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Columns

Gwen Graham Can Talk About Her Daddy, But No One Else Can

August 7, 2018 - 4:15pm

Let’s face it. Gwen Graham ran her entire congressional campaign, from start to finish, on the coattail of her father, former Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham.

She is repeating that playbook for her gubernatorial campaign.

Without the name “Bob Graham,” Gwen Graham wouldn’t be that interesting.

Hell, WITH the name Bob Graham, Gwen Graham isn’t that interesting.

After an entire campaign of shoving the fact that she is the daughter of Bob Graham down our throats, to the point that people have asked why HE isn’t running instead of HER, someone has taken her up on her invitation to talk about Bob Graham.

Jeff Greene, the billionaire gubernatorial candidate on the Democratic side, has taken Gwen and her daddy to task, and Gwen doesn’t like it.

I guess she’s the only one who should talk about her daddy incessantly.

Greene talks about the megamall Graham’s family is a part of building, a development that threatens big problems for that area in Miami Dade.

What Jeff Greene did NOT talk about, however, is all the death warrants signed by Bob Graham when he was governor.

From a 2003 Slate.com article, "The Worst of Bob Graham":

"Charge: According to Among the Lowest of the Dead, a 1995 book by David von Drehle of the Washington Post, Graham used executions to boost his popularity while governor of Florida. The book says Graham was viewed as 'weak and indecisive' when he came into office, and he used the death penalty 'to show some spine, flex some muscle' in a state where 90 percent of the population approved of it. Graham signed more death warrants in 1982, the year he was up for re-election, than he did in his first three years in office combined. From 1982 on, he never exercised his power of clemency. The pace accelerated again in 1986 when Graham ran for the U.S. Senate. Ray Marky, a Florida assistant attorney general responsible for death penalty cases, told von Drehle that 'nine months of Bob Graham running for senator nearly killed me.' In 2003, the Washington Post recalled, 'The death penalty was by far the hottest issue in Florida then, and nicknames like 'Bloody Bob' and 'Governor Death' only enhanced Graham's standing.' Tom Fiedler, a Miami Herald editor, told the Post, 'Graham made a deal with the devil on the death penalty. He figured, whatever good he wanted to achieve in politics would be lost if he didn't give the people what they wanted.'"

Well, in the case of Joseph Green Brown (also known as "Shabaka"), the people and Bob Graham wanted the death penalty, but the reality was that Mr. Green was an innocent man

“In 1974, a Hillsborough County jury convicted him of raping and murdering Earlene Treva Barksdale, a clothing store owner and wife of a prominent Tampa lawyer. The case hinged on Ronald Floyd, a man who held a grudge against Shabaka because Shabaka once turned him in for a robbery. The jury also got to see a purported smoking gun -- a .38-caliber handgun that prosecutor Robert Bonanno said was the murder weapon.

"An FBI ballistics expert said the handgun could not possibly have fired the fatal bullet -- a witness the jury never heard from -- and several months later, Floyd admitted that he lied.

"Florida courts granted no relief, however, and in the fall of 1983, Gov. Bob Graham signed a death warrant. Shabaka’s mother suffered a stroke. 

"Death watch cells are larger but more narrow than cells on death row, and guards are positioned outside to hand the condemned their belongings, turn on their TVs and make sure they don’t commit suicide. Shabaka says he felt like a 'walled animal.'

"He was within 15 hours of death when a federal judge in Tampa issued a stay. Two and a half years later, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, ruling the prosecution knowingly allowed false testimony from the states’s star witness. One year later, Shabaka was released after the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office decided not to retry him.”

One has to wonder what spending so many years on death row for a crime you didn’t commit does to a person. Apparently nothing good.

Joseph Green Brown was convicted in 2013 of killing his wife, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Was he a killer before being falsely imprisoned and sentenced to death? No.

After being treated as such, falsely, he became what Florida’s criminal justice system, courts, and Bob Graham made him out to be.

We already know the criminal justice system is ripe with systemic racism. Add to that, a governor who wants to show how tough he, or SHE, is by signing death warrants.

Yes, Gwen Graham is her father’s daughter.

Be careful.

It’s one thing to sign death warrants in the course of duties as governor. It’s something entirely different to do it for political gain.

Leslie Wimes, a Sunshine State News columnist, is founder and president of Women on the Move and the Democratic African American Women Caucus, www.daawc.com. Follow Leslie on Twitter: @womenonthemove1

Comments

Palm Beach County Mayor just endorsed Gwen Graham. Women on the Move!

Bob Graham was following the Florida law when he signed death warrants. It was not something he enjoyed, but it is the law. The killer's case was vetted very carefully , even after appeals were over before Bob Graham signed a death warrant based on evidence at the time. Even when he signed Ted Byndy's , serial killer's death warrant. But Leslie your article insinuated that he signed the death warrants anytime he wanted too, but that is not how it happens !!

