Even though Lisa Marok had not been charged with any crimes, a Florida judge last week ordered her to give up her Second Amendment rights, surrender her Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License (CWFL), and remove any firearms and ammunition from her home.
Her spouse may have spent 19 months in state prison if she had disobeyed the judge’s illegal order. Her spouse would receive a probationary term and leave the courtroom free if she complied.
When her husband, Ralph Marok, was employed with the Florida Department of Transportation years ago, a series of events took place that eventually led to Marok’s peculiar predicament.
Thomas Marok, Ralph Marok’s son, claims that his 60-year-old father broke his back when he fell off a DOT truck.
According to his son, Ralph Marok’s addiction to prescription opioids led him to turn to street drugs after Florida and other states made it harder to get them.
“This is the face of the opiate crisis,” Thomas Marok said of this father. “This is not the man who raised me.”
Ralph experienced a crisis due to his addiction on April 6, 2022, at 1:38 a.m. In response to a report of “shots fired,” deputies were dispatched to his residence, as per the arrest record from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators found that bullets had struck the house across the street. A bullet passed through a picture window made of glass, and another hit the outer wall. Additionally, a blue Mercury Montego that was parked at the house had its right taillight shot out. Nobody was hurt.
Nineteen shell casings in the.40 and.45 calibers were discovered at the scene. Three firearms of the same caliber were found by the officers.
“Deputy Pero made contact with Ralph Anthony Marok who was highly agitated and in an excited state. Ralph related that he had been fighting several people who were attempting to kill his family. Ralph was cleared by medical personnel and detained as part of the shooting investigation. While being cleared by medical personnel at Fawcett Memorial Hospital, the medical personnel advised Ralph had numerous illegal narcotics in his system, including cocaine,” the arrest report states.
Ralph Marok was recognized by a number of neighbors as the shooter. One said to authorities that he used a rifle to go “door to door” and that “no one was chasing Ralph.”
Ralph Marok was accused of breaking two state statutes: the felony 790.19, Shooting Throwing Into a Vehicle or Dwelling, and the criminal mischief statute 806.13 1b1. A misdemeanor for damages under $200.
Not just the three guns used in the incident, but all of Marok’s weapons were taken out of the house by Charlotte County deputies. Numerous weapons were antiques and/or collectibles, such as a matching set of 357 Magnum revolvers with sequential serial numbers and a Colt 1911.
Lisa Marok was the owner of five of the weapons. Thomas, their son, possessed three of them: an SKS, a 1911, and a.357 Magnum revolver.
The Charlotte County Fire Department recognized Ralph Marok and his son Gregory in 2014 for entering a completely consumed house on fire, saving their neighbor’s life, and hauling the homeowner to safety.
“My wife was in our backyard, and that’s when she saw the lady pounding on the back window and hollering for anybody she could to get over there,” Ralph Marok told The Charlotte Sun in 2014. “I ran to the back of my yard and jumped over a fence and went over there and got her out.”
Marok’s addiction altered him over time. It appears that the prosecutors considered his addiction while crafting his plea deal.
They offered a plea agreement with no jail time. Marok would have been sentenced to 10 years of probation, but if he finished a treatment program, regularly attended AA meetings, and made restitution to his neighbors, the period would have been shortened to five years.
Lisa Marok went with her husband to the hearing last week to officially accept the deal—a formality, she supposed.
“When the judge told Ralph he couldn’t have a single gun in the house, whatsoever, I kind of made a face. I assumed the judge was looking at me, because he called me up to the stand and swore me in – he swore me in,” Lisa Marok said. “The judge told me I couldn’t ever own a gun again – ever in my life. He said you’ve got a choice – your husband or your guns. In a joking manner, I said ‘can I have a minute?’ Of course, I was going to pick my husband. He said we cannot have guns in the house – any guns whatsoever. He said I couldn’t carry one for protection anymore. He took away all of my Second Amendment rights.”
All of the Maroks’ firearms remain in the custody of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m scared to go pick them up,” Lisa Marok said. “I don’t want my husband to go to prison. I think this was wrong. I am a law-abiding citizen.”
Shannon H. McFee, a circuit judge, heard Marok’s case. He was appointed to the bench by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2019 to cover a vacancy.
For this topic, Judge McFee declined to be interviewed. Nonetheless, he sent in a written statement via his representative, Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit public information officer, Sara Miles.
Judge McFee’s response when asked why he told Marok’s wife she had to choose between her husband and her guns is as follows:
“Mr. Ralph Marok accepted a plea to the charge of Shooting at or within a Dwelling, 2nd Degree Felony in the State of Florida; additionally, this plea calls for Mr. Marok to be registered as a convicted felon. The Assistant State Attorney clearly announced the plea deal to Mr. Marok that included, ‘no longer being allowed to lawfully possess a firearm or ammunition, or a concealed weapon or the ability to vote, etc.’ These implications were discussed with Mr. Marok and he voluntarily agreed to these terms with his plea, which is a downward departure based upon the plea bargain agreement between counsel. Mr. Marok scores out to 19.5 months prison. Instead, Mr. Marok received at least 5 years State Probation. The court became aware that Mrs. Marok has a concealed weapons permit and may have weapons stored in the home, which would subject Mr. Marok to a Violation of Probation and potentially going to prison. Judge McFee was taking the necessary time to ensure that Ms. Marok understood the terms of the attorney’s negotiated plea and, if she was in objection, then the court would not accept this plea. Mrs. Marok was in agreement with the plea deal and pledged not to have any weapons in the home being shared with Mr. Marok, a convicted felon.”
Attorney Eric Friday, of Jacksonville, Florida, focuses on Second Amendment rights and weapons law. He stated that the judge’s decision went too far.
“Mr. Marok’s family has the right to continue to own guns as long as he is not in possession,” Friday said.
Thomas Marok, 36, agrees. He recently bought his mother a gun safe, which has only one key, but the safe remains empty.
“She is still afraid to go get them. She doesn’t want my dad to go to prison. I’m worried if she waits too long, they might get lost or damaged,” he said. “I just want to be there for my dad as much as I can. He’s embarrassed. I’m just upset about how he and my mom were treated.”
Thomas Marok served as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy. He currently works as an anesthesia technician in the Milwaukee area and is studying to become a physician’s assistant.
“I think the judge was anti-gun,” he said. “My mom told me during sentencing that if it were up to him, my dad would have jail time and all the guns would be locked up.”
The guns ought to be given to the son and kept outside the home. Regretfully, I have firsthand knowledge of the drug abuse and mental health of family members.
This isn’t a foolproof method of handling suffering or substance abuse.