If there was ever a clearer representation of the ills in the American justice system, here it is. Down in Mississippi, two Black women, Jaime and Gladys Scott are in prison for life for…wait for it…an $11 robbery. Seriously?!?!?!? Moreover, from what I have read from about this case, no one was hurt, the prosecutor has no direct evidence linking the sisters and three other people confessed to the crime. However, even if the sisters did commit the crime, is a life sentence really necessary. Can someone say cruel and unusual punishment?
Now instead of harping on what civil rights organizations are doing or not doing, YOU DO IT by contacting the Mississippi Attorney General at
Telephone: 601-359-3680 MS Attorney General’s Office
Walter Sillers Building
550 High Street, Suite 1200
Jackson, MS 39201
When you call or write, ask the office to investigate the Scott sister’s case and to look into the health of Jaime Scott.
The press release with more details is below.
Stay up fam,
PRESS RELEASETHE COMMITTEE TO FREE THE SCOTT SISTERS
CONTACT: Mrs. Evelyn Rasco P.O. Box 7100Pensacola, Florida 32534
E-mail:rqueenbee2222 @ yahoo.com
Case Summary: http://freethescottsisters.blogspot.com/search/label/Case%20Summary
Legal Transcripts: http://www.scribd.com/Scott%20Sisters4/2010MISSISSIPPI INJUSTICE: A DOUBLE-LIFE SENTENCE FOR $11.00!
Scott County, MS– — In a trial fraught with legal malpractice, lack of evidence and witness
coercion, Mississippi Judge Marcus Gordon sentenced sisters Gladys and Jamie Scott to
double-life each in an armed robbery. No matter the veracity of testimony; the lack of
physical evidence and the absence of any previous criminal activity of the accused; in a
questionable crime, where no one was murdered or harmed and the amount alleged to have
been taken as a whopping $11.00, one has to ask if this is Mississippi, the state in the
United States of America ? And, how does a court abdicate the national principles of justice
and fair judicial process ?
On December 24, 1993, the Scott County Sheriff’s Department arrested the Scott sisters for
armed robbery even though three persons confessed to committing the crime. The
Mississippi sheriff used coercion, threats, and harassment to compel these individuals to
become state’s evidence against the Scott sisters. His motive ? A long-standing vendetta
against the Father of the sisters. Later a local teen, without benefit of counsel would testify
that he was pressured to sign a written statement that he did not read and was prepared by
the sheriff. No weapon was ever recovered in this case.
During the course of the short trial only one witness was called and the sisters at the
direction of questionable legal advice, never testified or spoke for themselves during the
course of their trial.
Jamie, now 38 and Gladys, 34 are now entering their 16th year of incarceration. Jamie has
lost function of both kidneys and is gravely ill, being provided inadequate medical
treatment may very well see her sentence as a death sentence unless the Mississippi Prison
Commission relents in its rigid negligent medical care decisions for her. Recently, Jamie
Scott was diagnosed by an outside physician as being at Stage 5 (end stage) of this illness,
the next stage being death. Should Jamie Scott die in prison for an alleged robbery of
$11.00 almost 16 years ago?
A national campaign has been undertaken by their elderly Mother, Mrs. Evelyn Rasco, to
gain justice for her daughters and their family. Nationwide support for Jamie and Gladys is
building increasingly louder and active.
Nancy Lockhart, the young woman who has acted as the spokesperson of the Free the Scott
Sisters Campaign, and the Mother of Jamie and Gladys Scott are available for live and
telephone interviews. They have been featured guests on the Warren Ballentine Show ( XM
Radio The Power); Our Common Ground with Janice Graham ( USTalkNetwork); The
Mark Thompson Show ( Sirius Radio The Left Side); The Rip Daniels Show, WJZD
Mississippi; and their comments are featured in many newspapers across the country and
throughout the blogosphere.In June, 2009, Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD of the Editorial
Board of BlackCommentator.com wrote about the wrongfully conviction of Jamie and Gladys Scott in a featured editorial, titled, “Represent Our Resistance” (http://freethescottsisters.blogspot.com/2009/08/dr-lenore-daniels-says-to-represent-our_19.html) and Mother Jones magazine’s investigative reporter, James Ridgeway, did an exhaustive piece entitled, “Cruel and Unusual Health Care — How Mississippi Prisoner
Jamie Scott’s Life Sentence Could Turn Into a Death Sentence” (http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/03/jamie-scott-gladys-scott-haley-barbour-wexford-health)#####
A federal judge in California dealt the first blow to Prop 8, whose course will eventually end at the US Supreme Court. Prop 8 was a ballot initiative in California that outlawed same-sex marriage. For the people who are really against same-sex marriage but feel like it’s politically correct to say otherwise, I have something especially for you. Civil rights legislation did not pass because the majority of Americans realized they loved Black people and wanted us to live equally under the law. Instead, civil rights passed when a vast number of people let go of their vice grip on civil rights for every human being.
