STOP TELLING BLACK PEOPLE NOT TO RIOT OVER THE STATE-SANCTIONED LYNCHING OF TYRE NICHOLS–KCD

TYREE NICHOLS–photo published by Kansas City Defender

Do not talk to us today about potential for “violence” from protestors, to do so is to appropriate the language and framing of white supremacy. 

                                THE POLICE ARE THE NUCLEUS OF VIOLENCE

“The very idea of being non-violent in this system is laughable because it is erected and maintained through violence at our expense.”

Ryan S

BY RYAN S. & BREANNA BONNER ● JUSTICE ● JANUARY 27, 2023

Stop Telling Black People Not To Riot Over the Lynching of Tyre Nichols (kansascitydefender.com)

[VOD Editor: We have just discovered this newspaper, established by young Blacks after the murder of George Floyd. It is reminiscent of the original Michigan Citizen here, which ceased publication in 2014. KCD broke the story of dozens of Black women missing in Kansas City, some victims of a white supremacist. Please go to the KCD website at Home – Kansas City Defender to see the entire newspaper and donate on its website. ]

Photo by WFLA News–published in Kansas City Defender

Less than two weeks ago, we celebrated the birthday of one of our most prolific leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who famously stated that “the riot is the language of the unheard.” Today, these words ring truer than ever in the wake of the lynching of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police.

In the past week, those who have watched the video of Nichols’ ruthless murder have expressed their disgust, Chief of Police and government leaders alike have urged people not to protest in response to the video.

“There’s a right way and a wrong way to express yourself when you’re upset or angry about something, we need to make sure if there’s that sentiment expressed here it’s done in the right way,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said at today’s press conference in a thinly veiled threat.

President Joe Biden said in a written statement “Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.”

But the system brought this upon itself when it barbarically murdered Tyre Nichols — may peace, love and protection be brought to his family. Rest in Power, brother.

Whatever the response of the people, regardless of how visceral, how unorganized, how expressive, whether it is a candlelight vigil or burning down buildings – there can be no condemnation of such actions that are themselves responses to the brazen, vicious violence inflicted daily on the Black community by the systems of policing and white supremacy.

We will no longer be fooled or misled by the media which detracts from the truth and fact of the savagery, the unconscionable brutality of the police.

Protesters face Memphis police officers and state troopers during a six-hour shutdown of the Hernando Desoto bridge on July 10, 2016. Photo by Brandon Dill for MLK50

The police are the nucleus of violence 

They are such when suffocating, shooting, kneeing on the neck, choking and asphyxiating, lynching, beating and tazing, hanging and murdering people, but also when inflicting psychological violence through slave-era patrolling, surveilling and terrorizing our neighborhoods and cities.

Derek Chauvin murders George Floyd May 25, 2020.

Their mere everyday existence is structural violence as it extracts and drains hundreds of millions of dollars that would otherwise be invested in education, healthcare, affordable housing, mental health, childcare and other life-affirming institutions.

The police instead siphon off these necessary community nutrients, acting as a parasite which extracts these resources from our communities – ultimately driving us into homelessness, segregation era education facilities, and children so food and housing insecure that worms eat half of the food they ingest – all while the police purchase multi-million dollar helicopters, military grade vehicles, weaponry and drones.

If we are to discuss violence today, let us discuss this.

Do not talk to us today about potential for “violence” from protestors, to do so is to appropriate the language and framing of white supremacy, to be the slave risking their own life to protect the master’s burning house – it is traitorous to our people.

We urge all Black people, all students, all poets, all dreamers, all blue collar workers, and all those from coast to coast to snap out of their spell of apathy. 

On some level, it is both anger and love that fuel our movements forward towards liberation. And we should be very angry.

Between the police once again waging warfare on Black Americans for doing everyday tasks, police murdering indigenous protectors from protecting their land against the expansion of military power, and bills across the country stripping Black people from the rights to know their history and their rights to survive, we are warranted anger.

What should first exit our hearts and mouths as we prepare for what is to come – is solidarity, what can we do to support the family and each other – if or when riots do occur, how we can be establishing mutual aid networks and bail funds for these courageous freedom fighters sacrificing their lives and safety to uplift Tyre’s name, these freedom fighters who are demanding a dismantling of this unimaginably destructive system and through their actions saying we will absolutely not allow this to go on with business as usual.

These oppressive systems wreak both physical ills and psychological destruction on our minds. With every outburst of violence as a result of policing, we shrug it off, we keep going with our day in hopes of not being worn down by the reality of our country becoming increasingly unlivable.

We urge every reader to break this cycle.

Instead, take a second and really feel an emotion about the state of our country. Reflect on every Black victim of police violence and feel anger towards a system that encourages and condones this. Consider the Black women who have been missing and killed.

Feel longing, feel hurt, feel anger, feel slighted. Feel human.

