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Interview with Victor

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Victor: It was atrocious. I was locked in a cell block, Communication with the outside world was greatly restricted, so if I wanted competent counsel I had to sneak word out of the jail through guys who were making bail. The appointed counsel showed up the day before trial asking me questions about the case. Then he moved for a continuation, sticking me in that jail for an additional 2 months. The situation was pitiful because there were enough issues to acquit me of all charges but because of the system in place there, you're guilty when you walk in the door

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Victor: I was pulled over by the police dept. and held at gun point. They said that there had been a report of some criminal activity nearby. I guess we were the lucky contestants: young, black, and male; that pretty much made us suspects in their eyes. We were taken to the jail where we waited for a court date.

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Victor: Court is just another part of a system designed to get you to plead out to any charges they can trump up. They put you in restraints that cut into your flesh (especially the ankle bones), and make you go up the designated court room, which was on the fourth floor. We were marched in the room in front of God knows how many strangers, and sat in the jurors box. The court appointed attorneys were periodically coming over to ask their clients questions about their case, because they were equally uneducated about their cases. Some were just trying to get their clients to plea out, no matter if they were innocent or not.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Victor: I was eventually convicted of armed robbery 1st and burglary 2nd.

Read about sentencing in the Coffee County Jail

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