When I fall silent, there is a reason. Either my health is much worse than usual, or something so outrageously lawless has happened that I have to pull myself out of a resulting emotional tailspin. Often, the outrageously lawless events are wrongful executions, but just as often, of all things, they’re ridiculously spun exonerations. Here are the worst exoneration tailspins during my 12+ years of advocacy – the Level 5’s – including the most recent:
Level 5 Exoneration Tailspin I – Wilton Dedge, 2004
Perhaps as many as 100 convictions in Florida alone – including at least two that resulted in executions – should have been scrutinized after Wilton was exonerated, because they were nearly identical. But none were. Wilton was the first incarcerated innocent I advocated for, sending off emails and faxes to then-Governor Jeb Bush and others. I had learned about Wilton’s frame-up by Googling Judge John Dean Moxley – one of Wilton’s original prosecutors – trying to figure out why he couldn’t see that the opposing attorney in my case before him was abusing process like crazy. Turns out Moxley did see that the attorney was abusing process, it just so happens that he approved of such things. Wildly. Just like he approved of framing innocents.
Level 5 Exoneration Tailspin II – William Dillon, 2008
William Dillon’s was one of the scores of identical convictions in Florida that should have been scrutinized after Wilton was exonerated … another Brevard County matter. My pleas to examine the remainder of the identical convictions were this time primarily directed to then-Governor Charlie Crist. His unwillingness – still – to investigate those perhaps 100 or so convictions led to the continued false imprisonment of Gary Bennett, another Brevard matter.
Level 5 Exonerationation Taiilspin III – Davontae Sanford, 2016
There is more than one way to skin a cat, and had Wayne County, Michigan been in any way cooperative in fulfilling a simple request – essentially making one Goddamned phone call – it could have foiled Brevard County, Florida’s decades pf conviction and peripheral corruption from the outside in, foiling present-Governor Rick Scott’s deep disinterest in making justice available to Gary Bennett and others. But, as luck would have it, Wayne County is as corrupt as Brevard, far too much of a glass house to throw stones at another glass house, which led me to advocating for Davontae Sanford’s release for over six years. Now that Davontae is free, Wayne County is pretending that there was no contractual requirement of the Detroit police to record all interrogations borne of Eddie Joe Lloyd’s previous exoneration, that their coerced confession frame-up of mentally disadvantaged Davontae was a first.
Davontae’s unscrupulously spun exoneration likely won’t permanently derail my innocence advocacy efforts. If it does, perhaps I’ll begin standing up for someone harmed by multiple courts in more than one state … me.
Davontae Sanford (L) and his most steadfast advocate outside of his circle of family and friends, Vincent Smothers, professional hit man and one of the actual perpetrators of the homicides that half-blind developmentally disabled 14-year-old Davontae was coerced into confessing to. Had Smother gotten his way, Davontae would have served a few weeks, not eight years.