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Harvard Study Slams Duval for Overusing Death Penalty

Researchers at Harvard Law School's Fair Punishment Project have identified Duval County, Florida as part of the tiny minority of counties in the nation - one half of one percent - that have handed down five or more death penalty sentences between 2010 and 2015.  The report is titled “Too Broken to Fix: Part 1; An In-depth Look at America’s Outlier Penalty Counties."



“Between 2010-2015, in Duval there were 15 defendants sentenced to death,” Fair Punishment Project spokeswoman Stefanie Faucher wrote in a statement to Folio Weekly Magazine. She explains that in 2015, one individual was resentenced to death following an appeal, bringing the total to 16. Duval is responsible for roughly one-fourth of all Florida death-penalty sentences during this time period, despite comprising only 5 percent of the state’s population. And it’s not because we have the worst of the worst in terms of murderers, the study maintains.



The report released Tuesday examines eight of the 16 counties and the factors that make them different from the rest of the nation, which has largely abandoned the death penalty.

The FPP found three commonalities amongst the 16 “outlier” counties that outstrip the rest of the nation in death penalty sentencing.

“In the small number of counties where the death penalty still exists, we found of evidence of egregiously bad defense lawyering, rampant prosecutorial misconduct and overzealousness, and a pattern of racial bias that undermines the fairness of the death penalty,” noted Rob Smith, one of the report’s researchers. 


Racial bias 

For example, during the five-year period studied (2010-'15), in Duval, 87 percent of defendants sentenced to death were black, a number that is hugely disproportionate to African-American residency in Jacksonville. (Merely 30.1 percent of Duval County residents are …   More

Rumble on the Northside

This morning, Duval Democrats put on a lively press conference in an abandoned lot on the corner of Crestwood Street and Norwood Ave. on the city's Northside.

A crowd of about a dozen people gathered in the rising morning heat holding signs that read, "Just vote NO!" while Duval County Democratic Party Chair Neil Henrichsen, state Senator Audrey Gibson and former state Senator Tony Hill publicly urged people to vote against the pension tax, on the ballot as County Referendum #1 in the Aug. 30 primary. The plan, proposed by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, entails extending the half-penny sales tax voters approved in 2000 under the Better Jacksonville Plan, which is set to expire in 2030, an additional thirty years to pay for the city's staggering pension debt.

Last night, the Duval Democratic Party executive committee had voted to adopt a resolution urging a 'no' vote on the pension tax. The press conference was their public announcement of that resolution, which states that the tax extension "is flawed public policy that seeks to tax and impose billions in new pension costs on future generations without their vote or informed consent," asks the city to "immediately work to promptly resolve the unfunded pension liability," and to consult the Jacksonville Retirement Reform Task Force's findings and recommendations.


The task force it refers to was convened under former Mayor Alvin Brown and comprised of 18 community members and experts. The group ultimately recommended the city pay a larger portion of the pension debt than it was then - and is now - budgeting, reduce the benefits of future city employees and raise the contributions of current employees. In its final 51-page report, dated March 19, 2014, the task force wrote, "If the proposed changes are implemented, the JPFPF is expected to reach an 80% funded ratio in 2028..."

The task force noted that the changes would require an additional $50 million in payments in the short term, …   More

Truancy on the Planning Commission

Many feathers were ruffled when Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry purged three members of the Planning Commission last year in what some viewed as a power grab, others as hindering the political careers of liberals who might be powerful adversaries, still others as revenge for their daring to support - and in the case of one commissioner, work for the campaign of - former Mayor Alvin Brown whom Curry bested in the May 2015 election.

Given that two members' terms expired last year, offing three others meant that Curry had appointed five of the nine members of the commission, arguably giving a majority vote to people who share his priorities concerning land use and zoning. (The Planning Commission reviews proposed land use and zoning code changes.)

Stacking the deck doesn't work so good if one of your appointees doesn't show up for meetings, though.

