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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Poetry by Efren Paredes, Jr.

Poetry by Efren Paredes, Jr.

The following poem was written by Efren Paredes, Jr. "Snowflakes" was selected by the International Library of Poetry in 2006 for publication in the book "Immortal Verses". According to the International Library of Poetry, Efren's poem was selected on the basis of his "unique talent and artistic vision."

In April 2006 Efren was also nominated as poet of the year by the International Society of Poets and was formally inducted in July 2006 as an International Poet of Merit and Honored Member of the International Society of Poets for 2006-2007. Due to his incarceration Efren will be unable to attend the 20th Anniversary International Society of Poets Convention and Symposium.

Additional writings constructed by Efren will be posted in the future. You are encouraged to return to our blog so we can share more of Efren's writings with you.

by Efren Paredes, Jr.

Crystallized water drops
that fall from the sky
Their layers form pillows
which dazzle our eyes.

They summon the children
to go out and play
To enjoy making snowmen
on a cold Winter day.

Captivate the cherubs
with their opulent glow
They sparkle like diamonds
display a marvelous show.

Sunlight glistens radiantly
generating jubilant awe
Bouncing and dashing
between snowflakes that fall.

Their elegant travel
so methodical and slow
Fashion delicate blankets
on the earth down below.

Each snowflake unique
like expressions of love
Their presence is vibrant
the semblance of doves.

Symbols of purity
cleanse the crisp, frigid air
Next time you see them
treat them gently, with care.

Copyright © 2005 by Efren Paredes, Jr.

Suggested Documents to Read on Efren Paredes, Jr.'s Web Site at

Suggested Documents to Read on Efren's Web Site

The following documents have been selected for suggested reading to learn more about Efren's wrongful conviction and how you can assist him. We invite you to read additional information available on the site as well when time permits.

Under the General Information tab of

• Web Site Intro
• Paul Ciolino - Support Letter - Credentials
• Efren's Biographical Information
• Letters in Support of Efren – Part 1
• Letters in Support of Efren – Part 2
• Letters in Support of Efren – Part 3
• Letters in Support of Efren – Part 4
• Support Letter Request

Under the Efren's Case Information tab of

• Case History
• Court Appeals Information & Status
• The Road to the Eric Mui Plea Agreement

Under the Denial of Records and Evidence tab of

• All the files that appear in this section

Under the Media Issues tab of

• Judge Zoe Burkholz Media Statements - Second Day of Trial
• Judge Zoe Burkholz Media Statements - Third Day of Trial
• Judge Zoe Burkholz Media Statements - Fourth Day of Trial
• Judge Zoe Burkholz Media Statements - Fifth Day of Trial
• Judge Zoe Burkholz Media Statements - Sixth Day of Trial

If you haven't already done so, please visit and sign our electronic petition which supports justice for Efren Paredes, Jr. You can find the petition at the following link:

Prosecutor's Gone Wild: America's Injustice System is Criminal

The following is an article we would like to share with our readers which contains very good information related to wrongful convictions. We invite your comments which can be posted at the end of the article. —Efren

Prosecutor's Gone Wild: America's Injustice System is Criminal

By Paul Craig Roberts
December 12, 2006

The Christmas season is a time to remember the unfortunate. Among the most unfortunate people are those who have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned.

The United States has a large number of wrongfully convicted. There are many reasons for this. One is that the US has the largest percentage of its citizens imprisoned of all countries in the world, including China. One of every 32 US adults is behind bars, on probation or on parole. Given a wrongful conviction rate, the larger the percentage of citizens in jails, the greater the number of wrongfully convicted.

According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College in London, the US has 700,000 more of its citizens incarcerated than China, a country with a population four to five times larger than that of the US, and 1,330,000 more people in prison than crime-ridden Russia. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. The American incarceration rate is seven times higher than that of European countries. Either America is the land of criminals, or something is seriously wrong with the criminal justice (sic) system in "the land of the free."

In the US the wrongful conviction rate is extremely high. One reason is that hardly any of the convicted have had a jury trial. No peers have heard the evidence against them and found them guilty. In the US criminal justice (sic) system, more than 95% of all felony cases are settled with a plea bargain.

Before jumping to the conclusion that an innocent person would not admit guilt, be aware of how the process works. Any defendant who stands trial faces more severe penalties if found guilty than if he agrees to a plea bargain. Prosecutors don't like trials because they are time consuming and a lot of work. To discourage trials, prosecutors offer defendants reduced charges and lighter sentences than would result from a jury conviction. In the event a defendant insists upon his innocence, prosecutors pile on charges until the defendant's lawyer and family convince the defendant that a jury is likely to give the prosecutor a conviction on at least one of the many charges and that the penalty will be greater than a negotiated plea.

