Latest from Pat Bliss

By BitcoDavid

Pat Bliss sent me the following via e-mail:

Felix arrived at the Wakulla prison yesterday to begin his new venture in Special Programming known as a transitional program or Lifer’s Program. He was sent there by the parole commission at his parole hearing in November 2014. It is an 18 month program. Last we talked, he is looking forward to it so he can prove to the parole commission what he can accomplish. In our talk he also mentioned how much he appreciated the support of those in the free world – a hope someday he will be there too. Here is his new address:

Felix Garcia #482246
Wakulla Correctional Institute – Annex
110 Melaleuca Drive
Crawfordville, FL 32327

Just so you all know, our clemency action is still inline to be heard before the Clemency Board, our approximate wait is about another 3-4 years. However we – the legal team – are still active in tying to get Felix’s case heard early, which is possible under Clemency Rule 17. Hence, all the publicity that was – and will be – coming forth highlighting this case.

In response to the USDOJ investigation into the deaths of 346 inmates – during 2014 – in Florida, Governor Rick Scott has brought on Julie Jones, as the first female Secretary of the DOC, in the state’s history.

FlNewsServ

According to News Service Florida‘s Dara Kam, Ms. Jones held her first conference with state legislature on Tuesday, January 20th.  In it, she asked for more money, and more gubernatorial oversight. She pointed to an understaffed and besieged DOC, crumbling infrastructure, an overwhelming increase in mentally ill inmates, and private vendors who are failing to fulfill their contracts, as some of the causes for the department’s dysfunction.

Quote Jones:

“Staffing is key to lowering the temperature in these facilities. It’s going to take all hands on deck and it’s going to take a true change in how we look at the role of the corrections officers and also the expectations of what those corrections officers, what services, they deliver to those inmates. Quite frankly, it’s a service. They’re there to keep them happy and they’re there to keep them healthy … and do it in such a way that they enter the facility in the same way that they exit the facility. And we’re not doing that.”

Over the past 4 years, the state legislature has cut over over 1 billion dollars from the budget, and laid off over 1000 COs and employees of the DOC. They have shifted numerous services that were performed in-house, over to private concessionaires – including health care. Jones is looking for about 35 million of those funds to be restored, a return to previous employment levels and for the renegotiation of contracts with outside vendors. She is also seeking new and improved training for COs in dealing with the mentally ill and senior inmates. I found no mention of the Deaf, in the NSF article.

In her comments regarding infrastructure, for which she is seeking 15 million in additional funds, she mentioned one facility that was built in 1913, and is still in use.

Greg Evers With Tractor

Greg Evers With Tractor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Senate Criminal Justice Committee chairman, Greg Evers (R) stated that he thinks “…the legislature has a cross to bear.” He was speaking on the recent spate of corruption charges, the investigations by both the USDOJ, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as well as Whistleblower lawsuits filed by individuals who claimed they were targeted for retribution by prison guards and authorities.

Quote Evers:

“I can tell you how far we will go. We will go to the point that when you go to prison that you will be given the opportunity to enter the Department of Corrections. You will be allowed to rehabilitate yourself … and you will come out alive on the other side and not leave the prison in a body bag,”

Above all, Jones is working to either renegotiate, re-bid or terminate relationships with private health care providers and the private prison industry. She said she believes that private prisons tend to cherry pick inmates and facilities, and that the standard of health care provided by private industry is below state norms.

The Florida DOC health care system, as provided by Corizon Health and Wexford Health Services, has been under Federal Court oversight since 2000, and has been the subject of numerous lawsuits, for a decade prior to that.

To see the original article, go here:

http://www.newsserviceflorida.com/

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’s Response to the Parole Hearing

By Pat Bliss

Photo of entrance to horse farm at Marion CI. The equine training program is the result of a partnership between DOC and the TRF. The program will train inmates to rehabilitate retired thoroughbred racehorses for use by the Department of Corrections and other law enforcement agencies, adoption by the general public, and provide life-long retirement for some horses. http://www.dc.state.fl.us/secretary/press/2001/horses.html

Photo of entrance to horse farm at Marion CI. The equine training program is the result of a partnership between DOC and the TRF. The program will train inmates to rehabilitate retired thoroughbred racehorses for use by the Department of Corrections and other law enforcement agencies, adoption by the general public, and provide life-long retirement for some horses. State of Florida

I arrived at Marion Correctional Institution, thinking I was early, but still having to wait one and one-half hours, to get in. Fortunately it was not raining. I was checked through security, and waiting for Felix to come into the visiting room. Actually, I was very excited with the news of the parole decision, as I knew in my heart that it would be good news.

