A friend wants attention drawn to the issue of Pastor Eric Payne being put back in prison, after he had been released, and then violated because of a clerical error. I do not know the specifics of this case and do not voice an opinion on the issue of the legalities and facts associated with his return to prison, because of that lack of knowledge.
[Update: July 11, 2019: In response to a comment posted by a reader, I wrote the reply in hope that others will contact the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to request a commutation of sentence for Pastor Eric Payne]:
State Board of Pardons and Paroles, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive SE, Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower, Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909 Telephone: (404) 656-4661 (parole status questions or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Media and for public information, call (404) 657 9450 Website: www.pap.georgia.gov
Since I haven’t read Pastor Eric Payne’s sentencing transcripts and do not know the facts of his release, transfer, etc., I cannot say if the State of Georgia released him in error, or if he was transferred from Georgia to Florida under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act for disposition of pending charges or for satisfaction of a sentence imposed by the State of Florida, and then Florida released him in error, rather than returning him to the sending state (Georgia).
If the latter is true (Florida released him instead of returning him to Georgia), then if the Georgia sentence imposed by the court had not been satisfied, legally speaking, in my unprofessional opinion, he would owe the remainder of that sentence to the State of Georgia.
However, if the state so chooses, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles has the power to commute his sentence to time served.
I do note that society seemed to be benefiting more by the man leading the congregation in his church and raising his children, instead of being cast back into prison. Clerical Error or not, is the interest of society best served by his return to prison? Is society safer because Pastor Eric Payne is back in prison? I think not!
I feel other alternatives existed and that if WE, as American citizens and abroad, want to reduce mass incarceration, the public needs to petition the legislatures to implement measures to retrain overzealous prosecutors and law enforcement agents, including probation officers and those associated with criminal justice, to focus more on helping returning citizens to successfully reintegrate into society, rather than sending those people back to prison, unless they pose a threat of injury to others.
Those men and women who are put in prison and then released, who may then fall short of the glory of the criminal justice system, need help in learning how to function as normal, law-abiding citizens. Putting someone back in prison for minor offenses and non-violent crimes, does not help society progress.
Mrs. Theresa Payne on the Reincarceration of Her Loving Husband
July 1, 2019
My name is Theresa Payne. My husband is Eric Payne. We have four amazing and energetic kids ages 13, 10, 9 and 6. We are ministers and leaders in our community at The Glades (located in Belle Glade, FL). I’d like to share with you the great accomplishments made by my husband from October 2018 until February 2019.
- Launched several ministries
- President of Glades Family Services (Our Non-Profit, 501c3 Organization)
- Regularly participated in community feedings with Lighthouse Café
- Member of the Glades Ministerial Association
- Member of the Chamber of Commerce
- Spearheaded (created) 2 fundraisers to address the needs of the homeless and those in poverty in our community (Run to Belle Glade and Pray for The Glades Concert)
- National presence for the homeless and those in poverty via YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope and LinkedIn
- Partnered with esteemed religious leaders and business owners in our community
- Certified Personal Trainer and Business Owner of One-On-One Custom Fitness (providing individual training sessions as well as weekend bootcamps)
As a Parolee who successfully transferred his parole from Georgia to Florida, I would like to also point out that Eric possessed a valid Florida Driver’s License, abided by ALL laws and ALL conditions of his parole and exceeded every expectation of a parolee.
On February 27, 2019, Eric’s Parole Officer called his cell phone and advised him that his Parole Paperwork had arrived from Georgia and that he was needed in her office. What she left out was that he was about to be re-arrested for a clerical error. My husband was re-arrested due to a clerical error from a 2013 sentence; 3 years was served on a concurrent sentence involving his 2013 sentence but we were told was that he was “released by mistake” and must serve 10 more years. Instead of correcting their error, the State of Georgia decided that in order to cover their own tracks, they would take Eric away from his wife and children, his church, his businesses, and his community and take him back to Georgia to serve 10 more years. This is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment. What is the reason for taking him to another state for a clerical error? Why punish him for an error made by the state of Georgia? Why punish him by stripping him away from all he accomplished when he violated no part of his parole agreement?
We have contacted numerous well-known organizations, individuals, and two attorneys with no success. However, we will NOT give up because what has been done to my husband is WRONG! Because of this injustice, I am separated from my husband, our children do not have their father present, our business has stopped, the events planned for May 4th were cancelled, our church members are without a leader and guide, and our community has been impacted by the absence of Pastor Eric. We are devastated to say the least. What can be done? Who will see past this “clerical error” to see the fact that Eric Payne is needed greatly back home and in our community? Who will make it a point to release Eric immediately due to all of the character letters written by many including the Mayor of our city on his behalf to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, to the Clemency Department, to the Governor, to the Chief of Parole, to the Director of Public Affairs and to whomever else we can reach with our requests? My husband has been wronged and there is simply no reason as to why he must sit in prison when he has not only served his time but accomplished just so much. I need my husband. Our children need their father. Our church members need their Pastor. Our community needs Pastor Eric. His strength, wisdom, experience, teachings, compassion and love are needed here at home and in The Glades Community. Please help us get the word out by sharing our story with all who need to know. As well, please share ANY ideas of WHO we may contact and/or HOW I can get my husband released. (I have launched: #releasemypayne, #releasethepayne, and #releaseourpayne on Twitter.) We thank you greatly!
For more on this issue and a letter from Pastor Eric Payne, visit https://sfbayview.com/2019/04/pastor-eric-payne-paroled-then-snatched-from-his-church-wife-four-children-back-to-prison-for-clerical-error/