NEW ERA DETROIT ASKS SUPPORT FOR MEMBER FACING FELONY CHARGES, TRIAL JAN. 25, 2017—JUDGE LILLARD

New Era Detroit: One of our prominent members was charged with TWO counts of felony assault on TWO police officers for THIS event on Aug 6th. Now either we have mastered the art of “imaginary assault” or the call is out to try and put whatever charges on us possible to agitate and unarm us. If you know New Era Detroit then you must know we are not going down without a fight. We want to let our people and the community know at this point your support is needed more than ever!  

If you do NOT see a assault by a NED member we would like for you to call the Detective on the case (313) 596-5604 or call the 6th Precinct (313) 596-5600 and let them know that “You seen the video and you stand with New Era Detroit” nothing more nothing less.

NOW would be the time for you to show up and support us as we fight against the powers that be! The only way that we lose this time around is if WE DO NOT STAND TOGETHER AND ALLOW THEM TO DO WHAT THEY CHOOSE #WeAllWeGot The people that want us gone are the the people that DON’T WANT FOR US! Black or White. We will NEVER back down because we know that our people & our youth are depending on us! We would like to thank you in advance Peace & Love 

#NewEraDetroit#AllPowerToThePeople.


Trial of NED member “Scrill” begins Wed. Jan. 25, 2017 @ 9 a.m. in front of Judge Qiana Lillard, Rm. 502, Frank Murphy Hall, St. Antoine at Gratiot

“Scrill” charged with two counts of “assaulting, resisting and obstructing” cops during  Aug. 6, 2016 police attack on peaceful community march

Trial happening as Trump takes office as U.S. President; NED earlier protested at Greater Faith Ministries Church, whose pastor Wayne Jackson hosted Trump in campaign visit to Detroit

MSC People v. Moreno: upheld “the traditional common-law rule that a person may resist an unlawful arrest.” 

NED raising legal defense funds on GoFundMe

Call ‘em Out to contribute proceeds from Annual Dinner Feb. 27 to support NED—“Passing the torch”

By Diane Bukowski

January 23, 2017

New Era Detroit march/Facebook photo

DETROIT – New Era Detroit, a growing group of young Detroit activists mobilizing for political, economic and social justice at the grass roots level, is calling for supporters to attend the trial of prominent member “Scrill,” a/k/a James Eberheart, Jr.

The trial begins Wed. Jan. 25, 2017, at 9 a.m. in the courtroom of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard, #502 at the Frank Murphy Hall, St. Antoine and Gratiot.

Judge Lillard is also hearing the case of prominent juvenile lifer Charles Lewis, who has spent 41 years in prison, falsely charged with the murder of a Detroit police officer in 1976. (See VOD story below this one at http://voiceofdetroit.net/2017/01/20/judge-deborah-thomas-charles-lewis-should-have-been-acquitted-sentence-vacated-in-1976-murder/).

Scrill is charged with two felony counts of “assaulting, resisting and obstructing” police officers who NED says attacked their peaceful neighborhood march Aug. 6, 2016, shown in the video above. Each of the charges carries a maximum of two years in prison and/or $20,000 in fines.

Defense Attorney Victoria Burton-Harris/Linkedin photo

His defense attorney, Victoria Burton-Harris, is a member of the National Lawyers Guild as well as the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

She told VOD, “These charges are a waste of taxpayer dollars, county resources, and quite honestly, they are shameful. My client did nothing wrong. He was engaged in a community activity through New Era Detroit, was accosted by the Detroit Police Department, attacked, disarmed, placed in handcuffs, and shoved into the back of a police car. Then the officers finally began a proper investigation, taking his ID, including a proper Concealed Carry License, and released him. They did however keep his firearm. A week later, he got a notice in the mail that he was being charged with assaulting and resisting.”

Atty. Burton-Harris said the only offer Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office has made is to drop one count if the defendant pled guilty to the other, but she said he rejected the offer because he did not resist or assault anyone.

Judge Qiana Lillard

In 2012, VOD covered the historic Michigan Supreme Court decision in People V. Moreno, which upheld the people’s “common-law right to resist unlawful arrest” and overturned an earlier appeals court decision, People v. Ventura, which held that police orders, whether legal or not, must be obeyed. This landmark decision received very little media coverage, none in Detroit other than VOD’s story.

Evidently, Detroit police have not gotten the Moreno message yet. VOD was in Judge Lillard’s court reviewing Charles Lewis’ file last month. Testimony was being taken in the case of a young Detroit woman whose home had been invaded by police without a warrant, a situation nearly identical to that which occasioned the Moreno ruling. In that case, Judge Lillard did throw out the results of the subsequent search, admonishing the prosecution and police for their illegal conduct.

See http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/05/18/michigan-supreme-court-upholds-right-to-resist-police-misconduct/

Ironically, Scrill’s trial takes place just after the inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. President Jan. 21. NED played a leading role in opposing Trump’s campaign visit to Detroit, sponsored by Pastor Wayne Jackson of Greater Faith Ministries, during its protest (date).

Video above published on Sep 17, 2016 by 7 Mile Radio

Earlier today I made a visit to Great Faith Ministries, the church Donald Trump recently visited in Detroit. While I was there, right after they passed the offering buckets around and the congregation was finished giving their gifts of $1000 or $300 to the pastor, because that’s what he asked for, (& I found it odd that the church would ask for a specific amount for a TITHE/ DONATION. Especially that much) somebody yelled “all power to the people.” Church security (or what looked like church security) rushed up on behind me, so I cut my camera on. Soon as I did, someone said “oh you’re with him too?” and two people grabbed me from both sides and the back of my neck. As they roughhoused me up the isle way somebody put me in the headlock (0:13– 0:16) and tried to drag me the rest of the way out the church. After we got out side you can see at (1:27) where the same dude tries to knock my camera out out of my hand. Then at (1:28) where one of the deacons, security or whatever pokes his finger into the forehead of one of the New Era Detroit members, edging him on in an aggressive manner. I was there visiting, the church security / deacons (or who ever) didn’t have any reason to manhandle me the way they did out of the church just because someone seen me trying to record after all the commotion broke out. I had gone live on Facebook two times during the service and nobody bothered be about my camera until the security attacked who ever yelled. This is RAW UN EDITED footage from inside the church.”


Women’s March on Washington against Trump Jan. 21, 2017

Trump is already expressing virulent opposition to media rights and protests against his presidency before, during and after the inaugural parade. He disputed the size of the Women’s Anti-Trump march Jan. 21, falsely claiming his inaugural march Jan. 20 was much larger. In typically fascist mode, he has immediately frozen the hiring of federal workers as well as any payraises, despite his earlier pro-worker rhetoric.

New Era Detroit is now spreading across the country, calling itself “New Era Nation,” and presenting a clear threat to Trump’s agenda for the country. A recent post on their Facebook page said,

“CALLING ON OUR #EastCoast FAMILY IN #NewYork #Philadelphia & #Baltimore New Era Nation be taking our East Coast Tour June 15-18 with stops in #Baltimore June 15th where we will be looking to organize and start up our Baltimore chapter. In #Philadelphia June 16th where we will be looking to organize and start up our Philly chapter. And in NY June 17th & 18th for a National conference as well and to start our NY chapter! If you are anywhere in NY, Baltimore, Philadelphia or surrounding areas and would like to be a part of #NewEraNation please contact us today! Send us a message or email us at new.era.detroit@gmail.com  we are looking forward to building with our East Coast family! WE ALL WE GOT #NewEraNation.”

Call ’em Out’s “Blackinaw Island” gathering May 31, 2014; Agnes Hitchcock in front, center.

Agnes Hitchcock is a leader of the grass-roots organization “Call ‘em Out,” prominent for years in the battle against the state takeover of the Detroit Public Schools and the City of Detroit.

“We are supporting the new young activists of New Era Detroit, in light of their legal problems, because we need their energy,” Hitchcock said. “We intend to support them in court. We also intend to contribute all proceeds from our Annual Awards Dinner to New Era Detroit, as part of ‘passing the torch’ to the new generation.”

The Call ‘em Out Awards Dinner will be held Mon. Feb. 27, from 6 to 10 pm., at the International Institute at 111 Kirby, next to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Hitchcock said tickets are available by calling 313-874-2792.

New Era Detroit also has a legal defense GOFUNDME page at https://www.gofundme.com/NewEraDetroit.

Its Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/NewEraDetroit/ .

Below, see VOD videojournalist Kenneth Snodgrass’ ironic coverage of inauguration of Donald Trump, showing what the people, especially youth of color from our cities, will be up against in the coming period.

The New Elected President Of U.S.A. Published on Jan 21, 2017

* * A No Struggle, No Development Production! By KennySnod Activist, Photographer, Videographer, and Author of 
1) “From Victimization to Empowerment, The Challenge of African American Leadership, The Need of Real Power.” http://www.trafford.com/07-0913 – EBook available at http://www.ebookstore.sony.com
2) “The World As I’ve seen it! My Greatest Experience!” {Photo Book} with more than 80 pages, and over 280 pictures.
Special order only, contact me at, instruggledrsnod@att.net
3) My Books, My next book I’m working on is called “My Conversation with Mr. James Boggs” who was an Author, Activist, etc., and was my close friend. RIP James. By Kenneth Snodgrass
* Music by Israel Snodgrass, “Sending up My Praise” and, or Della Tamin “Afro Salsa”.
* A No Struggle, No Development Production


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JUDGE DEBORAH THOMAS: CHARLES LEWIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACQUITTED, SENTENCE VACATED IN 1976 MURDER

Charles Lewis has been in prison for over 41 years, since the age of 17, framed up for the murder of a Detroit cop he says he did not commit. He has taken college, culinary arts and many other courses, and become a highly skilled jail-house lawyer.

COME TO LEWIS’ POST-CONVICTION HEARING THURS. FEB. 9, 2017, 9AM,                JUDGE QIANA LILLARD, RM. 502, FRANK MURPHY HALL                               St. Antoine at Gratiot

HOW CAN JUDGE SENTENCE LEWIS FOR MURDER HE DID NOT COMMIT?

Judge Thomas’ non-binding opinion, issued Aug. 16, 2006, discovered during review of “re-constituted” court file, ordered as part of  “juvenile lifer” re-sentencing

File still missing documents, Register of Actions required by State law; no DPD documents, no felony “Information” record

Lewis not involved in “re-constitution,” has not even seen file yet; objects to validity of file

By Diane Bukowski

January 19, 2017

DETROIT – Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas issued a stunning opinion Aug. 16, 2006, declaring the 1977 murder conviction of juvenile lifer Charles Lewis void on several grounds. She said he should have been a free man beginning March 22, 1977, and thereafter at other points during his 41-year incarceration.

