Please Grant Clemency for William Brown
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To all potential signees,
My name is William Brown, I’m currently incarcerated in Danville Correctional Center in Danville Illinois. I’ve been incarcerated for a little over 20 years now, with a little more than four years remaining on a 50 years sentence, which I will have to serve 25 years in the aggregated for murder. Throughout these past 20 years I’ve been in a diligent fight for my freedom and to prove my innocence. Ironically in a system where your supposed to be given justice, yet my journey to justice continues.
The case I’m incarcerated for involves the shooting of a 16-year old boy, whom lost his life in the reciprocal cycle of violence that plagues a lot of our communities. My conviction hinges on the testimony of a single person who was awaiting charges of his own during the time he testified and was also an admitted drug dealer and gang member. An unworthy, untrusting persons testimony was enough to send me to prison for 20 plus years of my life. His testimony couples with a false statement from an individual that was involved in the crime, which was later recanted landed me where I am today and, in the position, where I’m reaching out to you to help. Both of them walked away as freemen with the resounding effects of the young boy’s death left to loom over the lives of his family and mine. Their's being the lost of a loved one without true justice and closure and my family and I with they years lost of me not being there with them. Both hardships are coupled with the fact that the boy’s killer is not incarcerated. The only winners are the state’s attorney’s that have gained another conviction to add as another notch on their belt as part of another step in their association in whatever direction they want their career to go. Oddly, state’s attorneys as officers of the court are supposed to be truth seekers and fact finders, yet most, not all, are only concerned with getting a conviction. The truth in that statement lies in the continued release of those that have been falsely convicted.
In the spirit of those that made it out, I took the time to learn as much of the law as possible which I continue to study and learn because I now fully understand that nobody is going to fight for you like you. With that I currently have a Post-Conviction Petition and a Actual Innocence Claim pending in the Illinois Appellate Court. My wife was able to locate a few witnesses and get proof that the statements made in the reports are false. A case of two people with similar names and only one gave a short statement on the day of the shooting “that she ran in the house when the shooting began and didn’t see anything”, never talking to the police again. The other one didn’t live or hang out where the shooting occurred, she only heard about it from around the neighborhood. The witness never talked to any investigator nor did she ever view any lineup. At the time of my trial we weren’t aware of them as I was told that I had been identified and their presence didn’t become unveiled until the end of my second trial. 20 years and limited resources, it’s been an uphill battle, yet make no doubt we continue to climb as we fight not only for my freedom but my life. This petition is part of the effort.
Faced with the heartache and mental challenges of being an innocent person behind these prison walls/gates. Instead of kicking against my circumstances I chose to use them to not define me but put me in a position to use it as motivation to better my life as well as my family and community. For me, the way to accomplish this task was to ensure that I better myself by educating myself and others. With that in mind and my legal fight leading the way, I became a Certified Paralegal receiving my diploma from Blackstone Career Institute. I also have an Associates in Liberal Studies Degree (ALS) from Lakeland College. I’m currently pursuing an Associate Degree in Sociology with the Ohio University, which I intend to complete once I’m released. I’m certified through Spoon River College as a tutor, and ESL, English as a second language tutor. I’m also certified by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Reach One Teach One program of the IDPH Aids Section & Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Health Section & Services to educate my peers and other on HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and STD/STI. Also, through the IDPH I’ve received my Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification. My wife and I are also the founders and creators of HoodVote/Vision/Voice, a non-profit company designed to highlight and promote the right to vote to utilize the voice of the community to usher in the vision of change we want for the hood/communities. I’ve also been a Peer Educator for 10-years which started in Illinois River Correctional Center where I helped design and develop as well as facilitate programs such as TRAC 1 (statewide), Lifestyle Redirection (statewide), Anger Management (statewide), Thinking 4 Change, Inside Out Dad’s, the Re-entry Summit, Financial Literacy Class, Social Skills Class, Men’s Role, Accountability & Responsibility, and here at Danville Correctional Center, Leadership Class and Criminal Thinking Classes. All these programs are designed and taught to aid in rehabilitation, education, upliftment and to change the way of thinking that keeps the recidivism rate at a steady pace or rising. The overall idea is to help not only adjust to the re-entry process back into society, but also ensure that transition helps us become conducive members of society.
Along with the school and programs, I’ve also held multiple positions with the Illinois Correctional Industries, a statewide program that helps offenders and train them in different marketable trades with real life, on hand experience. While at Illinois Rivers I worked at the ICI Bakery as a dock worker, production clerk and other office positions from Human Resources; AP, AR and Senior Account Clerk. My last position was production. Where I was responsible for making sure that all IDOC adult and Juvenile facilities as well as DHS and some Veteran’s and schools received their bakery products fresh and in a timely manner.
I’m now assigned as a ICI Silk Screen, Embroidery and Graphic Design shop at Danville Correctional Center. I started as the Screen Lab Tech where I was responsible for the maintenance of screens as well as proper imaging and exposure for assorted designs. I’ve recently been promoted to the Graphic Design Department where I will learn to design assorted designs for pretty much anything from cards to store front window designs.
I’ve also helped publish two Spoken Word Poetry books with the founders and authors Maurice “Reese” Hayes and Robert “Kuta” Rush through our company SPIT with a Purpose. I’m currently finishing up my autobiography “A Different View”.
With God’s continuous oversight I’ve been blessed to marry my high school sweetheart. My amazingly strong wife, Aisha J. Brown, with our union I’ve also been blessed with three step-children to accompany my two sons; Davonte Brown 21, Deshawn Brown 20, Shaunesha Moore 21, Nya Moore 18, Trevon Hall 15, my grandson Darius 3, and a brand-new granddaughter. Along with these amazing blessing I’ve also incurred some loses far surpass even the lost of my own freedom. The lost of my Grandfather William Jones, My Grandmother Adelaide Jones, my mother Rose Booker and my father-in-law David Hall both lost in 2015. These are the immeasurable loses yet there is still the daily loses I must face as long as I’m here. In the sons that I have, they had to face life without a father and now have become fathers of their own and had to learn on the fly without the daily input of their father. My step-children have to engage in life without me, my sister has had to face life without her big brother and my nephews with no uncle. Last but definitely far from the least, a wife that has to be the glue, the rock, the protector and provider and my #1 advocate as she endures the up’s and downs of life everyday without her rock, glue, protector, and provider guiding her at her side and having her back. Though these are my losses they are also the reason that I get up daily, outside of God’s blessing and go get the day. Under the pretense that I’m one day closer to home and one day soon these gates will open, and a dream will no longer be deferred.
It’s my hope that I’ve given you reason to not just support me by signing the petition but also spoke something in you to look at the Criminal Justice System as a whole and see that it’s far from perfect and beyond faulty. That the single most crucial step that could, should, and need to be taken is the approach that the criminal justice system should actually do what it’s tasked to do which is search for the truth, be fact finders, as opposed to looking for a conviction. Hands down without question, a much better system would emerge one that we all can trust and believe in. I also hope you know that you can be apart of that change and it can start by taking small steps. Steps such as small ones like giving a voice to the muffled and sometime voiceless. This is my outcry, my reaching out, yet please understand those innocent beings that stare at these bricks and cell bars wondering when their voice will be heard, as the lack even the avenue to reach out in this form simply put “WE NEED YOU”. Thank you for your time and support.
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