SCOTUS ShowsLittle Concern for theInnocent in Prisonby Paul CasteleiroThe Supreme Court of the United States, in its recentdecision in Shinn v Ramirez and Shinn v Jones, 142 S.Ct. 1718 (2022), made it clear to all State court prisonersthat they are not to look to the Federal court to correctthe States’ miscarriages of justice. In the Court’s view,the State’s interest in the nality of its convictions is moreimportant than the injustice of the prisoners’ wrongfulconvictions and sentences. While it is unknown how manycases the decision will directly impact, it is clear the Court issignaling to the States that there will be even less Federaloversight of their justice systems and that the Court has littleconcern for the innocent in their prisons.The Shinn cases involved federal habeas corpus petitionsby two individuals separately sentenced in unrelated casesto death by the State of Arizona. In Jones, the petitionerwas able to present evidence, in an evidentiary hearingconducted by the Federal district court, establishinghis factual innocence; evidence his trial attorney failedto investigate and present. In Ramirez, the petitionerpresented evidence to the Federal district court showinghis trial attorney failed to investigate and present mitigationevidence indicating the inappropriateness of his deathsentence. In each case, the petitioner’s State appointedpost-conviction attorney failed to raise the issue of the trialattorney’s incompetence.centurionseeking freedom for the innocent in prisonsummer 2022 issue twentycenturion.org | 609-921-0334SCOTUS ShowsLittle Concern forthe Innocentin PrisonPaul Casteleiro,(Cover story).Trauma, PTSD &HealingPam Feig,(pg 10).Family GatheringInvitation!(pg 8).(continued on page 4)
2Donate online at:Rob Mooney - ChairmanRob Connor, PhD - Vice ChairmanCharles Crow, Esq.Mary Catherine Cu, P.J.A.D.Jozelyn Davis, PhD - TreasurerJim Floyd, PhDKate GermondJohn GrishamKenneth Javerbaum, Esq.Willlem KooykerJames McCloskeyRichard MilesEdwin Pisani, CPAStephen Pollard, CFPKathy VikCorey WaldronBoard of DirectorsCorey Waldron - Executive DirectorPaul Casteleiro - Legal DirectorKate Germond - Senior Advocate & InvestigatorJanet Baxendale - Intake Analyst & Volunteer DevelopmentJames Cousins - Attorney, Case InvestigatorPam Feig - Post-Release Support CoordinatorChristina François - Assistant Legal DirectorRosemary Kay - BookkeeperAlan Maimon - Case InvestigatorMadison McCoy - Administrative SupportGene Truncellito - Case Development ManagerTyler Spikes - Exoneree SupportKimberly Weston - Case Development ManagerLaila S. Wilson-McCoy - Mgr. of Organizational Initiatives & PlanningStaFollow CenturionCenturion -Freedom for the innocent@CenturionFreecenturion.freedom Centurion
Dear Friend,More than any other time in our history, there is a growing societal awareness that there are innocent men and women in prison. It is safe to say that most people agree that innocent people should not be imprisoned. There are a seemingly endless number of movies, television and streaming series, podcasts, and news reports that tell the stories of the wrongfully incarcerated men and women we serve, and others like them who fell victim to a justice system more focused on convictions than on guilt or innocence. We now know more about how wrongful convictions happen (coerced confessions, prosecutorial and police misconduct, ineective lawyering, etc.) and have access to hard data that could drive impactful systems changes and reduce the growing number of wrongful convictions.Instead of taking steps to address this crisis, new procedural bars that limit innocent people’s ability to get their cases back in court continue to be implemented across the country. It is maddening. Please take the time to read our Legal Director, Paul Casteleiro’s cover piece on the Supreme Court’s recent rulings in Shinn v. Martinez and Shinn v. Ramirez. These decisions are devastating examples of the growing number of seemingly insurmountable challenges innocent people in prison face when trying to ght for their freedom.Decisions like Shinn have a very real human impact. In this newsletter, you’ll see the faces of some of the incredible people Centurion fought to free throughout our history. Their stories inform our understanding of the systemic aws in our justice system, and reinforce the basic concept that innocent people deserve every possible opportunity to be heard and to secure their rightful freedom. It should be getting easier to get innocent people out of prison. Instead, it’s getting more dicult every day.Our expert team will not back down. We will continue to ght for the innocent in prison regardless of the new obstacles that encumber our path. We need you to stand with us as we navigate an increasingly challenging system. Please consider making a gift to support our work today.On behalf of the innocent men and women we serve, thank you for your unwavering dedication to and support of our mission. .With gratitude,Donate online at:centurion.org/donatenowA letter fromExecutive DirectorCorey Waldron
