1/31/2011


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Nancy Lockhart - Legal Analyst

         

Nancy Lockhart -
Legal Analyst
http://www.nancylockhart.blogspot.com/


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Jamie Scott Hospitalized In Florida


www.wapt.com
JACKSON, Miss. -- Jamie Scott has been hospitalized in Florida after becoming ill, her mother says. Tuesday, January 25, 2011.

JAMIE SCOTT HOSPITALIZED - BROTHER IN AFGHANISTAN NEEDS TO COME HOME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
@Nancy Lockhart
MRS EVELYN RASCO
CONTACT: MRS EVELYN RASCO
850-375-4336

E-Mail: thewrongfulconviction@gmail.com


JAMIE SCOTT HOSPITALIZED - BROTHER IN AFGHANISTAN NEEDS TO COME HOME

(Pensacola), FL – 12/25/11 – Jamie Scott has been hospitalized with an excessively high potassium level. The sisters were released from prison to serve life on parole and have had a very rough time adjusting with little funds to support themselves. Their mother is on a fixed income and unable to make necessary repairs as a result of storm damage to the house. These repairs require immediate attention to accommodate Jamie upon her release from the hospital.

Currently, their brother serving in Afghanistan owns the home and is the only person who is able to conduct business regarding the house -- the insurance company will not comply with Mrs. Rasco. Willie James Scott Jr., is in need of your assistance to get home. Please contact all media outlets and make this information public.

The Scott Sisters and the Notorious 'Black Codes' of Mississippi

Jan 9, 2011 Tempie Williams
Jamie and Gladys Scott - 4WardEver UK

Two women; two black women; two black women sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, on January 7, 2011 made headline news all over the world when they were freed from each serving a life sentence at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. Mississippi’s second term Republican Governor Haley Barbour suspended their life sentences for their involvement in a crime where two men had been hit over the head with a shotgun by three teenage boys and allegedly robbed of $11 .
Nancy R. Lockhart , a legal analyst and advocate has worked tirelessly, after receiving a handwritten letter from their persistent mother and widow, Mrs. Evelyn Rasco in 2005, telling their story and how injustice had been inflicted upon her daughters. Lockhart not only returned a call to this God fearing woman but made a commitment to get her daughters freed from this unethical injustice they had each suffered for 16 years.
On December 24, 1993 , Scott County Sheriff's Department arrested the two sisters for armed robbery. On October of 1994, both sisters, having had no prior convictions, were convicted by a jury and sentenced to double life sentences in prison for an incident where no one was murdered, hurt or hospitalized.
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Mississippi: A State socially, politically and racially motivated

Further reports indicated the three teenage boys, all related and aged from 14 to 18 confessed to hitting the two men over the head with a shotgun and robbed them of $11, and implicated Jamie and Gladys. It was later said, "coercions, threats and promises later led these men to turn state's evidence on the Scott Sisters.
The 14-year- old testified that he had signed a written statement without an attorney present. He was told that he would be sent up to Parchman Farm - the notorious Mississippi Penitentiary/Plantation - if he did not cooperate. In addition, he was told that he would be "made out of a woman" (raped by men) at Parchman. Later reports indicate the three boys served less than three of their eight year sentences.
What exactly, then, was the two sisters' involvement in this crime? Why was such an extreme sentence given to each of them? Was it because of the two men? Was race an issue? Was politics an issue? Or was the real crime that these two sisters were simply black and poor in a socially, politically and racially motivated state known for its white supremacy after the Civil War? Mississippi is a state where the notorious " Black Codes" were passed by legislatures, described as a revival of slavery in disguise.
“We’re free” was reportedly shouted by the sisters on January 7, 2011, as they fought through crowds of news media to later hold a press conference with the national NAACP leader Ben Jealous in Jackson, Mississippi. They were later scheduled to return to Pensacola, Florida where their mother and children live.

The Contingency of the sisters release from prison

Gov. Barbour suspended both sister’s life sentences conditionally, instead of giving them the pardon they requested. Their conditional release is contingent upon the younger sister, 36-year-old Gladys Scott, giving her 38-year-old sister, Jamie Scott, her kidney. Jamie needs daily dialysis due to receiving inadequate healthcare while in prison. This was a voluntary donation from Gladys, willing to help her sister Jamie. Lockhart further reported, "Jamie Scott has stated that she is going blind; her vision is getting worse daily and she has NOT received glasses as of yet."
Daily dialysis treatments improve the quality of life and are very expensive. Kent Croker, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections shared that the state was paying $200,000 a year to provide them. It was decided by Gov. Barbour that since both sisters were no longer a threat to society and they were eligible for parole in 2014, he would suspend their life sentences.
"For the governor to mandate this donation is both unprecedented and unconscionable. As others have pointed out, releasing Jamie Scott before she has this costly life-saving surgery could also stand to save the state a considerable amount of money; a donation from her sister could save even more and is apparently part of the price of their freedom." states James Ridgeway of San Francisco BayView.
Additionally, Lockhart said, regarding the sister's release, "each will have to pay $52 a month for the administration of their parole in Florida, where their mother lives and where they plan to reside." Since they were serving life sentences, that means $624 a year for the rest of their lives. Both women are now in their 30s; if they live 40 more years, each will have paid the state $24,960. Of course, Jamie, in particular, will be lucky to live so long." Recorded in The Law Office of the Southern Center For Human Rights , "Contrary to what many people may believe, there are debtors' prisons throughout the United States where people are imprisoned because they are too poor to pay fines and fees."
Evelyn Rasco, the sister’s mother, clearly expressed her gratitude for having both her daughters released and soon to be home with her and their children, but expressed her scepticism regarding the Governor’s motives. She said, “To me it was a political decision,” and “It’s not that he actually had any sympathy for my daughters or cared bout them.” Barbour had been mentioned as a possible presidential contender in 2012.

