Banned From Using the Internet?

By Jean F. Andrews

What if you are deaf, serve time in prison and are released with the stipulation that you are banned from using a cell phone or the Internet? Could you survive?

Yes, but with great difficulty.

English: VodafoneEgypt role in cell phone/Inte...

VodafoneEgypt role in cell phone/Internet blackout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you know that some released deaf inmates are banned from cell phone use and the Internet? This is a typical punishment for deaf persons who have committed crimes such as viewing child pornography online even though they may have never solicited a minor online or met a minor through online interaction.

Computer and cell phone technology is a luxury for hearing people. But for deaf persons, computer technology is a necessity for safety and survival as well as for daily communication needs in a world of hearing people who do not know sign language.

As hearing persons, you and I can pick up the cell phone and call our spouses, children, colleagues or doctors or contact an emergency service (911) with a simple voice-call on the telephone. This is not so for deaf persons who cannot hear or speak. Deaf people like do use cell phone technology as we do but instead rely on texting and use of a special online relay operator.

English: A Deaf, Hard-Of-Hearing or Speech-Imp...

A Deaf person at her workplace, communicating with a hearing person via a Video Interpreter, using a webcam and a program on her computer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While you and I can also ask any hearing-speaking persons around us for assistance if we need it, this is not so for deaf people. Deafness is a devastating physical condition that isolates deaf people from hearing society because few hearing people know sign language. The Internet has been a miracle for deaf users because it opens the doors to communication in a hearing world and provides access through texting, videoconferencing and online relay operators. With the Internet, they can access signing relay operators who act as go-betweens between the deaf world and the hearing-speaking world. Or they can communicate directly with deaf friends using cell phone or computer Internet videoconferencing.

English: A cell phone tower in Palatine, Illin...

A cell phone tower in Palatine, Illinois, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For deaf people to adapt to every day life, they must use the internet to communicate with family, doctors, offices, make phone calls through an online relay operator who translates their signs into text messages for others, for job searches, for emergency purposes, and so on.

Judges and prosecuting attorneys may not know how the deaf person uses texting and online relay services for their everyday life.

In fact, the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provides protection for telephone use for deaf individuals. Because auditory cell phones excludes deaf persons from using them, they are entitled to accommodations such as cell phones for texting and use of the Internet for online relay operators.

Today, there is software available that can be placed on the released deaf criminal offender’s computer or text cell phone that will monitor his or her use of the computer, Internet and cell phone texting.

Deaf persons should not be denied cell phone, texting device and computer use with the Internet. For deaf people, the internet is a necessity, not a luxury as it is for hearing persons.

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

My Ship, Out on the Horizon

By BitcoDavid

English: MS Majesty of the Seas, one of Royal ...

MS Majesty of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean International’s Sovereign class cruise ships (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me tell you a story. Years ago, when I had a business, building and repairing audio equipment for musicians and recording studios, I received a call.

[Ring, ring.]

“Thank you for calling Bitco Electronics. May I help you?”

“Yes, this is John Smith from Norwegian Cruise Lines…”

“No thanks. We’re all set.” [Click]

[Ring, ring]

“Thank you for calling Bitco Electronics. May I help you?”

“Don’t hang up.”

“Look pal, I’m not interested in any stupid free cruises or whatever pie-in-the-sky you’re selling.”

“No, you don’t understand. I’m calling in regards to one of our ships. We have a unit called a Mackie 8 bus that’s in need of repair.”

English: Studio A control room at SugarHill Re...

Studio A control room at SugarHill Recording Studios, Houston Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thus the adventure began. You see, cruise ships can’t bring equipment to repair shops, due to Customs issues. Repair shops must go to the cruise ships. I had managed somehow, to land Norwegian Cruise Lines as a client, and would now spend a significant amount of my time on a ship. The Norwegian Majesty to be precise. Well, it was one of the most educational experiences I’ve ever had. Everything you know about anything is the exact opposite of how it is on a ship.

English: a view of the Black Falcon Cruise Ter...

