Listed above, please find a link to one video (approx. 43 minutes) that I recorded on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 during the “Crisis in Puerto Rico and Detroit: Origins and Solutions” Panel Discussion Event, featuring Adela Nieves (Community Activist), Jorge Chinea, Ph.D. (Wayne State University), Alicia Diaz Thomas (Wayne State University), William Santiago-Valles, Ph.D. (University of Michigan, Dearborn), Monica Lewis-Patrick (We the People of Detroit), and Raul Echevarria (Liberation Theology), at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 East Warren, Detroit, MI.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



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33rd DC Judge Jennifer Coleman Hesson blasts Mary Rowan for comments during Sowards’ trial denouncing media coverage

Rowan admits that she had planned to have Wanda Worley taken directly from hospital to bed-bug infested, unlicensed “group home.”  

Rowan apparently runs group home network, takes wards’ funds for ‘rent’ of small space

Judge David Braxton to conduct hearing on Wanda Worley’s petition to remove Mary Rowan as her guardian on Mon. Nov. 6, 2017, 11 a.m. 

Worley has been denied right to see her own evaluation by psychologist

By Diane Bukowski 

November 4, 2017 

(L to r) Kelly Hammer, Sharmian Sowards, Debbie Fox, Wanda Worley, Randy Robinson after Sowards’ victory against abusive guardian Mary Rowan; Fox and Robinson’s mother Gayle Robinson has been another victim. Families and wards dealing with Mary Rowan are beginning to unite.

Woodhaven, MI – Thirty-Third District Court Judge Jennifer Coleman Hesson peremptorily dismissed assault and battery charges against Sharmian Sowards Nov. 2. The charges were brought after Sowards tried to defend her mother Wanda Worley against an illegal seizure by notorious guardian Mary Rowan Oct. 6, 2016, from their Brownstown Township home.

Sharmian Sowards and mother Wanda Worley embrace after victory Nov. 2, 2017.

The Nov. 2 criminal court hearing is to be followed by a hearing Nov. 6 at 11 a.m., on a petition brought by Worley to remove Rowan as her guardian.  It will take place in Wayne County Probate Court in front of Judge David Braxton, Room #1303 at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

Braxton is to consider a so-called “Independent Medical Evaluation” (IME) of Worley done by the Probate Court’s regularly-appointed psychologist George Fleming, Jr, Ph.D.

Worley has been denied access to his report, although it is her own medical record. Fleming is not a psychiatrist, and appears to have worked primarily at Probate Court since his graduation as a Ph.D. 

See for text of petition.)

Sowards represented herself during the jury trial in 33rd District Court in Woodhaven, MI.

During her cross-examination of the complainant Rowan, she asked whether she knew Debbie Fox and Randy Robinson, children of another Rowan ward, Gayle Robinson, who was forced from her home in Westland to a nursing home. They were waiting to testify about injustices in their mother’s case.

Rowan said she did, but then blurted out, “Why do you have a reporter in the court who doesn’t report the facts?” referring to this reporter.

Judge Hesson responded, “That remark could potentially cause a mistrial. This courtroom is a public, open courtroom. The press is welcome to be here. This reporter has been here before.”

She later condemned Rowan’s challenge to the media’s integrity.

33rd District Court Judge Jennifer Coleman Hesson

Judge Hesson excused the jury and held a half-hour conference in chambers with assistant prosecutor Kathleen Tulacz and attorney Kelly Leimback, who assisted Sowards during the trial.

When court reconvened,  AP Tulacz announced that the “complainant” Mary Rowan no longer wished to participate in the proceedings and moved for dismissal of the charges. Judge Hesson firmly ordered the charges dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning they cannot be brought again.

During an impassioned opening statement, Sowards said, “Our system should be made to help people get well so they can go back home to their families, not warehouse them and throw them away.”

She described Rowan’s first  attempt to seize her mother and place her in a group home. Sowards said she called an ambulance to take Worley to Wyandotte General Hospital Sept. 7, 2016 because of ailments she was suffering related to previous surgery on her sciatic nerve.

However, doctors there admitted Worley to the psychiatric ward, then refused to let Sowards see her mother. Sowards said she was concerned that they were giving her mother addictive pain medications from which she had been helping wean her.

During cross-examination, Rowan denied that she herself had seen Worley in the hospital. But she admitted that “my provider Wendy Barber met your mother there and said she was an appropriate candidate” to be placed in Barber’s group home.

Attorney-guardian Mary Rowan

Rowan said they had planned to take Worley directly from the hospital to the  group home.  

“What made my mom a ‘perfect candidate’ for your warehouse?” Sowards asked Rowan. “Isn’t she a human being?” She said Rowan testified earlier in Wayne County Probate Court, “I had Wanda in my hands; I don’t know how she got away.”

Sowards told VOD earlier that she had called an attorney with Metro Detroit Legal Services, who intervened to have Worley discharged from the hospital and placed back with her daughter.

Rowan then went to Sowards’ address in Brownstown Twp. twice, where Sowards denied her admission, saying she was trespassing. During the second occasion Oct. 6, Rowan said Sowards “drenched” her front and back with water from a garden hose, the basis for the “assault and battery” charge. There was no allegation of any physical contact, but Rowan said she felt “intimidated” by Sowards.  

Rowan said Wayne County Probate Court Judge David Braxton appointed her as Worley’s temporary guardian Sept. 21, replacing Sowards’  March, 2017 appointment. She said she showed her “letters of authority” to a Brownstown Twp. police officer, after which he persuaded Worley to go with Rowan for only a few days.

Wayne County Probate Court Judge David Braxton

Rowan said she did not need an “Order of Removal” to take Worley, which she did with no prior notice and without any of her clothes and possessions, violating her duties as a guardian.

Worley told VOD she was placed at a bedbug-ridden group home at 12317 Monica in Detroit. She said that wards in the home were not fed regularly, were given only $40 a month from their social security checks, and that workers there frequently went unpaid as well.

Sowards did not find out where her mother was until months later. Worley later left the group home on her own.

Sowards stressed during her opening statement that Rowan’s basic purpose in seizing her mother was to get control of her Social Security income. Sowards said the Social Security office appointed Rowan as “payee” for her mother’s checks Sept. 9, although Rowan’s document from Judge Braxton says “this document may not be used to access funds.”

Rowan was never appointed as “conservator,” to handle Worley’s funds.  

This order is signed by someone other than Judge Braxton, as indicated by initials next to his name. It also specifies “This document may not be used to access funds.”

Sowards and Worley went to the Social Security Office Oct. 30 to have Worley’s payee status, as well as the amount of funds seized from her by Rowan, returned to her. They told VOD that the Social Security staff said they would contact the federal Office of the Inspector General to investigate how Rowan got access to Worley’s funds.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Hesson asked security to watch while Rowan left the court premises in her car, then allowed other attendees to leave.

Randy Robinson, who had been waiting in the lobby to testify, said he heard Worley tell Rowan as she left, “I want my money back.” He said he heard Rowan reply, “You’re not going to get a cent.”

Kristina Brockington, 25

Rowan evidently is affililated with numerous “group homes,” likely unlicensed, in the Detroit area. Worley told VOD she was transferred among several after the power went out in the Monica home.

Wayne County Probate Court Judge Judy Hartsfeld recently  removed Rowan as co-guardian for Kristina Brockington, 25, who is partially blind, after Rowan seized her from a home she was occupying with roommates. She put her in a group home, also bedbug-infested, where residents were served non-nutritious meals and verbally abused, among other matters. (See

Unfortunately, as in Worley’s case, Judge Hartsfeld has not terminated the court’s supervision of Brockington, and is awaiting results from so-called “confidential” medical documents wards are not given access to. Perhaps the psychologists Wayne County Probate Court is using ought to pay attention to the video below, also from Nevada.



Rights of an individual with a guardian:

Powers and duties of a guardian:

Michigan Mental Health Code re: placement of wards with developmental disabilities

Guardianship petitions: Summary under Michigan Law






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Sept. 21, 2016: Arnetta Grable (in black and white dress) with her son Aaron Grable (on bullhorn) at her right and DCAPB member the late Cornell Squires at her left, commemorate Lamar Grable on the 20th anniversary of his death Sept. 21, 2016. Lamar’s father Herman Vallery is shown at lower right being interviewed. Also in photo (middle row l to r) Juanita Young of NYC Oct. 22 Coalition, Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana Jones, and other supporters. The sign at upper left “Serial Killer Kops” shows the Michigan Citizen article which broke the story of three-time killer cop Eugene Brown in 2000.

