Terror in the Streets: Prosecution & Gang Culture: David LaBahn 

 

“War … What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing…  Say it again… War… What is it good for?  It ain’t nothin’ but a Heartbreaker…  Friend Only to the Undertaker…”

 

As Motown vocalist Edwin Starr sings of the ravages of the Vietnam War in 1969 in the video above, he could just as well be singing about the terror in the streets of 2014, for there is a war of a different kind…  Gang life is not about fighting and killing for a cause… but for “the sport of it, one-upmanship“if you will!

David LaBahn “Gangs are nothing new…”

We could offer excuses; poverty, lack of parents to provide a moral compass, unemployment, lack of money, easy access to drugs,  accessibility of weapons, racial-cultural intolerance etc., etc.  In fact, these very excuses have become the tools of the trade. However, we know that many, many others grow up in such environments and somehow with the grace of God and moral fortitude and courage, do not get consumed by gang life.  Others become victims by “merely by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  Nevertheless, the “wrong place, wrong time” scenario that frequently comforts some parents may in fact be a fallacy as we learned in this episode of Shattered Lives Radio.   Examining the underbelly of the gang culture is not for the faint of heart.  As an introduction to this show, the following You-Tube Videos shed further light on the pretense of power and devaluation of life both in the streets and behind prison walls.

 Clothing, (Sports Apparel) Status & Appearance with Gangs

Listen to Shattered Lives Radio Podcast

David.ladban@apainc.org

Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
1615 L St. NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC  20036
Phone: 202-861-2480 Fax: 202-223-4688
e-mail –
info@apainc.org

 

 

“Sidebar” Questions

  • Where was the original gang unit and of what was it comprised?
  • What are the differences between the gangs of old and today’s gangs?
  • Is it likely that one can one escape a gang without being killed?
  • Where do gangs hang out?
  • Access to the open market – What’s it all about?
  • How do we reduce violence of gangs via leadership, and civil injunctions?
  • How do you track the activities of gang members inside prison?
  • What is the knowledge level and pressures of correction officers?
  • How do gang members get out?
  • What are girl gangs about?
  • How can we shift through the stereotypes of reasons for involvement of gangs?
  • What is the average age and academic standing of a gang member as a witness?
  • What is flying the rag?”
  • How can we “turn “a gang member?

Terror in the Streets: Prosecution & Gang Culture: David LaBahn

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Until the Twelfth of Never and that’s a Long, Long Time, (Wrongful Incarceration – the Best Kept Secret)

 

Inside H Block 4

INCARCERATION-   or the state of being imprisoned or confined is what is typically known as “just punishment” for a variety of crimes.  However, when it comes to the wrongfully incarcerated, imprisonment is like that old Johnny Mathis song, “Until the Twelfth of Never and that a long, long time,” for a prisoner incarcerated under such circumstances is doubly victimized. For years on end, they will be treated as if they are a criminal in every sense of the word, not knowing if anyone will ever listen to their true accounts amongst the “sea of true murderous liars feigning innocence.” As if it couldn’t get any worse, very few attorneys are in the position to financially carry such a case, which typically can last for several years.

Just One Case in a Crime Ridden City

Brooklyn, New York is a hot spot for crime, interwoven with the most diverse “ethnic-culture and socio-economic complexion” in the US. With a current population of has a population of 2,504,700 residents.

According to NeighborhoodScout.com, the crime rate in Brooklyn is considerably higher than the national average across all communities in America from the largest to the smallest. They found that the violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation. Violent offenses tracked included forcible rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon. According to their analysis of FBI reported crime data, your chance of becoming a victim of one of these crimes in Brooklyn is one in 167.

By the numbers, skeptics would say, it’s not really that bad, as the data is taken out of context. However, private investigators and attorneys who invest in this work have no reason to lie or exaggerate when it comes to the cold hard truth of their workload.

When discussing this topic in hushed tones, one would ask, so what is the answer when as a society, we are faced with ever increasing crime juxtaposed with poverty, and high unemployment, mixed with shoddy investigations, combined with a “rush to judgment “trial and a “throw away the key “ mentality?

You get what you get.  More unjustly accused and imprisoned people who may have been victims of circumstance and false identifications. Do we know the exact numbers? No. But it’s certainly more than a handful.  As of 2010, 29 people were exonerated worldwide.

How do they ever recover even when exonerated?  That is the $64,000 question.  There are a few “lights at the end of the tunnel.”  Namely, the creation of a few Conviction Integrity Units and…. Like knights in shining armor, skilled private investigators like Robert Rahn and Kim Anklin of Management Resources LTD of New York (New Jersey and Florida).  Their current shining achievement is a huge case on a number of levels:    The Case of Jonathan Fleming: UNJUSTLY INCARCERATED   As they are close to a resolution, the case was used for illustrative purposes only, speaking in generalities.  However, Kim Anklin told me that the whole truth and nothing but the truth is just as incredible! So stay tuned for the next chapter!

Bob, Kim, and Defense Attorneys, Anthony Mayol,  and Taylor Koss, spent an intriguing hour with Delilah and this writer on Shattered Lives Radio.  Listen with us! The information is life altering!

