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Devil Ledbetter
02-06-2010, 08:38 PM
I know what I'm willing to do, but what my boss said really surprised me.

The night before last I was hit with the news that a dear friend from my youth is in a great deal of trouble. She killed her husband during an argument. Now, obviously I know she shouldn't have, she should have left him, etc. But to me that's not the point. I know some of what she was dealing with. She should have been stronger, but she wasn't.

She has asked me to consider testifying that she suffered his abuse from the beginning. I do know this for a fact. Of course I am willing to testify to this if that's what's needed to ameliorate her conviction and sentence. It is the truth.

I mentioned this situation to my boss, and his immediate reaction was "If you want my advice, don't get involved. It's not worth the drama. It's not going to make that much difference in her sentencing, it's not worth your trouble, you're not close friends now anyway. You don't owe her anything. She killed him, she's a monster, let her rot in prison."

I was bowled over by his callousness. I've witnessed things that establish her husband was abusive, that she was in fear for her life. I could never just sit back and say "It's not worth the drama to help her. She should have been stronger. This serves her right."

To be clear, I hate drama. Testifying in court is the last thing I want to do. But I will do it.

What would you do?

Stargazer
02-06-2010, 08:43 PM
Get involved!

If we can't rely on our friends, who can we rely on?

You don't know if your input will have any effect. But you'll never know if you don't get involved. You'll spend the rest of your life asking "What if?"

A monster would have killed in cold blood with no provocation. People can do some terrible things when under duress.

These people need support. Offer her the support she needs.

I wish you both all the best.

Rob.

regdog
02-06-2010, 08:45 PM
I would testify. It's not always easy to do the right thing, but it's worth it. Sometimes you might be the only one who does

Seams
02-06-2010, 08:52 PM
a friend is a friend - through thick and thin

we discharge friendship so easily, run away, leave them alone.

one of my friends stabbed another one of my friends. His wife now is left in town with no friends because the one stabbed was liked more than her husband.

Circumstances. They are what you make of them. So by association she has been scorned by the town I live in, and that's sad, cause it wasn't her fault, and she's a nice person, has 3 kids, but now, where can she go to talk. So I talk to her. It's so sad cause she walks the town with her head down for something she had no control of.

I know the reason behind the stabbing was drug related, one hooked on crack, the other dealing. shit happens. yeah, bad bad, but life is full of bad decisions. we all make them, sometimes they are our only choice.

I keep in touch while he's in jail, why not? He is still a friend. The one stabbed I went to the hospital to see, I also work with, he is also my best friend.

a friend is a friend - through thick and thin

sometimes you have to step up beyond fears and others' judgement.

I rambled

Good luck

Seams

Fran
02-06-2010, 08:58 PM
You're testifying to facts, not her guilt or innocence, so while it could be stressful for you I think as long as you're comfortable testifying I don't see the harm. I'm sorry your boss was so unsympathetic; sometimes people don't see shades of grey. I wish you all the best. :Hug2:

Devil Ledbetter
02-06-2010, 09:06 PM
a friend is a friend - through thick and thin

I agree so strongly with this. It doesn't matter to me that our friendship was inactive for so long. She was my best friend from middle school through high school. When she got involved with her husband, the friendship went on hold (he hated me because I knew he was abusive). He knew I had tried to talk her into leaving him.

Of course when she moved thousands of miles away to escape him, he just followed her and bullied her back into the relationship.

We were always happy to run into each other at school events, the grocery store, etc. But no, we couldn't hang out and that was because of him.

I can't even imagine just abandoning her now to avoid drama. My boss considers himself a realist. I felt he was scorning that I would even consider helping her.

I have sent a letter to her in jail, and will schedule a visiting time next week. There is not much I can do for her, but I will do what I can.

ad_lucem
02-06-2010, 09:07 PM
I would do it. The boss, meh, well, opinions are like sphincters and everyone has them.

Wayne K
02-06-2010, 09:11 PM
If he was abusive, then by all means testify. I've known a lot of murderers in my life, and there are the few who just lost it for a second.

Your boss is wrong, Your testimony might not get her an acquittal, but it may go a long way during sentencing.

