Monday, April 20, 2009

Former Deputy Harold Morales Arrested for ID Theft

The e-mails referred to one of the highest-ranking officers at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office as "racist." They alleged discriminatory treatment against some of the deputies. They were supposedly coming from Sgt. George Smith.

However, the e-mails were all the work of an online thief, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Former deputy Harold Morales, who was fired in October during his probationary period, has been charged with seven felony counts of identity theft after being accused of using a former supervisor's e-mail address to send out the e-mails.

The motive "appears to be revenge," said Sgt. Donna Black, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office. "It's not an issue of what he said as much as the identity theft."

Morales, 41, of Spring Hill, was arrested Monday and later booked into the Hernando County jail, according to the Sheriff's Office. It wasn't immediately clear if Morales remained in custody Monday evening.

A message left with an unidentified woman at Morales' home wasn't returned.

Trooper Franklin Ryle Accused of Violating Civil Rights & Kidnapping

A lawyer representing a Wyoming state trooper accused of federal civil rights violations has asked a judge to send the trooper for mental health counseling.

The Justice Department last month charged Trooper Franklin Ryle with violating another man's civil rights in January by kidnapping him at gunpoint and unlawfully arresting him.

Ryle is a 12-year veteran of the patrol and remains in custody at a detention center in Nebraska.
Assistant Federal Public Defender Jim Barrett in Cheyenne represents Ryle.

Barrett has filed papers in court informing U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer of Cheyenne that Ryle is so depressed that it might affect his ability to consult with his lawyer. Barrett asked the judge to allow Ryle to get mental health counseling in Nebraska.
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Sheriff Detective Nathan Woodstock Arrested


A Cherokee County sheriff's detective has been arrested and charged with violation of oath of office, tampering with evidence, felony marijuana possession and six counts of theft by taking.

Authoritites say 29-year-old Nathan Watson of Woodstock was being held at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on $40,000 bond following his arrest April 13. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer.

The charges are related to evidence obtained in criminal investigations.

Watson, a member of the National Guard, was in Mississippi awaiting deployment to Afghanistan when investigators went to his home and found electronic devices and about two ounces of marijuana.

He had 10 years with the sheriff's department.

Another Mesquite Officer Under Investigation for Having Sex in His Police Car

Less than a week after the City of Mesquite was served with a lawsuit over allegations of sexual assault by former police officer Kirt Hughes, another Mesquite police officer is under investigation for alleged sexual impropriety.

An internal investigation has been ongoing for the last few weeks as the department looks into allegations that one of its officers may have been involved in sexual misconduct.

Specifically, the unnamed officer is accused of having consensual sex in his police car.

While the police department has confirmed that an investigation is underway, they have released few details about the allegations.

If confirmed, the officer is facing suspension or even possible termination.

The investigation marks the second time in the last six months that a Mesquite police officer has been accused of sexual misconduct.

Former police officer of the year Kirt Hughes was fired in December following two investigations into allegations that he sexually assaulted several local women.

The Clark County District Attorney refused to file charges in that case, but Hughes was terminated from the department as a result of the investigation.

While the two cases come within months of each other, police officials have indicated that the incidents and investigations are unrelated.

Former Officer Rodney Sanders Pleads Guilty to Drunk Driving Accident

A city police officer whose blood-alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit when he caused a 2007 car crash has given up his job after pleading guilty to assault by auto and other charges in the three-car collision, authorities said.

Rodney D. Sanders, a 40-year-old North Plainfield resident, pleaded guilty April 17 to third-degree assault by auto, driving while intoxicated and failure to exhibit a driver's license in connection with the crash on Route 22 in North Plainfield, according to

Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne J. Forrest said in a statement that Sanders pleaded guilty 10 days after his motion to suppress an Alcotest reading of 0.23 percent — almost three times the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent — was denied by Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Sanders faces probation with 60 days in the Somerset County Jail, the loss of his license and registration for two years, 30 days of community service, 48 hours in the state Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center and fines, authorities said.

Sanders — a veteran city police officer with 19 years on the force — also forfeited his job upon pleading guilty, authorities said. His sentencing is scheduled for June 12.

"That's an issue he has to deal with, and he made a very poor decision to drive that night,'' city Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig said. "But we have to be held accountable for our actions — and that's the result.''

Authorities have said Sanders was intoxicated when he hit a pickup truck and car the night of July 31, 2007, while traveling eastbound on Route 22 near Wilson Avenue in North Plainfield. Sanders attempted to pass a 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Florida resident Joseph J. McKernan, who was traveling eastbound in the highway's left lane, police said.

Sanders, who was driving the same direction in a 1999 GMC Yukon Denali, struck the rear passenger side of McKernan's vehicle and then rear-ended Sherifat A. Kasunmu's 1995 Nissan Altima, which spun onto the lawn of the Red Tower II restaurant, according to police.

Kasunmu, of Newark, was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for back and neck pain while Sanders and McKernan declined treatment at the scene.

The night of the wreck, Sanders was arrested by North Plainfield police on a drunken driving charge after failing a field sobriety test and registering the high blood-alcohol level, authorities said. The assault by auto charge was added after an investigation by the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Collision Analysis Reconstruction Team.

Sanders, who is free on bail, had been suspended without pay since the wreck.