By Diane Bukowski

 October 31, 2017

Arnetta Grable, warrior mother

ARRANGEMENTS: The family has scheduled final arrangements for Nov. 10-11, 2017 to allow time to come  from out of town and arrange schedules. They thank everyone for the condolences they have expressed.

Family hour and viewing:

Friday, Nov. 10  from 2 t0 8 p.m. 


14170 Morang Dr. Detroit, MI  48224


Saturday, Nov. 11 12:30 p.m.-1 p.m.


9435 Hayes, Corner of Wade, Detroit, MI  48213

DETROIT – Arnetta Grable, Sr., warrior mother of Detroit’s movement against police brutality, and of Lamar Grable, executed by Detroit police Sept. 21, 1996, passed away Oct. 30 after a lengthy illness.  Her family, including her younger children Aaron Grable and Arnetta (Rochelle) Grable, Jr., and friends crowded her hospital room on her 69th birthday Oct. 25 to shower her with their love and admiration.

The room was decorated with balloons and seven posters full of photos that chronicled the history of the movement Ms. Grable initiated.

Ms. Grable was known across the U.S. and across the world. She co-founded the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and was a leading member of the national October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. She most recently visited Cuba, where she was the keynote speaker at a rally against racist oppression in the U.S.

Lamar Grable, 20 when murdered in 1996 by Detroit cops Eugene Brown with Vicki Yost.

“I demand Lamar’s day in court,” Ms. Grable repeated through a seven-year court battle after Lamar’s slaying by now-notorious three-time killer cop Eugene Brown, aided by his partner Vicki Yost.  Wayne County Prosecutor John O’Hair had refused to charge Brown criminally, after then Interim Detroit Police Chief Benny Napoleon covered up an internal police report recommending charges.

Aaron Grable told VOD recently that the entire family met each time Ms. Grable was offered a settlement to avoid a civil trial.  

“We can’t miss what we never had,” Grable said he told his mother. For Ms. Grable, the battle was never about money. But Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Isidore Torres unsuccessfully attempted to appoint “guardian ad litems” for Grable and his sister Arnetta Jr., who was only nine years old when her oldest brother was gunned down. Torres and Ms. Grable’s first attorneys claimed she was not acting in her children’s best interests.

On Aug. 6, 2003, a civil jury rendered a $4 million verdict against Eugene Brown and the City of Detroit, after a trial in which renowned forensics examiner Dr. Werner Spitz testified that Lamar had been executed, shot eight times in the back, chest and arm.

The jury deliberated for only two hours. Both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court refused to overturn the verdict, citing Brown’s admission during the trial that he “might have” shot Grable three times in the chest as he lay on the ground.

“I kept my promise to my son, that I would vindicate his name,” Ms. Grable said after the verdict. “Lamar Grable’s creator will be Eugene Brown’s final judge. The Detroit Police Department and the badge that he wears will not protect him on judgment day.”

Arnetta Grable (center), mother of Lamar Grable, executed by three time killer cop Eugene Brown in 1996, with her family including (upper left) son Aaron Grable and daughter Arnetta (Rochelle) Grable, Jr.,  lawyers David Robinson and Melissa El, and supporters, celebrate victory in civil lawsuit Aug. 6, 2003

Then-Mayor Dennis Archer had told the media that Lamar Grable was a criminal who tried to kill a police officer. Brown, who previously served on Archer’s personal security staff, got an official commendation for the murder. Brown had already killed another man, Rodrick Carrington, in 1995, and would go on to kill Darren Miller in 1999. He shot and wounded a total of nine others without just cause.

He was never disciplined or fired for his actions, but instead was promoted to sergeant and recently retired with a full pension. Yost was promoted multiple times. She recently headed the Inkster Police Department. During her tenure, officer William Melendez severely beat and nearly killed Black motorist Floyd Dent, an incident that garnered world-wide publicity. Melendez was involved in killings and frame-ups during his earlier tenure with the Detroit Police Department. In one case, he framed up the son of Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality member Cornell Squires, a dear friend of Ms. Grable’s.

Vicki Yost, Brown’s partner 9/21/96

Eugene Brown being promoted to sergeant

During Brown’s civil trial, evidence included Yost’s admission that she had taken home the gun she and Brown claimed Lamar was carrying before turning it into the forensics lab, and an expert’s determination that Brown himself had created bullet holes in his vest and shirt that did not line up with each other or a “bruise” on his chest.

Ms. Grable and Grable’s father, Herman Vallery, with whom Grable lived for the last six years of his life, testified that their son, who was 20 when he was killed, was a dutiful and loving child who did not use drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, and was “very happy” about his life.  Ironically, he was on his way home from a P.A.L. (Police Athletic League) church event when he was gunned down by Brown with Yost in a vacant lot on Field south of Kercheval.

Arnetta Grable is forced out of police ceremony where she had gone to protest Brown’s promotion to sergeant.

“Every chance he got, he was shooting videos,” Vallery said. Grable ran his own video business, filming weddings and other events, and founded the Young Entrepreneur System (Y.E.S.), a program to teach young people how to run businesses. He also wrote poetry and was a musician. He had no criminal record.

Ms. Grable and the DCAPB continued the battle to press charges against Eugene Brown and his partner. After the Michigan Citizen and this reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Detroit Police Department for a copy of the internal report on Brown’s killings, they were forced to take the request all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court before being granted a redacted version of the report, which confirmed that Dep. Chief Walter Shoulders and others on a special task force had recommended that Brown be charged in the three killings he committed.

Ms. Grable’s attorney David Robinson told this reporter that he had seen an unredacted copy, which included a description of the bullets from Brown’s weapon that were dug up from under the location in which Lamar Grable fell. Later, Ms. Grable and other family members and supporters demanded that Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy bring charges, since there is no statute of limitations on murder. She refused.

Protest outside Frank Murphy Hall after Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy refused to charge Brown in the deaths of Lamar Grable, Rodrick Carrington, and Darren Miller.

Ms. Grable, Vallery, and the family  held commemorations of Lamar’s death on its anniversary every year. Last year, they had a plane fly a sky banner proclaiming “E. Brown and Vicki Yost—God saw what you did—Lamar Grable, Sept. 21, 1996” from the vacant lot on Field near Kercheval where he was killed, to downtown court and police headquarters and back.

Family flew banner from site of Lamar’s killing on Field to downtown Detroit and back; photo by Ven

Ms. Grable and the Detroit Coalition against Police Brutality sponsored a televised public hearing on police killings in Detroit at a City Council meeting in 1998, during which numerous other family members and victims came to testify. It marked the first time that such ongoing killings and police brutality were exposed in a public forum, subsequent to  the late Mayor Coleman A. Young’s abolition of S.T.R.E.S.S. (Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets) in 1975. S.T.R.E.S.S. was  a plainclothes police unit responsible for the murders of  22 unarmed men, all but one of them Black, during the 1970’s.

National meeting of Oct. 22nd Coalition at Ms. Grable’s home included family members of Aiyana Jones, 7, killed by Detroit SWAT team in 2010, grandmother Mertilla Jones (2nd from left), Aunt Krystal Jones, Mother Dominika Jones (seated).

Ms. Grable worked with the families of many of  victims, creating a “First-Aid Kit” giving them instructions on how to begin their own investigations of loved ones’ deaths, and counseling them. She had a degree in counseling and previously operated her own health food store, after working for the Wayne County Court system.

Ms. Grable traveled to Washington, D.C. and met with then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to demand federal action against Detroit police. Later, the U.S. Department of Justice imposed a “consent decree” on the Detroit police department. However, it did not stop the tide of killings by police.

National conference families gather at conclusion Sept. 24, 2016, holding posts displaying solidarity among Black and Palestinian oppressed peoples. Arnetta Grable is at right.

POST members and supporters block Woodward Avenue during protest Sept. 24, 2016, as dozens of cars honked their horns in support. They included Arnetta Grable, mother of Lamar Grable, Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana Jones, Kevin Kellom, father of Terrance Kellom, and Yolanda McNair, mother of Adaisha Miller.

Periodically, Ms. Grable sponsored national meetings of the Oct. 22 Coalition out of her home and local churches. The family of Aiyana Jones, 7, murdered by Detroit cop Joseph Weekley during a SWAT-style military police raid 2010, attended many of these meetings. They included Aiyana’s grandmother Mertilla Jones, mother Dominika Jones, and aunt Krystal Jones. She, her family and other members of the DCAPB attended rallies to protest the inter-agency task force killing of young father Terrance Kellom, 19, in 2014.

