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December 02, 2009 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-12-02

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I know all too well what the "I forgave them all
tradition demands must because it's in my blood,
happen to me." and it's in my heart for
- DIDAR ERDAL, a 23-year-old gay man from the Lord Jesus Christ."

To the Reeds' joy and bewil-
derment, though, that fight never
came. On Aug. 11, 2009, Marvin
and Deshawn went to court for
what they thought was going to be
a routine appeal. But the prosecu-
tor simply stood up and dismissed
all charges - there was no case, and
therefore, never should have been.
It took the judicial system nine
years to realize 'hat they had made
an appalling mistake.
That Aug. 11 court date, too,
played out like a surreal dream -
but a happy one, the happiest there
ever was.
The first thing on the Reeds'
minds upon being freed: fam-
ily, food and all the comforts of the
home that they had been taken from
all those years ago.
Deshawn was craving lasagna
and salad, while Marvin wanted to
eata little bit of everything.
"Whatever they sat in front of my
face, I was going to eat it," Marvin
The Reeds' family and friends
were more than happy to oblige
their wishes at a welcome home
party they threw for the men. Even
though the justice system had writ-
ten off the Reeds' claims of inno-
cence for years, Deshawn said they
never lost the support of their com-
"After so many years, usually
people forget about it," he said. "It's
on the back burner. Like forget that,
and lose hope, but they never lost
Deshawn's children were the
most ecstatic about their father's
release. Deshawn described the
reunion with his kids as "a bunch of
tears." Marvin said that Deshawn's
youngest son - who never knew
his father outside of prison visiting
rooms - still refuses to get off his
father's lap.
But after the party ended, the
Reeds were leftwith the task of dust-
ing off what remained of their long-
stalled personal lives. While they
were suffering the horrible monot-
ony of prison, the outside world had
kept changing. The World Trade
Towers in New York had fallen. A
costly United States war had begun.
There was now a black president in
the White House.
Even once-simple daily activities
had become barely recognizable.
Fresh out of jail, Marvin ran into a

he encountered a self-checkout sta-
tion for the first time. Deshawn,,
meanwhile, couldn't wrap his head
around society's obsession with text
But what had most drastically
changed for the Reeds were their
families. Faced with the prospect
of waiting two decades to continue
their relationships, Marvin's wife
and Deshawn's fianc6 had both
left them. Deshawn's toddlers had
grown into older children who he
really didn't know. He had missed
the birth of his youngest son, now
eight years old. Both the uncle and
the nephew had missed funerals
of relatives and close friends they
never got to say goodbye to.
But on top of the pain of missed
moments, the Reeds had to deal
with the practical problem of sup-
porting themselves. After granting
the men their freedom, the state jus-
tice system released them without
further assistance. If it weren't for
their supportive family, the Reeds
said they would be homeless.,
"We'dbe onthestreets,"Deshawn
said. "We'd be livin' with somebody
up under a bridge somewhere. We'd
be in a box. We'd be somewhere,
livin' in a vacant house."
Now four months out of jail, the
two are slowly piecing their lives
back together.
"It's like turtle steps," Deshawn
For Marvin, getting back on his
feet is a clerical headache. He is in
the process of re-obtaining vital
forms of identification like his birth
certificate and Social Security Card,
which were taken from him in pris-
on and never returned. Without
those documents, he faces even a
harder time reestablishinghis claim
to Social Security money that he had
depended on before prison. After he
was found guilty, he lost his right to
those benefits and now must nego-
tiate a tangled web of bureaucracy
to get them back - a challenge that
his learning disability makes even
Today, he receives $200 in food
stamps every month, but noth-
ing else. Having remarried a few
months ago, Marvin said he's lucky
he has his wife to support him.
Deshawn also struggles with
depends on his family financially,
since household funds had beentight
to begin with. He wants to support
his children like he had before the
incarceration, but with his decade-
old resume and the state's record-
high unemployment rates, finding a

way to do that has been slow.
"The man's supposed to be the
one take care of the household, and
we not in the position because we
got eight years taken out of our lives
and just got kicked back out to soci-
ety with nothing," Deshawn said.
The thought of his children made
Deshawn fight harder to get out of
prison. It had always been his desire
to make sure his children had better
opportunities than he had, and the
last thing he wanted was for them to
grow up without a father.
Deshawn, who only finished
school through the ninth grade,
is determined to see his children
escape an environment that so often
sets people up to fail. It hurts him to
think that if he hadn't been falsely
convicted, he would be working
in real estate with his brother and
their ambition to send their children
to private school might have been
"It was our dream," he said. "It
really weren't about me no more.
When those kids came, it was about
them kids."
But Deshawn is grateful that
he escaped his sentence with time
to help his children on the road to
success. During his time in prison,
their grades had slipped and they
had been actingup in school.But his
children, ranging in age from 8to 12
years old, are still young enough to
overcome much of the disadvantage
of having an incarcerated father
- something that would have got-
ten harder with every passing year
Deshawn was in jail.
"Now my kids can be happy,
and they can get on the right track
and they can go and have a future

