Suwannee Democrat

Suwannee Democrat

June 14, 2013

Ethics commission: No probable cause found Jarvis misused databases

Live Oak — The state of Florida Commission on Ethics has ruled there was no probable cause found to determine former Third Circuit State Attorney Robert L. “Skip” Jarvis Jr. misused his position while in office or used information not available to the general public for the benefit of himself or another person by utilizing databases to make searches on people.

According to the investigation report released by the ethics commission on Wednesday, Elise Perkins of Jacksonville, first filed a complaint on Aug. 14, 2012, but was denied since the complaint violated Florida Statutes because it was filed on the day of an election (Florida’s primary Aug. 14) in which Jarvis was a Republican candidate. Perkins resubmitted the complaint on Sept. 14, 2012.

According to the report, the first allegation by Perkins is that Jarvis violated Florida Statutes 112.313(6) and 112.313(8) by accessing criminal justice databases for no legitimate reason and in violation of user agreements with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the State Courts Administrator’s Office and by disclosing or using information not available to the general public for the benefit of himself, another person, or business entity.

The executive director of the Commission on Ethics noted that based on the information provided by Perkins, the allegations were sufficient to warrant a preliminary investigation to determine if Jarvis violated the proper use of the National Crime Information Center and Florida Crime Information Center databases.

The background

Prior to Perkins filing a complaint with the ethics commission, the misuse of secured databases was first investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Then Governor Rick Scott ordered Fifth Circuit State Attorney Brad King to investigate.

On March 29, 2012, FDLE Criminal Justice Information Systems Senior Management Analyst Supervisor Charles conducted a multiple system query and determined that Jarvis conducted queries of Sabrina San Filippo, the wife of Michael San Filippo, a former employee of Jarvis and a one-time 2012 political opponent of Jarvis for the Office of State Attorney, using secure and restricted law enforcement databases including FCIC and NCIC. This led to further investigation by FDLE’s Office of Executive Investigations.

OEI conducted an audit of Jarvis’ queries using secured databases. The investigation revealed that Jarvis conducted numerous queries including the following individuals: Michael and Sabrina Filippo; members of Jarvis’ family; new attorneys practicing in the Third Judicial Circuit; an attorney who sued Jarvis in early 2011; the daughter of a candidate for judge in the Third Judicial Circuit; the chief legislative aide for Florida State Representative Elizabeth Porter (R-Lake City); and current State Attorney Jeff Seigmeister and his wife. Jeff Seigmeister was a political opponent of Jarvis’ at the time.

On May 22, 2012, Jarvis admitted under oath he conducted several queries on multiple individuals and acknowledged the individuals he queried were not under any type of criminal investigation by his office. He further stated the only reason he queried many of the individuals was to obtain their addresses; however, he refused to elaborate why he needed the information.

This led to Gov. Scott’s June 1, 2012 assigning of King to the case.

The investigation conducted by King found, “No evidence that Mr. Jarvis used the information he obtained in any search in a way that harmed the person searched, or benefited himself. However, it is clear that Mr. Jarvis made repeated searches of various persons in clear violation of the user agreements he had signed.”
On Aug. 20, 2012, Jarvis reached a formal agreement with King to withdraw his bid for re-election to the office of state attorney.

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