Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WSJM AM 1400 & FM 94.9 Features Story About Efrén

Below is a message Efrén's mother, Velia, sent to WSJM AM 1400 & FM 94.9 after learning that they featured a story about Efrén the previous day without contacting Efrén's family or supporters for a comment:
Dear WSJM,

The family of Efrén Paredes, Jr. would like to submit the following comment to your station for broadcasting regarding the article which appeared yesterday on your web site authored by Andrew Green.

In the interest of fairness and justice we are respectfully requesting that you contact the family of Efrén Paredes, Jr. via e-mail at info@4Efren.com for comment before publishing any further stories concerning Efrén or our family to ensure that you are providing balanced reporting to your audience.

Since we were not contacted we would like you to either broadcast our family's comment, or include it as an addendum to the story you posted on your web site. Our comment is:

"The family of Efrén Paredes, Jr., friends, supporters, and members of The Injustice Must End (TIME) Committee firmly stand behind Efrén's innocence and support his release. Despite distortions circulated about Efrén's case, and the exaggerated and false claims made by the Berrien County Prosecutor's Office, Efrén is innocent of the crime he was convicted of.

The dissemination of false and misleading information about Efrén's case by the Prosecutor's Office fueled a barrage of damaging media coverage that infected Efrén's court proceedings and prevented him from receiving a fair trial.

The Prosecutor's Office also deceived the public by making baseless and unsubstantiated claims they never produced in court in an effort to undermine the integrity of the legal process. Their aim was to convict Efrén in the media before the trial began. At no time did the media ever contact Efrén or our family for any comments to the dozens of stories published.

Michael Sepic, Asst. Prosecuting Attorney during Efrén's trial also knowingly and deliberately seated a juror on Efrén's jury that worked with a member of the Tetzlaff family even after being notified of the nexus by a member of the Tetzlaff family. This information was revealed after Efrén's conviction at a post-conviction hearing.

This, among many other improprieties and unethical conduct by the Prosecutor's Office, incentivized testimony negotiated with criminals by the Prosecutor's Office, false testimony against Efrén, and the mishandling, destruction, and withholding of evidence, resulted in Efrén's wrongful conviction.

To learn about the facts surrounding Efrén's wrongful conviction you are invited to visit www.4Efren.com."

Sincerely,

Velia Koppenhoefer
Mother of Efrén Paredes, Jr.
Other members of The Injustice Must End (TIME) Committee also contacted the radio station in support of Velia's statement. The author of the segment, Andrew Green, responded to each person and expressed a commitment to do a follow-up story which included our side. We are pleased to announce that Green remained true to his word and published the following story today:
"Paredes Supporters Ready for Parole Hearing" by Andrew Green

Supporters of Efren Paredes are speaking out before his state Parole Board hearing next month. On December fourth, the board will hear arguments on a request for a commutation of the life sentence he's serving in the 1989 murder of a Saint Joseph Township store manager. The Berrien County Prosecutor, along with family members of victim Rick Tezlaff, will be at the hearing to argue against a request for clemency ... but Paredes advocate Scott Elliot says that many supporters will also be there.

The Paredes family issued a statement this week, maintaining that Efren is innocent. In it, they accuse the prosecutor's office of a variety of improprieties in the case, "making baseless and unsubstantiated claims...never produced in court," and following unethical conduct by including the use of "testimony negotiated with criminals," as well as withholding evidence.

They also say efforts were made at the time to mislead the public in an effort to "convict Efren in the media before the trial began." The Prosecutor's office stands behind its case, asserting that an abundance of evidence proves Paredes' guilt. The Parole Board will make a recommendation to the governor on the clemency request following next month's hearing.

Source: http://wsjm.com/pages/3343745.php?contentType=4&contentId=3080560

Friday, November 14, 2008

Awaking the Xicano/Latino Leader Within — A Conversation with Efrén Paredes, Jr.

Chicanos y Latinos Unidos (CLU) is convening a workshop at Michigan State University on Sunday, November 23, 2008 from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm, to discuss the importance and need to awaken the Xicano/Latino leader within. Efrén Paredes, Jr. will be calling in to lead the discussion and invite attendees to be actively involved in this critical discussion.

The subjects covered will include, but not be limited to, the following:

• Control of thought and behavior;
• Taking ownership for our actions;
• Overcoming insecurities and fears:
• Changing our perceptions;
• Creating mutual respect between the sexes;
• Empowering ourselves;
• Value of expression and communication;
• Developing positive self-image;
• Perils of reactionary behavior;
• Anatomy of conflict resolution;
• Forging alliances and collaborative efforts;
• Emphasizing culture, history and identity; and
• Need to pursue higher education.

Efrén will share two decades of intimate personal experience and research about these subjects. He has mentored hundreds of people and worked closely with them to equip them with the knowledge and necessary skills to thrive in a rapidly changing society.

