My son was a decent human being. Was he perfect? No, he wasn’t; however, until this case, he did not have a criminal record. Aside from the fact that he did not commit this attempted robbery, how do you give 12 years to a 23 years old, young man who had never been in trouble? How is it possible? A young man 3 classes shy of a Bachelor Degree?
Dear Judge *****:
I request Your Honor’s attention to this letter regarding Charles, who will appear before the Court on Friday, January 31. I have known Charles since he was in my English class in 2005. As a classroom teacher for almost twenty years, I have acquired an astute ability to sense the character of a young person, and I can relate information about Charles that is both unique and pertinent.
As a freshman, Charles wrote an essay about his childhood, his family’s transition between Nigeria and the United States, their struggle after their father’s death. His story was moving, yet his most remarkable comments concerned cultural differences, particularly among his peers in Nigeria and America. According to Charles, young people in America did not respect their elders. He explained that in Nigeria, he was accountable to any adult because young Nigerians respect authority. As I got to know Charles, I saw that every facet of his behavior reflected the basic doctrine from his childhood. He answered, “Yes ma’am.” He requested permission to speak. He praised his grandmother who packed his lunch every morning. He was gentle, courteous, and decent. A few years passed, and Charles was again my student in senior English. With maturity, he continued to demonstrate respect for authority, an ingrained principle, an integral part of who he is. As a senior, Charles wrote an essay about his experience as a volunteer at the Veterans’ Hospital. He described the patients with dignity and confidentialty, and although he was proud of his work, he asked me not to call attention to it. Charles served those patients because they had served him, and he wanted to show his gratitude quietly. After Charles graduated and before he left for college, I saw him taking his younger brothers and sister to school. As always, he was a help to his mother, for it is not in his nature to burden her. I believe that genuine goodness is Charles’ nature.
Under ideal circumstances, I would be present to address the Court in person. The outcome of this hearing is gravely important to me. I humbly ask that my account of Charles Ajoloko is considered by the Court.