Letter To Governor Bush and Politicians
December 15, 2003 Edward Munao, of Stuart Florida
was arrested. Edward Munao told our six year old son
to stab and kill me his mother Jodi Walsh. Munao
faces a felony charge of solicitation to commit
first degree murder.
Edward Munao is currently incarcerated after
violating his bond conditions in July 2004.
Munao’s criminal trial is scheduled for April 11,
2005 In Ft. Pierce, Florida.
March 24, 2005 my son was brought to Florida’s State
Attorney’s office in Ft. Pierce, Florida or his
testimony on our criminal case. As a victim in this
case and the mother of the minor who is a witness, I
am allowed under Florida law to be present during
testimony, this was not the case.
My son did not want me in the room so I sat outside
in the victims advocate's office.
Attorney Bakkadohl and Attorney Krausser from the
state attorneys office were present and the
defendant’s attorney Jerome Stone and my eight year
old son as well as a video camera for the testimony.
My son was somewhat nervous, he has suffered severe
emotional and mental anguish due to our situation
from his father. I have stressed the importance of a
minor, my son, or any other minor questioned of the
dramatic impact it has on their mental state. I feel
it is up to the State of Florida to provide
professional psychiatric personnel standing by to
talk to minor known as a victim/witness for the
State after they are questioned. I know this is not
“Psychology 101", which were the words used by State
Attorney Tom Bakkadohl to describe my concerns of my
son’s emotional needs and the importance of this
testimony with a minor, my son.
Under Chapter 92 Section 92.53 Videotaping of
testimony or witness under the age of 16 or person
with mental retardation: describes how there is a
substantial likelihood that a victim or witness who
is under the age of 16 or who is a person with
mental retardation as defined in
S. 393.063(42) would suffer at least moderate
emotional or mental harm due to the presence of the
defendant if the child or person with mental
retardation is required to testify in open court,
or that such victim or witness is otherwise
unavailable as defined in S90.804(1) the trial court
may order the videotaping of the testimony of the
victim or witness in a case, whether civil or
criminal in nature, in which videotaped testimony is
to be utilized at trial in lieu of trial testimony
in open court.
In this case, a motion would be filed by the
victim’s or witnesses attorney. The Florida State
Attorney’s office in Ft. Pierce, Florida filed a
motion concerning the testimony of the minor, my
son, eight years old, and the concerns of the
child’s mental and emotional well-being.
The motion was heard before Judge Sweet on January
28, 2005, Friday morning.
It was signed and agreed upon in court that the
defendant, Edward Munao, would not be allowed to sit
in for the testimony of his son. Dr. Rifkin,
psychologist, in Ft. Pierce, Florida went before
Judge Sweet to give his professional opinion on the
impact that this testimony will have on this minor
who has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant
A copy of this hearing is on file.
On March 24, 2005 after my son’s testimony my son
was immediately released from the library at the
State Attorney’s office, entered the victim
advocate's office, Ann Smith to play with her large
floppy stuffed elephant. My son immediately picked
up the animal punching, hitting throwing it from one
side of the room to another saying “how do you like
that”, “I’ll kill you”, “let me get you again”, this
went on for 15 minutes while victim’s advocate
watched and stunned
not knowing what to do.
I was asked to step into the other office to Speak
with Attorney Bakkkadohl who assured me prior to the
testimony my son would not take the stand in open
court during the criminal trial. I was told Attorney
Stone who represents the defendant is going to call
my son to the stand.
I asked what about the motion signed by Judge Sweet?
Bakkadohl replied that Judge Sweet was questioning
the constitutional or un constitutional right when
this was signed off on this motion. Of course, as
the victim and mother of the witness I began to
loose faith in the Florida legal system. I was told
if I do not let my son take the stand, Judge Sweet
will dismiss the trail and Edward Munao will walk. I
also questioned then why did we do this videotape
reminding them you assured me this for trial, what
about Dr. Rifkin’s recommendations to the Judge,
what about my son’s emotional state? Of course,
nothing matters, because it is the law anything goes
and Judge’s can dismiss cases if you do not comply.
I was told “”you will have to let your son testify”,
according to Attorney Bakkadohl.
I left the Attorney’s office, I was upset and
concerned about my son I know he was hurting;
you see a child’s emotional and mental state is
different than adult and their coping skills as
When a minor is questioned about a traumatic event
and the state provides no professional counseling
after the child is brought back to post traumatic
stress as a mother of the child I have concerns over
my son’s emotional and mental state.
I know no one looks deep into the emotional state of
how a child feels after a traumatic situation
because one must obtain the information to form a
My son has suffered daily and no one can take his
pain away not even me his mother. Unfortunately, I
have been reminded by attorney’s this case is not
about how my son is feeling or he controls his anger
or deals with his feelings or his outbursts, “It is
not Psychology 101.”
Attorneys, judges, victim’s advocates, Department of
Children and Families (DCF) , Florida Attorney
General’s office all look to the lack and white laws
which govern our state from the Florida State
Statues to get answers and make final decisions. No
one wants to hear how my son wakes up every night
fearful that his mother gets killed and how he has
trouble sleeping. No one wants to hear about his
pain, his emotional concerns and fears. It is my job
as a mother to protect my children, my life and
provide the best stable environment I can to my
children. Our judicial system does not help victims
or witnesses who have suffered a traumatic situation
it does not provide adequate professional
counseling, it certainly does not look out for the
best interest of minors. I know that this must
change and I will petition for that change. I will
protect my children and my son.
My Family will face these conditions which have
lingered over us for the last year in a half in the
next week prior to our criminal trial. We have
encountered many obstacles from DCF, Florida State
Attorney General’s office, and the Florida judicial
system. At this time, I cannot discuss all the
As a mother and victim I feel my child’s pain and
feel his frustration as well as my own. I will not
allow my son who is only eight years old be
interrogated, used and abused by the Florida legal
system or anyone else. My son has suffered enough,
as his mother I owe it to my son to let him be like
every other eight year old boy. My son always asks
me many questions “why this”
or “why that” pertaining to our situation of course,
I still do not know why....but what I do know
that my son will not testify for the Munao trial in
open court and I think any parent or adult would
I am represented by Attorney Juan Torres who
practices law in Ft. Pierce, Florida.
Jodi R. Walsh
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