Posted by Unity in Action Magazine on February 1, 2013 at 8:15 PM
SAVING THE GHOSTS
by Christopher Evans
I am often followed by the Ghost. The Ghost is an innocent man who is accused by police, brought to trial by lawyers, and convicted by juries in our modern day criminal justice system. Today the Ghost came to my Surveillance and Society class. This time the Ghost is named Troy Davis- an innocent man convicted 22 years ago of a murder he didn't commit in the state of Georgia. Our good-intentioned instructors thought it a teaching moment to assign some last-ditch efforts to save Mr. Davis' life by using the new digital technologies that make signing a petition to be presented to somebody in charge in Georgia; and contacting the prosecutor by phone and email, a real possibility. We were to join the chorus of thousands from across the country to express outrage and opposition to the murder of an innocent man by the State. This collective voice, it is hoped, might give the executioners pause and stop their misguided vengeance. Two important questions are raised during class, 1) Does it do any good to let others know? and 2) What does Illinois have that Georgia does not?
The homework assignment in class is to act on the information. All I can imagine is an annoyed secretary somewhere in Georgia monitoring the prosecutor's email account, probably deleting emails by the thousands from those pesky do-gooder-activists who actually think the prosecutor is going to read all their heartfelt pleas to stop the execution. I try to imagine the secretary seeing an email from a Chris Evans in Illinois. Oh wait, she thinks, this might be important. The secretary interrupts the prosecutor from his preparations against whatever last-minute arguments will be made to win Davis a clemency, and tells him, "You got an email from a Chris Evans from Illinois about the execution." The prosecutor excuses himself from his legal colleagues, "I better look this over," he says. The prosecutor reads my essay why Mr. Davis should not be killed, "...remember Mr. Prosecutor," I wrote, "guilt depends on the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. The lack of evidence and the recanting of the 7 out of 9 witnesses in this case gives us plenty of reasonable doubt." After 22 years of trying to put Troy Davis to death, the prosecutor exclaims, "By god, Evans is right- beyond a reasonable doubt! Why didn't I remember that?" He shouts at his secretary, "Get the governor on the phone! There's still time to stop my 22-year mistake!"
The Ghost has taught me better about the Beast, the criminal justice system. The Beast does not operate that way. The Beast knows what the Ghost knows, and the game is not about the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. The game is about how to convince the judges, the juries, and the executioners there exists a possibility of guilt- truth enough to get that conviction. Truth enough to sway the voters come election time. Truth enough to ride rich on the Beast and feed the Beast more patrols, more ambitious law students, more squad cars, more guns and tasers, more prison construction, and more jobs for rural communities. Other times, the game is about hiding wrongdoing, minimizing it, even excusing it for the favored few. I've told others about the Ghost, but most unaware citizens dismiss any notions that policemen and prosecutors would ever deliberately present falsehoods in our sacred courts of law. "If they did that, they'd get fired!" the believers declare. The Beast laughs, hiding behind police unions and prosecutor immunity; and makes a note of whom to select for the jury next time.
20 years ago, around the time when Troy Davis was brought to trial for a policeman's murder, a citizen across the country used the new technology of a camcorder to videotape 4 unsuspecting Los Angeles policemen brutally beating a handcuffed man on the ground. The video was given to the national media, and instantly, an entire nation were witnesses to what they thought was a crime on their television sets.
Watching the footage for the first time at the men's emergency homeless shelter, 5 other African-American men in the room laughed and reminisced about how that happened to them in Peoria, Naperville, Carbondale, Belleville, and Chicago. Some were quite proud that during their beating, they did not fall to the ground as Rodney King had.
I thought letting people know would surely stop this kind of police work. But letting people know only created 53 senseless murders after the Beast did its courtroom trickery to protect its own. Emmitt Till's mom understood the videotape's failure to produce a guilty verdict. Her son's open casket, and the photographs of his tortured corpse sent worldwide, had done nothing to stop the murderers from laughing their way out the courtroom door after a jury of their peers ignored those complaining niggers of 1955.
L.A. had a payback trial later that decade, and a jury comprised of some minorities executed justice for, not the probably-guilty-O.J. Simpson; but rather, for letting those 4 L.A. cops off the hook. Illinois prosecutors learned to stay away from having minority jurors hear their cases, and it would be a certainty that Illinois will never have televised courtrooms.
