SAVE SOUTHERN HERITAGE FLORIDA NEWS
For Immediate Release
STATE ATTORNEY’S ATTEMPT TO SQUASH VICTIM RIGHTS FAILS AS SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS TAKE A STEP CLOSER TO JUSTICE FOR GENERAL LEE
Above Photo: HK Edgerton, Gerald Schell, Adjutant of William Footman Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans and David McCallister, Esq.
Ft. Myers – Over 20 citizens appeared in courtroom 7B today at the Lee County Justice Center to see if the Court would give victims a voice in the sentencing of the Lee Memorial vandal. Attorney David McCallister, representing the William Footman Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (“SCV”)/Tom Fyock as victims, piled a ream of Victim Impact Statements on the Judge’s bench.
But the victims who came to testify to the Judge didn’t have long to wait before Ast. State Attorney Audra Thomas-Eth told the Judge she wanted them all ‘stricken from the record’ and that they were not a victim in the case.
The SCV attorney McCallister, referred to by Ms. Thomas-Eth as, “the man at the middle microphone”, argued that the State Attorney didn’t get to decide who was the crime victim, and that Marsy’s Law applied and should be carefully reviewed.
“It appears if the victims have to rely on this State Attorney’s Office for justice, they won’t be getting it” said David McCallister, Esq., attorney for the victims. “They will have to rely on Judge Thompson” McCallister added.
After the proceedings, several victims were overheard remarking “who does the State Attorney work for – the criminal?”. McCallister observed “The State Attorney seems confused about her responsibilities to bring justice for victims”. “It almost seemed like Ms. Thomas-Eth was representing the defendant and that’s just plain wrong” McCallister added.
The Judge agreed with the Sons of Confederate Veterans and refused to summarily approve the plea deal proposed by the State Attorney. Instead, he agreed to study up on the new “Crime Victim Bill of Rights” the Florida voters inserted into the Florida Constitution in November 2018 and discuss the issue again on November 25th. He cautioned the State Attorney that the Constitution must be followed.
“It seems like voters might have been right to vote for Marsy’s law… if the State can’t be trusted to do right by crime victims” McCallister added.
Marsy’s Law has been adopted in 10 states and includes two provisions: a shield and a sword. “The shield protects their identity and the sword is for meaningful inclusion at every step in the criminal process” McCallister said. “We do not feel the State Attorney has done that and this is why we are asserting our rights in this case.”
“The proposed plea deal is a slap on the wrist for the perpetrator and a slap in the face to the victims” McCallister added. “The only Justice is one that serves as a meaningful deterrent to a repeat incident” McCallister said.
HK Edgerton, past President of the Ashville, NC Branch of the NAACP and a Civil Rights activist was in town to read his Victim Impact Statement to Judge Thompson. Instead, he read his statement to the other victims and media after the hearing. Edgerton said “It was a gut punch on the heels of other gut punches to see the beloved figure of General Lee and his brave man desecrated time and time again, and the criminal goes Scot free. I and others, who encouraged me to be here today, hope and pray that this time, in your court, a different precedent will be set. One that discourages this desecration of a beloved American – that means so much to so many of us.”
“My client is not going to let this drop. Mr. Howes picked the wrong Memorial in the wrong town at the wrong time. This case will set a precedent and we hope and pray it will be to fully consider the impact on the victims” McCallister concluded.
If the Court does not rule that the Sons of Confederate Veterans are victims, the plea deal will likely be approved by the Court on November 25th.
SAVE SOUTHERN HERITAGE Inc. is a not for profit corporation that educates & advocates on behalf of Southern Heritage & History. It was started in 2015 in response to the knee-jerk Anti-Southern institutionalized bullying and “Eracism” levied against the people of South Carolina by Governor Nikki Haley, after she broke all previous agreements about how South Carolina’s historical veterans and their symbols should be treated and respected.
The Florida branch was activated in mid-January 2016, in response to three initiatives in the Florida Legislature that are part of a hate campaign led by Anti-American extremists, who refuse to respect the various cultures that make up the fabric of Florida’s society. Since that time, it has grown in membership and has been active in battles over American History and throughout Florida including the “We’ll Remember in November Campaign” that resulted in #heritagehater candidates to lose elections in Florida and others to win. More info: www.sshfl.org
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