Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
THE REST OF THE STORY
I arrived at the Anoka Courthouse well before Raphael’s 10 am hearing, hoping to talk to Larry, his public defender. The time had been changed to 1 pm. I called Larry to find out if he had talked to the prosecutor (an assistant county attorney) about an Alford Plea – pleading no contest but not admitting guilt. Raphael had told me he couldn’t plead guilty because he wasn’t, even though it meant a 33 month sentence would run concurrently with his 8-year sentence. If he went to trial he’d most likely lose because he had no one willing to testify on his behalf; in which case the 33 months would be added on to his present sentence. Larry gruffly told me he wasn’t going to discuss with me what he had or hadn’t done and rudely slammed the phone down.
With a heavy heart, I entered the courtroom at 1 pm, filled with doubt that God was going to pull Raphael out of the fire. Larry didn’t show up for the hearing, which meant another public defender in the courtroom would stand in for him, and the prosecuting attorney would have her way. It seemed hopeless to me. Raphael’s name was called and the prosecuting attorney in the case, sitting in the same section I was, said something I didn’t hear.
I went over to her and said I was a Gideon minister and spiritual mentor to Raphael and didn’t hear what she said. Her response was, “Let’s go outside and talk about it.” I told her about Raphael and that his only way out of this was an Alford plea. Amy was a very kind person blessed with a compassionate heart. She said she’d talk to the judge and thought she’d accept an Alford Plea. She did and Michael came out in chains not to admit guilt but claim he’d probably be found guilty in a trial.
I learned a lesson that day. Never doubt that the Lord will provide even when things seem hopeless, and He may do so in an unexpected way, like a prosecuting attorney doing what was best for a person whose defense never showed. What seemed like a bad thing turned out to be a good thing. I also found out from Amy that Larry had never talked to her about an Alford Plea; Raphael would have been hung out to dry if he had showed.