Archive for February 9th, 2012

09
Feb
12

pax alexis

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t written about Alex King for a very long time. The one time I did write about him, I didn’t tell you it was about Alex (“Tonight’s Sadness” on January 3).

That night Alex had called me to say that he had decided to accept a deal which he concluded was the best to be negotiated. The state’s prosecutor in South Florida, Bruce Colton, had been pushing for a 5-year sentence on the bogus violation-of-probation, but had finally caved in and agreed to a 3-year sentence with time credited for the time Alex has been locked up since his traffic accident. Colton also agreed not to charge Alex as a “repeat offender.”

Yesterday the second (and last) of two court appearances took place in the courtroom of Judge Linda Nobles in Pensacola, on the traffic violation. Interestingly enough, Judge Frank Bell—the judge in Alex’s original trial—sat in yesterday for Judge Nobles. The first court appearance was on February 1 before Judge Robert Belanger in Okeechobee, on the violation-of-probation charge. I have not written about these matters until now because I was worried—correctly, as it turns out—that the state might renege on its deal if given only half an excuse, even by me.

Our understanding going into these hearings was that, net-net with gain time, Alex was to have served about a year and a half of additional prison time. However, in its final calculation of time served, the state credited him for only 241 of the 349 days he has served since February 2011. This means that we’re looking at about 2 more years (or 3 years total) for a misdemeanor traffic offense that should have carried only a 60 day sentence. This proves that justice is not to be found in the Florida courts and must be achieved through other means.

The one consolation of which we keep reminding ourselves is that at the completion of this sentence the state of Florida will no longer have any hooks into Alex and he will be able to begin living his life as a free person for the first time since he was 12.

The phones were down in the Escambia County Jail until just a short time ago, and Alex called me at about 8:45 this evening. He sounded very upbeat and positive, and relieved all the waiting for court appearances is over at long last. He said that prison will be easier and less restrictive in many respects than incarceration in the county facilities. Alex is possessed of such spiritual peace and calm, I have the impression that he is facing the next two years with the same level of perturbation most of us might feel at a railroad crossing waiting for a slow freight train to pass.

I asked him if he had a message for me to share with you about his outlook on the future, and this is what he said: “The future’s looking brighter than it’s ever been before.”

I believe him. I believe in him. We all have so much to learn from his example.

۞

Groove of the Day 

Listen to Richie Havens performing “Peace Train”