Members of the Detroit Coalition vs. Police Brutality outside Kevin Kellom’s home during protest rally, where his son Terrance was shot to death by an inter-agency task force in 2015. They include Lamar Grable II son of his mother Arnetta (Rochelle) Grable, Jr. at his left, Butch Carrington, brother of Brown’s victim Rodrick Carrington, Arnetta Grable, Herman Vallery, and Cornell Squires.


Ms. Grable’s battles foreshadowed the national “Black Lives Matter” movement, kicked off by the police execution of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. in 2014.


Michigan Citizen stories by Diane Bukowski on Lamar Grable and Eugene Brown:

Detroit Free Press articles on Detroit police in 2000:

Related from VOD: stories cited below on cases listed in “Detroiters killed by police from 1992-2016” are only a sampling of VOD’s coverage. To see more, put the names of those killed or framed by police into our search engine.

#JailKillerCops, #JusticeforLamarGrableRodrickCarringtonDarrenMiller, #Justice4AiyanaJones, #Justice4TerranceKellom, #Justice4KevinMatthews, #Justice4JanetWilson, #FreeCharlesLewis, #FreeAllJuvenileLifers, #BringDownPrisonNationPoliceState, #DownwithKymWorthy

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It is conservatively estimated that at least 10 percent of those in Michigan’s prisons have been wrongfully convicted, by police, prosecutors and others who are part of the so-called “criminal justice” system.

Among those whose stories Voice of Detroit has covered are Charles Lewis, Thelonious Searcy, Davontae Sanford, Jason Gibson, Michael Harris, Kelly Nobles, Darrell Ewing, Derrico Searcy, and more. Join this movement to stop wrongful convictions and to oust Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who with her staff has been responsible for many of these atrocities, despite her recent self-serving announcement that she is establishing a “wrongful convictions” unit.

See article below by Thelonious Searcy, who has so far served 14 years of a life without parole sentence for murder. Vincent Smothers, the admitted murderer in the Sanford case, has submitted detailed affidavits and conducted a taped interview with private investigator Scott Lewis, published in VOD, admitting to the 2004 murder for which Searcy is doing time. Searcy filed his own motion for a new trial in 2016; his trial judge Timothy Kenny finally ordered the prosecution to respond in Aug. 2017. The prosecution responded affirming they would cooperate with a retrial, but nothing has happened since.


By Thelonious Searcy

September 27, 2017

Thelonious “Shawn” Searcy

Ever since the 1980’s, Prosecutors and Detroit Police officials have been involved in multiple high-profile scandals, from police brutality, evidence being removed from the evidence room, faulty ballistic equipment and falsifying ballistics results.

In 2008, the Detroit Crime Lab was closed down after defense attorney Marvin Barnett hired an independent Firearms Examiner to retest ballistics evidence, in his client Jarrhod Williams’ case. After retesting the evidence in the Williams case, this expert discovered that Detroit Firearms Expert Police Officer Kevin Reed lied on laboratory results.

Not only was Reed lying about conducting accurate ballistics testings, authorities discovered that the firearms equipment was faulty. Former Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings shut down the Detroit Crime Lab. The corrupt practices of Kevin Reed gained national attention, which ultimately led to Reed getting fired from the Detroit Police Department. This officer’s deceptive actions affected 147 criminal cases.

Lead Prosecutor Kym Worthy requested $800,000 from the Detroit City Council so she could get the Michigan State Police to retest all of the evidence that Kevin Reed examined.

Jarrhod WIlliams sister Dominique Manuel and mother Valerie Watts march with Crime Lab Task Force in 2011.

[Only three of the men were re-tried. Jarrhod Williams was re-tried using the SAME FALSIFIED BALLISTICS EVIDENCE by Kym Worthy and staff, convicted again, and is serving a life sentence.]

Later in the case of Desmond Ricks, firearms test results revealed that two Firearms Examiners framed him for a 1992 homicide. An analysis of two bullets taken from the victim in his case revealed they didn’t match the suspected murder weapon presented at his trial.

The two officers involved in this scandal were David Pauch and Donald Stawiasz. Mr. Ricks served 25 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections behind these officers’ corrupt practices.

No criminal charges were brought against these officers for perjury, misconduct in public office, or conspiracy. Nor were these officers fired from their positions within the Department.

(Below is Detroit Free Press interview with Desmond Ricks, his daughter, and attorney Wolfgang Mueller, who filed a $125 million lawsuit in the case. Full story at: )

Detroit Police and Prosecutors act like they are above the constitution. Every scandal that comes to light gets swept under a rug of silence. Nothing happened to Kevin Reed for aiding the prosecutors’ office in falsely sealing 147 cases.

Wayne Co. Pros. Kym Worthy and Mich. AG Bill Schuette showing off rape kit. The Detroit Crime Lab misplaced thousands; now in a PR move Worthy is raising money  allegedly to process them.

In 2012, officials discovered that a Drug Lab chemist in Massachusetts was tampering with drug samples and falsifying results. The analyst was response for testing drugs in 40,000 cases from 2003-2013. Prosecutors in Massachusetts dropped 2,000 cases there on their own initiative.

In January, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court gave the District Attorney 80 days to produce a list of cases that could not hold up without tainted evidence. In April, 2017, Prosecutors produced a list of 20,000 cases that would be thrown out.

Here in Michigan, we have an Attorney General that refuses to correct the wrongdoings of his Prosecutor’s office in Wayne County. Not only is the wrongdoing being ignored by the Attorney General Bill Schuette, it’s also being ignored by the FBI.


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“I stand with nearly 250 juvenile lifers behind me”—Charles Lewis 

“I have to admit there are some things unusual about the way Mr. Lewis was convicted. I am very aware that a mistrial was declared [in his first trial] and no record was made as to why that judge declared a mistrial.”—Judge Qiana Lillard 

AP Dawson cites Lewis “misconducts” for being “out of place” in the law library, where he works, condemns him for declaring innocence for 41 yrs.

By Diane Bukowski

October 16, 2017

Charles Lewis listens to arguments during court hearing Oct. 13, 2017

DETROIT – “I stand with nearly 250 juvenile lifers behind me,” said Charles Lewis, 58, after being denied bond Oct. 13, while he awaits re-sentencing in line with two U.S. Supreme Court decisions outlawing juvenile life without parole (JLWOP). “I have become the poster child for Michigan’s juvenile lifers. What benefits me will benefit all of us.”

Lewis said the bond decision had not discouraged him, and that he is determined to win his release in the end.

Lewis referred to the 247 people in Michigan, out of 363 sentenced to die in prison when they were children, who have seen NO action on their unconstitutional sentences, despite the USSC’s most recent decision in Jan. 2016 (Montgomery v. Louisiana.)

They are the juvenile lifers for whom county prosecutors recommended renewed JLWOP sentences instead of term of years sentences.

Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard denied Lewis’ request for bond despite his attorney Victoria Burton-Harris’ contention that he had been without a sentence since Judge Edward Ewell granted him re-sentencing in 2012 and presented no danger to society. She declared that Lewis has always maintained his innocence of killing an off-duty Detroit police officer in 1976.

Judge Lillard said Lewis’ conviction of first-degree murder had not been vacated, and even those awaiting trial in such cases are remanded to prison by law.

But she also noted, “I have to admit there are some things unusual about the way Mr. Lewis was convicted. I am very aware that a mistrial was declared [in his first trial] and no record was made as to why that judge declared a mistrial, and then all of a sudden he gets convicted of murder in a new trial. For all I know, the judge was becoming aware that Mr. Lewis was about to be acquitted, and that’s why he dismissed the jury. But let me be quiet before I say some things I shouldn’t say.”


Above: Atty. Victoria Burton-Harris argues for bond; AP Tom Dawson (l).

Over the past two years, witnesses in front of Judge Lillard have testified that Lewis’ official court file and trial transcripts were lost. Lewis has repeatedly argued under Michigan and U.S. Supreme Court precedents that his conviction should therefore have been dismissed and a new trial granted. Instead, Judge Lillard ordered the record “re-constructed.” Hearings on that matter will continue March 5, 2018.

Before the records went missing, however, Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas corroborated Judge Lillard’s suspicion and Rosie Lewis’ eyewitness statement in the video at the top of this story. In a 2006 opinion, Judge Thomas said she had “thoroughly read” Lewis’ first trial transcript and that she could find no “reasonable or logical reason” for Judge Joseph Maher to dismiss the jury. (See

The late Kenneth Cockrel, Sr.

