Top Criminal Justice Degrees Shares Infographic

By BitcoDavid

Flatfoots
Source: TopCriminalJusticeDegrees.org

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.

Driving While Deaf – From the ACLU

By BitcoDavid

This was taken from the ACLU Web site.

Rights for deaf Americans.

Being stopped by the police can be difficult for everyone. For those of us who are deaf, the experience can be far worse.

For Pearl Pearson, a 64-year-old deaf man, a routine traffic stop led to a brutal assault by police. When an officer shouted instructions, he attempted to show the patrolman that he was deaf. That’s when the officer pulled him from his car and according to Pearson, beat him for not following verbal orders.

The Department of Justice can help put an end to these tragedies. Police departments need up-to-date guidance and training from the DOJ on how law enforcement must interact with deaf and hard of hearing individuals, as obligated under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We know the DOJ is listening. Mobilized by violence against transgender individuals, activists recently pushed the DOJ to issue similar guidance on how law enforcement must interact with the trans community.

The police are here to serve and protect us all – including the deaf and hard of hearing. Let’s make sure they get the guidance and training they need to fulfill their duty. Sign the petition to the DOJ now.

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.

Petitions Delivered

By BitcoDavid

UPS has informed me, that all our petitions have been delivered. We have done our part, now it’s up to Florida to do theirs. This was a learning experience for me, because it was neither easy nor cheap. It required several trips to Staples for printing, as well as a large amount of printing here, at the massive DeafInPrison.com Plaza. Between the printing costs, and the shipping costs… well… let’s just say, I felt the bite.

But this is a happy post. A genuine Emoji.  Florida’s  Praetorian Guard now have hard-copy proof of our labor. They are awed by the sheer magnitude of the names, and shamed by their own state’s wrongheadedness and inhumanity.

We have issued our Concordat. The Jacobin have stormed the Bastille. This is our Battleship Potemkin moment.

Scott Carey – armed with nothing more than a nail – has confronted the spider.

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.

Open Letter to Florida Clemency Board

By Joanne Greenberg

Dear Clemency Board,

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss. From Mother Jones Magazine.

Felix Garcia celebrating his GED in 1984 Courtesy Pat Bliss.
From Mother Jones Magazine.

I have been interested in the Felix Garcia case, for the last few years, and I have seen all of the material from that case, including the 2 hours of video interview on DeafInPrison.com. I know that he has exhausted his legal opportunities, but because there is a strong probability that Felix is not guilty of the crime for which he is charged, I am afraid that when he comes up for parole, he will not state that he is remorseful. And this will deny him parole.

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

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

However, nothing stands in the way of Felix’s being freed as an act of clemency. He’s already served a monumental sentence, but he has been able to create a life for himself, that will be useful and positive – on the outside. He will be able to do good things for himself and for the community in general; and especially for the Deaf community, which needs what Felix has to offer.

If we have any faith in rehabilitation, we certainly see rehabilitation in Felix’s case.

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.

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.

 

50 Ways to Use the Internet

By Jean F. Andrews

Map of uunet global Internet backbone. Image: Manchester AC

Map of uunet global Internet backbone.
Image: Manchester AC

In collaboration with a deaf inmate, we put together 50 different ways to use the Internet. For a deaf person, the Internet is a necessity not a luxury as it is for hearing people, who have the option of using the audio-cell phone.  Banning deaf persons who are released from prison, from using the Internet is a cruel and inhumane penalty that smacks of retribution rather than rehabilitation. It also makes no sense in terms of trying to rehabilitate and integrate the deaf person back into his or her family, the workforce or even society in general. With today’s technology of computer data loggers and tracking methods, restrictions and safeguards can be imposed. These insure that the individual’s devices cannot be used inappropriately. But to flat-out forbid the total use of technological devices for released deaf criminal offenders is counterproductive and unjust as well as contrary to our goals of rehabilitation.

"Traceroute" is a tool that tracks the "hops" made by electronic communications. Image: Isoc.org

Traceroute is a tool that tracks the hops made by electronic communications. Image: Isoc.org

1.     refilling medications

2.     making reservations

3.     finding phone numbers

4.     finding addresses

5.     finding emails

6.     paying bills

7.     checking weather

8.     joining support groups

9.     checking bank account

10.  research

11.  ordering a pizza

12.  ordering flowers

13.  ordering books

14.  checking out books from a library

15.  contacting friends

16.  tracking shipping items

17.  seeking other advice

18.  access to online manuals

19.  contacting family

20.  making appointments

21.  filing taxes

22.  looking up recipes

23.  searching for apartments

24.  finding jobs

25.  contacting work

26.  finding coupons

27.  renting movies

28.  connecting to cable services

29.  reading the newspaper

30.  taking online courses

31.   filing out online applications

32.  checking activity schedules

33.  filing social security

34.  purchasing from online stores

35.  checking store sales

36.  contacting stores for help

37.  conducting phone interviews.

38.  Researching medications

39.  contacting ministers

40.  contacting church schedules

41.  applying for credit cards

42.  learning how to fix household appliances

43.  contacting funeral homes

44.  checking for weather alerts (i.e. hurricanes, tornadoes)

45.  contacting police

46.  contacting lawyer

47.  looking up vocabulary

48.  locating bus, train, plane schedules and delays

49.  buying museum tickets

50.  buying sports events tickets on line

[Editor's Note: Having been professionally involved with the Internet since the BBS days of the mid-1980s, it is not without a certain personal pride, that I state the above 50 uses are but a drop in the bucket. The Internet offers life saving and life enhancing uses to us all, but most significantly, to the Deaf. The advent of smart phones and tablets have further unchained us from our desks, and now Deaf people can enjoy almost literally the same access to services as can the hearing. Through ASL and the Internet, it is possible that the entire world will soon, no longer view deafness as a disability at all.

Also please note: HEARD's #DeafInPrison link to the screening of Al Jazeera America's excellent documentary is now live. It will only be available for viewing, this weekend.  Please take a few minutes to watch this entertaining and informative broadcast, and then post your support and impressions on your social media channels, using the hashtag - #DeafInPrison. Here' s the link: http://www.facebook.com/l/QAQHw5OiQ/bit.ly/DeafPrisoners

--BitcoDavid]

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

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.

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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