Truly, take a moment and mourn for those that you will never meet. We must grieve and grieve publicly. As the quote states “Grief is the last act of love we have to give to our loved ones. Where there is deep grief, there is great love”.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – JANUARY 26: Candlelight vigil in honor of Tyre Nichols at the Tobey Skate Park on January 26, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo published in Kansas City Defender

With our collective grief, we re-instill the value in sharing love for every member of our community- both the ones we love for a lifetime, and the ones we love but never get to know.

Next, we must understand collectively that this level of grief should not be necessary; we shouldn’t be losing our community members to state sanctioned violence. Reject the notion that these deaths are inevitable. Reject the idea that some must suffer in order to maintain safety.

Ultimately, reject the notion that the world must continue to look this way.

It doesn’t. We must act, and we must act quickly. The very idea of being non-violent in this system is laughable because it is erected and maintained through violence at our expense.

Stop telling Black people not to riot after the release of the Tyre Nichols Video.

Any form of riot in response to such horrific violence can be described only as sacred and righteous action.

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Related, published by Kansas City Defender:

KANSAS CITY POLICE DEPT. UNDER FIRE FOR DENIAL OF KIDNAPPINGS, RAPES AND MURDERS OF BLACK WOMEN | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Read VOD’s extensive coverage of murders by police in Detroit by searching “police” and names of victims listed below in our search engine.


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A LEGAL LYNCHING? GEORGE RIDER IN MACOMB CO. COURT JAN. 31; APPEALS COURT REMANDED RE: PHONE SEIZURE

George Rider’s family, (l to r) cousin, son Amir, 17, and brother Lawrence Rider in court Jan. 31, 202to support him  VOD photo

 Update from Jan. 31 hearing on George Rider case 

ABOVE: George Rider’s family and friends came to court to support him Jan. 31, as attorney Christine Pagac argued his case for a new trial.

MCCC Judge Joseph Toia

George Rider in Macomb County Circuit Court Tues. Jan. 31 9 a.m. before MCCC Judge Joseph Toia after COA remanded case due to ineffective assistance by trial counsel, illegal phone seizure

“Evidence:” unauthenticated, profane, obscure text messages featured in sensationalized newspaper and TV coverage world-wide.

Warren police lied, falsified affidavits, guilty of  “deliberate, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct” in repeated searches of cell phones,” –Appellate Atty. Christine Pagac in brief

Rider targeted by feds:  History of Fine Arts Theater ownership in Detroit shows long pattern of federal seizure of Black-owned properties, convictions, murders of owners

Brother Lawrence Rider sentenced to 2 yrs. probation Jan. 17 in separate federal case targeting the Riders, using jail-house informant

George Rider (r) with Atty. Christine Pagac at court hearing Nov. 4, 2022.

By Diane Bukowski

January 27, 2023

Convicted of the 2017 murder of Julii Johnson in Warren, prominent Detroit businessman and community activist George Rider will return to the courtroom of Macomb County Judge Joseph Toia Tues. Jan. 31, at 9 a.m., fighting for a new trial.

He is asking that “evidence” produced from the seizure of a cell phone during a stop in which his car and his person were also seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment be suppressed as “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

Rider told VOD, “My attorney and the prosecutor knowingly allowed me to be convicted when they knew the phone was not admissible. Four judges on this case all knew that my warrant was unlawful. I’ve been in here six years for an unlawful warrant. It was a legal lynching.”

Ricardo Ferrell

In his extensive coverage of the case, VOD Field Editor Ricardo Ferrell noted, “Never has anyone been convicted of First Degree Murder for two unauthenticated text messages,” (See links below.)

The chief “evidence” used against Rider at trial were unauthenticated, profane and obscure text messages featured in sensationalized newspaper and TV coverage world-wide. No physical or eyewitness evidence was ever produced against Rider. His prints were not on the murder weapon, and his DNA was not found on gloves near it.

Julii Johnson, murdered at J. Terrell Lattner’s Warren condo

Media world-wide covered the Julii Johnson murder, unashamedly reporting, for example, that Rider “drove the get-away car,” an allegation never introduced or proven at trial. George Rider was the getaway driver on a January morning in Warren when a woman hired a hitman to kill her ex’s new girlfriend. See:  Convicted killer accused of arson for hire plot while in jail (fox2detroit.com)


______________________________________________________________

VOD reported at the time: “This WXYZ news coverage is typical of many mainstream media stories, using unsubstantiated police comments, such as the one regarding an unidentified person leaving a vehicle (Warren police SAID he was George Rider), rumors and innuendo, to convict the defendants TWO YEARS before they were actually tried.

The Macomb County prosecutor focused on the lurid text messages at trial, with the alleged texters never taking the stand. The Macomb Daily prominently featured the details of the texts again on Jan. 10 this year.

The Michigan Court of Appeals remanded Rider’s case back to Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Toia Aug. 18, 2022, agreeing that Warren police had no warrant to seize the phone, only a warrant for information from the cell phone company. The court said Rider’s defense attorney at trial was guilty of “ineffective assistance” by not contesting the warrant.