Judge Thomas’ opinion came to light during VOD’s review Jan. 17 of an incomplete stack of records meant to replace Lewis’ lost case file.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard, who is hearing arguments related to Lewis’ re-sentencing as a “juvenile lifer,” ordered the “re-construction” of his file Nov. 11. She denied his motion for dismissal of charges which cited precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts in similar situations. She has changed the deadline for re-constitution of the filed to January 13, 2017, and for challenges to the file’s contents to Jan. 26, 2017.

In her opinion, Judge Thomas upheld four points raised by Lewis in an earlier motion for relief from judgment, while claiming that “the law of the case doctrine” forced her to deny relief.  Lewis was charged with the first-degree murder of off-duty Detroit Police Officer Gerald A. Sypitkowski outside an eastside Detroit bar July 31, 1976.

Judge Thomas said regarding Lewis’ motion for reconsideration of her 2002 decision on the matter (points are listed in order of importance, not as numbered in opinion):

  1. That “the unconstitutional discharge of the first jury in this matter was the equivalent of an acquittal.” Former Detroit Recorders Court Judge Joseph E. Maher dismissed the Lewis jury March 22, 1977 after testimony ended, Thomas said, without cause or a motion for a mistrial by either prosecution or defense. The doctrine of double jeopardy therefore barred another trial. 
  1. Maher’s jury instructions calling Lewis “guilty” of one element after an illegal second trial in November, 1977 “had a devastating impact on the jury,” causing it to find him guilty. 
  • “The above instruction in this case was especially offensive,” Thomas said. “Two versions of the deceased death were presented to the jury. The three juveniles testified collectively that Jeffrey Mulligan was driving a stolen yellow Grand Torino, and that Ronald Pettway was a passenger in the front seat and the Defendant was a passenger in the back seat, seated on the passenger’s side with a sawed-off shotgun. The three also testified that the yellow Grand Torino pulled up to the curb, and further that the deceased was standing at a bus stop when the Defendant requested his wallet then shot him in the head with a sawed-off shotgun. (Thomas says earlier in her statement of facts that charges brought against Mulligan were dropped after he agreed to testify against Lewis.)
  • Judge Joseph Maher–1976 press photo

    “What is disturbing is the fact that the jury had to reject the testimony of Dennis Van Fleteren, an eye witness who was also a Detroit Police Officer, and the partner of the deceased, to convict the Defendant. The jury had to also reject the testimony of Jay Smith, who was also an eye witness to the murder. Both Dennis Van Fleteren and Jay Smith testified that the fatal shot that killed the deceased came from the driver side of a white Mark IV. The jury had also to reject the testimony of Kim Divine, Gloria Ratachek, Donald DeMarc, and William Eichmann. The jury also had to totally disregard the testimony of the first alleged perpetrator Leslie Nathanial. Mr. Nathanial testified that he was driving down Harper with his lights out on the night of the murder. The white Mark IV that was driven by Leslie Nathanial, it should be noted was destroyed in the Seventh Precinct impound lot. (Judge Thomas noted earlier in her statement of facts that Nathanial, arrested three hours after the killing, was released after giving a statement to then Sgt. Gil Hill.)

  • “The high hurdles that the jury overcame to convict is clear evidence that the jury was swayed by the Judge’s instruction . . . .It is hard to fathom that a jury would summarily dismiss the testimony of a police officer who was also the partner of the deceased in favor of three juveniles. I also have some questions as to how four juveniles in two cars could be missed by everyone on the scene of the crime. It is the opinion of this Court that this above instruction by Judge Maher had a devastating effect on the jury.”
  1. Judge Edward Thomas in 2005 after retirement.

    Lewis’ “conviction should have been deemed vacated on September 22, 1980.” A “Pearson” evidentiary hearing was ordered held by the Court of Appeals on Aug. 22, 1980 after a motion for “a Delayed New Trial” made by Lewis’ then court-appointed attorney Rose Mary Robinson was denied by Recorders’ Court Judge Edward Thomas. The hearing was sought to include testimony from witnesses that had been excluded from Lewis’ second trial. Judge Thomas said, “In Pearson, the Michigan Supreme Court held, “Should the prosecutor fail to seek a post remand hearing within 30 days the conviction shall be deemed vacated and the prosecutor may proceed with a new trial.” The “Pearson” hearing was not held until January, 1981. 

  1. “. . . .the removal of Rose Mary Robinson by Judge Edward M. Thomas (in October, 1980) was arbitrary and unjustified.” Judge Thomas agreed with Lewis’ legal citations from the Michigan Court of Appeals “that the unjustified removal of a Defendant’s appointed counsel during a critical stage in the proceedings violates the Defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel.” Judge Edward Thomas replaced Robinson with Attorney Gerald Evelyn, who argued that he had not been given enough time to consult with his client to prepare for the hearing. 

At the conclusion of her opinion, Thomas said, “It is the sincere hope of this Court that the Defendant will appeal this order to Michigan Court of Appeals, and further that the Michigan Court of Appeals will render an opinion in this matter that is consistent with justice.”

Read entire opinion at

 http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/DThomasOpinion.pdf

Rosie Lewis with her son Charles Lewis after his 1977 incarceration.

In interviews with VOD, Lewis and his mother fleshed out other key elements of what appears to be a deliberate, heinous miscarriage of justice aimed at covering up the true perpetrator(s) of Sypitkowski’s murder, which is shaping up more and more to look like a mob hit. 

Lewis told VOD that there were actually THREE trials in his murder case. He said a jury was seated for a second trial in front of a judge other than Maher weeks after the first trial ended, but that Maher intervened, insisting that the case be re-assigned to him. The final trial in November resulted in his conviction after Maher told the jury, “Now you have heard evidence tending to show that the Defendant, Charles Lewis was GUILTY of another shooting in the course of an armed robbery for which he is now on trial here.”

His mother, an articulate, passionate woman who was associated with Chokwe Lumumba and others in the heyday of Detroit activism, told VOD she witnessed a shocking event during Lewis’ first trial. Charles, who Mrs. Lewis calls by his middle name “Lamont,” was the first of five children, including two sisters and two brothers.

At the time of his trial, his siblings were still children. Mrs. Lewis said she brought them to court because she could not afford day care and wanted them to support their brother as well. She said she brought food from home including apples and oranges.

Lewis’ prosecuting attorney Robert Morgan represented Detroit mobsters including Paul Corrado, shown here.

“One of my kids dropped a bag of food in the courtroom during a break,” she told VOD. “I had to go in and get down on my hands and knees on the floor to pick it all up because I could not afford to buy any more. Then Judge Maher, the prosecutor [Robert Morgan] and the attorney for my son [Arthur Arduin] came in discussing the case, thinking no one else was there. Maher said, ‘The man [Sypitkowski] knew he was gonna get killed, that’s why he left out of the bar and that’s why he took his partner’s gun when he left.’  So they KNEW what really happened and weren’t going to do anything. They were all in on the frame-up of my son. I jumped up and confronted them about it. I called them names and screamed at them, ‘You know the truth—why are you lying on my son? You know he didn’t kill that man!’”

Mrs. Lewis said there was no one she could report the incident to, particularly because all those in power at the time were white.

Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Morgan, who handled Lewis’ case, became a top attorney for Detroit Mafia leaders. One was Paul Corrado, among of six indicted by a grand jury and tried in federal court in Detroit in 1998, according to numerous media reports and listings on the federal website.

“A grand jury indictment charges all of them in a 30-year conspiracy of extortion, loan-sharking, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, and attempts to gain hidden control over Nevada casinos,” reported the Detroit Free Press on March 24, 1998. 

The Las Vegas Sun said, “Robert Morgan, the attorney for alleged mafia member Paul Corrado, 39, of Macomb County’s Clinton Township, tried to downplay the hundreds of hours of taped conversations between his client and co-defendant Nove Tocco, 50, also of Clinton Township.

“Morgan, who called his client a “nitwit” and low-level bookie, said the tapes are full of obscenities, racial slurs and talk about criminal activity. But he said it was just talk, not linked to any action.

“They don’t shoot anyone,” he said. “Most of their shots are with their mouths. There are no bullet-ridden bodies. No one is ever shot at.”

Book by Detroit mob expert Scott Burnstein.

The family of Gerald Sypitkowski would likely not agree with that assessment. Rosie Lewis earlier told VOD that Leslie Nathanial worked at Chrysler Jefferson Assembly, where she also worked. She said word in the plant was that he was a bookie. At the time, according to the book “Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit,” by Scott M. Burnstein, the mob was heavily involved in bookmaking and extortion of store owners in certain areas.

VOD was able to locate and call one of the juvenile witnesses, Mark Alonzo Kennedy. He was reluctant to talk, but he did say, “Sure the police put pressure on us. It was the murder of a cop. We were 15, 16 years old; they threatened us with being charged too.”

Asked about what happened the night of July 31, 1976, he said he had tried to “black” it out of his mind and doesn’t remember much.  VOD reminded him that Charles Lewis CAN’T block it out of his mind.

“I’m 57 years old now and that was 41 years ago,” Kennedy said. “We were driving down Harper going somewhere I don’t remember exactly. I HEARD gunfire, but I didn’t see where it came from. It was impossible to see who the shooter was because I was in the second vehicle and Charles was in the first vehicle.”

Regarding the police interrogation, he said, “One of the Boy Scouts said Charles’ name and other names.” Though prompted, he did not explain what he meant by the term “Boy Scouts.” Asked about the trial, he said he had company and hung up.

Gil Hill is seen in FBI surveillance photo conferring with known drug dealer Willie Volsan and Sgt. James Harris.

No one who witnessed the murder other than the juveniles testified that they saw two cars with four Black teens in them on Harper during the event.

On Jan. 17, VOD reviewed a cardboard box containing the transcripts of Lewis’ preliminary exam and his second trial, plus several thick documents including a partial transcript of his first trial, held apart, along with various lists of documents, and the original contents of Judge Lillard’s court record.

There was no Detroit Police Department file, no felony information record or investigator’s report authored by the DPD,  normally included in a criminal case file. There were no witness statements from the three juveniles who testified against Lewis, which then Sgt. Gil Hill said during Lewis’ second trial were taken Aug. 1 and Aug. 6, 1976, or any videotapes of the statements. There were none from any of the eyewitnesses who said they saw gunfire from a Lincoln Mark IV kill Sypitkowski.

According to the transcript, Hill said during Lewis’ trial that usually all juveniles are processed through juvenile court, not the Homicide Division of the DPD. But he said he headed a “Special Assignment Squad” which was used in cases involving shootings or killings of police officers. He said he designated Sgt. Marvin Johnson to be the “officer-in-charge” of the case, but on the day of the trial, he testified that Johnson  was not available because he was in a hospital intensive care unit suffering from cardiac problems. So Hill testified in his stead. Hill was the officer who discounted reports regarding the white Lincoln Mark IV in a story published by the Detroit Free Press Aug. 1, 1976.

