Letter

30th May, 2003





From Mr Victor Wallis, Somerville, MA 02144, USA


 

Aid fund for political prisoner Richard Flood

 

A number of months ago, many of you contributed to the clients' fund for Richard Flood, at the People's Law Office in Chicago.  We are enormously grateful for this support, and I can now report that it has borne positive fruit.

 

The good news is that on April 25 the Illinois Third District Appellate Court, following oral argument by Richard's attorney, Michael Deutsch, "reversed and remanded" Richard's conviction, by a 3-0 vote.  Also good news is that within the subsequent 21-day deadline, the Prosecution did not move to challenge this decision.  Consequently, Richard will be returned this week to one of two possible local jails within reach of the Joliet County court, where negotiations will take place regarding his release-date.

 

This is, of course, not the ideal outcome, since the Appellate Court did not fully overturn the conviction and order Richard's immediate release.  Moreover, the court justified its "reversal" on the basis of a technicality rather than by addressing the substance of Richard's defense.  Specifically, the ruling focused on the Prosecution's tactics (notably, its unfounded allegations of drug-use on Richard's part), but did not recognize, despite Richard's acquittal on two of the original four counts, that this could have been interpreted as implying "reasonable doubt" as to his actions having been guided by anything other than the need to defend his wife and himself.

 

Still, for the Appeals Court to have reached even this partially favorable verdict is an important step forward.  It would not have been possible without the legal assistance that your donation helped to secure.

 

The forthcoming negotiations will probably involve some plea-bargaining, a circumstance about which Richard obviously has very mixed feelings, since, as he put it in a recent letter, "I know in my mind and at heart that my only intentions were to protect my wife and get her out of harm's way."   On the other hand, despite his reluctance to make any concession, he is also aware of his responsibilities both to his family (which includes five teenagers) and to the movement, in which he has every intention of remaining active.

 

A final complicating factor is that the original incident occurred while Richard was on parole.  Despite the prison time he subsequently served (now totaling more than two years) and despite the Appellate Court's ruling calling his conviction into question, the parole board is claiming that he still owes some jail time on the grounds that the inci-dent constituted a parole-violation.  All this poses further legal challenges.

Our fund drive last summer netted just over half the originally projected legal cost of $12,000.  Taking into account the work remaining to be done, we now need to raise at least that much again.  I hope you will be able to renew your support.

 

Under the difficult conditions of jail and prison, Richard has put his time to good use.  Among the articles he has written is one entitled "Towards a Theory of Revolutionizing Street Nations," which appears in the latest issue of Socialism and Democracy - the journal I co-edit, and which Richard originally contacted four years ago. (see our Progressive Publications Listing, ed.)

 

Throughout this ordeal, I have been in frequent touch with Richard and his wife Rebecca, and our conversations have ranged widely.  The 2+ years of separation of Richard from his family have had some painful consequences but have also brought opportunities for solidarity.  The difficulty of visiting Richard during his incarceration at Menard (more than 6 hours by car from their home) was alleviated by support from the Rosenberg Fund for Children (www.rfc.org).  This month I also tried to visit Richard (traveling from the Boston area by way of Indianapolis, my hometown for many years), but when my wife and I arrived at Menard, we were denied entry, on the pretext of inadequate identification.

 

Richard is already thinking about political projects for after his release.  He is anxious to raise the awareness of people in his community, but he still has a final barrier to clear.  Any help you can give him will be deeply appreciated.  Please make out your check as indicated below, and send it to me in the enclosed envelope.

 

                                                                                    In solidarity,

 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Enclosed is my check for $_______, payable to People's Law Office Clients' Fund; the memo line of the check carries the notation: Richard Flood

 

Name ____________________________________________

 

Address __________________________________________

 

City______________________________  State _____  ZIP __________

 

E-mail, if new (for occasional updates on Richard's case): _______________________

 

________  Please send me the CD of Richard interviewed by radio-journalist Noelle Hanrahan.

 

________  (for contributors of at least $50)  Please send me the 400-page special issue of Socialism and Democracy ("Radical Perspectives on Race and Racism"), which includes Richard's article "Towards a Theory of Revolutionizing Street Nations."


Please note: Given the difficulty of our processing relatively small amounts of money in non-European currencies, Spectre asks anyone in the US kind enough to be  considering making a donation to us to please send the money to Richard's fund. "One World, One Struggle" (but try telling that to the banks!)