Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brandon's Story : Texas Teen Sentenced To Sixty Years in Prison For Consensual Sex.

"I will never forget that day in June when I heard Judge Banales say, “You are hereby sentenced to 60 years in the Texas Department of Corrections”. My legs felt like spaghetti, my hands went cold. I had no moisture in my mouth. I was numb all over. I wanted to throw up. I could hear my mother’s horrific cries in the background. I turned to see her and I saw my father holding her and my grandmother tightly. He was so scared, I could tell. There were other ladies that were also crying. They felt for my mom, and possibly for me. The judge told my dad if he didn’t quiet my mother, he would have her arrested. My mother had a look of fury in her eyes when they met with mine. I knew right there and then that her love and commitment as a mother would induce a fight for justice. The bailiff was so nice to me. He kept asking me if I needed some water. I couldn’t talk. All I could hear was my mother’s cry, over and over. I couldn’t even hug her goodbye.

When I was 17 years old, I made a mistake, a mistake that will haunt me and my family for the rest of our lives. I had consensual sex with a girl whom I believed to be much older. I was young and immature, drinking and smoking pot like many other teens at our school. I never intended to hurt anyone. I am not a dangerous predator or a violent rapist. I am a young man who has been given a punishment far beyond what is reasonable and just.

Two detectives approached me and asked me if I had sex with Michelle. I answered “yes, why?” They handcuffed me and took me to the Corpus Christi Police Department. I had no attorney present, nor my mom or dad. I was scared out of my mind. They told me that if I did not write out a statement, and sign it, that I would go to prison. I had never been in any trouble with the law before. I did what I was told because I was scared, did not want to go to prison, and did not know what else to do. Once the statement was signed, I was told that Michelle was only 12 years old. I wanted to throw up. I didn’t know whether to believe them or not. She looked much older than 12. Amanda told us that she was 16. My little sister was 12 years old at the time and that made me feel awful. I was sent upstairs and booked into jail. I called my mom at work and told her that I had been arrested for aggravated sexual assault and the bond was $20,000.

About 8 hours later, my mom and dad picked me up from the jail and took me home. My mother was crying and very upset, asking me “how could you do this?” I was crying so hard and grabbed my mom and told her to look into my eyes and listen to me. My mom always knew when we were not being truthful by our eyes. I explained to her that I did not know Michelle was 12 and that I was sorry for my behavior.

We hired an attorney. He told me that if we had a jury trial in this case that I would be looking at a long prison sentence, possibly life. I took the 10 year adjudicated probation offered by the district attorneys office. Life as I knew it was over. I could not go anywhere around kids, even my own nieces and nephews. A 9:00 curfew was imposed along with many, many other conditions and restrictions. Lie detector tests, sex offender treatment, probation appointments, and expenses were piling up. I was depressed, angry and bitter.

While on probation, I tested positive for drug usage a total of 3 times. I was also 10 minutes late one night when they came to my house to check on me. I was on a waiting list to go into a substance abuse treatment program for depression and marijuana usage. There was only one place I could go due to my charge. The waiting list was 1 year. The people kept telling my mom that I was not a serious drug user like the heroin or cocaine addicts who needed a bed more than I did. I was bumped to the bottom of the list. I never in my wildest imagination thought a judge would sentence me to 60 years in prison.

There were two other guys, with similar situations, in the same court, but different sentences. One was sentenced to 30 years, the other 20 for non-violent, consensual relationships. And so now, here I sit in a Texas prison writing a book on teen crushes, costly mistakes, and a cruel judge. I have faith in God above. He is my true attorney. I will fear no one but Him. I am thankful that Michelle’s sister, Amanda, has come forward and admitted the truth about that night. The fact that I did not know Michelle was 12, the fact that I am not a dangerous criminal. We were all young, immature, and made bad choices. Certainly, those choices did not warrant 60 years of prison time.

Now I have this stigma that I will live with every day for the rest of my life. My family and I have endured such embarrassment and mental anguish throughout this entire ordeal. I miss my family. I have always dreamed of being an uncle. I have a two year old niece that I have never met. I would love to hold her and play with her. I'd like to buy her a puppy. I know I will come home one day. God bless each and every one who reads this story. Please pray for me...........Brandon"

(Sadly, this is not an uncommon story. We can attest for the brutal and heartless treatment the judicial system imposes on those arrested, and their families, throughout the process. We pray for Brandon and his family and we hope his story will wake up many of those who read of these insane laws , but have not yet taken any action to fight against them.)