Wednesday, 22 September 2010

2009 Exoneration Campaign Pt #2: “The Still I Stand Address”

  By Leon Benson
“I ain’t dead, I ain’t done, I ain’t scared, I ain’t run… still I stand
No matter what, here I am” – T.I “Paper Trail” 2008.
“A man without force is without the essential dignity of humanity.  Human nature is so constituted, that it cannot honor a helpless man, although it can pity him; and even this it cannot do long, if the sign of power do not arise.”  – Fredrick Douglas, 1845
I AM HERE FOR THE PEOPLE ONCE AGAIN! I intend for this “still I stand address” to be some of the realest talk I have ever spoke concerning my plight.  And in the process, I aim to extend to you, a genuine piece of my soul (for better or worse) but nonetheless, genuine.  You maybe inspired by some of the things I have said or say, or you may think I’ma smart-ass, arrogant, or just another angry Black man.  What ever you take from my address, one thing I'm convinced of, that you’ll walk away knowing that I am a power to be reckoned with as a person; thus no matter my unjust circumstance, I will never give up on myself, and will find away to stand on top of it all, eventually.
As of August 14, 2008 I have been unjustly in a penitentiary for 10 years.  A decade y’all!  Time passes by fast when your having fun, but slower when your not.  It should be understandable why the past 10 years seemed like an eternity to me.  But I’ve endured this long storm, only to be still standing amid the immense proportions of its harsh reality.  And it’s far from being over.
I’m coming closer to the “eye of the storm” (so to speak) in the confrontation of my Post Conviction Relief (PCR) hearing Dec. 16, 2009.
My currant Campaign Position
At this point I’ve yet to gain the legal assistance I need.  I’m still trying.  I’ll continue trying to petition the public for more help than I have.  However, I want y’all to know, if it were not for me being bogusly held within solitary confinement the past 8 years, I would have created my exoneration on my own by now.  I’ve always been more confident in getting things done myself.  I would have preferred to accomplish this feat alone or privately.  But my situation never allowed me the proper opportunity to do such.  Therefore, I had to swallow my pride and go public with my plight in 2002.
After 7 years, most people would have given up by now.  And I admit, this alone makes me feel like saying “fuck it”.  Because it’s hard to believe I was unable to gain the proper help or finances to hire legal help – after 6 years of trying.
However, I’ve came to realize that early on in my plight, that my own inexperience at organizing an exoneration campaign, the trial and error learning process, and my encounter of a lot of phony people who posed as genuine supporters, caused me to waste a lot of unnecessary time in the process.  At least 3 years.
Another harsh realization that came to me as a result of my campaigning.  I learned that most people in society (specifically in the U.S) are too complacent, short sighted, and/or plain uncaring to social injustice to care about most people like me wrongfully in prison – let alone the well being of helpless children, elderly, homeless, impoverished or criminally victimized people(s) in their own communities.
In most instances, it’s only when the media decides to create hype and sensation around particular circumstances before people pay attention.  But the people that come forward, to help such broadcasted situations, often do so for 15 seconds of fame posing as genuine humanitarians: might as well get some shine out of helping somebody?  Then if the person is rich and famous that ends up in a bad situation, it seems every organization finds a way to give them unneeded donations.  This isn’t genuine support, it’s sycophantic, or what I termed “unconditional phoniness”.
In addition, there has been a foolish President in office since I’ve publicly endeavoring for exoneration.  George W. Bush placed the U.S in a stupid war in Iraq for the past 6 years.  Trillions of dollars has gone into this war for no good reason.  In the process the U.S  economy has suffered greatly.  Outrageous gas prices, foreclosure, banking collapse, unemployment, and foreign debt have all increased drastically in the process.
Currently, the new U.S President, Barack Obama, has been overwhelmed with trying to correct the economical crisis, caused by the Bush Administrations blunders.  Basically, Obama took office in a White House already burning down (so to speak).  All because of G.W Bush’s obsession with an illegitimate war.
  Late urban poet, Tupac Shakur; said it wisely: “It’s funny when it rains it pours, they got money for wars but can’t feed the poor”
Even more, U.S society has been constantly on its heels in fear of another terrorist attack the last 8 years.  Natural disasters like hurricane Katrina and Ike knocked a lot of economical and psychological morale out of the people as well.  All of the aforementioned has attributed to me not receiving the assistance I needed in my dire circumstances.  If people were not plain uncaring, they were distracted by many immediate socio-economical problems, to pay attention to my call for assistance.
