First offender gets 41 years / Case of Injustice
17 year old Ryan Newman was sentenced on March 16, 2007 to 41 years of incarceration for robberies that were committed at the National Mall. Ryan had no court trial and was without appropriate legal representation. I, Tonya V. Cole, Ryan’s mother, am seeking justice for Ryan. I will send this petition to the U.S. Attorney General Office, and the U.S. Court of Appeals and other parts of the Justice system in an effort to get a court trial for Ryan where he can exercise his right to defend himself. I am asking you to sign this petition in support of this effort to seek Justice for Ryan. Ryan was arrested on July 28, 2006. On July 29, 2006 when he appeared in court, he was charged with one count of Armed Robbery and he was ordered to be held without bond pending an August 8, 2006 detention hearing. The hearing was waived by his attorney. Ryan was rushed through this before we could review the evidence and without making sure Ryan understood everything. Ryan’s “attorney” withheld information so Ryan didn’t know what the evidence was against him. On August 29, 2006, Ryan, after being verbally coerced by his attorney, pled guilty to 6 counts of Robbery, 4 counts of Possession of a firearm during a crime of violence and 1 count of first degree sexual assault. Ryan was told by his “attorney” that his only choice was to plead guilty or face a life sentence without parole, and that a trial was NOT an option. Therefore, out of fear, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 41 years without parole. This was Ryan’s FIRST arrest. On several occasions Ryan asked the attorney about the plan of action to defend him. The “attorney” had no plan. Also, since Ryan was a minor, he shouldn’t have been pushed to make decisions on his own. The “attorney” made decisions for Ryan without Ryan’s understanding and consent, and without my understanding and consent. Ryan took responsibility for his part in the robbery, but due to coercion and dis-information, he pleaded guilty to charges for things that he did not do. In addition to charges for which he was denied trial, Ryan now has a sex offense charge against him, and DNA would’ve proven his innocence. The sentencing transcripts prove that he was innocent because the victim herself specifically and deliberately excluded him. Ryan was denied any rehabilitation and is being housed in a United States Penitentiary where he expects to spend the rest of his LIFE. This is a case of Injustice. Ryan’s representation was totally inappropriate and any hope for justice for him was compromised. Due to the facts stated above, that I feel Ryan’s rights have been profoundly violated. Ryan made a serious mistake and took responsibility for his actions, but let us not forget, HE IS STILL A MINOR and should have been given a FAIR CHANCE. This petition will be forwarded to the U.S. Attorney General Office, Congresswomen Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Court of Appeals and Senator Barack Obama by December 1, 2008. I am asking for your help. By signing this petition you can help to bring this case to trial and to Justice. Thanks and God Bless.