East side Detroit below E. Jefferson and Holcomb

By Charles Lewis

December 10, 2017

Charles Lamont Lewis

DETROIT, I love you. I first arrived in Detroit in the early 1960’s. I jumped out of the car and ran and dived into the snow. It was the first time that I saw snow. I didn’t know that the pearl white stuff that was so beautiful was so cold. You could hear the soulful, tempting Temptations, The Four Tops, The Supremes, Ray Charles and many singers, early in the morning coming from radios. Motown artists dominated the air waves in the 1960’s.

Back then I went to Williams Elementary on Canfield and Mt Elliot. I was fascinated with this big white baby grand piano and played it every chance that I got.

I would race to get home to sit on the front porch with an old car steering wheel and play cab driver or bus driver. In July of 1967, I sat on our front porch at 3721 Superior and watched the 67 riot unfold right before my seven year old eyes. Have you ever been in the midst of something that you knew was special? I can honestly say that my seven year old brain couldn’t comprehend why Detroit was suddenly going up in smoke. I just knew that it was special.

5821 Pennsylvania neighborhood

My family like many black families migrated from Superior between Moran and Gratiot to Pennsylvania between Shoemaker and Chapin. Home for me no matter where I go is 5821 Pennsylvania.

The first time that I heard “I Want You Back,” by the Jackson 5 was when we stayed on Pennsylvania. We lived on Pennsylvania in 1968 when the Tigers won the World Series.

I was attending Chandler Elementary on April 4, 1968 when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. My fourth grade teacher cut off the lights and had all of the students bow their heads and pray. Then Ms. Couchie told the class that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot and killed. I vividly remember not knowing who he was. When I got home the news of Martin Luther King Jr’s death dominated the news.

Chandler Elementary School, now closed.

In 1970 my cousin Pete married Judy Gardner. My family missed the wedding but made the reception. I sat at our table at the reception bored out of my mind.

I looked across the room and saw Annette Gardner and thought that she was the most beautiful little girl in the whole world. I spent the rest of the night talking to her and dancing with her.



Abandoned houses on blocks that were once vibrant are a symptom of a much greater problem. The greater problem is a combination of bad government, economic apathy and financial flight.

Abandoned schools that sit on trash filled lots, where weeds, trees and grass now grow wild, are a symptom of a much greater problem. The greater problem is a combination of bad government and crooked school principals and school administrators. The tax money collected in Detroit that was allocated for Detroit schools was spent on exotic trips, expensive jewelry, cars and houses.

Highland Park youth outside school board meeting where most of their teachers were being laid off, 2004.

Detroit’s youth suffered the most. They were forced to attend rodent and roach infested schools, with outdated books and unqualified teachers. Many of Detroit’s youth were forced out of school.

Abandoned auto plants that sit on trash filled lots where weeds, trees and grass now grow wild are a symptom of a much greater problem. Where did all the people go? And, more important, why did they all leave? It is not exactly clear where all the people migrated to.

Some went west in search of prosperity. Some went South in search of a better life. Some left because they couldn’t find employment. Some left because they were tired of the crime. There was a mass exodus for many reasons. Detroiters packed up and left the city by the hundreds of thousands. Many of the faithful Detroiters that still reside in Detroit are there because they have nowhere else to go.

My motto is “When life gives you lemons make lemonade,” and make the best out of your present situation. So, the question is this, “how do you improve your current situation?”

The first thing that you need to do to change your circumstances is to change you. The first step that you have to take is the hardest. The first step is changing the way that you think. Our thoughts create our reality. You are where you are now, wherever you in life, because you thought your way to this place in your life. You will have to think your way out of your current situation.

Here is an example of changing the way that you think. Let’s say you are unemployed and you filled out hundreds of job applications and you’ve gone on job interviews and no has hired you. Think about creating your own business and working for yourself.

What are you good at? Everyone has some ability or hidden talent that they were blessed with. Use your talent to start your own business and employ yourself. Change the channel in your brain and you can change the world.

If your life is not all that you want it to be change your thoughts and you will change your life. Find at least one thing to laugh about every day. Every day that you are blessed to see is a day that you can’t get back. There are no do overs in life. So, make the best of every day that you are blessed to see. Avoid toxic people that never have anything constructive or positive to say. Make wise life choices that yield good consequences. Know that you are responsible for your happiness. You are also responsible for your sadness. No one has control over you unless you relinquish your control to them. Hold on.

If Detroit is not all that you think that it should be know that you have the power to make Detroit better. Through the power of positive thought you can change Detroit. Today I decided to make Detroit. I’m going to make Detroit better one positive thought at a time.

Cleaning up distressed Detroit neighborhood

One positive thought can start a chain reaction. That one positive thought can cause one positive action. That one positive action can transform a city. One positive thought caused me to write this article that you are reading right now. What will this article cause you to do to make Detroit better?

Let us focus on the things that we can do to make Detroit better that do not cost any money. You start a cleaning drive and pick up the trash in your neighborhood. The cleanliness of a neighborhood says a lot about the character of the people that live in the neighborhood. Cleaning up your own neighborhood does not cost any money at all.

If you are a woman you can mentor to young girls. It does not cost any money to talk to young girls about sexually transmitted diseases. You can talk to them about college and the importance of a college education. You can talk to them about female empowerment. How much money would that cost you? Not one dime.

Young Detroit women, children on Belle Isle in 2012 before state takeover.

You can start a financial empowerment group and focus on teaching people how to start and run their own businesses. Detroit has the largest business library in the world at Two Woodward Ave. That library has books on everything dealing with business. That does not cost any money at all.

You can start a conflict resolution class for troubled black males that desperately need help resolving conflicts. That would not cost anything but your time.

You can start a BUY DETROIT, campaign. How many times does a dollar circulate in Detroit before it leaves Detroit? Every single time that a Detroit earned dollar is spent in a Detroit owned business, it helps that business grow. Let’s start a new trend called BUY DETROIT, BY DETROIT. Let’s start buying our goods and services from fellow Detroiters.

VOD Editor’s Note: Charles Lewis has been serving an unconstitutional juvenile life without parole sentence for 41 years in the MDOC. His article shows how he has survived those brutal years and what he has to contribute to the people of Detroit upon release.

