Dear Family, Friends and Colleagues:
Re: Update about Sentencing of Charlotte G. Durante/Wrongful Conviction
7 year prison sentence
Health Update – Brain Tumor, Glaucoma, Degenerative Disease
Bible Study Classes that Charlotte G. Durante is conducting in Prison
How you can send Letters to Charlotte G. Durante
Charlotte G. Durante's sentencing was held on June 13, 2013. 49 letters of support had been sent on my mother’s behalf and nearly 20 people attended her sentencing and spoke in support of her and her community service contributions. The original date for the sentencing was June 21st but it was suddenly changed by the presiding Circuit Judge Charles E. Burton (without explanation) and moved up to June 13th which prohibited some additional supporters from attending the sentencing who had previously planned to be there yet there was still a proud showing of supporters for my mother who were Haitian, black American and white American. The multicultural representation of letters of support for mother and supporters of my mother in attendance at the sentencing are a strong reflection of my mother’s community outreach. The letters of support and the testimony from her supporters at the sentencing were very comforting for my mother.
Charlotte G. Durante was wrongfully convicted on April 15, 2013 (click here for trial overview). Prior to the trial and while my mother was still confined at the Palm Beach County Jail, Judge Charles E. Burton of the Palm Beach County, Florida Circuit Court 15th District, begrudgingly lowered my mother’s bond to $100,000 and made statements against her during the bond hearing that was held. He required house arrest. She was released on house arrest in March 2013. During the 3-week time-frame of my mother being on house arrest I took her to several doctor’s appointments for examinations as prescribed by her primary physician for her medical treatment. While confined in jail my mother developed severe health ailments (including Glaucoma, Brain Tumor). She had been confined in jail since May 26, 2010 due to a deliberate excessively high bail (originally $503,000) with rare and strict requirements including house arrest. After the guilty verdict was read on April 15, 2013, Judge Charles Burton remanded my mother Charlotte G. Durante and revoked her bond and she was immediately sent back to the jail. Judge Burton denied the request to allow my mother to remain on house arrest to continue her medical treatment until the sentencing date on June 13, 2013.
The following are some facts about the June 13, 2013 sentencing & Appeal Process:
1. Presiding Judge Charles Burton denied the Motion for a New Trial at the June 13, 2013 sentencing. As you know from my previous updates that Charlotte G. Durante’s attorney submitted a Motion for a New Trial (click here). Some of the points argued were that the case consisted of more than 5,000 pages of evidence yet the jury rendered a guilty verdict in 12 minutes which was clear evidence that the jury did not follow court instructions to deliberate over all the evidence. Another crucial point in that Motion is that at the request of the Prosecution Team, Judge Charles E. Burton allowed into trial that my mother allegedly grabbed the gun of Delray Beach Detective Casey Thume during my mother’s arrest at the Delray Beach Police Department in Delray Beach, Florida. The attorney for my mother did object to the false gun-grabbing issue being introduced into the trial because my mother was never charged with it. Judge Burton also denied the objection of my mother's attorney and allowed the false gun matter to be entered as evidence in the trial. My mother was falsely accused of grabbing Detective Thume’s gun while my mother was handcuffed from behind and Detective Thume was walking in front of my mother and another detective was holding my mother’s right arm to help my mother with her balance. My mother was never arrested for this alleged crime and she was never charged with it because it didn’t happened. Allegedly grabbing a police officer’s gun is one of the most heinous crimes a person can commit. The false gun grabbing accusation was the sole focus of the Prosecution Team’s closing argument regarding an alleged white collar crime. The false gun-grabbing act was never presented at any prior court hearing including not being presented at my mother’s bail hearings.
3. Although Judge Charles E. Burton acknowledged reading all the letters of support for my mother and he listened to the testimony from my mother’s supporters at the sentencing hearing on June 13th, he refused to allow Charlotte G. Durante time served and he sentenced my mother to the maximum number of years within the sentencing guidelines which is 7 years in prison. The white collar crime for which my mother was wrongfully convicted mandates up to at least 30 years in prison. But, because my mother is a community servant with no prior criminal record the sentencing guidelines suggested 5 to 7 years. At the sentencing, the Prosecution Team requested a life sentence. My mother’s attorney petitioned the court for time served which was denied by Judge Charles E. Burton. Judge Charles E. Burton stated at the sentencing that he was a “victim of Charlotte Durante’s outspokenness…” The 3 years which she has already served in the Palm Beach County jail will be deducted from the 7 year sentence. Judge Burton has been extremely hostile towards my mother. My mother Charlotte G. Durante is a 69 year old senior citizen with a brain tumor and other severe health ailments therefore a 7 year sentence is very much like a life sentence. This 7 year prison sentence was also designed to hinder my mother's access to medical treatment and her ability to work on her Appeal.
