Why Isn’t Felix Free by Now?

By Pat Bliss

Felix could say he cried out for help to anyone who would listen. Ever since he found out – after arriving in prison and  having the trial transcripts read to him by his cell mate – that his sister testified against him. All the time thinking, during the trial she was helping him, because he could not discern the words spoken by the witnesses, while testifying. Felix relied on his attorney, when he would ask him, “What are they saying?”  “Everything will be OK,” the lawyer would say. He also saw his brother Frank come into the courtroom, and was told he pled the fifth and that is why he didn’t testify – nor help him go home. Felix did not know what Frank had said in his own trial a year earlier.

Felix could say that he relied on a prison law clerk’s advice when he got Frank’s first affidavit in 1989. It stated that Frank killed the victim, that Tina and Ray participated in the crime and that he, Felix, was completely innocent. The law clerk misfiled that document and it was sent back to Felix. Felix thought the regular letter from the Judge was a denial and he put the affidavit in a box, only to be remembered again in 1997 when I took his case. Felix could only read at an elementary level at that time.

You could say his legal team made a wrong decision in 1999 by withdrawing the second affidavit from Frank. In all honesty the team were under the impression the deaf issue (6th Amendment violation) was valid, as it was allowed to proceed to the Evidentiary Hearing. They did not know the Judge, and the State, already knew it was going to be stricken. Due to a turn of events, it was not the right time to present the new evidence. Time proved that.  But alas, this court action was denied.

You could say that it took too long for the inmates – to whom Frank confessed that he put his innocent younger brother in prison, so he could avoid the death penalty – to send in their affidavits. Eventually many of them were transferred to where Felix was. Most had never met Felix before. A couple of the inmates had – over the years – been in the same prison with Felix, but they never knew each other. When they met Felix, and remembered what Frank had told them, they felt obligated to write affidavits of what they heard. These came to me between 2002-2004.

You could say that at the 2006 Evidentiary Hearing, where Frank confessed to Felix’s innocence, and how Felix got tangled into the crime by Frank making him sign a pawn ticket, that the Court got it wrong, by not believing Frank’s confession. The Court did not say it didn’t believe the confession. The Order stated it did not believe Frank,  because Frank had lied at his own trial in 1982. He lied to his attorney, to the jury, and to the Judge – making him not credible in the eyes of the Court. Frank’s whole testimony was tossed out. And the appeal was unsuccessful, without an opinion. It closed the door for any more appellate procedures on the case both in state and federal court.

But I  suggest that the Courts, nor the State want to concede they have convicted an innocent man. This is not a DNA case. If it was, it would be over by now. The jury got it wrong. There was no consideration for the time factors and defense witnesses. The Judge got it wrong. Felix’s trial attorney could have done better, but he did what he could to alert the court of his client’s limited ability to help in his own defense. And he asked not to proceed to trial. The Judge knew Felix had a hearing problem, he could have ordered a sign interpreter. This case though, was unique in 1983.  Now we are in 2014.  The Governor has the authority to right that wrong – if he wants to and so far he doesn’t. And Felix’s sister, Tina – in May of this year – had her chance to right the wrong, and help her younger brother, Felix. She chose not to. We can’t blame her, really. There is no statute of limitations on a murder case, and she has enjoyed her freedom these 32+ years.

In a nutshell, this is why Felix is still in prison. Publicity helps draw attention, which can be invaluable, but it cannot get anyone out of prison. There are only three ways that can happen 1) the case goes back to court on some issue that is viable or 2) the Governor and Clemency Cabinet grants clemency or 3) the Parole Board grants parole.  Our next proceeding is the Parole Board hearing, possibly in January of 2015. The efforts of the legal team are in full force to make this third avenue a reality -  your support inspires us.  Thank you.

–Pat Bliss

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.

Excited About All the Activity

By Pat Bliss

I know BitcoDavid is working hard on Heather Hardy’s music video for Felix, and I’m sure it will be great when it’s done. He tells me that he’s trying to get it online as soon as possible,  so as to coincide with all this other activity in the case. But I also know what a perfectionist he is, and he won’t put product on DeafInPrison.com, until he’s sure it’s as good as he can make it.

As I reread my last post on Felix’s case last January, I am amazed how much has transpired since then.  A  fourth attorney came on board later that month. Jamie Johnson is from Patton Boggs, an international firm with offices in 12 other countries. Early in February, lead attorney, Reggie Garcia, acquired the pro bono services of Sachs Media Group in Tallahassee. With this highly experienced team working together, it has kept me busy practically 24/7 with answering questions, gathering documents, checking for accuracy. Not had much time to write, hence the delay in this update.

Sachs Media Group

Sachs Media Group

On March 25th the unseen publicity work behind the scenes culminated into action with a rally on the steps of Florida’s Capitol in response to two bills in congress requiring licensure of sign interpreters and restoration of funding for the council coordinating Florida’s policies concerning deaf Floridians. Felix’s case was used as a prime example for the need of a sign interpreters for a deaf defendant going to trial, without a sign interpreter the result is an unjust, unfair trial. It resonated with the press and the deaf community. It was seen on several TV nightly news programs, online news, and in print newspapers. That event has generated a new level of support to see Felix freed.