View of the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal at the Port of Boston taken from the Norwegian Majesty cruise ship leaving port. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For example. I’m standing literally right next to the thing, as it’s docked in Black Falcon Pier in Boston. I mean, I can hit it with a rock. But, in order to get on board, I needed to call an escort. Well, that meant that I had to call the Bahamas. They in turn, would contact a Ship to Shore Service who would relay my message to the boat. A 50 foot call, cost me 30 dollars, and took 15 minutes to place.

In fact, the work of working on a ship is more work than the work you’re doing on the ship. It requires an act of Congress just to go to the bathroom.

Mackie 8 bus with Meter Bridge attachment. Image credit: Gearslutz.com

Mackie 8 bus with Meter Bridge attachment. Image credit: Gearslutz.com

The theater where the Mackie was located was absolutely gorgeous. Quite possibly the best professional sound system I’d ever worked on. And when I was done, the whole system howled like a hurricane and growled like a grizzly bear.

But in the midst of all this revelry – as I was doing my final calibrations – some guy in an overly starched white uniform came and told me I had to disembark, as the ship was about to turn around. “So, turn around. I’m almost done.”

“No, you don’t understand. You can’t be here when we turn the ship. Only crew are allowed on board when she turns. You need to wait on the pier.”

[Civilian sigh of frustration] “OK. I’ll wait.”

Here's an idea of the size of structure, we're talking about. Image courtesy: ShipCruise.org

Here’s an idea of the size of structure, we’re talking about. Image courtesy: ShipCruise.org

Well, here’s what I didn’t know. I’m thinking they’ll turn the thing around. I turn my car around all the time. Jack, when he’s getting ready for bed, turns around. Hell, I’ve even turned around a few trucks. What’s the big deal?

Neither my car, Jack nor even the trucks, were one and a half times the length of a football field – that’s what. In order for non-American cruise ships to turn around, they have to go out past the 12 mile limit. Do you know, I waited from 3:00 in the afternoon, ’till 1:00 in the morning. How am I going to bill these guys for 10 hours of standing around an abandoned pier?

Wow! Fascinating story BitcoDavid. And you write so well. But, what the hell does any of this have to do with DeafInPrison.com?

At one point, I happened to espy the ship – 12 miles out to sea. It looked so tiny. So helpless. A forlorn little dot, bobbing around like a cork, in the vastness of the Atlantic. That image never left me, and I recall it every time I hear the phrase, when my ship comes in.

Well dear readers, DeafInPrison.com’s ship is about to come in. We today, celebrate our 75,000th view. Since our launch, just over 2 years ago, 75,000 of you have seen our work. Well an unknown number of you have seen our work 75,000 times – anyway. We’ve been viewed at least once in 134 different countries. We’ve generated over 5000 click-throughs to other sites. We’ve posted 515 articles. And through all sources, we have over 1100 followers.

Our next milestone will be 100,000 views. That’s very important, because that’s the magic number that Google needs to see us as a real  Web site. When we get to 100K, we’ll be barking in the tall grass with the big dogs.

There are 2 other ways you can help us to achieve World domination. “Like” our page on FaceBook. We have 320 Likes so far, and we need 500. And of course, help us finish, and finally close the longest lived petition to free Felix Garcia – in Internet history. We are almost around the bend. Our ship is out at the 12 mile limit. A mere 125 more signatures would get us there.

But all these things are about ambition. I’m thrilled that we’ve had what limited success we’ve had. 75,000 views! Who’d a thunk it?

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.

DeafInPrison.com and Copyright

By BitcoDavid

I know you think there’s a huge underground facility, buried under Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain, and called DeafInPrison.com Plaza – but in truth, it’s just me in my underwear, hammering away on a coffee stained keyboard.

There is however, a lot going on in the background. Not everything you see on DeafInPrison.com is actually on DeafInPrison.com. When an article is posted on here, WordPress converts it into HTML code. Many pictures, files and widgets are actually hosted on other sites, and presented to you with the appearance of being local. We call this, embedding.

