Much thanks to writer Katti Gray for this piece on the growth of participatory defense!
This article was originally published in The Crime Report, a criminal justice news service.
Ramon Vasquez was facing the threat of a lifetime in prison when he stood trial for a 2008 murder he didn’t commit.
“The only number I heard in court, was ’80 years.’ Like, I might get 80 years if I was convicted,” recalled Vasquez, a San Jose, Calif. delivery-truck driver.
Vasquez, then 29, knew the evidence proving his innocence was out there. But neither the expensive private lawyer his family initially hired but couldn’t afford nor the court-appointed attorney he wound up with (who urged Vasquez to plead guilty so he’d be eligible for parole within about eight years) seemed willing to go get it. (CLICK HERE TO GO TO CBS ARTICLE >>>)