Listen to Shattered Lives Podcast

  • National Crime Victim’s Rights Week
  • Defender of the Innocence Awards
  • Introduction to our Guests- Management Resources, Anthony Mayol and Taylor Koss,  Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Another wrongful conviction case with a bad detective that opened up Pandora’s box and shed light the  workings of the Conviction Integrity Unit
  • The role of the PI versus the DA’s office
  • Discussion of resources, skills of private investigators
  • More victims…..
  • Retaliation or gratitude?
  • Tears, apologies, the relevant facts
  • Kim speaks about the comments of Mr. Fleming’s mother
  • “Believed by who?” and the Conviction Integrity Unit
  • The percentages… and the “light at the end of the tunnel” to assist private attorneys
  • A GROUND BREAKING COLLABORATION!
  • What is in store what resources are in place for those exonerated?
  • A select few: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/nyregion/exonerated-now-what.html?_r=0;
  • “The Hurricane” Movie about the Wrongfully Convicted Ruben Carter: http://www.psychologicalscience.com/psylaw/2012/08/the-hurricane.html

 

New York The Court of Claims determines what amount will fairly and reasonably compensate the wrongfully convicted person. His request will be expedited by the court of claims.   The wrongfully convicted person must show “he did not by his own conduct cause or bring about his conviction.” This provision may prevent people who falsely confessed or pled guilty from receiving compensation.

 

  • 2)Anthony Mayol, Esq.

Law Office of Anthony Mayol P.C.

116-55 Queens Blvd.  Suite 201

Forest Hills, New York 11375

(718) 520-8271

am@lawyeram.com

3) Taylor Koss: Everett & Everett                                                                                                                452 Fifth Avenue, 12th Floor                                                                                                                                              New York, NY 10018                                                                                                                                      Office: 212-300-6104

 

Questions from the “Interrogation Room”

  • How did each of the guests become involved on the James Fleming case?
  • What is the scope of the cases in Brooklyn, New York- the former murder capital of the country?
  • Who funds experts needed to help the case go forward?
  • Is the passage of time “the enemy?”
  • What is the greatest concern of witnesses who come forward with the truth?
  • What was the point that “turned the tide” in the Fleming case?
  • What was Mr. Fleming’s approach to his innocence with his team?
  • How are cases chosen and what are the challenges faced by attorneys?
  • How did an adversarial system turn into a sharing experience?
  • What are the “two bites at the apple” in New York after incarceration?
  • What are the options via the legislature and civilly with these cases?
  • What is the significance of the immediacy of need for resources and help versus the foot dragging” of compensation?
  • How is David Ranta doing now?

 

The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.

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In the Shadow of Sandy Hook What Should be the Yardstick for Victim’s Privacy?

 

mass media, privacy, victim privacy

Even 15 months after the most horrendous mass killing of children and adults in recent history, the wounds are still fresh…

A year anniversary passed in December….

A Governor appointed Advisory Council is still grappling with the “why of it” in hopes of gaining insight into the prevention of another mass tragedy of its kind.

Guns, mental health, school oversight, and parental responsibility aside, a town grieves daily. But there are signs of renewed hope with a new architectural design for a new school just completed and a Selectwoman who continues to lead with grace and thoughtfulness.  Using a delicate balance of completing town business and always keeping those who died in our hearts and minds., Pat Llodra accomplishes her mission to ensure the safety and best interests of her residents.

 

A MATTER OF PRIVACY

Release of the 911 tapes: “Release of the audio recordings will also allow the public to consider and weigh what improvements, if any, should be made to law enforcement’s response to such incidents,” Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said.

Pat Llodra, First Selectwoman of Newtown compared the steady leak of information about the investigation of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School to “Chinese water torture she now believes recordings of 911 calls from the school should be made public.

“Every day, there is something in the media that drags us back to that terrible day,” Llodra said. “I think everything that can be released should be released.” She asked that media “treat us kindly” in December 2013, just three months ago.

Although each and every victim has their own opinion regarding what is appropriate and what they can personally tolerate, in the final analysis, dispatchers were calm and handled the situation as trained.  However, this event has opened up a Pandora’s box in that victim’s privacy issues have never been so exposed. Does anyone really want or need to see photographs of dead children and carnage from perpetrator Adam Lanza?

Does the “principles of Free speech” and journalism trump human decency?  Should we rein in the Freedom of Information Act in certain circumstances?

Raised Bill 388 of the Connecticut General Assembly-                                                                       

AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE TASK FORCE ON VICTIM PRIVACY AND THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO KNOW.

Link to Text of the Bill: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2014/TOB/S/2014SB-00381-R00-SB.htm

This bill seemingly covers all bases in scope with 29 separate provisions stating: “Nothing in the Freedom of Information Act shall be construed to require disclosure of…” in situations in which various documents, files or images, it has been determined that the withholding of such in the public’s interest clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure and such disclosures would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.

Specific provisions added  as they relate to crime victims include 27 through 29:

(27) Any record created by a law enforcement agency or other federal, state, or municipal governmental agency consisting of a photograph, film, video or digital or other visual image depicting the body or any portion of the body of a victim of a homicide, to the extent that the disclosure of such record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, [of the victim or the victim's surviving family members.] provided nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit the inspection of such a record in accordance with section 2 of this act;

(28) Any record created by a law enforcement agency or other federal, state or municipal governmental agency consisting of an audio recording of an emergency 9-1-1 call or other call for assistance that is made by a member of the public when such call (A) relates to a homicide, and (B) captures, conveys or relates to the impaired physical condition of the caller or another person, to the extent that the disclosure of such record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, provided nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit listening to such record in accordance with section 2 of this act;

(29) Any record created by a law enforcement agency or other federal, state or municipal governmental agency consisting of an audio recording that is an operative communication among law enforcement personnel when such communication (A) relates to a homicide, and (B) captures, conveys or relates the impaired physical condition of the caller or another person, to the extent that the disclosure of such record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, provided nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit listening to such record in accordance with section 2 of this act.

(Bracketed text is recommended for deletion while the remainder of 27-29 was underlined in the Bill, meaning that it is new information to be added). As can be noted, this language covers records, photos, videos created by law enforcement,, depicting a body or a portion thereof, audio recordings that convey information concerning a homicide or the impaired physical conditions of victims, and requests for copies of images and audio recordings, including copying of images in which victim families have submitted a written objection  to the image.

