Fox 13 Tampa Bay: Updated Felix Video

By BitcoDavid

Fox Real Time logo on Fox News Channel''

Fox Real Time logo on Fox News Channel” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following links are to the newest extended special broadcast on Felix’s case, by Florida Fox News outlet WTVT Fox News Channel 13, Tampa Bay.

Here’s the link to the video from their page.

http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/29151635/special-report-florida-justice-uncovered

Here’s the video with a transcript by TVEYES media monitor.

http://mms.tveyes.com/PlaybackPortal.aspx?SavedEditID=88450b25-5e00-44c7-87f5-377db74dfa62

And here’s the Vimeo version.

https://vimeo.com/128326681

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.

How Fox News Became Involved with Felix

By Pat Bliss

English: FOX News Channel newsroom

FOX News Channel newsroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The day before Felix’s parole hearing in November 2014, a photojournalist representing FOX News interviewed attorney Reggie Garcia and me, in his office. The next morning at the parole hearing he filmed us both, advocating for Felix’s parole. It was an exciting and dramatic time. There were cameras and microphones everywhere.  After our time at the hearing was up, Frank Garcia’s name was called. Frank’s sister, Tina showed up to speak on his behalf and so did their younger brother Michael (who doesn’t know Felix).

The fact that they did not come to speak for Felix caused quite a stir among the media. Afterward in the lobby, Reggie and I were asked a lot of questions about what had just taken place.  We answered what we could and then everyone left, including the photojournalist for FOX News. All we knew at the time was that the parole hearing and Felix’s case was going to be shown on the local news stations around the State of Florida. We hoped for the best. What we didn’t know was that the story touched the Chief Investigator for FOX News in Tampa.

English: Looking east towards 6th Avenue along...

Looking east towards 6th Avenue along north (48th Street) side of Fox News building on a snowy afternoon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The day after the hearing, I drove from Tallahassee – where the parole commission is located – to Marion CI in Ocala, to tell Felix what the outcome was. On the way to Ocala I got a call on my cell phone from Craig Patrick of FOX News. He kindly introduced himself and said he had just spoken with Reggie and he wanted to speak to me about Felix. He wanted to do a video shoot inside the prison.

I told him the procedures he must do. He would need to contact the FDOC media director, download and fill out a form for himself and anyone else attending. That is mainly for a background check, to inform about the equipment that is planned to come in, and an approximate date scheduled. I told Craig that needs to be done first, so he said he will get started on it. We all decided with the holidays coming soon, we will pick up on this after the New Year. I drove home after seeing Felix the weekend after the parole hearing.

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)

Early January we started a dialogue and brought in Sachs Media Group to assist. They are part of our legal team.  We had to get approvals, a sign interpreter lined up, and a date set. The time of an interview is always designated by the FDOC at the institution so to be sure there is a DOC officer available to be in the room when and where the interview is taking place. We chose March 6, 2015 and FDOC chose 9 AM.

Sachs Media Group

Sachs Media Group

I drove back down to Florida end of February 2015.  FOX interviewed me at a station in Tampa.  I was to meet Craig at the prison Friday morning, March 6th, to accompany the team for Felix’s interview.  It went very smoothly, Felix is so likable and impresses everyone that meets him. We were there 2 hours. I visited Felix, as well, both Saturday and Sunday. As always, we had a lot to talk about. He had questions about the interview, and very exited about it. I answered what I could. After our visit Sunday and our goodbyes, I headed back to Virginia. There is a let down after I leave each time, seeing him stand there in line waiting to get shook down and allowed back into the compound as I walk out the door to freedom. Justice for Felix must come soon!

There will be another – and longer – video aired on FOX at 5:30pm May 25th. I will post the link after it is aired.

Pat Bliss is a retired paralegal in criminal law. She continues to do legal work for indigent prisoner cases showing innocence. She is a Certified Community Chaplain, Certified as a volunteer for CISM (Crises Intervention Stress Management) and involved in community events.

A Word on Police Militarization

By BitcoDavid

On May 18th, President Obama signed an Executive Order, effectively banning the transfer of military equipment by the Federal government, to community police departments.

This is a step in the right direction, and will help to end what has become nothing short of a war between the police, and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve.

But during the past week, I have learned something. I know that police militarization is a problem – and it’s one we’ve discussed before on DeafInPrison.com. I also know that the number of shooting incidents involving police on citizens – and police on dogs – has increased exponentially over the past 40 years. Furthermore, these incidents are overwhelmingly racially skewed. Of the total number of civilians shot by police since the year 2000, 75% have been Black.

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

None of this is news. Simply open a browser, and you’ll be treated to a smorgasbord of carnage and death – almost entirely White police officers on Black civilians.

In many cases, the officers are justified. In others they’re not. But what stands out – regardless of color or race – is the huge number of violent attacks and counterattacks on mentally ill citizens. And this is where I had my epiphany.

The root of the problem is far simpler than the media, or law enforcement itself, would lead us to believe. In the 1980s, President Reagan closed all the federal and state funded mental hospitals. This caused a river of drug addicts, abuse victims, disabled vets, homeless and other mentally ill – with no place to go but the streets. The burden of their care – or at the very least, handling – was shifted from Social Services, to the police.

But police are not trained, or even capable of handling this new responsibility. In the eyes of a cop, you’re either an innocent or a perpetrator. There’s no middle ground, and there are no policies in place for how to deal with any of the other possibilities. Police have one basic skill, and it’s a difficult skill to master – and one that deserves respect. They know how to arrest people. They don’t know how to counsel people. They don’t know how to determine if someone is mentally ill. They don’t know what to do with someone who is. In my years interacting with cops, I’ve seen them do things I never thought possible. I’ve seen a single cop insert himself into a gang rivalry, and prevent a war. I’ve seen cops rescue children from abusive parents. I’ve seen cops rescue animals from abusive owners. But I’ve never seen a cop help a bag lady get her stolen shopping cart back.

