an ordinary crime
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photo of a gunjoin the discussion: What are your thoughts on the Terence Garner case and what it says about America's criminal justice system?

notes on viewers' response to the terence garner story


Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for broadcasting An Ordinary Crime. Both my wife and I were shocked that such a story could occur so recently here in the U.S.

After all the new evidence turned up after the initial trial it makes no sense that Terence Garner can not get a new hearing. Based upon what the judge and D.A. stated on the program, without any prodding by the interviewer, it sure seems as though they are among the guilty. Hopefully Mr. Garner has access to this forum so that he can see the support that he has on the outside.

Like many others I will be sending a message to Gov. Easley urging him to investigate this travesty.

Journalism at its Best - In the tradition of Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly - Keep up the Good Work!

hillsborough, nj


Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a retired FBI Special Agent. I was so disturbed about the injustice that this young man received in the courts, that I was compelled to make a comment.

How in good conscience could the DA's office not attempt to correct this wrong. They know that the Terrence that was convicted is the wrong person. Two of the identified wrongdoers admitted, no stated, that Terrence Garner was not involved, and he was not even known to them. Terrence Deloach, under questioning, admitted that he was the shooter. Enough details were solicited from Deloach that any reasonably intelligent person would opin that Terrence Garner was innocent. I hope something is in the works that will straighten out this MAJOR INJUSTICE. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

Richard Baker
hingham, massachusetts


Dear FRONTLINE,

Did anybody but me find it blatantly obvious that Tom Lock, (the prosecuting attorney), was lying? The so-called "unreliable witnesses," as well as Riddick and Henderson, were clear, calm, and certainly struck me as being truthful.

Tom Lock, however, seemed uncomfortable, shifty, and constantly had to pause and search for the answers to questions. He also shifted his eyes in an upward direction several times, which any psychologist will tell you is a gesture associated with lying, as it is the gesture naturally made when a person accesses the creative portions of the brain. As I watched this program, it was obvious to me who was confident of what they had to say, and who was a blatant liar.

The other person involved with this case whose demeanor surprised me was Judge Jenkins. He seemed to me to be needlessly arrogant and defensive. I certainly got the feeling that he had something to hide. All I can say is, this program made me feel helpless. There has to be something we can do.

Steve Archer
des moines, iowa


Dear FRONTLINE,

If I remember correctly Frontline did a story on DayCare Center Employees in a small North Caronlina town being falsly accused of Child Molestation.

Now this case.

They should change their State Quarter from First in Flight to the Rail Road to Prison State. The State Motto can be: If we think your guilty, we will find you guilty, no matter what the evidence shows.

P.S.: Did not anyone in Law Enforcement or the Eye Witnesses realize the differences in the physical statures between the two Terrance's. The shooter, seems to me, to be taller and more muscular than the one convicted and sitting in prison.

shaker heights, oh


Dear FRONTLINE,

What irony!, that two of the robbers had more moral conscience than the judge and the DA.

I watched my TV screen in outrage and disgust and cursed their wretched souls!

bob catalano
derby, ny


Dear FRONTLINE,

I thank the lucky stars I live where I live.It has happened in my country but a wrong is quickly corrected usually with compensation.

This is so pathetically out of order that I am embarrassed to be white!!!

Joel E
ontario, canada


Dear FRONTLINE,

you dont have to be a law expert to see the injustice here.

the major problem here as i see it is power and gigantic ego on the part of the judge and prosecuter.

i might add that my wife and i were thinking about retiring in niorth carolina. i hope the whole state isnt the same as this county. thank you

peter berardi
lockport, ny


Dear FRONTLINE,

'An Ordinary Crime' shows, with crystal clarity, why affirmative action, and other related programs, IS necessary to level the playing field for minorites. It's an eloquent answer to the decades old question of "'What do you people want?! "

It defines the audience to whom Johnny Cochran wanted the OJ Simpson jury to send a message! It explains why many people of color in America define the death penalty as a system of justice against just us! Finally, the case shows that no matter how noble the concept of justice is , it depends on "ordinary people" to do the right thing! Pastor Bruce Yancey; The Abiding Word Church,

Bruce Yancey
fort worth, texas


Dear FRONTLINE,

It has been a week now since I watched "An Ordinary Crime", and I'm still sick!!

