Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Misadventures of Stephen Foster

Some of my readers might have heard me mention a client named Stephen Foster who is, at this moment, doing his *fourth* stint in the Ohio correctional system. I represented Stephen on one of his cases. In a conference with the visiting judge, the judge commented, “He should have stayed in his Old Kentucky Home.” I said, “I gotcha beat judge: he should have stayed on the old Swanee River.”

The paradox of Delaware County’s Stephen Foster—he’s a white guy, shaved head who stands somewhere over 6’6” and probably weighs over 300 lbs, but he’s never been convicted of any act of violence, and I’ve never once heard of him committing a violent act. He’s a mellow fellow who just wants to enjoy shooting up heroin, and he would be in no trouble at all if folks could just understand his need to pass bad checks to pay for his supply. At this point, I think Stevie poses more of a threat to himself than he does to society. During one stay in Delaware County Jail, he was so badly injured (under mysterious circumstances) that his civil attorney managed to win a settlement of over 100,000 from the county. That 6-figure windfall actually lasted Stevie a little over a month before he either blew it on women or shot it up his arm.

During his current stretch in prison, he was approached by the local chapter of the Aryan Brotherhood about becoming a member. Apparently, they liked a guy who had a tattoo across his midsection that read “Corn-fed Honkie.” While I do not approve of prison gangs of any race or ethnicity, I can certainly see how an inmate would like to have other guys watching his back. Unfortunately for Stevie, one of his hometown buddies showed up in the same prison and said something that really put Stevie behind the 8-ball. He said to Stevie, “What are you doing with the Aryan Brotherhood when you’ve got a black girlfriend and a half-black kid?” Within an hour, Stevie’s status changed from the Brotherhood’s newest prospective member to its top target for a shiv. Apparently, when the Brotherhood says “F*** N(egroes)”, that was not what they had in mind.

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