The criminal justice (sic) system today consists of a process whereby a defendant is coerced into admitting to a crime in order to escape more severe punishment for maintaining his innocence. Many of the crimes for which people are imprisoned never occurred. They are made up crimes created by the process of negotiation to close a case.

This takes most of the work out of the system and, thereby, suits police, prosecutors, and judges to a tee. Police do not have to be careful about evidence, because they know that no more than one case out of twenty will ever be tested in the courtroom.

Prosecutors do not have to make decisions about which cases to prosecute or risk losing cases. By coercing pleas, prosecutors can prosecute every case and boast of extremely high conviction rates. When prosecutors had to decide which cases to prosecute, they had to examine the evidence and to investigate the defendant's side of the story. No more. The evidence seldom comes into play. In place of a determination of innocence or guilt, prosecutors negotiate with lawyers the crimes to which a defendant will enter a plea.

Prosecutors have lost sight of innocence and guilt. What we have today is a conveyor belt that convicts almost everyone who is charged. Every defense attorney knows that today prosecutors can purchase testimony against a defendant by paying a "witness" with money, dropped charges, or reduced time to testify against the defendant. Many prosecutors become highly annoyed at any disruption of the plea bargain conviction process. A defendant that incurs the prosecutor's ire is certain to be framed on far more serious charges than a negotiated plea.

Going to trial is no guarantee that an innocent person will be acquitted. Prosecutors routinely withhold exculpatory evidence and suborn perjury. Generally, jurors trust prosecutors and are unaware of their inventory of dirty tricks. Few jurors can tell the difference between bogus evidence and real evidence. For example, psychologists and criminologists have established beyond all doubt that eye-witnesses are wrong 50% of the time. Yet, jurors usually believe eye-witnesses unless they think the witness has it in for the defendant and is lying.

Prosecutors—and there are still a few—who are meticulous about their cases and fair to defendants show poor results compared to the high convictions attained by prosecutors who run plea bargain mills and frame-up factories. Today's criminal justice (sic) system is results orientated, not justice orientated.

In the past judges could give light sentences to people they believed had been wrongfully convicted. But "law and order conservatives" have taken sentencing discretion away from judges. Today prosecutors hold all the cards.

Many conservatives believe that prisons are full of hardened criminals who liberal judges are determined to release to prey upon society. In truth, the largest percentage of prisoners are drug users who are victims of the conservatives' "war on drugs." Drug offenses account for 49 percent of federal prison population growth between 1995 and 2003. Many of these prisoners are mothers arrested for drug use. The greatest victims of the drug laws are the children whose mothers are incarcerated.

As females become sexually active at younger and younger ages, state legislatures have stupidly raised the age at which it is legal to engage in sexual activity. Today, a significant percentage of new prisoners are young men imprisoned for engaging in sexual activity with teenage girls. In the US, criminal justice (sic) has more to do with ruining people than with punishing criminals.

I have written often about wrongful convictions. We know that wrongful conviction is a serious problem when the advent of DNA evidence has led to the release of a significant number of innocent people who were convicted of murder and rape, and when a number of law schools feel that it is necessary for them to operate innocence projects that work for the release of the wrongfully convicted.

Prosecutors are like President Bush. They absolutely refuse to admit that they ever make a mistake and have to be forced to disgorge their innocent victims. Nothing makes a prosecutor more angry than to have to give back a wrongfully convicted person's life.

Lt. William Strong and Christopher Gaynor are two of the hundreds of thousands of wrongfully convicted Americans whose lives have been ruined by an irresponsible and corrupt criminal justice (sic) system.

In Virginia, Lt. William Strong, the son of a military family, grew tired of his wife's unfaithfulness and filed for divorce. The unfaithful wife retaliated by accusing Strong of marital rape. Neither police nor prosecutor investigated the charge. Instead, they proceeded to set Strong up for plea conviction. The arresting officer recommended Strong's attorney, an incompetent who owed his cases to the police.

Strong insisted on a trial, but the arresting officer and attorney convinced Strong's parents that with a plea their son would be out in a year. No one told Strong or his parents the implications of a plea, and Virginia Judge Westbrook Parker, playing to feminist voters, gave Strong a life sentence of 60 years.

The case has many unsavory appearances. If reports are true, the arresting officer paid numerous visits to Strong's unfaithful wife, as did Strong's attorney, and the arresting officer ended up separating from his wife and leaving the police force.

The perk kit exists and Strong could be given a DNA test, but Virginia refuses on the grounds that Strong admitted his guilt. Strong says the semen, if any, is that of the wife's boyfriend.

Strong has been in prison for 15 years on the basis of zero evidence. He is in prison because he and his parents trusted the police officer and the criminal justice (sic) system.

