Showing posts from March, 2017

Belated Happy Birthday, Maurice, from the Detroit Police Chief!

Maurice Carter would have been 73 years old yesterday.  It’s tradition that I put together some kind of a blog on his birthday.  March 29 came and went, and so did any ideas for the blog page.  Then, at a minute before midnight, the Detroit News published a great story!  The Police Chief of City of Detroit is going to put forth a major effort to slow down wrongful convictions.  It’s an article worth reading…a story that tells about Chief James Craig, and his meeting with Innocence Clinic people at the University of Michigan Law School.  He pledged his full cooperation.  This from a county whose system of justice has seemed seriously flawed over the years. This is huge! I say this because a lot starts with the cops.  Let’s go back to the Maurice Carter case. It was action by crooked cops that got it all started in his case, and that led to Maurice spending 29 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Maurice and a buddy were questioned shortly after an incide

Hey, St. Dismas, we won't forget again!

It was a day I pledged to remember and observe.  And it quietly came and went without a peep, not only from me, but from those in other denominations who place a much higher emphasis on saints than the conservative Dutch. I’m talking about the Feast of St. Dismas Day.  Sometimes observed in the Roman Catholic tradition on March 25. And just who is St. Dismas, you ask.  After all, March is known as the month when we focus on St. Patrick. Well, Dismas is the name that was given to the penitent thief hanging on a cross next to Jesus at the time of the crucifixion.  Of the gospel story tellers, only Dr. Luke relates this part of the story:         “Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received correspon

Not much peace around these days, but I saw some in prison!

Many, many years ago, when our kids were little, the piano tuner was in our house struggling to get our little baby grand up to pitch.  I say struggle, because Marcia had her hands full.  The kids were chasing, then fighting, and then one started crying.  It was Christmas time.  The tuner muttered, “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” I’m remembering that incident late on a Saturday night.  I’ve just returned from the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility, one of several state prisons located in Jackson.  Former board chairman Dan Rooks and I were there as featured speakers today, guests of their Chance for Life Chapter To set the stage for my comments, I perhaps should make brief reference to this week’s happenings. On the International level, another terrorist attack…Isis taking credit. On the national level, a stunning defeat in Washington that left not only Republicans fighting Democrats, but Republicans fighting with each other. On the state level, many co

I'm writing again...but I'm not happy!

The climate in this country is noxious!  It’s doing nobody any good, I swear. People look at our blog site…no new entries.  Honestly, I don’t even feel like writing!  My job, and the job of this fine group of people working with me, is to care for people…and it keeps feeling like nobody cares for people anywhere anymore!  When it happens on the national level, I get the sinking feeling that maybe nobody cares down here, either. Annie ’s still in a wheelchair in the women’s prison, and still missing lunches because she can get no one to push the chair for her, and the staff members insist that she must find her own pusher. Danny is innocent, and a former Parole Board member not only knows it but has information that could help Danny obtain freedom.  But he won’t respond. David has sleep apnea, and he needs a C-Pap.  He had one before he came to prison three years ago, but a prison doctor said his problem wasn’t all that serious and they made him send the equipment hom

Exorbitant fees for commutation assistance: Criminal!

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. Martin Luther King, Jr. For many Michigan inmates, the magic word that offers hope these days is commutation! Michigan Governor Rick Snyder can’t run for re-election, and that gives Michigan prisoners hope.  They’re hoping that, because he doesn’t have to worry about public opinion, perhaps he’ll grant some commutations.  The Governor can use his executive clemency powers to reduce a criminal sentence.  That means, for example, that even a man or woman in for life can still harbor the hope of seeing freedom someday. The process is relatively simple.  An application form is readily available.  The prisoner must explain the details of the crime which brought about the conviction, must explain why he or she feels a release from prison is deserved, and is required to provide information regarding housing and employment after release.  That completed form goes to the Michigan Parole Board for initial screenin