However, Felix, as all prisoners, live in a cocoon – away from actual life events. Telling Felix that a lot is going on with his case is like “so what else is new?” attitude. Inside he cannot grasp the excitement, the fervor among his legal team working on his freedom. He doesn’t comprehend the interest his case has garnered with so many of the Deaf organizations in FL. And all the new supporters seeking his freedom. But that has changed.  Felix has now realized something is actually happening when he saw the picture of clemency attorney Reginald Garcia standing on the steps of the Capitol speaking, with his own picture on a poster front row. Seeing the picture reminds me of an earlier post I did where Felix said  “we are picture people.”  When he saw something so evident it became a reality, that convinced him.  I can relax now knowing my “son’s” hope is again alive and well.

The best is yet to come on this road to freedom. Under the leadership of  lead attorney Reginald Garcia and the team, my heart is filled with gratitude and thanksgiving. But I would be amiss if I did not include the support of so many people, including websites, around the country and internationally. Words cannot express what I feel. Thank you!

 

 

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/453/783/026/felix-garcia-should-be-granted-a-full-pardon/

I asked one of Felix’s supporters to write up a brief story about a recent visit he made to Florida, to visit Felix. His name is Henry Kingsbury, and he’s a retired music professor. Here’s his perceptions on the visit.

I’ve been writing to Felix from my home in Maine since I read about him in Mother Jones. I finally flew down for a visit with him on Saturday, April 12.  I don’t know sign language, so at first I was a bit apprehensive as to how well Felix and I would communicate with each other, and indeed, for the first hour or so we had several pauses and wondering what to do or say next.  But pretty soon we were both talking a blue streak (he’s pretty good at lip-reading, as long as I make sure to be standing right in front of him while I’m saying something), once or twice stopping to go back and make sure we were actually understanding each other.  We both had to work at this — but we DID work at it, and we had a wonderful, wonderful visit.

Felix has an amazing awareness of the best and the worst of life:  he told me about prison gangs and violence, about the ill-treatment of deaf people, and getting by within the prison economy.  But he also demonstrated an amazing personal discipline.  Although he is intensely emotional on the matter of getting his freedom, he is downright joyful once he starts talking about all the things he’s learning; he enthusiastically showed me how he had repaired, using nothing but retooled junk, a pair of old sneakers.  He’s very enthusiastic about what he’s been able to learn in an educational program he’s been in these last few months (but only for the time being:  right now, he’s allowed to use computers with various application software — word processing, mechanical drawing, etc.; no e-mail or internet), and gleefully told me about the things he could do on the computer.

After he told me about some of the awful corruption inside the prison, I told him the biblical story behind the word, “shibboleth,” and he was so interested in this new word that he wrote it on his hand, so he could look it up in his dictionary when he went back inside.  We had a nice little lunch (Felix, of course, said grace).  He taught me a few ASL signs, and we talked about his coming to Maine when he gets out (apparently he’s never seen snow).  But that’s only when he gets out, when he gets out. I said, when he gets out.  Did I mention the importance of getting this guy out of prison?  Soon? His ability to maintain a sense of cheerfulness, even while enduring the unendurable, left a profound impression on me.  It was an amazing day.

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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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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Dogs Serving Time in Prison – Temporarily

By Pat Bliss

English: Golden retriever puppy, three months ...

Golden retriever puppy, three months old. (Daisy Parker) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is not a normal posting about deaf prisoners, but my friend BitcoDavid is an avid dog lover so I have combined the two. These dogs inside prisons are trained to be service dogs for wheelchair people, autistic children, PTSD vets and facility dogs for hospitals and nursing homes. They come from New Horizons Service Dogs Inc. in Orlando, FL. I keep in touch with a Florida prisoner who trains these service dogs and Jeff has some very interesting insight that I would like to share.

I think the best way to tell you about how a dog and prisoner interact in a prison cell, is to just relate what Jeff said in his letters. He began this program in early 2012. I had told him – when he was telling me about it – that I am sure dozens of prisoners are going to want to do it. His answer was, “believe it or not, very few are interested. They like dogs, like to play, feed, and pet them but don’t love them enough, where they want to live with them, clean up  behind them or groom them.”  Jeff said it is a full time job, from 5:30 AM until 10:30 AM, seven days a week and he said very few prisoners are dedicated to it.

Jeff loves dogs, always had them before prison, so this is something he loves. The first dog he was given was a 9-week-old purebred black lab puppy.  Jeff relates:

“This dog of mine is a shadow even to wanting to get in the shower with me and gives me dirty looks when I make him sit or lay outside until I am done. I’m up 3-5 times a night with him to do his duty.  My dog has learned a few commands so far, but he thinks it’s a game and wants to play all the time. When I stop the playing he must learn it is a partnership between me and him and I am boss! But he is so clumsy and comical. At the same time we got a couple other dogs that were abused and under nourished so we got them ready to go back out. It’s sad how anyone could abuse such a lovable and dedicated dogs as these.”

Jeff was telling me that the owners were coming to see how the dogs perform. As Jeff stated:

“I was very embarrassed, as all [dog's name] did was cry the whole time and when it came to us for a demonstration he did nothing! Whether it was stage fright and a room full of strange people and dogs, who knows. I took him down to the VP [visiting park] two days later and he preformed like a champion for the sergeant over the dog program. My dog was taken out 3 weeks ago for socialization so I don’t know if I’ll see him again. We clicked good together. The first set of dogs were with the guys from puppies for 18 months. Now they rotate the dogs every 4 months, so once you bond to a dog, he or she is gone!”

