MCR 6.004 (A): “The defendant and the people are entitled to a speedy trial and to a speedy resolution of all matters before the court. Whenever the defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial is violated, the defendant is entitled to dismissal of the charge with prejudice.”

 Charles K.K. Lewis: 43 hearings on juvenile lifer re-sentencing, one for each year of his incarceration; no end in sight

Judge Qiana Lillard denies sentencing defendants to top of guidelines if they exercise their 6th Amdt. right to trial, despite three COA opinions

“My stand will help all these little kids coming after me whose court files have been lost”–Lewis

By Diane Bukowski

April 14, 2019

Charles K.K.. Lewis awaits belated start of his 43rd juvenile lifer re-sentencing hearing March 23, 2019.

DETROIT — In the case of juvenile lifer Charles K.K. Lewis, are Wayne County Pros. Kym Worthy,  Judge Qiana Lillard, and AP Tom Dawson obstructing justice in order to protect Lillard from further disastrous Court of Appeals rulings, three of which have remanded defendants to a judge other than Lillard for sentencing?

Those Appeals Courts cited Judge Lillard’s stated policy of sentencing defendants to the top of the guidelines if they insist on their Sixth Amendment right to a trial instead of pleading guilty at the outset.  In a fourth case, People v. Walker, an MSC ruling is expected shortly. Inside sources indicate that it may result in a suspension of Judge Lillard from the bench.

“At this point, it’s probably better to just move on to the sentencing,” Lewis told Judge Lillard during his last hearing March 29. “I know you have a policy of sentencing people to the high end of the guidelines. The only thing I need to deal with is whether I’m going to start my appeal of right today or whether I’m going to start it nine months from now.”

Judge Lillard kept interjecting that she had no such policy, but it is documented in transcripts from the cases of Christobal DeLeon (2016), Derek James Smith (2015), Floyd Pennington (2014), and Harold Lamont Walker (2014). (Read opinions below story.)

Judge Qiana Lillard sported green nail polish in support of her alma mater Notre Dame March 29, 2019. Her mentor, Kym Worthy, also graduated from Notre Dame.

Lewis says he has no confidence that a mitigation hearing in front of Lillard will result in anything other than a sentence of life without parole, in part because Lillard already denied a motion to sentence him to a term of 40-60 years filed by SADO defense attorney Valerie Newman in 2016. Newman did not appeal.

The Judge has held 43 hearings in Lewis’ re-sentencing over three years, after denying his earlier motion to dismiss his case due to the loss of 28 years of his court files and his Register of Actions. His 44th hearing has now been set for Tues. April 16, 2019, at 1:30 PM, when yet more hearing dates will be set.

Lewis says he is “100% confident” that any Appeals Court will consider his and his lawyer’s contentions on the record that a mitigation hearing cannot be held without a complete court file.

They have also filed motions recognizable under the U.S. Constitution declaring his actual innocence and incompetent assistance of trial counsel.

Judge Joseph Maher

Judge Deborah Thomas read his first trial transcript, now missing, and opined that he should have been considered acquitted because there was no record of why Judge Joseph Maher dismissed the jury then.

There is also no record of who the jurors were in his third trial in front of Maher, which supplanted a second jury seated in front of Judge Ollie Bivins, the first African-American judge on the Genesee County Circuit Court bench. Judge Maher, a long-time racist, took it back from Bivins. For information on Judge Bivins’ illustrious history fighting for his people, see

Judge Ollie Bivins, Jr. sworn in Oct. 10, 1968. Flint Journal photo.

Lewis has contended on the record that he was the first juvenile lifer to win a re -sentencing in front of Judge Edward Ewell in 2012, and that therefore he is not subject to the Michigan statutes established for juvenile lifer re-sentencings in 2014, under ex post facto rulings. 

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith recently banned the portion of those statutes that denied re-sentenced juvenile lifers access to earned good time and disciplinary credits, also citing the ex post facto bar.

“Once we set the mitigation date, Mr. Schulman and I will work together and come up with dates for all the experts to testify,” Dawson said. “Mr. Lewis can then decide how much he wants to participate—that’s his right. We can then decide how to move forward. Mr. Schulman and I can then present evidence and the court has ability to address it sometime in the future.”

For the second time in the last two hearings, defense attorney Sanford Schulman presented himself for the hearing set for 10 a.m., then disappeared to another courtroom for over an hour. He and Dawson then left to confer in the witness room.

Lewis told VOD that his Institutional Parole Agent was about to take him back to his room in the Macomb Correctional Facility when the Court finally called and said it was ready.

Schulman reported that two “mitigation experts” he tried to hire for Lewis’ hearing have now backed out. The second, Gayl Amalfitano, submitted a questionable resume as documented in VOD’s last story. 

He said that once a mitigation expert is hired, that expert would designate any other experts needed for the hearing, causing further delay.

Two television news cameramen waited patiently in the courtroom during all the delays.

Some of Charles ‘K.K.’ Lewis supporters rally outside courthouse during 2016 hearing.

Related documents:

Court of Appeals dissenting opinion in Harold Lamont Walker case, pending Michigan Supreme Court decision .

Court of Appeals opinion castigating Judge Lillard for racial anti-immigrant comments in Christobal DeLeon case:

Court of Appeals opinion in Floyd Pennington case:

Court of Appeals opinion in Derek James Smith case:


Related stories:



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Michigan State Representatives Martin Howrylak (R-District 41) and David LaGrand (D-District 75), sponsors of 2018 bills to restore disciplinary credits for all prisoners; bills died in committee. For explanation of what happened to Michigan’s “good-time” and other credits over the decades, click on 


Juvenile lifer Mario Smith, who has spent 18 years in prison with excellent record, re-sentenced to 30-60 years, must serve another 12 before parole

 Re-sentencing Judge Lawrence Talon spent 28 yrs. as prosecutor before taking the bench

APA Tom Dawson recommended that Smith serve another 12 years before parole eligibility

How many more juvenile lifers will continue to serve unconstitutional sentences for months and decades after Miller v. Alabama?

Ricardo Ferrell

By Ricardo Ferrell

April 11, 2019

Since the Miller v. Alabama decision in 2012, which ruled mandatory life without the possibility of parole for those convicted as juveniles to be unconstitutional, some have received sentences where ‘disciplinary credits’ were applied to their term-of-years sentences.

But in the case of Mario Smith, 35, who was resentenced on October 24, 2018 to 30-60 years, such credits aren’t being calculated, due to a  law that was enacted on December 15, 2000, just prior to Smith’s conviction, known as “Truth in Sentencing” (hereafter TIS).  TIS was created in response to the public’s outcry for a tougher criminal justice system and an “honest” sentencing system in which the public knows what a criminal sentence really means.

Michigan’s TIS laws were also motivated by the need to secure federal funding. Legislation passed in 1994 authorized the federal government to provide grants to States that required violent offenders to serve at least 85% of their sentences. — 77 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 375. Author: Miriam Cavanaugh, Winter 2000.

Mario wrote in a recent letter to Fox 2 News Detroit, “I am one of Michigan’s Juveniles, who was sentenced to life without parole at age 17. However, due to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, I was resentenced on October 24, 2018. I am now serving a 30–60 year sentence, and have served 18 years.

“I did not make it into the juvenile system, I was sent straight into the adult system. Some juveniles who come into the adult system have a traumatic experience because we are surrounded by many adults who have not been in a normal society in years, or decades, and see many of us juveniles as a secondary option. He (the juvenile) is either going to fight off predators or fall victim. Some resort to drinking, using drugs, or continue indulging in harmful substances to cope with their surroundings, and new environments for what they’ve been told would be the rest of their natural lives.

Juvenile lifer Mario Smith

“Some even resorted to attempting, or committed suicide as a means of dealing with their situations. Many lose familial support and join a gang. With this type of experience, he/she becomes more violent, combative, insecure, and insubordinate, which usually is an introduction into Criminology 101, prison style. With this sort of broken mindset, if the individual does not see his or her worth and the need for change, the chances of reoffending are great. Reform should start from the word GUILTY!!”

“Does mental health play a role in all this? Absolutely, God does not create anything bad. Bad behavior is learned behavior. And, hurt people hurt people.”

Mario’s sentiments on crime victims, crime survivors, their families, and the community at large: “Over my past 18 years of incarceration, I have seen how families mourn the loss of a loved one, or have been victimized by senseless acts of violence, and it has shook my soul to the core. I thought about how I am responsible for Tatijuana Neal’s death and the pain I caused her family, as well as the community. I saw those families and my own family and concluded, nobody deserves to be a victim. I know there is no way to compensate for what I have done. No amount of years could atone for the pain and suffering. If I had three (3) wishes, all three would be to take back what I’ve done, because that would mean one less victim, and a safer community. But what I can give back is to continue making amends for my wrongs as the stupid little boy I once was, and assure society, I will never cause so much pain, suffering, and sorrow ever again.”

According to court documents, Mario received his GED in 2006, and expressed an interest in attending college classes, but didn’t qualify at the time. But as soon as he does become qualified, he would like to participate. He also showed an interest in attending trade school and truck driving school. Mario has maintained a routine work assignment with good work evaluations. In 2004, Mario completed Substance Abuse Phase II.

Since his incarceration, he has participated in multiple rehabilitation and cognitive behavioral programs, as noted in his Presentence Investigation & New Conviction Update Report Evaluation and Plan. The Michigan Department of Corrections respectfully recommended that Mario be resentenced to a term of MDOC incarceration not to exceed a maximum of 60 years and a minimum of 25 years, but not more than a minimum of 40 years. Judge Lawrence Talon considered the PSI report, which included Mario’s attorney mentioning some of his accomplishments.

Judge Lawrence Talon forced juvenile lifer Mario Smith to spend 12 more unconstitutional years in prison before parole eligibility during re-sentencing.

(VOD ed: Judge Talon took the bench in 2010, after 28 years as an assistant prosecutor. He could have instead sentenced Smith to a term of 20 to 40 years under state statutes, which would have allowed him parole eligibility in two years. He became notorious in 2016 when Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy issued a directive that no plea deals were to be arranged in his court.)