Black women seeking justice in Mississippi

As Nancy R. Lockhart, M.J. read the handwritten letter of a mother and widow, persistent and determined to get help for both her convicted daughters, after 11 years of no response, knowing the cry of injustice, she became compelled and was convinced that it had occurred on the judicial bench. This same mother has a son: "Jamie and Gladys' older brother serving in Iraq for the US Army, while Americans have wrongfully placed his sisters in prison," Lockhart stated.
She recognized immediately the signs, and knew the misrepresentation of poor black women and their fight for justice in Mississippi's legal system as she explains in her telling, The State of Mississippi verses Jamie Scott and Gladys Scott: My first encounter with Justice denied. Lockhart, decided to leave Chicago and go to Jamie and Gladys Scott with the commitment to get them freed as she had promised their mother. Freed from a system that had denied them. Freed from, " the laws that had imposed severe restrictions on freed slaves such as prohibiting their right to vote, forbidding them to sit on juries, limiting their right to testify against white men, carrying weapons in public places and working in certain occupations. Free from the 'black codes' of Mississippi.
While we are happy that the Scott sisters have been released from wrongful double life sentences and are about to battle paying their debts by way of another reprehensible and unwarranted contingent condition and fines; it is imperative that we continue fighting unethical injustice, even in an era with a black president of the USA; that to many is used to legitimize the system and mask its ugliness so that laws such as the 'black code' still enforced in Mississippi and elsewhere are not repassed by legislators and cease to exist.
Sources:
"Scott sisters free at last" , A Brown Publishing Company, blackvoicenews.com. Accessed Jan 2011
“Sister’s kidney donation condition of Miss. Parole.“ Associated Press, kxxv.com. Accessed Jan 2011
"Scott sisters freed from prison,” The Clarion - Ledger, clarionledger.com. Accessed Jan 2011
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

The Scott Sisters: Double Life for $11



This brief article is your introduction to the story of Jamie and Gladys Scott, two sisters serving double life sentences for an alleged robbery netting $11.  I have been hearing about the Scott sisters for several months now, but the basic facts of the case remained fuzzy.  South Carolina legal analyst Nancy Lockhart has been assisting the Scott sisters on a pro bono basis and is fully acquainted with the story.  You can find more information on this case at The Black Commentator.

The State of Mississippi versus Jamie Scott and Gladys Scott

Nancy Lockhart, MJ
In 1994, the State of Mississippi sentenced two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, to consecutive double life terms each for two counts of armed robbery they did not commit.  The Scott sisters did not have prior criminal records, and from the beginning, they have vigorously maintained their innocence.  Their convictions rest entirely on a combination of contradictory, coerced, and potentially perjured testimony by the victims and two other people charged with the crime who were offered lighter sentences for their cooperation. 
I have transcribed and attached below as Appendix 1 the most troubling evidence of coercion.  It is testimony from one of the other people charged with the crime, a 14-year-old boy who said that he signed a statement he neither wrote nor read that implicated the Scott sisters because the police told him if he did, he could go home the next morning, but if he did not, he would be sent to prison where he would be raped.
The Facts
The facts below were culled from the transcripts to The State of Mississippi vs. Jamie and Gladys Scott, which can be found online at http://www.scribd.com/doc/21748820/Scott-transcript.  The Scott sisters’ original indictment can also be found online at http://www.scribd.com/doc/21748521/Scott-Indictment.
(We have included parenthetical references to the trial transcripts after descriptions of key details.  To find the referenced passage from the trial, go to the top of the court document, and you will find an arrow key that will let you go to the page number you want.)
In the initial complaint filed shortly after the robbery, the victims never mentioned the Scott sisters’ involvement in the crime.  Almost one year later, the victims changed their account of the crime and stated that the Scott sisters participated in it.  (32-34; 60-63)
Three other people were convicted of the robbery, two of whom, cousins Howard Patrick (who was 14 years old) and Gregory Patrick (who was 18 years old), were given lighter sentences of eight years each for testifying about the Scott sisters’ involvement.   Howard Patrick testified that he spent 10 months in jail charged with the robbery before he signed a statement that implicated the Scott sisters.  On cross-examination, Howard admitted he didn’t know what he was signing.  He further said that he neither wrote, nor read the statement, but signed it because he was told by the police that if he did sign it, he would be released from jail the next morning, but if he did not, he would be sent to prison where he would be raped. (91-94—see Appendix 1 for an excerpt of Howard’s Patrick testimony where he describes the police threatening him with prison rape.) Howard Patrick also testified that this alleged robbery netted about ($9-$11) nine, ten or eleven dollars individually. (92) Similarly, Gregory Patrick testified that his statement that implicated the sisters included pages that were not written by him.  These pages included critical descriptions of the Scott sisters’ involvement. (113-115)
Using this dubious testimony, the prosecution constructed the following version of the crime.  On the night of the robbery, the prosecution argued that the Scott sisters persuaded Johnny Ray Hayes and Mitchell Duckworth to give them a ride home.  On the way to their home, the sisters convinced the victims to stop the car so they could use the restroom.  There, the prosecution argued that the Scott sisters met with Chris Patrick, Howard Patrick, and Gregory Patrick, devised, and then executed the following plan.
The sisters got back into the victim’s car, and the Patrick’s followed behind them in another car.  After driving a few miles, one of the Scotts acted as if she was going to be sick, forcing the victims to pull the car over to the side of the rode.  The Scotts then got out of the car, whereupon their alleged partners pulled up next to them, got out of their car, and used a shotgun to rob Hayes and Duckworth of about $200. 
The group then drove off together, leaving the victims on the side of the road. Conflicting testimony states that $9-$11 dollars was netted.
The Scott’s trial lasted two days.  The jury deliberated a little over 30 minutes before delivering a unanimous guilty verdict of armed robbery that carried consecutive double life sentences for each sister.
Post Conviction
After their conviction, the sisters appealed their verdict, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to convict them, and that the verdict was against the overwhelming weight of evidence.   The Mississippi Court of Appeals, however, affirmed the convictions.  Subsequent appeals have been filed with Mississippi’s Supreme Court including an Application for Leave TO File Post Conviction Motion as three affidavits in support of the sisters were not available during the trial but, all appeals have been denied. 
Why were the Scott Sisters charged with armed robbery?
It is difficult to reconcile the trial transcripts with the Scott sisters’ conviction without assuming that there is some kind of corruption behind this ordeal.   Through research and investigations I have heard the following account from several people involved with the case.  Scott County likely charged the Scott sisters with armed robbery because a family member turned state’s evidence against Sheriff Glenn Warren which resulted in his incarceration.  Scott County is a dry county, and allegedly this sheriff was running a bootlegging operation that also may have involved the judge who presided over the Scott’s trial.  Deputy sheriff Marvin Williams, who is also deceased, worked under Sheriff Glenn Warren and allegedly promised to pay their family back for the relative’s  testimony.
The Scott County sheriff department also apparently tried to pin a restaurant robbery on the Scott sisters while they were awaiting trial, but the restaurant owners refused to cooperate.
Jamie Scott’s Medical Condition
Both Jamie and Gladys Scott were healthy women when they entered the department of corrections prison system.  38 year old, Jamie Scott has kidney failure as a result of sub standard medical care within the department of corrections over the years.  E-mails, calls and letters from The Scott Sister’s supporters are the reason Jamie Scott has been taken to the hospital.  Jamie has had at least 5 infected catheters inserted in her neck causing her veins to collapse. Jamie’s doctors have stated that she was near death, infection had spread throughout her body and this was caused by cost cutting within Wexford Health Solutions, the prison medical contractor.
Sincerely,
Nancy Lockhart, M.J.
Appendix 1
Selections from Howard Patrick’s Testimony on signing a statement that implicated Jamie and Gladys Scott.
Q. Did you write this statement?
A. I didn’t write that.  I signed it.
Q. You didn’t write it out.  Someone else wrote it out for you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Okay.  Did you read it?
A. No.
Q. You didn’t read it?
A. No
Q. So was the statement written out after you talked with Williams [Scotts County sheriff], or was it written out while you were talking with him?
A. It was written out before I talked to him. . . .
Q. Okay; and, then you signed it without reading it?
A. That’s right.   They told me they was going to let me go next morning. [Howard Patrick had been in jail for the previous 10 months charged with the robbery in question]
Q. Beg, your pardon?
A. They told me they was going to let me go the next morning.
Q. And, that’s why you signed the statement?
A. Yes, sir . . . .
Q. Let me just make sure I’m clear.  You signed this statement without reading it, because you wanted to get out of jail?
A. Yes, I wanted to get out of jail.
Q. And, you had been promised that if you signed the statement, you could get out of jail the next morning?
A. That, and they said if I didn’t participate with them, they would send me to Parchman [prison] and make me out a female.
Q. I’m sorry?
A. That they would let me out of jail the next morning, and that if I didn’t participate with them, that they would send me to Parchman and make me out a female.
Q. In other words, they would send you to Parchman, and you would get raped; right?
A. Yes, sir. . .
Q. So, you decided it was better to sign the statement, even without reading it?
A. I didn’t know what it was.

