Help my Prison Daughter Pat Clarke 29438-004
Shortly after I arrived at Carswell FCI in 2010, I was approached by a Guard, who was highly regarded by the prisoners. She asked me to help a young woman, Patricia Clarke, who had been in jail 20 years on a life sentence.
I sought out Pat and after she shared her story I was determined to do all I could do to aid her. I am still determined because what happened to her in this merciless “justice” system cries out. She is not a “political prisoner” except insofar as being a member of a class—poor and black– that this hammer of oppression targets with deadly accuracy.
I am going to recount for you an abbreviated version of what has happened to her. As a young teen she left home in Florida because her mother’s live-in man friend was sexually abusing her. She found refuge with her two older brothers, who were dealing drugs. Out of the frying pan, you say ? Probably but they were good to her and protected her, asking her on one occasion to act as a “mule” for a package from the Bahamas. This act, her only crime, put her into a far reaching federal drug conspiracy. Part of that and by far the most significant was the stop and subsequent search of a car driven by a New York man Pat never met or knew about. In the car was a wrapped gift box and when the Florida state Trooper opened it, there was a bomb that exploded and killed him.
Under current “law” all members of a conspiracy are responsible for all its actions whether they knew about or intended it or not Pinkerton theory
After her arrest at age 19, Pat Clarke immediately co-operated with the DEA. Her first undoing came at the hands of a court appointed attorney in Tallahassee. He told her that the Government had withdrawn the plea offer of ten years and that they would have to go to trial. That was a lie. What he didn’t tell her was that he was facing imminent disbarment and was desperate for the trial fees her case would give him. Of course, they lost and he was disbarred the following month and she was sentenced to life in prison based in part on the death of the Trooper.
Her Appeal? A lawyer came to her in jail claiming to be sent from and paid for by a religious group. This person was full of enthusiasm and promises but months later Pat heard from the Circuit court that no brief had ever been filed. They quickly rounded up a public defender who hurriedly put something together. The written opinion, confirming her conviction rested on the outmoded Pinkerton theory that no knowledge of consent was necessary to be guilty of the acts of a conspiracy.
I recently found out that Pat was now in Aliceville FCI in a desolate part of Alabama. She still suffers from Sickle Cell anemia with attacks on a too frequent basis. She is in her forties. Recently she became part of an initiative for herself and 24 other women who are serving life sentences to ask for clemency: http://candoclemency.com
They are endeavoring to get signatures on a petition before November 23. This important web site is: http://wh.gov/iEGyo
Her cry for help was addressed particularly to her church family citing Matthew 25: 35-40 Christ speaking
“…Truly I say to you,as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers/sisters, you did it to me.”
Words that resonate not only to the religious but to all of us who are caretakers of and fight for justice !!!
Pat’s address Please write and encourage her:
Pat became my “prison daughter” because she had no-one to turn to. Let her become your prison daughter or sister or granddaughter. Fight Injustice !!