He said, “Mario Smith has made every effort possible to rehabilitate and better himself during his 16+ years-of-imprisonment. Mr. Smith embraced each programming opportunity he had, even though programming opportunities for lifers are very limited. Mr. Smith began working on self-improvement almost immediately upon his incarceration in 2002, when he completed Cage Your Rage, a group counseling course focused on managing emotions. In 2014, Mr. Smith continued to focus on improving himself by completing a cognitive behavior relapse prevention program.

“In 2014, Mr. Smith successfully completed the 40 Days of Peace Program, Restorative Justice, Substance Abuse, and Power of Peace Continued: Digging Deeper. These programs focus on rehabilitating inmates teaching them to discover their potential to change, and to appreciate the full extent of the harm caused by their criminal behavior. In 2015, Mr. Smith began his involvement in the Chance For Life (CFL) Organization where he has developed communication skills, critical thinking skills, and has worked on becoming a positive influence on others.”

Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor Alma Potts, who wrote of Mario’s interactions within her housing unit stated, “Mr. Smith locked in my unit from 06/04/08 thru 10/05/11. I spoke with him on a weekly basis. I have worked for the Michigan Department of Corrections for over 28 years, and met perhaps 10 prisoners out of a few thousand, who in all this time, seemed to be legitimately focused on becoming a positive force in the ‘world’ outside of this secure perimeter. Most of these 10 have been juvenile lifers, who literally grew up in prison. Mario Smith is one such prisoner that has been engaged in the task of self-improvement.”

This writer notes that Mario Smith has completed many programs. He has achieved and accomplished a great deal since his incarceration at the age of seventeen. He enrolled into the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program in 2016, and excelled in the class with relative ease, mainly because of his focused insight on what it takes to better oneself in the midst of hopelessness and despair. The current report used during his resentencing on October 24, 2018, includes the many classes, programs that Mario has successfully completed.

A check with MDOC prison counselor Jennifer Metro, showed that since Mr. Smith’s incarceration he has had 15 misconducts, and none since 2012. And, he also worked as a foreman on the yard crew for 2 years.

“Mr. Smith, I have been doing this for over 18 years, and I never thought anyone convicted of First Degree Murder deserves a second chance. But you have changed that today!” — Wayne County Sheriffs Deputy Cantu.

On the day of Mario’s resentencing, Judge Lawrence Talon, before handing down the new sentence, began by saying, “Mr. Smith has taken every opportunity to become a better man while in prison. When he is released, he is going to be a great asset to our community.” These are some very powerful words, as they express a judge’s belief in a redeemed man, who stood before him as a once condemned man with little to no hope of ever getting out of prison alive.

A  letter dated February 7, 2019 from Judge Talon addressed to Mario reads in part…”Congratulations on your acceptance into the Dog Program at the Gus Harrison Corrections Facility where you inform me that you will be training service dogs for the disabled. It is very good to hear that you will be continuing to apply yourself in a positive manner and that you recognize all the good in your life and you are thankful for a new start. Applying yourself to help others is something to be very proud of.”

In his allocution statement to the court, Mario stated, “I am ashamed and embarrassed because of the hurt and pain I caused so many people.”

During an interview with this writer, Mario shared and expressed how emotionally overwhelmed he became at the October 24th resentencing. He told me while we sat at a table eating lunch in the prison’s cafeteria (food service building) how most everyone in the courtroom were crying that day, his family members, Tarijuana’s family members, court personnel, and spectators.

I asked him to share with me exactly how he felt the moment Judge Talon resentenced him to a term-of-years, which meant he now had a second chance to get out of prison. Mario looked directly at me, with a noticeable sincerity, and said, “All I could really think about at that very moment was Tatijuana and the Neal family, how I caused them so much pain.”

Sarita Neal, mother of victim in Smith’s case.

I must admit, I weren’t really expecting his response to my question to be so heart felt, but I learned that for even those of us who do the worst things possible, still there is hope for everyone. Sarita Neal, the mother of Tatijuana has since forgiven Mario for causing the death of her daughter. She has written him several letters and is on his approved visitors list. Sharon Neal, the grandmother of Tatijuana still struggles with forgiveness for Mario’s actions, but she has written him several letters and has visited him on different occasions during the course of his incarceration.

Mario’s court papers that were utilized in assessing what sentence he would be given, included a report from Dr. Daniel P. Keating, PhD from the University of Michigan, breaking down the impact of Early Trauma on Adolescent Brain Development and Risk Behavior, as it relates to typical juveniles. Also, Mario’s COMPAS score is indicative of someone who poses no risk to public safety. The COMPAS, which is the MDOC’s own risk assessment instrument, and mechanism, shows Mario having a low risk of violence, and a low risk for recidivism.

The strong support system he has in place, the employment opportunity, suitable home placement, with a constructive and positive setting, are all indicators that Mario would undoubtedly become, as Judge Lawrence Talon is on record stating, “When he is released, he is going to be great asset to our community.”

Asst. Wayne County Prosecutor Thomas Dawson, entered into an agreement of a term-of-years sentence to be given to Mario. I don’t necessarily believe he’s actually opposed to Mario getting out of prison, but perhaps playing his position as a representative of the people. I wonder what he thinks about fairness in the application of law, meaning, does he believe all juveniles should be given ‘disciplinary credits’ after being resentenced?

AP Tom Dawson and defense atty. Sanford Schulman March 8, 2019, in 43rd hearing on juvenile lifer re-sentencing of Charles K.K. Lewis.

In another recent letter that Mario wrote to Sen. Peter Lucido, and cc’d it to the ACLU of Michigan, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, he addressed the issue of Michigan Juveniles under MCL 769.25a, who were convicted and sentenced post December 15, 2000, and that they have an 8th Amendment and Jurisdictional violation that wasn’t argued on their behalf. Under MCL 769.25a, it states, “Juveniles will not earn any good time, or disciplinary credits.” Therefore, seemingly subjecting those juveniles to the Jurisdiction of TRUTH-IN-SENTENCING.

Nowhere in the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines Manual (which is the lynchpin for TIS and triggers TIS for the violation of particular felonies) does it include juveniles convicted of First Degree Murder or Felony Murder and sentenced to a term-of-years pursuant to MCL 769.25a, subjecting them to the JURISDICTION of disciplinary time/TIS. At the time of the offenses, there was no Sentencing Guidelines Manual for 1st Degree Murder pertaining to juveniles, but rather a default sentence of Life Without Parole.

Absent the Life Sentence, the Constitutional remedy is for the Michigan Legislature to create a Sentencing Guidelines Manual consistent with the Miller factors. Just amending the current Sentencing Guidelines Statute of 1998-2000, adding juveniles convicted of 1st Degree Murder under TIS is still unconstitutional because it violates one of the Miller factors where it requires the State provide, Realistic and Meaningful Opportunity for Release After Demonstration of Maturation and Rehabilitation.

Truth-In-Sentencing is 100% punitive, and would require a Juvenile to serve 100-125% of his/her Long Indeterminate Sentence, Regardless of Maturation and Rehabilitation. At the very least, the Michigan Legislature could consider Michigan Juveniles convicted and sentenced post December 15, 2000, the possible privilege of a realistic and meaningful chance to earn their way back into society.

And, since First Degree Murder, MCL 769.25a, or any Time Earned Credits for Juveniles were never banned by Proposal B, Sentencing Guidelines Offenses, or TIS, this gives the Legislature a gateway to put in place any kind of credits a Juvenile could earn off his/her Long Indeterminate Sentence, which also could be a part of the First Step Act, in Criminal Justice Reform, should Michigan be among the first States to follow suit with the Senate and House overwhelmingly passing this historic and landmark Bill.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith

It should be noted that not one Juvenile that has earned good time, or disciplinary credits Pre-TIS has reoffended since being released. Additionally, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith has ruled that juvenile lifers who are re-sentenced are eligible to receive good time and/or disciplinary credits earned since the first day of their unconstitutional sentence. That means that some would be eligible to see the parole board when they are resentenced. Others will see the board sooner than they would have. The ruling was in response to a state statute passed in 2014, MCL 769.25a(6), which said that resentenced Juvenile Lifers would not be allowed to use their credits, despite the fact that ALL other prisoners are allowed to do so.

Goldsmith ruled that the statute violates the ban on ex post facto laws. The judge denied the State’s request for a 14-day stay to allow it to pursue an appeal. In another decision, Goldsmith certified the state’s 363 juvenile lifers as a class for legal purposes. The state had argued that 247 of the lifers should not be included, because county prosecutors have recommended they be resentenced to life without parole. The judge appointed attorney Deborah LaBelle as class representative. Pending further discovery, the judge delayed a ruling on the restoration of rehabilitative programming for juvenile lifers, as reported by Diane Bukowski, Voice of Detroit, April 10, 2018.

Writer’s final note: Both Mario & Ricardo agree that “A date should not make a difference between Equal Justice for All.” And, there’s an inscription atop the Highest Court in the land, which reads, “Equal Justice Under Law.” The same Court that handed down the landmark Miller v. Alabama decision in June 2012.




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 (Note: the story on the Aiyana Jones settlement falsely says that police had a warrant for her father Charles Jones. The warrant was for Chauncey Owens, her aunt’s fiancé, who did not live in the Jones household.)

Kellom lawsuit continues in front of Judge Sean Cox April 16, 2019 at 2 p.m.

A day before stunning revelations about deaths of Terrance Kellom, Aiyana Jones, Chief Craig tries to blame lying cops for “letting criminals go free” 

Will the real criminals Craig, Pros. Kym Worthy, and killer cops go to prison instead?

By Diane Bukowski


April 9, 2019

DETROIT —  Will Detroit killer cops now be sent to prison?  What about lying cops, who Chief James Craig said he will fire in a newscast April 3, only to be confronted in the following days with lies told by cops in the slaughters of Terrance Kellom, 19, and Aiyana Jones, 7?  Will Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Chief Craig, and former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade face charges of collusion and obstruction of justice in the cases of  Kellom, Jones, and many more? 

Terrance Kellom: Officer says in sworn deposition that 19-yr.-old father was executed by Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team (D-FAT)

In a stunning deposition announced April 8 by attorney Nabih Ayad, Detroit police officer Darrell Fitzgerald swore under oath that the version he and 0ther police gave of the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Task Force (D-FAT)’s slaughter of Terrance Kellom 19, on April 25, 2015, was a complete falsehood. 

