Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Update from Eric

UPDATE February 11, 2008

Since my release seven weeks ago we have received thousands of letters from all over the world. The content ranges from celebration of the life of Doris, inquiries about my health, to the status of the case, conspiracy theories (some of which are true), cultural analysis, concern for the future of U.S.- Nicaragua relations, questions about elements of the case that remain unclear, people invested in Nicaragua who blame me for their losses, death threats, hate mail, interview requests from all over, etc. But the most common theme in the letters is refreshing - it is those who give thanks to the almighty creator for allowing this first chapter to be concluded in that way that it was.

There are a lot of issues that I have been dealing with that have kept me from sending an update before now, but I want to keep you informed as best as I'm able. I consider each and every one of you part of this story and I am very grateful for your on-going interest and support – it has greatly aided in my recovery!

I was really ill my first couple of weeks back on U.S. soil. I felt like the space shuttle reentering the atmosphere from another world and I had to de-tox before I came back. I'll talk more about what it has been like to re-enter society later, but like a space vehicle in reentry, after my release the case heated up before it cooled off. This didn't allow me the time I needed to rest and start the healing process as quickly as I'd hoped, but these are the steps I have to take.

My defense effort was forced to get right back to the grind after my release to bring attention to what was happening to the Appellate magistrates, (Roberto Rodriguez and Alejandro Estrada) who overturned the lower court's decision and declared me innocent. There was a powerful backlash by the Nicaraguan press because of my release. The Nicaraguan government was trying to wash their hands of the case and find some one to place the blame on.

These Appellate judges were under constant attack by the Sandinista magistrates (Rafael Solis and Alba Luz Ramos) of the Supreme Court who were exerting significant influence to try these men for ruling on the merits of my case and upholding the law and constitution. The Appellate magistrates received death threats, faced imprisonment, and loss of their positions.

As a result, two weeks after I was released, I went to New York and did a series of news features with the purpose of putting the spotlight back on the corruption of the Sandinistas Supreme court justices. My visit to New York was timed to coincide with the hearing dates in which the appellate magistrates were being tried.

I offered interviews to the New York Times, the Today Show, Anderson Cooper of CNN, and the two largest Spanish-speaking networks on the air, Telemundo and Univision. I came prepared and was very deliberate in my interviews, citing what group was fronting the efforts to undermine the justice that had been delivered. The day after the features aired, the Supreme Court magistrates Rafael Solis and Alba Luz Ramos stopped showing up to work, they were hiding from the press, and ceased attending the hearings that they had initiated. Once again, the press proved it's power.

[Last week the results of the investigation of the Appellate magistrates were announced. There would be no sanctions against either of the Appellate magistrates – great news! The President of the Supreme Court in Nicaragua stated that, "…the Supreme Court's investigations have concluded that the Magistrates of the Court of Appeals in Granada, Robert Francisco Rodriguez and Alejandro Estrada, who ordered Volz released by revoking the original sentence, and Norman Miranda, who dissented via a vote for annulment of the original sentence, acted according to their own criteria and in accordance with the law."]

I spent last week in Washington, D.C. where I met with members of the State Department, sharing with them some of the, so far, unpublished pieces of this story, as well as giving them the opportunity to explain the methods in which they chose to approach my case with. In addition, I visited with key members of Congress who were the most instrumental in championing my case on the Hill. It was a great opportunity for me to both thank them for their efforts as well as investigate how your letters and out reach asking for their support actually translated into action. It was a very informative visit that provided much clarity and more pieces to the puzzle.

Many of you have asked in the letters what I'm doing now. I want to reiterate my commitment to tell the entirety of this experience. My estimation is that only 20% of the story is known to those outside my family and defense team. I have decided to write a book as it has become clear that it is the only medium that can encompass this rich journey. I promise, if you thought what you know is surreal and insane, just wait until the "real story" is published!

I must mention that I also feel that a complete account of this piece of history could be very healing for many people and collectively for the US and Nicaragua relationship. As many of you point out in your letters, the events that followed Doris's murder have exposed and deepened a great wound between our two nations. It is my belief that a thorough account of this story will clarify many twisted misunderstandings and subsequently be a step toward bridging the gap.

One of the great pleasures I have had since my release is bumping into people who have been part of my support network these past 16 months. It has provided me a whole new level of understanding of the magnitude and impact of this ordeal. I have been greeted with tears by new friends; people approach me in the street and just grab me and hug me, many of them speechless that I'm really standing in front of them. Believe me, it's hard for me to grasp too, but I'm honored and humbled by your words, hopes and expressions of support. The depth of the community is astounding and I thank you!!!

Finally, we are in the process of re-designing our web site and consolidating the on-line community. One of the features we are compelled to focus on is other cases of injustice that we believe need the attention and support of this powerful and committed community. Whether you knew it or not, through your involvement in bringing attention to my story, you have in essence become what I've begun referring to as "shareholders in justice" and we will continue, with your help, to raise awareness for those in need of it!

Thank you for your letters and continuing to be part of the story!

