The Guardians

The Guardians

Book - 2019
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j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Only 5 quotes in goodreads … not compelling for readers to post more?

He’s been on death row for only nine years. The average in this state is fifteen. Twenty is not unusual. There is an appeal bouncing around somewhere in the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, and when it lands on the desk of the right law clerk within the hour this execution will be stayed. Duke will return to the horrors of solitary confinement and live to die another day.
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I place my briefcase and cell phone, same as before. “Watch and belt?” I ask like a real smart-ass.
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Duke is thirty-eight and white, and before getting arrested for rape and murder his criminal record consisted of two DUIs and a bunch of speeding tickets. No violence whatsoever.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

His name is Mark Carter. White male, age thirty-three, lives in a small rental house in the town of Bayliss, ten miles from Verona. In my files I have photos of his house and truck and current live-in girlfriend. Eleven years ago, Carter raped and murdered Emily Broone, and now all I have to do is prove it.
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Bite mark and hair analysis have been discredited in most advanced jurisdictions. Both belong to that pathetic and ever-shifting field of knowledge derisively known among defense and innocence lawyers as junk science.” God only knows how many innocent people are serving long sentences because of unqualified experts and their unfounded theories of guilt.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

His name is Mark Carter. White male, age thirty-three, lives in a small rental house in the town of Bayliss, ten miles from Verona. In my files I have photos of his house and truck and current live-in girlfriend. Eleven years ago, Carter raped and murdered Emily Broone, and now all I have to do is prove it.
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Bite mark and hair analysis have been discredited in most advanced jurisdictions. Both belong to that pathetic and ever-shifting field of knowledge derisively known among defense and innocence lawyers as junk science.” God only knows how many innocent people are serving long sentences because of unqualified experts and their unfounded theories of guilt.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Duke Russell was convicted in a backwater redneck town where half the jurors struggle to read and all were easily misled by two pompous and bogus experts put on the stand by Chad Falwright. The first was a retired small-town dentist from Wyoming, and how he found his way to Verona, Alabama, is another story. With grave authority, a nice suit, and an impressive vocabulary, he testified that three nicks on the arms of Emily Broone were inflicted by Duke’s teeth. This clown makes a living testifying across the country, always for the prosecution and always for nice fees, and in his twisted mind a rape is not violent enough unless the rapist somehow manages to bite the victim hard enough to leave imprints.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Her name is Vicki Gourley and she works in our little foundation’s office in the old section of Savannah. She founded Guardian Ministries twelve years ago with her own money. Vicki is a devout Christian who considers her work to be derived straight from the Gospels. Jesus said to remember the prisoners. She doesn’t spend much time hanging around jails but she works fifteen hours a day trying to free the innocent. Years ago she was on a jury that convicted a young man of murder and sentenced him to die. Two years later the bad conviction was exposed. The prosecutor had concealed exculpatory evidence and solicited perjured testimony from a jailhouse snitch. The police had planted evidence and lied to the jury. When the real killer was identified by DNA, Vicki sold her flooring business to her nephews, took the money and started Guardian Ministries.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

In the past ten years I’ve roamed virtually every highway throughout the Death Belt, from North Carolina to Texas.
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He may have been only fifteen years old, but he was a tough kid who had seen it all. Battle-hardened in the ways of gangs, drugs, and violence. He hated me and everyone else with white skin.
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As a criminal defense lawyer, I was already sick of the question “ How can you represent a person you know to be guilty? ” I had always offered the standard law school response of,” Well, everyone has the right to a proper defense. The Constitution says so. ” But I no longer believed that. The truth is that there are some crimes that are so heinous and cruel that the killer should either be ( 1 ) put to death, if one believes in the death penalty, or ( 2 ) put away for life, if one does not believe in the death penalty .

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Exonerating Quincy Miller is our goal. Finding the real killer is not a priority.
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Nothing against white folks, Post, but there are a lot of differences, you know? I listen to Motown, he likes that country crap. My bunk is neat as a pin. He’s a slob. I don’t touch drugs. He’s stoned half the time.
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He had dropped out of college and did not have the time to pursue a degree in criminology or anything related to actual science, so he attended seminars and workshops on forensics, and he read books and magazine articles written by other experts. He was a smooth talker with a good vocabulary, and he found it easy to convince judges that he knew his stuff. Once qualified as a forensics expert, he found it even easier to convince unsophisticated jurors that his opinions were based on solid science.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