One of O.J.'s defense attorneys, Barry Scheck, learned much about DNA evidence. He founded the Innocence Project using the technological miracle of preserved DNA not to convict, but to exonerate. The Illinois appellate courts were left with little choice. If DNA evidence was accepted to prove guilt, then those found guilty had to be innocent if DNA evidence proved they did not leave the small drops of whatever found at a murder or rape scene. Young college students at the Northwestern's journalism school were uncovering Ghosts as well. Half the death row inmates in Illinois were set free because they were wrongfully convicted.
The Ghosts were becoming real even to a Republican Governor who supported punishing murderers and rapists with death. In 2000, the Governor uttered the unthinkable in announcing a moratorium on the death penalty, "There is a flaw in the system, without question, and it needs to be studied," he said. The Beast does not like to be exposed, and later punished the Governor with a six-year prison sentence for what is standard operating procedure in Illinois politics.
In Champaign County, it was also business as usual, as a middle school dean was secretly audio-recorded soliciting sex from a student over the phone. Police later found 5 other students who were "groomed" by the dean to have sex with him. The prosecutor in the case was a personal friend of the dean, having once written a letter of reference for him to secure his job as dean of the middle school. The prosecutor arranged to have her friend plead guilty to one felony count, dismissing all others, and allow the dean to walk out of the courtroom, laughing, with probation. An outraged citizen did his own investigation into the case and created an entire website to document the travesty of justice. (www.thebradysmithcase.com) The case also inspired Julia Rietz, a former assistant state's attorney, to seek the office of state's attorney in the upcoming 2004 election.
When convicted drug dealer Patrick Thompson finished serving his 10-year sentence in federal prison, he dedicated himself to "being a part of the solution instead of the problem." Thompson formed a non-for-profit mentoring program and hoped to steer youth in the right direction- away from the hard knocks that took 10 years from his life. When he and his cousin, Martel Miller, also a convicted drug dealer, approached local black youth about their lives and educations, youth reported that it was no use to follow the rules because local police were constantly harassing them. Thompson and Miller took their complaint to the new state's attorney candidate, Rietz, who acknowledged her political opponent often overcharges against black youth. She was willing to participate in a May 2004 forum that Thompson's group organized to discuss the issues.
In order to better prove that police harass black youth, Thompson and Miller videotaped police officers interacting in the public way on the north end. Police officials did not appreciate the surveillance, and in August of 2004, charged Miller with felony eavesdropping, punishable to as much as 15 years in prison. The day Miller was indicted in court, Thompson and Miller gave the local public television station a copy of a documentary they produced from their videos, called Citizens Watch. Police were alerted of the documentary and sent officers to the station to seize the film as evidence for an eavesdropping. Thompson notified The News-Gazette that Miller was indicted for filming police. The story ran on page A-3.
The day after the documentary had been delivered to the television station, a next-door neighbor of Thompson's told an Urbana Police officer that Thompson had tried to rape her. No investigation was conducted other than to find Thompson after he returned home from the junior college, where he was enrolled in the criminal justice program. Thompson was charged with 5 felonies, and faced up to 120 years in prison. While Thompson sat in jail on a $250,000 bond, copies of the documentary were shown at the public library, the Art Theatre, and on the public television station. Angry citizens gathered to watch the film and demanded the current state's attorney drop the eavesdropping charges. In an era where the television show, Cops, is a constant on cable TV, getting sent to jail for videotaping police officers struck many as ridiculous. Candidate Rietz told the press that were she to be the state's attorney, no eavesdropping charges would ever be filed in such a situation.
The documentary showed a scene where a police officer accuses a 14-year old boy of setting off fireworks in the streets. As the boy vehemently denies the officer's accusations, fireworks can be heard in the background. The officer does not bother to pursue the source of the fireworks nearby, but rather demands the boy confess.
Another Ghost was haunting me at the time. A lady had watched a man sitting in a park get up from his seat and walk up to another man and start a fistfight. She called the police, but then watched in horror as police arrested the victim instead of the other man who had started the fight. (The victim had a criminal record and was found with a BB gun tucked under his shirt.) Police, prosecutors, and the public defender refused to return the witness' phone calls. The victim pled guilty to aggravated battery hoping he would get probation. The witness who had called the cops attended his sentencing hearing in order to explain to the sentencing judge what she saw, and she hoped to convince the judge that this man should not be charged. The public defender didn't want to put the witness on the stand. The victim was sentenced to four years in prison. The witness broke down in tears, feeling like she caused an innocent man to be sent to prison.
