An Untold Story: Mine Now, Yours Later
My name is Mr. Patrice Behanzin Wilson – otherwise known to my friends as KayMel. I am a Black male who, prior to being incarcerated for over the past eighteen years, was employed as a music promoter for an independent record label. Presently, I am serving a 27 year, “non-paroleable” prison sentence for my alleged involvement in a so-called drug conspiracy which supposedly occurred in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Initially, I was sentenced to 30 years. However, I received a 3 year reduction as a result of a sentencing amendment (See U.S.S.C Ammend. 706).
The events which led to this never ending nightmare are as follows: I was somewhat involved in a relationship with this female named Tyrene Jones from Jacksonville. Her possessive & jealous ways became apparent to me during a conversation where she told me about an argument that she had with her daughter’s father. In this conversation, she disclosed that she followed him to a club and anonymously called the police on him and another individual she saw him with. She reported to the authorities that there were two drug dealers sitting in the club parking lot. Though our relationship was not serious, I still pretty much lost all respect for her after hearing what she did to her daughter’s father. Consequently, I began distancing myself from her. Out of anger at me for distancing myself from her, she sent me several threats – one of which ultimately resulted in her calling the local authorities on me and falsely reported to the police that I was also involved in the drug trade.
On May 10, 1996, shortly after leaving the car wash in Jacksonville, I was stopped by the local authorities who, prior to this date, were unfamiliar with me or any alleged involvement that I had in the illegal distribution of any narcotics. As expressed by the detective who make the stop, I was solely pulled over as a result of an anonymous caller who informed them that I was distributing narcotics in the Jacksonville area. During the stop and voluntary search, some debris (crumbs, gravel) was retrieved from the crevice of the vehicle passenger seat. Even though the debris tested negative for narcotics in the field test, I was still arrested under the premise of being held until the completion of the final lab results. During the booking process, I was informed that I had an outstanding warrant pending in New York since 1989. However, I later discovered through my ex-girlfriend (who is a New York City police officer), that I had no such warrant pending in New York. Though this act by the local authorities was never personal, I now realize in hindsight, that this stall tactic served as a ploy to enable them an opportunity to build a case against me for grandstanding purposes.
Meanwhile, before my arrest was ever publicized in the media, this same vindictive female made another anonymous call to yet another female friend of mine in Jacksonville where she threatened that she too would be”locked up like her man”. Additionally the vindictive female had her mother visit this same ex-female friend’s beauty salon in order to inquire about me.
Once I arrived at the local magistrate, I was informed that, instead of being held on a non-existing 1994 drug distribution charge which allegedly occurred in Jacksonville (rather than supposedly being held for the questionable debris). Some 10 days later the Lab in Raleigh, North Carolina concluded that the debris in question was not drugs. Additionally, the state dropped all charges. However, while I was in the County jail, the feds were able to build a case against me by showing my arrest photos to several individuals from the town who were already federally convicted for narcotics violations.
On May 28, 1996, some 18 days after my arrest, the government was successful in securing a one-count federal indictment against me for allegedly conspiring to distribute an unspecified amount of crack cocaine. They alleged that this occurred between 1989 and 1996. Amazingly, I was indicted for my involvement in an alleged drug conspiracy despite having no codefendants (conspiracy requires at least an agreement with another party – one can not conspire by himself).
During the preliminary stages, my trial was postponed a total of six times in order for the prosecution team to add more convicted drug dealers to the governments witness list. They had me pick my jury almost 14 days prior to the commencement of my trial, despite the norm of picking a jury a day before trial.
