VOICE OF JUSTICE


April 1995                          Official Publication of JUSTICE FOR ALL                             Volume 3 Issue 4



"Justice will only be achieved when those who are not injured by crime, feel as indignant as those who are."
-King Solomon 635-577 BC



AN ALLOCUTION OF A FEDERAL JUDGE ON VICTIMIZATION

STATEMENT OF MICHAEL LUTTIG

May it please the Court. It is one of life's ironies that I appear before the Court for the reason that I do. But I do so to represent my dad -- who is not here -- and his wife, and daughters. His family, my family. More than anything else, I do this to honor him, because if the roles were reversed, he would be standing here today. Of this I am certain. I also owe this to the other victims of violent crime who either stand silently by, or who speak and are not heard. I owe it to the public. I owe it, as well, to Donald and Cedric Coleman, who may yet not understand the magnitude of the losses they inflicted on the night of April 19.

Words seem trite in describing what follows when your husband is murdered in your presence, when your father is stripped from your life. The horror, the agony, the emptiness, the despair, the chaos, the confusion, the sense -- perhaps temporary, but perhaps not -- that one's life no longer has any purpose, the doubt, the hopelessness. There are no words that can possibly describe it, and all it entails. But being the victim of a violent crime such as this is at least these things. Exactly these things in my family's case; the equivalent of these things in the countless other cases.

While it is happening and in the seconds and the minutes thereafter. . .

... it's the sheer horror of half-clothed people with guns storming up your driveway toward you in the dark of night, when you are totally defenseless.

... it's what must be the terrifying realization that you are first about to be, and then actually being, murdered.

... it's perhaps seeing in your last moment what in your mind you know was the murder of your wife.

... it's crawling on the floor of your own garage in the grease and filth, pretending you're dead, so that you won't be shot through the head by the person who just murdered your husband.

... it's realizing your husband has been gunned down in your driveway on your return from the final class you needed to complete your education -- an education that had been the goal of both of you since the day you were married.

... it's knowing that the reason that your husband was with you -- indeed, the reason that you were in the car that night at all -- is that his Christmas gift to you the previous year was the promise that you could take the class and that he would take you to and from, so that nothing would happen to you.

... it's mercilessly punishing yourself over whether you could have done something, anything at all, to have stopped the killing.

Moments later, across a continent...

... it's being frightened out of your mind in the middle of the night by a frantic banging on your door -- calling the police, then canceling the call -- and then answering the door. Your body goes limp as you see one of your best friends standing in the doorway. No words need even be spoken. For you know that the worst in life has happened. Then, he tells you: "Your mom just called. Father was murdered in the driveway of your home."

... it's realizing that, at that very moment, the man you have worshipped all your life is lying on his back in your driveway with two bullets through his head.

Across the globe. . .

... it's your husband taking the emergency international call, pulling down the receiver, fumbling for the words, as he starts to deliver the news. "This is the hardest thing I will ever have to tell you," he begins. Then, it is the calls home, or at least to what used to be home, first one, then the other. In eerie, stunned calmness, you hear your mother utter the feared confirmation:
"Yes, your dad was just murdered. You better come home." Now you believe.

Within hours. . .

... it's arriving home to television cameras in your front yard, to see your house cordoned off by police lines; police conducting ballistics and forensics tests, and studying the place in the driveway where your father had finally fallen dead -- all as if it were a set from a television production.

... it's going down to the store where your dad had always shopped for clothes, to buy a shirt, a tie that will match his suit, and a package of three sets of underwear (you can only buy them in sets of three) so your dad will look nice when he is buried.

... it's being called by the funeral home and told that it recommends that the casket be closed and that perhaps your mom, sister, and wife should not see the body -- and you know why, without even asking.

... it's walking into the viewing room at the funeral home and having your sister cry out that that just can't be him, it just can't be.

In the days that follow . . .

... it's living in a hotel in your own hometown, blocks away from where you have lived your whole life, because you just can't bear to go back.

... it's packing up the family home, item by item, memory by memory, as if all of the lives that were there only hours before are no more.