The Scott Sisters, Nancy Lockhart and the Politics of Freedom

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Sat Jan 01, 2011 at 01:53:06 PM PST

Newspapers, national radio programs, bloggers and politicos are all talking about how Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Dec. 29 suspended the life sentences of two sisters jailed for an armed robbery that netted just $11—but the release of one sister will require her to donate a kidney to the other.
Let the truth be told, it was not the national NAACP that lead the effort to free the Scott Sisters, it was Nancy Lockhart through her use of grassroots Internet organizing,
As reported in The Afro American Newspaper today,  Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Dec. 29 suspended the life sentences, saying:
"To date, the sisters have served 16 years of their sentences and are eligible for parole in 2014. Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her," Barbour said in a prepared statement, according to The Hattiesburg American. "The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott’s medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi."
According to The American, in 1993 the sisters lured two men down a road where they were robbed by three teens. The Scott sisters were convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon in the incident and each received reportedly unusual double life prison sentences. The teenagers who allegedly carried out the robbery only served two years in prison.
Barbour’s statement said that he asked the Mississippi Parole Board to review the Scott’s case, and that they supported his decision to suspend their sentences.
According to the Associated Press, the sisters have received support from national groups including the NAACP. A march for them earlier this year drew hundreds of people.
A release date for the sisters has not been decided, and will be set by the Mississippi Department of Corrections, according to Jackson, Miss. NBC affiliate WLBT.
AAP says: But with all the grandstanding that is about to happen, groups like the national office of the NAACP, Al Sharpton and the rest of the slick poverty pimp hustlers need to move over, and salute one of the key people that fought the up hill battle to get these women free. A true black woman freedom fighter who deserves accolades and support from America and America's African American community, Ms. Nancy Lockhart, who for years, through the strategic use of the Internet, and her Free the Scott Sisters Blog, along with Internet BlogTalkRadio shows began a grassroots effort to free the Scott sisters. Without Nancy Lockhart who has proven to be a modern day,  21st Century,  Harriet Tubman like, African American women working on the outside, the Scott sisters may not be looking at Freedom. Of course we have to include the recent color aroused political blunders by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, as the emphasis for the his true interest in reducing the life sentences of two black American sisters jailed for an armed robbery that netted just $11.
Ms. Nancy Lockhart, who has worked closely with grass root groups and individuals like Jerry Robinson, a sharp mouthed grass root community organizer, political activist, and national President of the Chicago based Poor People's Campaign has worked with Nancy Lockhart in her efforts to engage grass-root Internet activist, bloggers, and community groups from across the nation to support the Scott Sisters  quest for freedom.
Let the truth be told, it was not the national NAACP that lead the effort to free the Scott Sisters, it was Nancy Lockhart through her use of grassroots Internet organizing, with the support of people like Jerry Robinson of the Poor People's Campaign, Black left Internet groups like the afrospear, Black Agenda Report, and black bloggers like Electronic Village, Jack and Jill Politics, Field Negro, Eddie G. Griffin, Anderson at Large, From My Brown Eyed View, Exodus Mentality, field negro, Francis L. Holland Blog, BlackPerspective.net, along with many dozens of Internet blogtalkradio host, such as Black Achievement USA, Black Talk Radio, JWriter, Justice4Us, Duchess of Wisdom, AANation, PPC, Kala Nation, Joli Ali, BostonAnt, Pumpkin13, Madison Media, Dale Daniels, Antoinette former co-host of African American Pundit's SlugFest Program, along with Antionette Harrell, One Black Mans View, Scotty, and so many others, who were able to create a band of national Internet activist who worked with Nancy Lockhart to get the word out to the larger blogosphere, afrosphere, black radio and national media,  that caused the Scott Sisters to be of interest to groups like the NAACP and because of recent color aroused political blunders by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, caused him to look at the Scott Sisters case as a political opportunity to make himself look good, as part of his potential Presidential ambitions. As noted in The Washington Post, Barbour, who is weighing a run for president, announced the pardon a week after he ran afoul of civil rights advocates. Last week, Barbour backtracked on comments he made about the civil rights era in Mississippi.
AAP says: All that being said, America, particularly Black America should salute and thank Nancy Lockhart for a job well done! She has taught us a new lesson for the 21st Century, "grassroot Internet organizing can work for America, particularly black America,  if we put your mind, heart and soul into it."  I remember urging the NAACP to get involved, suggesting it was really time for afrospear bloogers, the national office of the NAACP, and the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights to take a look at, research, investigate and advocate for a new trial and immediate release of the Scott Sisters. Read more HERENow all f a sudden they say they have lead the effort. They are a punch of liars!
As one political black blogger noted, although the Scott sisters have been in jail for sixteen years, while the NAACP's President Ben Jealous may have first mentioned the case to the media on September 15, 2010. "The president of the N.A.A.C.P., is seeking a pardon from the Governor of Mississippi, announced the Red Mountain Post on October 15, 2010.  When the NAACP announces its support in a nationally-known case of injustice that has been advocated at blogs and community groups for years, and the NAACP's freshly-painted involvement becomes national news, you know that organization has lost its way.  It has gone from political leader to political opportunist, just as occurred in the Jena Six case, where "NAACP Spent More on Internal Jena Six Activities Than on Youths’ Defense Funds."
UPDATE: Black Internet Activist Pissed with NAACP Over Scott Sisters:
Scotty Reid of BlackTalkMedia says that the NAACP ignored the Scott sisters' case until it became a media magnet, and then the NAACP jumped into the media fray as a "Johnny come lately," opening a financial donations account from which the Scott sisters allegedly have not received a dime.  "The NAACP has not contributed one dime to the legal expenses of the Scott sisters and nor has it stated that it will do so. . . " alleges Scotty Reid.
It sounds like the national office of the NAACP is making plans to cash in on the Scott Sisters as they did with the Jena 6.
Tags: Nancy Lockhart, Politics of Freedom, The Scott Sisters, NAACP, Hustle and Flow, Color Aroused Hatred, Mississippi (all tags) :: Previous Tag Versions