The other provisions include “everything but the kitchen sink” such as medical files, trade secrets, financial and commercial, content of real estate appraisals , records between those with privileged relationships, school enrollment records, investigative records, adoptive records, town petitions, educational and mental health records, security manuals, emergency plans, correctional institution material, records from government owned or leased institutions, security system information, Department of Transportation records, parks and recreation  minor attendees, etc.

STATUS:

This Bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee as of 3-4-2014 after which a Public Hearing  of the Government Administration and Elections Committee was held  on 3-10-2014, lasting  5½  hours (inclusive of all bills within that committee.)                                                                                           Link: http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=10015

The number of entities testifying on behalf and against this bill is listed as follows:

To date, the GAE Committee voted 8 to 6 in favor of the bill. It may pass on to other committees prior to the end of the session on May 7th (a short legislative session this year.)

 

Judiciary Committee
03/10/2014 American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut – David McGuire 03/10/2014 CCFOI and Privacy and FOI Task Force – James H. Smith
03/10/2014 Connecticut Bar Association – Daniel J. Klau 03/10/2014 Connecticut Broadcasters Association – Michael P. Ryan
03/10/2014 Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information – Claude Albert 03/10/2014 Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association – John T. Walkley
03/10/2014 Connecticut Daily Newspapers Association – Chris VanDeHoef 03/10/2014 Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission – Colleen M. Murphy
03/10/2014 Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists – Jodie Mozdzer Gil 03/10/2014 CT Daily Newspapers Assoc. – Chris VanDeHoef
03/10/2014 CT Division of Criminal Justice 03/10/2014 CT Office of Chief Public Defender – Susan O. Storey
03/10/2014 CT Office of the Victim Advocate – Garvin G. Ambrose 03/10/2014 Don DeCesare
03/10/2014 Freedom of Information Commission 03/10/2014 Mitchell W. Pearlman
03/10/2014 Rep. Angel Arce 03/10/2014 Rep. Leonard A. Fasano
03/10/2014 Senator Donald E. Williams, Jr. 03/10/2014 South Windsor Police Department – Matthew D. Reed
03/10/2014 The 26 Families of the Victims of the Sandy Hook School Shooting 03/10/2014 The 26 Families of the Victims of the Sandy Hook Shooting – Morgan Rueckert
03/10/2014 The Freedom of Information Commission    

 

IN MY OPINION:

The Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and the public’s right to know need to be forever balanced. When respect and human dignity are “thrown out the window” in favor of media ratings than we have sunk to a new low in society. I am not sure when we veered off course in favor of sensationalism and gore.  However, I do know that the pendulum needs to swing back. Crime victims need to take control and draw clear boundaries for themselves. This is an area with which we should not have to be concerned.  However, we are placed in this position by the sheer number of atrocities occurring. Let’s stop the madness and   use some common sense and human decency.  Government should not have to legislate human decency! If this legislation is passed by the end of the session, may it serve as a model for other states as well as a cautionary tale regarding journalists’ lack of moral compass.

With that said, an answer to reliving some of the pain of a surviving family’s experience following homicide, is my customized Victim Impact Statement Assistance.  Using my skills and experience, I can paint the picture with and for you, such that the court or Board of Pardons and Parole can truly know your family member.  It will be a testament of the heart, relieving you of the burden at a most vulnerable time.   If I can help you or your family, please contact me.

In the Shadow of Sandy Hook What Should be the Yardstick for Victim’s Privacy?

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Unlocking the Key To Our Souls: Does Social Media Have Its Place with Chronic Illness and Crime Victimization?

tree-240470_640
“First I was helped, Now I am helping, Now I’m back to being part of the world.”                    
Chronic Illness Patient in Pam Ressler’s Research Study

“Behind every stressful thought is the desire for things to be other than they are.”

Toni Bernhard, How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers

“Capable, generous men do not create victims, they nurture victims.”

Julian Assange

Miraculously recover or die. That’s the extent of our cultural bandwidth for chronic illness.”

S. Kelley Harrell

“So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault & responsibility of the adult― Ellen Bass, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
When discussing social media, it reminds me of those spectacle events about which we have no control such as the releasing of balloon to the sky, fireworks or confetti thrown at a wedding.  You “throw it out there” and although it makes you feel liberated, you never know where it’s going to land.   The human touch is said to be the most healing of all – a gesture, a smile, a hug. As human beings we need this sense of touch, but frequently the need between people may not match between giver and receiver.  So we are left to stand awkwardly or to take the risk and make a match.
Behind our computers, some may feel a false sense of security where social conventions are different.  In today’s society in which electronic connections appear to rule, we often chose the most rapid method available.    Social media was never meant to be our best buddy, to replace true flesh and blood family and friends, to offer solace and support.  However, because those diagnosed with chronic illness or those victimized by crime become social pariahs “in a New York minute” except for the most patient supporters, we are left to our own devices. The power of words…   Words can lift us up, but words can also hurt and tear us down if we are not vigilant of the public, long-lasting nature of its properties on-line.  At it’s basic level:

WHAT IS A BLOG??

The Shattered Lives team took a closer look at the influence of social media and the healing or damaging effects that can be brought to bear on those with chronic illnesses or those who have been victimized by crime or other tragedies. Our guest, Pam Ressler, RN, mind, body, spirit advocate, business owner, writer/researcher, educator and social media aficionado, led the discussion to pave the way toward a better understanding. The following are selected highlights of the podcast.

