WhyWeWork BrianVee
WhyWeWork BrianVee

Episode 90 · 1 year ago

#90 Jeff Deskovic - Foundation for Justice - BrianVee WhyWeWork

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jeff Deskovic was wrongfully convicted of a crime and spent 16 years in prison. Since his exoneration, his mission has been to help others who have been wrongfully convicted. Jeff started The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice and seeks partners, supports, and donations for this worthy cause.

Contact Info

Jeffrey’s Profile
linkedin.com/in/jeffreydeskovic

Websites
Deskovic.org (Company Website)

Facebook
facebook.com/jeffrey.deskovic (FB page)

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/jeffreydeskovic/?hl=en

Email
j.deskovic@hotmail.com Amazon Documentaryhttps://www.amazon.com/Conviction-Jeffrey-Deskovic/dp/B08F9CN2XG


About
"I am all about making a difference, and working for justice.
I am an internationally recognized wrongful conviction expert, and the Founder and President of The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, which exonerates the innocent and pursues policy changes aimed at preventing wrongful conviction in the first place. I am an advisory board member of the coalition group, "It Could Happen To You", which has chapters in NY, PA, and CA which I am involved in; and I sit on the Global Advisory Council of Restorative Justice International. My body of work: approx. 200 presentations nationally and internationally; authored more than 200 articles in nine different publications; countless television, radio, print, and new media interviews; regularly meeting with elected officials and testifying at legislative hearings; co-teaching a wrongful conviction college class several times; served as a Continued Learning Education on 12 different occasions; co-taught the ethics class twice a year for the last six years to police cadets. I have a Masters Degree; and a law degree, with admission to the bar pending. My motivation is that I was exonerated by DNA testing after 16 years in prison- from age 17-32- for a murder and rape which I did not commit. A short documentary about my story, advocacy, and life, entitled, "Conviction" can be watched on Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/Conviction-Jeffrey-Deskovic/dp/B08F9CN2XG

I am talented at: public speaking; doing media interviews; writing; organizing; planning; collaborating; and planning campaigns on public policy as well as strategic media around wrongful conviction cases, events, causes, etc." (LinkedIn, 2021)

Welcome to why we work with your host Brian V. As he speaks to people like you from all over the world as we together dive deeper into our motivations, struggles, joys, seemingly missteps, hopes, warnings and advice, which would be an encouragement to us all to get up, get going on, keep on working. Working is tough, but working is good. Now here is your host to why we work. Brian V. I'm Brian V, and this is why we work today at the great pleasure Speaking with Jeff Deskovic, Jeff Story is pretty amazing. In high school, he was convicted of a crime, served 16 years and eventually was found to be innocent. He is finding it his work to help other people who've been convicted of crimes who are innocent. Join me in my conversation with Jeff Deskovic. I'm Brian V, and this is why we work today. Have the great pleasure. Speaking with Jeff Deskovic, Good morning finds her Good morning to you as well. Yeah, we I have the night, but it's it's still it's still nice to be talking with you, Jeff. Well, you do is a little bit of a favor and give us a snapshot of what you're doing now and who you are. I did give a brief introduction, but just a quick little snapshot and I'd like to bring you back. Yes. Yeah. I run the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, which frees wrongfully convicted people so, so far, with 3 10 people. And we pursue policy changes aimed at preventing that helped past three laws and then, as part of a broader coalition group called it Could Happen to you with some advisory board member of the help past for additional law. Uh, I'm an advocate in the field. I frequently speak across really the world, and I do frequent media interviews and regularly meet with elected officials and, um, testify on behalf of various criminal justice reform measures. I'm an attorney, and lastly, I have, uh, documentary short which is available on Amazon Prime or conviction about my advocacy work. Now, Jeff, I truly appreciate the work you're doing. I think it can't be said enough for a man who has been in your plight. If that is a proper word. And normally, for my e guess 89 episodes so far, I would say, Can we go back now for you. Your story, the main part of the difficulty in your life started what happened in high school. But did you happen just because this is a podcast about work? And I think you're doing a great job and the work that you do. But did you happen to have a job before all of this nightmare happened in your life when you were a teenager? Did you have ah, job something? Something that got you out of the house? Well, I wasn't paper. Very good. Do you know what, Jeff? Most of the people that I have interviewed the paper boy or, you know, McDonald's or something like that. But that's great. How old were you when you started Thio Throw the old papers? 14 or 15 years old? Very good. And why Why did you get that job? Well, what got you out of the house to get a paper wrote? I was I don't recall the exact sequence of events, but I know that I was approached. I was approached to do it. And, you know, some of my friends were beginning to get, you know, you know, job, you know, light jobs as you mentioned of one kind or another and the idea of earning some money would be, uh it was kind of intriguing. Now, now that I think of it, I'm thinking in my mind, how am I going to to conduct this interview well and being respectful And not only that, anyone can go online and you are all over the place if anyone looks up your name to find out the whole story, different aspects of the story. But when you were 16, this is This is the beginning of the nightmare and and maybe you could go into that a little bit. But I think I might have a little twist Thio my questioning after that. Sure, so that when I was 16, the year was 1990. It was big scale in Westchester County was suburb, which was suburbs suburb in New York, and it was middle class, ethnically diverse, and crimes is pretty rare there in general. And my one of my classmates, who was in two of my classes of freshman one, is a sophomore. She went missing, and ultimately her body was found a couple of days later, and so that's settled off like a general atmosphere of fear, rumor, paranoia and, you know, And you know, after school, I was kind of like the...

