Last week, Historic City News learned that, in the matter of Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Banks, and his lawsuit against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and its agent Rusty Ray Rodgers, United States District Judge Brian J Davis has ruled that Banks, through his attorney, Robert (Mac) L. McLeod, has failed to file the requisite factual allegations against the Defendant in a “short and plain statement of claims”.
Rodgers is the FDLE agent investigating Banks’ involvement in the death of his girlfriend, Michelle O’Connell; an investigation that St Johns County Sheriff David Shoar has vocally criticized as an attempt to prosecute an innocent man for murder. Shoar continues to employ Banks in his capacity as a deputy sheriff, and launched a counter-investigation that resulted in complaints against Rodgers and former Special Agent in Charge Dominick Pape — Rodgers’ direct supervisor. Pape has since left the agency.
“Despite a medical examiner’s report finding suicide to be the manner of Ms. O’Connell’s death, Defendant Rodgers conducted an investigation which targeted Plaintiff Banks as criminally culpable in Ms. O’Connell’s death,” said the order, dated last Friday the 13th. “The ways and means employed by Defendant Rodgers in conducting that investigation comprise the gravamen of Plaintiffs claims.”
Judge Davis found that Count I reduces to allegations that false testimony by affidavit regarding Plaintiffs access to the decedent, the time of death, forced entry, and what witnesses said about the timing and direction of a shot, resulted in the absence of probable cause.
Count II distills to allegations that Plaintiff was told by
Defendant Rodgers not to leave an interview and that his telephone was taken without probable cause or other lawful authority.
Count III condenses to allegations that Defendant Rodgers initiated Plaintiffs prosecution for murder without probable cause.
But Friday was not a good day for Jeremy Banks in court. The judge went on to write five or more pages of criticism of the way in which Banks has brought his complaint; including an observation that the filings were incomplete, irrelevant, or of an overreaching, “shotgun” nature; some were made outside of established, local rules of procedure, according to the order.
Judge Davis granted Agent Rodgers motion to dismiss plaintiff’s amended complaint.
Counts I, II, III, V and VI of Deputy Banks’ amended complaint were dismissed, without prejudice; directing Banks to file another amended complaint on or before March 5, 2015 and setting a Pretrial and Case Management Conference before Judge Davis for Friday, March 20, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. Banks’ request for oral argument was denied, as moot, and his motion to reassign the case from “Track Two” status to “Track III” status was also denied.