Thursday, April 28, 2011

Life Lessons... from a meteorologist?

This must be my influential people blog series.  Last blog I told you about Albert Schweitzer and Victor Frankl and the tremendous impact they have had on my life.  As I contemplated what I could possibly blog about next I was drawing a blank.  So I sat, without thinking, in front of the TV watching all the weather and geological news.  Tornadoes, draught and high winds, tsunami damage, earthquakes, severe thunderstorms, flooding!  I have never cared much about watching television but weather fascinates me.  The whole time I'm watching television and looking out my window to see if I can locate the newest developing wall cloud or funnel cloud or smell the smoke from the wildfires or see my car get pelted by hail or washed away in a flood, I'm thinking "Oh, if Dad were only here, we are having epic proportions of severe weather, he would be right in the middle of all this!"

Growing up in our home with Dad as a meteorologist had a significant influence in my life.  My dad wasn't one of the TV guys.  He worked for the National Weather Service, also known as NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  For many years we lived in Maryland where he was a forecaster at the Suitland, Maryland office which was NOAA headquarters for the Northern Hemisphere.   In his later years he was Meteorologist-In-Charge ("MIC") at the Albuquerque office which oversaw all of New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Arizona.

There are many characteristics of a man who lives in a world of probabilities.  For instance it was close to impossible as a child to ever get a straight "YES" or "NO" from him.  If I was in a hurry, it would make me crazy!  But, certainly, it was to my benefit to get a "maybe" or a "possibly" on things that my mother might have nixed straight out.  Although, I also remember him explaining to me when a forecast comes out at 50% it is like saying nothing, so one DOES need to take a stand in one direction or the other and not sit on the fence, but it must be well thought out.  Likewise he taught me to question what people call "facts" because quite often those are really opinions and the truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes. 

Many years later, when my first child developed autism and I was told by the public school system he would never develop beyond what he was at the age of four and I would eventually need to institutionalize him, I questioned the experts.  I decided there must be other possibilities, because so long as I was alive (and after, if possible), I would make certain he was never institutionalized.  Further, I spent so much time with him and could clearly see he was a lot smarter than the school was giving him credit for.  What a gift my dad had given me, believing in all the possibilities!  Nate, now almost 20 yrs old, is amazing!  He far exceeded their expectations, what he understands, what he has learned to do and how he communicates in so many ways.  He is a complete joy to be gentle giant.

My meteorologist dad taught me even more!  About the age of eight, I remember being at the grocery store with my mom.  We were checking out, minding our own business, when the grocery clerk started talking about how stupid the weathermen were, they never get anything right, she didn't know why we even had them as she could do a better job herself just looking out the window.  My eyes grew large as I watched my mom closely, she just smiled and when given the chance changed the subject.  When we got out to the car and we were driving away, I asked what that was all about, how come she didn't tell the clerk that was my Daddy she was talking about and tell her she was wrong!  My mom was smart, she said that is a good question for your father, ask him when he gets home.

With tears in my eyes I went running to my dad when he walked in the door that night and told him all about our trip to the grocery.  He smiled and said there is no need to be upset.  He explained many people do that when they don't understand something.  He told me there was nothing more dynamic on this earth than the weather, meaning nothing changes faster.  He then said, "When people criticize the weathermen they are not talking about me.  They are speaking from a place of ignorance.  They don't understand the science or the math of it.  And that's okay.  I never take these things personal and neither should you."

When we developed The NOAH Project there were many who told me it would never work.  But, it worked beautifully, the children responded in ways nobody could have predicted.  Children who hadn't talked the first years of their life, said there first words and more.  Children telling their mom and dad's they loved them, something the parents had given up on years before.  Children, who were previously enveloped in their own world, began playing interactive games.  Daily we were able to celebrate the progress of these special kids.  Had I listened to all the nay sayers that year of successes would have never happened.

When this case came against me, many people disappeared out of my life and some people spoke poorly behind my back.  And, when I lost the trial, even more shrank away.  And, when I came home after three years in prison, there were even fewer.  I just remembered what my father said, don't get angry or hurt, just keep going.  There are many who don't understand how the justice system works.  Even with the most recent exonerations across the country, there are many who don't believe an innocent person can get convicted.  And, they may never change their belief, even in light of all the evidence to the contrary.  That, I have accepted and yes, I do understand, it is not about me and not about truth, it just is what it is.  So, its up to me to move on, knowing that I am okay and doing what I need to do to clear my name.  A GIANT life lesson.

