Saturday, July 14, 2018

Last Stop Before Coming Home



On July 10, Shane was  moved from Otisville Correctional Facility to Queensboro Correctional Facility, a minimum-security prison, where most inmates are sent just prior to their release.

Shane's release date is October 9, 2018.

As always, cards and letters are greatly appreciated. If you would like to write to Shane, here is the new and final address in prison:






Mr. Shane Watson
DIN 93A9384
c/o Queensboro Correctional Facility
47-04 Van Dam St.
Long Island City, NY 11101

Reminder: envelopes must include your return address.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

"It won't be long now!"



Today I received a letter from Shane, the first one since his parole was granted last week after his appearance before the live Parole Board (these meetings are often done via video camera):

“It was a supernatural occurrence that took place here at Otisville this past Tuesday and concluded Thursday (unbelievable) (hallelujah). First off, they don’t (usually)hold live Parole Board hearings here at Otisville. We were down there all day and into the night. Decisions can take up to 14 days, we got ours in 48 hours. Plus, I was able to involve (speak about) and maintain my innocence. (hallelujah!)

I spoke to each and all the commissioners, which is also rare. 
I told you that The Opus 30 Mission is alive, and we cleared that hard hurdle, and now the exoneration! (hallelujah) amen!
It’s hot here but I had to get a letter out to you. Give all my love: every prayer and support letter made a difference. It won’t be long now!

                                                                                          Your brother and friend,
                                                                                          Shane

Thursday, June 28, 2018

FREE! Parole Board Sets Date of OCTOBER 9, 2018 for Shane's Release


FREE!!

In an extremely quick decision, the Parole Board granted Shane his freedom and set his release date for October 9, 2018, the earliest possible release date allowable under the terms of Shane's sentence. 

Tonight I had a very joyous conversation with Shane's wife Paula, who told me that she received a call from Shane earlier this evening with the good news. "I'm still in shock", Paula told me, "and I don't think I'll sleep tonight. I called Shane's mother (Joan) in Virginia and gave her the good news." 

Shane's parole hearing took place at 7 PM this past Monday, June 26. According to Shane, the three parole officers were kind, and asked a lot of questions about his support network, and his plans for transitioning back into society. The letters received by the parole board spoke certainly informed and influenced their decision, so many thanks to all who took the time to write letters on Shane's behalf.

Tonight I called Doug Walters, our investigator and gave him the good news. "Better late than never",  Doug said, and I agree. 

We will definitely be planning a celebration in October. Although I feel that The Opus 30 Mission fell short in its efforts to exonerate Shane, I am very grateful to the many people who have been supportive of this effort since 2004, many of whom have befriended Shane and Paula. 

Will Duchon


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Shane's Parole Hearing: June 26






After spending 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Shane Watson will appear before the Parole Board on Tuesday, June 26. 

Thank you to all who took the time to write and send letters of support to the Parole Board. The letters are excellent: clear, succinct, and sincere. What the Parole Board looks for is a “support network” to be in place for the potential parolee, as well as indications that he/she is prepared to “transition” back into society. 
Shane never should have been convicted in the first place. 25 years of his life have been stolen by the laziness and indifference of the “justice system”. This is all common knowledge now, and we find ourselves simply waiting for the Parole Board to do the right thing and release Shane. His wife Paula, their children Diane and Zion await. 

If you would like to write to the Parole Board you still can, if you do so quickly. 

With many thanks,
Will Duchon

1.     Address letters to “Commissioners of The Parole Board”.
2.     Express your belief that Shane can successfully transition back to society. You can mention his character (if you have had correspondence with him), and mention the support of his family waiting for him.
3.     Describe yourself and your background and the nature of your contact with Shane. (i.e., “I am a retired teacher. I live and work in New York City, and have corresponded with Shane since _____ after reading about him in The Opus 30 Mission blog….” etc.)
4.     Explain that you are aware of the circumstances that led to Shane’s incarceration. This will indicate credibility on your part. You do not need to go into extensive details about the case or even declare your belief in Shane’s innocence. In fact, it is better to avoid statements like “Shane should never have been convicted in the first place”, or “Shane is innocent and deserves to be free”. The purpose of the letter is to show support of Shane’s character and a belief that he can transition back into society. The Parole Board is not interested (!) in the parolee’s guilt or innocence.