One of Curry's appointees was Nicole Padgett, whom he tapped to fill the at-large seat vacated by Nate Day, whose term had expired. At the time, some took notice of the fact that Summit Contracting Group, which Padgett's husband Marc owns, gave $78,000 to Curry's political action committee, Together for a Greater Jacksonville, when he was running for mayor, and that the Padgetts individually also contributed $1,000 apiece to Curry's campaign. Nicole Padgett is listed on as the company's chief administrative officer.

According to city records, since March, Padgett has missed five meetings. In fact, those records reflect that she's missed every other meeting since the commission's March 3 meeting. These are the meetings she has missed: March 17, April 21, May 19, June 23 and Aug. 4.

Sure, the meetings are probabaly a total snooze-a-thon (unless something is going down in Riverside/Avondale, cause folks there are passionate about zoning - to put it mildly). But agreeing to serve on a commission doesn't mean you only have to attend meetings when you feel like it. The bylaws are quite …   More


While the rest of you were still sleeping snug in your beds, dreams of #FinallyFriday dancing through your slumbering heads, Kelly Pope and Folio Weekly Magazine were up at the crack determined to give intolerance a smack in the face.


Long a controversial figure in local politics, Bishop/Pastor Kenneth Adkins took his tactics to new lows this year when he was contracted by opposition to the expansion of Jacksonville's Human Rights Ordinance, which, had it passed, would have protected people from housing, public accomodation and employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. (Upon meeting with fervent and, some would say, unscrupulous and shameful opposition, the bill's co-sponsor, Councilman Tommy Hazouri, withdrew it in hopes of getting it passed at a later date.)

Then, as if he hadn't spread enough hate and intolerance against the LGBTQ community, days after the Pulse Orlando mass shooting, Adkins unleashed a barrage of appalling tweets that earned him public condemnation from all sides, even the Jacksonville Mayor's Office.

After FWM published screenshots of said Tweets, Adkins *sniffle* blocked us on Twitter.

Last weekend, a story caught our eye about Adkins getting caught lying about an endorsement for a candidate he'd previously represented.

The story also reported that, as penance for lying, Adkins had agreed that anyone who donated 20 backpacks or more to the Glynn County school system this morning, August 5, at Kaufman Parker Realty in downtown Brunswick, Georgia, would get the opportunity to put a pie in his face. "I’m finally using my controversy, my stupidity and my foolishness for some good,’’ Adkins told The Florida Times-Union.

We weren't the only ones tickled pink at the prospect of seeing whipped cream thrown in the face of intolerance.

Attorney John M. Phillips, whom Adkins recently tried to get kicked off the Human Rights Commission, …   More


Julian Robertson was running late to his audition, his feet frozen and

his pants snow-wet. Little could he have imagined how that winter day in Manhattan would shape his summer here in Jacksonville.  But then, he had no idea that The Juilliard School, the nation’s premiere performing arts school, would accept him into their acting program.

The 18-year-old Douglas Anderson School of the Arts graduate has found a way to parlay his hometown life into a summer play, aptly entitled “Broke,” as a fundraiser for his first year’s educational expenses at his dream school. Robertson will be one of only 18 acting students in the world admitted to Juilliard’s acting department this fall.

The young actor and playwright pulled a few of his friends from Douglas Anderson to direct and act in his original play. The cast has been rehearsing daily for weeks. “Broke” will premiere at The Performer’s Academy on Beach Blvd. on Friday, August 5.

Sitting across the kitchen table from Robertson, discussing his young characters and their pronounced moral conflicts, it’s easy to forget he’s only eighteen.

He explains that the play centers on a handful of young friends who grew up together in a hardscrabble neighborhood modeled on Robertson’s own North Jacksonville community.

“All of the characters are in survival mode,” Robertson says. “Markis has dug a hole for himself too big to get out of. He’s lost touch with who he is. He has a massive debt, and the clock is ticking.”

Robertson says that after “bouncing around in his head” for months, the story poured out of him “all at once,” when he returned from the Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory in 2015.

“I sat down at the computer and I tried to write what they were saying,” he says of the play’s characters. “I was trying to catch it all.”

