Chapter 8. Oops!

In my book, “If You Send Me, I Will Go”, I mentioned going through the agonizing, time-consuming details relating to the court proceedings.  In this particular case, it seemed everything was hurried to the point on that day, March 25, 2010, just within two weeks of my arrest a finality was occurring.  I stated, too, in my book, it  is easy to go from day-to-day while being held knowing you will eventually face the day of judgment than the actual day and time when you must stand in front of a judge to do the actual act.  I was so much surprised when my attorney poked his head out of the courtroom door, into the small room where inmates, still shackled are placed, prior to walking into the courtroom, mentioning the process I should expect as we entered, “our” plea of guilt accepting the offer of, “one-to-three years” in state prison.  My breath was taken away and I guess my appearance changed so much the guard suggested the attorney should come in to tend to me.  I was suffering shortness of breath.  I thought I knew what would occur, I was just not ready for it to take place.  I felt within myself something was not right about what was taking place and that being, I was getting ready to sign my life away and headed to prison!

David Martin sat beside me to fill me in on what had been previously discussed and reminded handing me the last time he visited, in jail, documents waiving my right to have my case heard by a Grand Jury, and, “we’d” agree to accept the second offer of, “one-to-three”, meaning I would go to prison for eight months, actually six more months since I’ve already served two months and then would be faced with the dilemma of determining would I go through the parole process or decline and spending another sixteen months in prison to max out my sentence.  So, in essence, I would spend two years in prison, probably receive some type of post-release supervision of a determined amount of time, similar to probation or parole, for several months, or so I thought I understood, which I did not want to deal with which may carry additional time in jail or prison approximately three months!  No, of course I was not ready for this, and only were given a few minutes to reconcile it within myself because the court was ready for me.

What is even more amazing, to me, I was facing more jail/prison time for failure to give them information than the actual original offense committed, and this being tried in Federal Court!  As they say, “Go figure!”

Letter from Prosecutor's office indicating my refusal of any supervision in lieu of jail/prison time

Letter from Prosecutor’s office indicating my refusal of any supervision in lieu of jail/prison time

Once in front of the judge and another woman representing Prosecutor Marjorie Smith, perhaps no longer requiring her presence being a bureau chief of some sort, and my case being considered a, “slam-dunk”, she could send one of the lessor prosecutors.

I took issue with the wording of the complaint, wanting it to be made clear the date of February 2009, I was not living in New York but in Georgia.  This seemed to fluster the judge who exasperatedly needed to rephrase his wording, for my sake, and this would occur twice, with my attorney admonishing the judge, when I verbally corrected what I thought was not accurate.  To me, of course my being in the hot-seat, may have thought the proceedings were taking place too rapidly; however, at the end of the judge’s discussion of the charge, prior to my being unshackled and allowed to sign and date the document placed before me said, I thought, in a patronizing manner, “I find the defendant, bright and intelligent enough to understand the charges to which he is pleading guilty.”  I don’t know why but hearing those words did not sit well with me.  Later, as you will see, I would desire to say to him, “And I find the judge, not as bright nor intelligent enough to understanding what he was doing!”

April 22nd was the date set for sentencing.  The judge addressed me saying he believed the recommended sentence by the prosecution was fair and if I complied with three regulations, he could promise me there would not be a change, such as instead of one-to-three but one-and-a-third to four.  I took this as a threat.  Those conditions were:

  1. To cooperate with Probation who’d come to see me and would ask questions regarding my background.  I guess the word was well known I would not have anything to do with them.
  2. Do not get into any further trouble resulting in an arrest, which would be unlikely.  I guess being in my normal street clothing, he might have thought I was out on bail.  He needed to check out the bright orange foot gear I was wearing, courtesy of his county’s jail.
  3. Show up for the sentence.  There would be no question about this.  I had no other choice but to do so unless I died, or violently ill. 

My attorney’s good-bye was stated in his theatrical whisper, “I’ll come see you on…” which I never paid much attention because he’s never kept a date he made, probably something he tells all the inmates, in court, to demonstrate a caring behavior when a man or woman’s life is about to undergo a radical change.

One-to-three.  One-to-three years in a New York State prison!  When I finished my time with the federal prison, I never wanted to be wearing handcuffs again and had purposely lived my life not to be the recipient of them.  I considered my age and thought about my goal, my dream, of receiving that last check from IBM next year, my 55th birthday gift and the probability of my being and living in the Philippines before the end of the year—2011.  The thought this may now be put off for another three, possibly longer, years was not palatable to me; however, the one thing I have learned during my last years in prison commitment is that once you’re in the system, there is not much you can do other than to get into a mindset of, “contentment” and make the time work for you, not against you, and this was a difficult lesson I’d learned and thankful I did understand, and could now give myself the peace of acceptance.  I was not content this would be my fate.

