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Justice & Mercy Monthly Newsletter--July 2020
COVID-19 and the PA prisons
According to the Pennsylvania Prison Society (PPS), the reported death toll is 6 people in custody (prison) and 2 correctional staff. PPS believes this number is an undercount since reporting is not happening as it could.
“Most county prisons are not regularly reporting on the virus spread. Neither the Pennsylvania Department of Health nor the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections require county prisons to report testing information or virus-related deaths. While the state releases numbers on the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes every day, Pennsylvanians behind bars are not counted’ (direct quote from the PPS newsletter dated 5/26/2020. For more information please go to the site below.
What is Justice & Mercy currently involved in?
We have several cases we are working on: Here are two
PL is currently in Lancaster County Prison where he will be going before the court. PL has had a troubled traumatic past. He was put into the foster system at a very early age. His parents and his family did not want anything to do with him. He went from foster home to foster home and was finally adopted by his foster parents. However, PL was abused by those parents. Consequently, he made wrong choices and ended up in jail on many occasions. PL is reaching out to Justice & Mercy. He wants to be put into a Christian based program to teach him those life skills he never learned. PL states, that his use of drugs was to kill the pain from the trauma of his childhood abuse. He understands that going upstate to prison is probably not going to make him a better person and is requesting assistance to get into a strong Christian program that will help him make proper choices and become a strong productive citizen.
JM Partner, what can you do for PL? Please keep him in your prayers. He is a Christian and he says he wants to do the right thing.
Justice & Mercy’s -- Current Case:
2. Angela Diaz
Angela Diaz is a wife and a mother of two children was living her dream! Then, one fateful day Angela found herself in prison charged with 1st degree murder. Her world would come suddenly crashing down. It all appeared to be a bad dream.
Justice & Mercy has taken a position that Angela Diaz is an unpretentious, gentle natured,
Good Sarmatian that is wrongfully charged with 1st degree murder. Angela has been in the
Lancaster County Prison for over 24 months without a trial. Justice & Mercy has hired Chris
Sarno, Esq. from Clymer, Musser, & Sarno, PC., to defend Angela. The Attorney General , Josh Shapiro is wanting to make an example of Angela. Their position is that Angela got frustrated, lost her cool, and beat the child up badly, killing her in the bathtub. They have no facts, they have bruises on the body, pictures, and not one witness.
Tom Zeager, President of Justice & Mercy and several others associated with Justice & Mercy do not believe that Angela is lying when she states she did not do it. The Attorney General’s office is pushing for 1st degree murder, which is life. Without $250,000.00 for hiring of professional people to research and forensic evidence we are not going to move this case to innocence. We are praying and believing that in the 500 pages of information that the attorney has, we will find something in there to defend Diaz with.
JM Partner, What can you do for Angela? Angela needs finances to hire forensics investigators to assist her case. She also needs you to pray!
Just Mercy--by Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy is a true must-read book. It describes the work of Bryan Stevenson, founder of Equal Justice Initiative (a legal practice defending the poor, wrongly condemned, and those trapped in the criminal justice system). Walter McMillian was released from prison after being on death row for a murder he did not commit. To read further about McMillan’s case please go to: https://eji.org/cases/walter-mcmillian.
This is an excerpt from the book, “Just Mercy”
“I just come here to help people. This is a place full of pain, so people need plenty of help around here,” said an older lady sitting on marble steps of the courthouse. She went on to say, “It’s what I’m supposed to do.” This lady explained that her sixteen-year-old grandson had been murdered. She grieved and grieved. She went to the court every day for the trail of the boys that killed her grandson. “The judge sentenced them to prison forever. I thought it would make me feel better, but it actually made me feel worse’, said the grandma. So, now she goes to the courthouse to let those who need someone to lean on, lean on her. “I come here to catch some of the stones people cast at each other.”
Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone—John 8:7
“Today, our self-righteousness, our fear, and our anger have caused even the Christians to hurl stones at the people who fall down, even when we know we should forgive or show compassion. We can’t simply watch this happen; we need to be stone catchers” (Stevenson, 2015).
Stevenson, B. (2015). Just Mercy: A story of justice and redemption. New York: Spiegel & Grau.
**If you would like a copy of this book, let us know at Justice & Mercy.
JM Partner, here’s how you can help.
1. Become a Pennsylvania Prison Society (PPS) Monitor and visit inmates.
2. Donate to Justice & Mercy as we continue this work.
3. Pray for the inmates and for Justice & Mercy.
‘Let’s be Stone-Catchers’
Together We Make a Difference!
JM Partner, please consider in becoming a Matthew 25/25 Partner:
Justice & Mercy’s core principal is found in Mathew 25:36, “What is the greatest
commandment of all?” To which, Jesus answered, “Love your neighbor with all your heart”.
Our mission is to follow these words by ministering to inmates and their families. Your Christian love, your generosity, and prayers will allow Justice & Mercy to continue to expand our ministry by reaching out and giving inmates and their families a voice and an advocate in the criminal justice system.
For your generous automatic monthly donation of $25.00 on 25th day of each month for a year or a one gift of $300.00, Justice & Mercy will give you reserved seating, priority signup for all of our events, and a gift to you.
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(Please write your prayer request)
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JM Partner, presently county jails are housing a large majority are poor that cannot afford a good attorney or bail and must rely on public defender’s office. How should this system be changed to give the poor have a better chance at justice?
(Please put your answer below)