The final story I want to share with you relates to our annual family vacations.  For all the years we lived in Maryland, my parents would stuff our family in the car and travel out west, sometimes for two weeks and sometimes for a month.  We would see relatives all along the way to Dallas, then head to Albuquerque and finally Phoenix.  I always knew when we would hit New Mexico because my dad would start veering off the road.  My mom would scream and we all jumped to attention.  My father would pull over to the side of the road and point to a massive cloud formation.  He'd say, "You see those thunderheads, see how the top of them forms a perfect anvil shape?  You can't see this until we get out here to the wide open spaces, and that anvil shape signifies the most powerful thunderstorm that exists."  He went on to tell us how important it was to respect such power and how it reminded him of the power of God.  The beauty, the perfection, the absolute strength!  He taught us in those weather lessons to honor and respect our Almighty God.  He gave us visuals to anchor our faith.  How grand is that?

Thank you Dad for being in my life and teaching me such important lessons.  May you rest in peace.  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reverence for Life...Take Action

It's interesting how life works, isn't it?  We are brought the very challenges we need at just the right time.  I cannot say I would have asked for any of my particular challenges, at least not outright, but certainly they were presented.  In each instance, it has always been clear to me that I was in charge of how I responded, for that is really all I have control attitudes.  As a result of that awareness I redefine challenges as opportunities.

I have been drawn to the works of Albert Schweitzer for as far back as I can remember.  A German man of many talents: he built organs, became an acclaimed organist, a church pastor and a university professor with a doctorate in philosophy.  At the age of 30, aware of the need for medical care in Africa, he decided to become a medical doctor and devote the rest of his life to serving these people.  At the age of 37 he opened a hospital in Lambarene, Gabon - at the time a French province in Equatorial Africa.  He continued there until his death, at the age of 90, traveling back and forth to Europe for fundraising and gathering of supplies over the years.  During World War I, both Schweitzer and his wife were imprisoned in France until the war was over, both becoming very ill because of the conditions in the prison.  In his life he wrote several books, my favorite is "Reverence For Life".  Schweitzer was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 78.

Reverence for Life is a philosophy and speaks to our responsibility for all that we do, and calls upon us to have awareness and respect for all living things.  A simple message that gets overlooked so easily.

The other author who has had a significant influence in my life is Viktor Frankl with his book "Man's Search for Meaning".  Frankl was a Holocaust survivor and speaks to our responsibility to choose our attitude in any given circumstance, thus his own survival in a concentration camp of World War II.  He went on to become a professor of psychiatry and neurology plus an author of several books, helping many in the healing of their lives.

Both Schweitzer and Frankl lived challenging lives, helped others and believed strongly in always doing the next right thing.  Both wrote on the importance of attitude and awareness.  Both were imprisoned as innocent men.  Both were men of action, absolutely committed to making life better for others.  Both have been quoted saying that words are meaningless without action.  How can I not take action in my own life when I championed the lives and causes of these two men?  My belief in Jesus and all His promises is the foundation setting underneath all of this...and probably the reason for my draw to the works of these two men in the first place. 

Is it any wonder that I had a child whose personality and life were imprisoned with autism, giving me the opportunity of my life to connect and make certain he knew of my love for him.  But I never really wanted to stop there, I wanted to share what I knew with other families.  I still plan to continue in several different ways, by setting up a business that promotes a product for the nutritional needs of these kids whose immune systems are compromised, by writing books (for which I have partial drafts of two books) and by getting involved in working with these kids again.  Although this time I will include the young adults as my sweet Nate is now almost 20 years old.

Then of all things, I also had to endure life in prison, while falsely accused and wrongly convicted.  But didn't the writings of Schweitzer and Frankl influence my response, allowing me to come home further enriched.  I believe they must have.  And now that I am out of prison I feel just as strongly a need to help victims of the justice system as my need to help those afflicted with autism (both child and family).  But to just speak it, to just write in a blog about it, is not enough.  I have decided I must take action.

Through my experience of the justice system, I learned what is going on "inside", both inside the court room and inside the county jail and state prison.  I learned there are so many people imprisoned in Texas who could more effectively be helped by rehabilitation.  Like a dry alcoholic, they walk out of prison with all the same hungers....the addiction has not been confronted and healed, it may have been touched on at a superficial level.  Some people are lucky enough to just quit, once clean for a time, but most are still driven by that addiction.  They must do the healing of the underlying causes for their addictions, or they will be right back at it, medicating their pain.  When I say that recidivism is not being addressed, this is what I am talking about.  By not healing these people (those that are willing - which in my experience are numerous) then we are just providing a revolving door within the criminal justice system.

