Yesterday in room 465 of the Broward County Courthouse I witnessed a horrible miscarriage of justice. An all-white jury voted and found the embattled ex-City of Deerfield Beach Commissioner Sylvia Poitier guilty on all 4 counts of falsifying a document.
Sylvia was charged with falsifying a document because she did not indicate that on the legal form 8B that her brother Lionel was a debtor of the WDBA when matters came before the City Commission.
Somehow, the jury found that as a matter of fact that Sylvia should have completed the form 8B’s and publically declared that she had a conflict of interest b/c her brother was a debtor of the group. I have previously stated that this whole case was based on if Sylvia had a legal obligation to declare that Lionel Ferguson was a debtor. The law clearly states that she would have to declare only if she knew that a vote on a matter before the Commission would result in her brother receiving a direct and immediate special private gain.
I guess David Schulson, Assistant State Attorney, proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Lionel would have received a direct and immediate special private gain from the 4 measures in question and therefore the jury passed down a unanimous verdict of guilty on all 4 counts.
However, I am still waiting to see or to hear what special private gain Lionel would receive from any of the measures that was before the Deerfield Beach City Commission concerning the WDBA, as all of the States witnesses, exhibits, and testimonies clearly indicated that Lionel Ferguson did not stand to gain anything from any of the measures presented before the Deerfield Beach City Commission that were in question in this case.
Sylvia’s lawyer, Johnny McCray indicated that he would be filing a new motion and appeal.
Sylvia herself stated that she would not shed a tear today because she knows that she did not falsify any documents and that she did not and still does not believe that she or her brother had a conflict of interest according to the law.
I personally have stated my beliefs, but I was not on that jury. I am sure that Peggy Noland, Bill Ganz, And Chaz Stevens have been celebrating since about 1pm today as that is when the verdict came in. However, it may be too soon to celebrate as the past has shown us that many of the African-American politicians who were originally found guilty have had their verdicts overturned on appeal. Will that be the case here, I don’t know only time will tell.
Hopefully, everyone goes out and get the facts of this case and do not listen to the rumor, conjecture and innuendo that has been circulating in te media for quite some time. It would seem, at least to me that Sylvia Poitier was not convicted today on any merits of this court case but she was convicted today on past perceptions and the fact that we as people want to believe that all politicians are innately corrupt.
Are they??? Well, yes many are. That is the nature of politics.
I am sure that we would all be hard pressed to find one that isn’t, but in this particular case this politician, Sylvia Poitier, was wrongly convicted and I am sure that this conviction will be overturned on appeal, as the law is clear and once that fact is clearly and accurately presented Sylvia will be cleared of all charges and returned to her seat as the District 2 City Commissioner of Deerfield Beach.