incarceration, death



“How Rikers Island and the failing justice system killed this public defender’s young, opioid-addicted client”

by Anisha Gupta

New York Daily News

October 21, 2017



a letter to the editor:

This op-ed is heartbreaking; its implications are devastating.

To think that, at least two days after his death, the Department of Correction “has refused to provide [Selmin Feratovic’s] lawyers or his family with his cause of death.”

But, what is worse is what he was charged with: entering an apartment laundry room and trying to pry open the coin machine. For which he was, as Ms. Gupta notes, overcharged and incarcerated before trial for no justifiable reason. His bail was egregious. What he needed was treatment for addiction, which resulted from his being prescribed oxycodone for an injury in a motorcycle accident.

Is anyone listening?

Roger W. Smith

October 22, 2017


Note: Anisha Gupta, an attorney with The Bronx Defenders, is a public defender who was representing Mr. Feratovic.

3 thoughts on “incarceration, death

  1. Pete Smith

    Such a sad story. And just one more example of our egregious justice system which is being made worse every week by Trump and his alt-right cronies.

  2. Roger W. Smith

    Thanks, Pete. I agree, except this is a case of miscarriage of justice at the local level. But Sessions’s policies towards drug offenders and, more broadly, incarceration are horrendous. He wants to reinstitute draconian sentences for low level offenders.

    I do think the problem goes deeper. To fundamental assumptions about crime and punishment and so called criminal justice.

  3. Izeta

    When I read that he passed away, I cried and cried because I knew him as a young kid . What I can’t understand is why he was charged with burglary when there is no clear evidence implicating him in the crime. I can’t understand why his bail was so high, why he spent 7 months in jail. I do know that our legal system is failing people, especially, instead of rehabilitating them, retribution is present a lot. Today, many young people face problems, crises; sadly there is no one to turn for help. We shut our eyes, and ear;, we elect to keep quiet and don’t hear cries for help. Today, it was Selmin, tomorrow may be another young life lost. Why? It’s not enough to recognize that we have ab opioid crisis, Something MUST be done. His parents came here to make a better life for their children. He came here hoping to have an easier life, get educated and take care of his children and parents. I wish I could help them , but I did not know that he was in jail. How many mothers gone have to hear such news, how many fathers prepare for the funeral of their children, siblings lose their brother or sister… When will the officials in the criminal justice and legal systems will open their eyes and realize that something must be done?

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