Day 1, 23 August 2004:
Alan Yurko’s long-awaited evidentiary hearing got off to a disappointing start here today for 40 Yurko supporters, but by lunch the tide had noticeably turned in Yurko’s favor and, by 5 p.m., it was obvious that the prosecution was losing ground.
New evidence has surfaced indicating that the contraindicated administration of vaccines and medical malpractice, not shaking, caused the death of baby Alan.
The hearing began with District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office Administrative Staff Supervisor, Sheri Blanton with a stack of records to be admitted into evidence.
Yurko attorney Mary Fitzgibbons alluded to the mixup in baby Alan’s records and autopsy with another infant who was an older, black baby.
On redirect, Prosecutor Lerner attempted to rationalize the mixup due to the numbers of babies that must have died during the same time period. To Lerner’s obvious dismay, Blanton explained that no babies died at that hospital one week before or one week after baby Alan died.
The records were admitted without objection from the state.
The opening salvo was a direct hit on the prosecution’s case against Yurko. The second witness proved to be a point for the other side when Dr. Archie Kalokerinos was disqualified by the court as an expert witness. Dr. Kalokerinos’s work in the Australian outback in the 60s and 70s proved that vaccines were killing and injuring large numbers of Aborigine children. He discovered that, by injecting the children with vitamin C, adverse reactions were dramatically reduced. Because his findings were met with hostility rather than being “generally accepted by the medical community” his testimony and 50 years' experience with vaccines and vaccine injuries were not to be considered by the court. Such is the course of "justice."
[Editor's note: The court may not have heard the brilliant and dedicated Dr. Kalokerinos, who flew all the way from Australia to be so disrespectfully treated, but anyone in the Orlando area Friday night 27 August will have the privilege--at a talk he will give on SIDS and SBS. A notice on this was sent previously. A reminder containing all the info and a letter from Roy B Kuspinel, MD will be sent out soon.]
Witness three was the custodian of records from the office of baby Alan’s Pediatrician Dr. Richard Sagg. The records were accepted without objection.
Following was telephone testimony from Dr. Sagg of Orlando. It was not clear why he was not required to appear in person. The telephone exchanges were cumbersome—-but revealing.
Dr. Sagg admitted that baby Alan was born with pneumonia, his breathing had been assisted by a ventilator and he was jaundiced. When his parents explained that their little boy was constipated and often had diarrhea, Dr. Sagg prescribed a teaspoon of Karo Syrup with a bottle of formula. He then explained that baby Alan was a healthy baby and it was safe to administer DTaP, OPV and HIB vaccines to him on the last of four visits Nov. 11, 1997.
Board Certified Internist Jerry Bush, MD was the fifth witness, and he did an excellent job of explaining how “The confluence” of baby Alan’s medical problems and “medical neglect,” not the alleged shaking by his father, led to his death.
Recognizing that Dr. Bush’s logical and credible expert testimony was damaging his case, he attempted unsuccessfully to discredit the witness on redirect after returning from the lunch break.
His lengthy attempted assault on Dr. Bush’ s credibility allowed this thorough man to place much more medically logical information onto the record than would have been entered otherwise. During one volley of redirect, Fitzgibbons asked him, “Would you say he [baby Alan] died of natural causes?” “Yes, if medical negligence is a ‘natural cause,’” quoth Dr. Bush!
The sixth witness was a hospital employee who was identified as a custodian of hospital records. The records for which she was custodian were admitted without objection.
Mark Strong, RN, of TransLife, the organ-harvesting company that harvested baby Alan’s heart, intestines and liver, stated that the heart, which was given to a child in Alabama, was not autopsied, contrary to the original autopsy report by discredited Medical Examiner, Shashi B. Gore—-the report which was used to convict Yurko of shaking his baby to death. He also said that organs are harvested on demand—-“sometimes from healthy people, sometimes from ill people.” Conspicuously absent from the witness list is Dr. Gore, who retired in disgrace earlier this summer.