As VOD pointed out in its earlier story “Dirty Dealings,” drug dealer and police snitch “White Boy Rick” Wershe said he told the FBI about Hill’s involvement in numerous homicide cover-ups, and a hitman Nate Boone Craft said as part of a documentary on Wershe’s life that Gil Hill tried to hire him to kill Wershe.  The FBI investigated Hill over a period of time, but never charged him. Story at http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/12/23/dirty-dealings-gil-hills-role-in-white-boy-rick-case-charles-lewis-and-eddie-joe-lloyd-frame-ups/

During its examination of the “re-constituted” file, VOD did not locate 34 documents listed on a page titled “Charles Lewis–Index of Court Documents,” except for his preliminary exam transcript. Also not present were documents listed on other pages scattered throughout the file.

(See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/ListsMissingDocuments.pdf.)

Wayne County Deputy Court Clerk David Baxter testifies at Charles Lewis hearing Oct. 28, 2016 that his case file had gone completely missing.

Most of the documents in the box, consisting of trial transcripts of Lewis’ second trial, were stamped on top “filed May 4, 2016,” although alleged dates of original filing existed in the body of the documents. It was unclear how these documents were obtained.

Among documents on top of the file was an email sent by Deputy Court Clerk David Baxter to Patricia Ways Nov. 7, 2016, titled “Report for Charles Lewis 76-5890,” listing documents his office had in its possession at that point.

One Cheryl Jordan responded to Baxter, asking him “Comparing this to the ROA [Register of Actions] are any transcripts still missing?” Baxter responded, “There is no Register of Actions for this case. The only information in Odyssey is data that was converted from AS400. The first entry in the computer is from April of 2000.”

(See email at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/BaxterEmail.pdf.)

Michigan state law regarding contents of court files considers the presence of a valid Register of Actions, listing all documents placed in the case file, to be of primary importance.

Whether Judge Lillard will certify the contents of the “re-constituted” case file as she indicated in her order remains to be seen. Either way, there is enough evidence out there to indicate that Charles Lewis is innocent of the murder of Gerald A. Sypitkowski. It is certainly enough to have convinced Judge Deborah Thomas, a prominent community leader who conducted a determined battle to get more Detroit residents, especially Blacks, on Wayne County Circuit Court juries.  Judge Thomas has also twice run for the State Supreme Court as the Democratic Party nominee.

Will Judge Lillard go ahead with the re-sentencing of an innocent man, either to life without parole again as the prosecution asks, or to 40-60 years, as Lewis’ court-appointed attorney Valerie Newman wants?

Or will she “render an opinion in this matter that is consistent with justice,” as Judge Deborah Thomas wanted?

Charles Lewis supporter Doc X, with others, talks to media outside courtroom Oct. 11, 2016. Photo: Cornell Squires

Related stories:

WAYNE CO. JUVENILE LIFERS’ LIVES AT STAKE: ONLY TWO PAROLED; CHARLES LEWIS HEARING THURS. FEB. 9, 2017

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/11/28/case-of-zerious-meadows-challenges-michigans-draconic-juvenile-lifer-re-sentencing-practices/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/11/08/good-news-in-timothy-kincaid-juvenile-lifer-case-judge-recommends-immediate-parole/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/26/free-charles-lewis-mich-juvenile-lifers-re-sentenced-to-die-in-prison-rally-fri-oct-28/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/13/support-for-charles-lewis-mich-juvenile-lifers-strong-at-hearing-oct-11-bring-them-home-now/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/07/stop-new-death-penalty-for-mich-juvenile-lifers-rally-tues-oct-11-for-charles-lewis-others/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/09/10/new-hope-for-michigan-juvenile-lifer-charles-lewis-as-others-await-long-delayed-justice/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/09/04/free-charles-lewis-wayne-co-juvenile-lifers-dying-in-prison-rally-at-hearing-tues-sept-6/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/08/18/genocide-state-s-a-d-o-subject-michigan-juvenile-lifers-to-more-cruel-and-unusual-punishment/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/08/02/michigan-files-for-jlwop-for-80-of-juvenile-lifers-fed-court-wants-all-parole-eligible/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/07/26/worthy-others-want-large-portion-of-juvenile-lifers-to-die-in-prison-despite-ussc-rulings/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/06/02/stop-torturing-michigans-juvenile-lifers-with-state-delays-freedom-now/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/05/24/free-charles-lewis-innocent-juvenile-lifer-who-has-spent-41-years-in-state-prisons/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/05/18/michigan-juvenile-lifers-score-6th-circuit-appeals-court-victory-in-hill-v-snyder/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/04/30/why-is-juvenile-lifer-charles-lewis-still-in-prison-16-yrs-after-his-case-was-dismissed/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/04/12/dying-in-prison-michigan-juvenile-lifers-get-new-hope-under-montgomery-still-face-obstacles/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/02/12/u-s-judge-rules-all-michigan-juvenile-lifers-eligible-for-parole/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/10/28/michigans-juvenile-lifers-want-state-to-comply-with-u-s-supreme-court-ruling/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/08/16/michigan-challenges-u-s-supreme-court-ruling-on-juvenile-life-without-parole/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/07/02/us-supreme-courts-juvenile-lifer-decision-brings-hope-to-thousands/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/07/02/nations-high-court-ends-mandatory-life-without-parole-sentences-for-youth/

#FREECHARLESLEWISNOW, #FREEMICHIGANJUVENILELIFERSNOW, #ENDMASSINCARCERATION, #ENDSCHOOLTOPRISONPIPELINE 


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OBAMA’S PARDONS DISTRACT FROM THE HORROR OF MASS BLACK INCARCERATION–BLACK AGENDA REPORT

Prison in California is reminiscent of a slave ship.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“The system is deliberately racist, brutal, arbitrary and malevolent.”

January 3, 2017

http://blackagendareport.com/pardons_distract_from_prison_horror

Americans imprison big, but they pardon very small. President Obama set a record by giving clemency to 1/2000th of the 2.3million U.S. prison inmates. The Brennan Center recommends release of 40 percent of inmates. But the Black Is Back Coalition calculates that even release of twice that many – 80 percent – would still maintain mass incarceration at 1973 levels. The whole damn system has to go, for Black folks to even get close to justice.

President Barack Obama

President Obama, a master of public relations, now has bragging rights for having granted clemency to a record number of federal prisoners – 1,176 of them, at last count, more than those set free by the past 11 presidents, combined. Looking at the number from a different angle, Obama released only one out of every two thousand of the nation’s 2.3 million prison inmates, the largest incarcerated population in the world, both in raw numbers and in the proportion of U.S. society living behind bars. In other words, Obama’s clemencies, like all other presidents’, are statistically meaningless and morally and politically distractive. But, of course, that’s what Obama’s good at – distracting people.

The incompetent, lazy and white supremacist corporate media forget, or never reported, that for several years the Obama administration delayed the release from prison of five times as many inmates as he pardoned: about 6,000 federal prisoners convicted under the old crack cocaine laws. A federal appeals court wanted to let them out, ruling that they were covered by a prison reform bill, but President Obama successfully argued to keep these men and women in prison. Several years later, Obama staged a huge public relations extravaganza, releasing many of these same inmates, supposedly out of the goodness of his heart.  It was two years too late. Some never got out.

The Brennan Center for Justice released a study last month that concluded the U.S. could set free 39 percent of its prison population with no threat to public safety. The Brennan researchers argue that you can’t make a dent in the mass incarceration system unless whole categories of prisoners are made eligible for immediate releaseThey say 25 percent of the prison population should, instead, have been sentenced to drug treatment, community service, probation or a fine. Another 14 percent of inmates have already served enough time in prison, and are no longer a risk. Together, that comes to almost 40 percent of the prison population — one and a half million people, about half of them Black.

“Not Even a Half-Way Measure”

Prison reformers seem to think the system can be made more rational and fair. They don’t seem to understand that the system is deliberately racist, brutal, arbitrary and malevolent — it is not meant to be fair, and it cannot be reformed. Former Black Panther Sundiata Acoli turns 80 this month. He has been in a New Jersey prison since 1973 and first became eligible for parole in 1992, but was turned down by the parole board, which set his next parole hearing for 15 years from now, when Sundiata Acoli will be 95 years old. 

This system is pure meanness and race-hate. The Brennan Center’s proposal to release almost 40 percent of prison inmates is, itself, not even a half-way measure. As the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations points out in number five of its 19 point platform on Black self-determination, the United States would have to release 80 percent of its prison population — four out of every five inmates — just to bring the incarceration rate down to 1973 levels. And, remember: the U.S. was already the worst mass incarceration state in the world back in 1973. Even the release of four out every five inmates does not change the essential nature of American mass Black incarceration. There can be no compromise with such an evil.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 


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WAYNE CO. JUVENILE LIFERS’ LIVES AT STAKE: ONLY TWO PAROLED; CHARLES LEWIS HEARING THURS. FEB. 9, 2017

WILL THEY ALL LIVE TO SEE JUSTICE PER USSC DECISIONS IN MILLER V. ALABAMA (2012), MONTGOMERY V. LOUISIANA (2016)?

U.S. Supreme Court first declared juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) unconstitutional for all in 2012

Michigan’s older, ill  juvenile lifers may die in prison waiting for justice; only 30 Wayne County lifers, or 20.4%, have been re-sentenced so far

Charles Lewis: post-conviction hearing set for Thurs. Feb. 9, 2017; Worthy wants to re-instate JLWOP for him despite documented innocence claims 

By Diane Bukowski

January 12, 2017 Update January 13, 2017 

Note: earlier version of this story reported 8% re-sentenced; figures updated

Supporter of Charles Lewis at rally Oct. 11, 2016

DETROIT – Charles Lewis, a Wayne County juvenile lifer whose family and supporters say he is innocent of a murder charge for which he has spent 41 years in prison, recently summed up what is happening in the re-sentencing process for many of the county’s 147 juvenile lifers. 

“I think they’re just dragging things out, waiting for me to die,” Lewis told VOD. His mother Rosie Lewis earlier said, “They’ve done everything they can to him—let him go!” The County earlier admitted it had lost Lewis’ entire case file.

Lewis, 57, has had three heart attacks for which the Michigan Department of Corrections denied him effective treatment. He also suffers from severe diabetes. But he has battled throughout his 41 years in the prison system, becoming an accomplished jailhouse lawyer who has filed dozens of appeals in both the state and federal court systems.

