Violation Of Due Process, You’re Not Alone!

By Michael . . .

First off I will say that I do not intend to lay blame on anyone or any circumstance. Second, My intention is not to seek help because I’ve been told from time to time that help is unavailable without a price that I cannot afford. All I just want is to get my story out to those who will listen because it’s always fallen on deaf ears.

In November 2013 I was arrested and charged with online solicitation of a minor. Even though I accidentally sent a message to a young girl that was intended for someone else, I do take full responsibility and I was willing to plead guilty. I bonded out and had a so called respectable lawyer to help in the process.

September 2014 I had County Sheriff’s at my door with a warrent for my arrest. I asked what I was being arrested for and the response was ” You know what for!” I was also told that the online solicitation charge had been dropped. I was placed in handcuffs without Miranda and booked into jail for the second time. I asked the sheriff what I was being booked for only to be told that I’ll find out from the Judge in the morning. That morning I found out that I had been charged with possession of c.p. and I was bonded out again that afternoon. (I want to note that I was never questioned by officers at all about the new charges.)

In December 2014 I had found out from the local newspaper that I had been indicted by a grand jury. When I called my lawyer, he said he didn’t even know about the indictment until I called.

January 2015 I was arraigned on 8 counts of Possession of C.P. with intent to distribute and court date set for that August. Later the “Intent” was removed. As the trial date came closer my attorney filed a motion to suppress which was denied thus resetting the trial date to October 2015.

A week before the trial I received a call from my lawyer only to be informed that the D.A. added 11 new counts to the existing 8 counts. Ever since the first arrest I’ve felt that something was just not right about the whole situation.

The morning of the trial I see the evidence for the first time. 19 images out of 3000 that were found on my laptop. (*NOTE* Images were found on a laptop that I took to work and would let others use while my wife and I went to lunch. They were downloaded during 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a 60 day period in 2011 according to an FBI Computer Forensics Expert from Washington D.C. who testified under oath. Nothing was found on the home computer, discs, or any other storage at that time, just the laptop alone.) After the jury was seated the judge informed them that before trial was to begin that new counts were added and we must have an arraignment hearing. The jury was present during said hearing and once completed we proceeded to trial.

I’m not going to give full details as to how the trial went but I’ll just say that I was arraigned, tried and convicted in one day. I was sentenced to 19 Ten Year Sentences with 19 $10,000.00 fines totalling $190,000,00. I spent 4 years in a Texas prison and was released on parole to a state run Halfway House in November 2019 and in 2020 I reached out to several lawyers and only one was willing to take my case.

With help from others I managed to come up with his required fee (which at that time was reasonable & affordable) with the understanding that I would pay the rest if we were successful in getting my sentence overturned. A couple of months later I went to his office to give him some documents only to find the office empty and his number out of service thus placing me in a situation where I am unable to hire another attorney. Ones I have talked to were wanting fees that I could never dream of affording and the ones that work with low (or no) income only deal in family or social matters. I’ve even had a couple of organizations tell me that there is no help for me at all and I just should accept my situation because I’m on the registry and the jury said I was guilty.

Again, even though Due Process was violated by the State I’m not seeking help because I cannot afford to nor do I place blame on others. I felt that since day one that there was something that didn’t feel right about the matter. I know there are others out there that were wrongfully convicted and I know I’m not alone. I just wanted to get my story out. If you’ve read this far, thank you for reading.

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