Back in 2013, I did a piece on the 3 pathological types of mass murderers. For clarification, those 3 types are Serial killers, Spree killers and Thrill killers. The differences in the pathology are significant and important. I could provide no better illustration of the point, than did the DOJ, when they put together the original report that I used for research. So, I chose instead, to embed their version.

Here’s how this works, and forgive me for revealing the man behind the curtain. I find a Web version of the document I wish to post. I convert that from it’s original HTML format, into a PDF. The PDF is then uploaded to Scribd.com, where it is hosted. Although our publisher pays WordPress for the ability to embed files directly, such as video and audio files, WordPress demands that PDFs and other document type files be handled this way.

Technically, WordPress isn’t our hosting site. ImageWorks LLC is. And if we chose to, we could have a private version of WordPress installed, and would have far less limitations on what we publish, and how we publish it. I prefer having the support of a blogging community behind us, so I’ve gone with the option of having WordPress.com serve as a co-hosting site, so to speak.

If you click on the link above – to our story on mass murderers – you will see an error notification informing you that the document has been taken down due to copyright infringement. I have contacted Scribd.com and am in the process of getting this fixed. But I thought I could take this opportunity to explain our policy regarding copyright.

DeafInPrison.com takes intellectual property issues very seriously. We never publish graphics or other content without both citing and linking to our sources. Same with all supporter contributions. All submissions are cited and linked. I also do a whois search on the author’s I.P. address, so I know the legitimacy of our contributors. We don’t pay authors for their submissions, so linking is the only incentive we can offer.

Embedded files that we expressly create, such as Felix’s music video, are published without citation, and are free to our readers to copy, share, embed – do whatever they want with. I would only hope that those individuals link back to DeafInPrison.com and give us the credit due. All other files are cited and linked to their original source. We take these files directly from the Internet, so it can’t be said that the producers of this data don’t want it seen. If ownership was an issue, they wouldn’t have made it openly available to anybody with a Google machine.

DeafInPrison.com costs our publisher to produce, but we do not monetize this site, and we do not operate as a for profit organization. Our goal is to educate, entertain, enlighten and actualize our readership. We provide this service for free. Therefore, we don’t seek license to publish data already available on the Web, but we do recognize the rights of content creators to receive credit, and we do insist on link-sharing and citation.

We also have a commitment to publishing original content. We may use a file or a graphic to enhance an article, but the bulk of our articles are original, and written by our contributors and authors.

No citation required. That's me.

No citation required. That’s me.

Sometimes, the law gets caught up, forgetting it’s spirit and dwelling too much in its letter. When I was at my old gym, I shot a few rounds between my Coach and me, and posted them on YouTube. The gym had a radio station playing as background music for all the clientele – those who didn’t have their own iPods. Although you could barely make out this music over the sound of me getting beat like a rented mule, Sony made me take down the video. Stealing illegible copies of top-40 dance tunes wasn’t my intent. Showing an audience some great amateur boxing was. But Sony, and for that matter YouTube, didn’t care.

I sincerely hope that Scribd can understand the situation and rectify it, so that you – our readers – can continue to enjoy embedded documents as rightfully cited and linked enhancements to our original content.

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.

 

Had to Share

By BitcoDavid

God’ll get me for this, but I had to share it with you. This appeared on FaceBook, yesterday.

But that’s not the funny part. The first comment was…

“Governor Scott!”

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.

Life Holds no Guarantees: Update on Felix

By Pat Bliss

Sachs Media Group

Sachs Media Group

When we began this year with three paths to take Felix’s case, we did it knowing there are no guarantees. Unbeknownst at that time to us all, something was soon to take place that started our year with a bonus. And very appreciated.

As many of you already know there was a rally in March of this year in Tallahassee, Florida, on the Capitol steps, put on by organizations of Deaf Interpreters to garner support for a bill in legislature that would require licensure of all sign language  interpreters as they are the gateway of communication between the deaf and the hearing. This event was well covered by the media. Felix’s case was highlighted as a prime example of a deaf defendant going to trial without an interpreter that resulted in grave consequences. This exposure propelled Felix and his case into the limelight that yielded a new group of advocates and have added to his support base.