Gwen Graham will be the next Governor of Florida.

Her response to Greene and idiots like you was classic... which is why she will win...

At least she knows who her Daddy is...

What were the big problems this mall created? especially since it was legally permitted and developed. This is a hatchet job and a poor one at that. This is the best you have to attack another candidate and one of the best Governor's in this great state's history? This stinks of Gillum love and Liberty City trash... Time to take out the trash and get a new wig...

In 1992, William Reaves was sentenced to die for the 1986 murder of a deputy sheriff in Indian River County. Reaves, known as "Sugar Boy" in prison, is still alive 32 years after the killing. While I agree Gwen is running on her father's accomplishments, I have absolutely no complaints about Florida law being enforced and regret the case I mention is still languishing. Bob Graham was one of three great Democrats (Askew and Chiles) who were considered progressive and did great things to move Florida forward and separate it from the Deep South. Progressive today means something else entirely. Gwen will make a great governor, and maybe Sugar Boy will finally join his maker.

Is anyone going to say that Bob Graham didn’t utilize the death penalty the way this article claims he did? I see attacks on the writer, but not one person initiating those attacks disputing that there was an issue with Graham and the death penalty. By now, we all know that when Wimes expresses her opinion, she never does it with lies. You may not like her opinion, nor may you agree with her opinion, but what she bases her opinion on is never a lie. Or at least it hasn’t been yet, from what I’ve read. I read her articles all the time, because it’s refreshing to see a journalist express an opinion these days! One that seems to send some of you through the roof. The fact is that Bob Graham DID use the death penalty in a way he shouldn’t have. This was a big issue. This was a stain on an otherwise Decent record as Governor.

You pathetic white leftists have replaced your ill Hillary fetish - in your twisted prescription drug addled brains - with a similar but equally sicko Gwen fetish. Maybe I have already saved a few of you by just calling you out and making you aware of your illness. --- I like Leslie because I can work with her and she's cute too! Politics have put Leslie and I on the same dance floor, wanting the same result, which is to force Gwen withdraw from the race in shame. Although for different reasons. Leslie to increase Andrew Gillum's odds of winning and me to increase any Republicans odds of winning. Shall we dance my dear?

Claude's still dead.

Bob Graham was a good Governor - committed to public education and the environment.

I'm just glad and relieved that someone else "gets it" about "Nepotistic, useless, Gwennie". THANKS Leslie, isn't it interesting, and comic, that some loser like "Dave Manning" refers to YOU as a "racist"?!? That ill-educated moron doesn't even know the terms & definition f a "racist"... [He must be a "campaign prat-boy" for "Gwennie"...].

'nother Gillum Ho

Wimes wastes no time whipping out her RACE CARD against Gwen and any other candidate except her lover boy Gillum. I agree with Daniel (commenter) about Wimes not being a legitimate reporter but more accurately a racist rookie blogger. She's cut from the cloth of a Joy Reid, another hatchet job racist wannabe journalist.

Shut up Tim Caldwell

What did Sen Graham know about 9-11? Was he part of the cover-up?

Bob Graham was a good governor, but there is no doubt that the whole death penalty issue was a sore spot.

What is her position on medical marijuana? From what I have read so far she is against it. I have noticed that all of the people who are running for office, that includes the AG and Agriculture commission are holding their cards close to the chest. If the word got out they are against it, they would face that massive 71% of the voters who wouldn't elect them for dog catcher.

Hmmm...With Graham now against Stand Your Ground for political reasons, it would be interesting to hear her stance on the death penalty and her father. Has anyone seen anything about that?

Bob Graham acted conservative as governor & senator, but was and is a true, diehard liberal. Gwen is also. They're both flip-floppers and will do anything to stay elected. Now Leslie... she's just purely & barely a blogger. Not an actual "news" reporter.

After reading this, I looked up Bob Graham and the death penalty. I had no idea! What is it with politicians using something like the death penalty to prove something?

shut up Gillum Ho

This is just a jerkeritis, uber-partisan, hit-piece. Politics of personal destruction ... the Republican way since Grunge Gingrich ran the House back in '94. Funny seeing a black woman doing it.

All of Leslie’s pieces are hit pieces.

Leslie's been hit more times than Reeses's pieces

Yeah,..."hit", (as in "successful")!

If Democrats are stupid enough to nominate Gwen Graham, then they get what they deserve. Wait a minute, they ARE stupid enough to nominate her!!

No one is stupid enough to nominate Killem' Gillum...

Bob Graham was one of Florida's finest Governors - and one of America's finest Senators. You are probably too young to even remember him, much less appreciate the complex decisions he has made in the public interest over the years.

Agreed! If more of today's political mooks were more like Bob Graham, this would be a far better state and a far better country! His daughter as Governor would be a B-I-G step up after these past 20 years! (Of course, any Democratic governor would also really want a Democratic legislature in order to actually accomplish anything of significance!)

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