Justice: Denied -- The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted




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His Son's Toy Gun Sends Ricky Ford to Prison

By Ricky Ford

Edit, Clara A. Thomas Boggs

Before I even start to discuss what happened to me in the Municipal and Superior Court, I will go into how my arrest took place. I was arrested in Bell Gardens in September of 1985. While walking to my vehicle to get my wallet to pay for some food that I just ordered from a fast food restaurant, a Bell Gardens police officer drove up by me. Pulling his vehicle right in front of me so I could not get by, he asked me many questions. Where was I going? Where was my car? Where did I live? What was I doing in that town? He then told me to place my hands on top of the hood of the police car. I was body searched and a gold-plated 32-derringer toy pistol was taken from my waistband. I told him that it was a toy. It did not have a firing pin nor did it shoot bullets. I only carried it that night because my son had left it in the car earlier and I had also gotten myself into an altercation with a gang member and was almost robbed. Not to mention I was on parole at that time. Afterwards, I was accused of the armed robbery of the fast food restaurant I had just walked out of.

I was detained in front of the restaurant for ID purposes. When employees were brought out of the business to make ID's, they all immediately told police that my codefendant and I were not the ones who robbed them. After the statements of the employees, one of the officers said, "Let's take him down to the station and book him for investigation of robbery." I was taken to the Bell Gardens police station and booked for armed robbery. Photos were taken of me without my shirt on and that photo was put into a line-up with men with shirts on and used in court as a suggestive photo line-up to convict me. I was held for 72 hours, taken to court and just sat in the bullpen never entering the courtroom. I was then taken to the county jail and picked out of a lineup. My attorney asked the witness in court how they came about making a positive ID on me. The witness said that the police officers brought my photo to the business every day and told the witness that this was the one and he is in jail right now for the robbery.

My attorney told me to take a deal for possibly 25 years. I told him that I did not do the crime I was accused of. While sitting in the county jail for over eight months, my attorney only came down to discuss the case twice. I got him terminated as my attorney. After that, I was forced to proceed in pro per status. Ironically enough, trial started without me being in pro per mode yet. I was granted pro per status on Friday and Tuesday trial started without my consent.

There are three things that need to be given to a pro per status person. That is an eyewitness expert, a legal runner and a state investigator. I was not granted any one of these three upon starting trial, in pro per status, while incarcerated in the county jail. To compound all that, there were over 1,000 pages in transcripts and a host of supposed witnesses. Therefore it was practically impossible to defend myself without a continuance for at least 60 days. At least by law, it is required that a 60-to-90 day extension is needed to deal with a matter as complex as that, the same as an attorney would need. I was allowed only one phone call to contact my witnesses. In trial, when I could not contact them, the judge stated that was too bad. I told the court I needed to have my subpoenas given to my witnesses so they could come to court. The judge stated that the only way my witnesses would get the subpoenas is if they came to court and picked them up personally.

In the court trial, the district attorney said that the toy gun, the derringer, was unique. He had never seen or heard of this type of gun used in any case other than mine. Later on that week, I got a paper document stating that a black guy was arrested with a gold derringer, only his was a real gun and he was presently incarcerated for an armed robbery. These are all facts, which I am stating to you.

I got 15 years in priors, which were not proven. Since I was convicted, they decided that I should also be convicted for my priors too and an additional 24 years was tacked on to my time, with half time in 1986. I was charged $10,000 in restitution fees. My case has been all about exhausted. I've been all the way to the Federal Court and I was shot down all the way.

Ricky Ford C-06117
C.S.P. L.A.C. A5-241
44750 60th Street West
Lancaster, CA 93536

Contact: (Sister)
Vickie Ford
12433 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, CA 90061
(232) 755-9261 or (310) 583-0483

Justice Denied

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