Category Archives: Florida

DeShon Thomas

In 2011, seventeen-year-old, DeShon Thomas, was a full-time freshman at Tallahassee Community College seeking an Associate in Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies. DeShon also worked part-time at Taco Bell. He was also a former boyfriend of Laqecia Herring (possible father of her unborn baby).

In Tallahassee, Florida, on January 27, 2011, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell opened up an investigation into the double homicide of 20-year-old, Laqecia Herring, and her brother, 17-year-old, Sterling Conner Jr. Both victims were found murdered in the living-room of the townhouse that they shared with their mother and other siblings—including Ms. Herring’s toddler daughter. Ms. Herring was pregnant at the time of her murder.#

On October 18, 2013, DeShon Thomas was convicted on Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder.

There was no evidence connecting DeShon to the murders. The one witness testimony that the prosecutor needed was that of DeShon’s former co-worker/friend who had been manipulated by officials. Feeling defeated, on December 17, 2013, DeShon pled “No Contest” to Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile Delinquent (a gun that had nothing to do with the murders, was obtained illegally, and was not in Deshon’s possession).

On April 26, 2017, DeShon (Pro Se) filed for Post-Conviction Relief. On May 1, 2017, a judge ordered the State Attorney’s Office to show cause why an evidentiary hearing should not be held—giving the State Attorney’s Office 60 days to respond. In June 2017, an evidentiary hearing was granted.

DeShon wrote to his mother asking her to find an attorney to argue his case. She in turn promised him that she would do her best. Today, DeShon’s mother is asking for any assistance in helping DeShon regain his freedom.

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Kris Helton

Kris Helton was convicted in 1992 for the murder of twenty-two month old Marshall Gunderson.   At the time of Marshall’s death, Kris was living with Marshall’s mother, Marcella Gunderson and her three sons, Michael, age four, Matthew, age six, and Marshall.

However gastric contents evidence, and the observations of a doctor who examined Marshall after he was rushed to hospital, suggest that Marcella lied about what took place, and Marshall died much earlier than she claimed.

The Third District Court of Appeal in Miami, Florida unanimously reversed Kris’ wrongful conviction for first-degree murder — with directions to discharge him outright — because the purely circumstantial evidence adduced at trial didn’t preclude the reasonable possibility that the crime wasn’t committed the crime “hours earlier” than alleged by the prosecution, when Kris was not at home.

Later, though, Judge Gerald Cope and Judge Alan Schwartz granted a motion for rehearing filed by the State of Florida, withdrew the three-judge panel’s original, unanimous opinion; and issued a split opinion affirming Kris’ conviction based upon an entirely new analysis of the circumstantial evidence.

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Kyle Evans

In 2011, Kyle was arrested for failure to appear on trafiic citations, small traffic infractions. The same night, two African-American’s, a man and a woman, were arrested for a heinous crime. One week later, Kyle was charged with the heinous crime.

He had got a lift with the two people. The police were looking for two African-American men, and one Africa-American woman. Kyle is Caucasian .

Instead of turning in the guilty man’s brother, the two in custody named Kyle.

They asked the victim several times what the intruders looked like. She always stated it was three African-Americans, two male, one female. After hounding the victim, one week later they showed her a photo of Kyle.

Could he be the third? No, she stated. Several times she stated no. Finally after more coercion, she said “maybe”.

They offered Kyle a 12 year plea-deal to testify against the two in custody. Kyle stated he could not do that, he was not there. He asked for a jury trial, knowing he was innocent.

The public defender said it was an easy case to defend, and failed to object properly during the trial.

The State asked Kyle for a DNA sample, which he gave. However the State never tested the Kyle’s DNA against the evidence they had. However in court, the State claimed a match.

The two guilty parties testified against Kyle to obtain lesser sentences. The woman got seven years.

Kyle was convicted, and has now filed a motion to test the evidence against his DNA. The State had 60 days to respond, after 80 days they had not responded. Kyle has been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

The family are trying to obtain a lawyer to help Kyle.

Source:

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Amanda Brumfield

IwINQRZOWfzhFoC-800x450-noPadThis nightmare began on the evening of October 3, 2008 when Amanda’s goddaughter, whom she was caring for, climbed out of her Pack ‘n Play and fell to the floor in Amanda’s home. She seemed fine after a brief period of fussing then played and had a snack before going to bed for the night. She actually was injured far more than anyone could have suspected and died a few hours later in her sleep. Her death was devastating, but this accidental tragedy turned into the unthinkable when Amanda was arrested the following June and subsequently charged with Capital Murder, Aggravated Child Abuse, and Manslaughter of a Child.

Amanda’s biological father is Billy Bob Thornton. We believe his Hollywood celebrity status had adverse influence on the police and Medical Examiner investigations, which ultimately influenced the filing of charges in the first place and led to inaccurate sensationalized press reporting.

Amanda’s trial began May 23, 2011, the day before and in the same courthouse as Casey Anthony’s trial. We believe the heinous facts associates with the Anthony case and its vast media coverage created a powerful public awareness that impacted the ability for Amanda to have a fair trial. The notoriety of the Anthony case led to a community mindset with far reaching adverse influence that greatly overshadowed Amanda’s innocence.