He came in without his cane, this time – with a big smile on his face – and gave me a strong hug. I asked, “Want to get in line to the canteen first?” We did, and our conversation went like this:

P: Have you heard anything?

F: I heard on TV 3 years and saw you wearing red.

P: What else?

F: Nothing else, but everyone in the room turned and looked at me and said, ‘is that you?’ I said ‘yes.’

P: They also reduced your PPRD by 12 months and you are going into the Lifer’s Program, what do you think of that?

F: Wow! Wow! (Surprised, he rubbed his head and clapped his hands) he said ‘hard to take in, freedom in view. I’m excited to get started.’

Entrance to Marion CI. State of Florida

Entrance to Marion CI.
State of Florida

I bought the items for our lunch and we found a place to sit – Felix on one side of the table and I, on the other. The authorities had allowed him to bring in a few pieces of paper, and a pen. We could write back and forth if we had any difficulty understanding each other.

At one point, Felix said, “You know, most of my life was not about freedom. It was convincing them I am innocent. This latest thing with the parole is like finally someone is listening. Most parolee’s are put off for 7 years and they give up. When I saw [the] 3-year thing, I started to cry. They gave me hope. I see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Aerial view of Marion Work camp. Wikimapia

Aerial view of Marion Work camp. Wikimapia

In a letter to a supporter, Felix had mentioned a big tree that he had seen when he arrived at Marion CI.I asked him about that, and he said, “It is so big and tall, haven’t seen one like it in 33 years. I hugged the tree the first time I saw it. You don’t see the power of God until you see the bigness of that tree.” He would look up and stare at it, and others would stop and look up too. Something they never did before, as they took it for granted.

Marion K9 Team Google+

Marion K9 Team Google+

We talked about the Lifer’s Program, and I told him, the future is now is your hands. Felix is an achiever, one who always wants to improve himself. Maybe it is also a desire to prove to himself that he is normal. He can be like everyone else – smart. But Felix doesn’t realize that not all Hearing are smart. Just because one can hear, and live in the free world does not mean they have been a student of life, and taken advantage of the opportunities offered them. Felix is so wise about the things that matter – character, honesty, kindness and generosity. As I told the parole board, 5-10-20 years more will not change Felix. His character and faith will continue to keep him strong.

Before I left, I asked him if he would write something to the Deaf Community. It by no means excludes his hearing supporters, as he has repeatedly mentions the letters of encouragement he receives – the awesomeness of so many, caring about him – but in this instance, the message is for the Deaf Community:

I just want to thank all of my Deaf brothers and sisters for your support and sticking with me through these hard times. If anyone knows how hard it is for the Deaf people to live in a hearing world it’s you. But now you know that your prayers were heard and society sees us as people. Thanks to God. We have a awesome God. :)

He drew a smiley face at the end.

It was a great visit. They all are. We have become as close as a mother and son. But, this particular time, I felt a great sense of accomplishment in leaving Felix with real hope, and a goal to strive for. We’ll be seeing each other again in a couple months, for other business. It was with that thought, that we said our good-byes. Merry Christmas, and I pray God’s blessings to you all.

— Pat Bliss

[Editor’s note: You’ve all seen the pictures of Felix, and the pictures of Pat Bliss at the hearing. So for the graphics for this post, I chose to find some pictures of Marion CI. In so doing, I learned about some of the progressive and innovative programs they have in place. I will speak more to this, in a future post. — BitcoDavid]

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.