The eighth and final witness of the day was Ophthalmologist Horace B. Gardner, MD, JD, who, in a very illustrative and entertaining manner, testified as to the nature of retinal bleeds observed by Dr. Gore. He also cast doubt on the entire SBS theory by stating, “Every doctor has seen the same amount of shaken babies who developed SBS--zero.” The day’s testimony concluded with Dr. Gardner stating that the retinal bleeding could have been caused by the hospital which administered excessive doses of the blood thinner heparin just prior to baby Alan’s death and that it was “impossible” for Dr. Gore to pinpoint the time baby Alan’s retinal bleeding started, as he attempted to do in the discredited autopsy report.
Tuesday’s proceedings will begin with a the prosecution’s cross examination of Dr. Gardner.
Post Script: The entire event was recorded by a production crew employed by Gary Null and a FOX news affiliate. The FOX news team out of Orlando broadcast a segment reporting the Yurko case on local TV. Several of us who witnessed the events of the day had just had dinner together when the news came on. Yurko supporters can be assured that the editorial slant overwhelmingly favored Yurko.
The witnesses independently and in accordance with the expertise they have amassed in their respective medical disciplines, wove a logical sequence of events that make a powerful case for Yurko. I will say that something big is coming, but cannot say anything more at this time.
We are prayerfully optimistic that Yurko will prevail in this evidentiary hearing and will be granted a new trial. An update will be forthcoming after the conclusion of tomorrow’s activities.
Don Harkins, reporting from Orlando, Florida
Thank you, Don, for that informative, entertaining
and inspiring update!
Just like day one, day two of Alan Yurko’s evidentiary hearing began a little shaky and ended on a positive note. Obviously reeling from the courtroom beating the prosecution received on day one, Robyn Wilkinson took over from Michael Lerner to cross examine Dr. Horace Gardner. She came off the blocks angry, vindictive and used her estimable prowess as an attorney to confuse and badger Dr. Gardner. The tactic was effective, as the previous day’s excellent testimony from the Colorado ophthalmologist appeared to have been neutralized.
Yurko supporters and counsel noted the tactical change and intuited the desperation that must have driven the prosecutors to implement it.
The second witness was Dr. Jane Orient who is currently heads the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and has impeccable credentials as an internal medicine specialist and diagnostician. She has authored a medical text book that is in its third edition, has written 50 peer-reviewed articles for 12 medical journals, has testified in courts, legislatures and congress, teaches continuing education classes to medical professionals and sits on the boards of medical associations. Fitzgibbons asked the court to accept Dr. Orient’s testimony as an expert diagnostician and internal medicine specialist.
Prosecutors deposed Dr. Orient last June and knew that Dr. Orient would wreak havoc on their “case” against Yurko. After requesting to “voir dire” Dr. Orient, Wilkinson resumed her rude and confrontive demeanor to in a transparent effort to discredit Dr. Orient as an expert witness.
Dr. Orient handled herself very well and was accepted as an expert diagnostician and internist.
While being questioned by Fitzgibbons, Dr. Orient, with composed confidence, ran the full gamut of what happened, what should have happened, and what did not happen the day baby Alan died. As far as Dr. Orient was concerned, Yurko had rushed his critically sick child to the hospital which then pumped the infant full of drugs and never considered anything other than SBS as the cause of his multiple health issues and eventual death. She explained that twice the hospital declared brain death and that in neither instance did the staff follow established protocols for making such a declaration. “They kept circulation going long enough to preserve the baby’s organs for harvest,” Dr. Orient stated.
Upon cross examination, Wilkinson launched into Dr. Orient in such a rude and disrespectful manner even the judge seemed surprised and embarrassed. Though for a brief time Dr. Orient did seem a little irritated, but she regained her composure and turned the tables on Wilkinson by simply responding as a professional fully in control of her emotions and confident in her expertise.
For 45 minutes Wilkinson worked herself into a frustrated frenzy while Dr. Orient calmly answered questions. Much more material beneficial to Yurko’s case got onto the record because of the prosecution’s frantic attempt to discredit this witness. Toward the end of the ordeal, Dr. Orient was given the opportunity to state, “People believe and there is a theory, but there is no evidence of SBS.”
“Oh my God,” a visibly shaken and angry Wilkinson muttered as she turned away from the lectern and sat down to prepare for the next witness.
