Freedom for the Innocent...
Freedom for the Innocent...
This letter is to bring you awareness to my husband “Zseron Donte’ Dukes” case (F1747055N). His Constitutional Rights were violated. I thought that the laws/Rights were put into place to protect us. I didn’t know that retired judges or law enforcement could pick and choose which laws they want to uphold and which ones they don’t. Or maybe it’s my husband's skin color or the way he looks or his smell or his dreads or maybe it’s as the judge said to my husband “Your Kind” whatever that means.... My husband Zseron Dukes is a good, caring and loving God fearing husband, father and family man. He loves God first then all things. My husband Zseron is an innocent man doing 18 years for a crime he did not commit. Zseron WAS NOT ALLOWED to hire his own legal representation. So all the jury heard was what they wanted them to hear. He was not allowed to speak much on the evading arrest charge or explain his actions as to why he did what he did. My husband Zseron is in jail for something he did not do. He was treated unfairly before the trial even started and given an unrealistic sentence by a retired judge while the guilty person is still out in the real world and free to shoot again. Maybe next time he will kill someone or maybe an innocent child, while my husband is in jail serving an 18 year sentence for trying to save his own life. My husband was only doing what he had been taught to do in that type of situation. He did what law enforcement train people to do every day in situations like that. He complied and it got him 18 years. What's fair about that? He didn’t run from the police he couldn’t stop without the possibility of being shot himself. He had to find a safer spot to wreck the car so he could get out alive. What if it was someone you love and care about and someone had a gun pointed at them in a car and told to drive or I will kill you. What do they train you to do? Cooperate with the gunman. So after the gunman finally threw the gun out the window all my husband could do was look for a safe place to wreck the car so he could get out safely. When people are scared they do things without thinking? He didn’t know at the time the gunman had threw the gun out the window and didn’t know what else he had on his person. After Gary the gunman got out of jail he came by my house to get his clothes and apologize to me and he broke down and told me everything that happened that night. Down to the Rowlett Police Department.
Texas Law states that both defendants should have been charged with the same charge. That was not done. Zseron should have been given the right to choose his own representation/counsel and he was denied that right. Zseron hired his own lawyer but his lawyer got sick and died. My husband has no control over that. God is the only one in control of death. The state gave my husband George Ashford as a public defender. George did not get along with my husband from the start. My husband asked for another lawyer back in November 2018 but they wouldn't give him one. This was in November of 2018 when they first assigned George Ashford to my husband's case. So Zseron found a lawyer (Timothy Jeffery) and we retained him, But the judge denied my husband the right to have his own counsel. That was against his Constitutional Rights. My husband was not represented fairly from the very beginning. When the judge came into the court room for the first time, the first thing the judge said to my husband was "I know your kind". The judge, judged my husband soon as he looked at him. Anyone that knows my husband could tell you that my husband is a beautiful person. He doesn't bother anyone and he stays to himself. Just because a person looks a certain way does not mean they are that way. Looks are deceiving. Then at the end of the trial he called my husband all these bad names but he doesn’t even know who my husband is. I don’t know what Judge Martin Richter thinks my husband’s kind is but my name is LaTonia D Dukes I am the wife of Zseron D Dukes and I have end-stage renal failure also known as chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant. Some signs and symptoms of kidney disease that I face every day are: Nausea - Vomiting - Loss of appetite - Fatigue and weakness - Sleep problems - Decreased mental sharpness - Muscle twitches and cramps - Swelling of feet and ankles - Persistent itching - Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart - Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs and High blood pressure (hypertension) that's difficult to control. This is what I live with every day. Chronic kidney disease can affect almost every part of your body. The constant fluid buildup in my body (swelling), high blood pressure, or fluid in your lungs (pulmonary swelling) a sudden rise in potassium levels in my blood (hyperkalemia), which could impair my heart's ability to function and may be life-threatening. Then it’s the weakness and falling which leads to a risk of bone fractures. Anemia - Damage to my central nervous system, which makes it hard to concentrate, personality changes and several Complex Partial Seizures a day. Irreversible damage to my kidneys sent me into end-stage kidney disease. Now I’m on dialysis for survival every Monday, Wednesday and Friday four hours a day until I can find another transplant which can take years. Years I don’t have. That’s why Zseron was giving me one of his. So I could live.So you see why it is impossible for me to live alone. Zseron has never left my side. He has been my caregiver for 6 years. That’s why he was going to give me a kidney so I can live. He is my kidney donor and if I can't get him home soon I will be dead before he gets out.
