To the editor:
I am a reader of the Lagniappe and have been for a long time. I am writing this letter because of the article and front-page coverage in your September 2 to September 8 issue. The story was “From the Ground Up” and featured defense attorneys from the Mobile County Public Defender’s Office on the front cover. I did enjoy the article and I am hopeful that this new public defender’s office will help move the very slow judicial system along. I am, on a personal note, very aware of how slow justice can be for those who have been the victims of violent crime.
I am writing this without them knowing, but I think you should do a feature and cover on the real people in Mobile who fight for those of us who have lost family members to violence. I am not talking about Ashley Rich. She is the face and head of that office, but she is not the one in the fight day in and day out with families like mine. I am talking about Jennifer Wright and Keith Blackwood. Both of them are the real heart and grit behind that office and they are the ones who truly spend hours of their time away from their families and in the court fighting for us and believe in what they are doing.
I know because I am part of a group of people here in Mobile who has lost a dear loved one to a violent crime here. It took years going through the system to get justice. It was terrifying and heart-wrenching and yet Jennifer and Keith were the ones who helped get me through it. They were not just the prosecutors in the courtroom but they took time outside the courtroom to hold my hand, explain what was happening, counsel me, take my late-night calls crying because I just needed to talk, and made me believe in the justice system that we have. There is a group of us who have lost loved ones to crime in Mobile and we have all had that same experience with both of them. I am sure some of those in that group would share their stories with you. Stories of loss and stories of justice and stories of the people who made that happen.
I have always been a fan of the Lagniappe and covering all sides of a story. So, I just thought you should do a story now about the real heart and grit behind the DA’s office in Mobile, Jennifer Wright and Keith Blackwood. Again, they would both be embarrassed I am sure if they knew I was sending you this letter, but I felt like it was something I needed to do. Also, I am hopeful that maybe something can be done to honor them in a little way for all they have done.
Thank you for all your hard work in making the Lagniappe such a great magazine for the Mobile area. I will continue to be a fan and reader and hope to see this story in one of your upcoming Lagniappes.
Family of a victim of homicide
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