Abusive Florida Judge Yet to Answer for This Crime!
By Edward Snook
“This travesty of justice is not only an indictment on Judge Jan Shackelford, it is an indictment on the entire severely broken criminal justice system in Florida!”
Escambia County, FL – Most professionals would agree that children lie. Young children often have a creative and vivid imagination. Learning the implications of a lie can be difficult without proper guidance. When a child lies, adults often laugh hysterically because it is so blatantly obvious. As a parent, I can relate to a child’s fib and the humorous aspect of such. Despite the humor of lies told by children, the implications of certain untruths can have serious effects. How can someone believe a child who clearly displays deceitful traits? How does a parent or an adult make the determination whether a lie is acceptable or not, regardless of its nature? How can you tell the difference between a lie and truth when a child who has admittedly lied to authorities, and then makes a statement that indicates a crime has been committed to that same authority?
“An even more sophisticated level of lying emerges between the ages of 6 and 8… At this stage, it’s not just the content of the lie, but the motive or attitude…” ~Scholastic.com
Allegations by Shyane Rene Ellis Have Placed Zane Crowder in Prison for Life, Plus 25 Years
Shyane Ellis was playing outside her babysitter’s house with another young girl. As the two children continued to talk and play, Ellis told the older child that she had been touched by someone in her private area.
The babysitter, Terrie Webb was then informed by the older child. The parents of Shyane Ellis, Abe and Danielle Levi, along with the authorities were subsequently contacted. Later, while describing the alleged sexual assault to authorities, Ellis claimed to have been told by a friend of hers that the same thing had also happened to her. According to video evidence, there were no questions from authorities to determine the validity of the statement by the accuser’s friend or the probability of this comment by another young child possibly contributing to Shyane’s similar accusation.
Based on the Ellis’s statement alone, 22-year-old Zane Crowder was arrested on June 6, 2010. Zane was ordered to be under electronic monitoring by the police and was charged with sexual battery and lewd or lascivious molestation upon a child under 12 years of age.
Ellis had claimed that Zane penetrated her private area with his finger. Zane was a close friend of her stepfather Abe Levi at the time of her accusation. Although Zane firmly and repeatedly denied the allegations, he was labeled a child molester by many in his community, including many friends, neighbors, and the local mainstream media.
The Evidence or the Lack Thereof
Ellis was interviewed by Linda Kahl at the Gulf Coast Kid’s House on March 17, 2010. During the interview Ellis stated that she had already talked about the allegation with five other people. This is important because children can be easily manipulated to give a desired answer when asked the same or similar questions repeatedly. While answering Linda’s questions, Ellis stated that as a second grader, she was very good at Geometry. She acknowledged with a head nod when Linda stated that she “must get good grades,” and said “I only got three F’s in my whole entire life.” Ellis explained that she had a verbal and physical conflict at school with another student which was the reason for one of her failing grades.
Ellis admitted during the interview that she had lied to an associate of Linda’s about her mother smoking cigarettes. She continued, “I didn’t mean to lie, I just,” – Linda cut her off by stating, “didn’t know her too well, and that’s okay (referring to the person Ellis had lied to).” Ellis followed up by giving a statement without being asked, “my parents don’t do drugs,” but Ellis’s mother, Danielle Levi admitted to Teresa Greenquist, the nurse who examined Ellis that she “had used marijuana…” While talking about the alleged molestation, Ellis couldn’t remember the first time it had occurred, nor could she remember the most recent time it occurred. She could remember that it had happened about “15 times,” one of which Ellis stated was “when she was sleeping.” She then stated without being asked, “…I was [gonna] ask you if you were [gonna] ask me if it was on the inside or the outside (referring to the touching of her private area).” She continued by saying all of the occurrences happened when her parents were either gone or sleeping. According to witness statements, Danielle only left Shyane alone with Zane on one occasion. When asked if Zane said anything to her during the touching, Ellis stated, he said he would “torture her” if she opened her eyes. Ellis said she knew what he meant by “torturing her” – he would cause bruises and she continued by saying he wouldn’t be alive today if he did that. Interesting statement coming from a seven-year-old – Maybe an expert should have analyzed this statement and many others?