Delaproser - Advocate of Sara Kruzan




Free Sara Kruzan

                                                  
                                                                     HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM


She was raised in Riverside by her abusive, drug-addicted mother. Sara met her father only three times in her life because he was in prison.

Since the age of 9, Sara suffered from severe depression for which she was hospitalized several times. At the age of 11, she met a 31-year-old man named G.G. who molested her and began grooming her to become a prostitute. At age 13, she began working as a child prostitute for G.G. and was repeatedly molested by him. At age 16, Sara was convicted of killing him. She was sentenced to prison for the rest of her life despite her background and a finding by the California Youth Authority that she was amendable to treatment offered in the juvenile system. This year after years of work by many parties Sara's sentence was commuted by Governor Schwarzenegger from Life in prison without the possibility of parole to 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole....and so our fight continues until Sara is served the justice and freedom that has eluded her throughout her entire life.


http://www.freesarakruzan.org
http://www.twitter.com/freesarakruzan

 
Kim Deanna - Advocate for Sara Kruzan - Best Friend

Sara Jessimy Kruzan (born January 8, 1978), convicted of first degree murder, is a victim of human trafficking and inmate of Central California Women's Facility, Chowchilla. In 1994, at the age of 16, she was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole after being convicted of murdering her alleged pimp, George Gilbert Howard. On January 2, 2011, Kruzan was granted clemency by outgoing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who commuted her sentence to 25 years with the possibility of parole.

Early life

Kruzan grew up in Riverside, California with her drug addict mother, where she was an honor roll student at school. During her childhood she met her father only three times because he was serving long prison terms. Since the age of 9, Kruzan has suffered from severe depression, being hospitalized because of the condition on a number of occasions.
At the age of 11, she met 31 year old Howard, calling himself "G.G.", who, it is alleged, began grooming her for a life of prostitution. By the age of 13, Kruzan became a victim of human trafficking, forced to work as a child prostitute, and subjected to sexual abuse.

Murder of George Gilbert Howard

A week before the killing she had moved into a house in the Rubidoux area belonging to convicted felon and suspected drug dealer, James Earl Hamilton. Kruzan arranged to meet Howard on March 9 for a date and agreed to spend the night with him. On March 10, Kruzan shot Howard in the neck at close range in a room at the Dynasty Suites Motel. She then took $1,500 from his wallet, as well as the keys to his Jaguar car and went to meet Hamilton and her then boyfriend Johnny Otis in a local supermarket. Her identification card and purse had been left in the motel room and were later found by the chamber maid who discovered Howard's body. Kruzan told the police four days later and admitted her guilt on the defense stand. During her trial she told the court that she had killed Howard because Hamilton had ordered it and had threatened to kill both her and her mother if she did not carry out his orders.

Arrest and trial

Kruzan was arrested in Pomona on March 14 as a result, Defence Attorney, David Gunn, told the court, of information provided to the police by Hamilton. Neither Hamilton nor Otis were charged with the crime due to a lack of legally sufficient corroborating evidence to support Kruzan's statement.
After her arrest the District Attorney of Riverside County opted to ignore the pleas for extenuating circumstances surrounding Kruzan's actions, and sought to have her tried in an adult court for first degree murder. An evaluation by California Youth Authority concluded she was amenable to treatment in the juvenile justice system. However, a local judge, at the urging of the prosecutor, Tim Freer, transferred her to the adult court. In his closing arguments at her trial, Freer cautioned jurors not to be swayed by the appearance of an attractive, petite teenager who may not fit their image of a murderer.
On Thursday May 11, 1995, a Riverside Superior Court jury of seven women and five men found her guilty of First-Degree murder affirming two special circumstances - that Howard was murdered during a robbery, and that Kruzan had been lying in wait to kill him - to justify a no-parole life term. Judge J. Thompson Hanks described her crime as 'well thought out', stating that 'what is striking about this is the lack of moral scruple' before sentencing her to life without parole.

