Inmate says his pleas were ignored

Editor, Advertiser:

Hello everyone. My name is Steven Pudelko. I am writing this letter today in hopes that my voice can get the recognition it deserves on behalf of not only myself, but all veterans past, present and future.

Today will mark the 65th day of being incarcerated in the Tuscola County jail. The way I’ve been lied to and given the run-around in here has made me feel like a POW, only I’m in the country I honorably defended and risked my life for.

I find it utterly appalling and have never been so disgusted at how the judicial system operates here than I have been in my whole entire life. I’m a U.S. Army combat veteran. I was arrested on Oct. 15 in Caro during a traffic stop that turned into a nightmare for me.

When I was arraigned I went in front of Mr. VanAuken and told him I lived alone and had no real family members who cared for me. I asked him for a PR bond but instead he set it at $3,000 or 10%, so $300 would get me out.

I was still here when Nov. 5 rolled around. The day I entered my plea of not guilty. That day I noticed a military flag outside the courthouse window stating “We honor those who served”.

I then told my attorney my apartment is behind on rent and I may be evicted soon. Also, I have missed appointments with the VA with my psychologist who had put me on a new medication for PTSD and I needed to follow up with him ASAP.

They took a recess to discuss my situation. They then came back and the judge said he would adjourn my case until Thursday, but as of now they told me I am a danger to myself and others. I couldn’t believe it!

Thursday came around and Nov. 19 and they just ignored my scheduled court dates. Now I’ve been evicted from my apartment and this county just contributed to the growing homeless veteran population.

I am now homeless and just in total disarray. I only lived a couple blocks away from the courthouse on 181 N. State St. and I could have easily made my court dates.

I was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in March of 2003 for 12 months straight. It was known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. I was involved in several horrible situations in Iraq. Many times finding myself in the middle of very intense battles.

Due to the service of my country I now suffer from PTSD. My body and mind endured alot physically and mentally.

The main charge I’m sitting in here for is possession of “one” Vicadin that was found on the floor of my vehicle during a traffic stop. I have a prescription for it from the VA.

I’ve been trying to stay optimistic and strong in here and have been a model inmate for the past 65 days.

I love this country and am a true patriot.

Thanks a lot,

Steven Pudelko

 

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