Murder in Prison
Ms. Kay Lee, MTWT
Pacific Institute of Criminal Justice
1868 San Juan Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94707
Apparently the prosecution selectively ignored some basic criminal law, and the felony murder rule, which got Frank Valdes convicted in the first place.
The nine guards involved CONSPIRED to commit a felony -- to beat up Frank Valdes -- and carried out the beating. ALL those who beat him are collectively guilty, and it matters little which guard actually administered the "fatal" blow; more likely than not it was the accumulation of blows that caused death, and ALL the guards who struck Valdes are by law guilty of battery, a felony, and by extention guilty of felony murder. For some arcane reason, the prosecution did not persue a first degree murder conviction, with all the elements present: premeditation, malice, conspiracy, and an attached felony.
To show how inconsistent Florida law is, Frank Valdes was involved in a hairbrained attempt with William van Poyk to free another prisoner on a dental visit from jail. It appears that he was the driver of the get away car, and not the one who shot Officer Griffis. However, since he played a "significant" role in the murder, he was considered equally guilty and received a death sentence.
Applying the same logic -- are we a country of men or of law?-- the nine guards are equally of the undercharged second degree murder, and their passage through a kangaroo court does not change their de facto guilt, in spite of a de jure not guilty verdict. The Justice Department should consider Federal murder charges.
It appears that the bottom line is that the Law in Florida is law only when we want to be, and fairness in court is in the eye of the beholder.
G. M. Larkin, M.D.