Like A Criminal - (A Memoir)
In 2012 the author himself was arrested on false felony charges. This is the story of how that arrest came about, and details time in a very large facility as seen by a sixty year old with no serious jail experience. More
From the Foreword:
I had the great fortune to be at the deathbed of both of my parents at that crucial moment when they passed many years ago. Not so with my sister who went very suddenly, but we had a twelve year age difference and were never close.
My brother and I were the best of friends for the forty some-odd years after I turned twenty, however. We lived together multiple times, as late as when I was in my mid fifties. We shared many common interests and could chat all day like school kids.
In January of this year he called to tell me had advanced cancer, had an operation scheduled for March, and was then going to undergo chemotherapy. He drove from his home near Atlanta to Sarasota Florida to visit with me and meet my recently acquired puppy at the end of February.
He did not look well, and after the too short visit it was difficult for me to not give up my job and home and go stay with him until the end, whenever that might be. We talked often over the next few months and I could tell his health was declining rapidly. In April the chemotherapy had proven to be too much for his system, so he stopped.
Then in late May my apartment manager called and told me the policy had changed, dogs were no longer allowed. The following morning my employer announced closure of my department and I was laid off. As sad as I was about those two events the excitement of going to be by Jack’s side was overwhelming. It was meant to be.
I hurriedly began preparing to move. I gave away furniture and inconsequential household things, pared down to the bare essentials. One week later, on May 29th, my work was close to done and I faced two days to relax and say my goodbyes to my many friends in Sarasota.
But perhaps due to a fit of self-importance, a young girl who kept her job with my ex-employer, Moreland Company USA headquartered out of Sarasota, falsified a police report when her network was down and the IT manager was on vacation.
I secured a copy of her witness statement after my eventual release. She accused me, as the programmer of the system that she and eight telemarketers had used, with a serious computer crime, a second degree felony. She wrote in her own handwriting that I removed the program from the computers but then states that the program was giving her messages that it could not connect to the local network. She wrote that I locked up eleven computers when it was indeed network failure.
I quote her next to last statement: “From this the main server from my department has become non-operational which forces us to shut down the department.” As I mentioned, the department had been closed a week before.
She is as computer savvy as the average user, yet chose to make a technical diagnosis in the absence of an experienced network administrator, who simply rebooted the server to restore operation once he returned to the office.
The investigating sheriff, apparently not a computer expert either, chose to act on this hearsay and arrested me that afternoon without a warrant. He could not have even seen evidence of a crime since one had not been committed. I spent ten days in jail. My $10,000 bail bond was eventually paid by order of the owner of the company that had me arrested.
My ex-manager, the network administrator, picked me up at the jail and drove me to a friend’s house, where all my stuff was. My puppy was in foster care. I was homeless but free. I sat outside to start calling the many friends who had been involved behind the scenes for me.
The first one listened for a minute then changed the course of the conversation. She told me that she had some “bad news about your brother”, and then told me that he had died in hospice two days before while I was locked up like a criminal.