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Could it have been me?

Sandy C. Freese


Has there been a time in your life where you have found yourself in a precarious situation? Perhaps you have driven under the influence or have been addicted to pain killers. Perhaps you took something that didn't belong to you, or maybe have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. I acquiesce that I have been.

When considering those who are living behind bars, many assume they are all guilty and not able to reform. While there are undoubtedly some who fit this mold, there are many who do not. What if it were you driving the car while under the influence, like Carlos Ortiz from Florida? He has been incarcerated now for 14 years though the family of the victims has forgiven him and want his release. Imagine the guilt he has lived with all this time. He shared with me that he has prayed for this family every day since his sentence began. He has become a well-respected mentor to other incarcerated citizens and misses his family. With no priors, much regret, and his life being turned around, it is difficult to understand why our system keeps him locked up when he could be an asset to society.

Charles Miller of Florida is an example of a man who was not even in the area where a murder took place. For Charles, it has been over 20 of incarceration. No DNA evidence linking him to the crime and witnesses that knew he was out of town when the crime took place didn't make a difference. Could you possibly be charged with a crime that you didn't commit?

Jeffrey Abramowski has had exposure with his case; yet he remains behind bars in Florida. Once again, no evidence linking him to the crime. His grandchildren are growing up without him. His son and daughter miss him tremendously. He has hopes and dreams after almost 20 years of living on a ranch, watching the horses graze and riding around his property.

It is not unusual for innocent individuals to be convicted of heinous crimes. It is not unusual for those who have committed crimes to reform. We, as a society must understand that these individuals are worthy of second chances and it is of upmost importance that we realize it could happen to any of us.

Are you next?

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