Timeline of some of the Motions and requests denied by Judge Charles E. Burton pertaining to Charlotte G. Durante’s request for medical treatment
A. At the February 29, 2012 court hearing regarding Charlotte G. Durante’s bond and request to be released to allow medical treatment, Judge Charles E. Burton denied the request because Durante’s attorney stated in court that to release my mother on bond to allow her to obtain medical treatment by her own primary physician will delay the start of the trial. My mother's attorney made that statement as a response to Judge Burton's question if the release would delay the trial plus the Prosecution Team strongly opposed the bail reduction and release. This was the first time Judge Burton had presided over this case because it had just been transferred to him. He stated at the court hearing that he "...did not know anything about this case...this case has been around for a long time...59 counts - that's a lot of charges...". And, the statement from my mother’s attorney completely blindsided her because her own attorney made a statement to help block her release. As a result Judge Charles E. Burton denied the request to lower the bond and to release my mother from jail. At this court hearing my mother did not speak in court. Judge Charles E. Burton never addressed my mother and did not acknowledge her during this court hearing. Curiously, at this court hearing Judge Charles E. Burton gave a grand introduction to then-prosecutor Angela Miller by stating "...and its 'Miller' time."
B. On June 15, 2012, Charlotte G. Durante, who was now pro se (which means to represent oneself), prepared (by hand while in jail) a Bond Motion that requested release to allow her to obtain medical treatment from her own primary physician and so that she can help prepare her defense. Judge Charles Burton denied the Bond Motion and stated it was “legally insufficient.” Click here to read Durante’s Bond Motion.
C. On January 23, 2013, a new Bond Motion request was submitted to Judge Charles E. Burton to lower the bond so that Charlotte G. Durante can be released to seek medical treatment. By this time, Judge Burton had revoked Charlotte Durante’s pro se status and a new private attorney was appointed by the court. Judge Burton made statements against my mother, accused her of causing the trial to be delayed and begrudgingly lowered the bail to $100,000 with a house arrest requirement. Judge Burton stated at this hearing that the “trial will not be delayed with the exception of Charlotte Durante being dead.”
D. On April 8, 2013, Charlotte G. Durante’s attorney petitioned the court to delay the trial to allow my mother an opportunity to complete her medical treatment but Judge Charles E. Burton denied the request. By this time, Charlotte G. Durante had only been on house arrest for 3-weeks. Her primary physician examined her during this time and developed a treatment plan and submitted a recommendation to the court that the trial be delayed because Charlotte Durante was not fit to stand trial.
E. On April 9, 2013, Charlotte G. Durante was taken the emergency room at the local hospital because she became very ill from the all-day jury selection on April 8th which Judge Burton refused to postpone allowing my mother time to complete her medical treatment. Judge Charles E. Burton made repeated phone calls to the Emergency Room and spoke with the Emergency Room Medical Team to prevent them from admitting my mother to the hospital.
F. On April 15, 2013, when the guilty verdict was rendered for the wrongful conviction of Charlotte G. Durante, Judge Charles E. Burton immediately revoked Durante’s bond and remanded her. Durante’s attorney requested that the court allow house arrest to continue until the sentencing date in June 2013 so that she could continue with her medical treatment but Judge Burton denied that request.
G. On June 13, 2013 at the sentencing, Judge Charles E. Burton denied a request from Charlotte G. Durante’s attorney to allow house arrest pending the appeal of the wrongful conviction so that Durante could continue with her medical treatment by her primary physician. ( Click here for Charlotte Durante's Letters to Judge Burton)
4. Immediately following the sentencing, a Notice of Appeal of the Wrongful Conviction was filed in the court. Per the attorney the appeal process can take 18 months.
5.Charlotte G. Durante’s Appeal Case is now handled by the Appellate Division of the Public Defender’s Office. I’ve heard positive information about the legal skills of the appellate attorneys in that division.
6. Although I’ve made numerous pleas for help to the attorneys in the Appellate Division regarding my mother’s medical condition of having the brain tumor that can cause sudden blindness (among other ailments), it does not appear that the Appellate Division will be allowing any resources to be used to prepare an Appellate Bond Motion for my mother so she can be released from prison pending the appeal which will allow her to obtain medical treatment. In fact, the Public Defender’s Office instructed me to be the person to contact the prison about my mother’s urgent medical needs. I was also informed that it will be at least 6-months before the Appellate Division is able to start work on my mother’s Appeal because they are overloaded with other cases.
7. On June 19, 2013, Charlotte G. Durante was transferred to the Lowell Prison in Ocala, Florida. Some of you have inquired about writing to my mother. The mail rules at the prison are more liberal and you can write to my mother letters (no more than 15 pages per envelope), send greeting cards, news articles, brochures, pamphlets, photos, etc. But, the mail cannot contain any metal and no paper clips and no staples. Click here for the prison website with rules on writing an inmate.
