Update on Felix’s Parole Hearing

By BitcoDavid

Attorneys Reginald Garcia, left, and Pat Bliss speak to the Florida Commission on Offender Review on behave of Felix Garcia on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Tallahassee, Fla. Garcia, a deaf Florida man who supporters say was framed for murder by his brother has a chance to get out of prison. Garcia is serving a life sentence for the murder of Joseph Tramontana Jr. during a 1981 Tampa robbery. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) Courtesy Mail Online.com

Attorneys Reginald Garcia, left, and Pat Bliss speak to the Florida Commission on Offender Review on behave of Felix Garcia on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Tallahassee, Fla. Garcia, a deaf Florida man who supporters say was framed for murder by his brother has a chance to get out of prison. Garcia is serving a life sentence for the murder of Joseph Tramontana Jr. during a 1981 Tampa robbery. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) Courtesy Mail Online.com

I am deeply saddened to report that Felix Garcia was denied parole. Attorney Reggie Garcia has provided the following for media dissemination:

1. the parole commissioners will review the case again in three years (it could have been 5 – 7)

2. They referred Felix to Sumter C.I. in Bushnell, Florida. for special programming. (This is a Deaf friendly facility.)

3. They reduced by 12 months his Presumptive parole release date.

Attorney Garcia called it is a small victory, and said he will continue to work tirelessly on Felix’s behalf.

Prosecuting attorney Mark Ober speaks to the Florida Commission on Offender Review concerning inmate Felix Garcia on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Tallahassee, Fla. Garcia, a deaf Florida man who supporters say was framed for murder by his brother has a chance to get out of prison. Garcia is serving a life sentence for the murder of Joseph Tramontana Jr. during a 1981 Tampa robbery. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

Prosecuting attorney Mark Ober speaks to the Florida Commission on Offender Review concerning inmate Felix Garcia on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Tallahassee, Fla. Garcia, a deaf Florida man who supporters say was framed for murder by his brother has a chance to get out of prison. Garcia is serving a life sentence for the murder of Joseph Tramontana Jr. during a 1981 Tampa robbery. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

From the Mail Online coverage:

“He is totally innocent,” lawyer Reggie Garcia, who isn’t related to the brothers, said. “Felix Garcia has an alibi before, during and after the murder.”

The board decided Wednesday to move up Garcia’s potential parole date by one year, to 2025. He will get another hearing in three years. They did not move up the date for brother Frank Garcia, serving a 99-year sentence with a potential 2026 release date. His case will be reheard in seven years.

The third brother, Mike Garcia, and sister Tina Daniels spoke only in the proceeding for Frank Garcia.

“You know your family members — when they’re telling the truth and when they’re not telling you the truth,” Mike Garcia said. “People can bull crap, I understand that. People are con artists, I understand that. I know my brother Frank. I know my brother Felix. I know Francisco Garcia did not pull that trigger.”

A commission member asked if that meant Felix participated. “Yes. Yes, they were both there at that time,” Mike Garcia answered.

After the hearing, he told reporters that he believed Felix is the person who killed Joseph Tramontana Jr.

“That’s what I’ve heard over the years. I wasn’t there,” he said. “I know my brothers, and that’s it. “

It’s a vastly different story than lawyers presented. They said Felix Garcia had two witnesses placing him six miles away from the motel where the murder happened. Frank Garcia; his sister, Tina; and her boyfriend, Ray Stanley participated in the crime and framed Felix, the lawyers said. They say Frank Garcia gave Felix the victim’s ring to sell, and the pawn shop slip tied him to the crime.

Neither the sister nor Stanley was charged, and Stanley has since died.

Frank Garcia later admitted Felix wasn’t involved in the murder, the lawyers also said.

But prosecutor Mark Ober said the affidavit Frank Garcia signed on behalf of Felix was part of a plot to get his brother out so he could sue the state and then help seek Frank’s release.

After the hearing, Pat Bliss — who has fought 18-years on Felix’ behalf — approached Garcia’s siblings and said she was shocked they didn’t speak for Felix, too. “He never asked us,” Daniels said.

“He feels like he’s been deserted by his family,” Bliss said.