The characters are …   More

Humble PIE in the FACE

Proof that dreams really do come true, Bishop/Pastor Kenneth Adkins has admitted to lying. According to The Florida Times-Union, 15 minutes after the polls opened on July 26, Adkins posted an endorsement of Glynn County Commission candidate J. Peter Murphy by Georgia Representative Jeff Stone on Facebook.

Getting the endorsement of a state representative would be a great boost for the campaign of someone running for a county commission seat. Or it would have been if Rep. Stone had actually endorsed Murphy.

In a press release hastily sent out July 28, according to the TU, Stone categorically denied making any such endorsement and claimed that Murphy's campaign "fraudulently" fabricated it.


Or not so oops. 

Adkins later admitted to inventing the endorsement because, he said, he was upset by the "unfairness" of Jones endorsing Murphy's opponent, incumbent Dale Provenzano.

So ... that just happened.

But in a bizarre twist, Adkins, our favorite Twitter blockerer who has been lambasted by the disparate likes of Folio Weekly Magazine, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and basically every member of the LGBTQ community who lives in Northeast Florida, decided to eat some humble pie.

Well, not eat, rather, wear.

In a rare showing of self-awareness, Adkins, who told the TU that his company, US Campaign Strategies, hasn't worked for the Murphy campaign since making some appalling statements on Twitter in the aftermath of the Pulse Orlando shooting, and also said the candidate had no part in the fake endorsement, decided to use his notoriety to do some good.

So from 7 - 10 a.m. on this Friday, August 5, anyone who donates 20 backpacks to a drive for school supplies in Glynn County can hit Adkins in the face with a creme pie, which he told the TU would be "supplied." The event will take place in front of Parker Kaufman Realty at 509 Gloucester Steet in Brunswick, Georgia.

FWM will not donate nor take part in the …   More


The owner of one local business is finding out exactly how fast word travels on the Internet – and how mighty and swift its vengeance can be.

Early this morning a screenshot of a Facebook spat between Angela Lannon Wilcox and Lisa Thomas, Heather Allen and Brian Guiry was posted at

Thomas said that it all started when she posted a video from the Republican National Convention during which a Queen song plays in the background on her Facebook page. “I put that video up because it’s hilarious,” Thomas said. She said tongue-in-cheek banter ensued with people asking about whether the RNC had permission to play the song, if Donald Trump knew Freddie Mercury was gay, etc.

The lighthearted conversation took a darker turn when Wilcox commented, “Do you have something better … we have the BODY COUNT … what you hot … sheep.”

This sparked what can only be described as an epic war of words.

“[Wilcox] came out of nowhere very angry, being a bully,” Thomas wrote today via Messenger.

After Thomas commented that she had “no idea” what Wilcox wrote, Wilcox fired back. “[T]hat’s because you are stupid. The number of people killed by Islamic Extremists. You didn’t understand, because you are a stupid regurgitating dummy of the Left.”

Thomas demurred that she didn’t understand because of “poor grammar” and pointed out that is “ironic” that Wilcox would “be screaming about Islamic extremists in the name of Trump.”

Wilcox responded, “yes…and you is so educated …is you employing anyone? … I have 4 employees…how mannies checks do you sign each week…or are you just another unemployed ‘intelligent’ liberal? DUMBASS.” [sic]

It got worse from there. Guiry, Thomas and Allen’s attempts to lighten the mood with jokes seemed to …   More


Surrounded by residential areas, Taksim Meydani (Taksim Square) is the symbolic center of Istanbul and the most cosmopolitan city in Turkey.

Recent years have seen growing unrest in the nation that straddles Eastern Europe and Western Asia. On Friday night, the friction between dissidents and the government reached a new level. One of the epicenters of that was Taksim Square.

Late that night, social media started buzzing with reports that an attempted coup d'état was underway in Turkey. Cafés closed and Friday night festivities came to a halt. Citizens withdrew cash from ATMs, procured supplies, many stocking up on water, then fled city centers to make their way home. People carried out these and other tasks in a quick and mechanical way, without argument.

On Friday night, young soldiers lined the famous Istiklal Street on one side of the square. On the opposite side of the square, police vehicles and police calmly stood by. It was a curious sight: The police clearly outnumbered the soldiers, yet did not approach them for hours.