Any man who beats on a woman deserves to die. IMHO

ad_lucem
02-06-2010, 09:14 PM
If he was abusive, then by all means testify. I've known a lot of murderers in my life, and there are the few who just lost it for a second.

Your boss is wrong, Your testimony might not get her an acquittal, but it may go a long way during sentencing.

Any man who beats on a woman deserves to die. IMHO

I don't know if I'd use the word "deserves" so much as "asking for it"...

But...

Definitely, if you go around abusing others on a regular basis and making generally bad choices... it's hard to be sympathetic when someone gives you exactly what ya seem to be asking for in the first place.

Wayne K
02-06-2010, 09:15 PM
I'm in a "Deserves" mood today.

ad_lucem
02-06-2010, 09:19 PM
I'm in a "Deserves" mood today.

Fair enough. I have those days, too. Mercifully, my hormones are more balanced today than usual and I've had my coffee.

I don't know why but I keep picturing an image used during a speech by Dr. Sapolsky that I recently saw on TED talks.

It was an image of a dead and mutilated baboon which he described as having "particularly bad political skills".

Apparently, even baboons don't like a repeat-offender a-hole in the tribe.

Wayne K
02-06-2010, 09:25 PM
My ex wife had a horribly abusive husband, who escalated into a F-ing Munster because the police were useless. While she was filing a report that he broke her nose, they were in the other room laughing and goofing around with him.

If I gave details of how bad it got, your stomach would turn.

MonaLeigh
02-06-2010, 09:27 PM
I would definitely do it.

Ambrosia
02-06-2010, 09:29 PM
Testify. Your boss is an idiot.

DWSTXS
02-06-2010, 09:32 PM
You're her friend, go ahead and testify. It doesn't mean that you condone her actions, but you're also not turning away from a friend in need.

MoonWriter
02-06-2010, 09:35 PM
I agree so strongly with this. It doesn't matter to me that our friendship was inactive for so long. She was my best friend from middle school through high school. When she got involved with her husband, the friendship went on hold (he hated me because I knew he was abusive). He knew I had tried to talk her into leaving him.


Regarding the bolded line above: If that came out during your testimony, would that be damaging to her defense? If you're a witness for the defense, you'll be torn apart cross examined by the prosecutor. Do you have any potentially incriminating info that could be used against your friend? A good prosecutor can take just about anything you say and use it to make your friend look bad. For example, you mention that you tried to talk her into leaving her husband and that you ran into her at different places while she was alone. That info may be used to show that your friend had the opportunity to escape her abusive husband. Did you offer her a place to live? When you saw her, was she ever bruised or show signs of abuse? Bottom line, I'd think of any info that could hurt your friend. The fact that you're willing to put yourself through this is probably the first beautiful thing that's come out of a very ugly situation.

ad_lucem
02-06-2010, 09:40 PM
Regarding the bolded line above: If that came out during your testimony, would that be damaging to her defense? If you're a witness for the defense, you'll be torn apart cross examined by the prosecutor. Do you have any potentially incriminating info that could be used against your friend? A good prosecutor can take just about anything you say and use it to make your friend look bad. For example, you mention that you tried to talk her into leaving her husband and that you ran into her at different places while she was alone. That info may be used to show that your friend had the opportunity to escape her abusive husband. Did you offer her a place to live? When you saw her, was she ever bruised or show signs of abuse? Bottom line, I'd think of any info that could hurt your friend. The fact that you're willing to put yourself through this is probably the first beautiful thing that's come out of a very ugly situation.


QFT. Excellent points. And, still think you should do it, for sure.

Ken
02-06-2010, 09:44 PM
... if I were in your position I'd testify, not only because they were my friend, but because it would be the right thing to do. They deserve a fair trial, and your testimony is in a small way necessary to bring that about. At the same time, I think your boss gave you some 'practical' advice and gave it out of concern for you and your own best interests, as he sees it. So don't be too hard on him. Seems like he meant well. And of course I'm sure he's not to keen on losing your valuable help at the office for that day ;-)

sadron
02-06-2010, 10:07 PM
I'd testify also. Be her support!