Please don’t misunderstand my societal observations as me being bitter.  Because I am not.  I only set out several social-explanations of why my campaign is in such a lowly position.  Although I wished I could have done better.  However, I hold the highest respect, love, and gratitude towards the few individuals who have been there for me.  And who continue to stand by me.  Their my “Blessing In Disguise”.  I’m grateful for them.  I might not be where I wanna be in my plight but I’m a lot further than where I started in 2002. look: I’m able to express my message on the internet due to the belief of a few individuals in the world. Their deeds, no matter how small, have been the pillars of support that has kept me from falling into obscurity. Therefore, I am still in this epic battle for freedom. And my chances to be victorious is vast….STILL I STAND!
To The Haters
Man-O-man, where do I start with these bastards? I have received a lot of hate over the years, from family, so called friends, strangers in society, prison officials, fake prisoners ect…. All because I refuse to lie down and submit to my circumstance.
First, to all of my (former) so called friends & family who claimed to always have my back, only to stab me in it when it was turned battling my foes, who abandoned me at the first wind of drama.  I have no bitter feelings for you. Because you were not loyal to me to begin with. I was just too naïve to know that you were “unconditional phonies”. Even the victim’s family has kept the knife of hate in my back. Although I’ve been very humble and accommodating to them despite my circumstances. However, due to the last message I received from one of the victim’s family threatening me and my family. I’m done being humble about their lost. I’m no longer taking their disrespect. (and I hope one of you haters is reading this, because it seems you’re too stupid to wanna read the evidence of my innocence). Therefore, you need to check yourself before you get checked by bad Karma *real life*
And for those of you who always have something negative to say about my efforts, with your online messages. It’s easy to give advice where you’re not willing to put forth any action; your theories are nothing without practice. Therefore, your fake passive-aggressive ways is a disappointment to me: stop sneak dissing, your irresponsible criticism is the Trojan horse that hides your hate. Plus, if you really wanted to give me good advice or help, you would’ve wrote me directly, not sneak diss me online for public consumption, like the high powered cowards you are.
Ah, I’ve not forgotten about you fake muthaf**kas who stole that $crill from my baby-sister, when you knew she was gonna hire me an attorney with it. Put it like this if I don’t receive that $7 grand on my books or my defense fund account soon. I guarantee YALL I’m smashing you on sight. I play no games. And by now you should realize I make no threats. Its something FOR REAL that drives my no-surrender attitude, therefore, this penitentiary steel, handcuffs and bricks, wont hold a mutherf**ka like me for long. My time to shine is near, whether it come by love of the Real - recognize - Real (or) by my own efforts. I will be free sooner than you think. Knowing damn well you wouldn’t have pulled that foul shit like that, on baby sis, if I was out there. Just because I done read a couple of books and became socio-politically conscious, and embraced humanity, doesn’t mean I forgot about how to “go upside yo muthaf**kin heads” I’ma revolutionary thug, I don’t mind getting’ down & dirty – esp. when I’m in the right.
For all you haters. After 11 years of prison, for a crime I didn’t commit. The loss of all my money & cars. The time I missed from my kids & families lives. And all other oppression and hardship that came with my struggles. I have not broke weak, I’ve not become a snitch, coward, or “boy” (yeah that type of a boy). But instead, I’ve gotten stronger mentally and Physically, you haters can’t stomach my original swag (I’m me, too bad you ain’t, and I’m the one in prison) (laughs)….
Check it, I’m not even a rapper any more but stomping the morale outta you haters is natural to me, Peep:
“I spit lyrics, like slugs from an AK
Don’t act brave with a monkey-heart like baby fay,
I spin haters at will like them twenty-sixes
Just the thought of me release from prison got em flinchin,
becuz it was too much, gravity placed on the scales
which was hate, that sent me away to rot off in a cell,
I contemplate, my release from bricks I'm confined in
Like a dirty-diamond, chiseled & polished from my time in, I’m shining’.”
And guess what haters!?......... STILL I STAND!
