Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Martin Anderson Verdict

Sue Carlton reports that no one in Panama City is surprised by the Martin Anderson verdict. Black Pastor Rufus Wood told Carlton, "I am disappointed. But not surprised." The all white jury took only 90 minutes to reach a verdict. Seven guards and a nurse were found not guilty.

FDLE chief Guy Tunnel and former Bay County medical examiner Charles Siebert were fired for their mishandling of the Anderson case. They were quickly hired by the Bay County State Attorney. The same office responsible from prosecuting the boot camps guards and nurse.

Tunnell went to great effort to keep the infamous videotape from going public. Siebert said Anderson died of Sickle cell trait. The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America ruled that the findings didn't pass the laugh test.

Doctor Willarda Edwards is president of the Baltimore-based association on sickle cell. She says her organization is emphatic that the death is unrelated to the sickle cell trait.

As she put it: "Attributing the death of this young man to sickle cell trait given the physical punishment he was put through does a disservice to the public and those in the sickle cell disease community."

Carlton reported other troubling factors from the trial.

As the manslaughter trial of the seven guards and the nurse played out in a Panama City courtroom, local Sheriff Frank McKeithen regularly seated himself on the right side, behind the guards and alongside their families.

The message was as clear as the blue-green waters of those Panhandle beaches not far away.

Siebert's medical credibility in Florida in in shambles. This man did an autospy on the very female Donna Reed. His report found Reed had "unremarkable prostate gland and testicles." Yet, the defense used him as their star medical witness.

Defense Attorney ripped Charlie Crist for interferring in Panama City business. Judge Michael Overstreet watched his Courttv interview and found it humorous. Overstreet removed Robert Anderson, Martin's father, from the court. He later allowed him back in.

“I don’t care who it is,” he said. “I don’t care who is watching. I have to follow the rule of law and the rules of this court. I don’t care about much else.”

The Justice Department is looking into filing federal charges. This is reminiscant of the Jim Crow era. Charges would have to be brought to federal court because no local court would find the defendant guilty.

Update: The Palm Beach Post has a fantastic op-ed on the Anderson verdeict.

Former Bay County Sheriff Guy Tunnell resigned as director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement after bragging in e-mails to the current Bay County sheriff that he would block public release of the video and comparing Jesse Jackson to Jesse James and Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden. He quickly was hired by Bay County State Attorney Steve Meadows.

After the state Medical Examiners Commission voted to fire Bay County Coroner Charles Siebert, and the official overseeing his work said Dr. Siebert had a "lack of honesty and integrity," Mr. Meadows rehired him.

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At October 15, 2007 2:50 PM , Blogger Professor Rex said...

Great post. This is a topic we need to be hearing a lot more about. Have you thought about cross-posting this at Pam's site? Maybe she can help increase the national profile of this story.

At October 15, 2007 3:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article contains an error in almost every statement.

Dr. Siebert has provided an explanation of the cut-and-paste editing error in the report mentioned. The error was made while the office was trying to work without proper facilities after hurricane Ivan, and his secretary made a cut and paste error on her laptop. That's a proofreading error.

Second, Dr. Siebert's reputation may be in shambles among race-baiters, but it is fine among forensic pathologists. That is why the National Association of Medical Examiners issued a letter of concern to the Florida Medical Examiner Commission, and nationally recognized senior Forensic Pathologists, including the Chief in Tennessee, a former president of NAME, and a world-renowned author and former Chief in San Antonio all made public statements in his support. The team physician for the Oklahoma Sooners and expert in exertional deaths in sickle cell trait testified on behalf of Dr. Siebert's testimony.

In the end, the prosecution was left telling the jury to ignore the medical evidence altogether.

What's unfortunate is that race-baiters who refuse to recognize the well-documented threat of exertional sickle cell trait crisis prefer African-American youth to be ignorant and at risk for death merely because it makes it easier to play demagogue with this case.

For a description of the medical aspects of this case, see:

At October 15, 2007 5:39 PM , Blogger Michael Hussey said...

I know all about Billoblog. The guy is a racist. The guy defended Michael Richards insane remarks. See my post. Now fuck off.

What is your argument? You really believe sickle cell trait was the cause of Anderson's death. Not guards beating the shit out of him and cutting off his breathing?

This isn't The Buzz. I am willing to cut off anonymous comments anytime I want. My site. My rules. If you don't like it then come out of hiding and diss me on your own blog.

At October 15, 2007 7:58 PM , Blogger steve said...

The anonymous guy is correct... The Siebert mistakes were 99% clerical with the one mentioning the male genitals being conducted in an office with no power after Hurricane Ivan.... An unprecidented review of his work found no cause of death related issues. The video is horrific to look at, and with hindsight you must look at it in disgust. However, as far as the law goes, the Guards all performed "correcting" tactics that are allowed by the law, and the Nurse never attempted to stop or further investigate much. I am really suprised the defense did not throw her under the bus. I suspect if federal charges are brought forth it will be against her. The medical facts are there, and by watching the trial, as I did on a day by day basis, the defense clearly won this trial. The State's own witnesses could not agree, therefore reasonable doubt was abundant. The race thing is just absurd. Of the 7 guards, two are black and one is Asian. The fact that they harmed this boy due to his color is ridiculous.

At October 18, 2007 8:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason people are upset is because of people beleiving people like the author of this article just telling flat out lies.

At October 20, 2007 8:19 PM , Blogger DeeBryant said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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