BILL DELAHUNT COMMITfEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
INTEftNA1'IO/".I\l ORGANlZll TlONS, l'IIIr..:'\N
IlJC'dITS AND (lvEnSfGHf
!M!adH;'lYlftlfu ~OmCE (k~l':;' Cll:dllMAN
~'\.'~;TmJ. DC 20515
'1A"1:.Y.lltI".nCf.ofWilie!ehunl V,CE CHAIfIM/ •••
SQUTHSIIOF!E COiviMITTEE ON THE JUOll.1f\HY
SuITE nu2 t~ in!: CONSlm.mrJH~ elM!.. fltGJJY:O. ,'HU Q\/JI_ LmJ!fln!!S
IM""GAAT'ON. t:mzEWSHIP, Hr;FIJ.;F.ES, BOI:o~n
Sa.-Ull/n', AHl) 1t.'Tl'flNI\/ItJl'/JIl LAw
CAI'r: COD C! ISLANDS
CuMr.:ERCIAI. AND ADMltJI"'Tn.~n'lE I..<.\-':
'CONGRESSIONAL COAST GUARIJ CAUCUS
December 30, 2010 OLDER AMEIlICA"IS CAUCUS
Ms. Katherine Fernandez Rundle
1350 N.W. 12th Avenue
Miami. FL 33136-2111
Dear Ms. Rundle:
I am writing on behalf of a constituent in my district, Ms. Genevieve Casey, of Pembroke, Massachusetts. Ms. Casey
originally contacted u.s. Representative Ileana Ros-Lt#inen, of 1he 181bDistrict in Florida c;xmceming the ease of her
son, Sean Casey, who is currentJy serving a 12.5 year sentence in Florida for a DUI manslaughter in Miami to which he
pled guilty in 2006.
As Ms. Casey is a resident of my district, Represen1ative Ros-Lehtinen merred Ms. CaSey's correspondence and request
for assistance to my office.l have enclosed for your consideration Ms. Casey's let.terto Ms. Ros-Lebtinen, dated April 2,
2010 and Representative Ros-Lebtinen's letter to me dated August 27, 2010.
As you can see :from Ms. Casey's letter, this case involves a complicated procedural history which includes allegations of
misconduct on the part of those representing Mr. 'Casey, including'msattOmejt 'at the time, Mr. Milton Hirsch.
The matter ofunscaling tape recordings of an alleged meeting of those representing Mr~ Casey, including Mr •.Hirsch, is
now cummtly before the Florida District Court of Appeals. . .
. Attorney Thomas Julin. of Hunton andWiUiams ofM"uuni,Florid~ is representing Mr. Casey pro bono in these
1 am writing to "011VOY the "'!ue5t of:Ms. Casey and Mr. Julin that, whatever ,the outcome of1he court decision pertaining
to the iapes, you meet wi& them, and give 'them the opportunity to present whatever evidence or information they have, in
order for you to determine whether justice was done in this case.
M a former District Attorney in the Metropolitan Boston area for over 20 years, and as a Member of the House Judiciary
Committee, I Imowtbat yon, like me. would want 11> take every step to enSure that justice has been done in this case.
Accordingly, I support Ms~Casey's·and Mr; Julin's request for a meeting with you.
. 00: . UeneVieveM. Casey-
Thomas Julin. Hunton andWiUiams
GENEVIEVE M. CASEY
150 Queensbrook Road
P. O. Box 1295
Pembroke, Massachusetts 02359
April 2, 2010
Hon. Ileana Ros- Lehtinen
U.S. House of Representatives
2470 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, D.C. 20515-0918
Dear Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen:
I would like to congratulate you for being honored as a recipient of the Voice for Equality Award
by Equality Florida. I read with great interest Steve Rothaus' article in The Miami Herald on
March 17,2010, which described your support of the LGBT community. I was touched by how
you became interested in this cause through your personal experience having a transgendered
I also am a parent of a gay child. My son, Sean, never told me about his sexual orientation when he
was growing up. I found out about it under very unfortunate circumstances. On the morning of
Sunday, March 11,2001, Sean was arrested and charged with DUlmanslaughter because of a
traffic accident that occurred in Miami Beach that resulted in the death of an elderly woman who
was crossing a busy avenue. Sean had been living in Miami since graduating from Georgetown
University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and Master of Arts in Latin
American Studies. He moved to Miami to work for the Inter American Press Association (IAPA).
After Sean was arrested, I immediately flew to Miami from my home in Massachusetts and Sean
told me what happened. In telling me the story, he revealed to me that he was gay and that he was
at a nightclub catering to the gay community in Miami the Saturday night before the accident. He
told me that he did not remember leaving the club or how he got home and was concerned that
someone may have placed a pill in his drink to cause him to lose his memory. Shortly after the
accident, the police found Sean's car abandoned in a remote part of the city, identified the owner of
the vehicle through registration records, and right away went to Sean's apartment on the other side
of town. When the police arrived, Sean was in bed and asleep. They found tiny glass shards on
clothes besides Sean's bed and determined that these shards came from the car windshield that was
broken in the accident. This became the only evidence that Sean may have been in the car at the
time of the accident, but not necessarily the driver.
