name is Scott Collins, and I was born on June 26, 1970. In a Los Angeles
1993, I was wrongly convicted of a capital murder of a 41-year old man that I did not commit.
Reasons being, like so many other defendants in Los Angeles, I was unable to afford a
private attorney or an investigator to assist the defense against:
The Los Angeles Police Department's dishonest tactics, which included falsified
statements from witnesses, manufactured by the homicide detectives;
2. Perjurous testimony orchestrated by unscrupulous detectives and prosecutors;
Being forced to put on an extensive defense against unsubstantiated and
offenses that were unrelated to the crime I was on trial for.
The above was presented
at my trial as fact with strategic legal tactics to divert the
jury's attention away from the immediate charges facts that were circumstantial at best.
The use of these unscrupulous tactics by a vicious, politically-driven prosecutor that
wanted a conviction, not truth or justice.
Because I was unable to afford a high priced criminal attorney to represent me, a state appointed attorney was assigned to my case who did not have the necessary extensive experience or successful track record to handle a capital offense case such as mine. He was totally out of his depth and no match for the prosecution. His lack of experience, resulting in an action that would have been such an advantage in my case, was demonstrated by him not even obtaining the necessary experts that could have been vital in providing their expertise in the entire investigation and court testimony. Instead, he relied completely on the prosecution and the Los Angeles Police Department to provide testimony from their expert witnesses during the trial, leaving the prosecutions theory manufactured case unchallenged.
This, of course, resulted in the trial being presented as a one-sided sham, leaving the state wielding an enormously unfair advantage in that it had unlimited resources, while my defense was strapped with limited state/court resources and legal incompetence. One true and definite fact is certain: Because I was unable to provide a proper defense in a system where money buys freedom in so many instances, where guilt is an assumption until innocence is proven beyond a reasonable doubt am now on California's Death Row.
It is depressing that popular media here in the United States continues to perpetuate the myth that so much support for the practice of killing is a solution to the problems within the United States. American culture has been condemned by some as being a culture of death because of the exceptionally high rates of both criminal and legal killings. Perhaps there is no surprise in the revelation that the United States leads the free world in murder as well as executions.
Simplistic results from public opinion surveys here in the United States reported by the popular media consistently show that the majority of citizens supposedly support the legal killings. To say that such conclusions are depressing is an understatement.
America's bold and forthright use of the death penalty is of interest to the international community for a wide variety of reasons. What is consistent among this group, however, is a sense of disbelief that the United States continues to hold so firmly to the archaic practice of putting its own people to death under the guise of justice.
There is an interesting irony in the fact that the United States portrays itself to the international community as a leader in the pursuit of human rights and justice, yet it is that same community that condemns the United States for its continued reliance on capital punishment.
The United States is not eligible for membership in the European Council of Governments because of its insistence on maintaining the option to kill members of its citizenry. The United States imprisons more of its citizens than any other industrialized nation. More than two million people are currently warehoused in prisons across this land over 3,500 on Death Row. In response to the public fear of escalating crime, officials and politicians have toughened laws, arrested and convicted more people, and put more innocents in prisons for crimes they did not commit.
Why should you be concerned about the wrongfully convicted? Because both the frequency of false accusations and of convictions has risen to the point where more and more innocent people are at risk. A friend, a relative or even you may be the next victim of the U.S. justice system.
The travesties of justice need your full attention because as many people rightly suspect, the U.S. justice system is in trouble. It is too often up for sale to the highest bidder. Money frequently buys freedom, but the reverse can also be true, as the lack of money has resulted in the worst court representation conceivable, even resulting in the death of innocents.
The U.S. justice system over the last twenty years has experienced a 'boom time' like the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800's. Never before has there been more demand for legal services of all kinds, and for new prisons and prison personnel.
Follow the dollar, and you will see that many people are benefiting from the imprisonment of more people, guilty or innocent. The justice system is now a profitable industry here in the United States. The perception that people want to cut back on crime-related spending is not supported by reality, as there is little to no effort being made to deal with actual root causes of crime.
This boom is an ongoing nightmare to those like myself hopelessly caught up by the wide and often indiscriminate net of so-called U.S. justice. Entire families and communities are being shattered as a result of these injustices.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, over 100 people have been released from Death Row. That means for every 6 to 7 prisoners that have been executed, one has been set free, sometimes after more than a decade of unwarranted incarceration.