Pat Bliss Talks About Felix’s Parole Hearing

By Pat Bliss

Preparation for Felix’s Parole Hearing

Attorney Reggie Garcia and I received notice about Felix’s November 19th parole hearing on November 3rd. We were surprised, as we expected it to be a month or two away. After much preparation and arrangements, I set out for Florida on the 15th, and arrived in Tallahassee, late in the afternoon of the 16th. On the following day, Attorney Reggie Garcia had set up a 2-hour video shoot at Sachs Media Group. Reggie, Gary Lieffers of Florida Association of the Deaf and I, all had on-camera interviews. Sachs Media edited the program and sent it out as a news release on the morning of the 18th. It went out to news outlets all over the state of Florida.

2013 photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.  Image credit Pat Bliss

2013 photo of Felix with Pat Bliss.
Image credit Pat Bliss

While the press releases were going out, Reggie and I met with two of the parole commissioners on the Florida Commission on Offender Review board. The meetings gave us the opportunity to learn what subjects they intended on questioning us about. It gave us a heads up as to what to be prepared for at the hearing. Afterward, we headed back to Reggie’s office to go over our transcripts and summaries. The press releases resulted in our receiving numerous calls for interviews. We scheduled an interview for Tuesday afternoon at 5:00PM, with Britanny Kleinpeter – reporter and anchorwoman – of WTXL/ABC 27. We followed that, with another interview at 8:30PM, with Jon Manson-Hing, representing two Tampa TV stations: Fox and CBS affiliates. After getting back to my motel room, I worked on my talking points. It was a long and tiring day, but I wanted our readers to get some idea of the amount of preparation that went into my part of the following day’s parole hearing.

Drama at Parole Hearing: Felix vs. Frank Garcia
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)

Wednesday, November 19th, at 9AM, we arrived at the building where the parole commission is located. Reggie dropped me off at the front door as he parked the car. When I walked into the lobby, it was ablaze with activity. A personal escort led me into the parole hearing room, where a reserved seat was waiting. Reggie sat next to me. Chairperson Tena Pate announced that no paroles would be under consideration at that time, so we found ourselves having to forgo that option. We were however, still anxious to advocate for Felix, when our turn came.

There was another high profile case before ours. Mark DeFriest, a mentally ill inmate who had served over 3 decades, thus far. A British company documented his life story. His case received a continuance, for later in December. Then it was time for Felix’s case. Reggie and I walked up front and sat at the table. We only had a 10-minute time limit. Reggie went first, he told about the 7-hour alibi, and whom we believe framed Felix. Reggie held up an enlarged 1984 picture of Frank, Tina and her boyfriend – Ray Stanley – to show the board and the media, the participants. He stated their motives in blaming the actual shooting on Felix.

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)

As planned, I would have the most amount of the time. I started with why I felt Felix is innocent, and why I stayed with his case for so long. When I first received Felix’s file I saw Tina and Frank’s un-filed affidavits, recanting their trial testimony, and how his inability to hear, played a huge part in the trial. I told them about the report of – court appointed – ENT specialist, Dr. Agliano. I noted its conclusion that Felix’s hearing inability was moderate to severe at time of trial. I stated that Felix had his Sixth Amendment rights violated. His trial attorney – in three different motions – issued a notice of Felix’s lack of understanding of the trial process, and his inability to defend himself.

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 went into Felix’s 37 Certificates in skills learned. I told them he has a home to come to and supporters all around the country – Deaf and hearing alike – to help him transition back into society. I also stated that he is employable with his computer skills for one, and has a church family already waiting for him. I ended with, even if he receives 5,10 or even 20 years more, his character as a sweet, kind and generous person will not change. He is always looking out for others. I told how he gives to those with nothing, like sharing his soup with other Deaf inmates who have no one to visit them at Christmas. He has no criminal intent. In his thinking he harbors forgiveness, because he knows that failing to forgive only destroys one’s self. He has no malice against the Tramontana family, as he never met the victim, Joseph Tramontana Jr. Lastly, I showed the commissioners a hand made birthday card from the guys in Felix’s dorm at Tomoka. There are 63 signatures of thanks for helping them, thanks for being a role model and thanks for being a mentor. I ended with a plea to consider parole and if not, then the Lifer’s Program, which Felix will gladly accept.