Further, EDUCATION!!  It must be increased.  Many of those imprisoned are without proper education.  We are not preparing people to reenter society with skills that will keep them from falling back into trouble.  People leaving prison have got to be employable.  Many are not, thus moving back into illegal activities to provide a living or means of survival.  Are we for our people in this country or not?  It is so difficult to get my arms around the fact that we are one of the most advanced countries on this earth, yet so many people are falling through the cracks. 

On the employable issue there is yet another piece.   Twenty one percent of Americans have a "criminal background" given our runaway justice system.  Their must be a shift in thinking by recruiters and employers or there will be no hiring of those with criminal backgrounds, thus increasing our government subsidy programs (food stamps, Medicaid, MHMR payments, TANF, etc).  What many people do not realize is this group can be the hardest workers, with some of the best work ethics, as they are motivated to prove they are worthy.  Positive reinforcement is giant to these people.  That is what most would seek and respond to in prison and that is what will work once released to really bring them to a new lifestyle as they become productive citizens.

Then of course there are the falsely accused and wrongly convicted group.  More people than I ever imagined.  Even one person in this category is too many.  In fighting my own case, I hope to provide a way for others to follow.  The appeal system is very cumbersome and unfriendly and many just give up or never begin the process feeling defeated from the start, but does it have to be that way?  I will continue to write about how the false accusations and wrongful conviction came about in my own case thus increasing awareness.  Once exonerated I will publish a book with far more details than I have shared in this blog.  Even then, that is not enough, there is a need to get involved with those who are fighting this fight, helping in any way that I can.  Checks and balances must be brought to our justice system.  Without that, it will continue.  As I've said before, those that are a party to false arrests and convictions have to be made accountable.   Otherwise, there will be more families disrupted by this insanity.  There must be a movement for reform in our justice system to prevent this miscarriage of justice in the future. 

When I think in terms of  Reverence for Life, there can really be no other way.  It is our responsibility as human beings to stand up for the causes that relate to respect and betterment of fellow humans and for our living that in the treatment of autism or the healing of those incarcerated or the many other causes that effect each of our lives.  One has to ask, what touches my heart?  How can I help?  How can we improve the quality of our lives and others' right now?  When we leave this world, don't we want to leave it a better place for our kids and all those that follow?  I know I do!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

AND...The Parents Spoke

Following my indictment and subsequent move back to Texas I was having a very difficult time finding work.  As you saw in an earlier blog I was being encouraged by my Internet "team" to interview, tell very little and get on with supporting my family.  The arrest record was out there and I found I needed to be totally honest with anybody who was a potential employer. 

After much brainstorming with my "team" it occurred to me I could restart our Speaking Series and turn it into a 3-day training workshop for parents and educators interested in this type of program for their children with autism and charge a fee.  I had a good friend who developed a website for this new entity based on our experience at NOAH.  I had lined up speakers for the first training session.  I had over three hundred mail-outs ready to go.

The new training organization was called "" after the children.  For these children appear to be born normal, have normal development for a time and then within the first year start to withdrawal.  Many of the parents actually have videos capturing this change.  They thought they were filming their child's development but soon came to find the child began disconnecting and eventually became enveloped in their own exclusive world.  As a parent it is rather shocking to watch and find you have no power to stop it.  The program we used in NOAH, and prior to that a home-based program for my son, Nate, actually brought that child back from his/her exclusive world, through very intense one-on-one, interactive, exciting and encouraging methods. Thus, the name "Re-Emerge".  My friend and I started the development of in February 2005 and launched the website in April 2005.  The site described what our program looked like at The NOAH Project (including pictures), then detailed the agenda for the first three day training workshop and the biographies of the many professionals presenting in the workshop.  The Re-Emerge website brought a lot of attention and apparently some controversy with the courts.

On April 28, 2005 I had a hearing at the court to discuss the end of my first year bond and to begin the PR (Personal Recognizance) bond due to my indigent status plus meet my court appointed attorney.  The prosecutors already had word of this new business and website I was starting as I was court ordered to cease all such activity.  The PR bond required me to take the website down immediately and do no business on the Internet.  I was told I could not do these training sessions.  When I asked my newly assigned attorney why not?  He, who had my case for all of one day, said so I would not be allowed to "defraud any more parents."  I just couldn't believe my ears.  The parents were not complaining about the school, they had seen only progress with their kids.  In fact, very significant progress.

