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What good is a jury?

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Andre Jacobs, a prisoner at Dallas, PA SCI, tells his story about the constant harrasment he has been under since he won a case in the Federal court.

In November 2008 I acted as my own attorney in a civil action against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (D.O.C.), which involved the unlawful seizure and destruction of my legal materials by prison officials in retaliation for exercising my First Amendment right under the United States Constitution to seek redress of my grievances. On November 24, 2008, an eight (8) member jury exonerated ten (10) D.O.C. employees after three days of deliberation and entered verdicts in my favor against Carol A. Scire, Gregory Giddens, and Thomas McConnell on claims of conspiracy, retaliation, obstruction of access to courts, and defamation of my character. I was awarded $185,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, property damage, and harm to my reputation. On September 21. 2009, on a post-verdict motion filed by Attorney Scott A. Bradley, Federal District Court Judge Joy Flowers Conti ran afoul of my 7tlh Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution to a trial by jury and overrode the jury’s conclusion that defendants Scire, McConnell, and Giddens conspired to violate my federal rights and that, despite clear evidence that defendants seized and destroyed my legal property and fabricated official state documents in an attempt to conceal it, no violation of my right to access the courts occurred. This resulted in a $70,000 reduction on the jury’s award, stripping me of my due process rights and a verdict won fair and square. Although I am the first prisoner to win a verdict this big in the history of litigation against the PA DOC, none of the newspapers are reporting to the public these silent and catastrophic attacks on this verdict for all concerned with prisoners’ rights and the jury’s right to not have their factual determinations re-examined by any court. What good is a jury if a dissatisfied judge can alter their decision and replace it with her own? Within days of the verdict spreading like wildfire, prison guards began a campaign of harassment against me and buried me in solitary confinement with their false disciplinary reports against me. Then, by order of the Commissioner of Corrections himself, Jeffrey A. Beard, I was officially placed on Restricted Release, which means I’ll remain in solitary confinement until I’m released from prison or I die. This decision was made with full awareness of the known adverse side-effects of solitary confinement, my diagnoses of dystmia and post traumatic stress disorder, and the August 24, 2009 suicide of Matthew Bullock in SCI Dallas’ Solitary Confinement unit where I am also housed. Mr. Bullock was mentally ill and was being subjected to psychological torture by corrupt prison guards who are serial offenders but are never punished.These same guards routinely starve me of food, have twice assaulted me on video and have threatened me with more attacks and eventual death. As recently as October 1, 2009, the same attorney I defeated at trial, Scott A. Bradley, of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, has ridden on the momentum of sabotaging my victory by asking that the Court reduce the remaining $115,000 to as little as $500. If this perversion of justice and the jury’s verdict is to continue, I call on every organization, attorney, and member of society to assist me in educating the world in what goes on behind the jury’s back in America. “Though the heavens fall, let justice be done” Andre Jacobs #DQ5437 SCI Dallas 1000 Follies Rd. Dallas, PA 18612 October 1, 2009