Because of the middle school dean case and the eavesdropping case, Julia Rietz was elected the new state's attorney. Two days later, a Northern Illinois student was drunk and disorderly over the re-election of President Bush. After sneaking into the Canopy Club without paying the cover, police were summoned to arrest him for disorderly conduct. He was taken to the county jail where he demanded to know why he was arrested. Correctional officer Sgt. William Alan Myers responded by telling the student, "This is the way we do things down here," and began to slam the handcuffed student's head against the concrete wall. Myers, along with another officer, then strapped the student in a restraining chair, put a spit hood over his head, and officers took turns bashing him in the head until the spit hood was soaked with blood. When word was that the student's friends had come to bond him out, officers quickly cleaned him up. As they unstrapped him from the chair, the student grabbed hold of the spit hood for evidence against the officers. Incensed, Myers pulled out a taser and shot the student four times with it, even shoving the taser up his rectum as he lay on the ground paralyzed from the voltage. After his release, the student had his friends photograph his injuries and the student filed a formal complaint with the sheriff's office. The new state's attorney, Rietz charged the student with aggravated battery to a police officer based on a falsified police report filed by officer Myers.
Wanting (the appearance of) to keep her campaign promises, Reitz publicly announced she would be dropping the eavesdropping charges against videographer Thompson. She felt it her ethical duty, however, to not dismiss the sex crimes against Thompson because she believed Thompson's involvement in her election campaign qualified as a past relationship with Thompson. Despite the severity of the attempted rape charges, bond was dropped from $250,000 to $1000. The federal government looked at the sex case and decided not to revoke Thompson's parole. Thompson represented himself at trial in the summer of 2005. Thompson found three defense witnesses who would have testified that they too had been accused by this woman of sex crimes they did not commit. The judge would not allow the defense witnesses to testify. Thompson could only ask the jury to look at the lack of evidence. Some did, and the trial ended in a hung jury. In exchange for her testimony against Thompson, the accuser's own unrelated criminal charges of child endangerment were dismissed.
During the hour videographer Thompson stood before a jury with his life in the balance, Urbana Police Officer Kurt Hjort pulled into a convenience store in a squad car while on duty, dressed in his uniform. Hjort was a friend of the state's attorney's fiancee and was scheduled to attend their wedding later that summer; but on this day, Hjort chatted up a new employee at the convenience store. After being summoned to a call, Hjort looked up the employee's address on the METCAD dispatch system and at 4:30 p.m. drove his squad car over to her apartment. Hjort invited himself in and insisted they have sex on her couch. After the coerced sex, Hjort told her not to tell anybody. She called her mother, and within the hour she was examined by medical personnel at Carle Hospital and evidence was collected. The incident was kept quiet until, weeks later, an activist confronted the Urbana City Council at a regular council meeting. Rietz, again, claimed a conflict of interest, and instead of assigning a rabid special prosecutor like the one that would hound videographer Thompson; one of the weakest defense attorneys in the county was selected to prosecute Hjort. After "studying" the case for a couple of months, the special "prosecutor" determined he was unable to prove the sex was not consensual and filed no criminal charges- not even official misconduct for using the METCAD dispatch system to look up her address. Hjort was allowed to resign from the force, but immediately was re-hired as a patrol man in Gibson City- until The News-Gazette broke that story and embarrassed Gibson City officials claimed they did not know about Hjort's "background". The City of Urbana quickly settled for a $300,000 pay-out to the victim.
The Northern Illinois student hired a private attorney to defend against the aggravated battery charges and threatened to sue the county if his case continued. The charges were dismissed. Sgt. Myers went on to tase 3 more inmates at the county jail. In the fourth tasing, Myers again had strapped an inmate in a chair and tased him repeatedly. Myers attempted to coerce fellow officers to falsify their police reports to corroborate with his. Instead of obeying their superior officer, correctional employees ratted Myers out. During the investigation, Myers admitted he had falsified his police report to make it look like he was defending himself when he used his taser against the fourth inmate. Reitz paid the inmate something-less-than-$10,000 to shut up and leave town. Myers was offered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct for falsifying his police report and a sentence of court supervision. When The News-Gazette was made aware of the soft plea bargain for Myers, the deal was pulled, and Myers was forced to plead guilty to a felony aggravated battery and was dismissed from the force.
