Despite Overnight Detention in County Jail for 'Disorderly Conduct', as Orchestrated by Broward's Election Chief, a Candidate for That Same Office, Ellen Brodsky, Remains Uncharged a Month Later and Still Seeking Discovery Documents...
Counter Charges for 'False Arrest' Still to Come...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2008, 1:11pm PT  

It's been more than a full month since the November 13th arrest of Broward County, FL's election integrity advocate Ellen Brodsky and the state has still failed to file formal charges or supply her with discovery documents.

As The BRAD BLOG reported in detail following the arrest, Brodsky was taken into custody, seemingly at the behest of her opponent in the election, after attempting to oversee the public counting of ballots for the election in which she ran as a candidate for Supervisor of Elections.

The arrest for "disorderly conduct" (according to police records) was caught on tape and posted here last week. The tape shows fairly clearly that there was no such disorderly conduct by Brodsky, despite the order for the arrest having apparently been issued by the office of the current Broward Supervisor of Elections, Dr. Brenda Snipes.

Today's South Florida Sun-Sentinel picks up the story with an update noting that Brodsky, a month since her arrest, has been forced to seek a judge's order demanding that prosecutors explain why she was arrested in the first place.

The BRAD BLOG has also obtained a copy of a motion to compel discovery exhibits, which have similarly not been given to her, as filed by Brodksy's attorney earlier this month.

According to the Sun-Sentinel:

Ellen Brodsky has asked a judge to order prosecutors to explain why she was arrested at the election office warehouse.
...
The case is open but no charges have been filed, State Attorney's Office spokesman Ron Ishoy said Tuesday.
...
Her lawyer, Tanner Andrews, denies wrongdoing. He wants to know what exactly his client is accused of doing and who made the accusation on Nov. 13.

"Why they arrested her would be a really good start," he said.

The short Sun-Sentinel piece also gets a key point of the story absolutely wrong, noting that Brodsky was "taken into police custody and jailed overnight until she could make bail."

In fact, her bail --- a grand total of $25 --- was posted for Brodsky by her son at 8:30pm on the night she was arrested, yet she was not released until 5:45am the next morning, according to a summary of the arrest reviewed by The BRAD BLOG.

And while Brodsky waits for charges to be filed, her attorney Tanner Andrews, was forced to file a motion with the court to compel discovery in the case earlier this month. No such discovery has yet been given to the plaintiffs. The brief motion to compel, filed by Andrews on December 9th, can be downloaded here [PDF].

The motion is also accompanied by a December 4th letter from Andrews to Joshua Widlansky, counsel for the State of Florida, asking --- a full two weeks ago --- why his client had yet to be served with the state's discovery exhibit, given her arrest more than three weeks before that, on November 13th.

"It may surprise you that I have not yet received your discovery exhibit," writes Andrews in the letter to Widlansky. "If, for some reason, you do not intend to furnish the exhibit, please let me know promptly. If there is a good reason for the failure to comply, then I would prefer to avoid making a motion to compel and using up the court's time."

By the time of the filing of the motion to compel on December 9th, the state had "neither responded to discovery request nor objected", nor had they returned a phone call left with his office, according to Andrews.

Today Brodsky told us via email that she's unable to move forward with her own charges against Snipes and the county until she is able to learn the official case against her.

"Until we get a determination by the State Attorney to the merits of the charges against me," she said, "we cannot proceed with a countersuit for false arrest, which we will most certainly do."

Her attorney Andrews added, via email later this afternoon, that he also anticipates "civil remedies in tort and otherwise following the successful conclusion of the criminal matter."

"A good citizen, such as my client, cannot sit idly by and permit government misconduct such as we have seen here," he wrote. "If citizens permit such things, then the citizens effectively condone the misconduct which will become tomorrow's obnoxious custom. If my client permits this abuse today, what becomes of the less prominent citizen tomorrow?"

Our original coverage of the arrest, on the afternoon that Brodsky was released, and noting outrage from colleagues and election officials alike, is posted here. The video tape of the arrest outside of Broward County's election headquarters, following a call to authorities from Snipes' deputy Fred Bellis, as also seen on the tape, is reposted below...


UPDATE 3/11/09: All charges are dropped against Brodsky. Details now here...

As long promised, The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system 2008, fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...