With love,
Eric V.


Anonymous said...

I have sent "proof" of my brother's beaten body, and BLUE blood to Joan Foster, Baldo, Quasimodo, Tony Soprano, abb, Jason Trumpbour, and several others, yet which of you will come forward and speak out on Jack's behalf?!
His death was a staged suicide involving shady LE, his body parts taken and SOLD, and not ONE of you gives a damn?!
You all take far too much time to dedicate to one case, when the line of crimes against many are just ignored! It is a sad statement that not only does the "legal system" not care, neither do the citizens!
Greg Baker from the FBI is a farce, Sheriff Hill is a sock puppet, Mayor Bell is a hack, and Mr Saacks is a POS just as his mentor Nifong was/is!
But I will tell you ALL this, if it was your loved one, would you FIGHT like we have for 3 needless long years to learn the TRUTH and seek JUSTICE as we have?!
My computer is being hacked, I have been threatened with DEATH, and you laugh?! You should be ashamed and Thank God that you are miles away and this is just a past time for you!
You mock our loss and pain, look the other way, and still manage to sleep at night?! Not only does our government have no conscience, neither do the "People?!"
We have had many people write on behalf of Jack to the Governor's Office, and the Sheriff's Office, to DEMAND an Internal Affair investigation, and to release to us ALL documentation of his case forthwith and without haste.
I am BEGGING for SERIOUS help from media and legal professionals to help us have JUSTICE for the life and blood of a man who made 2 grave mistakes, one is the marriage, the second is the city he called home!
Rhonda Fleming
How long will people go on endlessly about ONE case, when there is a PLETHORA of injustices that have yet to see the light of day?! Durham is a cesspool, you have sampled a small taste of their posion, have witnessed only a sample of the corruption, and where the hell is the NATIONAL outrage?!
Nifong gets ONE day in jail, Mike Owens also gets only ONE year, Gottleib and Hinman got paid off, and Elmos is hero of the year?!
Where is the ANGER and COURAGE to protest?! Why haven't you all spent some time contacting NC state officials, and Washington?!
They watch this site EACH day, from the Pentagon on down, and have destroyed my faith in the entire judicial system!
Many more people are suffering from their dirty deeds, and we weep each day and scream for JUSTICE to deaf ears! I don't care if you people hate me or not, I am here to get RESOLUTION for my brother's murder, and for Janet Araboa, and Michelle Young!
More innocent victims, our families and the community! How many more lives are being destroyed each day?! For the love of God people, WAKE UP, and take a STAND!
Rhonda Fleming

Report: Easley press office ordered e-mails deleted
Mar 29, 2008
RALEIGH, N.C. -- State government public information officers were instructed by Gov. Mike Easley's press office to delete e-mails to and from the governor's office, according to notes released Saturday by the governor's office.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Saturday that Andrew A. Vanore Jr., a lawyer who works for Easley, produced notes made by two public information officers. The notes showed that they and others were told at a meeting on May 29, 2007, to destroy e-mails. A third public information officer said he also recalled those instructions.
But Vanore said the notes don't mean what they say. He also said the instructions were not followed.
Easley's chief legal counsel, Reuben F. Young, has been vacationing with his family in China and could not be reached for comment. Deputy press secretary Seth Effron has been instructed by Vanore not to comment.
Questions about the way the Easley administration handles e-mails arose after publication of an N&O series, "Mental Disorder: The Failure of Reform." The series reported on an ill-conceived and poorly executed mental health reform plan on which the state has wasted at least $400 million.
Two days after the series ended, Easley ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to fire its public information officer, Debbie Crane. Later that day, Crane told The N&O that the governor's press office had directed that e-mails be deleted to bypass the state's public records law.
Young and Effron quickly denied that such instructions had been given.
Julia Jarema, public information officer at the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, recorded this note for the meeting in question: "Public records request -- increasing careful of email delete emails to/from gov. office every day."
Diana Kees, public information officer at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, recorded this note: "emails - more & more public records requests (blogs?) be careful w/emails; delete emails to and from gov office every day."
Vanore said he did not know what the notes meant.
"It could be interpreted a number of different ways, and the only way to properly interpret it would be to talk to the individual who took the note," he said. But he said he had instructed all of the employees not to talk about that issue because the newspaper may file a lawsuit.
Vanore said the e-mail messages to and from the governor's press office were clear and irrefutable proof that there was no systematic intent to destroy e-mail.
Hugh Stevens, an attorney who represents The N&O, said the notes made by Jarema and Kees confirmed Crane's allegation.
"This sounds to me as though there was a concerted and willful attempt to evade the public records law by deleting the e-mails," he said. "I don't see how you can interpret it any other way."

