Dear Attorney General Ashley Moody:
I am writing you on behalf of all parents and family members whose loved ones have been wrongly convicted.
In a recent interview, you stated in part that defunding the police would be ‘irresponsible.’ Also you said, “As the wife of an officer, I have seen firsthand what these men and women do for our communities, and while our nation continues to seek improvements in policing, we need to make sure any changes are thoughtful and effective.”
My family and a lot of families in Florida have spent years waiting on our convicted loved ones to get a fair—non-bias—trial—whose charges stemmed from poor policing.
Florida Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jack Campbell signed legal documents that were drafted by Donald Odham, who identified himself as Leon County Sheriff Detective Don Odham. Jack Campbell then took those documents and filed them with the Leon County Clerk of Court. Don Odham’s documents and Don Odham’s testimony played a significant role in State Attorney Georgia Cappleman’s obtaining an Indictment against DeShon Thomas back in March 2011. DeShon Thomas, who was 17-years-old, back then, had been charged by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office with Two Counts of First Degree Murder and Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile Delinquent. Lead Detective Don Odham drafted the probable cause reports, signed them and then provided them to Jack Campbell, who was an assistant state attorney, who is also the son of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, Detective Don Odham’s employer. Although Detective Don Odham was the lead detective on the case, it was not until during DeShon’s trial, as to when both DeShon and I learned that Don Odham was never an employee with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Don Odham was nothing more than a wealthy member of the Republican Party, who was friends with the Campbell family. Larry Campbell and Jack Campbell are Democrats. DeShon was convicted without any form of evidence against him. DeShon was convicted political favors had to be fulfilled.
It took nearly three years for DeShon to go to trial. During that time I paid nearly $30,000 to an attorney to exercise my son’s rights, but instead refused to go to the police and or the judge to report Don Odham’s actions of impersonating a police officer, which is a third degree felony. Why? The same attorney refused to provide me and DeShon with a copy of the victims’ autopsy reports. Why? DeShon had been in the Leon County Jail for more than a year when I called the District Two Medical Examiner’s Office to get a copy of the victims’ autopsy reports; I was told that Jack Campbell informed them not to release the reports—they did not know why. Also, I was provided with over 400 pages of the Discovery Report (minus the autopsies). As I read the reports of the other law enforcement officers, I saw where “Detective Don Odham” was not the first lead detective on the case. In fact, there was a team of many other law enforcement officers with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Unit whose work actually showed professionalism—the professionalism that I knew my oldest son would display in his work if he was a law enforcement officer. They know DeShon did not commit those murders. It seems that Don Odham’s abruptly replacing the lead detective—making the entire certified Leon County Sheriff’s Office’s Violent Crimes Unit, Leon County Crime Scene Unit, experienced work by analysts and laboratory analyst with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement—all of those man hours—all of that work was made null and void—to highlight Don Odham and the son of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell.
During DeShon’s pre-trial hearing and during his trial, I actual felt sorry for all of those law enforcement officers, even those who committed perjury. I don’t know what was the reward for those who committed perjury, but as for me, I would rather be homeless than to tell a lie on a child, or anyone for that matter. The vast majority of Jack Campbell’s witnesses were employees of his dad—Leon County Sheriff’s Office staff. The detectives and deputies, including the first lead detective, who were on the state’s witness list, were called to the stand to answer mediocre questions by Jack Campbell—clearly, they were there just for the record. Jack Campbell would call an individual sheriff’s detective to the stand and ask something like, “Is this DeShon Thomas’ cell phone?”
The detective would say, “Yes.”
Jack Campbell would then say, “Thank you, no further questions.” And then he’ll call another sheriff’s detective or deputy and do the same thing.
There were times during the trial when he referred to certain employees with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office as a part of “his family,” before or during questioning them.
Last month, US Representative of Florida’s 10th Congressional District, Val Demings, a Democrat, and former Orlando Police Chief, wrote an Op-Ed that was published in The Washington Post. In her article, she speaks to her “brothers and sisters in blue:”
Certainly, Attorney General Ashley Moody, with your husband being an officer, regardless of his political party affiliation, he can relate to the many experiences, issues and solutions to problems not only in police departments, but also in communities they serve. Surely, your husband told you about the mental and physical stress of the police academy; exams and physical training. Those things that U.S. Representative Val Demings mentions, but doesn’t go into details, which she doesn’t need to because she’s not addressing lay people, such as myself. She says, “I proudly took an oath to the Constitution and to protect and serve.” She shared that she loved the job. Does your husband love his job? There are many questions that she brought to surface, some that she may have been referring to police use of force, but are broad in police reform. And if answered thoughtfully and effectively, just may successfully bridge the gap between law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and communities. The questions U.S. Representative Val Demings asks are, “Why do bad things happen? Bad mind, bad heart or bad policy?
I read online that your campaign, ‘Back the Blue,’ is designed to highlight law enforcement officers, organizations and citizens taking extraordinary steps to Back the Blue. Would voluntarily going to a law enforcement agency to give information that could be helpful on a criminal case be a step toward Back the Blue? With or without an award.
Because of what happened with DeShon, my family and I are no longer Democrats. My oldest son, chose not to pursue a career in law enforcement. We no longer live in Tallahassee; we live close to Orlando—our hometown.
During former Attorney General Pam Bondi’s tenure, many families, including myself, reached out to her in regards to wrongfully convicted loved ones. Unfortunately, Ms. Bondi chose to either pass to the bucks or leave them on the table.
Again, I’m writing you on behalf of all parents and family members whose loved ones have been wrongly convicted—we are requesting your help to address and rectify what judicial state attorneys will not do, even if it means going to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on our behalf to have corrupt elected and appointed officials removed from office.
#FREEDESHONTHOMASNOW #FREEHENRYSEGURANOW #FREEFLORIDANOW #FLORIDAINNOCENCEPROJECT #FSU #TCC #FAMU #UF #MU #NWF #UCF #ORLANDOSTRONG #BACKTHEBLUE #TALLAHASSEESTRONG #NOLENATION #BRIGHTFUTURES #POLICEREFORM #COMMUNITYREFORM