Archive for February 19th, 2012

19
Feb
12

starvation feast

As of the writing of this entry, there are more than fifteen elated comments to Friday’s good news about Paul Henry’s case, which collectively create the impression of a starving tribe falling upon its first meal after a long famine. In fact, one reader wrote saying that it was “good news and good food for us hungry supporters.”

Please forgive me for being a killjoy if I state the obvious: Friday’s order is but an intermediate step—a mere appetizer—to achieving justice for Paul Henry. The court is only saying it will not let the state of Indiana prevent Paul Henry’s appeal from being heard; we are still a long way from a ruling on the appeal itself. It strikes me as pathetic and an indictment of the entire justice system that there is such inordinate celebration that the court has merely done the right thing. It is very sad indeed that we have come to expect the “justice” system to produce injustice as its norm.

Tomorrow is the third anniversary of the murders of Kenzie Houk and her unborn son, and the next day at 2:00 am is the third anniversary of 11-year-old Jordan Brown’s wrongful detention for the crime without honest police work, without evidence, and even without a trial. We would like to think these outcomes are the exception and not the rule, but this is blind and wishful thinking. The “justice” system is unconcerned with discovering the truth of whether defendants are innocent or guilty—only with winning by any means necessary.

As the Jordan Brown case so well illustrates, police and prosecutors regularly lie, coerce witnesses, and manufacture/misrepresent evidence to get what they want. If the true facts of a case cannot justify their official actions, they will resort to any underhanded means, regardless of the truth, to win and to create the political appearance of being “tough on crime.” There is an old saying in the legal profession: “It takes a good prosecutor to convict a guilty defendant, but it takes a great prosecutor to convict an innocent one.”

It has required the involvement of Monica Foster, one of the top lawyers in Indiana, to get the court to do the right thing for Paul Henry in this one small instance. Most defendants, especially children, do not have access to such exceptional legal talent. An average lawyer would not likely have been able to get the court to act responsibly and fairly. This is why injustice is so endemic to our legal system. Justice is available only to those who can afford it.

Thanks to you, The Redemption Project is changing the game by bringing top-flight legal and other talent into service to the most powerless and vulnerable members of society—at-risk kids. We have been successful in getting brilliant and effective people to help our kids on a pro bono or reduced-fee basis, and to work just as hard as if they were being paid corporate-counsel rates. Yet we still need to raise a lot of money to pay for reduced fees, out-of-pocket expenses, expert witnesses, private investigators, and many other costs.

We have an immediate need right now to raise $10,500 to pay legal expenses for the defense of Blade Reed and James Prindle, and we are about to take on a new case that I will tell you about soon which will probably require our raising an additional $25,000. This is getting to be serious money, and I hope you will please give serious consideration to helping financially in any amount, large or small, that you can.

Please go to www.redemptionforkids.org and click on the cause that most appeals to your head and heart. Working together, we will be able to assemble a satisfying potluck  juvenile justice “banquet.”

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Groove of the Day 

Listen to the Broadway cast of “Oliver!” performing “Food Glorious Food”