Guess whose e-mails were deleted? OURS! I have had numerous people write to both Easley, and the Sheriff, for our case, and after being "blacklisted" from the county website and willingly negligent, here is more PROOF of the deliberate abuse of powers in public offices to purposely deny the public RIGHTS, and to perform MORE illegal and unconstitutional tactics to prevent being "OUTED!"
Rhonda Fleming
30th March 2008 15:36:29

Why don't you join the board and DO something instead of just watching! BASTARDS! (North Carolina Adminstrative Office Of The Courts)
North Carolina, Raleigh, United States, 17 returning visits
Date Time WebPage
30th March 2008 15:35:11
30th March 2008 15:36:01

PROOF of the Sheriff's Office returning our e-mails:
MORE proof of the denial of the Sheriff's Office to take our complaints and requests! My God, they CANNOT get away with this!!!
Undeliverable: Mr Croft's death
"System Administrator" ..

Your message
To: Sheriff
Subject: Mr Croft's death
Sent: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 17:14:05 -0400
did not reach the following recipient(s):
Buchanan, Ricky on Sat, 15 Mar 2008 17:17:35 -0400
Could not deliver the message in the time limit specified. Please retry
or contact your administrator.
dcsnet01. DurhamSheriff. net 4.4.7
Where is our civil rights?!?!
Rhonda Fleming
Jail suicide prompts no policy changes
Mar 8, 2008
DURHAM -- Despite claims by inmates that a Durham County Jail prisoner spoke openly of suicidal tendencies and a discovery of suicide notes, officials say they received no such indications before the 27-year-old man ended his life.
And there are no plans for policy or structural changes at the jail, where fellow inmates found assault suspect Brian Lashand Rollins hanging from part of a window frame in his cell about 4 p.m. on Feb. 9. That was about 30 minutes after he'd last been seen alive, according to the report of his autopsy.
Days after the hanging death of Rollins, county leaders told The Herald-Sun they'd await the outcome of the Sheriff's Office investigation to determine if additional safety precautions were needed to ensure the jail was a safe place for its inmates.
According to Deputy County Manager Carolyn Titus, it is routine procedure for the Sheriff's Office to investigate a jailhouse death, ensure no foul play was involved and then recommend any adjustments that need to be made to the facility.
Titus said that the Sheriff's Office made no such recommendations and expressed confidence in the safety of inmates housed at the jail.
Rollins, a father of eight, was without a pulse when he was discovered. He was taken to Duke University Hospital, where he was declared brain dead the next morning and died a short time later.
He was found hanging from a window frame in his cell. But the Sheriff's Office says there is no need to adjust cells by removing items from which an inmate could be hanged. Sheriff's Office Investigator Tom Mellown, who investigated the case, said suicidal individuals can hang themselves from anything, so long as they can apply enough pressure to the neck to block the passage of air.
Yet in the past, the Sheriff's Office has requested money from the county to rid cells of vents based on the argument that the vents present a safety threat and an opportunity for hanging. Mellown, who as investigator has no part in budgeting, could not comment on those past requests, he said.
Mellown's criminal investigation into Rollins' death determined there was no foul play. From conversations with guards, jail employees and four or five inmates, Mellown determined there were no indications that the 27-year-old inmate was suicidal, he said.
One inmate did tell the investigator that Rollins never responded to him when he tried to chat with him from an adjacent cell. Another inmate told the investigator Rollins talked to him about wanting to end his life. But according to Mellown, the inmate said he never told any jail guards or officials of Rollins' intentions.
One inmate who was in the jail at the same time as Rollins told The Herald-Sun that, contrary to the Sheriff's Office's investigation, the troubled inmate told anyone who would listen that he wanted to end his life. But the guards, he claimed, were either too busy or didn't care and ignored Rollins' repeated pleas for help.
Rollins was distraught, the source said, over relationship issues involving a woman. Rollins was being held in the jail on a charge of assault on a female. His bond was $50,000. It was unclear whether the assault victim was the same woman with whom he was romantically involved.
According to the Sheriff's Office, no red flags arose during a 10-question psychological assessment that Rollins, like all inmates entering the jail, was subject to when he arrived at the facility Feb. 6.
Jail procedure calls for inmates to be administered the test only upon arrival, regardless of how long they are to be held in the jail. But if an inmate reaches out for help or if jail employees notice an inmate acting in a way that demonstrates his or her psychological state has changed, they will be referred for reassessment.
Rollins was not referred for any such assessment.
THIS is the SAME man who "INVESTIGATED" my brother's death, and you all still think HE and LE are to be trusted at all?!?!
AND, again, NO autopsy was done for my brother, AND we were LIED to and told one was done, plus threatened!!!!!
For the love of God people, DO SOMETHING!!!!
Rhonda Fleming

Anonymous said...

censorship, they prefer not to know

Anonymous said...

It is a global ring, that must supply the world with organs not just for transplant, but also for research and testing in a plethora of ways.

There are numerous GAO reports, and all include corruption at the highest levels of government and business.

This includes hospitals, research facilities, drug companies, dental uses, and I know personally who is watching and know they watch to see if names will be mentioned.

From the Pentagon, US Courts, to banks and stockholders, it is ALL about money!

Will any journalist worth his weight in salt report these grisly crimes done in the name of science?!