View From the Cell

I would like to begin by first thanking you for taking the time to read the materials on this site. And thanks to those who have supported me in the past or simply took time to look a little deeper into the national and global tragedy of wrongful conviction. I think it is important to understand just how cases like mine occur. Such convictions usually arise from five sources:

1) Wrong Living
By living improper lives, we expose ourselves to allegations of misconduct and the perception of others that we might well be guilty of the offense. In my own case, I kept very poor associations. The prosecutor was able to use this failing on my part to paint me as a bad man by having other, even worse bad men (and women) come to court to attack my character for whatever their personal motivation might have been.

2) Politics
Prosecutors often plan for political futures and build their reputations on their conviction rate. Sadly, most people are impressed by high conviction rates and forget that prosecutors are immune from whatever they do to achieve these rates. Also, prosecutors get to pick and choose whom to prosecute and what the charges will be. Its a win-win situation for them. In my particular case, we had a prosecutor willing to break every rule in the book and even make up some of his own, aided by a judge and a cocaine addicted lawyer whom let him run roughshod over an unknowing and uneducated 23 year old young man.

3) Ignorance of Rights
Consider what would you do if this happened to you. You are grabbed one day, slammed to the ground with guns stuck in the side of your head, shackled and dragged like an animal to a police van and then to a harsh jail- locked away and isolated from almost all human contact. You are allowed 15 minute visits and showers once a week if you were lucky- but no television, no music, no books. You are taken to trial and accused of all types of horrid things that you knew you did not do and that your accusers knew you did not do. What if the newspapers wrote false stories about you and your trial and cared nothing for the truth? What if your lawyer was drunk and high all through your trial? Do you know what can or cannot legally be done to you? This is what happened to me and believe it or not my friends, it happens every single day in this country, perhaps many times a day.

4) Poor Police Work
One expert described the police investigation of my case as a "Keystone Cops worst nightmare", which is not far from the mark. The police failed to secure the crime scene, to collect physical evidence from the surrounding area or to question the many college students in attendance that day. Neither did they search for any possible video records of the area. Nor did they interview the victims friends who knew about his problems with his girlfriend and her former boyfriend. Prior to his slaying, the victim described his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend as stalking him. The police knew it could not have been the same girl that was accusing me of being the possible killer. He was not seeing that girl at that time or when I was seeing her. I told the police in detail about his girl and where to find her, but they refused to investigate this very important lead. Statements of the victims own friends concur with this.

5) National Apathy
It is apathy that makes us say, "What a shame." as we click the mouse and log off or change the television channel. We complain about taxes, unfair rules and regulations, further restrictions upon our rights and freedoms, a virtual rewriting of the Constitution that gave us those rights and freedoms, corrupt politicians, police, judges, prosecutors, lawyers and courts, but what do we do about it? Unfortunately the majority of us do nothing whatsoever. The machine rolls on and people fall under its wheels. I have learned the price that is paid for apathy. I would pray that none of you ever go through what I did, or learn these lessons the same way that I did.

Don't believe that money or lawyers will get you out just because you're innocent. It doesn't work that way. The appellate courts gave my case no more than a glance. Half of their factual conclusions had nothing to do with the facts. They contradicted themselves in their opinion because they didn't care. They didn't have to care. They weren't accountable for their rulings. Recently, the Michigan Attorney General's Office decided to close the investigation into my wrongful conviction after two Special Agents admitted to my innocence. They were not even permitted to conduct the interviews they had scheduled. These agents in turn, are friends with a former Detroit Detective and Homicide Officer who is also convinced of my innocence. This investigation was shut down simply because it was too politically sensitive.

Perhaps your family will stick by you through this trying time, but what help will that be? I have had friends and family contact the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Attorney Generals Office, the FBI, the Justice Department, the Office of the United States Attorney General. For years we pleaded with the media to listen and for 11 of those years, none of them cared. Every major media organization in this country was contacted, from Leeza to Geraldo but none of them cared either. My case didn't fit the criteria they had established for what was fashionable at the time.

So then my friends, what would you do? Perhaps, you would do what I and my kind supporters are doing now, trying to appeal to the integrity of those who read this site and my case materials. I am here to answer all of your questions or criticisms. I have nothing to hide. I will submit to any testing or personal interviews. I assert my complete innocence of this crime and that the public has been deliberately misled. If you know the truth of this matter, then I would implore you to do what is right and come forward. Years ago, we received a letter from someone brave enough to help us unravel part of this puzzle, even identifying a possible actual killer. It was not enough to see that justice was done. You may write us anonymously, we ask only that you provide as much information as possible about the actual events surrounding the crime and who the actual killer is. If you have knowledge the police withheld from us (and we suspect there is a great deal) or if you told the police something that they never acted upon, then please relay this information to us. Please do what you know in your heart is right. You do not have to get involved to the extent that you become concerned for your personal safety, but at least guide us in the right direction. We have many wonderful supporters who may be able to do the rest with just a little assistance from you.

Will you take a stand? Will you fight for justice? I am not asking you to sell your home, live in rags and stand on a street corner holding a sign declaring "Free Temujin", though all such noble efforts will be greatly appreciated :) I am asking you to care just a little, if not about me and my plight, then about all the other innocent people that cases just like it have harmed. Care about the victims who receive no justice at all. Care about the children and the families and the enormous emotional pain they suffer, not to mention the financial drain. Care about what this system bodes for you and yours in the coming years. Care about the people who are entrusted to protect and defend you and your loved ones. As a father, I look into my children's eyes (when I am able) and I feel that parental love welling up to the point where I want to burst. I worry about their future. If we do not find the courage and the wherewithal to stand up and challenge the flaws in our system, then what fate will befall our children, our grandchildren and future generations? This is both our right and our duty as citizens of this country. If we agree to work as one family for all good causes, then believe it or not, we could see global change. It's not as complex as it seems.

Wrongful convictions are nothing new and there are those few instances in which the police and the prosecutors are simply and honestly mistaken. More often than not, they are cases like my own- ones in which the facts are ignored and other issues become more important than truth and justice. The majority of these cases contain police misconduct, the withholding of or tampering with evidence, witness intimidation, refusal to utilize available scientific means to determine guilt, prejudice, and classism, (i.e. this rarely happens to the wealthy). The willingness of the system to run roughshod over the people it was created to protect is a symptom of a greater disease. That is the willingness of the people to let the system do just that.

Thank you very, very much for taking the time to consider all of this and for any kindness you might extend, be it even something as simple as keeping this matter in your thoughts. May you all be blessed and prosper.
Your Friend in the Struggle,
Temujin Kensu, December, 02

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