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Message From Ajay - December 2020

Dear Family, Friends, Supporters and Well-Wishers,

I hope this letter finds you strong in determination, spirit, and health. This is my tenth public letter since my incarceration in June 2009. My last lengthy public letter was in March 2019. My previous letters to the public and the progress and facts into my case are available at this website: www.SeekingJusticeForTheInnocent.com I hope to give you some update since my last public letter.

Mule Creek prison is on “Modified Program” due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. This modified program could continue until all the staff and inmates are vaccinated for COVID, which could go all the way until Spring/Summer of 2021, or even later. The two biggest setbacks for me have been not being able to see my children, family and friends for over 9 months and counting. Another setback is the delay it has caused into my case. Of course, not being able to see my love ones during this ordeal makes it even more challenging doing time. People need relationships and human touch. It is a big part of rehabilitation especially when one is isolated in a place like prison. It’s already the most loneliest and darkest place to be if you’re falsely accused and wrongfully convicted for a crime you never committed. This pandemic has only added to my loneliness from not being able to see my love ones. This virus is affecting people worldwide, and I hope you and your family are all staying safe and taking every precaution to stay healthy from this terrible virus. I share my sadness for those families who have lost their loved ones during this difficult time and pray for their healing.

 

Compared to other prisons in California, thanks to our administration and staff, Mule Creek overall has done a good job keeping us safe. There have been a few incidents where staff tested positive for COVID, which has resulted in quarantined inmates. Out of an abundance of caution, about a hundred inmates were recently moved to a new location from those inmates who were possibly exposed to the virus. I was one of those hundred who were moved to a new building. Please notice my new mailing address at the bottom of this letter. Moving from one cell to another is mostly inconvenient because we never know where and who we will end up living with. In my case, I was fortunate because I am currently living with five other people who gets along and respects one another. In a place like prison, this virus could spread exponentially at any moment, a more reason to take every precaution to stay safe and healthy as possible.

The evidentiary hearing into my case in the Yolo Superior Court began in May 2019. Four of our witnesses have already testified including one witness from overseas. Our last live testimony was in October 2019. We were in the process of obtaining visas for a few more overseas witnesses when COVID put a screeching halt to all the process – all visas and traveling overseas had been halted due to the pandemic. We also have a few local witnesses remaining to testify. We have proposed to the court if live testimony cannot occur, we use a “modified commission process” where tape-recorded video testimony substitute for written questions and answers. We do not know if the Judge would accept our recommendations, but given the pandemic, the Judge may be inclined to do so.

In 2009, I was wrongfully convicted in the Yolo County Superior Court of sex crimes against my adopted daughter. Throughout the time of its conception, the case has seen numerous inconsistencies and blatant falsities. Each time she was questioned, her story changed. Witnesses that she claimed had seen these indecent acts testified to the contrary. Doctors, social workers, psychologist, and other professionals testified that she showed no symptoms either physically or emotionally of physical or sexual abuse. At one point, she dropped the charges, asserting it would not be just to proceed. But, she reinstated them after running into trouble with the Nepali government for committing perjury and fraud on her passport and travel documents. After trial, jurors stated that her testimony was hard to swallow and did not find her credible. Nevertheless, according to the jurors, I was convicted on the pretext call alone after being presented with an inaudible phone call that the judge permitted to be translated by the accuser. According to her translation, I admitted to having sex with her after she had turned 18. The jury’s verdict resulted in the judge sentencing me to a 378-year prison term.

Since then new evidence, illustrating my innocence has been submitted as part of a Habeas Petition. The petition was filed in July 2018 in the Yolo County Superior Court. The Habeas Petition introduced new evidence that support assertion that my adopted daughter’s allegations against me were false. Included in the Habeas Petition are the statements from several different people that prior to the trial, she had admitted she had made the allegations up. Moreover, the inaudible call that was heavily relied on by the jury in their decision making was enhanced and properly translated. A certified Nepali translator affirmatively confirmed that no such admission of guilt was made.

A few months ago, we had filed for commutation with Governor Newsom. One of the questions in the application questionnaire was very difficult for me to answer. It asked about my remorse for the crime committed and my feelings of repentance. A heart of remorse and repentance is a must for an inmate seeking commutation. This I wholeheartedly agree if the inmate has harmed or committed a crime against a person and/or society. But if an inmate is counted among the 8% to 12% who are innocent but in prison (Innocent Project), how can that inmate sincerely be repentant for something he did not do. Being remorseful is difficult to express for those innocent of the crime, like me. It is hard to be repentant for something I didn’t do.