Almost two years earlier, when I was first notified my client could no longer fund the school, I had called an emergency meeting that very evening with many of the parents, the Board members and a small group of business consultants.  Those parents rallied to keep The NOAH Project open.  We brainstormed that first night we met as to what we could do in the short term.  Several of us left with specific assignments and meetings to initiate with other community leaders and foundations.  We met again a couple weeks later, regarding updates on progress and how best to continue our efforts.  In the month of October we gave it everything we had to keep from closing that school.  Not one parent left that school feeling defrauded!  Disappointed - YES!   We were all disappointed, but defrauded - NO!  Just did not happen. 

My attorney never brought those meetings up in the course of my trial.  He "saved" the parents testimonies for the sentencing phase.  He always told me that was how he was going to do it - use them as character references once I was convicted.  You see, he never planned to win the trial, didn't believe he could (being a typical public defender - just wanted me to plea) and therefore he didn't really prepare.  When my husband and I questioned the public defender's commitment to my case, he just shrugged and said it would be an easy appeal.

Here are a few of the testimonies from the parents of the school.  Keep in mind these testimonies were given almost four years following the school's closure:

Ms. Bell:  I chose the NOAH Project because Audrey White was providing a full treatment for the child, not just an educational, but also for parents which is huge.  There is - the suicidal rate for parents with autistic kids is high and divorce rate is high so training for the parents is very important.  Because she provided a special diet which most these children need - special food not like what is being provided for in the public school arena or any other public school or private school that was around.  And the one-on-one attention and treatment intensity that she was providing for my daughter in the program was unlike any other.  And so it was all encompassing, treat the whole child type of program.  The program (also) changed my life more than it probably did my daughter's because, you know, I didn't know how to work with my child, I didn't know the attitudes that the program taught and I wasn't positive.  I was negative, angry, bitter and everything just because of part of ignorance, other reasons for lack of training, so the training that the program ...that Audrey provided was life changing.

Regarding the school closing Ms. Bell said: It was devastating.  It was sad.  But, you know, Audrey didn't stop just because the school closed.  She didn't stop supporting us as parents to help our children.  Her help continued on as long as she could.  And so what we were able to do was take a couple teachers that worked with my child from The NOAH Project and bring them into our home and continue the same program in our house.

Then Ms. Bell described the effect The NOAH Project had on the people that worked there:  The gal that worked with my child wasn't even a teacher certified for special needs, but because of the opportunity Audrey provided to these people that worked there, they were inspired to go and get their (special ed) teacher certificate.  Many of them were therapists.  They went on to be special ed teachers, Highland Park, Plano, McKinney, Garland and so now these people were trained from the program that Audrey provided in a way that the public school can't even begin to train its people.  And so now they're out there helping other children that are not as fortunate as my daughter was to go to The NOAH Project.

Mr. Atkins:  Well, Audrey's school...yes. Audrey's school was based on a methodology which was developed at a place in Massachusetts.... and you know, what happened was that interaction and that connection with the child ended up bringing the child out of his shell over time.  Its not a fast process, but at least there was hope.  Here was a program that didn't cap what our child's progress was going to be.  Here was a program that didn't deter him from being who he was at the time, but also encouraged him, you know to progress at the pace he wanted to progress.  He was only there for two months, maybe two and a half, but in two months went from completely non-verbal and not being able to interact with his siblings, not being able to communicate, and at the end of it his vocabulary had already started to blossom.  Now he wasn't completing sentences but he was making requests.  he was able to develop words like yes, no, uh-huh and huh-uh as some simple communications that a child has already mastered at 12 - 13 months, well our son was three, and we hadn't been successful in getting him to master that.  And introducing this new approach already began to break down some of those walls and introduce those new communication tools with him.  And he was giving us eye contact where that wasn't possible before, and really put on a path that we have continued to follow to this day with him.  And so the benefit of those two and a half months, in my opinion, reaches far beyond the time that he was at that school.

Mrs. Atkins:  My son was non verbal and didn't know who we were.  And by The NOAH Project and having the therapy, he began to speak and say "MAMA" for the first time after like maybe six weeks, which was more than I could have ever wanted or knew that I could have from him.