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

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

In one of meetings in January, we talked about doing a Federal Habeas based on a new US Supreme Court case McQuiggen v. Perkins  stating the time bar for filing on actual innocence cases may not be considered in certain cases. However, as the caselaw reads, it would require live court testimony to verify any old evidence showing innocence. Frank Garcia already confessed in open court in 2006 and the court did not believe him so that ruled him out. Another participant was Ray Stanley, but he is deceased. The last participant was Tina Garcia who wrote an affidavit in 1996 proclaiming her part and that Felix was actually innocent. We needed her live testimony to prevail in a court action. She was located but would not cooperate. Why not help? Well the obvious answer is, she was a participant in the crime, she testified against Felix for the State and she is still free. She of course will not jeopardize her freedom.  This avenue has closed at this time but will be available later down the road if anything new is developed.

Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi. Image: Westside Gazette

Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi. Image: Westside Gazette

So we became focused on a clemency hearing in Sept. It was a long shot but with the publicity and lead attorney Reggie Garcia and the team’s persistence we went forward on hoping the Clemency Board members‘ could be influenced to take our case in September. Legislatures were approached, Cabinet Aids had questions, the Governor’s counsel on clemency was updated. I must interject here, that normally it takes 5-6 years for a case to be heard before the Board but there is an exception rule that could expedite the action which we had filed. Last week I was informed our request was turned down. For now.  In the meantime we are at work on providing more proof to show Felix’s innocence for future hearing, hopefully not far off.

The third path is Felix’s upcoming Parole Hearing possibly in January 2015. This hearing has a lot of potential with the impressive number of accomplishments Felix has done to improve himself, his extraordinary prison behavior, his faith to remain strong and do the right thing, together with this excellent legal team that will be present. We will be focused on this later in the year.

Please sign our petition and continue to support Felix.

Please sign our petition and continue to support Felix.

What about the petition? As Attorney Reggie Garcia said “keep the signatures coming.” It is not needed in September but will be needed at a later date. And Felix keeps tabs as he has access to a freeworld person who comes in as a volunteer, and looks up deafinprison.com to see the numbers. Felix is appreciative so many care. There is a second petition also that is accessible to you and you’re encouraged to sign them both – for the total sum will be quite impressive.

How is Felix doing these days? He couldn’t be happier with his work and is delighted to be able to hear with special headphones music on his computer. He said “I can’t understand all the words but I am trying. I want to sign it [for better understanding]. Wow, Mom, I am in my own world here. I have been blessed to get this position, the Lord knew I was reaching out because I needed Him.”  Who are we to complain when a deaf man, innocent for close to 33 years in prison, can say he is blessed? That takes faith.  

–Pat Bliss (mom)

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.

Questions Abound

By Supporter Contributor Ty Rade

Florida Supreme Court Building, Tallahassee, F...

Florida Supreme Court Building, Tallahassee, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you for offering me the opportunity to voice my concerns regarding the Felix Garcia case. I am an attorney, and I have followed your Web site since your launch. I recently took about an hour, and did some quick investigation on my own. As an attorney, I have access to resources other than Social Media, and Blog sites. I am not licensed in the state of Florida, so I don’t have access to all the trial data, but I have included what I could find, in this post.

You’ve asked for rebuttals, and I respect that. I only hope that you can hear what I have to say, and remain open minded towards it. The simple fact is, questions abound as to how Felix and his attorneys have handled his case. It appears to me, Felix has built a career as a federal court plaintiff.

Marie Vernon

Marie Vernon

Florida process for post-trial relief included Felix’ Motion for New Trial, based on newly discovered evidence and the alleged procedural issues.  Felix withdrew the newly discovered evidence issue involving the confession of the brother in 1999. The habeus petition doesn’t tell us why this issue was withdrawn and makes no effort to overcome the withdrawal. Florida was thus denied its own process to review its judgment, when the habeus was brought.