Listen to Shattered Lives Radio Podcast

Questions from the Gallery

· What is “stress hardiness” and what does the research tell us?
· What cultural influences have shaped our outlook in becoming more aware of the possibility of trauma?
· What is Mindfulness and how does it relate to our daily lives?
· What was Delilah’s experience in creating a blog for her close friend with chronic illness?
· What are Pam’s impressions with those on line who suffer from chronic illness?
· Why did most chronically ill patients who blog not want to share with their health care providers?
· How is blogging different than using a pad of paper?
· How can crime victims best express what has happened to them?
· How can we be mindful as “non-victims?”
· How do blogs give back to victims?

The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.

Unlocking the Key To Our Souls: Does Social Media Have Its Place with Chronic Illness and Crime Victimization?

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“No One Stepped Into Their Path”- the Prophecy of Monica Caison and the CUE Center for Missing Persons

Monica Caison, Founder CUE Center for Missing Persons

“The silence of ignorance can be deafening  and therefore we must break it whenever the opportunity is presented.” Donna R. Gore

The book “The Road Less Traveled” has made publishing history, with more than 10 years on The New York Times bestseller list, sales of more than 7 million copies translation into more than 23 languages. It’s been 36 years since its inception into the publishing world. Author M. Scott Peck’s timeless message concerns the nature of loving relationships and helps to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self. Its opening line is “Life is difficult and the journey to spiritual growth is a long one.” ‘So true…

Although books have their place, I submit to you that no author has made the impact as compared to “the school of hard knocks” on a person-to-person level, touching the flesh, the hearts and souls of humanity than Monica Caison., Founder of the CUE Center for Missing Persons.

Monica is a warrior in tune with the woods, the waterways, the alleys, the streets, ultimately the ramshackle lives of those ho “go missing” for inexplicable and heart wrenching reasons. The truly amazing attributes of the CUE Center for the Missing rest with their founding principles and the lack of judgment. No matter what the circumstance, the Cue Center is there to serve.Monica Caison, CUE Center for Missing Persons, Donna R. Gore

Particular phrases come to mind – self sacrifice, going way beyond the extra mile …”colorblindness,” volunteerism at its best, compassion, lots of tough love, strategic coordination, crying and laughing in the same conversation, never leaving a person without a “port in the storm.”” Never say never,” “All things are possible with the right plan of action.”

With an eye toward the future as all good CEOs should have, the organization not only carries on, but thrives with dedication and heart, including new projects on the horizon that will increase visibility and education, changing attitudes and putting the focus where it needs to be… on the victims and their families, as human beings deserving of respect, attention and the full complement of resources afforded everyone.

Offering a wide range of free services, CUE has since helped more than 9,000 families in what is often the most confusing and desperate times of their lives. In addition to providing services for the missing and their families, CUE offers college internships and youth mentoring programs.
CUE is entirely donation funded and staffed by volunteers, including Monica Caison, who takes no salary from the organization.
What was simply a dream, name and purpose, is now a nationally-recognized center that answers hundreds of calls for help each year.

Donations to CUE Center are gratefully accepted at their website: http://ncmissingpersons.org

10th Annual National Missing Persons Conference

2014ConfPosterThe Theme: “Breaking the Silence” Victim No More” speaks to breaking the silence by setting family members free to tell their story, educating, the public, law enforcement, and other agencies who have pre-conceived ideas about what it’s like to be a victim, to make the effort to really know who is missing and to communicate with the people who can provide the most assistance without regard to past history.

There is a liberation that a victim experiences and a sense of community and safeguarding when you first “reveal your painful soul” to an audience who well knows what you have experienced. Rather than “living in a fishbowl,” you feel a sense of relief like never before. I bore witness to this in the new connections made this year at the 10th Annual Conference (always a reunion for repeat attendees).

There is always that person who walks in the door not knowing anything about the CUE, having come as a result of a news story, an advertisement, an electronic link, a personal recommendation. No matter how they arrive, it doesn’t take long to feel the magic of camaraderie and Southern hospitality, regardless from what state members travel.

I am thinking of a woman who may have been tormented for answers concerning her mother who tragically went missing by a combination of forces, an athletic spirit for hiking, an iron will to “do it her way” and worsening dementia. Evidently, this was a lethal combination. Does it make it any less heartbreaking that she was participating in a sport she truly loved? Does it make it worse that her daughter had plans to implement her “plan of action” concerning her mother’s worsening memory next week, when next week never came? I do not know. What I do know is that she spoke publicly, seemingly “blossomed like a flower” and came to her own peaceful conclusion with her former major regrets.

Presentations at CUE Center for Missing Persons Conference

  • Raymond Bechard- Author, Producer, Human Rights Advocate and Human Trafficking Expert;
  • David Sullivan – Retired Sheriff, Lead Instructor for Ground Search & Rescue;
  • Dr. Scott Bonn – Professor of Criminology, Media Expert, Author;
  • Sheryl McCollum –Law Enforcement Professional, Director of the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute
  • Peter Hyatt- Civil Investigator and Statement Analysis Expert;
  • Gaetane Borders - Psychologist, Writer, Public Speaker and President of “Peas in their Pods”
  • Elaine Pagliaro- Assistant Executive Director of the Henry C. Lee Forensics Institute, Forensic Scientist and Attorney;
  • Karen Beaudin- Author, Advocate for Cold case Units, Public Speaker and Survivor of the Missing;
  • Holly Hughes- Former Senior Assistant DA Fulton County GA; & Legal Analyst;

CUE Center for Missing Persons Conference speakers

 

A good ending to an experience is like the icing on a cake or the ribbon on your favorite gift. Monica delivered just that, as she spoke from the heart about the epidemic of runaway teens.

As a group they tend to evolve into people they would otherwise never become, if not for forces beyond their control; sexual assault, rape, drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution escalating to human trafficking, misdemeanor crimes and even felonies in the escape from and the running to something as a means of survival.