We believe these wrongful charges were based on medical opinions that have no evidentiary basis and defy common sense. Furthermore,recent acknowledgements within the legal and medical communities support the fact that the theory  behind Shaken Baby Syndrome is junk science.

Amanda was acquitted of Murder and Aggravated Child Abuse, but found guilty of Aggravated Manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. No motive, no eyewitness testimony, no prior record, no physical evidence that Amanda ever harmed her goddaughter in any way, yet Amanda is in in prison.

Amanda is now represented by The Innocence Projects of Florida and Wisconsin. A motion for Post Conviction Relief was filed in January, 2015.

We believe Amanda was falsely accused, egregiously charged, and wrongfully convicted. Amanda is innocent and did not receive a fair trial.

Copied from website https://freeamandabrumfield.wordpress.com/

Featured case #131Facebook page | Proposal Post

Michael Lambrix

Case summary

Michael Lambrix was indicted on 2 counts of first degree murder on March 29, 1983 on Clarence Moore and Aleisha Bryant outside his home. Clarence Moore was a 35-year-old career criminal, and a known associate of South Florida drug smugglers, while Bryant was a 19-year-old local waitress who had just met Moore. Clarence Moore had also a record of violence towards women.

Michael always maintained his complete innocence in the murder of Aleisha Bryant, and that he was compelled to act in in voluntary self-defense when he killed Clarence Moore, attempting to stop the violent assault of Clarence Moore upon Aleisha Bryant. His case is circumstancial.

At his first trial, the Glades County jury ended with the declaration of a mistrial on December 17, 1983, when the jury failed to reach a verdict after deliberating for 11 hours. The retrial jury found Michael guilty on both counts of indictment on February 24, 1984.

from http://www.save-innocents.com/save-michael-lambrix.html

Briefly

Michael says he heard a woman, Aleisha Bryant, screaming, went to her aid, fought with and killed her attacker Clarence Moore, but she was already dead or dying.

The clincher is that the State depended entirely on one key witness Frances Smith who was given immunity from prosecution AND lied to the jury about this.

The prosecution theory is not at all credible.

Also another witness deposed in 1998 said, contrary to her trial testimony, that Lambrix never stated that he killed two people and that she testified otherwise because police made her fearful of Lambrix.

The jury that convicted Lambrix never knew that the pretrial investigation had uncovered facts about Moore that indicated that he was a 35 years old criminal with a history of violent assaults against women, while intoxicated.

In addition, fingernail scrapings of Bryant that could have confirmed Moore or Lambrix as her assailant disappeared before there was any analysis.

Mike’s story

From http://murderpedia.org/male.L/l/lambrix-michael-ray.htm

Imagine being convicted and condemned to death for the alleged crime of premeditated murder that simply never happened- a crime deliberately fabricated by an over zealous, politically ambitious State Prosecutor concerned more with manipulating a rural community’s emotions into a vindictive passion to gain political popularity than objectively pursuing justice.  Even then, when the first jury could not agree on any verdict, a subsequent retrial was held in the same small community, and to ensure a conviction would be rendered at any cost, the State substituted the original local judge with a judge from another county known for his exteme bias against capital murder defendants.

No, this isn’t the outline of an imaginative Hollywood plot.  It is the basis of the case against Cary Michael Lambrix in the state of Florida.  This case begins in February 1983.  At the time Mike Lambrix was 22 years old, living with a 31 year old woman by the name of Frances.  They shared a rented mobile home located on a large ranch in rural Glades County, Florida.  On the night of Saturday February 5, 1983, both Mike and Frances decided to go into the nearby town of LaBelle to have a few drinks at the Town Tavern.  Shortly after arriving, a man introducing himself as ‘Chip’ joined Mike and Frances. Had Mike and Frances known that ‘Chip’ was a 35 year old ex-convict and known drug smuggler with a criminal history of physically assaulting women, undoubtedly they would have avoided him.

As the three conversed, a young local waitress by the name of Aleisha Bryant joined Chip as his date and the four decided to go to another lounge that featured dancing.  For the rest of the evening and into the early morning hours the four continued drinking and dancing until ‘Squeaky’s Lounge’ closed. Chip had previously made plans to return to Miami and Aleisha had to work the early shift at LaBelle’s Whites Restaurant, and so it was agreed the four would return to Mike and Frances’s trailer to pass the few hours until Aleisha had to be at work and Chip would drop her off on his way out of town.

Once back at the trailer, Frances began to cook a late dinner of spaghetti while Mike, Chip and Aleisha congregated in the adjacent living room.  Frances later insisted all three were laughing, teasing and playing around.  The stereo was turned up loud, so she couldn’t hear what was being said.  As Frances continued cooking, Mike and Chip decided to go out to his car to retrieve some music tapes for the stereo as Aleisha stayed inside with Frances.  It was now early Sunday morning, Feb 6th.  There were no lights and so Frances insisted she could neither see or hear anything outside.