Letters should be mailed to
Ms. Goldsmith
57 Sanitorium Road
Otisville, NY 10963

Please send a copy of your letter to Shane for his file:
Mr. Shane Watson
DIN 93A9384
c/o Otisville Correctional Facility
PO Box 8
Otisville, NY 10963



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Update on Shane's Parole Board Meeting: June 26 is the date


News from Shane today:

The parole appearance date has been set for June 26, 2018. Although we had anticipated a May date, this will at least allow a little more time to gather letters of support.

Speaking of which, our attorney Robert Boyle has advised that letters of support for Shane's parole board hearing do NOT need to be notarized.

Here again is pertinent information regarding writing a letter of support for Shane's parole:

WRITING A LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR SHANE’S PAROLE

Letters of support need to be received by June 15, 2018. If YOU choose to write a letter of support, here is the information that your letter should include in order to be most effective:

1.     Address letters to “Commissioners of The Parole Board”.
2.     Express your belief that Shane can successfully transition back to society. You can mention his character (if you have had correspondence with him), and mention the support of his family waiting for him.
3.     Describe yourself and your background and the nature of your contact with Shane. (i.e., “I am a retired teacher. I live and work in New York City, and have corresponded with Shane since _____ after reading about him in The Opus 30 Mission blog….” etc.)
4.     Explain that you are aware of the circumstances that led to Shane’s incarceration. This will indicate credibility on your part. You do not need to go into extensive details about the case or even declare your belief in Shane’s innocence. In fact, it is better to avoid statements like “Shane should never have been convicted in the first place”, or “Shane is innocent and deserves to be free”. The purpose of the letter is to show support of Shane’s character and a belief that he can transition back into society. The Parole Board is not interested (!) in the parolee’s guilt or innocence.

Letters should be mailed to
Ms. Goldsmith
57 Sanitorium Road
Otisville, NY 10963

Please send a copy of your letter to Shane for his file:
Mr. Shane Watson
DIN 93A9384
c/o Otisville Correctional Facility
PO Box 8
Otisville, NY 10963

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Shane's Rebuttal


Paula and Shane Watson, November, 2017


I sent Shane a copy of our last post (MISSION: Failed. Now on to Parole!) and in his letter of March 31 he replied:

"As far as The Opus 30 Mission being a failure, (it) isn't true. Amen! I wouldn't have been blessed to come to know so many caring people and vice versa, they wouldn't have come to know of me and my plight. No Doug, no Leonore, or Doug's investigation that got (Attorney Robert) Boyle moving, as well as the countless others and I don't want to leave out any names and don't have enough paper to mention. (smile) (hallelujah)."


Having worked on and fought for this case for fourteen years, the reality of Shane still being in prison   felt like failure. However,  as Shane continued in his letter, "Come on my brother! We're going to get the victory!" And as our friend Betty Heiney in CT remarked, "The Opus 30 Mission did not fail. The justice system failed."


There IS a possibility of appealing Shane's case, a possibility I am looking forward to discuss with our attorney Robert Boyle. In the meantime, however, the urgency is to send as many letters as possible to the Parole Board, letters of support for Shane and letters encouraging the Board to release him from prison.  Release through parole is clearly the most expedient possibility at this time. 

Once again, here are guidelines for writing letters to the Parole Board:


What the Parole Board is looking for: When an inmate appears before the Parole Board, the Board wants two things: 
·      Assurance of Support
·      A Release Plan
  • ASSURANCE OF SUPPORT: A job, a family, a place to live, a “support network”. LETTERS OF SUPPORT ARE VITAL!  Fortunately, in Shane’s case, he has a devoted wife in Paula, two children, Diane and Zion, and a home to go to when he is released. With the assistance of Paula and other family, it should be reasonable to expect that he could find employment upon release.


  • A RELEASE PLAN: Again, this primarily means a place to go when Shane is released. He has a home and family to go to and a supportive family, both of which should work in his favor when the Parole Board hears his case.


WE NEED LETTERS!