An honest, articulate and motivational speaker, Efrén will teach people how to gain control over their lives and discuss the perils of refusing to do so. He will also provide a critical in-depth cost-benefit analysis of the group's dialogue every step of the way.

The work Efrén has done to combat social injustice and empower Xicano/Latino youth has been endorsed by Dr. Elizabeth "Betita" Martinez, Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr., and other highly respected members of the Xicano/Latino community.

We endeavor to generate widespread interest in the workshop and use this blueprint for personal growth and development to reach students at the college level and later at the high school and middle school level.

Ultimately we not only want to correct distorted thinking patterns, we want to prevent them from being engendered to begin with.

To learn more information about the workshop you can contact the event lead organizer, Xavier Gonzalaz via e-mail at gonza365@msu.edu or via phone at 956-739-5264.

_________________________

* The term "Xicano/Latino" is in no any way intended to exclude Xicanas or Latinas. We want it to be clear that Xicanas and Latinas are included in our usage of the term.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Efrén Radio Interview Requests

There have been a number of recent radio interview requests to speak with Efrén about his wrongful conviction. We would like to remind those making their requests that Efrén can only do radio interviews when someone on his approved phone list is actually present in the radio studio.

You can contact The Injustice Must End (TIME) Committee to Free Efrén Paredes, Jr. via e-mail at info@4Efren.com to request to have a member of Efrén's family, a friend, or a member of the TIME Committee present to take his phone call. All calls must be listened to over their speaker phones or the radio journalist can speak to Efrén personally.

Since someone on Efrén's phone list must be present to take his phone call it limits how often and where Efrén can call in to do interviews. We do have TIME Committee members across the country who Efrén can call, however, so interviews are not restricted to Michigan.

We invite your requests.

Presentation About Efrén at ACLU of Michigan State University Event

A member of the Lansing TIME Committee presented about Efrén's case yesterday evening, November 12, 2008, at a meeting on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU) about the imposition of life without parole (LWOP) sentences on juveniles. The meeting was convened by the ACLU of MSU.

An expert panel consisting of Shelli Weisberg, Legislative Director for the ACLU of Michigan, and Francisco Villarruel, MSU Professor and Senior Research Associate with the Institute for Children, Youth, and Families, presented about various issues related to juveniles sentenced to LWOP and juvenile incarceration. Both members of the panel were already familiar with Efrén's case.

Members of the ACLU of MSU and other local activists were also in attendance. Our representative distributed information about Efrén's case and gathered letters and postcards supporting his release. One of the events lead organizers expressed an interest in wanting to assist us generate support for Efrén's public hearing. We will work closely with him and appreciate his generous offer.

Our presentation garnered additional support for Efrén's release, and the meeting was productive for the campaign to abolish the imposition of LWOP sentences on juveniles as well. It is always a positive thing when we receive the opportunity to educate the community about both of these very important issues.

A special thanks to the ACLU of MSU for inviting us to present about Efrén and helping us increase visibility about the injustice surrounding his wrongful conviction.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Efrén Appears on Thousand Kites National Radio Broadcast

Efrén appeared on the Thousand Kites national radio broadcast yesterday, November 11, 2008, to discuss his wrongful conviction and the subject of juvenile life without parole sentencing in the USA.

Arrested at the age of 15, Efrén is one of more than 2,200 juveniles in the USA, and one of 300+ juveniles in the State of Michigan, who have been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The USA is the only country in the world that is currently imposes juvenile life without parole sentences on children in violation of the Convention On the Rights of the Child.

Click on the following link to visit the page where you can hear Efrén's interview: http://tinyurl.com/5e9yuo.

Thousand Kites is a national dialogue project addressing the criminal justice system. By being involved with Kites you will become part of a national movement to use the power of art to reform our criminal justice system and to talk about human rights in the United States. Using video, theater, radio, and the web as tools, you can bring people together to support organizing efforts and share experiences with the criminal justice system.

To learn more about Thousand Kites and how you can support its mission, please visit http://www.thousandkites.org. A special thanks to Julia Taylor for arranging the interview and to Helen for being present in the studio so she could let Efrén's voice be heard over her speaker phone.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Efrén Friend and Supporter, Arthur Fidel Argomaniz, Appears on McNair Scholars Program Flyer Wearing Free Efrén T-shirt

The above photograph appears on the Fall 2008 Information Session McNair Scholars Program flyer. One of Efrén's friends and loyal supporters, Arthur Fidel Argomaniz, is shown in the photo wearing the Free Efrén T-shirt.

Arthur is a McNair Scholar, senior attending the University of Southern California (USC) majoring in sociology. He is also president of MEChA de USC, a member of CCU (Campus and
Community United) and a SAJE (Strategic Action for a Just Economy)
intern.

Click here to view the entire flyer in color on our document sharing site.
Free Efrén Paredes, Jr. Poster and T-Shirt Slide Show

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