Will Death Harm Investigation Into School Board?


The death of former school construction chief Michael Garretson has potentially thrown a curve at prosecutors investigating the School Board.  

The question is how do you prosecute a case involving corruption in school construction without testimony from the head of school construction?

The law states that the accused have the right to confront their accuser.  They will need a Ouija Board to confront Garretson at this point.

Can sworn statements made by him be introduced?

That would be up to a judge, who would rule on any challenge allowing testimony by a dead man.

The feds and the State Attorney Mike Satz are not happy campers today.

Of course, only prosecutors know how the case is actually being put together. 

Garreson’s testimony might be irrelevant.

But lawyers for those caught up in the investigation are happy today.  

“I asked my client if he had an alibi (for when Garretson died),” joked one attorney.

Garretson died in a North Florida hospital while having a heart operation.

“The investigation is into the School Board.  Particularly, the investigation involves School Board construction,” the lawyer continued.  “If he was a link in the chain to prove wrongdoing, the feds and Satz are screwed today.

6 Responses to “Will Death Harm Investigation Into School Board?”

  1. Phil Heck says:


    The general rule is that statements by a dead witness can be admitted as an exception to the hearsay rule only when they are in the form of a deposition or some other form where the accused had the opportunity to cross examine.

    This is the federal rule (804) and Florida closely follows that model, at least with respect to hearsay.

    I believe his statements could still be used in a grand jury proceeding.

    Maybe Fields or someone who practices criminal law on a daily basis can expand on this, but I’m not aware of any way a judge could admit his statements to investigators at trial unless the accused did him in.

    Off the top of my head, I would say it’s not really up to the judge as you’ve stated it in your article.


    Thank you for expanding on this matter.

  2. sam fields says:

    Contained in the 6th Amendment to the Constitution is The Confrontation Clause”. It guarantees that in all criminal cases (not civil) the accused has a right to confront/cross examine his accusers.

    There are a few exceptions. For example a witnesse’s Grand jury testimony might be admitted at trial even if the Defendant was not able to cross examine if it was determined that the reason the witness was not available for trial was because of actions by the Defendant For example he murdered the witness.

    Thus the gallows humor about alibis for the death of Garretson.

    Some lawyers are just plain tasteless.

  3. Molly says:

    “Some lawyers are just plain tasteless.” Coming from Sam Fields, that is REALLY rich!

  4. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Most of the corruption started long before Garretson came on Board. In fact Jim Notter was head of facilities during the building boom….so it would be easy to say who did it “the dead guy”…when in reality all of the ones involved are still alive.

  5. just me says:

    Nonsense Beth. Notter was the interim between Tom Calhoun (who left to be with his family in 2002) and Garretson early in 2003. The Building boom started in mid 2003 after “the dead guy” was hired. It was Garretson who chose the six no bid contractors, three of which overcharged by millions. It was Garretson who pushed the purchase of the swamp land, refusing to halt the process because his subcontractors couldn’t eve get their equipment on the land to test it. “Just because it’s squishy doesn’t mean you can’t build on it.” It was Garretson who accelerated contracts because he knew the projects were being canceled. It was Garretson who ordered restart of overtime even though he was told not to. It was Garretson who made phony excuses for overpaying AshBritt. That doesn’t mean Notter’s off the hook. He could have stopped Garretson.

  6. Da Gotts says:

    Where does that almighty buck really stop? Never mind, this is Flori-duh~