At the age of 17, Lewis was framed up by the notoriously corrupt Sgt. Gil Hill and STRESS cop Marvin Johnson, among others, for the shooting death of off-duty Detroit cop Gerald Sypitkowski. The cop’s partner and numerous other witnesses identified a different perpetrator.

Charles Lewis with mother Rosie Lewis in 1977.

Judge Joseph Maher

Recorders’ Court Judge Joseph Maher sentenced Lewis to LWOP after dismissing his first jury without cause in May, 1977, meaning Lewis should have been acquitted.

Maher was well-known as one of Detroit’s most racist judges, assisting in the acquittal of STRESS murderer Raymond Peterson, and putting Atty. Kenneth Cockrel, Sr. on trial for calling Maher appropriate epithets out of court.

VOD has reported constantly on Lewis’ battles to dismiss his case due to the suspicious loss of his complete court files. Give a shout out to Charles (K.K.) Lewis on Facebo0k: #FREECHARLESLEWIS#TAKEAKNEEFORCRIMINALINJUSTICES https://www.facebook.com/groups/1512572892145578/.

Judge Qiana Lillard

Also call his Judge, Qiana Lillard, at 313-224-2391, and Prosecutor Kym Worthy at 313-224-5817 to demand his release, and offer assistance to his defense attorney Victoria Burton-Harris at 313-224-2166 on behalf of his mother, four brothers and sisters, grand and great nieces, and numerous others who know him and have been helped by him.

Put Charles Lewis’ name in the VOD search engine for related stories. Write to  Charles Lewis, #150709, at the Lakeland Correctional Facility, 141 First St., Coldwater, MI 49036.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment


Killer cop Michael Slager stands over the body of unarmed father Walter Scott, 50, after traffic stop for defective tail-light April 4, 2015.

By Danette L Chavis – National Action Against Police Murder!!

Dec 8, 2017 — Ex-police officer Michael Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison, plus two years of supervision after his release, by U.S. District Judge David Norton. The sentence comes two years after the fatal shooting of Walter Scott, who was running away from police after being stopped for a broken tail light. The officer had claimed that Mr. Scott had taken control of his taser and that he “feared for his life”. But the video which recorded the shooting shows Mr. Scott running away from police and being fired upon, striking him 5 times including 3 in the back. The officer then handcuffs him as he lay there bleeding.

The officer who had been trained against the use of lethal force, not only murdered the father of four as he was running away from him, but lied accusing the victim of taking control of his taser and “fearing for his life”. Then he stood before the judge and the victim’s family in court and claimed that he wished that he could “go back in time and change the events” calling it “a very tragic situation” – not an outright murder he himself committed! He claimed to be “taking responsibility for the actions of April 4th 2015” without claiming he himself caused it, or admitting that lies that were told in an attempt to justify those actions after they had been taken. But all the same expects some leniency for the “guilty” plea he’s entered into court.

Michael Slager; Walter Scott

The truth is, his pleading “guilty” to violating Walter Scotts civil rights, was agreed to in exchange for state prosecutors “dropping their case” against him after the murder trial ended in a hung jury – for which if he was convicted could result in 30 years in prison.

So he pleads guilty at the federal level regarding a civil rights violation and receives 20 years instead. The family of Walter Scott calls it justice and say that history has been made concerning it. I see a “repeated” history, one of cops murdering the unarmed, lying about it, and a system that aids them in avoiding the penalty rightfully owed!

Sign Petition to U.S. Justice Department now! 

Click on: https://www.change.org/p/national-action-against-police-brutality-and-murder


The number of people serving life in U.S. prisons at an all-time high

Two-thirds are people of color; 12,000 are juvenile lifers

From Sentencing Times, a publication of the Sentencing Project

Fall, 2017

As outlined in our report May 3, 2017, “Still Life: America’s Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences,”  206,000 people were serving life with parole, life without parole, or “virtual life” sentences of 50 years or more in 2016—one of every seven people in prison. Two-thirds of these serving life are people of color. 

For full report, see http://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/still-life-americas-increasing-use-life-long-term-sentences/

The number of people serving life is nearly five times the figure in 1984 despite evidence that continuing to incarcerate those who have “aged out” of their crime-prone years is ineffective in promoting public safety. The expansion is an outgrowth of “get tough” crime policies that characterized sentencing policy in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Along with the spread of mandatory sentencing, Report author Ashley Nellis found that while the majority of people serving life sentences were convicted of murder, the punishment is not reserved for the “worst of the worst.” Over 17,000 people convicted of non-violent offenses are serving life or virtual life sentences, and 12,000 people were under 18 at the time of their crime, when they were still maturing into adulthood.

These figures come at a moment when calls to end mass incarceration abound throughout the nation. Yet the increasing use of life imprisonment suggests that substantial reductions in incarceration will be limited unless policymakers address the punishments at the deep end of the system for crimes that include violence, along with the more politically palatable offenses involving drugs.

In a second report, “Delaying a Second Chance: the Declining Prospects for Parole on Life Sentences,” research analyst Nazgol Ghandnoosh reveals just how elusive parole has become for eligible lifers. Based on a national survey with responses from 31 states and the federal government, this analysis found a variety of policy choices and practices that have caused paroled lifers to serve much longer prison sentences than their counterparts in the past.

(Full report at http://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/delaying-second-chance-declining-prospects-parole-life-sentences/.)

Life in prison means death in prison.

Specifically, in eight jurisdictions for which data are available since the 1980’s, average time served by lifers with murder convictions doubled from 11.6 years for those paroled in the 1980’s to 23.2 years for those paroled between 2000 and 2013.

In a supplemental document, Grandnoosh reports on how these patterns are echoed in other states, and identifies specific policy changes that have contributed to the increase in time served.

Delaying a Second Chance” identifies factors producing longer prison terms for parole-eligible lifers:

  • Gubernatorial authority: Governors in some states have appointed parole board members committed to reducing parole grants and limiting parole boards’ decision-making authority.
  • Parole board procedures: Most states afford only limited rights to incarcerated individuals during parole hearings.

