Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Plea to Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

After 16 months of being held in Dallas County Jail I became aware Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was focused on improving the justice system, including conditions in the jail and prison systems.  By then I was so frustrated at the conditions and most of all I wanted access to the Law Library but my requests were all going unanswered.  I had read in a book there was an Amendment Right passed in the late 1960's that required prisons and jails to provide weekly time to the prisoners in the Law Library if requested.  There was no place to turn in Dallas County, even though there was a grievance process....it appeared to be non-helpful and the word among inmates was grievances could work against you in the parole process.  At Dallas County mail was reviewed coming in to the inmates but was not reviewed going out so a friend gave me O'Connor's address and I decided to write her.   Following is my letter:

January 10, 2009

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
c/o U.S. Supreme Court
Washington D.C.

Dear Justice O'Connor:

I am fascinated by your work to restore respect and confidence to the United States justice system.  I have heard of your hard work through family and friends who keep me apprised of attitudes, beliefs and actions which may be helpful in my own cry for justice.  I appreciate what you are doing to bring balance back to the scales of justice.

Five years ago I was falsely accused and eventually wrongly convicted of a crime I did not commit.  It took four years, while on a PR Bond, for my case to come to trial in Dallas County (Texas).  During those four years we had several Pre-Trial Hearings whereby my false accusers showed up with their fleet of civil attorneys and convinced the Judge the evidence I was asking for was either irrelevant or privileged.  So, in effect, the high powered, wealthy men who falsely accused me were allowed to determine what I could use in my defense thus relieving themselves of having any self-incriminating evidence surface in my trial.  I begged for my case to be moved to the Federal venue and to involve the FBI in forensics and investigation for which I was denied all.  It was my hope we could place my case in the hands of a group of professionals far more qualified in white collar crime to see what had truly happened in my case.  For the men who falsely accused me are, in fact, guilty of insurance fraud, tax fraud, divorce fraud, forgery, tampering with evidence, creating evidence and racketeering, to name a few.  Unfortunately, these men, have been protected thus far and nobody has even so much as inquired about the support I have for these allegations, nor provided me with the forensics tested documents I require to prove my innocence.  Likewise, my public defender had no interest in my case or the trial.  In a Hearing he told the Judge he did not have time for it but was denied withdrawal from my case.  I also asked he be removed for various reasons and was ignored.

President Bush and his Administration's assault on our Constitutional Rights had a domino effect in this country's justice system.  In my own case the following Amendment rights were violated and remain outstanding:
  1. Freedom of speech
  2. Illegal seizure of property
  3. Deprivation of liberty without a FAIR trial
  4. Withholding of exculpatory evidence
  5. Incompetent counsel
  6. Excessive bail on appeals bond
I am aware you do not handle personal appeals, I provide the above information only as background for how I came to be in my current situation.  I have been incarcerated now for over 16 months in the Dallas County Jail while going through the appeal process.  It is my understanding the state appeal process has to be exhausted before this can be moved to the Federal process.  I am told I am looking at as much as 6 or more years before it will even be moved to a more qualified venue.

What I'd like to share with you is my experience of being in the Dallas County Jail while going through the appeal process.  I am housed with women who primarily come off the streets for prostitution and drug charges.  It is so difficult to maintain my sense of innocence and decency among creatures who take crime and abhorrent lifestyles casually, as if it is normal living conditions in the U.S.  I have been threatened with my life by some of these street people.  I have no experience with street wars, drugs or violence.  In this forced association with the undisciplined I fear every moment for my personal safety as these women are volatile and impulsive in their nature.  Some are downright predatory.

I am 54 years old and have gone 16 months without proper nutrition - no dairy products or fresh vegetables and fruit or supplemental vitamins.  My health has been in question and obtaining medical services is close to impossible.  When I complete requests for medical services I am ignored or seen several weeks later.  I am in need of fresh air and sunshine - all of which is non existent.

I have put in over 20 requests for Law Library and only been taken two times in 16 months for approximately one half hour each time.  I have a deprivation of knowledge for how my own career (accounting and finance) is changing in light of this country's economic upheaval.  We are not allowed newspapers or magazines.  That will be a real handicap once I am exonerated and attempt to resume my business life.  In addition, its hard for me to educate myself on the legal process for which I am dependent for my exoneration.  It is very difficult, if not impossible, to help myself in these unfavorable circumstances, but not for lack of trying.

The pain of having to leave my children during their important teen years has been excruciating.  One of my boys is now 16 years old, making good grades, plus on the high school basketball team and is working a part time job.  My other son is 17 years old, has severe autism and hasn't fared so well during these times as he is regressing.  I have always been his greatest advocate and the only one he will talk to with his limited language skills.

Why on earth is it so difficult, without wealth, to get adequate counsel, a fair trial or an appeal process that can be quick and just?  Or, at the very least, while in here provided services/conditions that will allow for a more positive and healthy environment?  In here we have to fight for toilet paper and menstrual pads, sometimes going without.  Where is the humanity?  I know I am asking for this at a time when funding is being cut everywhere, while our country is in dire economic straits, but surely something can be done.

Thank you for your time and consideration in reading my letter.  Perhaps this information will be useful in your endeavors.  Thank you for standing out like a shining star in a very dark and sometimes corrupt justice system.  Your efforts are stellar and courageous.

Respectfully yours,

Audrey A. White 

I never received so much as an acknowledgement BUT within 2 weeks of this letter they started responding to my requests allowing me to go to the Law Library every week for approximately two hours each visit.  To me that was my answer.  During that time I was able to read the newspaper and study the habeas corpus process and cases with similar issues.   

My biggest concern from the beginning of the incarceration (of things I could effect) was that my brain not turn to mush.  There were so many inmates walking around who were just burnt out from their use of drugs, alcohol and extremely difficult living conditions in the "real" world.  To help, my mom sent me Sudoku puzzles so I could do those mental exercises.  I read books, finally started going to the Law Library and wrote constantly.  I wrote long letters to various media sources but could not get anybody to pick up my story...for some reason my case was off limits.  I don't know if that was the influence of my false accusers or the lack of having a single sound bite that could describe my case.  Certainly lesser crimes were reported daily.  Now I have the opportunity to blog and tell my own story.  Once exonerated I can publish my book.


  1. Great post. I remember you're sending that letter.

    Yes, now you can blog.
    And no, your brain certainly did not turn to mush!

  2. Wow! What an awesome letter! There's no way anyone could read that letter and remain silent. I'm sure she did reply...and they never gave you the letter. You are my hero!