Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Plea for Clemency: AFA's letter to Gov. Scott to FREE FELIX

11 June 2014

Rick Scott, Governor, State of Florida
cc:  Pam Bondi, Attorney General, State of Florida; Adam Putnam, Agriculture Commissioner, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services;  Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer, Florida Department of Financial Services

Dear Governor Scott,

We are writing to you once again to request you undo injustice committed in your state by granting executive clemency/commutation of sentence for Felix Garcia. Mr. Garcia, a partially Deaf man, has served 32 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, a crime his Hearing brother recently confessed to committing. Both his brother and his sister have provided affidavits concerning his innocence.  Additionally, Mr. Garcia never had full access to information during his arrest, his trial, and imprisonment due to the failure to provide him with reasonable communication accommodations. Thus, he was unable to fully assist with his own defense.

Audism Free America (AFA), as well as others in the Deaf community has a grave concern for Deaf citizens in Florida, as evidence by the treatment of Felix Garcia.  AFA is a national grassroots advocacy network working to combat audism.  Audism is attitudes and practices based on the assumption that behaving in the ways of those who speak and hear is desired and best. It produces a system of privilege, thus resulting in stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice—in overt or covert ways—against Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and Deaf people of all walks of life.  Felix Garcia has been a victim of audism in being denied his rights to a fair trial and wrongful imprisonment.  We believe you have the opportunity now to look again at his application for clemency and do the right thing—granting him his freedom.  With the growing inmate population in Florida, you cannot afford to keep innocent individuals imprisoned. 

Please do not let Felix Garcia be an example of the failure of the Florida justice system toward innocent Deaf citizens. 

Let Freedom Roll,

Karen Christie, Patti Durr and Ruthie Jordan on behalf of Audism Free America