English: Golden Retriever dog (canis lupus fam...

Golden Retriever dog (canis lupus familiaris), resting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next Jeff had a “female yellow lab for several months that was then taken to team training to try to get her placed with an autistic child. At team training the prospective people who are to get the dogs are with the dog and trainers to get used to them and obey the new prospective owners.” Jeff was told, “about 65% make it (dogs trained in prison) and the rest wash out of the program and go as partially trained pets to veterans or as comfort dogs to places who need them.”

The yellow lab is gone and now came a male Golden Retriever, 17 months old and 95 lbs. This is what Jeff said:

“Thank God he doesn’t pull on the leash! He’s a lover and live teddy bear. He’s been with a puppy raiser the whole time and they taught him next to nothing, so at his age now it will be interesting to see what he will learn. I don’t think he even got out to play as he didn’t even know what a ball was or how to play with other dogs. These last 10 days he’s having lots of fun playing with the other dogs here, chasing and retrieving balls, playing tug with me and other dogs. It has really changed his personality. I think all he did was eat and lay up in the AC before. His ears were so dirty you could plant a garden in them and lots of fur balls and knots all over him. However, this dog is a lot of fun but he is quite possessive. Can’t be out of his sight more than a minute or two or he starts to bark.”

That Golden Retriever has gone on to better things and now Jeff has another one.

“A beautiful, deep reddish blonde Golden Retriever, he is 18 months old – who makes me miss and appreciate my last dog. This dog is loving and beautiful but one pain in the butt. He was with a puppy raiser for 17 months, then spent 2 months at another prison, with its trainers 1 week, then on to me. This dog is super hyper[active], always pacing up, off and under the bed constantly and always into something. He seems to never run out of gas and sleep. I was on the phone the other day and came back and he ate a dirty sock and part of a cleaning sponge with Ajax and bleach on it. Needless to say he got a good cleaning out for about 3 1/2 days. He’s about 80 lbs and pulls on the leash like a freight train and lunges at birds constantly. My arms should be about 2 inches longer by now. He has already chewed through 4 leashes. When I open the kennel, he runs under the bed and I need to drag him out. And when you correct him, he just glares and leers at you and pays no attention, though he does do his basic commands. I can tell by his habits that whoever had him was gone all day as a bowl of food and water will last all day and he only picks at it but after 5:00 pm he eats and drinks like crazy. Also the way he jumps on the bed and wants to sleep when I’m not around tells me he did the same and was allowed to where he was those 17 months. He will definitely be a challenge and test of patience.”

Jeff H.

South FL Prison

[Editor's Note: For more on this, go here, here or here. -- BitcoDavid]

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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Song Tells Felix’s Suffering

By Pat Bliss

Heather Hardy is one of the individuals who wrote our petition for Felix Garcia’s pardon. She recently completed recording the song she wrote to accompany that petition. She is currently seeking an interpreter to facilitate the production of a video of the song, which we will publish here, upon its completion. Until that time, here is the mp3 - audio only – version of the song. Below, find the embedded Word document containing the lyrics.

 

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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Update on Felix – Part 2

By Pat Bliss

After visiting with Felix on Sunday, January 5th I drove to Tallahassee. I took a route I had not traveled before, which took me through mid-Florida flat land compiled mainly of horse farms and training establishments for horse racing. I actually enjoyed it, and allowed enough time to get to Tallahassee before dark. Our clemency attorney – Reginald Garcia – called me and told me there was to be an early meeting before going to the Capitol. It was totally unexpected and I would end up, blown away.

Image from Raiford Prison, cir. 1930  Northlight Theater Blog

Image from Raiford Prison, cir. 1930
Northlight Theater Blog

The meeting was with the Innocence Project of Florida. After much discussion, they agreed to look into our case. As if that wasn’t enough, there was more. Attorney Michael Ufferman – an expert in criminal appellate law – was at the same meeting. Attorney Ufferman received case law on a US Supreme Court opinion where the Federal Courts will drop any time bars on actual innocence cases. This has been are stickler in the past for us, getting heard in Federal Court on Felix’s 6th Amendment violation – denied a fair trial due to deafness where he could not assist nor understand what was taking place and was not  provided an interpreter.

Attorney Ufferman stated he was going to file a Federal Writ Of Habeas Corpus. In a third happy surprise, Attorney Garcia – experienced in parole matters – said he will attend Felix’s parole hearing coming up in October with me.

In my heart I was bursting with thankfulness as we left the Innocence Project office to go to the Capitol for a meeting with an attorney for Governor Scott on the clemency action in progress.  We were encouraged to see other clemency aides to get a second vote to initiate a Request for Review which requires the Governor plus one. Another positive step in a long process.

I left Florida very content that my purpose in making this trip had been fulfilled.

Update on Felix:
Felix is on a new venture. He graduated from the Character/Faith program on 1/13/14. He is enrolled in a training class to become a computer instructor and is already teaching Word, Excel and drawings on the computer to fellow inmates. Besides this new work he is in and knowing what these professional attorneys are doing on his case, Felix definitely went from hopelessness to hope in a very short time. Happy New Year to all!