...life of the party, you know, one of the two main kids and whatever I would suggest would be what we would do, whether that was basketball, ride bikes, play monopoly, video games, that kind of thing. But in school, you know, I was quiet to myself. I did. It wasn't familiar with the kids there. I never quite really fit in Esso. When the police interviewed a lot of students from the high school, some of them told the police they might want to speak to me so because I didn't fit in, So that got me onto the police radar. Another factor was this was really my first brush with death, and I was kind of a sentimental kid. And so I had, like, an emotional reaction to that and the police view that is suspicious, like, you know, why is this kid who doesn't like, fit in so emotional about somebody he really doesn't a Barely knew. Then they got a psychological profile, which purported to explain what, uh, what the psychological characteristics would be of the of the actual perpetrator. And I had the misfortune of 19 that profile eso ultimately the police, you know, they engage in this cat and mouse game with me over six weeks. You know where half the time they talked to me as a suspect, the other half the time They pretend they need my help to solve the crime. And I wanted before I was a teenager. I wanted to be a cop when I grew up. And, you know, Jeff is a junior detective. Helper theme was what the police went to first, they would question a suspect and I would get nervous. I'd want to get out of there. And then Jefferson's junior detective helpful would be what they played up eso. Eventually they got me to agree to take a polygraph test. And so, on the school day, they drove me across county lines about 40 minutes away by car. And, you know, I didn't have an attorney present. They didn't give me anything. Thio eat and they wired me up without many cups of coffee. And then they attached me to a polygraph machine. And then they interrogated me for 6.5 to 7 hours, you know, featuring threats and false promises. And, you know, good cop bad cop. And eventually they got me thio by the threat of farm and promising me that I wouldn't be arrested if I just told them what they wanted. They got me Thio falsely confessed, which resulted in my collapsing in a fetal position on the floor, crying uncontrollably from there, a serious of circumstances unfolded, which ultimately resulted in my being wrongfully convicted of a murder and rape and winding up serving 16 years in prison prior to being exonerated by DNA testing, which identified the actual perpetrators. So all my charges were dismissed on actual innocents grounds and he was arrested and convicted for killing the victim. In my case, I just want to quickly add that left free. While I was doing time for his crime, he killed the second victim 3.5 years later, who had who was a teacher and had two Children? Eso president from 17 to 32. Yeah, I know it's hard to process I did in a short amount of time, but you know, I'm interested. Instinctual to your theme of you know, why we work in purpose and all of that. So I didn't wanna do the longer version, but certainly asked me whatever you'd like in regards to that. So, yeah, it's it is a nightmare. And I do have a question that is kind of lingering of something like to ask, but it made me think of your time in prison. Did you find yourself? Well, what did you find yourself doing or able to do to keep yourself busy in sort of staying on top of things and and working it was there. It was their abilities to do that. And I'm not saying okay, people go to jail because you can go work. But I'm just wondering what what you went through that 16 years of your life, right? So what did you do to stay active and stay busy and to come out even though you shouldn't have been there in the first place, but come out to the point where you're now a lawyer? You got a bachelor's degree, you got a master's degree. You're a lawyer. So what? What did you do to stay active? I was able to work with a purpose for followers. There And so what that entailed, Which was me staying active as you correctly state was. I used to go all library and study the law, you know? And I used to collect articles about other people who are excited meeting. I was trying to determine who helped, Um, what route did What route did they take? I wrote a ton of letters looking for, uh, lawyers and investigators to try Thio help provide me with the crucial legal services that I needed to regain my freedom and, uh, you know, overturned the conviction. But the other thing that I did was I found meaning in is everything I did while I was in prison. Right? Was here to some kind of potential usage, you know, if and when I returned back to society when I regained my freedom. So I took advantage of the educational...

...programs they had there or not. Yeah, G d. I got associates. I completed a year towards the bachelors before funding was cut. And when that happened, I turned to vocational trade. So I learned to type. I took a class on general business which pertained to the usage of the computer in the workforce I took a computer repair class. I took a course on how adults learning worked as a teacher's aide for a year and a half, helping other prisoners prepare for taking the G, the G test that I I went toe coming in my cell. I used to read from 1998 to 2006, I would read three or four books on non addiction. I would talk. I would read them books on self help in relationship books. I mean a big Well, I'm not going to get any much experience in relationships while there. But when I get when I turned back to society, me instead of having relation, having had relationships in my teens, to draw back on, to be successful in a new relationship, I'll of Red. So as much as I can fall back on that. But I used to do the best that you can read books on governmental abuse, expose and and declassified CIA books and books on presidential history. I felt like in studying those political type of topics that you could indirectly trace the the collective mindset of the country as it moved from, you know, from you know, your years, two years, decades and decades. And in so doing, you would understand more like where we are today in the world wide things are so those were the ration announced and that I did and I I found ways to relieve stress and leave the present mentally by by playing spy sports. I engaged in this elaborate delusion playing basketball, But I would play basketball, ping pong or chest, you know, pretend like I was a professional player and so was everyone else. And I had this worked out where we went to the gym. That was a road game and this armory that was at home and, you know, But it wasn't really like kids fantasize, and this was more like I needed. I needed to leave the prison for a couple of hours memory. So I did that. You know, I listen to sports talk radio on the weekend, but it wasn't listen to sports talk radio. This was a lifeline to the outside. You know, I love Sundays during NFL season. I would I would watch, listen to the so I had to give us a television in the South so I would have the game on the one o'clock game before oclock game in the 19. But while doing that because those weren't my favorite teams, I would be listening to games on the radio while watching a different game. So I just kind of like those out on that, and I would cook a few meals in the in the cell and the hot pot, so I have a little routine on Sunday. It's what I'm what I'm what I'm getting at. So all those things I found some meaning and purpose, and I praise help to preserve my sanity. And I worked this mental place now where I thought like I wasn't doing a 15 a life sentence. I thought I was doing a year or two until I went to the next legal proceeding, which I was sure that I was gonna win because I was, you know, because I was interested and I would cut out nature pictures and hang them up on the wall and travel there mentally. So I did what I came up with all of those things and I found some meaning and purpose. I was able to keep going. I was had a single minded focus. And it helped me when I, you know, was warding off. Those things will help me in warding off feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, thoughts of giving up suicidal ideation. I have repeatedly fight those things off in finding that purpose in the working. I didn't help me to do that. But Jeff, everyone's innocent. So did you find yourself when you were in the library? There's some other people there like, Hey, Jeff, can you help me do this thing? But there's people there that were innocents. I mean, besides you when you were young and 16 and 17 18 and reading these books because you hear that, that said a lot, right? Oh, yeah, I'm innocents. No, I'm innocents. I believe you're innocent. But were there other people besides you saying the same thing? Just trying to get out? Is that the mentality of trying? Or there's people there. Obviously, there is people who have settled into they're guilty and they're going to serve out their punishment. Or is there other people that are just trying to get out any way that they can? A lot of the above let me break that down. So in general, most people do not proclaim their innocents. And in prison, I mean, for two reasons. I mean, mainly because it's a waste of time, right? The other prisoners can't help you to get your freedom. And neither can the prison, the guards or any of the other civilians of prison officials. Secondly, you would never want to draw attention to yourself, because if your case is reversed, but you have to go back to trial rather than the government just acknowledging your innocents drop in the case. You don't want one of the other prisoners to, you know, look, atyou is their way of going home soon. And it could very easily accomplished story that while you were walking around the prison yard, you know, he...

...told me that he did it. You know, it wouldn't be that hard to come up the fact, because every time you there's an appeal that the decision comes out in the law books, which has a factual parts, so it wouldn't be hard for somebody to go and look that up in concoct a story s Oh, there's that. There's certain contexts where proclaiming your innocence would work against you. So for well, um the prison wants you, Thio, take some. They recommend that you take a program that's designed to address the crime for what you're incarcerated is that you can increase your chance of being paroled s o that one. For me, that would have been the sex offender training program. But the problem with taking that is you would have to admit guilt. You know, not just saying you're guilty, but details and in writing and blow by blow account. So I I refused it. And if you refuse to do that, you even not be let in the program, you'd be kicked out. So, uh, so that context, it works against you at the parole board. They want to hear you express remorse and take responsibility and show some insight into your behavior. And I didn't do that. I maintained my internist. And so I got turned down from roll, which resulted in my doing an additional year prior to being exonerated. There's creature comforts in the prison. I mean, you know, if you don't complete the right programs and you can't be on, you can't be on the waiting list for the honor block, which has a few extra creature comforts. You could have recreation every night. You could shower every night. You could go to the store once a week rather than every every two weeks. And you can't participate. Stay in the family reunion program, which involves, uh, there's a trail around these trailers on the prison grounds, and your family could come up, say, on a Friday and they don't leave until Sunday morning and you stay in the trailer with them on the prison grounds. But, you know, I couldn't participate in that because I wouldn't take that program. So in those contexts it's against, you know, it works against There were many prisoners there who would say, Look, man, I I did what I did. I got caught, you know? You know, I'm not going to cry about him is gonna make the best that I can do the best I can with this and try to go home as quickly as I can. Everybody's got an angle there either looking for legal loopholes in their case, or they're doing this program or that program hoping to get out. You know, sooner 11 way or another, or even just it just complete the sentence minimum, and that's it. So that was but in the law library, there were, I mean, across my 16 years I met with I had expressed the conversations with three people who maintained that they were innocents. There were 19 people that that I did time with that were exonerated even before me or after, but only three. Only four of them that I know were innocents ahead of time. And one of them didn't even tell me. I just saw on the news he was doing media coverage, but yeah, so that was how that that was on that one. So you mentioned and I can Onley imagined thinking of giving up right. However, however, that looked suicide or giving up, you know, studying and trying to get exonerated. How long were periods of that feeling of giving up? Was it a day by day weekly? I mean, you're talking 16 years, you know, after the first year when you Oh, well, I guess no one's coming, you know? Okay, the fifth year, you're like the 10th year, right? I understand your question. So firstly, I lost seven appeals along the way, and so that that took up 11 years to lose the toe, lose the seven appeals. So I had that going on in my mind for those 11 years eso in that in that time maybe maybe once every six months the thought would cross my mind. But once the But once the appeals were over, you know you're permanently locked out of the courthouse unless you can come up with some new evidence. So at that point, my legal work, right, really consisted of writing letters, looking for looking for an attorney or investigated to try to find some new evidence because it's pointless to Google or library anymore because you're not allowed to make legal arguments in court unless some new decision comes down to applies the old cases. So at that point in time, you know, thoughts of giving up, you know, one more frequent, maybe like every every two or three months. I'd fall into a funk every two or three days, and you know, and so during those four years of writing letters, at times it was a challenge just to come up with, like, who was the next person or ended or a place that I was actually going to write to, you know, And so there might be when there was, like, two or three weeks that went by without my sending a letter out because I didn't have another place to try. And when I say places to try, I'm not just talking about, um, letters to people who could help me directly, like a lawyer or investigator or nonprofit doing this work. But, I mean, also indirectly. So there was a line of reasoning that I could come up with in my own mind, like something somebody could do, which...

...could set in motion a chain of events that ultimately culminated into my getting the legal help that I needed. I wrote that letter, and I laid out really quickly upfront. I never assumed that everybody could understand what they could Dio, and so in time would go by when I didn't right ah, letter for two or three weeks. That's when the feelings got strongest. The most difficult period in my life, without a doubt in terms of this would have been in my 15th year because not only in my appeal's been up after 11 years, but I wrote letters for four years and rarely get getting response other than the occasional. No, the rest of it I had to figure out was a note because like, a couple of months went by and I said we didn't hear that. But then I went to the parole board and, uh, I was turned down there, and at that point I felt like I was going to die in for, you know, being wrongfully convicted of crime I didn't commit. But, you know, this person showed up. I had placed the ad in any newspaper called the Sacramento Bee looking for a £10. But my the process I worked out in my mind was, Yeah, I'm gonna look for £10 and I might start out that way. But at some point in the conversation, I'm sure that what am I doing in prison that's going to come up and I'm gonna That's gonna be my chance to mention. But I'm innocent. Make my case for that. And possibly I could convert that person to being my champion. That could help build that bridge between me and the legal help. So when that person wrote me, who was it was a crime victim. His name was Scott and he saw solidarity between his situation and mine, linking us as being victims of the justice system just in different ways. I mean, I was I was I was right road and I used to write him every week and I was openly asking him Look, should I give up? Should I which and I just commit suicide. And, you know, I was open. We were openly discussing that back and forth and letters along with other things about life and sports and stuff, and he tried to give me ideas of what to do. But he was in over his head as far as that part. So I would ignore that and just focus in on, you know, the other parts of the letter. Uh huh. The other thing I want to mention in terms of how I got by, actually, which is a part of an answer to the question you asked earlier in the interview, was that there was another wrongfully convicted person there named French Sterling, and him and I. We read each other's legal paperwork, so we both believe in each other's innocents because it was a false confession case also, and I had the DNA test which didn't match me, which I was convicted of, despite that, And I was later exonerated through further DNA testing, which do the databanks that identify that the perpetrators. But the DNA that didn't match it was my evidence for Frank to believe that I was innocent along with the matter was the confession happened. But on Frank's, then, uh, there was an actual perpetrator that there was actual perpetrator. What confessed the four different civilian witnesses and and the cops had just disbelieved. And they considered he was just like, you know, bragging in a way that people somebody kids might do to try toe draw attention. So that was how I believed in Frank Sanderson's, you know, So every once every six weeks, um, Frank and I would get together, uh, in the prison yard and our conversation. You know, half of it would be about trying to keep each other going morale wise, and the other half of it would be that we were just brainstorming. What's the next move to make man? What's the next letter to write? Who's the next person to contact? How can we try to overturn these wrongful convictions and regain our freedom. And we actually made a pledge to each other at at one point that whoever got out first. We're trying to help the other person, even if it was simply limited to the level of raising attention to the other person's case. And as it turned out, I was released first. But during the press conference of my release in the middle of that, I started talking about Frank and French space, and so when eventually he was exonerated a couple of years later, a local reporter remember that, and he wrote like a local story. Because I'm in one part of the New York state, you know what was in West Chester is. In my case, Waas and France was like five hours away, up north with the local rule water. Remember that? And he wrote the story titling it. Uh, I believed in his innocence, and I liked it so much I framed it, and that's actually in the office of a non profit organization, which, you know, I started using which, as you know, I started using. I started it by using some of the compensation that I had received. I committed a million and a half dollars for the money that I got his compensation, just with the idea of reaching back, finding purpose and meaning, you know, in doing advocacy work to try to pretty suddenly situated people. And I do believe that that's my purpose in the world. That's how I make sense of everything that happens in yes, that's your. Your mission now is to help fight wrongfully convicted people in prison. And I mean, it's a true inspiration. I think you being a teenager, getting out and being a man...

...and seeing the world must have amazingly wonderful perspective. And I would think, But there's there's hopeful people out there a little disappointment in how you see people waste their time because I'm looking at a man who you were in the library. You were writing letters. You got your education, your gt, your associates. You got a one year of college. You learn typing your repair mint. Plummer learned about the government. You end up and you would probably say, Yeah, I wasted some time, but you used ah lot of your time very well. And to come out of the world and into the world and see the way some people are wasting their time and using a lot of excuses, not toe work. How is your perspective on what you see with the youth today, Generally speaking or people? And how would you encourage people about getting their first job and how they could start looking into doing that? Yeah, I do. Look at it like a lot of people are wasting that time. I mean, when I was released, you know, I got scholar. I was given a scholarship. So I got the bachelors and, you know, that's what got the Masters and the large injuries heart of the organization. And did all this advocacy work and even have the large body of work that my my endorsements been sought in 10 different political races where just since reform and wrongful convictions for other plants. So even people running for office see that you know, their perception is, well, if this guy endorses me and basically blesses me and my platform, that could be influential in helping me to get, you know, a few more votes other than what would be the case, So I am dismayed when I see people you know whether it's youth or even just adults. Just wait wasting their time. You know, I have the same A couple of things that I fly to myself, and and it really frustrates me that people don't act on this. Uh, look, there's no reason why you can't do something, Okay? There might be reasons why it's, you know why. It's going to be difficult, why you might have to work two or three times harder. Then they're going to be the case. There's only reasons why something might be different. It is not. If you want it bad enough and you're willing to go all out and, uh, worked really, really hard. Then I believe that you'll achieve your goals and there's a very good chance that a door will open for you. But you just have to be flexible enough to walk. So it remember the goal is to go. Okay, The route. You have have a plan, but that plan that route, that's not the bowl, okay, because I don't want to get X, but I have to travel up the alphabet, know if the goal is I got to get the X period and the story so I love the opportunities that being free brings, you know, I mean education wise, and there's so many ways to do things. So it does bother me that people waste their time and it doesn't bother me that people so many people, they have dreams or things that they want to dio and they tell me about it. And I said, Okay, well, what's your planning? Well, no, that's just just a pipe dream or nothing. Nothing locked in for this practical reason or or or that one. Well, if I did that, I'd have to give this up or look, this lifestyle, I'm living through the income I'm getting from my job. You know, I would have to start over to ultimately get to where I want to be at. And I'm not willing to take that temporary step back. And you know that that does this mean? And I think to myself, Well, that's not really your dream, Not really. Or it said that you're choosing not toe not to pursue it. I mean, look, I took a step back and say, I mean, I at one point, I because I was a weekly columnist, lost so I thought on is a weekly columnist for a newspaper for for five years, Uh, and at one point, just to try to make ends meet, I got an additional job with them making, like, $600 a week. But it was a dead end job, and I was miserable, you know? I toughed it out for six months, and and I finally said, Look, this doesn't make any sense. This is a dead end job. It's not really any money. You know, uh, I'm going to take the pay cut. Okay? I'm going to stop doing this dead end job going into the office 20 to Friday. I'm going to sacrifice, and I'm going to walk. I'm gonna go to grad school. I'm going to get a master's degree. I'm gonna come back out into the job market and see what can I find them? You know? So in the same way that I made those sacrifices, I feel like, you know, other people can, you know, can find a way, you know, to try to do it. But people don't seem that admitted, uh to that. I don't feel like they take advantage of all the opportunities in the world that there is. So that's one thing. But the other thing that dismays me is that I don't feel like that again. Generically and across the board, I don't feel like people are really committed to a balanced life, you know. In other words, there's there's a time for work and force business before pleasure. But there should be a time...

...period where you know you do something fun. But a lot of people seem to need to be living a lifestyle. They get up in the morning, they goto work, they come home, they cooked dinner there, watching our or to a television. They go to sleep, right? Prints wash. Repeat, you know, whereas for me, when my birthday is over, whatever time that is, five o'clock, six o'clock, seven o'clock, 10 o'clock. Whatever it is, I'm looking to do something recreational for something fun for a couple of hours before before I go to sleep, you know? And so it doesn't It doesn't seem to be that to me that people are that committed to, you know, living a balanced life. And I just feel like working at some job that's not making a difference. or working at something that you hate doing living for the weekends. Can't wait till I retire in 2030 years from now because I hate what I'm doing. I just feel like that's a very sad way of living life. I don't feel like that says fulfilling away a meaningful away to live life. It's it's pretty. I would like to sit on a subway beside you, talking to some kid who had or some lady or some man who has all these excuses. And if I know your story and they say, Well, I just have to get some of these opportunities I don't know what to do I don't know where to know And I'm just thinking of you writing letter after letter and you're waiting for that opportunity for for your your jail cell tow open that that was your ticket of opportunity. And these people are just looking for, you know, someone to give them an interview or one of those things quite different. But I think yeah, being dismayed is an accurate way, and not it's generally speaking, but a lot of people are letting time slip through their hands, and they're free right Yeah, well, listen, you're free. You have enough. You're free if you don't have some, you know, debilitating illness that's confining you to a bed or you're terminally ill if you're free that you you got a shot. I mean, so what if you're older than what normally would be the case? I mean, you know, it may come down to it's now or never at this non traditional age, And to me, it's always better to be now rather than, uh rather than later. And I do think that it's important to have a plan that you're always working towards. But if you don't, if you don't have a plan and that you're gonna be able to proactively exit, go out and try to execute, then you're not going to get there. I I don't believe in a pie in the sky. Everything's gonna turn out well, just because or that one day somebody or some opportunities gonna appear out of nowhere. I don't think that that's gonna happen in general, but if you But if you have a execute herbal plan that involves you being proactive, you taking steps and doing things, then I think opportunity and luck and fortune will find you. Jeff, what about the things that you're doing now? What are you doing full time? What takes up your time And what does that process look like? Yeah, So I'm engaging in in an advocacy right now, so I'm trying to raise money for the organization. You know, we have a bunch of volunteers. You know, I couldn't write large checks every month. I did that for like, three years. So I'm trying to raise money to again, have a full time staff, which would increase our capacity for how many cases we could do and how many different states that we could. We're on policy changes. I mean, right now we have 10 cases that air that active, and we're trying to change laws in in three different states. So I have a way of operating in the meantime, you know, again with volunteers. But ultimately, I'd like to have a paid staff again, so that takes up some of my time. Uh, I have entered some of those cases as co counsel now that now that I'm attorney, But I'm also, um, meeting. I'm also doing policy work, so I'm regularly meeting with elected officials, um, the lays on to the coalition group to the there to the exonerate community. So I reached out to other exonerees, and I get them on the different calls so that people can hear their stories. Also, I do a lot of speaking engagements virtually more virtual now, but some in person and I do a lot of media interviews, and it's my job to be the face of the organization, So I do. A lot of I do a lot of that. Also, twice a year that seeks the ethics class in a police academy. They bring me in to co teach that, and I've been fortunate to be in front of some nontraditional audiences. So my message of wrongful conviction and criminal justice reform being about justice and accuracy and not anti police not anti prosecutor, but definitely anti Robocop, definitely against prosecutors that are breaking the law n violating rights so that messages is well received. So the police academies eyes one example of that. But I speak sometimes in front of groups of prosecutors and sometimes in...

...groups in front of groups of judges. They asked me to address one wrongful conviction topic or not. So all those different things and you know, emails and phone calls, and I do my own scheduling. So all of that non traditional things. If it's related to the mission, I consider the broader it to be falling within that broader definition of advocacy. So you know that that's what takes my time. And I work 50 60 hours a week. I don't get paid for it. But look, it's a labor of love. You know, I I was compensated, and I have that invested conservatively. And so it gives me a certain amount of money every month just to dividends and interest and that serves in Louisville salary. And that allows me to spend my time doing this work. Could you speak on restorative justice and what that is? I remember looking into it a few years ago, wrote a paper, posted it online, and it was amazing to me. It's something that I think in our heart of hearts we all have. Ah, you know, England toe, understand and appreciate. But not knowing that it's a really thing and that people really fighting for it. Yes, so, yeah, I definitely know about restorative justice. So Firstly, I stood on the Global Advisory Council, off Restorative Justice International and what that looks like, and then I'll come to restorative justice itself. But what that looks like is so I you know, they're international organization and I advise them on wrongful conviction issues. And so, you know, I lay it issue out and show all sides of it, regardless of my opinion. And then then the next part of it is I give my opinion What what position I think the group should take. And, you know, the group also does endorse again political people running for district district attorney or other political positions, you know, in terms of where they are on on justice issues and I do way and on other criminal justice issues. But coming directly to what restorative justice is a restorative justice, you know, is an approach. Teoh is an approach to crime, which it says that let's try to restore people back to the position where they were prior to, you know, the incident happening, or even just a traumatic life events happening isn't necessarily have to have been a crime or or you don't arrest it involved, and so that applies to wrongful conviction in a number of ways. So it applies on a societal level. So society, you know, should try to restore the people that wrongfully convicted back to the place a zoo best they can. So there should be financial compensation. There should be re entry services provided on day one, things like housing, costs of living, mental health services, doctor dental care, access to public transportation, job training, job placement, classroom tech, watch. You know it. It applies with the municipalities that that would have sued for the wrongdoing of its agents of them, you know, issuing an apology with with the settlement an acknowledgement that something that they did something wrong and then trying to change some laws, policies, procedures so that the next person won't be wrongfully convicted, At least not in the same way. Um, I had a powerful experience with it s o the several of the So I spent several weekends with the family of the victim that I was wrongfully convicted of murdering and raping. So they spent a couple of weekends with them at their house at their invitation. It was kind of a really dramatic healing conversation. So you know, they shared with me that, you know, they spent so much time thinking that I was a person you don't know who you know, killed their daughter, killed their sister, you know? And, you know, I was hated by at least one of them. Um, but down, on the other hand, I mean, I had a chance to, uh, to again say in person. Look, I didn't deal with it wasn't me. And I explained, you know how it was, how it came to be that I was coerced into into the boss in a falsely confessing for it. But, you know, I also feel other applications. I mean, you re rarely see this, but I think that any of the people directly involved with somebody being falsely accused a wrongfully convicted, they really should try to make amends to that person. You know, I mean, I never got an apology from anybody that was directly involved in my case. I got the symbolic apology from the modern day district attorney from the the prosecutor, or I mean from the judge that oversaw the proceedings where I was weird. But they weren't the people that was involved in what originally happened to me, so I never actually got that. But but then also law enforcement to the second victim. Family members, you know, a support teacher, Patricia Morrison. You know, she she was killed and she she had two Children. She was killed by the perpetrator because he was left free while I was doing time for his crime. And that was because of the, you know, illegal immoral acts that that the police and other actors in the justice...

...system engaged. And so it really had an application there. But examples of a more traditional settings in terms of restorative justice. Um, you know, they have, they have they have a program, six second war for tree. And it involves crime victims. Often murder victims survived family members going into the president, meeting with people who have been, you know, presumably rightfully convicted off, you know, killing people so that those conversations can be dramatic and healing on both for both parties. And so there hasn't been I'm success that way with with that success and being having the perspective that you had, do you find it's generally speaking that there's a lot of failure for the system. Yeah, impersonation system itself in that people are not being helped, and they're not. Is that what you're finding that the majority of the people, you know, what is the adage that says prisons make criminals right or makes people worse? In that sense, is that what you found in your experience? It is what I found in my experience. I mean, I don't think that you know the prison system, you know, it is despite the name Department of Corrections. Uh, it's it's not there. It's funny, that name until that that name is is just for me. Because I know from my hometown we have Department of Corrections and you don't think correction. It's the jail, right? That's what you automatically think. Yeah, exactly. I mean, there's more of a punitive approach, but it's not rehabilitated because if it waas, they would have college education for prisoners. They would have the vocational trades that were that were up to date. They wouldn't allow the verbal abuse to go on by the guards to the prisoners. They would find a way to tamp down the prisoner on prisoner violence, you know, and there would be an environment that encouraged, you know, rehabilitation. Whereas in the system as it is now, it's all it's all punitive and whatever rehabilitation takes place there, it takes place despite the system rather than because of it. And and that to me, is, uh it is very troubling, Jeff in the organization that you have the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice and the coalition that you're in. What? What is some satisfaction that you get? And but what is also some difficulty that you have in doing what you dio? Yeah, in terms of the satisfaction that I get well, that would that would be the 10 people that we helped to free that were wrongfully imprisoned assed faras the foundation, the coalition group. It could happen to you some of our successes and satisfactions. There are We helped to pass three laws. We passed a law that would provide accountability for prosecutors. We passed another law aimed at tweaking that we passed the law well, discovery low, which pertains to sharing information by you know by the from the prosecution to the defense automatically early on in the process so that both sides have access to to the evidence and we also helped pass along Pennsylvania, which would automatically expunge anybody's record, would ever been charged with the crime If they, you know, if they wanted the case ended in something other than a conviction. Eso whatever you passed laws that's extremely satisfying. E get satisfaction. When I do meet with an elected official and they get it, they seem to get it verbally. And people are. There's actions that but I can point to afterwards that, you know, have you changed your view? Viewpoint, uh, change hearts and minds of general people. That's also that's also very rewarding in terms of struggles and challenges and difficulties, I would say, uh well, the bane of the whole amount profit world, right? I mean, raising money. I mean it, Zaveri difficult. It's hard to raise money, you know, There's a lot of money being thrown around right now. In today's climate, you know, I see large amounts of money purporting to change hands in the media, and I'm looking at receiving entities and I'm thinking, well, they don't have a plan, though. It's great tohave rallies or protests in the street. But if you don't have specific concrete, asks if there's no game game plan. If there's there's no other work being done in connection with that, you know that that feels frustrating to me because I could only imagine if I had even 1/10 off. You know, whatever money was changing hands, I'd love to be able to increase my capacity. It frustrates me that we have seven cases that air approved right now where we believe the people are innocent and we see a potential way to win that case. But they're just sitting there in active, you know, they're there waiting because...

I don't have the capacity right now in order to move forward on something. Whereas if we had the funding that we needed then then we would you know, then we would. Those cases would not be waiting. And people, you know, that there would be work going on in the cases. Um, it frustrates me when I see you know, athletes, they take a knee or they, you know, but they're not spending their their time. They're not, they're not. They're not actually doing any work, you know, if they would adopt a particular issue in a particular organization that was doing work, use their increased public profile, you know, to throw light to that issue into that organization if they would help them raise money, maybe there was a night where, in one way or another where their involvement would encourage people to contribute money if they would write a check themselves personally. Also, while they're at it, you know, a fraction of, you know, small amount of what? But if there would be something there, but they're held up as taking this big stand, you know? I mean, that's a little bit That's a little bit frustrating to me. And again, I think, Well, G man, if I really had people with a higher profile, you know, I could get even more attraction. And maybe the last thing I'll say is this. So I do a lot of media. I make regular appearances on television, radio, print, media, new media such as podcast blog's talk radio, that kind of thing that said, um, I'm tired of being the best known unknown, you know? Yeah, I I have name recognition in criminal justice reform circles and in the instance pool. But I'm not, You know, I'm not a household name by by any means. I'm not. I'm not. Ah, celebrity. But I think you know Well, what else do I have to do to try to get to the next level to increase my profile so that my message of, you know, wrongful conviction and broader justice reform? You know, how can how can it? How can I amplify that? How can I become even? You know, a stronger tool for the cause. And, you know, I don't really have been answered for that. I am a proactive person. As I mentioned before, I don't have the plan in place for how to get there. I'm not sure what else. It was pretty amazing. You think about it. There's a lot, lot more people in the world that air famous for a lot less. And you're spending millions of your own dollars countless hours of your own time. You have helped free at least 10 people and probably encouraged other people to go help other people to do so. Yes. You got a, like a glass ceiling above your head. Like saying I'm here to do work that all you people are saying that you care for and don't really actually dio Yes. Yeah, exactly. and it, you know, I'd love to have a book deal in place. I mean, I have a book, this 95% written, but, you know, I want there to be a major publishing company that has a budget that can actually push it That has a marketing budget that can get it shelf space and set up a book signing tours. And, you know, can I Can I get my movie out there? Caracas. I have a movie, you know, but but But I see all the things happening but hasn't as yet happened for me. So at times, uh, look, I'm impatient to do good. Let's put it that way. And, you know, so sometimes it does get frustrating. And I hope that along the way, I'm gonna follow my own advice. And when they keep working hard and I'm gonna hope to the door open for me. But look, maybe somebody even listening to the podcast now you know, might be that Jeff, you're a young man to I know you lost a lot of time, but you're still a young man so that we both have hope for what is What is the goal? You're kind of touching on a few things, like a movie, a book and getting out there a little bit more. Do you have an overarching goal for your foundation or some of the coalition's you're working with? Yes, yes. So in terms of my foundation, the overarching goal is I would ultimately like to have a office in each state and ultimately in each country, because I see wrongful conviction as being a worldwide issue. You know the countries where we don't hear about wrongful conviction, uh, be people being exonerated. It's not because wrongful convictions aren't happening. It's they're not being corrected. There are no people working on it. I mean, some some countries, their justice system is so antiquated that there is actually no means for somebody to bring new evidence back into court. So that's a long term aspiration. And in terms of the coalition group, it could happen to you. We do have. We have expanded since our successes in New York. We have expanded into Pennsylvania, where we did pass a law on X punishment. We're working on the accountability for prosecutors and exonerate compensation. So Pennsylvania is one of 15 states where there, there...

...is no compensation for Exonerees. We have a chapter in California where again we're trying toe, have the oversight of prosecutors, and we think there's an opportunity to get rid of capital punishment because, as we see it, you know capital punishment amongst many other things that definitely risk the execution of innocent people. So my overarching goal with with that coalition group is we would love to have a chapter in each state. We'd love to run campaigns in, you know, each state. But again we need we need to try to raise funds. I mean, we the person who started the organization who actually works part time for my foundation, you know, is part time. So I have to spend all of his time doing that. You know, he's not like me. He hasn't been compensated. You know where he's, you know, has income coming in. He's gotta make a living, so he's part time now, But we were able to raise money. We will be able to be able to spend all of his time doing that. So I'm kind of like the We're like Batman and Robin, so I bring the media attention. I bring a lot more moral authority because I was wrongfully convicted, whereas he was simply falsely accused of a rape. But he was acquitted. On the Lays onto the exonerate community in my case is really what we lead with supplemented by the other exonerees. But on his end of it, you know, he was a bill massacre. His name. So he was a Monroe. He was a county legislator. He was a He was a legislator, for he was a legislator for just the local town, and he also worked as a staff before an assemblyman. So he brings the inside baseball knowledge. Jawf. You know, politics is faras legislation and how things get done. He brings the organizing and streamlining and and, you know, he makes the call on the different tactics that we do. I mean, I weigh in strategically, but he knows what moves to make. So we we work together. And in fact, um, and I, along with one other person who's an attorney, were the only three people that air in common to all three chapters of the of the coalition. So those are our aspirations, and I think in terms of, you know, the same thing. Really? What? Restorative Justice International. I mean, the idea would be, you know, for them to be able to, you know, get some funding to then have some staff people to, you know, to assist the president, Lisa, right? And in her work, rather than her than her. Doing a lot of it and just having some volunteers. But when you have people there, well, you know, they can spend 40 hours doing something rather than volunteers to squeeze pockets of time. And we all greatly appreciative of volunteers. Don't get me wrong. There's a difference between doing something on the side. Versus that is the main thing that you dio you could get so much more done the other way. Jeff, I agree with all your goals, and I think they're all attainable. The one thing I just when you mentioned it, I'm just thinking about you mentioned capital punishment. So what would your goal be to get rid of capital punishment 100% regardless, That that would be. And I you know, I come from Canada. We don't have capital punishment. I'm not sure when the last one was a hanging and I don't know the forties or fifties or something like that. They did something, but they have done since done away with it. But But I'm just thinking, and I'm not uneducated, man. And but I'm just thinking, the idea the logic of, you know, getting rid of cars because someone might die But getting rid of capital punishment just because someone innocents could die. Do you know what little logical line I'm throwing there? So you let me answer that. Go ahead. Let me answer that. Okay, So, uh, so my response to that would be that, um I don't think it's as infrequent occurrences people. I mean, there was there's there's conservative estimates, you know, Not estimates from people that are conservative. Political point of view. Uh, that estimate well, for, you know, there's a 4% error rate on that. So there's that. There's been a lot of people who have been exonerated off of death row, which kind of begs the question, how many you know, innocent people. Uh, right, right. But but look, but the fight against capital punishment doesn't rest on that, though. Okay? And that's really where I went. And I'm gonna just quickly mention the other arguments in a nutshell. So a lot of we find that a lot of murder victim family members are now opposed to the death penalty because they say that the increased. But it doesn't bring the many actual solace that the increased media attention actually ripped the scabs off difficult, difficult wounds. Eso there's that There's the economic resource argument. Um, it's very the death penalty is very, uh, for instance. So in from 1995 to 2004, when New York had a death penalty, we spent $200 million and and nobody was executed. I mean, the money could have went on crime prevention of the social other social programs. There's an argument...

...that killing people who kill in order to show that killing is wrong is kind of a circular reasoning. I think that it lower society down to the level of the murderer. There isn't any deterrence. In fact, that's a fallacy. In fact, often states that I have the highest murder rate have capital punishment. In fact, there's also a concept called brutalization, which means that after there is a state sanctioned execution that typically is a spike in the number of murders, Um, that that that that happened. So so all of those. So when you bring in all those arguments against against the against the death penalty and then you think about, you know there's a racial bias. So if the murder victim is white than the defendant is much more likely to receive the death penalty than if the murder victim was black. So there's a type of evaluation of human life that goes on. There's a certain amount of arbitrary is involved, so seeking the death penalty is discretionary. And so it will depend on what the local politics are off the district attorney in terms of who, who the death penalty is actually is, actually saw it again. So there's so just where the crime happens, that plays a factor. And the point is that that's kind of but that this kind of arbitrary, often district attorney's use such cases in order to try to further their own political career. Same thing for prosecutors in the courtroom. They're trying trying to move up and get that big win rather than the focus being justice. So that would be That would be another argument, you know, as a country. We're not super post to execute people that have mental health issues, but it happens. Courts, courts don't enforce that. Courts don't enforce that. So you know. So I mean, how low can you go moral and execute somebody who remember Ricky Ray Rector and in the story, you know who was executed? Bill Clinton was the governor, actually, you know, uh, in Arkansas and he was in the middle of his presidential run, you know, And he declined to step in and prevent the execution of Ricky. And he left himself. He had gotten a piece of apple pie as dessert for his last meal, and he left a slice of pie in his self because he when he leaving to be executed, thinking he was gonna he did when he came back. And and you never understood he wasn't coming back to us. Uh, it was I mentioned to you the beginning of that. Yeah, Go ahead. Go ahead. No, you go ahead. Just one example of many, many other examples. I mean, you know, we've had executions. Us as as as of late. I mean, a Sedley alley. Larry Swearingen. People who have been executed that were simply their lawyers. And then we're saying, Look, you could just stop the execution so I could get the DNA testing. Okay, Can we at least please make sure I'm telling you my medicine? Can I Can I have the evidence tested so I can prove that before you go ahead with it and people just being executed anyway without even getting that, getting getting the chance to do that. And, you know, I I do. I do want to speak out on that. You know, the spate of executions that happened as president from last, you know, a couple of months in office that such a rush e mean it's unseemly. ITT's terrible. You know, we don't publicize this, but why not show on execution, right? Is it it's considered. If it's considered to be too ghastly to show an execution, then maybe we shouldn't do it. If you got to do something in the darkness of the night, people can't see it. Isn't that kind of a tacit admission? If there's something wrong going on there that it leads to the question, I said at a lingering question. I wasn't sure how toe word it exactly, but where or when does the balance in the search for justice meet forgiveness? So in the case of you, like I would have been so upset, distraught and not saying that you weren't or you were. But the idea of forgiving those prosecutors and all of that in your pursuit of justice, how did you balance that out and not just being resentful, I mean, because you don't seem like your unrelenting a unforgiving I'm not angry. I'm definitely not angry. I'm definitely not resent. Also, my first week home, I was angry and, you know, and I had heard and saw on the news when other people have been exonerated before me. And they had said that they weren't angry. And, you know, I thought that was just the silliest thing ever. And so when when I was asked, Well, when I was released Well, are you angry? I mentioned everything that I had lost. I Look, I didn't go to high school prom. I didn't graduate high school. I didn't finish college, you know, I missed. You know, I didn't I didn't I didn't. I'm not married with family. All these years. I've lost births, deaths, weddings, rites, of passage. So if all...

...you lost that Okay, let me ask you, would you be angry? So I kind of threw it back at him. Um, and, uh, s Oh, I was angry that first year first Scuse me that first week, but I felt like it. But at the end of that week, I felt like un destroying myself here. I felt like I was destroying myself, you know, I felt, you know, like, um, I lost so much already. Why? Why would I want to, in effect, give them the rest of my the rest of my life? Um, I wanna live as meaningful life as I can. I don't think I could do that if angry or bitter. Uh, it's not like if I was angry, I would be impacting the people that had any more productive E. Yeah. Uh, look, I regret to say that if it would adversely affect them, then you know, maybe he would have been kind of attempting to be angry anyway. But look, the vehicle that allows me toe actualize that, uh is I take that energy and I channel it into the advocacy work. You know, that brings me to a point. Give me, like, half a second. I want I want to share a short, big net. You know, just go ahead. Yes, thank you. Please. So from just from reading from from reading books about, you know, you know, search for higher meaning and and elevating. You know, I remember I was in court. I was in court in a deposition in the course of my lawsuit where my lawyer strategy waas, look in order to prove that they forced you to confess. Jeff, uh, we're gonna we're gonna prove here. So there was your confession, which matched up completely with the police theory of how the crime happened. So to prove that they put that in you, that they plan to that and they forced that out of you were gonna prove how the actual crime happened, and then we're gonna have to contrast. And so the conclusion would be an inescapable. The way we're going to do that is we are going to call the actual criminal the actual perpetrator as a witness for him to testify as to how the crime happened. That's going to be the way that we prove this. So we're in the federal courthouse, you know, and it's just the court off a depositions, a court proceeding. But there's no judge. This president just was gonna I wanted to interrupt you. I want to interrupt you Ask what a desperate deposition much Thank you for. But there is someone taking this, the notes, you know? No. Right. But there's no judge there. There's no judge. So just to make a record of it. And so, as the deposition is nearing the end of the morning my my my lawyer he not just me, you know, yell bows May and says, Hey, hey, Jeff. Ha ha ha. Um, they're you know, they're gonna they're gonna they're gonna burn him for lunch, meaning that they're not He's not gonna eat. They're not going to give him anything to eat. And he's laughing about it. And I said, Well, wait a minute. What do you mean by that? He's not They're not giving him him. Thio eat. Just f him. He's a piece off blank. Okay? And I said, No, no, no, no, no, no. He's gonna He said, Look, why do you care? Jeff, Listen, let's put this in perspective, okay? He killed two people and he was content to let you sit there and you wound up doing 16 years for his crime because he didn't want to be a man and step up and say what he did. So why do you care? Repeating, you know, asked him. So I said, No. Listen, he's going to eat. As a matter of fact, you're gonna make sure he eats. You're gonna ask him. We come back here this afternoon, you're gonna ask him if he eats, okay? And if you don't, I will. Okay. Uh, yeah. It's terrible what he did. He's a horrible person. He should pay for what he did. That's why he's incarcerated right now. Okay? He got 20 years for killing the victim in my case. And that added on, he had he had got 20 years for killing the second victim, and he had served to 13. So he was down to seven. But he got another 20 for killing the victim. In my case, that's 27 right? So his punishment is the loss of freedom. Okay. Not being mistreated. So I made sure that he he he was asking. He was asked, you know, after lunch. Did you eat? You give us something to drink. And, you know, I feel like as a human being, that was one of my proudest moments, you know, e was not and and dehumanization was not an option. And it was all about me, my doing the right thing. It wasn't about him that was secondary. That's the main thing in all of these things, you know? And that's the ultimate, you know. So those principles and also like you said, it's a another display of just of not of not of not being angry, this has given some good insight into you, Jeff,...

...is there anything else that you would like people that they may not understand about you? That if they understood this, they would have a better appreciation of the work that you're doing, something that they may not understand about you? Sure, the thing that people might not under understand about, But I think they definitely would understood that I'm that I'm driven right. But I think that they would not understand is, um, look, my my head is the right size. My head's not swollen. Okay? My feet are firmly on the ground. Okay, I'm just Jeff. I have my role to play. I'm doing what I can admit. I'm just a person who's trying to, you know, I'm trying to make a difference. I'm tryingto make the world a better place. But look, I don't have an ego. I'm just a tool in in all of this. So I think that people maybe don't maybe don't understand. You know that? Asked at the other end, you know, doing this work. This isn't about me because I'm home. I'm free. I'm compensated. I think the odds of my ever being wrongfully convicted again are are extremely low, if not non existent. So it's not about me anymore. It's, you know, it's about it's about other people. It's about making a difference. So I don't know that people, you know, understand that. You know, it's not an ego thing for me that I'm somebody who's humble on. I think maybe they don't understand that the secondary criminal justice reform issues things like college education in prison, things like solitary confinement and prison reform and prison re entry and college education for prisoners. And, you know, elderly, uh, releasing the elderly from prison, who often age out of crime that I care about those issues. I I care about parole reform. I care about the issue called Ban the Box, which is, you know, people shouldn't have to disclose their their record when, when they're when they're being interviewed for a job. And so after the employer mix a job offer and then it's disclosed and then they withdraw the offer. They have to have a a rational but you know, just discriminating against people for employment band that the check box of criminal or something. Yeah, yeah, And some schools. Some colleges have this disturbing practice where they want people to check the box also. And to me, if someone is applying to college, they they must be planning a crime free life, right? In order to do that. So I think that people don't understand that I care about or that those other criminal justice reform issues are are are also very important in that that I care about those issues also, and that while I can't, I can't and don't spearhead those issues. I do lend my voice to them at strategic times and places you know with other entities when they give me opportunity or I'm doing something such as this interview now and I get a chance to the conversation goes where I can bring the issues up. I do make my little contribution to those. And I do believe that as a country, you know, we need we need to do better in terms of, you know, criminal justice reform and, you know, look broadly, Look, do you have all those things right? The humanization is not an option. And too many times, you know, it is an option. Too many times it is an option. And it said to me, we need to improve the general justice system. It's it sounds like you don't What you want people to understand is you don't have an ax to grind in a hateful way. But you you have a mission to lead in a purpose to help people correct, Yes, And and again, if people watch the documentary short conviction on Amazon Prime, you know they'll see that because in that I am, you know, I am railing against the you know, the things that I just mentioned and, you know, compassionate release. And I just I remember, you know, I remember how people have filed paperwork asking for compassionate release, which is, you know, look, you you have been determined to be terminally ill and the ideas you could spend, You don't have to die in prison. You could spend a little bit of time. And by the time the system makes a decision and someone's released that I remember, you know, they weren reach back to prison. They died the next day or two days later or, you know, decision. By the time the decisions got to the prison, the the prison had had, you know, the prisoner had had passed away already. You know how the medical care is just bottom of the barrel and how the the answer for everything seems to be, you know, over the counter medication. I remember there was a prisoner there who? Yeah, I I was walking. I was walking around the the bottom floor of of the the cellblock, and as I was passing by someone that I knew he was struggling to walk and I could see the sweat on his forehead and I stopped and said, Hey, you okay? And he said, Yo, I got pains in my chest, man, I feel like I'm dying. But they told me that I was okay. And they gave me They gave me some town on. They told me to come back in the morning, you...

...know, and that and and he was literally right. He was dying. I mean, And that night he passed away of a heart attack. He had a heart attack, so they gave him Tylenol. Yeah, so I mean, come on, that that that should be far beyond the scope of, you know, punishment. I mean, the punishment Supposed to be the loss of freedom. It's not. It's not supposed to be to be mistreated and abused. And a countless number of ways that are a part, of course, everyday interest. Jeff, thinking about this podcast of why we work and you being in in some of the lowest parts of your life and people being in some of the lowest parts that they are in their lives and also just forgetting their purpose in life. Do you have any encouragement for people? Last couple questions. Do you have any encouragement for people into pursuing work? Because even though work is tough, work is good. Yes, my encouragement would be for everybody to make something of your life, you know, to chase what your dreams are, you know? And look, whatever difficult situation that that you found yourself and not only look for a plan to try to raise yourself above that, but then do like I did. I turn back to the people still in that position that you were once in and try to help them and you confined. You can find meaning in in work doing it that way so I would encourage people. Uh, I would encourage people to do that. And I do strongly believe in education, you know, as something to go along with the meaningful work. I feel like the extra content and she was generally speaking can help you. And hence my finishing the bachelors getting the Masters, the law degree. It reminds me I don't know if it's right or not, but of the Titanic when it was in the movie, when it was sinking and some of the higher class people got off the boat and they didn't want to let more people on the boat. But then there was other people like No, we got to go back and save them. And yes, we were saying you got you gotta You gotta go back. You were just rescued from this sinking ship. Go back. That's exactly what I'm saying. Yes, yes. Yeah. And so, look, that's true. Across the board, you need not. It's not limited to wrongful conviction plus accusation, any any walk of life, you know, from women that, you know, have escaped abusive, abusive relationships to, you know, people that have managed to survive cancer to people who had difficulties in escaping oppressive, oppressive regimes or people you know the difficulties in. You know, the foster care here is just, um, in all those deficiencies. I mean, you name it, you can apply that generically across across the board. I mean, there is a saying that you know, people, people closest to a people closest to a problem. And I'm paraphrasing. The people closest to ah problem aren't often closest to its solution. Very good, Jeff, Is there anything else that we haven't touched upon that you would you would like to mention? There's anything else you'd like to add. I just wanted thio. Keep in mind that you know all these things that we're talking about, you know, it could happen to you. It could happen to anybody, you know, It transcends it, transcends class and race. I mean, yes, you know, minorities are more likely to be wrongfully convicted. But in America that that that's true to throw some quick stats, someone is, uh, you know, a black person in the United States is seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder. 3.5 more times likely be wrongfully convicted of sexual assault. And if you would add up to exoneration justice more minorities than not. But that being said, I'm just white as you can get, and it happened to me, and it has happened. Too many, uh, people it does. It does transcend race. Um, class, Um, so I think everyone has it has a state has a stake in the fight, and so I'd like to see more people to get involved. It's not a just a particular walk of life that this happens to all this could never happen to make s so there'd be that. But look, um, I have a crazy drink. You know, My crazy dream is maybe I shouldn't even do you mean by saying crazy? But I'd like to see. I'd like to see that. I'd like to see what if there was 25,000 people that were willing to part with $3 on a recurring monthly basis through the foundation? Is Patrick on website? Was that would give us close to a budget close to a million dollars so we could get if we could have the type of results we've gotten on a shoestring budget? Imagine we were really armed for bear, you know, So that would be my dream. So maybe there's people that are listening that can help me get out of my network and...

...get into the networks of other people just sharing that, whether it's social media or any. If it's not illegal, it's not unethical. Everything goes okay, creative solutions here. So that would be something. And look, if you're someone that you know you kept can offer a platform to the cause, I encourage you to do it and maybe maybe maybe some celebrity or higher profile person, you know, maybe this could reach them and they could help in whatever way that that could, which wouldn't take away from what they're doing, so that would just I just I need some help. The bottom line is I I need some help to do. I've done a lot. I have some people helping you. But I also need a lot more help, too, as well. This is much bigger than just what one person even assistant with the people that I have can can do. Jeff, how can they reach you? Your foundation, your your collaborations that you're doing? How can they get in touch? Look Sure, A number of ways. So the website is www dot desk dot org's. That's de es K O V I C dot or GTA. They can Google me the pager Come up. I am on social media, so I do have a public figure page on Facebook. I'm on instagram. I have lengthen account eso people can certainly reach me through any of those any any of those means, Jeff, I think you're an inspiration. And if anyone did a small percentage of the stuff that you did in your short life so far, we could we could move a lot of the barriers that are stopping people from being free. And I appreciate you for your time. And I appreciate you. Oh, and I actually have one more question for you, but I do appreciate it is Why do you work? I worked. I worked to make a difference. I work too. Stop What happened to me from happening to other people? And I worked too rescue people. Who? The same thing which happened to me, happened to them. That is why that's why I work. And you are helping people. I work to make a difference. And I wish everybody who listened to the podcast what was similarly work to make a difference in whatever field that might be. Jeff Deskovic. Thank you kindly, sir. As I said, I appreciate the work that you're doing very much. Thank you for listening to this episode of why we work with Brian V. Be sure to subscribe, follow and share with others so they too can be encouraged in their work. E I hope that you have yourself a productive be a joyful day in your work.

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