Friday, September 5, 2014

Guilty Until proven otherwise

This is my first person narrative of how I became a "criminal". It's unedited and all done from my phone.any comments or corrections are appreciated

Thanks for reading

"I find the defendants Guilty! And I elect to keep them as wards of the state"
Looking to my left I could see my brothers face besieged with tears as If a volcano had erupted and to my right Keith had collapsed into his mother's arm I thought he had fainted. 
"What now?" I thought. 

Our troubles started two weeks after my freshmen year began when we received a phone call from detectives asking me and Keith to meet them at my house we obliged unknown to us what awaited us. The detectives asked us some questions about a cell phone we found weeks earlier we answered because surely there was no reason to use our right to remain silent since there is no law against finding a phone. The detective looked on as we spoke attentively, nodding  to the things we were saying making us feel at ease. He stopped me mid-sentence,he had heard enough. He turned me around placing handcuffs on me while telling me my Miranda rights. We were taken into the police car and to the station even then our adolescent minds didn't think anything of what was going on as we were singing the newly released 'locked up' by Akon. 

"Shut up you juvenile delinquents" said the lady cop 

We arrived at the station to be finger printed, my brother coming later as he had practice that day. Once in the station we were greeted by the detective who gave us the details of a heinous robbery that had taken place weeks earlier and then gave his opinion on how it happened, including how I attacked the lady.

I tried to plead my case to any officer who would listen apparently almost all of the officers knew the victim 

"She know what she saw she wouldn't lie. I walked her dog I know her. You all will get what you deserve"
I stopped talking after that.

Afterwards, We stayed handcuffed to a cell for hours periodically asking "when are we going home?" Considering We had school tomorrow. The cop came to the cell and said they were finishing up the paperwork and we'll be going "home" soon. 

At 4am We were loaded into a paddy wagon with one other guy, freezing and shackled to each other like slaves. The wagon stops and the door opens we all get out to an unfamiliar building. 
"Where are we? I thought we were going home" said my brother Aaron. 

The officer grinning from ear to ear excitedly exclaims "this is your new home; the audy home and I think yal picked the wrong time to come too. We just had to stop a fag from fucking this other dude" 

My heart immediately dropped to the floor. This was a place I never envisioned myself being at when I was asked where do I see myself at in 5 years. 

I ended up being in the audy home for two weeks while I waited on my house arrest bracelet I quickly realized that this wasn't the place to be. The on duty police clearly didn't care and they treated everyone the same, but the teachers there had it the worst I deeply felt sorry for them.

They had the tall task of trying to teach kids who didn't care and some lacking basic math and reading skills she pressed on anyway. 
"Please can everyone just listen" she said, but no one paid her attention until she finally got fed up and snapped.

"Can everyone shut up, please!"

She looked so frail I didn't think she was capable of yelling so loudly. Everyone's ears perked up they were clearly amused. 

"Shut up bitch"

one of the guys yelled while throwing a pencil at her.

"This is not the place for reform. "I thought 

While we awaited trial we were assigned to home confinement, imagine playing sports and going to school with a house arrest bracelet on your ankle. It was my reality for the greater part of a year. No matter how many points you score or A's you get everyone only wanted to know what did you do as if it was a badge of honor. My answer was mostly "I don't want to talk about it"

As much as you try and put on a strong smile for everyone, you are constantly reminded of what's in front of you by, not only your ankle, but by other people.

During a basketball game in December it all seemed to come crashing down. My brother came to me at halftime of a big game and told me we had just been evicted from our home. My heart sank, I felt the need to throw up, but once again as a 15 year old kid I had to put on my strong face for the crowd while on the inside I felt like I was dying. For the rest of that game I watched the door looking for the police come wisk me away. 

The trial lasted for almost two years and with each continuation what started out as hope in the justice system waned more and more. Each attempt at proving our innocence was futile. No character witnesses nor honors classes could help. We brought in one of the guys who was actually apart of the robbery, this was our ace up our sleeves, but we were told if he spoke they would charge him along with us, all hope was lost.

The plaintiff's lawyers were ruthless. They clearly enjoyed what they were doing and the tones in their voices let everyone know they meant business. They presented their case so well it instilled doubt within myself of my own innocence

"Maybe they are right.  Maybe I blacked out and did it." I thought.
They were that  good. 

The day came for the verdict but I knew what it was Judge Brown did not have to say anything. 
As the guilty verdict rang out I stood there expressionless like some kind of sociopath. I was lost, alone in my head with my thoughts. Should I channel my inner James Cagney and shout "you'll never take me alive copper" while running away? "What do I do now?" 

Unbeknownst to me a guilty verdict was not a sentencing that agony was prolonged for another date the only thing we knew at that moment was we were 15, 16 with at least 9 felonies; aggravated battery, aggravated assault, strong arm robbery just to name a few.

I thought for sure they would lock us up and throw away the key but we were "spared" jail time because it was our first offense. We were sentenced to five years probation. 

Maybe I was naive, I had mistaken the justice system for the justice league. Justice  has never been about finding the Bad guy, it's about what you can prove or someone being punished for a crime. 

If there was one positive take away from it all it is that it opened my eyes. My mind was no longer impervious to the perils this world had to offer. The conversation I had with the officer who walked me out of the audy home years early still resonates with me to this day 
"Man this place isn't anything nice. You have no freedom, no privacy, you're told what to do, and when to wake up. I never wanted to be here and I will never be back" I told him.

"Ok, I'll see you next week" he said without the slightest bit of sarcasm.Yeah you  just wait on that. 

2 comments:

  1. This breaks my heart. I know this is a true story, I hear it so often. ((huge hugs to you)) you are right "spared" is correct because that will forever follow you not just record wise but the mental pain it has caused on you.

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    1. I didn't know you commented. Thank you for reading. Yes, the mental anguish is still here to this day. I tried to watch when they see us and my anxiety was so bad.

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