Monday, June 8, 2015

robbed of my happiness

I was going to do one of my "poems of the state" based on Kalief Browder's original arrest when he was accused of stealing a backpack.  After hours of research I found his records are all sealed  so this text is sourced from this article from the New Yorker.

Before the Law:  A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life. by Jennifer Gonnerman 

robbed of my happiness (draft 1)
by claudia alick

16 years old
alleged crime
theft of backpack
on or about May 2
or May 8th
Seventy-four days
Seventeenth birthday
the end of his sophomore year
half the summer
Grand Jury Indicted
grand larceny
Robbery in the second degree and other crimes
How do you plead, sir, guilty or not guilty?
not guilty
remanded him without bail
In order for a trial to start
both the defense attorney and the prosecutor
have to declare that they are ready;
the court clerk
the trial judge
the jury

Notice of Readiness
the People are ready for trial
solitary confinement
December 10th
January 28
two-hundred-and-fifty-eighth day in jail
The prosecutor said,
The People are not ready. We are requesting one week.
March 9th
not one week away but six
June 23 People not ready, request 1 week.
August 24 People not ready, request 1 day.
November 4 People not ready, prosecutor on trial, request 2 weeks.
December 2 Prosecutor on trial, request January 3rd.
solitary confinement
solitary confinement
2012, prosecutors offer a deal
three and a half years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea
not guilty
February 8, 2012
six-hundred-and-thirty-fourth day
I can’t take it anymore. I give up.
suicide attempt
February 17th
prosecutor offer a new excuse
Your Honor, the assigned assistant is currently on vacation
The prosecutor asked for a five-day adjournment;
his’s lawyer requested March 16th
suicide attempt
high-school graduation
enrolling in college
Prosecutors offered him a new deal
if he pleaded guilty, he’d get two and a half years in prison
with time served he could go home soon
‘Nah, I’m not taking it.’
June 29, 2012: People not ready, request one week
September 28, 2012: People not ready, request two weeks
November 2, 2012: People not ready, request one week
December 14, 2012: People not ready, request one week
'These guys are just playing with my case.'
17 months solitary confinement
March 13, 2013
Plead guilty to two misdemeanors
 equivalent of sixteen months in jail
go home now, on the time already served
'I’m all right'
'I did not do it.'
'I’m all right.'
'I want to go to trial.'
May 29th, the thirty-first court date
The District Attorney is really in a position right now where they cannot proceed
It is their intention to dismiss the case.

No trial, no jury, no verdict.
six months after his release
attempted suicide
“I feel like I was robbed of my happiness."

June 2014

RIP Kalief Browder



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