Mrs. West:  Well I have to say amazing progress, not only in him (her son), but just observing other children.  And that was why I so wanted that program after working there for two weeks and seeing the amazing results and just the children connecting.  I just knew that was the program I wanted for me (and my son).  My child has made great strides with the program.  And not only in his life, in our lives too.

Mr. Foley:  The individual, isolated one-on-one therapy, with individual facilitators.  That is what he (my son) needed.  Like I said it was a clean environment with no distractions, one room that was his.  You had viewing glass where you (as a parent) could go in at any time.  I would go in there, on my lunches and things like that, and watch and observe.  That is what I liked about it, the individual one-on-one, which is what a child with autism needs.  You started to get more eye contact and more reactions from him.  An autistic child tends to concentrate on the peripheral, not on the subject or the conversation.  And we started to notice improvement that because, and that was mainly because of the ...It was intense one-on-one therapy.  It was several hours a day, five days a week.

How much of a difference would these testimonies have made during the actual trial?  Another pertinent piece that was left out of the trial was that I continued to work with a group of business consultants to get the school reorganized and reopened.  We sent out reorganization investor packages to major corporations connected to the business consultants that December 2003.  These are not actions a thief would take.  Yet even then, given the above testimonies, the prosecutor told the jury that I traumatized the parents and kids of The NOAH Project.  How do prosecutors get away with these sorts of statements?  She also told the jury I "did it" because I was aspiring to be the "Queen of Autism" while she stood in front of me at the defendant table pointing at me, with her voice raised to the rafters.  Why do we allow such false courtroom drama?  We swear to tell the truth, why doesn't the prosecutor do likewise?

If you could have only seen me back in the day...I was working two full time jobs, one my financial business and two, as volunteer Director of NOAH.  I was hardly the picture of a queen, more like a frazzled mom, over-committed and working around the clock.  Did I want great things for me?  That was never what this was was to help a few families and their children and hopefully be a part of a new movement in the treatment of our kiddos....a more holistic approach, treating all aspects of the child, including the most important relations in their lives...their parents.  Nobody loves these kids more than their parents, nor will there be any greater lifetime advocates for these special kids than the parents.  Growing that healthy relationship is absolutely the key to our special childrens' developmental success. 

Further, this program did not belong to me.  I didn't create it.  I only coordinated the pieces, where it had been a home-based program before, we brought it to a school setting, so it could be more scientifically documented on its way to becoming mainstreamed.  It was simply an attitude, a set of beliefs and methodologies.  Had it continued, the successes would have gone to the credit of its originators, we had a written agreement which set all that out.  There is the truth of it...more of what the jury never heard before convicting me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Costs are HUGE!

The Internet dialogues continued with my "team" but I was becoming more disillusioned as I began to really understand...there was no white knight in shining armor going to save me from this system and each day the Texas justice system took on a more oppressive and dark look.  My second attorney, Mark Perez, had just asked for an additional $50,000.  I was unable to pay so he withdrew and I was awaiting the court's decision on my indigent status and a court appointed attorney.  The dialogue went as follows:

ifonlythiswasover:  I wonder when all this is done...if my faith in anything will be restored???  Its hard for me right now to even TRUST.  So much of what I believed in is being challenged.

lionheartix:  I've noticed that. lol

ifonlythiswasover:  I believed in good wins out.  I believed that there was such a thing as justice.  I believed in the police.

lionheartix:  we all did....we grew up with those ideals.

ifonlythiswasover:  I didn't want to become a skeptic.  Now I am told truth doesn't matter to the people I believed upheld it?  Why aren't they honest with what they teach us in school?  What ever happened to authenticity?

lionheartix:  some people go through their whole lives without ever being challenged.  But, it is said, that the more one is challenged, the more character it builds.

ifonlythiswasover:  it seems like I might have enough already!  Maybe we could hit the media really hard with this case then they would be forced to move it out of Texas to a new venue.  I just don't trust Texas or the power these men have over the political/justice system.

lionheartix:  It just doesn't make sense for Perez to push you for $50 more grand for this.  Or...drop your case.

ifonlythiswasover:  he said he checked with other attorneys and that was "fair"...I would think he would set his own fair standards.  I'll tell you what is not being falsely accused....that I have to waste valuable time on this...

lionheartix:  you're right.

ifonlythiswasover:  about what?

lionheartix:  it being a waste of time.  You are all stressed out for all this time, and it is a waste.