CheekyWench
02-06-2010, 10:12 PM
I always turn the question on myself. Could I live with my decision if I didn't testify; knowing what I saw, heard, or experienced?

backslashbaby
02-06-2010, 10:18 PM
If you could help clear up anything about a criminal case, I'd hope you saw it as your duty to do that. I mean, you could wonder about it if it's a mob case or something and harm may come to you.

I know I'm just nerdy that way, but friendship doesn't even have to factor. Justice, you know?

Seams
02-06-2010, 10:23 PM
friendship always is a factor with friends

csdaley
02-06-2010, 10:40 PM
I would testify, the truth is the truth.

Yeshanu
02-06-2010, 10:50 PM
I'd testify.

There are far too many people in the world like your boss, who thinks only of what's in it for her.

Then they wonder where all their friends are when they're the ones going through tough times...

If you're feeling upset about your boss's words, here's a book (http://www.amazon.com/Horton-Hears-Who-Dr-Seuss/dp/0394800788) for you. :D

Thump
02-06-2010, 10:51 PM
I would testify too. And I think everyone knows how hard it is for women in abusive relationships to leave. It's very common that no matter how much friends and family try to convince them to leave, they can't bring themselves to do it for fear or shame or hope that things will get better. So, even if it comes out in court, I think it can't damage her case too much. Also, I think most juries and judges will be very sympathetic to an abused wife.

Art_Sempai
02-06-2010, 11:12 PM
http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs11/i/2006/233/a/9/Judge_by_Camikaze.gif
You should testify because you have evidence useful to the defense.
I don't see much drama coming from that.

darkprincealain
02-06-2010, 11:14 PM
I never curse on here. But I am in a "your boss is a dick," kinda mood today. I'd testify if it were me.

ETA: What Art_Sempai said.

brainstorm77
02-06-2010, 11:16 PM
If you witnessed abuse, then you are just telling the truth. I'd do it.

writerterri
02-07-2010, 02:30 AM
Though it may not help her, in some cases it may help lessen her sentence. I guess it depends on the circumstances surrounding the whole thing. Would you want her to testify for you? I think us women have to stick together and support each other even if it does cause drama in our lives.

Follow your heart, darlin'. I would.

Devil Ledbetter
02-07-2010, 03:15 AM
For example, you mention that you tried to talk her into leaving her husband and that you ran into her at different places while she was alone. That info may be used to show that your friend had the opportunity to escape her abusive husband. It would be a rare case where an abused woman would not ever have had any opportunity to leave. Most abused women who end up getting killed are killed because they are leaving or have recently left. I'm not sure how much the physical ability to leave factors into her case. Possibly not at all.

She's been charged with open murder. I don't think there's any chance she'll be acquitted, but which degree of murder she is eventually convicted of will make a difference in her sentencing.


Did you offer her a place to live?I couldn't. I was 18 and living with my parents at the time. She could have moved back in with her own parents, though. I did try to convince her to go to a shelter. The saddest thing about her letter to me was when she said she should have listened to me then.


When you saw her, was she ever bruised or show signs of abuse?Yes. I saw her bruises as well as the handgun he threatened her with. I never had any reason to believe the relationship had improved.

I really appreciate all the support in this thread. My boss kind of made me feel like a dope for wanting to help. I would have done it anyway, but it's comforting to know that when it comes to helping a friend in the worst kind of trouble, most people don't think like my boss.

Ambrosia
02-07-2010, 04:02 AM
I doubt very seriously you will have a choice but to testify. If I were the defense attorney, I would subpoena you because you are a witness to the abuse she endured. Any good defense attorney would.

Devil Ledbetter
02-07-2010, 04:34 AM
I doubt very seriously you will have a choice but to testify. If I were the defense attorney, I would subpoena you because you are a witness to the abuse she endured. Any good defense attorney would.Well, it's true I wouldn't have a choice if subpoenaed. My boss's argument was that I should pretend to know nothing to prevent a subpoena.

Of course I would never do that.

