Tinsley Grey Sammons



Like most White Southerners born in 1936, I grew up naïvely believing that Americans are the only truly free people in the world. Like countless others who enlisted in the Armed Forces in the early 1950s and later watched Perry Mason on black and white television, I was comfortable just knowing that since I was harmless, I was safe. In those days, in the absence of informed perception and critical thinking skill, I could not have imagined that institutionalized injustice and Plunder by Law would eventually reign in what I had always believed to be the most just of all nations. After all, we Americans do have a Constitution to protect us, don’t we? And it’s free, isn’t it? Sadly, my smug repose was shattered long before my fortieth birthday.

Reflecting on my past naïveté, I wonder just what I expected my Constitution — a covenant that I never bothered to study prior to 1992 — to do for me? Did I think that if I were unjustly arrested, an all-wise and learned judge would ponder the issue and then perhaps say, “The statute that you have allegedly violated is unconstitutional, Mr. Sammons. Case dismissed! Oh, and by the way, do you wish to file charges against those who conspired to have you arrested in violation of your unalienable rights?”

In the mid-70s I was angered by an article in Readers Digest titled: “The Fingerprint That Lied”. According to the article, thirteen witnesses testified that the defendant in question was working from a catering vehicle while the robbery he was later convicted of was occurring across town. If a single witness can cause a conviction, then why can thirteen not cause an acquittal? Whatever happened to Common Sense? I’d sure like to see a copy of the judge’s instruction to that jury.

In spite of those thirteen exculpatory witnesses, a single fingerprint lifted at the scene was enough to convict the unfortunate defendant. How did such an overwhelmingly logical conclusion fail to prevail and generate an acquittal . . . and an investigation as well?

The victim of a wrongful conviction was freed two and a half years later when his tenacious defense lawyer discovered that the fingerprint expert had altered the print to enhance his own reputation as an expert. I never found out what, if anything at all, happened to the fingerprint expert.

Years later my son-in-law was arrested for an armed robbery that occurred while he was a mile away from the crime scene having coffee with me and two other reputable citizens. The sheriff’s deputies refused to take our statements, so, poor Jim spent five fearful days in jail before the real culprit was arrested. Had it not been for an experienced investigator, Jim would likely have accepted a plea bargain, i.e., a legal threat/bribe, and gone to prison.

In 1992, my son was the victim of a serendipity setup contrived to gain advantage in a child visitation controversy where accusations of drug use are standard fare. Probable cause for the armed intrusion and arrest was a statement made by a nonexistent confidential informer. How does one challenge a nonexistent accuser when you can no longer even challenge a real one? Whatever happened to the due process guaranteed by the Bill of Rights?

America’s legal system has apparently become Domestic Enemy Number One, a monster to be feared by everyone not favored by the favored factions.

The heinous crime of having two blue valium tablets left by an overnight female guest and discovered on my son’s dresser cost us dearly. (Now grown, my son’s two sons are his partners in their successful vehicle service and repair shop near Hawthorne Florida.)

America’s most crucial problem today is essentially a legal problem. Unfortunately, the Democrat/Republican election pendulum will fix nothing; rather, like Edgar Allen Poe’s terrifying pendulum, their legal transgressions will continue descending with each dreadful election cycle, eventually severing the last vestige of freedom from our lives. The two major parties are but factions seeking control of the nation’s financial turf, which will continue being harrowed, sown, and the crops harvested by America’s neo-peasantry.


Tinsley Grey Sammons, 1936 — is a self-educated Geezer with an abiding passion for liberty and justice. He served as an enlisted man during the Cold War and retired from his automobile service and repair business in 1998. He describes himself as a justifiably arrogant, blue-collar-to-the-marrow curmudgeon. He and his wife settled in Gonzales, Louisiana after their home in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is granted, provided full credit is given.


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