Once outside, their judgement obviously impaired by a night of heavy drinking, Mike and Chip concocted a plan to play a practical joke on Frances and Aleisha by going around the trailer and scratching at the kitchen window in an attempt to spook them.  But, neither Frances or Aleisha heard the persistent scratching.  Now determined to succeed, Mike and Chip came up with an alternative plan.  Chip would hide at the nearby cattle feed trough while Mike went back inside and got the two women to come out and as they approached the trough, Chip would jump out. Once back inside, only Aleisha would venture out as Frances stayed inside to finish cooking. Almost an hour passed during which Frances claimed she neither saw or heard anything outside. Then Mike suddenly came back inside, ‘covered’ with blood saying only ‘they’re dead’. Frances said she repeatedly asked Mike what happened, but he wouldn’t talk about it. Mike went into the bathroom and washed up and changed clothes, then he and Frances briefly discussed what to do, as Frances knew Mike had an arrest warrant outstanding from when he walked away from a state ‘Halfway House’, where Mike was serving a sentence for a ‘bounced’ check charge. It was mutually decided that they could not call the Sheriff’s Department as they would take Mike into custody.  So, they decided to superficially conceal the two bodies, then abandon Chip’s car far away and leave the area for good.

Several days later Frances was herself arrested on unrelated charges and gave numerous statements denying knowing Mike or her recent whereabouts.  The police had no reason to suspect Mike of any “murder” and Frances made a point of not telling them anything about Chip or Aleisha.  Then days later Frances bonded out of jail and with the assistance of her family, retained a private lawyer and after receiving legal advice, she went into the State Attorney’s office in Tampa, Florida and told them that Mike had “forced” her to help conceal the two bodies and that she could show them where.  When asked if she knew why Mike had allegedly killed Chip and Aleisha, she insisted repeatedly that she did not see or hear anything that transpired outside, and all she knew was that Mike and Chip went outside only to have Mike return alone 20 minutes later asking her and Aleisha to go outside.  But, she stayed in while Aleisha went out with Mike and almost an hour later Mike came back alone, “covered” with blood and in apparent shock said only that “they’re dead”, then washed up and changed clothes and then “forced” her to assist in superficially concealing the two bodies at the back of a large pasture behind the trailer.

Based upon the information Frances provided, the local Sheriff’s department and State Attorney’s office recovered the bodies and issued an arrest warrant charging Mike with murder. Without knowing what might have actually happened outside between Mike, Chip and Aleisha, the local State Attorney (Randall McGruther) came up with a theory that Mike had deliberately ‘lured’ this local couple to the remote trailer with the pre-meditated intention of robbing and killing each, even though there was virtually NO evidence to support this fabricated theory. In fact, when the bodies were recovered, both had jewelry, money and other personal effects on them. Neither was ‘robbed’ of anything and Mike was never charged with robbery.

The fact that no evidence existed to support the theory of robbery is an important point.  In Florida, as in many other states, if a person is killed during the commission of a robbery, then the perpetrator is charged with ‘Felony” murder and the State does not have to prove that the perpetrator actually intended to kill anyone.  Rather, the State need only prove that a robbery occurred and the person charged committed the robbery and because of or during that robbery a person died- even if by a heart attack- and it’s Capital Murder.  But, since there was virtually no actual evidence that any robbery ever occurred, the state was prohibited from actually charging Mike with robbery and was obligated to prove the higher standard of actual premeditated intent to kill Chip and Aleisha.

By the time Mike was arrested several weeks later, the State Attorney’s office had manipulated the local newspaper into working up the small community passions with this fabricated theory of cold blooded robbery and murder by an alleged “escaped convict”, not bothering to point out Mike was not in prison, rather, he simply walked away from a State Halfway house.  But it wasn’t about truth….it was about gaining public support for a politically ambitious prosecutor.

Mike adamently refused to talk to the police or media, but Mike’s version of what happened that night never changed, with Frances insisting that she neither saw or heard anything outside.  Mike could provide an account of what had happened that resulted in their deaths.

As Mike stated, after he and Chip unsuccesssfully tried to playfully spook Frances and Aleisha by scratching at the trailer window,  Mike went back inside to ask Frances and Aleisha out while Chip concealed himself at a nearby cattle trough.  But, only Aleisha came out and Frances stayed inside to finish cooking as Mike and Aleisha walked around the back of the trailer  towards the feed trough.  Chip suddenly jumped out at her, successfully scaring Aleisha- which both Mike and Chip thought was very funny.  But, Aleisha became very angry at both the stupidity of this intoxicated joke and the subsequent laughing at her expense and immediately began verbally assaulting Chip with a barrage of profanity, and the two began arguing amongst themselves. Mike, still assuming these two had an actual relationship, decided to let them work it out between them and slowly made his way back to the trailer, playing with his dog along the way.

It took a good ten minutes or better for Mike to make his way around the trailer perimeter fence and as he approached the trailer, Mike heard a quick scream coming from the pasture area where he left Chip and Aleisha.  Unsure of this strange sound, Mike waited a moment and heard another more pronounced scream, clearly someone in trouble.  Immediately Mike began back around the trailer towards the pasture.  The property bordered the 200 square mile “Fishery Creek Wildlife Management Area” and a swampy “Bee Branch Creek”, so snakes, wild animals and even an occasional alligator ventured into the pasture adjacent to the trailer.  As Mike passed a car he had been working on earlier that day, he spontaneously grabbed the rod-type jack handle as protection.

