“Any damn fool can bet up some job; it takes a wise man to make it without working. Out here we call it ‘hustling.’ I’d like to be a good hustler.” – Charles Bukowski (American writer & poet) – Except from his novel “Post Office”
When I get released and I go to apply for a job, how should I fill out the application? When it says “have you ever been convicted of a felony, if so please explain.”
Do I write, well I took for years for kidnap/robbery/carjacking with an assault, but I actually didn’t kidnap anyone, my lawyer just told me to plead to it because I would receive ½ the time? Then do I mention in fact I have to do 85% instead of 50% because my lawyer wasn’t aware of the 3 strikes and penal code 667.5? (Although this legislation which decides which cases serve 85% and also what crimes carry a strike is widely considered the most important criminal legislation in the last 100 years). Do I explain to my possible employer that my laywer told me that he knows I could beat the charge in trial but that he thought I should take it anyways, cuz “ya never know.” I asked why we don’t plea to a lesser charge, something that was realistic, and he said “it is all the same as long as you get 50% why do you care?” He didn’t explain the fact that getting a job with “kidnapping” on my record would be significantly worse than “grand theft auto with a prior.” He actually acted surprised when I arrived in prison and was told I had to do 85% (he had not even looked at sentencing guidelines). His reaction was, at least we beat a street gang allegation. But wait; now I gotta do an extra year and you said I’d get half time. His response, “Oh, you’re young, a year will fly by.”
That was the man that held my life in his hands.
I am reminded everyday that I got a really, really bad deal. For a case with circumstances such as mine, people are astounded with the outcome. And it is a really hard thing to cope with. Now I’ve learned that it is better to have a murder on your record than a kidnap-robbery. How is it that a lawyer can go to sleep at night pleading his client out to something that he agreed his client did not do? Where is the morality in that? How is it I had a lawyer that did not even know of sentencing guidelines established almost 20 years ago?
This is my life.
I cannot go back in time and undo what has been done. I don’t have that power. When I get out of here next year will this ever return to the way they were before? No.
Things will never be the same.
I will forever have to lie on a job application. :)
I will get out and make music. I will be recording a new Time Again record immediately upon release. I have also begun work on a new project with DJ Pone of the Transplants, I look forward to releasing, however it is unlike anything I have done before. I have been writing constantly for it but as yet it is still unnamed, next time he visits we might nail one down but who knows. We have ample time, haha. I do my best to stay up to date on recording and studio gear so I have the option to go back to producing, which I am very likely going to do and for that I am very grateful. I am just now, more than ever, forced to succeed in a non-conventional way. I will have to find a way to make things work, I will forever be playing against a stacked deck and that is the frustrating part. My lawyer significantly stacked the deck against me; more than it should have been and that brings me a lot of sadness and hurt. The trust was totally abused and violated.
Would I be able to get a 9-5? Or will I in a sense be forced to “hustle”?
Things always seem easier on the outside looking in (watching Mike Tyson fighting on TV is a lot different than getting into the ring with him). What if I can’t or couldn’t make music but society at large ostracizes me? What if the rest of the fellas I live with inside these walls and I can’t get the second chance because we can’t pass a background check? I don’t know what it is going to be like. I have no idea how people will respond. I just know that when I think about it today I am overwhelmed. It is hard to think about and impossible to not think about. Like a fella said today, our release dates become our new birth dates, but counting down instead of up. Looked forward to all year long and celebrated just as readily. We’re happy to see the days fly by, but nervous none the less.
Just something to think aboutwhile you’re out there hustling.
‘Till next time… KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN’!
The unemployed, but still inspired, Daniel DART
Song for this diary: Welcome To The Jungle
Artist: Kanye West & Jay Z
Send me a letter, I love hearing from all of you!
Daniel Dart Richert #AL2076
C.M.C. West 1-24up
P.O. Box 8103
SLO, CA 93403