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since the age of 12, john and i would call each other almost every day and arrange to meet and spend the entire day together. when we became teenage, we spent our time smoking drinking and flirting with girls. we never sold drugs or beat up people like they do in gangs. we wanted to be in gangs but all we were was wannabees. anyway in 1997 john had an arrest warrant out for him for some petty juvenile offense. so every time he would see a police car he would run. in march of 1997, as always, he called me and asked me to meet him in dolton. i told him at the moment i was babysitting but, i would be out once my sister returned. we hung up the phone and, he headed out. at the same time an elderly womans purse was snatched and she was thrown to the ground. police began to search area for the perps. they saw john on his usual walk along the railroad tracks going to dolton from his home in riverdale. he saw the police car coming and took off running as always but this time they caught him. of course i dont know what all happened with him in the police department but i know they got a confession out of him saying that he participated in the robbery of the elderly woman.once my sister returned home and not knowing that he was already in jail i walked from my home in chicagoĀ  to meet up with him in dolton. of course i didnt see him but i did see his girlfriend. we talked breifly about johns whereabouts she said she had no idea where he was so i walked back to my house. the next day i called john on the phone but got no answer so i decided to walk to doltonĀ  to see if he was out there but again he wasnt and i saw his gf nicole. she said he was at the riverdale police department and asked me to walk there with her to see what was going on. i agreed. her and i WALKED to and inside the police department. she asked to speak with the detective in charge. he came out spoke with us for a few then the next thing i know i was being handcuffed and placed in a holding cell. a few hours later the detective began to question me about a purse snatching that occurred the day before. they insisted that i was involved and said john even said was there with him when we snatched it. i argued that i did not rob anyone with john and that i hadn even seen him at all that day. they put what i now know my miranda rights in front of me and told me to just sign and initial and without reading i honestly didnt know how to get a lawyer and they of course never verbally asked me if i wanted one. after that they put me in a lineup alone. i could her someone behind the glass yelling and literally beating on the glasss “that was him he had a blue coat on”. mind you i didnt own a blue coat and i WALKED into the department wearing a black white sox coat. later i spoke with an african woman states attorney i thought she could or would try to help me. instead she just tried to twist my words and refused to hear anything i had to say. i told her one of them hit me i didn do anything and i just wanted to go home. she asked the detecs to come in the room and i pointed out to her the one who struck me. of course he denied it and called me a few names in front of her. after that the put me back in holding cell for the night. the next day i spoke to a much calmer middle aged male states attorny. i explained to him i did nothing wrong. then he told me that my friend john was at home on probation and that if i admit my part i would go home too. i really didnt see any way out. they refused to allow me to call home. had i known of course i would have said yes i want a lawyer. they had zero evidence against me and john. they needed us to confess. so again i asked him if i say i did it would i go home and he said yes. so i said ok i did it he asked me to go into detail and of course i couldn if i really wasnt there. at one point as i was telling the story of how we saw lady etc he interupted and was like im not making sence i replied man im telling you what u want to hear so he said ok i will write it and you sign and i agreed.after i signed they allowed me to call home my mother told me not to sign anything but it was too late. instesd of going home they took me to the county jail.thirty days later i got out on bond and got a lawyer. we then got the police report. in the report and in court the lineup never happened and noone ever mentioned a blue coat the blue coat that winesses acually saw somehow became the black white sox coat that i wore when i walked to police department in report and court. i know noone saw anybody at seen of crime wearing a white sox coat but they had someone testify under oath that he saw my coat at crime seen to cooberate my confession of course. nobody could say they saw my face but one man swears he saw my white sox coat.unlike me johns bond was too high to bond out so he had to his case from the county jail in chicago. we both fought the case for almost 3 years. john had gotten tired of literally fighting every other day and the horrible conditions of being inside the cook county jail not to mention his girlfriend was pregnant with his first child. he also knew his chances of beating case was slim since they caught him running and he confessed so he decided to take a plea bargain to get it over with. so i alone went to trial in court my lawyer and i made it known that i walked to the police department the day after the robbery took place its obvious i didnt know the law and the state tried to get john to testify against me since he had already plead guilty. he took the stand and told everyone that he had not seen me on the day in question and that neither of us robbed an old lady. the jury still convicted me and i was sentenced to 14 years for a crime i had nothing to do with. maybe things would have gone different for me had there been a camera and recording in interrogation room. i was convicted simply because of my ignorance to law at the age of 18

User story by caliph o. in illinois

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