 Judge Joseph Maher

“Thus this Court can only conclude from a silent record that Judge Joseph Maher dismissed the jury sua sponte,” Thomas wrote. 

“Thus this Court concludes that the unconstitutional discharge of the first jury in this matter was the equivalent of an acquittal.”

She noted that “double jeopardy” applied, and Lewis should not have been tried again. Asst. Prosecutor Tom Dawson cited a quote from a 2002 ruling by Judge Thomas on Lewis’ case. However, in 2006, she granted a motion for reconsideration of that ruling because she had mistakenly used the wrong issues in the 2002 ruling.

Recorders Court Judge Joseph Maher unsuccessfully charged the late attorney Kenneth Cockrel, Sr. with contempt in 1974 for calling Maher a racist and bigot in remarks outside the court, during the trial of Alfred Hibbitt, Jr., one of four defendants in a police raid on a Black church.

Maher also denied prosecutors’ attempts to block psychiatric assessments of STRESS (Stop the Robberies Enjoy Safe Streets) officer Raymond Peterson during his trial for one of nine killings of unarmed Black men that he committed.

The psychiatrists argued that Peterson was under abnormal stress due to negative publicity regarding the killings. Peterson walked free. Although he was later fired, he won a life-time pension.

During the Lewis hearing, AP Dawson relied primarily on Lewis’ conviction for killing Detroit police officer Gerald Sypitkowski.

He claimed Lewis had not been rehabilitated because he has always declared his innocence. Numerous eyewitnesses, including the officer’s partner, testified at both his trials that the fatal gunfire came from a white Lincoln Mark IV not driven by Lewis.

In an Aug. 1, 1976 Detroit Free Press article written directly after the killing, those eyewitnesses said the same thing.

Dawson cited Michigan Department of Corrections records asserting that Lewis had “attitude problems, morally justified his criminal behavior, blamed the victim, and suffered from idleness, boredom, aimlessness and compulsive decision making.”

He also cited misconducts for “being out of place,” mainly in the law library. Lewis currently WORKS in the law library at Lakeland Correctional Facility and earlier scored highest among applicants for a job at Jackson Prison’s law library, which he also held.

Prosecutors claim the delay in re-sentencing 247 of Michigan’s juvenile lifers is that they are awaiting the outcome of Michigan Supreme Court rulings in People v. Skinner and People v. Hyatt. Oral arguments were held in the cases Oct. 24. 

The high court will decide whether or not to uphold appeals court rulings in the cases that a jury, not a judge, should hear arguments mandated by Miller regarding a child’s culpability and potential for rehabilitation.

In Hyatt, attorneys for defendant Kenya Ali Hyatt of Flint, who was first sentenced AFTER the USSC Miller and Montgomery rulings, criticized prosecutors from Saginaw, Macomb, Genesee, and Wayne Counties, noting the high numbers for whom they had recommended renewed JLWOP.

Kenya Ali Hyatt

Tia Marie Mitchell Skinner

“The . . . .statistics flip Miller on its head with prosecutors advocating that it is only the rare juvenile lifer that should NOT receive a sentence of life without parole,” said Hyatt’s Attorney Karen Hanson in her brief.

“It is hardly rare when the above prosecutors are advocating 62% of juvenile lifers to remain in prison until death.”

Michigan has the second highest number of juvenile lifers in the nation, at least 70 percent of whom are Black. In Wayne County, 98 percent of its juvenile lifers are Black. Prosecutor Kym Worthy has recommended renewed JLWOP sentences for 67 of them, the highest number in the state.

Although neither Hyatt nor Skinner are from Wayne County, Prosecutor Kym Worthy, with her subordinates, AP’s Jason Williams (Lewis’ former prosecutor) and Timothy Baughman, authored an amicus brief in Hyatt opposing the jury option on behalf of the Prosecuting Attorney Association of Michigan (PAAM). See

Advocates such as Michigan Attorney Deborah LaBelle have argued that sentencing a child to die in prison is akin to imposing the death penalty, which is normally decided by a jury. An earlier U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawed the death penalty for juveniles.

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy listening to top advisors.

LaBelle and attorneys are also awaiting a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Hill v. Snyder, while attorneys for Sarah Marie Johnson of Idaho have filed a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both cases argue that juvenile life without parole must be abolished with no strings attached. Among those strings in Michigan are state statutes barring the use of good time credits for juvenile lifers who are paroled, and setting absolute sentencing minimums of 25 to 40 and maximums of 40-60 years.

Former Gov. William Milliken, Former Wayne County Prosecutor John O’Hair, and others have said the sentencing mandates are equivalent to another life sentence for many, who have already served over 40 years in prison.

Johnson’s attorneys state, “A substantial majority of states have abandoned JLWOP in law and practice, and others have acted to narrow its application. Today, the use of JLWOP is carried on by a handful of prosecutors in a shrinking number of counties and states. … [S]entencing children to die in prison is cruel and unusual [which violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution].”

They specifically characterized Michigan and Louisiana as being among “a handful of extreme outliers that are flouting the [U.S. Supreme] Court’s dictate to limit JLWOP to the rare juvenile offender.”

In other related news, Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge David Skutt ordered the prosecution in the case of juvenile lifer Renard Sharp to submit an additional “bill of particulars” to justify their motion to re-sentence him to life without parole. He gave them a deadline of October 25 to add details regarding Sharp’s alleged incorrigibility.

Attorney Nefertiti Alexander of the New York law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton argued that the boiler plate motion used by Prosecutor Kym Worthy in all of the 67 Wayne County cases recommending renewed JLWOP is insufficient and asked for its dismissal.

The motions state only that the juvenile lifers are incorrigible and incapable of rehabilitation, but give no further details.

Attorney Adlyn Addis of the law firm of Deborah LaBelle, the attorney of record on the case, told VOD that Sharp “is not a rare or uncommon irreparably corrupt youth.” In fact, she said, the prosecution originally offered him a plea deal for 10-20 years on second-degree murder charges, but being a youth inexperienced in legal matters, he turned it down.

Jenard Sharp, 42, has been in prison since 1993

Addis said Sharp was traumatized by his father’s abandonment of the family, and the death of his grandparents and a close friend who was killed by gunfire. She said at the age of 14, he was tortured by drug dealers involved with his older brother.

“He attended Redford High School, and since he’s been in prison he’s taken 21 post-GED classes and is now in Tier One of the Chance for Life program,” Addis added. “He has read over 500 books.”

In their brief, Sharp’s attorneys argue that current state statutes governing JLWOP re-sentencing mandate that prosecutors must “specify the grounds on which the prosecuting attorney is requesting the court to impose a sentence of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole,” in part to satisfy constitutional due process requirements. They also say prosecutors are including such details only for those juvenile lifers who were sentenced before Miller, violating “The Canon of Statutory Construction of Avoiding Unreasonable Results.” 

The attorneys also say that prosecutors have calculated the time frame for filing these motions incorrectly, and that in fact Sharp’s brief was untimely filed.

Rosie Lewis (center), mother of Charles Lewis, and his supporters show their determination to free him and all juvenile lifers after hearing Oct. 13, 2017.







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Mother who fought for her child succumbs to effects of five-year persecution by Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Child Protective Services

Conducted 10-hour stand-off against military-style police assault

Continued battle for parents and children everywhere

By Diane Bukowski

Oct. 13, 2017

Maryanne Godboldo , fighting tears, speaks at rally July 17, 2011.

DETROIT – Maryanne Godboldo’s family issued the following release Oct. 12, after her death that morning:

“The family of Maryanne Godboldo is deeply saddened to announce that she passed away this morning. This has been a long journey and many of you have shown your immense support for Maryanne and Ariana. For that, we are eternally grateful. We know that she appreciated each and everyone one of you. At this time we ask for time t0 grieve. We will provide a more formal statement in the coming weeks. During this time, we remind you that it is vital for you all to continue to be Maryanne’s voice for the fight for parental rights.”

The announcement brought heart-rending shock and grief for the staff of Voice of Detroit as well as Maryanne’s tens of thousands of friends and supporters across the world. Her departure has left a hole in our hearts that is nevertheless filled with the beatific vision she left behind: the image of a lone, proud, unconquerable woman defending her child against the powers of the racist state, by any means possible.

Maryanne Godboldo (center) greets dancers who performed “Testify” at 2011 rally for her at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church; sister Penny Godboldo, head of Marygrove College’s Dance Department, who choreographed the dance, at left. Both sisters, as well as Maryanne’s child Ariana, are trained dancers.