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/George-Rider-et-al-COA.pdf

Toia held an initial evidentiary hearing Nov. 4, 2022 during which two Warren police officers, Sergeant Brandon Roy and Lieutenant Charles Rushton, testified on the events surrounding the stop.

On cross examination by Rider’s defense attorney Christine Pagac, they admitted that they stopped Rider and seized him, cell phones, and his Ford Explorer inside a Roseville car wash, not during a traffic stop as they falsely swore in affidavits.

Citing transcripts of the Nov. 4 hearing, Pagac wrote in a Supplemental Post-Ginther Hearing brief that Roy testified the phone, with number 4616, which belonged to Midtown Entertainment, LLC, “was the last one to text [co-defendant] Marcie Griffin the night before the murder and the first one to text her after the murder.”

Warren cops Brandon Roy, Charles Rushton at Nov. 4 hearing

She contends that Roy falsified a warrant to search the car obtained after its seizure, failing to note that police already had the 4616 phone which was the subject of the COA opinion in their possession before seizing the car.

Then, she notes, “Lt. Rushton directed the officers in the patrol car to ‘pin in’ Mr. Rider’s vehicle and said he had his gun pointed at Mr. Rider, and the other officers may have done the same. Mr. Rider was ordered out of the car, patted down, and two phones were taken from his person.”

“THE PROSECUTION IS WRONG”–Pagac brief  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/George-Rider-supp-brief-Pagac-3.pdf

Warren Police command (all-white) gets accreditation award from the Mich. Assn. of Police Chiefs.

In her arguments, Pagac writes, “The prosecution asserts that ‘exigent circumstances’ justified the seizure of Mr. Rider, his vehicle and all three phones,” Pagac says in a Post-Ginther Hearing brief.

‘The exigent circumstances exception . . .applies only where ‘the police did not create the exigency by engaging or threatening to engage in conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment’. . .The police here were only in a position to seize the phones after they illegally seized Mr. Rider and his vehicle, not during a traffic stop, but simply in Lt. Rushton’s words, ‘to get those items.’….The prosecution’s argument that exigent circumstances justified this stop would lead to the exception swallowing the rule.

“Finally, the evidence obtained as a result of the illegal seizure should be suppressed,” Pagac contends. “The purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter ‘deliberate, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct.” Herring v. United States, 555 US 124, 142 (2009). . . . Suppression also ‘remains an appropriate remedy if the magistrate or judge in issuing a warrant was misled by information in a affidavit that the affiant knew was false or would have known was false except for this reckless disregard of the truth. United States v Leon, 468 US 897, 922 (1984).”

Pagac notes that warrantless cell phone seizures appear to be a regular practice of the Warren Police Department.

“The search warrant for Mr. Rider’s vehicle, Ex. 2 [obtained after the seizure], further shows that these officers appears to have a habit of seizing phones without making arrests or having warrants authorizing the seizure,” Pagac writes.

“[Monica] Bellamy refused to provide officers with the call or text messages from her phone while speaking with officers and Bellamy’s phone was seized as evidence. Ms. Bellamy described this as ‘stealing’ her phone. [Bellamy was a recipient of text messages sent by co-defendant Marcie Griffin.]

“. . .Finally, when Griffin invoked her right to counsel, her phones were ‘seized as evidence.’ Notably absent is any mention of the seizure being pursuant to a warrant. Repeated warrantless seizure of cellphones, entitled to heightened protection under recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent, is precisely the type of ‘deliberate, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct’ that should be suppressed under Herring.

Pagac writes that the prosecution conceded Item 3 of the COA order (see box above), “to the extent that evidence was admitted at trial that should not have been admitted, whether there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of Mr. Rider’s trial would have different had the evidence not been admitted.” The prosecution contends that the seizure was pursuant to valid exceptions to the warrant requirement, or that if the seizures did violate the Fourth Amendment they were not flagrant and so the evidence should be suppressed. THE PROSECUTION IS WRONG.”

Decades-long history: U.S. seizures of Black-owned properties, convictions, related murders in Detroit

Fine Arts Theatre, once owned by George Rider, subject of decades-long white gentrification drive that took over Black-owned properties in the Brush Park-Cass Corridor district, and their replacement by Comerica Park, Ford Field and Little Caesar’s Arena, et. al, owned by billionaire whites.

Black business owners led by Bert Dearing of Bert’s Warehouse protested “white-out” of Detroit in 2015.

Rider and his supporters have long contended that his conviction is part of a pattern of corporate and U.S. government support for the white gentrification of downtown Detroit in the Brush Park and Cass Corridor district. He and his supporters say U.S. federal agents met with the Warren police the day of his arrest to coordinate their attack.

Macomb County and the Warren Police Department have failed to respond to repeated FOIA requests by VOD for Rider’s homicide file and documents related to that meeting. See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/George-Rider-FOIA-Warren-Police-Dept-12-26-2022.pdf

Macomb Co. AP Jurji Fedorak, wife, U.S. ATF agent Vera Fedorak.