Charles Lewis’ mother Rosie Lewis celebrates her birthday with grandkids. She has fought 41 yrs. for her son. Facebook photo

“I guess I’m addicted to the struggle,” he told VOD at one point. He currently works in the law library at Lakeland Correctional Facility and said he tries to help his fellow prisoners research and fight their cases in that capacity.  

Only two of Wayne County’s 147 juvenile lifers, William Washington and Timothy Jordan, have been paroled so far. Thirty, or 20.4%, have been re-sentenced to date, according to updated figures. Twenty-eight of the 30 got 60 year maximums and are awaiting parole. Nine were given sentences with minimums exceeding what they have served so far, meaning they are not yet parole eligible.

It has been four and a half years since the USSC’s first ruling in Miller v. Alabama (2012) that only the “rarest child” should be sentenced to die in prison, and that JLWOP was unconstitutional, a view held in every other country in the world. Most of Michigan’s juvenile lifers have served terms far beyond those accorded to adult offenders for the same crimes.

Timothy Kincaid and attorney Gerald Evelyn at re-sentencing hearing Nov. 4, 2016.

Michigan was one of four states to wait til the bitter end before agreeing that Miller was retroactive, pursuant to the USSC’s 2016 Montgomery v. Louisiana decision.

Attorney Gerald Evelyn wrote regarding Timothy Kincaid, “Mr. Kincaid was born in 1961, when the closest measure of life expectancy for his demographic (African-American males born between 1969 and 1971) was 60 years. Those numbers do not adequately account for being incarcerated for a significant if not all of those years. Thus, a 60-year sentence is a de facto life sentence, which denies Mr. Kincaid the reasonable possibility of parole during his lifetime.” 

Others including former Wayne County Prosecutor John O’Hair and Former Michigan Governor William Milliken have also condemned Michigan’s draconic juvenile lifer re-sentencing statutes, passed in 2014, which set a minimum of 25-40 up to maximum of 60 years in those cases where prosecutors have not re-recommended JLWOP. They also bar juvenile lifer re-sentencings from taking “good time” into account.

Lewis  had a post-conviction hearing scheduled Fri. Jan. 13, 2017 in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard, but that was adjourned until Feb. 9, 2017.

Lewis’ entire case file went missing several years ago. His falsified Register of Actions (ROA) remains intact on the county’s website, including only events from 2000 on, although he was sentenced in 1977, after three separate trials. It still incorrectly says he was convicted April 3, 2000 front of Judge Gershwin Drain.  State law considers the ROA the backbone of case files. 

On Nov. 11, Lillard denied Lewis’ motion to dismiss his case based on U.S. Supreme Court and state court precedents regarding missing or altered records. She ordered the prosecution, defense, and Clerk’s office to “re-construct” his file after eight months of hearings, during which numerous officials affirmed the loss of the records.

On Jan. 13, Deputy Court Clerk David Baxter said the re-constructed file was complete.

But Lewis says whatever is in the file cannot be accurate according to state standards (see box at left) particularly without a valid ROA. He says he also questions the legality of the re-construction procedure, saying there is no court precedent or state law supporting it.

“They can’t re-construct my file without me there,” he said. “I doubt they have the records of all three trials I had in 1977. The jury was dismissed without reason in the first trial by Judge George Maher, but I’ve always believed they acquitted me. Where are the records showing why Maher dismissed them? Next my case was assigned to Judge Ollie Gibbs and a jury was selected, but Judge Maher intervened and said he wanted to re-try the  case. Where are the records of that action? My third trial began in July, 1977, but there was never a sentencing transcript produced.”

Lewis is one of 65 juvenile lifers for whom Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is recommending re-instatement of life without parole sentences. This means they still face complex re-sentencing hearings required by the USSC in its 2012 Miller v. Alabama decision. (See list of County juvenile lifers with LWOP or TOY  (term of years) recommendations at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/JLWOPchart916.pdf.)

Gil Hill meets with known drug dealer Willie Volsan and Sgt. James Harris. DPD/FBI surveillance photo.

Lewis was convicted of killing off-duty police officer Gerald Sypitkowski July 31, 1976. VOD reported previously that Aug. 1, 1976 Free Press coverage of the killing, obtained immediately from numerous eyewitnesses at the scene, including Sypitkowski’s partner officer Dennis Van Fleteren, exonerates Lewis. Those witnesses said the fatal shot came from a white Lincoln Mark IV driving down Harper at Barrett.

None of them told the Freep that they saw four Black teens including Lewis, then 17, in a yellow Ford Gran Torino, at the scene. 

But that was the scenario former DPD homicide chief Gil Hill (then a sergeant) cooked up against Lewis, recruiting three frightened juveniles to testify against him, admittedly overriding court rules that required them to be handled by juvenile court.  Hill, who testified he was working with the “Special Assignment Squad,” was known for decades as an allegedly dirty cop who took bribes to cover up homicides and drug-deals.

“I said that the police obviously made up their stories,” Lewis said he told his court-appointed attorney Valerie Newman. “All of their stories are basically the same story.  If you get three sixteen year old’s together and have them watch one event you will get three different versions of what happened. So, for them to all make basically the exact same statement was crap. I asked her how do you take the testimony of three juveniles over the testimony of a police officer, white college students, and a white bouncer. She could not answer that question. The reality is this, if you don’t believe in my innocence, you can’t fight for me.”

William Washington, mother  Lizzie Young Photo: Jodi Westrick, Michigan Radio

Timothy Jordan, paroled Jan. 10, 2017/Photo: MDOC

Meanwhile, to date, two juvenile lifers out of the County’s 147 have actually been paroled after re-sentencing under draconic state statutes passed in 2014. The statutes are currently under federal appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union. 

The first was William Washington, 59, who was released from prison Nov. 17, 2016 after serving 40 years, the first juvenile lifer out nearly 370 across the state to finally see freedom. Now, according to his attorney, Timothy Jordan, 48, was paroled Jan. 10, 2017, after being re-sentenced Sept. 23, 2016 to to 25 to 60 years after serving 30 years. Both Washington and Jordan still face two years of parole oversight before their status is finally confirmed.

Seven others shown below, (known to VOD) still serving these unconstitutional sentences have been re-sentenced but not yet paroled. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has appealed re-sentencing decisions for two of them, causing further delay. Some who have seen the parole board now must go through several months of re-entry classes, psychiatric evaluations, and other pre-release requirements before parole board approval.

 

 

Edward Sanders family after re-sentencing, including (l to r) aunt Jeanette Lattner, sister Yvonne Sanders, mother Joann Sanders

(L to r) Brother Julius Sanders, sister Yvonne, nephew Atwaab, mother Joann Sanders

In Kincaid’s case, an appeals court ordered Dec. 29 that he be re-sentenced to 60-90 years for “assault with intent to commit murder (AWIM),” while upholding a trial court re-sentence of 30-60 years for three counts of first-degree murder in a 1976 case.

Kincaid is already 55 years old. He has served 36 years for the murders of three women, carried out by two older men in 1976, when he was 16. Ironically, Kincaid himself did not shoot or kill any of the four women victims, instead having one hide in a closet while he shot into the ground. Two older men who were the actual killers did not receive life without parole sentences.

“According to the probation officer, the surviving victim believes she is still alive through the intercession of Mr. Kincaid, in light of his protective conduct during the shooting,” trial court Judge Michael Callahan said during Kincaid’s re-sentencing Nov. 4. “She even visited him while he was housed in the Department of Corrections.”

Attorney Evelyn said, “In the prosecution’s brief, they acknowledge that any judge has the authority to correct an unconstitutional sentence. The prosecution should not have opposed Callahan’s common sense correction,”

Odessa Kincaid, who passed in 2011, with her sons Timothy and Waymon during their youth.

Evidently, however, the COA ruling will hopefully not hinder Kincaid’s parole. His hearing on that was held Jan. 5, 2017, according to his family members, who had the understanding that the AWIM sentence of 60-90 years was NOT a JLWOP charge. Therefore, state good time rules should apply, cutting 35 years out of that sentence. The state’s OTIS website already indicates his new sentence, showing his earliest release date as Sept. 26, 2013. 

Kincaid’s brother, Waymon Kincaid, a parolable lifer who was a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit against the state’s changes to parolable lifer sentencing, is now finally home himself.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeals has not yet ruled on Worthy’s appeal of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow’s re-sentencing of Zerious “Bobby” Meadows to 25-45 years, which should have set him free immediately, since he had already served the 45 years. 

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy

Worthy contends state law requires that the maximum of 60 years is mandatory, while Meadows’ attorney Melvin Houston said, “My client has little else to lose by appealing this matter as the state has already taken his youth.”

Houston has filed extensive briefs which contend that state law does not require a prisoner be sentenced to a maximum of 60 years, as well as citing a Florida case where an appeals court struck down mandatory minimums for juvenile lifers.

VOD covered Meadows’ case earlier, at

 http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/11/28/case-of-zerious-meadows-challenges-michigans-draconic-juvenile-lifer-re-sentencing-practices/.

Related stories:

DIRTY DEALINGS: GIL HILL’S ROLE IN ‘WHITE BOY RICK’ CASE, CHARLES LEWIS AND EDDIE JOE LLOYD FRAME-UPS

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/11/28/case-of-zerious-meadows-challenges-michigans-draconic-juvenile-lifer-re-sentencing-practices/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/11/08/good-news-in-timothy-kincaid-juvenile-lifer-case-judge-recommends-immediate-parole/

FAMILY, FRIENDS WANT “RELEASE, NOT RE-SENTENCING” FOR CHARLES LEWIS; CONDEMN APPOINTED ATTY. NEWMAN

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/26/free-charles-lewis-mich-juvenile-lifers-re-sentenced-to-die-in-prison-rally-fri-oct-28/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/13/support-for-charles-lewis-mich-juvenile-lifers-strong-at-hearing-oct-11-bring-them-home-now/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/07/stop-new-death-penalty-for-mich-juvenile-lifers-rally-tues-oct-11-for-charles-lewis-others/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/09/10/new-hope-for-michigan-juvenile-lifer-charles-lewis-as-others-await-long-delayed-justice/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/09/04/free-charles-lewis-wayne-co-juvenile-lifers-dying-in-prison-rally-at-hearing-tues-sept-6/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/08/18/genocide-state-s-a-d-o-subject-michigan-juvenile-lifers-to-more-cruel-and-unusual-punishment/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/08/02/michigan-files-for-jlwop-for-80-of-juvenile-lifers-fed-court-wants-all-parole-eligible/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/07/26/worthy-others-want-large-portion-of-juvenile-lifers-to-die-in-prison-despite-ussc-rulings/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/06/02/stop-torturing-michigans-juvenile-lifers-with-state-delays-freedom-now/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/05/24/free-charles-lewis-innocent-juvenile-lifer-who-has-spent-41-years-in-state-prisons/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/05/18/michigan-juvenile-lifers-score-6th-circuit-appeals-court-victory-in-hill-v-snyder/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/04/30/why-is-juvenile-lifer-charles-lewis-still-in-prison-16-yrs-after-his-case-was-dismissed/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/04/12/dying-in-prison-michigan-juvenile-lifers-get-new-hope-under-montgomery-still-face-obstacles/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/02/12/u-s-judge-rules-all-michigan-juvenile-lifers-eligible-for-parole/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/10/28/michigans-juvenile-lifers-want-state-to-comply-with-u-s-supreme-court-ruling/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/08/16/michigan-challenges-u-s-supreme-court-ruling-on-juvenile-life-without-parole/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/07/02/us-supreme-courts-juvenile-lifer-decision-brings-hope-to-thousands/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/07/02/nations-high-court-ends-mandatory-life-without-parole-sentences-for-youth/