Attorney Nabih Ayad with Kevin Kellom and Terrance’s son. ““His son asks me all the time where is my daddy? Is my daddy coming home?” said Kellom. Photo: Michigan Radio

He corroborated the statements of Kellom’s father Kevin Kellom and family eyewitnesses that Terrance was brought downstairs, unhandcuffed, by two Detroit police officers, then knelt on the ground in the hallway to the family’s living room, surrendering.

He denied Kellom previously had jumped through a hole in a second floor bedroom closet onto the first floor and emerged,  threatening cops with a hammer. He said the Task Force, specifically I.C.E. agent Mitchell Quinn, executed the young father as his family watched.

He also said that forensics and autopsy reports showed that more than one cop killed Kellom, since different types of bullets penetrated his body from different directions, including from the back.

“The witnessing officer changed his story and made clear that there was no hammer in Terrance Kellom’s hand and that he never saw a hammer at the scene of the house that day,” Atty. Ayad said during a press conference held on the steps of the U.S. Federal Courthouse April 8.

“They assassinated my son,” Kevin Kellom told an angry rally of hundreds, largely youth, near their home on Evergreen in Detroit April 26, 2015.“They [police] closed the [front] door, then they brought my son down the stairs, and they shot him in the chest. They executed my son in my face.”

Fizgerald was the lead Detroit police officer in a joint task force that included I.C.E. agent Mitchell Quinn, earlier fired from the Detroit police force over assaultive behavior, and cops from various suburbs.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy at 2015 press conference announcing no charges in Kellom death.

Despite having seen the father and son returning home from the store on the street, when the D-FAT could easily have arrested him, they instead invaded the home without a search warrant and slaughtered Kellom.

Pros. Kym Worthy sealed Kellom’s autopsy report and waited for months until she finally announced no charges would be filed against Quinn or the rest of the team.

She admitted no fingerprints had been found on the hammer Terrance Kellom allegely brandished, and that there was evidence that at least one bullet had penetrated Kellom in the back.

Below, Kevin Kellom tells what he and his family witnessed during the slaughter of their son Terrance on Aug. 

Aiyana Jones settlement

On April 4, Attorney Geoffrey Fieger announced that the City of Detroit had agreed to an $8.2 million settlement in the 2010 slaughter of Aiyana Jones, 7, by another joint task force incuding Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley during a military-style assault on her grandmother Mertilla Jones’ home.  Attorney Geoffrey Fieger said the family would not comment, but a family friend’s Facebook comment on grandmother Mertilla Jones’ page said it all: “No amount is enough, them bitches need to fry.”  

Aiyana Jones, 7, dad Charles Jones during happy times that ended with police bullets and lies.

Worthy and Assistant Prosecutor David Moran, along with trial Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, colluded in two trials of Detroit officer Joseph Weekley, part of a Detroit “Special Response” task force that forcibly entered the home of Aiyana Jones, 7, on May 16, 2010 and shot the little girl to death with an MP-5 submachine gun, on Detroit’s impoverished east side.

Weekley contended that Mertilla Jones had confronted him and shoved his gun, causing it to fire accidentally. Evidence produced at two trials against Weekley showed that could not have happened.

Meanwhile Aiyana’s dad Charles Jones was sentenced to 40-60 years in prison largely on the false testimony of jail-house snitches who claimed he supplied the gun to Chauncey Owens to kill Je’Rean Blake “48 Hours” before the slaughter at Aiyana’s home. In a police video shown at Owens’ trial, Owens denied any involvement by Aiyana’s father, and named another man entirely.

The anguish this family has experienced in the years since the brutal slaughter of their little angel Aiyana goes far beyond that one incident. Above, Mertilla Jones recounted the horrific events of that night. Her version was largely corroborated by a medical examiner who testified at Weekley’s trial that the gunshot that killed Aiyana showed no stippling, but that that did not mean Weekley was firing from a distance.

He said there is also no stippling in a contact gunshot wound, which Ms. Jones described during this court session. She was widely reviled in the mainstream media for that comment as well as a comment that police “came to kill” her family.

What more could be surmised from the fact that an A&E “48 Hours” production crew worked closely with Detroit police in planning the entire raid to satisfy public blood lust, when in fact the cops could have arrested Chauncey Owens, the target of the raid, several times when they saw him walking the streets as they surveilled the house?

Craig: lying cops will be fired???

Police Chief James Craig said in a widely announced interview on WXYZ Channel 7 on April 3, just days before the Kellom and Jones announcements, that that he would “fire” Detroit police officers caught lying, because their previous lies prevented them from testifying against “criminals” who then walked free. The broadcast targeted two women officers charged with lying about domestic incidents, instead of the many cops who have been shown to lie in order to send “criminals” to prison for decades.


What about Olie McMillian, who had evidence from 16 cases in his home?

Earlier, Chris Graveline, Director of Professional Standards and Constitutional Policing, described what criminal case files and evidence were found in the home of retired Detroit Police Sgt. Olie McMillian during his eviction Feb. 7. Graveline spoke during a Feb. 14 community meeting of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, but did not provide names of the defendants or  case numbers. He reported that materials police officials took out of a dumpster and the residence included:

  • Portions of case files and evidence relating to 16 criminal cases from 1997 to approximately 2008, when McMillian worked in the DPD homicide division.
  • Physical evidence including clothing, cell phones, and a handgun.

Deputy Police Chief Todd Bettison says no wrong has been done during term of Chief Craig.

He said the DPD is sorting through the files and evidence to determine whether the cases are still open or closed, or have gone to trial, among other matters, then will turn them over to the Wayne County Prosecutor. That was Feb. 14, but nothing has been heard nearly two months later from the offices of Chief Craig or Kym Worthy regarding whether charges of concealing evidence will be brought against McMillian.  Even more important, nothing has been revealed about the names of the 16 defendants, whether they are in prison, and whether the evidence concealed in McMillian’s home affected the outcome of their trials.

Strangely, Deputy Chief Todd Bettison commented that no such instances of concealed or otherwise corrupted evidence have occurred since Chief Craig’s appointment by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in 2013. 

Robocop Melendez, who beat Floyd Dent, earlier framed son of Coalition V. Police Brutality member and dozens of others, killed two

“Robocop” William Melendez was recently in the news for nearly beating Detroit auto worker Floyd Dent to death last hear. But previously he had a long tenure with the Detroit Police Department, during which he murdered one man. In 2000, he was allowed to testify in the 2000 trial of the young son of a Coalition v. Detroit Police Brutality activist, accused of armed robbery. Melendez claimed the young man had a gun, which was never found. His attorney filed a post-conviction motion for relief after discovering Melendez had been convicted of filing a false police report.

Retired Police Officer Reginald Crawford

Ironically, the trial was held in front of then Judge Kym Worthy. Worthy denied the motion. Reggie Crawford, featured in the video at top condemning lying cops, campaigned on behalf of Melendez for the young man’s conviction. He also claimed that Lamar Grable had a gun when he was shot to death 8 times in the back and chest by three-time killer cop Eugene Brown.

The jury in a civil trial against Brown vehemently disagreed, awarding $4 million to the Grable family for Lamar’s murder. The city appealed and lost in the state Supreme Court, increasing the amount to $6 million with interest.

The 10-yr. battle by Arnetta Grable and Lamar’s father Herman Vallery was finally victorious, but took its toll. Ms. Grable passed at the age of 69 in 2017, and Mr. Vallery passed a year later. Cornell Squires, whose son was framed by Melendez, passed at the age of 57 in 2016.

(L to r) Members of Original Detroit Coalition Vs. Police Brutality attended rally for Terrance Kellom April 28, 2015. Shown outside the family’s home are (l to r) Arnetta Grable, Jr. Butch Carrington, Arnetta Grable Sr., Herman Vallery and Cornell Squires.

Related stories:

Related stories on Terrance Kellom:  (One of dozens of stories on the death of Aiyana Jones published in Voice of Detroit, which covered all three of Weekley’s trials as well as the trials of Aiyana’s father Charles Jones and Uncle Chauncey Owens. Put “Aiyana” in search engine to find stories.)

Stories below detail many of known killings by Detroit police during Kym Worthy’s tenure as Wayne County Prosecutor, since Jan. 6, 2004.

#BlackLivesMatter, #BlackLivesMatterDetroit, #TerranceKellom, #SavageTee, #NBTF, #Fuck12, #LamarGrable, #AiyanaJones, #PoliceState, #PrisonNation, #BeatBacktheBullies, #ODCAP

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‘Truth was the real take-away from Mueller’: RT America’s Sanchez tackles Russiagate (VIDEO)

So many countries meddle in US affairs – and the US meddles right back. Why did Russia become the exclusive boogieman; the bête noire of the US media’s road to nowhere? RT America host Rick Sanchez explains how Russophobia drives the biggest, most powerful industry in the world: US weapons. 

Rick Sanchez has broken down the true lessons of the Robert Mueller probe and Russiagate, revealing why he believes Russia was pegged as the US’s “exclusive boogieman.”  

U.S. Pres. Trump, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, US Special AG Robert Mueller

On Thursday’s edition of ‘The News with Rick Sanchez’, the show’s host gave his unfiltered response to the Mueller report that aimed to finally put an end to the two-and-a-half-year-long anti-Russian hysteria in US politics and the mainstream media. 

Sanchez claimed “truth was the real take-away” from the report, given that there was no evidence of Russian collusion and despite this lack of evidence, so many MSM journalists readily participated in Russiagate, leaving real stories untold in their pursuit of this “trail to nowhere.”

 Instead, Sanchez explained that the demonization of Russia” is used to drive the “most powerful industry in the history of the world – US weapons.

 Using a complicit media, the arms industry rakes in billions and billions of dollars simply convincing us and other countries all over the world that they need protection from Russia,” said Sanchez. “Whether Russia really poses a threat or not doesn’t really matter.”

U.S. missile strikes Libya as part of joint invasion with NATO.


The dysfunction in American politics has reached the bizarre stage where there is visible anger that President Donald Trump didn’t collude with Russia to take the office.

Russiagate has been a fixture in the news for two years, where the media sold a story that it wasn’t a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ Special Counsel Robert Mueller would find evidence to prove that Trump was Moscow’s man in the White House. Unfortunately, Mueller wasn’t playing ball and – having taken the unprecedented approach of considering facts and not wishful thinking – he concluded that there was no evidence of collusion to be found. So ICYMI looks at how America is dealing with the fact that Trump may have been elected because people thought he was the best option. Like what you see? Please subscribe:


April 3, 2019

Mueller may have had his day, but the specter of Russian meddling still hangs over Washington. A bill newly introduced in the Senate promises to slap harsh sanctions on Russia should future election interference be discovered.