Her refrain in telling us many illustrative stories was “No One Stepped into their Path” meaning that no one offered a non-judgmental helping hand to show them a different way, show them their value as a human being with potential and ensure their safety from harm’s way. She seldom took credit as she spoke. Rather, she told of how she was able to peel away the layers, get to the heart of the matter, establish trust and a kernel of understanding, and in the process creating many life long bonds.

It’s like kicking the can down the road. Who will stop and do something about a bad situation rather than make excuses? You can rest assured that Monica Caison and her team will always step into the path when needed!

I, Donna Gore, am the CUE Center  State Outreach Coordinator for the State of Connecticut, and I know I will be stepping into the path of many lives in the future!

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The Unjustly Convicted Are Not Only Innocent, They are Victims Too!

Innocence Project, Shattered Lives, Donna R. Gore

The Innocence Network is composed of 46 states, and several countries around the world.  As of 2010, 29 people were exonerated worldwide.

The First Innocence Project was founded in 1992 as a consequence of the landmark study by the U.S. Department of Justice with the Benjamin Cardoza School of Law, in which it was revealed that incorrect eyewitness identifications were a factor in over 70% of wrongful convictions! Attorneys Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld were the founding members in conjunction with the Cardoza School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City.

  • The New York based Innocence Project is funded as follows: 45% individual donations; 30% from Foundations; 15% via their annual benefit dinner 7% by the Law School and various Corporations.
  • The Connecticut Innocence Project-Post Conviction Unit (within the State Office of the Public Defender Services) has a mission to “isolate cases of incarcerated persons who have been convicted of crimes in the State of Connecticut for which they are innocent and seek exoneration. The CIP was started by former Public Defender Gerry Smyth with the assistance of Brian Carlow and Karen Goodrow in the summer of 2005. One had an interest in DNA, the other attorney in wrongful convictions (“a marriage made in heaven”). Pro bono office space was given by the Hartford law firm of McCarter and English, beginning in 2006.
  • In 2006, CIP took the Case of James Calvin Tillman, wrongfully convicted of beating, robbing and raping a 26-year-old female. After new DNA evidence proved his innocence conclusively (versus the incorrect eyewitness identification of the victim). Mr. Tillman was released from prison in June 2006 after serving 18.5 years! http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/James_Tillman.php
  • Following James Tillman’s exoneration, in May 2007, the State of Connecticut awarded him $5 million dollars for the wrongful conviction.
  • In the summer of 2007, the Connecticut Legislature granted funding to the Connecticut Innocence Project to hire four full-time staff, adding another trial attorney and a former police officer-experienced investigator of capital cases to the pre-existing staff.
  • In 2009, Miguel Roman’s case was chosen as one of two wrongfully convicted who were exonerated following a prison term of 20+ years! Roman was charged with murder in the brutal beating and strangulation of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.  Circumstantial evidence and interrogation-interview in English versus Spanish caused him to give conflicting accounts.  DNA analysis of clothing proved the murderer to be another assailant. Roman was freed on December 19, 2008, and his exoneration became official on April 2, 2009, when the murder charge pending against him was dropped. http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Miguel_Roman.php
  •  Another successful CIP Case  beginning in 2007 and ending in 2009, was that of Kenneth Ireland, falsely accused of sexually assaulting and killing a 30 year old factory worker and mother of four by a severe blow to the head in 1986. Ultimately, two male and one female “witnesses” made false accusations to the police about a confession. Consequently, Mr. Ireland was charged with felony murder, first-degree sexual assault and third-degree burglary. Problems with witnesses dying or never charged, inconsistent fingerprint evidence and lack of admission of evidence by the judge were some of the barriers encountered.  In the final analysis, more advanced D\NA evidence ruled out Kenneth Ireland as the murderer. He wrongfully served a prison term of 19 years prior to being released! http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Kenneth_Ireland.php
  • The Volume of Cases with the Connecticut Innocence Project:  As of October 2013, CIP was in the process of reviewing over 100 cases for consideration. Criteria for consideration: 1) Some new form of evidence must exist such as DNA or other evidence; 2) The New found evidence must reasonably assist in proving innocence.

Wrongfully convicted are victims, not criminals

Customized Victim Impact Statement Assistance is available for those victims, family, and friends who are facing one of the most stressful times of their lives.   For those who have suffered irreparable damage either as a wrongfully convicted person or as a “traditional crime victim,” there is help. There is hope in the form of a personalized manner, custom  tailored to your specific needs.

Can you just imagine what the impact of wrongful conviction had on Mr. Tillman, Mr. Roman and Mr. Ireland?  I cannot imagine! Although I personally recall only Mr. Tillman’s case, I do not recall specifics of his victim impact statement.  Did he work on it for 18.5 years? Did he have the proper assistance?   Was he satisfied with his own words during such an emotional event? We do not know!

Additional References:

http://www.ct.gov/ocpd/cwp/view.asp?a=4087&Q=479210&ocpdNav=|

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innocence_Project

 The Unjustly Convicted Are Not Only Innocent, They are Victims Too!

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Marilyn Gambrell: “The Piped Piper” for Houston’s Children of the Incarcerated

No More Victims,Marilyn Gambrell, Shattered Lives, Donna R. Gore

Marilyn Gambrell and a few of her “kids.”

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” Brene Brown, Ph.D

(Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.)

The Pied Piper of Hamelin is the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great number of children from the town of Hamelin, Lower Saxony, Germany, in the Middle Ages. The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in multicolored clothing, leading the children away from the town never to return. In the 16th century the folk-lore expanded in which the piper is a rat-catcher hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe. When the citizens refused to pay for this service, he retaliated by turning his power that he put in his musical instrument on their children, leading them away as he had the rats.