As Mike went into the pasture area, he quickly discovered that Chip ane Aleisha were not at the feed trough where he had left them.  It was early morning and no light so Mike was unable to see beyond a few feet.  Mike’s dog sensed the presence of something further back in the pasture and Mike cautiously began in that direction.  As Mike approached the near pasture fence about 800 to 1000 feet behind the trailer, he began hearing a faint pounding sound and suddenly walked upon Chip straddling over Aleisha pinning her motionless on the ground beneath him as he continued physically assaulting her.

Without stopping, Mike ordered Chip to let Aleisha go, but Chip refused and Mike forcibly pushed Chip off Aleisha, even though Chip was substantially larger than Mike.  As Chip fell to the ground on the far side of Aleisha, he immediately sprung up at Mike who spontaneously swung the solid metal rod, hitting Chip in the head numerous times before realizing Chip was down.  Then Mike dropped the jack handle and attempted to help Aleisha.  She remained motionless, her clothes disarrayed.  Mike assumed she was unconscious, picked her up and began going back to the trailer before having to lay her down.

Still assuming she was unconscious from the assault inflicted by Chip, Mike attempted to mouth to mouth revive her to no avail.  Realizing that she was dead, Mike returned to where he left Chip to check on him, but the blows had crushed his skull and he was obviously beyond help.  Now in a state of surreal shock, Mike returned to the trailer and told Frances “they’re dead”.  After he washed up and changed clothes, Mike and Frances mutually decided to superficially conceal the bodies and then abandon Chip’s car away from the area.

The State attorney was not provided Mike’s versions of events as a criminal defendant simply does not talk to the prosecuting attorney, nor did Mike provide the police with any statement, as by law any statement could be used against you.  Towards the end of 1983, the State attempted to have Mike plea guilty to a lesser charge, but Mike insisted on his innocence to any act of murder and a trial date was scheduled to begin December 2, 1983.

On the first day of the scheduled trial, for reasons that to this date are still not clear, Mike was brought into the Judge’s chambers, and, on record effectively ordered by the trial Judge that he would NOT be allowed to testify at the trial.  Mike’s appointed Public Defender felt that the State’s wholly circumstantial case was so weak that the State could not prove any case beyond a reasonable doubt and so they approached the Judge and advised the Judge that they (Kentry Enguaison and Robert Jacobs) did not want Mike to testify and asked the Judge to instruct Mike that he could not testify.  Judge Adams did as they requested, even though there is a clearly established legal right to testify on your own behalf.

As the trial progressed, Mike’s Public Defender methodically broke down the State’s fabricated theory of premeditated murder through cross examination of the State’s own witnesses.  The State claimed that Mike “lured” this couple back to his trailer to kill them, the motive being robbery, yet in truth Mike had no way of knowing that he would have by chance met them, and there clearly was no robbery.  The State’s key witness, Mike’s ex-girlfriend Frances, testified that Mike went out first with Chip and then came back alone “looking normal” and took Aleisha out. Frances admitted she saw or heard nothing and the last time she saw them, they were “laughing, teasing and playing around” with each other with no indication of animosity between any of them.

More importantly, Frances was absolutely certain that Mike did NOT have any blood on him when he came back in a alone to get Aleisha to come out, but the State’s own Medical Examiner concluded that substantial amounts of blood on Mike upon returning AFTER Aleisha went outside could only have come from Chip as Aleisha did not experience any physical trauma that would have caused significant bleeding.  Thus, Chip HAD to have been alive outside when Aleisha went out, how could Mike have killed both at the same time, especially when both Chip and Aleisha were larger than Mike?

More importantly, the State’s own Medical Examiner concluded that all the blows administered upon Chip were inflicted in a continuous swinging motion to the front temporal area of his head and there were no defensive wounds.  The position of the wounds and absence of defensive wounds strongly implies that Chip had to be the aggressor, and entirely supports Mike’s claim of self defense.

As for Aleisha Bryant, the Medical Examiner concluded death as “probable strangulation”, even though the physical signs of trauma normally associated with strangulation were not found, such as haemorraging in the neck area and fracture of the larynx.  But, more importantly, it was established that to inflict death by strangulation, substantial pressure had to be continuously applied for 3 to 5 minutes to render the victim unconscious.  A 19 year old 185 pound woman simply is not going to passively stand by and be strangled to death without fighting for her life. For this reason it is a standard procedure to collect “fingernail scrapings” from such a victim and fingernail scrapings were undoubtedly collected in this case.  But when Frances insisted that Mike had no bruises or scratches consistent with what Aleisha would have inflicted upon her assailant, and that Chip DID have such scratches, these fingernail scrapings conveniently disappeared from the State’s evidence room.

No defense beyond establishing reasonable doubt was presented and without Mike being able to personally testify, his version of what actually transpired outside resulting in Chip’s and Aleisha’s death NEVER came out.  The jury deliberated 11 continuous hours without being able to agree upon any verdict when the trial judge declared it a ‘Hung jury’ and dismissed that jury, ordering a retrial.

The failure to convict Mike of the allegedly brutal murder became the feature story of the local newspaper.  The retrial was ordered for February 1984 which was an election year and convicting Mike became a political priority.  Knowing that its case was weak, the State again attempted to convince Mike to plea guilty to a reduced charge and lenient sentence, but Mike refused.  Then just before the retrial began, the original Judge was removed and an extremely pro-prosecution Judge was brought in.  Judge Stanley was previously a career prosecutor and known for his policy of always sentencing convicted murderers to death, even when a jury recommended life that particular year.