The ‘Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines’ (DETER) Act is the latest attempt by US lawmakers to squeeze Russia for a range of perceived election-related offenses. Introduced on Wednesday by Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida), it would require the Director of National Intelligence to determine within 30 days after every federal election whether Russia or any foreign government attempted to interfere.

If the DNI were to find such interference, it would require sanctions to be imposed on a list of Russian banks and energy companies. It would also prohibit US citizens from engaging in business with any entity owned by the Russian government, and freeze the assets of Russian political and business leaders targeted for sanction in the US.

Chris Van Hollen and Marco Rubio

The bill’s text, seen by Reuters, appears to be a carbon copy of a bill introduced by Van Hollen and Rubio in January 2018. That iteration of the DETER Act never made it past introduction, and has languished in Congressional limbo ever since.

While the bill pays lip service to targeting election interference from China, Iran, North Korea, and other foreign governments of concern,” its main focus is undoubtedly Russia.

Whatever form any potential interference takes, six Russian banks would be immediately blacklisted: Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank, Bank of Moscow and Rosselkhozbank. Ditto for Russia’s energy sector: the act requires “two or more” of Russian energy firms Gazprom, Rosneft, and Lukoil to be sanctioned if interference is discovered.

 Establishing what exactly constitutes ‘Russian interference’ is left up to the US intelligence agencies, reporting to the DNI.

Although the oft-repeated line is that “17 US intelligence agencies” found evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, only three of these agencies claimed to have noticed any foul play: the CIA, FBI and NSA. The DNI’s report, published in January 2017, was nevertheless characterized in the media as representing all 17 agencies.

After last year’s midterm elections, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a report concluding that “Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns,” but were unsuccessful in influencing the vote. Coats’ report did not provide details of these “messaging campaigns.”

Sanctions are a favorite tool in the US diplomatic arsenal, but their effectiveness has been questioned. Russia has one of the world’s lowest debt to GDP ratios (somewhere around 13 percent), and has for years been selling off US bonds and stockpiling gold. In his state of the nation speech in February, Putin declared that Russia now has enough cash in its reserves to cover all of its external debt.

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March 29, 2019

A new alarming report claims American Christian conservative groups funneled millions to fund “shocking” meddling in European politics. Seems like a big scoop, or just a ploy to sway European Parliament elections?

The report released by the UK-based political website openDemocracy this week spares no black paint to produce a picture of gross interference in European affairs. The perpetrators are conservative Christian charities, which, the records show, pumped at least $50 million into European countries.

U.S. Pres. Trump and right-wing evangelist Franklin Graham

All the right names that can scare a left-leaning reader are duly mentioned. Donald Trump? Check. Vladimir Putin? Check. Steve Bannon? Check, three times. Also listed are billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, the DeVos family, including Blackwater founder Erik Prince, and the evangelical preacher Franklin Graham – who notably travelled to Russia earlier this month, the report stressed for some arcane reason.

Of course the US public records over the past decade, which openDemocracy used as the source for the figure, don’t identify the recipients. But the readers may well assume that they had the most nefarious goals in mind.

“The scale of this meddling by US extremists is shocking, but sadly no surprise to us. Every day European societies face concerted attacks by outside forces seeking to impose reproductive coercion,” commented Caroline Hickson, regional director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s European Network. “This is utterly at odds with the European values of democracy and human rights.”

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session at the European Parliament on March 14, 2018 in Strasbourg, eastern France. / FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

The authors make no secret that they compiled their work ahead of the European Parliament elections, which will be held throughout EU member states in late May. Right-wing and Eurosceptic parties are widely expected to score big wins at the ballot. Some 40 incumbent MEPs penned a letter calling for action to investigate “US Christian fundamentalists” and their influence on Europe.

The report seems to be an exercise in scaremongering, painting private donations made by a conservative foundation as something untoward, John Laughland, British conservative author and historian, told RT.

“Some of the organizations that they mention I personally know. This is just ridiculous. There are MEPs and European political parties that receive money from American sources, including liberals,” he said.

The notion of ‘dark money’ being used to ‘interfere’ in European affairs has been around in some political circles for quite some time. The only difference with this report is that the parties accused of interfering are private charities rather than a foreign nation like Russia, the most popular target for such accusations in the past few years.

Perceiving ‘dark money’ behind political opponents is a kind of conspiratorial thinking that some people in the left-wing camp demonstrate, Laughland added. “They think that any kind of movement or current of ideas that is not their current of ideas is either because people are stupid or because they are paid,” he said.

The complaints about “Russian election interference” made by the EU and the US, which have a long record of their own meddling in foreign nations, looks like a vivid example of pot calling kettle black, he said. The left complaining about the right receiving foreign money while receiving foreign money themselves would look similarly hypocritical.

British Journalist Neil Clark, pointed out that while $50 million may seem like a large sum of money even spent over ten years, it dwarfs compared to the billions and billions floating around in European politics. A significant portion of that money goes to liberal causes funded by wealthy sponsors like Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, the best-known person of that ilk.

The impact that his Open Society Foundations made on Europe, especially in the eastern part during post-Soviet transition, is undeniable. Incidentally, the foundation is one of the primary sponsors of openDemocracy itself, alongside US-based groups like National Endowment for Democracy, and the Ford Foundation.

Clark warned against piling up a dozen Christian conservative groups into one vaguely neo-Nazi-shaped boogeyman, which is what the report seems to have done. More so, if the goal was to turn it into a campaigning point for the May elections.

“The issue that the left should be fighting on is economic. Employment, rising poverty in Europe, austerity – these are the issues they should be focusing on, and not culture wars,” he told RT. “And this report to me seems as if it wants to encourage culture wars… Basically, Steve Bannon versus George Soros.”

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Does Judge Qiana Lillard fear more Court of Appeals opinions chastising her for her rulings?

Lillard ignores U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCoy v. Louisiana that the defendant has rights under the Constitution, while atty. is only the assistant

Defense atty. Schulman ignored Lewis’ on-the-record pleading  to appeal judge’s certification of “facsimile” file in place of 23 years of lost court records, deleted Register of Actions

Charles K.K. Lewis on courtroom video March 8, 2019.

Schulman: “You have to have a file to have a mitigation hearing;” a mitigation hearing is also needed to sentence juvenile lifer to LWOP

Lewis–“I’m actually innocent, so I have a very unique situation. You refused to acknowledge the actual innocence motion (Schulman)  filed for me so that means that you’re not going to deal with it in mitigation. That means we have to open the door for the little kids coming behind me who didn’t have nothing to do with it so they can raise that issue as well.”

By Diane Bukowski

March 26, 2019

DETROIT-– “I believe this Court and both attorneys are trying to trap me here to stop my access to higher courts that will overturn this court’s rulings,” says Charles K.K. Lewis regarding his upcoming hearing Friday, March 29 at 10 a.m. in front of Judge Qiana Lillard.

He adds however, “I have to remember in spite of how bad I may think that things are for me that they are better for me than they are for Jabo, Gray-Bey and a host of brothers here serving life that will never get out of prison. So, I’m thankful to even be in the fight for my freedom.”

This hearing will be the FORTY-THIRD in Lewis’ juvenile lifer re-sentencing, which began three years ago on March 2, 2016. The early hearings were spent taking repeated, duplicative testimony from court officers that Lewis’ official court records along with his Register of Actions were LOST LOST LOST, and had been since sometime after 2012. 

Lewis cited legal precedents indicating his case should be dismissed as a result, but Lillard ordered the defense, prosecution and Clerk’s office to share their records to recreate a file.

Lewis objected loudly that turning his records over to the prosecution violated attorney-client privilege as well as a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that a criminal record cannot be reconstructed.

Repeated hearings were then held with various defense attorneys, including one Lewis paid specifically to argue for dismissal of his case because of the lost files. 

“In my decades in Michigan’s prisons, I have never ever seen a post-conviction hearing go on this long,” commented Ricardo Ferrell, who also writes for the Voice of Detroit. 

Above is video of oral arguments on Harold Walker case in front of the Michigan Supreme Court, with SADO defense attorney Adrienne Young representing Walker. Justices Bridget McCormack, Richard Bernstein, and David Viviano expressed shock at Judge Lillard’s conduct during Walker trial. One Justice suggested referral to the Judicial Tenure Commision.

On May 8, defense attorney Sanford Schulman and Judge Lillard barreled ahead with preparations for a mitigation hearing despite the lost records. At the request of AP Tom Dawson, Lillard had certified what she termed a “facsimile” record. Lewis entered his request on the court record asking to Schulman to appeal the certification, but Schulman and the court ignored his request. Lewis says however that his filing made a record for the Court of Appeals, as did five other motions Schulman filed which were summarily denied by Lillard

AP Tom Dawson and defense atty. Sanford Schulman March 8, 2019.

“You have to have a file to have a mitigation hearing,” Schulman told VOD outside the courtroom. He neglected to say that a mitigation hearing is also required to re-sentence a juvenile lifer to life without parole. Without it, a term of years or dismissal are the only other options.

Judge Lillard said that her order of Nov. 11, 2016 did not actually deny Lewis a term of years sentence or dismissal of his case, one reason he has cited for not believing she will re-sentence him to anything other than LWOP. She called it a “captioning” issue. For full clarification, read the actual order at

Judge Lillard told Schulman March 8, “You’re representing a client and he has the interest but you’re still the lawyer;  and I know that Mr. Lewis says he’s been practicing law for over 40 years, and to some extent he has been because he had to fight for himself, but the reality is that he lacks the formal training and he lacks the expertise that you have.”

In fact, Lewis earned a paralegal certificate during his tenure in the MDOC, as well as an associate’s degree in general studies, and has taken numerous other courses. He worked as clerk in several law libraries where he researched not only his case but those of other prisoners. He began studying law as a 17-year-old falsely convicted of the murder of an off-duty police officer.

Robert McCoy

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“I figured the law got me in here, so I would have to study it to get out,” Lewis says.

The U.S. Supreme Court contradicted Lillard’s assessment in McCoy v. Louisiana (2018), when it overturned a death sentence handed out to Robert McCoy because his trial attorney, against McCoy’s vigorous demands,  pled him guilty hoping to avoid the death penalty. The jury handed out the death penalty anyway.

U.S. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote, “The Sixth Amendment guarantees to each criminal defendant “the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. . . . The choice is not all or nothing: To gain assistance, a defendant need not surrender control entirely to counsel. For the Sixth Amendment, in “grant[ing] to the accused personally the right to make his defense,” “speaks of the ‘assistance’ of counsel, and an assistant, however expert, is still an assistant. . . 

“Trial management is the lawyer’s province: Counsel provides his or her assistance by making deci­sions such as ‘what arguments to pursue, what eviden­tiary objections to raise, and what agreements to conclude regarding the admission of evidence.’ Gonzalez v. United States, 553 U. S. 242, 248 (2008). Some decisions, however, are reserved for the client—notably, whether to plead guilty, waive the right to a jury trial, testify in one’s own behalf, and forgo an appeal.”

The address given for Insights Mitigation is this home at 12327 E. Warren, MI. (Google photo)

During the May 8 hearing, Schulman argued that he had spent a great deal of time hiring two experts for Lewis’ mitigation hearing. 

The first, Gayl Amalfitano (whose name Schulman could not pronounce properly) in fact presented a highly questionable resume in which she claimed she obtained a degree in criminal justice from Macomb Community College. That institution  currently lists only nine hours of criminal justice classes and awards only associates’ certificates, but not in criminal justice. 

Amalfitano’s resume says she has worked for owner-operated Insights Mitigation at 12327 E. Eleven Mile Rd. in Warren since 2017. The company is not registered on the state’s business entity listing in the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Previously, she says she worked for The Insights Group at the same address. An Insights Group is registered with LARA, but it’s location is listed in Brighton, MI with a resident agent named Sandra Maki.

She lists dozens of death penalty and juvenile lifer cases she claims to have worked on, only by name and case number, with no particulars regarding what she did. See her resume at

Compare it to the sample resume included in Michigan Justice Institute benchbook on juvenile lifer mitigation hearings at Kolinchak was originally hired by Schulman to handle Lewis’ case. Schulman refused to hire another expert Lewis found who had handled mitigation hearings in situations where the defendants claimed innocence.

Rev. Aaron McCarthy, Pres. Detroit SCLC/Linked In photo

Amalfitano told Schulman she had interviewed Lewis’ alibi witnesses when she worked at Sunshine Investigations. Her name does not appear on any of the agency’s reports. But its last report, on an interview with band member Aaron McCarthy is a telling affirmation of Lewis’ alibi that he was performing with the “Pure Pleasure” band at a hall during the night the off-duty police officer was killed. His trial attorney never contacted any of the band members. See report at

The second expert, a polygraph examiner, is J. Paul Carey of J. Paul Carey Consulting in Utica, MI. Carey was a career detective with the Sterling Heights Police Department and heads the Michigan Association of Polygraph Examiners, whose members include many current and former police officers from cities in Southeast Michigan.

Is this expert a good unbiased pick to examine a man convicted of the murder of a Detroit Police Officer? Schulman told VOD that a polygraph examiner would be the first expert hired for Lewis’ mitigation hearing. Nothing in the literature on juvenile lifer mitigation hearings suggests using polygraph examiners.

Related documents:

Court of Appeals dissenting opinion in Harold Lamont Walker case, pending Michigan Supreme Court review.

Court of Appeals opinion castigating Judge Lillard for racial anti-immigrant comments in Christobal DeLeon case:

Court of Appeals opinion in Floyd Pennington case:

Court of Appeals opinion in Derek James Smith case:


Related stories:





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DPD reports it is “investigating” portions of 16 criminal case files including physical evidence found in the home of retired Sgt. Olie Millian, Jr. Feb. 7

 Says it is also investigating other cases from 1997 to 2008; nothing said about other decades of missing files, including juvenile lifers 

DBOPC called for a meeting to decide discipline of officers re:  Snapchat video of young Black woman ticketed, evicted from car in freezing temp

 Snapchat officer Steele later fired, implicated in racial animosity in 6th Pct.

By Diane Bukowski 

March 22, 2019 

Olie McMillian Jr. as shown in YouTube PAL video.

DETROIT – The Voice of Detroit has filed a Freedom of Information Act request related to the discovery of official Detroit police homicide files and evidence in the home of retired DPD Detective Olie McMillian, Jr. on Feb. 7. The items were discovered by individuals hired by the landlord to clean out the place, during an eviction proceeding.

VOD is asking for “a detailed list of each case involved, with copies of all files and their contents including case numbers and defendants’ names, and photographs of all physical evidence discovered.”  For full request, see

Chris Graveline, Director of Professional Standards and Constitutional Policing, described what was found during a Feb. 14 community meeting of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. He did not provide names of the defendants or  case numbers. He reported that materials police officials took out of a dumpster and the residence included:

  • Portions of case files and evidence relating to 16 criminal cases from 1997 to approximately 2008, when McMillian worked in the DPD homicide division.
  • Physical evidence including clothing, cell phones, and a handgun.

He said the DPD is sorting through the files and evidence to determine whether the cases are still open or closed, or have gone to trial, among other matters, then will turn them over to the Wayne County Prosecutor.

Atty. David A. Robinson

“I fail to reconcile first of all why department evidence related to a crime would be in the personal possession of any officer,” Atty. David A. Robinson told VOD earlier. “That breaks the chain of custody and compromises the case of whoever is being investigated. You have to question the officer’s motive. It goes beyond sloppiness since officers certainly are trained in the significance of the integrity of evidence. And it begs the question of motive. There have been many cases where Brady violations have occurred where officers have hidden evidence in favor of a suspect’s claim of innocence.”

Robinson said if VOD’s FOIA request is denied, he will pursue a lawsuit in court.

During the Feb. 14 meeting, District 7 Police Commissioner William Davis asked, “As it relates to officers in the past having access and taking custody of evidence, is there an investigation to make sure there’s not lots of other evidence out there that could adversely affect our citizens?”

Deputy Police Chief  Todd Bettison responded, “We have procedures in place right now that Chief [James] Craig started that it’s a checklist that before a member retires, we get to find out what [cases] he’s on, they have to turn that evidence in.

William Davis, 7th District Detroit Police Commissioner

“It’s not about taking [it] home period or anything like that—that’s completely a violation of department policy,” Bettison continued.  “In regards to every possible thing that could have happened in the past, because we’re not aware of this, we are looking at it. Since Chief [James] Craig has been there, we are confident that it hasn’t happened. With this being a new development, we’re going to look at all avenues to make sure that there weren’t any other members during that time that participated in that crisis.”

Former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr appointed Craig to that position July 1, 2013, while the city was under “emergency management” by the State of Michigan. Craig previously spent 28 years with the Los Angeles PD and served on an internal panel that whitewashed crimes committed by LAPD cops in the “Ramparts” Precinct.

Deputy Chief Bettison’s version of the investigation leaves out any cases other than those from 1997 to 2008. It is now more than 11 years afterwards, not to mention the years prior to 1997, during which many defendants have been serving decades in the MDOC.

Numerous Michigan Department of Corrections prisoners are asking about their own case files in the wake of this news. Private investigator Scott Lewis earlier told VOD that he estimates at least 30 percent of Michigan prisoners are innocent.

The late Atty. Sarah E. Hunter, who passed in 2017.

Exposes of hidden evidence and missing criminal case files have come to light periodically, most notably in the “miscellaneous files” travesty of 1996. Atty. Sarah E. Hunter exposed police practices of keeping  files, records and evidence favoring the defendant hidden from both prosecution and defense. Hunter, a long-time advocate for prisoners, died in 2017.

Read her stunning affidavit at

As Michigan juvenile lifers face extremely tardy re-sentencings pursuant to two U.S. Supreme Court rulings in 2012 and 2016, many attorneys have told VOD that they have discovered that at least portions of court files and other records required for mitigation hearings are missing. Many of these juvenile lifers have spent decades in prison

For example. Charles Lewis, now 59, who has been incarcerated since 1977, has heard three years of testimony by Wayne County Clerk’s office representatives that five boxes of physical files in his case went missing sometime before his case started re-sentencing hearings in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard in 2016. Additionally, entries on his Register of Actions, the official record of the case, are completely missing from 1997 to 2000.

Charles K.K. Lamont Lewis

According to U.S. and Michigan Supreme Court precedents, Lewis’ case should have been promptly dismissed. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard heard testimony about the loss of the files in 2016, but has insisted on holding a mitigation hearing without actual records of jury convictions in his case. 

She claimed an April 3, 2000 order in which former Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Gershwin Drain dismissed the case and conviction, which was discovered lost in another file, was forged by Lewis. No proof of such a forgery or charges were ever brought.

Lewis gave a detailed statement in court regarding the discovery of the document by court clerk personnel, the case was not further investigated. Instead, all Lewis’ physical case files from 1977 through 1999 went missing, and his Register of Actions for the same period was wiped out.

In 2007, this writer and the now defunct Michigan Citizen won a ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court in the case of Diane Bukowski v. The City of Detroit, which forced the Detroit Police Department to disclose the factual findings in the Shoulders Report, an internal investigation into the killings of three individuals and shootings of six others by Detroit police officer Eugene Brown, in separate incidents over five years. The DPD had repeatedly refused to do so.

The case of Eugene Brown roused hundreds of people in the City of Detroit to protest against police brutality and killings for many years afterwards, beginning in 2000, with the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality in the forefront. Also killed by Detroit police in 2000 without cause were a deaf man with a rack, who could not hear officers’ orders to put the rake down, and an autoworker firing at a dangerous dog from his front porch.

Killer cop Eugene Brown in 2011

The high court remanded the Brown case back to the trial court of Judge Wendy Baxter for an opinion consistent with their ruling. Baxter released the Report, with some redactions. It rrecommended among other matters that Brown should have been charged and/or disciplined in those cases. See MSC ruling at

The MSC wrote, “It is the public policy of this state that all persons, except those persons incarcerated in state or local correctional facilities, are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees, consistent with this act.  The people shall be informed so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.”

