Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, a man who often brags about how many people he packs into his jail and how poorly he treats them, has been subpoenaed this week to address his long history of "prejudicial" language.
Attorney Joshua Davis, who is representing Flagler Beach Commissioner Eric Cooley in a domestic violence dispute, filed a motion for a gag order against Staly in response to a release issued from Sheriff's Office following Cooley’s arrest. In the release, Sheriff Staly said, "This is an unfortunate situation but it goes to show that domestic violence has no boundaries."
Oddly, Staly isn't directly involved in the case, but according to Davis, his comments will still have an impact on the trial. "He released this for the media attention, and to infer guilt," said Davis to Orlando Weekly. "Comments like this seriously taint my jury pool."
While his most recent comments aren't that extreme, Staly, who jokingly refers to his jail as the "Green Roof Inn," has a well-documented history of of inferring people he arrests are somehow guilty before trial. "Staly is constantly calling those accused of crimes ‘dirtbags,' and 'scumbags,'" said Davis in his motion.
Here are just a few recent examples of Staly's "prejudicial" comments, compiled by FlaglerLive.com:
On Sept. 12, addressing the arrest of Sam Andolina on a charge of raping a 13-year-old girl: “This dirtbag can stay at the Green Roof Inn. There is no excuse for what he is accused of doing, and we will continue to work on this investigation to support the victims and put him in jail for a long time.”
On Aug. 16, addressing the recovery of a gun allegedly used by Christopher Quijano in a shooting incident at Town Center: “This dirtbag is still at the Green Roof Inn and our deputies worked hard to find additional evidence to keep him there and convict him of the charges.”
On May 30, following the arrest of Julius Calloway: “This has been a problem house in this neighborhood caused by the homeowner having no respect for his neighbors. If he wants to continue to allow his home to be a revolving door of criminals, drug users and poison peddlers then I hope he enjoys staying at the Green Roof Inn. Take your poison and your dirtbag friends and leave Flagler County because we are coming for you.”
Besides Staly constantly mouthing off about arrests, the elected official's inability to understand the concept of "innocent before proven guilty" is well-represented by the way he runs his jail.
In an interview with the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Staly once bragged about how poorly he treats inmates at the "Green Roof Inn." "When you get arrested, we provide the minimum accommodations as required by law," said Staly to the paper. "Once an offender checks in, they lose their basic freedoms. They don’t decide what to eat, wear, or do with their day."
The problem with this is that there's a huge difference between a county jail and a prison, something that seems to be entirely lost on Staly. Many inmates at the "Green Roof Inn" are awaiting trial, or worse they're there because it's easier and faster to go to jail when you can't afford bail.