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A Stand against injustice by putting a demand on human rights.We can't allow a corrupt injust system convict innocent lives,for political gain.Please take action now by signing and sharing with others through emails,tweet,facebook and ect.Thanks for your concern!
Greetings: Freedom & Humanitarians worldwide
We the few freedom fighters of the innocence case of Leon Benson in Indiana (U.S.A), have created this petition on his behalf, to finally compel at least one of the three renowned innocents projects (Illinois: Wrongful conviction center, Indiana & New York innocence projects) to represent him in his post-conviction relief (PCR) appeal.
Here in 2012, we & Leon have come to a cross-road in efforts to obtain his freedom. Presently he is pro se (his own lawyer) representing his PCR appeal in Marion Superior Court, Indianapolis, Indiana despite the ordinary difficulties he faces as a pro se prisoner (i.e. being held in solitary, where there limited access to the facilities law library, the phone and other tools and resources), the biggest challenge has been the psychopathic corruption of local Indiana law officials (i.e. the judge, prosecutor and attorneys sought for representation) and prison authorities (i.e. warder, guards, case managers, etc..) in undermining his righteous attempts to obtain justice & freedom by himself.
To date, Leon has been wrongfully imprisoned since August 14, 1998 for the shooting-death of Kasey Schoen on Aug 8, 1998 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Police arrested him on the speculation of local crack-addicts, whom knew of Leon from the area. And while in police custody Leon was identified as the shooter from a photo lineup by a (white) newspaper delivery person. There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime and no gun was ever recovered or motive for the shooting was ever established.
The crack-addict told police that he saw Leon among others on the crime scene - before and after the crime; although he never saw who shot the victim. Leon maintains he wasn’t on the scene during the shooting, but was in an apt building one street block away in the company of several people.
And immediately after the crime, the newspaper woman described the shooter to police she saw (from 147 feet or 45.75 meters away) a dark complexioned, black male skinny built early - mid 20s possibly no facial hair, wearing a dark t-shirt and jogging pants with 3 white stripes down each leg. However six days later she identified Leon as the killer who was a light complexioned black male.
On Aug. 17 1998 another eyewitness came forward to police a 21 y/o black male. This witness identified another suspect committing the shooting from a photo lineup. He said the reason he recognized the shooter was because he saw him an hour or two before the crime waving a 380. Auto hand gun around. The victim was killed with a 380. Auto handgun & this witness described the shooter wearing the same clothing as the newspaper woman.
Throughout Leon was out spoken in maintaining his absolute innocence. May 24th 1999 a jury trial resulted in a hung jury with a vote of (6 not guilty, 5 guilty, 1 undecided) however, on July 8 1999 he was found guilty on the basis of one eyewitnesses testimony that was riddles with contradictions.
The biggest contradiction in the newspaper woman’s testimony was that she admitted in the court room that Leon was in fact a light complexion black man, unlike her initial description of the shooter being a dark complexioned black man moreover. The defense attorney for Leon didn’t call the exonerating eyewitness on his behalf, nor did he call all alibi witnesses to testify.
This false conviction resulted in Leon being sentenced to 60 years in prison.
STRUGGHLES IN PRISON
From the start of his prison term, Leon made exceptional efforts to expose the injustice that swallowed his life whole. Unfortunately, on Feb 15, 2002, Indiana Courts denied his Direct Appeal. But thereafter Leon strongly sought help from every U.S Innocence Project & other renowned organizations that provide assistance to innocent prisoners. However, he received only D.N.A responses - Denied Necessary Assistance
How is this possible when he’s genuinely innocent? We like many cases , Leon’s case doesn’t involve any D.N.A evidence to be tested. Instead, he's the victim of the U.S Injustice system #1 case of wrongful convictions of African Americans: cross-misidentify.
We’ve yet to understand why there isn’t more innocence projects dedicated to misidentification cases, when they document it as the #1 cause of wrongful convictions? This fact is esp. known to (NY) innocence Project director Barry Scheck, (IN) Innocence Project director Fran Hardy, and (ILL) Center on wrongful convictions director Rob Wardin - yet they all sent Leon Denial of Necessary Assistance response letters. (See receipts of struggles blogs @ www.myspace.com/freeleonbenson) and for this contradiction, out friend was forced to languish in-between the forked-tongue of injustice.
Then on Jan 24, 2003, due to his effects falling short, Leon was forced to depend on Indiana Public (pretenders) office to represent his PCR (2nd appeal). Unfortunately, between 2003-2007 Leon’s case was back-logged and poorly represented. Consequently, he kicked the pretender off his case and went pro se on Aug. 24, 2007.
A person who came to prison with a 9th grade education and functionally - illiterate of law, Leon began to engage the corrupt system teeth and nail in hands on litigations, from within the trenches of an obscure paper work - war for his freedom. He learned through trial and error the ins and outs of PCR litigation.
However the biggest lesson he would learn was the courts had contempt towards pro se prisoners. And this was most noticeably seen with the Judges unfair rulings that denied Leon access to present exonerating evidence (911 call tapes, on scene recorded statement by states alleged eyewitness and new forensic fingerprints testing of recovered bullet shells) and witnesses at him then Dec 16, 2009 PCR hearing.
Amid, this judicial contempt, Leon sought to hire an attorney with $5000 that he and supporters raised. However this attorney cut communication with him upon receiving the money. And when Leon demanded the money back this attorney stole $1,000 and only sent back $4,000.