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RICO BUSTERS EXPOSES WAYNE COUNTY DOMESTIC TERRORISM; PAYS TRIBUTE TO MEMBER CORNELL SQUIRES

By David Schied

 December 25, 2016

As you know, it has been six months since my last RICO Busters episode. This latest proves even more that the Charter County of Wayne is being operated by domestic terrorists. This video shows more about why I was and continue to be in the federal courts along with The Insurance Company for the State of Pennsylvania and the American Insurance Group (a.k.a. “AIG”) with my own and “14 other joinder” claims against their insurance policy backed by the United States taxpayers guarantee to pay claims against their policy purchased by the Charter County of Wayne at local taxpayer expense. 

At any rate, the video is lengthy but informative and with damning evidence. It also includes a referenced link for others who wish to get involved with claims of their own against that insurance policy. 

As always, I am praying for the wherewithal to continue my line of battling this corruption, hoping it not to take another 6 months before my next video production, done without a budget and while taxing my old computer system. Please donate if you can.  

Please also refer others to my RICO Busters channel with another 18 video productions, located at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd3xqk6Kc778ASLAsRpV5ag

Video above: Cornell Squires’ favorite hymn, “Amazing Grace,” played on sax by friend “Squirrel” during funeral  November 28, 2016. Cornell passed away Nov. 19. VOD’s original story on his death garnered over 1200 Facebook “likes,” attesting to the widespread esteem in which he was held by community members. 


In Loving Memory of Cornell Squires, Consummate Friend, Victim’s Advocate, Legal Peacemaker

By David Schied, Co-founder of RICO-busters

Cornell Squires speaks passionately at Wayne County Commission meeting March 18, 2016 against flood of tax foreclosures destroying Detroit’s neighborhoods.

When I met Cornell for the first time in 2010, he introduced himself to me as an advocate for others seeking justice through legal remedies. The problem both he and I  found was that there was no “justice” to be had in the local, county and state administrative systems of Detroit, Wayne County and  the State of Michigan.

Cornell and I both have shared with one another story after story – life after life, family after family, and home after home – that has been robbed, ripped apart, denigrated, and ultimately destroyed by the corporate-government crime syndicate operating in this region of the country for decades, in full view and with the cooperation of the Office of the U.S. Attorney, the FBI, and the clerical and judicial usurpers operating what is popularly known as the United States District Court.

Cornell continually proclaimed that the Goodness of God was always near and dear, accessible by faith, by prayer, and by the Eternal Will of the Almighty to have His children find the ultimate Peace on Earth with Him. Many times in my moments of doubt and weakness did Cornell take my hands into his, or lead in his words over the phone, as he invoked the presence of God in our lives, to deliver to us His mercy, and to share with us so much of the love with which Cornell Squires brought to us a-plenty.

Cornell speaks against fraudulent tax bills during foreclosure protest at Wayne County Treasurer’s office April 31, 2015.

He worked both selflessly and tirelessly to help others, to advocate for others, to demonstrate with others, and to raise all others above his own level of goodness. Though we had many differences, he was indeed my big brother. He was only a couple of months older than me, but in the face of this unjust society full of greed, corruption, racism, and pure evil, Cornell’s experience and patience were second to none, and light years ahead of mine. He was an unshakable Soul.

County, state and federal courts alike dismissed many of Cornell’s court cases without remedy and without “litigating the merits” on behalf of himself and others. Recently, we together as Private Attorney Generals were dismissed by the same “pattern and practice” of the corrupted United States District Court in Detroit, despite there being over 52 unrebutted sworn and notarized Affidavits of testimony supported by mounds of evidence proving the racketeering and corruption facilitated by  our city, county, state, and federal government functionaries.

U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn/Photo: My Jewish Detroit

This last dismissal was by a 92-year old “lifetime employed” federal judge, Avern Cohn. Many other State Bar of Michigan members have been committing treasonous acts of domestic terrorism,  running crime syndicates and protectionist rackets out of our government offices – such as U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

They have long owed Cornell and the rest of us financial compensation and their own occupational impeachments. It was only a couple of months ago that Cornell expressed his dismay that while helping someone else report federal crimes by local public officials to the Office of the U.S. Attorney McQuade, he wasn’t even allowed to even enter that office. It had been more than three years since the last time he was rejected from there. He was told by building security that he was on a “list” of those that McQuade did not even want on her office floor.

As a legal peacemaker, Cornell Squires devoted his life to advocating for others and helping people to advocate for themselves in the face of the blatant and widespread corruption and violence being unleashed upon the ordinary residents of Wayne County.

Cornell remained active throughout his life against racist police killings and brutality.

Cornell himself was brutally beaten by Detroit police officer Robert Feld in 1999. His father Eugene Squires intervened and suffered a heart attack which led to his death months later. His son was framed up by former Detroit cop William ‘Robocop’ Melendez, who many years later was finally prosecuted for brutally beating Floyd Dent in Inkster. It was upsetting to Cornell that, thanks to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and others working under her on the taxpayer’s dime, the Melendez received only a slap on the wrist and was out of jail in no time.

Cornell was proud to have founded “We The People, For the People” as a nonprofit ministry dedicated toward helping his fellow community members to deal with widespread foreclosure fraud. That fraud was brought about by the unscrupulous tactics of banksters and law firms, including over-taxation by the crooked Wayne County Treasury, bogus recordkeeping by Register of Deeds executives, and dishonest judges helping to facilitate these crimes by a “pattern and practice” of pretending not to notice.

All this and more was exposed by Cornell and others in public protests. I sincerely believe that it was thanks to him, to the Voice of Detroit online newspaper for which he delivered stories, and thanks to his association “We The People, For the People” – and others operating as advocates and activists to put these many white collar criminals into prison – that finally resulted in the FBI being pressured enough to investigate the Wayne County Land Bank.

The People should note that it is no coincidence that the Land Bank is in the very same building that also houses the Wayne County Executive and the Wayne County Corporation Counsel, where the “racketeering” brains of an illegal crime syndicate operate as former law “enforcement” officers and attorneys.

(L to r) Luis and Cecilia Espinoza, with Cornell Squires, point out abandoned, burnt out properties next to their home (at far left) on Detroit’s southwest side. They had paid $16,000 in property taxes since 2011 but were facing foreclosure March 31, 2015. They have five children and little income.

While the mainstream press is willing to buy the oversimplified government story that the suspected reason for the FBI investigation is the contractors’ “spike of demolition costs”, make no mistake that Cornell had notified the feds back in early April and again in September about the county’s criminal scheme of over-estimating the value of homes for the purpose of over–taxation, to entice Wayne County residents into taking new “terms” of refinancing their homes to pay the county’s taxes or face tax foreclosures. This was what the county did against Cornell, except Cornell chose to stay and fight, in an effort to expose this racketeering scheme.

Other community residents have simply given up their homes, pressured by the extortionist tactics used by the county to force them out. So then the “Hardest Hit” federal funding meant to keep people in their homes is used to demolish those homes, to make room for land-developers, financed by lawyers, judges, and the many others partaking in this government “racket,”  to change the face of the neighborhoods with new buildings and new people of “greater worth” (as if some people are worth more than others). And who heads Detroit’s Demolition Task Force–none other than multi-billionaire racketeer Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans, currently being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for predatory lending which led to many of these foreclosures. Quicken Loans ranks fifth in numbers of Detroit mortgage foreclosures. 

 


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INDEPENDENT CYBERSECURITY FIRM SAYS FBI REPORTS THAT RUSSIA HACKED U.S. ELECTIONS WERE FRAUDULENT

Wordfence reports allegations that Russia hijacked U.S. elections are false.

“Our research indicates that the DHS/FBI report actually does not contain any data attributing the attack to Russia.” 

Wordfence says IP addresses included in “Grizzly Steppe” report originated from 61 countries and 389 different organizations with no clear attribution to Russia 

Mark Maunder, CEO of Wordfence

by Mark Maunder   

(VOD note: Voice of Detroit proudly uses the non-partisan Wordfence, a firm associated with Word Press, to guard against hacking. We received this enlightening article in an email from Wordfence.) 

Election Hack Report FAQ: What You Need to Know

On Friday we published an analysis of the FBI and DHS Grizzly Steppe report. The report was widely seen as proof that Russian intelligence operatives hacked the US 2016 election. We showed that the PHP malware in the report is old, freely available from a Ukrainian hacker group and is an administrative tool for hackers.

We also performed an analysis on the IP addresses included in the report and showed that they originate from 61 countries and 389 different organizations with no clear attribution to Russia.

Our report has received wide coverage. Since then I have been interviewed on international network news and by online publications to share our findings. I’d like to provide some clarity both on the FBI/DHS report itself and our findings in the form of an FAQ.

Our business is WordPress security and our customers use WordPress and the Wordfence firewall and malware scanner. Some of this report will be talking directly to our customers, and some of it will be helpful for those interested in security in general and global events.

Table of Contents:

I’m a Wordfence customer who uses WordPress. What do I need to know?

Wordfence detects the PHP malware that is in the report. It also blocks it from being uploaded to a WordPress website. Even before the FBI/DHS released this report, we were blocking this malware.

That is how we found the original source code: By capturing a sample when a hacker tried to upload it to a customer website. The upload occurred before the FBI/DHS report came out. We tracked and logged over 130 unique attempts to upload the specific malware sample the FBI/DHS provided.

The samples the FBI released are old and limited. Wordfence detects thousands of malware varieties that are actively used to attack WordPress websites. We also track a much larger set of IP addresses.

The bottom line is that if you use Wordfence, you are safe from anything in the DHS report that affects your website, and much more.

Does the report prove that Russia Hacked the 2016 US Election?

