Skip

RIGHT BY MILES
August 31, 2008 7:04 PM   Subscribe

In 2002, Miles White died in a car crash. The car was being driven by his friend Adam Jacoby, and the accident occurred after they were chased by Deputy Scott Lawson of the Polk County, Florida Sheriff’s Office. The St. Pete Times now claims that “sexual pervert” Lawson hit them, causing the accident.

The normally staid St. Pete Times, owned by the beacon of journalistic integrity, The Poynter Institute, has a somewhat sordid and salacious multimedia presentation of this story. Further pieces of investigative reporting detail the vagaries of when the Polk County Sheriff’s office knew about Lawson’s unusual sexual proclivities, questions about the propriety of the Sheriff’s Office ability to police themselves, and an odd quote from the Polk County Times which directly indicts Lawson.

Miles’ family and Adam Jacoby have been in the courts several times in attempt to more directly[PDF] implicate Lawson. Adam Jacoby seemed to get special treatment when he was finally sentenced. Since he’s still on probation, he wouldn’t speak to the Times.
posted by tomierna (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
it was a steamy late august evening, we were working the late shift out of the proctology squad...
posted by quonsar at 7:40 PM on August 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


rectalprobe and legalprobe: two great tags, together at last.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:58 PM on August 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Props to happyhippo for this FPP idea. We both live not too far from Polk County, and he (and I) thought it pretty out-of-character for the St. Pete Times to frame this story so brazenly.
posted by tomierna at 8:21 PM on August 31, 2008


Last year, attorneys for the sheriff's office made Gary and Jamie White a settlement offer: $100.

Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by waraw at 9:56 PM on August 31, 2008


The strange part of America is that the public servants act as if they are a ruling aristocracy and people seem to love it and make bobble-headed dolls out of them.

Very sorry for the parents. If I got an offer of $100 for my son's death, I would go ballistic and I mean assault weapon ballistic.

I wasn't very happy when my father died (understatement) but as he pointed out, it would have been much worse the other way around ("No one should outlive their children," he said.)

Generally, I try not to prejudge these things. However, the dispatcher transcripts were a pretty damning picture of a cop looking for entertainment by endangering the lives of others.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:19 PM on August 31, 2008


it was a steamy late august evening, we were working the late shift out of the proctology squad...

Wow, Quonsar, that's a stunningly unfunny "joke" you chose to make as a comment on this tragedy. You are a jerk.
posted by longsleeves at 1:57 AM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


wow. I'm quite interested in seeing how that one is going turn out but I'm also troubled by everyone up to the 'beacon of journalistic integrity' labelling this cop 'perverted' pre trial and verdict. that's opinion -- they should have stayed clear of such in an article.
posted by krautland at 2:23 AM on September 1, 2008


You've been here 3 years and only just realised that quonsar can be a cock? I thought that information was in the MeFi greetings pack...
posted by twine42 at 4:18 AM on September 1, 2008


it was a steamy late august evening, we were working the late shift out of the proctology squad...

Wow, Quonsar, that's a stunningly unfunny "joke" you chose to make as a comment on this tragedy. You are a jerk.

I disagree, longsleeves - if we are not permitted to laugh at tragedy, it can suffocate us with hopelessness. quonsar's faux film noir narration added a classy touch of humor to an unbelievably twisted tragic tale, and does not prevent ensuing serious analysis by the mefi community. I mean, it's not like he went the easy route, and made a pun out of the county's name in which this deplorable event occured...
posted by fairmettle at 4:20 AM on September 1, 2008


longsleeves--

I think that Quonsar's point is that the St. Pete Times handled this in a very unprofessional, sensationalistic manner.

I mean, did you watch any of the "multimedia presentation"? It's pretty sleazy.
posted by gregvr at 4:25 AM on September 1, 2008


labelling this cop 'perverted' pre trial and verdict. that's opinion
The presentation says that he pleaded guilty to sexual battery and was sentenced to prison for that and practicing medicine without a license.
posted by davar at 4:59 AM on September 1, 2008


why is Lawson in prison in VT?
posted by bluefly at 5:29 AM on September 1, 2008


I for one am utterly delighted to see a newspaper grab corruption by the balls and clamp and twist. This is what journalism is supposed to be. It's firm and controversial statements that they know will stand up against the courts be these words are the truth.
I have a degree in political journalism, but I did not pursue a career in that field specifically because of the corruption and weakness found within that field. Honestly, if I had seen more brazen stories like this, I think maybe I'd be doing the same in hounding down the scoundrels and asking questions without easy answers.
posted by GoingToShopping at 7:25 AM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


The strange part of America is that the public servants act as if they are a ruling aristocracy and people seem to love it and make bobble-headed dolls out of them.


