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I was delighted to see Melody Ermachild Chavis’s essay “Seeking Evil, Finding Only Good” [September 2005], about her work with defendants in murder trials. This past year I worked for an attorney who hired her firm to investigate one of his cases. Like Chavis I had to pore over school records, family correspondence, investigative reports, interviews, photographs — every bit of available evidence.
Learning the life stories of our clients was at times emotionally overwhelming. My heart grew heavy as I saw how their cries for help had gone unnoticed over the years. The defendants’ relatives were limping through life, barely able to help themselves, let alone each other. Though our society demonizes these defendants, I felt compassion for them and wished to contribute to their healing. I am grateful to Chavis for dedicating her life to this work.