No DNA evidence was used to support the allegations against Zane. No sexual assault kit was used for the examination of Ellis. According to nurse Greenquist, who examined the girl, she had conducted 1,152 sexual assault exams as of August of 2010. Greenquist confirmed there was “no physical evidence of any damage to the vaginal area.” There was “no vaginal discharge or infections.” There was simply no physical evidence that the girl had been sexually assaulted. There were no witnesses to the alleged crime. There was no past history of sexual abuse involving Zane Crowder. There was no admission by Zane to any of the allegations, only adamant opposition. The only piece of evidence against Zane was Ellis’s statement. It would be next to impossible to explain to the jury how children lie without the testimony of an expert witness. Zane Crowder’s ineffective and negligent defense attorney did not present any expert witness testimony…
A One Day Trial and Off to Life in Prison, Plus 25 Years – Pure Insanity
On January 21, 2011 a jury was chosen to hear the State of Florida’s case against Zane Crowder. Out of six jurors, four were black and two were Caucasian. This case took place in the deep south. Even though racial tension is not often a reported issue, one should still consider whether or not color played a role. There was an African American female alleged victim and a Caucasian male defendant. Zane’s uncle, Byron Hubbard stated, “some of the jurors were sleeping during trial, and another was more concerned with her nails and looking around the court than listening to the case.” He continued, “You wouldn’t believe anything like this was actually possible unless you were in court that day.” Zane’s mother, Lisa Stewart stated that Zane’s attorney Patrece Cashwell had told her that she did not get along with Judge Jan Shackelford, the presiding judge. Lisa continued, “that was obvious during trial.” Lisa also stated that “Shackelford was seen rolling her eyes several times while Zane’s attorney spoke, which was witnessed by many of the jurors.” Another witness Susan Vignolo stated, “During the trial one juror kept staring at the ceiling.”
After a ONE-day trial, the jury found Zane Crowder guilty of all charges. Judge Shackelford sentenced Zane to life in prison, plus 25 years. Again, pure insanity… In fact, Shackelford herself should be placed in prison for handing out such an extremely cruel and unusual punishment. Many sentences for Murder are not anywhere near as harsh as the one Shackelford leveled at Zane. Even if Zane had touched the girl, the sentence he received would be considered not only cruel and unusual but completely insane by any prudent person!
Zane, now thirty-five years of age, has served over twelve years of his Life Plus 25-year Sentence. His appeal, which was handled by attorney Ross Keene, was denied without opinion by the Florida Supreme Court. Zane’s family is continuing their fight to vindicate him. Miami Law Innocence Clinic at the University of Miami took on Zane’s case in an effort to help Zane put together a post-conviction relief case. Their efforts failed miserably. Zane’s Uncle and Mother have also been in contact with the Florida Innocence Project to no avail. Another attorney filed cases on Zane’s behalf which failed.
The US~Observer has taken on Zane’s case and firmly believes that he is entitled to a new trial. No one will ever know for certain what actually happened except for Zane and Ms. Ellis; however, one fact remains – Zane was arrested, charged and sentenced to life plus 25 years because of an accusation. Zane’s mother has spent every dime she has trying to save her son from this unwarranted sentence and possible wrongful conviction. Lisa recently stated, “Zane would never think of doing what they accused him of. I know my son and he is innocent.” Lisa continued, “I will never give up on trying to make this right for Zane.” Zane’s Uncle Byron has also spent himself dry and is just as convinced as Lisa that Zane was not in any way capable of molesting anyone.
This writer attempted to communicate with Ellis’s parents (Abe and Danielle Levi) several times prior to the publication of this article with no response. Ellis herself is reportedly currently employed as a stripper in Pensacola, Florida.
Watch the US~Observer exclusive film production of The Accusation.
Editor’s Note: If you have any information about anyone named in this article, please contact Edward Snook at 541-474-7885 or email email@example.com. Do you know Abe or Danielle Levi? Do you know Zane Crowder? Has Shyane Rene Ellis or her parents made a statement to you about this case? If you have information, be responsible and call.