I never got a chance to see the article published in the following day’s Poughkeepsie Journal, mentioning my pleading guilty of operating an unregistered website and would be receiving a prison sentence because by then I had made my way back to the, “Hole” for a quite interesting role of events.

Here is the link and article published:

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20100325/NEWS01/100325012/Sex-offender-admits-having-website?nclick_check=1

Sex offender admits having website

12:27 PM, Mar. 25, 2010  | 

A convicted sex offender now living in the City of Poughkeepsie faces up to three years in state prison for failing to notify law enforcement authorities about a website he maintains on the Internet.

Roy Martin, 53, of Mansion Street, entered a guilty plea today in Dutchess County Court to failure to maintain records as a sex offender, a felony.

Martin acknowledged he has maintained the website, roymartinministries.com, since he moved to Poughkeepsie from Georgia in February 2009. The website purports to offer counseling and support for addicts and sex offenders and their families.

In exchange for his guilty plea, Martin was promised a sentence of no more than one to three years in prison. He remains jailed pending his sentencing, scheduled for April 22.

END

In the unit where I was placed, there was considerable amount of smoking cigarettes and other substances, which always boggled my mind how these guys could get this stuff inside!  They’d come through the same process of visitation room strip-downs and cell shake-downs I had to endure, most often directly related to their circumventing the system and I did not think it fair those of us who did not try to do wrong would be treated as they were, by having our liberties, what few remain or have our things rifled through, so, I wrote an anonymous note specifying who, what and where.  During a search while most of us were out in the yard, my going for the first time because I knew my note would receive attention, came back and I was the one cited for having contraband in my cell!  I was building up a supply of aspirin for when the day would come and the dentist extract a molar which gave me some trouble, and I knew I would not be receiving the same type of care I would expect from my own dentist in the street, so instead of the smokers being caught and taken to now where I was residing was an interesting reversal of what I had in mind!

When I explained my situation to the disciplinary hearing officer, it evoked humor for everyone in the room.  I was found, “guilty” of the contraband but because I was, “helping” them with a known problem, they would not deduct the standard $25 fine from my commissary account.  At least for this I was thankful.  However, as in the previous book, and even in this situation, time in, “The Hole” always became times of advantage because I’m able to spend more time with God and shown truths which might not have been received other than when I am isolated.  And this would prove true in this case.

I had a visit from Robert the Sunday after the news article and it was from him I learned of it being published.  My friends were all accepting of the matter, and told my belongings were packed and stored in his sister, Sarah’s garage.  He’s a good friend, too, continuing to make unsolicited donations to my commissary account for my personal needs, especially for the pens I go through weekly, the amounts of paper I need for writing letters and several books I’m writing while here, including this one, envelopes and postage.  I’ve learned how to treat myself, once weekly, to snacks which helps break the monotony, but the upside to this is without the nightly snacks I was so addicted to prior coming here, I lost a little more than five pounds already.

On Monday, I received a letter from my attorney, again thankful for being in isolation, gave me the time needed to process what he was telling me, which made everything done regarding my case—moot!  The letter stated I, “we”, pled guilty to what was in fact not breaking the law!  My website was safe!!!  He mentioned putting me back on the court’s docket to nullify the agreement but to plea, “guilty” to having, “screen names” which are used to hold chats on the Internet such as Yahoo, MSN or Skype.  Reaching for my paperwork, the form I had always signed during registration, it was then I noticed two things:

  1. No line requiring the entering of a website, and
  2. No line requiring the entering of screen names!  The line where it might be suggested could mean anything other than what they may want it to mean, in other words, it was vague. 
My attorney's letter informing me of their error in prosecuting me

My attorney’s letter informing me of their error in prosecuting me

I began writing.  I wrote a letter to my attorney thanking him for the letter but he would no longer be my attorney because it was obvious he did not know the law enough to protect me!  I would be glad to change the plea to the first but I would not be willing to plead guilty to the “screen name” and why.  In fact, I told him to get me somebody else who could properly represent me because I was going to trial!

I also told him, in the letter, apparently no one knew anything regarding requirements for sex offenders, not the prosecutor, nor the judge and I’m going to trial and I’m calling them as well as the police detective who arrested me to the witness stand to let a jury judge (no pun intended) whether my mistake was any different than their mistake!  I make a mistake for the email, which up to now was never the real focus and should have been, and I go to prison for 1-3 years.  The whole court system makes a mistake and I still go to prison for 1-3 years!  I don’t think so.  If they who practice the law could not get it right, then what could truly be expected of me?  So, let’s get twelve other people to sit and hear about this mess and let’s see if we can’t confuse them, too, thereby raising reasonable doubt, never mind lose the credibility of their appointed defenders of the law, getting them to see it could have been them or one of their family members in my place—I AM GOING TO TRIAL! 

