Florida Sheriff Nick Finch Acquitted Of Bogus Gun Charge, Reinstated As Liberty County Sheriff


Remember Sheriff Nick Finch? He’s the Liberty County, Fla., sheriff whom Governor Rick Scott suspended for allegedly violating the law by freeing a man who’d been arrested for carrying a gun in his car without a permit. Finch had freed the man and effectively nullified any charges against him in March, saying he believed the 2nd Amendment superseded more restrictive local gun laws.

That got the sheriff in hot water with State prosecutors, who said Finch had no authority to end a criminal proceeding against the suspect — Floyd Eugene Parrish — even though Parrish had never been formally booked into the Liberty County jail during his brief detention.

Last week, a jury demonstrated that common sense and the rule of law can still prevail. After about an hour of deliberation, the eight-member jury acquitted Finch of any wrongdoing. Scott spoke with Finch within moments of the verdict and reinstated him as sheriff of Liberty County.

Finch was charged with a single count of official misconduct (a third-degree felony) and a separate count of falsifying public records after Finch freed Parrish and allegedly used correction fluid to remove his name from the jail log — a move that even the State attorney admitted, during the trial, was an acceptable and common practice in cases of wrongful arrest.

Speaking on Finch’s behalf, defense attorney Jimmy Judkins said the sheriff sided with the Bill of Rights when he released Parrish because law enforcement officers shouldn’t be in the business of “creating felons out of people who are minding their own business and not being a threat to society.”

“[Sheriff Finch] made a policy decision that he’s not going to charge people with gun violations because of the distinct possibility that every now and then, one of y’all’s going to make a mistake,” Judkins said. “And he doesn’t want to create a convicted felon out of an innocent citizen.”

According to The News Service of Florida, James Hoagland, the deputy who originally arrested Parrish for carrying a gun in his car without a permit, held on to copies of the arrest record and only brought the incident to the attention of State prosecutors two months later — after taking another job outside the sheriff’s department.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • lbrack

    The NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA article indicated that the arrested man was carrying a concealed handgun in his pocket while in his car. A concealed carry permit is required to legally carry on-person and he apparently did not have one.

    I don’t understand how the deputy would know of the handgun in the driver’s pocket during what is implied to have been a traffic stop; unless he asked the driver if he had a firearm in the car and the driver told him he did, or if the deputy targeted the driver and searched him, presumably without cause.

    There is obviously more to this story than what is being told here or in the news service article. The jury would have had more information about the incident itself and the circumstances that led the deputy to arrest the driver, and his subsequent release and destruction of the paperwork by the sheriff.

    If the state prosecutors couldn’t convince the jurors of wrong doing by the sheriff, I’ll go with their verdict.

    • dan

      More than likely your scenario of the officer asking him to surrender his fifth amendment rights causedthe kerfluffle about his second amendment rights.
      Don’t talk to the police ! Their routines are rehearsed and intended to trip you
      into ‘revealing’ whether they’re going to make a bust that will get them noteriety.

      • podunk1

        Justice will prevail when we demand the letter of the Constitution and force all issues to overthrow corrupted judicial precedence

        II. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
        shall not be infringed*. (*untouchable)

        IV. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

        All courts, judges, and police within the USA are bound to the letter of the Constitution! ENFORCE IT and demand judges provide jurors exact copy of any Amendments etc. applicable in jury deliberation. Stop progressive destruction of the Constitution!

        Put progressive judges out of business – demand a jury trial!
        “VI. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

      • James

        I use reverse psychology on the police. They left me alone for a long time. I have threaten in the past to expose the whole system. That alone is a trump card. Judges get paid from both state and local. You are right to never talk to the police. If you do they just use it against you in the land of lawyers, prosecutor and judges. In that land law is just opinion of officer, judge and prosecutor. Our beloved constitution is the supreme law of the land. Yeah they always rehearse their trip. I don’t respect the police and neither do they respect you. There job is to make money for government corporation. United States been a corporation for a awhile. We need to the end the federal reserve system.

    • vicki

      “A concealed carry permit is required to legally carry on-person and he apparently did not have one.”

      You know I just re-read the Supreme law of the land covering this case (The 2nd Amendment) and I find NO limits on how you can carry. It further states that there shall NOT be ANY infringements on the RIGHT to carry arms. So it is clear that the Sheriff actually honored his oath of office just as he claimed.

      I am glad that the Jury down there acquitted him of the false charges.

  • wavesofgrain

    This is a GOOD article today.

    It is amazing that cops can go around commiting crimes and mayhem (recently the bike riders harassing the young couple and their 2 year old in New York), and are barely getting their hand slapped, yet Fla fired and tried to charge these people for non violent incident. The Sheriff’s story almost sounds like a witch hunt. I’m so glad to see him reinstated.

  • dan

    Thank heavens for Jury Nullification.

    “It is not only [the juror’s] right, but his duty…to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” — John Adams, Founding Father and 2nd President of the United States

  • Alan

    It seems this came about mostly because deputy Hoagland had a beef with the Sheriff and wanted to sandbag him. It’s good to see there is still some common sense in this country – I thought it was extinct.

  • TheSilverRanger

    I say we take it to his office and start heckling Governor Rick Scott for being the communist parasite and marxist altruist he is. If I was there at the verdict while the governor was talking to the sheriff, I would have approached him, made sure to record the confrontation, and enact a citizens arrest upon Rick Scott. The charge? High treason of the Constitution of the United States of America and dereliction of duty. And I would have asked Nick Finch to back me up and tell Finch straight up, “The governor is a liar. He is a liar, and a traitor! Take him away!”

    • Robert Messmer

      Actually I don’t believe the Governor had a choice once the Sheriff was formally arrested. If you notice the article does say “within moments” of the verdict the Governor re-instated him.

      I would like to know what happened to Floyd Eugene Parrish since he was also re-arrested and taken to court on the original charge. I googled his name but could only find stories about Sheriff Finch.

      • TheSilverRanger

        That doesn’t change the fact that Rick Scott broke the law and committed treason.