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Vanessa Amaya started this petition to North Carolina State House and

I wrote this on behalf of my brother Henry..

Old inquisition practices like the "Star Chamber Proceedings" existed in medieval times- practices that include physical and mental torture; questioning suspects in secret and behind closed doors in order to compel to an involuntary forced confession- contrary to the 5th and 14th amendment. They are practices that attempt various tactics of intimidation in order to entrap into a confession whether during an interrogation or trial session, allows prosecutors without the intervention of trial judge to denigrate trial counsel and the accused while sitting on the defense table, then use your silence against you before the jury. These corrupted practices strip the accused of his right to confrontation, his right to impeachment, his right to trial, his right to a jury, his right to counsel, and his right to present a defense. These inner secret inquisition details are weighted against an accused, particularly where he is charged of a brutal crime. Many prosecutors will go beyond their scope boundaries and will use fabricated evidence and hide your exculpatory evidence that contributes to wrongful convictions.

Back in 2018, I denied a plea deal because I knew I was truly innocent of the false allegations said about me. The plea was actually a shorter sentence than what I'm currently serving, but I felt that if I accepted the plea, I was telling everyone that I was guilty of the accusations. 

There was absolutely no proof, no witnesses, no DNA, no nothing that supported the girls claims, in fact, it contradicts them all from the first day they were both interviewed. Imagine that you have proof that you were in a completely different state when the charges against you were said to take place, but everyone in court decided to hide that rather than submit into evidence; I have evidence that points to someone else as the perpetrator, but I was not allowed to bring that up AND when my defense attorney tried to bring it up during my trial, the DA tried to her best to exclude that. I agreed to get on the stand to be able to prove my side of the story and convince the jury and everyone who is was in that courtroom that I was innocent of the allegations, but how was I able to prove that when I was told to ONLY answer yes or no questions? What if you were placed on the stand with your life in the balance but weren't allowed to cross-examine their claims?

Now I'm labeled as a criminal and stripped away my freedom and thrown into what I call this cage of four walls simply because someone took vengeance into her hands by making false allegations against me. Imagine having your entire life change in a blink of an eye only because of someone else's word of mouth

The day of my trial, I'm walking into the courtroom- not knowing my rights or the law- except put my trust in God; then trust my defense attorney to represent me AND walking in the belief that I'll be able to prove my innocence in a just and fair trial as it is said to be; only to actually find out that I never had those rights- those rights were stripped from me. So how do I defend myself? Not only from the charges, but from such a rotten injustice system? This is exactly what happened to me and until this day I continue to see it.

When my trial ends, the jury seemed confused to the evidence and kept asking themselves; how were they suppose to find me guilty when there was no proof in the case? My defense attorney said some jurors weren't agreeing with each other; hence the reason deliberations took almost two days. I saw the prosecutor talking to a woman who was one of the jurors and till this day I have no idea why, or why she would go behind the jurors during closed doors during deliberations. The jury finally comes to a conclusion and reads all guilty verdicts against me. As the verdict was being read, my knees weakened, my heart was pounding uncontrollably, and my chest started to get tight.

I begin to hear my sentencing of 60 years of imprisonment for a he-said, she-said trial. I felt hopeless; as if my life had ended. There's no doubt that people of color and Latinos get harsher sentences. 

On the background, I could hear my family starting to cry, but I was trying to stay strong. As I looked back, I see my sister running up to me crying; hugging and telling me she loved me- as if she had lost a brother. My mother, who carried me in her womb for 9 months was hugging and holding me very tight- none wanting to let go of each other because we all knew exactly what took place in that courtroom. We all witnessed an unfair trial. The judge finally orders the sheriff to pull us all apart and with tears rolling down my eyes, I kissed my mother on her forehead and as I'm being handcuffed and dragged away, I glanced one last time just to see my mother fall to her knees saying "Why my son" and my sister who could barely keep it together trying to console her. At that moment, I felt hurt, I felt the pain, I felt the suffering, I felt the agony, but all you have left is to tell them that everything was going to be ok, that you love them and that God has this situation in his hands, and to not worry and be strong for me- even though I felt like I had lost all hopes. It felt as if I was pierced right through my heart. All because they just wanted a conviction and put me behind bars. All I wanted was a fair trial where I was able to provide all my evidence, but I was never given my rights. The NC Court of Appeals and the NC Supreme Court have denied my appeals. So how am I able to prove I'm innocent?

It's hard to believe that today's courts are based likely on passions and emotions as stated by "Justice Douglas" (S.Stark 2012,80) rather than abide to our rights and laws. In most of today's cases due to the lack of evidence and where no evidence exists on an accused, our courts will use and try an accused under the "Inquisitorial System" and "Star Chamber" where an accused is blatantly deprived and stripped of all his rights and then use physical and mental torture. Wake County in North Carolina resembles the Star Chamber Proceedings. 

Help me agree that evidence needs to be more than just word of mouth!! To accuse someone, especially for this many years, we need more than just "word of mouth" because it can often be unreliable when an innocent mans life is at stake. Every accused person has the right to prove their side of the facts because every story sounds fine until another person starts asking questions. 

We need to stick to the basic laws and government officials need to abide by its rules and regulations and stop trying an accused under such tyranny inquisitorial oppression to prevent innocent men being wrongfully accused. We hear and see many innocent men behind bars leaving many families heartbroken. If this standard doesn't change, next time if could be you or your loved ones. Please don't let this happen to you!! Once you're sucked into this system, the system won't let you go!!  


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