I also wrote an article and letter to the Poughkeepsie Journal asking them to retract the article previously they wrote stating new facts regarding my case and this defendant would not be sentenced as previously stated.  The day they should have received the article, I was mysteriously packed up and sent to another county jail, in Washington County, more than 100 miles north!  If they thought they could silence me, they were wrong.  I wrote to my newly fired attorney informing him where I was and order the county to bring me back.  I was not a case waiting for sentencing but a case who needed to stay where I was so I could work on my defense and I can’t do it from here effectively.

It does not matter what they do because God can use me no matter where He authorizes me to go.  “If You Send Me, I Will Go”  While in Washington County, I was befriended by two men, one of which would hear the Word of God, who as an avowed atheist at 21 years of age, was now praying and believing as evidenced by the blessings now coming to him because I dared him to pray!  He showed me a letter he wrote to his father, saying he would be proud of him now because he’d met a, “priest” in jail!  I had never been referred as a priest before, but I guess this is what I am.

(Note:  I have in my notes to write about the “blessing of an ink pen.”  For the life of me, I cannot remember what it was, as of this writing 9/5/13.  Should it come to me, I’ll include later.  But this is indicative of the many blessings/miracles God was performing during my time incarcerated.)

Another inmate had a book I wanted to read, a novel, and after pleading with him to give it to me once he finished, he brought a second book and handed it to me asking if I would be interested.  Of course I would be interested.   A book which would be a blessing to me the very same night, I read the first chapter and God spoke to me in an instant of time, “I know you want to go home (not necessarily home but back to my own county jail) and you will leave sooner than you think!” then hearing my name on the speaker telling me to pack it up!  The book is, “Peaks and Valleys” written by T.D. Jakes, which now became a devotional for me and a blessing reading a chapter a day.  It has spoken to my heart—each day I have opened the pages, and similar to when I was in Puerto Rico and directed to books, by God, found in the chapel, this one, too, was written for me.  Sometimes it seems—only, for me.  I underlined the sentence found on page 19:

“It is while you are in His presence that He utters omniscient insights into your individual purpose and course.”

The chapter ends on the next page, and while God was uttering words about leaving, the speaker announced how.  God is so good.

The following week, I prayed because I yearned to get a letter from someone, anyone, on the outside.  The same afternoon I would receive not one, but two letters from Samantha (Georgia) which blessed my soul filling the needs I was experiencing so adequately.  You see, I was worried having been transferred and now back again, if my mail would follow me or be lost, but God saw to it both reached its intended destination.  Just try and tell me God does not concern Himself even in the remotest of issues in our lives.  For, I know He does.

God brought me to a unit where a man invited me to conduct their hour-long service each evening, who on the fourth day, watched him leave as a free man early in the morning, having shoved a bookmark under my door to let me know he was thinking of me.  I was not only thinking of you, Brother Troy, but I watched you from my outside window walk until I could not see you, praying for you as you went further away from me but closer to your God-driven destiny.  Does this sound like a man who is worried about being in jail still facing prison?  God is in control of my life and certainly doing so much better than when I was in control.  Little by little I still am learning what it means to trust Him and when I do, I do not become disappointed.

This evening’s service, God spoke to me to teach the men, me included, about worship.  There is purpose and meaning in understanding, “worship”.  There is no practice involved in worship.  Do you think the angels meet for rehearsal before worship, or do you believe when God is in the midst order takes place automatically?  This should be the catalyst of our worship experience.  Our being drawn closer to Him should direct our relationship through “worship” of Him.

I only needed to hear one thing from my attorney during our last meeting and this was, who discovered what I did was not wrong?  What he told me blessed my heart.  I had spent months since the creation of my website to reach any and every sex offender with a message of hope and encouragement.  It appeared sex offenders throughout the state and other places, after reading the article flooded the Public Defender’s office with phone calls saying my website was not against the law!  Another phone call was placed by the State Attorney’s office informing them, the Prosecutor’s office, I could not plead guilty to the charge, and it needed to go back!

How, in the face of this news, how could I do anything less than take charge of my affairs and the time being given a door of opportunity to correct a wrong, an issue which has plagued my mind since I agreed to accept the conviction in the Federal Court of Puerto Rico after God explicitly and implicitly told me to go trial.  Although I do not have the direct word as before, I feel it in the very core of my being, this is a second chance to do it right.  Now, will I?  I have to.  Have to what?

GO TO TRIAL”

Chapter 9

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s