I said all that to say. My husband is a good man. He takes care of me and his kids (daughter-Zaine, 10, son-Zseron, Jr., 8 and son- Isaac, 5)(cat-Hershey Bar 6, pitbull-Furture 5, pitbull-Heaven 2, cat-O'Miley 1) He loves his family. We have never been flashy people. We have never been hungry. Our bills are paid. Our pets are all healthy and taken care of. I’m going to have to find homes for the dogs because I can’t get to them out in the back yard to feed them and the cats are going to have to be adopted out as well if I can't get my husband home soon.
My husband drove me to every doctor’s appointment. He pushes me around in the wheelchair when I’m too weak to walk. He got up at 4 am three nights a week just to get me to dialysis by 5am set my chair up and back four hours later to get me and take my chair down. He takes me home feed me and put me to bed so I can sleep it off and start to build my strength back up. What is so bad about that? He picks me up off the floor when I'm too weak to stand. He cleans me when I can’t make it to the bathroom in time. He is always trying to help people in some sort of way. He put everyone in front of his own needs. Always! It’s who he is. I have no family here and no friends at all. My only brother lives in Tyler and has sickness himself and a family of his own.
When the judge walked into the courtroom and said I know your kind Mr. Dukes. I was like your kind?!? With confusion… what is his kind? To me he judged Zseron from the start before the trial even began, when he denied Zseron his own legal counsel, going against Zseron’s Constitutional Rights. He denies my husband the legal right to hire his own Attorney. HE VIOLATED ZSERONS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. WHICH ARE:
You have many rights under the United States Constitution, but the following is a list of those that relate most directly to a criminal law case. These all come from the Bill of Rights, which are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
1. From the 4th Amendment
1. The right to not have your home, papers, property and body searched unreasonably
2. The right to not have your home, papers, property and body seized (taken by the government) unreasonably
3. The right to have search warrants and arrest warrants based on probable cause
1. From the 5th Amendment:
1. The right to a Grand Jury for capital crimes (those which carry the death penalty) and other felonies
2. The right to not be put in jeopardy (put at risk) twice for the same crime
3. The right to not testify against yourself
4. The right to due process of law before the government can take away your life, liberty or property
1. From the 6th Amendment:
1. The right to a speedy and public trial
2. The right to an impartial jury from the state and district where the crime was allegedly committed
3. The right to be informed of the nature of the crime you are accused of
4. The right to confront the witnesses against you
5. The right to call your own witnesses
6. The right to have a lawyer help defend you
1. From the 8th Amendment:
1. The right that your bail not be excessive
2. The right that any fines not be excessive
3. The right to not be punished in a cruel or unusual manner
1. From the 14th Amendment:
1. The right to equal protection under State law
2. The right to due process under State law
All of these rights have been tested and re-interpreted over the years, but still remain vital today. Your criminal defense attorney can tell you how these rights will work for you.
3. YOUR RIGHT TO COUNSEL
You actually have two different rights to counsel. There is a right to counsel while you are being questioned by the police in the 5th Amendment. Under the 6th Amendment, you have the right to have a lawyer defend you, and the court will appoint one for you if you can’t afford one on your own. Your 6th Amendment right to counsel generally only comes into play when you are facing formal charges or an indictment. However, the right can also apply to pretrial lineups, and may even apply when the focus of a criminal investigation rests on you. For the right to counsel to apply in a misdemeanor case, the charge must carry with it a sentence of six months. There is not a right to counsel in cases which carry a fine only – like a speeding ticket. Even when you do not have a RIGHT to counsel, you will still be permitted to hire a lawyer on your own. Having “the right” to counsel in this sense means that the court must appoint a lawyer for you if you: a) cannot afford one, and b) request that the court appoint a lawyer for you.