Only the ones with guns and badges. The other ones we routinely vilify and degrade as lazy and incompetent. But the ones with guns...yeah...we loves us dat wild-west flavah.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:49 AM on September 1, 2008


why is Lawson in prison in VT?
I'm wondering if it's to ensure he won't be incarcerated with anyone he's arrested or molested in the past. But why Vermont specifically? Good question.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:14 AM on September 1, 2008


The whole story is as sad -- because Miles seems on all accounts to have been a neat kid -- as it is...

"In a guest bedroom, the detective found rubber gloves, a stainless steel examination table and a video called Relax the Muscle, Please. He also found a list of names."

...BIZARRE.
posted by skyper at 10:00 AM on September 1, 2008


I thought it was a well-written and interesting piece of investigative journalism-- I don't find it sensational at all and you can be sure that it was vetted by a team of lawyers before it was published. In other words, the facts of the case convict the guy-- can any of you critics name a place where the story engages in speculation or goes beyond them?

None of those stood out to me, just a good story about a corrupt and perverted (and convicted, importantly-- if he hadn't been convicted of the other crimes, much of the story couldn't have been published without a "he said, she said" to give him right of reply) cop and a teen who was wrongly convicted of killing his friend.

Believe me, as an investigative journalist, every fact will have been gone over to be sure someone couldn't sue you for saying it. The papers these days are incredibly cautious-- too cautious, I believe.
posted by Maias at 11:42 AM on September 1, 2008


"Lawson, 38, is serving his time at an "undisclosed" location because of security concerns, according to a Florida Department of Corrections spokesperson. He likely is serving his sentence out of state because as a former deputy, the Florida prisons could be a danger to him." -- The Ledger, Nov 8, 2005

Regarding the offer of $100: "Though the evidence the Passat had been hit did not come out in criminal court, the civil attorney for Miles' family said Adam's attorneys made it available to use in the federal civil rights lawsuit against Lawson and the sheriff's office. But the civil attorney, Gregg Goldfarb, decided not to use it.

Goldfarb says he wanted to base the claim solely on negligence because he thought that would let him get at the county's insurance, which could go into the millions of dollars. The family had turned down a settlement offer of $200,000......As it turned out, the judge dismissed the case precisely because Goldfarb had not introduced any evidence that Lawson's car came in contact with the Passat. " -- St. Pete Times

As an aside, it's not unusual for the St. Pete, Orlando, and Tampa papers to play up sensational stories from Polk County. They're all running scared down here. The newspaper business is drying up quick here.

Maias: Not as cautious as they used to be. With staff cutbacks, expect more to leak through.
posted by ?! at 11:52 AM on September 1, 2008


?!, I've heard of journalists being laid off at these papers, never lawyers.
posted by Maias at 2:46 PM on September 1, 2008


Maias,

I think the piece that ran in the paper (the 3rd linked article) was a good piece. It was the multimedia aspect that was a bit heavy-handed.
posted by tomierna at 6:00 PM on September 1, 2008


Maias: The lawyers are on retainer. The person charged with sending the copy to the lawyers is now covering the food, religion, and school beats. Along with manning the cafeteria at lunch, and stocking the soft drink machines. Around November when the paper's lawyers send out their Christmas cards they'll notice their billable hours are way down from checking copy, but way up from negotiating buyouts and layoffs.
posted by ?! at 5:12 AM on September 2, 2008


Well, jeez, I certainly didn't expect to click on that link and see that the poor kid had copied Peter Bagge's amazing cover art for my Having a Rave Up with Scram Magazine best of issue on his closet door. RIP.
posted by Scram at 6:24 AM on September 3, 2008


Third link, that is.
posted by Scram at 6:25 AM on September 3, 2008


« Older Slovenian farm-league analysis   |   Modular robot takes a kickin' and keeps on tickin' Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post