Silver King
02-07-2010, 05:05 AM
...My boss's argument was that I should pretend to know nothing to prevent a subpoena...
Something doesn't seem right about his reaction to your situation, as if he were offering you horrible advice in order to benefit himself in some way.

Not sure if that makes any sense, but can you be sure if he is acting solely in your best interest as this "drama" unfolds?

Art_Sempai
02-07-2010, 05:46 AM
Something doesn't seem right about his reaction to your situation, as if he were offering you horrible advice in order to benefit himself in some way.

Not sure if that makes any sense, but can you be sure if he is acting solely in your best interest as this "drama" unfolds?

Hmm...if your in court your not at work....

Silver King
02-07-2010, 06:41 AM
Hmm...if your in court your not at work....
I thought of that also, but her testimony would last only one or two days at most, hardly enough to steer someone in the wrong direction, if that's indeed what he is doing.

I don't know what to think except that something in his reaction doesn't seem to add up. From the start he was against her involvement, but why? Wouldn't his employee be better served to follow her conscience instead of some hastily contrived reasons that he pulled out of his hat to try to talk her out of becoming involved?

In hindsight, Devil's best approach should have been not to discuss this case with her boss in the first place. It's none of his business. Then when she received a notice to appear, she could've shown him the document; and if he asked what it was all about, she could've told him, truthfully, that she wasn't at liberty to discuss the case.

Devil Ledbetter
02-07-2010, 07:06 AM
In hindsight, Devil's best approach should have been not to discuss this case with her boss in the first place. It's none of his business. Then when she received a notice to appear, she could've shown him the document; and if he asked what it was all about, she could've told him, truthfully, that she wasn't at liberty to discuss the case.You're right. I really didn't think he would react that way. My relationship with my boss is fairly informal in that we talk about whatever is on our minds; he'd come into my office to ask about a recipe when it came up. So ... it's not like I went to him seeking permission about this.

I'm needed at work, but the place isn't going to collapse without me if I'm required to go to court. I also don't think he's just looking to keep me in the office. What Ken said earlier, that it was "practical advice" as my boss sees it, makes sense to me.

What floored me is that his take on it was so different than mine. If he had an old friend in this much trouble and could help, he'd elect not to out of a desire not to be inconvenienced? Wow.

Cranky
02-07-2010, 07:18 AM
Welll, I'm gonna jump on the "testify" bandwagon, too, for what it's worth. I'm sorry your boss made you feel like a dope for wanting to do the right thing, because...yeah, as you said, Wow.

Cath
02-07-2010, 07:32 AM
As long as it's the truth, I don't think friendship is even an issue here. It's the right thing to do, drama or no.

kdnxdr
02-07-2010, 08:02 AM
I think that because so many people in this world want to "look the other way" when something wrong, evil, bad, unjust is happening for many reasons. Most especially, I think, they don't want to get involved because then, in some way, they believe some harm will come to them. And, truthfully, standing up for what's right or against the "bad guys" can "cost us", sometimes even our life. But, that's what keeps the bad "at bay". If no one ever stood up for what was right or just or good, what kind of world would be living in?

Speaking the truth for the sake of speaking the truth is one of the most brave and important things a person can do and, unfortunately, there are alot of people who would rather not. I personally think those people are cowards and self serving and I wouldn't want them on my survival team.

I've been in your friend's situation and, trust me, your testimony can help.

Thank you, for your courage.

kid

PS: If you can think of any type of other evidence you might have like old emails, letters or know of other people that could be called to her defense, you might offer that to her attorney. She's going through so much mentally/emmotionally, you might be better able to remember some things from the past that she can not.

Cella
02-07-2010, 08:20 AM
I would testify.


I'm sorry you and your friend are even in this situation.

Devil Ledbetter
03-26-2011, 05:37 AM
My friend's case came to a close this week. She's been in jail 14 months. Her lawyer convinced her to plead guilty to second-degree murder.

I can see his point: because of the nature of the shooting (she unloaded a 9mm into his back, reloaded and shot him in the head) and the fact that three of their kids (21, 19 and 13) were in the home at the time, it would have been hard to gain the sympathy of the jury even with evidence of abuse.