... it's reading the letters from you, your sister, and your wife, that your dad secreted away in his most private places, unbeknownst to you, realizing that the ones he invariably saved were the ones that just said "thanks" or "I love you." And really understanding for the first time that that truly was all that he ever needed to hear or to receive in return, just as he always told you.

... it's carefully folding each or your husband's shirts, as you have always done, so that they will be neat when they are given away.

... it's watching your mother do this, in your own mind begging her to stop.

... it's cleaning out your dad's sock drawer, his underwear drawer, his ties.

... it's packing up your dad's office for him, from the family picture to the last pen and pencil.

... it's reading the brochures in his top drawer about the fishing trip you and he were to take in two months -- the trip that your mother had asked you to go on because it meant so much to your dad.

In the weeks thereafter. . .

... it's living in absolute terror, not knowing who had murdered your husband and tried to murder you, but realizing that often such people come back to complete the deed, and wondering if they would return this time.

... it's furiously writing down the license number of every Ford Probe for no reason other than it was a Ford Probe, hoping that through serendipity, it might be, and sometimes fearing, that that is exactly what might happen.

... it's never spending another night in your own home because the pain is too great and the memories too fresh.

... it's all day every day, and all night, racking your brain to the point of literal exhaustion over who possibly could have done this. It's questioningly looking in the corners of every relationship, to the point that, at times, you are almost ashamed of yourself. Yet you have no choice but to continue, because, as they say, it could be anyone.

... it's thinking the unthinkable, that perhaps the act was in retaliation for something you had done in your job. You ask yourself, "If it was, should I just walk away?"

... it's watching the re-enactment of your dad's, your husband's murder on television, day and night, and every time you pick up the newspaper.

... it's reading the "wanted" poster for the people who murdered him, while checking out at the grocery store.

... it's telling your family night after night that it will be all right, when you don't believe it yourself.

Then they are finally found, and. . .

... it's collapsing on the kitchen floor when you are told -- not from relief, but from the ultimate despair in learning that your husband was indeed killed for nothing but a car, and in an act so random as to defy comprehension.

... it's watching your mother collapse on the floor when she hears this news and knowing that she will not just have to relive the fateful night in her own mind, now she will have to relive it in public courtrooms, over and over again, for months on end.

In the months that follow. . .

... it's putting the family home up for sale and being told that everyone thinks it is beautiful, but they just don't think they could live there, because a murder took place in the driveway.

... it's the humiliation of being told by the credit card companies, after they closed your husband's accounts because of his death, that they are unable to extend you credit because you are not currently employed.

... it's receiving an anonymous call that begins, "I just learned of the brutal carjacking and murder of your father," and that ends by saying. "I only wish your mother had been raped and murdered, too."

... it's the crushing anxiety of awaiting the trauma and uncertainties of public trials.

The day arrives, and. . .

... it's listening, for the first time, to the tape of your mother's 911 call to report that her husband, your father, had been murdered. Hearing the terror in her voice. Catching yourself before you pass out from the shock of knowing that, through that tape, you are present at the very moment it all happened.

... it's hearing the autopsy report on how the bullets entered your father's skull, penetrated and exited his brain, and went through his shoulder and arm.

... it's listening to testimony as to how long he might have been conscious, and thus aware of what was happening -- not just to him but to the woman that he had always said he would give his life for.

... it's looking at the photographs of your dad lying in the driveway in a pool of blood, as they are projected on a large screen before your friends and family, and before what might as well be the whole world.

... it's having to ask your son what the expression was on your husband's face.

... it's listening to a confession in which the person says that he just thought your dad was "playing possum."

... it's listening to your own mother, a lady of ultimate grace, testify publicly as to how she crawled under the car, in the grease and the filth, to avoid being murdered.

... it's hearing her say that the only thing she could think of was what it was going to be like to be shot through the back of the head.

... it's watching her face as she relives that night, time and again.

As the trauma of the trial subsides. . .

... it's getting down on your hands and knees and straightening your dad's new grave marker and packing the fresh dirt around it, so that it will be perfect, as he always insisted that things be for you.