Elderly, infirm Michigan prisoners

The Sentencing Project’s research on life sentences concludes that unnecessarily long prison terms are costly and impede public investments in effective crime prevention, drug treatment, and other rehabilitative programs that produce healthier and safer communities.

The Sentencing Project’s research on life sentences concludes that unnecessarily long prison terms are costly and impede public investments in effective crime prevention, drug treatment, and other rehabilitative programs that produce healthier and safer communities.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Colin Kaepernick at ACLU awards ceremony. Photo Brian van der Brug

Sporting News

 By Arthur Weinstein

“Human rights cannot be compromised”  — Kaepernick

#FREECHARLESLEWIS, #TAKEAKNEEFORCRIMINALINJUSTICES #https://www.facebook.com/groups/1512572892145578/

Dec. 4, 2017

Less than a month after being honored by GQ as its “Citizen of the Year,” Colin Kaepernick has earned another award for his work on social justice issues.

The ACLU honored Kaepernick on Sunday at the organization’s annual Bill of Rights Dinner in Beverly Hills, giving him the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award.

Although the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback began his national anthem protests in 2016, he’s earned more recognition for them this season, even though he’s not currently in the league. Those protests have become a political flashpoint between President Donald Trump, athletes and progressive groups, with conservatives heavily opposed to the protests.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Kaepernick’s appearance at the ceremony, and the award, were a big surprise to the audience. He received a standing ovation. 

Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, praised Kaepernick for taking a stand.

“He has lost his job, one that he loved and was supremely talented and skilled at,” Villagra said, via the Times. “He took a stand knowing that some would criticize him, and he has been viciously and unfairly criticized. He has been called a traitor because too many people in this country confuse dissent for disloyalty.”

“We all have an obligation no matter the risk, and regardless of reward, to stand up for our fellow men and women who are being oppressed with the understanding that human rights cannot be compromised,” Kaepernick said in accepting the award.

Kaepernick a Finalist for “TIME” Person of the Year 

Struggle continues: 18 players demonstrated Sunday during National Anthem

Sports Illustrated expected to give Kaepernick award as well

Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett (72) sits on bench with teammates during the national anthem Dec. 3 before game against Philadelphia Eagles. The Seahawks trounced the Eagles.

Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick was announced Monday as one of 10 candidates for TIME’s Person of the Year for 2017.

Kaepernick, who last played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, joins President Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller and the #MeToo movement, among others, on the short list for recognition. Each year, the magazine strives to identify “the person or group of people who most influenced the news during the past year, for better or for worse.”

Trump was recognized by the magazine in 2016, and German chancellor Angela Merkel was its 2015 recipient. TIME will announce its latest “Person of the Year” on Wednesday.

Kaepernick was the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem last year, describing it as a means of protesting police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. He became a free agent in March and has yet to sign with an NFL team this season, prompting him to file a collusion grievance against NFL owners.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


Prisoners in Lakeland Correctional Facility yard. Charles Lewis has spent 41 years since the age of 17 in this and other Michigan prisons for a crime he did not commit.

Why are Charles Lewis and 246 other juvenile lifers being held for re-sentencing to life without parole, violating U.S. Supreme Court ruling?

Pros. Kym Worthy recommended that Gregory Darren Greene, killer of his four children/stepchildren, and previous wife, serve 45-100 years


November 30, 2017

Charles Lewis today, 58

Charles Lewis at 17

In June of 2012 the United States Supreme Court in Miller v Alabama ruled that life without the possibility of parole for those under eighteen was cruel and unusual punishment and unconstitutional.

On October 17, 2012, Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell Jr. ruled in People v Charles Lewis that Miller should be applied retroactively. Wayne County Prosecutor, Kym Worthy, waited six months then filed an out of time interlocutory appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals to block my resentencing. We appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court and won.

In Lewis v Michigan the US Supreme Court reversed the Michigan Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals and remanded my case to the trial court for resentencing.

On remand to the trial court my case was mysteriously reassigned to Judge Qiana Denise Lillard. Judge Lillard wasn’t born when I got arrested August 1, 1976. No reason was given for taking the case off of Judge Edward Ewell Jr.’s docket and placing the case on Judge Qiana Denise Lillard’s docket.

Wayne Co. Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell, Jr.

Judge Qiana Lillard at party/Lillard Facebook 

It should be noted that Judge Edward Ewell Jr was the first Judge in the country to acknowledge and comply with Miller v Alabama.

On October 17, 2012 when Judge Edward Ewell Jr, granted my motion for resentencing Judge Qiana Denise Lillard was an assistant Wayne County Prosecutor. How does a criminal case get reassigned to an ex-prosecutor turned Judge? If you find the answer to that mystery let me know.

Judge Qiana Lillard’s reassignment to my case was a direct violation of MCR 2.003. Can a judge that worked as a prosecutor while your case was being prosecuted be fair and impartial? That is like asking can a fox guard a chicken coop? Kym Worthy requested life without parole for me, Charles Lewis. I’m presently fifty eight years old and I’ve been locked up forty one years. Her reasons for asking for life without parole are unclear. Kym Worthy has never said exactly why she has recommended life without parole for me.

However, Kym Worthy recommended 45 to 100 years for Gregory Darren Green. Gregory Darren Green is currently serving 45 to 100 years for the brutal murder of four children. Gregory Darren Green tied up two small children and gassed them to death. Then he tied up two teenagers and tortured their mother in front of them. He then shot them to death in front of their mother.

Pros. Kym Worthy

Gregory Darren Greene

I forgot to mention that Gregory Darren Green as an adult killed his first wife and went to prison. He committed his last four murders after he was released from prison. Kym Worthy recommended 45 to 100 years for Gregory Darren Green’s fifth murder as an adult.

Here is the contrast between Charles Lewis and Gregory Darren Green.

Forty one years ago I was charged and convicted of committing a murder during an attempted robbery. Fifteen year old Jeffrey Mulligan, sixteen year old Mark Kennedy and sixteen year old Ronald Pettway were all granted immunity from prosecution to testify against me. The three juveniles testified that I shot and killed an off duty police officer during an attempted robbery because I thought that he was reaching for a gun.