You may remember this story. Alejandro Aguirre, who knows Sean through his work at lAP A
(Alejandro is now the organization's president), was kind enough to give you a packet of materials
about my son's case at the conclusion of a luncheon during the IAP A General Assembly at the
Inter-Continental Hotel in Miami in October 2007. We were hoping that you would be able to help
in my son's plight for freedom.
We have a website, www.freeseancasey.org, where you can fmd background information on this
case. You will read that, while Sean was out on bail and awaiting trial, Sean's former attorney,
Milton Hirsch, and a therapist that Mr. Hirsch recommended Sean go to see, Dr. Michael E.
Rappaport, both advised Sean to flee the country before trial. I personally heard them give Sean the
advice. They were concerned that Sean may be found guilty ifhe went to trial and that he would be
sent to prison where he would not survive a day being a young gay man who did not lead a criminal
life. They told Sean that he had to flee to literally save his life and they told me that I would lose
my only child if Sean did not do this.
Sean acted on their advice and traveled to Santiago, Chile. He later returned to Miami because of
his inability to obtain residency in Chile, since there was an arrest warrant issued for his failure to
appear in court in Miami. Upon Sean's return in 2006, Mr. Hirsch strongly encouraged Sean to
enter into a plea agreement with the Miami State Attorney's Office to serve 12.5 years in state
prison in exchange for a guilty plea. Sean did not want to plead guilty, but felt he had no choice.
He even asked his attorney, Milton Hirsch, ifhe can take the plea without saying he was guilty. Mr.
Hirsch said he would talk to the judge, but he never did .. Little did we know then that Mr. Hirsch
really wanted Sean to plead guilty so that he would never be able to testify in court at trial as to why
he fled and who encouraged him to do so. This could have meant serious trouble for Mr. Hirsch
and Dr. Rappaport.
We hired several post-conviction attorneys in an effort to withdraw Sean's guilty plea. The first
attorney we hired just days after Sean took the plea. These attorneys discovered evidence that Sean
very well may not have been actually driving the car on the morning of the tragic accident,
including police communication logs that indicate witnesses identified the driver of the vehicle as a
black male; Sean is a fair-skinned Caucasian. Also, we found a deposition of a former Miami-Dade
traffic homicide investigator, John Buchanan, who was adamant that Sean was not in the driver's
seat at the time of the accident. He reviewed DNA laboratory results that concluded there was no
DNA of the victim on Sean's clothes, which there would have been ifhe was driving the car.
What is even more upsetting is that we found out that the State Attorney's Office was going to offer
Sean a plea deal of between 6 and 8 years in prison. In other words, had Sean not listened to his
attorney and therapist who told him to flee the country, Sean could have pleaded to a sentence of
possibly 6 years instead of the 12.5 years he is currently serving.
I am convinced of my son's innocence and firmly believe Sean should be released from prison and
the charges dropped, but I am also aware that the State Attorney's Office wants a conviction and
does not want to open a closed case. Having to go to trial will only prolong the situation and make
it difficult for everyone. This nightmare has been going on for nearly a decade and we want nothing
more than to put this behind us.
A fair resolution would be for the Miami State Attorney's Office to withdraw Sean's plea and enter
into a new agreement of 6 years in prison, which is what they were going to offer before Sean acted
on the wrong advice of the professionals he trusted. Even though we believe Sean is innocent, we
see no other way that would be acceptable to everyone. According to statistics from the State
Attorney's office, this is the average sentence for DUI manslaughter convictions in Miami-Dade
County, although many do not go to prison at all. Football player Donte Stallworth received only a
30-day sentence in county jail for the exact same charge as my son's charge. However, Mr.
Stallworth paid the victim's family $5 million! Apparently, if you have money, you get a lighter
sentence in Miami. This is not fair and is very frustrating.
This is where your help is so critical. We desperately need your assistance in negotiating with the
State Attorney's Office. Several years ago, I wrote to my senator, the late-Edward M. Kennedy.
