What Are People Saying:
Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.
The quality of being unjust or unfair; lack of justice. Webster’s New World College Dictionary (5th ed. 2014). Justice is required in prosecuting individuals: carefulness, so that we do not punish the innocent . What we see so often is not injustice because of mistakes, but deliberate injustice. Injustice by District Attorneys who buoyed by prosecutorial immunity and desire for future public office seek guilt by all means, unfair and foul.
Pastor Isaac Aryee suffered remarkable injustice, but for the grace of God whom he believed, he would have spent the rest of his life behind bars. Prisons all over this great nation confines far too many innocent people, behind bars and barbed wire fences.
Make no mistake, a lot of individuals need to be confined for the public safety. Pastor Aryee’s innocence was clear from the beginning. As the attorney who first represented him, I made his case to the District Attorney, but she will have none of it. She was going to prosecute him, regardless of the truth and the evidence presented to her of that truth. Should would ignore evidence, lie about and intimidate defense counsel because there is scant disincentive and scant consequences for this kind of unlawful coarse behavior.
Pastor Aryee spent ten years, ten years of the prime of his life in prison. He could have died there, contracted a life-threatening illness or die soon after release. It is no surprise that individuals found innocent, after release, live only for a short while. I thank God that he will not die, but live to show forth the glory of the living God.
Life in prison is awful. As Pastor Aryee narrates, there are times he planned his suicide. Somehow, God prevented him. Ten years! Approximately 3,650 days, 87, 600 hours, 5,256,000 minutes: not knowing what was going to happen to him each day. After the jurors returned a guilty verdict, the Judge ordered him to serve 35 years to life – an indeterminate sentence. He was supposed to die in prison. But, God! But, God! God kept him. He had exhausted every possible avenue of reprieve, until deliverance came in form of an original birth certificate. Through those times, days and hours, Pastor Isaac did what Joseph the son of Jacob did, he never ceased from exercising his gift: which is to encourage and to pray and to teach the gospel of the kingdom of God.
It was not only Pastor Isaac that suffered from the consequences of this great injustice: his wife did, and his four young children did.
They bore the brunt of the accusation and the shame of it. Growing without him, unable to see him because of the crime for which he was convicted, they bore the weight of the unjust conviction and the shame to0. But Bernice Pastor Isaac’s wife did what a child of God will do, she did not cease from praying and trusting in God. Left with four young children, she had to look to God each day. Some days she did not know what to do: but she lived and prayed and did what she could each day. For visits, she would make the two-and-a-half-hour journey to the prison in Buena Vista. The visits were mixed with deep emotions for Pastor Isaac – strength and pain. But he kept his hope in God. And continued to minister to other inmates.
What was most amazing about Pastor Isaac’s case was that long after the Judge ordered a new trial, the District Attorney’s Office hid discovery and continued to refuse to do what they should have done earlier – move to dismiss the case. After further delay, they eventually did dismiss the case. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ. Romans 8:37 The Holy Bible (King James).
As it turned out, the truth that I told to the District Attorney ten years ago was the truth, that was presented to the Judge at the motions hearing for a new trial. We give God glory! But it is not that truth alone that set Pastor Isaac free it is Jesus that was the truth that set him free. John 14:6 the Holy Bible (King James). There are many that have told the truth and are still behind bars, innocent but behind bars.
The horse is prepared against the day of battle, but safety is of the Lord. Proverbs 21:31. The Holy Bible (King James). Even with the truth in hand, it was insufficient to save Pastor Isaac. The District Attorneys have a great deal of power and authority make no mistake about that. However, we give God glory, for He is greater. Not all have Pastor Isaac’s persuasion. Not all have Pastor Isaac’s faith. Nonetheless, these are men and women created in the image and likeness of God, all in need of help. Justice needs help. Justice needs you. You can make a change and you can contribute to the change.
Anselm Efe, LL.B., LL.M.