Chadney Allen, 19, and Kara Allen, 17, and Koi Green, 5, and sister Kaleigh Green, 4, killed by Gregory Green/Family photos

The slain off duty police officer’s partner testified that he was talking to his partner when he was shot and killed by Leslie Nathaniel. Also, five college students testified that they witnessed the fatal shot that killed the deceased come from Leslie Nathaniel’s white Mark IV.

I recently had a bond hearing. At the hearing Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Thomas Dawson said that I didn’t show any remorse for what I did. I silently wondered to myself if he had any idea why I was locked up. Kym Worthy has recommended life without parole for me because I filed a motion for a sentence that complies with Miller.

In contrast Gregory Darren Green was offered less time for his fifth murder than Kym Worthy offered me, a juvenile lifer. Today two Black women stand between me and freedom, Qiana Denise Lillard and her suspected aunt/ex boss, Kym Worthy stand between me and freedom.

Wayne County juvenile lifers; Worthy has recommended LWOP for that 67 of them.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Shawn T. Blanchard speaks at Think Tank Bookclub and Workshop

Author of ‘How ‘Bout That for a Crack Baby: Keys to Mentoring and Success’

Cortez Davis El

VOD Staff Writer

November 28, 2017

Reform for the incarcerated comes from two unlikely sources, prisoners Jose Burgos and Doug Little, while Michigan is still debating what reform will look like in the days, months, and years to come. Those that need reform to take shape are held in limbo due to a power struggle among the so called elite on capitol hill. Everyone claims to have the answer to the problems, but nothing is getting done because there are a lot of big I’s and little U’s. Everyone wants to be in charge and no one wants to follow, so nothing gets done. However, that’s where Doug and Jose come into action.

Doug Little and Jose Burgos co-founded The Think Tank Bookclub and Workshop. This program is designed to promote reading and critical thinking among those that will one day return to society. The men mentor one another as a representation of positive reinforcement which is something that all people need in their lives. While the program is fairly new to the Thumb Correctional Facility, it has already gained the attention of an author of one of the books explored in the program.

Jose Burgos

Doug Little

Doug Little introduced the book “HOW ‘BOUT THAT FOR A “CRACK BABY “ by Shawn T. Blanchard to the group of men involved in the program. The book was an eye opener for many as it showcased the struggles of someone that ultimately turned his obstacles into opportunity that led to success. All that read the book were able to see themselves in it and take from the life of the author a new found outlook moving forward.

To have Shawn T. Blanchard, author, business man, mentor, community leader, and a rising star in the political arena take the time to share his life with the public is humbling to say the least. However, much more than that was done for the men at the Thumb Correctional Facility. The founders of the Think Tank Bookclub and Workshop, led by Doug Little reached out to the rising star Shawn T. Blanchard and invited him to come speak to the entire prison population. Setting himself apart from the norms of public life, Mr. Blanchard accepted the invitation and touched the lives of all that attended the event.

The goals are always to spark an interest in education and self improvement. With the help of all involved the goals were met with the added bonus of raising the self esteem of those that suffer from mental slavery and a lack of self acceptance. A big thank you is due to Doug Little and Jose Burgos for creating the learning and growing environment and to the great Shawn T. Blanchard for being the face of what life can be for those that are willing to sacrifice the street life for hard work and true respect.

While many prisoners are waiting on a miracle from Lansing and prison officials, men like Doug and Jose know that miracles from career politicians may not ever come. It is the prisoners themselves that are returning to the communities and therefore it is their responsibility to champion the transformation that is needed to be successful upon release. Reform at the Thumb Correctional Facility is being pushed by prisoners for prisoners and Doug Little, Jose Burgos and many others are at the forefront of making a difference for the good of society and humanity as a whole.

Each one teach one is the mindset of the men that want to close the revolving doors to prison and with the help of leaders like Doug Little, Jose Burgos, Shawn T. Blanchard and many others that have survived the struggles of horrible lives, people in prison can restore the concept of rehabilitation and use their time to better themselves and their environment. We will not wait for help to come because we are who we are waiting on. Doug Little, Jose Burgos and many others are perfect examples of what the system can do when the people in it want to transform themselves and the people around them.

Related VOD articles by Cortez Davis-El:





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Rally for Darrell Ewing and wrongfully convicted prisoners May 9, 2017

Prosecution tried unsuccessfully to introduce a police “Facebook expert”

On habeas appeal, defense also cited confession to murder by Tyree Washington, trial judge’s failure to give ‘deadlocked jury” instruction

Trial judge allowed social media evidence in state’s case against Joseph Weekley, killer of Aiyana Jones; Weekley walked free

By Diane Bukowski

November 27, 2017

Photos provided by Darrell Ewing

Darrell Ewing, mother LaSonya Dodson to his left, and sisters

DETROIT – U. S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood struck down the first-degree murder conviction of Detroiter Darrell Ewing, 29, on November 20. Her frank opinion exposes unconscionable practices employed by the Detroit Police and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office under Kym Worthy to obtain convictions “by any means necessary.”

Ewing and his co-defendant Derrico Searcy were convicted of murdering J.B. Watson Dec. 29, 2009, in an allegedly gang-related shooting at Harper and Van Dyke. They have been in prison since 2010. Afterward, another prisoner, Tyree Washington, came forward repeatedly to declare under oath that he, not Ewing and Searcy, committed the murder.

District Court Judge Hood threw out Ewing’s conviction based on a sole aspect of the habeas appeal, related to jury contamination, terming two other issues including Washington’s confession moot. She ordered Ewing’s release “forthwith,” unless the state grants Ewing a new trial within “ninety days of either the date of this opinion or the date when any appellate review becomes final, whichever date is later.” See full opinion at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Darrell-Ewing-USCOURTS-mied-2_15-cv-10523-0.pdf

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood

Ewing’s attorneys Phillip Comorski and Byron Pitts contended in the appeal, “Petitioner was denied a fair trial and impartial jury under the federal constitution where, during jury  deliberations, the jurors brought in extraneous information from Facebook and the internet about petitioner Ewing, Mr. Watson, gangs, and gang pecking orders, and the jurors used this information to convict petitioner Ewing.”

