Thoughts on the injustice of the criminal “justice” system
July 14, 2020
Thoughts on the Injustice of the Criminal "Justice" System
In July of 2014 I was arrested and charged with threatening another men's life. I had never been in trouble with the law previously. I knew positively that I had not threatened my accuser's life. I believed in truth and justice and and so I believed that the matter would be sorted out in short order and that I would be released and the charges dropped.
The public defender came to see me in the jail visiting room about two days after my arrest. He introduced himself and told me that he was leaving shortly for a ten-day Hawaiian vacation; so he would waive my right to a speedy trial and he would see me when got back. I was given no option in the matter.
Some weeks later the public defender came and told me that I would attending a probable cause hearing. He did not explain the purpose of the hearing or what to expect. I sat there of the hearing and heard my accuser tell various untruths from the stand. I wanted to testify but the public defender advised me not to. I asked how the judge was going to know my side of the story. All the public defender would was say for the record was to [state?] his advice for me to testify. I did testify and shortly thereafter the deputy D.A. added the charges of premeditated attempted murder, with a potential life sentence now hanging over my head. I was shocked - nothing the public defender had said or done the previous months prepared me for this. I did take some solace when a sheriffs deputy told me that the attempted murder charge was an overcharge. I never thought I could possibly get convicted of attempted murder when I had not hurt anyone at all, not fired a shot from my gun or even aimed or pointed it at anyone.
I went to trial with a criminal defense attorney hired by friends to represent me. The new lawyer did not prepare the case other than to receive notes I sent from jail. He was no match for the hyper-aggressive assistant D.A. who stretched my words into crimes when there were no crimes. My attorney sat there and allowed this to happen. I was convicted of everything but premeditation, although my attorney made no argument against premeditation at the trial. I was sentenced to 13 years in state prison despite a recommendation from the county probation dept. for an 8 year sentence.
Six years have passed. I am still trying to get a new trial via the habeas process. In the eyes of the prison
P.2 staff, I am a violent felon because attempted murder is included on a list of violent crimes in the penal code. Because I am considered to be a violent felon, I have to serve 85% of my sentence before qualifying for parole. My points cannot go below 19 points, so I do not qualify for fire camp or other minimal security custody.
I have never harmed any other soul in my life, and I have not been violent in prison - even when a few people had tried to provoke me.
The District Attorney lives to get convictions by any means. Truth or justice mean nothing to the D.A. I am sure that her investigators must have taken a close look at my life, my social networks such as Facebook. There is plenty of evidence about my character - all ignored. Even 60+ letters from many friends to the judge had no effect.
The prison industrial complex is like Pac-Man - devouring souls caught in its grasp. I have met guys in prison who were sentenced to 8 to life - 40 years ago. They cant even recall all the details of their crimes. And this is held against them and parole denied. My incarceration has probably cost the taxpayers of California between $300,000 and $400,000 and counting.
All this almost makes me sympathize with Donald Trump and that Kentucky senator who wants to let the states go bankrupt. It would serve all the prosecutors and judges and even public defenders right to lose their pensions when their states go bankrupt and cannot honor their commitments.
I have stage 4 prostate cancer and may not even survive my sentence. If I die in prison, I will die knowing I was innocent of the charges that put me behind bars. But I gained some things. I am stronger than ever before emotionally and spiritually I know exactly who my friends are and I have a lot of them. I have peace of mind. They can not take that away from me. But I would like to sue the whole system reformed from top to bottom.
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