Maryanne was a beautiful woman, uniquely filled with an overwhelming love for her daughter Ariana, her family and her people, a talented orator, a dancer, a devout member of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, a people’s activist, and part of the Ralph and Lovey Godboldo family of many generations known across the community.

Her death was a direct result of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s merciless five-year prosecution of her for holding off a 10-hour illegal police raid aimed at kidnapping and forcibly medicating her then 13-year-old daughter Ariana Godboldo-Hakim, as well as the battle she and Ariana’s father Mubarak Hakim were forced to wage to retain custody of Ariana.

Maryanne Godboldo with portrait of Ariana outside her westside Detroit home.

Despite Maryanne’s repeated victories on both the criminal and family court fronts, Worthy, who herself has a daughter Ariana’s age, shamelessly appealed criminal charges against Maryanne a third time. On the eve of her third criminal trial June 15, 2016, Maryanne suffered a massive brain aneurysm and entered into a coma. It was only then that the prosecutor’s office dropped charges against her.

Her attorney Allison Folmar-Givens said at the time, “Her blood pressure had been rising and this caused a brain vessel to burst. Five years of court hearings took their toll.”

Her sister Penny Godboldo-Brooks, who spearheaded her defense committee, added, “Thank God the legal court proceedings are over, but we should never have had to deal with them in the beginning. The tragedy and travesty is that Maryanne had to sacrifice her health due to the stress. This is a loss not just to our family, but to the community world-wide.”

She said that Maryanne had been helping many families fight state-sponsored child kidnapping and the forced administration of psychotropic drugs. She was also active in the home schooling movement.


Tanks roll down Linwood to confront mother and child.

On March 24, 2011, Maryanne Godboldo barricaded herself in her home for 10 hours, standing off a Detroit police unit including tanks, helicopters, armored vehicles, and officers carrying assault weapons  seeking to kidnap her 13-year-old daughter Ariana. 

CPS worker Mia Wenk recruited them. Wenk, who had only a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, had decided that Ariana needed to be kept on the dangerous medication Risperdal despite its negative side effects, which caused Maryanne to begin weaning her off the drug under her own doctor’s supervision.

The New Oakland Child-Adolescent & Family Center first prescribed Risperdal for Ariana  when her mother took her there due to Ariana’s severe reactions to recent immunizations. They reported her when Maryanne took her child off the drug. The Center has had paid connections with pharmaceutical companies including Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Risperdal, since at least 2004, according to its website. Kimberly Smith, coordinator for 10 years of adult and pediatric clinical trials for those companies  at New Oakland and other facilities,  admitted to VOD that she is paid by the companies.

Maryanne weeps in arms of her family and friends outside Hawthorne Hospital where Ariana was held captive, during one of many vigils.

Wenk went to Wayne County Juvenile Court and had a probation officer rubber stamp an illegal “court order” for Ariana’a removal with the name of Chief Judge Leslie Kim Smith. She then recruited cops she knew, who went to the house without paperwork to take Ariana. Maryanne adamantly refused them admission.

The cops illegally and unsuccessfully tried to break in without a warrant, then claimed they heard a gunshot inside the house. Soon, tanks were rolling down Linwood as they did during the 1967 rebellion, helicopters were flying over the neighborhood, and police armed with assault weapons took up positions outside the home.

Maryanne finally left the home after community supporters said they were afraid she would be killed like seven-year-old Aiyana Jones was in a similar raid in 2010. Maryanne was immediately arrested. Ariana was kidnapped andtaken without parental consent to Hawthorn Children’s hospital for six weeks. There, the child was medicated with FOUR psychotropic drugs, forced to removed her prosthetic leg which she had worn since she was an infant, and allegedly subjected to sexual assault.

After the cops seized Maryanne, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged her with  eight assaultive felony counts and jailed her.

At a rally later, Maryanne said, “If we don’t stand up for our children, we have no future. I am so filled with joy and thankful for your support, Detroit. The only reason I came out of my home was not all those guns out there, not the threats they brought against me, but because of YOU!”

Maryanne Godboldo (in pink) with supporters including Mubarak Hakim (l), Penny, and attorneys (l to r) Byron Pitts, Allison Folmar, Wanda Evans, and Roger Farinha, outside 36th Dist. Court 

Maryanne, her sister Penny Godboldo-Brooks, Ariana’s father Mubarak Hakim, attorneys Allison Folmar-Givens, Roger Farinha, and Byron Pitts, and the Social Justice Ministry of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church launched a massive campaign to free both Marianne and Ariana. It reached all corners of the world, as far away as Australia.

On Aug. 29, 2011, 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles emphatically dismissed all criminal charges against Maryanne, after an extensive two-day preliminary examination.

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy

“We are talking about a person’s constitutional rights including the right to liberty,” Giles said. “It is ridiculous to go in to remove somebody’s children based on THIS order. It does not even express any situation where we have exigent circumstances where it says the child is at risk. There was no imminent threat of death or severe physical harm. Therefore I am going to quash this order and everything thereafter is null and void. It is the fruit of the poisonous tree.” 

When Kym Worthy appealed, Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Gregory Bill dismissed the charges with similar language.

But Worthy, who ironically has a daughter Ariana’s age, went to the Court of Appeals, which produced an order giving leeway to Judge Giles to once again dismiss the charges on different grounds, which he and Judge Bill did.

It was after Worthy forced a third criminal trial that Maryanne succumbed to the brain aneurysm that eventually took her life. During the five-year battle, the sisters lost their mother Lovey Godboldo as well as Penny Godboldo-Brooks husband Steve.

Penny Godboldo-Brooks  said Ariana now lives with her. Despite the horrific trauma and loss of her mother, she said Ariana is improving. She said a special event sponsored by Hartford Memorial’s Social Justice Ministry is in the works to honor Maryanne’s legacy.

TESTIFY FOR MARYANNE: Her family remains in serious need of funds for her care. To access GO FUND ME site for her, go to website at

Facebook page:


Mubarak Hakim, Penny and Maryanne are embraced by children who supported them and Ariana during rally outside Lincoln Hall in Detroit.

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Bond hearing set for Fri. Oct. 13, 9 a.m. in front of Judge Qiana Lillard, Rm. 502, Frank Murphy Hall, Gratiot/St. Antoine, downtown Detroit

Lewis, family and supporters call on others to attend, pack courtroom

Lewis wants conviction, sentence dismissed (People v. Fullwood MSC 74)

Lewis: “I have no sentence. I’ve been here without a sentence for five years. . . . .I’m the only one that’s been here for the last 40 years. This is not the original prosecutor, this is not the original [defense] attorney, this is not the original judge. I’m the only one who knows what happened and what should be here.”

Judge Lillard grants motion to give Lewis free copy of “re-created” file, hear briefs on whether case should be in front of  Judge Edward Ewell, who vacated Lewis’ sentence 5 years ago and had last full copy of record

By Diane Bukowski

October 8, 2017

Charles Lewis awaits hearing Oct. 6, 2017.

DETROIT – Charles “K.K.” Lewis, now 58, may go free on bond after 41 years in prison since the age of 17, for the killing of an off-duty Detroit police officer which available evidence shows he did not commit.

Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Qiana Denise Lillard set a bond hearing for Fri. Oct. 13 at 9 a.m. in Rm. 502, the Frank Murphy Hall, at Gratiot and St. Antoine. His family and supporters are asking all to attend.

“It’s the most bizarre and inappropriate, inhumane treatment for a citizen of this country to be held for five years with no sentence,” Lewis’ attorney Victoria Burton-Harris said at the post-conviction hearing on the complete loss of his official court file.

Lewis himself says the loss of his file, and nearly two years of haphazard and unsuccessful attempts to fully re-create it, mean that his conviction and sentence should be peremptorily dismissed and he should be freed for good.

He cites the criminal case, People v. Fullwood, 1974 Mich. LEXIS 672 *; 392 Mich. 751. That Michigan Supreme Court ruling says, “On order of the Court, sua sponte pursuant to GCR 1963, 865.1(7), defendant/appellant’s conviction and sentence is peremptorily reversed due to the impossibility of reconstructing the lost record in this cause. The matter is remanded to the Recorder’s Court for the City of Detroit for retrial.”

Lewis’ mother Rosie Lewis said, “It would mean that I could live again, I haven’t been able to live. I truly believe the file was lost deliberately. There were things in the file that could have exonerated him. There were 29 witnesses for the police and not one of them saw my son or pointed the finger in that direction that he was the killer. You can’t just cover something up and push it away. He’s done 42 years—they have nothing else, not a record, give the man his freedom, which is what he should have had when he was 17.”

