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Hello I am Art MBA retired disabled navy vet. on Oct 5th 2014 I was paying a fine for possession of marijuana, at the Polk county probation office, I was 2 months shy of completing my Masters degree, I smoked marijuana vice the plethora of pills the VA wants to give me. but I understand its illegal in TN,and I am not in CA anymore, ok when I was leaving the office, I stood up to recieve my receipt from the PO. I did not see a letter on the floor when I walked in and I did not see that I had dropped anything, when I stood up I seen a letter move, I had kicked it and seen it move, I picked it up, gathered the receipt, and left, I was in my topless and doorless jeep, with my pug in the jeep with me. I left and started home, normally I would not open my mail till I was at home in front of the computer, so I can look at all my scheduled appts. it was windy and I did not want to loose the receipt, so I opened up the letter I picked up to put my receipt in it, and seen it was filled with money, I looked to my left to make sure left lane was clear and pulled in a drive to turn around, well as I was backing out to return to the Polk County justice center, an unmarked police car pulled in behind me, got out and asked me if I knew I had taken the money, I said no, I thought I dropped some of my mail out of my pocket, but seen it was not mine, thats why I am turning around.They more or less said tell it to the judge, I got arrested, and about a year later the public defender who was a legal instructor to the cop who arrested me, seem very uninterested in defending me, and showed bias defense in court, The cop who arrested me stated that he was in a marked police car and as soon as I seen him I turned around. The Polk County dispatch will clarify that he was in an unmarked car. while I was being arrested another senior police arrived in an um marked Ford F-150 truck, and I showed him the envelope the money was in, near the center console, Well in court the DA \ said I grabbed the money, and littered and did not have the envelope which I did have the envelope. at the end of that month I had over 10K in the bank, I am retired navy with pension completing my first masters, there is no need or desire to steal from anyone, especially the police where I just signed my name, it was a true accident, and these small town create your own justice, is sticking many innocent people. I am disabled and have been an honest soul all my life, I volunteer for the VA and even Polk County during the tornadoes, I bought a $900.00 chainsaw for a one time use, but the cop cant tell the truth, my public defender has no spine to say the cop who arrested me, that he made a mistake in his testimony to the jury, from saying I turned in front of a cop car all of a sudden made me look guilty. and the DA, just making up what the jury wants to hear I now have a class E felony and its like the government went ahead and removed my legs for life. I was navy twice and love my country, I have 2 honorable discharges, 2 bs degrees and a masters, stealing is not me nor part of my life plan, I did pick up an unmarked envelope that looked just like all my Gov letters I was receiving, one for my monthly benefits from the VA, one for an upcoming surgery paid for by the VA Nov 29, 2014 about 2 months after arrest, and I was using my GI bill so I got many Gov letters in the mail. it was an honest mistake. Please help me if possible.

User story by Art Sherman in Tennessee

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