During my actual trial, which commenced on 10/16/96 and concluded on 10/17/96, the government presented no independent evidence to include narcotics, marked money, video surveillance, audio recordings, incriminating police testimony, etc. In obtaining it’s conviction, the government solely relied upon the testimony of 12 convicted drug dealers whose testimony was submitted in exchange for either reductions in their sentences, leniency, or total immunity from prosecution. There were so many inconsistencies. For example, Mr. Anand Lakrum and Mr. Clinton Mitchell III testified that I was in North Carolina selling drugs in 1991 despite the fact that I was incarcerated in Georgia from October 1990 to May 1992 on an unrelated offense. Of equal significance is the fact that the government charged me with a single on-going conspiracy in North Carolina which supposedly spanned from 1989 until the day of my arrest in May of 1996. In truth, records support the fact that I remained in Georgia from 1990 until almost 1994 – either in prison or parole – gainfully employed and enrolled in school.
During the deliberation phase of my trial, the jury posed 3 questions: 1. Why did the word “possess” exist within the defendant’s charge? 2. When did the defendant possess any drug – was it back in 1994 or on May 10, 1996? 3. Could the jury receive a copy of the trial transcripts?
Despite the jury’s apprehension, as evidenced by their line of questioning, I was found guilty of conspiring to distribute an undetermined amount of crack cocaine in Jacksonville from 1989 until May 10, 1996. In short, my conviction amounted to mere guilt by an alleged association – despite the fact that I did not know the majority of the government’s witnesses who took the stand against me. Though I was never actually charged, nor convicted of possessing any drugs, I was given a 30 year sentence after the judge enhanced my sentence under a preponderance of evidence standard to reflect the approximate 5 kilograms of crack cocaine which were attributed to my by the government’s witnesses (the 12 drug dealers).
In 1999, I received an affidavit from Mr. Jermaine Reginald Watkins by way of the court wherein he asserted that he, Mr. Kevin Mouzon and Mr. Marcil Smith were shown my photograph and then coerced and threatened by the Assistant US Attorney John S. Bowler (Eastern District of North Carolina) and FBI Special Agent, Craig N. Ackley into testifying falsely for the prosecution team during my trial.
Coincidentally, while being incarcerated, I happened to be transferred to a facility where an inmate actually witnessed my arrest back on May 10, 1996. He saw the vindictive female on the scene and heard her say “that’s good for him”. This underscored my claim of her call serving as the basis for my stop by the Jacksonville police.
It is important to note that I realize my arrest and subsequent conviction was never personal as far as the authorities were concerned. As I stated earlier, its not like the police set out to “get me” because, prior to my arrest, they had no knowledge of me. It’s just that in a relatively small town where there is not a lot of crime, the Jacksonville police, once learning that I was from New York, a city that served as a source of a lot of drugs, were eager to make a seemingly major arrest. Furthermore, the overzealous Assistant US Attorney’s sole concern was acquiring a conviction for purposes of enhancing his career record. My only problem here is that the courts, when confronted with this travesty of justice, have remained thus far unwilling to make amends.
The list of constitutional violations is too long to lay out. But, we could start with the government’s use of a defective indictment, the government’s known use of perjured testimony, the government’s manipulation of a statute which precludes offering anything of value to witnesses for favorable testimony (see Title 18 U.S.C. 201 (c)(2)) and finally the government’s subordination of perjured testimony (not to mention ineffective assistance of counsel). Added all up and it screams injustice.
Despite the numerous constitutional violations, all of my filings for relief have fallen on the deaf ears of the federal courts. The federal judicial system, which by and large goes unchecked, has continued to allow the prosecution team to evade the whole issue pertaining to their egregious behavior as it relates to not only their use of perjured testimony, but their subordination of perjured testimony as highlighted by Mr. Watkins affidavit.
I am now turning to you, the public, in an effort to highlight this manifest injustice through any means necessary. I am convinced that I can acquire justice through a public outcry. My situation could very well become your reality. Do not wait until you are in my predicament to act out. Do something now. Remember, the power is in the people.
In concluding, I am sure you can imagine the emotional, as well as financial strain my incarceration has placed on me as well as my family. While my foremost concern is acquiring legal assistance so that I may be reunited with my family, any assistance, support and/or ideas from you, the public will be greatly appreciated.
I look forward to us being able to come together in an effort to rectify this manifest injustice.
Mr. Patrice Wilson