Grammy winner John Legend asked to help man who has already served 22 years in prison. He would have been released in 3 years if he had taken the plea deal.
— 2023 Plea Bargain Task Force: American Bar Association
PEMBROKE PINES, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, November 6, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — “Sometimes a miscarriage of justice is glaringly inexplicable and merits intervention from those in a position of influence,” explained Evelyn Castillo-Bach, Executive Director of Balanced Justice Network and the South Florida mom reaching out to Grammy winner John Legend in the hope he and his social impact organization FreeAmerica foundation will take an interest in helping her bring her son home for this Thanksgiving.
FreeAmerica has launched digital campaigns like #MyPotential, described by The Hollywood Reporter as working to “put a human face on the mass incarceration epidemic, educating millions via social media about the personal narratives of current and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families.”
As reported in the 2023 Plea Bargain Task Force Report: American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section:
“In general while some difference between the sentence offered prior to trial and the sentence received after trial is permissible, a substantial difference undermines the integrity of the criminal system and reflects a penalty for exercising one’s right to trial. This differential, often referred to as the trial penalty, should be eliminated.”
Last week, Ms. Castillo-Bach submitted indisputable documentation to the Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle proving her office offered Mitchell E. Finlay a 5-year plea deal in 2001. This documentation originates from a former prosecutor in her office who was Finlay’s trial attorney. The documentation states in writing that Finlay was offered 5 years and would have served 3 years with no mandatory minimum.
“I don’t understand, stated Castillo-Bach, how Miami-Dade prosecutors maintain in their response that it would be ‘irresponsible’ for them to mitigate Mitchell’s sentence. The facts of the case 22 years ago resulted in a 5-year plea deal offer. How does a person who deserved to be released in 3 years and has served 22 years is deserving of dying in prison. A Life sentence in Florida means one is never released.”
On the website for Balanced Justice Network – Changing The System, anyone can listen to podcast episodes from Mitchell E. Finlay. “These podcast episodes are a window into the integrity and goodness of a human being who deserves a second chance,” stated Castillo-Bach who added, “I pray for John Legend to help us bring my son home for Thanksgiving. Even years ago, I suddenly lost one sons to epilepsy. The pain I feel doesn’t go away. I don’t want to see my first-born son die in prison.”
The Balanced Justice Network website gives a concise summary on the case and includes a link to the last legal brief filed by Finlay’s appellate attorney Richard C. Klugh. No further appeal options are available. But the Miami-Dade State Attorney has the authority and the option to grant Mitchell a second chance and release him on probation.
On November 13, 2015, appellate attorney Richard C. Klugh filed an appeal to the Life sentence in THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, THIRD DISTRICT, CASE NO.: 3D15-1249, MITCHELL FINLAY, Appellant,-vs-STATE OF FLORIDA. APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR DADE COUNTY.
A video by Castillo-Bach posted on YouTube also appears on the website.
Prosecutors Offered a 5-year Plea Deal. Got Life.