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Letter to the Editor: Holding our Judicial System Accountable
APRIL 4, 2017 at 5:14 p.m.

My name is Richard Anthony. I am sending this letter and the included paperwork hoping that you will print my story, helping me to get word outside of the extreme prejudice and injustice of our current criminal justice system. It is a shame how reports mislead the public into believing that the courts are working to straighten the injustice bestowed upon innocent people. Our courts should demand accountability for lawyers and public defenders as well as our prosecutors. Too many times are people railroaded by this system due to backdoor dealings, politics, or simply a lack of incentive to perform their duties ethically and professionally.

My story begins in 1989 when I received a charge for aggravated robbery in Cleveland, Tennessee. Two years later I discovered the truth behind this alleged robbery. In prison, word gets around and people come in from the streets that knew the story better than myself.

I will describe my story and the included paperwork can be used to validate my claims. My story will prove that I was screwed by the justice system twenty years ago. I will also prove that I am still being wrongfully held liable by that same system today.

I am 51 years old and have been in and out of prison for most of my adult life. The biggest barrier I face is the enhancements which significantly increase each of my sentences due to the 1989 aggravated robbery charge. My main concern is the government’s basis and claims involving this original charge and how they have circumvented justice by denying my relief.

I lived in a trailer park in Cleveland, TN and was working a steady job at Magic Chief on the second shift. Tony Hunt and his wife Susan lived across from me in another trailer. Tony’s dad owned the park we lived in.

I met Tony and Susan while using dope together. I can’t remember the exact night that this alleged robbery was to happen, but I know it was before my son was born.

One night I got with Tony and Susan. We partied and did some dope together. Tony and Susan told me that they did not know what they were going to do about money because Tony’s dad was getting tired of him not working. The next night I saw Tony and Susan leaving the park, and Tony stopped and asked me if I would come and party with them a little while at the Holiday Inn beside the interstate. I went along because Jamie who was about to have our son at any moment let me get out of the house for a while.

I got to the Holiday Inn pretty late. I was not planning on staying long because of Jamie’s condition with being so far along in her pregnancy. When I got to the room and went in, Tony had a guy named Dustin Hayes and a few other I don’t remember around. Something did not feel right, but I could not really put a finger on what felt wrong. I stayed for about an hour before leaving the going back home. My wife was asleep, and I feel asleep while watching TV.

My wife went into labor a few days later, and she had Mark on December 20, 1989. Mark, after we brought him home, developed pneumonia. My dad came and picked up my son and wife to take them to Manchester, TN. I stayed back to pack our things and to sell the old trailer that we lived in. I am originally from Manchester, TN. I met Jamie when I was at a halfway house in Cleveland after I had gone to a drug treatment center.

I got everything packed and loaded into a U-Haul and was going back to Manchester. I had not sold the trailer yet and had to wait before laving until my mom had a guy come move the trailer before I left. I think that the guy purchased the trailer. Once it was moved, I was off to Manchester.

Two months later, in February 1990, the Sheriff’s Department from Manchester arrested me at my mom and dad’s home on an indictment from Cleveland for aggravated robbery. I was in the Manchester jail for almost a month before being extradited to Cleveland. When I arrived at the jail in Cleveland, I met a local named Jack Kemsey. Jack explained what had happened the night at the Holiday Inn. Jack was good friends with Hayes and Hunt. Jack also knew that I had no part in the robbery at the Holiday Inn. Jack told me that it was all a set up for the guy that worked at the Holiday Inn named Ed Johnson. He told me that Johnson was to get what money and jewelry was there and then give it to Hunt. Hunt would then give it to Hayes to hold until they could all split it up. Johnson would call the police and claim a robbery. Tony and Susan would stay back and claim they were involved as innocent bystanders in the lobby when the robbery occurred.

When I was taken to my arraignment hearing in court, I was sitting net to and talking to this Johnson guy. I was wearing an orange jumpsuit sitting next to this guy on the bench. Suddenly, the Assistant District Attorney jumped from his chair and pulled Johnson up. He told him, “You can’t sit there, that’s the guy that robbed you!” Johnson’s first statement was that a big fat black guy robbed him. At this point, I had never met or seen Johnson prior to the current moment all of this was taking place. He had never seen me either until that day. I had never been placed in a lineup to be picked as the suspect who had done the robbery. The entire process seemed surreal to me because I had mp idea what was going on or what had really happened that night. The entire justice procedure seemed rigged. I mean, how can you accuse and try an innocent man?

In August of 1991, I proceeded to trial with an attorney named Kenneth Miller. I knew I was innocent. He also knew I was innocent. My father paid him an extra $500.00 on top of what he made for being appointed to me. He did great work, and the result of the first trial was a hung jury.

