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     This Could Happen To Anyone

Jim came back to the States on August 10 and is now usually at home.  There are still appeals under way, so we won't be posting anything specific about the case or the charges.  He has been instructed to keep the limericks coming, as some people do not wish to quit them cold turkey.

Jim wants to make certain everyone knows how much he appreciates all the support you have given him, Michele and Kate.


May 2009   Jim and Michelle at Kate's Baptism 

Dear Friends,

Now there’s something I never thought I’d open a letter with. But “dear friends” it is. If this particular nightmare has a bright side, that’s it—the people who know me know that I didn’t do this, and have been breathtakingly supportive throughout. More than a hundred people wrote letters asking the judge to place me on probation rather than in jail, and many more than that have expressed their faith in my innocence in more informal ways. This has been deeply moving and immeasurably valuable to me and to my entire family.  

I did not do this crime. I am innocent. I don’t know who did it, but I’ve always supposed that it was some student or administrator in the Marist IT operation who wanted a place to store their collection of unseemly photographs, including some illegal ones. There are certainly plenty of people there with both the access and the skills to do this kind of thing.  

And anyone who knows me knows perfectly well that I am appalled by any kind of mistreatment of kids, especially child pornography. I have a daughter, five sisters and a brother, and almost countless nieces and nephews. I am very fond of all of them, and would be furious if I thought any of them were being exploited in this or any other way.  

However, that’s not the story the judge heard, what with one thing and another, which is why I have been found guilty. I’ve always known that referring to the legal system as the “justice” system expresses an aspiration rather than an achievement, as shown by the many convictions that have been overturned on newly analyzed DNA evidence. So I guess I can’t act surprised at this verdict, but frankly that doesn’t make me feel much better.  

The more surprising aspect of this has been the time and expense of the whole process, which is still continuing after more than two years. The Buddha said that nothing lasts forever, but he never got involved with the American legal system. We have borrowed against our home equity and cashed in my retirement funds and been advanced large sums from family and friends, and still the bills come in.  

I hate this, you know. Not just being convicted of a particularly awful crime that I didn’t commit, but having to ask other people to help get me and my family out of it. And still in a way I feel fortunate in being able to do this. We all know that many people are incorrectly accused and convicted who do not have the kind of personal, financial and social support that I have been blessed with. If you can help us out, we will be deeply and permanently grateful. But whether you can help us or not, try to do something for those others. This site contains the names and addresses of several organizations dedicated to helping out those less fortunate than we are who find themselves on the wrong end of the legal system.  

Thanks,  
Jim Kent and Family

On August 14, 2009, Jim Kent was sentenced to 1 -3 years in State Prison by Judge Alfieri, despite more than 150 letters supporting his request for probation and unanimously favorable recommendations by at least four different formal pre-sentencing evaluations.  

We are hopeful that he will prevail on the appeal, but we won't know this for several more months, according to our appellate attorney, Nathan Dershowitz.  

We all appreciate your concern and support throughout this process.     

Thanks,    
Michèle and the rest of Jim's Family

 

COMMENTARY ON POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL ARTICLE:

We recently got a message on the website that the writer "saw news articles that said "Jim" told the judge "Jim" accepted responsibility for the crime and expressed remorse, but your website says "Jim" is innocent."  This is because Jim's words at his sentencing were misrepresented in the Poughkeepsie Journal and the paper refused to print a retraction.  Jim has never admitted guilt because he did not place the pictures on his computer and is therefore innocent of the charges.  If you wish to read Jim's actual comments they are on printed in full in the Jim's Own Words portion of the website, or click here.    


For current comments from Jim, see "Jim's Own Words"



 

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