... it's sitting across from each other at Thanksgiving dinner, each knowing that there is but one thing on the other's mind, yet pretending otherwise for their sake.

... it's telling your wife that the meat was great, when you could barely keep it down and hardly wait to finish.

... it's trying to pick out a Christmas gift for your mother that your dad would have picked out for her.

... it's sitting beside your father's grave into the night in 30-degree weather, so that he won't be alone on the first Christmas.

... it's putting up, by yourself, the basketball goal that you got last Christmas so that you and your dad could relive memories as you passed the years together.

... it's finishing by yourself all of the projects that you have not an idea how to do, and that your dad had said, "Save for the summer and we'll do them together. I'll show you how."

... it's hearing your 2-year-old daughter ask for "Pawpaw" and seeing your wife choke back the tears and tell her, "He's gone now, he's in heaven."

... it's having the clothes your dad was most proud of altered, so you can wear them in his honor.

... it's wondering whether your wearing the clothes will be too painful for your mother.

In the larger sense. . .

... it's shaking every time you drive into a darkened driveway.

... it's feeling your body get rigid every time that you drive into a garage.

... it's being nervous every time you walk to your car, even in the open daylight.

... it's being scared to answer any phone call or any knock at the door at night (or, for that matter, during the day) because another messenger may be calling.

Finally, it's the long-term effects. .

. ... it's the inexplicable sense of embarrassment when you tell someone that your husband or your father was murdered -- almost a sense of guilt over injecting ugliness into their lives.

... it's going out to dinner alone, knowing that you will be going out alone the rest of your life.

... it's that feeling -- wrong, but inevitable -- that you will always be the fifth wheel.

... it's living the rest of your life with the fact that your husband, your father, suffered one of the most horrifying deaths possible.

... it's never knowing, yet fearing that you know all too well, what those final moments must have been like.

... it's constantly visualizing yourself in his place that night, moment by excruciating moment.

... it's realizing that you will never even get the chance to repay your dad for making your dreams come true.

... it's living with the uncomfortable irony that he lived just long enough to see to it that your dreams came true, but that his never will.

... it's knowing you never had, and will never have, that one last time to say thanks for giving me, first, life itself, and then, all that it holds.

And. . .

... it's knowing that this is only the beginning and the worst is yet to come.

... The haunting images.

... The emptiness.

... The loneliness.

... The directionlessness.

... The sickening sense that it all ended some time ago, and that you are but biding time.

Of course, for my mother, my sister, my wife and I, the sun will come up again, but it will never come up again for the real victim of this crime. Not only will he never see what he worked a lifetime for, and was finally within reach of obtaining. That would be tragedy enough. But, even worse, he died knowing that the only thing that ever could have ruined his life had come to pass -- that his wife and his family might have to suffer the kind of pain that is now ours -- and he was helpless to prevent it even as he saw its inevitability. We live by law in this county so that, ideally, no one will ever have to know what it is like to be a victim of such violent crime. If I had any wish, any wish in the world, it would be that no one ever again would have to go through what my mother and my father experienced on the night of April 19, what my family has endured since and must carry with us the rest of our lives. Crimes such as that committed against my family are intolerable in any society that calls itself not only free, but civilized. The law recognizes as much, and it provides for punishment that will ensure at least that others will not suffer again at the same hands, even if it does not prevent recurrence at the hands of others. On behalf of my dad, and on behalf of my mother and family, I respectfully request that these who committed this brutal crime receive the full punishment that the law provides. Three people were needed to complete this crime. Each of the three was as instrumental to its success as the other. There were no passive bystanders among the gang that executed my dad. Thank you, Your Honor.

Reprinted with permission from Judge Michael Luttig.
Thanks to a concerned citizen, Howard LaMont, for bringing this to our attention.




From the President

JUSTICE FOR ALL has obviously become a larger force than any of us ever expected! We have grown and established ourselves as an effective organization whose goals concentrate on the public good. We must be accomplishing these goals because it appears that JFA is perceived as a threat to the status quo of the criminal justice system.

