Another JAILer-Lawyer With Righteous Principles
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California October 27, 2004Another JAILer-LawyerWith Righteous PrinciplesPeople often ask us "why do we have lawyers on the J.A.I.L. team?" It is because J.A.I.L. is for everyone-- even lawyers AND JUDGES who want to see the legal system brought back to honesty and integrity. That is not a non sequitur nor an oxymoron-- such jurists do exist, some of whom we are happy to say have not only joined our email list, but have become JAILers such as Mr. Parkerson. We are indeed honored to have several lawyers as part of J.A.I.L. who put principle before profit. Our thanks to Mr. Parkerson for sharing his below message with J.A.I.L. which we now share with all of you for your enlightenment and appreciation for this humble and gracious man. -Barbie-JAILer Attorney Hardy Parkerson responding to:Catherine V. Beane, Indigent Defense Counsel
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
1150 18th Street, NW -- Suite 950
Washington, DC 20036
(202)872-8600 ext. 224
I have received about two hundred letters from inmates at Angola, many of them serving life sentences, some of whom tell me horror stories about how they met their court-appointed lawyers for the first time on the morning of their trials, or maybe the Friday before their trials on Monday, and such. Almost 100 percent of them complain of having been inadequately represented by court-appointed attorneys.I am interested in seeing what can be done for them after the fact. I gather the suit filed in Calcasieu Parish is aimed at improving what might happen in the future. Of course, I am interested in this type of litigation, either type: a priori or a posteriori. Frankly, I have not determined yet what I might be able to do to help the guys already in Angola serving life and other long sentences.I generally think of Class Actions as civil matters, not criminal matters; and I think a Class Action for damages for violation of civil rights might be a possibility; but just how to get those convictions reversed and get these guys a new trial or a dismissal, on such a large scale, I really am not sure how to go about it.I think the U.S. Constitution, not to mention the Louisiana Constitution, has been stomped in the mud by those who run the system. In one case that the great Clive-Stafford Smith had something to do with here in Lake Charles, he filed a motion showing that one public "defender" lawyer had upwards of 700 felony cases assigned to just him. I have a copy of that motion naming all of those cases in one motion.Be all that as it may, I am just one lawyer trying to do my best, and that without even a secretary. Of course, if somebody better steps forward to help these guys in Angola, I will gladly step aside. My only interest is if no one else does, then there is always me. I am a bleeding-heart liberal, down-in-the trenches, junk-yard-dog, dog-eat-dog lawyer who has spent almost forty years fighting for the under-dog and for the guy who generally gets screwed (with metal screws) by the legal system.It's all about money! You got money, you get justice; no money, no justice! That's Louisianiraq. In Louisianiraq the district judges even get a percentage of the money a defendant pays a professional bail-bondsman for a bailbond; so that the higher the bonds are set, the more money the judges get. Also, this can be interpreted as a legal way for bailbondsmen to launder money to judges to set the bonds higher, for the higher the bonds are set, the more money the bailbondsmen get. This is just the tip of the iceberg.Also, just to bond out of jail, a defendant has to pay the sheriff a fee of $30.00, in addition to his bond. Even on an R.O.R. bond, the defendant has to pay the sheriff $30.00. I believe the judges even get a cut of that money, although I need to check that out to make sure. Again this is just the tip of the iceberg.The D.A. will even reduce a felony to a misdemeanor and "jointly recommend" with defense counsel that the defendant be placed on D.A.'s Probation for up to two years, whereby the defendant pays the D.A. $1,200.00, over a two-year period under the guise of its being a monthly probation fee of $50.00 a month for doing little more than maintaining a file and collecting the $50.00 fee each month. This is a type of "bribery", for a good defense lawyer can even recommend such to the D.A., and the D.A. gets $1,200.00. So why not reduce the felony to a misdemeanor and jointly recommend to the judge two years of D.A.'s Probation? And the judges always go along with such joint recommendations. What good criminal defense lawyer would not be glad to have his client "legally" pay the D.A. $1,200.00 for reducing a felony to a misdemeanor and having his client be on D.A.'s Probation? As I say, this is only the tip of the iceberg of what is going on in Louisianiraq.Thousands of men languish in jail awaiting trials which never seem to come, primarily because they do not have the money to make bond while awaiting trial. ["In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, ..." Sixth Amendment, U.S. Constitution -Ed.] A new practice has developed in the criminal "justice" system in Louisianiraq, and that is of defendants who plead guilty to get out of jail --not plead guilty and go to jail. As I say, this is just the tip of the iceberg.Yes, I've got an attitude, but I got it honestly. The criminal "justice"system has utterly broken down in Louisianiraq, and nobody seems to care-- not the leaders in the community, not the lawyers, not the judiciary, not law enforcement, not the newspaper-- nobody...nobody that is, but me and the thousands of men in jail awaiting a trial which never seems to come.Yes, I am interested in helping with your project. Feel free to contact me again! Thanks for your e-mail!Sincerely,Hardy Parkerson, Atty.Lake Charles, LAP.S. There are over 1100 men in the two local parish prisons, most of them awaiting a trial which never seems to come; and, yes, they can only call out of the jail to their lawyers by very expensive collect local calls. For years even the so-called Public "Defender" Office had a "block" on its phones so that prisoners could not even call from the jail to their public "defender" lawyers, until I raised so much cane that the P.D.O. and/or the Sheriff took steps to make it possible for a prisoner to call the Public "Defender" Office by a local toll-free call. They can only call me, a private attorney, by these extremely expensive collect-only calls. The sheriffs make hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from these collect-only call systems. As I say, it's all about money! All they want is the money. Almost all of these Angola guys were subject to these collect-call-only phone systems, and their court-appointed lawyers almost all had "blocks" on their phones to block out all collect calls from the jails. There is more to it all than this, but this is something to think about.HMP
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