Judge Stanley’s extreme bias quickly manifested itself at the retrial.  Motion to move the trial out of Glades County because of the saturation of prejudicial pretrial media coverage was denied. As Judge Stanley presided over impaneling a jury, attempts to strike biased jurors were circumvented and the jury that tried the case included 4 jurists related to members of the small local sheriff’s department, including the stepfather of a local deputy (Ralph Alan Green)who was actually under an FBI investigation at the time for allegedly attempting to physically beat a confession out of Mike at the County Jail a month earlier, requiring Mike to be hospitalized.

Judge Stanley then prohibited Mike’s Public Defender from questioning Frances, the State’s key witness on the numerous conflicting stories she gave to the police that directly contradicted her trial testimony, and refused to allow evidence of alcohol intoxication in, as such evidence could preclude capital murder by legally negating actual premeditation.  Again Mike was not allowed to testify and no defense whatsoever was allowed.  NOT surprisingly, it took the jury less than 2 hours to convict Mike of two counts of premeditated capital murder, and one juror was later heard to complain that the only reason it took that long was because they couldn’t get the coffee pot to work right away.

On March 22, 1984, Mike was sentenced to death and sent to Florida’s death row.  The Judge then appointed   a local ex-prosecutor to represent Mike on appeal, and ex former Chief Justice Alan Sundberg later testified on Mike’s behalf: this pretense of an appeal was unquestionably the most incompetent appeal he had ever seen in a capital case.  Having succeeded in preventing Mike from proving his actual innocence of murder at trial, the politically motivated Judge subsequently obstructed Mike’s ability to prove his innocence on appeal, knowing that Mike’s claim and evidence of self defense was not fully presented on appeal, it would be procedurally barred from review forever.

The State’s Case

From http://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-supreme-court/1521988.html#sthash.DXCwECS2.dpuf )

On the evening of February 5, 1983, Lambrix and Frances Smith, his roommate, went to a tavern where they met Clarence Moore, a/k/a Lawrence Lamberson, and Aleisha Bryant. Late that evening, they all ventured to Lambrix’ trailer to eat spaghetti. Shortly after their arrival, Lambrix and Moore went outside. Lambrix returned about twenty minutes later and requested Bryant to go outside with him. About forty-five minutes later Lambrix returned alone. Smith testified that Lambrix was carrying a tire tool and had blood on his person and clothing. Lambrix told Smith that he killed both Bryant and Moore. He mentioned that he choked and stomped on Bryant and hit Moore over the head. Smith and Lambrix proceeded to eat spaghetti, wash up and bury the two bodies behind the trailer. After burying the bodies, Lambrix and Smith went back to the trailer to wash up. They then took Moore’s Cadillac and disposed of the tire tool and Lambrix’ bloody shirt in a nearby stream.

On Wednesday, February 8, 1983, Smith was arrested on an unrelated charge. Smith stayed in jail until Friday. On the following Monday, Smith contacted law enforcement officers and advised them of the burial.

A police investigation led to the discovery of the two buried bodies as well as the recovery of the tire iron and bloody shirt. A medical examiner testified that Moore died from multiple crushing blows to the head and Bryant died from manual strangulation. Additional evidence exists to support a finding that Lambrix committed the two murders in question.

Appeals

During successive postconviction proceedings, Hanzel was deposed in 1998 and stated that Lambrix never admitted that he killed anyone, which contradicted her trial testimony. During an evidentiary hearing, Hanzel again testified that Lambrix never stated that he killed two people and that she testified otherwise because police made her fearful of Lambrix.

Analysis

The State’s case seems highly improbable, and relies entirely on the testimony of Smith to the effect that Lambrix killed and “choked and stomped on Bryant”.

Smith, as an accomplice after-the-fact had considerable motive to agree with suggestions put to her. Moverover, the judge prevented the defense from presenting to the jury prior inconsistent statements by Smith.

The State alleges robbery as the motive, but how could Bryant die from strangulation and Moore from being struck with a tire-iron in that case? Whereas there seems no reason other than the possibly coerced testimony of Smith to think that Lambrix’ account is untrue. And why would Lambrix confess that he “choked and stomped on Bryant”? This alleged confession is not credible, given the circumstances.

Given that Hanzel was coerced by the police to give false testimony, it seems highly improbable that the State’s case is true.

Recent Appeal

From http://www.save-innocents.com/press-release-legal-appeal-filed-for-lambrix.html

As the case of Michael Lambrix’s clemency review is in process, his non-clemency layer has just filed a 101 pages application  to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit asking for permission to file a new federal petition for relief.

Background

Michael Lambrix was indicted on 2 counts of first degree murder on March 29, 1983 on Clarence Moore and Aleisha Bryant outside his home. Clarence Moore was a 35-year-old career criminal, and a known associate of South Florida drug smugglers, while Bryant was a 19-year-old local waitress who had just met Moore. Clarence Moore had also a record of violence towards women.
He has always maintained his complete innocence in the murder of Aleisha Bryant, and that he was compelled to act in in self-defense when he killed Clarence Moore, attempting to stop the violent assault of Clarence Moore upon Aleisha Bryant.

