A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Anthony's Dreaming...

Anthony Lorenzo is out of prison, and you all are not making him feel very welcome. He was angry enough to pen a well written editorial to the Miami Herald that can be read here (at least for a while until the link expires)

Anthony was released from prison after serving about 2 and 1/2 years for trafficking in cocaine.

He says he can't get a license to work in many fields, from massage therapy to being a lawyer to cutting hair.

He says that the Department of Corrections mission should change from punishment to rehabilitation, "making it a priority." He says "job training, education and economic opportunity are the biggest reducers of recidivism statistically. Yet Florida makes none of these parameters a priority in our prisons."

Anthony, please stop confusing people with the facts. No one wants to hear that if people in jail were better treated and educated, they would not commit future crimes, saving the taxpayers millions of dollars. Just stop saying things like that.

He "realizes that people think those who commit crimes, even nonviolent victimless crimes, deserve to be punished for our indiscretions. But they should think about this, Anthony says: 'I was treated like an animal for 2 ½ years; I worked at gunpoint on a chain gang because authorities refused to send me to work release. I was sent home with only $100 cash. I'm not allowed to work, am denied financial aid to go to college and may not even be able to get licensed in the field that I have gone to school to learn -- acupuncture.'"

"Is it any wonder that ex-convicts end up back in prison," he asks?
Funny, I ask the same question also.

"Working at a dead-end, minimum wage job is not a life he says. "Even Pizza Hut said that it couldn't promote me, no matter how great an employee I was."

I'm sorry about this Anthony, but our society has no compassion for you, even though you've done your time and are looking to better yourself. We want you to think about this indiscretion, this crime you've committed, for the rest of your life. None of us out here have ever made any mistakes, we are perfect.

We want you to suffer everyday and continue to pay this un-owed debt to society. Most people could care less about what you do and you're lack of success in trying to better yourself. They are saying "you should have thought of that before you dealt cocaine." They are wondering why you are out of prison.

They are angry when I continue to ask "you know, most people who go to jail, get out, so what are we to do with them while they're in to make them better citizens?

They hate that, and they hate you, Anthony.


  1. Again, from my most conservative point of view, you consistently make me think and wonder--and this story shakes my foundation like an after-shock. Thanks for opening my eyes and brain.

  2. "I was sent home with only $100 cash. I'm not allowed to work, am denied financial aid to go to college and may not even be able to get licensed in the field that I have gone to school to learn -- acupuncture.'"

    A quick review of Mr. Lorenzo's criminal history reveals a prior W/H for poss. of cocaine and LSD. Experience tells us one does not accidentally traffic in cocaine. Experience tells us Lorenzo should be thankful he wasn't busted earlier. With a prior W/H he received a break. Why is he complaining now, after being convicted of trafficking in cocaine? Should we feel sorry for him b/c he only had $100? Should we give him more upon release to reward his behavior? Would you want him poking around your spinal cord with needles? College is a privilege, you have to earn it. He was given a break in '95 and just 2 years later he rewards the sysytem with a trafficking. C'mon Anthony, give me a break.

  3. College is a privilege, it's a privilege for those who are fortunate enough to have Mommy or Daddy pay for it, or those very few that can dribble or catch a ball. Even then the only reason schools give scholarships to talented individuals is not because they want you on the student body, it’s because of the revenue a good college team can generate. Then there is the percentage that let Uncle Sam pay, and the very small percentage that work two jobs and take internet courses because you have a family too support. Unless you’re profession is a stripper, then one job will suffice? I’m not familiar with Mr. Lorenzo's case or prior convictions. For 2.5 years he has been a burden to society getting free meals, free dental, medical, and vision. Now what! He continues to be a burden because he is not worthy of a new beginning. Believe me I’m not one for compassion, there is consequences for our actions, he knew right from wrong. Why would the correctional facilities teach an inmate a trade that he or she cannot be licensed for in the free world? My barber learned to cut hair in prison; he is licensed and does a great job. Anthony believes in himself and doesn’t want to taste prison life again; he wants a shot, why not!

    Final thoughts, if I were Anthony I would take the $100.00 sign up for a poker tournament, hope to hell I win and become a professional player like everyone else these days, all you need is a chip and a chair or a dollar and a dream.

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  6. Anonymous3:12 PM

    What up Brian Tannebaum! I just finished up a ten hour work day and decided to kick back and do some surfing. So I grabbed myself a drink and stumbled across your blog while doing some research on massage therapy clinic for a upcoming project I am doing. Well even though Anthony's Dreaming... isn’t what I was looking for I really enjoyed reading your blog. Your doing a great job and please keep up the good work. Lots of people do not keep their blogs up to date :0) There are some very interesting view points stated here. Anyways I am going to grab the bull by the horns and continue to plug away at massage therapy clinic. I have already bookmarked your blog. You many want to visit me at massage therapy clinic. You never know you might see something you like! Again great job.