He’s let enough time pass from trial to obscure Florida’s defenses to his allegations of unfairness and he’s frustrated the system’s own built-in protections.  I submit that he has long ago graduated from being a prisoner wrongly accused, and is now a professional cause celebre, the only job for which he has training and experience.   September clemency may well deprive him of his raison d’etre. But absent some good responses from you, as to the choices Felix himself has made, our tikkun olam [Hebrew: healing the world] may well be better spent elsewhere.

I have attached the docket sheet from the federal court (MD Fl) and its history of the petition for habeus corpus.

The Petition for Habeus includes the affidavits of Frank and Tina, and the issues raised in the attempts to obtain post-trial relief in Fl. Felix had voluntarily withdrawn his “newly discovered evidence” issue in 1999; Frank’s affidavit was the basis for that issue. If the strongest piece of evidence you have is a confession, why on earth would you withdraw that confession in your petition?

He waited too long to obtain review of his other issues.  The guts are the Petition, Appendix to Petition, and the Response. I’d ask you to print the entire Response, as none of its arguments have been presented on yours or any other, of the blogs.  Judge Bucklaw carefully reviewed the factors that Felix said delayed his initial petition for post-trial relief, and found them unavailing.  The abandonment of the issue of Frank’s recantation is the biggest problem presented at the State and federal levels.

LifePrint.com Sign for prison.

LifePrint.com Sign for prison.

In the 2006 hearing on Felix’ Motion for New Trial,  Frank testified and the matter was under consideration for a year before denial. Certainly, the State’s winning case hasn’t shown up on any blogs, but the trial court found insufficient evidence upon which to order a new trial.

Do petition signers know that Felix had changed his mind about Frank’s testimony, and had withdrawn the issue?  That he’s exhausted federal courts process?  That he had yet another bite at the apple in 06? If they did know these facts, I wonder how quick they would be to sign.

Felix litigates at will and at our expense; he’s had a trial, post-trial relief, a hearing on the Motion for New Trial, and a federal Habeus case that went all the way to denial by the US Supreme Court.  When is it dayenu [Hebrew: enough is enough]?

Ty Rade is an attorney and speaker on legal issues. He is Senior Partner of a successful law firm in Colorado, and enjoys reading poetry, studying history, and riding motorcycles.

 

Event: HEARD launches #DeafInPrison Campaign

#DeafInPrison Campaign

HEARD created the #DeafInPrison Campaign to raise awareness about abuse of, and discrimination against, deaf prisoners across the nation. The Campaign, which officially launches on June 27th, aims to start a national conversation about these concerns, and to compel corrective and preventive action.

We are asking that you watch the film “Deaf In Prison,” then share your reactions, your stories, or any information you have, on social media, using the Hashtag, “#DeafInPrison.” The link for “Deaf In Prison” (the video) will be available for 48 hours beginning at 12:00am (EST) on Friday, June 27. Viewings will be hosted in numerous locations across the nation & we encourage organizations and individuals to host viewings if possible.

Many thanks to our dear friends at Facundo Element for their support with this Campaign and for their continued support of HEARD initiatives. Please visit our Campaign Event Page for more information and to find a viewing near you.

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hea...

International Symbol of Deafness / Hard of Hearing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Note: HEARD’s campaign hashtag is #DeafInPrison, whereas our Web site’s name and principle identifier is DeafInPrison.com. We are affiliated with this campaign, in that we are allies of, and co-supporters of, HEARD.  We are separate entities, but some of our authors and contributors are HEARD members.

We have screened this film, and published a review. I would strongly suggest you join this campaign, watch the film – it is excellent – and follow through with the Hashtag posting.

If possible, we will be embedding the clip here, on DeafInPrison.com, as a convenience to our readers, and to help HEARD in the cause. If however, we can’t embed it for copyright reasons, I will republish this post or another post, reminding people, later on in June.

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