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

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