Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fla Gov. Scott's office reply to AFA re: Felix Garcia

Audism Free America (AFA) sent a letter to Governor Scott re: Felix Garcia, a Deaf man who has been unjustly imprisoned for nearly 30 years, and received a prompt reply from the Governor's office.  AFA will follow up with the various offices below and post those letters to keep you informed and if you wish to send your own letters.

You can learn more about Felix’s case in “The Silent Treatment” article by James Ridgeway in Mother Jones. (see pages 2-3 also).

People can write to Felix Garcia at:
Felix Garcia #482246-J2116-L
Tomoka Correctional Institution
3950 Tiger Bay Road
Daytona Beach, Florida 32124-1098

From: Governor Rick Scott 
Date: Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 3:15 PM
Subject: RE: xxxx Free Felix Garcia
To: Audism Free America

Thank you for contacting Governor Rick Scott's Office.  We appreciate your concerns about a criminal case and the opportunity to respond.

The Florida Constitution limits the Governor's intervention in criminal cases and their appeals.  Each state attorney is an elected official charged with certain discretionary duties, including the duty to determine whether or not to prosecute any particular crime committed within his or her jurisdiction. This decision is based on the quality and quantity of the evidence of guilt shown, and in the best interest of justice. The state attorneys operate independently, and as elected officials, they answer to the voters of their individual jurisdictions.

Questions about Mr. Garcia's guilt or innocence, or the procedural fairness of his criminal conviction must be addressed in the courts. Those who wish to contest judicial rulings should speak with an attorney about what appellate procedures may be available.

Decisions over prisoners' movement within the system and access to services while incarcerated are under the administrative authority of the Florida Department of Corrections.  To assist you, I forwarded a copy of your email to the Department for their review.  If you want to contact the Department directly, please use the information provided below.

Department of Corrections
501 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2500
(850) 488-7480

The Florida Parole Commission is an entity independent of the Governor's control that protects the public by administering parole, conditional release, conditional medical release, control release, and addiction recovery supervision to all eligible criminal offenders.  For more information, please contact the Florida Parole Commission by writing to 4070 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee, Florida  32399-2450 or by calling (850) 922-0000.  The web site for the Commission is and the email address is

The Governor has no independent ability to pardon someone. The clemency function is a power to grant full or conditional pardons, restore a felon's civil rights, or commute punishment.  There are complicated rules for these lengthy procedures, and these powers are vested in the Governor only with the agreement of two Cabinet members who are also statewide elected officials. For more information, you can write the Office of Executive Clemency at 4070 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee, Florida  32399-2450, or you can call 1-800-435-8286.  You may also email the office at, and you can reach the office by fax at (850) 488-0965.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact the Governor's Office.


Warren Davis
Office of Citizen Services

AFA's initial letter to Governor Scott

From: Audism Free America
Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2012 5:39 PM
To: Governor Rick Scott
Subject: xxxxx Free Felix Garcia

From: Audism Free America

County: Alachua

Zip Code: 14618

Message Body: 8 January 2012

Dear Governor Scott:

Audism Free America (AFA), is a grassroots advocacy network and we are writing to beseech upon you to release Felix Garcia.  Mr. Garcia is a partially Deaf man who has been imprisoned for nearly 30 years for crimes his Hearing brother has recently confessed to committing.  As a result of being partially Deaf, Mr. Garcia did not have full access to his original trial and lawyer and no suitable reasonable accommodations were made for him.  As a prisoner in various jails for the past three decades, he also has been denied access to full information and services – this includes the use of the telephone.

In the time needed for you and your staff to review Felix’s case, it is imperative that the state of Florida equip the Tomoka correctional Institution (or anywhere he is moved to) with a videophone and relay services and that his case be properly investigated.  The Americans with Disability Act title II covers the judicial system and prison facilities.  Reasonable accommodations to ensure effective communication are a right that Mr. Garcia has been denied.

You can learn more about Felix’s case in “The Silent Treatment” article by James Ridgeway in Mother Jones. (see pages 2-3 also).

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.

Would you take a moment to envision if you were in his shoes and stuck in prison unjustly in another country?   What if you were innocent and did NOT do any crime.   Suppose they won’t provide any access or translator for you to be able to speak out for your rights in your language and neglected you for many years while in prison.  Imagine if you did not understand guards and other prisoners’ language and you just did your best to understand.  Imagine getting raped and assaulted.  Imagine being put in isolation and the lack of love from your family when your family members falsely accused you and others looked the other way.   Imagine being utterly abandoned by your family and your suffering innocent soul locked within the prison while other prisoners are treated with full language rights and access.  That is what your judicial system is doing to Felix Garcia, an innocent Deaf prisoner.  Deaf people are human beings who deserve equal treatment in prisons.

AFA, along with other Deaf individuals and Hearing allies, recognize the story of Felix Garcia as a story about cruel and unusual punishment as well as denial of basic rights….because he is Deaf.  We know of many Deaf prisoners who have experienced a lack of communication, assault and neglect in prisons.  Mr. Garcia is innocent and did NOT commit the crimes for which he has been unjustly charged and sentenced.  Also, Mr. Garcia never had full access to information during his arrest, his trial, and imprisonment.  We urge you, Governor Scott, to ensure that Felix be provided full access in prison and that he be released as quickly as possible. FREE FELIX now because it is the right, just, wise and valid thing to do.

Let Freedom Roll,

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