What if I told you that every day across America the government is making deals with criminals so they will never spend a single day in jail for the crimes they have committed? Don’t believe me? I strongly suggest you read a book titled “Snitch: Informants, Cooperators, and the Corruption of Justice” by Ethan Brown (2007). This practice is commonly called “flipping” and in some form or fashion this practice has been going on for years. The Federal government is notorious for using this technique and they even have a budget to pay people to point their fingers at others. The government does not care about the truth, they care about winning. Once you have been identified as a target, they pull out all stops to “Win”.
The advocates of this practice believe the greater good of catching a bigger fish outweighs the societal dangers of letting a criminal go free. However, what happens when the “bigger fish” turns out to not be a “fish” at all? What if the criminal the government made a deal with is actually a monster? What if this monster sexually abused very small children, made pornography with the children, and traded the pornography all over the world but he was not even charged for what he did? What if these children were your family members? Would this be ok with you?
I believe a law should be passed concerning this practice when it involves the sexual abuse of children. What rational person would oppose a law which requires anyone who sexually abuses children to be held accountable regardless of whom they tell on? Perhaps after you hear my story, you will help me expose what has taken place and perhaps help facilitate a movement to enact such a law.
Several of you will find my story hard to believe. I do not want my story to be so much about me as it is about the justice system itself. Many of the documents on this site will be redacted to protect the identities and privacy of the actual victims and their immediate families. Some of the documents were also obtained through a Freedom of Information Act and the FBI redacted the documents before they agreed to release them. I strongly encourage anyone who is reading this to carefully examine all of the documents which can be found on this site.
Lastly, I want to tell anyone who wants to attack me or make this about how horrible I am, please save your time. I have already heard anything you could possibly say about me. I am most likely going to die in prison and I could not care less about any hate mail or comments. I have heard it all. I do not care about anything except trying to change the law so this can never happen again to any other children. A monster abused my family and the government let him go free while sending me to prison for life. Believe it or not. This is a fact.
Let me introduce you to a monster:
In 2002 a man by the name of Edward Lee Thomas was caught red-handed sexually abusing his cousin, a 7 year old male. His computer was turned over the FBI and THOUSANDS of child porn images were recovered. These images included webcam videos of people abusing young male children and babies. This was the beginning of this crazy story.
Unfortunately, I had met Edward the previous year and formed a relationship with this man. I had no idea he was a monster like this. Because I had a relationship with this man, on several occasions I went to visit him and we spent time at a state park which had cabins located on a lake with a water slide etc… It was not some creepy cabin in the woods or anything like that. It was a family-friendly location at a state park.
I was a single dad who had adopted a child from Russia. I also worked at the University of Alabama and I ran their campus child care center. I must point out that these two facts have absolutely nothing to do with the charges against me. However, these two facts for some reason make everyone I encounter believe I must be guilty. This bias is something I have had to deal with throughout my entire journey through the justice system, including my own attorneys.
On some of these occasions in which I went to visit Edward, my son went with me and 3 times his cousins (who were about the same age as my son) went with us on these trips. There was never any “plan” to bring these kids to the cabins and their presence was a spur-of-the-moment decision sometimes at the request of their mother to give her a break.
Because I had a relationship with this man and because I trusted him, on one occasion I did leave him alone with my family when my son and I went to get pizza for all of us. According to the FBI files, Edward admitted “something happened” while I was gone. This something turned out to be he used my digital camera to take nude pictures of the children who were left with him and loaded the picture onto his laptop computer. He had deleted the images after he took the pictures and the only thing which showed on my camera was normal pictures. I had no idea he had done this.
Around Christmas 2002 I found out Edward had been arrested and I was sick to my stomach when I found out why. I tried to forget him and moved on with my life. I had no idea Edward had pointed his finger at me and told the FBI I had “conspired” with him to make the pictures, nor did I know the FBI was watching me. The FBI watched me for 3 years and in 2005 got a search warrant to search my house. During the search, the FBI found a flashcard that went to the old camera I used to own back when I were around Edward. The only thing on this flashcard to all of our knowledge was Christmas 2002 pictures.
The FBI did a forensic analysis on all my computers and on this flashcard. Seven images which had been taken on the date my family was left alone with Edward were recovered. These seven images formed the basis of the charges the government made against me. I was charged with having the pictures, traveling for the purpose to abuse my family, conspiring to make the images, transporting the images back across state lines, and then…every time I had ever visited Edward I was charged for crossing state lines to abuse my family even though the “victims” were not even there 3 times the government said I traveled to abuse them. The children were sent to a counselor and had no indications of abuse nor did they accuse me of anything. The reason the children had no indicators of abuse even though Edward had obviously abused them, is because the only abuse they had ever suffered was the one-time event with Edward 3 years earlier. These children were around me and my son several times after Edward and obviously had not been subjected to repeated abuse as the government tried to imply.