I have written 19 Letters. 1 of them being to Terence. 11 to people such as the NAACP, Innocence Project, & others. 6 went to the masterminds behind this whole mess - Appeals Judges, Mr. Lock, Judge Jenkins, & Gov. Easley. The last being to Mr. Montgomery along with a copy of every letter I sent out. I hope he gets enough letters to present them to someone who can help Terence. I URGE EVERY AMERICAN TO WRITE & PHONE THE PERPETRATORS OF JOHNSON CO. TO LET THEM KNOW WE WON'T STAND FOR SUCH TERRORISM IN THE U.S.A.!

Outraged in CA.

Erica Erickson
ventura, ca


Dear FRONTLINE,

I have never watched a Frontline presentation that elicited stronger emotions from me this this one did. I got so upset by the blatant miscarriage of justice that I had to get up and walk around just to calm down.

The thought that some of the people involved in the case could be so callous and self-interested as to allow a young man to spend most of his life in jail for a crime he undoubtedly did not commit is unconscionable. Whether it makes a difference or not I will write to Governor Easley and to Judge Jenkins to plead for a reconsideration of this case. And I will gladly contribute to Terence Garner's Defense Fund.

Thank you for caring enough to bring this terrible story to the attention of the public. And it does make me wonder - with a shutter - about similar stories we never hear about.

Jeannie Louise Dunham
denver, co


Dear FRONTLINE,

In the film "Judgement at Nuremberg" the convicted German judge asks the American judge:

"When did it all go wrong?" The American judge responds: "The first time you sentenced to prison a man you knew to be innocent."

Lewis Fox
edenton, nc


Dear FRONTLINE,

My wife and I were completely numb at the end of this show when Terence was not set free. I have to conclude that the color of his skin is the main reason he is in prison for a crime he didn't commit. I have heard some stories of racial injustice before but seeing this one firsthand gives me a real empathy for black people who have been unjustly treated at the hands of proud bigots whose self-interest poisons our society.

The first thing that needs to be done is to set this innocent man free as soon as possible. And the second thing that should be done is a thorough housecleaning of the Johnson County justice system!

Our prayers go out to Terence and his family. I can't even imagine the grief they must be experiencing.

Sam Teague
cupertino, ca


Dear FRONTLINE,

Your story made me angrier than September 11th. I expect terrorist to try to crush the lives of innocent people. I don't expect the same from our government. Maybe I should.

Ram Firestone
san leandro , ca


Dear FRONTLINE,

Frontline in general, and Ofra Bikel in particular ,consistently produce extremely valuble work. As a high school teacher, I often use your programs to teach law-related topics.

On behalf of my students and myself, thank you, thank you, thank you!

silver spring, maryland


Dear FRONTLINE,

I can only repeat the statements of others. This is an almost unbelievable act of injustice. After viewing the documentary I immediatly got on the PBS website to look further into this, and was both surprised and hopeful that so many felt the way I do.

I am a 19 year old male who could not fathom losing the rest of his free life. I have an immense hope for his release.

Erich Preisendorfer
boscawen, nh


Dear FRONTLINE,

Four days after watching your documentary of this tragedy I am still in a state of shock. As a citizen of the United States, it scares one to realize that an injustice of this magnitude could be so difficult to correct.

I would like to make a comparison of the character of the convicted accomplice Kendrick Henderson and Judge Jenkins. Although Mr Henderson's error in judgement has landed him in prison, his testimony to the truth exhibits that he is more of a man and has more moral fiber than Judge Jenkins who is, in my opinon, a coward wearing a robe. Judge Jenkins should enjoy his days on earth for he will surely burn in hell.

gary boyd
albuquerque, new mexico

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