In other words, there is a middle ground between a rabid conservative who thinks being gay is the ultimate sin of all sins and passing out beads on a float in a gay parade. The middle ground involves your own sense of what is right. And even if your reasons are spiritually based, what about gay marriage prevents you from living right or for that matter, spreading the Gospel to whomever you feel inspired?
Stay up fam,
If the pen is mightier than the sword, then the camera is mightier than the gun. This is particularly true when it comes to citizens recording their encounters with police. Time just ran a story involving Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant, facing 16 years in prison. “His crime? He videotaped his March encounter with a state trooper who pulled him over for speeding on a motorcycle. Then Graber put the video — which could put the officer in a bad light — up on YouTube.” See below
Some states are trying to make it a crime to record police officers on grounds of wiretapping, which essentially makes it a crime to record someone’s conversation without their consent. After the Oscar Grant debacle and others like it, “cameras have become the most effective weapon that ordinary people have to protect against and to expose police abuse. And the police want it to stop.”
The logic of disallowing recordings of police is indefensible. When cops have cameras mounted on their cars, their no consent with the person being pulled over. If I drive and a speed camera snaps me for speeding, I don’t consent to that but it keeps me honest. The larger issue is that cameras keep everyone honest. No matter how advanced the technology, sunlight is always the best disinfectant.
The problem I have is that police that do their job the right way shouldn’t fear any citizen recording their activity. Lest anyone underestimate this issue, imagine your loved a victim of police abusing their authority and your ability to raise awareness or develop your case would be with or without a videotape of said incident.
Stay up fam,
What’s up fam,
So boom. Justice Clarence Thomas’ nephew was beaten and tased down in New Orleans. Here is how the Washington Post described it,
“Derek Thomas, 25, was immobilized with a stun gun Thursday after he tried to leave the emergency room at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, La., his sister told WDSU, a local television station. Security responded after Thomas refused a doctor’s request to put on a hospital gown and started to leave, Kimberly Thomas said.”
Don’t you just love media framing? A stun gun sounds so innocent doesn’t it? When I hear “stun gun” I think about being wrapped up in a blanket in the winter and getting shocked when I go to turn on the light. However, stun guns are also known as tasers. God forbid Derek Thomas didn’t die from this ordeal but others were not so lucky like Ryan Wilson. (When Ryan took off running, officer John Harris pursued the 22-year-old for a half-mile and then shot him once with an X-26 Taser. Ryan fell to the ground and began to convulse. The officer attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but Ryan died.)
Some would say, “Well, things happen. If you don’t get in trouble, you won’t get tased.” Of course this presupposes some idea of criminal activity right that is simply unfounded. Take Derek Thomas for instance, he didn’t want to put on a hospital gown. That’s what he got tased for? The problem is that tasers are dangerous tools because well-intentioned police will use them in non-life threatening situations using the following logic,
1) Life threatening situations = gun
2) Non-life threatening situations = taser.
This logic assumes that the weapon used by the police officer will be commensurate to the situation. However, “Ryan is one of nearly 200 people who have died in the last five years after being shot by a Taser stun gun. In June, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would review these deaths.”
The issue is not about being soft on crime or aggressive on crime, it’s about making sure we apply our intelligence to the tools we use to fight crime ensuring their use is proportionate to the situation at hand. Surely, we wouldn’t use tanks to bust down people’s doors when a small ram is sufficient (I don’t know the technical term for “ram”).
Nevertheless, imagine if Derek Thomas died from that ordeal. How could his family explain that their loved one died after being tased for refusing to put on a hospital gown? It ain’t right.
So then I thought about this case making its way to the Supreme Court and even though Justice Thomas would have to recuse himself, let’s assume for argument’s sake that he sat for this case and wrote the opinion. (I would be waiting on this opinion like I was waiting on the Mega Millions winning numbers to drop)
I have not read all of Justice Thomas’ opinions but from what I have read, he is almost surely to be in favor not limiting the acts and authority of the police. What do you think his opinion would say? Would you give him praise for realizing the error of widespread taser use or would you give him respect for being consistent to his judicial philosophy despite the personal impact on his family?
I got the photo from here.“Don’t tase me bro” is a popular phrase after a UF student was tased after asking John Kerry some questions. While it has become popular in a joking sense to some, it is not funny at all. I leave you with the video of that ordeal below,
Stay up fam,
What’s up fam,
Yesterday’s events will serve as an economic stimulus for barbershops all across America. Yesterday, the cop who killed Oscar Grant was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and LeBron James decided to sign with Miami Heat. What bothers me though is this idea that really conscious Black people won’t be talking about Mr. James but focus all of their blogs, tweets, status updates, and conversation on raising the level of police brutality.
I submit to you that taking part in LBJ discourse does not mean you have to turn in your conscious card. Can we not walk and chew gum at the same time? Seriously, I feel like part of the reason things seem so dour is that so many debates are about the “agenda” as opposed to making positive contributions (read: action) in your community.
So I am going to do two things. I am going to write about Oscar Grant and LeBron James as proof that Black people can analyze multiple situations at the same time.
