Monday, July 10, 2017

The bad ones are in jail, and the good ones are not, right?

I have three questions for you. They’ll come at the end of this blog.

The court appoints a defense attorney for an indigent black man, charged with assault with intent to commit murder. The first time he meets with the defendant is the morning of the trial.  He fails to thoroughly cross-examine the single witness who insists the defendant is the wrong person. The jury buys the story of the Prosecutor, and the poor African American is sentenced to life in prison.  Wrongly convicted.

A County Prosecutor knowingly uses junk science to convict a woman who has no prior offenses, is known to be a devout and upright person, whom witnesses claim could not have committed the crime of murder…but his boasts for continued re-election are that he has never lost a case. The victory was obviously more important to him. The woman is in for life.  Wrongly convicted.

A Circuit Court Judge refuses to listen to the testimony of professionals in the field of psychiatry, and decides that a 13-year-old boy should be tried as an adult, and when convicted, sentences him to the state prison system. His mental illness has never been properly treated. He’s been raped and abused. He’s now in his 20s.

An aggressive attorney reads about a criminal conviction, and convinces a wrongly convicted inmate that with a down-stroke of $60,000, he can sue the pants off the lawyer who lost the case for him.  The minute he gets the down payment, he cannot be found or contacted again. The money is gone. The man remains behind bars.

An innovative attorney sees and hears that prisoners are grasping for straws as Governor Snyder reaches his last year in office.  They’re hoping he’ll grant some commutations of sentences, so this lawyer promises that, for a fee, he can file such an application better than anyone else.  The record shows that the Governor has never granted one so far, except for medical reasons. The lawyer takes the money. The prisoner remains in his cell.

A crooked lawyer has been promising everything but the moon to men behind bars, but after he receives the down payment he fails to show up for meetings, claiming illness, and doesn’t bother to answer his telephone. He won’t even return critical legal documents. The money has vanished, and so has the attorney.

All of the people listed in bold print are home with friends and families this summer, enjoying outdoor barbecues, driving to work each day in nice cars, and telling society that our judicial system works. It’s the best.

The people who were sold down the river never got out. They’re hoping for visits from friends and family, dreaming that someday they might be lucky enough to attend an outdoor barbecue. When we hear from them, they’re just wondering if anyone even cares.

OK, here are my questions:

-Who, among the above, do you think belongs in prison?

 -Do you care?

-What are you going to do about it?

1 comment:

Tah said...

Unfortunately, I have personal experience with a loved one who suffered questionable ethics in law and the result is his current prison sentence. I understand there are many situations like these and many others where inmates are rightly convicted. When the day is done, those who belong in prison are imprisoned already. I sincerely believe a disruption of peace follows knowingly committing a wrong, and that knowledge traps a person whether or not it shows outwardly. It will catch up to them. For those rightfully or wrongfully imprisoned, I believe peace can still come despite the pain of circumstances. We are all better than our circumstances if we choose to grow the good. Thank you for bringing to light these things because doing something about it requires the discomfort of awareness, for those of us who do care.