Note: Ricky's execution has been stayed. Further info as I get it..
Ricky Roberts may be an innocent man. On Friday February 23, 1996 that may be irrelevant. This Friday is the day he is scheduled to become a dead man. Serious accusations have been made about the honesty of witnesses at his trial, the actions of the prosecution, the competence of his defence lawyer and even the reasons for his execution date. Despite those complaints, the closest that Florida Governor Lawton Chiles' office will come to taking responsibility for the possible death of an innocent man is a popularity poll.
Florida Governor Lawton Chiles has abdicated responsibility for Ricki's life. When called for more information on Ricky's execution, the Governor's office would only poll callers on whether they supported the man's death. When asked about the possible flaws in the process leading to Ricky's death sentence the Governor's office simply said that they supported it. Promises to call back with more information proved to be empty.
Improprieties in Ricky's conviction center around two primary points: Possible bribery of witnesses and an admittedly incomplete defence by his lawyer. This is compounded by accusations that his execution date was set to prevent a lawsuit by Ricky from proceeding next month. Many outsiders felt that Ricky's lawsuit would have probably succeeded and given him money to fund a more complete defence against his conviction and execution.
Belief that Ricky's accusers may have been bribed come from the fact that they had their criminal records removed after Ricky's convictions. The key witness against Ricky also had inconsistencies in her testimony, but Ricky's lawyer now claims to have been "burnt out". As a result, cross examination was limited as was the rest of Ricki's defence. The key witness' rape counselor -- who concluded that the episode was made up -- did not get a chance to testify.
Believing in his innocence and the justice system, Ricky had complied completely with the investigation and left his defence completely in the hands of his defence lawyer. By the time he realized that his lawyer was not defending him properly, Ricky's appeal path had been ruined.
Now, however, Ricki has some hope of obtaining justice. His hope of justice comes, oddly enough, in the form of an injustice perpetrated against him by one of his guards. As a result of intimidation and threats against him by a guard (who was later re-assigned) Ricky has launched a civil lawsuit against the state. Ricky's case was a strong one, and it appeared that it would give him enough money to pay for the fight against his murder conviction. Ricky's lawsuit is scheduled for trial at the end of March.
So what was the state of Florida's defence?? They're going to kill him this week. His execution is scheduled for Friday February 23, 1996.
email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Edith Reinhardt)
Office of Governor
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-001