The truth about my testimony in the Velez case is known by the Authority that matters. I, along with those close to the case, believe the trial transcript reflects the proper words and their meaning that were put forth from the witness stand.
On another note, what has always been a source of some consternation to me, is that the many times that I’ve shed some light on the situation of violence, criminal activity, waste and other issues relating to the Texas prison juggernaut, the result is demonization of the messenger and worse, collective apathy and denial. I wonder, should it matter to taxpayers who continue to pump billions of dollars a year into the bottomless belly of the penal system that there are horrendous failures perpetuated there? Does the average citizen of this state know that the legislature created an entire division of lawyers, investigators and clerks with the express purpose of representing prison inmates charged with new crimes, committed inside prison? If I have exaggerated the truth about the situation in prison, defense lawyers should (or should have), called the head of the State Counsel for Offenders to rebut me. They could ask him, “Isn’t it true that your office is funded and purposed to advocate for convicts who have been indicted for crimes while incarcerated?” Then, follow up with, “Isn’t it true that there is no prison crime, and you and your staff do not represent numerous prison inmates in court, do not file motions throughout the courts of the state, do not complete discovery, negotiate plea agreements, file appeals, and you simply wait for an occasional crime to be alleged?” Of course that won’t work, because the truth is contrary to that nonsensical notion. I have never understood why, when well-heeled defense lawyers with connections throughout the levels of government hear of the stunning failures of the system, ignore the information and even claim it to be false, instead of using their influence to do something about it.
Who would imagine that Ronder Townsell could be tortured and beaten over the period of several weeks, being whipped with an electrical cord, nearly drowned in his cell toilet, suffer 24 fractures to his ribs, abused with inhuman ruthlessness by his cellmate to the point of death? How could this happen over the course of an hour, let alone a month or more, inside a penitentiary with 24-hour security? Defense expert and retired prison employee Frank A. swore on his oath in an affidavit recently that this did not happen, and I falsified that information. Tell that to the body of the man in Townsell’s grave, Frank. Oh, and tell that to Chris Hubbard who pled guilty to killing the other man. Hubbard’s plea was in the District Court in Bowie County, Texas.
Who would imagine that Jose Alonzo, a convicted capital murderer while in general population, would be able to kill another inmate just a few feet from a guard who lifted not even a fingernail to stop the killing? Alonzo was convicted in Jefferson County for the killing. I was there during trial. I worked the case up. You can look it up.
What about the guard who brought in more illegal substances to inmates than simply cellphones? His name is Eric Talmore; you can look him up – Jefferson County conviction. He’s one of many. Bad guards are still being indicted for bribery and other crimes. Bad guards are still having sex with inmates, bringing in meth, marijuana, alcohol, etc. Interestingly, to me anyway, several governors ago, I wrote the state’s Chief Executive about the situation in the prison. Since we are living in a free and civil society and not the Gulag Archipelago, I figured somebody might need to be made aware of the problem and maybe fix it. As a result, I was called to the executive offices of TDCJ at the Brown Oil Tool building in Huntsville, Texas. Several highly ranked people were there, as was my boss at the time. I was told by the head-hog-at-the-trough over Classification, who is now making a lucrative living as a defense expert, to basically, shut up and leave the prison business to the prison folks. This is the man who had inmate witnesses in a prison killing transported on the same van with the defendant, to and from the courthouse to testify against the killer. The same man who housed witnesses within feet of the killer they had just snitched on in open court that morning. This is the same man who once implored me to search for, find and re-arrest a convict he had released by mistake – before the missing inmate could sexually assault another child. I did find the guy – in Big Spring, Texas. His name is Abel Trevino, captured on November 7, 1991. You can look him up. And by the way, I didn’t shut up as was suggested to me. I can’t, it would be the wormy thing to do. Of course, I would be a worm without the baggage of the present if I had shut up.
The Special Prosecution Unit has pursued criminal offenses within the prison in the thousands, many thousands. We have dismissed cases for lack of witnesses in probably equal numbers. There have been 170 murders in the Texas prison system since the Special Prosecution Unit was created (in response to the growing violence in prison). One of the killings was by two guards, murdering an inmate. Am I wrong for revealing the truth that has obviously escaped the attention of the public? Am I simply a “convict-lover” and out of touch with humanity? Well, I can’t be a convict-lover and defendant-hater (pointing to convicted capital murderers) at the same time.
Apparently this information must be ignored by the media and the people’s information pipeline; I guess it violates the blogger code of honor. I didn’t shut up as was emphatically instructed of me by the man whose name adorned thousands of pen packets in years past. And amazingly, I have never seen or heard of someone else taking up the reins and educating the taxpayers about their penal system. I wish someone would have. Meanwhile, the nefariousness continues and at least six prison inmates have been killed so far this year. People turn their heads and bloggers look for trash to toss around. The ACLU has evidently realized their new calling and they are committed to taking down A.P. Merillat. And by doing so, the world will once again be at peace. Ronder Townsell will be alive again; Victor Rocha will recover from his fatal stab wound; Janet Watts will return the thousands of dollars she extorted from inmates’ families; Warden Moxon’s innocent prey will no longer be victims of a pedophile’s vicious attacks; all will be well.
Keep up the great work A.P.!! You opened my eyes many years ago when you testified for me in the punishment phase of my first capital case.