Family members of people murdered by Eugene Brown, as well as his injured victims, gathered outside Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office to demand that Brown be charged after his civil trial and release of the “Shoulders Report.” Worthy refused. 

The families and friends of Brown’s victims, including the late Arnetta Grable, Herman Vallery, Cornell Squires, and others massed outside the Frank Murphy Hall as Grable and others went to the office of Prosecutor Kym Worthy to demand action against Brown on murder charges, which have no statute of limitations. They were told Worthy had always had this report and had no plans to act on it.

Brown was instead promoted to Sergeant and continued working in the Detroit Police Department until his retirement.


In 2016, Chief Craig told CNN, “In my tenure . . .rarely do you hear [an] outcry if it’s a black officer that’s involved in a shooting and the suspect is black. It’s always the reverse.”

He said later, “I made the statement (on CNN) because it’s true from a national perspective. In Detroit, we’ve had police-involved shootings by both black and white officers and there’s been no outcry.

That’s because we have a strong relationship with our citizens. . . . Eugene Brown predates me, and I can’t speak to that.”

March on April 28, 2015 for Terrance Kellom, 19, killed by police April 19. Uprisings in Baltimore against the police murder of Freddie Gray were taking place at same time.

In fact, during Craig’s tenure, police murders of young father Terrance Kellom, 18, on April 19, 2015 and Kevin Matthews, 35, who was autistic, occasioned mass marches in Detroit and Dearborn. 

TERRANCE KELLOM, 18 and a young father expecting his second child, was shot multiple times and killed after a seven-member multi-jurisdictional, multi-racial Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Task Force (D-FAT) invaded his father Kevin Kellom’s home with an armed robbery arrest warrant, but no search warrant.

Police identified the shooter as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agent MITCHELL QUINN, a former Detroit police officer with a record of previous shootings. They said he fired because Kellom threatened him with a hammer, statements contradicted by family eyewitnesses. During a press conference, Worthy admitted there were no fingerprints on the hammer, which police alleged Kellom had used to chop a hole in an upstairs closet and drop to the first floor. She never brought charges.

March against Dearborn police murder of Kevin Matthews: Dearborn cop tells marcher leader Rev. Chas. WIlliams of NAN what the route will be. There still has been no justice in his case.

Kevin Matthews

DECEMBER 23, 2015: KEVIN MATTHEWS, 35, who suffered from mental illness but was nonviolent, was shot multiple times and killed by a white Dearborn cop, still unidentified by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who has had the case on her desk since January, 2016 without taking action. The cop chased on foot out of range of his car’s dashcam video, to a backyard in Detroit, where he shot him multiple times as a neighbor heard him begging, “Don’t shoot.” No action was taken by Detroit police or the prosecutor re: this invasion of Detroit’s borderline.

APRIL 2, 2013: MATTHEW JOSEPH, 23, killed by a multi-agency task force at the corner of Linwood and Hooker after a short chase, shot at least 50 times. Detroit police officer Patrick Hill later died of wounds police admitted were “friendly fire,” first blaming Joseph. Neighborhood witnesses said Joseph had never moved out of the driver’s st of his car and never fired on police as they alleged.

Leda Reed with son Anthony Clark Reed.

Matthew Joseph, 23

March 30, 2015: ANTHONY CLARK REED, 24, died during a traffic stop by Detroit police on the city’s southwest side.

“They said they pulled him over because it looked like he was doing something under his seat,” his father Pastor Anthony-Reed Clark said. “I asked, don’t you realize he was probably looking for his inhaler because he has asthma? The first thing he said was ‘I can’t breathe.’ They yanked him out of the car, shortened his breath more, and increased his heart rate. That’s why he died.” Pastor Clark said there were at least six police cars at the scene afterwards. The medical examiner found no drugs, alleged by police, in his stomach.

Michaelangelo and Makiah Jackson, 6 and 3

June 25, 2015: MAKIAH and MICHAELANGELO JACKSON, 3 and 6 YEARS old, killed during Reckless chase of Lorenzo Harris by Detroit Special Ops officers Steven Feltz, Richard Billingslea, and Hakeem Patterson. The children were killed on Nottingham near Frankfort, N. of E. Warren.

“The police tried to ram the car at the corner of Nottingham and Brunswick [one block north of Mack] and nearly hit my kids, 14 and 11,” a resident living near that location said. “He [Harris] almost jumped that curb over there where there were other little kids. You’d think the police would have backed off the chase at that point, but they were going 80 to 90 mph right on his bumper. If he would have tapped his brake, they would have hit him.”

January 27, 2016: Detroiter JANET WILSON, 31, was shot to death by Dearborn and Detroit cops after leaving Fairlane Mall Jan. 27, 2016 after a verbal dispute with store employees. Police jammed her car into a roadblock. They claimed she had tried to run them down, then fired multiple rounds into her car, killing her.

December 7, 2016: Unidentified Detroit cop fatally struck a bicyclist on the street in Highland Park.


The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners noted that they have the power to carry out disciplinary actions during their Feb. 14 meeting. On Feb. 28, Officer Gary Steele was allegedly ‘fired’ by Chief James Craig for his racist “Snapchat” post about a young Black woman he and his partner ticketed for expired plates, and then forced to walk home in freezing weather. Two members of the DBOPC, who are elected, spoke at Craig’s press conference on the matter.


Chief Craig gives an update regarding the investigation of the officer ‘s Snap Chat post

Posted by Detroit Police Department on Wednesday, February 27, 2019



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 Jannat Jalil

March 16, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron

Paris — Anti-government protesters hurled rocks and paving slabs at police, looted boutiques, smashed up a luxury restaurant on Paris’s famed Champs-Elysées and set a bank on fire on Saturday.

A mother and her baby trapped on the second floor of the building, as flames surged up from the bank branch on the ground floor, were rescued by firefighters. The bank offices were gutted and 11 people were slightly injured, including two police officers.

Smoke and tear gas shrouded the Champs-Elysées and at least 109 people were arrested in the worst outbreak of violence on the fringes of a “yellow vest” demonstration in Paris for several weeks.

President Emmanuel Macron has cut short his skiing holiday to return to Paris to chair an emergency meeting over what the authorities are describing as “intolerable violence and damage”.  

Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, tweeted that those who set the bank on fire “are neither demonstrators nor troublemakers: they are killers.” 

Grinning “yellow vest” protesters posed for photographs in front of the shattered facade of Le Fouquet’s, a restaurant that earned Nicolas Sarkozy the nickname of “President Bling-bling” when he celebrated his 2007 election victory there.

A Yellow Vest protester destroys a shop window during clashes with riot police forces on the Champs-Elysees Credit: AFP 


Much of the violence on the 18th consecutive Saturday of protests against President Macron’s economic reforms was blamed on anarchists, far-Right and ultra-leftist agitators rather than the “yellow vests” themselves. 

Police estimated the number of demonstrators at about 32,000 across France. About 5,000 police officers were deployed in Paris alone. The numbers of protesters have dwindled since the “yellow vest” movement began in November, amid growing anger over income inequality and a lack of public services in rural areas and small towns. 

More took to the streets on Saturday compared with recent weeks, following social media calls for a strong turnout to mark the four-month anniversary of the movement’s launch.

President Macron wrapped up a “great debate” consultation exercise on Friday to allow people to vent their grievances, which has helped him to regain some of the popularity lost since his election. Some “yellow vests” have dismissed the exercise as a campaign ploy ahead of European elections in May.


Yellow vest protesters march from Arc de Triomphe as smoke rises in back from battles in the streets. Getty Images

As part of his environmental policy strategy, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a green tax on fuel last month to go into effect Jan. 1. The move set off nearly a month of protests around France. The French Interior Ministry estimates 136,000 protesters turned out across the country after Jan. 1, in addition to 280,000 in previous weeks.

France Freezes Fuel Tax Hike In Face Of ‘Yellow Vest’ Protests

Nicknamed for the safety vests worn by protesters, known as gilets jaunes, the yellow vest movement has sparked a political crisis for the French government. The protests started in the French provinces but spread to Paris, where demonstrations turned into riots over the weekend and scenes of violent civil unrest played out along the city’s famous Avenue des Champs Élysées.

Who are the members of the yellow vest movement and how did it emerge?

Originally, the yellow vest protesters were people from rural areas who have to drive long distances as part of their daily life. They said they couldn’t afford the hike in fuel prices. Protests appeared in pockets around France to denounce Macron’s green tax and then quickly grew into a larger movement that includes members of the working and middle classes who are expressing their frustration about slipping standards of living.

They say their incomes are too high to qualify for social welfare benefits but too low to make ends meet. The movement has no official leadership and was organized initially through social media groups.

The protesters focus on Macron as the source of their problems. Along with his early reforms to loosen labor laws and slash France’s famous wealth tax, the fuel tax reinforces protesters’ image of him as a president of the rich.

French President Holds Security Meeting On Yellow Vest Protests

How did these protests turn violent?

Most yellow vests at blockades around France are peaceful protesters. Violent protests erupted over the weekend in Paris, where rioters defaced the Arc de Triomphe and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, looted shops, vandalized buildings and even attacked police. French authorities note that most of the violence and vandalism were incited by anarchists known as “casseurs” — rioters, thugs from the ultraleft and ultraright. Paris police held 380 people in custody after Saturday’s riots. The city estimates total damages at $3.4 million.

Michigan Gov.. Gretchen Whitmer announced plans for a 45 cent increase in the state’s gas tax to fund repair of roads. Perhaps she had better think again.

What do the protesters want?

Their initial demand was to repeal the green tax on diesel. Now, others want the current minimum wage (about $1,350 per month after taxes) to be raised. There have also been calls to dissolve the National Assembly and hold new elections. There have even been chants of “Macron resign!”

Why do they wear yellow vests?

All French motorists are required by law to carry yellow roadside safety vests in their vehicles. Protesting drivers donned their obligatory yellow vests and created roadblocks around France. Now anyone joining the protests wears the yellow vest, regardless of whether they are motorists. 

The “yellow vest” protests began last month. Large demonstrations turned violent in Paris over the weekend.

What’s the public reaction?

According to a poll conducted Sunday by Harris Interactive for French media, 72 percent of French people support the yellow vests, even after Saturday’s riots. But 85 percent responded they are against the violence. Four people have now died since the protests began three weeks ago. Three were killed in separate traffic accidents caused by roadblocks set up by yellow vests, and an 80-year-old woman in Marseille died from injuries she received when a tear gas grenade hit her in the face as she closed her apartment windows to protests below.

