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Fugen Gulertekin has decided not to file for "Clemency"
but to continue to strive to prove her innocence...

by Nancy S. ERICKSON, Esq.


In above picture: Fugen, Ertdal, Zelis Gulertekin are in their happy days...
Now, Zelis is in college and Fugen has been prison for 4 years...

A Summary of Fugen Gulertekin's "Clemency" issue:

Last spring, Fugen Gulertekin wished to apply to the governor of Ohio for clemency, hoping to be released early from prison. As most of you know, she was sentenced to eight years without parole for allegedly harming a child in her home day care center. The prosecution claimed the baby (who is alive and well) suffered from "shaken baby syndrome," and that Fugen was the one who shook the baby. She has now been in prison for four years.

Fugen sent us a letter on March 1, 2001, to get general public support for her clemency application. Therefore, we launched a signature campaign to support her for this purpose during our second panel on her case, which was held at the Turkish House in New York City on March 17, 2001.

However, since then we have felt that Fugen has had some reluctance to complete her clemency application. Despite this, we had asked by her attorney in April, 2002, to send the signed support letters which we collected in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Turkey, and flowingly we sent them.

While her clemency application was being prepared to submit to Ohio Governor Robert Taft, Fugen changed her mind and stopped this process, because she still believes that she can prove her innocence, even though proving her innocence will take more time and cause her to remain in prison longer than if she got clemency.

Fugen informed us in a letter dated July 25, 2002, about not going ahead with her application for clemency and her reasons for this decision. Fugen stated that if she asks for clemency, she will have to state (or at least imply) that she is guilty, and this would hurt her chances for proving her innocence later. This is a brave thing for Fugen to do, because this means she may have to stay in prison for another four years, where she is suffering every day.

At the same time, she underscored the fact that she will need our support now more than ever in order to prove her innocence. Below is information about where Fugen's case stands today, what has happened up to now in terms of the legal process, and what are the possibilities from now on.

We, of course, still believe that Fugen is innocent, and we are hoping to help her to prove it.

Therefore, we still need your support in any way possible, especially money for her legal bills. It is unfair to her attorneys to ask them to keep going on her cases when her funds are almost totally used up.

Your contributions may either be wired directly to her trust fund or sent, by check made out to her trust fund, to Nancy S. Erickson, Esq., who is in charge of her funds:

An Update on Fugen Gulertekin's case:

A.  The Habeas Corpus Case in Federal Court

A habeas corpus case in federal court attempts to overturn the state court criminal conviction on the grounds that the state court conviction was obtained in violation of the defendant's rights.  Here, Fugen is claiming several violations of her rights by the judge in her trial in state court in Ohio, including ineffective assistance of counsel and misconduct regarding the jury.

If Fugen's federal habeas corpus case is successful, her state conviction will be overturned and she will be given a new trial in state court (Ohio).

Fugen was unsuccessful at the federal district court level; the district court denied her an evidentiary hearing where she would have the opportunity to show that she should get a new trial in the state court.

Fugen then appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The oral argument before a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit was held on February 7, 2002. John Feldmeier, Fugen's attorney, reported that he was pleased with the response from the judges.  They were most interested in the issue regarding the jury.

John indicated that he would expect a decision from the Sixth Circuit within one to three months.  The Sixth Circuit will decide whether or not to grant Fugen an evidentiary hearing.

If the Court denies Fugen an evidentiary hearing, that is the end of the matter in terms of getting the conviction overturned. (I do not think there would be any point to trying to appeal to the United States Supreme Court, even if we had the money to do so, which we do not). She would have no other way to prove her innocence within the legal system unless new evidence came up later.  Of course, she could write a book or do anything else she wanted to do to try to persuade people of her innocence, but she would not be able to get her conviction overturned.

If the Sixth Circuit decides that Fugen should get an evidentiary hearing, a hearing will be scheduled in federal district court.  That will probably take several months.  At that hearing, John will make all the legal arguments he can in Fugen's favor and bring in evidence to support these arguments.

Within a few months after the hearing, the federal district court would issue a decision, which could be either:

1.  petition for habeas corpus denied (which means her conviction would remain).

2.  Fugen's conviction should be overturned and she should have a new trial in state court If the Court decided she should have a new trial, she might be able to get out on bail at that point.  However, as you can see, that probably would not be sooner than many months from now -- even a year or more.

Then we would need to get an attorney to handle her new trial.  We would ask  John to do it, of course, if he could.  It would take many months before the trial would be scheduled and John could get prepared for trial.

If Fugen was convicted a second time, she would have to serve the rest of her sentence (assuming the eight years of her sentence had not passed by the time the federal district court granted her request for a new trial).

If Fugen was acquitted at her second state trial, she would be freed.

B.  Application for a reduction of her sentence ("Judicial Release")

If Fugen is not successful in her petition to the federal courts, she still has the option of getting out before serving all eight years of her sentence, if she can pursuade the judge who originally sentenced her to eight years in prison that her sentence should be reduced. This procedure is called Judicial Release.  However, this would not allow her to remain in the United States.  She would simply be deported earlier, rather than being deported after eight years in prison.

At any time after she has served five of her eight years in prison, she can ask for judicial release.  She has been in Marysville prison since approximately December of 1998.  Therefore, in December of 2003 or any time

after that, Fugen will be able to apply for judicial release. However, we would expect that she would not want to apply for judicial release until she gets her final answer from the federal courts, which could be long after December of 2003.  If and when she does apply for judicial release, we do not know what her chances of success may be in that endeavor.

C.  The immigration case

Fugen has been ordered deported after she serves her sentence.  She has been convicted of a felony and is not a citizen, so that is automatic deportation.

Her immigration attorney, Douglas Weigle, appealed this order, but the Board of Immigration Appeals denied her appeal. Therefore, after she serves her sentence she will be deported (unless her conviction is overturned, of course).

D.  Money

We probably have enough to pay the current attorney bills, but we will need more for future court costs and attorneys fees. Fugen's daughter Zelis also is in need of funds for her college costs. Although her extraordinary achievement in high school earned her a full scholarship, she still has many other expenses. Erdal is living and working in Columbus and paying many of  those expenses, but he is unable to pay them all.

I hope that your readers will find it in their hearts (and pocketbooks) to make donations to the Fugen Gulertekin Trust Fund (send to me at the below address), to pay for future court costs and attorneys fees and for Fugen's expenses in prison.  People can also make donations for Zelis' college expenses, and that money will be sent to her.

We lately received $3000.- donations by a group of Turkish ladies from Istanbul, we also have been receiving from $50 - 150 donations time to time from various people. We all thank them for their ongoing support for Fugen.

- . -

If you wish to donate some money for Fugen Gulertekin:

Fugen Gulertekin Trust Fund
114 Seventh Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
ABA: 021000089
Account NO: 92484603

Nancy S. Erickson, Esq.
172 Fifth Avenue #31
Brooklyn, NY 11217

* * * * *

If you wish to write to Fugen Gulertekin:

(Please remember that Fugen needs your support via your letters too.)
Fugen Gulertekin
42100, ORW Lincoln
1479 Collins Ave.

Marysville, Ohio,

For more information on Fugen Gulertekin's case in the Light Millennium, please click here.

This issue is dedicated to the legendary author and scientist Sir ARTHUR C. CLARKE for his 85th Birthday...


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