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Home Letter from Minuteman Shawna Forde portrays a much different jail experience

Letter from Minuteman Shawna Forde portrays a much different jail experience

Published on 08/14/2010 by

Shawna Forde Letter from jail

Paragraph from redacted letter written by Minuteman Shawna Forde detailing her lawful and comfortable treatment while incarcerated in the Pima County jail awaiting trial for the murder of 9 yo Brisenia Flores and her father Raul

Since the launch of the website JUSTICE FOR SHAWNA FORDE, established by supporters of Minuteman child murderer Shawna Forde, we’ve been treated to a barrage of allegations portraying Forde, not as the cold blooded killer she is, but as a “petite American Patriot” incarcerated unfairly and in inhumane conditions, by a government out “to get here”!

Roberta Dills aka Laine Lawless was the freakoid behind the website when it launched and until her recent mysterious resignation from the group, the driving force behind the website.

One of their main claims in support of Forde and their feeble attempts to rationalize her crime was this.

Shawna has now been TORTURED in Coercive Solitary Confinement for 419 Days! She has spent 1/3 of it “Stripped Out!”

For the last 70 days, she’s been shackled and chained, hand and foot, every time she leaves her cell!

Were this to be the truth, all of us would be outraged and demand an investigation into the allegations. But unfortunately, these accusations are from the mind of a real wingnut.

Immigration Clearinghouse recently was handed a letter which we have confirmed was written from the Pima County facility to someone close to her. It’s authenticity has been verified and at our request, has been redacted down to one paragraph to protect the identity of the recipient.

The portion of the letter that we were allowed to post reads:

…….pod. My issue is with the policies, but I’ve got 20+ letters a week I got internet orders sent regularly which I give to girls and I have visits $$ on my books, newspaper, magazines radio and allot of support from across the country even my adoptive mother stepchildren, foster children and 3 grown children whom I raised and they are grown and doing well. I’ll be a grandmother in Nov. So you can rest and know I’m okay. I’ll be………..

So it appears Forde is not being held in “coercive solitary” as her supporters would have you believe, but allowed the privileges that all inmates enjoy. At least as long as she follows the rules of the jail. But as her letter says, she has “issue with policies”.


Another interesting bit is revealed by Kim Smith who covers the courts in Tucson for the Arizona Daily Star. Kim recently explained why Forde has refused to appear in court for any of her status and evidence hearings. The explanation?

For months, members of the media have been waiting in vain for murder suspect Shawna Forde to put in an appearance at Pima County Superior Court.

Forde, however, has been exercising her right to waive her presence in court, preferring to remain in her cell at the Pima County jail.

Now we know why.

According to court documents filed by defense attorney Jill Thorpe, Forde thinks showing up in court in an orange jumpsuit will “negatively influence her potential jury pool.”

Since more important pretrial hearings are coming up, Forde would like to start coming to court though.

So, Thorpe will be asking Judge John Leonardo on Friday if Forde can start wearing street clothes to court.

If the judge isn’t inclined to grant that motion, Thorpe said she hopes the judge will ban cameras from filming or shooting Forde.

If you’ll recall, another female murder suspect, Pamela Phillips, asked for a similar ban earlier this week.

She lost.

Ain’t that a hoot? However, later, Shawna Forde’s attorneys withdrew their motion asking Judge John Leonardo to allow Forde to wear street clothes to court or to ban cameras in the courtroom.

Eric Larsen would only say that he and fellow attorney Jill Thorpe spoke at length on the subject and “came to the conclusion that there would be no significant advantage to having her dress out for pre-trial hearings.”

Judge Leonardo had scheduled a hearing to discuss the matter for August 6th..

A new player on the JFSF website, Mark Green, apparently took issue with Kim’s report and sent this feeble response:

Regarding your blog entry:

Shawna Forde is presently forced to wear a black and white striped
uniform as an Administrative Segregation prisoner, not an “orange

This uniform makes her look like she’s already been
convicted, sentenced to prison, and perhaps is even a member of a
chain gang.

In any other county in Arizona, a pre-trial detainee
would be allowed to wear street clothes to their pre-trial hearings.

Your headline, “Wardrobe Malfunction” only shows your flippant,
disrectful attitude toward a woman who is on trial for her life and who
deserves the same presumption of innocence prior to trial as any other
criminal defendant.

Mark Green,

Personally, I think if I had a choice between Orange or Black, I’d choose black. More cosmopolitan. But most jails in this country use various colored jumpsuits to denote inmates status so Forde is not being singled out for special punishment. That will be for the jury to decide.

My readers might also remember, in May, Forde, or someone on her behalf, filed a complaint against Sheriff Dupnik with the ACLU citing “massive civil rights violations”.. The allegations were summarily dismissed by the ACLU leading her supporters to accuse the ACLU of “bigotry”.

Related Developments

In related developments, Defense attorneys for murder suspect Jason Bush have filed a motion asking Judge John Leonardo to postpone his upcoming trial.

The Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure say death penalty trials should be held within 18 months of a defendant’s arraignment.

Bush’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 19 — approximately 14 months and 3 weeks after his arraignment.
Bush’s attorneys, Richard Parrish and Chris Kimminau, say they need the whole 18 months to get ready.

“It has been exceedingly difficult and time consuming for the defense to put together the necessary mitigation witnesses and evidence necessary in a death penalty case,” Parrish wrote in the motion. “This matter has been at issue since Mr. Bush’s arraignment…”

Parrish wrote he hopes to postpone the trial until the end of December.

Prosecutors haven’t filed their response yet, but Judge Leonardo is well-known for moving his cases along at a steady pace.

In fact, I reported in May that Judge Leonardo was the second-most likely to be asked off a case. He said at the time he suspected it stems from his insistence that defendants are afforded their speedy-trial rights – even when defense attorneys ask for delays.

Leonardo said that unless there are evidentiary issues or an attorney becomes ill, he typically denies motions to continue trials.

Of course, this is a death penalty case where attorneys and judges are ultra careful to avoid potential appellate issues.

Interesting since the prosecution holds Bush’s confession to the crimes, since retracted. Justice delayed is Justice denied, as they say.

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  1. [...] is the letter in question and this is the article I wrote in response to a snippet of said letter that was provided to me by one of the [...]