Linda Burks Brown, Sister of Willie. Denver, Colorado

Sharing painful stories is hard; yet the more we share the more healing takes place. The pain becomes power; and with power there is freedom. My brother was murdered by his stepson. And, during the same time, my daughter was convicted of a crime that she did not commit. I was living a tale of two scenarios. On one hand I was a crime victim. On the other, I was victimized. I saw the justice systems through very diverse lenses and such was treated in two distinct ways. As a victim of crime, even though I had many needs that weren’t met, I was treated with compassion and tenderness. As a loved one of the accused, I was treated like I committed a crime – with disdain and pity. Regardless, I believe that life is precious. People can redeem themselves; and more importantly, the financial investment of putting someone to death can be redirected to help the families that need it most – usually the victims.

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Bill Thiebaut, District Attorney, Pueblo County, Colorado

As a prosecutor I have worked closely with, and have come to care greatly for, the victims of crime. It is one of my responsibilities to ensure that the needs of all victims are taken care of – that they are informed, present and heard – and that no further harm is done to them.

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