October 23, 2006


Have you read the recently released book “The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice In A Small Town” by renowned author John Grisham? Or perhaps you have recently seen the movie “After Innocence” by filmmaker Jessica Sanders. In them we learn about true life stories of men wrongfully convicted and condemned to death, stories that have become only too familiar as more and more men and women are being exonerated and released from death row after proving their innocence.

However, the vast majority of these stories are never heard. Most of the victims of the ultimate miscarriages of justice simply do not have a voice on the outside willing to tell their stories. Almost without exception the story is never told until after their release and they must languish for years – even decades – in solitary confinement condemned to death for a crime they didn’t commit.

At 46 years old Mike Lambrix has now spent most of his entire life on death row for a crime he is innocent of. When he was 22 years old, then a recently divorced father of three young children, Mike was charged and then indited on two counts of alleged permeditated capital murder.

This is a case of ”Southern Injustice” of an inconceivable magnitude – a theory of events deliberately fabricated by a single “key witness” (Francis Smith) and corroborated by two witnesses that callaborated with her. There were no eyewitnesses, no physical or frorensic evidence, and no confession. The entire case was based upon the testimoney of Mike’s ex-girlfriend and supported by her own cousin’s girlfriend and the local state attorney’s lead investigator.

Mike has consistently maintained his innocence, insisting that the entire theory of alleged premeditated murder was deliberately fabricated by his ex-girlfriend and the local state attorney’s office. BUT nobody would listen, not even when Mike was within hours of actual execution. Why would they fabricate the case?

In 1998 that question began to be answered when the only witness corroberating Smith’s story came forth and admitted her testimony was false. (See, Woman Recants Testimony in Murder Case.) At a subsequent hearing she then testified under oath that Mike’s ex-girlfriend and the states attorney’s lead investigator (Robert Daniels) had coerrced her to testify falsely and that contrary to her testimony Mike never told her he killed anyone.

That evidence opened the door to further hearings and even more startling evidence was revealed supporting Mike’s long pled claims that these witnesses conspired to have him wrongfully convicted. In April 2004 key witness Smith was compelled to appear in court. At that time it was revealed – for the first time ever – that while this case was prosecuted against Mike, Smith was engaged in a personal relationship “of a sexual nayure” with the state attorney’s lead investigator (Daniels) – the very person who had initiated the formal charges against Mike and was then responsible for developing the specious circumstantial evidence used to corroberate Smith’s fabricated claim of premeditated capital murder. (See, Witness Admits Affair With Investigator.)

With the motive to fabricate this case now exposed, investigations were conducted that led to a wealth of additional evidence showing, how the local state attorney’s office deliberately manipulated the wholly circumstantial evidence and even the autopsy reports to support their fabricated theory of capital premeditated murder; with the deliberate design and intent of having Mike wrongfully convicted and condemned to death.

How could this happen? We’ve all heard stories of how the legal system works in the “Deep South.” Mike’s case was prosecuted in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Florida; which is comprised mostly of Southwest Florida’s rural farming area. Although relatively small in population, this judicial circuit has the highest rate of wrongful convictions in capital (death sentenced) cases in the country.

The Prosecutor in Mike’s case, Randall McGruther (now Chief Deputy State Attorney) himself has a history of overzealous prosecution and allegedly coercing false testimony. Recently, the Florida Supreme Court exonerated and ordered the release of death row inmate John Ballard after finding that McGruther subjectively interpreted and manipulated the circumstantial evidence used to improperly convict and condemn him. See, Ballard v. State, 923 So. 2d 475 (Fla. 2006)

Justice delayed is justice denied. Mike’s claim of actual innocence, and the wealth of evidence that now substantiates that claim, has been pending before the lower state court for almost 9 years! Mike’s only hope of expediting a finality to this inconceivable injustice deliberately perpetuated against him is to generate outside support and public review. A full summary of the case is on this blog and entitled ”Southern Injustice: Condemning an Innocent Man.” Please take the time to read this true story and help end this injustice. Without immediate and effective outside support, the state will continue to prolong this injustice indefinitely. Your support can make a difference – evil can only prevail when good men choose to do nothing.