymond Williams, this guy:

Cody Raymond Williams, 2

See any similarity? I don't, but then again, I'm not a trained, experienced cop who should know these things.

Cody Lee Williams case was expunged, however he had already been in jail a total of 35 days. And the correct Cody Williams has since been arrested and charged with the crime. He'lll face court on a sexual assault charge on March 3. But what about the cops who were complicit in the wrongful jailing and inept police work?

An internal investigation found that Hawkins [and three others] failed to properly identify a suspect, failed to properly document information obtained in the investigation, made inaccurate statements in reports and failed to properly document actions taken in an investigation.

This resulted in 35 days of incarceration of a young, impressionable child of 17.  So what's the punishment for the cops?

You'll be surprised to hear that they are being given formal disciplinary letters which will remain in the permanent employment records and they must receive counselling. Oh, and they're awaiting news on possible ten day suspensions. Ten days with pay? Why not 35 without pay, like the victim of their actions caused?

Oh, that's right, it's Florida. Certainly not just a vacation destination -- but the vacation spot from justice.


Dead, Buried And Now Serving Their Community


mistaken identity

I get a chuckle over mistaken identities. I've been mistaken a number of times for Martin Short -- even to the point that to get rid of these folks so I could eat, I accepted their request for an autograph and finally got to enjoy my wife and kid's company.

Another time, there was someone with the same name as mine, living in the same city, who's name appeared in the obituaries. Rather than read and find out that I wasn't a 72 year old Black man originally from Georgia, these people picked up the phone and called in condolences.  My wife got calls for three days and  laughed about it for even longer.

But that's the thing with mistaken identity. It can be humorous. It can also be the opposite.


I'm talking about being dead an nobody notices. Think about it. You can't have had that much of an impact on the living if they don't even know when you're gone. So it's with a bit a snide bemusement that I read this coverage of the Washington State election results:

Courtesy of The Seattle Times:

Two candidates in separate races in the state are winning in Tuesday’s election despite being dead.

In Des Moines, John Rosentangle won 71 percent of the vote over write-in candidates in King County Water District 54. The 63-year-old died in August of an illness.

In Aberdeen, John Erak is leading Alan Richrod with 53 percent of the vote in a City Council race. The 81-year-old Erak was a former state representative who died in June shortly after announcing he was running to retain his seat on the council. His current lead is only 12 votes, and the results aren’t final.

Both men died after the filing period closed, and their names could not be removed from ballots.

How sad that neither of these candidates got to live to see their election wins. But please allow me a few snarky comments despite the tragic loss of both individuals. It's meant as a commentary on today's politics,  no disrespect for the individuals.

With these results, its evident that nothing candidates say mean anything, because these people didn't say anything and still won, while tucked away in their sod cabanas.

Candidate Rosentangle won in a landslide. That's helpful when you're going to be buried in a hole, six feet under.

Now in the interest of fair reporting, John Erak hasn't officially been declared the victor, yet. The city council will have to wait as only 12 votes separate the top two vote getters. Is this what they mean by a dead heat?

I doubt if we'll hear Mr. Erak calling for a recount. Now when he registers a vote, it's not for the other side, it's from the other side.

I bet neither candidate voted for himself.

Is casting your mortal coils the same as casting your vote?

Thankfully, both men have been spared making any sort of concession speech. We're still waiting on a victory speech.

Will their swearing in be a candlelight vigil?

I could go on and on, unlike these candidates, but I won't.

Okay, slap my hands. I just couldn't help myself. Bad, bad, David


Who's Buried in Grant's, I Mean Jackson's Tomb?



You've all heard the old joke about the Western Union guy who comes to deliver a telegram. "Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Murphy. Telegram for Mrs. Murphy.

The woman who answers the door asks: Is this a singing telegram? The delivery guy squirms and reveals, "Well, ma'am. It's rather sad news."

Disappointed, the woman bemoans, "I've always wanted a singing telegram."

singing telegram

Not wanting to disappoint and also hoping to protect his expected tip, he clears his throat and begins...

Dada, dada, da ,da

Your sister Rose is dead.
I'm here to tell you that she died in bed,
And even though the broad was feelin' nifty,
Though she'd just turned fifty,
Your sister Rose is dead!

Mistakes happen. We've all made them. But this one's quite a whopper.

Well, either this story is the real life TRUE BLOOD or WALKING DEAD lost episode, or stay tuned for the Jesus Resurrection II. There's a new living corpse in town, and this time its a woman. Here's the story from

At an open-casket funeral in the Campbell Funeral Chapel in Trenton this month, more than 50 friends and relatives gathered to say goodbye to Sharolyn Jackson. She had lived a troubled life, but the service and nearby burial celebrated the people-loving, 50-year-old mother of five.