To write Charlotte G. Durante here is the address:
To write Charlotte G. Durante here is the address:
Durante, Charlotte Gilmore
Lowell Correctional Institution/Annex
11120 NW Gainesville Road
Ocala, FL 34482
8. After arriving at the Lowell Prison in Ocala, Florida on June 19th, Charlotte G. Durante was seen by the doctor for the first time on July 1st (after I made several pleas to the prison). Since her arrival to the Lowell Prison she has not received any treatments for the Glaucoma which causes vision loss and no treatment neither surgery for the brain tumor which can cause sudden blindness. Essentially, my mother will be going blind because she is not receiving available treatment. The MRI that was done by the medical team at the Palm Beach County Jail shows the presence of the brain tumor that is pressing on her optic nerve. This MRI was sent to the Lowell Prison on the day my mother was transferred to the prison. The tumor developed while she was confined at the Palm Beach County Jail.
9. Because of additional arthritis and degenerative disease that developed while my mother was in jail she is still in constant excruciating pain at the prison. Thus far, the only medicines that she has received at the Lowell Prison are iron pills, a muscle relaxer and another medicine that acts like a sleeping pill but no corrective treatment.
My mother’s transfer to the Lowell Prison in Ocala was one of the hardest days in my life, emotionally, but my mother told me that I was going to have to have courage.Moreover, the false accusations, wrongful conviction and imprisonment have been extremely hurtful to my mother and my family because my mother gave more to the Delray Beach, Florida community than she gave to herself (click here for Durante's bio). For the City of Delray Beach, Florida to issue a press release (which they had distributed globally) falsely accusing my mother of an alleged crime has caused us immense pain. When I read the press release prepared and sent by City of Delray Beach Police it felt like I had been punched in my stomach because it described an alleged crime my mother never committed and described her that was not reflective of her character. My mother dedicated more than 40 years of volunteer work and advocacy for the residents of the City of Delray Beach, Florida. The Delray Beach Police Department’s investigation, the false accusations and the wrongful conviction have been a deliberate violent rape of my mother’s character and Christian faith. A Delray Beach Attorney named Annie Adkins and Delray Beach Detective Casey Thume engineered a false case against my mother where Attorney Adkins and Detective Thume primarily targeted alleged investors who were black and Haitian to get them to make a complaint against my mother. However, it was Attorney Annie Adkins who filed the complaint against my mother with the Delray Beach Police. (Click here for more about Attorney Adkins). Adkins and Thume corrupted the minds of alleged investors. They used their position of authority to manipulate people. As I’ve stated many times before, we don’t know Attorney Adkins, have never met her, never spoken with her and had not previously heard of her. We first heard about Attorney Adkins when she orchestrated an ambush-style slanderous news story about my mother that appeared on WPBF Ch. 25 reported by Terri Parker that aired on December 6, 2008. This story aired exactly 48 hours after I had hosted a sold-out fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida for the non-profit Museum that I had established. That news story created a "panic" about my mother's historic real estate company Durante Realty and hindered donations to the Museum which was the undermining purpose of that news story. My mother and I learned about that news story after it aired on TV. The deceitful actions of Attorney Annie Adkins and Detective Thume have been protected by the court, Judge Charles E. Burton, the City of Delray Beach and by the local news media. These actions against my mother were politically motivated. Until you walk in another man’s shoes you will never know the depth of pain these acts by the City of Delray Beach and their Police agency has caused my mother, my dad, my brother Tony, my Aunt Ola and me. We are human. We bleed. Nonetheless, our Christian faith remains strong. “...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11, NIV)
Charlotte G. Durante’s Bible Study Class at the Lowell Prison:Shortly after my mother Charlotte G. Durante arrived to the Lowell Prison she began a Bible Study class. The class started with 2 people and has grown to 11 people, to date. She has started with the book of Genesis and will take the class to Exodus. As you may remember, while my mother was confined at the Palm Beach County Jail she routinely conducted Bible Study Classes and one of the inmates testified that she became Saved and found God from my mother’s Bible Study Class. The inmate population at the prison is very young with inmates in their 20s and 30s. They affectionately refer to my mother as “grandma.”
Legal assistance needed for Charlotte Durante's need for medical treatment:
After much prayer and legal research, it has been determined that a private attorney is needed to help advocate for my mother’s Constitutional right to medical treatment under the 8th Amendment. The Charlotte Durante’s Legal Defense Fund has now evolved into the Durante Legal Defense & Advocacy. The Legal Defense has been registered with the IRS and State of Florida. Funds need to be raised for the services of a private attorney especially to help advocate for my mother's constitutional right to medical treatment. An initial $8,000 needs to be raised.
Donations are appreciated in any amount $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, etc.
Furthermore donations will also help support my mother’s canteen at the Prison and her ability to purchase sundries at the Prison. Prisoners are required to buy their own soap, deodorant, etc. And, my mother also needs to purchase lotion for her cracked skin.
Check donations can still be made to Charlotte Durante’s Legal Defense.
Mail donations to:
Charlotte Durante’s Legal Defense
PO Box, 7265
Delray Beach, FL 33482
Thank you so much for your time and prayers. I can be reached at 561-499-1386. You can also reach my dad Kenneth Durante at 561-271-4312 or e-mail: KennethDurante@aol.com. For more information visit the website
May God Bless,