The translated version of poet Robert Browning’s story includes the following verse:

Rats!
They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook’s own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats

Truth is, such a hateful description might describe unwanted children of that time.  Such is the reality of Marilyn Gambrell and her charges.  She has been “Mama Gambrell “to the children of Houston, Texas, since 1993 when she began “No More Victims.   Marilyn Gambrell

Following years of service as a parole officer, Marilyn singlehandedly fought for the rights of these children, weighted down by burdens heavier than most seasoned adults could ever bear! Trying their souls:  homicide, human trafficking, rape, sexual assault, physical and verbal abuse, neglect, starvation, rage, anger,  suicidal ideation, illness, cutting and more.  She has garnered support, educational resources and medical treatment along the way, but, even now, it is “a virtual drop in the bucket of need.”

What is needed is everything that is lacking  from the most basic to that which we all take for granted.  No More Victims is indeed rich in things that do not cost money, such as love, compassion, lack of judgment, the ability to listen, support, inspire and provide a “safety net.”

Indeed, their lives are like a kaleidoscope,  a complex pattern of constantly changing colors and shapes, and with Marilyn in awe of the accomplishments of their fragile psyches, each of them taking baby steps and reaching heights no one thought capable!

The Shattered Lives Team featured Marilyn as a repeat, warmly welcomed, guest to discuss the challenges, the realities, and what’s on the horizon for “No More Victims” and her kids.

  Listen to Shattered Lives Radio Podcast

  • Introduction to our guest
  • Background information and her non-residential interactions
  • Discussion of relieving some of the stress and the results seen
  • The power of “the same secrets”
  • Beginning to talk and taking leadership roles: including “Sergeant at arms”
  • Calming down, loving, listening and nurturing- We can change it all!
  • Delilah asks about the link to human trafficking and their infiltration to these children
  • The “hot topic” of trafficking versus her children  Do they get enough attention?
  • Mixed messages… “Bless your heart”…BUT
  • The child will lead the way if we allow them to
  • The University of Texas Medical Clinic available:  http://www.uth.edu/
  • A documentary on the horizon to really tell their life stories!
  • No dying, self injury or hurting someone else ….before education is thought of
  • What are the three components to the program?
  • A play in the making with Virginia Lange https://www.facebook.com/virginia.lange
  • Contact Information:
  • NO MORE VICTIMS , PO 440002, Houston Texas 77244-0002
  • No More Victims: DONATIONS: http://www.nomorevictimsincglobal.org/donations.html

Questions from the “Classroom”

  • What does it mean to live and breathe in their reality?
  • How do we break the cycle of the damage of parental incarceration?
  • What is the importance of the children designing and enforcing the ground rules?
  • What is the largest at risk population in the country and is it dealt with effectively?
  • What are some examples of the children taking ownership?
  • How does Marilyn deal with the families?
  • What are Marilyn’s alternatives to punishment?
  • How is human trafficking dealt with in her schools?
  • What is the situation with parents selling children?
  • How do we change the public perception of these children?
  • How will they be increasing their visibility in the future – before and after?
  • What will be happening in the future in terms of increased visibility?
  • What is part of Marilyn’s future dream for her kids?
  • What is available for organized conferences for children of Incarcerated adults?

The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.

 

References: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/hameln.html#browning

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pied_Piper_of_Hamelin

 

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Plea Agreements- Are They Half a Loaf?

Plea agreement, victim impact, Donna R. Gore

One of the worse ordeals in the life of a crime victim that has experienced violent crime bar none, is the participation in the trial process.  In reality, a very small number of crimes actually make it to trial.   For expert information about this process, listen to the episode of Shattered Lives Radio with guest David LaBahn, President/CEO at Association of Prosecuting Attorneys

Definition of Plea Agreement via Findlaw.com

The process whereby a criminal defendant and prosecutor reach a mutually satisfactory disposition of a criminal case, subject to court approval.

Plea bargaining can conclude a criminal case without a trial. When it is successful, plea bargaining results in a plea agreement between the prosecutor and defendant. In this agreement, the defendant agrees to plead guilty without a trial, and, in return, the prosecutor agrees to dismiss certain charges or make favorable sentence recommendations to the court. Plea bargaining is expressly authorized in statutes and in court rules.

Prior to being thrust into the ranks of a crime victim, one usually has anecdotal information about what actually occurs. The passage of time between the offense and trial is truly “a lifetime,” with its many steps and “strategic delays employed by the defense.” However, from the standpoint of “the State,” in order to expedite the process and save money, frequently a plea bargain is sought.

Would crime victims prefer a “cut to the chase” once they are told of the court trial journey? Alternately, do most crime victims insist on their day in court regardless?   When I conducted a search, there was little hard data via the internet to ascertain the answer to this question. However, there is quite a bit on the advantages for the defendant to plea bargain (i.e. avoiding or reducing jail time, having the  certainty versus risk of a trial, significant reduction of sentences and reduction in  the number of charges, reducing hassles and stigma and  REDUCTION OF EXPENSE!).  In general, I would speculate that all crime victims want to see a perpetrator serve the longest sentence possible however it happens, no ifs, ands or buts!

The State of Connecticut is an “opt in “ state in which you, as the vulnerable victim have to take the initiative to fill out forms, let state agencies know your intentions in writing, and deal with the bureaucracies in addition to the overwhelming task of dealing with all of the other uncontrollable forces  that come with victimization. Whereas, in other states, the victim is automatically offered the information and you can chose to “opt out” which, in my opinion, is much less stressful and energy zapping!

PAPERWORK, PAPERWORK, PAPERWORK 

In my home state of Connecticut, as in many others, if your case is being considered for a plea agreement, the victim can request a copy of the terms of the agreement between the state and the defendant.  A request must be made to the jurisdictional state’s attorney. Although our law does not specify how to make the request, it is advised that it be in written form via certified mail with return receipt. The victim is required to submit a self-addressed stamped postcard for such notifications. The Notice of Intent to Exercise Crime Victim Rights includes many types of notices and requests depending upon your circumstances. This form can be downloaded from the internet or mailed and includes notification regarding plea and sentencing hearings.