Macomb County Asst. Prosecutor Jurji Fedorak, who presided over Rider’s trial in 2019, is married to Vera Fedorak, a U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agent.

Rider is suing the U.S. and agents from the FBI, ATF, the Violent Crimes Task Force, and the Michigan State Police for the warrantless raid and search of his residence on Greater Mack in St. Clair Shores, on March 25, 2017, after the murder of Julii Johnson. It is owned by his girl-friend Gloria Ray, who lived there with Rider and their teen-age son. See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/George-Rider-federal-motion-re-warrantless-search-and-seizure-of-his-home.pdf

U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Michelson, EDM 

Warren police tracked his vehicle from there to the Roseville car wash where they seized Rider himself, his car and three cell-phones without valid warrants or probable cause. U.S. District Court Judge Laurie J. Michelson ordered the government to respond to the motion, an order they ignored until recently when they asked for an extension.

Rider and his brother Lawrence Rider have also been targeted by federal informants in an arson-for-profit case allegedly initiated while he was in the Macomb County Jail for two years awaiting trial. The government earlier agreed to dismiss the case against George Rider, but without prejudice.

However, they have continued to pursue the case against Lawrence Rider, who moved to withdraw a guilty plea he said was foisted on him by a court-appointed attorney, after he was deemed partially blind. But U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain denied his motion to withdraw the pleas,and sentenced him to two years  probation on Jan. 17. See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Lawrence-Rider-motion-to-withdraw-guilty-plea-2-United_States_of_America_v_Rider_et_al__miedce-19-20831__0137.0.pdf

Lawrence Rider (l) USDC Judge Gershwin Drain (r).

In 1998, Detroit police raided the Fine Arts Theatre, which Rider owned at one time prior to his arrest, storming it with SWAT teams and helicopters. Then run by  Gwendolyn Washington, the theater was hosting one of many jazz concerts that drew audiences of middle-class, sophisticated Blacks. The police expelled them and illegally searched the theater as helicopters trained floodlights on it.

The pretext for the raid was an alleged deed violation, a civil matter, not a criminal issue. Detroit activists came out in droves to support Washington and the theater, occupying it for months as “liberated territory,” and holding crowded rallies inside, before they were finally driven out by police.

Gwen Mingo at her home in Brush Park, before it was finally seized. 

The now-defunct Michigan Citizen reported in great detail on the events, but currently its print copies are at the University of Michigan research libraries, and no other coverage by mainstream media can be found.  Current coverage of Rider’s case ignores the raid. But this reporter was present at the rallies in question, before working for the Citizen.

The Michigan Citizen later published a series of stories by Ron Seigel covering the battle against the destruction by arson, foreclosures and other means of the Brush Park neighborhood. Gwendolyn Mingo, head of the Brush Park Community District Council, led the battle for years, until she was the last homeowner left. After heroic stand-offs, her home was finally stolen.

Gwen Mingo and supporters including Ron Seigel (center) at court hearing in battle to save her home.

In an extensive history of the Fine Arts Theatre, Detroit Free Press reporter JC Reindl reported in 2015, “The theater hosted numerous events in the early and mid-2000s, including a Natalie Cole concert and a 2006 appearance by L.L. Cool J for Super Bowl XL.”

Reindl reported on the still unsolved murders of Fine Arts Theatre  owners Joseph “DoDo” Foster, Bernice Johnson, and Valerie Atikian. Atikian was killed in 2007 a week before she was scheduled to give a deposition on a title dispute over the theater.

“Those in Detroit who remember Foster, known on the street as DoDo, say he owned several other properties in and around Brush Park and was known in the neighborhood as a paternal figure of sorts, despite his alleged drug trade involvement,” Reindl wrote. Rider has similarly been characterized as an “urban folk hero” by newspaper publisher Scott Burnstein, who has covered the case extensively, including in stories by Ricardo Ferrell.

Foster and Rider were both charged with drug trafficking by the federal government; their properties were seized under drug “forfeiture” laws. Foster was killed shortly before he was set to go to court on the charges, while the U.S. convicted Rider, who served two and one-half years in federal prison. Reindl reports on federal seizures of both Foster’s and Rider’s properties in connection with the charges, which paved the way for the Detroit/Wayne Stadium Authority, the construction of Comerica Park, Ford Field, and Little Caesar’s Arena.