Letters of support need to be received by May 7, 2018. If YOU choose to write a letter of support, here is the information that your letter should include in order to be most effective:

1.     Address letters to “Commissioners of The Parole Board”.
2.     Express your belief that Shane can successfully transition back to society. You can mention his character (if you have had correspondence with him), and mention the support of his family waiting for him.
3.     Describe yourself and your background and the nature of your contact with Shane. (i.e., “I am a retired teacher. I live and work in New York City, and have corresponded with Shane since _____ after reading about him in The Opus 30 Mission blog….” etc.) 
4.     Explain that you are aware of the circumstances that led to Shane’s incarceration. This will indicate credibility on your part. You do not need to go into extensive details about the case or even declare your belief in Shane’s innocence. In fact, it is better to avoid statements like “Shane should never have been convicted in the first place”, or “Shane is innocent and deserves to be free”. The purpose of the letter is to show support if Shane’s character and a belief that he can transition back into society. The Parole Board is not interested (!) in the parolee’s guilt or innocence.

Letters must be NOTARIZED
and mailed to
Ms. Goldsmith
57 Sanitorium Road
Otisville, NY 10963

Please send a copy of your letter to Shane for his file:
Mr. Shane Watson
DIN 93A9384
c/o Otisville Correctional Facility
PO Box 8


Otisville, NY 10963

Thank you!


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mission: FAILED. NOW ON TO PAROLE!




With heavy heart, I have to turn the page and declare The Opus 30 Mission a failure. 

Since beginning our quest in 2004, our objective was to exonerate Shane Watson from prison and his clearly wrongful conviction. Along the way and with the benefit of a dedicated and passionate investigator (Doug Walters) and an accomplished and excellent attorney (Robert Boyle) we managed to file a motion in NY State Supreme Court before Judge Richard (Sleepy) Price. Our motion was denied. Subsequently we managed to have a Federal magistrate hear our motion to overturn Judge Price’s decision. This motion was also denied.

 Despite extraordinary evidence to the contrary including the testimony, deposition, and recantation of an out-of-state “eyewitness” to the crime, despite Shane’s never missing a court date in two years while being out on bail after his arrest. Despite his passing a lie detector test, and despite every bit of common sense which points to his complete innocence, he has served 25 years in prison. Our efforts were for naught, because Shane should have not only never been convicted, but he should have been exonerated years ago.



PAROLE:

Shane has his first hearing before the Parole Board in mid-May, 2018. Although our efforts to exonerate Shane have failed, we can still focus on his being released via parole. Here is how YOU can help:

What the Parole Board is looking for: When an inmate appears before the Parole Board, the Board wants two things:
·      Assurance of Support
·      A Release Plan
  • ASSURANCE OF SUPPORT: A job, a family, a place to live, a “support network”. LETTERS OF SUPPORT ARE VITAL!  Fortunately, in Shane’s case, he has a devoted wife in Paula, two children, Diane and Zion, and a home to go to when he is released. With the assistance of Paula and other family, it should be reasonable to expect that he could find employment upon release.


  • A RELEASE PLAN: Again, this primarily means a place to go when Shane is released. He has a home and family to go to and a supportive family, both of which should work in his favor when the Parole Board hears his case.


WE NEED LETTERS!

Letters of support need to be received by May 7, 2018. If YOU choose to write a letter of support, here is the information that your letter should include in order to be most effective:

1.     Address letters to “Commissioners of The Parole Board”.
2.     Express your belief that Shane can successfully transition back to society. You can mention his character (if you have had correspondence with him), and mention the support of his family waiting for him.
3.     Describe yourself and your background and the nature of your contact with Shane. (i.e., “I am a retired teacher. I live and work in New York City, and have corresponded with Shane since _____ after reading about him in The Opus 30 Mission blog….” etc.)
4.     Explain that you are aware of the circumstances that led to Shane’s incarceration. This will indicate credibility on your part. You do not need to go into extensive details about the case or even declare your belief in Shane’s innocence. In fact, it is better to avoid statements like “Shane should never have been convicted in the first place”, or “Shane is innocent and deserves to be free”. The purpose of the letter is to show support if Shane’s character and a belief that he can transition back into society. The Parole Board is not interested (!) in the parolee’s guilt or innocence.

Letters must be NOTARIZED
and mailed to
Ms. Goldsmith
57 Sanitorium Road
Otisville, NY 10963

Please send a copy of your letter to Shane for his file:
Mr. Shane Watson
DIN 93A9384
c/o Otisville Correctional Facility
PO Box 8
Otisville, NY 10963

With many thanks,
Will Duchon
Stratford, CT
March 28, 2018


Last Stop Before Coming Home

On July 10, Shane was  moved from Otisville Correctional Facility to  Queensboro Correctional Facility , a minimum-security prison, where...