The circumstances which have caused the wrongfully convicted to be released involve several factors acting in combination or alone. Such things as incompetent defense attorneys; prosecutors and judges motivated by other things besides the truth; police beatings and torture; hidden evidence, false evidence and perjury; or just having been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Being poor will almost guarantee that the Defendant will suffer the ultimate punishment. Proponents of the death penalty will offer all sorts of reasons why it's necessary to empower the state to commit murder, but what they fail to address is the criminal justice system itself.
The present judiciary can be described as an adversarial process that is, you have two opposing sides which present their version of an event, and like a great illusion, the truth appears. As in any clash, one side usually holds a slightly stronger position than the other.
The state wields an enormously unfair advantage in that it has almost unlimited economic resources and training. If we shut our ears to the wailing and gnashing teeth heard from the pro-death penalty camp, we clearly see how arrogant they really are. For in their emotional hysteria, they fail to recognize that decisions of the judiciary are made by people, and as such, are subject to error.
We've seen throughout history where such errors have been made in non-capital offenses, and now have definitive proof that errors have almost resulted in the possible executions of the innocent.
If the arguments of the Executioners are correct, then why are they not arguing for public executions? After all, if the ultimate penalty is such a great deterrent while being carried out in dark corners, it stands to reason that it would be more effective if broadcast on television a true public exhibition of law and order.
Public executions in the United States were abolished because society has not only unconscious reservations about state murder, but because we also find this type of behavior morally offensive. Instead of abolishing The State Sanctioned-Murder,it ís allowed to be carried out in closed rooms with a few designated witnesses.
The argument to justify executions is merely smoke and mirrors to mitigate the moral dilemma of knowing that taking a life is wrong, versus the need for vengeance. At best it is dysfunctional to argue that the individual action of taking a life is wrong, but that it is acceptable conduct if perpetrated by the state in the name of the people.
The fear of crime and violence is real and cannot be dismissed with a sweep of the hand. Yes, there are crimes which are so horrible we find them morally offensive, and allow fear and confusion to demand the ultimate punishment.
When people stop and confront personal fear, a different perspective starts to emerge, for upon closer examination, people find that there is absolutely no deterrence value that can be associated with the death penalty. In fact, most studies have concluded it actually exacerbates the situation, while raising the possibility that innocent people may be executed.
Society cannot flourish in the Executioner's shadow. Clearly, the death penalty is ineffective in combating anti-social behavior, its use a wasteful salve to heal emotional wounds but it is the implementation of the death penalty as a political weapon by the state which provides the strongest reason why the death penalty must be abolished.
One cannot truly understand life if he lacks direct knowledge of people who are unhappy and suffering. My own sufferings have enabled me to understand the sufferings of people and their causes as no man without suffering can understand.
A time of great testing comes in every life when, placed in severe circumstances, people all too easily tend to give up, convinced that the situation is hopeless before even considering what concrete actions they could take. In their hearts and minds, they have already conceded defeat without even putting up a fight. That, in fact, is the cause of all failure. That is what you call a defeatist attitude, an attitude that leads to self-destruction.
In spite of my situation, I will always remain hopeful and confident. Even if I am in prison, my mind and spirit are not. Just as I speak, there are people in society who are imprisoned in their own prison, a prison of their own making. Our minds can either cripple us or energize us, regardless of where we are, whether it is out in society or in prison.
Throughout history, no one has become great or free without overcoming adversities in life or storms of abuse. Living in a brutal, violent and unforgiving environment where death and adversity is a constant companion, I have learned through the years that, depending on one's frame of mind, even on Death Row, one can experience peace and tranquillity even while encumbered in a struggle of basic survival, while at the same time seeking justice. An inner strength and state of life with a set goal of freedom is not and cannot be swayed by external conditions, regardless of how abominable they are.
YOU, MY FRIENDS, FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ
MY WORDS, AND FOR YOUR SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT.
Below is Scott's Pen Pal Request:
Hello there my name is Scott, 30 years of age, Irish-U.S. background.
My interests include but are not limited to; All kinds of music,
good books, chess, working out alot, world history, Irish history
and politics, Irish culture and language, all things Celtic.
I like to laugh and joke around, enjoy good conversation, meeting new people, and learning new things.
Any one interested in being a pen pal with me, I would really enjoy hearing from you. Warmest regards Scott.
Mr. Scott Collins
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, California
The CCADP offers free webpages to over 500 Death Row Prisoners
Contact us for more information.
"The Eyes Of The World Are Watching Now"