.@TheJusticeDept: Prevent Florida from resuming executions!

Death Penalty News: Florida: Executions Back on Track after High Court Ruling
The US Supreme Court has ruled that the drug midazolam is acceptable for use in lethal injections. 4 Oklahoma convicts had challenged the drugs use, and Florida courts stopped executions here pending the outcome. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the ruling is now likely to open the door to dozens of executions in Florida.
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The Department of Justice has to step in and investigate Florida’s conviction corruption, imposing a moratorium on executions, before Rick Scott goes all fast-and-spurious with pen swipes on death warrants called for by Florida’s nutcase Timely Justice Act, which was enacted to quickly kill death row innocents, including William “Tommy” Zeigler (pictured below), and then quickly destroy all the evidence of innocence, and, even more importantly, all the evidence of conviction corruption, which cannot be in any way divorced from the remainder of Florida’s public corruption.

Florida has the highest death row exoneration rate in the nation, and this blog – from 2010 forward – proves that this was accomplished with NO INTENTIONAL EFFORT WHATSOEVER to address entrenched conviction corruption … all efforts were to the contrary, in fact: Charlie Crist refused an offer for free DNA testing to keep Wayne Tompkins‘ execution on schedule; Rick Scott denied Cuban national Manuel Valle contact with his government (and more) before executing him, and ignored outcries from Amnesty International and private citizens to execute Robert Waterhouse despite a witness for Waterhouse finally being acknowledged. This in the tradition of Lawton Chiles executing Gerald Stano in 1998 despite there being no forensic evidence against him, and despite the sworn statements of several Daytona officers insisting that Gerald was merely a serial confessor. And it’s in the tradition of Jeb Bush executing Linroy Bottoson despite his schizophrenia and the dark clouds on his conviction. One of the clouds on Gerald’s execution and Linroy’s was identical. indicating a great deal of the who knew what and when about Florida’s conviction corruption.
 
Florida’s government under Rick Scott is reacting couterproductively to increasingly deadly public corruption by increasing protections for the corrupt, rather than their victims, and the Timely Justice Act is just a portion of it … as of a few days ago, Florida police body cam footage became legally exempt from public records request. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that this will automatically extend to protect corrections officers, as well, for whom body cams have been suggested for reducing deadly guard-on-inmate violence within Florida prisons. The Department of Justice can’t pretend to believe corrections officers claims of video glitches anymore after receiving inmate Harold Hemsptead’s sworn affidavit.
Tommy
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Reprieve: UN, not UK, demands that Ethiopia release death-row Brit

Reprieve 44 (0) 7791 755 415
For immediate release: Sun July 5, 2015


UN demands Ethiopia release death-row Brit

The UN has called on the Ethiopian government to release a British father of three held in a secret location in Ethiopia.

A new opinion from experts at the UN Human Rights Council orders the Ethiopian government to release and compensate Andargachew ‘Andy’ Tsege, from London, who was abducted at a Yemeni airport and rendered to Ethiopia in June 2014. Mr Tsege – a prominent critic of rights abuses in Ethiopia – has been held for the past year in an undisclosed location, and has been prevented from contact with a lawyer, his family, and British consular officials. The Ethiopian authorities have aired several videos of Mr Tsege in detention in which he appears gaunt and disoriented, sparking fears that he is being tortured. Mr Tsege has not been informed of any charges against him in the year since he was rendered, but appears to face a death sentence handed down in absentia in 2009 in relation to his political activities.

The opinion of the Human Rights Council experts, revealed today, finds that Mr Tsege is being detained “on the basis of his political convictions” and should be freed without delay. It adds there is “reliable evidence” that he is being physically abused, and that his rendition to Ethiopia involved “several violations of international law.” The intervention follows the publication of a recent letter to Ethiopian diplomats from the UN’s human rights Special Rapporteurs, in which they expressed “grave concern” over Mr Tsege’s rendition and torture.

Though the UK Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said recently that Mr Tsege’s detention “risked undermining” the UK’s relationship with Ethiopia, he has thus far failed to ask for Mr Tsege’s return, instead focusing (unsuccessfully) on securing ‘consular access’ and ‘due process’. However, internal Foreign Office emails recently obtained by human rights organization Reprieve – which is assisting Mr Tsege’s family – show UK diplomats privately discussing how Mr Tsege faces a “real risk of torture”, and saying no legal basis has been provided for his detention. More recent correspondence reveals a Foreign Office view that the Ethiopian government is being “obdurate”.  