The special prosecutor hired to prosecute videographer Thompson found a few irrelevant details that would help make Thompson appear a little more guilty at the re-trial. Thompson hired a defense attorney who promised he would call the defense witnesses that Thompson couldn't get entered into his first trial. Many, including Thompson, felt once the prosecutor saw that the accuser couldn't hide her past of accusing minority men of sex crimes they didn't commit- the case would be dropped. But to the surprise of all, the defense attorney hadn't subpoenaed anyone, and the defense at re-trial was the same as Thompson had put on in the first trial. The jury voted guilty this time. The one black juror was hesitant to go along with the verdict but did so anyway.
The boy who had been accused of setting off fireworks in Thompson's video documentary, Brian Chesley, turned 17 in 2007 and was walking home with a nine-year old and another friend through Douglass Park. The youth had been playing basketball at the open gym hosted by the park district. A Champaign police officer called out to Chesley and demanded to see his I.D. Chesley yelled back, "F--- you, you ain't running me," and walked away. Chesley felt walking home was a not a crime and he did not want to be checked for warrants. The officer walked after Chesley and called for back up. A squad car pulled up and two officers confronted Chesley. When Chesley still refused to present I.D., officers slammed Chesley against a chain-link fence, yanked him off the fence, dragged him into the street and three officers drove their knees into Chesley's neck, back, and legs against the concrete. With over 15 witnesses watching the apprehension, officers repeatedly sprayed Chesley in the face with pepper spray. Reitz charged Chesley with resisting a peace officer and obstruction of justice. Police told the media that the officers were justified in approaching Chesley because the park is closed after dark and Chesley was trespassing. At the trial, one officer admitted that police were ordered by command staff to check anyone in the Douglass Park area for outstanding warrants and enter their personal information into a computer database because there had been a rash of shots fired in that neighborhood. About 12 defense witnesses testified that they saw officers "whoop" on Chesley. The all-white jury found Chesley guilty.
Videographer Thompson convinced the best defense attorney in town to take up his case and demand a re-trial. With a skilled attorney in his corner, karma, rather than justice was done. In the third trial of Thompson, the prosecutor was caught not proving that Thompson wasn't a police officer acting in his official capacity when he allegedly invaded the home of the accuser. The most serious charge of home invasion was thrown out for this technicality. Thompson's wife testified to where he really was during the time the attempted rape was to have occurred. The prosecutor reminded the jury that a wife will say anything to protect their husband. One of the defense witnesses showed up and testified that he, too, had been accused by this woman when in fact he had done nothing. The jury had the experience of having to decide if Thompson had committed a criminal sexual abuse while the charge that he entered the home was thrown out. They voted not guilty. The accuser, the Urbana police officer, and the prosecutor were never held to account why they had fabricated a sex-crime theatre against Thompson. Meanwhile, in federal court, the City of Champaign quietly settled in favor of Thompson and Miller for violating their right to videotape and produce a documentary for an undisclosed amount of cash. The defense attorney who failed to adequately defend Thompson in his second trial was ordered to return the $3000 he was paid. The four-year long ordeal had served its purpose, however. No one since has ever dared to pick up a camera and aim it at police officers in Champaign County.
A few weeks later, a cop in Villa Grove noticed a car with Texas license plates. Thinking the car might be occupied by Mexicans, the officer pulled the car over. Toto Kaiyewu, a 23-year old failing medical student baked on marijuana and tripping on some kind of imaginary narrative, exited the car and thought he and the officer had a special connection. When the officer demanded Kaiyewu get back into his car, Kaiyewu decided to just leave. The chase was on. Less than an hour later, stop sticks had blown Kaiyewu's tires out. Kaiyewu exited his car brandishing a machete surrounded by 12 officers brandishing pistols. When a taser had no effect on Kaiyewu, officers thought their next-best option was to put three bullets into Kaiyewu, one into his head, killing Kaiyewu instantly. There was no public discussion as to what officers can do when faced with a mentally ill subject. Stopping cars because there might be Mexicans was accepted as good police work. Afterall, the guy did have a machete. Family and the many friends of Kaiyewu wept with disbelief.
A few months after the Kaiyewu investigation was "complete", a neighbor saw two young boys pulling on windows and doors at the house next door. The boys were wearing hoodies over their heads because of the rain. The neighbor called the non-emergency police number. Minutes later, the Chief of Police of Champaign, dressed in a black leather jacket and jeans, saw two boys next to a back door. The Chief aimed his Glock pistol at the boys and shouted "Stop! Or I'll shoot you!" Another officer saw only the Chief and assumed something bad was happening. He pulled his gun out too. Rounding the corner, he saw the Chief trying to pull one of the youngsters down with his free hand. The officer did the same, and pulled on the shoulder of one of the youths with his free hand while holding onto his gun with the other. An unarmed 15 year-old, named Kiwane Carrington, was shot in the chest and killed at 1:30 p.m. The entire event lasted 8 seconds. It was discovered hours later that Carrington actually stayed at the house. The neighbor didn't recognize Carrington, who often played basketball in his driveway, because he was wearing the hoodie.
At 5:30 p.m. the Champaign Police Department issued a press release, in time for the evening TV news broadcasts, that two of its officers had been "confronted by two subjects", and that after officers identified themselves to be peace officers, "...Both subjects disobeyed officers' commands to get on the ground and struggled with two of the responding officers." Most of the public believed the event highlighted the lack of respect black youth have for authority. Most of the public accepted that no involuntary manslaughter charges were filed against either officer. The officer who allegedly lost control of his gun was suspended for 30 days. Two years later, his suspension remains under appeal. The Chief was promoted to be the president of the 1,200-member Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. The family of Carrington was paid $250,000, covered by the City's insurance company. The cost of doing business.
I recently sat down to use one of the public computers at the library, and found a discarded paper next to the computer. I glanced down at it, and read the words, "....it's not right to send somebody to jail for a crime they didn't do..." The Ghost demands my attention. Dispensing with manners, I read on to learn that a mother is soliciting help for her son who had been arrested at her house on August 15. He was accused of aiming a pistol at a man in Urbana, robbing him of $20.00 on July 27. The mother said this was impossible because her son was at her daughter's house at the time of the robbery. She pleaded for help affording the $50,000 bond, a lawyer, and prayers. I look up the case on the circuit clerk's website and see that 3 supplemental discoveries have been filed against her son. If he didn't do it, the state sure thinks he did.
The day I am asked to help save Troy Davis' life, an editor for The Daily Illini, who would have been in 7th grade when Thompson and Miller videotaped police officers, opined that filming police officers is a protected 1st Amendment right and that the Illinois eavesdropping law should be discarded. As I considered stepping into the ring for Troy Davis, an email comes to alert me that the state's attorney's office has dropped the charges against the mother's son accused of armed robbery. It appears that the state was sent a letter from the victim and has decided to dismiss the case. On this day we must save Troy Davis, ex-President Jimmy Carter and the Pope advocate for Davis. A rumor is told that the Supreme Court has put a stay on the execution. Someone says it's for 90 days. I rest easy. Today the Beast has been beaten back some, or so I thought.
I once asked Patrick Thompson's wife why injustice happens, like it did against her husband. She answered, "Because no one is willing to make a sacrifice." Those words echo in my mind when I see university students parade around with their home-made signs on the quad over whatever the issue happens to be that day. Those words echo when I wonder how it is that officials in Georgia have been able to ignore the lack of evidence against Troy Davis for over 20 years. The Beast has learned it can pretty much do whatever it wants because no matter how outrageous its crimes be, the protesters will eventually go away. Shortly after the Carrington killing, 300 people packed the council chambers and city council members had to endure hours of angry citizens blasting them on the microphone to do something about their police department. A year later, hardly anyone noticed when Council voted to give officers a 3% pay raise.
The Beast's enemy is the truth. So when Davis claims to be innocent minutes before he is killed anyway, the media quotes the murdered officer's mother, "Well, he's been telling himself he's innocent for twenty years," she said. The Beast smiles with satisfaction. See? It's just a difference of opinion. The business of revenge and punishment is most efficiently executed on the fuel of opinions. The innocent Jesus of Nazereth can testify to that.
