what you can do

I am still reeling from the implications of yesterday’s verdict. Yesterday James was despondent. He tried to hurt himself last night and is now under suicide watch. “My life is over,” he said.

By this afternoon his spirits rebounded to the point that I can safely say that if James’ life is to end, it will not be by his own hand.

When he is transferred from the jail to prison, James’ life will be in danger. It is well known that inmates express particular revulsion and violence towards other inmates labeled as sex offenders against children. James is particularly small and vulnerable. He will be at mortal risk.

Yet even if James is placed in a “CMU” or “Close Management Unit” (solitary confinement—for his protection, of course), he will probably be driven to the edge of insanity in the course of time. Studies show solitary will make even a normal person crazy.

There doesn’t seem to be any immediate source of comfort or remedy available to us within the court or correction systems.

Not that people are just idly standing by…

Yesterday just minutes after I learned of the verdict, a former member of James’ family called (she had divorced out of the family and is glad to be free of its dysfunction). She said from her own knowledge of him, that it is not in James’ nature to have committed this crime. She called to see what she can do to help.

First thing this morning, I awoke to a message that we had received a $1,000 donation for James’ appeal. Believe me, this lifted my spirits. I had been thinking all night about the effort involved in raising enough money to mount an appeal. It will be costly. This gift affirmed that it will be accomplished.

Later today a woman also called me asking how she can help. She is the wife of a public official in Memphis and was in the courtroom for part of the trial.

“All my instincts tell me that boy is innocent,” she said. She told me about her interpretation of the 911 call. She said James and Neily Shea could be heard in the background. They were just as loud on the tape as the neighbor who was calling. “I’m a mother and those kids were crying together as James held his sister in his arms. If he had done this to Neily Shea, she would have been fighting him, yelling ‘no’, and pushing him away like she pushed away the nurses at the hospital. She was safe again in James’ arms.”

“You know, people are thoroughly fed up. I have people commenting on the blog who want to burn down the courthouses,” I said.

“They do?” she asked in alarm.

“Figure of speech, of course,” I said. I told her people are losing faith in a system that does this kind of thing to our own kids. I told her that if anything happens to James, it will rain fire on Memphis from all over the world… again, a figure of speech.

I could tell that she believed me. I suspect she felt Memphis would deserve it if it happened.

“All we want is a fair trial where the whole truth is told,” I continued.

“We want the full story of James’ home life known, that it was a classic Cinderella tale in which Jefferson Sanders’ kids got everything shiny and new and James was dressed in rags,” I said. “A woman who called yesterday told me about taking James to church with them, and that he was embarrassed because his shirt had a big hole in it. If he got anything new, Jefferson took it away and destroyed it.”

“We want people on a jury to know that Jefferson Sanders was and is a vicious predator and abuser.” When Monica lost a baby in 2004 Sanders said, “It should have been James.” James has never had unconditional love in his whole life, even from his mother.

“We want a jury to learn about the full extent of abuse and neglect to which James was subjected—not so people will feel sorry for the kid, but so they can see the extent to which he has learned from hardship and benefited from it,” I said.

“We want a jury to hear the full story about the Scheulin brothers and how their history of assaults and sexual abuse made them a perfect team to commit this crime.” I explained that I hadn’t known until Thursday’s testimony by Dr. Lakin that two people had to have committed this crime, not one. So why weren’t the Scheulin brothers required to be in court?! Who is protecting them? Why?

It is almost as if this jury was asked to view James’ world through a pin hole. It wasn’t a fair trial. We have many troubling questions including, “Is it legal for a jury of eleven people to have rendered a verdict?” and “If the judge said the state failed to meet its burden of proof on two counts out of four, why was James convicted on four counts?” One caller who went to lengths to preserve anonymity urged us to investigate alleged jury misconduct.

Quite a few people have contacted me since Friday. And most of them have asked, “What can I do?”

Another caller said she had a lengthy conversation with an aide to the mayor of Shelby County. If there’s nothing the courts and prisons can do to help James now, she said, who knows what could happen for him in the short term if we made Justice for James a political issue?

She urged me to share this link with you so you can tell Mayor Mark Luttrell of Shelby County what you think about what’s happening to James. I think it’s a damned good idea. We need to demonstrate to Mayor Luttrell that the whole world is judging his jurisdiction’s brand of justice.

This is all about politics now.