Comerica Park, Ford Field, Little Caesar’s replaced Black owned businesses, homes

Detroit theatre has history of bloodshed, tangled ownership (freep.com)

Related stories:

APPEALS CT. SAYS COPS HAD NO WARRANT FOR GEORGE RIDER’S PHONE; MACOMB CO. COURT HEARING OCT. 26 | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

“A LEGAL LYNCHING”—GEORGE RIDER TO MACOMB CO. JUDGE JOSEPH TOIA, DURING SENTENCING TO LWOP | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

RACIST RAILROAD OF GEORGE RIDER, OTHERS IN 2017 MURDER OF JULII JOHNSON–MACOMB COUNTY ‘JUSTICE’ | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

WHO KILLED JULII JOHNSON IN 2017–GEORGE RIDER, HARASSED BY FEDS, OR BOYFRIEND/ DRUG ASSOCIATES? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

GEORGE RIDER EVIDENTIARY HEARING FINALLY HELD W/NEW JUDGE, BUT RULING DELAYED UNTIL DEC. 19 | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

GEORGE RIDER CASE SHOWS CORRUPTION RUNS DEEP WITHIN MACOMB COUNTY, MI COURTS, POLICE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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EULA MAE POWELL IN COURT TO REMOVE GUARDIANSHIP, RESTORE VISITS; G/SHIP ABUSE AWARENESS DAY FEB. 1

Eula Mae Powell, 85, in court to fight guardian/conservatorship Jan. 18, subject of controversy since denial of visits by long-time friends

Wayne Co. Probate Court Judge Judy Hartsfield considering petition to terminate probate supervision and TRO vs. visit denials; orders guardian from Michigan Guardianship Services

Channel 7’s Investigator Heather Cattallo continues coverage of abuse under state guardianship laws;  new reform legislation expected this year

Meanwhile, federal regulations cover the rights of residents in nursing homes in detail, including right of visitation

American Bar Association: Feb. 1 is National Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day

January 21, 2023

By Diane Bukowski

WCPC Judge Judy Hartsfield

DETROIT– Elder Eula Mae Powell, 85, won her first day in court by Zoom Jan. 18, in front of Wayne County Probate Judge Judy S. Hartsfield. She presented her petition objecting to guardianship/conservatorship, and emergency motions for s temporary restraining order (TRO) against a nursing home, police, and guardian who barred visits from her friends.

A second amended filing cited violations of federal laws protecting the rights of residents in nursing homes, including the right to visitors of their choice. (Motions linked below story.)

“This is NOT the last stop in my life,” Ms. Powell told VOD during a visit in her cramped, dingy two-person room at The Orchards of Harper Woods last year. All her life, Ms. Powell was independent and active, working at the Dodge Main Plant, teaching in three school systems, and participating in electoral campaigns including the election of Detroit’s first Black Mayor, Coleman Young. She has regular income from her pensions and Social Security.

“I planned to enjoy the retirement that I earned,” she said.

Rev. Jerome Poole and Call ’em Out’s Agnes Hitchcock after police ejection from visits Nov. 14, 2022.

Judge Hartsfield acknowledged Ms. Powell’s request to take her out of court supervision, and meanwhile allow visits from her friends, after reading a report from appointed Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Steven R. Geller, but did not grant them immediately.

“Ms. Powell does not like losing her independence,” Geller said in part. “She is upset that she is placed in a facility. She is upset she is not allowed to drive and the car and car keys were taken away, she is upset she can no longer go to the bank and have access to her funds. She wants her car back . . .she also wants her money. Lastly, she hates the facility.”

He reported that Ms. Powell DOES want to see her visitors, including Diane Bukowski and others who have been denied access. They have included Agnes Hitchcock, steward of Call ‘Em Out, and Rev. Jerome Poole. Hitchcock attended the hearing on Zoom, and reiterated her desire to visit.

Geller, however, claimed in his report that a guardian has the right to determine who can and cannot visit. He said a guardian must approve visits from Bukowski and others who previously attempted to visit.

The rights of guardians and conservators are currently subject to much debate nationally, with many states enacting progressive legislation to protect the rights of the people UNDER guardianship and conservatorship. It is expected that four bills enacting reforms will be re-visited in Michigan’s newly-constituted legislature this year. (See Channel 7 report at top of story.)

Geller did cite 700.5306a Rights of individual for whom guardian is sought or appointed, in his report, but did not address whether it has been applied in Ms. Powell’s case. The provisions in the box at left were not carried out.

Judge Hartsfield ordered that an “independent” guardian be appointed, as Ms. Powell’s niece Karen Sue Herbert agreed to withdraw from that position. She indicated the guardian would come from Michigan Guardianship Services. It is not known if it is connected to the Michigan Guardianship Association exposed in Channel 7’s report above.  She also ordered a review by an “independent” medical examiner before deciding on Ms. Powell’s request to terminate the guardianship/conservatorship.

Judge Hartsfield ordered Tonia Kimbrough, a social worker from The Orchards at Harper Woods, to report back to Geller in one week regarding setting up “supervised” visits. During the hearing, Kimbrough was inconclusive about whether such visits could be held.

No one representing the Orchards at Harper Woods appeared during the hearing to answer the request for a TRO due to the visit denials, despite having their top officials, including Mark Fuchs, Agent, and Tom Beauvais, Administrator served with a notice.

Bukowski brought Judge Hartsfield’s attention to federal regulations governing the rights of nursing home residents to visits from individuals of their choice, and posting of a home’s policies and regulations including policies on visitation. The following filing is currently included on Ms. Powell’ probate court docket. See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/EULA-MAE-POWELL-Second-Addendum-to-Petition-for-TRO-Petition-v-Guardian-Conservator-Appt-3.pdf.