 

Then, Mark Ober – State Attorney of Hillsborough County – along with Tramontana’s four sisters, tried hard to keep Felix from getting the relief of freedom. They were not present when we spoke. Mr. Ober spoke after the sisters, and showed documents to the commissioners to prove Felix was competent, and could understand and write legal documents. He showed two state expert witnesses – non-ENT specialists – reports stating Felix had no problem understanding, he could hear and he was competent to stand trial. He did not dispute the defense’s alibi witnesses or the time-line showing where Felix was at the time of the murder. In a surprise move, the commission let us come back to speak further. This was crucial to us. Generally, the victims have the last word. The court views any inaccuracies or exaggerations as true, when not disputed. I was able to dispute Mr. Ober’s allegations about Felix’s ability to understand legal proceedings, hear, and write legal documents.

First, I told them that I had written all Felix’s legal documents from 1996 on, and I stressed his inability – even today – to understand legal proceedings. I refuted Mr. Ober’s allegation that Felix’s hearing was just fine at time of the trial, according to Dr. Agliano’s report. I gave a visual description of the scale used to determine the degree of deafness, and where Felix stood versus someone who can hear. Dr. Algiano said that hearing is acceptable up to 25%. Ober said Felix was at 70%, at the time of trial. In truth, Felix was at a 40% loss, if not more. [See correction below. — ed.]

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

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

The commission ruled that Felix would receive a reduction of 12 months from his proposed parole release date to 8/10/2025. He will have another review in 3 years. Furthermore, he will go to the special 18-month transitional programming – generally known as the Lifer’s Program. Reggie and I were both happy with that because the alternative could have been no PPRD reduction, no change in housing, and the next hearing in 7 years. That is exactly what happened in Frank’s case.

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.

In another surprise move by the Commission, Frank Garcia’s case was up next. Already, the camera operators and reporters were there, and they were not about to move out of that room! Reggie and I stood on the sidelines – close to the front – to listen again to Mark Ober and the sisters. The sisters said essentially, the same things but Mr. Ober was even more adamant to keeping Frank incarcerated. He had prosecuted Frank at his own trial in 1982. Then came Frank’s speakers to support him being granting parole. They were sister Tina and a younger brother – Michael – who was 15 years old when the crime occurred. It shocked many people to see Tina and Mike there for Frank, but not Felix. It was so obvious that their loyalty lay with one and not to the other. Mike was brainwashed by Frank into believing Felix did it, and Frank had a smaller part. Tina – who had recanted in a 1996 affidavit stating Felix had nothing to do with the planning or commission of the crime – now feels her freedom is more important, and will not admit again to any wrongdoing nor to exonerate Felix. She is the only one who can bring this case back into court, outside of the Hillsborough County State Attorney, making that move to overturn Felix’s conviction.

Image courtesy Pat Bliss

Image courtesy Pat Bliss

I was so upset that I could not think to ask Tina, specifically why she refuses to help Felix. All I could think to say to her was, why did you not testify for Felix as well. Her answer was because Felix didn’t ask her. Oh really? To do kindness to a brother you must be asked first? I can only conclude that everyone in that family believes Felix thinks – and acts – like them. His family had abandoned him, and Felix would not ask for their support at his parole hearing. The Garcia family has no concept of Felix’s limitations being deaf – his reading and verbal comprehension to start with. He has had no formal education as a deaf man. However, in the end, Reggie and I were able to educate the public a little about being deaf and caught up in the criminal justice system – via Felix’s case.

After the parole meetings were over – out in the lobby – reporters surrounded us. They wanted clarification on what went on, and our reaction to the decision.

They left, and it was finally a chance to calm down and regroup my thoughts, as to how to explain all that had occurred, to Felix, that coming weekend at Marion C.I. in Ocala, Florida.

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.

[Correction: Ober did not have anything to do with the hearing test. The report by Dr. Agliano said Felix had a 70% loss at time of the trial. His opinion was that Felix had at least a 40-45% loss at time of the crime two years earlier - which was still a much more significant loss, than the 25% that is considered the limit of hearing with clear discernment. Dr. Agliano was the defense expert witness who testified at the trial, after having given Felix a thorough hearing test. The State expert witnesses were non-ENTs, who interviewed Felix and said he had no problem hearing them. –Ed.]

Press Release Video From Sachs Media

By BitcoDavid

This video was created by Dave Heller, and sent to me by Porsche Haynes of Sachs Media Group, via Pat Bliss. It can also be seen on Vimeo.