Make A Pact With Yourself
My journey is closing towards a critical battle for my exoneration. I have truth on my side and the law, but nothing is guaranteed, life is unpredictable. But I promise you all – esp. my kids, that I’ll remain a stand up guy, that I’ll fight even harder with the utmost integrity & determination, if the tide turns against me.
I’ve learnt much about myself & the world, due to my unique circumstances of hardship. I wouldn’t have predicted 11 years ago that I’d still be sane & strong amid it all. And I've developed a respect for myself & others that never, probably, would’ve been gained outside of this experience. Therefore, I take responsibility for mistakes I’ve made in the past that caused me to be in such a position.  Even more, I’ll “keep” the responsibility, to be the captain of my own soul & destiny; for we have choice in any circumstance: to fight or submit, which is usually circumscribed around our level of knowledge & wisdom, to make the best choice. However, there is something more than intellect at work, when acting under pressure, because we know the most educated people can be the biggest cowards when their knowledge is called to action. Thus, I believe it’s the strength of a person’s moral constitution that gives them the edge to overcome adversity.
I also believe, that we have to make pacts with ourselves to be the best we can be. Usually people are more compelled by what others think, without considering what they themselves think about themselves. You have to live with you, forever. Who better to make a pct with than yourself? Shit…. You gotta look at that person in the mirror everyday. Why not truly love and respect that person: you, by never letting yourself down, by given less than your best in any situation.
I’ve made a warrior pact with myself in this lonely & desolate environment, many years ago, I found my inner voice. It’s nothing metaphysical; it’s my subconscious voice under my conscious voice. This is the voice I hear when it’s me against tall odds: “C’mon LB man, you gotta use everything you got, you’ve studied to hard for this test to fail.” And this is the inter-voice I make my pact with. The last person I want to let down is myself.
I believe making the self-pact, and following through with it in every situation, keep the fight in you; keep you getting back up, keep you reaching new heights. But keep your word with yourself, even when you fail, you are still a winner. Because you’ll be respected in the eyes of others. Therefore, even after death, the ultimate defeat we all must face, I believe my approach will allow me to live in the memories of those on earth: STILL I STAND!
In closing, I want the world public to know, that I’ma remain strong “no matter what”. And I hope you were inspired by my address, to be stronger individuals in your personal lives. I know the world don’t revolve around me and my situation. It’s all about finding common ground with like-minded individuals, those who feel how I feel about life despite the difference was they acquired the same understanding.
I need YOU type of like-minded individuals on my team, to extend the small crowd I have ridin’ with me now. BECAUSE TOGETHER WE STAND THE STRONGEST. Feel free to join my plight, there is much that can be accomplished with the smallest of efforts.
Also I send my sincere regards out there to the southern Hip-Hop, artist T.I. (Clifford Harris Jr), who has started his 1 yr prison sentence, for federal weapons charges, several days ago. I commend T.I.’s humbleness and courage to be real with himself & family amid his adversity, in an honorable way. With millions to lose in the ordeal along with his freedom – he stand strong. And found a better person in himself from it. *keep yo head up homey*
(Send T.I. some love @
We’ve come a long way, but got far to go: I guess this is the theme of our lives until we’re expired. But as I stand upon internal pivot’s of my soul, I see a bottle that awaits me (August 19 2009) & ( Dec. 16, 2009); right now I don’t know if I’ll have an attorney on my side or if I’ll be alone. But I do believe that after the smoke clear…. STILL I’LL STAND, ready to embrace the next phase of my quest: the new trial.
Thank you for your time & continued support. I now fold the wings of this thought, but my ambitions for exoneration will remain spread wider than all the universe.
A Stand up Guy

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About Me

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My name is Leon Benson and I am a 31 year old African American man, who has been an innocent prisoner in the state of Indiana struggling to obtain my over due exoneration the past 7 years with no luck. I am falsely convicted of the crime of murder. The reason I say "falsely" opposed to "wrongly" convicted is due to the fact "wrongly convicted prisoners" are still guilty of their crime, but there exists a technicality in the legal trial process (i.e. basically the state went about the wrong way to convict them, which is wrong according to the U.S. Constitution, because it states all individuals must receive a fair trial) but to be falsely convicted means, the prisoner is absolutely innocent of the crime they were convicted of -