Believers want to believe that the law is what keeps order in a civilized society. Believers are taught to believe it's the accused who are always the Beast. Police officers, prosecutors, and judges use of discretion can be trusted. Something bad happens, and shortly thereafter, the good guys catch the bad guys. Believers are fed this lullaby everyday for decades in Hollywood show after show. Low-income African-Americans, unable to afford the good attorneys, know too well how law enforcement will use their discretion. When U of I law professor Steve Beckett proudly marched his law students to the courthouse he built, he was confronted by the constant embarrassment that his students were watching trials of young African-Americans being tried in front of all-white juries- many of whom had friends in law enforcement.
In another city, I stumbled upon a Ghost living out of his van. When I asked him why he lived this way, he said he didn't want to be bothered by the other humans. He said he had bought a lottery ticket at a convenience store, when suddenly, a man started punching him in the head. He covered himself to protect against the blows without ever throwing a punch of his own. The victim was arrested for aggravated battery. For five years from his jail cell, he filed motion after motion to get the convenience store's surveillance video footage entered into evidence so he could prove his innocence. It never happened. He concluded, "In America, innocence or guilt doesn't matter."
Real fact-finding takes too much time and may not yield the results preferred. Who wants the murder of a policeman to remain unsolved? Who wants to admit they were wrong? Not the real murderer who killed the policeman. Not the prosecutor who fingered the wrong guy. Not the jury who convicted Troy Davis. Not the police officers who coerced witnesses to say Davis did it. Not one of the witnesses who recanted has stepped forward to declare the execution to be a mistake. No one wants to sacrifice. Besides, if doctors at Provena causing the brain damage to a pregnant mother was worth $12 million, how much is perjury and kidnapping to a prison worth? Despite all the exonerations in Illinois, very rare has law enforcement been made to pay for its deliberate mistakes.
The day after Troy Davis was injected with chemicals designed to kill him, a $249,319 grant was awarded to the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project, headquartered in Springfield. The director reminded the media, "90% of all wrongful convictions do not involve DNA evidence." This is no surprise given a system that accepts bribed testimony from informants. Timothy Kendrick waited 2 years in the Champaign County jail for a trial, as prosecutors scrambled to build a case by pressuring witnesses to lie on the stand that Kendrick had been bringing drugs from Texas. Appellate judges, unfortunately, seem willing to overturn their legal colleagues only when presented with the hard evidence of DNA. Whatever some witness says can be regarded as a matter of interpretation and speculation. When the surviving youth who witnessed the Carrington killing said it was the Chief of Police who killed Carrington, the Chief threatened to counter-sue for the youth's insolence. No one was inspired to check the rifling marks found on the bullet that killed Carrington to determine which gun fired the fatal shot. Best to leave things as a matter of opinion.
The Ghosts bear witness that sometimes the Beast is wrong. The Beast says, "I am never wrong." Not even the President of the United States, who is reputed to have a law degree from Harvard, traveled to Georgia to uphold the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. What good has it been to let everyone know about the injustice to Troy Davis? On the back of every pamphlet put out by the Urbana's Citizens Police Review Board, the public is reminded to report any retaliation they may experience for complaining about the police. Our good police department, deserving of pay raises at every contract negotiation, retaliates against people who dare to accuse them? When Durl Kruse came forward publicly with a statistical analysis of the local racial profiling numbers put out by scientists at Northwestern, the Kruse's were thanked with an anonymous letter from "a friend of law enforcement" threatening to harm them. The Beast does not like to be exposed. Now go to sleep and trust the Beast is using "intelligence-led policing" to protect you. And complainers be warned, the Beast has the discretion to turn you into a Ghost.
NEW PARAGRAPH, AFTERWORD: Voices cry out from prison cells, "I didn't do it," and it's the relative of a three-year old girl from Rantoul raped and murdered who answers the call- not the employees of the Beast. The relative pursues the case and discovers, the truth is not as clean as prosecutors had presented it. In 2004, DNA evidence says the man behind bars for 24 years is not the person. who killed this little girl. The Beast argues 8 long years against the DNA evidence to leave the innocent man behind bars. Prosecutor Rietz is never made to answer why her office argued against DNA evidence that exonerated Andre Davis in 2004. Facing a choice to go into a courtroom with little DNA evidence to support her case, Rietz opens her closet, and turns a Ghost free. A rarity for this county. And still the taxpayers are asked to build another jail for the Beast. The Beast smiles. Even if The Beast is found wrong, the public eventually forgets, for they believe the Beast is good. And that is why I am afraid to live in this county