Among the rights cited in federal law:


Nursing homes must also have written policies and procedures regarding visitation rights. During attempts to visit by Bukowski and others, copies of such policies were requested, but the requests were ignored. Those denying the visits refused to identify themselves, but claimed Ms. Powell’s guardian did not want them visiting.

 

 Conservatorship & Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day (americanbar.org)

Britney Spears and the Netflix movie “I Care a Lot” brought awareness of both abuse of the process of guardianship or conservatorship[1] and abuse by guardians and conservators to the public eye.  February 1st is National Conservatorship and Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day, an effort to maintain awareness of the abuse even as Brittney puts her life back together, and memory of the movie fades.  Abuse is not just something that happens to celebrities or in the movies.

My first encounter with abuse by a guardian was when I was clerking in a legal aid program while in law school.  I helped a Pro-Bono attorney on a case where the guardian had moved the person out of the only home she had known, held a garage sale, and sold all her possessions, even toys that she had treasured for over 60 years. The client simply wanted her dolls back and we struggled to get the money back.

The movie “I Care a Lot” is loosely based on abuse that happened in Clark County, Nevada when criminals[2] looked for isolated adults experiencing neurocognitive decline and railroaded them into guardianship. The guardian then neglected the people and stole every penny they had.  While the Nevada case is one of the largest reported scandals, it is far from the only one.  Abuse by guardians runs the gamut from physical abuse, forced labor, neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and financial exploitation.

Michigan guardian Mary Rowan was the subject of a series of VOD stories on guardianship abuse (see some links below).

Fundamental due process is often absent from the process of obtaining guardianship of an adult. In many cases, the defendant or respondent is unrepresented and the hearing to restrict or remove their legal and constitutional rights often lasts less than 15 minutes. I observed one jury trial where the “defense attorney” later bragged that he said nine-words in the entire trial.

Guardianship reform is currently dominating the work of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging.  We are in the process of writing a Lawyers Handbook on Defending an Adult in a Guardianship Case.  We are writing it because it is needed, there is little on the topic, and an increasing pool of lawyers have been inspired to defend adults against guardianship and are taking cases to modify or terminate guardianships.  We obtained outside funding from two private foundations to cover the cost of the staff time needed to publish this book.

Gayle Robinson(l) kidnapped from her Westland home of 60 years on Sept. 30, 2014, by Westland police and Mary Rowan aide Katie McDonald, an accountant. The removal violated an earlier order by Judge Terrance Keith that Mrs. Robinson not be taken without his court order. Mrs. Robinson was held in a hospital for an “independent medical evaluation” although her own doctors had certified that she was fully competent. Mrs, Robinson’s home was seized, and she has since been confined and medicated in a series of nursing homes which restrict her visits. See story links below.

The mission of the Commission on Law and Aging is to educate and advocate to protect the rights and dignity of adults as they age.  Raising awareness and advocacy for due process rights of adults in guardianship cases, and awareness of the rights and dignity of adults who are experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation is fundamental to our work.

The structure of the ABA Center for Public Interest Law, and outside grant and consulting funding makes it possible for us to do this important work.  We share this expertise with ABA members through publications, training, and providing technical assistance to ABA members and other professionals who are interested in pushing back against abuse.  The ABA Commission on Law and Aging has had a core role in four national summits on guardianship reform and the recommendations of all four summits are reflected in ABA policy.

There are guardianship reform efforts in many states.  The Commission on Law and Aging continues to host calls for the Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) groups in about 25 states, with the goal of helping states determine what needs to change and how to bring about change.  As we recognize National Guardianship and Conservatorship Abuse and Awareness Day, we encourage you to examine your own state’s guardianship practices and identify ways in which you can work to ensure that our vulnerable neighbors are not harmed by a system that is supposed to protect them.

Related documents:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Eula-Mae-Powell-Objection-and-Petition-to-Terminate-Guardianship-Conservatorship.pdf

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/EULA-MAE-POWELL-Second-Addendum-to-Petition-for-TRO-Petition-v-Guardian-Conservator-Appt-3.pdf.

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Notice-of-Rights-to-Alleged-Incapacitated-Individual.pdf

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Eula-Mae-Powell-report-of-GAL-Stephen-Geller-1-17-2023.pdf

Related stories from VOD, which has published many accounts of guardianship and conservatorship abuse since 2014.

