By Supporter Contributor Ty Rade
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.
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 The habeus petition doesn’t tell us why this issue was withdrawn and makes no effort to overcome the withdrawal.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 Felix had voluntarily withdrawn his “newly discovered evidence” issue in 1999; Frank’s affidavit was the basis for that issue.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.
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.
15 thoughts on “Questions Abound”
It is so lovely to dissapear behind logic. As a lawyer I tend to do it myself. As a HoH – often functionally deaf – person my thoughts are these:
Is Mr. Rade deaf?
Hard of Hearing?
Does he have Deafies in his family? Circle of friends?
Does he have even the remotest understanding of the lack of ability of a language impaired individual like Felix to particpate in his own defense?
I can nod and say, sure, sure, missed chances, etc. But are we going to talk about just law or are we going to talk about justice? Frankly, there is NO JUSTICE in our legal system. The only thing going for it is that it is better than a lynch mob.
There are those who would exectute 8 year olds for what they’ve done. I’m not one of them.
People like Felix do not have the same capacity to understamd the legal system – to understand the ramifications of this or that withdrawal. To blame him for lousy legal representation and for being abused due to his deafness sounds Ayn Randian to me. I outgrew that sort of thinking about 50 years ago.
I’ve had Deaf/deaf clients who were old enough and seemed competent enough to someone who is utterly clueless about what linguistic deprivation does to a person. One got the case dismissed because he could not assist in his own defense (nor could Felix). Another was finally allowed to walk away because she was in about the same condition.
When someone thinks a prosecutor is the same as a defense attorney then they REALLY don’t get it. And most lawyers have no clue – none at all – about the cognition issues raised by linguistic deprivation.
Wow! Thank you Ty Rade, for this well written and thought provoking contribution. And thank you Marsha Graham for your deeply moving comment. Both of you bring up excellent points, and I hope we can keep this conversation going.
I’ve got to say that I do not believe Felix will be freed. Nor will Leonard Pellitier, one of America’s more noted political prisoners. Leonard knows he will die in Federal prison where he is denied adequate medical care. I do not believe that Florida has enough commitment to justice to free Felix. However, his case may save other Deaf/deaf people. To free him would be to admit that his case has been totally screwed up from day one and no state wants to do that.
Most people assume anyone who walks into a criminal case is guilty. Unless you are wealthy and have a “dream team” a conviction is assured about 80% of the time. The Deaf/deaf, mentally ill, cognitively impaired, and others are almost assured of conviction. I am sickened by the corruption of our criminal justice system. As I said above, it is only somewhat better than a lynch mob.
Yes, I agree Marsha. But I need to assign you both corners, in this – the Battle of the Lawyer Heavyweights. Just let me know what color trunks you want to wear. 🙂
blood red – for the blood of the innocents who are in jail
Perhaps, if there is any hope for Felix it could come via a Presidential pardon? I’m not sure if it applies under state law, though.
I’d also add that rebuttals are great, since they make us think outside the box.
Absolutely. I’m actually very grateful to Mr. Rade for his piece. Opposing points of view keep us relevant, and on our toes.
I have read over your post and it appears your all-over complaint is the number of court actions filed – in essence, Felix is abusing the court system. Having been a paralegal to help the indigent, pro bono, in drafting and filing their court actions for over a decade, I will tell you this is quite normal for any inmate who feels he/she has been unjustly convicted.
Marsha Graham of AnotherBoomerBlog responded to you regarding the deaf issue, for which I am very grateful, because I am not deaf. She has first hand knowledge, being Deaf/hoh herself and having clients with this disability. But one thing I will add. When a Deaf/deaf person says they hear, it means they hear the sound of your voice, but they don’t necessarily understand what you said. Yes, Felix has lipreading capabilities but experts tell me lipreaders only comprehend about 33% of what is said. The rest is filled in with what they think they understood. Not reliable in any legal setting.
Let me end with this. The objective was and still is, to see justice prevail for a innocent man.
Mr. Rade. Thank you for your interest in DeafInPrison.com. I am wondering why Felix or his attorneys chose not to pursue Frank’s confession. Was it a matter of misunderstanding on Felix’s part? Was he not given sufficient legal help? Or, was there some other reason for his withdrawal of this essential part of his Habeas petition?
Did Felix have proper representation before the judge. Did he have an interpreter for his Habeas appearance?
Were Felix’s hearing issues fully understood by the Judge and jury? Is it simply that Florida recognizes these issues, and Felix failed to address them through proper channels?
I would ask if your argument is based on poor legal strategy by Felix’s Defense, rather than his innocence or guilt.