And then it got worse for the prosecution. Forensic Pathologist Stephen J. Nelson, MD took the stand. Dr. Nelson is the man who administrated the disciplinary action against his colleague Chief Medical Examiner Shashi B. Gore, MD for the numerous inconsistencies in the autopsy report that served to send Yurko to prison for life without parole for shaking his baby to death.
Lerner continually objected while Fitzgibbons was questioning Nelson as to the specifics of the errors in Dr. Gore’s thoroughly discredited report. His objections were based on the fact that the material had already been heard in Gore ’s Feb. 17, 2004 trial and was, therefore, not germane to the proceedings. He was repeatedly overruled and was not scoring any points with Judge Lawson in the process.
Nelson would not admit that, had Gore’s autopsy report been accurate, Yurko would not have been convicted. He did state, however, that, to his knowledge this was the first time a chief medical examiner had been so severely disciplined under such circumstances. Dr. Nelson said that Dr. Gore would have been removed if he had not been so close to retirement.
After his February “conviction,” Gore was ordered to conduct his administrative affairs only and not to touch another body until he retired (presumably with full benefits). Under cross examination, Lerner kept referring to the gross errors on the report—-like tissue samples from a heart that had already been harvested and covering up the irresponsible doses of heparin administered to baby Alan before he died—-as “typographical errors.”
The badger and confuse game plan continued with Dr. Harold Buttram whose calm, noble, knowledgeable presence was not to be disrupted by the flailing prosecutors.
Dr. Buttram has been operating a family medicine practice for 42 years and was accepted with no objection as an expert in environmental medicine. His passion is the study of the effect of toxic chemicals on the human body. His motivation is love for children and his concern that he has been observing them as they have gotten sicker and sicker as the years have gone by.
Baby Alan, who was born fragile and premature with multiple health issues, was given six vaccines when he was only 2 weeks past true gestational age. According to calculations, those injections delivered into baby Alan’s already struggling body 100 times the EPA safe-allowable limit of mercury for one day.
Dr. Buttram stated that he had spent about 1,000 hours on this case and had spent six months preparing for this hearing. Amid the expected objections and badgering by Lerner, who had taken over the cross examination duties because Wilkinson had apparently lost her composure, Dr. Buttram was able to tell the entire story of what most likely happened during the short, but important life of baby Alan (I am not sure why, but I just started sobbing with that thought).
“It was vaccines that triggered the chain of events that led to his death,” said Dr. Buttram, who added, “I would never vaccinate a preemie and would never give six vaccines at once, and would always administer them with vitamin C and vitamin A.”
Lerner then attempted to discredit this marvelous, compassionate man for his religious beliefs. The irony is too much to not mention: This prosecutor whose tunnel vision is compelling him to use any pathetic trick he can to keep an innocent man in prison for the rest of his life, was assaulting the beliefs of a deeply spiritual Christian man who has lived his entire life for the purpose keeping people free, alive and healthy.
The last witness of the day was Dr. F. Edward Yazbak. It is getting late so I will pick up with this witness tomorrow as he will be back on the stand first thing. Let me just leave you with today’s cliff hanger: The carnage continues and Dr. Yazbak hit on something that has caused the most ardent string of objections from the prosecution to date.
The raw nerve has been hit.
Until tomorrow, Reporting from Orlando Florida,
Don Harkins for the Yurko Project
Thanks, Don--another great report.
Yurko Evidentiary Hearing: Day 3 ORLANDO,
Fla.—-25 August 2004
(Note: Since Day 1, Alan has been dressed in a dark blue jail jumpsuit and that he has been required to sit all day long in waist chains with only his right hand [his writing hand] free—-even though at all times three or four armed police have been stationed in the room. No way this dangerous menace to society is going to jump court, eh?)
Day three of the Yurko Project evidentiary hearing revealed the depths to which organized medicine is willing sink in order to harvest a baby’ s organs for its spare parts industry. It was also shown that disgraced District 9 Chief Medical Examiner Shashi Gore “commingled” tissue and/or data in to such an extent that we have no way of knowing how many babies’ information was contained in the autopsy report used to convict Alan Yurko of shaking his infant son to death.