Several MPs have raised Mr Tsege’s case in Parliament over the past few days, with one asking “what steps the Government plans to take to ensure Mr Tsege’s return home.”

Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “It’s been over a year since Andy Tsege was forcibly taken to Ethiopia, in a kidnapping operation that UK officials admit was unlawful. Sentenced to death in absentia for the ‘crime’ of his political opinions, he has now been held in solitary confinement – itself a form of torture – for 13 months. He has been denied proper consular access, ‘interrogated’ for months on end, paraded on Ethiopian State television, and refused any meaningful contact with the outside world or his family in London. The UN is right to be taking action and demanding Andy’s immediate release from his unlawful detention. The UK’s refusal to do the same is an unacceptable abdication of responsibility to one of its citizens. Philip Hammond should do what’s right for this British father of three, and request his release immediately.” [emphasis added]

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For more information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: donald [DOT] campbell [AT] reprieve.org.uk

2. Copies of the UN opinion are available on request, while the recent letter to Ethiopia from the UN Special Rapporteurs can be read here.

3. Further information on Mr Tsege’s case is available at the Reprieve website.   

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Bernie Sanders Terrifies Wall Street By Vowing To Keep Them Out Of His Cabinet

Originally posted on The Fifth Column:

Bernie Sanders CNN State Of The Union Bernie Sanders CNN State Of The Union |screenshot

POLITICUS USA

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dropped a bomb on Wall Street today when during a CNN interview he vowed that if elected, the fat cats will have no place in his cabinet.

Transcript via CNN:

TAPPER: I know it’s premature to ask you the type of person you would want to be your vice president, but if you were to get the nomination and then the presidency, could you give us a sense of the kinds of individuals you would want serving in your Cabinet?

SANDERS: Yes.

Unlike many other presidents, they — my Cabinet would not be dominated by representatives of Wall Street. I think Wall Street has played a horrendous role in recent years in negatively impacting our economy and in making the rich richer.

There are a lot of great public servants out…

View original 386 more words

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An open letter from Gary Bennett to the man who framed him in Brevard County … #goodtrouble

You are never too young or too old to get into good trouble, necessary trouble ~ Rep. John Lewis

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I’ve never met Gary Bennett, but I’ve had the honor of meeting some of his family, including his mother, the Marvelous Ms. Maxine (pictured right), whom I continue to miss. Death denied her a reunion with Gary … as it did Gary’s father, his brother, and one of his sisters. The heartbreak of denied reunions is only part of the burden the family continues to bear … their ongoing financial sacrifices have devastated their personal lives. That they have been taxed without representation for close to 32 years is clear as can be, and they weren’t just defrauded to wrongly incarcerate Gary: he is but one of dozens framed in Brevard County, Florida using oft-disgraced dog handler John Preston.

Gary’s frame-up was different from the others in that he was framed after Preston had been disgraced in a federal court … Dale Sutton was cleared of charges by the actual perpetrator in 1982 and released from custody in January of 1983; Gary was framed in January of 1984. The principle player in Gary’s frame-up was then-prosecutor John Dean Moxley, who was also a principle player in the now upset, nearly identical Brevard/Preston convictions of Juan Ramos (1987), Wilton Dedge (2004) and William Dillon (2008).

Under an incurably tainted transfer initiated by Charlie Crist and renewed by Rick Scott, Gary’s prosecution was shifted to Orange County, Florida, into then-prosecutor Jeff Ashton’s unclean hands. Ashton ignored the taints on the transfer, which included Orange County’s use of John Preston, with FBI participation, that resulted in Linroy Bottoson’s wrongful 2002 execution. Ashton also ignored that the theory of the crime in Gary’s case was intact, and recycled the lurid lie he had leveled at still-framed death row inmate William “Tommy” Zeigler in formulating a new theory of the crime. Ashton also ignored the impropriety of  John Dean Moxley corresponding with him regarding Gary’s prosecution, not once, but at least three times.