SCOTUS Shows Little Concern for theInnocent in Prison(continued from page 1)The 6-3 majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas held that a person convicted in State court is not entitled to an evidentiary hearing in Federal court to develop evidence establishing their State court post-conviction attorney negligently failed to raise and present a constitutional claim that their trial attorney was incompetent resulting in their wrongful conviction or sentence. In the process, the Court, without specically stating so, overturned two of its decisions, Martinez v Ryan, 566 U.S. 1 (2012) and Trevino v Thaler, 569 U.S. 413 (2013). Under Martinez and Trevino in states where a prisoner is required, or compelled by circumstances, to wait until the post-conviction stage of proceedings to present a claim that his trial attorney provided constitutionally decient representation, the failure to present the claim in the State post-conviction proceedings is not a bar to presenting the claim for the rst time in a federal habeas corpus petition if the failure was based on post-conviction counsel’s decient performance. The Martinez and Trevino opinions created necessary exceptions to the general habeas corpus rules prohibiting a state court prisoner from presenting a claim in a federal habeas corpus petition that was not rst presented to the State court. Martinez and Trevino recognized the failure to present a claim to the State court that trial counsel was decient is the often the result of post-conviction counsel’s incompetence and a faultless prisoner should not be barred from presenting a meritorious trial claim based on the post-conviction attorney’s failures. Each state has its own laws or rules regarding post-conviction proceedings that a prisoner must follow if he/she/they wants to contest their conviction once it becomes nal upon being armed on direct appeal. Most states have a rule barring the ling of successive post-conviction applications, meaning that a prisoner, generally speaking, gets one opportunity to raise claims they should reasonably have known existed in their case at the time
5of the ling of their initial post-conviction application. In addition, in Arizona, similar to the rules in many other states, a prisoner can only raise a claim that his/her/their trial attorney was incompetent in a post-conviction petition, as opposed to as part of their direct appeal; in those states, the prisoner must necessarily rely on post-conviction counsel to competently present their claims. We all know the system often does not work as intended, and that post-conviction counsel will fail to competently present the prisoner’s claim that his conviction is the result of trial counsel’s constitutionally decient representation. So when the prisoner goes through the State post-conviction process only to learn post-conviction counsel has failed to properly present his/her/their claim that trial counsel was constitutionally decient, under Martinez and Trevino he/she/they still had an available avenue to pursue for possible relief. The prisoner could le a Federal habeas corpus petition and a request for an evidentiary hearing to establish why they failed in the State court proceedings to present the evidence of their trial counsel’s decient performance resulting in their wrongful conviction. Shinn takes the habeas corpus avenue away and throws the prisoners back to the State where their claims, depending on the State, will be subjected to the State’s successive petition procedural bar.Although the number of cases the Shinn decision directly aects is unknown, its importance should not be misunderstood. The decision makes it clear that the Court is intent on doing everything it can to make an already dicult and restrictive federal habeas corpus process impossible for a State court prisoner to utilize in order to obtain relief from a wrongful State court conviction. Paul Casteleiro has been working on behalf of and advocating for wrongfully incarcerated men and women for more than 40 years. His expertise as a post-conviction attorney and leadership within our team enables Centurion to provide the best possible representation for our clients as they ght for their rightful freedom. Learn more about Paul at centurion.org/sta
Centurion’s 2022 Family Gathering!Join us in Princeton, NJ on Sept. 29, 2022 as we celebrate freedom and family.The men and women Centurion has freed will be with us in Princeton to spend time together telling their stories, healing, and meeting our supporters. Funds raised during this unforgettable event help us continue our ght to free the wrongfully incarcerated.Scan the QR code to PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS & learn moreor visit centurion.org/2022-family-gathering
Podcast: Our American Stories The Former Seminary Student Who Fights for the Wrongly ConvictedOther Media Features!Scan these QR Codes to listen and read these two pieces about Jim McCloskey, Centurion founder and Ed Baker, exoneree.Listen to the podcast interview of Jim McCloskey on Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb. Published on July 25, 2022. He talks about his life growing up in the church, questioning his faith, returning to the church, and how he began on the path of ghting for those who were wrongfully incarcerated.Read this intriguing piece on Ed Baker published in June in the CL!CK. Ed talks about his journey of being wrongfully convicted for 26 years, exonerated in 2002, rebuilding his life, and the lingering struggles that still impact him.Willie Green - 2008David Alexander - 2006James Driskell - 2003Darryl Burton - 2008 Ed Honaker - 1994John Restivo - 2003Prince Moore - 2001James Waller - 2007Michael Austin - 2001Jimmy Landano - 1989Clarence Chance - 1995Steve Toney - 1996Michael Damien - 2005Lou Thomas - 2004Clarence Brandley - 1990Rene Santana - 1986Ellen Reasonover - 1999Dennis Halstead - 2003Elmer Pratt - 1997Nick Sousa - 2005Joyce Ann Brown - 1989Eddie Ryder - 1993Johnny Briscoe - 2006Wayne Eastridge - 2005Kerry Max Cook - 1997John Kogut - 2003Gary Jones - 2003Matt Connor - 1990Tim Howard - 2003Walter Lomax - 2006The faces of 30 of the 67 men and women Centurion has fought free,listed L-R with the year they were released from prison.