You're a true Texas hero, A.P. And I don't say that fir, frivo, friv... well, I don't go around proclaiming people as True Texas Heroes everyday.
Me and Brumley and the other boys and girls of A.P. and the Lesser Includeds had a meeting and decided you kick arse! And amazingly, all WAS better with the world!
You are a good and honorable man, A.P. Just keep pickin' and a grinnin'.
He can outpick me on any stringed instrument on any day ending in "y." And he did tell me that I have chicken legs. But he was right. In short, A.P. is the man. Greg is right. When we speak of A.P., we speak fondly and all is well with our souls.
On a societal note, it is regrettable that A.P. has to be a voice in the wilderness pointing out the obvious: prisons are filled with dangerous people (many, if not most, of whom have done dangerous things to get there) and so they are dangerous places. Fixing their institutional shortcomings is far too complex to admit of simplistic solutions, and it cannot begin until we comprehensively recognize the myriad problems on both sides of the cell door. Statesmen of A.P.'s insight and eloquence are key to this quest. Alas, they are too few.
So how do we fix the TDC?
First of all, I am incapable of even carrying Scott Brumley's guitar case. Secondly, there are some of God's creations that I could do without, i.e. biting bugs and hurricanes. But something of His provision I could never live without are sincere friends. Folks, if you have some, hang onto them and appreciate them, because they can heal a despondent soul with a word.
Terry, I am probably the wrong person to ask, since I've been judged to be without credibility. But, not to run away from your question:
1) Somebody grow a freaking spine and acknowledge/face/admit to/recognize and by all means, report to the public the truth of what's going on in there. And admit that, if the purpose of prison is to punish and rehabilitate, and to keep innocent people safe, then there have been miserable failures.
To start the gargantuan effort to address the problem?
2) Have the public, inlcuding government officials, educated on the truth, by someone who can be believed -- I'll even give that person my Powerpoints, videos, photos and notes from past seminars/lectures/articles. Find a media representative without an agenda, difficult as it may be, and expose them to the same eye-opening process.
3) If the consensus among all those parties is that the ACLU is right and I have made up facts, then disregard "1" and "2" above and put heads back into the sand where it's comfortable and safe.
4) Enlightenment will be a first step to repair of the break.
Keep Tilting at Windmills.....
Unfortunately, anti DP advocates and other defense oriented groups focus in on one small bit of testimony that may, or may not, have been incorrect, and convince the Court to decide that there was egregious error which demands reversal. Ignore the horror of the crime. The possible future classification of an inmate will always make the jury decide between life and death?!?!
I had a case reversed because some identifiers were missing on a pen packet submitted to a jury, and the Court ruled that the jury only gave life to the defendant who had serially sexually abused his step daughter for years(including producing two children by the underaged teen) because of the faulty prior (the identifiers were left off after the defense objected, and agreed to the introduction of the rest of the packet)..........Really?
Whether the prison system or the courts generally, the vested interests will be ruthless in their attempts to silence critics. The "go along, get along", or, if you will, "cooperate and graduate" mentality of many political institutions is what has helped lead us into gridlock and decline.
For those crying from a mountaintop whose words fall on deaf ears, I say: "keep calling". You may not be vindicated in your lifetime, but you may be the one whose words and cries are finally heard, and the problem solved.
Courage in the face of overwhelming criticism is what makes great men great. Whether wrong or right, the courage of one's honest convictions is, in itself, its own reward. Doing the right thing isn't supposed to be easy, it is supposed to be right.
Whether one may disagree with your views is not the issue. The issue is whether you have the guts to say what you think, rather than what someone wants to hear. Dissent is often the greatest service you can render to those in authority.
In our community, we keep going, in spite of all the obstacles that seem to be thrown in our path. From lack of funding, to insane laws, to obstreperous institutions, we keep going because we have to. Because it is the right thing to do.
A little vindication
"A. P. Merillat did not lie to the jury nor mislead the jury in any way.”
- Trial court's findings of fact as adopted by the CCA in Ex parte Norman, No. WR-74,743-01, slip op. at 2 (Tex. Crim. App. Aug. 22, 2012).
We who know AP know that without having to be told by the CCA, or anyone else.
Not what I was hoping for, but it must have purpose, in some way.
The Court, even in its awesome, stunning power, is not omnipotent. They cannot resurrect the victims of homicide or negate the wounds inflicted on innocent people by the wicked - be they perpetrators who are free or those locked behind bars. But they did have the rare opportunity to do something about their shredding of the reputation and livelihood of a public servant who, by all proof, acted professionally and with integrity. But they decided not to take advantage of the opportunity.
Their proclamation and determination that I am without honor is now in the books and is the basis by which I will, now and in the future,be judged on this earth. Thank God there are people out there who know and believe the truth.
Your Nephew who died for this Country is smiling down from Heaven. I remember how painful it was for you and your family when he was killed. He didn't die in vain because there are Heros like you out there who are trying to right the wrongs we all know exist in the TDCJ system.
Those of us who deal with the prisons, Guards and OIG in our communities need to step up and let the legislature know how crimes are continuing to happen in the prisons. The investigations are so lacking that people are literally getting away with murder. How does an investigator lose evidence in a murder case??
Proud to be called your friend AP! Keep doing what is right!!!!Glad to have you on our side and your credibility has never been questioned by those of us who know you!
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