Here’s the guy to write to:

Steve Shular
Public Affairs Officer
Shelby County Mayor’s Office

[Memo Line: RE: James Paul Prindle – DOB 02/23/1995 – DOCKET 110218010142158 ]

If we can get enough people to write over the weekend, maybe we can get Mayor Luttrell to give Judge Carter a phone call before court convenes again on Monday. Judge Carter, too, needs to be put on notice that the world is watching.

All of us have a choice about whether these next few months will sink us or buoy us, whether James will be seen as a pathetic victim or a young man of courage and strength.

Stand up and speak out. Let Mayor Luttrell know that this is one case that will not be swept under the rug. James is not a throw-away child, no matter what the system does to him. Thousands of people all over the world have taken him into their hearts. Help us send the message that James—and what Memphis does to him—will not be overlooked and will never be forgotten.

Please write now.


Groove of the Day 

Listen to an aria from Puccini’s opera Manon Lescaut, “ Sola, perudta, abbandonata”


(I’ve been listening to this piece off and on all day. It’s calmed me and filled me with hope.)


30 Responses to “what you can do”

  1. 1 Patrick Murphy
    June 24, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Be polite and professional in your correspondence with Mr. Shular. No hysteria. No name calling. But by all means, make your opinion known.
    I still wonder if the judge has leeway to toss those two counts even if the jury convicted James on them.

  2. 2 Frank Manning
    June 24, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Thanks Dan! I’m one of those people ” who want to burn down the courthouses.” And let me tell you, I didn’t mean it figuratively on Friday. It’s now almost 3 am Sunday morning here on the west coast. I have finally calmed down enough that I can react to this travesty with language that falls within the bounds of “protected speech.” James’s trial was a vile abomination of an injustice. Judge Bobby Carter is a vile abomination of a human being, a man who not only sits idly by and lets evil be done but actively helps perpetrate the evil. Adolf Hitler’s favorite judge, Roland Freisler, would have be proud of Carter’s corrupt and one-sided role in this affair. Freisler was squashed like a cockroach in his own courtroom in 1945 by a 500 pound bomb courtesy of the United States Army Air Force. May Bobby Carter profit from his example!

    Yes, I will write to the mayor’s aid. And as Patrick has wisely adominished, what I write to him will be polite and professional–and heavy on the legalistic aspects. At least I can vent my blood-boiling rage here on the blog. How those vile creatures down in Memphis can live in their own skins is beyond my comprehension.

  3. 3 Gloria
    June 24, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Couldn’t I have tell it better myself Frank. My same exact feelings, I cannot find the words to tell how much rage i felt when I come here yesterday and saw the gulty veredict. Such a repugnant injustice. I couldn’t find the strength to even right a response.

    what I can not understand either Dan is why , If the judge said the state failed to meet its burden of proof on two counts out of four, why was James convicted on four counts. I always thought that if a judege finds out that the prosecution has failed to meet its burden of proof, should not be those charges be dismissed by the judge? Why he didn’t?

    I would take the advice of that caller Dan and would investigate for alleged jury misconduct. Why it was excused one jury and let go, living the veredict to only 11 jurors. Maybe that would help for an appeal? It sounds really extrange one jury was excused.

  4. 4 john
    June 24, 2012 at 7:42 am

    If you want to help James financially (and he needs it badly for his appeal), please remember that the Spring Green post office box doesn’t work – I know, I sent money there and it came back “return to sender.” You will need to contribute on line until the problem’s fixed.

  5. 5 carole
    June 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

    My stomach is sick for this young man. Just another Jordan Brown, huh? I have lost all Faith in our Courts and Judges. Keep us posted as to how we can help. Glad to have someone like you out there, Dan.
    Is there an email that we could send to anyone to express our opinion? In the meantime we will continue to pray for justice for both these young boys!!

  6. June 24, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I have written to the above address in support of James Prindle. I will post this on my facebook page as well. I do all that I can to help James as I know he is innocent.

  7. 7 Jeanne
    June 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

    What if the one juror who was sick and dismissed was uncomfortable convicting James? With two jurors in question, this case would have been a mistrial anywhere else. Also, the judge added charges because the state was not proving their case. Did the additional charges link to the original charges in which the jury would have felt compelled by legal terminology to convict on all four counts? There would be no legal way to find this out but it does have merit. Could the judge’s decision to add charges be an ex-post facto violation? If not, why not? He clearly felt the state did not meet their burden of proof, then added charges that likely linked or compelled a verdict on the original charges. This “increased” the likelihood of a conviction. How is this ethical or legal? Why does a defense lawyer now have the burden of proof when you have young kids in these types of cases?