The government encouraged citizens via Twitter to flood into the public spaces to protest the attempted coup. This would later prove to be an effective tactic.

The protestors swarmed military personnel and pushed them into the center of the square where the Republic Monument is located. The soldiers were surrounded by the angry mob, but would occasionally fire live rounds into the air to dissuade the crowd from overwhelming them.

The police cautiously stood by while civilians doled out their brand of justice. This type of mob justice is encouraged in Turkey; thus, hordes of men feel entitled to mete out punishment.

The soldiers had also taken control and closed major bridges and airports in Istanbul without major incident, but, much like in Taksim Square, were unable to contain the mobs and police that swarmed them. There are reports that the mob beheaded or possibly lynched a soldier on the Bosphorous …   More

Klan Attempts to Prove it Still Exists

In an apparent effort to prove that the Ku Klux Klan is still capable of spreading hate somewhere other than the internet, a couple of ignorant Southside boys in a pickup truck papered Riverside with racist fliers yesterday morning. This was the latest local effort to recruit perpetual-adolescent bigots with low IQs and big dreams of reliving the pre-Civil War "glory days" when their ancestors were poor yeoman farmers one drought from starvation.

Similar messages were distributed in various neighborhoods around Jacksonville last March and November. In November, News4Jax reported meeting with a man identifying himself as Grand Dragon Ken with the KKK; in a conversation in his (probably) dumpy Southside, Jacksonville home, Ken (who declined to give his last name or confirm whether Barbie was the mastermind of his Grand Plan) ranted nonsensically about various complex policy issues he clearly didn't understand and said the fliers were the beginning of a major statewide recruitment effort.

Whites in Riverside were miffed. One wondered aloud if the alleged Klansmen knew that only liberals live in Riverside. Reminded that Donald Trump's local HQ is in the neighborhood, she shrugged, "Well, I guess there's one place they could recruit members."

“I didn’t even realize the Klan still existed,” said hipster “Bob” between sips of Aardwolf Belgian Pale Ale at a Five Points bar. “And now that I do, I’m kind of embarrassed for them. I mean, get a clue. Overt racism is so 20th century. Now it’s all about systemic racism.”

At Folio Weekly Magazine’s suggestion, Bob, who gave a fake name in case his girlfriend finds out he was at the bar when he was supposed to be volunteering at a homeless shelter, dialed the central North Carolina phone number listed on the flier. While listening to the outgoing voice message, he had what can only be described as an “attack of the …   More


On July 15, residents of the Riverside woke to find racist fliers inside bags of white rice outside their homes and on the streets. Again.

The fliers, of which Folio Weekly Magazine has obtained four pictures, are credited to the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, otherwise known as KKK Knights. As of press time, FWM has received approximately a half dozen reports from individuals claiming they or their friends found the fliers. All say they found the fliers in Riverside.

The flier to the right was found in Riverside this morning. (Image altered to block out offensive language and the group's phone number.)

Two sources said that unknown individual(s) in a burgundy pickup truck with its windows blocked by towels to obscure view of the occupants distributed the fliers early in the morning.

Similar messages were distributed in various neighborhoods last March and November. In November, News4Jax reported meeting with a man identifying himself as a Grand Dragon Ken with the KKK; in a conversation in his Southside, Jacksonville home, Ken (who declined to give his last name) said the fliers were the beginning of a major statewide recruitment effort.

Other sources said they have received similar fliers with anti-LGBTQ messages in the past.

The north-central North Carolina phone number and website included on the flier matches that of the KKK Knights' phone number on the group's website. A voicemail FWM left at the number was not returned.

The voicemail greeting says the group is “the largest and most active white clan in the United States.” The greeting goes on to say, “Hey whites, for far too long these liberals have lied to you about what the Bible really says when they tell you that you’re supposed to love your neighbor,” and quotes two verses of Leviticus, 19:8 and 21:7, which it implies justifies separation of the races.

The KKK Knights’ website adamantly denies that is a hate group. Rather, it …   More