I stopped my car after seeing a real estate sign in a yard to look at a house.
It was a slum that was used as a half way house and in midtown at the corner of Somerville
Street and Linden Circle, a dangerous, blighted part of town, on March 23, 1987.
I was standing on the landing of an opened doorway on a staircase landing near an emergency exit on the west side
of the home looking at the outside staircase wall and the interior from the landing when the police arrived.
They told me that an alarm was set off.
The door on the west side that was open had been alarmed and I was standing inside an open doorway on the landing.
saw a filthy accumulation of clothes, beer and whiskey bottles and garbage through the side door.
The police gained entry to the house through the side door at the landing I was standing on when they arrived, next to the emergency staircase landing on the west side of the house.
The home was littered with garbage in the lower north west interior.
The police accused me of littering the house.
It was a nauseating accumulation of garbage.
The accusation that I could have filled and scattered this slum with trash, including beer and liquor bottles, old
clothing and rotting food, was cockeyed.
The accusation was inconsistent with reason and absurd.
The slum was abandoned and had been used as a half-way house, counseling and
treatment center for drug addicts, psychiatric patients, abused women and children, and released convicts.
The hovel was owned and operated by a psychologist.
The police charged me with
attempted third degree burglary because of smashed windows, the garbage, and the damaged rear landing door.
And I was accused of using a screwdriver that I witnessed the officer reach down and pull from underneath a garbage pile.
I stopped to look because there was a real estate banner in the front yard inviting inquiries.
I could have frightened the vagrants off when I arrived.
The police said that the rear door was used to gain entry to the slum.
An officer went in to look at the interior damage while the other officer held me by the
belt loops of my pants.
The officer came back outside with the screwdriver that he "found" under the garbage pile and accused me of using it pry the door open.
They were looking for anything they could use to make an arrest.
I believe the screwdriver was planted by a rotten cop.
The officer that claimed to have found the screwdriver grabbed me by my pants when he came out of the house and slammed me
into the side of the police car.
I was handcuffed, scratched, bruised, and taken to jail.
My car was impounded.
Throughout the ordeal I
was polite, cooperative and well groomed before I was assaulted by the officer without provocation.
The burglary charge was reduced on May 22, 1987 to a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
The court believed that the door was open before I got there and dismissed the claim that I forced entry with the screwdriver that the officer claimed that he found in the garbage pile.
I was not made aware if owner of the property had been contacted.
I was told that the court also didn't believe the claim that I had littered the interior.
The prosecuting attorney didn't want the case dismissed and
the owner of the home never appeared in court. No one, to my knowledge, was seeking a trespassing charge except the prosecuting attorney.
The owner of the home never appeared at the hearing. I don't recall seeing the officers either. The prosecuting attorney recommended
dismissal of the burglary charge, insisted that I plead guilty to a trespassing charge while I was under duress, and further insisted that I accept the
trespassing charge because he was "tired of it" and that, "it wouldn't be a problem for me",
or he would "make things tougher" if I didn't take the trespassing charge. The prosecuting attorney knew that I couldn't afford an appeal and could see how miserable these lies had made me.
This dirty event occurred more than a quarter of a century ago.
It was frightening, offensive, painful, and has been
a nothing more than a filthy obstruction in my life.
It was brutal and unnecessary.
My defense lawyer did nothing, acted like he was doing me a favor and was no defense.
I spoke with General Session Court Clerk manager William C. Freeman at great length and he believed that it may have been an undercover operation to catch the
vandals or drug-related surveillance and that I may have been the a victim of a police exercise gone bad while viewing the exterior of the home, and that it may have been unnecessary police
harassment or brutality that could have been turned over to police internal affairs, that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and may have angered the wrong cop if I had "blown their cover".
He believed that I
never should have been charged with burglary III or trespassing, that a plea to trespassing was entered while I was under
duress, and that the burglary charge should have been dismissed or expunged after it had been amended to trespassing.
I spoke with Mr. Freeman after I had been sworn is as the Grand Jury Foreman pro tempore for the Shelby County Grand Jury
during the autumn session of 2005.
I was also granted the privilege of speaking with the late Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk
William Key at great length during my service to the Grand Jury as pro tempore. Mr. Key believed that it should have been
dismissed and expunged.
My hope is that one day it will be, but not forgotten, as any injustice like it
should never be, and that students of law will understand, seek virtue by example, that they pursue moral excellence,
understand subjugation by cruelty of the innocent which, sadly, will create mental, physical pain and a lifetime of suffering, and that they righteously uphold justice.
No forensics expert or anyone else was ever sent to the house to see if the screwdriver, crowbar, hammer, a foot or any other kind of instrument was used to force entry, or if forced entry was even committed.
The screwdriver was planted in the garbage pile by a rotten cop
who had made up his mind that I would go to jail.
I couldn't prove it in court and knew the cop was dirty.
I believe that the judge believed me, dismissed the burglary charge and convicted me of trespassing because the prosecuting attorney was a rotten shyster who wouldn't let it go.