Direct result of that perception comes in the form of a lawsuit filed by ex-parole board member Joe Huebenak in which JFA is named as a defendant. The astounding part of this frivolous suit is the fact that JFA did NOT EVEN EXIST during the time Mr. Huebenak's suit alleges JFA actively worked to have him removed from the parole board. (FYI Mr. Huebenak did resign his parole board position citing health problems as the reason. Hmmm?) We are in good company in the lawsuit. Other defendants named are: The City of Houston, Mayor Bob Lanier, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Danny Downs (Parole Board Member), Andy Kahan (Director Crime Victims Division), Gloria Gibney (ex-parole board member), Schlumberger, The Houston Police Department, The Northwest Positive Interaction Program and Jessee Hockaday (parole officer).

JFA has retained Rusty Hardin of Hardin, Beers, Hagstette and Davidson as our counsel, in addition to Frank Parish of Schweinle, Parish and Lowerre, P.C.; we are in excellent hands! JFA will file every sanction allowed under the law and we believe that the federal court will comply. Clearly this lawsuit is frivolous and JUSTICE FOR ALL will prevail.

On Tuesday 4/11/95 Ellen Davidson and myself testified before the House Corrections Committee on H.B. 1433 which deals with repealing mandatory release. I am happy to report that this bill was voted favorably out of committee. The next step is Calendars committee. Be sure to check the Legislative Agenda Progress Report on page 12 for more information on JFA's 4 point agenda. Please continue to communicate with your Representatives and Senators stating your support for these bills. When calling or writing always remember to refer to the number of the bill. These efforts are very important and will make a difference.

Remember, it is not only our right to become involved in the legislative process, it is our duty as good citizens.

Pam Lychner




worth repeating
worth reading



Dear Friend,

A student was arrested and convicted for a felony possession of marijuana. The judge gave him a suspended sentence. Since the penalty seemed light, the young man turned to his lawyer and asked, "So what did I really lose?" The lawyer looked at him and replied,

"You have lost the right to vote,
the right to run for office, you lost the opportunity
for being a licensed doctor, dentist, pharmacist, osteopath
physical therapist, lawyer, engineer, realtor, CPA, architect,
private detective, stockbroker, barber, schoolteacher, or a
funeral director. You cannot work for the city, county, state or
federal government. You can enlist in the military service,
but you will not have the choice of service and will
probably be assigned to a labor battalion."

(reprinted from the Washington Accountant)




 UPCOMING EVENTS
 UPDATES

Court Notes (by Laura George)



Because of the necessity for objectivity, judges are often misconstrued as being cold and aloof. However, we would like to take the opportunity to recognize the recent actions of the Honorable Denise Collins. In the trial of Jose Zuniga, Judge Collins displayed great support and sympathy for the family of JOSE LUIS CALZADA. Such sensitivity is greatly appreciated especially in light of the fact that the jury convicted Zuniga of only a misdemeanor when initially he had been charged with numerous counts of attempted capital murder by the juvenile court, decided to just charge him with one charge of murder. The defendant's lawyer barred the Calzada family from the courtroom. Judge Collins ensured that the family was always informed of the progress of the trial as well as all dates and times of the proceedings. Moreover, because the case was gang-related, Judge Collins sought to protect the Calzadas by ordering the defendant's supporters to leave the courtroom at the conclusion of each day at different intervals. When Mr. Calzada was addressing the jury during the sentencing phase of the trial, he had great difficulty speaking. Judge Collins considerately gave him time to compose himself so he could continue. Upon the conclusion of the trial, Judge Collins removed the defendant's family from the courtroom and then allowed Mr. and Mrs. Calzada to address the defendant face to face. Such consideration may not be prescribed by law, but we applaud Judge Collins for her courageous and caring actions. We would like to see more of this.





TRIBUTE TO A VICTIM'S MOTHER



hen we are in high school or college, we begin to think of getting married. Some courtships are long and some are rather short. Whatever the love bug happens to do. Some young ladies look toward a lavish wedding with all the trimmings. Then there are others who just want to hurry up and go to the Justice of the Peace. The dreams of a nice home and a family are the greatest wishes of the young couple.

