----- Original Message -----
From: Doug Tjapkes
To: maurice carter update network
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 7:04 AM
Subject: Fw: round 2 INNOCENT - THAT'S WHAT THEY ALL SAY...

an article that could be written only by someone who's been there!  remember the wrongly convicted in your thoughts
and prayers, and do what you can to make the system right.

----- Original Message -----
From: Patricia Vechery-Akey
To: KarenETRichey ; mary ann torian ; Melinda Elkins ; Julie Blevins ; Suzi McGhee ; Jim Vechery ; BARB PRESLER ; Patsi Habbyshaw ; Jim Gondor ; mike resh ;
Martin Yant ; thedouger ; Patricia Vechery-Akey
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2005 7:05 PM

Con-tact News

Dec/Jan/Feb 2005

By Randall T, Illinois

There's an old joke that all criminals profess their innocence, even though they are all really guilty of the crimes they have allegedly committed. Yes, that's what they all say...

The judicial system in this country is designed to make anyone and everyone accused of anything look guilty. Why is that? The system is designed to insure that people will accept guilty pleas, and lesser charges to receive not so harsh a punishment. Yet, if you're truly innocent, why would you decide to plead guilty to anything? Possibly because the threat of an extremely long sentence is very intimidating and promises of a shorter sentence, or possible probation, seem worth it simply to put such madness in your life behind you once and for all. Not me, you say? Do not be too quick to respond if you've never been confronted with such a choice.

For more than 20 years, America has put its foot down and gotten tough on crime. "Proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" went straight out the window. In the system today, anyone can point a finger and say anything and you can be sent to prison. A drug dealer can give up five innocent people and five innocent lives can easily be turned upside down. A woman may say that her man pushed her and he can easily be charged with domestic assault, or your own girlfriend can get mad at you and accuse you of taking her against her will across a state line and you can be charged with federal kidnapping, a charge that carries a life sentence. It doesn't matter if you're on a road trip and her luggage is in the vehicle in which you are traveling, or that she said you hit her but doesn't have a mark anywhere on her body, or even that she claimed that you had a gun or other weapon, but none was ever found. You were accused; therefore, you must be guilty. Have any kind of a prior record?
You're in trouble. Have a prior record with violence? You're history. Have two prior convictions that can even be considered as violent or possibly could have been violent, you are going to be buried so deep in the American prison system that you'll probably wish you were dead.

American prosecutors and U.S. attorneys are interested in one thing and one thing only - convictions. They could care less about the truth, justice, or right and wrong. In their eyes, everyone is guilty and they'll do everything within their power to insure a conviction, and "power" is exactly what they have.

You've been accused and you've been arrested. Can you afford to hire an attorney to represent you? Do you have five or ten thousand dollars to spare? Or much more? No? How about a court-appointed attorney - some overworked, underpaid attorney who could care less about you, your problems, or your life? A court- appointed attorney hasn't the time to go to trial. You are another name on another file, who is obviously guilty. This attorney will do every thing possible to convince you that it is in your "best interest" to plead guilty to a lesser charge, receive a lesser sentence and put it all behind you. You aren't a lawyer and you're doing your best to trust this guy. Innocent or not, most people will be convinced to accept a plea bargain. Most won't even get it in writing, and most won't even get the sentence their lawyer told them they would get. They trusted their attorney, but their attorney has moved on to his next file. Another name, another case, and hopefully (for him), another plea bargain. No investigation, no witnesses contacted, no evidence examined, nothing. No chance of proving your innocence! The prosecutors are happy, the attorneys have moved on, the judges could care less, and you are now a convicted felon. You are possibly serving a very lengthy sentence, simply to avoid an even longer sentence. As for the individual who originally accused you, they never cared about you to start with and just went on about their business.

It is really too bad that people who make a claim against someone else, especially those who claim to be a "victim", also claim to have been somehow traumatized when no obvious injuries exist, or can be observed from a distance. Even someone who is committing insurance fraud by claiming an injury can be observed.

So, then, what about the truly innocent? The falsely accused? The wrongfully convicted? They are honestly and truly innocent, but everyone believes them guilty, and now they are convicted and serving a sentence. DNA has proven men on death row to be innocent several times. Also, there have been other prisoners who have been proven innocent after spending many years incarcerated. Yet, what if there isn't any DNA to be tested? What if you cannot afford to hire an investigator? There are wrongful conviction programs across the country doing some great work, but they are underfunded, understaffed and overworked, and usually not prepared to deal with a lot of cases. Some cases require more than simply reviewing paperwork and transcripts to prove innocence.

What can an innocent individual do? Hope? It's been my experience that "hope" and four quarters equal a dollar. Hope doesn't get anyone out of prison. It may be enough to get you out of bed every morning, but even the well of hope can run dry sometimes. Only so many legal motions can be written and submitted. Only so many wrongful conviction programs can be contacted. Your family, friends, girlfriends, wives, husbands, boyfriends, etc., will only be hopeful for so long. Out of sight, out of mind and life goes on for everyone. People accept your fate just as you do and soon the days, weeks, months and years slip away. "Why?" is a constant question you ask yourself every single day, but it's a question that never gets answered. You learn to survive in the world you are forced to dwell in and after awhile, you have a special talent for putting people in the free world at ease. You do not want your parents to worry about you, so "I'm fine" is a lie that easily and readily flows from your mouth.  What I refer to as the "happy face" is put on every time you walk into the visiting room. You are overjoyed to see them, but the happy face is really to make them feel better, for, in all actuality, you want to cry like a baby and scream for them to help you. Of course, you don't, you won't and you never will. You lift up your head, take a deep breath and do the best academy award acting you possibly can. You do it for them out of love and respect so that they may go to sleep at night knowing that, although you're in this place, you are okay. You're tough and you're making the best of a bad situation. Portray hopeful and they'll go home hopeful, and although it's something very small, it's worth so much to you to put them at ease.

Of course, proving your innocence becomes harder and more complicated. Time limits keep you from the courts and without outside help, the chances of discovering new evidence is nearly impossible. Without. "newly discovered" evidence, your chances of ever proving your innocence are nonexistent. You know this in your heart and mind, but you try to be hopeful. You continue to believe that you'll prove the truth and one day get out of prison and get your life back. You can, at times, almost taste the freedom and it is bittersweet. It doesn't matter that years have come and gone. You know that you will one day prevail and prove your innocence, because you are, in fact, innocent of this crime!

Yeah, right - that's what they all say.

Please sign the Petition on Prisoner Abuse & Pass it on to others...

Blessings and God bless us all,
Sherry Swiney
Director, P.A.T.R.I.C.K. Crusade
"People Aligned To Replace Injustice & Cruelty with Knowledge"

Patrick Swiney innocent in prison
154406 G79
100 Warrior Lane
Bessemer, AL 35023

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