Comorski told VOD, “It’s the proper ruling; unfortunately the Michigan Courts didn’t do it the first time and we had to go all the way to the federal courts. It’s quite clear based on the facts that information being brought into the jury room from outside the courtroom is certainly not permitted. Hopefully the Attorney General does the right thing and let’s it go back to state court, instead of appealing to the Sixth Circuit.”

Ewing’s mother LaSonya Dodson has been campaigning vigorously for her son’s release since his conviction. She told VOD she sold her house and exhausted her 401k to pay Ewing’s trial and appeals attorneys. She added that one daughter in the service retired early at the age of 26 due to severe headaches from the stress of her brother’s case, while the rest of the family ceased “living the active lives we used to.”

LaSonya Dodson with exoneree Marvin McHenry May 9, 2017

“I’m very happy with the ruling,” Dodson told VOD. “I think the prosecution’s tactics to try to bring in gang signs were to defuse what the case was all about. What I learned is that they bring a lot of “experts” in to brainwash the jurors. How do you become a Facebook expert?  What school do you go to?”

Dodson has also sponsored protests outside the Federal Courthouse, and been active with various coalitions against wrongful convictions.

In her opinion, Judge Page Hood noted that prior to the trial, the assistant prosecutor Kam Towns tried to qualify Detroit Police Officer Terri Graves as an expert on gangs and gang signs based on internet research she had done from Facebook and other social websites.

The prosecution alleged that Ewing was a member of a gang called the “Hustle Boys” while Watson belonged to a gang called “The Knock-Out Boys.” The Detroit Police Department has a long history dating back to the days of Gil Hill and others in the 1970’s who characterized loose assortments of Black youth from poor neighborhoods as “gangs.”

According to Judge Page Hood, trial court judge Carole Youngblood denounced and denied the attempt to have Graves testify.

Asst. Prosecutor Kam Towns, profiting off the fruits of mass incarceration. Facebook photo

“On October 8, 2010, the trial court judge issued an opinion and articulated detailed findings on the record denying the prosecutor’s request to add Officer Terri Graves as an expert witness or a lay witness,” Hood says in her opinion.

“The trial court judge denied the proposed trial testimony due to ‘an overwhelming amount of Officer Graves’ ‘facts and data,’ [that] are based on unreliable principles and methods. Officer Graves’ data is based on information that people have told her.’ The Court proceeded to find her testimony ‘hearsay within hearsay, within hearsay…not scientific and it is closer to gossip than scientific or reliable data.’”

Although Graves was stricken from the witness list, social media information on gangs was discussed in the jury room, according to Judge Page Hood.

“On January 10, 2011, Juror # 4, Kathleen Frances Byrnes, filed an affidavit informing the court that during deliberations Juror # 13 (Michelle Chesny) brought in Facebook information regarding petitioner’s past history and information pertaining to an online eulogy for J.B. Watson. Ms. Byrnes also informed the court that Juror # 5 (Karen James) had googled gang information and brought up information pertaining to gang codes and gang activity that she found on the internet. This Court notes that the jurors brought into jury deliberations the same type of information that the trial court excluded prior to petitioner’s trial.”

Darrell Ewing (4th from left) with Natalie Holbrook, Korbin Faller of the American Friends Service Committee, Pete Martell and Marilena David-Martin at workshop June 23, 2017.

Byrnes’ affidavit also says, “Ms. James also said during deliberations that gangs have a pecking order according to information she googled at home. She went on to say that Darrell Ewing was at the top of the pecking order. That would put Tyree Washington at the bottom and the gang decided to sacrifice Tyree Washington by setting him up as the fall guy for the murder. According to Ms. James, the above information was based on what she had read on line regarding the history of gangs on the google web site.”

Additionally, says Judge Page Hood, “The affidavit of Kathleen Francis Byrnes states that ‘contrary to her indication to the trial court, her vote to convict ‘was not [her] honest verdict.’ Byrnes alleged, in relevant part, that she was pressured into agreeing with the verdicts and that other jurors engaged in internet research regarding Watson, Ewing, Searcy, and gangs.”

See Byrnes’ affidavit at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Byrnes-affidavit.compressed.pdf.

Youngblood denied a motion for an evidentiary hearing to determine exactly how much discussion the jurors had related to the internet discussions. Judge Page Hood says such a hearing would have been needed, since the jurors came back with a conviction only a day after they told Judge Youngblood in a note that they were deadlocked.

“Considering the serious difference of opinion of the jurors, brought to the court’s attention the day before . . . It would appear more likely than not, that the additional information, pertaining to gang codes, may have been discussed in order to break the jury deadlock,” Judge Page Hood says.

Judge Youngblood died while post-conviction proceedings were ongoing, and the case was transferred to Judge Cynthia Gray-Hathaway.

Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, killer cop Joseph Weekley, Aiyana Jones

(Gray-Hathaway allowed the defense to introduce Facebook evidence in the trial of Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley, accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Aiyana Jones, 7, during a 2011 Special Response Team raid on her home.

It included undated, unsourced and unrelated Facebook photos of some of Aiyana’s older relatives allegedly brandishing guns and giving gang signs. The defense even tried to introduce a Facebook photo of Aiyana and her two little brothers giving an alleged “gang sign” which signified only “east side,” as opposed to “west side.” Weekley walked free after three mis-trials.)

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of Ewing and Searcy Sept. 24, 2013, claiming the jury discussions constituted “harmless error” and trial court post-conviction proceedings ceased. See COA opinion at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/COA-Darrell-Ewing-Derrico-Searcy.pdf.

But Judge Page Hood found, “This Court cannot conclude that the jurors’ use of extraneous information was harmless error. Lengthy deliberations by a jury preceding the jury misconduct and a relatively quick verdict following the misconduct strongly suggests prejudice.”

LaSonya Dodson said she wants to “give a shout out” to Investigator Scott Lewis, commending him for his dedication and constant communication with his clients.

She cites numerous opinions from the Sixth Circuit Court to the U.S. Supreme Court backing her ruling.