instead of with this hanging over
their head like this for some more
years," Deshawn said.
But getting back on track is easi-
er said than done, especially in the
same environment that allowed
Deshawn and Marvin to go to jail
in the first place. With not enough
money to move out of Ecorse, the
Reeds expressed resentment at
being stuck in the city.
"We gotta go back to the same
neighborhood who put us in this
predicament," Deshawn said. "You
know, you see the same officers who
lied on you, and they smirk at you,
and they do things, but you gotta be
around these people. You don't want
to, but you have no choice."
Despite their rightful freedom,
the Reeds live in constant fear that
they could be re-incarcerated at any
moment. Deshawn makes it a point
to meet the owners and managers
of places he frequents, like the local
gym, so that he can build trust with
people around town. Marvin said
he calls his sister four to five times
a day so that someone always knows
of his whereabouts in case he needs
to prove his alibi.
"I really don't feel comfortable
because I think someone else is
going to tryto do somethinglike that
again, so I just want to make sure
that next time, I have some kind of
way to prove (my innocence)," Mar-
vin said.
While the Reeds will never forget
the circumstances that led to their
incarceration, they have forgiven
Gholston, the drive-by shooting vic-
tim who wrongly identified them as
the driver and shooter in the attack.
After Deshawn's release, Gholston
visited to apologize. The two former
schoolmates made amends by going
out to the club.
"He apologized several times to

the point I told him that I accept
your apology," Deshawn said. "You
don't have to apologize. Let's go on
with our life and put that behind us,
and let's just move forward because
we out, but you still in the condition
that you in."
While the Reeds have endured
years of heartache and encountered
an array of obstacles, they said they
don't harbor bitterness over the
time they have lost. It could be a lot
worse -they, and the Innocence
Clinic students, well know there are
other innocent people still suffering
in prison right now.
"When I even feel like I'm getting
bitter, I think of all the other inno-
cent ones in prison that I met that
don't have the opportunity to get
the representation and get the bless-
ing me and Marvin got," Deshawn
The road to reclaiming the lives
they lost a decade ago still has many
bumps ahead, but Deshawn still
wants to realize the career aspira-
tions he had started to pursue in
his 20s. He would like to obtain his
real estate license and use the dis-
mal economy to his advantage by
purchasing depreciated houses that
should rebound in value after the
Butmostly, Marvin and Deshawn
aren't too worried about kicking
into hyper speed to try to make up
for lost time. After spending the last
eight Christmases in prison, they
want to spend this holiday season
savoring every moment with their
"Prison makes you appreciate
the small things," Deshawn said.
"Not living your life watching your
back every second of a minute, every
minute of an hour, every day of the
year. You can justbe around normal
people and you're just free."

Three things you can talk about this week:
1. Maurice Clemmons
2. Med Grow Cannabis College
3. White House security
And three things you can't:
1. Tiger Woods sexting
2. Republican "purity tests"
3. The Salahis
The number of civilians who were murdered in election-related
violence in the Philippines last week
The number of murder counts faced by Andal Ampatuan Jr.,
a Philippine city mayor who allegedly helped spur the violence
The number of people who have been
implicated in acts of violence

Istanbul, explaining the brutality faced by gay men
in Turkey, whose conservative Islamic families view
homosexuality as an affront to their honor. A gay
man was recently killed there by his father in what
was called the country's first gay honor killing.
"It's inappropriate at best."

- LENNY KING, a 52-year-old homeless
man from Akron, Ohio, explaining why he
forgave some teenagers who set him and
his sleeping mattress on fire last year. King
suffered burns from the incident

- LENNY ADAIR, a man from Mooresville, Ind., describing the conduct of a 41-year-old former high
school softball coach who was taped on a cell phone getting his toes sucked by a player. The teacher,
Jody Monaghan, has also been accused of sending unseemly texts and groping high school girls.

A carp's nightmare
If you ever feel like irritating
animal rights activists, this is a
pretty effective way to do it.
Last week, organizations like
PETA, an animal rights group, pub-
licly condemned this video, which
features a group of people eating
a live fish in a Chinese restaurant.
According to a story in The Daily
Telegraph, the chef had fried only
part of the carp, placing a wet
towel over its head to ensure it kept
breathing during the cooking pro-
cess. .
The video begins with the carp
lying helplessly on a plate, its head
and tail intact while the middle
is visibly fried. The people begin
poking and prodding the fish with
their chopsticks, playing with its
lips and mouth. Suddenly, after
more poking, the fish's gills-expand
and its body writhes. The crowd
utters sounds of amazed delight, as
if they're surprised that it's actu-
ally alive.
Before long, someone starts to
devour the carp with a set of chop-
sticks. With each new piece of flesh
that's extracted from the body, the
carp's squirming increases.
Meanwhile, the laughing crowd
seems to get progressively louder,
which makes it appear as if these
people are really, really enjoying
eating this carp alive.
Maybe you shouldn't watch this



Day of rest - Thanksgiving is over, but you're
probably still nursing your wounds from Black Fri-
day. The lingering sleep deprivation, bruises, aches,
perhaps even broken bones. No one ever said
bargain shopping was easy. Before finals start, you
should host a rest and relaxation gathering. You
should watch movies, drink tea, and lounge around
in your pajamas all day-anything to minimize your
physical and mental activity.
Throwing this party? Let us know. TheStatement@umich.edu
Obesity produces 100,000 cancer cases annually
Obesity is the cause of more than 100,000 cases of cancer in the
United States every year, according to a study published by the Ameri-
can Institute for Cancer Research.
The study used research from AICR findings that examined the
relationship between physical activity, diet, weight and cancer, and
also evaluated surveys about obesity and cancer. The researchers then
calculated the percentage of certain cancers that could be prevented if
people in the U.S. remained fit.
In the study, the researchers found that an excess of body fat causes
almost half the incidences of endometrial cancer (which involves the
uterus) and one third of esophageal cancer cases. Moreover, if people
stayed healthy, cases of pancreatic cancer could be reduced by 28 per-
cent and those of kidney cancer by 24 percent, the study found.
Other researchers estimated that diseases related to obesity are
responsible for $147 billion, or 10 percent, of U.S. medical spending.

ource: CNN

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