Notice of Plea and Sentencing Hearings( State of Connecticut , as an illustration)

Prior to the acceptance of a plea pursuant to a plea agreement and prior to the imposition of a sentence, the prosecutor must advise the crime victim of the date, time and place of the original sentencing hearing or any judicial proceeding concerning the acceptance of a plea pursuant to a plea agreement.

The victim must inform the prosecutor that she or he wishes to make or submit a statement to the court and has complied with a request from such prosecutor to submit a stamped, self-addressed postcard for the purpose of such notification.  (C.G.S. §54-91c)

Plea bargains, as stated earlier, are designed to “dispose of cases more efficiently, “”unclog the docket” while weighing the interests of the citizens of the State and finally, the victim’s family. At times, the wishes of each party may coincide. However, more often than not, the victim’s family feels that the sentence imposed is “not just” that they have been short changed, particularly when only a percentage is served and when “good time” is added (if applicable).

For another perspective of the very limited information on crime victims and plea bargains, this report written by legal journalist Robin L. Barton offers a case example and briefly how  a couple of other administer, or do not administer victim rights when it comes to plea deals.

Importance of the Victim Impact Statement in court 

Whether a plea is struck or a lengthy trial is pursued, there can be no more powerful a moment in your personal association with the criminal justice system than to “have your say.”

Creating the appropriate victim impact statement can be a daunting task for families during one of the most traumatic times in their lives. After the initial loss, the journey through the judicial system can be equally frustrating, time-consuming and emotionally draining, re-traumatizing and bringing grief back to the surface. To best utilize the victims’ right to present a victim impact statement at trial, you must be clear-headed and as objective as possible, which for the crime victim is next to impossible.

I can assist crime victims with a personal and customized Victim Impact Statement and help take some of the burden away from your family at a time when tension and stress are at an all time high.  Professionally, but objectively, written to convey your feelings, emotions, and opinions regarding your case for the court record.  Contact me early for this invaluable service.

 

Plea Agreements- Are They Half a Loaf?

 

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Moving from the Darkness into the Light,“Mr. Madam” Goes Public

Ten Cents a Dance…or is that $8,000 a Month as an “Escort”?

black-34895_640In the 1930’s based movie “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” people of the Depression era were desperate for money and would literally dance until they dropped, the last couple standing being the winner. Another type of dancing in the Depression years was one for ordinary women, housewives, to “eek out a living. “ These dances were held in dance halls, in which a band playing. Women were available for dancing at the price of 10 cents per dance and selected by the man.  At times, it might have led to other “more physical transactions.”
Ruth Etting captured the pathos of these women, and the times in which they lived, in her 1930 recording of the song “Ten Cents a Dance”, written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

Excerpt of the lyrics:

“Ten Cents a Dance” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

I work at the Palace Ballroom,
but, gee that Palace is cheap;
when I get back to my chilly hall room
I’m much too tired to sleep.
I’m one of those lady teachers,
a beautiful hostess, you know,
the kind the Palace features
at exactly a dime a throw.
Ten cents a dance
that’s what they pay me,
gosh, how they weigh me down!
Ten cents a dance
pansies and rough guys
tough guys who tear my gown!
Seven to midnight I hear drums.
Loudly the saxophone blows.
Trumpets are breaking my eardrums.
Customers crush my toes.

In contrast to the “Ten cents a dance” of yesteryear and street level  prostitution, professional escorts are groomed to meet the needs of lavishly wealthy men who are willing to pay any price.  Escorts have regular customers and often provide a variety of services. They are well paid and they know their business.

Although John was born and brought up by parents who were religious leaders of the highest order, his aspirations and drive to be the next “Don King” did not mesh with his upbringing. He was on a collision course with fame of his own making.

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After John Pace, self-made superstar Marketing Consultant in Northeast Ohio,  (President of the World Class Events Management), representing  such companies as  Brown & Williamson Tobacco, RJR Nabisco, Coca- Cola USA, and Anheuser Bush, made millions for his clients, it all came crashing down around him in 2001.

A pivotal week-long sports and entertainment event was set to propel him to even greater heights, at the same time as the Twin Towers came crashing down on in New York City and the word’s psyche, so too did John Pace’s future. It was at that time when John reached the point of no return for several years and turned to the dark side of human degradation, using his marketing and promotion talents to fund his thirst for power and money in the sex trafficking trade.

Like the Pied Piper, he found “the right women to groom,” building an empire that would be his “house of cards.”  In June of 2009, he was so  tired of the sorrowful stories he had heard previously and could hang on no longer. He had to face who the self-destruction, his family and the collateral damage he caused for so many victims!  John saw the light, found God again and the true meaning of life, vowing to give back on the right side of the law.

John Pace, “Mr. Madam”  has chosen to “come out “ and make his sordid past public exclusively  on “Shattered Lives” Radio in hopes of re-inventing himself, educating the public and providing solutions to the evils of the sex trade as he knew it, starting with the Charlotte, NC AHEC Conference.  Join us for the provocative and intriguing interview with the former “Mr. Madam.”