 Controversy

Some campaigning groups have suggested that Kruzan was suffering from Battered Person Syndrome, a physical and psychological condition that often results in victims of abuse murdering their abusers.[5] The US has been criticized by judicial reform groups, such as the National Center for Youth Law, for the frequency with which it sentences juveniles to life without parole, with Kruzan often mentioned as an example of the need for greater compassion. In February 2009, Human Rights Watch released a viral video featuring Kruzan on YouTube to highlight their campaign for a ban on sentences of life without parole for juveniles in California. Michelle Quann of change.org said that the state has the highest racial disparity rate in the US in this area of juvenile justice,[6] and in November 2010 change.org began a petition to then-current California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant Kruzan clemency before leaving office. [7] In reaction to this case Democratic Senator, Leyland Yee of San Francisco stated, "Life without parole means absolutely no opportunity for release... It also means minors are often left without access to programs and rehabilitative services while in prison. This sentence was created for the worst of criminals that have no possibility of reform and it is not a humane way to handle children. While the crimes they committed caused undeniable suffering, these youth offenders are not the worst of the worst.

References -


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Liliana, Segura. "16-Year Old Got Life Without Parole for Killing Her Abusive Pimp -- Should Teens Be Condemned to Die in Jail?". www.alternet.org. http://www.alternet.org/rights/143635/16-year_old_got_life_without_parole_for_killing_her_abusive_pimp_--_should_teens_be_condemned_to_die_in_jail/. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  3. ^ a b c Kataoka, Mike. "Girl Sentenced to Life Term Without Parole for Killing". Newsbank. http://sarontay.com/Documents/sarakruzan.pdf. Retrieved 2010-02-03. [dead link]
  4. ^ Macallair, Daniel (2008-01-20). "U.S. among harshest for sentencing children - SFGate". articles.sfgate.com. http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-01-20/opinion/17151250_1_life-sentences-political-culture-harshest. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  5. ^ Kelley, Matt. "Life Without Parole Is Not The Answer". criminaljustice.change.org. http://criminaljustice.change.org/blog/view/life_without_parole_is_not_the_answer. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  6. ^ Quann, Michelle. "Support Freedom Of Trafficking Victim Sara Kruzan". criminaljustice.change.org. http://criminaljustice.change.org/actions/view/support_freedom_of_trafficking_victim_sara_kruzan_2. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  7. ^ Kloer, Amanda. "Ask Gov. Schwarzenegger to Release Human Trafficking Victim Sara Kruzan with Time Served". change.org. http://www.change.org/petitions/view/ask_gov_schwarzenegger_to_release_human_trafficking_victim_sara_kruzan_with_time_served. Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
  8. ^ "Senator Leland Yee, Ph.D. -- New Life for Youth Sentencing Reform". dist08.casen.govoffice.com. http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC={EFA496BC-EDC8-4E38-9CC7-68D37AC03DFF}&DE={8E4B633D-0E22-4E48-912B-BBA8F52FCB3B}. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 

External links


Carol Leonard - Advoctae for Amber Riley





The Wrongful Interrogation of Amber R. Riley



Carol Leonard - Prison Reform Movement
Advocate for Amber Riley

18 Jun

When a Child is Too Young to Realize All Rights Are Being Violated

Amber Riley was a normal teenage girl who had just turned 16. She was working part time, attending school and just hanging out with her friends and dog Burkage. She states her nightmare began when a friend of hers, Jason Lamar Harris murdered another friend of hers
Terry Ray Taylor in a brutal stabbing back in 2003, in Perris Hill in San Bernardino, California. Amber was also charged with the murder of Taylor.
It was a gruesome murder that received much media attention due to the fact that the two allegedly recited the words of a song by heavy metal band, SlipKnot called “Disasterpiece” which has lyrics resembling the nature of the murder. More can be read here Amber stated she never liked this kind of music and that Jason was the one who listened to SlipKnot.
Amber claims she had no part in the murder and that her codefendant Harris, who has already been sentenced to 50 years acted solely alone. She claims her being interrogated for long hours, alone without a lawyer, or her parents present landed her in prison awaiting trial for nearly six years. She was coerced into signing away her rights for a speedy trial she states. The interrogating police lied, coerced, frightened, induced sleep depravation and hunger all to get a confession, whether it be true or not. The Doctors stated at one point to Amber’s parents that “she was not capable of murder” and one detective told her parents “that he knew this was not her crime but that she will now have to convince a jury”
Amber’s mother states that her and her husband were never allowed to see her, and were never given details about why their daughter was being detained and arrested for murder. They were told they should go home, despite the fact that Amber had asked for her parents throughout the interrogation. Both parents were detained in their own living room and not allowed to place or receive phone calls keeping them separated from Amber while she was interrogated for hours. According to page 5 of the police report the interrogating officer stated that at 6:08 PM Amber said “she felt like killing herself.” He stated “she is a danger to herself and others, and is a gravely disabled minor,” and thinking this he had her sign a Miranda waiver at 7:10 PM, just one hour later.
Amber’s mother claims that after 8 hours of interrogation Amber was then admitted to Ward B at Arrowhead Medical center where she was then handcuffed to a chair in the hallway, and left there all night and denied the use of a phone to call her parents, according to her mother. She was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress disorder and in shock. She was then placed in San Bernardino Juvenile hall without the knowledge of her parents. Her father searched for her and found her 3 days later. Amber’s mother stated an intake worker told her and her husband “she entered juvenile hall in worse shape of any kid they have ever seen.” Amber was given what her mother calls “dangerous psychotic drugs” that caused her to have nightmares and hallucinate.
Amber’s parents have compiled a list of violations and injustices about their daughters case and she forwarded them to me. The list is lengthy and I have included links to further understand the violations. Amber’s rights were clearly violated, and she should never have signed away her rights to a speedy trial. Her ignorance of the law, and manipulation by her interrogators have changed her life into a six year nightmare. Our hopes are that someone will read her story and help her in her fight for freedom.
According to Amber’s mother, when Amber was first picked up by the police, and taken into custody she was never allowed her two completed phone calls, within an hour. (seeCalifornia Welfare & Institutions Code 627) . Her 14th Amendment Rights were violated when she was denied counsel during questioning. ( See Welfare & Institutions Code 30.23). Other issues include her mental condition was very important, since Amber had a history of depression and “separation anxiety” from her parents. A young scared girl was alone with adult male police detectives which infringed on her 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution concerning due process. (See Wikipedia on The Constitution)
Amber’s mother also states that failure of telling Amber that her father was at the place of interrogation was a direct violation of The Welfare & Institutions Code 30.11 . Other violations include she was deprived of rights and privileges and US Code 1414la was violated.
Amber’s mother also claims that when Amber could not understand the DA the Judge would not allow him to be replaced which was a violation of rule #1.14 in the rules of professional conduct, but one month later the DA was asked to be taken off the case due to a conflict of interest that was never explained to them. She states that Amber was tried as an adult with no psychological witnesses, no juvenile hall witnesses, no defense witnesses, and no character witnesses. Amber was asked by the DA to sign papers she did not understand, and her parents never saw.
Minors are not allowed to sign legal contracts and documents, yet a young girls legal rights were taken away from her in a matter of hours. She is a loving and caring young woman who will always be scarred by the events that happened in her life. She has already served six years for a crime she maintains she never committed.
Prison activist and advocate, Carol Leonard, founder and owner of The PrisonReformMovement Yahoo group
has authored a petition to help free Amber, please take a moment of your time to sign this petition and give this young women the justice that she deserves.
Sources:
Censor Blog
http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2008_08_18_archive.html
California Welfare & Institutions Codes
http://law.onecle.com/california/welfare/627.html
http://law.onecle.com/california/welfare/630.1.html
Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution
Petition:
http://criminaljustice.change.org/actions/view/at_age_16_she_faced_life_in_prison