Below is Scott Lewis’ interview with Tyree Washington, who confessed numerous times to dozens of officials that he was the perpetrator in the murder of J.B. Watson. VOD spoke with him and he confirmed that he wanted this tape published. He refers to Adrienne Jackson, who testified to officials during Ewing’s trial that she was present when Tyree Washington shot J.B. Watson. Tyree Washington is serving a sentence of 7 to 25 years in the MDOC for crimes of car-jacking and felony firearm. His first out-date is 4/14/2019, and his final outdate is 3/14/2037. He is subjecting himself to a possible life sentence if he is charged and convicted in the Watson murder case.

His description of the crime is typical of many tragic killings occurring among the youth. He says he, his daughter and her mother were shot at the day before by Watson, and he went after Watson essentially for their protection. He also condemns the entire criminal “injustice” system for its unchecked practices of mass incarceration by any means possible. Tyree Washington’s affidavit is at Tyree Washington Affidavit[2145].

Ewing added in a letter to VOD, “Believe it or not, U.S. Federal Agents were given information by a top informant who testified in front of multiple grand juries concerning this matter and who was the actual culprit responsible for the crime I was being charged with and ultimately convicted of.

“Armed with this information, these same federal agents, in the interest of justice intervened by presenting their exculpatory proofs to Prosecutor Kym Worthy and the assistant prosecutor over my case, Kam Towns, who both, in turn, dismissed the evidence without investigation. . .Because of this disclosure, my first trial date was postponed by the now deceased honorable Carole Youngblood, who told the attorneys to further investigate this matter, and as a consequence of these instructions, I was advised by my then trial counsel, David Cripps, to take a polygraph test . . . I passed the polygraph test with flying colors, however, Prosecutor Kym Worthy refused to consider the polygraph results, ultimately refusing to drop the charges against me.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Members of Protect Our Stolen Treasures (POST) including Kevin Kellom, father of Terrance Kellom at left, call for Kym Worthy to step down in protest March 22, 2017. Worthy refused to charge an ICE agent and other police who slaughtered Kellom’s son in his home in front of his family in 2015. 

Original ‘Conviction Integrity Unit’ freed no one, re-convicted four; SADO partnered with Worthy in that unit


  • Violated legal ethics in ongoing cases of Charles Lewis, Mary Stafford
  • Newman, prosecutor may be guilty of perjury in Lewis case
  • Judge Qiana Lillard may have suborned perjury 

SADO wants state funds for at least 5 more years as it fails to free state juvenile lifers, violating U.S. Supreme Court rulings

“They are not about releasing people, they are about keeping them locked up”–Lewis

By Diane Bukowski

November 18, 2017/Updated November 29, 2017

Valerie Newman talks with juvenile lifer Charles Lewis at court hearing Oct. 28, 2016. Lewis accuses her of violating attorney-client privilege.

DETROIT — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s appointment of attorney Valerie Newman to head her office’s revived “Conviction Integrity Unit” (CIU) raises serious doubts about whether that unit, or the State Appellate Defenders’ Office, where Newman worked for 23 years, truly intend to free innocent prisoners, or most juvenile lifers.

“Valerie R. Newman has dedicated herself to representing those in the criminal justice system unable to afford retained counsel on appeal,” Worthy’s Nov. 13 press release on Newman’s immediate appointment said. “Her passion for a fair and just criminal justice system is further evidenced by her efforts to educate and collaborate with stakeholders throughout the justice community.”

The CIU will have two full-time lawyers, a consultant lawyer, a full and a part-time investigator, and an administrative staff person, costing the County $660,000 a year,  according to Worthy spokeswoman Maria Miller.

But many individuals and families experienced with the original CIU, founded in 2009 to investigate hundreds of claims of falsified forensics evidence, and others experienced with Newman’s representation, disagree with the mainstream media’s positive depiction of Newman’s appointment.

“Neither Kym Worthy nor Valerie Newman has any intention of seeking anyone’s freedom,” said juvenile lifer Charles Lewis, 58, incarcerated for 41 years for a crime he and his family have always insisted he did not commit. “They are not about releasing people, they are about keeping them locked up.”

Worthy has recommended that Lewis and 66 other Wayne County juvenile lifers, 98 percent of them Black, be re-sentenced to LWOP, the highest number among counties in Michigan. State-wide, prosecutors have recommended LWOP for 247 out of 363 juvenile lifers, although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “only the rarest child” should die in prison, in  Miller v. Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana. 

Lewis estimates that at least 20 percent of state juvenile lifers are actually innocent, largely due to negligent representation by court-appointed attorneys. But SADO has refused to pursue innocence claims.

“This is just another dressed-up sham to make it appear that the true goal of the prosecutor is to confess wrongdoing by her office and Detroit Police by tugging SADO along as if to give this unit some integrity,” said paralegal Roberto Guzman, formerly of the People’s Crime Lab Task Force to Free the Wrongfully Convicted.

“More than $3 million and eight years after the first integrity unit was inaugurated, in which Worthy freed nobody on her own confession of error, it is even more insulting to ask us to believe that now she is truly interested in doing so simply because she brought on a new servant beholden to her arbitrary power.”

During a July, 2017 announcement of the pending re-creation of the CIU, Worthy essentially agreed, predicting the “overwhelming majority” of convictions will stand.

Members of the People’s Task Force including Marilyn Jordan (l) and Roberto Guzman (r) protest Kym Worthy’s initial Conviction Integrity Unit May 16, 2011, after the shutdown of the Detroit Crime Lab due to a high percentage of falsified forensic findings. They demanded an investigation independent of Worthy and the police. Only four cases were re-examined; Worthy re-convicted the defendants involved.

The Prosecutor’s Office and SADO collaborated as partners in the original CIU, meant to address hundreds of wrongful conviction claims deriving from falsified forensics evidence, which resulted in the closing of the Detroit Crime Lab. But the WCPO and SADO identified only four cases involving such evidence. Worthy sent those defendants back to trial, where they were re-convicted and are again serving life sentences.