Listen to Shattered Lives Radio Podcast

  • Introduction to our guest and Human Trafficking statistics
  • John Pace’s background – “born and raised”  and his initial business enterprises… “Chasing the dream”
  • More concerned with winning versus being successful explained
  • The process of building World Class Events Management
  • 2001- Embarking upon the largest sporting event in Cincinnati- juxtaposed with September 11, 2001
  • Spiraling down further and building the infamous sex trafficking  “ The Mansion” in 2006,
  • DECEIT and “ I have to do something to maintain my lifestyle”
  • The Four Stages to becoming a Male Madam
  • Responsibilities of a Madam  beginning with “ the Perfect Neighborhood”
  • The process of getting customers
  • “Knowing all of the tricks”….. Who was conned?
  • Emily Post -  What has she got to do with this discussion?
  • Getting out….
  • John’s daughter and connection to reality
  • John’s book- and feeling powerless; http://johnpace.org/the-redemption-of-mr-madam/
  • The Elliot Spitzer Scandal and John’s proliferation in the industry
  • “Sasha” – the main character in his book
  • What is the status of his former girls?
  • John’s sincerity, his mission , message and strategy
  • Ohio’s prison re-entry and recidivism
  • “Great civilizations fall one person at a time” – Prostitution is not a victimless crime
  • What is the structure of John’s current venture?
  • Compassion to Act: Non-Profit in North Carolina: http://ncstophumantrafficking.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/compassion-to-act/
  • Charlotte AHEC Conference: Register at: 704-512-6054; https://www.charlotteahec.org/continuing_education/registration/workshop.cfm?EventID=40521
  • Procuring high school & college students- John’s plan to educate http://johnpace.org/johns-current-affairs/
  • Special Advanced  Book Offer for Listeners: http://johnpace.org/the-redemption-of-mr-madam/ 

finalbookcovervol2tromm-1

Questions from “the Mansion:”

  • What’s the mindset of a madam to do this work?
  • What is the percentage given back to the Madam by a high-class escort?
  • Why was John’s marketing background key to his success?
  • How did John establish loyalty with his escorts?
  • What was the breaking point enabling  John to turn his life around?
  • Why couldn’t hear the stories anymore?
  • What occurred with John’s criminal record?
  • Why did the girls stay and what did they have to do?
  • How many escorts did he procure and how many “wanted out”?
  • What has John been doing  legitimately since 2009
  • How do we make arresting offenders profitable?
  • What is John’s role in the AHEC Conference on April 4th  ?

References: http://robertwilliamsofbrooklyn.blogspot.com/2011/03/ten-cents-dance-ruth-etting.html

http://www.howtobecomeanescort.net/start-escorting/is-escorting-for-me/how-much-money-do-escorts-make

The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.

Moving from the Darkness into the Light,“Mr. Madam” Goes Public

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Compassion Versus A “Kick in the Ass”

 

Crime victim, compassion, Donna R. Gore

Being a victim of crime is a delicate balance.  In the beginning, you are like a “sponge “who soaks up all of the emotions as they come in a flurry of activity.  And, it’s mostly bad. You can’t see the forest for the trees. You may have a blind trust in the system based upon what others might have told you, or what you have seen on television; particularly if your family unit has walked the straight and narrow and you were “just a victim of circumstance.”

What keeps you upright and able to function depends upon many factors.  Do you have an inner strength, a resilience that is already built in?  Are you a good problem solver?  Can you “go solo” if other family members veer off in other directions? Is your support system composed of just “fair weather friends” or are some in it for the long haul? Are you a person that typically retreats or do you reach out? Have you figured out what makes you feel better no matter what happens?  Do you have the means to get away from your immediate environment for awhile if only to assimilate the drastic change that has taken place?    Can you picture yourself being “therapized” by a professional counselor in a one to one relationship, or perhaps in a support group with others experiencing similar crimes?

How do you know who to trust?  Who will safeguard your feelings no matter how irrational they seem? Will your best friend not judge you and place expectations if you do not “bounce back “in two weeks?  Sleeping too much; Not sleeping at all; overeating, under-eating, drinking to cover the pain. All of these and more could be part of your scenario as a crime victim.

The length of time taken to “recover “and discover a new normal is highly variable. However, in general, if the intense pain and anger remains with you for several weeks to months, you need professional remediation.  I can spot these victims ten miles away, their demeanor, their lack of motivation, the language they use, their poisonous view of life.” The reality is that if this is the person looking into the mirror, it is not truly “your fault.”  Ahhh, but life is never fair.  The “higher power” who deals the cards is to some extent, in control of destiny.

Crime Victims and Compassion

What about age and gender?  The generally perceived to be true, yet unscientific observation is that males typically are the late bloomers in life, and less mature than the female gender.   However, they also are acculturated to be “a man” devoid of emotion just by virtue of being male.  How very unfair!  So,  we really have to be more patient with the male species and accept “as is” for the short term.  Picking them for life partners is an entirely different story and fodder for another time.

I was recently told by a somewhat arrogant man that I was looking for the “magic pill” when trying to improve a situation.  I know there is no magic pill for ANYTHING, but do new crime victims know this fresh out of the gate?  No! Don’t they need something to believe in? Don’t they need a place to rest their soul and know that it will be handled with care?  Yes, of course!

There is that fine line when you need to extend a hand and be ever so patient as compared to giving a bit of a shove or “kick in the ass.”  I say kick in the ass with much sincerity and care. If a crime victim gives you vibes they need help and are afraid to take it, you take the risk of turning them off or calling their bluff using such a tactic.    A better term would be “tough love” after evaluating their situation in a holistic manner.   Regardless, you are showing you care even if they don’t realize it.

When there is a “meeting of the minds” and you can provide a valuable service in their journey, such as a customized victim impact writing service, this is a definite bright spot in their existence. You remove a great burden from their shoulders!

Key into the term “customized.” A thoughtful, personalized victim impact statement can change the outcome of sentencing hearings and pardons and parole hearings if given the opportunity “to shine.”  Victim impact statements should not be written from the same old template like sausages turned out in the sausage factory!  Every person is unique and should be valued as such!

See details here: http://donnagore.com/victim-impact-statement-assistance/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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