Pat Bliss

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.

I Need Hope…..

By Pat Bliss

Felix's most recent shot December 2013 Tomoka. Image Courtesy Pat Bliss

Felix’s most recent shot, December 2013, Tomoka.
Image Courtesy Pat Bliss

Before my leaving for Florida to be with Felix on Christmas day, I received a phone call saying, “I need help, I can’t get it together.” A letter came a couple days later. “I can’t seem to get a grasp of reality… why can’t I get out of here? Why can’t I get my life back?” Then, a little further he states,

“I had hope [at Polk CI]. Hope of one day getting out. I don’t have that here. All I see is hopelessness, despair, forgotten, deserted, alone. I can’t stand this feeling. I feel like I am at the end of my rope. Life has been really hard on me the last two years and I am giving up slowly…I just want to go home – please.”

In this same letter, he shared when he was a scared kid, when his parents sent him to live with his grandparents and he knew his parents were leaving him. He wrote,

“I am 52 years old but I feel like a scared kid all over again. All I want is a chance… I need help, I need hope, I need a real door, a goal. Something to tell myself ‘I am really going home’, if I can’t do that then it’s over, there is nothing left… I am scared, mom, I really am. I am scared for myself. Times have changed. I don’t belong here.”

With this on my mind I drove to FL and when I saw Felix come into the visiting room at Tomoka CI, he displayed his usual infectious smile and greeted me with a big hug, I said, we are going to have a real mother-son talk and tell me all what is going on in your heart and mind. And that he did! He got it all out – anger, unfairness, hopelessness on his case, frustrations. I, in turn, spoke plainly so I could be sure he understood what was going on. We started around 10 am and talked through our lunch and ice cream. By the time I left at 2:30 pm he felt good, and relieved to get it all off his chest.

However, the hope he was seeking hadn’t come yet. It wasn’t just hope for getting out, it was hope to have purpose. This is a need in everyone’s life.  The Bible states “without hope the people parish.” Why am I here? Doesn’t God care? Felix had said “Oh, I believe God can but He doesn’t see me” which broke my heart. Yes God sees him but He has a greater purpose for Felix that we don’t see.  In the meantime, while I was gone between Christmas and Family Day at Tomoka on January 3, 2014, hope came alive. The person responsible in the Horizon Character-Based Program dorm where Felix lives had Felix in mind to take over instructing the computer classes. Felix was told he was to graduate from the Character-Dorm program early, in order to enter the training class to be an instructor. Felix is that good.

The Faith Day event for all the inmates in the program was a huge success. I got to meet the other 4 deaf in the dorm and their families. Felix’s whole attitude had changed, he feels needed and has a goal each day. We visited Saturday and on Sunday I only stayed an hour as I needed to get on the road to Tallahassee. Our relationship had also changed, after having that talk Christmas day he realized I was not going anywhere. He could talk to me and be honest with his feelings. I could tell by the long hug and being able to say “I really love you, mom.”

I will write in another post about the advancement on his clemency action. These are doors Felix was referring to in his letters and when mentioned at our Christmas visit. Life is full of surprises. They are yet to come.

Pat

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.

Related articles

Felix Featured in Al Jazeera Documentary

By Pat Bliss

#JusticeForFelixThere has been a documentary in the works for a few years on the deaf in our prisons. It starts airing tonight on cables’  Al Jazeera America (AJA)  America Tonight at 9pm. It’ll be in Closed Caption. Felix will be highlighted in tonight’s segment, tomorrow will highlight other deaf. After the segment tonight Journalist James Ridgeway  will be in a Q & A session – he wrote the first article on Felix’s case for Mother Jones Magazine in 2011 online and in print 2012. After Friday’s segments Talila Lewis of HEARD will be doing the Q & A session.
If you don’t know you have AJA on your cable, check this web site, input your zip code and it’ll tell you the cable and channel number  http://america.aljazeera.com/tools/getajam.html


If you cannot get it, it will possibly be online on their website soon after : http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight.html
 
Thank you. Pat Bliss
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.

Celebrating McCay Vernon and Visiting Felix

By Pat Bliss

Most recent photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.  Image credit Pat Bliss

Most recent photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.
Image credit Pat Bliss

It was a quick weekend for me but I felt a need to attend the celebration of the life of Dr. McCay Vernon on September 22nd and I was glad I did. It was well attended with many, many of his former students who are themselves, college professors. For the first time, I felt like the minority in that I do not sign and most everyone else did. There were those who were deaf who signed and those who were hearing who signed. Mac was a sensational human being, according to the people who knew him best and for a very long time. He was always encouraging them to greater achievements. He was always there to help if needed. He was called a rock star in his field of expertise.  An old school friend of his told me Mac loved sports, especially basketball. In his retirement years – it became a common thread in speeches given – that one of Mac’s most favorite pastimes was breakfast, and lots of them. Everyone who spoke mentioned going out for breakfast, on a regular basis. I was beginning to think each one thought they were the only ones. What a surprise!