F. Edward Yazbak, MD had established himself as an expert in pediatrics and the prescribed administration of vaccines, with over 40 year’s experience by the close of Day 2. Prior to Judge Lawson declaring the court in recess, Dr. Yazbak had indicated that he was appalled at the incomplete nature of baby Alan’s shot records. Dr. Yazbak described the importance of thorough record-keeping so that babies are protected from being administered excessive amounts of vaccines and other drugs. “These are little guys and we are giving them large amounts of toxins-—we have to be careful,” he commented.
Regarding the brain bleeding and retinal hemorrhages, Dr. Yazbak explained that it is impossible for a trauma, such as shaking, to cause these types of injuries without damaging the neck or the spine. As soon as he mentioned this important fact of biomechanics, Prosecutor Lerner began raising objections. Judge Lawson overruled Lerner’s objections and Dr. Yazbak stated, “I believe in my heart this baby was not harmed by his father.”
The morning session on Day 3 began with the cross examination of defense witness Dr. Yazbak. The prosecution had noticeably abandoned its “badger and confuse” strategy of the previous day and was resigned to repeated objections-—most of which were overruled by Judge C. Alan Lawson.
Amid near-panic objections from Lerner, Dr. Yazbak stated it was more likely that baby Alan’s injuries were the result of panicked and unintentionally-violent attempts at resuscitation than intentional abuse. “The neck was absolutely fine. In all whiplash injuries, the neck is harmed before the head—-often without brain injuries.”
In spite of repeated objections from Lerner, Dr. Yazbak explained his analysis that baby Alan was declared brain dead Nov. 27 and that his body was “…kept alive biologically” until 3:45 a.m. on the 29th until after his organs had been harvested.”
He also stated his opinion that an excessive dose of the blood thinner heparin was administered to a brain-dead baby to prevent his blood from clotting before his organs could be harvested.
Lerner’s insistence that Dr. Yazbak’s views are not in keeping with “commonly accepted medical views” opened the door for him to explain how the CDC ignores Congress (Dr. Dave Wheldon [R-Fla.]), contracts with foreign nations (Danish MMR study) to defraud the world and justify the continuation of its “commonly accepted” medical views.
When Dr. Yazbak was finally excused after a total of over three hours on the stand, he was replaced by retired chief medical examiner James Weiner, MD, a tenured and well-respected forensic pathologist, who began reciting a verbal autopsy of Gore’s autopsy report.
He stated that the purpose of an autopsy report is to explain how someone died. If the report is flawed, all opinions based on the report are suspect. He then began to go through the list of discrepancies, conflicts and anomalies contained in the report that was instrumental in convicting Yurko in 1999. In one example, he shows how baby Alan’s head had been measured at 37 centimeters shortly after birth, but was measured at 23 centimeters on Gore’s autopsy report. “Dr. Weiner,” Yurko attorney Fitzgibbons interrupted, “Do you believe baby Alan was the victim of ‘shrunken baby’ syndrome?”
Everyone in the room but the prosecution laughed—-and there was no objection from the state. From that point on Gore’s autopsy report seemed to achieve the unofficial status of “farce” in the minds of all of those in courtroom 7D.
With no objections from the prosecution, Dr. Weiner used terms such as “grossly negligent” and “garbage in/garbage out” to describe the report that was, in his expert opinion, “useless.”
“This is not typographical errors or small mistakes... this is the most egregious autopsy report I have ever seen,” said Dr. Weiner, who admitted that Gore may have criminally violated state public records laws by signing his name to this document.
“I believe it is a grave miscarriage of justice for a person to be convicted based on this autopsy report," Dr. Weiner stated.
Aside from the new evidence presented indicating the roles played by the contraindicated administration of vaccines, medical malpractice and fraud in the death of baby Alan and the sentence of life in prison for Alan, the Yurko Project is also demanding relief due to “ineffective assistance of counsel.” In the 1997 trial, Alan was represented by the Orange County Public Defender’s Office. It’s retired chief of 20 years, Prof. Joe W. DuRocher, JD willingly complied with a subpoena and testified on behalf of the Yurko Project as to how his office failed to provide the grieving father a proper defense.
Prof. DuRocher attended Gore’s sanction hearing last February and has resolved to do what he can to help reverse Yurko’s wrongful conviction. At that time, DuRocher and his staff knew very little about SBS and relied on the information from Gore to be accurate.
