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Extended Family For the grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of inmates.

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Old 09-02-2015, 08:18 AM
Mmiller273 Mmiller273 is offline
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Angry Innocent and serving 35 years at 19

I’m not sure if there is anything you can do to help me. But it is worth a chance.
In April 2009 my bestfriend Nathaniel Thomas Erke, was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Nathan is a good man, he was in the Reservist in the Army, stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, and was just about to go on his first deployment, when a series of unfortunate events unrolled.
Nathaniel was spending more time with his family before he left, and more importantly his brother Michael Erke. Whom was not a good influence. A few months prior to April his brother Michael had been stabbed 9 times by a male with the nickname “Buddha”. As his brother was healing from this ordeal, he and the 3’rd co-defendant ( I don’t know his name), they decided to seek revenge on “Buddha”. The night it all happened, Nathaniel thought he could stop his brother, so he went with them. We’ll long story short, his brother stole a gun, and put in the front seat, and a few other items. Buddha came home while they were all inside, and left to go the neighbor’s home which was a local police officer. The cops came, all 3 of them got arrested for armed robbery, and Burglary. Nathaniel at 19 years old, and serving in the US ARMY, got 35 years because he did not take the plea deal of 10 years. When the state prosecutor suggested that he get less than 5 years, or probation since he was not the gunman ( The gun never fired, just was stolen and on the floorboard of the car). His brother Michael and other codefendant got 10 & 15 year plea deals, both of them have a long rap sheet, including but not limited to battery, and 3 counts of violating parole.
Since then, he has been in prison for 6 years, and has exhausted every option, with no help from his family, and giving his mother POA- to get money from his bank account to get him a lawyer-which she never did, He has no one to help him. He has filed almost every petition, and form there is trying to get someone/ a different judge to hear his case. When he was sentenced, he was sentenced by a different judge than his hearing judge. And has requested since then to be seen by his hearing judge and Judge Soud- his sentencing judge picked his petition up and declined.

Nathaniel has currently served 6 years, out of 35 years. He will be 54 when he gets out. The prison that he is currently at is Black Water Correctional, and there is limited classes/programs for him there. Nathaniel was a soldier in the army, and loved his job very much. I know he can play a good role in society, and never commit a crime again.

Can anyone, please help me? How do I help him?!
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Old 09-02-2015, 08:55 AM
marie8899 marie8899 is offline
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Horrible example of why we have too many people incarcerated. I'm sorry for your friend and the injustice he is experiencing. To me, it sounds like the case should be reviewed with a competent attorney, in order to find out what options may be available. It sounds like this young man comes from a very dysfunctional family, if his own mother did not spend the money on an attorney and no one will help him. If there is no one to help him with attorney expenses, how about him contacting the Innocence Project for his state? I know there is one in Florida, because I just looked it up online. If he is from another state, chances are there is one in that state also. Best of luck to your friend.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:03 PM
Straight Straight is offline
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I always try to separate the pieces of a story into what applies and what doesn't.

The part that might have been where the conviction came from, and as your story seems to confirm, your friend went with others who committed a crime.

The underlying story seems to be that he went along to try to stop them, but he obviously didn't stop them from going, didn't stop a gun from being there (fired or not), and didn't stop them from going into his home to exact revenge (it's unclear if your friend was in the house or not, but that probably won't matter).

If I ride along with friends who stop to buy dope, the deal goes bad, someone gets killed... I'm on the hook.

In your friend's case, he went along knowing what the goal of the outing was, and he could have called the cops to stop it from happening if he wanted to. But he didn't. he apparently tried to stop them... all along the way and as it happened. That doesn't sound good.

Without knowing what all the other details are, it sounds like he is probably guilty according to the law. There may be someone who practices law in your area that can confirm this, or there may be something that might be different where you are.

Him being in the Army has no bearing on guilt or innocence. He's lucky the Army didn't go after him as well, really. As a soldier, he is expected to carry himself in a manner other than what this portrays.

I'm guessing his lawyer explained the "you were there, you knew what was going on, you might want to take the deal" thing to him. Maybe someone, or he, thought that he could show some kind of good Samaritan thing, or good guy in a bad place... I don't know.

But just from your brief description of the chain of events, you may have a difficult time looking to make this all go away.

Best of luck.
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:32 PM
CenTexLyn CenTexLyn is offline
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When one chooses not to take a plea where sufficient evidence exists to convict under law of parties, it is rather difficult to claim factual innocence. Further, when one chooses to allow punishment to be imposed by either the bench or a jury, then you KNOW the entire range is on the table.

He rolled the dice and lost. It happens. It is not a basis upon which appellate relief would reasonably be anticipated to occur...
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:32 AM
yourself yourself is offline

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straight and CenTex have it right. Further, FL has well known, well published gun laws. He does not have a right to a particular judge, nor does he have a right to a particular sentence. Yes, it's a harsh reality, a very harsh reality. 35 years is a long time. But, had they used a gun to kill the guy, your LO could very easily have found himself on death row.

At 25, with limited programming at his facility, he may want to look beyond his facility for education and the like. He may also want to look into creating his own programming with the people around him. He's got plenty of time to figure out what he wants to do with his time. It is a harsh lesson, but at some point he's gotta take responsibility for his actions, not just his intentions. Based on the limited fact pattern you presented, he does not have grounds for relief. I'm sure you can find an attorney out there to throw a ton of money into the whole thing, but he's been through trial. He's had a direct appeal. The facts you stated support a conviction. You are alleging nothing that could be considered grounds for further appeal at this time.

Oh, and a POA is revocable at will. If he doesn't want his mother to have POA, he can revoke, and give it to somebody more dependable. But that's on him. Further, it's on him to write innocence projects and area appellate attorneys. He's not going to get much traction, and he will get a ton of rejection (paying for all file reviews from those attorneys who are not charitable organizations), but he can spend his time doing that if he wants.

Last edited by yourself; 09-03-2015 at 09:35 AM..
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:29 AM
jsanner jsanner is offline
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Wow, that is a rough lot. Lots of "shouldn't haves" in this post. We can only hope that he understands what mistakes he made and (hopefully) learn from them. 54 isn't old anymore. He still has a chance at some living once he gets out. However, missing all his 20s 30s and 40s is going to be a bummer.
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