"Just when one thought that Judge Price wasn't sleeping and was going to do the right thing...(unbelievable).
We're at the door where all the sacrifice and hard work (is in sight). Amen!"
-Shane Watson, June 24, 2014
The lines above were written in the first letter I received from Shane after his being informed that Judge Richard Price denied our motion for a new trial. Fortunately, I was able to speak with Shane's wife Paula last week when I received the news from our attorney, Robert Boyle. I wanted Paula to be able to tell Shane herself when she spoke to him on the phone as they regularly do, rather than his learning the news from Robert's letter containing the 50-page decision from Judge Price. I received Shane's letter yesterday, (Friday, June 27) and first saw it when I got home after midnight from my weekly radio program on WMNR. I delayed opening the letter and reading it, knowing that Shane would be expressing yet more disappointment and frustration. I needed to prepare myself before reading Shane's letter. As usual, and as has been the case throughout my ten-year friendship with Shane, he managed to rise above the pettiness and see the setback as another step forward. I know that he does this because it is his nature to do so, but also he adopts this attitude as a survival technique. The alternative would be to sink into the abyss of hopelessness.
Being on the outside, however, I have the luxury of giving into my own frustration over this ridiculously long process, and I also sense the collective frustration of the other people who have been involved and supportive of Shane's case, like Doug Walters, for example, who was characteristically outspoken and appalled by this latest display of arrogance on the part of the system. We will now file an appeal, and go forward to the Appellate Court, which hopefully will take the new evidence we have meticulously presented in Judge Price's courtroom,see through the lies and inaccuracies of the prosecution's case, and finally administer justice.
I am sickened by Judge Price's decision, but also by the way he so cavalierly took his sweet time rendering this decision while Shane was languishing in prison. Our motion hearing concluded in October of 2013. Judge Price issued his outrageous decision on June 13, 2014. That's eight months. Eight months to issue a decision which basically says "I don't believe Christine Holloway" (the "eyewitness" who was pressured and manipulated into making an ID, who flew up from Atlanta to recant her trial testimony and describe, in detail, how Detective Jones deceived her into identifying Shane from a photo). Miss Holloway had no motive to ID Shane, and was even unaware that he had been convicted, because she moved to Georgia years ago. Her courtroom description of the way she was handled and pressured into an ID on the night of the shooting was riveting, and cast an appalling light on Detective Jones' actions. Equally appalling: the contemptuous interrogation Miss Holloway endured in a private meeting with the three prosecutors before the motion hearings began in which they bullied her, Gestapo-style .
It sickens me that because of a pathetically bad prosecution, a lazy and irresponsible Detective (Jones), an inept defense (Shane's trial lawyer Paul Markstein), a pig-headed trial judge (Gerald Scheindlin) and a clueless jury, Shane has spent twenty years of his young life in prison. Judge Richard Price's incredible "decision" further exacerbates the vile nature of this entire sad saga, punctuated by the judge taking his sweet time rendering his absurd decision while Shane could have been filing an appeal and taking the steps we can only take NOW because of judicial laziness and indifference. This is the justice system in the USA in 2014.
Once again I will take a lesson from my friend and brother and try to look upon this latest atrocity as one step closer to that ever-elusive goal: justice.
We have struggled to pay our attorney what we already owe for his work on the motion. We go forward facing more financial obligations as he prepares to represent Shane in the appeal process. I have been very grateful to friends and supporters for their personal contributions towards Shane's defense and will not continue to ask for more. We all have our own financial pressures and obligations. Perhaps you may know of another individual, or organization, company, foundation, whatever...that would be willing to help fund this effort. If so, please let me know.
In the meantime thank you for your continued support for Shane Watson, whose case represents what happens when ineptitude overrides truth. A victory for Shane is long overdue.