Saturday, February 27, 2010
My husband AJ was paroled in February of 2006. On his first day of freedom, the hell began. From his new parole agent telling me that she "couldn't wait to send his ass back to prison" to....he and I getting stopped in a parking lot and slammed face first down onto the asphalt. Society was not ready to offer redemption to a newly released ex-con. After much effort we had his parole transferred out here to L.A. County thinking things would be better. Because prison life had institutionalized AJ so badly, we decided that working here with our non-profit dog rescue would be the perfect situation for him to mainstream back into a sometimes cruel world.
It didn't take long to see the effect the dogs had on my husband. He began to relax and his love for life came back. AJ then came up with the idea of sharing our dogs with other newly released parolees. Our new program became a success rehabilitating many parolees and helping them mainstream back into society. The Underdawgz program was featured in many newspaper articles, magazines and various news stories. After winning an award for one of "L.A's Most Important People in 2007", producers soon approached and offered us our own TV reality series based on the good work that we do with parolees and our dogs. Preliminary filming began and things were looking good for us.
Then on the morning of Sept 11th 2007, our facility got a "visit" from parole and law enforcement. They claimed it was a "routine" parole search. But due to the fact that there were several deputies and they had guns drawn, "routine" was obviously not on their mind. Ironically my husband was at the parole office turning in his monthly report so he had no idea the hell we were being put through. Because this is a pending case, I cannot at this time go through the details of the raid but trust me....I can't wait to reveal it all. After tearing up our house and property, they left and told me to have my husband call them. After a few phone calls back and forth with his parole agent, my husband and I decided to call the supervisor for the parole office and try to find out what this was all about. The supervisor told us "it was just a misunderstanding" and told my husband to come into the office to straighten things out. My husband and I went in that following business day thinking we were having a meeting with the supervisor and my husband's parole agent. As we walked through the doors, within seconds my husband was handcuffed and put under arrest. We were told it was for a parole violation, but the deceit soon unfolded. That was the last time I saw my husband in the free world.
The days turned into weeks, weeks into months. Soon law enforcement was piling charge after charge on A.J. Lots of various theft charges. At the preliminary hearing many of these charges were dismissed and dropped by the judge. He even commented that "things didn't look right". Then more charges came. It was almost like we were in a foreign country where the police do whatever they want and no one can stop them. The months soon turned into years. By now we had gone through 3 attorneys, several prosecutors and about 6 judges. It was a scene out of "My Cousin Vinny". As our TV crew watched the circus of events in court unfold, all that was missing were the clowns....or where they right before us? Only our judge seemed to have it together, but then again, "your honor" was a woman. Thank gawd for something.
With each passing court appearance, we sat in shock as the prosecutors had delay after delay. A.J.''s first hearing didn't come until one and a half years after his arrest. Unreal. Sitting in the county jail for one and a half years before you have your first day in court? Isn't this America? At that hearing, more charges were dropped. Then more delays and changing of prosecutors.
Then on Feb. 25th 2010, D.A. Ed Wiley out of the Antelope Valley Courthouse decided that he was seeking a life sentence on A.J. for possession of stolen property charges!! Despite the L.A. County policy enacted by Head D.A. Steve Cooley: http://da.co.la.ca.us/3strikes.htm D.A. Ed Wiley felt going "rogue" was the way to send a man to prison for life. Nevermind that this man, Aren Marcus Jackson had, since his release been running the ONLY re-entry program in L.A. County that is 100% run by those newly released ex-cons. Nevermind that my husband's first assigned L.A. County parole agent, testified in his defense at one of his hearings. Nevermind that my husband helped with my juvenile hall programs trying to steer young men away from prison life. Nevermind that in addition to helping me run the non-profit, that my husband had found a new career in the film industry as a stuntman working with "attack" dogs.
On Feb. 25th, D.A. Ed Wiley informed us, that even if A.J. was found innocent in trial, that he would look for other charges to strike him out with. A man with a hard on for my husband and we don't know why.
This case has now gone beyond "innocence or guilt" and is now a matter of complete and direct INJUSTICE!!! Child molesters are being given less time and being freed.
A.J.'s is quickly becoming the poster boy for why the 3 strikes law needs to be re-formed!!!!!
In the weeks to come, this blog will be used as a platform to keep the millions of those who are behind A.J., informed of our life of hell with D.A.Ed Wiley. Please stand behind me, my family, our friends and the other thousands of families who are affected by this horrible law that needs to be changed and used as it was originally intended.
Thank you for listening,
Tia Maria Jackson-Torres