Testimonials Compiled and Edited
By Benjamin LaGuer
When Benjamin LaGuer was sentenced in 1984 to life in prison for raping a Leominster neighbor, the jury ruled without a shred of physical evidence linking him to the crime, Boston Globe Editorial of 24 March 1994.
I would have afforded [Ben LaGuer] a new trial,” Edith Fine, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Court of Appeals.
I am firmly convinced that he did not receive a fair trial, Professor Charles Ogletree, Harvard Law School.
I therefore have serious misgivings about the integrity of the criminal justice system in this case, as I believe any citizen would. Deval Patrick, Former US Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
I am sorry. William P Nowick, Juror.
What an awful business. I am glad that at least it is getting some pubic attention, and very much hope that this crime of state can be remedied very soon, Noam Chomsky, MIT.
In LaGuers case it appears that the police collection and testing of evidence was far short of professional, Eddie Jenkins, President, Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association.
In all of my contact with him, he has never expressed the sort of misogyny, hatred or rage that might suggest that On the contrary; he has always seemed comfortable with and respectful toward women. Indeed, he may be one of the few feminists incarcerated in a male prison. Abbe Smith, Associate Director, Georgetown University Law Center.
Mr. LaGuer has proven himself over many years to be a person of superb moral character, Lucy E Reyes, President, Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys.
I feel deep satisfaction in seeing a graduate of Boston Universitys Prison Education Program put his education to such good use, Chancellor John Silber, Boston University.
A classic case of judicial indifference. Eugene Rivers, Pastor, Azusa Christian Community.
I have often listened to Mr. Mandela of South Africa and wondered how he could have spent half of his life in jail and come out of that experience with so little bitterness. I feel I hear that same spirit from Ben LaGuer, Sheila Dector, Regional Director, American Jewish Congress.
I very much believe that Ben LaGuer should not be in prison, John Sivanus Wilson, Jr., MIT, Assistant Provost.
Few cases are so riddled with judicial sophistry, disregard of facts, and allusion to facts not in evidence to offend the appearance that justice was served than in the LaGuer case, Francisco Gonzalez-Palacio, Civil Rights Lawyer.
LaGuer does not fit either a psychological or pathological profile of a person capable of committing this crime, Dr. Lawrence Hipshmen, Superior Court appointed Psychiatrist.
It seems totally our of character, Dr Daniel Weiss, Psychiatrist, Department of Corrections.
For years, Benjamin LaGuer has steadfastly maintained his innocence, even when such a position has kept him in prison. He has conducted himself with honor and he has never lost hope, Dianne Williamson, columnist, Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
I believe that justice—and society—would be best served in this case if Mr. LaGuer were freed from prison, John Strahinich, Executive Editor, Boston Magazine.
There is still enough questions about this case—the conflicting testimony, the missing evidence, the lingering uncertainty about the reliability of Plantes identification—to create doubts about Benji LaGuers guilt that are not only reasonable but haunting, Francis Connelly, The Boston Phoenix.
There was no conclusive blood test or other test to determine his guilt. LaGuers only connection to the victim is that he stayed at his parents apartment, which was next door to the victims, after he was discharged from the Army, Robert Jordan, columnist, Boston Globe.
A number of reporters have concluded that at the very least, his trial was a pretty odiferous piece of business, Mark Jurkowitz, Media Critic, Boston Globe.
Most importantly, Mr. LaGuer has not merely fought for his interest with the knowledge and insight he has gained in jail; rather, he has used his energy and wisdom to advocate for others and to distinguish himself among his peers in prison. Through his words and deeds, Mr. LaGuer has demonstrated great promise to support our larger society upon regaining his liberty, John Lozada, President Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys.
The handling of this case makes me look real bad, but the police did the job they set out to do, Peter L. Ettenberg, Trial Lawyer for Ben LaGuer.
The criminal justice system has failed to provide Mr. LaGuer with a trial in which impartial jurors determine the merits of the charges against him free from racism, Ozell Hudson, Director, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law.
I believe from reading transcripts that the jurys deliberation in the original trial were tainted by ethnic or racial prejudice, Ron Madnick, Director, Civil Liberties Union Chapter in Worcester.
Mr. LaGuer is an intelligent, thoughtful, humane, and altruistic man. He is someone who can help society, and his further incarceration will only serve a destructive and futile end of punishing a man who may not even deserve it He is not only interested in his own work, but has been a source of support and an impromptu tutor of many other students, Dr James H. Dunn, Boston University.
I am impressed with his positive efforts while imprison, John Larivee, Executive Director, Crime &Justice Foundation.
I was touched by your perceptive, sensitive words. I hope that you will continue writing Do not lose courage, Eli Wiesel, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities.
His writings reflect a human being who could well make a valuable contribution to the community in general, and the Puerto Rican community in particular, which direly needs the talents of people like Mr. LaGuer, Martin Espada, Professor of English , University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
As a woman who herself is the victim of a violent crime I am not one to have sympathy for men who do us violence. I have had to look through my own pain to see the truth of Mr. LaGuers situation, Stacy Amaral.
I am saddened and ashamed for not being involved sooner in seeking justice for Mr. LaGuer, Douglas Medina, Worcester City Firefighter.
I believe Ben LaGuer deserves a second chance, and I dont even like Puerto Ricans, quoting from an anonymous woman caller to the WGBHs viewer response telephone line.
Through thousands of dark nights in prison, holding his breath for years at a time in the hope of appeals, court reversals, Ben LaGuer has been suffering, and learning, for us all Christopher Lydon, WBUR, National Public Radio.
Law is what lawyers and judges have practiced in court to no result. Justice is what has come to Ben LaGuer through a legion of journalists who, after publishing and broadcasting the facts, have brought about a sea change of public opinion, Jose Masso, Senior Associate Director, Centre for Sports & Society, Northeastern University.
After reading the transcript and briefs I have become convinced—as have a number of other journalists, scholars, and lawyers—that he neither committed the crime for which he was convicted nor received a fair trial, John Taylor, Senior Writer, Esquire Magazine.
I admire [Ben LaGuers] fortitude in adversity and his optimism for the future, David Hall, Provost, Northeastern University.
I believe that I have gained some insight into Mr. LaGuers character, on the basis of the way he has comported himself over ten years of acquaintanceship. The traits that he has exhibited over that time—intelligence, cha
rm, wit, insight, focus, humor, kindness and perseverance—are traits that one would hope to find in all functioning members of the society at large; yet one finds them all too seldom, Allen W. Fletcher, Chairman, Worcester Publishing, LTD.
Mr. LaGuer, through the apprenticeship he has endured behind jailed walls, has become a teacher, an advocate and a person most conscious of the law and individual obligations, Jaime Rodriguez, Chair, National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights.
He is a talented writer, an intelligent advocate, and a man whose experience and life lessons make him a valuable member of the community, Dr. Joan Wallace-Benjamin, President, Urban League.
The case of Ben LaGuer offers the state of Massachusetts the opportunity to send a powerful message, Sally Greenberg, Civil Rights Director of Eastern States, Anti-Defamation League.
Ive been with Ben LaGuer during court hearings that never worked in his favor, and Ive felt his pain and anguish. Yet still he maintains his dignity and respect, Minister Don Muhammad, Nation of Islam.
As I read the materials it seems clear, as the Boston Globe pointed out in its editorial on March 24, 1994, that [Ben LaGuer] ought to have a new trial, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Chair, African-American Studies Department, Harvard University.
Continued incarceration of this man is clearly an injustice, Neddy Latimer, Executive Director, Spanish American Center in Leominister.
Please share widely!