So while I was off in Missouri eating BBQ and teaching public defenders how to improve their Voire Dire skills, Sick Ric Howard was dispensing his foul form of justice again.
Judge Howard--known to Indefensible readers as "Sick Ric"
Thanks to TalkLeft for this one:
Adam Bollenbach was 16 when he stole a six-pack of beer from an open garage. Apart from being young, he’s bipolar and suffers from ADHD. His crime merited an apology, repayment for the beer, and enough supervision to assure that he obtained treatment for his mental health problems. So why is this Florida teen serving a ten year sentence?
Months earlier, Adam had been charged as an adult for theft of a bag of potato chips from his school lunchroom. This charge was dropped, but according to the law, once charged as an adult, you cannot be charged as a juvenile.
Adam went before Circuit Judge Ric Howard who admitted that he was using Adam as a teaching tool in front of other juvenile offenders. The result was a sentence of 10 years in prison.
After a year and a half in prison, a request was sent to have Adam's case reviewed. It was denied, stating that a minimum of serving two years was required before review. Within months, Adam was stabbed in the neck with an ice pick by a fellow inmate.
A second request for clemency was sent in November 2003, requesting review of the case in fear that Adam would not make the two-year requirement. The case is now set for a Clemency Review meeting on Dec. 15 in Tallahassee.
If the Clemency Review committee gives Adam an "unfavorable" recommendation, he’ll have to wait three more years to renew his request. At that point, he will have served at least six years for stealing a six pack of beer when he was a juvenile. Ron Lundberg, who writes about Adam’s story today, asks the right question:
Just how much blood does the justice system demand for stealing a six-pack of beer?
Lundberg would like to see the Clemency Review committee flooded with letters in support of Adam. If you want to write, please send your letters to:
The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI),
P.O. Box 641312,
Beverly Hills, FL
Your letters will be presented at the Dec. 15 Clemency Review meeting, where (though unlikely) justice could finally prevail and Adam Bollenback could be released.