Lerner, refusing to accept that Yurko’s representation was “ineffective,” insisted that counsel performed as professionally as it could under the circumstances. It was as if Lerner was now admitting that Gore’s autopsy report and testimony as to its conclusions may have been erroneous, even corrupt, but that was Gore’s fault—-not the fault of the public defender’s office.
The Yurko Project was ready for its last witness ahead of schedule. Since he could not attend at that time, the prosecution’s first witness, former Yurko public defender Junior Barrett, was called to the stand. Lerner attempted to establish that Barrett used due diligence to co-defend Yurko with Bob Lar. Upon cross examination, Fitzgibbons asked several questions about the 1999 representation of Yurko for which Barrett genuinely had no recollection.
It struck me that Barrett, who was not avoiding questions or being belligerent, did not bother to prepare himself as a witness for Yurko’s evidentiary hearing—-establishing a pattern of not caring about whether or not Yurko spends the rest of his life in prison for a murder that new evidence proves he did not commit.
Fitzgibbons nicely cross examined Barrett who admitted he recalls not adequately cross examining Gore and that he knew there was a “problem” with Gore’s autopsy report. He remembers that Yurko turned down every plea agreement offered because he was innocent of the crime. It was also Barrett’s belief, then and now, that Yurko did not shake his baby to death.
Postscript: The state has three more witnesses.
It appears both sides may rest tomorrow (26
August). Here's the list of possibilities
in order of worst to best:
At this time I believe it is appropriate to request that everyone who receives this post send thoughts and prayer for Alan Yurko and family. You all know that a victory is warranted here and what a win in this case will mean to those currently imprisoned as scapegoats for medical malpractice and the contraindicated administration of vaccines.
Reporting from Orlando, Don Harkins for the
Don--another great report.
Alan Yurko Evidentiary Hearing: Day 4 ORLANDO, Fla.—-26 August 2004
The fourth day of the evidentiary hearing brought to the stand three witnesses for the prosecution, who found the body of evidence in this case does indicate that Alan was guilty of shaking his baby to death.
While it appears that Matthew A. Seibel, MD, Ben Guedes, MD and John Tilelli, MD truly believe that baby Alan died of injuries inflicted by the father, they also admitted to not taking into consideration certain medical records and his tragic medical history. Each witness also stated as fact things that defense witnesses and YP supporters find impossible to believe.
The first witness of Day 4 was Dr. Seibel—a pediatrician who, at the time had a thriving private practice and was a consultant for the county’s child protection team. Dr. Seibel was called in to analyze the situation for possible child abuse. He explained that baby Alan arrived at the hospital in “grave condition” and was possibly “brain dead” by the time he examined him the evening of Nov. 24, 1997.
There was no doubt in Dr. Seibel’s mind at that time that baby Alan’s “rib fractures,” subdural hematomas and retinal hemorrhages were the result of child abuse. “One has to suffer a severe trauma to have retinal bleeding.”
The prosecution also asked Dr. Seibel if there could be any relationship between the administration of vaccines and baby Alan’s injuries. “There is nothing in the medical literature saying vaccines cause retinal bleeding and subdural hematomas.”
Point by point, the prosecution asked Dr. Seibel if baby Alan’s injuries could be explained by the factors contained in his prenatal history, post natal complications or the treatment he received at the hospital. In each case Dr. Seibel said, “No.”
Upon cross examination, Yurko attorney Mary Beth Fitzgibbons revealed several inconsistencies in Dr. Seibel’s testimony, the most blatant having to do with the civil action he filed against Fran Yurko for libel and slander regarding comments posted to the Yurko Project website. He claimed that he was demanding no monetary compensation from the suit. But, right on the lawsuit was a claim for damages of $15,000.
Fitzgibbons asked Dr. Seibel if, presented with a child with all baby Alan’s existing health issues, would he vaccinate? His response was (contrary to precautions on most vaccine package inserts) that these health issues “…are not an indication of withholding immunizations.”
It was shocking to us all that these are the people responsible for maintaining the standard of public health.
The second witness was Dr. Ben Guedes—the emergency room physician who first saw baby Alan. Dr. Guedes testified that he immediately believed that baby Alan’s condition was terminal. Within 6-7 hours he began administering heparin to “keep his veins open,” but claims his treatment of baby Alan was not for the purpose of keeping his body alive for organ harvest.
