Friday, January 14, 2005

Wow!

Tom Coleman was convicted on one of two perjury counts today based on his testimony in the Tulia drug sting cases, but some folks think that's not enough. I can understand why Kizzie White is frustrated. Here's what she told AP reporter Betsy Blaney:
``I feel like the prosecutor, he had the proof of evidence that he was guilty on both counts, but yet they acquitted him on the theft,'' said White, 27, who spent four years in prison before her 2003 release. ``Really, I don't understand it.''
I get being that angry when you've been falsely accused by a liar, excuse me, by a convicted liar like Tom Coleman. Nobody gave her the same benefit of the doubt when she was in the defendant's chair. I've been involved with some aspect of the Tulia episode or another for a long time now, and compared to the darkest days, I wish I could reassure Kizzie that today the sun is shining brightly in that enormous West Texas sky.

On July 22, 2001 when we gathered together without Kizzie -- and without a lot of other Tulians who were spending time in the state lockup based on nothing but Tom Coleman's word -- the idea that she and Joe Morgan and Creamie White would be free, and the biggest problem we'd have is whether Tom Coleman will be punished harshly enough seemed like the wildest of pipe dreams. But that's where we stand right at this moment as I write these words.

Tom Coleman deserves a stiff punishment. The issue isn't what he was lying about -- in this case whether he stole gas -- but why he was lying: to obtain a conviction at any cost.

History shows juries don't tend to give cops, even bad cops, stiff sentences. It will be hard not to be disappointed if this schmuck gets probation or community service. But I'm so happy Kizzie and Joe Moore are back home and Tom Coleman's been proven a liar once and for all. It's been an amazing trip.

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