My time in prison has taught me valuable life lessons. It’s true - it takes courage to forgive. For me the healing path began when I first began to explore my spirituality in 2016. It began a very long journey which led to recognizing and valuing relationships and truth, and dealing with issues of forgiveness. This last one has been the hardest for me, and required several years of focused prayer, reflection and therapy before I was willing to forgive those people who inflicted evil against me and my family’s lives. I have been able to develop a great deal of empathy, understanding and forgiveness for others and myself, which is significant for my finding personal power and developing a safe, healthy, and supportive relationships. Today, I can say I have forgiven those who harmed me. I have chosen to keep my faith and live the hope that comes with truth. I brought to prison the person that I am and the values taught to me by my parents. It’s been said that while going through horrific trials people’s true nature are revealed. I have suffered enormous loss when I was wrongfully accused and incarcerated. Yet, I believe I have stayed true to who I am and have learned some of the greatest lessons we humans can learn - hope, faith, truth, courage, patience and humility.

For our Governor to grant my request for commutation would mean the world to me and my family. Exoneration and freedom are my greatest wish. Prison can take its toll on anyone, especially on those unfamiliar with our criminal justice system and innocent of the crimes alleged against them. Nonetheless, I have tried to keep focused on the things that really matter. For me that centers around my relationships with my children, family and friends. My first priority upon my release is to be the best father I can be to my two sons. Raising them behind bars has been painful. I am anxious for the ability to be with them, to participate in their lives and upbringing and to be the father they need and deserve. Time never passes faster than with a growing child. I have already missed so much of my sons’ lives and I do not take for granted the opportunity to once again be a part of their lives. They need me, and I need them. There are a few simple things in life humans need especially when they are in isolation. Just hearing my sons’ voice, hearing them tell me “I love you, Daddy.” is so soothing to my soul. I guess the songs by the Beatles, “Love Is All You Need” just about says everything.

My parents are also getting older and slower by the day. I cry myself to sleep on many nights thinking that they may not live long enough to see their son freed. I remind my sons the importance of visiting my parents on a regular basis who lives only ten minutes away. I constantly worry about my beloved mother because she is depressed and lonely. She needs to see my sons constantly because she sees them as my spirit. She feels a big void in her heart because of my absence, and seeing them gives her some relief from this continuous voidness. I tell my sons that when they visit their grandparents they see me in them and it comforts them. And that they can love me, embrace me through them. They can look into their eyes and see me, their son.

It would be an understatement to say that we are a close-knit family. None of us have been fully whole since my incarceration. A commutation would impact my life just as much as it would impact theirs. My parents would have their son back, my children – their father, and I personally would be permitted a second chance in life to rebuild the broken bonds and restore my family for good. My purpose in life is to live a life of truth and love, and by sharing those things with others I can encourage mutual healing towards wholeness which we were made for. It is true, in life it does not matter how well you do, but instead how much good you do. It does not matter how much love you’ve gathered, but how much you’ve given away. I have always tried to live by these basic principles and will continue to do so if granted a commutation.

I want to sincerely extend my thank you to those who wrote letters of support to Governor Newsom for my commutation request. I was very humbled to receive about one hundred letters of support and about 2,500 signatures on a petition calling on the Governor to commute my sentence. You responded in such short notice. A big thank you to you all! I cannot emphasize enough the importance of me continually receiving your letters. Writing me letters is one of the best ways you can help keep me sane in here and give me strength to persevere. Your letters tell me I am not forgotten and that you care, which sends a huge encouraging message to my heart and mind. To those who have written to me while I am here, you have given me comfort and love during my darkest time. So I thank you for writing. It has been 11+ years of emotional, mental, physical, and financial exhaustion. 

My prayer is that everyone will come out of this pandemic safe, healthy and eager to go back to work – stronger, committed and clear minded. That complacency will not set foot when victory is just around the corner. I hope you will continue to stand by me, offer me your presence, your heart and your love. Your support serves me greatly when I am overwhelmed in this place with sad and conflicting thoughts. If home is where the heart is, then I am painfully out of place. I have never been more homesick than now and the fast approaching holidays only compounds the issue.

I hope this letter finds you in the same spirit it came – eagerness in your heart, persistence in your spirit and courage in your soul. Know that this comes to you with a tremendous amount of blessings, love and care. May you have a joyous and safe Winter Holiday and a wonderful and bright New Year.

In Freedom and Love,

Ajay Dev

www.SeekingJusticeForTheInnocent.com

You can write me at:

Ajay Dev
AA-0329, E20-B202-1L
M.C.S.P.
P.O. Box 409090
Ione, CA 95640

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