Above: Lewis’ mother and supporters address media after hearing

Numerous supporters, some of whom who had served time with Lewis, attended the hearing, standing with Mrs. Lewis as she spoke. Among other issues, they cited the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has twice outlawed juvenile life without parole, the sentence Lewis was serving.

During the hearing, Attorney Burton-Harris cited Judge Edward Ewell’s vacation of Lewis’ life-without-parole sentence Oct. 17, 2012, five years ago, subsequent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Miller v. Alabama (2012) earlier that year. The high court held then that mandatory juvenile life without parole {JLWOP) sentences are unconstitutional, “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. constitution.

Defense attorney Victoria Burton-Harris argues case as Asst. Pros. Tom Dawson takes notes.

Burton-Harris also argued that the case should be in front of Ewell, who is still on the bench and had Lewis’ court file at the time, not in front of Lillard, who has said repeatedly she is not familiar with the case. She said state case law in People v. Bart mandates the case go back to the trial judge, especially if the successor judge is not familiar with the case. Lillard granted her motion for the parties to brief that issue for the next hearing date March 6, 2017.

In the Miller ruling, and in Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016), which declared Miller retroactive, the court said “only the rarest child” should be sent to die in prison.

But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has asked that Lewis’ JLWOP sentence be re-instated, along with those of 66 other Wayne County juvenile lifers, the highest number in the state. Ninety-eight percent of Wayne County’s juvenile lifers are Black.

Altogether, 267 state juvenile lifers have received the same recommendation, two-thirds of the total 363. A few of those who had prosecutor recommendations to be re-sentenced instead to terms of years have been trickling home after seeing the parole board. During a recent hearing before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Attorney Deborah LaBelle set that number at 36 out of 38 who have seen the parole board.

During the hearing Oct. 6, Atty. Burton-Harris argued that Judge Lillard should vacate her Nov. 11 order to recreate the Lewis file by having the prosecution and defense share documents in their possession. She said this violated Lewis’ attorney-client privilege and his rights under the Fifth Amendment. She asked that the prosecution destroy all documents given to it by the defense so far.

Judge Qiana Denise Lillard

She also asked the Lewis be given a free copy of the file the parties have “re-created” so far, free of charge.

“He has not received a copy of his file since it’s been lost, stolen, run off with, marked up, signed up,” Attorney Burton-Harris argued. “He has nothing. The docket is bare.”

Lewis himself added that he was the only person present with full knowledge of what should be in the file.

“I’m the only one that’s been here for the last 40 years,” he said. “This is not the original prosecutor, this is not the original [defense] attorney, this is not the original judge. The only one who can speak to what really happened and what really should be here is me.”

Lewis has also argued in various motions to dismiss and objections, which Judge Lillard accepted on the record as timely, that both U.S. and Michigan State Supreme Court case law mandates that case files lost in whole or in part cannot be re-constructed and that his case should be forthwith dismissed. In a bizarre twist, Assistant Prosecutor Tom Dawson contended that those were Lewis’ motions to “re-create” the file.

Among Lewis’ supporters: noted country singer Sharmian Sowards, with Rosie Lewis.

Judge Lillard granted Atty. Burton-Harris’ request to give Lewis a free copy of the “re-created” file, saying Lewis had an absolute right to it.  She gave the Clerk’s office until Oct. 16 to provide the copy, despite AP Dawson’s objection that the file could be anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 pages.

Dawson said he had reviewed every page of the “re-created” file and that it did not contain anything covered by attorney-client privilege, only public documents. But Burton-Harris said she would not be fulfilling her duty to her client by taking the prosecution’s word for what is in the “re-created” file.

It is unclear exactly what is in the file. Judge Lillard has a carton of paper files in her office. But during a hearing Feb. 15, 2017, AP Jason Williams testified that Lewis’ previous defense attorney Valerie Newman also gave him a “flash drive” with files in her possession. No one has yet testified regarding the contents of that flash drive, and whether it is the same one Newman has given to Lewis’ two subsequent defense attorneys.

“If the court will not vacate its Nov. 11 order, we are asking for an adjournment so that we can file a delayed application for leave to appeal in the Court of Appeals, Atty. Burton-Harris said.

She argued that the only proper way to restore the file would be under MCR 3.607, a procedure she said could take another one and a half years on top of the nearly two years Lewis has undergone in his current series of hearings on the lost file.

Judge Deborah Thomas said Lewis should have been acquitted then.

Judge Joseph Maher, Lewis. first trial judge, dismissed jury without cause March, 1977.

She also noted the existence of another Michigan Supreme Court case, People v. Horton,which mandates that the defendant, his attorney and the prosecution select the files to be included, giving UNANIMOUS consent to EACH document.

Burton-Harris also asked that Judge Lillard contact Wayne County Jail authorities immediately because her client is not receiving his proper dose of insulin for his severe case of diabetes there. He said he receives 70 units a day at Lakeland Correctional Facility, but is receiving only 20 units at the jail.

The Michigan Supreme Court in 391 Mich. 359 (1974) found deplorable conditions at the jail. The class-action case resulted in ongoing oversight  by Michigan Legal Services and others. See

Charles Lewis’ mother Rosie Lewis (3rd from r) and some of his supporters after hearing Oct. 6, 2017

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(Earlier broadcast above by Channel Four, Oct. 11, 2016)

#TAKETHEKNEE! Justice for Lewis, 247 juvenile lifers;  Fri. Oct. 6, 8 am @ Frank Murphy, St. Antoine/Gratiot, hearing @ 9 am, Judge Qiana Lillard Room 502

Lewis, attorneys to argue issues in his objection to Judge Qiana Lillard’s Nov. 18 ruling to re-construct his official court record

Lewis says legal precedent bars re-construction of criminal case file, demands immediate release

Battle continues after nearly 2 yrs. of post-conviction hearings triggered by U.S. Supreme Court rulings against juvenile life w/out parole

Pros. Worthy, AP Dawson, argue for renewed JLWOP sentence

By Diane Bukowski

Charles Lewis, an accomplished musician, plays guitar with Bill Lemons on keyboard in prison band. Lewis is now 58, Lemons is 73, still serving life. Lewis played every instrument beginning in childhood. A promising musical career was cut short by his false conviction, engineered by then DPD Sgt. Gil Hill,  at the age of 17. On his release, Lewis still wants to pursue his musical career. He is an extremely accomplished “jailhouse” lawyer as well, having written hundreds of documents and briefs which are letter perfect and cite numerous legal precedents. His mother Rosie says she ran into a stranger when her car broke down, and the man told her “Your son is Charles Lewis? He’s the reason I’m out of prison!” 

DETROIT—Supporters of Charles Lewis, wrongfully incarcerated for 41 years since the age of 17, whose court file mysteriously went missing, say they will #TakeTheKnee at his court hearing in front of Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard Friday, Oct. 6 at 9 a.m.

“I am the epitome of what Colin Kaepernick was protesting,” Lewis wrote in the article below, referring to the San Francisco 49er’s football star who initiated a wave of National Anthem protests by kneeling on one knee as the song was played during a game.

“The biggest problem that we have as African-Americans is the judicial system does not work for us,” Lewis said. “Regardless of why we find ourselves in the judicial system, whether it is because we are victims of police brutality, or being charged with a crime, the system of justice does not work for us.”

Judge Lillard called the Oct. 6 session, where Lewis will be present, to hear arguments from his Objection filed June 23, 2017 against her order to reconstruct his file and for his immediate release. He has based those arguments on legal precedents including two Michigan State Supreme Court rulings in People v. Fullwood (1974), which categorically forbids reconstruction of a criminal court case file,  and People v. Adkins (1990), and a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Chessman v. Teets, 1957.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and AP Tom Dawson are recommending that Lewis be re-sentenced to juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) despite the missing official court record.   

Lewis recently retained attorney Victoria Burton-Harris, of McCaskey, PLLC, who won a police case against Scrill of New Era Detroit earlier this year, to represent him.

Rosie Lewis with her son Charles after his imprisonment in 1977. He played in the prison band “The Gospel Cavaliers” the.

“In the beginning, they never produced material evidence of the crime, and they had witnesses including a Detroit police officer who saw someone else shoot the victim,” Lewis’ mother Rosie Lewis said. “My son is innocent. Judge Gershwin Drain dismissed his case on April 3, 2000 so why do they have him in prison?  They lost three cartons of court files that I reviewed. They’ve lost the case if they don’t have the court record. You can’t come up with what isn’t there.”

In her opinion rendered on an appeal of Lewis’ case Aug. 6, 2016, Judge Deborah Thomas, who at the time had Lewis’ complete record, wrote that Lewis should have been considered acquitted after his first trial in March, 1977, and subject to double jeopardy provisions, because his trial Judge Joseph Maher dismissed the jury during its deliberations without cause.

Only a brief portion of that trial transcript is included in the “re-constructed” file that Judge Lillard is considering certifying.

Judge Thomas also opined that his conviction and sentence should have been dismissed after another judge’s failure to hold a Pearson evidentiary hearing involving witnesses excluded from his second trial in front of Maher within the state-ordered time limits.

Lewis says he filed a motion for relief from judgment in front of Judge Gershwin Drain on that matter, and that Drain dismissed his conviction and sentence April 3, 2000. He says he did not receive a copy of that order until 10 years later. Without giving any proof, AP Tom Dawson contends that order was forged, citing an unsigned opinion by Drain in 2012. The opinion claims Drain was never on his case, but there is no way of verifying that because Lewis’ Register of Actions has been obliterated from 1976 to 2000. The only copies still extant show Lewis’ case WAS dismissed by Drain on April 3, 2000, and another that claims he was convicted by a jury in front on Drain on April 3, 2000.

Lewis is one of 247 juvenile lifers across Michigan, out of 363, that prosecutors have recommended be re-sentenced to JLWOP, flouting two U.S. Supreme Court decisions outlawing JLWOP. So far, none of the 247 has seen any action on their case. Attorney Deborah LaBelle and the Michigan ACLU are awaiting a decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on their case, which challenges the very existence of juvenile life without parole, objects to the 2014 state statutes, and demands that these juvenile lifers be spared any further “cruel and unusual” punishment. Six of them have died waiting for the promise of Miller v. Alabama (2012) to come to fruition.

After 41 years in prison, Lewis estimates that at least 10 percent of the juvenile lifers he has met are innocent. However, there is no provision in state statutes passed in 2014, which are currently being contested in the U.S. Sixth District Court of Appeals, to allow consideration of innocence. Lewis notes also that he was granted re-sentencing under the U.S. Supreme Court Miller v. Alabama ruling in 2012, by Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell, Jr., and should not be subject to the 2014 state statutes.

In his objection, Lewis also wrote, “Judge Lillard’s staunch refusal to acknowledge or apply United States Supreme Court precedent . . . or Michigan Supreme Court precedent is clear evidence that Judge Lillard is bias[ed] and has a clear conflict of interest. Judge Lillard cited the dissenting opinion in a 1911 case that was based on a repealed statute to pierce the veil of attorney/client privilege and order defense counsel to turn over all of the files and records in her possession to the prosecution. Who does that?”

Lewis referred to Judge Lillard’s eight years in as an AP in Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office before she took the bench, and while he was still appealing his case through that office. In the Nov. 18 opinion by Judge Lillard, she denied both defense attorney Valerie Newman’s motion to sentence Lewis to a term of years under the state statutes, and Lewis’ own motion for dismissal, and granted the prosecution’s motion for renewed JLWOP.

AP’s Tom Dawson and Jason WIlliams chortle at earlier Lewis hearing. As Judge Lillard did in the COA Walker case, Dawson sought to demean Lewis as a man “with unclean hands” in his response to Lewis’ objection.

Lewis earlier asked for Lillard to recuse herself from his case.

In a Dec. 2016 Court of Appeals case on Harold Lamont Walker, that defendant also accused Judge Lillard of siding with the prosecution. He was charged with one instance of felony firearm.  Judge Lillard sentenced him to four to 75 years after an exchange cited by COA Judge Elizabeth Gleicher in a dissenting opinion, in which she recommended that the case be remanded to another judge.

The exchange, as quoted by Gleicher in part, included an extended period of Lillard repeatedly calling the defendant a “clown,” and otherwise demeaning him personally as a human being and a Black man.

Gleicher also cited what she said were Judge Lillard’s  faulty jury instructions. They appeared to encourage the jury, which had first declared a deadlock, to take a lunch break, calm down, and come back in one hour to finish their deliberations. Gleicher recommended that the case be remanded to a different judge. See

Lewis says in his objection, “Anything short of an immediate dismissal is a travesty of justice.”

Related documents:

New England Patriots kneel for National Anthem, as part of wave of protests against white supremacy and racist oppression, initiated by San Francisco 49’ers player Colin Kaepernick. #TakeTheKnee  @Kaepernick7




SEPTEMBER 29, 2017

VOD: Detroiter Charles Lewis has been wrongfully incarcerated since the age of 17 in 1976. He is asking that all who support him as well as millions of prisoners and other victims of racist oppression across the U.S. come to his next court hearing Fri. Oct. 6, 2017 in front of Third Judicial Circuit Qiana Lillard, Rm. 502, Frank Murphy Hall, St. Antoine and Gratiot, Detroit, MI.

Charles Lewis

I’m watching this debate about the actions of NFL Players taking a knee and why they are kneeling. They are kneeling to protest injustice. There is one brand of inferior Justice that African-Americans receive when they are pulled over by the police, killed by the police, or charged with crimes, that white America does not receive.

I am the epitome of what Colin Kaepernick was protesting. The biggest problem that we have as African-Americans is the judicial system does not work for us. Regardless of why we find ourselves in the judicial system, whether it is because we are victims of police brutality, or being charged with a crime, the system of justice does not work for us.

My name is Charles Lewis, I am a 58 year old juvenile lifer that has been locked up for the past forty-one years for a murder that Judge Deborah Thomas said that it was impossible for me to have committed. To say that the judicial system has failed me would be an understatement. The system failed me when seventy year old Arthur Arduin was appointed to represent me because I had no money to hire my own lawyer.

My seventy year old lawyer never interviewed any witnesses. My lawyer never interviewed the eye witnesses that made statements identifying another man as the shooter. One of the eye witnesses was an off duty Detroit Police Officer. He testified at two trials that he was talking to Gerald Swpitkowski when Leslie Nathanial pulled up next to him and shot him from his white Mark IV.

My first trial began March 9, 1977. Judge Joseph E. Maher dismissed my first jury on March 23, 1977. No reason has ever been given for the dismissal of the first jury. I will go to my grave believing that the first jury found me not guilty. The judicial system failed me forty years ago.

Judge Joseph Maher (photo 1976)

A second jury was empaneled before visiting Judge Ollie Bivins on May 23, 1977. The second jury was dismissed right after they were sworn in. The judicial system broke down and completely failed me.

A third jury was empaneled on July 5, 1977 before Judge Joseph E. Maher. The jury was already seated when I stepped inside the courtroom. My lawyer argued to the jury that I was guilty. The judicial system completely failed me during my third trial.

During the third trial the prosecutor asked the judge if he could exclude the testimony of several witnesses. At seventeen years old I stood up in that courtroom and told the judge that I wanted all of the witnesses brought in to testify. Judge Maher assured me that all of the witnesses would be brought in to testify. None of those witnesses were allowed to testify. At that point the judicial system broke down and failed me.

Raymond Miller was the seventy year old appellate lawyer that was appointed to represent me on my appeal of right. The Detroit News did a survey of all appellate lawyers practicing appellate law and concluded that Raymond Miller was the worst lawyer practicing appellate law. The system failed me when the worst lawyer practicing appellate law was appointed to represent me on my appeal.

Raymond Miller filed a thirteen page brief and raised fourteen issues. The issues and the brief were poorly constructed. It was impossible to understand the issues that Miller raised. Miller never came to see me. All appellate lawyers practicing appellate law must visit their client at least one time. Miller also refused to raise any of the issues that I wanted raised. The judicial system broke down on the appellate level and failed me.

Manual’s Black Student Union @dmhs_bsu takes a knee in solidarity with @Kaepernick7 and against police brutality and oppression. #TakeTheKnee

I got a job in the law library and began researching my own case. In 1979 I filed a brief before Judge Edward M. Thomas. In the brief I argued that I was entitled to a Pearson evidentiary hearing pursuant to People versus Pearson 404 Mich 698 (1979). Judge Thomas denied my motion and appointed Rose Mary Robinson to represent me.

Rose Mary Robinson appealed judge Edward Thomas’ denial to the Michigan Court of Appeals and won a Pearson evidentiary hearing pursuant to People versus Pearson.

On August 22, 1980 the Michigan Court of Appeals granted me a Pearson evidentiary hearing pursuant People versus Pearson and remanded my case to the trial court before judge Edward Thomas. In Pearson the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that once a Pearson evidentiary hearing is granted the prosecutor has 30 days to conduct the hearing or the case is automatically dismissed. The prosecutor’s 30 days began on September 22, 1980.

