I was standing outside of room C-302 at the Waukegan Courthouse when the attorney who spent the morning standing in front of the judge, and lying about me to The State’s Attorney, looked me in the eye and said this, “I’m just doing my job, Mr. Morelli.”
This is the problem with law school, they aren’t teaching aspiring lawyers how to pursue justice, they’re teaching neophyte criminals how to exploit questionable relationships with questionable judges to pursue legal fees where it’s not about the merits of the case, it’s about winning even if you have to destroy lives, especially if you have to destroy lives.
Ambition is the priority, not the truth.
Winning is the priority, not the truth.
Luckily I was old enough to know how to handle the situation. I smiled, shook hands and made a mental note to comb through the deposition, finding the exact moment my words were taken out of context, falsified and presented to the judge. Luckily I was a man.
Unlike the boys in “When They See Us.”
Korey, Kevin, Raymond, Antron and Yusuf, otherwise known as The Central Park Five, were boys living in Harlem when they were rounded up, tortured by police, tortured by prosecutors and hung out to dry by a judge. If you don’t know their names, commit them to memory: Korey, Kevin, Raymond, Antron and Yusuf. If you haven’t watched the series, sit your lazy ass down.
There needs to be a cultural reckoning. We need to change. There needs to be accountability for the lawyers, police, prison guards and Donald J. Trump who spent $85,000.00 on a full page ad which served as a bounty, demolishing the presumption of innocence. But more than anything else, there needs to an awakening.
Racist Insanity has undermined the legitimacy of the criminal justice system in America. The presumption of guilt which is laid at the feet of black boys is little more than intentional madness. We need to own it or we cannot fix it.
It’s one thing to be a boy. It’s another thing to be a man.
I got lucky in the darkest hour of my life, when the threat of criminal prosecution was being used to push a civil settlement, I was a man who was old enough to understand the power of sitting still, going quiet, writing a book, writing a song, giving it time, putting my energy into other things like hitting the open mic. I knew how to shed the people around me, no matter how close to me they had pretended to be. I knew how to let their choices show me their character. More than anything else, I trusted my number one coping mechanism…
I spent 1 year and 8 months working on this video. Writing it. Re-writing it. Tweaking it. Re-tweaking it. Passing it quietly around. Listening to the right people for what was expected. Taking my time on bending the expectations.
I’ve been asked what I expect from it now. I can honestly tell you I don’t know what to expect. I passed it around for laughs. That’s really all I expect – laughs – who knows what else might happen?
A dear friend of mine said it best when he said this, “I just watched your video. It was really good. Loved the animation. Loved the storytelling. If only it could get as much attention as a Shit Tweet.”