1. If You Can’t Afford An Attorney
1. To get the Court to appoint a lawyer for you, you will have to prove to the Court that you are indigent. “Indigent” is a nice way of saying that you fit the legal definition of broke. In making its determination of whether or not you are indigent, the Court may consider:
1. Your income
2. The source of your income
3. Any assets and property you own
4. Any outstanding obligations or debts
5. Your necessary expenses
6. The number and ages of dependents
7. Your spouse’s income to the extent that it reflects the your financial circumstances – whether you have posted or are capable of posting bail
2. If you are requesting that the Court make a determination of indigency so that you may be appointed a lawyer, you must:
1. Complete under oatha questionnaire about your finances – this is called an “Affidavit of Indigency”
2. Answer questions under oath that the judge or magistrate asks you about your financial resources
3. Or BOTH of the above.
3. Before the Court can rule that you are indigent, you will be asked to sign a statement that will look essentially like this:
1. “On this ________ day of ____________, 20 ___, I have been advised by the (name of the court) Court of my right to representation by counsel in the trial of the charge pending against me. I am without means to employ counsel of my own choosing and I hereby request the court to appoint counsel for me.(Your Signature)”
4. Once the Court has determined that you are indigent, the court will continue to presume that you are indigent through the rest of your criminal proceedings.
The Court does appoint an attorney for you, that attorney will have certain obligations. Your court-appointed attorney MUST:
1. make every reasonable effort to contact you not later than the end of the first work day after the date the attorney is appointed; and
2. interview you as soon as possible after the attorney is appointed; and
3. represent you until charges are dismissed, you are acquitted, your appeals are exhausted, or the attorney is relieved of his duties by the court or replaced by other counsel after a finding of good cause is entered on the record.
1. What If I want to waive counsel?
1. You can, of course, waive your right to an attorney. We at The Wright Firm, L.L.P. DO NOT recommend that you waive your right to counsel. However, should you make the decision to do so; you must do so voluntarily, intelligently and in writing. “Voluntarily” means that no one has forced or coerced you into waiving your right. You must make the decision of your own free will. An attorney for the state (in other words, the prosecutor) cannot encourage you to waive your right to counsel. “Intelligently” means that you truly understand the decision you are making, know what the consequences are, and choose to accept those consequences. If you want to waive your right to counsel, the Court must first explain to you the nature of the charges against you, and the dangers and disadvantages of representing yourself at trial. If you still want to waive your right to counsel, the Court will give you a statement to sign which will look essentially like this:
1. “I have been advised this ______ day of __________, 2 ____, by the (name of court) Court of my right to representation by counsel in the case pending against me. I have been further advised that if I am unable to afford counsel, one will be appointed for me free of charge. Understanding my right to have counsel appointed for me free of charge if I am not financially able to employ counsel, I wish to waive that right and request the court to proceed with my case without an attorney being appointed for me. I hereby waive my right to counsel.(Your Signature)”
2. Be Aware! You can change your mind at ANY TIME if you have waived your right to counsel. BUT YOU WILL NOT GET A “DO-OVER”! Any hearing that did not go in your favor because you chose not to have a lawyer represent you cannot be repeated to give you a second chance.
_____________________________Zseron did not wave his rights. He had already retained another attorney after Mr. Davey Lamb (Zseron’s Lawyer) had passed away. (May he rest in Paradise.) But was denied the new attorney (Attorney Timothy Jeffery). Again Violating Zseron’s Constitutional Rights.
How can the system keep letting judges, retired judges and law enforcement get away with this? Letting killers and rapist go free and locking innocent victims up for years. How is that right? How is that fair? Where is the Justice? I thought the law was the same across the board, Justice For All. I thought judges and law enforcement had to take an Oath? They must need a refresher course. Who makes sure that judges, retired judges and law enforcement uphold the laws and rights? Hummm things I need to know.
Zseron has a good, loving stable Christian home. He has lots of family and friends who love and support him. He is a church going man who has a spiritual calling on his life. He worked two jobs to keep the bills paid and food in the house for us all on top of my medical issues. We meet online by accident… I started getting sick two months after we met. I went into a coma for two weeks and he never left my side. That’s how I knew he was for me. We were married on August 20th 2017 after being together four years. We have been together ever since. We are planning a family when he comes home by any means necessary weather IVF or surrogate or egg donor or adoption...
Mrs. LaTonia D. Dukes
Cell: (682) 230-2590
Facebook (LaTonia D Dukes)
Twitter (@dukeslatonia or @degaills1226)
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Zseron D Dukes
TDCJ Number: 02249303