“We haven’t really discussed fees, have we?” “Send me a bill. Then you can sue me.”
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The white cops and white prosecutor and white jury said he killed a white lawyer. Didn’t happen that way.
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I’m not sure why it is referred to as a satellite. It’s a prison, with all the usual dreary architecture and fencing. Unfortunately, the facility is operated for profit by an out-of-state corporation, which means the guards earn even less and there are fewer of them, the terrible food is even worse, the commissary gouges the men on everything from peanut butter to toilet paper, and the medical care is almost nonexistent. I suppose that in America everything, including education and corrections, is fair game for profiteers.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Over a twenty-five-year career, Norwood testified in hundreds of criminal trials, always for the prosecution and always implicating the defendant. And always for a nice fee.
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DNA testing arrived and put a serious dent in his business. DNA testing not only changed the future of criminal investigations, it brought a fresh and devastating scrutiny to the junk science Norwood and his ilk had been peddling. In at least half of the DNA exonerations of innocent men and women, bad forensics have been the cornerstone of the prosecution’s evidence.
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Because of the Internet, there are now hundreds of thousands of convicted sex offenders. For many reasons, they do not fare well in general prison populations. Most states are trying to segregate them into separate facilities. Virginia sends most of its to Tully Run.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Cook was a wild man, a hard-drinking redneck prone to brawling and chasing women. Nine years ago he caught the wrong one and married her. They spent a few rough years together taking turns moving in and out. Both had trouble keeping jobs and money was always an issue.
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“I believe that, Gerald. I really do, but getting you out will take a long time. There is simply no way to speed things along. As I told you before, it’s fairly easy to convict an innocent man and virtually impossible to exonerate one.” “This is so wrong, Post.”
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In the U.S. there are over two million people locked up, and it takes one million employees and $ 80 billion in tax dollars to take care of them.
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Very few women are criminals. Their mistakes are picking bad boyfriends.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Hers is another sad story of a kid who never had a chance. She was a crack baby who was bounced from foster homes to orphanages to in-laws in the projects. She dropped out of school, had a baby, lived with an aunt, worked here and there for minimum wages, had another baby, became an addict. After her third child was born, she got a break and found a room in a homeless shelter where a counselor helped her get clean. A man from a church gave her a job and sort of adopted her and the kids, and she moved into a small rental duplex. Every day was a struggle, though, and she was arrested for bad checks. She sold her body for cash, and then began selling drugs. Her life was a nightmare; thus, she was easy to convict.
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She breathes deeply and looks at Buck, who shrugs and says,” Go ahead. We didn’t drive five hours for cheeseburgers.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

“I like my beer but always stayed away from drugs. I knew my daddy would shoot me.”
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VERONA SITS IN the center of the state, in a desolate, sparsely populated flatland packed with piney woods. For its 5,000 inhabitants, a good job is driving a pulpwood truck, a bad one is sacking groceries. One in five has no job at all. It’s a depressing place, but then most of my stops are in towns that time has passed by.
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“I read somewhere that maybe ten percent of all people locked up are innocent. You believe that?” “Ten percent might be on the high side, but there are thousands of innocent people in prison.” “I’m not sure I believe that.” “Most white folks don’t, but go to the black community and you’ll find plenty of believers.”

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

“Back in the day, I had all the tort business sewed up in Ruiz County. All the good car wrecks, bad products, med-mal, bad faith, everything. If a person got injured, they showed up here, or sometimes I went to see them in the hospital. Keith wanted some of the action because it’s no secret that injuries are the only way to make money out there on the streets.
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“In your cases, what do the locals normally do?” “Cover up. Stonewall. Hide evidence. Fight me like hell. Contest everything I file in court. You see, Sheriff, in these cases the stakes are too high and the mistakes are too egregious for anyone to admit they were wrong. Innocent men and women serve decades while the real killers roam free, and often kill again. These are enormous injustices, and I’ve yet to find a cop or a prosecutor with the spine to admit they blew it.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

an innocent man perfectly framed.
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my other clients: Shasta Briley on death row in North Carolina, convicted of arson that killed her three daughters; Billy Rayburn in Tennessee, convicted by the dubious science of what has become known as the Shaken Baby Syndrome after he tripped and fell while holding his girlfriend’s baby; Duke Russell, still on death row in Alabama; Curtis Wallace, convicted in Mississippi of the abduction, rape, and murder of a young woman he never met; and Little Jimmy Flagler, who was seventeen and mentally retarded when Georgia locked him away for life.
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Traffic barely moves so there is little chance of a deadly crash.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

A Florida real estate developer who moves conservatively?
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They picked up a burlap sack filled with bloody chickens and hitched it to the zip line, then released it. As it swung down to the water it dripped blood, and this really excited the crocodiles. When the sack stopped over the center of the pond, one of the guards pulled a cord and the dead chickens dropped in a heap on top of the crocs. They must have been starving because they went crazy.
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… deserve it. For those who don’t, it is a daily struggle to maintain some level of sanity. For those who suddenly learn that there is proof of their innocence yet they remain locked up, the situation is literally maddening.
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Like nightfall, Frankie eases into town and …
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Arnie had a mouth full of oversized teeth and one of his front ones was chipped; thus, he was called Chip behind his back.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Amos had smaller teeth but a fat lower lip that was always packed with a thick wad of smokeless tobacco; thus Dip.
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“When Kenny was a kid he wanted to be a spy. Sort of odd for a black kid in a small town in Florida, but he loved spy books and spy magazines. The CIA never called so he became a cop.
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In Florida, as in almost all states, post-conviction relief is considered only when new evidence is found. Not better evidence. Not more credible evidence.
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He’s lied so many times that no one can be certain, especially His Honor, if he’s telling the truth now.
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SINCE GUARDIAN BEGAN its work, we have opened eighteen cases, eight of which resulted in exonerations. One client was executed. Six are current. Three we closed when we became convinced our clients were indeed guilty.
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He was an FBI agent in 1973 when Congress created the Drug Enforcement Agency, which sounded more exciting than his desk job.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