Attorneys Pat Bliss, right, and Reginald Gracia speak to the Florida Commission on Offender Review on behave of Felix Garcia on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Tallahassee, Fla. Garcia, a deaf Florida man who supporters say was framed for murder by his brother has a chance to get out of prison. Garcia is serving a life sentence for the murder of Joseph Tramontana Jr. during a 1981 Tampa robbery. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

Attorneys Pat Bliss, right, and Reginald Gracia speak to the Florida Commission on Offender Review on behave of Felix Garcia on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Tallahassee, Fla. Garcia, a deaf Florida man who supporters say was framed for murder by his brother has a chance to get out of prison. Garcia is serving a life sentence for the murder of Joseph Tramontana Jr. during a 1981 Tampa robbery. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

I find it immensely disturbing that the only coverage this story is getting is from a British news source. From what I can gather – and I could be wrong – no American papers have covered this story. I also am somewhat discouraged that I had to track down this information, and that very little of it was provided for me, by my own sources, close to the story. I do however, want to thank Porsche Haynes of Sachs Media Group for providing me with what little information she was given.

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.

Felix Garcia Gets First Parole Hearing

By BitcoDavid

At 9:30AM, Eastern Standard Time, Felix Garcia – the innocent Deaf man who is currently serving his 31st year of a life sentence – will plead his case in front of a parole board.

Although we all hope desperately, that Felix finally gets a scintilla of the justice he so rightly deserves, parole would not have been my option of choice. There are 4 ways an inmate can be released. Exoneration, clemency, pardon and parole. Exoneration is when the court admits that they were wrong, and the individual is innocent. Clemency is a way the court can say they may or may not have been wrong, but they are willing to defer on the side of the defendant. Pardon is when the Governor – or the President of the United States – releases the inmate based on mercy. It means the inmate is guilty, but society is of a higher mind than simple punishment, and capable of taking mercy on the deserving. Parole on the other hand, requires an admission of guilt. In order to even qualify for parole, the inmate must show contrition and demonstrate rehabilitation.

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

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

Personally, I think that might be impossible for Felix. He has maintained his innocence for his entire life behind bars. I think he will struggle with the integral hypocrisy of admitting to being contrite over a crime he didn’t commit. Furthermore, parole isn’t freedom. It’s a qualified release. Felix will have to report to a parole officer who can violate him at any time, and at whim. He will be expected to take whatever job they assign him, and he will be subjected to regular drug tests.

Felix could easily qualify to teach ASL, or to work in the computer industry, but he’ll end up working in a car wash, until his parole is satisfied. I know of a certain blog site that would jump at the chance to have him on staff. And I have no doubt our readers would welcome his work. As a parolee, that would be difficult – if not impossible.

Porsche Haynes of Sachs Media Group, who has also worked very hard on obtaining justice for Felix, asked me to send a letter to the parole board, for this hearing. Since it is now 11:00, and I can assume the letter has been read, I know of no reason why you shouldn’t be able to see it.

Regardless of my personal feelings, we wish Felix all the best possible luck in this hearing. If a single Human being ever deserved freedom, that Human being is Felix Garcia.

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.

Some Thoughts on Sign Videos

By BitcoDavid

Stephen Torrence made Sign Language versions of popular rock videos, and he’s not alone. He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last, but he’s the first to shut down his channel, and halt all future production. He has also taken down his revenue channel.

Torrence is Hearing, but has an interest in ASL, as well as acting and dance. He combined those talents – and with others, both Deaf and Hearing – helped to launch a burgeoning new artform. Sign Language Music Video. He states that an outcry from the Deaf Community, citing the damage these videos do to Deaf culture, as his reason for stopping the work.

I strongly disagree with Torrence on this, and with those members of the Deaf community who pushed him into that decision. Here’s why. Many of us who are struggling to learn Sign, can use these videos as a tool to aid in our mastery. We already know the songs, so there’s no distraction with subtitles or listening to an audio interpreter. That allows us to concentrate solely on the Signing, and to follow the translation directly.

Furthermore, many Deaf can hear music – at least to some degree – and this allows them to benefit from the songs, creating a further inclusion into mainstream culture.

What’s more, these translations tend to be more Signed Exact English, rather than strict ASL. That’s because songs aren’t written in ASL grammar, and because music lyrics tend to be metaphorical. Katy Perry wrote a song called, “Firework,” about bullying. The gist of the song is that victims of bullying need to look inside themselves for their own self-esteem, and shouldn’t let others dictate their self worth. But the lyrics never actually say any of that. The song is metaphorical, with the title line – you’re a firework – representing the inner beauty and power of the bullied individual. Watching ASL interpretations of this song, helps us to learn ASL idioms and advanced communication methods that we might not get from other ASL learning sources.