He asked one of his staff members to call me personally rather than write a letter. He understood
the situation, however, there was little he could do since this was not his jurisdiction. He
recommended I contact your office. I also wrote Senator Jim Webb, who is heading a commission
for long-term criminal justice reform, but, again, he is from Virginia, not Florida.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, as a mother, especially of a gay child, I am sure you can understand and feel my
anguish. I will not be able to sleep at night until my son is released from prison or he gets fair relief
from his sentence. I suffer from chronic heart disease and have had several strokes. My biggest
fear is that I will never again see my son as a free man .. My son is all I have in my life. The
resolution mentioned above would mean that Sean would only have to serve two more years in
prison since he has already served nearly 4 years of his sentence. I would finally have something to
look forward to and we can finally have closure. I understand that someone died in the accident and
I know how that feels because my mother died in a car accident four months before Sean was born,
but in Sean's case, the individual had only distant family and nobody has been pushing for a long
sentence, except for the Miami State Attorney's Office for reasons we have never been able to
I would very much like to meet with you in person to discuss my son's case further and consider
what can be done. We have nearly exhausted all our remedies in the courts. This has been a very
costly and discouraging process. I have learned that there really is no such thing as justice in our
country. There is no fairness. This is what Sen. Jim Webb is trying to change but his efforts may
take years. This leaves us at the mercy ofthe Miami State Attorney's Office that has the authority
to withdraw the plea agreement at any time and formulate a new one. Also, the Governor's Office
can grant Executive Clemency and commute Sean's sentence but this option is far more difficult
and takes a lot of time.
I know you have an extremely busy agenda. Please give me just a few minutes of your time. I can
meet with you in Washington or Miami anytime that you have available. Again, please accept to
meet with me. Having a nice conversation, mother to mother, I am sure we can come up with ways
to help Sean. One concrete way would be for you, and perhaps Alejandro, to meet with State
Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to express your support of a new plea agreement in this case.
I am sure that Alejandro would join you. He and his father, Horacio, are so caring and have been
very concerned about Sean. They have always offered to help any way possible. If a meeting is not
feasible, even a letter of support from your office could help.
My son can give so much to society. It is a shame his time is being wasted in state prison for an
accident that nobody knows for sure Sean caused - the experts say he did not Is this really in the
best interests of the State of Florida with enormous budget problems and severe prison
overcrowding? According to the Dept. of Corrections Annual Report 2007/2008, it costs the
taxpayers $110.09 to house an inmate in state prison each day. Therefore, the taxpayers will be
paying $502,285 for Sean's 12.5 years of incarceration. What a shame! He can be giving so much
back to society.
The State Attorney's Office never considered Sean's background and contribution to society when
making the plea offer and determining the prison term. I spoke to the prosecutor afterwards and she
said that it did not matter how good of a person Sean is. I disagree. You hear all the time of people
being offered reduced sentences because they had no prior criminal record and were productive
For nearly a decade, Sean worked as project administrator of the lAP A fighting to protect the rights
of freedom of the press and of expression for the people in Latin America. He campaigned for these
rights in your native Cuba working with dissident independent journalists on the island. In fact,
Sean helped the organization in its efforts to free journalist and poet Raul Rivero from prison. Mr.
Rivero was released for humanitarian reasons because of these efforts and is now residing in Spain.
You actually met Sean once. He was responsible for organizing the lAP A's Hemisphere Summit of
Presidents of National Congresses of the Americas on Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C., in
May 2004. He worked with your office to confirm your attendance as keynote speaker during a
luncheon that was organized in one of the Congressional Office buildings and Sean greeted you
when you arrived. Alejandro introduced you at that luncheon.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, please help Sean now. Just meeting with you will be such an honor. I anxiously
await your acceptance of this request .. Thank you so much for your time.
Very sincerely yours,
Genevieve M. Casey
OC: Alejandro J. Aguirre, Diario Las Americas
PLEASE RESPOND TO:
2470 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
COMMITIEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS WASHINGTON, DC 20515-0918
o (202) 225-3931
FAX: (202) 225-5620
C!Congte~~f tbe mlntteb ~tate~
o DISTRICT OFFICE:
4960 SW 72 AVENUE
~ouge of l\epregentattbeg o SUITE
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN FAX: (305) 668-5970
18TH DISTRICT. FLORIDA
o MONROE COUNTY:
o MIAMI BEACH AREAS:
Mrs. Genevieve M. Casey
150 Queens Brook Road
Pembroke, Massachusetts 02359
Dear Mrs. Casey:
Thank you so much for writing to me about your problem. It is a longstanding
tradition that every Member of Congress be given an opportunity to help the residents of the
district which the Member of Congress serves.
That is why Iam respectfully referring your case to the Member of Congress of your
area, the Honorable Bill Delahunt. The office address of Congressman Delahunt is 1250
Hancock Street, Suite 802-N Quincy, Massachusetts 02169 and the telephone number is
Congressman Delahunt has many years of service and I can personally attest to his
dedication to the people in the area in which this Member of Congress serves. I am sure,
Mrs. Casey, that he will be contacting you soon on your case.
Again, thank you very much for contacting me to inform me of your situation and I
pray that the problem will soon be resolved .
..Lam.mailing to Congressman-Delahunt-yeurpepers so-that-your-ease can be-studied.
n a Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress
cc: The Honorable Bill Delahunt
Massachusetts, District 10
1250 Hancock Street, Suite 802-N
Quincy, Massachusetts 02169
PRINTED ON RFr.yr.1 sn PAPFR