Katherine was a working mother whose home was damaged by Katrina. She hired a contractor to repair her house in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, and that is where her trouble began. Katherine signed contract with Ralph Jefferson and agreed to pay $7,000 before repairs started on her house and $7,000 once Mr. Jefferson completed the job. Twice during the repairs, Katherine's contractor threatened to temporarily stop work on her house because he lacked the money to purchase materials and pay his workers. He requested and received advance payments on Katherine's final payment. Katherine advanced her contractor $3,500. When Katherine was presented with her final bill for the home repairs, she was addressing a problem on the phone and was distracted. She wrote the check for the entire amount on the contractor's invoice, plus $574. Katherine immediately realized her mistake. She called the contractor and asked for her check back and a corrected bill giving her credit for the advanced payments. The contractor refused. At that point, Katherine Conner did what any of us would have done. She cancelled the check, thinking that the contractor would return with a corrected bill when he saw that it was impossible to cash the check. Unfortunately, Katherine's credit union only cancelled the check to stop counter payments and did not also stop bank withdrawals. The contractor simply held the check for several weeks and then cashed it by electronic withdrawal. Please contribute at this "GoFundMe" account http://www.gofundme.com/wxx2o
Katherine's contractor therefore received payment on the $7,574 check that Katherine had already cancelled. Katherine complained to Pelican State Credit Union. The credit union acknowledged its error and and withdrew the money from the contractor's bank to repay Katherine. The contractor then filed a criminal complaint against Katherine and claimed she had done "theft of services." Katherine was arrested and prosecuted on what she feels should not have been a criminal justice matter, but a civil justice matter. All Katherine wanted was a corrected bill that credited her for the $3,500 advance payments she had made on her home repairs. Instead, Katherine was arrested for the first time in her 52 years, and she was faced with paying a bond and attorneys' fees in her defense.
At first, Katherine was convinced that once Prosecutor Samuel C. DaQuilla and Judge George H. Ware, Jr. saw her evidence and understood that she never wrote a check on insufficient funds, her trouble would be over. She hoped that they would not allow an unlicensed contractor from Mississippi to take unfair advantage of a Louisiana Katrina victim by demanding thousands more than the contracted sum for home repairs that were not actually finished. Katherine Conner was so disturbed about her arrest on criminal charges, in fact, that she filed a grievance against the officers of the court. Katherine certainly regrets complaining about the judge and district attorney now, because they refused to recuse themselves from her case. She was convicted and sentenced to pay 77% of her monthly income in probation fees. Since then, Katherine has been rejected by several employers due to her wrongful conviction on felony charges, and she got behind in her probation fees. She now faces prison, and taxpayers face paying incarceration costs for a crime that did not happen. Please contribute at this "GoFundMe" account http://www.gofundme.com/wxx2o
Katherine Conner appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Surprisingly, the higher court upheld the conviction but ruled that Katherine Conner's probation fees should be appropriate according to her income. The lower court, however, levied unreasonable probation and restitution fees. Katherine appealed to the public, hoping to find legal assistance. She published videos and petitions to protest her conviction and gave numerous radio interviews: "Say Your Piece - Selena McCall," "Dr. Shirley Moore," "Brian Coleman," "Bill Windsor," "Rev. Pinkney," "Women in Prison," and "Making a Difference."
JOIN US at a Google+ Hangout to raise the past due probation fees for Katherine Conner and discuss the prison industrial complex on Saturday, April 13, at 6:00pm Eastern Time. Unless CoIntelPro interferes, the broadcast will also be archived at YouTube. Katherine only has a short time to raise the $3,000, which is an astronomical amount for the newly impoverished mother, but it is not much if we divide the cost - $10 each among 300 people who walk the talk against wrongful convictions and the mass incarceration of people, especially African Americans. Louisiana has the nation's highest incarceration rate in the USA, a nation with the world's largest number of prisoners in world history.
WE ARE GRATEFUL TO STARS WHO RECENTLY WROTE THE PRESIDENT
NEW YORK – Tuesday, a coalition of over 175 artists, actors, athletes, elected officials and advocates, brought together by hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons and Dr. Boyce Watkins, presented an open letter to President Obama, urging him to double down on his efforts to change the United States’ criminal justice policy from that of a punitive, suppression-based model to one that favors evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation.
Please contribute at this "GoFundMe" account http://www.gofundme.com/wxx2o
For everyone who prefers to mail Katherine Conner a contribution to pay her past due probation fees and help her avoid a Louisiana prison cell: P.O. Box 211, Wilson, LA 70789.
October 5, 2013 UPDATE:
Katherine Conner received some donations toward her probation and borrowed the rest. Now she struggles to pay her monthly probation and restitution fees which amount that is 70% of her income PLUS repay her loan. Meanwhile, her district attorney continues his attacks on black people. District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla had Herman Wallace re-indicted for murder a few days after he was released from 41 years of solitary confinement in Angola Prison. Wallace, one of the Angola 3, probably died immediately upon hearing the news in hospice care that he was due in court in December 2013.
“I say he is a murderer, and he is not innocent,” District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla said. “The conviction was overturned because the federal judge perceived a flaw in the indictment — not his murder conviction.”
D’Aquilla said Wallace's attorney Nicholas J. Trenticosta, of New Orleans, was wrong when he said Tuesday that Wallace is “a free man, and he’s innocent.”
We often consider what our lives would be if only . . . But no matter how dissatisfied we may be, it could be worse. Regarding the physically or mentally handicapped, homeless people, the incarcerated or people facing imprisonment, think to yourself, "It could have been me." - Curtis Foster and the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi