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Friday, October 23, 2009

Petition for Executive Clemency Denied - Sept. 29, 2009

My fourth petition for Executive Clemency was denied last December, however, it was only today that I learned the grim news. The Illinois Prisoner Review Board never contacts an inmate when his or her petition is denied. Instead, they send a brief letter to your family. My mother received the letter in the spring, but has been keeping it a secret from me. In fact, my entire family has known, and not one of them was forthright enough to tell me. After asking a few of my family members, I was told it is because they did not want to depress me, or be the harbinger of bad news. My sister and father gave the additional excuse that the letter was sent to my mother, thus they felt it was her responsibility to tell me. This is the second time my family has kept a rejection of a petition from me. They like giving me false hope, although they know how this angers me, and that I will eventually find out.

Executive clemency is, for the most part, the only avenue in which I can seek some sort of remedy for the injustice smitten upon me. All my regular set of appeals have been exhausted. I am researching the filing of a successive post-conviction appeal, but these appeals are very difficult to get heard, let alone win. Today, James Degorski, the second defendant in the Palatine Browns Chicken murders, was found guilty on all counts. I know very well that I was taken to trial, slandered by the press, found guilty, and sentenced to life without parole because of being named a suspect in the Palatine case. However, even after the two killers have been caught and convicted, I am still made to suffer, and no one cares to rehear my case. The courts, nor the governor, will reverse my conviction or sentence. It seems I am forever doomed to live out the rest of my years in prison.

Apparently, to make me feel better about my 4th petition being turned down, my father said the petition was a waste of time to begin with. He said no matter what I presented to the Prisoner Review Board, or how well and persuasive my petition was, it would have been denied. Executive Clemency is a highly political action, and although there is a board, it is the standing governor who is held responsible for the decision. Any governor who seeks a future in politics does not want to put his neck out for a man, even an innocent man, who languishes in prison. Politicians fear looking soft on crime to the media and voters; they must also worry that granting a pardon or commutation of sentence could come back to hit them in the behind. However, I thought my petition may have had a chance because it was clear to me, if not to the governor, that he would never be re-elected.

Ex-governor Blagojevich was under federal investigation for corruption, and had the lowest approval rating by voters in decades. He was eventually arrested, and charged with many crimes, including trying to sell the vacant federal senate seat left open by Barack Obama. There were a number of other pending corruption charges at the time my petition was before him, and I thought certainly this would allow him to do the right thing, and not act upon political self-serving interests. Contrarily, the governor denied my petition just before being arrested. I have no information as to what the Prisoner Review Board recommendation was, as their decision always remains a secret.

My fourth petition could not have been written any better. I spent many hours drafting, and redrafting it. I also went through many of my trial transcripts, police reports, and other documents to attach as exhibits. My petition was fully corroborated, and had twice the number of exhibits as it had written pages. I had to identify the exhibits with two sets of letters, A to Z, and AA to ZZ. In that petition, I did not just cast doubt on my conviction, but proved my innocence. I proved police and prosecutorial misconduct. I proved that I was not at the crime scene, and did not, nor could I have, lent my car to my co-defendant on the day in question. I proved that my lawyer was incompetent, and did not even try to contest the prosecutor's theory of accountability despite having overwhelming evidence at his disposal to do so. The interrogating officer, John Robertson, who claimed I admitted being told by my co-defendant that he was going to kill the victim, and lending him my car, was thoroughly discredited. Anyone who read my petition and reviewed my exhibits, along with their authenticity, could not have thought otherwise.

