My friend Jimmy is a Michigan prisoner. Ironically, among prisoners, he’s probably one of the state’s best friends.
In 1989 he cooperated with law enforcement officials in the investigation of a bribery with the Michigan Department of Corrections. Charges were filed, and there were convictions on the state and federal levels, including corrections officials.
Since that time he has continued to provide law enforcement with information leading to numerous arrests for offenses such as auto theft, stolen property, and a multi-million dollar phone fraud scheme with the MDOC. The information that he has provided has also resulted in the recovery of substantial quantities of narcotics, the arrest of several Detroit area fugitives, and the resolution of a Detroit homicide.
10 years ago he played a key role in the arrest and conviction of a murderer.
One would think that, with all of this wonderful cooperation with the good guys, the State of Michigan would do its best to take care of Jimmy.
Well, in all fairness, the state did offer to get him re-sentenced so that he might receive credit for time served (now 29 years!), as a thank you for his help in a major criminal case. But, after they got the conviction they wanted, they backed off on the offer. Now they can’t seem to remember that they ever made such a promise.
Worse than that, the state has failed to provide the necessary protection for their witness and informant who is still living in the general prison population. With all of this baggage, Jimmy has a target on his back. Over the years we have tried to help. We were able to pair him up with a fine attorney with a known reputation as a fighter, and he hasn’t disappointed. But the state wouldn’t budge.
Just a couple years ago, someone tried to poison him. He became very sick, but he survived. We intensified our efforts.
Recently we assisted in seeking a commutation of his sentence, with a high-powered application. Attached to the form was a three-page letter from the Assistant Prosecutor who originally tried his case! He said that he’s never done this before, and he’ll never do it again, but he asked for the Governor’s commutation of Jimmy’s sentence. Quoting from his letter: …when one considers all the facts and circumstances of this particular case, i.e.:
…the actual circumstances of the sentence offense
…Mr. J’s age and attitude (he’s now 62)
…the lengthy period of incarceration already served
…the ends of justice being served through his cooperation and testimony…
…the price that he has paid for such cooperation,
that the public good in this extraordinary case would be well served by commutation of Mr. J’s sentence.
No soap. Our Governor denied the request. And guess what? Now he’s in the hospital again. 10 days ago two thugs entered his cell while he was alone, intent on inflicting serious pain. Before it was all over, Jimmy was slashed above the eye, and as he tried to fend off the attacker, he received cuts of the hand and arm. He fell during the assault, his back slammed against a bunk, and he suffered possible back injuries.
Once again Jimmy survived…until the next time.
A devout believer, he feels that God is protecting him.
That’s certainly more than the state is doing. Not a very nice way to treat a special friend!