Prison officials spend hours every day preparing TOTALLY FALSE “write ups” and reports to cover up their crimes. Every day. They are very official looking … all typed up and signed by “officers” … but they are LIES! Read CULTURE OF COVER UP! http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/culture-cover-prison-abuse/
When I landed in Isolation, in a cell down the hall was one such inmate about whom they had made up lies, Curtis Collins, aka “Boo”. When he heard me talking to other inmates he sent me his paperwork. Poor Boo was so confused that he thought the Motion he had received meant that he was about to win his case, when, in fact, it meant that he was about to have his lawsuit against the guards dismissed! I explained this to him and solved the problem so that his case would not be summarily dismissed.
Boo had sued a couple of guards at SCI who threw him down and beat him, just for sport. They do that all the time at SCI and the other Delaware prisons, but they usually take the inmates outside, where inmates cannot see. Here, they beat Curtis in the hallway, in sight of other inmates.
If one gets his case far enough (and Curtis did with my help) the Court will appoint you a lawyer b4 trial. The Court did appoint a lawyer for Curtis, and that lawyer went down to SCI to interview the inmates who saw the guards beat the hell out of Boo. They confirmed his story. Curtis sent me all the papers filed in his case and kept me informed about his talks with his lawyer.
All the while, while this discovery and Motions are flying back and forth, I was advising Curtis, and I got to know him pretty well. They had moved him to a cell closer to mine. Nice young black man about 30 years old, in prison on drug charges.
So.. about two weeks later Curtis’ lawyer went back to talk to those inmates again, and their story was totally different, and the lawyer sensed that they were very nervous, so he asked him why they changed their story. Reluctantly, they told him the truth: a couple of guards had entered their cell and said things like “if you testify for Curtis Collins we will plant some cocaine in your cell and you’ll never get out of here”! No idle threat – they could do that in an instant.
So Curtis had a problem. The State offered him $400 to settle his case without going to trial. All the other inmates, who had heard most of our conversations (you cannot avoid that in Isolation, because you have to shout back and forth) were telling Curtis to accept the $400. “Abraham doesn’t kow what he’s talking about” etc. I advised Curtis not to take it and to go to trial, because I knew that with my help he would be an excellent witness. That $400 offer was absurd; although I don’t recall his age, I do remember some details of his case. The medical records showed the guards had broken a couple of his ribs and left him badly bruised – bloody lip, etc. – when they kicked him around in the hallway while he was cuffed and shackled.
I reported the threats by the guards – tampering with witnesses, a crime – to the U S Attorney (who did nothing -as they do with virtually all prison complaints) – and I wrote letters to the witnesses telling them to stick to the truth. We began writing back and forth; I remember I sent them my Ten Tips for Trial information (http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/ten-tps-trial-read-hearing-trial/) (At that time, around 2008 or 2009, guards almost never were prosecuted; thanks to voices like mine, now some are prosecuted.
Curtis went to trial, the witnesses told the truth, including the threats made against them, and the jury awarded him $90,000. But the judge made him pay his lawyers most of that, so Curtis ended up with $40,000. Curtis was delighted.
Moral of the story: sometimes you can beat the system!