Moreover, all of these acts of corruption occurred between Sept. - Nov. 2009 therefore, Leon was forced to withdraw his PCR, in order to preserve his chances of winning a new trial, opposed to appearing at that Dec. 16, 2009 PCR hearing with all the odds against him.
By withdrawing his PCR he cancelled all proceedings on case; retained the right to re file his PCR at any date after and the option to force the unfair judge to be removed from his case due to the biasness. For these strategic options he plans to re file his PCR appeal in February 2010 as a pro se prisoner with the assistance of a hired private investigator to do critical legwork that’s beyond his physical capacity while in prison.
Despite this, WE ALL KNOW that his chances to get a fair hearing will be far greater with an attorney or a renowned Justice organization backing his case, on a political level, its more in the Indiana courts interest to undermine Leon’s exoneration efforts: (1) legal careers are at stake (prosecutorial misconducts of ex-prosecutor now state senator, police misconduct, judicial misconduct etc..) (2) the state of Indiana stands to lose millions of dollars from Leon’s wrongful conviction lawsuit upon his exoneration
ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BACK HIM
At this point of his struggle, Leon has done the impossible from a prisons solitary cell. With no major publicity coverage, support, or financial resources he has made a firm case of his innocence.
The following factors should compel any innocent project, legal firm or human rights organizations to back Leon’s case:
#1 - Alibi witness Timothy Gaither has been located and is willing to testify that Leon was in an Apt building with him and others during the crime
#2 - eyewitness Dakarai Fulton has come forward to testify that he witnessed another person commit the shooting. On Oct 27 2009 Fulton submitted a signed and notarized affidavit that Leon is in fact innocent, like he stated to police Aug 17, 1998.
#3 - experts of eyewitness identification, Dr. Geoffrey R. Loftus, have submitted a signed and notarized affidavit on Leon’s case, demonstration how unreliable the states witness identification was of Leon. This is especially compelling in his scientific vision & distance analysis where his studies demonstrated that a person with 20/20 vision ability to recognize a face drops to 0 from a distance of 150 feet or 45.7 m in day light Dr. Loftus concluded that since: (1) the states eyewitness had less than 20/20 vision. (2) was 50 yards away when observing the crime and (3) the lighting conditions were poor - that she was scientifically unable to recognize anyone -let alone Leon. More over Dr. Loftus provided a photo illustration of what exactly a person with 20/20 vision could see from the witnesses’ position - no face could be recognized. (any questions of this new science contact Dr. Loftus email@example.com)
#4 - English forensic scientist, Dr. John Bond has submitted a signed notarized affidavit on behalf of Leon’s case to test free of charge 5 bullet shells recovered on the crime scene for enhanced fingerprints. Dr. Bond has invented Visualization of fingerprints a new finger printing technique that can detect finger prints on metal surfaces even after being wiped or washed clean.
Dr. Bond strongly believes that he can find the actual shooters finger prints on one of the fired bullet shells. However, the unfair judge denied Leon’s request for the testing, despite it being no financial cost to the state or court. Nonetheless according to Indiana case law Lacey V. State, 829 N.E 2d 518 (Ind. App. 2005): we concluded that the post-conviction court was wrong to deny (petitioners) request. (Petition) was entitled to employ reasonable means in order to obtain evidence in support of his petition. It is our understanding from the record that he simply sought to obtain the hat that his counsel could submit it to DNA testing at his expense. Therefore, in comparison to Leon’s case he’s entitled to obtain the 5 bullet shells to be submitted to Visualization fingerprint testing at his expense Dr.Bonds in support of his petition. And with a fair judge presiding over his case the visualization testing will be allowed. (Any questions of this new finger printing technique contact John Bond (firstname.lastname@example.org)
#5 - The actual legal violations and trail errors committed by the prosecutor and trial attorney are accurate and strong, that are presented in Leon’s PCR appeal petition.
#6 - and Leon is willing to contribute the finances he has towards anyone org or law firm willing sincerely to help him obtain his overdue exoneration.
For the above reason WE strongly believe Leon’s case is worthy of the help of any Innocence project, legal firm or human rights organization. Not only because he is factually and actually innocent, but also the key elements of his case are already there. All he need is the representation/backing of an outside entity that the court and legal official will respect enough to be fair in Leon’s pursuit of justice.
WHY THIS PETITION? It is in the hope of Leon and US that at least 1000 or more individuals sign this petition demanding his case is back by an innocent Project, Legal firm, human rights org, but esp. the following:
The Innocence Project
Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law
55 Fifth Ave, 11th floor
New York, NY 10003
Center on Wrongful Convictions
357 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL, 60611-3069
(312) 503-2391 www.law.nothwestern.edu
Innocence Project Indiana
Indiana University Schools Of Law
530 W. New York St
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Follow this link, sign petition, once our goal is met, we will submit copies to the directors of each of the mentioned projects above. And maybe then, they will finally hear Leons battle cry of innocence and aid him in his fight.Also, Leon would like to stay in rotation with the individuals who care enough to sign this petition on his behalf. And if anyone wants to drop a kind word to Leon write him at:
Leon Benson # 995256
Pendleton Correctional Facility (PCF)
4490 West Reformatory Rd.
Pendleton, IN 46064-9001
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR TIME,EFFORT AND SUPPORT GREATLY APPRECIATED.REMEMBER THE TRUTH NEVER DIES,IT ONLY CAN BE REDISCOVERED SO PLEASE BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUTH!
Supporters of Leon Benson