Mac’s wife Marie asked me to be a speaker on Felix’s case as it was close to Mac’s heart. I could not compare to those who spoke so lovingly and wisely about Dr. Vernon but I was able to share how Mac got involved with Felix’s case and how passionate he was in helping us. In the process, he led me to Washington Correspondent James Ridgeway to do an article for Mother Jones on Felix’s case. This started the publicity that Felix’s case needed. Mac put me in touch with author Joanne Greenberg about writing a book, which led to my writing Felix’s case story on DeafInPrison.com. He sent me literature he wrote on the deaf in the criminal justice system whenever I had a problem I needed some direction on. He was always there. I’ll miss that.

I spent Saturday with Felix. We had a great visit and he wants everyone to know how much he appreciates the cards, letters and prayers. Again, I learned something new about Felix. This time he showed me how he learns. He drew me a triangle. One side said, “see.” The second side said, “endure” and the third side said “do it”.  And he explained it this way: he sees the subject, he studies it to the point of absorbing what it says (endures) and then does what it says. This may seem elementary but remember Felix said in a earlier post “we are picture people?” He learns by drawing and writing it out so he can see it.  Just before leaving, referencing Mac’s passing, Felix said, “If it wasn’t for Dr. Vernon, we would not have what we have today.” It is evident, we all could agree with that statement.

Pat Bliss

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.

A Friend Whom Felix Never Met

By Pat Bliss

This friendship goes back a long time starting with a letter written in Felix’s behalf in 1996, asking help for a deaf innocent man in prison at that time 15 years. Dr. McCay Vernon replied to Felix on November 24, 1996. McCay immediately took some action by sending a copy of the letter to the Editor in Chief of Silent News, Mrs. Betty Broecker, and wrote to Mr. Frank Slater of the Florida Association of the Deaf to see if they would help. Unfortunately, neither one responded to Felix but this began an interest in Felix’s plight.

I have no letters or notes between Felix and McCay but that does not mean there were none as they could have gotten thrown away or lost at the prison. However, there had to be some correspondence because I got a phone message on 8/22/09 followed up with a letter on 8/24/09 from McCay stating he would like to volunteer his services at Felix’s parole hearing. He sent me his resume. That really touched me, as if a man of his stature would be required to show the Parole Board his credentials as an expert on the deaf.  As happens in DOC, no one appeared at the parole hearing due to the Parole Board setting the hearing one month earlier in 2010  and we were not aware of it. Hence, no one was there representing Felix and the result was a denial.

FaceBook
FaceBook

Mac could not get Felix out of his mind. He was really upset to know there was a deaf man, innocent, still in prison. He would send me copies of articles on the deaf in the criminal justice system.  In our emails I talked about writing a book on Felix’s case. Marie Vernon offered suggestions, since she is an experienced novelist.  Then Mac suggested I contact Journalist Jim Ridgeway in Washington DC, I did, and he published Felix’s story in a article for Mother Jones mag. While I was working with Jim on his article, I got a phone call from Author Joanne Greenberg saying she heard from McCay asking if she could  write the book on Felix’s case story. Joanne declined for something better and suggested I tell Felix’s story on her new blog site DeafInPrison.com . The rest is history. Felix and I are very thankful to Mac for his full support and help to get his story out to the public.

In the meantime, I am telling Felix all what is going on, how Mac helped us here and there and that he cared so much about his situation. Felix’s relationship with Mac was mainly through my letters and I would pass back to Mac what is going on in Felix’s life. Relaying back and forth messages regarding Felix continued until the day Mac was not able to do it anymore in July of this year.

Felix called me the weekend of September 1st and I told him the news of Mac’s passing. I cannot say how Felix took it as “feelings” are not translated over a TTY call but he responded the only way he could – I’ll send his wife a card. Felix could have cried when alone, however, until then, emotions are held at bay in prison life. An additional  sad part of this story is,  another friend will not be there to meet Felix when he is freed. Dr. McCay Vernon wanted to see that day so badly – he will indeed be sorely missed. 

Pat Bliss

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.

Felix Garcia’s Story: Part 4 in the Series

By Pat Bliss

[Editor's note: This is the 4th installation in our series on the Felix Garcia case. In this segment, Ms. Bliss presents more of the testimony, and points out the contradictions. It is presented in embedded format, and can be viewed in full screen by clicking the link at the bottom. -- BitcoDavid]

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.

Part 3 in the Serialization of Felix’s Case

By Pat Bliss

[Editor's Note: This is the 3rd embed in our series chronicling the trial of Felix Garcia. At this point, all the data that was previously published on the page, Blisshas now been made available in PDF embed format. We will begin reproducing the page, Bliss-2, and the series should be complete shortly. This particular section of the story is taken from transcripts of testimony, and is presented in block quote format, with a few notes by Ms. Bliss. Unfortunately, no graphics could be made available, while sticking to this strict format.

Hence, it makes for a somewhat difficult read, but it is well worth struggling through. Buried within this testimony is a great deal of information indicating Felix's innocence, the extent of the effort gone to, by his family, to frame him, and the bias of detectives and prosecutors against him. I found it to be a thoroughly fascinating read. -- BitcoDavid]

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.

A Brief List Regarding Felix Garcia’s Innocence

By Pat Bliss

It has come to my attention that there are many who have commented on the story of deaf inmate Felix Garcia seeking more concrete evidence of his innocence.  I have not finished with the series on the Felix Garcia criminal case. I plan on presenting all the evidence showing innocence. But because it has been asked for now, I will briefly list this evidence that was presented at trial and will be forthcoming:

1. 1983 Trial testimony placing Felix at another location.
2. 1983 Trial testimony devoid of physical proof Felix was there (13 fingerprints of Frank Garcia were.)
3. A 1989 Statement/Affidavit by co-defendant Frank Garcia admitting he killed the victim and Felix is innocent of any knowledge of the crime.

4. Two 1996 Affidavits, one by Frank and one by his sister, Tina (a participant), stating Felix had nothing to do with the planning and committing of the crime.

5. From 2001 – 2005 seven inmates, former friends of Frank at different institutions, sent me their affidavits where Frank confessed to them he was responsible for his innocent brother Felix being in prison.
6. 2006 Evidentiary Hearing, a confession by Frank that Felix was innocent and had nothing to do with the crime.
I’d like to add that if I – as a volunteer paralegal, who has used personal finances and much of my free time – thought for one moment, Felix was guilty, I would not have spent almost 17 years on this case. I am as convinced today as I was at the beginning. In fact, all who have met him while I have been on this case, including his current pro bono clemency attorney, have come away believing he is absolutely innocent. I wish everyone with doubts could have the opportunity to meet Felix.
After the verdict chapter, I will highlight the appeals and post-conviction actions that will introduce these actual court documents.Then this should bring you up to the present where we are now in a clemency action. Pardons are a form of clemency. The Petition with all its signatures will be quite helpful when our action gets the attention of the Florida Governor and his Clemency Board. For this, I am grateful to you all for signing.
Sincerely, Pat Bliss
[Editor's Note: We only have a little over 400 signatures left to go! Please! Please! Go to
Thank you for all your support,
BitcoDavid]

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.

Felix’s Story Serialized Pt. 2

By Pat Bliss

BitcoDavid has been working hard on reformatting these sequences of Felix’s story into PDF files. I hope you enjoy this second installment in our combined effort.

Be sure and check out Felix’s petition. We need your help, freeing this innocent Deaf man.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/453/783/026/felix-garcia-should-be-granted-a-full-pardon

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.

A First for Florida Deaf Prisoner Felix Garcia

By Pat Bliss

[This article has been edited to remove the specific names of the researcher and her institution, by request of the original copyright holder - Ed.]

Fist, let me tell you that the clemency action is in motion and the interview article I mentioned in my last update, is on hold due to other commitments at the newspaper.

Something new happened for Felix when he met  a researcher on deaf communication in prisons who came to interview him last Tuesday, June 11, 2013. The researcher contacted me that she would like to do an interview. I led her to the proper authorities, she made the arrangements and the interview took place at Tomoka Correctional Institution.

Image courtesy of Pat Bliss

Image courtesy of Pat Bliss

But it was much more than your usual interview. You see, she is deaf and her language is ASL. Have you ever met someone new and wanted to just sit down and talk to get acquainted? You exchanged personal stories, your likes and dislikes, dreams and ambitions. You could carry on a conversation because you spoke the same language, you understood each other. This happened for the first time EVER in Felix’s life – that is, sitting down and having a normal conversation which he could be a part of and understand all what was said.

How is this so? While living in the free world, Felix was going deaf due to a untreated ear infection from the age of 3. When he was of age to have friends to hang around with, his hearing was cloudy as the disease was eating away his ear drum, puss leaking and suffering from migraine headaches and throwing up. He was not a kid who people would gravitate to. But he could not enjoy any communication anyway since he couldn’t understand what was said in an entire sentence, didn’t comprehend what the meanings were of words since he did not hear the teachers teaching - especially in high school English and Composition. Felix didn’t know what was happening but he felt he was not normal, he was different. A horrible event happened where Felix was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit but it was in prison he found out he was Deaf, and fellow inmates taught him how to Sign, to talk and pronounce words. That was the beginning of being able to interact with people – with full understanding.

The researcher comes in to interview. They are taken to a small room inside the visiting park area. At first he is prepared for an interview with pad and pen but she tells him to put it away, this is different. She opens with telling him something about herself in Sign. He signed back something about himself.  This two way conversation continued for about 3 hours. Felix was ecstastic. He never had an interview like this before, where he got to exchange ideas and convey his own thoughts - his way, in Sign. Felix called me and said “Mom, she is just like me!” [Felix refers to Ms. Bliss as "Mom." - Ed.] He realized there are Deaf out on the streets whom he can communicate with, as any normal human being. It was truly a eye opening moment for Felix. He has new hope of surviving when he gets his freedom. She is excited to have met such an exceptional deaf prisoner. She told me Felix is so different from the others, that he gripped her heart with his honesty and openness. We ended our Video Relay call with her words “I can’t walk away”. I said “I know, that is the reaction from everyone who meets him.”

[Editor's Note: We are still desperate for signatures on Felix's Pardon Petition. I have included the link on 2 of the 3 above graphics, but here it is as well, unformatted so it can be pasted into your address bar if necessary.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/453/783/026/felix-garcia-should-be-granted-a-full-pardon/

Please consider signing this important petition. We still need about 600 signatures before we can send it off to the Florida authorities, and we want very much for that to coincide with his Clemency Hearing. Thank you in advance - BitcoDavid]

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.

H.P. Lovecraft Couldn’t Make This Up

By Pat Bliss

A 1934 issue of Weird Tales, the magazine in which first appeared H.P. Lovecraft's Gothic chiller, Rats in the Walls. Photo: Wikipedia

A 1934 issue of Weird Tales, the magazine in which first appeared, H.P. Lovecraft’s Gothic chiller, Rats in the Walls. Photo: Wikipedia

this is an excerpt from a 26 page letter that I received from a Deaf inmate. It was his story about going to medical, that I last posted. He is in solitary confinement now, for trying to help another inmate. Rather than going into all the details of that, I felt I wanted to share this particular portion of the letter with you.

Further, this place is infested with the mice and rats that I told you about before. In fact its more infested with mice and rats since the last time I told you about it. They have had time to breed. Its so full of mice and rats that you have to stay awake when the lights go out or they will actually crawl up on the bunk with you.

They [the cells] have foot lockers bolted to the walls that set higher then the bottom bunk that almost level with the top bunk that these mice and rats will climb up on, run along the foot lockers and jump off in the bunk where you are laying.

   

Splinter in the 2008 season of TMNT

Splinter in the 2008 season of TMNT (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Me and my cell partner stay up all night when the lights are out to see how many we can kill. We have rat killings. We will take one each of my boots which are heavy and will sit off on the bunk. Be real quiet. Wait for them to start coming in and see if we can hit them with a boot and kill them. So far I have gotten at least one each night. They are quick, I’ll say that for them. Hell, last night I thought I had two I got one then a little while later this one comes off in here. I throughed [throwed] the boot at him he turned sideways from where I hit him. About this time they [DOC] turned the lights on, he was only stunned. I picked up the boot went to hit him with it again. The SOB hunched up his back raised his front two paws and had the hair on this back standing straight up. I thought of Master Splinter the Rat off of Nija Turtles!!
  

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.

The Things We Take for Granted

By Pat Bliss

I Need a Doctor

I Need a Doctor Photo: Wikipedia

 

I get many letters from prisoners that just say they had to go to see a doctor or to medical for some reason. But in this one instance, a deaf prisoner in one of Florida’s prisons gave me an in-depth look as to what a prisoner goes through just to be there for a doctor appointment. These are his words:

I have been on call-out so much with medical with test after test. Seriously I am told to get up at 2:00 A.M. for a blood test, I come back [to my dorm] around 3:00 A.M. Am given a call-out to the main unit for 7:00 A.M. I get on a bus to go the main unit. Sit there to around 1:00 P.M. or 2:00 P.M. to see the Doctor. And do not get on a bus to come back to my dorm until 9:30 P.M. to 1:30 A.M. Any time between 9:00 P.M. to 1:30 A.M.  is when I am put on the bus to come back to my dorm. Several days in a row I have had this process repeat itself with these same time frames. So I have not hardly any sleep at all let alone had time to do anything like read a book. I catch pure hell just trying to get a shower and a hour or two of sleep here and there.

I would say we have nothing to complain about, out here in society when we have to wait a couple hours, if that. It struck me how frustrating it is to be a prisoner. No books, magazines or TV provided to help wile away the time while waiting your turn to see the doctor. Couple that with being deaf – and all that that involves.

– Pat Bliss

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.

Remember We Are Picture People

By Pat Bliss

Image: Pat Bliss

Image: Pat Bliss

I just came back from my third trip to Florida in 4 1/2 months. Each trip had a purpose as a step further to show the innocence of Felix Garcia and towards his freedom. Felix may not be fully cognizant of what all these meetings/interviews      mean to him but he certainly participates with all his might, and answers questions to the best of his ability.

This trip involved Felix being interviewed by a reporter for a major Florida newspaper. Our scheduled appointment began at 9 A.M. But, there are procedures one must go through up front. Before being allowed into the prison, we gave the staff at the outside window, our IDs. They checked these IDs with their computer roster. When it was Okayed, and because we were going in as media, we all got special badges. The heavy metal gates clinked open and we went on inside – first, to be searched; all rings, bracelets, watches, eyeglasses accounted for. Oh yes, cannot forget the car key. The reporter had a pen and pad and of course, the camera equipment for taking pictures. Staff led us into the visiting area for the interview. The visiting area at Tomoka comprises of one enclosed large room with a canteen. From this room, you can go through double doors to a fairly large semi-enclosed room with barred windows. this room opens to the outside area, where there are concrete picnic tables. Everything is enclosed in barbwire. We settled for the middle room with its large picnic type tables.

A generic visiting room, not the one at Tomoka.http://bahlool.deviantart.com/art/Prison-visiting-room-99587324

A generic visiting room, not the one at Tomoka.
http://bahlool.deviantart.com/art/Prison-visiting-room-99587324

As per past interviews we’ve had, it was a very emotional time. Felix is so open and expressive. In my title, I said picture people, meaning that the deaf relate to pictures – not words – in general. Felix told me the reason for this, is the Deaf dictionary and the hearing world’s dictionaries are inches apart (he showed me the difference with his fingers). So, Felix tells much of his story to the reporter by demonstration. He is so precise, as to exactly what took place, that no one could misunderstand what he was saying.  Sign interpreter, Cheryl Santana from Interpreter Source in St. Augustine, was the conduit between us hearing people and Felix in understanding one another.

