Current Media Coverage on Felix

By Pat Bliss

Since we have enlisted the aid of Sachs Media Group in the Felix Garcia case, we have seen a large increase in media coverage. Below is a partial list of some of the newspapers and media outlets who have covered the case. We are thrilled at the attention Felix is finally getting in the press. Thank you Sachs Media, but we also don’t want to forget the commitment and help Felix has gotten from DeafInPrison.com, Mother Jones, and the many people who gave us support. This is a team effort, and I’m reminded of that expression, it takes a village. Thank you all for your hard work on Felix’s behalf.

Sachs Media Group

Reggie Garcia speaks to the crowd at #JusticeForFelix Rally. Image: Sachs Media Group

WJXT Jacksonville

Hearing-impaired seek justice for Florida man

March 25, 2014

By Matt Galka, Reporter

A deaf Florida man has spent more than 30 years of his life behind bars for a crime his brother has since confessed to. Hundreds of Floridians who are hearing-impaired are making noise to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

Felix Garcia was convicted of murdering a man in Tampa in 1983. Garcia is deaf and the court had no interpreter to help him understand his trial. He has spent every day since behind bars — even after his brother admitted to the murder.

Click here to read the rest of the article:

http://www.news4jax.com/news/hearingimpaired-seek-justice-for-florida-man/25160288

Also featured on WFLA—Matt Galka, Reporter

Click here to watch his video segment:

http://mms.tveyes.com/PlaybackPortal.aspx?SavedEditID=01d5eb53-2a06-4c1f-b462-ec1387c4dac2

Capital News Service

Hearing Impaired Seek Justice

March 25, 2014

By Matt Galka, Reporter

Felix Garcia was convicted of murdering a man in Tampa in 1983.  Felix is deaf and the court had no interpreter to help him understand his trial. He has spent every day since behind bars – even after his brother has admitted to the murder.

“He went into court, he didn’t know what was going on, he signed things he didn’t know he was signing and the result was he was incarcerated and he’s still in jail,” said Lissette Molina Wood through an interpreter. Wood is the Florida Association of the Deaf President.

http://www.flanews.com/?p=21116

WJXT-JAX – Jacksonville, FL

March 25, 2014

Matt Galka, Reporter

Click here to watch this video segment:

http://mms.tveyes.com/PlaybackPortal.aspx?SavedEditID=a07e28cb-ddb2-4463-a3fa-2976a506c2ff

WCJB (ABC) – Gainesville, FL

WCJB TV News 20

March 25, 2014

Matt Galka, Reporter

Click here to watch this video segment:

http://mms.tveyes.com/PlaybackPortal.aspx?SavedEditID=2025886c-0d14-4a62-89f3-90fc4e71fdb2

WCJB (ABC) – Gainesville, FL

WCJB TV News 20

March 25, 2014

Matt Galka, Reporter

Click here to watch this video segment:

http://mms.tveyes.com/PlaybackPortal.aspx?SavedEditID=00840338-5760-4c6a-9609-1f60567e7f5b

The Florida Channel

Capital Update

March 25, 2014

*Our story is featured at the end of the Capital Update

Click here to watch this video segment:

http://thefloridachannel.org/watch/channel/tvweb1/

The Tampa Tribune

Deaf Tampa convict seeks clemency in murder

March 25, 2014

By James Rosica

 

Felix Garcia is in prison for murder, his defenders say, in part because he did not want his hearing impairment to be mistaken for stupidity. Garcia, 52, is serving a life sentence for a August 1981 killing in a north Tampa motel room, the result of a drug robbery gone bad.

Now, he’s asking Gov. Rick Scott to set him free.

Click here to read the rest of the article:

http://tbo.com/news/politics/deaf-tampa-convict-seeks-clemency-in-murder-20140325/

WUFT (NBC) – Gainesville, FL

March 25,2014

By Tavis Smiley

Click here to watch video segment:

http://mms.tveyes.com/PlaybackPortal.aspx?SavedEditID=7083ea02-6b33-49aa-8f54-06d6ada4b1d4

Ad Hoc News

Deaf Tampa convict seeks clemency in murder

March 25, 2014

By James Rosica

Felix Garcia is in prison for murder, his defenders say, in part because he did not want his hearing impairment to be mistaken for stupidity.