The Prisoner Review Board (PRB) seems unwilling to retry my case. Therefore, my petition also demonstrated the injustice of my sentence. I argued that even if the prosecution's case was true, it was a terribly cruel and unusual punishment, and that I received a protracted death sentence. I was convicted under a theory of accountability for allegedly having foreknowledge of a murder, not attempting to prevent it, and loaning my vehicle. I have listened to the evidence of numerous prisoners, and researched cases in law books. I have yet to learn of a person given life without parole who was not at the crime scene, and so minimally involved, or uninvolved, receive such a harsh sentence. A member of the PRB interrupted the prosecutor in his tirade at one of my public hearings to ask him if he knew of any case such as mine where the sentence was natural life without parole. The prosecutor did not want to answer, but the board member interrupted him again to ask, where upon the prosecutor had to admit that he had researched that and found no other case. Why should an 18-year-old be sentenced to life in prison for lending his car? Why does a person who is the most marginally accountable be given the most severe sentence? It is extremely difficult to accept that I must die in prison for the lies of a deputy who claims I lent my car. This is not justice.

One of my older clemency petitions is available online at http://www.freewebs.com/paulmodrowski/ This is a copy of my 3rd petition, and not the one that was rejected by former governor Blagojevich. The 4th petition is more compelling, and contains twice the number of exhibits. The petition now on the freewebs was posted by a girl I wrote years ago, and she did this without my knowledge. I suppose it was a surprise gift to me. She did not have access to the exhibits, so none were included. Ironically, it was the rejection of my 3rd petition that caused me to stop writing to her. What was the point of continuing a relationship where there was no foreseeable future? My family will always be there for me, along with other supporters of my freedom, yet having my petition denied once again does leave me with a bitter, empty feeling. As long as I am alive, however, I will continue to tell my story, like a ghost haunting the living, until there is justice.

My apologies to all those who signed my online petition this year. I do appreciate all the support. I am touched by those from my past who I have not seen in years, and yet who still remember me and have signed my petition for executive clemency. I realize I was not the most popular or friendly kid in school, and I am happy to have collected so many signatures. I recently received a signature from a girl I knew in junior high, and one of my early supporters was my best friend in elementary school, who I have not seen since 5th grade. These signatures mean more to me than I believe anyone realizes. I died, for all practical purposes, when I was 18, and those years before my arrest have special meaning to me, along with all those I knew back then. I am also grateful for all those who never met me, and despite this have given their support. The courts and past two governors of Illinois will not give me the time of day, but I am happy that hundreds of people across the USA, and even around the world, can sympathize with the injustice committed against me. I will not allow your signatures to have been made in vain. I will file yet another petition for clemency at the end of the year to Governor Quinn. This 5th petition, along with exhibits, will be put online for everyone to see. Hopefully, this petition will be my final petition.

10 comments:

  1. Paul - Do you remember the Mike and Paul radio show with Mr Microphone?

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  2. Hi Mike,
    I was quite happy to learn that you signed my petition for clemency, but even more so to have contact with an old friend. I have not seen or heard from you since 5th grade when your family moved away. I remember a lot from our childhood, including the "Mike & Paul Radio Show," which, if I remember correctly, had you laughing so hard that you were literally rolling on the floor! I wonder if the tapes would be at all amusing today--you don't happen to have them, do you? I also wonder what has come of you since grade school. Unfortunately, you see what has happened to me. I bet you never thought I would have been accused of multiple murders. You can email me (address is on this site) and provide an address where I can write directly to you.

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  3. Paul, I have looked into this case and have begun to believe your story. Was the jury wrong in acquiting Mr. Faraci in the murder of Fawcett? Also, if you could say something to Mr. Farcai today, what would it be?

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  4. you do something wrong Paul...I don't know what it is yet as I didn't have the time for details. I read the official case and I'm reading your postings but you are very wrong somewhere...Relax, we'll find out why your artillery keeps hitting the wrong target. I will have some questions for you but in the mean-time I need you to cut the crap of "dying in prison, bleah bleah bleah." You have no idea where will you die and I have the impression your mistake in finding justice is the reason you are still locked up.

    Don't blame your parents for hiding bad news from you. Typical...to them you're the little kid unable to cope, but you are able to cope so understand them and their reasoning which you will never change as parents are first parents and second cold thinkers unaffected emotionally by a case...and that's how one breaks a case...from the outside.

