A history of the American judicial system

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Kerry Sanders, the youngest of nine children, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. At the age of twenty-seven he had been struggling with the demons of his mind for seven years, spent mostly going back and forth to psychiatric hospitals. From time to time, when he stopped taking his meds, he wandered around the streets of Los Angeles, as he did one day in October 1993. While sleeping on a bench outside the University of California Medical Center, Kerry was arrested. for violation of private property.

But his bad luck had only begun, because soon after a routine check it turned out that a certain Robert Sanders, a criminal by profession, had escaped five weeks earlier from a state prison in New York, where he was serving a sentence for attempting to kill a man suffering from the effects of cocaine in 1990.

It goes without saying that California's Kerry Sanders was not New York's Robert Sanders. But in fact Kerry and Robert as names are not that different, and California and New York… um… well, yes, they are still two beautiful BIG states, aren't they?

Unfortunately for Kerry, what she really had in common with Robert was her date of birth. That was more than enough for the L.A. cop, even though the same computerized search might have shown that Kerry Sanders had been stopped for absent-mindedly crossing a confused Los Angeles street in July 1993, when Robert Sanders was already in prison. in New York.

Throughout the trial, Kerry had only one person who was supposed to help him: the public attorney assigned to defend his interests. But this defender with thirty years of career behind him convinced him not to oppose extradition. He explained that opposing him would only prolong his stay in the Los Angeles jail, and that in the end they would send him to New York anyway.

Apparently the lawyer hadn't even noticed that Kerry was a bit "slow," much less that he suffered from a severe mental disorder. Or maybe he wouldn't have made any difference? The lawyer did not bother asking him the fundamental questions. He didn't waste more than a few minutes with a completely helpless client. He didn't bother to check whether or not Kerry had a family to contact to assist in his defense.

The lawyer was not even able to check if his client had any unfinished business with justice or a criminal record, or what his financial situation was. He didn't even bother to check that Robert Sanders' description in the arrest warrant matched Kerry's, let alone request a fingerprint examination or photographic comparison. You will say: Embè? After all, they were both black, the same age and even the same date of birth! It is not enough?

But that's not all. During the hearing in which Kerry allegedly waived the right to oppose the extradition, he was asked to sign a paper. On the sheet was written: "I, Robert Sanders, hereby freely and voluntarily declare that I am in all respects the aforementioned Robert Sanders," and Kerry signed herself "Kerry Sanders". He also made drawings on a copy of the waiver.

No alarm bells? No light bulb going on? No, not for that lawyer.

Finally obtained his chance to appear before a judge, Kerry was asked if he had read the document he had signed. He replied no. The judge stopped the extradition procedure.

Was it you who signed it? " she asked Kerry.
"Yes," he replied.
"And why did you sign it?"
"Because they told me to sign it," Kerry Sanders replied.

At that point the judge ordered Kerry's solicitor to review the document with his client. In a few minutes the judge was fully satisfied and both the court and the public defender moved on to the next case.

Abandoned by her Los Angeles defense attorney, Kerry Sanders was sent across the country to spend the next two years in the Green Haven maximum security prison, one hundred kilometers north of New York, where she was sexually assaulted by others. inmates.

In October 1995, after federal agents arrested the real Robert Sanders in Cleveland, Kerry Sanders was able to hug her mother, Mare Sanders Lee again. Were it not for the completely random arrest of Robert Sanders, Kerry would still be in prison today. He was sent home from Green Haven with $ 48 13 cents in his pocket, a plastic bag with some medicine, a soda and a pack of cigarettes. "They took me to New York," she told her sister Roberta. “He It was cold as hell. They put me in a very small room. "

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