Dr. Guedes was a very passive witness, sad really. He said that he has never heard of vaccines causing the kind of injuries suffered by baby Alan and admitted that, even though he agreed with the diagnosis of SBS, he did not keep up on the subject of SBS.
Like Dr. Seibel, Dr. Guedes did not review any material about baby Alan’s medical history before coming to the conclusion that he was the victim of intentionally inflicted trauma.
The final witness was pediatrician John Tilelli, MD who at least reviewed baby Alan’s prenatal history before testifying in support of the prosecution. Dr. Tilelli is a mouthpiece for the pharmaceutical industry. He stated that baby Yurko was admitted 13 days after being vaccinated, and it is impossible for his injuries to be related to the vaccines because the medical literature explains adverse reactions must occur within 72 hours to be considered as being the result of the vaccines.
Dr. Tilelli also claims, “There is no scientifically credible way to associate thimerosal with the injuries seen” in baby Alan. He also believes that the mercury in thimerosal is perfectly safe.
According to Dr. Tilelli, “This child had three high-risk injuries associated with trauma.” He gave “no scientific credence” to other opinions (those of Dr. Buttram, Yazbak, Orient, Gardner, et. al) on this subject. Baby Alan died as “…a consequence of inflicted injury.”
The defense rested with Dr. Tilelli’s testimony. It appears the State’s case relies on the opinions of Drs. Seibel and Guedes, whose actions directly resulted in the 1999 conviction, and upon the opinion of a physician who uses a selective smattering of medical literature to support claims that baby Alan died of child abuse.
The defense will call Dr. Harold Buttram back to the stand and then plans to rest. It appears that the court will then recess for several hours then it will hear final arguments in the afternoon.
It appears that the Yurko Project has been able to prove its case and that a new trial will be granted. The prosecution did prove, however, that it believes Alan’s conviction was warranted.
The truth can be inferred from the following: To believe Alan is innocent requires an independent review of the evidence and a holistic understanding of how the body works. Witnesses for Alan were unassailable in their logic and came from a broad background of experience to arrive at their conclusions about his innocence.
On the other hand, to believe Alan is guilty requires one to accept innumerable irregularities in the keeping of medical records; accept a mechanistic model of the human body as the governing principle of health; disregard the personal conflicts of interest inherent in the appearance of prosecution witnesses; and take on faith explanations that defy cause and effect relationships between toxins, medical complications and human physiology.
Please take this time to say another prayer and prepare for a victory in this case. But realize that when Alan is granted a new trial, our work will have only just begun.
Reporting from Orlando, Don Harkins for the
Thanks again, Don.
NOTE FROM the WEBMASTER, 16 Sept '04:
I should have known better, but confused the manslaughter charge with the aggravated child abuse charge (the "plus ten years" part of the original sentence), which was dropped with the murder/SBS charge. Therefore, my editorial insertion into Alan's statement, "The original manslaughter sentence was the "plus 10 years" added to the life sentence at the original trial" was incorrect.
First, the judge granted a new trial based upon the compromised autopsy, for one thing. The botched autopsy removes legal grounds for the original conviction. But even with no autopsy, the prosecution threatened to appeal the judge's decision for a new trial, which would only continue the merry-go-round for years, with little hope of a future trial being held, due to the tainted autopsy.
In other words, based on a contrived legal maneuver, they could have kept Alan in jail for 2-3+ more years, with no assurance of having his day in court, only to come back to the same spot, so to speak. The irony is that we probably would have had a better chance of debunking the SBS and vaccine dogma in front of a jury had the autopsy not been destroyed by Gore! Without the autopsy, chances of a new jury trial being held would be slim to nil.
The State's unusual action (new charge and attendant agreements—no contest, time served and immediate release), as opposed to just dropping the charges, suggests to me that they were looking for a way to save face by getting "something" on Alan. Thus, a slick maneuver setting more years of probably fruitless struggle and misery against freedom.
Some will say Alan should have refused and gone back to jail. That's easy to say when it's someone else facing those odds, tremendous expense, and such treachery, not to mention the hell-hole that is prison.
