Commentary: Wrongful Conviction and Unjust Sentences

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By Antoine Spain

My name is Antoine Spain and I am currently incarcerated in Virginia. I am doing time for a parole violation which was triggered by an unjust and wrongful conviction of accommodation

While I am no saint or public icon, I did commit a prior crime in my intemperate youth, a truly regretful mistake for which I have accepted full responsibility and accountability for. However, my current detention here in the VADOC is unlawful as I committed no crime.

As a matter of fact, the judicial theory for which I was convicted is not a felony offense recognizable within “Title 19.2 criminal procedure” of the code of Virginia 1950. There was no “true bill of indictment” describing and informing of the accusation to which I could effectively prepare an adversarial challenge… the reason being accommodation 18.2-248(D) is only a reduced penalty for one convicted of 18.2-248(A,B or C), keyword penalty. I can’t make this up.

Their courts said this and fell to honor this. An accommodation defense is a defense that pertains only to the penalty imposed on one found guilty of drug distribution (Foster VS COM VA.APP 549,555 S.E 2D 547 (2002)).

A penalty can’t be imposed until one is convicted of a crime. First, you have the trial phase then you have the sentence phase. Technically, I haven’t been convicted of a crime. The judge made a mistake by finding me guilty of accommodation.

When the judge makes a mistake in law, it is considered an abuse of discretion. However, the judicial system of VA failed to acknowledge this. I have no voice in the matter. Also the perpetrator admitted his guilt and testifies to my non-involvement (see affidavit attached).

No physical evidence or eyewitness existed to support the court judgment because I was not a participant of a buy/bust sting operation. I am not on audio or video. I never had drugs and didn’t have marked money. Just the officer claiming I arranged the transaction, which is totally false. I’m pretty sure somebody can assist me in addressing the miscarriage of justice placed upon a poor Black man from an underprivileged upbringing. To further confirm that the judge thought this was a charge, he said at my sentencing, “I reduce the charge.” Later he said “I found you guilty of a lesser offense.

“Had I known at the time of the trial you were a convicted murderer, I would not have done so.” He wanted to give me more time but he couldn’t because he never convicted me of the original charge. But are these the judges we are supposed to trust talking like that?

The deprivation of a personal liberty is a grievous loss. For that reason I am respectfully in earnest asking for assistance in this unjust battle where my voice is being muted. We now live in a changing climate of police and judicial reform which has generated the necessary advocacy for the wrongfully and disparately accused.

Antoine Span is currently incarcerated in Virginia

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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