At his first trial, the Glades County jury ended with the declaration of a mistrial on December 17, 1983, when the jury failed to reach a verdict after deliberating for 11 hours.
Lambrix then refused to plead guilty to lesser charges. The retrial jury found M. Lambrix on both counts of indictment  and sentenced him to death on February 24, 1984.

Lambrix grew up serving as a Catholic altar boy, participated in Boy Scouts, joined the ROTC program in high school and enlisted as a volunteer in the US Army at age 18. He has no prior criminal record of violence.

Key points of the new appeal filed in the Eleventh Circuit include:

1)     Circumstancial case

The State of Florida has conceded that the whole case is circumstancial i.e. no eyewitnesses to the crimes, no physical, nor forensic evidence identifying M. Lambrix as the murderer, and no confession by M. Lambrix.

2)     Issues of credibility of key witnesses

Witness 1:  Frances S
The alleged premeditated murders of Clarence Moore and Aleisha Bryant rested entirely upon the statement  and credibility of one key state witness Frances S. As the State clearly acknowledged in state court proceedings: “Clearly that State’s case was built on Frances S.

The entire case, premeditation and everything is proven in her testimony. And there has never been any question about that”.

When pressed by the State to provide a motive for the killings of Bryant and Moore, Frances S. stated that she had witnessed Lambrix searching the pockets of the victims for valuables, and that she saw Lambrix remove a gold necklace from Moore’s neck.

However, upon recovery of the two bodies, the medical examiner found both cash and jewelry in the personal effects of Moore and Bryant. This finding impeached Frances S’s account of Lambrix removing valuables from the victims.

She also admitted of a sexual relationship with the state attorney investigator on the case.

Witness 2:  Deborah H
Deborah H provided a statement that Lambrix told her that he killed Moore and Bryant in order to gain possession of Moore’s vehicle. During post conviction proceedings , Deborah H recanted this information and claimed she had been coerced into testifying falsely at trial in order to bolster France S’s testimony. In 1998, she provided under oath that Lambrix never told her that  he had killed anyone.

3)     Newly discovered evidence the jury at trial never saw

. Intentionally concealed FDLE crime lab reports
. Previously undisclosed hairs found on the alleged murder weapon, according to a state lab report did not match either the victims’ or Lambrix
.The jury that convicted Lambrix never knew that the pretrial investigation had uncovered facts about Moore that indicated that he was a 35 years old criminal with a history of violent assaults against women, while intoxicated.

In addition, fingernail scrapings of Bryant that could have confirmed Moore or Lambrix as her assailant disappeared before there was any analysis.

4)     Implausible State theory

The appeal states: “The State theory of the crime is implausible. Lambrix would have had to physically overpower and kill both Moore and Bryant simultaneously in completely different ways. At the time of arrest, Lambrix weighed about 140 pounds, Moore weighed 195 pounds, and Bryant 185 pounds.” However, the key witness Frances S. was certain that Lambrix did not exhibit “any scratches or bruises” (p90)

5)     Prejudiced judge

The same trial court judge that had presided over Lambrix’s second capital trial was found to have substantial and constitutionally prejudicial bias against capital defendants. Thus it became public knowledge, based on depositions and evidentiary process before the state court that judge S. had provided under oath statements that he always carried a sawed-off machine gun while on the bench and that he believed that he should have been allowed to “shoot [the] capital defendants between the eyes” rather than having to sentence them to death.

Michael Radelet says: Over the years I have met probably 300 death row inmates in prisons in a dozen states. I sincerely believe that Lambrix’s case is unique — there were errors and mistakes made at several points along the way, and his life today has a tremendous amount of value to others. (…) The purpose of a Clemency Board Is to intervene in cases precisely like this. (Clemency letter)

Litigation Director CCRC-South William M.Hennis III says:
This is the extraordinary case in which a prima facie case of actual innocence has been established. Pursuant to the intent of Congress, Lambrix  is entitled to a grant of leave to pursue a second or successive habeas corpus petition in the district court.

Relevant excerpts of the law quoted:
Davis v. State:
Even though the circumstancial evidence is sufficient to support a probability of guilt it is not thereby adequate to support a conviction if it is likewise consistent with a reasonable hypothesis of innocence”
Heiney v. State
As Florida law has long held “where the only proof of premeditation is cIrcumstancial, no matter how strongly the evidence may suggest guilt, a conviction cannot be sustained unless the evidence is inconsistent with any reasonable of innocence.

Finally

Smith lied about getting immunity from prosecution. From page 73 of this appeal

SmithLied

Featured case #125Discussion | Proposal Post | Petition

In To Live And Die on Death Row Michael Lambrix tells his own story ( 309 pages, PDF ).

Blog | Website

News

His plea for life at Florida’s highest court Herald-Tribune / Saturday, January 30, 2016

Article by Adam Tebrugge, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Florida, February 11, 2016

Pro Se petition to SCOTUS August 2016

Facebook Page – created 23 December, 2016

Article on 2014 appeal – 24 December, 2016

 

Michael Cassidy

Michael Cassidy has been incarcerated at Wakulla Correctional Institution, Crawfordville, Florida since 2011.

On testimony provided by his ex-wife, her sister, her sister’s daughter, and one of the daughter’s friends, Michael was accused, arrested, convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated,

Initially, based on their reputations in Chipley, the local police did not believe their stories, so, they had to search for a police department that would believe their accusations, and eventually found believers in Okaloosa County.

