Favorite

Praying for freedom 

Praying for freedom

Hi, my name is Charles Jason Baldwin and 16 years ago I was convicted for a crime I did not commit. I was a 16-year-old boy then, today I am a 32-year-old man and next month I'll be leaving prison for the Craighead County Jail for two weeks worth of Rule 37 hearings.

Every day life offers us choices — most are mundane, like whether or not I'll take sugar in my coffee, or tuning into KSSN 96 vs. The Edge 100.3 — these are easy choices based simply on personal preference, neither right nor wrong, nor life changing, simply life affirming. When I was just 16 I was forced to make a choice the results of which wouldn't be so innocuous.

On my last day of school for the 10th grade I was taken into custody. For the next 289 days I would not be allowed to hug my mom or my little brothers. The only people I came into contact with seemed powerless to help me as I told them the truth of my innocence. To say I was under pressure would be an understatement.

One day I was offered a choice. I was told the only hope in the world I had was to turn “state” against Damien Echols and testify under oath that he murdered those three boys. The problem with this choice was the fact that I did not know who murdered those boys. For the life of me I did not believe Damien did — and even if I had a “belief” as to who could have done the murders, the simple fact remained that I did not know who committed them. Many people have found themselves in similar situations and chose a different path than the one I did, but 16 years later I do not regret my choice. The one time my choice counted for something real I made the right one — I chose to protect innocent life.

Our worldly and wise forefathers knew very well the dangers and imperfections in any justice system — even and especially ours. Innocent people can fall victim to the fell clutch of circumstance, so safeguards were put into place. Next month I pray those safeguards will perform their duty and that I'll at last be freed. Tonight I rest easy knowing that when I was confronted with the choice to protect innocent life, I made the right one.

 Charles Jason Baldwin

Tucker Unit

Thanks for the clarity

Thank you, Ernest Dumas, for your clear articles on the new Arkansas lottery.  These articles departed from the “yellow brick road” paved with cliches regarding education and employment and pulled back the curtain on reality. 

Reading the outrage about the salaries of lottery officials has been interesting.  Arkansans have yet to realize that in a few weeks, the Arkansas Lottery (the state government) will begin spending millions on advertising that encourages poor citizens to buy lottery tickets in order to send the children of people too smart to buy lottery tickets to college. 

Emil Turner

Little Rock

Not so slow-witted

I am one of those “slow-witted” Arkansawers who do not understand if the salaries paid to lottery director Ernie Passailaigue and his two vice presidents are in line with their jobs, but I am smart enough to know there should be some type of accountability, and incentive to properly perform their jobs.  I would suggest a contract with a “reverse golden parachute” clause.  Withhold 25 percent of their salary in an escrow account and if the results of the lottery meets the amount that we have led to believe will be achieved, give them that money and march on.  But if not, Arkansas keeps the money and uses it to pay off the incurred debt brought on by the lottery, and show the door to the three.

George Gatliff

Little Rock

Don't forget

Life is acres and acres of shit, worry, concern, much happiness, adventures, love, blessings, great friends, love of life and finally death.

Sometimes death is a welcome friend. One is relieved of all the horrific pain and suffering of old age, but to thousands upon thousands of young men, 65 years ago on a day called D-Day, they died, mostly horrible deaths.

Let us NEVER forget.

Beverly A. Clary

Little Rock

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • Outsourcing state government

    As a citizen, I don't get to choose not to pay taxes because I don't like what the Arkansas state government is spending state and federal money on, such as paying a Chinese company, Sun Paper, approximately $1 billion to build a paper mill in Clark County.
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Radical Zinn

    Re: the bill to remove Howard Zinn books from school libraries: When "alternative" books are removed from school libraries and class curriculums, it is the beginning of broader suppression of education and civilian participation in politics, not the end of it.
    • Mar 9, 2017
  • On Walmart and state money

    No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.
    • Sep 21, 2017

Most Shared

Latest in Letters

  • In response to the Oct. 16 Arkansas Blog post "UA Little Rock picks firm to study football"

    I guess UALR has money to waste. This study will probably conclude with the same results the 30 Crossing [study] did, i.e. this is a "have to" idea.
    • Oct 19, 2017
  • If not now, then when?

    I remember asking that question after 20 children were murdered at Sandy Hook. Surely, this tragedy would wake us up--get us working to end our gun violence epidemic.
    • Oct 12, 2017
  • Mena memories

    Not sure of the exact time, but back then a county deputy (later a drug task force officer) told me he'd been on a mountaintop near the Polk County line when a large twin-engine aircraft flew over so low that he threw himself on the ground to avoid the propellers.
    • Oct 5, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

October

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: 2017 Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival preview

    • Yusssss!!!!!

    • on October 20, 2017
  • Re: Last

    • Such a great Observer column, but then they are all pretty damned good. It's the…

    • on October 19, 2017
  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • my mum who is 61 years old but 30 years old in her mind, has…

    • on October 17, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation