To: Friends, Family and Supporters of Phia, Mai K. and Jesus
From: Mai Zong Vue, Vue Family Spokesperson
RE: Letter Campaign to ensure justice for Phia, Mai K. and Jesus on January 26, 2018
As you know, 12 jurors found Dan Popp to have mental defects but competent enough to know right from wrong on November 9, 2017. Meaning, the verdict is to send Dan Popp to prison for life. However, Judge Jeffrey Conen did not declare his judgement that day. Instead, he gave 30 days for the defense attorney to submit his brief (argument why the judge should not accept the jurors’ verdict) and 25 days for the prosecutor to respond. On January 26, 2018 the judge will announce his judgement decision, accepting or rejecting the jurors’ verdict.
In our meeting with the prosecutor, we were told that it is rare that the judge will overturn the jurors’ verdict. However, there is a small chance the judge may reject the jurors’ decision.
With this concern in mind, on behalf of the family, I am writing to seek your support. Justice requires participation, which you showed up to pack the courtroom. With your continuing support, we can ensure that Judge Conen granted justice to Phia, Mai K. and Jesus by honoring the verdict delivered by the 12 jurors at the next court hearing.
To ensure that the judge honor the justice granted by the jurors, we need you to write a letter to the judge and express your opinions. Attached are writing instructions and a sample letter which you can modify and use. Please follow the instructions carefully, write a heartfelt and convincing letter to the judge and mail before January 20.
Also, we need your presence at the January 26 hearing! Justice at the jury trial in November was successful because of your presence. It is important that we pack the courtroom and hallway as we did during the trial to ensure the judge is fair. We ask for your support again! Together we are stronger! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-571-3272 with any questions. Thank you and I look forward to receive your support and hope to see you on January 26.
PS: If you don’t mind sharing, please email me a copy of your letter. This will help the family understand the impact we anticipate.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOW TO WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER TO JUDGE JEFFREY CONEN
Part 1: How to set up the letter
Write the letter on letterhead, if possible. You want to make sure that the letter looks as professional as possible. One way to do so is to write the letter on professional letterhead, if possible. This letterhead could be the official letterhead of your place of work.
Date the letter. At the very top of the letter, put the date on which you write the letter. The date should be left-justified.
Address the judge with the proper address and salutation. Below the date, provide the official name and address of the judge. This will normally be the courthouse in which she presides. For example, you may write:
• Honorable Jeffrey Conen, Safety Building, Room 506, 821 W. State Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233. This name and address should be left-justified and written out as you would an address at the top of any letter, below the date, as in this example.
• Below the name and address of the judge, provide the appropriate salutation. The appropriate salutation for addressing a judge is “Your Honor” or “Dear Judge [Judge’s last name].
Name the defendant. You should write down the defendant’s first name (Dan Popp) at the beginning of the letter. This can go in the first sentence of the letter or separately between the address and the salutation as follows: RE: [Defendant’s Name].
Part 2: Writing the Content of the Letter
Write who you are and what your profession is. In the first paragraph of the letter, you should begin by introducing yourself and saying what your profession is. Do not be modest about your credentials, particularly if you are held in high esteem in your community because of your professional or private work. Highlighting your credentials shows your reputation and relationships in the community in a positive light as a good standing citizen. For example, you can write: “My name is ____________________, M.D., a practicing physician and Chief of Staff of ________ Medical Center in ________________, Florida.”
Explain how you know the Phia, Mai K. and/or Jesus. Also in the first paragraph, highlight your relationship with Phia, Mai K. and/or Jesus by stating what capacity you know them. Write how long you have known them, highlight the positive aspects of your relationship with them (e.g. love, friendship, respect), and how they could have impacted the family and community if they were still alive. If you are friends or relatives, say so. For example, good parents who will ensure that their children grow up and become productive citizens, tax payers as they work and contribute to society, etc. If you don’t know them, indicate you are a concerned citizen and write as a concerned community member or as an individual.
Provide a general statement of support. In the second paragraph, write a general statement of support for the juror’s verdict. Let the judge know that the legal system is set up to ensure there is fairness by bringing in citizens to serve as jurors; that both attorneys jointly selected the 12 jurors together to ensure there was a balance view; the 12 jurors made their decision based on the evidence presented in the courtroom by both sides during the jury trial using the judge’s instructions, and it is important that the judge honor the verdict of the jurors on January 26, 2018.
Write a statement on the defendant’s character. In paragraph 3, write a statement on the character traits of the defendant. Highlight how the defendant could tell right from wrong. How he spoke about Mr. Manso-Perez’s inability to speak English before the defendant shot Mr. Manso-Perez in the head within 10 feet. The defendant knew that killing Phia in front of the children is too graphic for the children and asked Phia to leave the room by saying let’s do it outside so the kids don’t have to see it; he did not shoot the police when he came out; he knew that what he did was wrong and recognized that he needed “an army of attorneys” to defend him; and therefore, his defense strategy was to “work all the way up to Mendota.” This meant that he asked and studied the definition of schizophrenia so he knows how to act accordingly to qualify under his claim for having mental illness. Highlight his characteristic traits such as racism toward Jesus and his farther (Mr. Manso-Perez) and malingering behaviors while at Mendota Mental Health Institute (acting like he was mentally ill—did not take shower so he looks bad, pretended not to understand instructions, etc.—in front of the doctors, but acting normally with patients during social interactions).
Add additional information. You may add anything else that you feel will be helpful to convince the judge to honor the jurors’ verdict and to not to reverse the decision. Make sure the additional material is both concise and informative. E.g. citizens of Milwaukee will feel safer to raise their children in the comfort of their own homes if the defendant is locked up in prison.
Write the conclusion. In paragraph 4, conclude the letter by explaining to the judge in your own words why he must honor the jurors’ decision or verdict. Highlight the facts that the defendant knows right from wrong, which the verdict supports this belief. Why justice must be served (accepting the jurors’ verdict) so the families can begin its grieving and healing process. How important it is to ensure the dual process is fair and just. How integrity within the legal system heavily weighed on having trust and allow citizens to have faith in the legal system by honoring the jurors’ decision.
State why you believe society would be safer if the defendant was to be locked up or avoid other families from suffering the same pain. You can write, for example: “I believe that justice is not served if the defendant is not locked up in prison because the children and families will never be able to put closure to their loss and start their grieving and healing process.” Or “by honoring the jurors’ verdict is a symbol of asking the defendant to take personal responsibility for his actions for murdering three innocent lives.”
TEMPLATE LETTER (please delete this when you send out the actual letter)
Put this letter in a letterhead, if applicable
Current Date (enter today’s date)
Your name (if you don’t have a letterhead)
Your city, state and zip code
Honorable Jeffrey Conen
Safety Building, Room 506
821 W. State Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233
RE: State VS. Dan Popp
Dear Judge Conen:
My name is __________. I currently __________work or student as ____________(status or position) at ________place of employment or school. I am writing to seek justice for Phia, Mai K. and Jesus as a ______(family/relative or community leader or individuals).
For the last 1.5 years, I helplessly watched this case going through the due process. Today, I write with much confidence to encourage you to honor the jurors’ verdict (sending the defendant to prison for life) when you make your judgement decision on January 26 for many reasons.
First, it is critically important that American citizens continue to have faith in the legal system by honoring the decision of the 12 jurors. The dual process began with both attorneys jointly selecting 12 jurors. For three days the 12 jurors listened to all evidence presented by both attorneys. The 12 jurors deliberated and came up with a verdict using your jury trial instructions. This due process will end with your judgement on January 26. I am writing to ask that you honor the jurors’ verdict and send the defendant to prison for life. Secondly, when the defendant is locked up, the children and family members of Mr. and Mrs. Vue and Mr. Manso-Perez will have closure to this hateful crime by beginning their grieving and healing process. Most importantly, when the defendant is locked up in prison for life, all families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and America will feel safe again to raise their children in the comfort of their own homes, sharing a meal while watching television together.
In watching the evidence presented throughout the jury trial, I, too, believe that the defendant is capable of understanding that what he did was wrong. The defendant may have bipolar on and off, but he is very intelligent. The defendant understood his wrongfulness and realized he “needed an army of lawyer” to defend him, instead of taking personal responsibility for his action. He hired the best-most expensive defense lawyer to defend him and help the defendant implement his strategy to “play it all the way to Mendota.” This strategy was obvious in Dr. Collins’ testimonies, especially in her second medical evaluation.
In conclusion, I am writing to seek justice for Mr. and Mrs. Vue and Mr. Manso-Perez. Justice was granted to them by the 12 jurors, despite the defendant’s great effort. Justice for these three innocent lives is now at the mercy of your judgement on January 26. I encourage you to honor the verdict delivered to you by the 12 jurors. By doing so, you will empower all citizens, regardless if they are the 12 jurors, victims of crimes, or individuals, to trust and continue to have faith in the legal system. Ultimately, there is integrity within the due process in the legal system. Thank you for your service to the people of Milwaukee!
Justice for all,
Type your full name here and sign the letter