March 27, 2010 Open Letter from Robert Seth Hayes
My name is Robert Seth Hayes, and I am a former member of the Black Panther Party who has been held as a political prisoner in New York State for the past 37 years. I am presently awaiting a parole board hearing in June 2010, but I intend to post-pone the hearing while I await the results of my legal battle in the courts concerning my appeal of the 2008 decision of the NYS Parole Board commissioners in my case. I believe we have a better than good chance of gaining a new hearing with new guidelines or restrictions on what can and cannot be used at my hearings.
I’ve spent over 37 years in prison thus far. On many occasions I felt release imminent only to be disappointed and almost discouraged by the blatant racism manifested by those with authority over me. After bringing the spot light on my condition and circumstances before the courts. I now feel I have a better than good chance of winning release. We are presently in court seeking a reversal to the order which denied me parole for another 2 years. The 2008 parole board hearing was the sixth time I’d attended without gaining parole or possible consideration for parole. Now up for parole for the seventh time, I hope to win. Because my next parole board appearance is slated for June 2010, I plan on postponing that hearing as I await the results of our present petition before the courts.
If we are able to win a victory in court it will grant me a clean slate to approach the parole board with consideration for release. The commissioners at that time will only be able to make their decision on my conviction, and my present time served. At long last, the only considerations will be my achievements while incarcerated and my goals and plans upon being released, and not my political beliefs, my past membership in the Black Panther Party or my military record in Vietnam – all issues that the parole board has used to deny me parole in the past.
We are prepared to argue before the courts that the commissioners of Parole court hearing are utilizing false and misleading information in making a determination of continued incarceration and thereby straying from the official guidelines which they are required to uphold. If they are forced to use the actual law in their decision, they will only be able to look at my original conviction and my behavior over the time I served in prison. They will be hard pressed to demand continued incarceration based on “gut feelings”, outside the commitments of the law. I believe that I stand a good chance for release or absent that, a powerful argument to make an appeal to a higher court over the misapplication of Rules, law and obligations on the part of those on the Lower Court level.
I am therefore asking you to consider your ability to aid and assist me in my goals. We are working towards a $3,500.00 legal bill to pay for legal representation for the Article 78 now in the courts awaiting a decision. Any help that you can provide by sending donations directly to my attorney would be greatly appreciated:
Cheryl L. Kates, Esq.
Attorney At Law
PO Box 711
Honeoye, New York 14471
or send the donation directly to my finance officer:
438 Massachusetts Ave
Buffalo, New York, 14213
Your aide and assistance is sorely needed. I respect that times are hard and that many of you, having already given once, can barely afford to do so now. In light of that and the goal intended, I ask again and will gratefully accept whatever amount you can either raise or extend. Struggle is ongoing and our objective must always remain clear. I/we do not ask that you become burdened, but rather continually aware of what we want, what we intend, what we support. I hope to hear that this call was respected, honored and served. Much love to you. I remain.
Dedicated and Responsive,
Comrade Robert Seth’ Hayes