Background

Leonard C. Jefferson is an artist whose work critiques the current prison and justice systems in the U.S. Jefferson's work is presented throughout Broken on All Sides to supplement the video footage. Jefferson is currently a pris­oner at SCI Albion, Pennsylvania. Below is a statement and documentation from Jefferson about his own struggles with the injustice of the current system.

Statement

On 10/26/93 it became necessary for me to use force to terminate Ms. Webb’s late night hysterical trespass into the small public housing unit wherein my daughters and grandaughters-- ages 19, 6 & 3, were sleeping. Ms. Redden was present in the living room with Ms. Webb and I at all times during the incident. During the struggle to eject Ms. Webb I neither intended nor attempted to cause, not actually caused, any serious bodily injury. Ms. Webb in a deceitful rage within minutes of the incident, told Pittsburgh Police Officer Bogus that her stomach was hurting because she was 20 weeks pregnant and I had just hit her stomach with a baseball bat. She began undergoing an examination at West Penn Hospital within 20 minutes of the incident (see the Accident/Incident Report).

I was arrested on 11/03/93; charged with one count of aggravated assault. On 11/5/93 or 11/6/93 I informed the P.D.’s investigator that the eyewitness and medical witnesses would inform him Ms. Webb’s statement to the police was neither a true nor accurate account of the incident.

Ms. Webb, having returned to a more stable state of mind, on 11/16/93 gave sworn testimony which informed the Magistrate, as well at the D.A.’s and P.D.’s offices, that: (1) she was trespassing in my home, (2) I used only the force that she made necessary to terminate her trespass, and (3) I had not hit, touched or caused any injury to her abdomen. The Magistrate stated-- in response to the P.D.’s argument that her testimony required the aggravated assault charge to be thrown out-- “You’re right, it should be thrown out, but I’m not going to dismiss it. I’m sending it over. They can dismiss it over there; if they want to.” Two stenographers and 3 mini-cassette recorders recorded the proceedings; but around 95% of the actual comments were edited out of, and replaced by fabricated testimony in, the Preliminary Hearing Transcript.

In January of 1985 the Parole Board of the State of Rhode Island paroled me to reside in Pittsburgh. On 12/13/93 and 12/29/93 Pennsylvania parole officials held a violation hearing as a result of the aggravated assault charge being held for trial. At the 12/13 hearing my parole officer announced: (1) he had a warrant for arrest, and extradition to South Carolina, of Ms. Webb; and (2) his professional experience with Ms. Webb and I cause him to know the source of the problem here was Ms. Webb. At the 12/29 hearing, Ms. Redden appeared (significantly at the P.D.’s office), gave a sworn eyewitness account, which stenographers recorded/transcribed, and signed it. At trial the P.D. adamantly denied that Ms. Redden had provided her eyewitness account of the incident. The Hearing Examiner’s summary of Ms. Redden’s 12/29 testimony can be viewed in the Preliminary/Detention Hearing Report.

The D.A. signed and I received a copy of the Information (indictment) in February, 1994. My request to be present at the mid-March Pretrial Hearing was either denied or ignored. The 15 or so letters that I sent to the P.D. prior to trial went unanswered.

On the scheduled date, 5/16/94, P.D. Clark informed me that my case had neither been investigated nor prepared for trial and advised me to accept a plea bargain. See p.320 of Final Report of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System (2003).

Being not guilty of the alleged offense, and knowing testimony from the eyewitness and medical witnesses would show the jury the prosecutor knew his case was a complete fabrication, I refused to plead guilty and asked for a continuance to allow Mr. Clark time to prepare the case for trial.

The trial judge: (1) denied the motion for a continuance, (2) angrily ordered Mr. Clark to (a) acquire police records of my 5 calls for assistance to stem Ms. Webb’s previous bizarre behavior; including a suicide attempt during a trespass, (b) have my witnesses in court the next morning even if that required “having them arrested,” and (3) sent Mr. Clark and I to select a jury. Mr. Clark’s half-hearted attempt to acquire the police records bore no fruit and he made no attempt to produce the eye and/or medical witnesses at trial.

I never, not one time, denied causing Ms. Webb’s injuries (i.e., a minor bruise on her shin, a 3 cm scratch on her scalp, an abrasion on her butt and the bruise on her left flank which resulted from me dragging her down one step immediately outside my front door) and demanded a trial to have a jury determine whether my actions on 10/26/93 constituted a “lawful and justified use of force necessary to terminate a violent trespass into my home” or “the crime of aggravated assault.”