No it does not. What Wordfence revealed on Friday is that the PHP malware sample that the US government provided is:

  • An old version of malware. The sample was version 3.1.0 and the current version is 3.1.7 with 4.1.1 beta also available.
  • Freely available to anyone who wants it.
  • The authors claim they are Ukrainian, not Russian.

The malware is an administrative tool used by hackers to upload files, view files on a hacked website, download database contents and so on. It is used as one step in a series of steps that would occur during an attack.

Wordfence also analyzed the IP addresses available and demonstrated that they are in 61 countries, belong to over 380 organizations and many of those organizations are well known website hosting providers from where many attacks originate. There is nothing in the IP data that points to Russia specifically.

If I find something in the DHS/FBI report on my website or network, does it mean that Russia hacked me?

No it does not.

This has caused serious confusion already among press and US policy makers. A Vermont electrical utility found a sample of what is in the DHS/FBI Grizzly Steppe report on a single laptop. That laptop was not connected to the Electric Grid network. It was reported as Russia hacking the US electrical grid.

Glenn Greenwald is at right.

Glenn Greenwald has provided some magnificent reporting on this incident and the response from the media and from US senators.

The data in the DHS/FBI Grizzly Steppe report contains “indicators of compromise” (IOCs) which you can think of as footprints that hackers left behind. The IOC’s in the report are tools that are freely available and IP addresses that are used by hackers around the world. There is very little Russia-specific data in the Grizzly Steppe report.

If you find an IOC that is in the report on your network or server, it is unlikely that you have been targeted by Russian Intelligence.

The PHP malware the report provided, for example, is freely available for anyone who wants it. You can even customize it to include your own password to limit access to others. Please see our original report for details. Any attacker can use it to hack your website, not just Russian Intelligence.

Pres. Barack Obama, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin

The DHS/FBI report also included IP addresses. The owners of IP addresses change from time to time. An IP that was being used by Russian Intelligence today to hack a target may be used by another attacker to hack a different target a few days later. This can happen for several reasons:

A hacked IP can be used by one attacker and then be compromised by a different attacker later on to also launch attacks.

IP addresses change ownership from time to time. A Linode IP may be hacked by Russia and used to launch attacks. Then it may be shut down by Linode, change ownership and the new owner’s site can get hacked. Then that IP address is attacking once again, but the attacker is someone else.

IP addresses are also dynamic if they belong to an internet service provider (ISP). Some of the IP’s in the Grizzly Steppe report do belong to ISP’s. For example we can see IP’s belonging to Yota.ru, a Russian internet service provider. The hostnames are ‘wimax-client.yota.ru’ which suggests that they are wifi customers. These IP’s are probably dynamic and regularly change hands. They may be used by one attacker today and a different attacker tomorrow.

How did Wordfence determine the malware source, the authors and the version?

Robert McMahon of Wordfence

We received the DHS/FBI report on Thursday. Rob McMahon, one of my colleagues and a security analyst at Wordfence alerted me to its existence at 8pm pacific time on Thursday December 29th. We worked through the night until 7am the next morning when we released the report. Here is what we did:

We read the report and noticed there was a Yara signature for PHP malware. That means that FBI and DHS provided just enough information to identify the existence of PHP malware. It didn’t actually provide the malware itself.

We went into Polestar which is a Wordfence proprietary big-data platform that we have developed to aggregate and mine a large number of attacks from a range of sources. We used the Yara signature to try to determine if anyone has attacked a WordPress site using this malware. At this point we didn’t know what it was or if it was even used against WordPress.

Jackpot! We had captured the entire 20k malware sample!

We extracted the malware sample from Polestar and I handed it to Rob who started analysis on the sample. We divided the work and I went off and analyzed the IP addresses that DHS/FBI had provided in Grizzly Steppe.

Rob realized that most of the malware is encrypted. The way it works is that a hacker will upload it to a website. They access the malware as a web page and are prompted for a password by a small amount of unencrypted code in the malware. They enter the password which is actually a decryption key.

Many Ukrainians are hostile to Russia because Crimea voted to split from the Ukraine and become part of Russia again.

That decryption key is stored in a cookie so the hacker doesn’t have to keep entering it. The key then decrypts the malware code which is executed. Then every time the hacker accesses the malware in future, the key stored in a cookie decrypts the malware so that it can execute. It’s quite clever and makes our jobs harder.

We needed to find the decryption key for the malware. So we went back to Polestar and tried to find an attack that was blocked and logged where the attacker was trying to access the malware they had uploaded.

Jackpot again! We found the key. Rob used the key to decrypt the malware and view the source code. Once he could see the source code, he could see the name of the malware and the version and a few Google searches revealed the source website that it came from.

The rest was much easier. We could now take the malware sample and put it on a sandboxed research environment and actually run it and see what it did. We could also download the newer version of the malware, called ‘P.A.S.’, and execute that to see what it does and how it differs.

This is how we determined that the FBI/DHS report contains an old malware sample that is publicly available and the hacker group that distributes it appears to be Ukrainian. Continue reading


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GO TO DC TO FIGHT FOR BLACK SELF-DETERMINATION, REPARATIONS, SOCIAL JUSTICE, PEACE JAN. 14, 2017

Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations mobilizes mass march independent of ruling class parties

Calls for solidarity among the oppressed

March info at http://blackisbackcoalition.org/ 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

December 20, 2016

Black folks who should be shouting defiance to racists from both parties will instead hurl insults at Vladimir Putin and join hands with the CIA and war profiteers next month, in Washington. However, there will be another presence in DC. The Black is Back Coalition “will declare to the world its intention to fight for Black self-determination in every aspect of life, ‘despite the rise of Donald Trump and his version of white nationalism.’”

 “The Black servants of the Democratic Party have made a pact with that section of the U.S. ruling class that has rallied around Hillary Clinton.”

The Police State of America

If the U.S. ruling class and the spies and national security goons that serve them wanted to divert attention from the crimes and crises of capitalism, they have temporarily succeeded. In this insane post-election season, all the corporate media talk about is the outrageous fiction that Russia is the greatest threat to American domestic peace and tranquility. Jim Crow stole the election, as usual, but the corporate media and Hillary Clinton’s minions blame it on the Russians.

Tens of thousands of people will descend on Washington to denounce Donald Trump’s inauguration — which, given his horrific appointments and domestic policies, would be the righteous thing to do. If Clinton had won, she too should have been confronted with vast crowds of demonstrators determined to bring her “to heel” for crimes of mass Black incarceration and a whole list of other offenses against humanity.

But it is already clear that the useless and self-serving Black Misleadership Class, who work for the Democratic Party rather than for their Black constituents, will be making common cause with the CIA and the war profiteers, shouting their worthless heads off about Vladimir Putin who — to paraphrase Muhammad Ali — never called anybody the N-word, that we know of, or kicked millions of poor women and children off welfare, or imposed a reign of terror in Black communities. That was the Clintons, remember?

“Black people are their own liberators.”

Anti-Donald Trump protest is held at Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York, Dec 20, 2015

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will also be in Washington around the time of the inauguration — on January 14, the day before Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. But, the coalition will not join hands with Hillary’s friends on Wall Street and the Pentagon. Instead, Black Is Back will declare to the world its intention to fight for Black self-determination in every aspect of life, “despite the rise of Donald Trump and his version of white nationalism.”

The Black is Back Coalition is telling the incoming administration that Black people are their own liberators. And, that is a very different kind of message than you’ll be hearing from the Black servants of the Democratic Party, who have made a pact with that section of the U.S. ruling class that has rallied around Hillary Clinton, a raving, maniacal war criminal who is culpable in the death of millions.

The Black Misleadership Class can imagine no other way to function except to become junior partners with one powerful group of oppressors or the other. Independent Black politics is alien to them, because they see no money in it — no profit in the liberation of other Black people. And so, they methodically sacrifice Black folks’ interests, and the hopes and dreams of all oppressed peoples, in return for some squatting room at the feet of the enemy.

Video below: Published on Apr 22, 2015

“We came, we saw, he died”. Gaddafi was sodomised with a knife. She laughed at his brutal murder. NATO’s assault on Libya under the pretext of a ‘humanitarian mission’ to protect civilians led to the deaths of thousands of civilians and the destabilisation of a relatively prosperous state.

The Black Misleaders have no shame, and no demands either, except that they get paid. The Black is Back Coalition, on the other hand, has put forward a 19 point agenda to guide the fight for Black self-determination, a human right of all peoples and the basis of solidarity among the oppressed — points that will be thoroughly discussed on January 14th at Freedom Plaza, at 14thStreet and Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, DC.

The struggle is not about choosing between Trump and Clinton; it’s about Black self-determination and bringing down this evil system.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to http:// www.BlackAgendaReport.com. 

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination

Continue reading


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DOROTHY BUKOWSKI, MOTHER OF VOD EDITOR, PASSES AWAY DEC. 22; VISITATION AND FUNERAL DEC. 26, 27, 2017

Dorothy Loretta Ellis Bukowski, at home during my last visit with her there in November.

MEMORIAL

BY DIANE BUKOWSKI

December 25, 2016

Visitation

Mon.Dec. 26, 2-8 pm    Sawyer-Fuller Funeral Home 2125 12 Mile w. of Woodward Berkley, MI

Funeral:

Tues. Dec. 27, Family Hour 9:30 AM Mass 10 AM      Church of the Transfiguration 25225 Code Rd. (w. of Lahser at Ten Mile) Southfield, MI

 

SOUTHFIELD—Dorothy Loretta Ellis Bukowski, 94, mother of this paper’s editor and her six siblings, died December 22, 2016 in hospice, succumbing to complications from surgery performed at Southfield’s Providence Hospital earlier in November. Mrs. Bukowski and her late husband of 60 years, Robert Bukowski, also had ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

I am the oldest of Robert and Dorothy Bukowski’s seven children, all born and raised in Detroit after our parents’ marriage on Oct. 18, 1947. One sibling, Paul Bernard Bukowski, passed away Oct. 29, 1972 in a car accident.

This is a personal eulogy to my dear Mother, who along with my father was always there for everyone in their extended family, and loved each one of us equally despite differences that developed as we grew older. They taught us to love others as well, instilling no racial bias into our upbringing.

I left my family home near 7 Mile and Greenfield at the age of 18, moving deeper into the city. My parents were the last white family to remain in our immediate Detroit neighborhood, despite the racist real-estate blockbusters who descended on the area after the 1967 rebellion. They finally moved to another Black-majority city, Southfield, in the 1980’s, only after their new neighbors encouraged them to do so because of rising problems with drug dealing in their neighborhood. They always maintained fond ties with their neighbors in both communities.