    I want to point out how very horrific it would be to hear of the assault of the toddler and then see the beautiful toddler in person. The prosecution clearly had the advantage here with the child. I feel that a juror that may have felt there was not enough evidence to convict James, would be swayed by emotion after the evidence came through. Especially once they got the in person visit of the child. How do you make a jury understand your innocence with such profound testimony? The only way is to defend your client. How does one do this?
    Well, first and foremost these defense lawyers need to always be reminded that their client has a major disadvantage right from the get go because they are charged as adults, which is giving the appearance of guilt. Then they have to throw out their knowledge and legal expertise that compels them to believe that they do not have the burden of proof. They do. Every time. So what do you do now? You defend your client. How?

    First, you make certain that the relationship and abuse that James underwent with his mom and stepfather is heard. This explains any inconsistency in Jame’s statement to the police. I grew up in what you would call a “normal” dysfunctional family of six children. (rare is the “normal” family with no dysfunction) I had two biological parents and ages of many siblings. Though we were not abused, there were times my siblings took the rap for my wrong doing and vice versa. Not by choice, but by blatant lies of each perpetrator who feared the punishment . Who on the jury would not recall the “he did it, she did it” methodology used by so many young people who are afraid to admit the truth, or would have received harsher punishment than a younger or older sibling, even a friend? Who cannot recall these behaviors occurring in their own youth, when friends were involved? The abusive life not only explains the inconsistency and fear, it tells a story of an innocent young boy who has the personality traits of an abused child. These traits include feeling “unworthy” of love and responsible, as well as having extremely low self-esteem. This could explain why James did not want his lawyer to be too hard on his mom and the relationship he had with his stepfather. Now the jury has a visual of what and who James is. They can picture a toddler, like his stepsister, struggling for love and shelter.

    Second, you bring to evidence the behaviors of everyone in the home. Were they all angels? No. Let it be known and if they moved and cannot be questioned, make this known. Why did they move? Why can’t they be questioned? Would their testimony even be reliable? Why was it to the police men upon questioning? The fact is, they were in trouble a lot and they were there. This also portrays a visual of a couple of boys who may have out-smarted a young boy who would be naive in thinking his sister was fine in the same home with them.

    Third, you get some good witnesses, like the ones that came forward to Dan that can claim the assault is not consistent with Jame’s personality. If you need James up there to defend himself, let him take the stand. If he screws up due to the expertise of the prosecutor and fear of being on the stand, the “defense lawyer” can clear every manner in which James may have misspoke upon his closing argument. He can remind the jury of the fear of taking the stand, the many years of experience the prosecutor has, and why James may have answered the way he did. That jury needed a visual of James. The burden of proof was on him.

    I say this trial could have been declared a mistrial due to the two jurors. The one juror that was dismissed may have been key. Can’t ask him now, it does not count. The perception is that he “could have been” the key to James’ freedom.

  8. June 24, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Copy of email sent to:
    Steve Shular
    Public Affairs Officer
    Shelby County Mayor’s Office

    Original Message:

    To: Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell
    From: Tonya Meadows, Founder / Children’s Hope and Voice (child advocacy, non-profit)
    Date: Sunday, June 24, 2012
    Subject: James Paul Prindle – DOB 02/23/1995 – DOCKET 110218010142158

    Dear Mayor Mark Luttrell,

    I am writing in support of James Prindle, a teen boy who was tried in your county this past week. James has many supporters all over the world who do not believe the whole truth was presented to the jury. There is significant reason to believe other individuals present at the crime scene were, indeed, the real perpetrators instead of young James. We believe James is innocent and are requesting your immediate intervention to literally save this boy’s life. We urge you to consider this a matter of life and death for this young boy due to the consequences a conviction on these types of charges will yield from fellow prisoners once James is transferred.

    I am including links to further information for your review which will clarify these concerns in more detail. As James’ supporters, we are in high hopes you will take immediate action to help save this boy’s life.