Mr. Clark told me (1) I was not entitled to a justification-based defense, see T.T. p127 (where Mr. Clark, at a bench conference that I was not privileged to hear, told the Judge I did not want self-defense type instructions read to the jury), (2) adamantly refused to present the known and available evidence and arguments which supported the justification-based defense, and (3) advised me to give perjured testimony about how Ms. Webb received her injuries.

I complained to the trial judge about Mr. Clark’s (1) refusal to present my justification-based defense, (2) failure to obtain the police records, (3) failure to have my witnesses present, and (4) urging me to commit perjury. In the wake of these events, which concealed the true facts of the case from the jury, it was clear that Mr. Clark intended to make me look like a fool on the witness stand and, thus, I refused to testify. Mr. Clark had documents from NCIC [of which I also have possession]-- which indicate law enforcement agencies knew Ms. Webb by: (A) 11 alias names (not including the 12th which she gave to officer Bogus on 10/26/93); (B) 6 social security numbers, (C) 2 dates of birth, and (D) 13 crimen falsi type convictions-- but he refused to inform the jury that this documented history of crimes involving deception cause the credibility of the uncorroborated testimony of the complainant/star witness to be below zero.

Following the officers of the courts’ strategic expulsion of all known and available exculpatory evidence (i.e., live testimony from the eye and medical witnesses) from the proceeding, A.D.A. Soller used the final words of his closing argument to tell the jury: “...think about...what the medical records tell you because they’re going to tell you one thing. They’re going to tell you this man committed the crime of aggravated assault on Miss Webb on October 26, 1993.” (see T.T. p123)

The officers of the court-- with total disregard for my right to confront and cross-examine those who testified against me (in order to make apparent, in plain language, to the jury the true exculpatory nature of the medical evidence)-- sent the medical records out with the jury. A copy of the 10/26/93 Accident/Incident Report was attached as the last page of the Hospital Records.

“The evidence adduced at trial” is succinctly stated by the Superior Court on pages 5-7 of its Opinion. The rest of the Opinion provides a clear view of the smoke and mirror tactics used, by the officers of the court, to nullify each and every one of the constitutional protections that are intended to produce reliable verdicts in criminal prosecutions. A short list of these tactics includes: (1) the knowing use of perjured testimony (that there were bruises on her abdomen from blows with the bat) combined with the phrase “NO FETAL CELLS DETECTED” on page 8 of the Hospital Records (below), which caused jurors to erroneously believe I had performed an abortion with a baseball bat during the incident, (2) the known perjured testimony that, as she lay on the floor immobilized by pains in her abdomen, I struck her shin and then her head with full-force, batter-style, from over-my-shoulder blows with a Louisville Slugger which, remarkably, caused not so much as a hairline fracture nor the need of a single suture, and (3) the prosecutors’ stated position that the Commonwealth’s theory of guilt was aggravated assault via an attempt to cause serious bodily injury (because Ms. Webb did not suffer any serious bodily injury), see T.T. p81 below, followed by the Judge’s charge which informed the jury the evidence produced during trial was sufficient to allow them to find me guilty of actually causing serious bodily injury.

The jury returned its verdict in less than 1/2 hour and, on 6/30/94 I was sentenced to 7.5 to 20 years imprisonment.

On 7/29/94 the Superior Court of Pennsylvania placed my Pro Se Notice of Appeal on its docket. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel was one of the issues that I raised pro se. (See PA. R.A.P. 3517 Criminal Docketing Statement) On 9/27/94 my Motion for Appointment of Counsel (other than a P.D.) was entered on the docket. (See Docket #01284 PGH 94) As the docket sheet shows, my Motion for Appointment was subsequently converted into a Motion to Proceed on Direct Appeal Without Counsel and, thus-- as at trial-- I was deprived of counsel on direct appeal.

I believe the documents, speaking for themselves, clearly identify and spell out the unconstitutional and unethical tactics employed in the sham proceedings that cause me to be approaching my 18th year of detention without due process. I thank you for being concerned enough to devote the time you have spent informing yourself of the true facts (of my case) which have been concealed behind the false facade erected by officers of the court who continue to abuse the public trust via their perverted attempts to uphold the law by breaking it.

I need, and will be eternally grateful for, any assistance and especially legal assistance that you may offer to cause the RULE OF LAW to be applied to the true facts of COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, CC-1993-15250.

The struggle continues...
Leonard C. Jefferson