In prison, Gary has been beaten to the point of requiring hospitalization. He has had corrections officers author numerous libelous Discipline Reports, which caused him to be placed in solitary, and not only ruined his chance at parole, but gave the board the opportunity to extend his sentence.  He has had his epilepsy medication willfully withheld, which caused him numerous seizures … each one a life threat; each one a humiliation. Gary has never had a neurological workup, although his epilepsy is volatile, while I see a neurologist every six months for mine. The dental care that Gary has been promised for five years have never materialized; he continues to pay dental care copays to be in constant pain and have difficulty eating.

Gary is represented by Centurion Ministries and the Innocence Project of Florida, neither of which apparently formally objected in advance to the bogus Discipline Reports that the parole board was going to review, like I did. Neither objected to his epilepsy medication being withheld, like I did. Neither attempts to garner any public attention, like I do. I haven’t looked at the board composition of Centurion lately, but I have the IPoF … retired FBI agent Robert Cromwell remains on their board, year after conflicted year. John Preston is one of many DNA-discredited dog handlers the FBI used, and although thousands of criminal investigations were affected, phony “scent evidence” is perhaps the least of the FBI’s oft-reburied forensic foul-ups, and forensic foul-ups are just a slice of the FBI’s overall corruption. Continual inflammatory  media coverage of Snowden’s four secure laptops inspire continual off-with-his-head cries, while zero coverage of the FBI’s 160 “lost or stolen” laptops continue to actually jeopardize national security.

Why would the media cover for the FBI? Ask former Florida legislator/Governor/U.S. Senator Bob Graham. His family currently publishes Slate, and retains financial ties to its former holding, the Washington Post. Graham’s anything-but-helpful involvement with John Preston dates back to his days as Florida’s governor, and continued throughout his ten years on the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee. To hold the FBI accounting for their “scent evidence” screw-ups, Graham would have had to hold himself accountable for his own … so he didn’t. And because he didn’t, the FBI is still tasked with investigating public corruption that affects trial outcomes, and the FBI is still generating most of the public corruption that affects trial outcomes.

Gary’s open letter to John Dean Moxley is pretty darn tame, considering he’s been in prison for 31.5 years for a homicide that a legion of public servants and a passel of non-profits knows he didn’t commit, including the American Bar Association, Florida Bar Association and Brevard County Bar Association.

Please stir up some “good trouble” by sharing Gary’s letter. Thank you.

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What @TheJusticeDept received from FL inmate Harold Hempstead re #DeadInmates

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Harold Hempstead was the most determined of the inmates who demanded justice for Darren Rainey, who was scalded to death by Dade Correctional Institution guards in 2012 … Harold persisted until the mainstream media – primarily the Miami Herald – took notice.

Because it has been more than three years since Darren Rainey was murdered, and no arrests have yet been made, Rick Scott’s inaction should be the primary focus of the Department of Justice’s investigation. Please share this post to raise awareness of what the DoJ already knows about how deadly Florida’s prisons are. Thank you.

Posted in #BeatenToDeath, #DeadInmates, #GassedToDeath, #ScaldedToDeath, ACLU, Amnesty International, Broward Sun Sentinel, Damion Foster, Darrell Richardson, Darren Rainey, Department of Justice, Disability Rights Florida, Dog Justice for the Mentally Ill, FDLE, FDoC, Florida Council of Churches, Florida Deparment of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Corrections, Florida Justice Institute, Florida Legal Services, Florida Sentinel Bulletin, Florida Times Union, Frank Smith, Frank Valdes, Gainesville Sun, George Mallinckrodt, Greg Evers, Harold Hempstead, Harold Hempstead v Roland Clark, Human Rights Defense Center, Jerry Washington, Julie Jones, Latandra Ellington, Loretta Lynch, Matthew Walker, Melina Miguel, Miami Herald, NAACP, New Yorker Magazine, News Service of Florida, Orlando Sentinel, Oscar Davis, Palm Beach Post, Randall Jordan-Aparo, Richard Iannuzzi, Rick Scott, Rolling Stone, Rudolf Rowe, Tampa Bay Times, Time, USA Today, Windy Hempstead | 1 Comment

Another FL inmate murdered, per conflicted, official source

Offender Picture

Inmate dies at Graceville prison – Jackson County Floridan : Crimes/Courts

The death of an inmate at Graceville Correctional Facility Sunday is being investigated by the Florida Department Law Enforcement and the Florida Department of Corrections. It is believed to be the result of an inmate-on-inmate altercation, according to FDLE spokesman Gretl Plessinger.