LIFE-LONG ACTIVIST EULA POWELL, 85, HELD IN NURSING HOME, ‘GUARDIAN’ TOOK HER ID, BANK CARD, CAR, ASSETS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

THE FORTRESS: PROBATE COURTS ENRICH GUARDIANS, CONSERVATORS, TAKE HOMES, LIBERTIES, LIVES OF WARDS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

LAWSUIT ALLEGES MICH. NURSING HOME IMPRISONED OAK PARK SENIOR, HELD HER FOR RANSOM | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

CHARGE V. SHARMIAN FOR DEFENDING MOM FROM GUARDIAN MARY ROWAN DISMISSED W/PREJUDICE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

VULTURE GUARDIAN MARY ROWAN KIDNAPS AGAIN, THIS TIME A YOUNG BLIND WOMAN, KRISTINA BROCKINGTON | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

UNITED GAYLE ROBINSON FAMILY: DUMP GUARDIAN MARY ROWAN, BRING MOM HOME FROM MAPLE MANOR ‘JAIL’ | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

MARY ROWAN KIDNAPS WARDS FROM HOMES, DESTROYS LIVES; FATALLY LATE MOVING ONE FROM UNSAFE PLACE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

WAYNE CO. PROBATE JUDGE TERRANCE KEITH, GUARDIAN MARY ROWAN FORCE VET GAYLE ROBINSON, 84, TO FLEE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

MARY ROWAN DENIES FAMILY VISITS TO DYING GRANDMOTHER; NOW CO-GUARDIAN IN ROBINSON CASE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

SERIAL KIDNAPPER? ATTY. MARY ROWAN TAKES SECOND ADULT WARD FROM HOME WITHOUT COURT ORDER | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

SERIAL KIDNAPPER? ATTY. MARY ROWAN TAKES SECOND ADULT WARD FROM HOME WITHOUT COURT ORDER | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

ROSA PARKS’ GODCHILD MAILAUNI WILLIAMS FOUND; JUDGE GEORGE, GUARDIAN ROWAN REMOVED FROM CASE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Guardianship Rights & Alternatives – Disability Rights Michigan (drmich.org)

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Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper, now devoting itself entirely to stories related to our PRISON NATION and POLICE STATE.

VOD’s editors and reporters, most of whom live on fixed incomes or are incarcerated, are not paid for their work. Ongoing costs include quarterly web charges of $460.00, P.O. box fee of $180/yr. and other costs including utility and internet bills, costs for research including court records and internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

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MUMIA ABU-JAMAL: JUDGE ORDERS PHILLY DA TO RELEASE ALL FILES; PEOPLE DEMAND RELEASE/NEW TRIAL

AFTER 41 YEARS IN PRISON, MUMIA ABU-JAMAL MAY FINALLY GET A CHANCE FOR NEW TRIAL

Exculpatory evidence suggests the prosecutor in Mumia’s trial bribed star witnesses to testify, wrongly excluded Black jurors.

UN experts file amicus brief; cite “violations of minimum international standards safeguarding fairness of legal proceedings.”

Defense brief at: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Mumia-Abu-Jamal-defense-brief-MAJ-PCRA-Dec.-2021-w-Exhibits-1.pdf

By Marjorie Cohn 

TRUTHOUT

December 13, 2022

Pam Africa of M.O.V.E. and free Mumia Abu-Jamal campaign addresses rally in 2018.

Award-winning journalist and author Mumia Abu-Jamal has been in prison for 41 years in a case infused with racism. The 68-year-old is a former Black Panther and the author of a dozen books, including the celebrated Live from Death Row.

After his 1982 conviction in the killing of police officer Daniel Faulkner, Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death. In 2011, his sentence was reduced to life without the possibility of parole. Abu-Jamal has a serious heart condition and other life-threatening health problems.

Mumia and his young family; wife Wadiya (2nd from l) passed Dec. 27, 2022 according to news reports.

Faulkner stopped Abu-Jamal’s younger brother William Cook on the morning of December 9, 1981. Abu-Jamal, who was driving a taxi, coincidentally drove by and came to his brother’s assistance. Following a shootout, Faulkner was shot and killed. Abu-Jamal was shot in the stomach.

On December 16, Judge Lucretia Clemons in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas will decide whether Abu-Jamal will receive a new trial. His attorneys, Judith Ritter, Samuel Spital and Bret Grote, argue that if the jury had heard newly discovered evidence that was withheld from him and not presented at his murder trial, Abu-Jamal would not have been convicted. On October 26, Clemons indicated her intent to deny Abu-Jamal’s petition for a new trial but she will make a final decision on December 16 after hearing from the parties in the case.

Prosecution Failed to Give Defendant Exonerating Evidence in Violation of Brady v. Maryland

One of many thousands of protests world-wide in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

In 2018, one month after his election as Philadelphia district attorney, Larry Krasner reported discovering six file boxes of documents that had never been disclosed to Abu-Jamal’s lawyers. They were labeled “Mumia” or “Abu-Jamal.” The defense first received them in January 2019.

The newly discovered boxes contained material evidence suggesting that one of the government’s star witnesses had been offered a payoff for his testimony, and the other eyewitness to the shooting had been promised leniency in her pending criminal cases in exchange for her testimony. There was no other evidence directly connecting Abu-Jamal to the killing.

These boxes also held the prosecutor’s handwritten notes indicating he was discriminatorily excluding Black people from Abu-Jamal’s jury.