Garcia, 52, is serving a life sentence for a August 1981 killing in a north Tampa motel room, the result of a drug robbery gone bad.Now, he’s asking Gov. Rick Scott to set him free.His brother, also charged in the robbery, later framed Garcia by getting him to pawn a ring stolen from the dead man, Joseph Tramontana Jr.

Click here to see the rest of the article:

http://article.wn.com/view/2014/03/25/Deaf_Tampa_convict_seeks_clemency_in_murder/

WFLA-TB (NBC) – Tampa Bay, FL

News Ch8 Today

March 26, 2014

Clip shown at 4:30/ 5:30 a.m.

Click here to watch this video segment:

http://mms.tveyes.com/PlaybackPortal.aspx?SavedEditID=50f4c42b-7e98-4a8e-98d3-1b3bdfd4ede3

If you haven’t yet signed the Sachs Media petition, we need your signature. Conversely, DeafInPrison.com’s petition which is the longest lived petition in the case is still open, but if you sign it, we’re asking that you please take the time to sign the Sachs Media petition as well. Thank you for understanding why this is so important.

Pat Bliss is a retired paralegal in criminal law. She continues to do legal work for indigent prisoner cases showing innocence. She is a Certified Community Chaplain, Certified as a volunteer for CISM (Crises Intervention Stress Management) and involved in community events.

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Famous Web Site Posts Exaggerated April Fools Story

By BitcoDavid

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

But you already knew that, huh? What gave it away, the NY Yankees bit?

Anyway, I just want to say that I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you! That DeafInPrison.com – the blog of record - would stoop to such antics!

All I can say in my defense is, “I have no recollection of that event, Mr. Senator.” ” It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.” And of course, “the check is in the mail.”

Happy April Fools, everybody.

 

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

Boston Red Sox to Begin Training in ASL

By BitcoDavid

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

The 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox will begin a program of ASL training for all players, according to principal owner, John Henry. Henry said, “This has nothing to do with communication. It occurred to me and to [team manager] John Farrell, that ASL would be a good way for our players to improve coordination skills and arm strength.”

An intensive program of ASL in conjunction with Ballet and needlepoint is scheduled to begin as early as May 1st. Participation is mandatory, and the association is currently investigating the contractual and legal issues.

“After all, we won the Series last year,” added noted pitcher Jon Lester, “so this year’s kind of a throw-away. I mean, what have we got to lose?”

Not to get caught behind the eight-ball on this, the N.Y. Yankees issued a statement that all players will now train with dark glasses, earmuffs and a cork in their mouths, while music from The Who’s Tommy will be blasted from the P.A.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Your Thoughts on the Felix Garcia Case

By BitcoDavid

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/deaf-prisoners-felix-garcia

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/deaf-prisoners-felix-garcia

Although we have entered into an arrangement with Sachs Media to bring their considerable skills to bear on Felix Garcia’s pending clemency, we are still getting signatures on our petition as well. I’m fine with that, but I hope people are also signing their petition – which goes directly into the inboxes of the officials who have influence on the case.

In the meantime, as I have perused the, now, 765 signatures, several of your comments have struck me. I have collected a few here, for you all to see. These comments are your words, not mine. In other words, this is how the Public feels about Felix.

My boyfriend has done time with him and was a translator for him while at polk ci. He had discussed this with him in detail and was very surprise to heat that it finally made he courts. After listen to him and then reading up on Felix I felt that I should support him. Must be bad to be in there for being guilty but being innocent that must must be really bad.

***

I am a certified sign language interpreter with 25 years of experience. I also have Deaf parents and a Deaf sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I take this case very personally because it could have been one of my family members being unjustly jailed. This is a complete failure of our justice system that should have been so blatantly obvious at the time, but somehow it wasn’t. Mr. Garcia should be freed immediately based upon this new evidence and more importantly, due to the lack of him being afforded the opportunity and ability to defend himself against these false charges. I stand with all those who support that persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing should never be tried without the clear ability to communicate and defend themselves against any and all claims made against them. To do otherwise is complete madness and unconstitutional.