I wrote a character letter to the judge on her behalf. Monday, I attended her sentencing. When it was time for her to make a statement, she apologized profusely to everyone involved, begged their forgiveness and said she wished she'd have just let her husband kill her.

She was sentence to 22-36 years in prison for the murder, plus an additional 4 years to run consecutively on two firearms charges. I was stunned by the length of the sentence. I can't imagine it would have been any longer had she been convicted of first-degree murder.

Here is the part I can't seem to get over: Wednesday, I received a touching letter from her written the evening after her sentencing. She thanked me for attending and said she was comforted to see me there. She thanked me for all the letters and cards I'd written her while she was in jail, and for my friendship, and asked me to stay in touch while she was in prison. She wrote about how proud she is of her kids and how much she loves them. She even said something sympathetic about her sister-in-law, who gave a damning, and factually untrue, victim's statement at the sentencing.

She didn't say one word about her own fate.

I am bowled over by her dignity and grace.

kdnxdr
03-26-2011, 09:07 AM
Offering strength and encouragement is never wrong.

Sorry to hear of your friends outcome. Surely, there are things that happen to us in life we would rather never go through. Unfortunately, they come and when they do, God grant us the grace to endure and to be brave.

As a Christian, I know God can bring comfort, even in this most difficult time. I pray she finds that comfort.

kid

Devil Ledbetter
03-26-2011, 07:18 PM
Offering strength and encouragement is never wrong.

Sorry to hear of your friends outcome. Surely, there are things that happen to us in life we would rather never go through. Unfortunately, they come and when they do, God grant us the grace to endure and to be brave.

As a Christian, I know God can bring comfort, even in this most difficult time. I pray she finds that comfort.

kidAs an atheist, I don't know God can bring comfort so I've taken to providing some for her myself.

Thanks for your kind words.

DeaK
03-26-2011, 08:31 PM
The sentence seems extreme to me. It's not as if she's likely to kill again after she's released. When does she have possibility for parole?

For me, your boss' belief that 'she killed him so she is a monster who deserves to rot in jail', is a sign of inhumanity. Empathy, which he has none of, is the only way to make a justice system work IMO. It is not about throwing away the key and pretending all of us outside the prisons could never do the things those inside did. I will never understand how some people can distance themselves in that way. It is not only callous, but it is impractical (as it leaves no chance of rehabilitation if everybody just thinks the prisoners are monster. Monsters can only be contained, they cannot be changed).

I like to believe it comes down to fear and weakness for the people who have those views. They need to believe that they are more moral and 'better people' than someone who could commit a crime. This helps them believe they could never commit crime, and it raises them above the people who do. Perhaps they also believe it is the only way for a society to function - to alienate and oust people who do bad things. The thing they're missing is that there are all kinds of criminals out there, and it is the minority who are 'evil' (that should probably be: who have antisocial personality disorder or just, people who can't be helped); most are just people with a lot of bad things going on in their lives.

Personally, I don't believe it makes me more likely to commit crime, just because I admit to myself that I am not so different from a lot of people who do.

I'm not saying everybody's innocent, but that it really is possible, and admirable, for other people to empathize and try to understand how such things could happen.

I'm sorry to say, Devil, your boss is a jerk.

Lyxdeslic
03-26-2011, 09:06 PM
Empathy and humanity are rarely, if ever, considered in our justice system. Once upon a time, perhaps. Perhaps it was even a prevalent factor; Justice, the statue, seems to indicate it may have been.

But no more.

There are so many things wrong with this outcome, I don't even know where to begin. Did she commit a crime? Yes. And she should pay for that. I'm willing to bet she even agrees she should. But should it cost her the majority of the remainder of her life? Fuck, like I said, I don't even know where to begin.

Know that you and she both have someone out here in the universe extending only hopeful, positive, well-wishing thoughts for her soundness and strength. And for her loved ones, too.

Humanity is broken. Argue with me; I dare you.

Lyx

Devil Ledbetter
03-26-2011, 11:52 PM
Know that you and she both have someone out here in the universe extending only hopeful, positive, well-wishing thoughts for her soundness and strength. And for her loved ones, too.
Thank you, my friend.

