I was alerted to this story by this FaceBook page. I was immediately struck by the similarities between this case, and that of innocent Deaf prisoner, Felix Garcia – whom we’ve been working on freeing for the past year and a half, and Pat Bliss has struggled with for for over 17 years now.
Ricardo Harris in the early stages of his nightmare, whereas Felix has been living his, for the past 30 years. Felix needs our help, but so does Ricardo. In both cases, innocent Deaf men – unable to appropriately defend themselves against prosecution – are being sacrificed to a Justice system run amok. And all this on the eve of Eric Holder’s new approach to criminal law reform.
When is enough, enough? When do we demand a cessation to the wonton disregard for Human lives and dignity that have become this nation’s hallmark, in the so called war on crime. Nobody’s saying that wrong doers shouldn’t be punished, but never before has the slope to a lifetime behind bars been so slippery. What was once considered a hard road is now an 8 lane highway.
America can’t prosecute her way out of all her ills. It should be hard to get into jail. It should be next to impossible. That’s what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – and why they established the single-most progressive legal system in the World. One where everyone was given equal protection, everyone was given their day in court, and the burden of proof fell upon the state.
Here’s what the creators of the FaceBook page had to say about Ricardo Harris.
Ricardo Laron Harris; he is deaf and from South Bend, IN. Harris nationality consists of the following: African-American, Panama and Puerto Rican. He attended Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, while attending he was involved with an organization called Ebony Club as a Public Relations in 2008 and Vice President in 2010. Not only that he was involved with an organization at his college, he was a Vice President for a Head Start school where his youngest daughter attended. Harris has three beautiful daughters.
My reason to reach out to you is to seek your help to spread the news about Ricardo Harris. When Harris visited Georgia, on his school break, he came across a crime at the wrong time, wrong place to be involved. He is deaf. There was no way to call 911 from his cell phone, he would not have been able to hear the dispatcher to explain what was going on. His own cell phone was not able to download AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) to reach out to the Sprint Relay Service IM due to the service was not effective in the area he was located with the crime. Harris went down to the front desk to ask the receptionist to call 911, they refused. For what reason? I have no clue. So without him just giving up, Harris drove down to the closest gas station and ask the person there to call 911 for him. When the police arrived, they obviously had the wrong assumption and went ahead and arrested him. I’m briefing you with this situation because what Harris went through was unfair. I cannot tell more but if you would like to know more, please contact him or visit Harris at the Cobb County Jail (in Marietta, GA).
Harris has not had any criminal record within the system. So with this all being said, it is irrelevant that Harris has had to stay in jail since January 1, 2013. There is no other evidence against Harris, he is an innocent deaf man who does not deserve another night in jail. Since he has been charged with this crime, his lawyer does not have nor received any kind of discovery package with additional updates.
When I think about either of these cases, I feel myself seething with rage. There is no excuse for us to carelessly throw away lives with no regard to innocence. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? What ever happened to beyond a shadow of a doubt? Why have we so willingly become the World’s jailer, warehousing a full Tenth of our citizens in hellish confinement?
Please go to the FaceBook page and click “Like.” Show your support for a wrongfully accused Deaf man, torn from his family. Help this beautiful little girl get her father back. And while you’re in such a generous and caring mood, don’t forget Felix Garcia. Our petition needs just over 300 more signatures, before it can be sent to Florida – the state that owes Felix the life they stole from him.
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 Brief List Regarding Felix Garcia’s Innocence (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Felix’s Petition for All to See (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- We Got ’em on the Run (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- According to the ASL Meetup group… (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- No Child Left Signing (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Deaf Americans Still Struggle To Find Acceptance (mintpressnews.com)
- DeafInPrison.com Launches ASL Learners FaceBook Group (deafinprison.wordpress.com)