Steve Sydebotham - Advocate of Jordan Brown

Steve Sydebotham

Advocate for Jordan Brown

US child appeals against being tried for murder as an adult

Jordan Brown, who was 11 when he allegedly killed his father's pregnant fiancee, could face life sentence with no parole
    Judges are to rule on whether Jordan Brown, who has been charged with homicide, should be tried as an adult. Photograph: Ho/AFP/Getty Images The following clarification was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Thursday 27 January 2010 The report about a 13-year-old boy who shot and killed his father's fiancee in Pennsylvania described him as using "his own hunting rifle, a shotgun designed specifically for children". According to court documents the weapon used was a 20-gauge shotgun, which is not a rifle
    Lawyers for a child in Pennsylvania who was 11 when he allegedly shot and killed his father's pregnant fiancee attempted today to persuade an appeals court not to try him as an adult under America's harsh system of juvenile justice. Unless the lawyers for Jordan Brown who is now aged 13, can convince the judges to change tack, he will be tried in adult court and if convicted will serve an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole. He would become the youngest child in US history to be sentenced to be incarcerated forever. The US is the only country where juveniles are serving life imprisonment without parole under the so-called "life means life" policy. Only the US and Somalia have refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which rules out life sentences with no chance of release for crimes committed before the age of 18. Brown is accused of having killed Kenzie Houk, in February 2009 at her home in the countryside about 35 miles north-west of Pittsburgh. According to the prosecution, Brown shot her through the back of the head as she slept in her bedroom. He is then alleged to have got on the school bus and gone to his elementary school as usual. Houk, 26, was just two weeks away from her due date and her unborn child, who would have been called Christopher, died too. Brown has been charged with two counts of homicide. Brown allegedly carried out the killing using his own hunting rifle, a shotgun designed specifically for children. The prosecution alleges that the killing was premeditated and they found residue from the gun on Brown's shoulder. When he was first presented to court Brown was made to wear shackles around his wrists and ankles. Human rights campaigners are protesting the treatment of Brown as an adult. Amnesty International said the move would be a violation of international law. "It is shocking that anyone this young could face life imprisonment without parole, let alone in a country which labels itself as a progressive force for human rights," said Susan Lee, head of the campaign's Americas operation. The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based campaign, said no other country had juveniles serving life without parole. "That leads to only two conclusions: either kids in the US are far more violent than those in the rest of the world, or the US has developed uniquely harsh sentences." At a federal level, the US penal system has been inching towards a more lenient approach to juvenile crime. In 2005 the US supreme court abolished the death penalty for under-18s. Then last May it ruled that juveniles could not be subjected to life without parole for any crime other than homicide. But that still leaves about 2,400 prisoners facing permanent imprisonment for homicides committed when they were children. Pennsylvania, where all juveniles are automatically treated as adults unless a judge decides otherwise, heads the league table of 44 states that hand out the sentence, with about 450 cases. Houk's death has divided the two families involved in their response to Brown's judicial treatment. The boy's father, Chris Brown, protests his son's innocence and says he has no idea what could await him. "Try to explain to a 12-year-old what the rest of your life means. It's incomprehensible for him," he told ABC News last year. The victim's mother, Deborah Houk, has pushed for the toughest sentence for the boy. "I can't stand this 'Oh, he's 11,' 'Oh, his clothes don't fit him,'" she told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review soon after her daughter's death. "He knew what he was doing. He killed my baby."

DAVONTAE SANFORD

Free Davontae Sanford!' By Diane Bukowski ContributingWriter

Delaproser - Advocate for Devontae Sanford.
http://www.wacptv.ning.com/ElishDelaproser http://blacktalkradio.ning.com
http://www.Twitter.com/ElishDelap http://www.Twitter.com





Friday, January 28 at 9:00am - February 14 at 12:00pm
Location from anywhere
Detroit, MI
Created By
Free Davontae Sanford
More Info Cards or letters can be sent to:

Davontae Sanford-684070
Michigan Reformatory Correctional Facility
l342 West Main St.
Ionia, MI 48846

Now that Davontae has turned 18, he has been moved to the Michigan Reformatory Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan. Taminko has asked that people write Davontae if they can. Please, let's show him that he is not alone in this terrible situation and that there are many of us out here who know and care. This would be a good time to include Davontae on your Valentine's Day card mailing list.

Taminko holds on to the hope that the truth will continue to come out and her son Davontae will be exonerated.


Family members, supporters say teenager is facing 37-90 years for four drug-related murders, despite confession by another man, and police commander's testimony that youth is innocent.


Taminko Sanford center, mother of Davontae Sanford, with his family outside court July 29, 2010. Photo: Diane Bukowski
DETROIT (FinalCall.com) - Davontae Sanford is now 18. He has spent the last four years of his short life in adult prisons, convicted of murdering four people on Runyon Street on Detroit's east side on Sept. 15, 2007, when he was 14. He is 5'6, slightly-built, blind in one eye, and developmentally disabled.
Shortly after Davontae was sentenced to 37 to 90 years in prison in 2008, Vincent Smothers, now 28, of Shelby Township, confessed to the Detroit police on videotape that he and a different man committed the murders as part of a series of drug-related hits.
Highly placed members of the police department have testified they believe Davontae is innocent, including a former chief of homicide who says Davontae was with him at the time of the murders.