Devil Ledbetter
03-27-2011, 02:29 AM
For me, your boss' belief that 'she killed him so she is a monster who deserves to rot in jail', is a sign of inhumanity. Empathy, which he has none of, is the only way to make a justice system work IMO. You know what's funny? He occasionally remarks that I have no sympathy for people, which I of course object to (because it's untrue). Then he'll say "It was a compliment. I'm the same way." If that's not projection, I'm not sure what is.

Fortunately he was out of town the day of the sentencing, so I didn't have to explain my long lunch to him.

brainstorm77
03-27-2011, 02:34 AM
People are going to look at this case all sorts of ways. I reserve my own opinion, since I know very little other than what has been posted here.

I'm sure she isn't dancing around for killing him. Killing anyone has to come with a whole mess of baggage when all is said and done.

Devil Ledbetter
03-27-2011, 02:57 AM
People are going to look at this case all sorts of ways. I reserve my own opinion, since I know very little other than what has been posted here.

I'm sure she isn't dancing around for killing him. Killing anyone has to come with a whole mess of baggage when all is said and done.Those who don't actually know her (on our local paper's web site) carry on about what a monster she is. The reaction of those of us who do know her has been along the lines of "Wow. I always thought he'd be the one to kill her."

brainstorm77
03-27-2011, 03:16 AM
Those who don't actually no her (on our local paper's web site) carry on about what a monster she is. The reaction of those of us who do know her has been along the lines of "Wow. I always thought he'd be the one to kill her."

Exactly. That's why I hold my opinion. I don't know her, him or their situation.

heyjude
03-27-2011, 02:56 PM
I'm glad you were able to be there for her. It sounds like it brought her comfort in a terrible situation.

Your boss sounds like some piece of work. :rolleyes:

thethinker42
03-27-2011, 03:55 PM
The sentence seems extreme to me. It's not as if she's likely to kill again after she's released. When does she have possibility for parole?

I'm rather appalled by the sentence, but I'm not sure how objective I am about it because of how it compares with the sickeningly light sentences given to the two men who murdered a friend of mine a few years ago. You want to talk about monsters? Trust me. They were. And one of them is already out. There is something very wrong with our justice system.

Devil, I hope your friend can eventually find peace.

backslashbaby
03-28-2011, 12:29 AM
I'm so sorry to hear her sentence is so long.

I think the justice system is very unfair to a lot of battered spouses in length of sentence. Especially compared to straight-up murder, serial rape, etc. Or criminal negligence caused by businesses (it gets me so angry).

Wishing her peace, and best wishes for the poor kids :( I do think she was very wrong, btw* :( But the punishment isn't fair, considering her extreme situation.

*eta: I don't know enough details to have that opinion mean anything, of course!! She could have been 100% right. It depends on what happened. If it was murder at all, I think a person needs to take responsibility is all I mean.

Devil Ledbetter
03-28-2011, 01:53 AM
I'm so sorry to hear her sentence is so long.

I think the justice system is very unfair to a lot of battered spouses in length of sentence. Especially compared to straight-up murder, serial rape, etc. Or criminal negligence caused by businesses (it gets me so angry).

Wishing her peace, and best wishes for the poor kids :( I do think she was very wrong, btw* :( But the punishment isn't fair, considering her extreme situation.

*eta: I don't know enough details to have that opinion mean anything, of course!! She could have been 100% right. It depends on what happened. If it was murder at all, I think a person needs to take responsibility is all I mean.Oh, I agree she was wrong. No question there.

I just found out her earliest possible parole date is 12/27/2029. :(

At least I was able to go to the offender registry online and find out which prison she was sent to, and her number, so I can write to her now that they've moved her from our local jail.

aruna
03-28-2011, 10:50 AM
Your conscence has already told you what to do. Yes, it will be a drama, but you are doing the right thing.

ETA: Just realised how old this thread is, and that my post is WAY behind the times!:o
I've always had a soft spot for people in prison -- it's where I found God myself, and that's why I chose to work there when I was a social worker.
The sentence is appallingly long, especially in coparison to the short sentences for murder I experienced in the German justice system, and especially as there were mitigating circumstances. I'm picking my jaw off the floor!