Political leaders such as Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Rally (formerly the National Front), and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the far-left France Unbowed have tried without success to latch on to the yellow vests. The inability of these two parties, which usually do well with groups who feel marginalized, signals that the yellow vest protesters are fed up with all figures of the political establishment.

How is the government responding?

Macron was in Buenos Aires for the G-20 summit over the weekend when protests turned into riots. He denounced the violence from Argentina and said those responsible for the chaos would be found and punished. After he returned to Paris Sunday morning, he went straight to the Arc de Triomphe and then held a crisis meeting with top ministers. The interior minister has said the government is considering declaring a state of emergency.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe met today with leaders of political parties holding seats in France’s Parliament to discuss possible solutions to the crisis.

Philippe was scheduled to meet with a delegation of yellow vests on Tuesday, but the representatives canceled, G-20 Summit Argentina; Macron at Trump’s right     personal security concerns after receiving anonymous death threats. The government had already invited yellow vest protesters to talks last week, before Saturday’s riots, but the delegation abandoned the meeting when they learned the discussions wouldn’t be filmed or broadcast.

The government will also hold debates in Parliament on reforms and possible solutions but will not not necessarily hold a vote on proposals. The prime minister said he would announce new measures later this week in response to the crisis.

What are the implications of this crisis for Macron?

Depending on what measures the government announces this week, the French government’s top priority is preventing more riots and making sure proper security is in place in the event of more protests. Macron has previously said he won’t back down on the fuel tax. Since he took office 18 months ago, the French president has seen public pushback on almost every one of his reforms, especially liberalizing the labor market. However, this is the biggest political crisis he has faced so far, and it could determine the rest of his presidency.

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By Ricardo Ferrell

March 1, 2019

Ricardo Ferrell, VOD staff writer

In December 2008, after continuous efforts to get the Youth Deterrent Program up and running, officials at the Michigan Department of Corrections would finally give a group of prisoners approval and the green light to move forward with their initiative to deter at-risk youth from going down the path of destruction, death or prison.

The YDP proposal went to the governor’s office in early 2007 for consideration. Former Governor Jennifer Granholm sought the expert opinion and evaluation of Dr. Carl Taylor, a Criminologist and Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University, who visited the Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit to get a first-hand look at the proposed Youth Deterrent Program and its facilitators.

Immediately after seeing what the YDP Committee was proposing he (Prof. Taylor) forwarded his conclusions and report to Gov. Granholm which included rave reviews and a recommendation to move forward with the program. Gov. Granholm soon after gave her approval and forwarded the report to MDOC director Patricia Caruso.

In the meantime all 12 prisoner facilitators were receiving specialized training from Bishop Mbiyu Chui, the Pastor at the Shrine of the Black Madonna. They were learning effective communication and active listening skills, including a year-long extensive training in Reality Therapy and Choice Theory. The Detroit Free Press ran a story covering the program finally being approved by the department.

The excitement and enthusiasm shared among the Youth Deterrent Program Committee, especially, that of Darryl Woods Sr., who actually initiated the original proposal to get the program started, was evident by how hard we all continued working to see the program become a success. Learning that the program would soon be starting was like a dream come true because we all knew our efforts had finally paid off and we would soon be working to save the lives of youth and young adults who struggle to find their way out of a maze inclusive of dysfunction, disadvantage and disenfranchisement, which often leads to bad choices, poor decision-making and a path toward criminality.

Pastor Mbiya Chui

The first group consisted of teens ages 14-18 from Detroit, Saginaw and Port Huron. Most, if not all, already had experienced brushes with the juvenile justice system, in that, they were either facing charges ranging from theft, selling drugs, carrying guns, or attempted murder; some had been adjudicated and were on probation.

Since its inception, the Youth Deterrent Program has taken in at-risk youth from as far away as the State of Ohio, although there was a pause in allowing teens to come to the Detroit facility due to the misinterpretation of a current law in Ohio. The office of Gov. John Kasich got involved as did other Ohio officials.

Former Detroit Free Press columnist Jeff Gerritt, who had covered the Youth Deterrent Program from the beginning wrote a piece in the Toledo Blade Newspaper where he currently writes. He gave credence to the program’s legitimacy and clarified the misconstrued notion that the Ohio teens were being exposed within the Ryan facility. That wasn’t accurate because NO YOUTH has ever been allowed inside the actual facility where adult prisoners are housed, they are ONLY are allowed in the visiting room.

Over the past ten years the Youth Deterrent Program has helped hundreds, if not well over a thousand troubled at-risk teens avoid the pitfalls associated with indulging in criminal thinking and/or activities. We took on the motto of No Youth Left Behind and vigorously worked on saving the lives of so-called at-risk youth by providing them with viable alternatives rather than the indulgence in criminality.

The Youth Deterrent Program has had the backing and support of a plethora of individuals, such as, Gov. Granholm; Gov. Snyder; Gov. Kasich; MDOC directors Caruso, Heyns and Washington; Former Mayors of Detroit and City Officials; Chief Judge Faye Harrison; Judge Frank Szymanski; a Michigan Supreme Court Justice; numerous Church Leaders; Bishop Mbiyu Chui; Warden Raymond Booker; Warden Anthony Stewart; YDP Facilitator Jeffrey Allison; the Detroit Free Press; Saginaw News; Toledo Blade; Rochelle Riley; Felicia Tyson; Alan Sedghi; John Wisely; and a host of others.

The men who have participated month after month and year after year over the last decade in this remarkable life changing program for today’s youth need to continuously be recognized and commended for their efforts in making a difference in the lives of our kids. The Youth Deterrent Committee vows to keep being our brother’s keeper by deterring teens from destructive paths and lifestyles.

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By Tara Golshan


March 12, 2019

President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget breaks one of his biggest campaign promises to voters: that he would leave Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare untouched.

“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Trump told the Daily Signal, a conservative publication affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, in 2015.

Republican candidate Donald Trump focused June 19, 2016 in Arizona on his economic platform: Cut taxes and regulations across the board while also saving Social Security, Medicare, and other government safety-net programs. Breitbart said: “Trump rolls out winning program.”

Over the next 10 years, Trump’s 2020 budget proposal aims to spend $1.5 trillion less on Medicaid — instead allocating $1.2 trillion in a block-grant program to states — $25 billion less on Social Security, and $845 billion less on Medicare (some of that is reclassified to a different department). Their intentions are to cut benefits under Medicaid and Social Security. The impact on Medicare is more complicated, which I’ll get into a bit later.

Over time, the Trump administration tried to whittle down the president’s promise to just Social Security and Medicare. Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Russ Vought said Monday, March 11, that Trump is “keeping his commitment to Americans by not making changes to Medicare and Social Security.” But even that is not true.

Like “every other Republican,” Trump has repeatedly proposed and supported cutting these programs. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

How Trump is proposing changing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security

When it comes to Medicare, the White House has been very clear: “He’s not cutting Medicare in this budget,” Vought said. “What we are doing is putting forward reforms that lower drug prices. Because Medicare pays a very large [share] of drug prices in this country, [that] has the impact of finding savings. We are also finding waste, fraud, and abuse.”

Rally demands “Medicare for All,” not cuts.

Here’s what’s actually happening: This budget proposes finding $845 billion in savings over 10 years from Medicare as we know it. But $269 billion of that figure is reclassified under the Department of Health and Human Services, bringing the Medicare cuts to $575 billion. As Vox explained, the administration says it will achieve these cost reductions by targeting wasteful spending and provider payments and lowering prescription drug costs.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which advocates for fiscal responsibility, estimates that 85 percent of these cuts will come from reductions in provider payments, 5 percent would come from policies around medical malpractice, and 11 percent would come from reducing drug costs through the Medicare Part D program. Medicare Part D is the only area of these reforms that could raise out-of-pocket drug prices for some while lowering it for others. Otherwise, premiums, deductibles, and copays would largely be left unaffected.

Unsurprisingly, the Federation of American Hospitals is not a fan of this part of Trump’s budget proposal. In a statement, they called the reforms “devastating for seniors.” More surprisingly, as Axios’ Sam Baker points out, these reforms are pretty similar to policies Barack Obama proposed in 2012 that Republicans panned.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors carry signs as they demonstrate against proposed cuts to Medical and Medicare outside San Francisco city hall on September 21, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Dozens of disabled people staged a protest against proposed cuts to Medical, Medicare and Medicaid programs. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

But when it comes to Trump’s proposed changes to Medicaid and Social Security, the intent is unambiguous: These are cuts to benefits.

The 2020 budget’s Medicaid reforms include adding work requirements and repealing Medicaid expansion and one of the most successful policies within the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid expansion reduced the uninsured rate by more than 6 percent in states that enacted the policy; it continues to show better health outcomes and is popular in conservative states.

But Trump is envisioning changing Medicaid altogether; his budget proposes transforming the current pay-as-needed system to a block grant, where states are given a capped lump-sum fund that doesn’t grow with increased need or rising costs. The budget proposes a $1.2 trillion “Market-Based Health Care Grant.”

In isolation, the Medicaid budget cuts amount to $1.5 trillion over 10 years, but looked at in the context of the new block grant as well the work requirements and ACA cuts, the cuts round out to about $777 billion — which could leave millions more uninsured.

The budget also continues an attack on Social Security, including to a program which gives assistance to those who have disabilities that prevent them from being in the workforce. In all, the cuts to Social Security amount to $25 billion over the next 10 years, cutting roughly $10 billion from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which the administration says will be found through cutting down on fraud — a common conservative talking point.

Trump broke this promise from the beginning. See Tweet below.

Donald J. Trump

     I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.
11:38 AM · May 7, 2015 · Twitter Web Client

Trump’s budgets — and the policies he has supported around health care — and government spending in Congress reflect the opposite. Some of this can be attributed to Trump’s appointed budget chief Mick Mulvaney; the former congressman who was part of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus has long rallied for cutting Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.

In fact, Mulvaney once bragged to a Politico reporter that he tricked Trump into accepting a proposal to cut Social Security by calling SSDI just disability insurance — spinning it to the president as general welfare reform. The idea has been in every single one of Trump’s budget proposals to Congress since the president came to office.