  7. Anonymous8:53 PM

    Hey this blog is not about jobs in massage therapy. Silly internet bringing me here :-) Funny I have been doing hours of research on jobs in massage therapy and it brought me to your blog on Anthony's Dreaming.... The web plays funny games sometimes. Anyways, I was reading your blog Brian Tannebaum and I think it is really cool. Keep up the great work.
    If you do not mind I will snag your blog and put it in my favorites. I read a ton of stuff on here that interested me. Keep blogging away :-)

  8. Hi, I am Anthony Lorenzo. I have been conviction free for 7 years now almost, completed my associate in arts degree. What i was discussing, as far as being barred from receiving financial aide, was the Higher Education Act, which barred drug felons (ONLY) from access to financial aide. Meanwhile, child molesters, murderers, rapists, and such can get financial aide unabetted. You think that's fair, Mr. Tennebaum? You are truly a funny man.

    While perhaps you, as a criminal defense attorney who sucks at the proverbial tit of the drug war fueling over 1.5 million arrests annually, a growing number of Americans, myself included, feel the drug war should be ended, especially marijuana, which accounts for over 700,000 arrests (over half of all drug arrests) annually. In fact, 2/3 Americans are opposed to putting people in jail for possession of Cannabis (marijuana).

    While that is a far cry from what i was doing, the Bible teaches us to "judge a seed by the fruit the tree bears." The fruit of drug prohibition is that 1/3 black males is in prison. The fruit of the tree is 3% of children in this nation have a parent incarcerated. The fruit of that tree is that black people are sentenced to longer sentences and convicted at a higher rate than caucasians. The fruit is Attorneys like Mr. Tennebaum get fat, while the rest of us suffer.

    I feel about attorneys about the way you feel about cocaine dealers, so we are even, i suppose. You people (defense attorneys) only hate me when that check to defend me is cashed and spent. The rest of the time, you love me. Be honest....

    I could care less whether you hate me or not, cause i still love you.

    As for me, i have finished my Associate in Arts Degree at Hillsborough Community College. I am on my second year of Accupuncture school with 2 years left to go. I am also still awaiting my rights restoration hearing to get my voting and working rights back from the State of Florida 5 years after my release when i have been convicted of no crimes.

    I think your thoughts are thankfully not representative of the majority of the population. I will continue to do my part, such as going to Tallahassee next week to lobby for Felon voting rights and such. There is a principle in our nation called double jeopardy that i would think an attorney, of all people, would be aware of. It means you can't be punished multiple times for the same crime. I have already been punished. One could argue that perhaps that was part of my initial punishment, and this would be a valid argument. Yet i would argue back that juries are supposed to dish out punishments... and i was not sentenced to having my financial aide cut off or my voting rights taken away for life in court, and in most cases, jurors are not told all the reprecussions for their decisions. I believe in fully-informed juries though and jury nullification.

    And on the financial aide note: the government, and thus you, did pay for my education. I just had to complete a drug treatment program (which you again paid for, and i didn't need) to regain eligibility for my financial aide. You paid every penny of my community college education, and you subsidize my loans in graduate school as we speak. Thanks to each of you for paying taxes so i can break the cycle of recidivism in my own life. I truly appreciate it.

    As for the commens from asascott, you are free to not allow anyone to poke around in your spine. It is a free country. We hardly ever needle close to the spine anyhow, unless there is a spinal injury, as the points that are potent back there are about an inch and a half lateral from the spine and are not in much danger of piercing nerves. Also, the needles used in accupuncture are very tiny and cause little if any harm in general anyhow.

    MY criminal history, as you pointed out, is a matter of public record, and all of my future patients are free to find someone else or not allow me to treat them. College is NOT a privelege. It is a business open to anyone who qualifies, and in some cases, people who don't qualify. I have 1070 SAT scores, 3.0 GPA from high school, and already have my A.A., which gives me certain RIGHTS to transfer to any florida university. Not a privelege.... got it?

    I was 19 years old the first time, 23 the second, a drug addict both times actively using. I don't drink, don't use tobacco, and NEVER use cocaine these days. Yet you act as my judge... i hope you are not Christian too. I don't need your forgiveness, as the Entity i need it from, has already given it.

    Viva La Resistance,
    Anthony J. Lorenzo, 31
    Sarasota, FL

  9. By the way, the article is archived here: Media Awareness Project, INC., a drug policy reform network. We post articles about drug policy in the nation/world, and writers write letters in response to them. This is how i got wind of the original article and wrote my letter to the Miami Herald, as i obviously don't live in Miami being in Sarasota, right?

    Anyhow, here is the link, in case you want to read it again:

  10. Here is another one i wrote too, earlier, about felon voting rights:

  11. Some of my other handiwork you might appreciate, and why i still haven't had a review to restore my voting rights:

    False arrest lawsuit against Tampa Police Officer (censored) and Tampa Police Department is pending... we filed a federal civil rights violation suit. 6 years later, i might finally get some justice...