Devil Ledbetter
03-28-2011, 09:15 PM
Your conscence has already told you what to do. Yes, it will be a drama, but you are doing the right thing.

ETA: Just realised how old this thread is, and that my post is WAY behind the times!:o
I've always had a soft spot for people in prison -- it's where I found God myself, and that's why I chose to work there when I was a social worker.
The sentence is appallingly long, especially in coparison to the short sentences for murder I experienced in the German justice system, and especially as there were mitigating circumstances. I'm picking my jaw off the floor!I didn't know this about you, Aruna. If you don't mind my asking, how long was your sentence, and how much of it did you end up having to serve?

(I want to ask what happened, but I don't want to be a nosy parker.)

It does seem like her sentence is especially harsh. I wonder if she'd have been better off going to trial. I don't imagine she'd have gotten more than 36 years if she'd been convicted of first degree murder.

shadowwalker
03-28-2011, 09:18 PM
I do agree there were extenuating circumstances here, but perhaps the sentence wouldn't have been quite so long had she not stopped, reloaded, and then shot him in the head. JMHO...

Niti Newtfinger
03-28-2011, 09:19 PM
Testify, for sure. It's easy to leave your friend to deal with the consequences alone, but if you can shed light on the situation in court, that seems like the better thing to do, IMO. I mean, I guess your boss could be right in that it may not influence the verdict, but it still seems like the right thing to do is testify.

Devil Ledbetter
03-28-2011, 10:09 PM
I do agree there were extenuating circumstances here, but perhaps the sentence wouldn't have been quite so long had she not stopped, reloaded, and then shot him in the head. JMHO...Undoubtedly. The kids being home at the time didn't help much either. IMO, and knowing her personally, both factors point to how terrified of him she was.


Testify, for sure. It's easy to leave your friend to deal with the consequences alone, but if you can shed light on the situation in court, that seems like the better thing to do, IMO. I mean, I guess your boss could be right in that it may not influence the verdict, but it still seems like the right thing to do is testify.I would have if asked, but instead of going to trial she pleaded guilty to second degree murder. I did write a nice letter to the judge sharing the facts I was privy to and asking him to be lenient. Fat lotta good that did.

CaroGirl
03-28-2011, 10:32 PM
There are clearly no winners here. DL, the fact that you were willing to testify to help your friend speaks to your conviction and strength of character. You can't change what he did and then what she did, but you can be a person who's willing to tell the truth and do what's right (whether you got the opportunity or you didn't). Too many people take the easy road and simply walk away.

aruna
03-29-2011, 10:50 AM
I didn't know this about you, Aruna. If you don't mind my asking, how long was your sentence, and how much of it did you end up having to serve?

(I want to ask what happened, but I don't want to be a nosy parker.)

It does seem like her sentence is especially harsh. I wonder if she'd have been better off going to trial. I don't imagine she'd have gotten more than 36 years if she'd been convicted of first degree murder.


Oh it's no secret, and first of all I need to apologize for giving the wrong impression -- I used the wrong word: I was in JAIL, not prison. And it was only about five weeks.

OK, here's what happened. I was in Colombia, hiking around the continent, and got picked up by the police for possession of a matchbox of marijuana.
A few days earlier I had had the last of my money stolen; I was sleeping on the beach, homeless, a bit of a vagabond. The police already had my in their sights ofr sleeping on the beach and not having any money. So they were only to pleased to throw me into jail.
I had no idea what was going on. Nobody told me anything. I did not know where to get a lawyer and nobody helped me. I was scared shitless. I had visited an American woman previously who was in prison in Bogota for the same thing -- she had been sentenced to several years so that's what I was facing. I couldn't even write my mother to let her know where I was as I didn't have money for a stamp. I had written her before getting picked up, though, to let her know my money had been stolen.
So that was my position. It was scary -- though jail itself wasn't that bad; there was only one other prisoner, a prostitute. She was nice to me and so were the two wardens. But for me, not kowing what was to happen, it was really bad. One of the wardens told me how strict they were about marijuana possession and that I'd get many years. Apart form that the police seemed to haev forgotten about me. I had no written documents about what was going on, no information, so I was pretty desperate.
That


