Sunday, November 19, 2017
One Wallet= Not Guilty=46 2 Life
By Malik Spellman
Published August 27, 2009

One wallet= not guilty=46 2 life.

Can you believe that a local merchant with a history of mental illness and petty crimes is facing a sentence so ridiculous? Even if you are found not guilty in the case you can be taken away from your family and community for several years.

Well that is the case with a local businessman named Steve Canady who has strong ties to the Leimert community where he has served faithfully for over twenty years. If there was ever a case in which a person needed some help along with respect, it would be this gentlemen who needed to be found not guilty by a jury of his peers.

Unfortunately, all twelve jurors decided that this person was not guilty for the petty crime in which he was charged. How does this sound to you? A man allegedly steals a item out of a car while having a mental disturbance only to find himself facing a sentence of 46 years to life after being found not guilty for the crime. This is not acceptable.

In the real world, Mr. Madoff stole billions of dollars from senior citizens and others and got 150 years for his crimes against the public. In the case of this local merchant, he was charged for something that could of gone away with a six month maximum sentence. I know that our court system will not allow this to happen .

According to court documents Mr. Canady was to be released from this case upon being found not guilty but the district attorney’s office refused to release him. This man has been a great support in this community employing many people who would otherwise not get hired.

I would like for the district attorney’s office to really consider the impact that this unfair sentence would send to an underserved group of people who have never seen justice prevail in their lives and the lives of others like them. How can a sentence of 46 years to life help any one? Petty crime is petty crime and we as taxpayers cannot afford to continue abusing our money and power to take advantage of so many who have no real defense mechanism in place to help bring some clarity to this madness in the lives of many poor people.

I think that the D.A.’s office is making a great mistake in the handling of this matter and we the community of the Sentinel is watching this situation with a sharp eye. If this man was found not guilty and we the community have forgiven this person, then our voices are the only ones that you should hear. How can we waste time having this person sit in the men’s central jail for the past three years. Do we really have the resources for this type of activity. As we speak the justice system is trying to figure out what are we going to do with the overwhelming amount of people who are either on drugs or facing a mental illness crisis.

How many dollars will we spend incarcerating a person for a crime that is so petty in nature that the jury was not impressed with the whole ordeal. District attorney I know that you have a job to do when it comes to fighting crime, but 46-to-life for a petty crime where the defendant was found not guilty does not make sense–not to mention the fact that this person suffers from mental illness and relapses into the world of casual drug use.

People when you dole out this much time to the head of household like Mr. Canady then you sentence the whole family to death. I can remember talking to his family and his young gifted daughter wanted to contact the courts and district attorney’s office to beg them not to take her father away from them forever. She stated that she and her little brothers and sisters would sell Kool-aid in order to help get their father out of jail. One child even stated that they would do the time for their father if they had to because they felt that they were younger and good do the time. The children don’t have a sense of reality but they don’t lack mercy and character.

Please free this man from bondage with respect to the desires of the children. Just put yourself in his shoes for a moment. Having a crime in which you were found not guilty and wanting to get back to your community and family, only to be held with the threat of being locked up for forty-six years for a petty crime, in addition serving over three years fighting the alleged charges. Please courts, let us pray and find a better way of using those tax dollars wisely. I few are the keepers of the poor. Why take the breadwinner out of the household? Could you image having young gifted children who someday will graduate and have families only to be told that your father who made a mistake is facing 46 to life for a petty crime. I know that the D.A.’s office has more compassion than that.

We will be watching this case real close. And if there is any mercy or help for the poor widows son it should be applied in this case. Let us pray.

Categories: Op-Ed

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