Thursday, May 28, 2015


I first saw a poster bearing those words in the office of a woman employed by a Christian college.  I believe she either had a special needs child, or worked with special needs children.  The words were scrawled on a plain white sheet with crayon.  That was 45 years ago, but the message stuck with me…especially in this work with prisoners…especially this week.

Before I tell my story, however, let me quickly summarize a familiar one told by the apostle John.  A group of religious leaders brought a woman of ill repute to our Lord.  She had been caught in the act, and based on their opinion of Old Testament laws, she had to be stoned to death.  Jesus turned the matter around and advised her accusers that the guy who was free of sin should throw the first rock.  One by one, the trouble-makers walked away.  Then these beautiful words:  “Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you.”

Now my story.

Mr. C, an elderly white male, died in a nearby Michigan prison this week.  We hadn’t known each other for long.  A fellow prisoner, who knows the heart of HFP, suggested that Mr. C ask us for help.  That was in early April.  He was serving time, a lot of it, on sex charges.

His story could have been written by hundreds and thousands of alleged sex offenders, especially those who are poor and cannot afford adequate defense.  Once the accusations had been made by someone close to the family, it was if he had contracted leprosy!

-Police allegedly violated his rights, searching his home without a warrant.
-The evidence taken, he said, was not what police described in the trial.
-His court-appointed attorney claimed to be prepared for trial, but met with him only 3 times in 3 months.  His heart obviously wasn’t in this low-paying job for an alleged sex criminal.
-He was convicted of not one, not two, not three, but eight sex charges by a jury!

His down-hill slide didn’t end there.  The stigma remained.

-He felt the scorn and disdain of prisoners, who embellished rumors of his crimes.
-Some prison staff members don’t hide their feelings about alleged sex offenders.
-The same held true for medical staff who were required to treat him when cancer was diagnosed.

Mr. C begged us for help to find the real evidence that would acquit him for something he didn’t do.

Prisoner A begged us to help this allegedly innocent man with his legal problems.

Prisoner B begged us to get appropriate medical care for him…he was struggling.

And we tried.  HIPAA would make it impossible to get hospital records that allegedly would clear this man’s record.  However, improving his current existence was another matter.  Working with the warden, an allergy-free mattress was provided to ease the coughing, and he was given a friendly bunkie.

But his health rapidly deteriorated.

Said our informant on May 19:  He didn’t look too good leaving for the hospital.

Said our informant yesterday:  Mr. C died.  He had returned from the hospital gasping for breath two nights later and they sent him back.  The next thing we heard was that he died.  He was 68.

Finally for Mr. C, no more physical and mental discomfort, no more lack of acceptance, no more looks of accusation and disgust.  Neither do I condemn you.


Carole Miller said...

Hello, My name is Carole. I came upon your site via a link through FFUP. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I know this is for the state of MI, I am from WI. When I read your posts, it tugged at my heart strings so-to-speak. See I have a friend who had been denied parole for 40 years. I hope you do not mind if I post his story. i pray for him and many others for a chance to see the outside world before their death. I also wanted to say, Whatever you do, PLEASE keep informing people. I feel that the right someone will come upon this site and make a change for all elderly and ill prisoners. Compassionate release should be a law, but sadly too many prisoners never get the compassion. My friend's crime was in 1975. He expected parole in 13 & 1/2 years. Has been denied every time.
May God bless you and have this site be seen by people who can change things in the U.S.
Thank you again, you are in my prayers,

Carole Miller said...

The Story of my friend Ron pt1:

Ron's Story:
Ron Schilling, 32219, KMCI
Born in 1951, I am 63 years old, and have been incarcerated since 1975, started my
40th year last June. I killed a man in a drug deal gone bad, brokered by my two codefendants.
I have taken full responsibility for my actions, and have corrected all of
the pathology that led to the offense to assure myself that it could never happen again.
Prior to trial my lawyer came to me with a plea bargain deal for a twenty (20)
year sentence. I was informed that there was scant evidence; there were no
fingerprints, no murder weapon, no witnesses, no blood evidence or anything physically
linking me to the crime. I was convinced not to accept the plea deal.
At trial it was revealed that I suffered grand mal epilepsy, and on the day of the
offense I suffered a particularly bad seizure and was in a post-ictal confusional
state for the remainder of the day. The victim was only supposed to get beaten up for
reneging on his part of the drug deal. My sole recollection of the event is from
speaking with my co-defendants and reading the coroner's report. As it was explained
to me, my co-defendant argued heatedly with the victim, striking him a number of
times. And then as I was approaching he placed a knife in my hand, and a split second
later the victim grabbed me from behind with a bearhug. This in turn caused me to snap
and stab him repeatedly. In clinical terms, it was called brief reactive psychosis. It
should be noted that I did not bring the knife to the scene, and of the three of us, I
was the only peace-loving hippy in the bunch, and would never have responded in such
fashion if not for the earlier seizure.
For 8-months prior to trial I was kept in a chemical straight jacket. Just prior
to trial I was taken off all medication cold-turkey, rendering me an incoherent and
drooling mess during trial; sitting at the defense table fighting the natural urge to
heave my guts out.

Carole Miller said...

The story of my friend Ron pt2:
I didn't have much of a clue what was going on, and certainly did not
appreciate the clever way the entire trial was hinged together preventing the truth
from coming out. My co-defendants were constitutionally precluded from testifying on
my behalf, and I was convinced by counsel not to plead guilty because at the time I was
not fully assured of my degree of involvement. I knew there was no intent to kill the
guy, and even the District Attorney admitted numerous times that the intent was not to
kill. During interrogation when a detective said my fingerprint was found on the
wallet (which turned out not to be the case) was the first moment I intuitively felt I
had probably been involved in something horrendous, but I still did not know to what
degree. The coroner's report stated the victim would probably have died from the blows
to his head even without the knife wounds.
The first couple of years in prison were a challenge, about a dozen guards who
were close friends of the deceased worked there; even the Security Director was his
uncle. Unfortunately, all guards have been promoted throughout the system and
are now ranking officials at all of the institutions The security director
retired and assumed a position on the parole commission, and directly after that I was
returned to Medium security because of an under-the-table unlawful 5-year parole defer.
It has resulted in my being returned from Minimum to Medium security SIX times
already, despite obeying each and every rule and working harder, than ten men, getting
along with everyone -- including all citizens I was working with in counties all over
the State. Returning to Minimum again is not an option because of this problem.
I am considered a model prisoner; I do not participate in things not
conducive to my progress through the system. I keep my nose clean and try
to help others at every turn. I arrived in prison with a BA degree in Music
(with an emphasis in performance with a 12-string slide guitar). I have always been
self-didactic and have claimed additional plural college degrees; BS in Geology,
another in Business Administration, and a Paralegal Certificate. My latest
academic accomplishment was claiming a Blackstone Law degree.

Carole Miller said...

His songs are on you tube under his name Ron Schilling. Thank you for allowing me to share, and again I am so sorry for your loss.

May god always bless you!