    Blog re: allegations of extreme child sexual abuse of two other boys who were alone with the victim the night of the crime:


    Here’s solid evidence of James Prindle’s character and potential. James’ achievements and awards since he has been held in the adult Jail East in Memphis TN speak for themselves:


    “But after the jury left the courtroom, Judge Carter said that the state had failed to prove at least two of the charges”


    Conviction from only 11 jurors:


    Alleged abuse towards James and alleged drug dealing by his step-father:


    Abandonment by James’ mother:


    Others who show their concerns, even from your own county:


    We humbly seek your assistance in this urgent matter.


    Tonya Meadows, Founder and CEO

    Children’s Hope and Voice
    3735 Franklin Rd #216
    Roanoke, VA 24014


    • 10 Andy Rich
      June 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      My thoughts are likewise to this, but only if i was litterate, my email will be held back as it contains words such as, your proud state is as f^c*ed up as what i drop down the toilet and i wouldnt trust you with the security of human beings but would compare you to a human torture and a child abuse beast.

      Im sorry but how can any citizen watch and believe that there state and country with such a high standing does what is best for your kids when they do this, no offence here dan and others but COME ON YOU OLD GITS, STOP THINKING KIDS ARE THE DEVILS AND HIDING THEM FROM VIEW! THEY ARE THE FUTURE, and oh boy, wait till your in that old folks care home and one of your victims is your carer coming to wipe your ass, id use a tissue smothered in ACID, that way, you know what its like to be ass raped in prison as a kid

      Anger manegement please

      rant over

    • June 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Thank you Tonya! That it fantastic!

  9. 15 Frank Manning
    June 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    I laid it on a bit richly, I think. But what the hell. All’s fair in love and war. And this is out of both a love for the long-suffering James and a war against the evil of judicial injustice.

    email to: Steve.Shular@shelbycountytn.gov
    Steve Shular
    Public Affairs Officer
    Office of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell

    Subject: James Paul Prindle – DOB 02/23/1995 – DOCKET 110218010142158

    Dear Mr. Steve Shular,

    I am writing to Mayor Mark Luttrell in support of James Prindle, a Cordova teenager who was recently tried and convicted for a crime he did not commit. The judge at the trial was the Hon. Bobby Carter. I am a retired resident of Kirkland, Washington, but I volunteer my time at a nearby Washington State juvenile correctional facility for younger boys.

    I am convinced James is innocent of the charges against him. I have corresponded with him in jail. James is no sexual predator, and the terrible crime he is accused of just does not comport with his strong faith in the Lord God and in His Son Jesus as his personal Savior. It just doesn’t make sense.

    James has many supporters all over the world who do not believe the whole truth was presented to the jury. There is significant reason to believe other individuals present at the crime scene were, indeed, the real perpetrators of the unspeakable deed. I am requesting your immediate intervention to literally save James’s life. One must consider this a matter of life and death for this boy because once he is transferred to prison, you know as well as I do how other convicts treat a person convicted of these types of charges. They will surely kill him in short order. Do you or Judge Carter really want to risk having to stand before the judgment seat of Almighty God and explain why you did nothing to help this innocent boy?

    If you want, I can link you to further information that can clarify these concerns in more detail.

    I am willing to help make a national news story out of James Prindle’s case. The reputation of your city, your county, your culture, your region of this great nation of ours, will be impacted as more and more decent, law-abiding Americans find out about this terrible injustice in Memphis. There they go again with their redneck “justice”—that’s what a lot of Americans will think. Please help us instead turn this thing around and let people celebrate you as a person who helped right a terrible wrong.

    Yours in God and America,

    Frank Manning

  10. June 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

    This is the response I received from the Shelby County Mayor’s office with regard to James.


    Thanks for your email to Mayor Luttrell.

    He asked that I contact you on his behalf.

    It’s apparent that you and many others have a genuine concern about Mr. James Prindle and the outcome of his trial.

    While Mayor Luttrell cannot intercede in a criminal court case, you may want to offer your support directly to his Mr. Prindle’s family and to his legal team.

    Mr. Prindle’s attorneys would be responsible for taking his case to a higher court.

    Thanks again for keeping us informed.


    Steve Shular
    Public Affairs Officer
    Shelby County Mayor’s Office
    160 North Main
    8th Floor
    Memphis,TN 38103
    Office (901) 222-2047

    Cell (901) 359-5117

    • June 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

      I received the same form letter from Mr. Shular–a predictable response. I say we should ignore the brush-off because this injustice within this mayor’s jurisdiction. Yes, it is true he cannot intervene in court matters. But we’re not talking about legalities anymore. This is about politics and the web of relationships that sustain business-as-usual, unacceptable as it is.

