Our first Time Saved story of 2015! When this family came to De-Bug about 2 months ago, the judge in their 16 year old son’s case strongly considered a 6 year commitment away in juvenile prison, based on the recommendation from probation. He originally was facing a life sentence. With his amazing mom Cherisse Bergeron and attorney Monika Loya, we helped put together a mitigation packet that showed his strong local family, church, and community support and made the case for why local time was so much more crucial for his ability to bounce back from a tough life.
On Wednesday, after reviewing the social biography packet, the judge told him to look into the audience where every seat there was filled with his family and community –including his 2 little brothers. She said “Turn around.” She pointed to everyone. “That’s the reason I’m keeping you here and not sending you away.” Submission Post by Charisse Domingo (If your organization is interested in getting a workshop on how to make social biography packets, email us!)
Cherisse shows the mitigation packet for her son that demonstrates his challenges growing up, as well as his present community and future prospects. (This was taken a week before the sentencing hearing)
Day of court and ready to visit their son and brother. He will get to see and hug his 2 little brothers for the first time in almost 6 months.
His mom Cherisse proudly wears her “De-Bug The System” shirt. Her love for her son is a testimony to the power of faith in action. She herself has been through a tough few years, and being able to get through these last 6 months and being the instrumental force in her son’s case has been part of her life’s journey.
San Mateo County Juvenile Private Defender Monika Loya and Mom Cherisse Bergeron after court — they make a powerful team!
We had a powerful meeting this Sunday at ACJP, where three families all successfully resolved their cases through mutual support. They didn’t know each other a month ago, but will be forever united in their life stories. They live in different counties, even speak different languages at home.These images are a part of ACJP‘s “Time Saved” Series, documenting the stories, and amount of time saved from incarceration, due to community intervention in court cases. Submission and Photos by Charisse Domingo.
Click here to see the full story.
It’s hard to think of places in the United States that don’t provide public defenders, leaving those who are poor with less of a shot at getting some “justice” from the justice system. I can only imagine how justice was dealt with before. Hopefully now with a system in place, the courts can be a little fairer for the poor in Alabama. Photo on the right is of Kevin Butler, the first US Public Defender appointed in North Alabama (Birmingham News/ Joe Songer) Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
First US public defender in North Alabama to build offices in Birmingham and Huntsville
by Kent Faulk, The Birmingham News
Published: Thursday, January 05, 2012, 7:55 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — North Alabama’s first federal public defender says he hopes to have offices in Birmingham and Huntsville open by summer with a staff to defend federal criminal defendants who can’t afford to hire their own lawyers.
Since beginning his job in October as the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Alabama, Kevin Butler has been busy interviewing potential staff and locating office space in the two cities. He’s also begun fighting on behalf of a few indigent criminal defendants.
Butler said his first goal for the office is to provide “the highest-quality representation of the indigent defendant as soon as possible.”
Continue reading →