Not too long after the wedding the young wife becomes pregnant, and all the tender love and dreams of having a fine healthy baby is in her heart. Going to the doctor for all the prenatal examinations, following the doctor's orders and loving the baby inside her. Thinking that this baby may grow up to be governor, a doctor, a lawyer, or just a plain hard-working honest person. How many dreams did you have during pregnancy of having a beautiful healthy baby....

A corner in your apartment bedroom slowly becomes a nursery. Grandparents-to-be bring all kinds of things for the baby, along with plenty of advice on how to raise the child. Mother-and father-to-be begin to pick out names for the baby along with the help of the grandparents-to-be, aunts, uncles and others, too. You are Queen for the afternoon at the baby shower given by friends.

The day that the baby is born is a joyous day. You have given life to a precious baby. Now begins something new; it's called "on-the-job training." All the advice that is given to you by well meaning parents on both sides and friends somehow seem to be for someone else, not your baby. Each one is a different challenge to you. You get up all hours of the night to feed it and change diapers, how dirty and how often. You sit up with your child and rock it when it cries from being sick.

Why do you do all of this? It is simply because you LOVE your baby. This child belongs to you and your husband, and like all good parents you will do anything and everything to keep it well and healthy. You sing and talk to it and most of all you LOVE it. You teach it to walk and talk. Those first steps and words are in your heart forever. All of the Band-Aids, cleaning our cuts and bruises, patches on torn clothes, hugs and kisses you give.

Then comes the hard part for the child to overcome -- going to school and meeting new friends and some that are not so friendly. You take your child to school that first day and how proud of the little girl or boy you must be. You and your husband help with some homework, you go with her/him to school events and PTA meetings. You do everything that is within your power to raise a fine outstanding person. You do all of this because a child has their parents to look up to as role models. You want to be the best. The daughter tries to imitate her mother and the son tries to imitate his father. How much they learn from you that you do not know until years have passed.

As the child grows up to be a young lady or a young gentleman, you begin to feel pride in your children and all of your dreams begin to come true. Oh! Mother, how proud you must be; your hard work is making you feel as if you are floating on a cloud. "Nothing is too good for my child".

Then, within a few minutes or seconds, another mother's child or young person decides to take your son's or daughter's life. There is no reason for this hideous crime. When the police officer comes to your door and tells you, there is a cloud of disbelief and anguish that comes over you and your family. The true answer is that you did not do anything wrong.

You sit in the courtroom at the trial and you become angry at the mockery the defense attorney concocts. This poor under-privileged young person did not have the opportunity living in the ghetto. You say to yourself "This person had a chance to go to school and get an education like my child. This person had the same chances for a job as my child."

Mother, if it was not for your firm belief in God and your great inner strength, you would not be able to handle what has happened to you and your family. You are the strength of the American family.
By Charles Nawrocki, JFA Member and Volunteer




MESSAGE FROM GOVERNOR GEORGE W. BUSH

Dear Colleague: I am pleased to announce that the Crime Victim Clearinghouse will soon have a new home as an integral part of my office at the Criminal Justice Division. The Clearinghouse is an information and referral service for victims and their families and offers training and technical assistance for law enforcement, prosecutors, and community victims assistance programs. The move to the Criminal Justice Division will greatly enhance the ability of the Clearinghouse to operate efficiently because of the additional staff and resources at CJD to assist with the program. I assure you that the Clearinghouse will continue to function smoothly during the move. The phone numbers will remain the same at 1-800-252-3423 and 512-463-1886. If you have any questions or ideas relating to our effort to provide quality services for the victims of crime, please call the Clearinghouse or the Crime Victim Assistance Program of the Criminal Justice Division at 512-463-1919.

Sincerely, George W. Bush




FYI
TEXAS CLEARINGHOUSE BBS
1-800-262-8826










This issue is dedicated to the Memory of Roel "Roy"Gonzales, Son of Yolanda Calamaco







 Return to JFA Home Page