      If James can be saddled with a crime that was committed during his watch as he babysat his siblings, then it is only fair that Mayor Luttrel should be saddled with responsibility for this injustice which has occurred during his watch as he babysat his county. The same logic applies.

      Now we need to shift our attention to Mayor AC Wharton Jr., Mayor of the city of Memphis. After all, it was under his watch, as well, that this thing happened. It was his police department that failed to sort out the truth and identify the real perpetrators who are now walking free.

    • 19 Gloria
      June 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      I have received the same response too.

  11. June 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    There is no such thing as a fair trial…plea bargains, prosecutors who will convict at any cost, especially innocence-and cannot be held liable…..we have no faith in the system- it has been lost long ago. So now appeals, and James is the one who must sit & wait this out…because as you know, they take time…and doesnt James, innocent have all the time in the world? Make no mistake- there is NOTHING fair about the criminal justice system.

  12. 23 Dana Hoffman
    June 25, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    http://www.shelby-sheriff.org/admin/bpsi.html <<<<<The Bureau of Professional Standards & Integrity (formerly Internal Affairs)
    This is where the complaints to how the police botched everything goes to.Here is their direct contact information.
    BPSI Administration

    Commanding Officer:
    Nancy Lucchesi
    Phone: 901-222-5569
    Lt. Alvin Moore
    Phone: 901-222-5569
    Criminal Justice Complex
    201 Poplar Ave. Room 10-01 Memphis, TN 38103

    • June 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks, Dana. Will try to write a complaint as soon as I can.

      Dan, Can you list the police department information such as investigators names and badge numbers, police department heads’ info, address, etc.? So we can start sending complaints to the BPSI Admin?

  13. 25 Dana Hoffman
    June 26, 2012 at 1:07 am

    I was looking at all the peoples response and they seem to have gotten the same response as Suzanne well mine was a little different :


    Thanks for your email.

    Mayor Luttrell asked me to contact you on his behalf.

    Ms. Hoffman, give me a call at your convenience.

    We’ll do our best to be of help.

    My contact information is below.


    Steve Shular
    Public Affairs Officer
    Shelby County Mayor’s Office
    160 North Main
    8th Floor
    Memphis,TN 38103
    Office (901) 222-2047
    Cell (901) 359-5117

    • June 26, 2012 at 1:40 am

      That is because you were the first person to have contacted him… he wanted to learn about what you were talking about.

      • 27 James Charters
        November 7, 2014 at 8:48 am


        I mean no disrespect, but you need to wake up and realize that you can’t sit back and seclude your self if you want to fight this case. Lutrell needs to be disregarded and we need to move on from the state of Tennessee. I’ve read enough about law inforcement in Memphis Tennessee to know they cannot be trusted or relied apon. For instance, there was a news article which stated that Memphis has the highest arrest rait for corrupt police officers by the FBI in the United States. Also I’ve read an article about police officers making unjust arrests of people who film them when they are over stepping their authority.

        My point is that Memphis can not be allowed to continue to hold James’ life in their hands. The state of Tennessee and the city of Memphis need to be over ruled; there are too many powerful people involved who obviously care only for there own reputations and careers. With the people involved and the steps taken James will loose his youth like David Bryant, James Bain, the Central Park Five and the Dixmoor Five; and that’s only a suggestion of the tip of the iceberg of names of children who have lost their innocents and youth to law inforcement just like this back in the 1970s and 80s. It’s time to expose this story in the news and the federal government to get involved.

        Please conciter my help.

        James Charters

      • November 7, 2014 at 9:41 am

        James, I appreciate your offer of help, but I am no longer involved in James’ case. My mission is helping juvenile parricides, and James falls outside that category. James’ case was grandfathered in because at the time I was working with another advocate who had taken on James as a cause. However, I since learned that this advocate was a liar and a thief (who was misappropriating the kids’ money to himself), and I broke off relations with him. Not wanting to abandon James, I gave him the option of continuing to be represented by the Redemption Project, but it was an offer that he did not take. We paid for an appeal that was only partially successful. There’s nothing more I can do.

  14. June 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Does this poor child have any other family members that’s supporting him, seeing that his trashy mother is not?

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