Dorothy Ellis on graduation from the University of Detroit, 1943

My mother was born in New York City, N.Y. on Feb. 5, 1922. She was raised there with her dear sisters Gloria and Ardith until her own mother, Dorothy (nee Grotz) Ellis, passed in 1931. For several years afterwards, she was raised by her maternal grandmother and relatives and always had fond memories of that time in her life. When her father, Arthur Ellis, remarried, the family moved first to Chicago and then here to Detroit.

My mother attended the all-female Rosary College outside Chicago, and then graduated from the University of Detroit in 1943, one of only a few women among hundreds of men attending the school at that time.

She worked for a time as a kindergarten teacher, during which time she told me she learned never to raise her voice with the children, a lesson that carried over into our own upbringing. She also worked at Henry Ford’s main plant for a time during the war doing clerical work. She made lifelong women friends during her time at those schools and jobs. I was always astonished at the number of birthday cards she got every year from across the country.

Dorothy Ellis married my father Robert Bukowski, a native of Bay City, Michigan, on Oct. 18, 1947. They lived for a short while in an apartment building on Lothrop in Detroit, near West Grand Blvd. and Second. That was my first home. When my mother became pregnant with my brother Michael, they moved to a small bungalow at 19189 Murray Hill, where they raised the rest of us—Mark, Paul, John, Eileen and Jean.

Father Robert and mother Dorothy Bukowski with Diane Bukowski in her office at Detroit Human Rights Department, late 1990’s.

I will never know how my mother did it, cooped up in that little house with seven children. She told me the fifties were a blur to her. The family had no car for several years. My father traveled to his job by streetcar and bus and took us grocery-shopping in a little red wagon. After he finally bought a car, he used it to work at the small tax and accounting firm he established in 1959, the Bob Bukowski Tax Service, at 7 Mile and Conant. He worked very hard to support all of us, coming home during tax season to fall asleep on the couch. My brother John and sister Eileen later went to work with him, and carried the business on after he retired.

My mother did not learn to drive until many decades later, but when she did, it was like letting a bird out of its cage. I was highly distressed when she gave up driving at the age of 92, knowing how much it had meant to her.

My family belonged to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish during its time in Detroit. I was astonished to discover in 1983, when our union local AFSCME 457 participated in a march commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington, that famed civil rights hero and martyr Viola Liuzzo also belonged to our parish. I met Mrs. Liuzzo’s children on that march. I discovered Dr. King, union leaders Walter Reuther and Jimmy Hoffa, and numerous other nationally known icons attended her funeral held in our small church, which had been converted from the grade school’s gymnasium.

My Aunt and Godmother Gloria Shuster, Cousin Tim Shuster, and Mother during one of her many visits to see her sister in Florida.

Viola Liuzzo’s spirit must have lived on in my parents, both of whom supported me in my lifetime of political work. My father brought my sister Eileen to see me speak at an anti-war rally in Kennedy Square in the early ‘70’s. He always told people he was proud that I was a “fighter.” My parents had a subscription to the Michigan Citizen during the time I reported for it from 2000 to 2010. They shared the paper with their next-door neighbor and close friend Roy McAlister, Sr. after finishing it.

When I was falsely arrested for covering a fatal state trooper chase on E. Davison in 2008, my mother and some siblings came to support me during my sentencing hearing. My mother’s hearing was failing at the time, and she did not hear Judge Michael Hathaway say at the beginning that he was not going to give me prison time, so she sat through the sentencing in agonized suspense until he gave me probation and community service. But she did hear the many supporters who had come for the hearing tell her what a wonderful daughter she had.

My Aunt Gloria, Uncle Don and my favorite cousin Tim Shuster also supported me during that trial. They sent supportive emails to me throughout the trial. Every time my Aunt Gloria, who is my godmother, sends me a card, she always tells me to keep on with my work fighting for the people.

Mother and my dear friend Cornell Squires during visit to the graves of my father and brother earlier this year, after having lunch. Cornell prayed over my Mother at the hospital in November, a week before he passed unexpectedly of a heart attack on Nov. 19, 2016.

As my siblings grew older, they had their own children of course. My mother and dad were always there to help take care of their grandchildren, especially when my sisters’ initial marriages ended in divorce and they needed the help. Every holiday season, we were all welcomed into their Southfield home. My mother cooked wonderful holiday meals for all of us, assisted by my sisters and sisters-in-law (I never did learn to cook—I think my mother didn’t want me to be a housewife.)

After my Dad passed in 2008, and my mother later gave up driving, my siblings John, Eileen and Jean visited overnight, did housework, cooking, shopping and other chores for my mother. We all took her on various excursions during that time. My last outing with my mother was our visit to the DIA this year to see its “Dance Art” exhibit, and then go to lunch at . Many times, my mother did not feel well enough to go out, however, so then I would visit with her at home, bringing us a Jet’s vegetarian pizza for dinner, flowers, and mystery books I had taken to reading at night to relieve the stress of reporting on Detroit’s distressing circumstances in the Voice of Detroit.

My last memory of my dear Mother a week before she went to Providence Hospital is of her standing in the doorway of our home, waving good-bye and telling me to drive safely, as she always did. I took the photo at the top of this memorial of her at that time, comfortable and happy in her home. She told me to be sure to send it to her dear sister Gloria, her closest friend and confidante for 92 years.

Further details at 

http://v3.fserv.net/bin/get/obit.php?fid=4447

Mother at DIA “DANCE” art exhibit June 12, 2016


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DIRTY DEALINGS: GIL HILL’S ROLE IN ‘WHITE BOY RICK’ CASE, CHARLES LEWIS AND EDDIE JOE LLOYD FRAME-UPS

Richard Wershe, Jr. set to be paroled soon after giving info on Hill, others to feds; film to feature Hill’s alleged attempt to have him killed

Hill was key player in 1976 frame-up of juvenile lifer Charles Lewis, whose court files mysteriously ‘disappeared;’ Worthy wants life again for Lewis

On Nov. 11, judge denied Lewis’ motion to dismiss case, ordered files ‘re-constituted’  by prosecutor, state-appointed defense, then JLWOP hearing

Hill supervised team that obtained false confession in famous Eddie Joe Lloyd case; he also interviewed teens who claimed Lewis killed policeman despite interviews to the contrary in Freep article published a day later

SADO attorney Newman has refused to credit Lewis’ innocence despite mounting evidence; agreed to new file to be used in Miller hearing which is missing key documents

By Diane Bukowski

December 23, 2016 Updated December 24, 2016

“White Boy Rick” Wershe, Jr. at initial trial.

Charles Lewis after incarceration at 17.

DETROIT – News is hitting the airwaves and print media everywhere that Richard Wershe, Jr., a Detroit drug dealer and police snitch since the age of 14 known popularly as “White Boy Rick,” will likely be paroled soon after serving 29 years in state prisons.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy earlier dropped her opposition to Wershe’s release.

Wershe and juvenile lifer Charles Lewis, currently fighting Worthy’s effort to keep him locked up for life after serving 41 years for a crime he says he did not commit, based on a court file that “disappeared,” have a major player in common in their life stories.

DPD homicide chief Gil Hill in earlier days.

That is the late Gilbert Hill, formerly head of Detroit’s police homicide unit and president of the Detroit City Council. Wershe says he gave information about Hill’s alleged cover-ups in homicide cases and connections with convicted drug dealers to the feds, hoping for an early release.

Kevin Dietz of Channel Four News reported Sept. 6 (above) that an upcoming documentary on Wershe’s life, “650 Lifer: The Legend of White Boy Rick,” will include an interview with admitted hitman Nate Boone Craft, killer of 30 people, who claims Hill tried to recruit him to kill Wershe in prison.

According to Dietz, Craft says in the film, “This came from Gill Hill’s mouth to me, ‘We got to make sure it don’t get back to no one,’ and I said, ‘You know me, none of my hits lead to no one. . . .I was told to kill White Boy Rick. He said, ‘125,000, I’ll make sure you get it as long as that boy is dead.’ His key word, ‘Dead.’”

Hitman Nate Boone Craft

In Lewis’ case, then Sgt. Gilbert Hill covered up the involvement of the owner and occupants of a white Lincoln Mark IV in the July 31, 1976 killing of Detroit police officer Gerald Sypitkowski, Their involvement was attested to by eyewitnesses including Sypitkowski’s partner Dennis Van Fleteren in  a Detroit Free Press story published ONE DAY after the event.

Hill went on to target Lewis instead, who has so far served 41 years of a juvenile life without parole sentence for the Sypitkowski killing. 

VOD recently unearthed the Freep’s Aug. 1, 1976 article on the Sypitkowski killing from the website newspapers.com. Photostats of the article, “Off-Duty Policeman is Slain Leaving Bar,” are included in this story. The article includes NO interviews with ANYONE who saw Lewis, or three juveniles who testified that they were with him when he allegedly shot Sypitkowski, or the yellow Ford Gran Torino they claimed to be driving at the scene.

“Police released few details of the 2 a.m. shooting or the investigation other than to say that initial reports that the officer had been shot from a passing car were false,” the article says.

However, it gives numerous witness statements contradicting what turned out to be Sgt. Gil Hill’s claim. It says basically what Van Fleteren said in Lewis’ trial transcripts, that he, another officer and a bartender had been with Sypitkowski at Oty’s Bar on Harper near Barrett before Sypitkowski decided to walk back to his car at T.C. Kennels, a dog training center where he had worked during a “two-week vacation.”

“Then came a flash from the muzzle of a gun and the sound of a shot, according to the witnesses,” the article continues. “A white late model Mark IV Lincoln was seen driving slowly westward with its lights out, past the place where Sypitkowski lay shot in the head. .. The three men took down the license number of the car and another off-duty policeman radioed the description to police via a citizens’ band radio. Police reportedly gave chase along Outer Drive and arrested suspects in the car, but they were released after questioning.”

The article says, “According to Sgt. Gilbert Hill, there was ‘no way’ the fatal shot could have come from a car on the road, so the men were not charged.” (Bolded text is from original Freep article.)

Later Freep coverage indicated that police arrested the owner of the car, Leslie Nathanial, after raids at two homes associated with him. Nathanial claimed police brutality, including gunfire, and that his car was impounded and destroyed by police, which of course would have destroyed pertinent evidence. Nathanial was released.

Lewis told VOD that Hill’s name and signature is “all over” documents that resulted in charges being brought against him. He said that Hill conducted the initial interviews of the three juveniles who were the ONLY ones to testify that LEWIS killed Sypitkowski at his trials, despite the testimony of Van Fleteren and other eyewitnesses to the contrary, told to the Freep the day after the killing.

Lewis says Hill coerced the teens into testifying against him with threats of prosecution against them.

Maher dismissed the jury in the first trial without known cause. Lewis was convicted in the second trial. He says he has always believed the first jury voted to acquit him.

