Old-law Inmate Jason Goudlock’s Letter to the Ohio Parole Board
Jason Goudlock, #284-561 Toledo Correctional Institution 2001 E. Central Avenue Toledo, OH 43608 FreeJasonGoudlock.org
September 26, 2014
Ohio Parole Board 770 West Broad Street Columbus, OH 43222
In re: Old-law inmate Jason Goudlock’s letter to the Ohio Parole Board in support of his being released at his upcoming fifth Parole Board hearing.
Dear Ohio Parole Board:
In my letters to you prior to Parole Board hearings in 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2012, I apologized for the criminal misdeeds in my past, told the Board of my post-incarceration plans, and provided documents to show my readiness to be released from prison. Today, as I write my fifth letter to you in support of my parole, I am almost at a loss for words. But instead of surrendering to silence I want to describe several verifiable instances of injustice that have adversely influenced—and may continue to adversely influence—my right to a fair and impartial Parole Board hearing. I hope you will consider my account of the following events as you decide whether to extend or terminate my incarceration:
1) In 2006, when I was housed at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, then-warden Marc Houk, now a member of the Ohio Parole Board, attempted to frame me for vandalizing a service elevator in the prison. I was subsequently ordered to pay restitution in the sum of $833.00 for allegedly flooding the elevator by way of breaking a fire sprinkler. The criminal investigation of the alleged crime, however—conducted by Ohio State Patrol Trooper David H Simpson (Case No. 06-000028-0400)—led to my being cleared of having caused any damage to any property. The criminal investigation led to the rather surprising discovery that then-warden Houk had illegally stored his customized motorcycle on the broken elevator.
Upon learning that Marc Houk had stored a motorcycle in the service elevator, Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas E. Modarelli requested that Houk be interviewed by the Ohio State Patrol about the situation. To my knowledge, it never happened.
Approximately six years later, in December of 2012, at my fourth and most recent Parole Board hearing, Marc Houk, who had been caught trying to lay the blame on me for his motorcycle mistake, served on the Parole Board panel. That panel gave me a 24-month continuation, which was nine months longer than the previous 15-month continuation at my third Parole Board hearing. During my 15-month continuation I had lowered my Security Level status from Security Level 4 to a less restrictive Security Level 3. Marc Houk should have recused himself from my fourth hearing, of course, but when he did not, he should have been removed from the hearing board. His presence on that board meant I did not have the fair and impartial hearing to which I’m entitled.
2) Several weeks after my fourth Parole Board hearing, upon receiving my Parole Board Decision Sheet, I discovered my hearing had been conducted based on erroneous records of the time I had served on my sentence. The Parole Board failed to credit me with 235 days of Jail Time Credit. (Initially, I thought the 235 days of missing Jail Time Credit was only 162 days and became aware of the additional missing days upon receiving a copy of the Assistant State Public Defender’s letter to you of June 17, 2014.)
Upon discovering the error on my Parole Board Decision Sheet, I contacted the Office of the Ohio Public Defender about the matter. The Assistant State Public Defender, Kenneth R. Spiert, addressed my situation in a letter to you, asking that you either modify my 24-month continuance or grant me a new hearing in the interest of fairness. You ignored Mr. Spiert’s letter.
On June 19, 2014, Assistant State Public Defender wrote to you again, requesting that you modify the 24-month sentence continuance. You ignored his second letter as well. Because my fourth Parole Board hearing was based on inaccurate records of the amount of time I’ve served, and you have been unwilling to reconsider or modify the 24-month continuance, the hearing was not fair or impartial.
3) On April 12, 2013, while being housed at Mansfield Correctional Institution, I was physically attacked by a squad of correction officers. Apparently meaning to cover up their illegal behavior, the officers fabricated a series of Incident Reports and Conduct Reports. They also gave false testimony to the institution’s Use of Force Committee, saying they had used justifiable force against me because I was allegedly charging towards an officer after having allegedly kicked my cell door open. All of the officers were cleared by the Use of Force Committee of having committed any procedural use of force violations.
The month following the April 12, 2013, incident I filed a civil complaint with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division (Case No. 1:13cv1215, GOUDLOCK v. BLANKENSHIP, et al.). Pursuant to my discovery request made to the defendants’ counsel, Ohio Assistant Attorney General Thomas N. Anger, I was permitted to listen to the audio recording of the May 6, 2013, Rules Infraction Board hearing, for the case in which the defendants accused me of kicking my cell door open on April 12 2013 (Rules Infraction Board Case No. MANCI-13-002373). Near the end of the audio recording, the Chair of the Rules Infraction Board stated that the pod surveillance video of the incident, which he reviewed, clearly showed that I did not kick my cell door open. But that was the reason the defendants gave for using force against me. Thus, the defense for the squad’s physical attack on me is a lie.
Whether or not I kicked open my cell door on April 12, 2013, is a critical issue. Therefore, I ask that, prior to rendering your decision on whether to extend or terminate my incarceration, you listen to the audio recording of the May 6, 2013, Rules Infraction Board hearing. The recording reveals that I was assaulted and framed by the Mansfield officers, and it also reveals that numerous administrative employees at Mansfield were aware that I’d been assaulted and framed, and they said nothing.
In addition to taking into account the events and factors cited above, I ask you to consider my status as an old-law offender who has served nearly 21 years on a sentence of six to 25 years, in addition to a nine-year gun-specification enhancement for aggravated robbery and felonious assault. I’ve now served longer than the maximum time a concurrently sentenced new-law prisoner could be made to serve for committing the same offenses. In some instances, I’ve served even more time than convicted murderers.
In spite of being confined in a perpetually hostile environment I have learned the importance of overcoming my failures at the age of eighteen and working to build them into a success story. As noted in a recently published Huffington Post article, “Is Rehab Possible in Our Prisons?” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-w-nichols/is-rehab-possible-in-our-prisons_b_5486107.html), I have begun to develop a plan for helping at-risk youths. To do this, I must lead by example, which is what I will do if you grant me the opportunity to begin the process of redeeming myself. I am not a career criminal, and I am ready to be released from prison. I urge you to retire #284-561 because I have history to make. On the lighter side, I would truly like to witness in person LeBron James’ pursuit of an NBA championship for my beloved hometown.
Thank you for your time and the work you do. I look forward to appearing before you at my upcoming hearing.
Cc: Governor John R. Kasich, Office of the Ohio Public Defender; Columbus Dispatch; Cleveland Plain Dealer; Ohio News Network; DRC Director Gary C. Mohr; Columbus ACLU; Professor William Nichols.
Download a PDF copy of Old-law Inmate Jason Goudlock’s Letter to the Ohio Parole Board.