The Oscar Grant verdict was tragic because a policeman shot a young man (face down with a knee in his back) with a gun that he thought was his taser. I have issues with tasers as a principle because even if the cop truly believed he was using a taser, they are still extremely dangerous and people can die from being tased. Watch the video below,
The cop was White and the young man was Black but racial concerns aside, how would you feel if Oscar Grant was your son? Let that sink in for a minute? How do you think you and your loved ones would feel toward police after that?
I feel bad for officers and citizens who think most Black people simply hate cops or fail to defend cops when the citizens brutalize them. That is not the case. Like most Black people I am just as mad at the senseless killing of Thor Soderberg, a Chicago policeman as I am at the killing of Oscar Grant. Being a cop is hard and everyday; police put their lives on the line. Trust me, there is no better feeling than calling the cops and they arrive promptly and act professionally. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Does that mean we swear off cops? No.
However, for many Black people, their trust and sometimes disdain of cops does not stem from a void concept of “I just hate cops.” Instead, many Black people who grew up in urban centers long for a true sense of safety in their community. To put it another way, imagine being in love, like head-over heels, emotionally drowned in love. For many Black people, this is how many of us view being safe in our neighborhoods. We love and long for safety even when we may not experience it . Therefore, when drama goes down and you call on the police for help, their appearance is the physical manifestation of our love for safety. Therefore, when cops use excessive and unnecessary force, the emotional despair and betrayal accompanied with that experience runs deep.
Just talk to any Black man who grew up in the inner city and they will probably be able to relay in vivid detail, a bad experience with a cop that has and will stay with them for years. Therefore, when you hear a Black person say they don’t like cops, they are really describing the severe void of hope they once had in the idea that they could live in safety.
LeBron I think LeBron is a great player but he is not better than Kobe Bryant. Let me repeat, LeBron James is not better than Kobe Bryant. I would have wanted him to stay in Cleveland personally and recruit players to play with him. I don’t agree with Dan Gilbert’s vitriol released after James made his decision talking about curses and dying. However, I do respect loyalty in the way that I appreciate Michael Jordan staying in Chicago, Reggie Miller in Indiana, and Paul Pierce staying in Boston. I do not foresee the Heat winning the championship and if nothing else is true, great teams rely on their stars and their role players. (see Robert Horry, Robert Parish, Bruce Bowen, Derek Fisher, etc.) I don’t see Miami’s bench as fully developed. Nevertheless, LeBron has given up on the chances of being “that guy.” I would go on but Charles Barkley says it all. See the video by clicking here.
See what I mean by walking and chewing gum at the same time?
Stay up fam,
Update: So I hear that there are riots taking place in Oakland, CA and you know what really grinds my gears? Black people who steal from and destroy Black businesses in the name of extracting justice from White people.
What’s up fam,
Let me first say how much fun Garlin and I had at Blogging While Brown here in DC last weekend. I want to thank Gina McCauley, Shalon Evana, Shawn Williams, Aminah Hannan, Monroe Anderson, Cheryl Contee, Kristal High, and the whole host of participants that have come together to take our collective and individual blogging to the next level.
Today, I wanted to write about spirituality, in particular Proverbs 8:13, which states,
“To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
To be sure, fear used here is not meant in the literal sense but fear in the sense of grave respect. Fearing the Lord is necessary to have a proper relationship with God. I looked at this scripture and looked at it like an equation so what comes (or came) first for you, fearing the Lord or hating evil? For that matter, how do you even define evil? With respect to the latter question of defining evil, I went to Strong’s Concordance Dictionary to understand how the evil was defined in Proverbs 8:13 and the entry for evil follows below, Read More…
What’s up fam,
I have thought experiment that I have mulled around for a while now. For full disclosure, I am enamored by the work of Philosopher John Rawls and his theory of creating justice from “behind the veil.” So here it goes. Tomorrow morning, you turn on the news to find out that some super computer virus has deduced everyone’s bank accounts to zero. Let’s also assume that there is no way verify the bank account balance before the computer virus attack. To be sure, I am talking about governments, corporations, and individuals…everybody.
How world would rebuild from such scenario says much about how much about how we as a society think about justice. Just think about it, how do you think society would reorganize itself. I know some people are thinking, “They could look at paystubs, newspaper clips, etc. Be that as it may, who gets to justify what form of proof is sufficient? Whose word is most trustworthy? In other words, who gets the set the rules? Here are some more thoughts for you.
How would governments go about evaluating the health of their economy, debt, trade relations, etc? What would be fair?
And assuming governments establish themselves first, how would you want the government to restore and/or distribute the country’s wealth? What would be just?
What part of your identity, if any would feel undermined? Is it possible that you would feel liberated (at least temporarily) from trying to keep up with the rat race of earning more and spending more?
Would you try to justify receiving more money than you were entitled to?
Assuming that things got back to normal 1 day later, what would you appreciate more, if anything?
I hope some of these questions helped you evaluate what you truly value now. Please post your reactions in the comments section. Just my thoughts,
Stay up fam,
Photo Courtesy of asu.edu