I hope she did it

Artist unknown. Photo by Nermin Judson

I hope she did it.

The jury said she didn’t.

Yet she’s serving 15 years.

Marking of a Murderer.


We get so wrapped up in the sensational cases that we sometimes lose track of how broken the system is.

How poverty and past mistakes are good enough to put you in jail for a long time.

Too long.

The boyfriend shot outside their apartment.

She was tried for attempted murder, aggravated assault, and illegal possession of a firearm.

She should have never gone to trial.

The only evidence at the grand jury…

A police officer recounting what the ex-boyfriend said in the hospital;

That she shot him in the back.

The ex-boyfriend disappeared.

He didn’t show at the indictment.

The officer gave the statement.

No one troubled to tell the grand jury that the medical report didn’t corroborate his story;

That he was shot in the chest.

Someone did tell the public defender.

There was budget for a medical examiner.

So it didn’t matter.

The judge didn’t care.

She let the case go forward.

Evidence be damned.

She served 2 years before it ever got to trial.

Bail was unattainable.

The stakes too steep because she had a prior.

Her boss never knew that till the day she got arrested.

She had done 15 years for murder;

An ex-husband who beat her.

She worked for there for nearly as long after;

No one ever knew.

A success story, rehabilitation at its finest.

Sure, the new boyfriend beat her.

Pictures found in her desk after she was arrested.

Times she left work to go to the hospital.

It finally made sense.

He used to hit her stomach where no one could see.

He’d pull her hair;

Tear her wig from her head.

But these things never got brought up at trial;

It could give motive.

Blame the public defender.

But she won…


She was found not guilty of attempted murder;

No evidence besides the circumstances and the prior to convict.

But assault and possession?


Possession of the ex-boyfriend’s firearm that can’t be found.

Why not split the charges to appease a split jury and go home said the bailiff;

At least that’s the rumor that was told.

But how could she have had the gun and not tried to kill him;

It wasn’t even her gun.

She either shot him or she didn’t;

It’s not that hard.

Instead an easy charge;

A compromise to satisfy a holdout juror.

Except she had a prior.

And with a prior comes mandatory minimums.

That’s 15 years for an ex-convict on assault.

Eight concurrent for the weapon.

No possibility of parole.

Bill fucken’ Clinton.

Should have been released on time served,

The farce conviction the state’s way of saving face for keeping an innocent person in jail all that time.

The jury didn’t know the consequences.

Could they really have sent away a person for 15 years they couldn’t convict on attempted murder?

This is our criminal justice system.

The freest nation on earth,

More people in jail per capita than any country in the history of the world.

This is how we criminalize poverty.

Why not make sentences longer?

We don’t give people a fair chance when they get out.

I’m not going to say she didn’t do it.

Just that there wasn’t evidence to say she did;

That a rich man wouldn’t have served a day for the same crime.

In fact, I hope she did it.

How else do you sleep at night?


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