***

This would be heartbreaking if it was merely a case of one man being framed for murder by his own brother and wasting more than thirty years in a prison cell. It is infuriating once you understand that Frank Garcia openly confessed to framing his brother Felix in writing and in court, and yet Felix is STILL in prison seven years later. But what makes it truly, egregiously, outrageously horrific, is that Felix is functionally Deaf, and like other such men and women in prison, his Deafness has been denied – when not outright exploited – by our glorious justice system from the day he was arrested. He has been denied interpreters and even batteries for his hearing aids, laughed at when attempting to communicate, frightened into a desperate suicide attempt by guards, and raped. This. Is. Not. Acceptable.
***
Keep up the outstanding work, Pat Bliss and team!
***
As a former law enforcement agent, I feel sad and guilty for the unjustified incarceration of Felix Garcia. Please, do not let this tragedy continue, release this poor soul who was betrayed by his own brother.
***
New evidence requires a review of this case; and not giving a Deaf man access to his own hearing aids is Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

This is just a sample of the many comments I have received on the petition, but they convey the emotions and thinking of the general public as they become increasingly aware of Felix’s plight. Please take a moment to sign the Sachs Media petition here, and Like their FaceBook page, here. Even if you have already signed our petition. I know that’s a lot to ask, and I apologize for it, but this way, you can be assured that your voice will be heard.

At the same time, I’d like to thank everybody who has already signed ours, and to let you know that our petition is still active, and still holds the record for longest lived petition since this case was first made public. We had the record for the most signatures, and although we have gained a significant number since Sachs Media’s petition was launched, I honestly hope we no longer have that honor. When our 765 signatures become the second runner-up, that means that so many more will have already been brought to Florida’s attention.
You can tweet about Felix using the hashtags, #JusticeForFelix or #FreeFelix.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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The Struggle of the Deaf in Prison

By BitcoDavid

Image: Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia

Deep beneath Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain – recently renamed Mt. BitcoDavid – lies the DeafInPrison.com complex. Here, thousands of worker bees  – wearing black suits, dark sunglasses and coiled thingies in their ears – drive around in blacked-out Chevy Suburbans, and labor tirelessly to bring you the best in Internet content.

Recently they received a communique from the Silent Grapevine, requesting a supporter contribution. Here is BitcoDavid’s response to that request:

The Struggle of the Deaf in Prison

By
BitcoDavid

All three elements of interaction with the Justice system, directly affect the Deaf in far different ways than they do the Hearing.

1) Arrest: The goal of police during an arrest is to take physical custody of a suspect. Their only concern is discovering hidden weapons, and preventing escape. There is little opportunity for communication during this phase, and an ability of the suspect to follow orders is essential. When a cop holding his gun, yells “get down or I’ll shoot,” you need to get down. If you can’t understand that command, you’re in immediate danger. Many Deaf sacrifice their Constitutional rights, due to lack of understanding the Miranda warning. A written card containing the Miranda rights is useless, because many Deaf have limited reading ability.

The interrogation phase of arrest is equally fraught with communicational failings. Many Deaf, in order to fit in, or to expedite an uncomfortable situation, will respond to questioning by smile and nod. This leads Hearing to believe that the Deaf understand what is going on, even when they don’t. Finally, out of fear and exhaustion, the suspects will often confess to things they didn’t do. After 12, 24, possibly even 48 hours of grueling questions – none of which they can hear or understand – they confess.

2) Court proceedings and trial: Here, an interpreter is essential, but is often denied. An example is the now 33-year-old case of Felix Garcia, the man that DeafInPrison.com is working to pardon. On numerous occasions, the judge would ask Felix if he could hear. For reasons that he himself isn’t completely clear on, he would answer in the affirmative. In the end, all they did was turn the speakers all the way up, causing Felix great pain, but not aiding at all in his ability to hear the accusations and evidence against him.

If a Deaf defendant is at all likely to have the benefit of a qualified ASL interpreter, it is during the trial phase. However, interpreters cost money that states are loath to spend. They will invariably try to find cost cutting methods of getting things done. Why add to an already expensive trial if you can prove that no interpreter is required?

