My mental health issue permeates both this proceeding and a variety of related or parallel proceedings. It seems society, including this court, has a profound misunderstanding of mental illness generally and bipolar disease in particular. That misunderstanding wraps itself around and infuses itself within every analysis of my circumstances, invariably drawing the analyst to inaccurate conclusions. In the absence of an advocate, I am forced to try to explain my bipolar disease and how the disease impacts me in these lawsuits.
Before this memorandum could be filed, I received, electronically, a summary of your recent orders. Once more, this court makes a decision from an incomplete factual context. Accordingly, within the limitations of Rule 59(e) I will file the appropriate pleadings to see reconsideration.
The purpose of this letter is to support the petitioner’s requested extension of time. FLA-LetterMemorandum.
Because of both the passage of time and the extensive record development since the original 2255 motion was files, I believe it appropriate to summarize the arguments and evidence now before the district court. FLA – Case Summary Memorandum
Motion to Reconsider the Court’s March 11, 2014 Decree Amending the Criminal Judgment and the Forfeiture Order it Comprises. Click here to read my Motion to Reconsider Courts March 11 Decree.
On March 11, 2014, this court by altering the order of forfeiture amended my criminal judgment. That decision has significant legal consequences. Some of those consequences, are irreversible legal events; others may be nullified or truncated by this court reconsidering its March 11th order.
Belated letter, such delays are part of prison life.
On this Christmas Eve, I am reflecting on what I miss most about being free: spending the holiday evening at a movie with Claire and my children; opening gifts when we got home. The next morning we had a tradition, the kids and I would go to Waffle House. We started this one Christmas in Atlanta. Our apartment was iced-in, so my “baby” girl of three, my step son of eight, and I walked nearly a mile to the Waffle House and played Christmas songs on the jukebox. In one form or another we carried on the tradition each Christmas thereafter; this I miss terribly.
This Christmas however is different. On this holiday, I helped ensured that a fully grown man gets treatment for his fingers, tomorrow a dozen gentlemen (65 to 84) will begin a journey that should result in their “compassionate release” from prison next year. These men have lost more than 10 Christmases’ to prison and as I am demonstrating now some for conduct they did not commit and others far past this punishment serving any rational purpose—even retribution. Last year I sent an email about describing what I had done [statistically], that information will soon be on FrankAmodeo.com and on the news wires. This year my message is different. During the last year four deaths occurred, deaths which impacted me in various ways. The people were Bob Strickland, Hector Miguelez, Randy Gold, and Jake Waldrop. Two convicts and two lawyers.
Hector was serving a life sentence for crimes in the State of Florida, he was here because he was Cuban and under threat of deportation. He had been imprisoned for 30 years and wanted nothing more than to be able to return to Cuba and see his aged mother once more. For two years, we appeared to have Hector ready for parole and deportation. One administrative mistake after another prevented is approved release from happening. After more than 25 years in prison, Hector died of cancer.
Like Hector, Bob Strickland died last year, but Bob died right in the middle of my showing that 20 years ago two courts, five judges and half a dozen attorneys were wrong about how to apply the law to the facts. That error added a mandatory 30 years to Bob’s sentence. Only this year, did I find a path in the post-conviction procedural maze which gave us a possible forum. The weekend that happened Bob went to the hospital, he never come back. He never had his day in court and he was erroneously sentenced. If not for the mistake, he would have been free 12 years before he died. God will undoubtedly make this tragedy right, but that does not justify our creating it in the first place.
Late this summer I learned that the prosecutor in my case had died. Surprising to my fellow inmates, I was not happy that Randy died, first and foremost because it is not for me to decide whether someone lives or dies. Plus, as far as I know, Randy and I were still on a first name basis; I would have been calling as a witness in my habeas action. Mostly though my disappointment was about an off-record discussion I intended I think he actually cared about the law, he seemed like an honest prosecutor and, to the extent of my knowledge, had more integrity than most people and attorneys. Against that backdrop, I was interested in how he would react when a credible voice presented him insight about the justice system that he sorely lacked. There will be others, but unfortunately those conversations will be without the context derived in many conversations that two of us had outside his offices. I am saddened that he is not present. I believe he would have embraced the coming storm; in hopes of returning law to the philosophers.
Another believer, an attorney—who I did not know as well but expected to have an equal intimate conversation with— also died, Jake Waldrop. He my served as my public defender in my earlier criminal case. His response to the probation officer’s comment about the virtually unanimous perception of my “legal brilliance”, even from the so-called victims, was to tell my wife that I had a fatal flaw. A perception, I now suspect arose as much from his instinct as from the psychiatric examination conducted at the pre-trial probation officers urging. I have never seen the results of that examination, but I really wonder what Jake was thinking when he told my wife that regardless of my intellect I had a “fatal flaw”. Jake’s death by suicide, likely caused by a change in medication, tells me now Jake’s comment may have been as much from personal empathy as objective analysis. I will always wonder, but he went from ponytail to crew cut, wherever he is now, he was zealous (if overwhelmed) advocate for the pathetic and poor–more like him are needed. Sometime in 2015, I hope I can win one of his last federal cases for his memory and of course for his client.
I would have liked for him to have seen, that contrary to his belief (fear), I embraced that fatal flow, gained control of it, and channeled it, so that next time that flaw will not tarnish my efforts. Thereby, sending a resounding message that there is no obstacle that a faith-enhanced, determined individual cannot overcome.
Hopefully, next year I will speak with you from a different venue and can herald a better world for us individually and collectively.
Salutations, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.
Frank L. Amodeo
2013 Year End Letter-Belated letter