Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Willie Lyles-Bey deserves better!

It was Willie Lyles-Bey’s big day.

Mr. Lyles-Bey was 19 years old when he participated in a crime that went sour and people were killed. He’s 62 now, and he’s still in prison. But this week there was hope. A Public Hearing was scheduled, which could lead to a parole. He was excited. This is a rare occasion for lifers, as the Michigan Attorney General’s Office likes to point out. It can lead to freedom!

The hearing, conducted in a specially-designated room in one of the Ionia prisons, was led by Michigan Parole Board member Ed Heap. His soft-spoken manner obviously put the inmate at ease, and the hearing was one of the better ones that I have witnessed.

Then it was my turn to speak.

Upon completing my short presentation of support, Assistant Attorney General Scott Rothermel---who leads the bulk of the questioning regarding the inmate’s criminal past---asked if I would remain seated.

From that point on, Mr. Lyles-Bey’s big day suddenly turned south.

Mr. Rothermel chose that moment, while I was under oath and while a court reporter was still recording, to launch into a personal discussion regarding previous comments I had made in a blog regarding Public Hearings. It was an embarrassment. While I tried, briefly, to present my side of the discussion, it was very apparent this was not the appropriate venue for such a debate. The chairman tried to bring a stop to it, for that very reason, but Mr. Rothermel refused, insisting that he had a couple more points to make.

Call it a tirade, a tantrum, a personal attack on me. That’s not what is important.

What is important is that a Public Hearing for a deserving prisoner in the Michigan prison system got derailed, in front of two Parole Board members, a court reporter, two Corrections Officers, and six guests.

Do I deserve an apology? I think so, but again, that’s not what is important.

What is important here is that two apologies from Assistant Attorney General Scott Rothermel are in order: the first to inmate Willie Lyles-Bey; and the second to the Michigan Parole Board.

How will the state respond? We’ll wait and see.




2 comments:

Robert Bulten said...

Thanks, Doug, for sharing what kind of government officials we have and, dont forget, whose salaries we pay.

Robert Bulten said...

Thanks, Doug, for sharing what kind of government officials we have and, dont forget, whose salaries we pay.