The name of the victim was not immediately released, and no suspect has been named in the death.

[On July 1st, the same source provided a bit more information: John Hampton Anderson, 51, was found dead at the prison Sunday afternoon … He was believed to have been involved in an altercation with another inmate prior to his death, but officials would not discuss the particulars of that reported event.]

via Inmate dies at Graceville prison – Jackson County Floridan : Crimes/Courts.

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Agency hopping by well-compensated state employees is financially rewarded by Florida’s welfare-for-the-wealthy DROP pension plan, which our legislators, governor and media all pretend has a minimal, rather than monumental, impact on the budget. Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones was previously employed by two other agencies, and is currently receiving an overly generous monthly pension payout on top on her adequate salary. She additionally received a ludicrous lump-sum pension payout.

I don’t know for a fact that Gretl Plessinger left her position as Public Affairs Director for the Florida Department (FDoC) of Corrections to fill a spokesperson position at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for the specific purpose of collecting a pension and a salary simultaneously from her fellow Floridians … what I do know is that the very last person that the FDLE should have wanted for a spokesperson was someone carrying years of bloody FDoC baggage.

Ms. Plessinger switched agencies in 2011, and I know some of the FDoC corrections personnel misconduct that she should have reported to then-FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey, because I had given the information to her. Here is one of her responses to me about incarcerated innocent Gary Bennett’s epilepsy medication being arbitrarily withheld (which caused him to have many humiliating, life-threatening seizures):

From: “Plessinger, Gretl” <plessinger.gretl@mail.dc.state.fl.us>
Date: June 26, 2011 2:55:48 PM EDT
To: [Susan Chandler]

Subject: Re: Gary Stanley Bennett – DOC 092481 – withheld epilepsy medications translates to attempted homicide

Mrs. Chandler,

I did send your earlier emails to the Warden to ensure proper medical care is being delivered to Mr. Bennett.  I will send this to Secretary Buss along with health services staff in Tallahassee. We will make sure he is getting appropriate medical care.

Gretl Plessinger

850-410-4358

“We Never Walk Alone”

Interim FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearington’s confirmation as the new commish should hinge upon doing what then-Commissioner Bailey should have done before he hired Gretl Plessinger … make her unpack her bloody baggage and reveal every single incidence of FDoC abuse, neglect and violence that she’s  aware of, with Swearington assuring that her revelations are complete and accurate by requesting copies of all of Ms. Plessinger’s FDoC electronic and snail mail correspondence. According to one report, Swearington has about a month to accomplish this task.

Graceville Correctional Institution is operated by GEO Group, Inc., according to the FDoC’s website. This article excerpt explains why this isn’t in Floridians best interests:

GEO’s cost-cutting measures have been criticized for their relationship to inmate-on-inmate and guard-on-inmate (and vice-versa) violence which are many times a result of inadequate training, low pay, and high turnover of corrections staff as well as chronic understaffing. Further allegations of civil rights abuses and medical neglect have resulted in individual and class-action lawsuits brought against the company. For example, a spreadsheet of lawsuits complied by Private Corrections Working Group/Private Corrections Institute lists hundreds of lawsuits filed against GEO Group, many of which were settled before trial. The suits range from allegation of inmate death and abuse, excessive force, medical neglect as well as allegations of employment discrimination. – See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/09/12255/violence-abuse-and-death-profit-prisons-geo-group-rap-sheet#sthash.YAuWKP50.dpuf

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News
Gretl Plessinger Appointed FDLE Communications Director
November 28, 2011
 
Commissioner Jerry Bailey is pleased to announce the appointment of Gretl Plessinger to the position of Communications Director in the Office of External Affairs. In this role, Plessinger will manage the Public Information Office’s day-to-day activities, coordinate FDLE’s statewide press relations, and serve as the chief media spokesperson.  She joins Communications Coordinator Keith Kameg and Public Information Officer Kristi Gordon. 
 