Pat has shared with me, some of the monumental effort she put into this hearing – the travel, the personal financial expense, the sleeplessness and the endless meetings and interviews. She assures me that she will be submitting posts on the hearing, including Felix’s reactions to this devastating news.

She also told me that although we didn’t get what we wanted, we’re not complete losers in the outcome of this case. Felix’s next parole hearing will be in 3 years, which could have been 7. And he has received a 1 year reduction in the overall sentence. Frank on the other hand, whose hearing also took place on the same day, did not receive any of these benefits.

Here’s a link to coverage on Tampa Bay Times.

DeafInPrison.com will continue to work towards obtaining justice for this innocent Deaf man, and will continue reporting on this story, whenever we have information to share.

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.

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.

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.

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Deaf Songbird Blog

Special Education For Teens But Special Rules for Parents

Tips and tools to support teenagers with special needs, while helping your student transition to college.

spiritandanimal.wordpress.com

We are not far from one another: there is a deep connection between spirit, animal, nature, humanity, clouds ....

TechCrunch

Startup and Technology News

Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Simple observations, analysis, and common sense comments

Random Notes from Some Kind of Hairpin

A collection, olio, mishmash, stew and/or medley of extemporanea

Playwright at Liberty

A place for my theatre writing: Plays, criticism, essays, miscellaney, and random fulminations on things dramatic

So few critics, so many poets

"If you think it is so easy to be a critic, so difficult to be a poet or a painter or film experimenter, may I suggest you try both? You may discover why there are so few critics, so many poets." - Pauline Kael

SayWhatClub

A global forum for people with hearing loss

Adult & Teen Fiction

Read on and I will show you another world within this one....

Kev's Blog

Thoughts and Expressions

writing to freedom

a place to connect, inspire, and thrive

Tricks & the Town.

A younger more cynical version of Carrie Bradshaw in the UK... with a lot less to work with. "There's plenty of fish in the sea" - Yes, as well as Stingrays, Sharks & Sewage.

aslnerd

Teaching. Learning. Growing.

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

amplifying the voices of CA prisoners on hunger strike

Hearing Elmo

Living with Hearing Loss and Invisible Disability

I Was in Prison...

Official Blog of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS

Rational thinking and reporting on all things transgender

Hands 2 Inspire™

Giving Back Sharing Knowledge Raising Awareness

Do the Write Thing...Tampa

Improving Our Craft

Daniel Costigan

Turning snapshots of raw experience into something beautiful.

Truth- A Right to Fight For...

...Truth the Media Wont Cover... Police Brutality... Prison Industry... The War on "Drugs", Racism, Pit Bull Awareness & More... For Mental Health, Domestic Violence and Women's Rights -including Abortion Rights- Please Look Under "My Other Sites"

Maverick Writer

Follow your own path

diaryofanegress

Observations of an Invisible Woman

moderate-severe/profound... quirky

Hearing aids, meltdowns and everything The Miracle Worker didn't teach me about raising a deaf child with autism

Digestible Politics

Politics Made Easy!

Crates and Ribbons

In pursuit of gender equality

Gotta Find a Home:

Conversations with Street People

Bonnie's Blog of Crime

My Life of Crime, Murder, Missing People and such! Above all else, never forget the victim, that the victim lived, had a life and was loved. The victim and their loved ones deserve justice, as does society.

Step One to Solving any Problem is Admitting a Problem Exists

A Life Aesthetically Inclined. (Because I'm deaf, not blind.)

Book Hub, Inc.

The Total Book Experience

Marcela De Vivo

Inbound & Integrative Online Marketing

clarkcountycriminalcops

A look at Police Misconduct in Clark County, Nevada and Across the U.S.

Rumpydog

I'm cute. I'm funny. And I'm committed to animal welfare.

Life In Color With Closed Captions

Just another WordPress.com site

Prisoner Activist

News, reports and other resources on criminal justice and prison reform

terry1954

inspirational stories that touch your heart and soul

Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

Arts & Entertainment * Inspiration * Community * Mindblogging

Wefitu is closed

Visit Fit-anne.com

BitcoDavid's BoxingBlog

Fight Hard and Protect Yourself at All Times

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