Elliott Hill

by Elliott Hill

Its no feeling in this world like being “locked up” for something you didn’t do. Let alone was never even there. Its no feeling like knowing your innocence, yet a convicted murder in everyone else eyes. I have been writing the Innocence Project since 2000, which is now in the process of reviewing my case. Which help, yet due to there shortage of staff will take years to assist me.

Just recently my attorney died, Mr. John H. Underwood, a court appointed lawyer from Portsmouth, VA. Not knowing this, I wrote to Richmond to request my whole case file. Upon receiving my entire case log, to my surprise within it was information I never knew existed. Information that was being held back at my formal lawyers discretion. As I combed through this information I slowly started to see I was railroaded. The emptiness I feel everyday has made me disconnect emotionally, which has cost me so much. I can not see what I could have done differently. I sometimes think to myself, this just doesn’t happen in our society, this is America. I can not see how God would put such a heavy burden on my shoulders. Then I thought maybe my story could serve as a testimony of how broken our justice system really is. 1 in 3 black males in Virginia will face some form of incarceration. 1 out of 2 will drop out of school. These two statics shows how the “School to Prison Pipeline” effects our community. We(African Americans) drop out of school and graduate to prison. Where prison become our school of hard knocks (Penn State). Were we find ourselves, and have the time to think and self rehabilitate. Which is sad, because it shouldn’t take prison to to learn yourself. But in a broken system, that becomes some people only option.

Its an old African adage that goes; I am because we are, we are because I am… We have to invest in ourselves, we have to start with the youth. Take advantage of thet stage were learning and curiosity is keen. Step up and play a role that has to be played. A father figure. Mass incarceration has removed 48,000 males from our community. Woman has step up and crated movements. Black Lives Matter, Black Girls Rock and other movements to advance our community. Weather socially, or politically. We have to challenge ourselves, as well as the system. We must not only fight the power, but we have to become the power. Obama said yes we can. Let’s not allow distance and time to became an enemy, but lean to help each other so that we can see the value in one another. And always remember; I am because we are, we are because I am…

Elliott Hill
DOC #1101156

Categories: Elliott Hill

8 replies »

  1. My special needs husband (Latino) got railroaded by his court appointed lawyer as well. In fact he referred to him as “Rainman” in court before letting him speak on his own behalf when he can’t even handle his own disability check! He watched as he was given 15 for ridiculous reasons and did nothing to defend him. Your passion is obvious. Your words are factual. Prayers your way!


  2. Yes Elliott, things are really screwed up. I waited arraignment for 90 days at the Hampton City Jail, and in that time, met at least 10 guys I thought and felt were innocent of their charges. Through appeal letters, two were released, and two others received reduced sentences.
    If my calculations are correct, then of the 1.6 million people incarcerated, 160,000 are probably innocent of the crimes they are serving for.
    But what to do? First, practice your grammar and English skills. You use the wrong words for the wrong reasons.

    Woman has…is really; Women have.
    Its no feeling…is really; there’s no feeling…you did this twice in your opening statement.
    everyone else eyes…is really; everyone elses eyes.
    become our school…is really; becomes our school.
    thet…is really; that.
    Weather socially…is really; Whether socially.

    I’m not here to criticize you grammar and spelling. You should be doing that for yourself. But I am here to let you know that when an appeal letter makes it to the board, the ones from atty’s are viewed first. Then the ones from inmates and families and friends are bundled up together and reviewed.
    The first grammatical error or misspelled word, gets that letter dumped right into the file 13, if you know what I mean.

    And don’t listen to President Obama, if he wanted things changed, he would have changed them. He is an attorney, for Christ’s sake.
    But you have got to get this writing corrected so as to be taken seriously. Then get your appeals in.
    DNA has been being used to prove or disprove peoples innocence or guilt since 1984. Thank God in 1986 when I was locked up there, Virginia was too cheap to spend the money. But you can get another state appointed atty to hear your plea and consider your case for reevaluation. If the case can be reopened, you may have a chance. No DA wants to look bad, so they will lobby against your request, but I have found the judges in VA are comparable and ethical. Not like Louisiana.
    Lastly, when I am feeling abused, I call on the Spirit of the Lord to strip it from me. To strengthen me, and instill in me the confidence, that I know what’s right, and what’s wrong. And to deal with it professionally.
    As always Elliott, God Bless you and keep you.


  3. My time inside opened my eyes to just how broken our system is. Because I’m white & had money, I got a much lighter sentence than dark skinned women who committed lesser offenses than mine. We have to end this madness and stop robbing the world of people who can be reached & rehabilitated. We have to have the patience to try and touch the humanity inside people rather than criminalize their addiction or poverty or skin color.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It really comes across in your writing how much you care about this issue. And it is a SUCH issue. Keep doing whatever you can, wherever you are to make a positive change for the ‘I’ and the ‘we.’

    Liked by 1 person

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