What followed might seem alien to you but anyway, my last resort was to praym and I did. I kind of collapsed; saw my whole life as the aimless, stupid, weak thing it was, and vowed to change. I asked God for the stregth to stay calm and true whatever happened and however long I had to be in prison, whatever my sentence was.
That very afternoon a police officer came on a motorbike and took me out of prison. He set me free in the town and told me to go home. When I went to the post office there was a cable from my mother, telling me that she had arranged for a plane ticket and it was waiting for me at the KLM office. I flew home the next day. And I kept my vow: changed my life completely, inclding giving up the weed!

ETA this was WAY back in 1972

aruna
03-29-2011, 10:59 AM
Just wanted to add:
this experience became the turning point of my life, and later on I became very interested in working with prisoners - that's why I chose social work in the first place. I saw being in prison as a chance to change. When you have no freedom the only freedom is in your mind, so that's what I wanted to help people with, regardless of what they had done to get there. We all make mistakes, some worse than others, but we all can change. I didn't see change as being necessarily religious, though my change was: it's about changing oneself. Prison can be a great opportunity. In fact, that's all you can do when you;re in.

in 1981 I came to America and worked in the Prison Ashram Project for six months -- I got it to be recognised as part of my internship in Germany. I was based in Cambridge, Mass, and practically ran the the Massachusetts branch of the project because nobody else was interested at the time. I remember a book called Inside Out, written by Ram Dass, which was going around at the time, specifically for people in prison (I just checked - it's no longer in print, but there's another book out called We're All Doing Time). The project used to send books -- all kinds of books, novels etc - to prisoners. We had a whole room of second-hand donated books and nobody was dealing with them, so they gave me that to do -- I had to coordinate the letters we got from prisoners -- hundreds of letters! sort them out and send them packets of free books, till the room was empty. I think they stopped that particular service after that. I haven't checked into what they're doing now, but the Prison Ashram Project is still running; I found this link: http://www.humankindness.org/prisonashramproject.html

ETA: elsewhere on the website I found this; your friend might be interested:

Bo’s first book, We’re All Doing Time (http://humankindness.org/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=HKFC&Product_Code=BWA&Category_Code=BB), now in its 17th printing, is available in several languages. It was hailed by the Village Voice as "one of the ten books everyone in the world should read," and has been lauded by prison staff and prisoners alike as one of the most helpful books ever written for true self-improvement and rehabilitation. The book highlights Bo’s & Sita’s view that revolves squarely around unselfishness and compassion. Bo's other books (http://humankindness.org/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=HKFC&Category_Code=BB) are also available, including an acclaimed children's book.

Devil Ledbetter
03-29-2011, 05:37 PM
Aruna, I am impressed by you (as always) and your beautiful story. Thank you for detailing it, and for the book recommendation. I will find out what the prison's policy is on sending reading materials to inmates and see about getting that book to my friend.

ETA: Although I'm not a believer, I know a lot of people in dire circumstance find comfort in spirituality and I have no qualms about sharing a book like this. My friend does believe in God.

aruna
03-29-2011, 07:44 PM
Aruna, I am impressed by you (as always) and your beautiful story. Thank you for detailing it, and for the book recommendation. I will find out what the prison's policy is on sending reading materials to inmates and see about getting that book to my friend.

ETA: Although I'm not a believer, I know a lot of people in dire circumstance find comfort in spirituality and I have no qualms about sharing a book like this. My friend does believe in God.

Don't mention it! Just talking about that time again brought up a lot of (positive!) emotion and I feel very much for your friend. That's a long slog ahead of her. I'm so glad she has you as a friend.

The book is sent free to anyone in prison. I just checked out the Look Inside the Book on amazon and the address is there.

Devil Ledbetter
03-29-2011, 08:50 PM
The book is sent free to anyone in prison. I just checked out the Look Inside the Book on amazon and the address is there.Wow. People can be so amazingly generous.