Pros. Kym Worthy asks City Council for money for her own crime lab investigation, May 11, 2009

Although Worthy says she disbanded the CIU in 2013, due to lack of funds, SADO has continued to receive Department of Justice funding for “(1) a Crime Lab Project providing advocacy for persons adversely affected by the closure of the Detroit Police Crime Lab; (2) a Fast Response for Wrongful Conviction Project intended to identify and investigate forensic and evidentiary issues in sufficient time to allow for their development on appeal.”

Newman headed SADO’s juvenile lifer re-sentencing division until June, 2017, when she stepped down for unknown reasons. Minutes for SADO’s June 21, 2017 board meeting state, “SADO has 194 juvenile lifer clients. To date, forty-six clients have been resentenced to a term of years. Twenty-two clients are waiting for resentencing. Nine clients have been released on parole, with another sixteen approved for parole.”

Nine clients released out of 194, nearly six years after Miller v. Alabama?

In its request for a $1.4 million renewal of state funding, on top of nearly $2 million already provided, SADO estimated it would take “another five years” to complete juvenile lifer re-sentencings. That means ten years during which Michigan juvenile lifers are serving unconstitutional sentences, on top of their original unconstitutional convictions. At least six have already died in prison.

Efren Paredes Jr. with family

Juvenile lifer Efren Paredes, Jr., of the Juvenile Lifers for Justice, told VOD via JPay, “SADO is making money off the misery of juvenile lifers and prolonging the resentencing process so that they can seek additional state funding. Many prosecutors are doing the same thing, including Kym Worthy. Both ends are shamefully using our situation to essentially extort the state for money. It is ridiculous for SADO to come out and say it will take them an additional five years to resolve the juvenile lifer cases they are handling.”

SADO will not challenge two 2014 state statutes limiting the effect of Miller and Montgomery, but at least two federal cases are calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw ALL JLWOP sentences immediately, no strings attached.

Atty. Deborah LaBelle has fought for the rights of juvenile lifers for decades.

In Hill v. Snyder, Attorney Deborah LaBelle argued to the Sixth Circuit Court in September that the plaintiffs “categorically challenge the imposition of a life-without-parole sentence on any child; they challenge Michigan’s particular statutory scheme for imposing juvenile life-without-parole sentences; and they challenge the lack of a meaningful opportunity for release for juveniles who receive a 60-year maximum instead of life-without-parole.”

She also argued for the restitution of “good-time” credits, which would allow many of the state’s JLWOPer’s immediate release. She said a total of 38 juvenile lifers have been released to date, including those represented by private attorneys under the Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System (MAACS). MAACS was administratively merged with SADO in 2014. Approximately 75% of indigent felony appeals are assigned to the MAACS roster, while approximately 25% of cases are assigned to SADO.  

The U.S. Supreme Court unfortunately denied writs of certiorari Nov. 27 in the cases of Sarah Marie Johnson v. the State of Idaho, and the State of Arizona vs. Gregory Nidez Valencia, Jr. and Joey Lee Healer after its conference Nov. 21. Both cases asked the Supreme Court to ban ANY juvenile life without parole sentences.

Sarah Marie Johnson, 16 when  charged with killing her parents.

Gregory Valencia, charged with felony murder involving bicycle theft.

“Neither courts nor experts can accurately determine at the time of sentencing whether a particular child’s crime reflects ‘irreparable corruption’ as opposed to merely ‘transient immaturity,” the Fair Punishment Project of Harvard Law School wrote in an amicus brief for the Johnson case.

“The brains of teenagers and young adults are still developing, a process that continues into the mid-twenties in many cases. It is apparent that any determination about how that process will continue and what its result will be is inherently speculative. In addition, scientific studies confirm that there are no identifiable factors that even psychological experts can examine to accurately predict how a child’s or young adult’s character might be reformed.”

Wayne State University Professor of Law Peter Henning commented on whether Newman could face conflicts of interest in her new position.

“. . . .an attorney like Ms. Newman cannot disclose confidential communications without the client’s permission, nor under Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct 1.8(b) can she use confidential client information to the client’s disadvantage,” Henning said in an email to VOD.

Peter Henning, professor of Law at Wayne State University.

“So she would not be able to represent the prosecutor’s office in a case in which she represented a client or received confidential information that could be used to the client’s disadvantage, at least not without full disclosure to the client and permission,” Henning continued.

“The appointment itself does not violate the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, but her prior representation of individuals could present a problem. Moreover, the usual rule is that when a lawyer is part of an organization, like a law firm, then client confidences are usually imputed to all the lawyers in the organization.

“If Ms. Newman could show that she did not receive any confidential information on a particular client while she was at SADO, then she could take a case involving that client.  But this is an area fraught with danger so lawyers often won’t undertake a case in which there is any possibility that they received privileged or confidential information.” 

Newman represented Charles Lewis as his defense attorney during multiple hearings in front of Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard in 2016. During that time and afterwards, she repeatedly violated her client’s right to confidentiality even before becoming a prosecutor.


Dennis Van Fleteren/Facebook

There is abundant evidence of Lewis’ innocence. Most of the witnesses at two trials, including Dennis Van Fleteren, partner of Detroit Police Officer Gerald Sypitkowski, whose murder Lewis is serving time for, testified that they saw another perpetrator kill the officer on July 31, 1976.

“When I met her, the first thing [Newman] asked me was whether I felt remorse for my crime.” Lewis said. He said he told her NO because he didn’t commit it.

Newman then sabotaged Lewis’ efforts to have his case dismissed pursuant to State and U.S. Supreme Court precedents after the Court Clerk’s loss of his entire court file. She agreed to “re-construct” the file, turning over attorney-client privileged information to APA Jason Williams prosecutor on a flash drive marked www.SADO.org, as Newman and AP Jason Williams admitted according to transcripts of a Feb. 15, 2017 hearing. Judge Qiana Lillard supported their testimony.


Other pertinent pages of the transcript, in which Judge Lillard supports Williams’ and Lewis’ testimony, can be read at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/CL-transcript-2-15-17-selection-2.pdf.

In fact, the flash drive contains the following items listed in its index, including attorney-client communications, medical records client never authorized to be given to anyone else, in violation of HIPAA, and a personal autobiography originally in a folder marked by Foley & Larder, “DO NOT GIVE TO ANYONE ELSE.


