Petition In Brown Truck and Heading South

By BitcoDavid

English: Mabel Capper and Suffragettes with a ...

Mabel Capper and Suffragettes with a petition 1911 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not without a certain amount of sadness, that I report to you that we have closed down the petition, printed up all 35 pages of it, and sent a copy to each of the four members of the Clemency Board. I’m actually quite happy about this, and about Felix’s extra shot at freedom, but I have nursed this petition along for almost 3 years, now. I’ve checked it once a day, intervened when it went dark, or got mistakenly closed. I’ve posted about it, maybe 100 times on here, and at least that many, on the other social networks. I’ve e-mailed about it, telephoned about it, and snail mailed about it. In short, I feel like a parent whose child is gone off to college. Sniff! [Tear] My son, the petition! Sniff!

Pat Bliss has informed me that if you are writing letters to the Clemency Board, she asks that you do not refer specifically to December, but rather just make the case for clemency. Apparently, it is viewed as an arrogance, for us to cite the date. This is of course, political and legal mumbo-jumbo, but we have to play the game as visitors, and Florida is the home team.

Here’s a copy of the petition as it appears in hard-copy form. This and my personal letter is exactly what the Board will receive on Wednesday of next week.

Here’s a copy of my enclosed letter.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who signed, and all of you who have supported Felix – and us – during this long uphill slog. It is my sincerest hope that all this work does not go unrewarded.

I would also like to thank Care2 for all their hard work and cooperation on this project. We couldn’t have completed this petition without them, and on numerous occasions, their technical support staff. Wonderful job guys, thanks for all you do.

Well, that’s about it. Remember, we’re not done yet. Keep writing those letters. And don’t forget to leave December out of it, and please keep the language family friendly. We don’t want to rub these people the wrong way.

But, Pam Bondi, if you’re reading this – and I suspect you are – please, free Felix. You know it’s the right thing to do.

#JusticeForFelix, #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.

Mainstreaming 30 Years Later

By Joanne Greenberg

123/365 Deaf awareness week

(Photo credit: clogsilk)

Mainstreaming blew in during the ’70s and ’80s on the same wind as the breaking up of state mental hospitals, and with the same emotions; end the stigma, expand what is “normal” to include everyone. Differences will disappear and a better society will result. The “gesturing” and facial expressions shouldn’t be a barrier between the hearing and the Deaf. At the same time, American Sign had been shown to be an authentic language, and not simply a set of gestures. Deaf people were moved into the public schools, along with other handicapped children. Blind, learning disabled, etc.

The parents of these children, were the first to demand this inclusion. The Deaf form a special subculture different from all others. Army brats, circus children, Amish children are raised in their subcultures from their babyhood, to be adults in those subcultures. But the parents of Deaf children are overwhelmingly hearing. The only faintly, comparable example might be the raising of Gay children by straight parents. But the language they both speak is the same, so even that example fails.

Gallaudet University baseball team (then: Nati...

Gallaudet University baseball team (then: National Deaf-Mute College), 1886. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The parents of these children wanted ‘normal’ kids. They also tacitly accepted the use of Sign language. Why not use what was then called, ‘the least restrictive environment,’ which had been urged by the reformers? Why not send an interpreter with every Deaf child, to interpret what was said in class? The idea was well meant, certainly. Was it naive? Certainly. Who interprets the school bathroom? The playground? The cliques? The socializing? The after-school? Unless their parents are Deaf, the students enter the school as foreigners from birth.

English: A Video Interpreter sign used at vide...

A Video Interpreter sign used at videophone stations in public places where a Deaf, Hard-Of-Hearing or Speech-Impaired can communicate with a hearing person via a Video Relay Service. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not referring here, to HOH kids, some of whom, with powerful hearing aids and lots of backup can make it through mainstreaming in local schools.

The parents of Deaf children, are faced with a hard choice. Send the child away to residential school, at a young age – where she will be admitted into a world, over which they (her parents) have no control – and which are foreign to them. Or keep her at home, where she will stay, uncomprehending and being passed along from class to class. Many of these children are tolerated, but very seldom accepted.

Interpreters translate, they do not explain. An interpreter cannot stop classroom instruction to make sure that the concepts familiar to all hearing children, are made clear to the single Deaf child, who may be in the class. Who needs an explanation of the difference between rights and right, between contract and contract, between running out of coffee and running for office? Is there time for an interpreter to separate the demotic ‘cool’ from a word meaning a degree of temperature.

Deaf people go to prisons and mental hospitals, at a higher rate than the hearing. This is not surprising, given the lack of communication between the hearing and Deaf environments. Kids learn passively – by osmosis – attitudes and expectations of the world around them. Without early, constant specific attention and education, Deaf children miss cultural as well as intellectual messages, and information. Nobody consciously teaches the hearing child his culture, or subculture. These he internalizes at an early age. Schools for the Deaf can accomplish this, better than mainstream schools – even with the best interpreters available.

Joanne Greenberg was born in 1932, in Brooklyn, NY. She was educated at American University and received and honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet University – the world’s only college for the Deaf. She has written 2 books on the subject and has spent decades working with state mental hospitals for appropriate care for the mentally ill Deaf.

Some Great News

By BitcoDavid

Pat Bliss has informed me that the option for clemency for Felix Garcia is not dead, after all. She states that the possibility exists for a new clemency hearing, in December. What’s more, she tells me that there’s been a renewed interest in the case, amongst members of Florida’s justice system.  She has asked me to reach out one more time, to our readers, asking for your support. The pro bono attorney handling the case, Reginald Garcia has asked that we mail in our petition on Monday. He wants it sent to all 4 members of the Clemency Board.

I am glad to do so, and will be sending them via registered mail to each of the 4 members. I will be accompanying that packet with a letter of my own, imploring them to reexamine the case, and grant Felix the clemency he deserves.

Here’s where you can help. We are still 120 signatures shy of our goal of 1000. I will be sending the petition out regardless on Monday, the 14th. But I honestly believe that with one last push, we can reach our goal before then. Please, go sign our petition. While I’m sure the Board will be impressed with 880 signatures, 1000 would mean so much more.

If you feel like going that extra mile, for Felix, Ms. Bliss has also requested that as many of you as are able, write and send your own letters to the Board. Unfortunately, in cases such as this, e-mail and other electronic methods of communication hold little weight. These letters must be sent via U.S. Mail, in hard copy. They need something they can wave around in their hands, while pleading his case. I realize that to most of us, nowadays, those men in the little blue shorts who drive around in those funny little Jeeps, are somewhat of an enigma, but unfortunately nothing else will work.

As Dickens pointed out, the law is an ass. Furthermore, nobody ever accused the Government – state or Federal – of being overly hip. So, it’s U.S. mail or nothing.

Here are the addresses you can send your letters to:

 

Office of Governor Rick Scott

Thomas Winokur, Clemency Aide

400 S. Monroe St.

Rm 209, The Capitol

Tallahassee, FL 32399

Office of Attorney General Pam Bondi

Gwen Thomas, Clemency Assistant

366 M. Collins Bldg.

Tallahassee, FL 32301

Office of Chief Financial Officer

Jeff Atwater

Robert Tornillo, Clemency Aide

LL26, The Capitol

Tallahassee, FL 32301

Office of Commission of Agriculture

Adam Putnam

Reagan Russell, Clemency Aide

407 Calhoun St., Suite 520

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0810 

Pat also sent me a draft you can use:

Dear Governor Scott and Florida Clemency Cabinet.
Felix is innocent;  he was framed by his siblings and they have recanted; he has a 7 hour alibi; has served 33 years in prison; paralegal Pat Bliss has been on his case 17+ years and is his “mom”  where he will go home to in Virginia.

Personally, I would prefer it if you used your own words, but please – remember that we’re writing to plead with these people. Try to avoid pejoratives and off color language. Keep in mind, you catch more flies with honey.

You will need to send all 4 members – listed above – copies of your letters. I realize this is an inconvenience, not to mention a small personal expense. We thank you in advance for your efforts, and Felix – who’s made far greater sacrifices – will thank you as well.

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.

Jack’s Annual Independence Day Plea

Jack byline

By Supporter Contributor and Internet Rock Star, Jack

 

Happy and safe 4th to everybody.

Happy and safe 4th to everybody.

It’s coming! I can feel it in my bones, and I’m not a happy Lab-Chow. Fourth of July! The worst day to be a dog, of all the days to be a dog. BitcoDavid lets me write a post once a year, imploring you to take caution when enjoying this holiday, as it is often an unsafe and very scary time for your bestest – us.

Look. Fireworks scare us. I mean they really scare us. I’ve heard about dogs running out of the house and getting lost, kidnapped or even hit by cars. I’ve heard of dogs getting sick – heart problems, digestive tract issues, shock – all from fear. I’ve even heard of dogs breaking bones or suffering other injury by trying to hide under furniture, behind refrigerators and stuff like that.

No to cake, but yes, please to Greenies.

No to cake, but yes, please to Greenies.

But it’s not just the fireworks. We really shouldn’t be out back with you, during the Barbecue. We can inhale smoke, get burned by charcoal or knock the whole thing over, by accident. Sometimes your friends give us beer, or feed us chocolate or onions. It might even look like we’re having fun, but we’re not. Those things are bad for us, and in some cases can even kill us.

Some people take their fur-children and fur-friends with them to other people’s parties, and leave us in the car. Can you believe that? It happens all the time. Do you know that the inside of a car can get up to 140 degrees? We have fur coats, and we don’t sweat the way you do. The only way we can cool off is through our tongues and our feet. You could be inside in the AC, partying and having the time of your life – but meanwhile, the guy who’s trusted you with his life, is dying.

This is me, after a bath. Sheesh.

This is me, after a bath. Sheesh.

So please, give some thought to what I’ve said. You can enjoy this holiday. Far be it from me, a little black dog, to ruin your fun. Just know that this is an unsafe and very scary time for us. And who do you care more about than your dog? Huh? I ask you?

Be safe, have fun and follow state and local laws. If you want to learn more about this, visit my close friend RumpyDog. He’s a Malamute, but that doesn’t mean he can’t write well.

Jack is a Lab-Chow. He was born into a Georgia dog fighting ring, but abandoned due to his size. He rescued BitcoDavid, and Mrs. BitcoDavid and now lives happily in Massachusetts. He enjoys barking at the dog in the mirror, and Greenies. As you can see, he’s an accomplished writer.

Since Arpanet, There Have Been Trolls

By BitcoDavid

Justice (Dike, on the left) and Divine Vengean...

Justice (Dike, on the left) and Divine Vengeance (Nemesis, right) are pursuing the criminal murderer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the subjects we’ve covered is the Boren-Thomas murders – the tragic death and dismemberment of a young woman and her infant child, by an estranged husband. This crime is a double ended disaster, because while we feel the pain and loss to the victim, we also suffer for the perpetrator, a man adjudicated as criminally insane. Knowing that he wasn’t firing on all 8 – or perhaps he was, but his throttle valve was stuck – we can’t hold him completely responsible for his actions.

Later on, I received a very moving comment from the victim’s father. It was a brilliant insight into the other side of the story. When one becomes involved in Criminal Justice – on the side of the inmates, as we are – one may often lose sight of the agony and grief their crimes can cause. I am not pro-criminal, nor am I pro-law enforcement. I am pro-justice. That is to say, that I view the law as a social contract, and I believe that our part in that contract is to treat offenders fairly and with compassion. Should they be punished for their crimes? Of course, they should. But we need to temper that punishment with humanity, and we need to be sure that we don’t confuse criminality with insanity.

Symbolic representation of the Arpanet as of S...

Symbolic representation of the Arpanet as of September 1974 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I responded to the above comment with condolence and respect.

A few months passed, and I did a post, seeking – as I have so often – rebuttals to DeafInPrison.com’s stated point of view. One of the comments that article appears to have inspired, came from an individual who tells me that the man who wrote the original comment is not Laura’s father. The latter individual is a frequent commenter on DeafInPrison.com, and I would tend to believe him. But here’s what makes his claim even more believable. I sent an e-mail to the original commenter – again, markedly tactful, condolent and respectful – asking him if he would be willing to grant us a supporter contribution post, giving his side of the story. He never responded. I could easily attribute that alone, to a father’s grief and unwillingness to further exploit his daughter’s memory. But upon rechecking his e-mail address – something I failed to do at first communication – I find it to be a bogus address.

CRIME Suicidal Tendencies by Yaia

CRIME Suicidal Tendencies by Yaia (Photo credit: YAIAGIFT™)

It is my fault for not checking. I’m the editor of this site, and I have the tools and expertise required to detect phony comments. The blame falls on me, for failing to perform my due diligence. To tell you the truth, it never occurred to me. I mean who on Earth would do such a thing? A troll, that’s who. Somebody who sits alone, naked, in their parents’ basement, with a bottle of personal lubricant. Trolls exist just to watch the Internet burn. These are the people who start arguments on social network threads just to distract the other users. They’re rude, offensive, insulting and illogical. They argue just to hear themselves type.

I have chosen to leave the original comment intact, rather than editing or removing it. This is only to maintain continuity in the thread. Be aware, that as you’re reading it, you’re reading lies and falsifications as dreamed up in the twisted mind of a troll. I apologize to my readers for allowing this error to occur, but I also see it as a reminder, that none of us are fully immune to Internet miscreants – and since Arpanet, there have been trolls.

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.

 

 

 

Six Factors for Linguistic Incompetence

 By Jean F. Andrews
Deborah Parkin - Susan Spiritus Gallery

Deborah Parkin – Susan Spiritus Gallery

I’ve been in court, when both judges and prosecuting attorneys were not familiar with the term linguistic incompetence, and how it related to a deaf defendant’s case. They were familiar with the term, mental incompetence. Mental incompetence is defined as the inability is of a person to make or carry out important decisions, or is psychotic or of an unsound mind, either consistently or sporadically, by reason of mental disabilities such as cognitive disabilities, schizophrenia, and dementia.

But linguistic incompetence or the lack of language ability to understand the court proceedings or inability to have the language to even work with one’s attorney baffles the court. Attorneys often will request competency hearings prior to a trial or a hearing to address the issue of linguistic incompetence of the deaf defendant head on. This is wise to get this issue out in the open.

Justine Beckett - Artshole.co.uk

Justine Beckett – Artshole.co.uk

These six factors may clarify for attorneys, judges and other court officials about the term, linguistic incompetence. Since deafness is a low incident disability, most juridical officials may never have encountered a deaf defendant. But today we are seeing more and more deaf persons involved with legal matters so this information may be useful and helpful in a future case.

The first factor contributing to linguistic incompetence is the lack of early, consistent and fluent sign language. Many of us are familiar with Victor, the Wild Child of Averyron who was found in the woods in France, in 1797. He was a teenager and had no language. Or we may have read about Genie, a girl who was strapped to a potty seat and locked in a closet until she was rescued in later childhood. Both Victor and Genie were not able to learn much language even after years of training. But their lack of language access was combined with emotional and physical neglect and abuse. Similar to Victor and Genie, there are many deaf persons who by nature of their deafness are physically isolated from daily communication and language. These modern day closet deaf adults, by nature of their parents not learning to sign or only learning a few basic signs and gestures, grow up severely language impoverished. Consequently, they are not able to defend themselves in court.

Jan Brewer signs bill on use of school isolation rooms. Az Capitol Times

Jan Brewer signs bill on use of school isolation rooms. Az Capitol Times

A second major factor contributing to linguistic incompetence is the poor educational training many deaf children and youth experience in our public schools. Inclusion, or the mainstreaming and including of deaf children with hearing children, has been termed the “great delusion.” Many children leave these schools with an inferior education, and inability to communicate in sign or in English. Because residential schools provide a rich linguistic and cultural environment, many of these schools do a better job of providing round-the-clock language access, however most parents use residential schools as a last resort, sending their deaf youth there when they reach the teenage years, after they have already failed out in the public schools.

A third major contributory factor to linguistic incompetence stems from the isolation that families impose on deaf youth, by keeping them sheltered and isolated at home, without additional training and education. This happens more frequently in Third World countries. However, in my clinical practice, I have come across about 10 such deaf adults, more often who live in rural areas. Though well intended, their families keep their deaf adult child at home, live off of their SSI, and create an even more isolated environment where the deaf adults live without language, and are prevented from getting the skills to learn a job or become independent.

A fourth major contributing factor to linguistic incompetence is the 2.9 or below reading grade level. The ability to read is related to language, type of instruction, and motivation. Many of these linguistically incompetent deaf adults can’t read and this creates major obstacles from the arrest, the booking, the trial and on through rehabilitation.

E. Gibson Photography - DeviantArt.com

E. Gibson Photography – DeviantArt.com

The presence of a language and learning disability in addition to deafness, is the fifth contributing factor to linguistic incompetence. Some of the deaf adults that I have tested, could very well have an undiagnosed sign language disability in addition to their low reading levels. Most have average non-verbal intelligence abilities, but some do not. Their non-verbal IQ dips below 80 which signals low cognitive skills.

Finally, the sixth major contributing factor to linguistic incompetence is poor, underdeveloped sign language skills, that would not allow them to effectively use a sign language interpreter or even a CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreter).