DEA always hides behind the excuse that its investigations are active and ongoing. It doesn’t matter how old or inactive a case might be, the DEA’s procedure is to give you nothing. And they’ll go to court to protect their information. That’s the way we operated.
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By the mid 1970s, when the DEA was created, cocaine was raging across the country and coming in by the ton in ships, planes, trucks, you name it. The demand was insatiable, profits were enormous, and the growers and traffickers could barely keep up. They built huge organizations throughout Central and South America and stashed their money in Caribbean banks. Florida, with eight hundred miles of beaches and dozens of ports, became the preferred point of entry. Miami became the playground for the traffickers. South Florida was controlled by a Colombian cartel, one that is still in business.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Nothing is easy in a prison. Rules are entrenched, or they are amended on the fly — whatever it takes to waste more time.
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“Our mission is to get innocent people out of prison. We don’t have the time or resources to litigate from the grave.”
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A drug gang, a Mexican cartel at that, a crooked sheriff, the murder of a lawyer at his desk, a wrongful conviction, and now an attempted contract killing to stop an effort at exoneration. Not your everyday cas .
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we’re too busy putting people in prison to worry about what happens once they get there.
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“The Aryan Deacons spun off from the Aryan Brotherhood, the largest white prison gang in the U.S. The Dekes’ membership is estimated at ten thousand, though recordkeeping is spotty. Typical gang activity — drugs, food, sex, cell phones. Their alumni — the few who get out — remain members and carry on criminal activity. Pretty nasty bunch of boys.”
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You solve crimes to lock people up. I solve crimes to get people out.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Another county car with flashing lights arrives, and parks in front of DiLuca’s car. Two officers get out and glare at him as if he has just murdered some children.
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His father was a bitter racist who despised all minorities and blamed them for his lack of upward mobility in life. His mother claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a black athlete in high school, though no charges were ever filed. As a child, Adam was taught to avoid blacks when possible and to speak to them only in unpleasant terms.
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If you’re indicted, it’ll take two years to get you to trial, more if the U.S. Attorney so chooses. He doesn’t care if you’re guilty or innocent, he just wants to ruin you if you don’t cooperate.
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“You want me to snitch?” “No. We want you to inform. Big difference. Gather information from your buddies, pass it along to us.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

He’s spent most of his life behind the fence and he survived, at times even prospered. His brothers are there, all sworn together in a vicious but protective gang. No work, no bills to pay. Three meals a day. Plenty of drugs, especially for a gang member. Lots of sex if one is so inclined.
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Folk here just barely hang on, barely get by. We got our own challenges and we don’t have time to worry about what’s happening over in Seabrook, or anywhere else for that matter.”
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I wouldn’t walk into that house at high noon with a gun in my hand for a thousand dollars cash.
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I often marvel at the cost of it all. Fifty thousand dollars a year to keep him in prison, for twenty-three years now. A drop in the bucket to what the taxpayers are now spending to keep him alive and fix up his wounds. Not to mention the security. Millions, and all wasted on an innocent man who should never have been incarcerated in the first place.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

He’s wired with the latest bug, which can pick up a deer snorting thirty yards away.
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Just observe the billboards along any busy Florida highway and you’ll almost wish you could get injured. Switch on early morning television and you’re bombarded with hawkers who feel your pain.
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I slept on the porch like a dead man until a really big cat pounced on my chest at three in the morning and scared the hell out of me. How was I to know it was his rocker? Neither of us could go back to sleep. So, yes, I have some cobwebs. My eyes are leaking. I’m covered with cat hair. And I feel like death warmed over.
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Humans are mammals and their red blood cells are similar in that they do not have nuclei. Reptiles and birds have nucleated red blood cells, we do not.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Carmen zeros in on his colorful history of lying in court. When did the lying stop, or has it? Why should anyone believe that you’re not lying now?
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For us to take a case there has to be a good chance of recovery of at least ten million bucks. That simple. If we don’t see the potential for ten million, then we pass.
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“Seems like suing a cartel would be somewhat dangerous,” I say. Cordell laughs and says,” Probably not as bad as suing tobacco companies, gun makers, or big pharma. Not to mention crooked doctors and their insurance companies.”
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The plot of The Guardians is based on a real story, sad to say, and it involves a Texas inmate named Joe Bryan. Thirty years ago, Joe was wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, a horrible crime that occurred at night while Joe was sleeping in his hotel room two hours away.


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