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A FORCED DECISION



"Then we have a bit of a problem here," said my lawyer.

"But why should I plead guilty when I didn't do anything wrong?" I asked him.

"Sometimes it is not a matter of what is right or wrong. Sometimes it becomes a matter of what is best in a particular legal situation," he told me.

"I don't know what you mean." I responded.

"You are being charged with contributing to the delinquently of a minor. Count one charging that you furnished alcoholic beverages to a minor. Count two charges you with having sexual intercourse with Eileen M. Roberts.

"But I didn't have any sexual intercourse with Eileen Roberts. All of us kids just slept on the same bed together," I told him.

"Let me put it to you another way. If you plead guilty on both counts and avoid a jury trial; the District Attorney will agree to a one year on both counts. He will then ask the judge to run the sentences concurrent. That means that you will serve only one year in jail. If you plead not guilty and decide to go to trial the District Attorney will ask for a sentence of three years, on each count and he will recommend that the two sentences be ran consecutively. That means you could possibly serve a sentence of six years. You would then most likely be sent to prison," my lawyer explained.

"But doesn't it matter that I didn't do nothing wrong?" I asked him again.

"NO!" He shouted. "I have explained the options to you. Those are your only options. It's now up to you to make a choice, he continued.

The next day I was taken from my jail cell and taken to the court-house where I pled guilty to both charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. As agreed the judge sentenced me to one year in jail on each count. He also stipulated that the two sentences were to be run concurrent with one another.

While in court, on several different occasions, I continued to express my feelings of innocence to Judge William Warren Taylor, but my statements did not appear to matter to the court. That incident happened almost 40 years ago. To this day being forced to make that agreement still sticks in my craw.



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