Schoolchildren celebrate 75th anniversary of Social Security in U.S.

Then there was the Republican Obamacare repeal push; every bill proposed massive cuts to Medicaid in order to pay for tax cuts elsewhere. Trump supported every iteration of Republicans’ Obamacare repeal-and-replace bills. He even held a party for House Republicans in the White House Rose Garden when the lower chamber of Congress narrowly passed a proposal that slashed more than $800 billion from Medicaid over 10 years.

Republican lawmakers have long argued that spending around mandatory programs that make up 70 percent of the federal budget — like Medicare and Social Security — needs to be reined in in order to tackle the national debt. Trump drew red tape around those programs, as well as Medicaid, on the campaign trail in 2015 because they are extremely popular federal programs.

Now, his policy positions around those programs break from that promise.

Occupy Oakland marches in California; cancel the debt, don’t cut programs for the people.

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Charles ‘K.K.’ Lewis during court hearing Sept. 28, 2018. He was subsequently transferred to the Re-Entry Program at Macomb Correctional Facility, where counselors prepared him for release. The prosecution, which suggested a “term of years” sentence to Judge Lillard during the Sept. 28 hearing, flipped their script with a Jan. 10 motion for the certification of a “facsimile” of his lost court records.

Lewis one of Michigan’s 363 juvenile lifers; prosecutors recommended new LWOP sentences for 2/3 of them, violating U.S. Supreme Court rulings 

“I don’t believe a single court of appeals panel will agree with your decision; I’m willing to bet my life on it”—Lewis at hearing Feb. 15

“An admittedly inaccurate and incomplete file”—Lewis in Feb. 22 pleading


 By Diane Bukowski

 March 5, 2019 

DETROIT – Charles Lewis, a leader in the battle against “death by incarceration” sentences meted out to Michigan’s juvenile lifers, is demanding his right to appeal a judge’s certification of a “facsimile” of his lost court file, and other issues,  prior to holding a “mitigation hearing” on his case to determine terms of his re-sentencing.

Judge Qiana Lillard at Lewis’ court hearing Sept. 28, 2018. AP Tom Dawson suggested she could give Lewis a “term of years” to address loss of his court file.

Lewis’ official pleading will be addressed Friday, March 8 at 10 a.m. in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard, in Room 502 of the Frank Murphy courthouse at Gratiot and St. Antoine.  Lewis, who is currently part of the Re-Entry Program at Macomb Correctional Facility, will be heard on video.

His full pleading can be read at

This will be the FORTY-SECOND hearing on Lewis’ re-sentencing, ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court for all juvenile lifers in two decisions in 2012 and 2016. Most of Lewis’ hearings have addressed the loss of 43 years of his official court records, and the even more egregious elimination of entries on his Register of Actions (ROA) from 1976 through 1999.


His ROA currently says that he was convicted of first-degree murder by a jury in front of Judge Gershwin Drain on April 3, 2000. The original entry said Judge Drain dismissed his conviction and sentence on that date.

“ . . . I will be asking my lawyer Sanford Schulman to appeal your February 15, 2019 decision to CERTIFY THE FILE, an admittedly inaccurate and incomplete file . . .,” Lewis wrote Lillard Feb. 22. “It is my sincere hope that you will hold this matter in abeyance until the Michigan Court of Appeals addresses the unresolved legal questions.”

Lewis says that he is not the only Michigan juvenile lifer facing the same issue, which could adversely impact the outcome of others’ re-sentencing hearings.

He is also not the only juvenile lifer with an innocence claim, which he raised in one of five motions filed earlier in front of Lillard, who promptly denied them all Jan. 10.

“You . . . refused to address my claim of ACTUAL INNOCENCE,” he said. “And, my claim of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Refusing to address those issues denied me access to the Court. And effectively denied me the right to present mitigating evidence at a mitigation hearing. The Michigan Court of Appeals needs to address this issue before we move forward.”

Denial of claims of actual innocence and ineffective assistance of counsel are recognized grounds for federal habeas corpus appeals, say legal experts.

Additionally, the Michigan Supreme Court added “actual innocence” claims to MCR 6.502 on Jan. 1, 2019, on a retroactive basis. The amendment allowed such claims to be raised as valid successive motions for relief from judgment under state law.

Michigan had been one of only four states whose court rules did not recognize innocence claims.

Lewis has been incarcerated for 43 years, since the age of 17, for the 1976 murder of an off-duty Detroit police officer.  The officer’s partner and numerous eyewitnesses testified at his trials that they saw another man commit the crime.

Lewis and his family and supporters have always maintained his “actual innocence.”  In a 2006 opinion, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas concurred. She called the state’s case against Lewis a “scientific impossibility,” and said the unexplained dismissal of the jury in his first trial in March, 1977 should have meant his acquittal.

Judge Lillard peremptorily denied five motions to dismiss the case against Lewis Jan. 1o, 2019, which cited the loss of his records, his innocence claim, and ineffective assistance of counsel among other matters. She did not say she ever certified his replacement file.  Asst. Prosecutor Thomas Dawson promptly filed a motion and proposed order for her to do so Jan. 10, based on MCR 3.607.

(L to r) Defense attorney Sanford Schulman, prosecutor Tom Dawson, judge Qiana Lillard at hearing on Charles Lewis Aug. 3, 2018. “It looks like you are part of a judicial conspiracy to keep me illegally locked up,” Lewis told Judge Lillard in his Feb. 22 pleading. Schulman and Dawson appear now to be on the same page re: Lewis’ re-sentencing, with Schulman angry at his client for pushing for interlocutory appeal.

Lewis’ previous attorney Victoria Burton-Harris raised that court rule as a means to reconstruct his file, but with the understanding that Judge Lillard would have to certify each document individually. Judge Lillard refused to do so.

“This is the best facsimile of a court file that we will have,” Lillard said Feb. 15. Lewis said he told his attorney Sanford Schulman that an adequate mitigation hearing could not be held without the complete court record, and did not want any witnesses called for such a hearing.

“I just want to get this over with,” Lewis added. “If there is some way you can re-sentence me to life without parole today, you should do that. I can’t keep putting my family through this.”

Such a sentence would open the way for Lewis’ appeal of right, and subsequent actions by higher courts including the federal courts, releasing him from Lillard’s three-year stranglehold. Instead, during the Feb. 15 hearing, attorneys Dawson and Schulman sought to delay things once again. Dawson suggested to Schulman that he could contact the polygraph examiner and mitigation expert Schulman claims to have hired for the hearing and see how long it would take them to complete their reports, then report back March 8. Schulman agreed.

Schulman told VOD that Lewis must first be subject to a lie detector test before proceeding with a mitigation hearing, an unheard of requirement for such hearings.

Lewis challenges Lillard’s jurisdiction over his case in his pleading. He notes that she worked as an assistant prosecutor in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office for eight years while his appeals were ongoing, then went straight to the bench, appointed by former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

“You can’t work for the prosecution while the case is pending then ascend to the bench and declare yourself judge over this matter,” Lewis says. “That is a serious conflict of interest. The Michigan Court of Appeals needs to address this issue before we move forward.”

Valerie Newman talks with Charles Lewis at court hearing Oct. 28, 2016. She withdrew from his case later, without appealing Judge Lillard’s denial of her motion to sentence Lewis to 40-60 years in light of the loss of his files.

In Nov. 2o16, Lillard ordered Lewis’ previous defense attorney Valerie Newman, now also employed in the Prosecutor’s Office in another evident conflict of interest, to turn over the defense’s records to the prosecution, at the time represented by Lewis’ current AP, Thomas Dawson.

Lillard then ordered all parties (except defendant Lewis, the only one alive during most of the 42 years covered by his record) to meet with the Wayne County Clerk’s office to recreate the record. She cited an ancient ruling in a civil divorce case, Newton v Newton, 166 Mich. 421, as grounds for her order.

Lewis objected strenuously at the time, on the record, that this was a violation of his attorney-client privilege. Newman took records Lewis had given his previous attorneys, which included numerous privileged documents, and put them on a flash drive which she gave to the prosecution, and later to Lewis’ subsequent defense attorneys.

She then lied about the matter during a court hearing, claiming the flash drive, which VOD later obtained, contained only publicly accessible documents.

Charles Lewis’ mother Rosie Lewis with some of his friends and supporters after a hearing Oct. 6, 2017.

During the recent Feb. 15 hearing, Lewis told Lillard she had already denied his attorney’s request for a term of years and thus he had no faith that she would give him anything other than life without parole, even after a mitigation hearing. A recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling in Hyatt/Skinner held that a judge does not have to give any reasons for re-sentencing a juvenile lifer to life without parole. 

Lillard claimed she had never denied a motion on his behalf for a term of years, but her order of Nov. 11, 2016 states as much. See full order at

In it, Lillard denied two motions filed by Newman and Lewis himself, which cited numerous U.S. and Michigan Supreme Court precedents indicating that a case must be dismissed when court records are even partially missing. Newman asked for Lewis to be re-sentenced to a term of 40-60 years, while Lewis asked for dismissal. The only motion remaining on the table was the prosecution’s motion for life without parole.

During a hearing Sept. 28, 2018, AP Dawson suggested three times to Judge Lillard that Lewis be re-sentenced to a “term of years” in light of the loss of his files.

Charles Lewis, now 59, on guitar, Bill Lemons, now 74, on keyboard, both noted musicians, play in prison band. Lewis has honed his musical skills and organized concerts throughout MDOC. He still plays at Sunday services at Macomb.

Lewis told Lillard in his pleading that he had been transferred to the Re-Entry Program at the Macomb Correctional Facility afterwards.

“When I first got here, I was called out by the institutional parole agent, Ms. Shields,” Lewis wrote. “She told me that she was instructed by her boss to place me in the institutional parole re-entry program because I was being sentenced to 40 to 60 years at my next court date . . . and would be discharging the day I got sentenced. “

Overjoyed, his mother Rosie Lewis and sister Wendy Lewis came to visit him. Mrs. Lewis earlier told the media that she “could live again” if her son was finally released.

“From there I probably met with an additional twenty people,” Lewis continued. “One lady in particular came to the prison specifically to meet with me. She was going to get my Medicaid turned on and she was going to help me get state ID and a doctor’s appointment. she was also going to get me a job through Michigan Works.”



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