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JAILHOUSE SNITCHES, FLAWED JUSTICE

(This Op-Ed by yours truly, was published by Florida Today, on-line, 20 Oct 2017:  “Non-Vetted Jailhouse Snitches Make For Flawed Justice”)

Those spending prison time based on the testimony of a non-vetted jailhouse snitches who offered a story to gain personal favor from prosecutors, should have their cases seriously reviewed by the governor, or at the least, a district court of appeals, or perhaps the state Supreme Court.

Sadly, Brevard County had a number of those cases of non-vetted testimony from in-custody snitches in which the prosecutor’s office of the early 1980s used to help expedite convictions.

Bill Dillon spent 27 years in prison, based partly on the testimony of a jailbird who falsely claimed Dillon had confessed to him in the cell. That snitch openly admitted to his lie 27 years later. Another innocent man, Wilton Dedge spent 22 years in prison for rape, based partly on the self-serving testimony of another inmate. These cases were featured in FLORIDA TODAY’s award-winning podcast series Murder on the Space Coast.

In both cases, prosecutors also gave undue weight to a dog’s sniffer. The infamous handler, John Preston, had later been shamefully outcast from the justice system as a fraud,

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “MARSHALL” – 8.5

“MARSHALL”  –  8 ½

     In a word:  Engaging

     This movie is not so much about the life of the first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Rather, it’s about a young civil rights attorney and the struggles he had to overcome in defending a young black defendant charged with rape in 1941 in Greenwich, Connecticut. At this time, Marshall was the sole staff attorney for the NAACP.

     The story focuses on the plight of a black chauffeur accused of raping a wealthy white woman, married, who was his employer. Several issues of racism are highlighted, particularly in the courtroom as the judge would not allow Marshall to utter a word during the trial, but had to pass that task on to a white attorney who had never tried a criminal case. The partnership between Marshall and Sam Friedman starts off on rocky grounds but eventually evolves into harmony and mutual respect.

     Actually, the trial is quite interesting with evidence and revelations that would intrigue folks who like to solve crimes.

     The movie is well-directed and maintains a pace which keeps the viewer engaged. Acting is good, with the Marshall role played by Chadwick Boseman, the same actor who portrayed

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NOVEMBER 4TH: CIVIL WAR?

Some are calling it the brink of a Civil War.

Watch November 4th. Those who saw what took place during the “Arab Spring” of the Middle East in 2011 will understand what America will be facing on November 4th. And, the fundamental goals of the insurgents then (and now), was to lay groundwork for a coup and change the leadership of government. In Egypt, that worked for a short while as the Muslim Brotherhood became the new rulers, with Morsi at the helm. That was short-lived because the people of Egypt took their country back from the Muslim Brotherhood who was installing strict Sharia throughout the land, while terrorizing Christian Coptics.

     For the USA, pay close attention to “Antifa” which is one of the primary organizations behind the movement, to be supported by, and tagged with, several other powerful, well-financed anti-American organizations whose sole purpose is to create chaos, instill fear and – most of all – bring down the Trump administration. The intended coup.

     Think George Soros.

     There are numerous sources and web sites which identify the grand plan set for November 4th which is to invade some of America’s largest cities to label themselves as

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “BATTLE OF THE SEXES” – 8.0

BATTLE OF THE SEXES  – 8.0

     In a word:  Struggles

This is an entertaining, well-done movie about personal struggles within two sports stars who lived under the public eye. Folks who’ve been around a while, will remember the much ballyhooed tennis match between the dominant, 29-year-old female star of 1973, and the over-the-hill once-great Bobby Riggs, 55 year-old, who challenged Billie Jean King to a one-on-one match to prove a great man would always beat a great woman on the court.

     There was much more playing out in this docudrama than a mere tennis match, although the fact remains that the event topped the charts as the most watched sports even (then) in history.

     At play was the rise of women’s plight for equality in a time when male professionals earned ten times the dollars than did women, and it appeared their demands were falling on deaf ears until Billie Jean King came along to stand up to the establishment. 

     Once a major tennis star of the 1950’s, Bobby Riggs struggled with being a notorious gambling addict, not to mention an egomaniac who, knowing of the friction between women and men in tennis, concocted an idea to prove women’s tennis

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CHARISMA: THE KEY TO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Every time there is an election cycle, particularly for president, the polls, the media and the candidates pontificate how they feel about issues, foreign and domestic. After all, that’s what’s most important, right? Next in importance comes background along with personal integrity and professional achievements that give us a reflective picture about the candidate. Media pundits go about judging how good or bad candidates might be, based on their past record.

     Fact is, while all that may be important, these things are not what elects presidents, not in the last 60 years anyway. The number one asset any candidate must have, above money, above past record, above issues is: Charisma.

     Hillary Clinton is still licking her wounds pandering for sympathy for losing a fait accompli campaign in which she was all but coronated long before election day. After all, she was a “Clinton,” she had the endorsement of a sitting president, she had vast experience and she had far more campaign money at her disposal than her opponent, Donald Trump.  She can whine from now to dooms day about why she lost the election, but she’ll never admit to what she did not have: Charisma.

     Sure, millions of people still

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “STRONGER” – 8.5

“ STRONGER” – 8 ½

In a word:  Heartbreaking

     The movie is a docudrama about love, compassion, outrage, sacrifice and most of all, struggle in coping with extreme personal tragedy.

     The story begins with the Boston Marathon bombing four years ago, which took the lives of  three innocent people and seriously injured hundreds more including 16 people who lost limbs. Jeff Bauman was one of these, a regular blue collar fellow who happened to be in attendance near the finish line to cheer on his girlfriend when the bombs went off.

     I remember seeing the first news photos of this young man in 2013, lying in shock amid the chaos, with his shin bone protruding through the skin of his lower leg.

     Surprisingly, the movie is not so much about the bombing or terrorism, or the investigation. It’s about one man, and the people who love him, and his life-changing catastrophe becoming a double-amputee. While Bauman’s life is turned inside out, so are the lives of his family members plus the girl he loves.

    The movie portrays Bauman’s long time relationship with Erin Hurley as having been rocky, in and out, breaking up, making up. At the time of the

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EXPRESS THOSE LOVING FEELINGS – WHILE YOU CAN

    Have you ever told an old friend, co-worker or supervisor what you really thought of him or her?  Sometimes we wait until it’s too late.

     One of my important police mentors, who guided me through the early days in homicide, became a lifelong friend, long into retirement. Sergeant Ray Beck was a class act, dignified, suave, articulate and smart. He loved his job, I loved working with him.

     Fast-forward to 2002.  Living North Carolina, I hadn’t seen Ray Beck for several years. I knew he had battled on and off with cancer issues. One morning, the phone rang, it was Ray Beck calling from Miami. He struggled to speak, voice raspy, shallow breathing. “Marshall.  (pause-cough) Just wanted you to know (pause) you were like (pause) a son to me.” (pause)

     “Ray? What’s wrong?” 

     In a near whisper, he said, “I…I…(pause-cough)…love you.”

     Dial tone.

     Stunned, I choked up. Then burst into tears. I would have headed to Miami the next day but it was too late. Ray had passed. I never relayed the same message back.

     Ray Beck was the consummate mentor, having taught me another lesson from his death bed. Today, I have no qualms about sharing my true feelings

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