Commentary: Young, Black, Afraid and Ignorant Leads to a Story of Injustice

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by Michael Wayne Bryant

I am a 53-year-old prisoner in the Virginia Dept. of Corrections. I am serving a life plus sentence for multiple burglaries and sexual assaults. I am innocent of said crimes and have been incarcerated for the past 35 years. I was born in the state of California, but mainly raised in the city of Newport News, Virginia.

In 1988, I had just graduated from high school and was waiting to leave for basic training in the army when suddenly my whole life changed and I was in jail. An associate, who was being questioned, implicated me in a crime. Being young, Black, afraid and ignorant of the law made me the ideal person to be railroaded. The detectives wasted no time in clearing their books of unsolved cases and putting them on me. After eight or more hours of coercion, threats and manipulation, I broke down mentally and coped to their false confession. When I finally left the interrogation, I was charged with numerous crimes.

I was made to be a witness against myself by force when I pleaded guilty based on the intimidating remarks from my court-appointed lawyer, case closed. The prosecuting attorney did not produce one piece of evidence. My court-appointed attorney never filed a motion for discovery and I was never identified in any of these crimes by a victim or witness. The forensic testing results were never disclosed nor was a certificate of analysis ever filed into a court record. A day or two after my arrest, I was taken to a hospital by two detectives who demanded samples of my blood, hair, and saliva. Yet, to this day, there are no warrant or court order records that require me to submit to the taking of my DNA samples. Therefore, the detectives working my case not only had the foreknowledge of my innocence, but the evidence to prove it.

Since my incarceration, I have been working to prove my innocence, but at every turn was a roadblock. Now, decades later, my case is basically void of any way to prove my innocence. Why? Because all of the evidence in my case was mysteriously destroyed without any order for the destruction of evidence in court records. However, I might not be able to be exonerated, but I do possess the documentation to prove a Fourth Amendment violation. Constitutional violation is astounding and is not subject to being time barred, which led to my wrongful convictions. I personally do not have the legal knowledge or resources to go up against the state of Virginia, but there are individuals or law firms that can.

Therefore, I ask from the bottom of my heart to please help me end this nightmare. If you have any love, compassion, and understanding in your heart then you know what it feels like to feel all alone. My knees are becoming weak and I don’t know how much longer I can carry this burden. I can only hope and pray that a soul out there will hear my cries.

It is not the justice system that is broken, but the hearts of those who judge and enforce it upon others. They have abandoned the truth to satisfy their own selfish agendas at the expense of others, creating black holes of injustice.

Michael Wayne Bryant is 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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