A Veteran's Day Plea

Governor Deval Patrick
Massachusetts State House
Boston, MA 02133

November 11, 2009

Dear Governor Patrick,

Today is Veterans Day, and patriotic citizens throughout the Commonwealth and our country will honor the many selfless men and women who have served in our military. As a nation (and individually) we must never forget the many sacrifices they made so we can enjoy the things we do. Freedom isn't free, and I believe all veterans know that there is always a cost to protect what is dear and treasured.

I know you will join many others today in honoring the soldiers, sailors, and marines who serve now and in the past. You will lay wreaths, have ceremonies, and speak about being grateful for all they have done. Please remember also a special petition for Joseph F. Labriola (USMC, retired) who served twice in combat in Vietnam. He was also stationed in Brockton, Massachusetts as the youngest marine recruiter in the country. He enlisted at the age of 17, requiring the consent of his mother to do so. He was awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star with combat "V," and a commendation on behalf of the President of the United States.

Ironically, Joseph Labriola lost his freedom when he was convicted in 1973 for a crime he did not do. His case is absolutely one of wrongful conviction based on "no direct evidence of any kind" (per the trial judge) and the worst degree of corruption coming from a State Police detective and the Attorney General's office. Add to that not being able to have a copy of the police report at trial, sit with his lawyer, or get a copy of the grand jury minutes for appeal, and a reasonable person would have to wonder: Why not?

Yes, freedom isn't free, but my marine friend has been in a Massachusetts prison since 1973. I urge you to consider a veteran's pardon of his sentence based upon the total lack of direct evidence, his thirty-six years served, and his advanced illness. I will forever remain, with others, a strong supporter and advocate, and I welcome your reply.

Barbara Beattie
52 Journey Drive
Bowling Green, Kentucky 42104