3) Incarceration: It is here that the Deaf suffer most. It is here as well, that competent interpreters are most necessary, and least often made available. There have been cases reported of Deaf inmates not reporting for Count, because the order is verbal. Failure to report for Count can result in serious punishment such as Solitary Confinement. The same situation exists with Mess. Often, Deaf inmates go without being fed, because they are unaware that it’s time to eat.

The biggest problem for the Deaf in America’s prisons is violence and rape. Deaf people cannot hear whispers and muttering. They can’t hear people coming up behind them, and they have difficulty in reporting such activities. They struggle receiving medical care, because they can’t hear the doctors and nurses, therefore may not be as able to take part in their therapy, or in filling prescriptions, as can their Hearing counterparts. Conversely, they are less able to describe symptoms or to otherwise aid in their diagnoses.

The number of prisons and jails that offer onsite interpreters for these situations is relatively small – even in these days of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Furthermore, even if interpreters are available, the inmate must request one before the appointment.

Guards often see Deaf inmates as troublemakers. Nothing gets under a Corrections Officer’s skin, as much as a special request or need. When you’re in charge of 1000 or more individuals, the last thing you want to hear is inmate XYZ needs an interpreter.

We can address and eliminate these issues with a small amount of effort.

Every police cruiser in this country is equipped with onboard computers and WiFi. Police should learn how to use video relay via the Internet. Deaf suspects can be brought to the cruiser, where they would be able to offer a defense against arrest, and at the same time, be informed as to why they’re being arrested and what is expected of them.

Detectives need to conduct interrogations with interpreters present. If costs and availability were an issue, again, Internet interpreters and video relay would do the trick.

The responsibility for determining a defendant’s ability to aid in his own defense should no longer be the purview of judges and attorneys. The court should consult with an audiologist if there is any question as to a defendant’s competency.

Prisons and jails would need to make three significant changes. First, interpreters should be full-time on all shifts, and available. Inmates shouldn’t have to go through official channels to request an interpreter. Secondly, institutions need to house Deaf inmates in separate dorms, fully equipped to meet their needs. Finally, Deaf and bilingual (English/ASL) guards would be greatly beneficial.

Lastly, of course, if ASL were offered in all public schools, colleges and trade schools, individuals – law enforcement and otherwise – would be able to communicate with the Deaf, and would be able to reap the many advantages of learning Sign.

Image: Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia

My gratitude and appreciation to Silent Grapevine for this opportunity.

Also, don’t forget that the #KeepASLinSchools video is done and can be seen here and here. Felix’s case is garnering much needed attention, thanks to the efforts of Sachs Media Group who is still maintaining their petition, here. Please take a minute to sign – even if you’ve already signed ours. It is critically important. And thank you all, for your continued support.

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Press Release on Felix Garcia Case

By BitcoDavid

Photo: Hundreds rallied at the Florida Capitol today! Help Felix Garcia by signing the Change.org petition. http://bit.ly/FreeFelix

Rally at Florida State Capitol for SB1304 and HB1125 – and for Clemency for Felix. Image: Sachs Media Group

Below, you can see a copy of the press release that Sachs Media Group sent out to all the major players in both the national and local media. DeafInPrison.com is not only proud of our efforts to free Felix Garcia, but we are also quite flattered that Sachs Media included us in that distribution. New York Times – we take our place at your table. Pass the biscuits, please.

Again, this is a press release. So, no pictures. That’s why I embedded it, rather than pasting it into this article. But it is the first press release we’ve ever received. In the words of Faith Hill, “I still like to wear my old ball cap – ride my kids around piggy-back.”

BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.

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Deaf Bill of Rights act in Georgia

By Supporter Contributor Frank James John Lala, Jr., Ph.D.

 

Here’s the linked Ruling via embedded PDF.

 

For more reading by Frank James John Lala Jr. Ph.D. see the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Counseling-Substance-Abuser-Frank-James/dp/0966375300

Keynote Speaker at the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf on Mental Health Issues (1999), and author of, “Counseling the Deaf Substance Abuser”. Dr. Frank Lala, recipient of Gallaudet University’s prestigious Laurent Clerc Award by Dr. I. King Jordan in recognition for the work in mental health and substance abuse. Author has both School Smarts (Education/Degrees) and Street Smarts (Experience/Harsh Childhood that gives him Survival Skills, Character, and Perspectives on Life)

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