10Unique experiences dene individualswho are wrongfully accused andincarcerated. Participants of recentstudies report negative impacts onself-identity, psychological and physicalhealth, relationships, nances and abilityto adjust to a world that moved on withoutthem while imprisoned.
Trauma can be dened as: 1) Event,crisis, or major stressor generally outsidethe range of usual human experience thatevokes signicant symptoms of distressin most people. 2) Highly stressful andchallenging life-altering event causingfundamental and transformative changes. It can include either experiencing orwitnessing events that cause a responseof fear, horror or helplessness.
Many people subjected to trauma developwhat is known as PTSD: post-traumaticstress disorder, which was only formallyrecognized as a psychiatric condition in1980. Trauma can physically changehow parts of the brain work by alteringareas involved in identifying threats/storing memories of fearful events. PTSDsymptoms include the following: anxiety,insomnia, hypervigilance, exaggeratedstartle response, and intrusive memories/ashbacks with the same panic and terroras originally experienced. This can leadto persistent and distressing moods andthoughts, anger, guilt, shame, detachmentand aggression.PTSD can last a few months or years,though for others it’s a lifelong illness.The stress response that allows the bodyto react to perceived danger gets lockedinto perpetual overdrive. A threat isregistered, the brain signals adrenalineto surge, raising blood pressure andheart rate. Other parts of the brain triggerthe release of cortisol, the body’s mainstress chemical operating as a built-inalarm system. Normally the process isTrauma, PTSD & Healingby Pam Feig
New Board Member Announcement!We are delighted to announce that James A. Floyd PhD has joined our Board of Directors! Jim is a life-long resident of Princeton, NJ, the same city where we were established and currently located. Jim has been a supporter of Centurion for many years and brings considerable experience that will support our mission and organizational eorts.Dr. Floyd graduated from Princeton University in 1969 with a concentration in psychology. He later attended the University of Rochester and completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1975. Between 1975 and 1979 Dr. Floyd was director of the Community Readjustment Program, a free outpatient psychological service for ex-oenders in Mercer County, NJ. Jim has retired from a career with the NJ State Division of Mental Health, including serving as the “psychology consultant” for the Division, and an administrator at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, Trenton, NJ. Our team is looking forward to working with Jim; we are very appreciative of his support and leadership!deactivated when danger has passed and memory is stored, as regions of the brain involved decrease the high-alert activity. With PTSD, the links between these areas are disrupted and the individual can’t discriminate between safe and threatening environments. The brain over-generalizes the threats and stays activated, maintaining the state of high alert. Memories resist being changed and are stored in original form with all the emotions of the original event. Fortunately, treatments continue to emerge with ongoing research. We continue to learn about post-traumatic growth, dened as positive psychological changes experienced as a result of the struggle with extremely dicult or challenging life circumstances. This growth can happen naturally without the help of mental-health professionals, and can happen within weeks, months or years after the traumatic circumstances occur. Social support networks, disclosure about ones experiences, and learned coping skills such as mindfulness meditation and yoga contribute to growth and healing. Centurion recently held a weekend-long retreat for exonerees to start addressing the long-lasting struggle with trauma. Sta and outside professionals together were on-site to open the door to an ongoing journey of support, growth and healing within our extended Centurion family.
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