Hill later supervised investigators who obtained a notorious false confession from Eddie Joe Lloyd to the rape and murder of 16-year-old Michelle Jackson in 1984, according to documents in a federal civil case filed by noted attorney David Robinson.

Lloyd, who has since passed, was fully exonerated by the efforts of the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic, which included DNA evidence. The lawsuit, which included Hill as a defendant, resulted in a $3.25 million out of court settlement for Lloyd’s family. (See lawsuit at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Eddie-Joe-Lloyd-case-Hill-involved-para-75.pdf

VOD filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking for all Detroit Police Department documents including witness statements and other evidence on the Lewis case, but was told they did not exist. 

Eddie Joe Lloyd after exoneration.

However, at a hearing in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard Oct. 28, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Jason Williams said on the record that HE has the DPD files, a trial transcript and Lewis’ prison record to aid in “re-constructing” Lewis’ file as Lillard  ordered Nov. 11.

Lillard gave a deadline of Jan. 6-13 to re-construct the file, but Lewis told VOD today that his state-appointed attorney Valerie Newman of the State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO) told him the file is already complete, and that she is satisfied with it and will proceed onward to a Miller hearing to be scheduled sometime in the future based on that file. He said she has not provided him with a copy of the file, which is now a public record as a court file, or provided him with any input into its reconstruction.

Valerie Newman (r) snuggles with Thomas Highers, one of two brothers earlier released as falsely charged after her representation.

He said he asked her if the police-videotaped interviews with the juveniles are in the file, and she said no, they are not needed.

He said he asked Newman asked if a subsequent “Pearson” evidentiary hearing transcript, in which five officers testified that Van Fleteren was competent at the scene when he identified the real killer(s), is in the file.

Newman said no, they could not find it, although the transcript is attached to Lewis’ federal court filings as indicated in an earllier VOD story which included a copy of the transcript. (See transcripts at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Charles-Lewis-transcript-Pearson-hearing.pdf and http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Charles-Lewis-transcript-2-Pearson-hearing.pdf.)

He said Newman said essentially that she still believes Lewis is guilty as charged and plans to proceed with a Miller hearing on his case, evidently at sometime in the future as none is on the court docket yet. Lewis has been trying to get various experts hired for such a hearing, including a crime scene reconstructionist, and a mitigation hearing specialist , but he said Newman has not hired any experts to his knowledge.

Newman and representatives of SADO have repeatedly refused ANY interviews with VOD on their role in Lewis’ case, even a “No comment.”

Hill also testified at Lewis’ two trials. Lewis’ mother Rosie Lewis said Hill came to the family’s home asking about her son’s whereabouts under the pretense that the house next door had been broken into. She said Lewis was not home at that point. Lewis, a talented musician, has always said he was playing with a band called “Pure Pleasure” at a UAW Local 212 hall then located in Detroit when Sypitkowski was killed.

Hill’s remarks that the fatal shot “could not have come” from the white Mark IV Lincoln were based on alleged medical examiner testimony that Van Fleteren was shot from only two feet away.

However, a Wayne County Medical Examiner testified on cross examination at Lewis’ trial that gunshot powder in Sypitkowski’s head could have come from a shotgun fired from up to seven feet away, consistent with the drive-by story.

Lewis, who became an accomplished jail-house attorney and writer, has fought his conviction in both state and federal courts for all the time he has been jailed.

Most recently, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard on Nov. 11 denied Lewis” motion to dismiss his case due to the complete loss of his court file. Lewis’ motion cited criminal case precedents dating from the U.S. Supreme Court in 1957, and later from Michigan courts. (Motion below story.)

Lewis is one of over 360 “juvenile lifers” in Michigan, 147 from Wayne County, sentenced to die in prison for crimes committed as children.

Ninety-eight percent of the Wayne County juvenile lifers are Black. But Worthy has asked that the highest number in the state, 63, be re-sentenced to life without parole, after the U.S. Supreme Court twice found such sentences unconstitutional. In both decisions, the USSC said only “the rarest child” should be sentenced to life without parole.

Lewis’ motion additionally addresses factors beyond the USSC Miller v. Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016) decisions.

Judge Lillard contended in her order that the loss of Lewis’ file was essentially not relevant to holding a so-called “Miller” mitigation hearing in his case. (See order at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Charles-Lewis-order-11-11-16.pdf)

However a current 2014 state statute governing juvenile lifer re-sentencing says,

APA Jason Williams and SADO atty. Valerie Newman conduct secret conference with Judge Lillard; Charles Lewis had not been brought into court yet.

“MCL 769.25 (7) At the hearing under subsection (6), the court shall specify on the record the aggravating and mitigating circumstances considered by the court and the court’s reasons supporting the sentence imposed. The court may consider evidence presented at trial together with any evidence presented at the sentencing hearing.” 

Judge Lillard evidently dug deep to find a 1911 civil divorce case to support her position.

“As a court of record, the court has the inherent authority to restore the lost records from Defendant’s file, Newton v. Newton, 166 Mich, 421, 416 (1911) and the Court will now exercise that authority,” Lillard said in her “Order and Opinion Denying Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Sentence to a Term of Years.”

Some of Charles Lewis’ supporters outside Frank Murphy Hall before his hearing Oct. 11, 2016.

“The People and the State Appellate Defenders Office are hereby ordered to meet with representatives of the Wayne County Clerk’s Office to arrange for restoration of the files from copies of the various documents in their possession.” She said the file must be finalized by Jan. 6, 2017, and that the parties would be given until Jan. 13, 2017 to challenge the validity of the file.

She did not include Lewis as one of the parties to be involved in the re-construction, although her order addresses his motion separately from one filed by Newman for a term of years. Lillard also denied that motion, likely indicating advance bias in favor of life without parole prior to even holding a Miller hearing.

Charles Lewis during Oct. 11 hearing. Photo: Sarah Cwiek, Michigan Radio

The key USSC case Lewis cited in his motion, Chessman v. Teets, was decided in Chessman’s favor precisely because he was not present during the reconstitution of trial transcripts in his case. Although Newman says she represents Lewis and speaks for him, his positions differ drastically from hers.

Lewis says regarding the Newton v. Newton case that it was based on a dissenting opinion without legal weight. (See opinion at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Newton-v-Newton.pdf).

“Judge Ostrander filed a dissenting opinion and relied upon three compiled Laws 10276-10280,” Lewis told VOD. “Mind you the statute relied upon by Judge Ostrander was repealed over a hundred years ago. And the decision has no legal weight because it was a dissenting opinion, but it says ‘An act to provide for the restoration of lost records, papers or other proceedings in court records.’”

In his motion to re-sentence Lewis to life without parole, APA Jason Williams contends,“Defendant’s crime in the current case was not the result of unfortunate yet transient immaturity, but, rather, evinced irreparable corruption that requires a Life without parole sentence. Defendant is deserving of a sentence of Life without the possibility of parole.”

He cites no specific evidence regarding that contention. Lewis has been incarcerated since the age of 17 and has demonstrated his numerous talents as a musician, writer and legal analyst in prison since that time. He has helped politically educate fellow prisoners as well.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that juvenile life without parole sentences are unconstitutional in the U.S., the last country in the world to use them, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell granted Lewis a re-sentencing on  October 17, 2012, before the state statutes referring such cases to the parole board were included in Michigan laws in 2014. 

“. . .this Court will interpret Defendant’s motion as a successive Motion for Relief from Judgment pursuant to MCR 6.502(G)(2) because there has been a retroactive change in the law–specifically, the United States Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama, supra, regarding mandatory sentencing for juveniles,” Ewell ruled. “Thus, for all the reasons stated, Defendant’s Motion to Remand to the Third Circuit Court for entry of sentence that complies with Miller v. Alabama is hereby GRANTED.” (See order below story.)

Ewell’s ruling was overturned on appeal, based on claims that Miller was not retroactive. Lewis contends that those COA and state Supreme Court decisions were invalidated by the subsequent USSC ruling in Montgomery v. Louisiana on Jan. 25, 2016 that Miller is indeed retroactive. He says he should not be re-sentenced under the state statutes passed AFTER Ewell’s order, but have his case remanded to the trial judge for open adjudication.

Related documents:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/CLmotiondismiss92616.pdf

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/EwellOrder101712.pdf

Related stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/11/28/case-of-zerious-meadows-challenges-michigans-draconic-juvenile-lifer-re-sentencing-practices/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/11/08/good-news-in-timothy-kincaid-juvenile-lifer-case-judge-recommends-immediate-parole/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/26/free-charles-lewis-mich-juvenile-lifers-re-sentenced-to-die-in-prison-rally-fri-oct-28/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/13/support-for-charles-lewis-mich-juvenile-lifers-strong-at-hearing-oct-11-bring-them-home-now/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/10/07/stop-new-death-penalty-for-mich-juvenile-lifers-rally-tues-oct-11-for-charles-lewis-others/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/09/10/new-hope-for-michigan-juvenile-lifer-charles-lewis-as-others-await-long-delayed-justice/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/09/04/free-charles-lewis-wayne-co-juvenile-lifers-dying-in-prison-rally-at-hearing-tues-sept-6/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/08/18/genocide-state-s-a-d-o-subject-michigan-juvenile-lifers-to-more-cruel-and-unusual-punishment/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/08/02/michigan-files-for-jlwop-for-80-of-juvenile-lifers-fed-court-wants-all-parole-eligible/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/07/26/worthy-others-want-large-portion-of-juvenile-lifers-to-die-in-prison-despite-ussc-rulings/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/06/02/stop-torturing-michigans-juvenile-lifers-with-state-delays-freedom-now/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/05/24/free-charles-lewis-innocent-juvenile-lifer-who-has-spent-41-years-in-state-prisons/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/05/18/michigan-juvenile-lifers-score-6th-circuit-appeals-court-victory-in-hill-v-snyder/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/04/30/why-is-juvenile-lifer-charles-lewis-still-in-prison-16-yrs-after-his-case-was-dismissed/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2016/04/12/dying-in-prison-michigan-juvenile-lifers-get-new-hope-under-montgomery-still-face-obstacles/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2013/02/12/u-s-judge-rules-all-michigan-juvenile-

lifers-eligible-for-parole/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/10/28/michigans-juvenile-lifers-want-state-to-comply-with-u-s-supreme-court-ruling/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/08/16/michigan-challenges-u-s-supreme-court-ruling-on-juvenile-life-without-parole/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/07/02/us-supreme-courts-juvenile-lifer-decision-brings-hope-to-thousands/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/07/02/nations-high-court-ends-mandatory-life-without-parole-sentences-for-youth/

#FREECHARLESLEWISNOW, #FREEZERIOUSMEADOWSNOW, #STOPWARONBLACKYOUTH, #FREEMICHIGANJUVENILELIFERS


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