Buster the civil commitment dog

Last week the Schoolmarm again haled us into her office to answer “new complaints” that we “needed” either to take down “the offending blog posts that were the subject of the [termination] warnings” or stop sending around any links to our blog.

Naturally we demanded to see the complaints, since it’s been two and a half years since we posted the “offending blog post.” And since after the resulting brouhaha, we’d scrupulously refrained from sending around anything that could possibly traumatize the office snowflakes.

Getting the complaints was harder than getting the Nixon tapes, but we finally got them and here’s what they said:

I would like to complain about this [person] using email to promote [their] blog. Thanks.


why is [they] allowed to share [their] blog? does that mean I can share my blog too?

When we pointed out the difference between what the complaints said and what BossLady said they said, she explained with no apparent irony, “That’s why I didn’t want to show you the complaints.”


On further cross-examination, she admitted that she was the complainant because our two-and-a-half-year-old blog post “makes me crazy.” She had to allow that our recent post about how court officers mistreat the public was clearly work-related, “although I don’t see why it was necessary to be funny.”

Her solution? Prohibit us from sending around any link to the Squawk. Instead, we must paste a pdf of the text into the emails. This will protect the attorneys from stumbling upon the “offending” post, she explained.

As we were brooding over this applesauce, our friend the Dobbswire sent us a recent federal case upholding the banning of another satirical blog, “Duck Soup.” The offending blogger is Jimmy Pesci, an inmate – sorry, a patient – in the Florida Civil Commitment Center [FCCC], one of 600 Florida men who, after serving their prison sentences, are being indefinitely confined to a “secure facility” based on highly scientific evidence that they might commit a sex offense if released.

More about Mr. Pesci’s security-threatening, treatment-interfering “Duck Soup” in future Squawks, but here’s a sample for now:

“Last month, on my way to pick up a package from the property room, I noticed that one of the holding rooms that are reserved for incoming new gains* to be held while they wait to be processed into the facility, actually was the designated living quarters for Buster.

*Pesci’s footnote: This is a term used in the Florida Department of Corrections for newly arrived inmates. That term was carried over to the Florida Civil Commitment Center, of course.

“There was a large sign on the door with red letters that read ‘Caution K-9.’ There were also a few pages of standard-sized paper tacked on the outside of the door that I came to discover were the special instructions concerning Buster’s handling and care.

“It was a policy and procedure memorandum on how many times Buster is required to be taken for a walk, provided fresh air breaks, fed and administered water to drink. It included a designated area where Buster could defecate.

“It also had a written order that under no circumstances was Buster ‘to be allowed to walk on the compound.’ As if he was a high-profile inmate under secure management status with modified behavioral management precautions.

“When I approached Buster’s cell for the first time and peeked into the long narrow oblong window of his steel door, I was saddened when I observed him laying flat on his side in the center of his cell, on the concrete ground. Even though there was a canine type bed provided for him, he chose to lie on that concrete floor, undoubtedly because, despite the fact that this 62-million-dollar ‘state-of-the-art facility’ is air-conditioned, he evidently felt cooler there instead.

“When he looked up at me stoically, with those sad lonely eyes, then just let his head drop back down, uninterested, I knew something was not right and that Buster was not the healthy tail-wagging pup that we’ve all come to know him to be in previous months.

“Like most of us here, Buster’s happier days were at the old facility where he was walked around the compound by his primary handler, had a large outdoor kennel to run back and forth in or have his collar released so that he could jet unrestricted around a much larger grassier area. Like any Labrador breed of his kind, Buster needed lots of space to run around and as equally as much love and attention bestowed upon him.

“I was always dumbfounded that his handlers allowed us convicted criminals (the primary targets of his drug detection training) to pet and feed him. (Something that they should have known was the biggest no-no in training a drug detection dog like Buster).

“When I walked away from that cell, I could not help but feel that Buster had it worse off than we did. Furthermore, there was no question in my mind that he was not only being neglected, but that Buster was under complete lock-down.

“The official version of Buster’s death claims that he died of natural causes. Others have called him a “defective dog,” meaning that Geo [the private for-profit corporation that runs FCCC] purchased Buster with a bad recessive gene.

“Apparently someone other than me made this observation and Buster was finally taken to a local veterinarian, where he was placed on a stress machine and dropped dead during the exam.

“Some of you may feel that Buster was just a dog, so why even bother to write about it. It would be sad to think that anyone harbors that caliber of insensitive disregard. More importantly, since Buster was an official drug interdiction dog, that would qualify him to be a law enforcement agent, just like any other canine working for a law enforcement agency, where is the accountability here? [. . . ]

“All Buster ever seemed to truly want is Love and a hand-controlled rag reeking of cannabis** to get everyone excited when he would falsely alert on objects or people that were clean.

**Pesci’s footnote: This is the method used to train drug-sniffing canines like Buster.

He certainly wasn’t getting any of that attention being locked down in that cell most of the day.

“Besides the fact that it is evident that it’s Geo who needs to graduate obedience school, my other question to the administration would be: if you could not take care of Buster, what in God’s name makes you clowns feel that you can take care of us?

About Appellate Squawk

A satirical blog for criminal defense lawyers and their friends who won't give up without a squawk.
This entry was posted in Civil Liberties, Law & Parody, sex offenders and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Buster the civil commitment dog

  1. Your blog post 2+ years ago needed to be written precisely because of people like your complainant(s). Well done: you did right.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lee Edmond says:

    Keep on offending!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brian Cowles says:

    If I might make a suggestion – BossLady seems like the type to subscribe to see new posts via email, then accuse you of sending her emails including links back to the blog. If I were you, I would look into banning her from subscribing using her work email. (I have no idea how you could do that.)


  4. Jill P McMahon says:

    Your very own theater of the absurd.


  5. Pingback: Life in non-punitive therapeutic civil commitment is not what you think | Appellate Squawk

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