In our rush to austerity, we’ve tasked our police forces with the job of handling every social disorder and societal problem, that we’re too cheap to pay for, and they’ve responded the only way they know how – with nightsticks and bullets. Then, we armed them like the Green Berets.

Always refreshing to see cops who don't look like this! Image: Asmag.com

Always refreshing to see cops who don’t look like this! Image: Asmag.com

So the fix? Well, it ain’t gonna come cheap. We need to allocate sufficient funds to rebuild the Social Services department, and we need to make a commitment to helping our weakest and most infirm citizens. We need to start taking conditions like PTSD seriously, and make treatment – and even hospitalization – free and readily available. We need to find ways to get our homeless off the streets. We need to end the useless War on Drugs, and develop policies that will help addicts get treatment – not jail.

And, while we obviously can’t disarm our police forces, we need to stop arming them like they’re going to war in Afghanistan – and above all, let them get back to the job they’re supposed to be doing. Protecting us from those who would knowingly violate the social contract. A job they do with handcuffs – not machine guns and street-tanks.

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 Case – Some Important Links

By BitcoDavid

Here’s the link to Fox 13 Tampa Bay’s video. It’s a surprisingly accurate and well made piece, and tells Felix’s whole story. Well worth watching.

http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/29033415/after-30-years-advocates-seek-new-trial-for-deaf-man#.VVIQvxy0EhQ.facebook

You can see their FaceBook page here. Check out the comments on Felix’s video.

https://www.facebook.com/FOX13TampaBay/videos/vb.159207208524/10152912739548525/

And lastly, here’s a link to Felix’s original testimony, in PDF format.

http://content.foxtvmedia.com/wtvt/html/misc/Garcia-testimony.pdf

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.

Change! Fox News Program about Felix

By Pat Bliss

To All Felix’s Supporters:

I had previously stated that FOX News is doing a short segment on Felix’s case at 10 pm May 14th. It has been upped to May 11th at 10pm.

This will be aired again and be tied in with a special on the criminal justice system coming up later by Craig Patrick of FOX. That program will air in prime time. This current segment on Felix will be shown live in FOX owned stations in 17 major cities around the country that night. Those of us who do not live near a big city can view it online after it is aired at: www.mytampabay.com/story/case-of-felix-garcia . This may work as I tried to determine via other news stories listed on its home page, but it should get you there and look for a list of news stories with Felix’s name. The call letters are FOX13 WTVT-TV. Tampa Bay, FL.  If I find out a more precise web address I will try to pass it on but wanted to be sure you all saw the change in date.   As you know this is shown in furthering our quest for Felix’s freedom. Thank you all so much. Pat

Here is one of the promos being shown to advertise the story on Felix.  Press the play button/arrow in the lower left of the video screen.

https://vimeo.com/127325386

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.

Castaways: A Documentary

By BitcoDavid

I got this video from Littlethings.com via Facebook. I had to go through some machinations in order to convert it to a format you could see embedded on DeafInPrison.com.  I’ve linked to the original. We’re not about stealing anything here, and generally we only publish our own original content, but this is a subject very much near and dear to my heart. If I didn’t think this was as important as it is, I wouldn’t have gone to this much effort.

All the same, a full fledged double++ thank you to Littlethings.com for allowing us – after the fact – to use 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.

A Victimless Crime?

By Supporter Contributor Matthew Gilbert

A few days ago, I saw a post by someone who was grieving for a loved one lost to drug overdose. They made the point that there are victims to drug use. I was not about to argue with a grieving person and I am not now going to. How could I? Nothing you do in this life, won’t affect other people and things. They say butterflies beating their wings in China cause earthquakes here.

Many hearts get broken over drug use. This is a sad fact of life. I’ve also had my heart broken by women I loved, and they’re walking around free as birds. My parents divorce affected me deeply. Divorce is legal, however. If you have someone in your life – on drugs – I’m sure you would rather see them in treatment than in jail. In jail they get no treatment and statistically, come out worse than when they went in.

It’s easy to say, blame the dealer, but that argument won’t get you far in court. Besides, someone deals to the dealer, and so on up the ladder, ’till you get to the people who are rich enough to avoid prosecution. As long as there is a demand, there will be someone willing to risk all by filling that demand. So it comes back to getting the user off drugs. Many users are afraid to come forward for fear of prosecution. If you are on probation for any crime, you are legally forbidden to use drugs, and they always have access to your doctor as a condition of probation. You can also lose your job, your children, your house, etc, as a direct legal consequence of admitting to drug use.

An out of control user will likely lose these things eventually anyway, which is why we want them in treatment. I say out of control drug user because the majority of the population can be prescribed – or simply use – drugs occasionally, without succumbing to addiction. Only about 12% of the population, is prone to become addicted. That’s a book in itself, so, I’ll close by reminding my readers, that countries like Portugal have decriminalized drug use. They have seen their rates of addiction, overdose, and drug related crimes, drastically reduced from what they were when they punished people for addiction. Addiction is legally defined as a disease in the USA. People should not be prosecuted, or persecuted for being sick. They should be helped.

Matthew Gilbert is a guitarist and music teacher in the Boston area. He has spent years struggling with drug abuse and addiction issues, and has written numerous articles on methadone maintenance programs. His perspective on the War on Drugs comes from on-the-street experience.

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