Reflections from Rusty: The Man Who Won His Freedom from 3 Life Sentences “Never Give Up, and You are the Best Advocate For Your Loved One!”

Rusty and his mom hugging as he leaves jail, a free man after having served four years of what would have been 3 life sentence.

Rusty and his mom hugging as he leaves jail, a free man after having served four years of what would have been 3 life sentence.

To everyone at De-Bug, and all families who are fighting within our court systems: I saw this posting of my plight, as well as the plight of all those who fought along side me, and I was very touched. It was a very difficult battle, one that I almost gave up on many times over, but that is NEVER THE ANSWER! No matter how overwhelming the challenge may seem. This goes for ALL involved. Some will fall by the wayside, but this is inevitable, and cannot be a deterrent. I asked my mother for permission to leave this life, for I felt defeated, but she, as well as others, such as my daughter, step son, attorney, brothers, and Raj, from De Bug, reignighted my will to fight for my life, and for me to lead by example.

My attorney Jessica Burt-Smith and I buckled down and collaborated on EVERYTHING making sure that we fought with everything we could, despite the Court’s many efforts to shut us down. We still lost in trial, and it was devastating! I stood up and yelled at the jury and District Attorney: “YOU JUST STOLE MY LIFE; YOU GOT IT WRONG!”

Again, I felt defeated and wanted to give up. I was sentenced to 3 Life sentences, plus 34 years, for a total term of 109 years to life. I also received divorce papers at the same time. I lost everything, and another fight to overcome all of this seemed impossible. My attorney looked me in the eyes with tears in hers, and told me not to give up, that the fight was not over, that there was still my appeal. I did not believe in the system, for I had just been falsely convicted, so I certainly did not have faith in any appeal. Continue reading

MUSIC VIDEO: No ICE Collaboration with County Jails

Santa Clara County has long been a national leader in creating a safe community for immigrants by drawing a clear line between ICE and the law enforcement and promoting meaningful immigrant integration. Now our county elected officials want to revisit the possibility of entangling ICE with local law enforcement, creating a less safe community for all. Community groups and leaders led an action this month to urge the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to reject PEP COMM and not allow ICE to dictate our county’s criminal justice system. (The below music video was projected on a wall in the County building as part of an action by the FIRE coalition.)