Michael has provided evidence, official US Air Force documents, that support his innocence, in that he was attending military courses in New Mexico at the time.

Thus it was impossible for him to be in Florida on the dates manufactured by prosecutor, Christine Bosau, with the perjured testimony of Michael’s ex-wife’s sister and her daughter.

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David Randoph Blue

258979_527450830601714_1900953050_oDavid R. Blue DC 12974712 161S is incarcerated at Suwannee Correctional Inst. Annex, Florida.

Mr. Blue was tried for the same crime three times. The first trial ended as a “hung” jury, the second trial was “not guilty”. The state of Florida dropped the charges in Pensacola and then invoked the “Williams Rule” and retried him in Key West where he was found “guilty” by a jury of 6. Jury selection could not come up with 12 jurors who did not read the “Key West Citizen’s” inflammatory article posted the day before jury selection. His appeals have gone for naught and he remains in jail for something he did not do.

David did not receive a fair trial.

1. There was judicial prejudice by the presiding judge, who has since been removed from the bench, who allowed the violation of Mr. Blue’s constitutional rights:

  • Amendment V: “nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb”
  • Amendment Vl: “right to a speedy trial”
  • Amendment Vlll “excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, ( $1 million) nor cruel and unusual punishments ( Four life sentences plus 80 years in the Blue case the punishment is not befitting the crime)

2. The district attorney reintroduced the accusers perjured and rehearsed testimony after they were found to have lied during the first two trials. The transcripts from the first trials mysteriously disappeared and were not available for Blue’s defense, The Williams Rule is a venue used by the state of Florida to circumvent Amendment V and retry defendants numerous times for the same crime.

3. Mr. Blue has not been afforded a speedy trial in that the state is continually requesting continuances because there is no hard evidence supporting the allegations that came about years later when “Oprah” offered money for revealing “dark secrets” and the defendants took the opportunity to accuse David Blue.

The state of Florida built their case on the testimony of witnesses who were proven to lie during the first two trials, where David Blue was found “NOT GUILTY”.

4. The state of Florida is not living up to it’s own policy of incarcerating the elderly in a senior facility and have Mr. Blue, aged 70+, with a heart condition, in poor health and in a wheelchair as the result of a vein being hit during a medical procedure.

David Blue was a licensed Captain involved with the movement of boats and yachts and was frequently gone for weeks and sometimes months at sea up and down the coast. On several occasions I assisted Blue on deliveries as well as other marina members. Some of the accusers’ testimony conflicted with dates where he was gone on deliveries when he supposedly perpetrated the events as claimed by his accusers.

Mr. Blue was a good father to the plaintiffs, Lauren and Lindsey Jaramillo for the period 1997 to 2001 until the mother packed up the girls and moved in downtown Key West with her boyfriend, later moved to Tampa area. The mother/wife testified that she had not seen any wrong doing. The Blues divorced and and a few years later Mr. Blue remarried.

Source: an email dated October 13, 2015, from a neighbour who knew David at the marina at the US Naval Air Station Key West.

=====

David Blue was accused of sexual battery, about 10 years ago ( in 2005? )

The witness ( the alleged victim ? ) said it occurred in Key West and Pensacolo, but her statements changed.

The prosecutor has been lying ( I am not clear how ).

It appears he was aquitted in 2007:

Not Guilty 2007

But somehow this acquittal was ignored ( Update, seems he was tried in another county on similar charges ).

A document dated 2009, apparently an appeal:

Opinion Filed 2009

A motion for a rehearing, apparently David was Pro Se ( without a lawyer ):

Motion for rehearing 1

Motion for rehearing 2

Motion for rehearing 3

David won a ruling from Third District of Appeal in February 2015

Message from Marisela Blue, October 10, 2015 [ edited for clarity ]

Hi I really need your help the Florida people only working with DNA, they never answer to me, and the Key West court today sent my husband a letter with no day or signature, they sent a motion from my husband to another county, because they don’t want to answer, please we need a lawyer, this is a big case.

David Blue is a veteran of the Navy, 21 years as military and 10 as civilian. If he could tell everything that he knows about the corruption in the judicial system and in the prison, we can help others, also if you don’t help he is 73 years and he is really sick.

In 2010 I called a friend of mine who worked in the college and she help me a lot. I told her that

  1. In 2005 Oprah said on TV that she would give $100 000 to a person that gave her a sex offender.
  2. My husband’s daughter Lauren Jaramillo said in the court that she wants to take him for everything that he has.
  3. She also wanted the $100 000 that Oprah offered.

My friend said last week the Oprah boat was in the water behind her house and the police come to the building and said they did not open the windows looking for the boat( this was the week before the court), the order for this has to come from the judge, and the judges in the case was David Audlin, he has to retired in 2012 (he was the chief of the court and he still has 2 years more) and what he said on the internet is a lie.

Also Oprah’s people were in my husband’s court, the first investigator in the case was Mandy Cuervo and he is the father of Lauren Haramillo’s best friend, where Lauren was living at that time.

The prosecutor Tony Guirao en Pensacola lied about a book that they said that my husband showed to Lauren, that book was in Key West and he flew the investigator to Pensacola with the book.

Also my husband asked for a speedy trial in Pensacola and he [Guirao] violated, that after he set up the case and Lauren didn’t want to come to the court again, he supposed to closed the case, my husband was not guilty, but he nolle prosequi the case.

This case is really difficult, we need an experienced attorney, they don’t want David out and they dismiss everything that my husband doing because he is no a lawyer. I had sent you more email.

Please George don’t let my husband died in Prison.

Also the rehearing of the case was cancelled in August 24,and September 6, 9 pm somebody came to the prison to pick up David for the rehearing, they never transported prisoner at night.

Please help us. God Bless you . Gracias Shalom My English is no good sorry, I need my husband, please….

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Arron Adams

Arron Adams was convicted of conspiracy and robbing the same bank 3 times in 2009 in Tamarac, Broward County, Florida, and sentenced to 15 years.

The co-defendant was acquitted and has given sworn statements that Arron is innocent and should also have been acquitted. The conviction was based on prosecution misconduct, failure to disclose exculpatory evidence, misidentification and evidence tampering.

DNA and  fingerprints did not match Arron.

There is a petition here by his grandparents, and an older (closed) petition here with 197 signatures.

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Tommy Zeigler

At Zeigler’s 1976 trial the state put forth a theory that Zeigler held his father-in-law, Perry Edwards Sr., in a headlock and bashed his head in with a linoleum roll crank handle and that is why Edwards blood was on Zeigler’s shirt. The trial prosecutor even demonstrated how Zeigler held Mr. Edwards in a headlock and swung the crank handle.

Years later in a national television documentary, the prosecution’s blood expert Dr. Herb MacDonell re-enacted the demonstration that state attorney Bob Eagan did at trial for the Zeigler jury in 1976. Click here to see the re-enactment.

Twenty five years later limited DNA testing in 2002 found no blood from Edwards on Zeigler’s shirt. Accordingly, Zeigler’s attorney requested a new trial at a hearing in December 2004.

At the close of the 2004 DNA hearing assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton, who has been on the Zeigler case for decades, argued that the blood evidence did not change anything because Zeigler was convicted for other reasons. Ashton argued, among other things, that Zeigler was convicted because his fingerprint was found inside of a ripped off latex glove tip that was found on the floor at the scene of the crime, and that Zeiger had secretly purchased life insurance on his wife Eunice. Apparently Judge Whitehead believed Ashton’s argument because he denied Zeigler a new trial.

Neither the fingerprint nor the secretly purchased insurance statements were true. These damning statements went un-refuted by Zeigler’s attorney because he was not at the trial and apparently had not studied the trial transcript. Unfortunately, Zeigler’s attorney mistakenly relied on professional ethics that are supposed to keep attorneys from lying to a judge.

There is no evidence that Zeigler’s fingerprint was in the glove tip and plenty of evidence that Zeigler’s family and his family lawyer knew he was purchasing the life insurance and had actually advised him to do so.

This false narrative devised by the state effectively denied any chance Zeigler would get a new trial.

The state of Florida’s false narrative denied Zeigler a new trial.

This false narrative fits right in with the tactics used to convict and keep Zeigler on death row for 39 years.

Source

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News

Evidentiary hearing granted October 23, 2015

Stobert Holt

In 2010 police arrested and convicted National Flight Services employee Stobert Holt for the murder of Robert Wiles. Edward Edwards killed Wiles in his apartment the night of March 31, 2008, took his cell phone, and followed Stobert Holt from April 1st until April 3rd, planting evidence to make it look like Stobert had the victim’s body and cell phone.

On “48 hours” he said “I was in disbelief. There is no evidence to support the conviction. I’m upset because I’m an innnocent man convicted of manslaughter.”

He was sentenced to 30 years.

Source: It’s Me, pages 369-370.

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Edward Edwards : Website | Discussion Group | Facebook Page

Charles Ajokolo

Charles reported that he had been burgled, and property including two guns were taken. The detective he reported the theft to then framed him for an earlier attempted robbery (involving a gun) using a fixed photo line-up. Defense counsel failed to bring up inconsistencies recorded in a 911 call, or in fact do anything of any use whatsoever.

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Steven Castenado

Steven Castenado was coerced into taking a plea bargain by threats of life imprisonment after being denied time for his lawyer to properly prepare for trial, after he was wrongly accused of murder aged just 17.

Please refer to https://cases.nationalcdp.org/steven-castanedo/ for a full description of the case.

Steven was denied post-conviction relief for ineffective assistance of counsel. A lawyer has been retained by the NCDP, who will be appealing the denial if a modest sum of money can be raised. See https://castanedo.nationalcdp.org/help-steven-now/ for details.

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John Ramos

Featured Case #22

John was attacked on the doorstep of his family home in Jacksonville, Florida, with his children and wife inside, by a drug addict. His wife came outside with a gun, thinking he might be killed. The gun was not fired, but after a struggle for the gun, John got hold of it and struck a blow, causing the addict to run off. John was protecting himself and his family. He had no criminal record, and was a good family man.

He was arrested and charged with aggravated battery. After declining a three year plea bargain, he was found guilty by a jury on October 10th, 2013, and was given the statutory 10 year minimum sentence on 2nd December 2013.

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