Hello friends! John Calvin’s Aunt Carol here. I hope everyone is managing to stay well and safe during these crazy times we’re in, and that you’re able to find some peace and joy in each day. We are trying to remind ourselves to do that every day. If there ever was a time to be thankful for small graces and the people we have in our lives, it is now. We will all get thru this together!
Our last update was in June of this year, and wow, has it been quite a year for John Calvin as well as every incarcerated person in the US! While Covid has brought restrictions and much stress to our lives here on the outside, what’s happening inside prison walls is greatly amplified for prisoners and guards alike. (For more on this, read the update for June 2020 here https://www.justiceforjohnbuckley.com/june-2020-update/). While John has managed to avoid infection, he is still dealing with injuries he received in the vicious attack on him at Lee County Adjustment Center (CoreCivic private prison) in August of 2019, an attack that was facilitated by prison guards and which consequently the prison tried to cover up with falsified medical records which we have in our possession. (To read more regarding the attack and John’s injuries, read the update for October 2019 Here: https://www.justiceforjohnbuckley.com/october-2019-update/). We are still seeking accountability for this attack with the packet of materials we have sent to KY DOC and state leaders. So far? crickets. (And please sign the Change.org petition listed on this site to bring attention to the attack on John and to his case)
John is now at Green River Correctional Center and he has found quite a group of veterans there that he is connecting with. It’s so important for John to be able to trust people, which is difficult for him, so he keeps friendships to a bare minimum. But he seems to have found some kindred spirits, men that can share part of his war experiences, the cultural clash coming from war, and sadly his mistreatment by the criminal justice system that isn’t considerate of the unique backgrounds and challenges of vets becoming ensnared with it, a system that tends to use their military training as part of strategic prosecution of cases. As in John’s case, this strategy was used to convince the jury—in lieu of corroborating evidence– that he was capable of the crime he was accused of because the US Government trained him as a soldier to be violent. I know it’s hard to fathom this, but it’s true—and every American should be ashamed and concerned about these type of issues that shape our law enforcement and judicial systems, and who we are as a country and who we want to be.
John continues to suffer physically, emotionally and mentally for non-treatment of injuries acquired in combat as well as in prison. The horrific attack on him at Lee Country has still left him with diminished eye sight, lost hearing, more frequent seizures and renewed PTSD nightmares. More than 11 months after being beaten around the head with a lock on a chain, John was finally taken to see a neurologist when he arrived at Green River. She ordered a battery of tests that she found absolutely necessary because she was alarmed at what she found. Over 3 months later, none of these tests have been scheduled. John was honorably discharged from the service with 100% disability TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD. He is a Purple Heart recipient and received many other honors for his service. John volunteered to fight, he was just 18 when he parachuted into Afghanistan with our first wave of soldiers after 911. For him — or any of our veterans — to be treated this way is incomprehensible and it is inexcusable. But it is cheaper—and money is the bottom line for medical treatment in prison. The private medical providers are incentivized for keeping costs down. The less they treat, the better their bottom line, the more they are awarded. Now John thinks he’s torn a ligament in his leg from finally starting to work out again and he is in much pain, but after a month he still hasn’t been seen by a doctor for that either…
Now for a spot of good news (thank goodness)! If you’ve followed John’s case and his filings (listed on his website), you’ll know we’ve already gone thru all appeals at the State level and have moved now to filing in Federal Court. After much searching and referrals, we found an amazing criminal appeals attorney in Kentucky that has already discerned much prosecutorial misconduct and honed a great approach to the appeal (with John Calvin’s input) from everything that is available to him about this case. There is now a very dramatic timeline of just a few days for the lawyer to submit this filing because there are all kinds of legal timelines that apply. We are so incredibly thankful for his expertise and the energy he is putting into this, and we’re set on remaining hopeful and optimistic, in spite of the fact that only about 3% of habeas petitions (federal appeal) results in an actual retrial.
Another piece of good news is that John’s story will finally be coming out around Veterans Day, featured in The Intercept and written by a very gifted investigatory journalist who has been working on this for quite some time (along with all her other assignments, most concerning Death Row inmates) The Intercept is a treasure for those who want in-depth reporting on serious topics that affect our lives, this country and the world, and it’s one I turn to often. We are hoping to build some momentum thru this release that will give John Calvin the scrutiny his story deserves and will lead to righting this incredible injustice.
Please pray for John, that he will get the medical treatment he needs and will be kept safe from further harm. And please pray for this appeals process we are in; it continues to break my heart that innocent people suffer in these horribly stifling and dangerous environments, subject to violence, sickness and disrespect in every way. And honestly, even if not innocent, there are better and more humane ways to treat the incarcerated. I urge you to learn more about our criminal justice system, open your heart to care and find ways to participate in re-imagining what it could be. Two publications I follow are The Marshall Project https://www.themarshallproject.org/ and Prison Legal News https://www.prisonlegalnews.org.
If you would like to send us or John a message please do so here – https://www.justiceforjohnbuckley.com/contact-us/
John Calvin and all of the family are thankful for all of you!