Justice For James Alton Price

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Started by: Nissa D Gaskins

This Petition seeks review by the U.S. Justice System of James Alton Price's (James) conviction and life sentence in the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court, Polk County, Florida. CaseNo: CF00-05964A-XX

James has served 17 years trying to have his case heard on its merits, but has been continually denied for procedural reasons. He now seeks supporters, attempting to get a full and fair opportunity to be heard, contending he was denied a fair trial and due process of the law for the following reasons:

After state's presentation of evidence, judgment of acquittal was sought because state failed to prove premeditation. The evidence did not show James had a conscious intent to kill the victim prior to shooting in self-defense.

Suppressed involuntary statements were allowed under the guise of impeachment and were used as evidence to prove premeditation. The jury's verdict was substantially influenced by these statements.

Prosecutor made false statements to the trial judge that suppression was for Miranda violations only, when in fact they were ruled coerced by predecessor judge and upheld by the Second DCA. An assigned investigator was scheduled to testify that James told her he shot in self-defense, but the trial court disallowed her testimony, so the prosecutor told jurors that James never told anyone he acted in self-defense.

Counsel failed to object to the prosecutor's inflammatory statements during closing arguments, move for a mistrial and preserve for appeal; Prosecutor repeatedly called James a liar and a murderer, telling jurors if they "cut him loose" they would be sending him back out to kill again; stated James could not claim self-defense and told jurors to ignore and forget the whole jury instruction; he said to blame the victim for driving down to James' truck, would be the same as blaming a woman for walking across a dark parking lot at night, or a nurse for walking to her car at night after work and getting raped, or blaming someone for their car getting stolen because they left it unlocked with keys in it; Prosecutor argued facts not in evidence by stating "guns don't make a huge flash, and you cant go blind from the first shot", which directly contradicted James' testimony; He repeatedly ridiculed James' claim of self-defense, saying it was "ridiculous", "not believable", "baloney", "none of this stuff rings true", "it doesn't make sense because, it didn't happen that way", and "not true".

Counsel failed to investigate and call witnesses who would have testified that as a result of colorblindness, James couldn't have recognized a red car. This would have refuted the State's theory of premedication.

Counsel failed to call an expert who would explain the alcohol level of the victim was so high it would have made him violently insane. This would have strengthened James' self defense testimony.

Counsel failed to acquire a firearm expert to introduce a video tape of a gun fired at night, explaining that James was temporarily blinded by a flash from his gun in front of his face. Unable to determine if the victim was still a life threat, James continued shooting out of fear.

Counsel failed to move for change of venue, or alternatively, to bring in jurors from another county, where national and local news broadcast highly prejudicial factually incorrect information that suggested guilt and influenced jurors.

Trial court omitted a paragraph from the statutory standard jury instruction on justifiable use of deadly force, which mandates "read in all cases". The omitted paragraph was favorable to defense.

The State death qualified jurors without trial court requiring disclosure of the aggravating factors.

Counsel prejudiced James by advising him to waive the right to appeal, that the State death qualified jury in bad faith.

James filed motion to dismiss court appointed counsel, alleging incompetency for failing to investigate and call witnesses who had crucial information supportive of his defense and due to a conflict where public defenders had previously represented a key state witness. Trial court denied his motion without making a required preliminary Nelson inquiry, which denied due process.

The Prosecutor influenced jurors by stating in closing that James couldn't claim self-defense because he had a duty to run away before fighting back and jurors should ignore the instruction the Judge would read them.

Therefore, based on the above constitutional violations and others the U.S. Justice System may discover upon complete review of James' case, James should be discharged or alternatively granted a new trial with instructions.

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