Newest Information.

Today I received a message from Clive Stafford Smith who has been Kris’s lawyer for about 26 years now, sometimes I think the world has so many problems,  what’s one more and since this one doesn’t involve Kurds being slaughtered by the savagery of the Turkish forces with beheadings and there are children dying in cages inside the U.S. border that maybe a problem like this one can take a backseat as no-one is dying. I find it can’t. I’m invested in this case because Kris is innocent of the murders he was charged with and he has been in prison for 33 years for no reason. You could say that his wife Marita who has stood beside him for the whole time is also in a prison albeit one of her own making. Recently a woman who while a policewoman, shot and killed a man in his own home. She was found guilty and given 10 years to serve. Kris has served over three times that sentence for something he didn’t do and they still won’t let him out.

It’s my belief that the State of Florida is either totally without feelings since they’ve seen the same proof as everyone else or they’re stretching proceedings out in the hope that Chris will die. They can no doubt just draw a line under it then and claim ‘It’s one of those things’. We can’t let that happen, Kris and Marita must have the chance to embrace again in a  place of their choice with no-one telling them ‘Time’s up’.

Anyway, here is the letter I received. Maybe you can see some fairness in it that I can’t.

Dear David,

Every time I think that Kris Maharaj cannot be subjected to any more injustice, agents of the State of Florida comes up trumps.

I last visited Kris in the euphemistically named South Florida Reception in September. I went to share the good news that the Magistrate Judge had set a hearing for October 17th. This meant we would finally be allowed to prove that his trial was manifestly unfair – and the last 33 years he’s spent in Florida’s prison system are unjust.

I should have known the devastating impact of a broken justice system could not be remedied so quickly – 33 years and counting.

The Magistrate had already agreed that we had submitted proof such that no reasonable juror could now convict Kris of the murders of Derrick and Duane Moo Young in Room 1215 of Miami’s Dupont Plaza Hotel all those years ago on October 16th, 1986.

We dismantled every element of the prosecution case against Kris, and obtained sworn testimony from six unimpeached alibi witnesses who placed him far away. Kris even passed his lie detector test: the prosecution’s star witness did not.

Lastly, we lined up half a dozen Colombian cartel witnesses who expressed shock that Kris was locked up for killing the Moo Youngs. The murders were a hit ordered by Pablo Escobar, they said – the Moo Youngs had been stealing from the Narcos and “had to die.”

One might imagine that this would be sufficient for Kris to be restored to the arms of his long-suffering wife Marita, but under current U.S. precedent it is – we are told – possible that a fair trial should come to the wrong result.

Hence, logic mandates, the mere fact that you are innocent is not enough: you must prove the trial was itself marred.

I stayed with Marita the night before my prison visit. She lives a lonely life in Florida, only permitted to visit her husband every week or two. Those visits are sacred to both of them.

The only disciplinary sanction Kris has got in the last three decades he has spent in prison involved a violation of the visitation policy – he stole a second kiss with his wife, when the rules only allow one.

Marita’s cottage is a shrine to the life they once had, with pictures of the couple in their London heyday, when Kris was a self-made millionaire.

She served me breakfast at the table where, every Christmas for the past 33 years, she has set a place for her husband, maintaining the fantasy that he might walk in any moment.

In the prison visitation area, Kris and I planned for his hearing. Though the Magistrate had only given us three weeks to prepare, we would meet the deadline. After all, it meant that Kris and Marita might – at long last – actually share their Christmas dinner this year.

After 26 years working on the case, we were ready to prove multiple constitutional violations – from the suppression of exculpatory evidence (a government informant told them in 1986 that the cartel committed the murders), to the fact that the judge had himself been arrested on the third day of the trial for taking a bribe from a law enforcement agent posing as a drug dealer.

The first slap came with the State’s request for three months extra to prepare. That may not seem much, but it takes us into 2020, by which time Kris will be 81-years-old and Marita 80.

The potential knock-out blow came the next day when the State filed an appeal, to try to prevent the hearing altogether. For 20 pages they argued that Kris should be barred from presenting evidence at all.

It is all nonsense, of course.

They even had the gall to argue that we have not been diligent in pursuing proof of innocence, when I have been to Colombia and back to get it. We will do what we have always done: trudge on towards justice, hoping to persuade the appellate judge to respond with expedition.

Meanwhile the State’s lawyers callously run down the clock on Kris’s life.

I do sometimes wonder how people sleep at night. I know I have often not been able to in the 26 years when Kris and Marita have been my responsibility, but that is because I fear I have not done enough, rather than too much.

I am working with Kris and the team at Reprieve to prepare for Kris’ trial in January. Hopefully, no other blows hit us between now and then. Kris and Marita should not have to spend any more time apart because of an unfair trial 33 years ago.

Thank you for reading,

Clive Stafford Smith
Co-founder
Reprieve
If you can write to your Senator or your Representative and ask them to look into this case and push for a speedy conclusion I’ll be grateful.
As always, Hugs to you All.

About davidprosser

Retired Local Government Officer who started to write at age 60 and hasn't looked back. Writes a humorous diary on the life of a member of the gentry.......and the village he lives in with his sadistic early morning alarm cat Oscar and his wife the formidable Lady J.
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11 Responses to Newest Information.

  1. jilldennison says:

    I find it difficult to click the ‘like’ button on this one, for this is a heart-breaking tragedy and a travesty of what we so blithely call ‘justice’ in this country.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jilldennison says:

    Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    On 16 September, I shared David’s post about Kris Maharaj, the man who has spent more than 33 years in prison for a crime he did NOT commit. At that time, there was good new, but today, David has an update … further delays. Kris Maharaj is 80 years old … how many more delays can he face? We refer to ‘justice’ in this nation, but sometimes it seems that justice is only for the wealthy, the white, the ones who can afford that justice. 😢 Please read the latest … maybe it’s time for us to start a letter-writing blitz!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good share David.
    I don’t know about you with your ‘local govt’ hat on, but with my ‘Civil Service’ ‘hat’ on it seems there is an institutional denial here that they messed up. But saving face and not having to do deal with a litigation for wrongful imprisonment is more important that justice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 1EarthUnited says:

    I’m very sorry to hear of this travesty and lack of justice for this innocent man. The system is indeed broken and Florida officials are hell bent on covering up this case rather than admitting they made a mistake.
    Within our criminal justice system, the real criminal in this case is the local government! Sad to say, all the letter writing and phones call will lead to naught. The weight of the entire system is upon this man and they need their sacrificial goat, the reality is there’s no hope if our elected officials refuse to do the right thing. All we can do is pray. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • davidprosser says:

      If the elected officials know they’re under scrutiny they may just push to expedite the hearing at the earliest opportunity and prevent any more pushbacks. Kris is at an age now where he warrants some kind of justice from the system. Marita would very much appreciate some kindness.
      Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1EarthUnited says:

        Who will hold these judges, attorneys, prosecutors, cops accountable? I see the so-called legal system protecting their own butts rather than correcting a grievous error.
        You are right about sharing kindness and grace with the Maharaj family and championing their cause. So long as you are not a resident of Florida or the United States you should be fine. These small minded bureaucrats can be very vindictive and harmful toward it’s own citizens. I can still pray for them, love is the most powerful healing of all! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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