Davontae Sanford at 14.
“Davontae's a warm, loving person who the kids always said was my favorite,” said his mother Taminko Sanford. “He was born on Thanksgiving Day, and I always felt he was my gift from God.”
Davontae is her first son, the second oldest of five children, and she along with his stepfather and siblings have waged a relentless campaign since his arrest to free him, garnering broad-ranging support.
“Davontae was about to start the ninth grade at Osborn High School the day after his arrest,” Ms. Sanford said. “He loves rap and computers. He is so close to his brother and his three sisters. His brother has all Davontae's letters from prison pasted up all over his bedroom walls, and his little sister has all his childhood photos on hers.”
Davontae has 1,249 Facebook supporters from all over the world, including the United Kingdom and Sweden. He has support from media personalities like Bill Proctor of Detroit's Channel 7, who runs his own Innocence Project. His case has received extensive and generally sympathetic coverage from the Associated Press and Detroit's daily media.
Elish Delaporter of the UK is following his case on her MySpace website, part of her campaign against this country's exclusive practice of sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole. That policy is expressly condemned by the UN Commission on the Rights of the Child.
But in a seemingly never-ending series of evidentiary hearings since July, 2009, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is vigorously fighting Davontae's motion for a new trial, citing what his defense attorney Kim McGinnis calls a “classic false confession.”
During the most recent hearing Jan. 14, in front of Davontae's trial judge Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan, Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Puleo once again ignored another of Atty. McGinnis' requests that the prosecution grant “use” immunity to Mr. Smothers. That would allow him to testify in court about his role in the murders without fear of having the prosecution use his testimony to charge him in the cases.
Prosecutor Puleo said he is worried about Mr. Smothers' constitutional rights, because he could face life without parole if he admits to the killings.
Mr. Smothers is already serving 50-100 years in maximum security on nine counts of second-degree murder and three counts of assault with intent to commit murder, along with various felony charges, stemming from other cases in which he testified he was a hit man for a drug ring.


Davontae Sanford in court June 30, 2010.
Atty. McGinnis called the plea deal for such a number of hit killings “virtually unheard of,” and Mr. Proctor called it “the deal of the century” in news coverage of the sentencing on July 23 of this year.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Craig Strong, who sentenced Mr. Smothers, even pleaded with him, “You cannot bring back those who were killed but you can correct wrongs for those who were wrongfully convicted of killing people that you killed.”
Mr. Proctor reported that Judge Strong “seemed highly concerned about a pre-sentence report that indicated Smothers had confessed to murders that were not a part of the plea deal. It spelled out in part how Smothers had confessed to the murder of four people on Runyon Street on Detroit's east side and how 16-year-old Davontae Sanford was in prison for those killings.”
A YouTube videotape of portions of the sentencing, along with others related to the Mr. Smothers cases, can be viewed online.
Mr. Smothers is now contending that his confessions were coerced, and has appealed his convictions. Among his contentions is that the police threatened to charge his wife if he did not confess. He is represented by Attorney Mitchell Foster, also of the State Appellate Defenders' Office.
The prosecutor's office does not appear so concerned about Davontae's constitutional rights.
Atty. McGinnis said that during the child's questioning by police, neither his mother nor an attorney was present. Davontae signed and initialed a typewritten document drawn up by a detective, despite being blind in one eye, and according to Atty. McGinnis, reading at a third-grade level. There is no videotaped record of the confession except one in which the detective reads the confession back to him.
“It was a classic false confession,” Atty. McGinnis said. “Davontae saw the police lights after the killings were discovered around the corner from his house, and walked up to the police to find out what was going on. They told him, ‘You know what's going on,' and took him downtown. Twenty hours later, he signed a confession which contained only the details that the police already knew at the time.”
In his confession Davontae claimed he committed the killings with a different weapon than the one used in the killings, Atty. McGinnis said. Ballistics evidence, delayed due to the shutdown of the Detroit police crime lab two years ago, is still to be introduced in upcoming evidentiary hearings.
“Smothers gave a confession that was very detailed and clear and implicated another man, Edward Davis,” Atty. McGinnis said. “The things he says he did are what the police say Davontae did. The woman in the back room who survived said the killer talked to her in a soft voice that was sounded 30-35 years old, but later changed her testimony to say it was an adolescent voice. In his confession, Smothers admitted to going back to speak to her.”
She added, “The prosecutor has spent a lot of energy trying to tie Smothers to Davontae, but has never been able produce any such evidence. It is absurd to think that professional contract killers were going to allow a 14-year-old boy to tag along with them.”
Detroit's retired chief of homicide, Commander William Rice, who spent 25 years on the force, was dating Davontae's great-aunt Cheryl Sanford at the time of the Runyon Street killings. Mr. Rice testified Oct. 28, 2009 that he was with Davontae at her house at the time of the murders, from 8 p.m. to 11:45 p.m., and that he left to take another man home to Mt. Clemens and then take Davontae home.
But during the November hearing, the prosecution challenged Mr. Rice's testimony.
A Detroit police investigator, Arthur Wimmer, testified. He said he is assigned to the Violent Crimes Task Force composed of the DPD, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the MDOC, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, and other agencies at all levels.
Mr. Wimmer said he had 120 hours (three weeks) of specialized training in cell tower forensics conducted by the FBI and private corporations, and was allowed to testify as an expert witness. Michigan currently has no licensing process for such experts.
Mr. Wimmer claimed Mr. Rice's cell phone records showed he was in Mt. Clemens, a city about 30 miles east of Detroit, at 11:18 p.m. the night of the murders.
Atty. McGinnis challenged cell tower testimony as sometimes inaccurate. She said later that the testimony may have shown that Mr. Rice was off base in his exact estimates of time, but did not discount Davontae's presence with his family for most of the time prior to the killings.
“He would not have had time to prepare, or to hook up with Smothers and get to the site to commit the murders,” Atty. McGinnis said.
A Department of Corrections official also testified about alleged “gang” materials and graffiti found in a search of Davontae's cell in the Thumb Correctional Facility. The official claimed scars on Davontae's arms were remnants of gang tattoos.
“Anything that happened after the night of the murders is not relevant,” Atty. McGinnis objected. But Judge Sullivan allowed the testimony to go on record.
“The tattoos were about the movie ‘Bloodline,' ” Ms. Sanford said. “Both Davontae and his brother had them. They just stand for their connection to each other, nothing else. They were separated from each other for part of their lives.”
In addition to Rice, Detroit Police Department investigator Ira Todd, who helped take Mr. Smothers' confession, signed an affidavit stating he believes Davontae is innocent. Mr. Todd, who was also a member of the Violent Crimes Task Force, has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Detroit's former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
His lawsuit, filed by attorney Michael Stefani, says, “During the continuing investigation, it was determined that Smothers was a killer for hire for a notorious Detroit drug gang that regularly contracted for the murders of members of rival drug gangs as well as dissident members of their own organizations.”
In the lawsuit, Mr. Todd claims he was removed from the task force, demoted and otherwise mistreated because his investigation into the Mr. Smothers' killings led him to Mr. Smothers' alleged accomplice, Ernest Davis, and to Davis' cousin James Davis of Kentucky. Mr. Todd said James Davis claimed to have a “business relationship” with Mayor Kilpatrick, and that when he reported that, his investigation was shut down and he was transferred.
Neither AP's Muscat nor prosecutor Puleo would comment outside of court on the case. Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller, who is chief communications officer for DA Worthy's office, said, “Because the case remains in progress we will not comment on issues directly related to it outside of court. It was appropriate for the APA handling the case to also not comment outside of court. The case is in open court and our assistant prosecutor is responding in court.”
Just prior to Mr. Smothers' sentencing, the jail was locked down after guards discovered that he had been allegedly able to obtain a cell phone while locked up.
Taminko Sanford says she believes that may indicate he had connections with law enforcement officials. One of the people Mr. Smothers confessed to killing was Rose Cobb, wife of Detroit police sergeant David Cobb. Mr. Smothers said Sgt. Cobb hired him to kill his wife outside a CVS pharmacy on E. Jefferson near their home, as she waited in the car while her husband was in the store.
Although the police department arrested Mr. Cobb, District Attorney Worthy never charged him in the murder. Mr. Cobb was later found hanging from a tree, an apparent suicide.
Spokesperson Miller did not respond to a question regarding whether Mr. Smothers may have been a hit man for corrupt police officers.
During the hearing Nov. 23, Davontae appeared polite and happy to see his mother and other family members, but there was an air of quiet desperation about him.
Ms. Sanford said Jan. 12 that she was very worried about Davontae because she had not heard from him for two weeks. He was recently transferred from Michigan's Thumb Correctional Facility, which houses a large number of younger prisoners, to the Michigan Reformatory at Ionia, with Level Four prisoners over the age of 17. In Michigan's prisons, Level Five is the maximum security grade.
“Davontae used to call me every day, sometimes more than once a day,” Ms. Sanford said. “I've been praying to God to let me hear from him so that I know he is OK. It's a new atmosphere for him and I'm so worried because I'm afraid that he is losing hope. He can get very depressed.”
Davontae's next court hearing is tentatively set for January 28 at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit.
The Free Davontae Sanford page can be found on Facebook.com.
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Detroit Police Homicide Investigator Ira Todd was the officer in charge of the investigation of Vincent Smothers. The investigation revealed connections to James W. Davis of Lexington, Kentucky, brother of Smothers accomplice Ernest Davis and a suspected drug trafficer who bragged about ties to then Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Police in Lexington repeatedly expressed concern for Todd's safety in investigating Davis. An internal affairs officer told him, "Be careful; Davis surrounds himself with police officers and is well-insulated."

