Letter in Support of Parole by
Neoma D. Kenwood
California Appellate Project Attorney

California Appellate Project
A non-profit corporation established by the State Bar of California
One Ecker Place
San Francisco CA 94105
415/495-0500
Fax 415/495-5616

August 14, 1991

United States Parole Commission
U.S.P. Terre Haute
P.O. Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

Re: VERONZA BOWERS, JR., #35316-136

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am a staff attorney at the California Appellate Project in San Francisco, who has represented VERONZA Bowers on a pro bono basis for many years. I understand that Mr. Bowers is coming before you for parole consideration on August 21, 1991. I write this letter, not so much as Mr. Bowers' attorney, but as a friend who sincerely believes him to be a decent, honorable person worthy of parole consideration.

First, let me make it clear that I am not in the habit of writing letters such as this on behalf of people whom I have represented. I have devoted my practice to criminal defense work for over ten years now and must say that this is the first letter that I have written on behalf of any client. I do so in this instance, however, because Mr. Bowers is in a special category. He is a client that, through years of representation and resistance, I have come to know as a human being --as a friend. I say resistance because, normally, I do not care to become personally acquainted with my clients. Mr. Bowers, however, is much different; I have found him to possess much more integrity and decency than many of my fellow professionals.

I realize that he has been convicted of a very serious offense --indeed, the most serious: first degree murder. That murder occurred, however, in August of 1973 and Mr. Bowers has now served almost 18 years for that crime. He has not become bitter nor lazy during those years; rather, he has stayed upbeat and has spent his prison time helping others through various forms of therapy, such as music therapy, acupressure, and therapy massage. He has also spent his free time trying to better himself; I understand that Mr. Bowers is an accomplished musician.

I have watched Mr. Bowers mature through the years; he is now a forty-five year old man. He is not a restless, agitated youngster, angry with the world. I truly believe he has much to offer society if given the opportunity to re-enter.

Mr. Bowers has a place in society to which to return. His family, his father and step-mother in Washington D.C., his mother in Omaha, Nebraska, and his daughter, who just graduated from U.C. Berkeley, are in strong support. I have spoken to each one of these family members, who are all good, decent citizens, and know that they love and support him very much. Moreover, his wife Jan, whom he married in 1983, is waiting to provide a home. I understand, from Jan Bowers, that should Mr. Bowers be released, there are two possible job openings for him: one with City Inc. as a counselor to work with wayward youths and one with the Minneapolis school system in the area of music.

In sum, I ask you to strongly consider Mr. Bowers for a parole date. I believe his parole prognosis is good. This belief is based not only on his salient factor score (10), but --more importantly-- on my own experience and knowledge. He is an intelligent, gentle man, who wants to raise a family before it is too late. He is not a lazy person, looking for the easy way out in life; he is not afraid of some hard work and effort. Moreover, he cares about others, as reflected by his interest in the healing arts and his actions in helping other inmates. I do believe that he will make it in society --if given the chance-- and so I ask you to do so.

Sincerely,
Neoma Kenwood
Staff Attorney

NEOMA D. KENWOOD
ATTORNEY AT LAW
1563 SOLANO AVENUE #414
BERKELEY CALIFORNIA 94707
(510) 5284775 (TEL & FAX)


July 13, 1993

United States parole Commission
U.S.P. Terre Haute
P.O. Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

Re: Veronza BOWERS, JR., #35316-136

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am an attorney in private practice in California who has represented Veronza Bowers on a pro bono basis for many years. I understand that Mr. Bowers is coming before you for parole consideration on July 21, 1993. I do not now represent Mr. Bowers as he appears before you for parole consideration. I write this letter, however, in his support based on my ten-year relationship with him, first as his attorney and then gradually later as his friend.

When Mr. Bowers last appeared before you for parole consideration, in August of 1991, I wrote a letter of support to the Parole Commission. As I explained in that letter, Mr. Bowers is the first client, or former client, for whom I have ever written such a personal letter of support. That is still true today. And, as I explained in that letter, Mr. Bowers is the exception to my general barrier of professional distance between attorney and client --due to the extraordinary nature of his abilities and outlook in life.

