Re: "Judicial system found Africa guilty," letter, Saturday:

I fail to see George Shotzbarger's point in light of the countless number of people found guilty by the judicial system and later exonerated. Is he saying that a conviction is synonymous with guilt? He makes a point of saying that he drew up the criminal complaint against me, but if he is referring to the complaint used to bring an army of cops out to my home on May 12, 1985, then he should also have said that every single charge listed in that complaint was dismissed by the courts as having no basis.

After May 13, I was charged with everything that police and fire officials did. They bombed me and my family, and I was charged with possession of explosives. Their bomb ignited a fire, and I was charged with arson. The cops shot more than 10,000 bullets at us, and I was charged with assault, attempted murder, and possession of weapons.

I subpoenaed the two cops who made and dropped the bomb to testify at my trial, but they never took the witness stand because Judge Michael R. Stiles allowed them to come into his chambers and say that they were taking the Fifth Amendment and leave, even though the Fifth Amendment can only be invoked on a question-by-question basis from the witness stand after a question has been asked. Stiles immediately dismissed any prospective juror who indicated that he or she thought I was innocent, even though a juror is obligated to believe that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

Yes, I was jailed throughout the proceedings because I had $4.5 million bail, and I served my entire seven-year sentence because the parole board said it would parole me after 16 months, but only if I agreed to give up my religion and sever all ties with my MOVE family, which I would never do.

The fact is that innocent people are convicted all of the time and often sit in prison for decades after being denied appeal after appeal after appeal, despite their innocence.

Ramona Africa