When Todd reported to his superiors the involvement of Ernest and James Davis in the contract murders carried out by Smothers, he was ordered to take his vacation leave early. Told by a superior, "This thing is bigger than you. Trust me," he was then taken off the case and ordered to turn over all copies of any reports regarding it. He was removed from the Violent Crimes Task Force, assigned to a precinct, and ordered not to have any further contact with investigators from other police departments regarding the case.

Todd has now filed a whistle-blower's lawsuit against the city, the mayor, and his superiors in the department.

With regard to Davontae, Todd has testified to the fact that, in the course of the investigation, no connection was found between him and Vincent Smothers. Todd has also said that the confession which Davontae signed regarding the Runyon Street murders is unreliable.


DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit teenager trying to erase his guilty plea in four killings may get a lift from the testimony of a police officer who talked to a self-described hit man about the case.

Sgt. Gerald Williams testified Thursday in Wayne County court. He says Vincent Smothers told him authorities had the "wrong guy" in four fatal shootings in a Detroit drug den.

Davontae Sanford was 15 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2008. A judge is holding hearings on whether the 17-year-old may withdraw the plea.

Sanford's lawyer says he took responsibility for the Runyon Street killings to please adults.

Smothers is awaiting trial in eight homicides. Police say he confessed to the Runyon killings in 2008 but hasn't been charged.
Sgt. Gerald Williams



As a triggerman in a Detroit contract murder ring, Vincent Smothers carried out hits on several targeted individuals, and murdered and wounded many others
simply because they were witnesses.
Vincent Smothers

Free Davontae Sanford




False confessions by dysfunctional people are a fact of life. Sanford's confession is about as probative as those given under torture during the Spanish Inquisition, so what gave it enough legs to land Sanford in prison on a guilty plea? The sorry answer is that it made things easy for the criminal justice system.

  Davontae Sanford reads on a third grade level hes emontionally inpaired he s legally blind in one of his eyes he was question without a parent or a lawyer present,they show him pictures of the crime scene,then ask him to draw a map of what they show him and use it against him,the real killer told them davontae didnt do it and he dont know davontae,the real killer was told if he help davontae They will charged him so keep ur mouth closed,davontae is on meds in there davontae is getting weak they know davontae is inocent they used him as bait,so the big fishes dont get exposed,why is the name smothers still walking the streets
Wrongly imprisoned since he was 14, Davontae Sanford, now 18,
Davontae Sanford was wrongly convicted. He is innocent! Join the effort to get the truth out and free him.



Davontae Sanford-684070
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Dr.
Lapeer, MI 48446
ELUTHERIA - Support 2nd chance Law for Juveniles: Wrongful Conviction of Youth - Devontae Sanford
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