I reiterate my comments from my August 14, 1991 letter. I know Veronza Bowers to possess both integrity and decency. He is a mature and trustworthy individual who cares deeply about others. He has spent his time in prison attempting to live a productive life.

By offering this support, I do not mean to minimize the seriousness of the crime of which Mr. Bower. was convicted. However, he has now served almost 20 years for the offense and has spent his time in prison helping others. Unlike many prisoners whom I have met in my work, Mr. Bowers has not become bitter nor lazy. Nor has he blamed others for his predicament or felt sorry for himself. Instead of focusing on himself, Mr. Bowers has turned that focus outwards, to see how he can help others around him. That may sound a bit hokey for it is not common behavior in this world of ours, and especially not common among convicted felons. Simply put, however, it is true, as illustrated by his actions in prison.

In 1983, Mr. Bowers, at peril to himself, intervened on behalf of institutional staff in a volatile prison situation, thus saving staff members from assault and possible homicide. Hr. Bowers received a commendation from the Bureau of prisons for his courageous intervention in this life-threatening situation in which an inmate, who had just stabbed another inmate, refused to surrender his knife. Mr. Bowers requested that he be allowed to speak to the inmate, who was extremely agitated. Upon receiving permission, Mr. Bowers stepped between the inmate and staff and was able to persuade the inmate to surrender his weapon.

He has also helped others in prison in less dramatic ways, through various forms of therapy such as music therapy, acupressure, and therapy massage. Mr. Bowers is an accomplished musician, playing both the drums and flute. He has been playing in two bands at U.S.P. Terre Haute and is always happy to provide entertainment to others.

In sum, Mr. Bowers has spent a significant number of years in prison and rather than become bitter, lazy or disruptive, he has made the most of his time. He has taken advantage of the programs offered by the Bureau of Prisons and made a concerted effort to improve himself. While at Atlanta, Georgia, Hr. Bowers earned an associate degree from DeKaib Community College; he was on the Dean's list. He also took college courses during his incarceration at Marion.

Mr. Bowers has much support outside the prison walls. Should he be allowed to re-enter society, he has the necessary support to succeed. In addition to his father (now retired from the army), mother, and step-mother, he has a wife who is waiting to provide a home in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Additionally, he has the support of friends such as myself. I have made it known to Mr. Bowers and his family that should he need any assistance during his adjustment period, he should feel free to call on me.

As I said in my last letter to the parole Commission, I believe Mr. Bowers has much to offer to society should he be allowed to return. I believe that is even more true today. Thus, as I did two years ago, I ask you to strongly consider Mr. Bowers for a parole date. Please take a serious look at the man standing before you and what he has and is willing to contribute to society.

Please allow him the opportunity to rejoin his family. He is now 47 years old and desperately wants to raise a family before it is too late. As I said in the last letter, he is an intelligent, gentle person who is not afraid of hard work and effort. I know he will make it in society and request you to give him the chance.

Sincerely,
Neoma Kenwood
Staff Attorney

NEOMA D. KENWOOD
ATTORNEY AT LAW
1563 SOLANO AVENUE #414
BERKELEY CALIFORNIA 94707
(510) 5284775 (TEL & FAX)


Read Other Letters & Testimonials

Neoma D. Kenwood - California Appellate Project Attorney
Dan Hamburg - Member of Congress
Hans J. Selvog - Clinical Social Work

Bryan Gaynor - Attorney
Monty H. Levenson - Flute Maker
Jeffrey Bryan - Prison Unit Manager
Ernie King - Prison Unit Manager
Cheryl Jiminez - Prison Case Manager
Garf - Communications Specialist
Ross Allen - Letter to Nelson Mandela
Paulette d'Auteuil & Bob Robideau - Friends
Rob Kirsch - Prison Administrator
J. Harrison - Prison Administrator
Leonard C. Holley, Jr. - Prison Inmate
Monty H. Levenson - Letter to Bill Clinton in Support of Clemency
Eda M. Levenson - Letter to Bill Clinton in Support of Clemency
Veterans for Peace - Resolution Adopted at their 2005 National Convention