I know I've heard of mourners coming up to an open casket and discovering that the body inside wasn't who it was supposed to be. That's usually just the undertaker, Digger Holes, brought the wrong box up from the cellar. But it's discovered and the right body is put on display and is interred.

But Sharolyn Jackson has five kids, a father and other friends who passed by the body box and nobody noticed anything strange? Some friends and family they are. Okay, they were grieving. I guess I can understand that.

Now, it's understandable that a person in death  may not look as well as a living, breathing individual, and the family could have made a mistake identifying her through a picture. I'd sue the photographer for starters, though. But there were other precautions that could have and should have been taken.

Yet is was someone outside the family who realized this dead woman was still alive. The mistake was uncovered almost two weeks later, when Mrs. Jackson was spotted at a shopping mall by a person associated with the social-service agency that saw to her needs, her family said. Someone who sees her once a month recognizes her but her family doesn't?

Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives said he had apologized to the Jackson family, who were very thankful. The Medical Examiner's Office is reimbursing the family for the funeral.

How thoughtful, considering they didn't need a funeral in the first place. And if the cops had done there job, all of this confusion and grief could have been spared the family.

Walker said more stringent identification procedures could have prevented the drama. "There were some other checks that we could have made here to prevent this from occurring," such as checking the found woman's fingerprints against the ones they had on file for Jackson, Walker said. The Medical Examiner's Office, on the other hand, denied any wrongdoing. A family member identified Jackson, and that was sufficient.

Of course, matching finger prints that you have on record isn't necessary when you've got an ID from a picture.

But consider this as well -- 50 friends and relatives walked by the open casket and didn't recognize the mistaken identity. Was the deceased a doppelganger for Sharolyn? We don't know, because now the real mystery begins. Who's in that home away from life  in Bone Yard Acres? Anyone got the number for CSI?


Mistaken Identity or Trigger Happy?


Guest post by David Garber


Facts: according to CBS news in L.A.

1.     A former cop (an accused whistle blower on his fellow officers) shoots and kills three people after posting a revenge manifesto on Facebook.

2.     Police put protection on the house of a potential target.

3.     Suspect is identified as being Black, male, heavy set and 33 years old.

4.     Two women delivering L.A. Times newspapers, one 47 and the other 71 are shot by the police as suspects.

5.     The two victims are unarmed, both are female and neither is 33 years old. 


For this they are shot.  Mistaken identity? Or overzealous cops who need a mental reevaluation as to whether they’re responsible enough to carry weapons?

Police Chief Charlie Beck claims the cars were a match for the one they believe the perp was driving.  Okay, that’s a good tip, solid police work.  But then it turns out the vehicle is a different color. The license plate doesn’t match.  It’s occupied by two women obviously delivering newspapers.  So informed with this and their service revolvers, what do the cops do?  They don’t attempt to pull the car over.  They open fire.

Now a short time later, the cops locate the suspect’s car over a hundred miles away, two counties over and they shut down a whole town – a resort city which is struggling to keep itself afloat under an unfavorable, economic climate.  Over zeal again?  Maybe.  This former cop was smart enough to elude them, drive two hours away – couldn’t he have stolen a car and be even more hundreds more miles away?  Nah just shut down the struggling town and go house to house causing more panic. 

Would they have gone house to house if this hadn’t been a vendetta against the police?  What if this crazy ex-cop had been a former plumber,  gardener or accountant who had sworn vengeance on all of his former clients?  Would these trigger happy cops have taken over?  Would their gun slinging, “shoot first, ask questions later,” attitude have prevailed? 

In this time of trying to push for background checks on law abiding citizens who wish to legally arm themselves in accordance with the Second Amendment, mental health and stability is an issue.  Yet the leading cause of disability for the police is related to stress and mental issues – not injury.

Maybe it’s time the cops start facing a psychological testing annually to determine if they’re stable enough to carry guns…  These two cops certainly are questionable.  And what about the NYC cops who a few months back shot 13 innocents while trying to take down a fleeing suspect on the sidewalks of the city?

The police are under huge stress and deserve our respect… but also our watchful eye.  Obviously if these cops can’t tell two women from one man, can’t tell the color of the car they’re seeing and they can’t discern that the car has different license plates, then they have some judgment issues.  Any of us could be their next victims.  If we don’t police the police – no one is safe.


For the past 25 years, David Garber has been serving as the show runner and or writer on some of television’s biggest hits… Saved By The Bell, Power Rangers, 227, Bill Cosby Show and many other network series. His writing and producing have also netted David two very prestigious awards:the PRISM AWARD and the TV CRITICS AWARD – TV SPECIAL OF THE YEAR. Currently he’s authoring a short story series called “A Few Minutes With…”