Now U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain

Judge Gershwin Drain’s order dismissing case

My conviction was not lawfully vacated on September 22, 1980. Instead, my lawyer Rose Mary Robinson was removed.

Judge Edward M. Thomas decided to allow the prosecutor to conduct a Pearson evidentiary hearing five months after the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered it. I argued that my conviction should have been dismissed. Then the system of justice broke down and the transcripts of the hearing came up missing.

I finally got a copy of the evidentiary hearing after fifteen years. I filed a motion for relief from judgment and the motion was assigned to Gershwin A. Drain. Judge Drain, a black judge, dismissed my conviction. I didn’t receive a copy of the order when it was issued. I got a copy of the order ten years after it was issued.

I sent a copy of the order dismissing my conviction signed by Judge Drain, certified received by the Wayne County Clerk’s Office to Judge Drain. Judge Drain accused me of forging his signature on the order.  Forgery in the State of Michigan is governed by statute and must be proven.

All of my court files and records for all of my cases were intentionally destroyed by the Wayne County Clerks Office.

My current Judge Qiana Lillard was not alive when I got arrested. Judge Lillard ordered my lawyer Valerie Newman to turn all of my personal records over to the prosecution so that the prosecution could make a new Court file. The judicial system has completely broken down at my expense.

I want thank Colin Kapernik and Black Lives Matter and the NFL for taking a knee to protest injustice.

Attica Rebellion, September, 1971; today 2.5 million people in the U.S. are incarcerated, 25 % of the world’s total; the U.S. has only 5% of the world’s population. 






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Front page of Final Call heralds new battle against racism sweeping the country.


By Bryan Crawford -Contributing Writer- Final Call |

Sep 26, 2017

[VOD has added videos and photos to the Final Call’s original article.]

Protecting rights or profits? NFL owners on bended knee

Generally speaking, sports are seen as apolitical. Certainly, professional athletes and team owners have their own individual views and embrace political ideologies that don’t always align, but both parties can usually find a common goal in their desire to compete and win for their organizations, cities and fans.

Since being elected president, it’s become almost a weekly occurrence that Donald Trump says something that is attention grabbing that gets people talking. Mr. Trump has a knack—and a penchant—for getting under people’s skin with his abrasive rhetoric that has driven the wedge in the relationship between Black and White people in America, even deeper.

Since taking a knee during the National Anthem more than a year ago, Colin Kaepernick has consistently been on the radar of Donald Trump, and even more so now that athletes in the NFL, and in other sports leagues, have begun taking a knee in support of the movement started by Mr. Kaepernick.

At a September reelection rally for Alabama Senator Luther Strange, Mr. Trump took another shot at Mr. Kaepernick, and others, in front of an all-White audience that seemed to hang on his every word.

Detroit Lions players, Black and white, along with managers and owners, link arms in National Anthem protest.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son-of-a-bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired!’ ” Mr. Trump said to rousing applause. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person in the country.”

Dallas Cowboys, white and Black, take the knee.


 The very next day, in a series of tweets, Mr. Trump attacked Stephen Curry, star of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors basketball team. It is customary, after a team wins a championship, to visit the White House and deliver a personalized jersey to the sitting president.

Stephen Curry and Golden State Warriors refused to visit Trump after victory.

However, Mr. Curry has publicly stated on several occasions that he does not agree with the politics of Donald Trump, causing the president to rescind the invitation via Twitter—the very same day that as a team, the Warriors were planning to discuss whether or not they wanted to make the trip.

Both incidents created an uproar within the sports world—as well as the White House recently calling for the firing of Black female ESPN sports personality Jemele Hill for tweets calling Mr. Trump a White supremacist. 

But the president’s Alabama tirade seemed to ignite special, widespread criticism, a call for solidarity with players under the hashtag #TakeTheKnee. Despite outward shows of togetherness, the question must be asked: What are we showing solidarity for? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a statement regarding Mr. Trump’s comments, called them “divisive.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers, coached by Mike Tomlin, a Black man, stayed in the locker room while the National Anthem was being sung prior to their game against the Chicago Bears. Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, locked arms with his players on the sidelines on Sunday as a show of support. The irony here was 28 of the NFL’s 32 owners, all donated money to the Trump campaign, including Mr. Snyder who gave $1 million initially, and another $100,000 after Mr. Trump won.   

DeMaurice Smith, the Black executive director of the NFL Players Union, said, “This union will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens, as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks.”

Still, neither statement from Mr. Goodell, Mr. Smith, or the action by Mr. Snyder, even begins to address the “great risks” that Black men and women—who aren’t celebrities or famous athletes—face daily from the police, and the dog whistle political statements that served as inspiration for White groups to publicly assemble in Charlottesville, Va., not long ago.

Georgetown Law School faculty kneels to protest visit by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

President Trump was very careful not to ostracize neo-Nazis and White  rightists in Charlottesville by implying that not all of them were bad people, but he called athletes protesting Black oppression, SOBs.

“What a hypocrisy we live in,” said New York attorney and activist Kenneth Montgomery. “Black people being oppressed and shot at the hands of the state is just the tip of the iceberg concerning our continued social, political and economic alienation. It seems like the U-S-of-A has no place for us unless we are dead, incarcerated, cooning for acceptance or entertaining [White people].”

Sports writer Gregg Bell on Twitter: “Surreal scene here in Nashville as entire Seahawks, Titans teams including coaches, staff, all players, skip the National Anthem.”


Mr. Montgomery also told The Final Call, “This whole thing has become a spectacle. Colin Kaepernick kneeled to protest Black oppression. Now it’s being usurped by the very owners who blackballed him. Many of these athletes, and the owners, are actually protecting the NFL shield. They don’t give a damn about systemic oppression affecting Black people.”

Activist Tamika Mallory has one word to describe NFL owners taking a knee: “Disingenuous.”

Washington Redskins take the knee Monday Sept. 25.

“The reason why the protest started cannot be ignored,” she said. “It cannot be that you separate Colin Kaepernick taking a kneel during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and other injustices happening to Black and Brown people, if the owners weren’t willing to kneel with him … to stand up against Trump is disingenuous to me.”

The owners don’t want to upset 70 percent of their players who are Black men, she continued. The activist added, the NFL owners’ statements and others have nothing to do with the original reason for the protests.

What the president said was outrageous but it’s in line with who he is, and was unsurprising, Ms. Mallory observed. The issue isn’t Mr. Trump or the National Anthem but “the idea that Black lives don’t matter in America,” she said. And, Ms. Mallory continued, the point of the Kaepernick protests was not everyone was enjoying life in the land of the free and home of the brave as touted by the anthem—which has never represented freedom for Blacks and people of color.

“They want to shift the conversation,” she said.   

Ms. Mallory has also not heard from the NFL following a protest outside NFL headquarters in New York. The New York Justice League, which includes Ms. Mallory, led the successful “United We Stand: Rally for Kaepernick.”

During the rally, the activists called on the NFL to have a written policy that protects the right to player protests without retaliation, to have internal and external committees look at diversity, cultural sensitivity among a league with nearly all-White ownership and whether people of color were disinterested in ownership or locked out by a good ole boys network.

And while scholarships from the NFL are great, the league was called to join those addressing the school to prison pipeline, said Ms. Mallory.

And, she added, four years ago, she sat across the table from Mr. Goodell as Black women sought to have the league deal with the problem of domestic violence. There were also questions about where the NFL disperses $100 million to charity and whether some of the funding could go to addressing domestic violence and other violence in the Black community, Ms. Mallory said.

Perhaps, if the league had followed up and dealt with those issues as well as diversity and racial sensitivity, things would be at a different place, she added.She also thanks an unlikely source for much of the renewed activism: Donald Trump.


“Trump is so unhinged that he basically is speaking to the private conversations that all these folks are having and their private thoughts,” Ms. Mallory explained.

Now people, including once-silent athletes, feel compelled to speak up or lose everything, she said. It’s uncomfortable, even scary, but it’s an opportunity, the activist noted.

Making public statements, not watching games, not purchasing paraphernalia or spending money with the NFL, using social media activism, and collectively keeping conversations alive have an impact, she said.

Rapper and activist David Banner has been very outspoken during the campaign and eventual election of Donald Trump. He argues Black folk should go even further. “The NFL has shown Black people that they don’t care about the death of our children. Why would we ever want to feed that machine our money and our support again?” Mr. Banner told The Final Call. “We need to leave people alone who don’t love us,” he said.

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