External Affairs Director Heather Smith leaves FDLE on Dec. 1 for a new professional opportunity in central Florida.  Smith served for the last five years as the Department’s media relations chief.
 
Plessinger is a veteran communications professional who has extensive state government and media relations experience.  She most recently served as the public affairs director for the Florida Department of Corrections where she was the chief media spokesperson and coordinated DOC’s internal and external communications.  Prior to her time with DOC, Director Plessinger spent nearly 10 years as a radio reporter, producer and news director. 

Plessinger graduated from Indiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications.  She can be reached at
gretlplessinger@fdle.state.fl.us and at 850-410-7001.
 
For Further Information Contact:
Gretl Plessinger, Keith Kameg or Kristi Gordon
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001

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Our self-fettered press: has it gone too far?

Defense seeks touch DNA to question death row inmate’s guilt | Tampa Bay Times

Zeigler’s lawyers say it is clear police were not willing to consider other subjects once they zeroed in on Zeigler.

via Defense seeks touch DNA to question death row inmate’s guilt | Tampa Bay Times.

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Police officers don’t prosecute cases. They can falsify reports, lie on the stand, destroy or alter evidence, etc., but when their misconduct come to light, officers can’t make prosecutors or courts ignore it. When prosecutors, judges and justices ignore evidence of police misconduct, they do so at will, and when they do, it is under Color of Law, which is a federal crime. It seems to me that when the mainstream media habitually fails to apprise the public of how our justice system is supposed to work – as it is currently doing – it could be construed either as conspiratorial conduct, or as Willful and Wanton Conduct. It’s time for U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to take these matters into her hands, as it is wildly unrealistic to expect the FBI to suddenly adhere to its mandate to investigate public corruption that affects trial outcomes.

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https://youtu.be/YJhh_ND0X4M

Published on Dec 20, 2014

Press Conference Orlando
Lynne-Marie Carty

In 2013, Orange County, Orlando, Florida WFTV at our press conference on Mr. Zeigler’s 68th birthday, reporter Kathi Belich was very concerned. Her concern was about the rumors that were spread from the original case in 1975 that William Thomas Zeigler was ” gay” and cheating on Eunice in a ” sex ring” with 26 other prominent gay men in town. In 2013 TV reporter Kathi Belich was in fact, still repeating the vicious lies about Tommy’s Zeigler that his brother-in-law Perry Edwards Jr, successfully started and used to feed the prosecutions lead detective and sheriff, Don Frye and Robert Thompson. Perry Edwards Jr. made up these lies as a motive for the murders in order to point suspicion away from himself to get his brother-in-law Tommy convicted. It worked as you can see. Asking about Mr. Zeigler’s rumored homosexuality was a top priority for WFTV reporter Kathi Belich. At one of our pressers in Orlando we shared many of the stunning new developments we had recently unearthed, showing exonerating evidence on Mr. Zeigler’s behalf. However even with all the press, their microphones and cameras, they did not care to share much of our new evidence with their viewing audience. [emphasis added] It’s seems the prosecution and most of the press in Orange County, Orlando, Fl. make their own rules, including press black outs of new information that they don’t deem important to share with their viewers. The former Vice President of the Orlando Sentinel wrote to Florida’s Governor that he was certain that his newspaper helped convict Tommy Zeigler. [link to letter Ms. Carty referred to: https://wobblywarrior.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/towards-saving-tommy-from-the-horses-mouth-orlando-sentinels-coverage-was-dastardly/]

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I’ve requested a rewrite of the Tampa Bay Times article that I opened this post with, as their article doesn’t address all of the details presented in the most recent documentary about Tommy, “A Question of Innocence” … which bears out investigator Lynne-Marie Carty’s claim of media disinterest.

Ms. Carty has posted a number of videos to YouTube about Tommy, and so has Citizen Advocate Ray McEachern. Please take some time to watch some of them via YouTube, as well as the documentary “A Question of Innocence” from the link below. Tommy is innocent, and it’s my hope that every activist and concerned citizen is already up-to-speed in the event Rick Scott signs a death warrant. Thank you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AfJXHlyo6Q

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