I was told I was in fact guilty regardless of whether I knew the pictures existed or not. I was told I was going to prison. Period. It was up to me how long that would be. I was also told, if I would plead guilty I could possibly get probation and keep custody of my son. However, if I did not plead guilty, I would never see my son again.
The lawyer I had, said she had worked out a plea where I could possibly get probation when in fact the plea she had worked out was for a minimum sentence (the same as the max) of 135 years. She still has no idea what she did. Neither my family nor myself had any idea what I was about to sign.
After I received a 135 year sentence, I filed a 2255 (habeas corpus) motion in court claiming my trial attorney was ineffective. My number one claim was Actual Innocence because I had learned more about the law and knew I was not guilty of anything simply because I took the children with me. I had to “knowingly” participate in criminal intent. The lawyer lied to both me and my family concerning this element of the charges.
I had an evidentiary hearing on my 2255 motion and the court said we were going to address everything in the motion. However, during the hearing despite innocence being my number one claim, the court said I did NOT have an Actual Innocence claim in my petition and they did not believe such a claim was before the court. The court basically acted as if I had never even made the claim.
After the hearing, I sent complaints to the district judge, and the mother and grandmother of the alleged victims sent demands to the judge demanding a chance to be heard. They told the court they were “enraged” at what had taken place and demanded a chance to be heard. The court totally ignored all complaints and has yet to acknowledge the victims in any form or fashion.
Despite the complaints concerning how my 2255 attorney acted and how he was ignoring the valid issues in my case (he actually told me he personally thought I was guilty), the court recommended I keep the same attorney for my appeal. I sent numerous complaints to the appellate court and begged the court to not make me accept this attorney because he was going to make me lose. I even sent a complaint to the Alabama Bar Association asking them to help me but I was still forced to accept a losing position.
I ultimately lost for one of the EXACT reasons I told the court I was going to lose on. The court even used the case law I had provided in my complaint in their ruling against me. At this point, I was amazed at how corrupt and crooked the justice system is. How could a court ignore a complaint with case law to back it up, then use the same case law to make me lose? They forced me into a losing position. A position I told them was absolutely wrong and meritless. My 2255 attorney, Mr. Bramer, sabotaged my case and made me lose and the court absolutely would not do anything to stop it despite me begging anyone and everyone to please help me.
Several years later, I ran across another case in which my 2255 attorney, Mr. Bramer, was accused of doing the exact same thing to another client as he did to me. This case was another “sex offender” case and in this case the defendant also had witnesses with testimony to make the charges against him impossible. The attorney, Mr. Bramer, was accused of refusing to talk to any witnesses and was accused of saying he was not paid to defend his client. The court would not let me represent myself. It forced Mr. Bramer on me. Because he allowed my actual innocence claim to become procedurally barred, I can never bring up innocence again regardless of whatever evidence becomes available. In other words, I am going to die in prison for events that did not even happen.
After submitting a request for documents from the FBI via a Freedom of Information Act request, I received the documents 8 years after the request. These documents revealed that the FBI knew Edward Lee Thomas was lying about me and they believed that some of the crimes he said took place possibly did not happen, or if they did happen they may have happened without my knowledge. This is something I have been saying for over 16 years. I cried when I got these documents but I cannot use them because my attorney has put me in a position where I am procedurally barred.
My family and I have tried for years to warn everyone about Edward Lee Thomas and have tried to get an investigation into what took place in my case but no one would listen to any of us. In 2020 Edward Lee Thomas struck again. This time he had hundreds of videos and pictures of infants and toddlers being sexually abused. He also produced videos of himself sexually abusing a baby under 1 year old and a toddler. You know why this was possible? Because the federal government cut a deal with him and let him go back in 2002.
I want to make sure this can never happen again. The law MUST be changed. Please, I beg anyone who is reading this to please examine the documents I have provided on this site and if it upsets you as much as it does me, please help me expose this practice and help make a change. Edward Lee Thomas got ABSOLUTELY ZERO time for what he did to my family and all the child pornography he produced and traded back in 2002. I got 135 years because he pointed his finger at me and said I “conspired” with him. Even if you believe his accusations, 135 years is an INSANELY unwarranted sentence for my role in ANYTHING he said I had done. Compare my sentence to others convicted of heinous crimes. Never mind however, this is not about me as it is about letting Edward Lee Thomas go. These most recent 2020 victims needs to know why their children were abused. They need to know the truth.
Please help me expose this.
Joseph Dickey 25345-001
PO Box 7007
Marianna, FL 32447