Man on a Mission
A man made free speaks out.
Defending those accused of crimes is a tough business, especially when Christianity has been transmogrified into the right-wing political movement it is today. That movement has somehow forgotten about Jesus' directive to the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. But I digress.
A few years ago I represented a man on appeal who was convicted of conspiring with others to possess and distribute methamphetamine. He had contested the charges at trial, arguing that he didn't conspire with anyone at all, but rather only bought his methamphetamine from a drug-trafficking family of Hispanics (he is white). That distinction was lost on the jury, and he was sentenced to life without any possibility of release.
I believed he had good grounds for appeal; the case law around the federal circuits all spoke of the legal differences between conspirators and buyers and sellers of drugs. But, alas, the distinction was lost on our appellate court, too. It affirmed his conviction and sentence. He was never going to be let out of prison. Ever.
Sometime during my representation my client got saved. Yes, I know all about jailhouse conversions, but his was the real deal. How do I know? Here are excerpts from his last letter to me, close to three years after finding out he'd never see the light of liberty again.
Dear Mr. Smythe,
Greetings once again in the strong name of Jesus! I hope you are doing well and staying blessed. . . . Praise Report: I witnessed and spoke at length to the guy in the seat next to me on the plane. We ended up being housed together at FTC Oklahoma City. The next day he prayed a prayer of rededication. Rededicating his life to Christ.
While in OKC my roommate was a 24 yr. old young man from Colorado. I gave him my testimony and witnessed about the goodness of Our Lord. Told him about the Peace and Joy I'd found in Christ and how God was presently working in my life. He . . . ended up getting on his knees and praying the Prayer of Salvation and accepting Christ for the first time ever. God is using me right where I am at!
Ironically enough, I've never had the opportunity to meet him in person. But he's going to be one of the first guys I go to see when I make it to that lasting city made without hands.