A decade ago I went through trial. Jim Clark, my lawyer, had a plan to defend me that was to say screw everything else because he could prove I was innocent. The D.A. was saying the crime occurred between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. There was a two hour window for the crime and Jim Clark could prove I had an airtight alibi, which was factually proven by phone records and numerous eyewitness accounts. Clark did not care about anything else in my case, including my character because I was innocent and he could prove it with my alibi.
Had the D.A. been fair and honest, in theory Clark’s plan would have worked. He could prove exactly where I was and what I was doing for those two hours. Why bother with anything else? Why bother sharing with the jury who I was? Because D.A.s are not fair and honest. From my experience with the criminal justice system, D.A.s do not seek truth and justice they are seeking to win, to win at any cost.
Looking back 10 years it is no surprise that on the second day at trial the D.A. gave my lawyer a 4-page police report. This little report contained many things favorable to proving my innocence had they actually been used by Clark, but he failed to use a single one of them. The report also contained the harsh reality that the D.A. was changing the timing of the crime to two hours earlier, between 9:30 am and 11:30 am. This late disclosure of evidence was in violation of my constitutional rights and California evidentiary legal procedures; California law.
Seeing as this late disclosure of seriously damaging evidence to my case was in violation of the law and my constitutional rights to due process, it is surprising that my own lawyer failed to object. He allowed the D.A. to destroy my defense by changing the times. Leaving the defense he had prepared useless. What is even worse than that, because Clark had expected to rely completely on my now irrelevant alibi covering 11:30 am to 1:30 pm for my defense, there was nothing else for him to present (my alibi for the whole day has since been factually documented and will be discussed in future posts) Through Clark’s countless failures to defend me in court, not only did he allow me to be wrongfully convicted; he did nothing to defend my character either.
The man tasked with saving my life did nothing to demonstrate who I was, what kind of person I was, my character. Granted, I wasn’t the best teenager in the world, but absolutely nothing was said about who I truly was.
Jim Clark was supposed to be there to defend me yet he didn’t bring any of my friends to testify to my character. He never brought in any adult family friends who had known me for years and watched me grow up. He never brought in any family members; none of my cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents. He never brought in any of the teachers who had me in their classes, 4-H leaders, Boy Scout leaders or fellow troop members. He easily could have brought in fellow employees from the after school jobs I had. The list of who Clark could have called to testify about my character could go on, but the fact is that he called non of these people because he had my airtight alibi, but he allowed it to become irrelevant by not objecting to the D.A’s illegal time change.
Because no one had presented who I was as a person before I was wrongfully convicted and I feel strange writing about who I was myself, I would like to ask those who knew me to please post comment about who I was to you. I would greatly appreciate this and hopefully someday soon your words will become useful in obtaining my freedom. Thank you.
written by Sean O’Brien