Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dear Governor Scott: Unshackle Cristian Fernandez!

While the new private attorneys for Cristian Fernandez carry out their work silently behind the scenes, the rest of the case drama continues to play out in the public and the media. State Attorney Angela Corey is enjoying a moment of reprieve from the ongoing pressure she has received in reference to her seeking charges against Cristian in adult court. This is thanks to a new campaign asking that Cristian be unshackled for future court appearances.

Or is she?

On Valentine's Day, a particularly unflattering article was released in Folio Weekly that discussed Angela Corey's reactions to both prior media articles written about her and the campaign drive to have Cristian tried as a juvenile.

Just when tension seemed to reach a pinnacle for Angela Corey, a new effort to help 13 year old Cristian emerged, pulling Governor Rick Scott into the spotlight previously enjoyed almost exclusively by Angela.

The campaign to unshackle Cristian began as an email. I sent an email to Judge Mallory Cooper asking that she please refrain from shackling Cristian at future hearings. I contacted the judge in response to hearing from another individual that after asking Angela Corey whose decision it was to shackle Cristian, she stated it came down to the judge and the sheriff's office.

I did not receive a response from the judge in regard to my email, but I did receive a call from Angela. She was not happy about the email I sent the judge. Her main point of contention was that I had said Angela referenced that it was the judge's decision to have the shackles removed and I had not made any indication of the sheriff's office. I remedied that, however.

I contacted the private attorneys to inquire if a motion was filed to have the shackles removed. I never received a response. Alicia and I talked about the issue and decided that the best course of action was a petition. Alicia put up the following petition to ask that Cristian no longer be shackled at his hearings:

Another petition has since been started in reference to the shackling issue:

To ramp up the effort, I took the advice of a fellow supporter who asked me to write a letter to Governor Rick Scott regarding the shackling issue, but I decided to take it another level. I started a Facebook email writing campaign.

So far, the event has 186 people attending and a significant number of people who have expressed they have written to Governor Rick Scott:

In addition to writing to the governor, some have taken to Rick Scott's Facebook page to voice their opinion. It is, however, a somewhat hostile environment. In response to supporter Saba Din's request to Governor Scott regarding the unshackling of Cristian, Mike Donohue from Tampa suggested that Cristian should "remain caged for the rest of his life or at least get the lethal injection." Another poster, who seemed generally confused, contributed the following: "Insane white supremacist leaders on here should get the death sentence! It is coming soon!"

Meanwhile, those sending emails to Rick Scott via email have started to receive standardized responses from someone named Warren Davis. Warren states that Governor Scott has no influence over the situation because it is a criminal matter and that we must voice our concerns to Angela Corey.

Been there.

Done that.

No, Governor Scott. I'm sorry to tell you, but the buck is going to stop with you for now. At least with regard to the shackling of a minor child. If the prosecutors in your state act without impunity then I guess that means the voters can choose someone else at the next election. You are supposed to act on behalf of the people and we, the people, are telling you this is a matter of civility and we want this child unshackled.

So if you are reading this, please take a moment and write to Governor Rick Scott using the following contact form. If you are outside of Florida you can use the zip code 32202 and the county of Duval. Let him know that we are not going to give up. We are not going away. We are done listening to people tell us that someone else makes the decisions.


And we thank you for doing it.

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