    Make friends...you will be released. Or think you will never be released and you will never. Hard to explain here, but you'll get it :)

    I will look into your case from the "guilty" standpoint and, with your answers, we'll figure out exactly what you are doing wrong. Don't think now, stay healthy, stay out of trouble, don't blame parents, and you will be fine.

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    1. I did not have anything to do with the murder of Dean Fawcett, nor did my roommate tell me his intentions. Ask me all the questions you want and conduct a thorough investigation of my case absent what may be considered my self-serving answers. I am innocent, but it is largely irrelevant. Until my mittimus papers say otherwise, I will die in prison.

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    2. If the judge agreed you were not at the murder scene and the FBI agreed your car contained no evidence of the murder, your stay in prison is unjustified. That you are innocent is indeed irrelevant as the justice system doesn't have time for that but we should make them re-sentence you, which will be freedom for you as there's nothing they could find to earn you 10 years in prison...I am interested in Fawcett's family opinion on your sentence...Is their grief and wish for revenge on anyone greater than their sense of justice? I know they celebrated your conviction but that was when you were also tied to the Palatine murders so of course anyone celebrated your conviction. Today though...are their feelings diferent? Maybe we should talk by e-mail. I am not as motivated as your lawyers but I am motivated enough to find out how you manage to run into bad luck for so long :)

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    3. Joliet CC, I am curious too. I can't imagine the pain that fawcett's family has endured, but wonder what their thoughts would be today. Did they believe Paul was involved with the browns chicken massacre, did they believe faraci? Were they just looking for someone to blame, and have they reconsidered the fact that the wrong man may sit in prison. I'm also curious if they have any information that may lead to the exoneration of Paul. Time may not heal all wounds, but it may shed some light..
      Raha

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    4. Dean Fawcett's parents testified at my sentencing hearing and asked the judged to give me death. During my allocution, I stated I could understand their anger and desire for revenge but it was misdirected. The person who killed their son was acquitted, and I was the only one they could direct their anger at. Since my trial 18 years ago, the extraordinary media coverage and highly charged emotions, I tend to believe they no longer have any animosity toward me. However, considering my friendship at the time with Bob Faraci and perceived knowledge or peripheral involvement, I can never know with certainty. I can only hope they no longer blame me.

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  5. Supporter: Exoneration for PaulSeptember 12, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    To Anonymous above: You must be new to this blog. Of course Faraci is guilty and his jury made a big mistake (just as Paul's jury did). You have no idea how lawyers manipulate juries and get away with it. I managed to get a seat for the last few days of those trials, which I think went on for over a month! The closing arguments were a joke. Whenever the state prosecutors lied to the jury, the judge would only interrupt and tell the jury that the only evidence they were to consider was the evidence presented from the witnesses, not the lawyers. He'd also tell them that the lawyers were only telling them their opinion of what happened, and he'd say "that is not evidence for you to consider." It was as if he memorized that because he said it to Paul's jury quite often.

    Personally, I think those jurors (there were 2 juries being shuffled in and out of the courtroom) weren't listening to the judge. They had to have actually believed all the crap told them, and it was crap--many lies and exaggerations were said by the states attorney during closing arguments.

    There is something gravely wrong with our justice system when states attorneys are allowed to lie to juries. In European countries, defense lawyers and prosecutors work together--they all are interested in the truth, not in just "winning."

    Unfortunately, I later learned from newspaper reports that some jurors actually believed those closing arguments over the actual evidence. That is why Paul was convicted and Bob was acquitted.

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    1. Excellent points made! I actually got a seat in the packed courtroom on the day closing arguments began. I'm not a lawyer but worked years for one and have some knowledge of proper protocol in trials. The state's attorneys violated many rules/laws in their closing arguments to Paul's jurors but Judge Amirante allowed them to continue even when Paul's lawyers yelled "objection". I believe the judge was prejudiced. Unfortunately, if the judge won't set boundaries or enforce rules, the jurors are led to wrong conclusions. This is not to say the state's attorneys were right or ethical in doing this, but the public needs to know their goal is to win at all costs. They'd sell their souls for a victory.

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