Even with generous financial support through the years for YP, there is considerable residual debt on the hearing and other expenses (in the $50k range). With no view as to where even more money would come from to go forward to who-knows-where, Alan decided to opt for freedom when the prosecution made an offer, mediated by the judge, thinking he could do more on the outside.
Even though the vaccine and SBS dogmas were not completely repudiated as we had intended for so long, a strong statement was made on these issues in that hearing, providing more media coverage for them than any other SBS case I've heard of. Moreover, this was a media landmark in general for vaccine/SBS information. Alan's case got the word out, and will continue to do so. We can be grateful for that progress.
Again, sincere apology for the mis-info.
8 September '04
Please forgive our silence. We have had to evacuate our home due to Hurricane FRANces. Once we return to Orlando and make repairs (we got lucky and the house is not beyond repair), we will let everyone know what's been going on and all the wonderful things that are emerging as a result of winning the appeal.
However, we want to say thank you to everyone who helped make our success possible. We had to pack whatever we could into the car and head for safer haven, as our home is a trailer; thus evacuation was mandatory. Lo and behold, another hurricane (IVAN) is due to hit Florida in a few more days, so we may have to evacuate again (egads!!). We dont have a cell phone so we are sort of incommunicado. Thanks for being patient while we ride out these storms!
Much love and gratitude,
PS - This is the FIRST email Alan has ever sent! Yay!
Dear Friends and Supporters:
In regards to my release and the evidentiary hearing, I wanted to clarify certain points. Firstly, we won the appeal. Judge Alan Lawson of The Ninth Circuit Judicial Court granted us relief on four separate issues. Two issues were of medical nature concerning medical mistakes, and two other issues were purely legal concerning prosecutorial misconduct.
At that point, the State of Florida had the option to appeal the decision of the Judge. This could have stretched out for years. In a compromise mediated by the Judge, I was offered some resolution and closure to this nightmare. As you all know, I would never plead guilty to harming or abusing my son. However, I do take responsibility for the fact that as a parent I could have and should have taken a stronger role in his health care.
I could have stopped his vaccinations, I could have been more inquiring and demanding about his care in the hospital, and I could have researched the health and science issues thoroughly. I did not do any of these things, and therefore I cannot escape the fact that I have some culpable negligence in his death.
The term of manslaughter is synonymous with culpable negligence. I was offered a plea of no contest to manslaughter. I did not plead guilty, but merely that I would not contest the evidence at this time. In doing so I was allowed as a stipulation to make a statement on the record to the courts and press explaining what I have explained here [** To clarify, the manslaughter charge was newly brought to the table at the hearing, right after the judge's decision. With any integrity, the prosecution would have ended it after dropping the original charges. But, in typical fashion, the prosecution threatened to appeal the judge's decision and drag it out for years. The 'carrot' for not doing that was the "nolo" or no-contest plea to a new manslaughter charge. Nolo still allows a sentence to be imposed. But in this case, the agreement was to release Alan on 27 Aug '04 for time already served on the murder charge. See also my NOTE above. - ed]
To make it clear, I did not shake, abuse or hurt my son and did not plead guilty to any such thing. I pled no contest to manslaughter in hopes that people will see the message and parents will take more responsibility and active roles where these matters are concerned.
Education and awareness are key ways to help prevent these nightmares from happening. Judge Lawson's comments and criticisms toward the prosecution and medical examiners handling of the case were very strong. This in and of itself is a huge victory and sends a powerful message about the way these cases are prosecuted. Such landmark opinions are few and far between.
My loving gratitude eternal goes out to all. Without each and every Yurko Project supporter, this would not have been possible.
[Note from Peter, the webmaster: 13 September, '04. Until things settle down a bit, or unless you have an urgent matter, we ask that you please hold off for a while with calls and emails to them and to ypwebmaster. Alan was out less than two weeks, and half of that was dodging a hurricane. With the 9 September '04 arrest for an old parole violation, you can imagine the chaos that is ongoing. Francine hasn't been able to look at all their many emails--too much happening. So, although they, and I, appreciate all the messages and information, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. I still have a folder full of mail yet to send them, and have been fielding questions and comments like a madman--sometimes not so well :-) Your understanding appreciated.]
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