In September 1991, I was tried again by a different jury, and my father paid him an extra amount again. He again, performed a fantastic job and I did not think at the time that any lawyer was better than Mr. Miller. The jury returned hung again. Judge Steven Bebb told the D.A. that he would not try this case again. If it were to be retried then it would have to be heard by a different judge.

In October 1991, I was tried a third time with a new judge and jury. My dad did not pay Mr. Miller any extra money this time because he had heard it enough. Two trials ending in hung juries, and it was basically the same trial. After each trial, the witnesses had been sequestered but had already heard two trials and were sitting in the courtroom. My attorney asked that they be removed, and Judge Washburn denied it. He told the jury to leave and after they had left he proceeded to tell my lawyer that nothing about the first two trials could be told to the jury, yet left the witnesses for the state in the courtroom. Following that trial, the jury returned hung yet again. Judge Mayo Washburn instructed the jury that there was going to be no hung jury today and told them that he needed a verdict. He sent them back to the Jury room to continue deliberating. I can only guess how tired and exhausted they must have been after this and being told they must determine a verdict probably upset some of them, and they returned with a verdict of guilty.

My attorney, after that trial, changed. He never came to see me, and several times I tried to find out about the appeal process. He did file a Notice of Appeal on my behalf along with a quick direct appeal. When it came time for the second tier appeal, I never heard anymore from him. I contacted the Board of Professional Responsibility and filed a report claiming ineffective assistance. I still received no answer from him. I waited until almost the deadline, hoping to hear from my attorney before filing a post-conviction motion with the court putting them on notice that my attorney was not doing his job. I filed to the Criminal Court of Appeals. At that time Judge Penny White sent out an order remanding my case back to have a rehearing. I never heard back from the lawyer or the court, and this has been over 14 years now.

In August 2011 I was indicted by the Feds for Methamphetamine and a gun charge. They did the very same thing to me and the lawyer I was given, James Clements, from Chattanooga. He told me that they were enhancing me to be a career criminal and offered me 180-188 months in federal custody. I had also received another robbery charge after the Cleveland incident and was enhanced to 30 years on that charge based on the 1989 conviction. I was told by Mr. Clements that if I did not take the plea deal the government was offering that I would be given a LIFE sentence. I told him that the Cleveland, TN charge was still under appeal, but he told me that it would not matter. The government was not going to wait around for the outcome of that. I thought to myself “15 years”! I was charged with conspiracy to manufacture Meth and could have proven the gun was planted. Jess Stockwell out of Tullahoma, TN was my attorney in the state and told me that he could beat the charge, but if it went Federal there was nothing that he could do. He tried to send me the state’s Discovery Motion we filed, but I could not receive it where I was in the Cleveland jail. I had proof that cleared me of this charge also but did not receive the proof until after January 2013, after I had pled guilty and went to Federal Prison.

My attorney, James Clements, had this information and never revealed it to me - how the gun was found after I was locked up by the girl that lied about me and told that I had killed a man with the gun in my own house. She was, and coulee have been, omitted from testifying, but they herded me through court like a bull. After I pled guilty and accepted the 180-188 months, the prosecutor then changed course and moved my criminal history to a category 6, career criminal, level 37. I received a three point reduction for acceptance of responsibility. I was ultimately sentenced to 262 months (21.8 years). The courts will not answer my motions. I have been waiting over three years on my 2255 motion. My current sentencing issues are all based on the erroneous conviction in 1989.

In 2015, the Bradley court in Cleveland, TN finally admitted after more than 14 years that Mr. Miller had provided ineffective assistance of counsel. They also admitted that years ago they had found Miller ineffective but had never informed me. My attorney for that case, Mr. Miller, had never informed me of the court’s finding either. I never got a 2nd tier appeal. My due process rights were violated, but the court refuses to take action. All of this is still taking place. I have filed for habeas relief of the 1989 case into the Federal system in the Western District of Oklahoma. This court has denied me three times saying that they don’t have jurisdiction. They keep thinking that I am trying to file for relief on my federal case. I have showed them that I only, at this time, wish to correct the 1989 state case which, if it is overturned, will have a significant effect on my federal sentence. I keep fighting through this mess of jurisdiction and do not have the money needed to hire a lawyer. Everything I file pro-se is looked at like a virus by the court.

I am hoping that by publicizing my case and proving my innocence that the truth will be shown, allowing me to receive the help I need to fight this big government machine that eats taxpayer dollars, all while displacing the ends of justice. My hope is that the ones responsible for my injustice and others in similar situations as mine will be given justice by holding the government accountable for their actions. I have learned one thing about the word justice. It means “Just-Us”!

Published April 4, 2017


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