The flash drive, however, does not include an appeals opinion by Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas dated Aug. 6, 2006.

Thomas’ opinion notes among other matters that Thomas “thoroughly read” the missing first trial transcript and concludes that Recorders Court Judge Joseph Maher  dismissed Lewis’ first jury unconstitutionally, which should have meant an acquittal with double jeopardy attaching. VOD first reported on this opinion after discovering it in the file kept by Judge Lillard.

The opinion is also included in the files from Foley & Lardner. But Newman inserted a copy into a folder in back, defaced with numerous little red tags and Post-It notes declaring it “fake.”

She likewise marked an April 3, 2000 order by Judge Gershwin Drain dismissing Lewis’ case “likely forged.”

Lewis has adamantly contended that he received that opinion ten years late from corrections personnel. They confirmed its validity with an employee of the Wayne County Clerk’s office, who discovered that had been mis-filed.

Newman withdrew from Lewis’ case without filing an appeal of a crucial Nov. 11, 2016 order by Judge Lillard,  which denied both Lewis’ motion for dismissal and Newman’s motion for 40-60 years, leaving only the prosecutor’s LWOP motion.

Newman then undermined Lewis’ relationship with subsequent attorneys by claiming he was guilty and giving them the flash drive.

The flash drive includes a frank autobiography he gave to Foley & Lardner attorneys, which contains information prejudicial to Lewis regarding other events, but not relevant to any role by him in the murder of Officer Gerald Sypitkowski.

It is the epitome of “attorney-client privileged” information. Although a second copy is present in the file boxes much later on, Newman/SADO moved this copy up to the front of the file list on the flash drive.

Defaced Deborah Thomas opinion

Cover to Drain order 

Defaced copy of Drain order.

Original attorneys marked this file containing autobiography by Lewis “never give to anyone.”

Inkster cops, AP Karen Plants, and Judge Mary Waterstone.

The roles played by Valerie Newman, Jason Williams, and Judge Qiana Lillard in this case bring to mind similar allegations that resulted in the convictions, disbarment and retirement of another Wayne County Judge and AP in a drug bust case in 2005.

Wayne County AP Karen Plants conspired with Inkster police to allow them to lie under oath about the true nature of a witness in the drug bust, who was in fact a paid informant. Judge Mary Waterstone presided over the case and was apprised of the perjured testimony but allowed it to take place.

Plants was charged with perjury and spent six months in prison, while Waterstone faced misconduct chages and retired early. Attorney General Bill Schuette brought the charges against the players in that case.


In another case VOD has covered, that of Clifford and Mary Stafford, Newman was assigned to represent Mary Stafford on appeal, while her husband was represented by another attorney, Ian Kierpaul.

Mary Stafford, at the age of 66, had been sent to the Huron Valley Women’s Prison Feb. 16, 2016 for 1-10 years by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway, on charges of “false pretenses” and “obstruction of justice,” brought by the County’s Mortgage Deed Fraud Task Unit. Her husband was sentenced to probation.

The County claimed Wells Fargo had asked for the prosecution, but Wells Fargo firmly denied that.

Community advocates Clifford and Mary Ann Stafford

The Michigan Department of Corrections probation report on Mary Stafford noted that she  had taken care of her six younger siblings growing up, never been convicted of any offense, and made only $700 a month in Social Security benefits. That report recommended an 18-month sentence of probation.

Stafford also took care of her sister after she was shot in the head and paralyzed, various children and grandchildren, and was a “latch-key” caregiver for neighborhood children when the family lived on Gilchrist.

During the appeals process, Newman first held a “post-conviction” hearing in front of Hathaway without the presence or knowledge of her client, on Aug. 26, 2016, an ethical violation. A transcript of the hearing demonstrated Newman’s utter lack of knowledge regarding what had transpired at the Staffords’ trial, although Newman had postponed ANY action on Stafford’s appeal for months until she obtained all the transcripts of the trial.

Judge Hathaway made wild allegations as he had during the trial, but Newman could not defend her client, and lost the hearing.

Judge Michael Hathaway

Appeals Court Judge Michael Talbot

The actual appeal filed by Newman did not even make an innocence claim, ignored numerous instances of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct during the trial that were cited by the husband’s attorney in his appeal, and accused the husband and a friend of being responsible for the alleged crimes. Newman did not ask to make oral arguments at the Appeals Court hearing, although she showed up for it.

Chief Judge Michael Talbot of the Court of Appeals combined the two cases for the COA’s final ruling. Court rules say such a combination can be done only if requested by a party. While Atty. Kierpaul did not request such a combination, it is not known whether Newman did. (Newman refuses to speak to VOD and has told others, including juvenile lifers, to have nothing to do with the newspaper, according to their own statements.)

A joint opinion denying the appeals by both Staffords was rendered. Newman sent Mary Stafford a copy of her appeal. She said that concluded SADO’s representation, leaving Stafford owing over $75,000 in court fines, allegedly to be paid to Wells Fargo.

However, SADO’s website says its attorneys practice in the highest appellate courts, including the Michigan and U.S. Supreme Courts.

Fortunately, the MDOC paroled a thoroughly traumatized Mary Stafford after one year on Feb. 16, 2017, with the parole to end in February, 2018.

Related documents:

Full opinion by Judge Deborah Thomas on Charles Lewis case at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/DThomasOpinion2.pdf/.

Charles Lewis motion re: Judge Gershwin Drain order to dismiss his case: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/CL-motion-re-Drain-order.compressed-1.pdf 

RELATED STORIES on Judge Mary Waterstone and AP Karen Plants:




RELATED STORIES on Charles Lewis and Juvenile Lifers:





























Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



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.





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



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 http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Official-declaration-of-Wanda-Worley-1.pdf 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 http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Official-declaration-of-Kristina-M-Brockington.pdf)

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















Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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.

SEE LIST OF DETROITERS KILLED BY POLICE FROM 1992 AND ONGOING: AT  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/DETROITERS-KILLED-BY-POLICE-SINCE-1992-edited-1-1.pdf

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


Detroit Free Press articles on Detroit police in 2000: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Detroit-cops-are-deadliest-in-U-S-1.pdf

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments