Justice Served?

 

When I was in my early twenties, I was unjustly thrown in jail. I awoke one morning to find a team of local “SWAT” officials pointing shot guns at my head.

One year later, on the advice of my attorney, I signed a plea agreement which subsequently disappeared, and I was sentenced to spend the next thirty days locked in a jail cell.

I remember sitting next to my mom and dad in the court room that day. Court was just getting started, as the bailiff escorted several toothless, tactless, dirty women clothed in orange to the front of the courtroom. As those women sat in their seats, picking at their faces, scratching their elbows, sniffing and shifting nervously, I looked at my dad and shivered. My dad leaned over, “Isn’t that the most depressing scene you’ve ever witnessed?” I nodded slowly.

Moments later the hammer dropped and I was told to go sit next to the women in orange suits. The bailiff handcuffed me to the lady with stringy black and yellow hair. She continued to smack her toothless gums, taking no notice as the handcuffs clicked shut. I sat on display for over an hour while other cases were heard. I remember watching my mom and dad and the little girl who had been sitting on my other side, next to her parents. All of their faces shown with grief coupled with astonishment.

For thirty days I sat in a dark room with no windows; was surrounded by people whose minds had long since been destroyed by meth; would wake up to discover somebody taking a shit only inches from my head; was violently attacked and had to violently defend myself.

I was not, am not, and have never considered myself to be the “type” of person who goes to jail, so the whole experience was tilting to say the least.

While sitting on a stone floor that was stained with urine and mace spray, I scribbled these words onto a piece of paper. This was my first piece of writing outside of a classroom.

 

 

I am sitting here in silence, in this pit of bars and chains

There’s no pride left to boast of self, for here self-pity reigns

Perhaps I’ll place the blame on those who placed me in this hole

I know the blame is not for me, but for some other wicked soul

And if this song of pass the blame is what I choose to sing

Then I’ll walk the streets tomorrow, and I’ll not have learned a thing

But if perhaps I choose to think, while in my dark despair

Of all the wrongs I’ve done this week, the blame I’ll start to wear

Then when I am released out of this place of rampant sin

I’ll remember what I’ve learned here, and a knew life I’ll begin

 

Nathan Gray

 

 

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24 thoughts on “Justice Served?

  1. Powerful story and very well told. I can’t even imaging being locked up for a single day, let alone a month. I think, after one gets over the anger (and pity as you address), one can learn some important lessons. And, it sounds like you did. What a raw experience.

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    1. Thanks Chris. I think that in these types of situations it can be all too easy to get caught up in the resentment we feel and the injustice that was done, and consequently miss the lesson. My Dad was good enough to tactfully remind me of this point throughout the whole ordeal.
      I like how you put that, it was a raw experience.

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    1. Hey Laugh! I just saw your gravatar – which possesses a certain welcoming appeal – on another blog, and was going to visit your site. Then I saw your comment here. Thanks so much for visiting.

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    1. And yet you may surprise yourself Hook. Of course, chances are you will never know. I will say, as intensely difficult as the ordeal seems like it would be, it is far worse than anything that comes to mind.
      It’s always great to see you stop by, and I’ve been really enjoying your blog over the last couple of weeks.

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    1. And thank you for reading. I don’t want to overstate my handling of the whole ordeal. If I could go back and change most of how I reacted, I would.
      I’m glad that you enjoyed the poem. It is personal, but my readers are very respectful.

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    1. Your welcome FrankAngle. Chills seems to be the consensus response; a response that certainly is understandable. Most of the folks I talk to haven’t had this experience, so I hoped that this story would be both interesting and enlightening for many readers.

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  2. Recently a friend of mine was arrested, assaulted by an officer and thrown in County jail for a weekend without cause. It was horrifying. The stress and finances on her and her family are enormous. I also have a police officer as a very good friend (no correlation to the incidences), so I see both sides.
    I’m glad you took what is a completely dark and harrowing experience and turned it into something transforming for yourself.

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    1. When you say that you “see both sides”, if you mean that you see both good and bad in the justice system, then I agree with you.
      I often dream of organizing a civilian based watchdog group in order to hold district governments accountable. A haughty judge should never be the final, affordable voice of appeal below God.
      Thanks for stopping in blondgirl. Which reminds me, don’t you think grace would’ve made a great bond girl? Perhaps a little beneath her, but I’m still thinking Hellz Yeah!

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    1. My attorney and the prosecutor were the only people present when I signed the agreement. When it disappeared, I understood that something screwy was abrew, thus I took it for what it was. At the time, I only told my family about the missing plea agreement. You are right, my defense attorney was incompetent as well as deceitful.

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  3. Wow! Like I keep saying… tell it like it is. Great post– you really made me (and clearly other readers) feel a glimpse of what you must have felt at the moment. Sounds horrific. You have a lot here with this story. This post left me wanting to know more…

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  4. Sad indeed. But, to answer your question, this experience was the impellent behind what I would call a young life of tremendous success.

    I believe that I wouldn’t trade this sour experience for anything.

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