ifonlythiswasover:  it is...for everybody involved...including the taxpayers money.

lionheartix:  I'm glad I don't live in Dallas County.  I don't pay into the peoples' paychecks of Dallas County.

ifonlythiswasover:  yeah...but this happens seems inherent in the legal system.  Perez was good, just when I start feeling seems as though I get hit again.

lionheartix:  that has been happening, for sure.

ifonlythiswasover:  I feel sad, scared, angry...all wrapped up into one ball.

lionheartix:  keep hanging in there.

ifonlythiswasover:  I will... the only happy moments I feel as though I have are mostly with Nate and Brandon [my sons]....even then the dark cloud seems to come around.

lionheartix:  OK...things are tough now.  It will pass.

ifonlythiswasover:  I know.....

This dialogue really brings out several important factors.  Of course the most obvious, is the emotional and mental toll it takes on the lives of people involved.  But, look at the costs!!!  Once falsely accused it became almost impossible to get a job....what with all my court appearances and attorney appointments.  Eventually someone hired me for the two years just prior to the trial and gave me the flexibility I needed.  I was being paid less than 25%  of what I was used to earning, but I was extremely grateful for that, so at least I could pay the rent and feed my family.

BUT....Dear Taxpayers!!  The cost of the system!  Unbelievable the amount of wasted tax dollars that go into the falsely accused and wrongly convicted cases....and to many others who probably could benefit from probation/out-patient rehab or those who should have much shorter sentences.  Most people don't fight the system....don't feel as though they can...and just plea.  The cost to take care of each prisoner is significant...somewhere in the range of $40 - $50,000 per year/person incarcerated (not including medical).  But for someone fighting their case....there are significantly more costs: attorney fees, forensics (or in my case - prosecution and civil attorneys fighting to keep the forensics out).  Look at the payrolls of the judges, the prosecutors, public defenders, all the other employees involved with the overcrowded court system. 

In Texas alone, the line item in the budget for prisons is $5 billion.  That doesn't include city or county jails or any of the court proceedings.  Do we really have that many outlaws?!?!  Or do we just have a runaway justice system?

Here are some statistics for you to think about.  The United States has the biggest prison population on earth and we have the highest incarceration rate of any nation.  Our incarceration rate is six times higher than China, a place we like to believe is far more oppressive than we are.  The USA is home to only 5% of the world's population, but one quarter of the world's prisoners.  The blog called "Grits for Breakfast" has an excellent short video on this very is a PBS segment you will not want to miss!  If you want to read further, there is a recent thirty three page study titled "Cost and Punishment: Reassessing Incarceration Costs and the Value of College-In-Prison Programs" by Gregory Knott.

I have seen estimates as high as 3,500 - 5,000 innocents sitting in the Texas prison system.  I don't know the actual number.  They say that is the cost of having an effective justice system, "errors will be made".  I don't think there was "error" in my case, as I've shared with you regarding the pretrial Hearings, my complaint letters and notifications and of course, the Motion in Limine filed 10 days before my trial.  I have heard similar stories over and over again....some while I was incarcerated and others since I have been out.  There is an enormous cost associated with wrongful convictions both in terms of wasted tax dollars and the effect it has on the ability of the wrongful convicted to ever live a fully productive life again.  Society pays the toll for this prison boom.

There are many ways to change what is happening.  The study linked above talks about college programs to prisoners so they might be employable when released thus reducing recidivism.  That is great, but in the job market of today, employers are not hiring people with criminal backgrounds...most especially in the professional world.  Once our ailing economy is healed there will still have to be an attitude shift of employers and recruiters.  It is important for our society to raise its awareness with regard to these issues and become much more educated as to how our tax dollars are being spent so that we are better equipped to make informed votes as well as speaking out for what is right.  Check with organizations like Project: Not Guilty and The Innocence Project of Texas to gather more information and see how you might help.

The immunity given the courts, prosecution and police needs to be closely monitored.  Immunity can be a set up for conspiracy thus allowing innocent people to be convicted.  Besides victims of conspiracy, people falsely accused and wrongly convicted all have something else in common...a clear violation of their Constitutional Rights.  We have seen or heard of it happening time and again.  Those who accuse or pursue innocent people and knowingly withhold evidence need to be held accountable.  In any other job in the world, those who are negligent or lie, lose their jobs.  I think we need to take a hard look at the checks and balances in our justice system.  It is up to us ...

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."
                                                   ~Abraham Lincoln