ASL is a language, and as such is no longer owned by the Deaf community. French people don’t get angry when others learn French. And French authors certainly don’t get angry when their books are translated into English, or any other language.

English: ASL sign I-LOVE-YOU (wikt:en:ILY@Side...

ASL sign I-LOVE-YOU (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nations conquer other nations. People intermarry and conduct trade. Language – all language – is living, communal, subject to constant growth and change, and never owned by its originators.

I’m a music lover, a video professional and an ASL enthusiast. As such, I couldn’t be happier about the emergence and popularity of this exiting new artform. Long live ASL music videos. And Mr. Torrence – please reconsider.

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.

An Evening with C.J. Jones

By Jean F. Andrews

C. J. Jones from Los Angeles, California, performed for 150 Lamar University students, faculty and community members last week in Beaumont, Texas. C.J. used visual storytelling, American Sign Language, mime, and audience participation to “bring down the house” with humor, laughter and heart-warming stories about his youth and early adulthood.  C.J. told the audience he was born in a world with a “double-whammy” being both Deaf and African-American. But he did not dwell on the negative impact of discrimination and oppression, which he no doubt was subjected to.  Siting in the front and center of the audience, what hit me was C.J.s enormous capacity for inclusion. He not only pulled in the CART reporters and the sign language interpreters into his comedy routine, he also pulled in his family in his stories. He then pulled in the adults in the audience who did not know sign language as he invited them to the stage and he gave them a quick and humorous crash course in ASL. He did the same with children. C.J. left the audience laughing “in stitches,” with inspiration and hope to realize one’s potential whatever circumstances come one’s way. C.J. is not only is a comedian, but he also is an actor, producer and runs two businesses.  He has a company, Sign World TV which employs both Deaf and hearing people.

C.J. Jones performance in Beaumont was part of Deaf Awareness Week.  To learn more about C. J. Jones and his work, visit www.cjjoneslive.com

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

Cop Block Video on Kelly Thomas Case

By BitcoDavid

This is the most in depth telling of this tragic story, I have ever seen. As always, I put forth the invitation to anyone in Law Enforcement, who can present a cogent rebuttal to this film.

Don’t forget to send a birthday card to Felix. Suppose you had served 33 years of a life sentence, for a crime you didn’t commit. Imagine on top of that, that you had been discriminated against and isolated because you were Deaf. While in prison you had been raped, beaten and abused. When you went to the infirmary for help, the advice you were given was that you should kill yourself. Imagine all that, and then ask yourself – wouldn’t you like to see birthday cards from your supporters? The address to send cards can be found here.

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.

Happy Birthday, Felix Garcia

By BitcoDavid

Pat Bliss has informed me that Felix has a birthday coming up, on October 1st, 1 week from tomorrow. In her e-mail, she also stated that the chances for another clemency hearing are not looking good, and the legal team has pinned its hopes on a parole hearing in January.

I would like very much to see Felix get some joy out of his upcoming birthday. Pat sent me an address to which we can send birthday cards.

Felix Garcia #482246/D2
Tomoka Correctional Inst.
3950 Tiger Bay Rd.
Daytona Beach, FL 33124

I think it would be truly amazing for Felix, if he were to receive a virtual truckload of birthday cards. Further, I think it would send a loud statement to both Florida DOC, and Florida DOJ, that Felix has garnered a large, national – perhaps even international – support system.

You have 1 week. Send a card. Share this on FaceBook and Twitter. Urge your friends and family to send cards. Let’s flood Felix’s cell with cards from around the world. Let’s show Felix and Florida how much we care.

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.

International Week of the Deaf

By BitcoDavid

The last full week in September marks the International Week of the Deaf, commemorating – along with other things – the first Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf, in 1951.

DeafInPrison.com / Google Images

DeafInPrison.com / Google Images

The goal of the week long commemoration,  is to bring awareness to the growth and success of the Deaf community, and to further advocate for their needs. For the duration of the week, Deaf advocates will be conducting information campaigns about their work, and publicizing issues that need to be addressed. It is a period when we have the opportunity to promote Deaf causes and champion the rights of the Deaf, throughout the World.

DeafInPrison.com will be doing whatever we can to help promote this commemorative week, and its worthy cause.

For more, here’s a link to the World Federation of the Deaf .

 

 

 

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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