PURSUIT OF JUSTICE
“Proposing a Bill for a one-time ‘Pursuit of Justice claim’ that an inmate can file, excusing procedural defaults, that prove Constitutional violations that occured in their case. The issue may be time-barred or previously denied due to procedural default. This one-time claim gives a person opportunity to expose Malicious Prosecution and prove Constitutional claims previously denied by default.”
By: David E. Files Jr.
Through the Innocence Project several states have passed prison reforms and enacted policies that allow inmates to challenge their convictions, and in some cases actually prove their innocence.
Alabama is long overdue for reform not only prison reform but Criminal Justice reform as well. For example the Alabama Rules of Court state that an inmate has only a one year time period after an appeal or conviction to file a Rule 32 Post-Conviction claim. Alabama Appellate Courts have repeatedly stated that a person ignorant of the law is no excuse for not meeting the requirements set forth in the Rules of Court.
A person wrongly convicted in an Alabama courtroom who has no knowledge of law or the Rules of Court and unable to afford an Attorney to pursue Post-Conviction remedies is completely helpless. Upon conviction a person is sent to an Alabama prison system that itself is held in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
A person sentenced to prison in Alabama with no control as to what facility they are sent to is then required by law to litigate their case and file appropriate Petitions within a specified one year limitation or his Constitutional claims are barred from review and consideration in Alabama courts.
The transfer process upon arrival at Kilby Correctional Facility usually lasts approximately 30 days to several months before being transferred to another facility based upon their classification level.
The process of transferring facilities can easily cause a person to lose vital legal papers they may have in their possession. In some cases officers at different facilities will confiscate or purposely destroy legal papers especially if the person is unaware. All too often a person will not realize their legal papers are missing until it is too late. This tactic used by ADOC officers is intended to further hinder and frustrate the efforts of an individual seeking to pursue Post-Conviction claims.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of Alabama and the Prison System for its unconstitutional conditions. In the lawsuit the Justice Department outlines in explicit detail a corrupt system in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
My question is, how can it be possible that a state in violation of the Constitution turn around and prohibit a person from seeking relief from his conviction based on Constitutional claims in his case?
The ADOC is well-known as the most violent and overcrowded prison system in the country. Sadly this didn’t just start. This reputation has lasted for several years.
The DOJ lawsuit provides information through lengthy and vigorous investigations of widespread violence, inmate on inmate as well as ADOC staff on inmate violence.
The investigations also uncovered corruption throughout the ADOC Administrations as well as an extremely overcrowded inmate population that is warehoused in illegal and inadequate living conditions. These are the findings of the U.S. Justice Department, not baseless inmate allegations.
As these facts come to light how can it be possible to expect a person placed in such conditions to:
1. be provided a safe and adequate Law Library for a person to properly research and litigate his case;
2. if the institution has a functioning Law Library the inmate will have access due to Institutional Lockdowns because of rampant violence in the facility and/or staff shortages that result in the Law Library
3. the overcrowded conditions that severely limit authorized usage of the Law Library;
4. the inmate having proper assistance to help and guide them while pursuing a claim.
All of these factors on top of chaotic, toxic and deadly circumstances that surround the person on a daily basis. These unconstitutional conditions make it nearly impossible to meet the requirements set forth in the Alabama Rules of Court.
The Constitutional violations of the ADOC, as horrendous as they are, still fail in comparison to the Constitutional violations that occur in the Court System. Meanwhile those violations remain hidden and protected through Procedural Defaults that are supported by the Rules of Court in Alabama.
As horrible and illegal as the Prosecuting Attorney General William Dill’s actions in my case at trial are I’m positive there are many
worse examples that numerous other inmates who are entrapped in Alabama’s State of Slavery prison system could also prove if given an opportunity.
I am asking for support in proposing a Bill that would allow Alabama inmates to file a one-time Pursuit of Justice claim to prove Constitutional violations that occured in their case that remain hidden and protected through Procedural Defaults such as being time-barred. How is it that such a request that would allow a person to prove he was wrongly convicted be denied that opportunity because of unreasonable demands in an impossible circumstance. How is that JUSTICE?
The awful discoveries outlined in the DOJ lawsuit against Alabama and the ADOC prove what anyone who has experienced the ADOC already knew. Imagine the discoveries of unjust and Malicious Prosecutions
that have taken place in Alabama courtrooms by over zealous Prosecutors who know the the system is rigged and by obtaining a conviction their actions will likely not be discovered because an Appellate Court will not review the merits of a claim that is Procedurely Defaulted. Thereby protecting their illegal unconstitutional actions to secure a conviction instead of ensuring Justice.
Before my trial I had faith and confidence that the TRUTH would prevail in the courtroom. Sadly this is not always the case in Alabama.
I am asking that everyone who reads this letter share it with people that you know and help promote this proposition for a Bill that at least gives a person the opportunity to pursue Justice in their case.
The injustices of Malicious Prosecutions should not be allowed to stand and their protection through Procedural Defaults should be reversed and exposed. These practices must be exposed and the trusted officials found in violation of unconstitutional and illegal practices be held accountable.