[Editor's note: ASL interpreters view their clients with the same level of confidentiality as do doctors and lawyers. Generally, they ask that we don't print their names. To facilitate those seeking interpreter services, in the Florida area, I have left the company name intact. --BitcoDavid]

Felix can read lips and speak pretty well but he’s not wise in formal settings for legal visits or media interviews – room for misinterpretation comes into play. During the interview, the camera operator was clicking away. She must have taken at least a hundred pictures. We were limited as to where the cameras would be shooting so not to include any wire fences or other inmates in the background. The interview should be in print in about 2-3 months. I will definitely let DeafInPrison.com know when it comes out, so it can have a link available to you readers.

I stayed over the weekend with a friend in Daytona Beach Shores and visited with Felix. The procedure as a visitor is the same for access inside the prison except there is a hand scan machine to put my right hand in to identify me electronically.  Once Felix arrived and we found seats, we talked about what is going on with his supporters, his prison life and anything else we could think of. The acoustics are very bad in these rooms. The noise (people talking loudly) around me was unbelievable to the degree that I was “deaf” in understanding much of what he was saying. There is also the fact our communication is not perfect and misunderstandings do occur. So Felix was thinking ahead. He had a pen handy, grabbed a few white napkins, and what I could not understand, he printed in brief sentences to get his point across. Or, if there was something I needed to remember, I would write it down and show him to be sure I understood what he said.  Nevertheless, one thing stood out. The phrase he repeatedly said many times. “Remember, we are picture people.” I took note of that and was quite aware then, as to why he drew diagrams a lot – it was in order for me to better understand what he was trying to convey.

On my way home, I was thinking about the phrase “we are picture people” and realized over the years, that Felix was in the habit of drawing – he would draw for clarity. Strangely, it wasn’t until this past weekend that I fully understood this was a Deaf trait in communication. I have come to appreciate the pictures in a new light.

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.

My Trip and the Latest on Felix’s Case

By Pat Bliss

Image: Pat Bliss

Image: Pat Bliss

In mid-December 2012, the Requests for Clemency were filed. This is the first step. The actual hearings may be quite some time from now. We are now engaged in informational meetings, like the one I mention below, with the Governor’s legal counsel. As we progress in this action, I will keep you posted. Thank you all sincerely for your interest in Felix Garcia’s freedom. He so much appreciates knowing he isn’t forgotten and that people really do care.

I got back late Wednesday afternoon – the day after Christmas. I had driven for 10 hours. We had a great productive trip, but one highlight was on the 19th when I had an appointment to meet with the Governor’s legal advisor and Reggie Garcia, Felix’s new clemency attorney. I drove up that morning from Clearwater, Florida. We had our meeting at the Capital and I got a tour of the Governor’s office, too.

Image: Pat Bliss

Image: Pat Bliss

The other highlight was Christmas day with Felix. He was discouraged because he could not contact me – having heard no news. After I filled him in on the latest about his case, in Tallahassee, he lit up, and his face was all smiles. I saw hope written in his eyes. That is how Felix survives. It is the continual hope for something better.

However, there was one profound moment that really touched me. We were standing in line to buy ice cream at the commissary. The windows were open, no screens but bars. We were standing next to a window and while learning of his case, he asked me, “Do you feel freedom?” I asked him what he meant. He motioned his head towards the window (Inmates are no permitted to reach out) and said, “That is freedom right there, I want that so bad.”  Oh my, it broke my heart. Just beyond those bars, was the parking lot where I would be leaving from, and all I could say was, “You’ll be out there someday – as soon as possible.”

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

Fortunately, we were at the commissary window right then, and we got Snickers Ice Cream bars. Felix sure enjoyed his. I stayed as long as I was allowed. He gave me a big hug upon departure. I started heading north and spent the night just inside the Georgia border. Looking back – what a year this has been. Thank you, DeafInPrison.com and all our readers, fellow contributors and supporters, for being a part of it.

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.

 

A Brief Update on Felix

By Pat Bliss

I made a trip down to see Felix which was not planned in advance for a business meeting with an attorney on a Monday.  I drove down early so that I could visit with Felix on Saturday and Sunday. He looked good, always smiling, and glad to see me. We talked (he lip reads me) about a lot of different things, but what intrigued him was realizing all the advocacy going on in his behalf both on the ground and online, including how his case and story is presented in serialized form online. He finally understood the magnitude of the World Wide Web.

Felix and me 10/28/2012
Image Courtesy of Pat Bliss

Felix’s face lit up and could only express, “wow, I now understand what you mean.” I have been trying to relay this fact to him over TTY and in letters but sitting down talking about it became quite clear to him. Can you imagine what a new world will be open to him when free to explore the internet? This is something we all take for granted but for someone not experiencing the advance in technology for 31 years, it’ll be awesome.

Picture of Tomoka Correctinal Institution
http://www.dc.state.fl.us/facilities/region3/282.html

In addition to the petition on DeafInPrison.com, Felix’s case is in the hands right now, of an experienced clemency/lobbyist attorney in Tallahassee. Stay tuned! And, one last word. Felix wants to relay his appreciation to all who are helping in his freedom effort. Thank you and I appreciate you also.

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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