Another Virginia case is that of Christopher Gaynor. Gaynor was the coach of an adolescent skate board team, which he took to New York City for a competition. One of the adolescents expressed his intention to buy drugs. Gaynor forbade it and threatened to report the boy to his parents.

The irresponsible kid retaliated by accusing Gaynor of sex abuse.

There was no evidence. There was no investigation. Gaynor had never displayed any homosexual tendencies. The entire team knew the accusation was false. Gaynor went to trial. He was framed by the prosecutor with the help of the judge, who intimidated Gaynor's witnesses by incarcerating one of the kids overnight without cause. Gaynor was sentenced to 32 years with no possibility of parole on the basis of no evidence, just an unproven accusation. His trial was full of irregularities, and the same judge who sentenced him denied Gaynor a new trial.

Ten years later, this past summer Noah J. Seidenberg, who brought the unproven accusation against Gaynor, died apparently of drug overdose at the age of 24 years.

There is no institution in America that is a greater failure than the criminal justice (sic) system. The system can do nothing but fail, because the search for truth and justice plays no part in the system. The prosecutor's career depends on his conviction rate, not on discovering the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Virginia's governor could pardon Strong and Gaynor. But feminists and "child advocates" would scream and yell, as would prosecutors and "law and order conservatives." Nothing matters to these groups but their own single-issue, and justice is not part of it. In America justice cannot be done unless a governor is prepared to sacrifice his own political career in the interest of justice.

What kind of people are we when we exercise no oversight over a criminal justice (sic) system that destroys the lives of innocent people with lies?

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

On-Line Petition and Video of Fund Raiser Now Available

On-Line Petition for Efren Paredes, Jr.

Sunday, November 26, 2006 an electronic petition to support the release of Efren Paredes, Jr. was created. We have set a tentative goal of gathering 1,000 signatures. If it appears we will exceed that number sooner than anticipated we can always extend the goal. The more signatures we can amass the better.

Along with signing the On-line petition people can leave a comment on the petition for others to read. This will prove helpful encouraging others to sign the petition. Please sign the petition and encourage others to do so as well. We will use the petition to urge the Governor of the State of Michigan to pardon or commute Efren's sentence if an appellate court will not grant him a new trial.

Please forward this e-mail to others in your address book and ask them to do the same. Participating in this petition-drive is a very substantial contribution you can make towards helping Efren's campaign for justice.

If we can have 100 people get 10 others to participate in this project we can reach our 1,000 signature goal quickly and then extend our goal to include additional signatures. A link to the petition appears below:

Video of Fund Raiser for Efren Paredes, Jr.

Below please find a link to the edited video of the José Guadalupe Posada Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) art exhibit and Efren's private investigator fund raiser that Scott Elliott graciously hosted at The Citadel on October 27, 2006.

You are encouraged to view the video and share it with others. This, and other videos we plan on creating, can be utilized to assist us spread the word about Efren's wrongful conviction and generate additional support. Efren's mother is currently working on creating a video message asking people to support Efren as the next contribution to the video project.

You can share the video link by either forwarding this e-mail to others or by highlighting the link below, copying it, and pasting it into other e-mails you send.

To learn more about the injustice against Efren Paredes, Jr. you are encouraged to visit The Injustice Must End (TIME) web site at

Thank you for your continued support.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Injustice Must End for Efren Paredes, Jr.

This blog was created and is maintained by supporters of Efren Paredes, Jr. and committee members of The Injustice Must End (TIME). TIME is a citizens' committee created to help educate the public about the injustice surrounding the wrongful conviction of Efren Paredes, Jr., a 33-year-old Latino male who has been wrongly imprisoned since age 15.

Efren received three life sentences for a 1989 murder and armed robbery he did not commit in St. Joseph, Michigan, USA; a crime to which others have plead guilty and admitted involvement. He was an honor student at the time of his arrest with no previous criminal record, and has spent more time in prison that he did a free boy in society.

More information about this injustice is available at

Part of our objective is to also generate additional support to help vindicate Efren of the false charges against him. You are encouraged to visit this blog to learn about all the latest efforts underway to help Efren's campaign for justice. We will also be posting information about how you can contribute to Efren's efforts as well.

Please share this blog with others, encourage them to participate in the dialogue about this miscarriage of justice, and ask them to become actively involved in helping end this ongoing human rights abuse.

There is no place in a civilized nation for such egregious cases of injustice to manifest. Lend us a few moments of your time to help correct this injustice. The life and future of an innocent 15-year-old depends on it.

Click here to contact us anytime via e-mail to discuss anything on this blog or pertaining to Efren's case.

Thank you for reading these words, for your interest, and for visiting this blog. We look forward to you visiting again.