These six factors can inform the judge, prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys and other criminal justice officials. What is at stake here are the Constitutional Rights of the deaf defendant. Understanding the deaf defendant and linguistic incompetence will provide the court system with the understanding of the obstacles that deaf defendants face.

Jean F. Andrews is a Reading Specialist and Professor of Deaf Studies/Deaf Education at Lamar University.

HEARD’s #DeafInPrison Campaign – Day 2

By BitcoDavid

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HEARD turned on the link to the Al Jazeera America video yesterday. Numerous people have screened it either through FaceBook, Organizations and private parties, or from my links, here. I have received several comments and messages on it already, and I’m sure Talila Lewis is very happy – as am I – to see the response to her efforts.

This important video focuses in part, on Felix Garcia. Many of you first heard of Felix and his plight here on DeafInPrison.com. We’ve been involved in the case for over 2 years, and one of our contributing author’s, Pat Bliss, has been personally working it for 17 years.

We have posted numerous articles on the legal issues regarding Felix, and have even been fortunate enough to have received – and posted – a rebuttal, written by an attorney who shows us some of the prosecutorial  perspectives in the case.

Now, Ms. Bliss informs me that clemency is no longer an option. She states that there are a limited number of ways a convicted man can be released, and that the only avenue left open to Felix is parole. I take exception with the idea of parole. For one thing, that isn’t something granted to the wrongfully incarcerated – the innocent. It’s a privilege offered to all inmates, and is essentially an admittance of guilt. Furthermore, parole isn’t freedom. Sure, it beats the hell out of prison. What doesn’t? But parole chains the inmate to the state in which he lives, employment assigned by an indifferent agency, urine tests and weekly reporting. Felix would end up washing cars, and pissing into a cup. That’s not the life he deserves, nor is it the life Florida owes him.

Attorney General Pam Bondi

Attorney General Pam Bondi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps I’m wrong. I’m not a lawyer. I don’t even understand the law. In fact, I’m somewhat bitter and resentful toward it. But I believe that Pat may be erroneous in her assessment. I think there is one other option. Let’s call it the Come Down From on High option. Gubernatorial or even Presidential pardon. I don’t know if this is true, but it seems to me that either Governor Scott – or if it had to come down to it, President Obama – could just call down from Olympus, and order Felix freed. No pomp. No circumstance. No legal wrangling. Just a simple – “Because I’m the mommy. that’s why.”

I realize that Governor Scott is no Santa Clause. And that his AG, Pam Bondi is no Florence Nightingale. I also realize that President Obama’s record for Presidential pardons is outright abysmal. Worse by an order of magnitude, than even George W. Bush’s.  In other words, I get that we’re not dealing with nice guys, here.

Official photo of Florida Governor Rick Scott

Official photo of Florida Governor Rick Scott (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So let this particular post stand as my request – no strike that – as my challenge to Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and President of the United States Barack Obama. Please! Please! If for nothing other than a paean to whatever humanity you may have once had, please. Free Felix Garcia.

If you – my readers – after having viewed the Al Jazeera America documentary, agree with me on this, please help us finish our petition. Felix has been in prison for 33 years, for a crime he did not commit. I get that lawyers may disagree.

I get that every story has 2 sides. I get that Felix may not have filled out all the forms properly, or had the right representation, or that representation’s hands were tied by a system that hobbled them at every turn. None of that matters. Felix is innocent and has spent his adult life behind bars. That is the only issue in this case.

English: King of the Gods, Zeus, at the Getty ...

King of the Gods, Zeus, at the Getty Villa. Roman, Italy, A.D. 1 – 100. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since Sachs Media Group started their petition, I’ve been somewhat at a loss as to what to do with ours, upon its completion. Their petition was highly successful, in that it reached its goal of 500 signatures, all of which were sent directly to the authorities whom it targeted. I believe that petition is now closed. Here’s my promise to you. Help me get that last 125 signatures that I need to reach our goal of 1,000 – and I will send it in hard copy, via Registered mail, to both Rick Scott and Pam Bondi. I will include a letter of my own, imploring them to look at this case, not from a legal perspective, but from a moral one – and from the standpoint of authority. I will ask them for a Deus Ex Machina.  I will ask them to reach down from Stratus and cast their lightning bolts.And if their lightning bolts aren’t powerful enough, I’ll send a copy to the White House.

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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