Antunesha Smith 0

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

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This petition is specifically for my incarcerated mother Sharonda Miller of Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, IL. My mother was incarcerated in March of 2002. The crime she was convicted of was first degree murder sentencing her to 30 years. The victim being Alexander County Assistant State's Attorney Steven Jett. This petition isn't to pardon Miller of her crime. I as a mature young adult understand that what she did was in a sense wrong. However, at the time of the death Miller and Jett were both under the influence of illegal substances. Illegal substances like the ones used by Miller and Jett flood the brain with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. Illegal substances also alter brain chemistry, which interferes with an individual's ability to make decisions. Behavioral problems caused by drugs are paranoia, aggressiveness, hallucinations, impaired judgement, and loss of self-control. Without question, drug use and criminality are closely linked. Basically what I am saying is drugs could have played a role in the murder of Jett. Since Miller has been rehabilitated for the last 13 years who's to say she couldn't live life as a positive, drug free, productive civilian? Also, Miller being charged with first degree without any proof that she murdered Jett willfully and premeditated is wrong. Miller and Jett had a 1-2 year friendship. The friendship was based off drugs and sex, but it was a friendship none the less. Miller engaged in sex willingly with Jett for money to get drugs. According to Miller, Jett attempted to force her to engage in sex with him, but she refused which caused an altercation ending in his death. Self defense or voluntary manslaughter should have been the charge seeing how Miller meant to hurt or possibly kill the victim, but extenuating circumstances influenced the situation and/or the accused was mentally compromised. Not only am I wanting this petition to aid in getting Miller's charge changed to manslaughter, I am also wanting this petition to shed light on the falsely accused inmates. Of course not everyone is innocent, but in some cases people are falsely accused which ends up taking their entire life away from them. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right given to us by our founding father, Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. It is everyone's right to pursue happiness and if freedom is happiness than why restrict someone from their rights as an American citizen?

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