In much anticipation of the court hearing scheduled for 3:00 pm today I started my day very early with my agent and giving an interview. Today was to be the final closure in my overturned conviction. A news press conference was scheduled and my attorney Kevin Alvarez was to be present. Around lunch time I received a call from Kevin giving me good and bad news. What?????Give me the bad first: “The hearing has been cancelled.” What?????????????Why? Because the State walked the paperwork to the courthouse about two minutes before I called you for the Judge to sign. Okay, now what’s the good news? The case is finally closed, it’s over. Great, but what about our news conference this afternoon at 3:30? Go ahead, I can’t be there. Disappointed but still grateful that this would finally be over Terry and I left to go to the courthouse to retrieve the signed paperwork from the clerk of court a bit early. Once we arrived and went to the clerks office we were informed they didn’t have the paperwork. They sent me to the third floor to the Judges offices. Eventually the Judge Smiley’s secretary came out and told me the hearing was on and basically scolded me for not being at court and insisted that I needed to go to the courtroom. Confused, I told her the hearing had been set for 3:00 pm and that it’s only 2:30 and that I had been told by my attorney that it had been cancelled. Again she scolded me as though I was a child and told me that everything had been changed and the hearing was at 1:00pm and bruskly told me to go to the courtroom. I apologized, and we departed to the second floor and entered the courtroom where all this began in 2007. I motioned ot a sherrif and he came towards me. Upon his arrival I attempted to explain who I was and why I was there only to be told to take a seat in the crowded courtroom while the judge continued to hear felony cases.
Finally after the courtroom had been emptied someone told the Judge that I was there. His response was that my name sounded familiar as he was then reminded that he’d signed the order to close my case officially at 1:00pm. I was then seated and waited for an official signed copy of the order without even an apology for destroying my life. Terry and I left the courtroom.
You must understand that on many instances from 2007 through 2009 every time I entered that courtroom I was arrested on another charge. I became very ill upon entering and asked Terry to go back to the car and use my phone to call Kevin to find out what was going on. He assured her everything was fine but by then my stomach was in knots from the past memories. One more final humiliation and not one word of apology from the court after the destruction of my life.
On the drive to the court I received a call from my agent Jennifer Etherton telling me that she’d received a strange email from WJHG NBC Channel 7 about the scheduled press conference for 3:30. I told her to call them back and assure them it would take place. They had been told that it had been cancelled and the hearing had taken place at 1:00pm. In fact all the journalist’s had been told the same thing. They were the only one fortunately that contacted Jennifer. In case you don’t know this is a major civil rights violation. You cannot keep a person from the press, it’s a constitutional right.
It was later determined that this was another plan devised by the State Attorney to avoid the press and an attempt at circumventing my right to free speech and access to the press.
Panama City just doesn’t get it. Violation of civil rights upon violation, They are digging a deep hole even deeper.
It turned out well and NBC showed up and I gave the interview which aired on the 6:00pm news. It has already gone international and by tomorrow Associated Press and every other news organization should have it on the web.
It’s been a grueling and thankful day. I would like everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Tomorrow, I will look at all I have to be grateful for and give thanks for all I have especially my friends, family, and supporters through all of this.
Thank You with Much Love,