Since Abu-Jamal’s murder trial, flaws and inconsistencies have come to light leading to widespread calls around the world for his release. His case has become a cause celebre, emblematic of racism in the criminal legal system.

“It shocks the conscience that in a post-George Floyd world, Abu-Jamal won’t get relief. He was beaten within an inch of his life by police after having been shot in the stomach by Officer Faulkner,” Johanna Fernández, an associate professor of U.S. history, wrote to Truthout in an email.

Prof. Johanna Fernandez

“The prosecutor bribed a testimony out of star witness Robert Chobert, who was driving with two DUIs, no license and had been convicted of throwing a Molotov Cocktail into a schoolyard.

“The judge was overheard saying by a court stenographer, ‘I’m going to help them (the jury) fry the n*****,” Fernández, who is the writer and executive producer of the film Justice on Trial: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, added. “The only thing Mumia is guilty of is having survived an encounter with the dirty Philly cops, under investigation at the time by the DOJ for brutality, corruption and tampering with evidence to obtain convictions.”

The Supreme Court held in Brady v. Maryland that when the prosecution suppresses evidence favorable to the accused, it violates due process if the evidence is material to guilt or punishment, regardless of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecutor. There is a Brady violation when there is a “reasonable probability” that if the evidence had been disclosed to the defense the result of the trial would have been different.

The Star Prosecution Witness Was Apparently Offered a Payoff for His Testimony

Trial Prosecutor Joseph McGill

One of the new documents was a letter from witness Robert Chobert to the prosecutor Joseph McGill that suggested a payoff in exchange for his testimony against Abu-Jamal. “I have been calling you to find out about the money own [sic] to me. Do you need me to sign anything. How long will it take to get it,” Chobert wrote.

In their petition, Abu-Jamal’s attorneys argued that this letter suggests Chobert “understood there to be some prior agreement or understanding between himself and the prosecution, such that the prosecution ‘owed’ him money for his testimony.”

The newly discovered letter corroborates Chobert’s trial testimony that the prosecutor offered to reinstate his suspended taxi drivers license if he retracted his claim that the shooter, who did not look like Abu-Jamal, had run from the scene.

There is a reasonable probability that but for the prosecution’s failure to give this letter to the defense, Abu-Jamal would not have been convicted of murder.

The Other Witness to the Shooting Likely Received Leniency for Her Testimony

Cynthia White was the only other witness besides Chobert who testified that she saw Abu-Jamal shoot Faulkner. A sex worker who was vulnerable to coercion, White was also apparently promised inducements for her testimony. At the time of the trial, she was in prison in Massachusetts and there were five criminal cases pending against her.

Chief Judge Lucretia Clemons, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court

The newly discovered boxes included letters from the district attorney’s office to prosecutors handing White’s five current cases.

These letters, according to Abu-Jamal’s attorneys, “reveal a concerted effort by Mr. McGill and several Philadelphia D.A. Unit Chiefs to bring Ms. White back from Massachusetts, secure an early trial date in order to expedite her release, and ultimately allow her cases to be dismissed for lack of prosecution.”

Abu-Jamal’s lawyers maintain that this favorable treatment was calculated to make “life easier for her in exchange for her testimony against Abu-Jamal.”

In addition, Yvette Williams, also a former sex worker, swore in a 2002 affidavit, “I was in jail with Cynthia White in December of 1981 after Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed. Cynthia White told me the police were making her lie and say she saw Mr. Jamal shoot Officer Faulkner when she really did not see who did it.”

There is a reasonable probability that Abu-Jamal would not have suffered a murder conviction if the prosecution had provided these letters to the defense.

Moreover, if the letters regarding inducements to both Chobert and White had been disclosed, there is an even greater chance that Abu-Jamal would have been acquitted of murder. They were the only witnesses who testified that Abu-Jamal was the shooter.

Judge Clemons wrote in her notice of intent to dismiss that any Brady error was not material (prejudicial) because Abu-Jamal would have been convicted anyway. Abu-Jamal’s lawyers responded that the prosecutor relied heavily on the credibility of Chobert’s testimony in his closing argument. They also responded that although White was impeached at trial with her numerous prior criminal charges, she was not confronted with the prosecutor’s promise of leniency (which the defense did not know about at the time of trial).

The Prosecutor Indicated Intent to Exclude Black Jurors in Violation of Batson v. Kentucky

In Batson v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court held that a Black defendant is denied equal protection when members of his race have been purposefully excluded from the jury. The defendant must make a prima facie case by showing that the prosecutor exercised his challenge on the basis of race. Then the prosecutor must present a race-neutral reason from excluding the juror. The court then decides whether the defendant has demonstrated purposeful discrimination.

Atty. Heidi Boghosian is at right.

The newly discovered boxes contained prosecutor McGill’s handwritten notes which show that he marked a large “B” next to potential jurors who were Black. During voir dire, 10 of the 15 people McGill struck from the jury were Black. He thus prevented 71 percent of prospective Black jurors from serving on Abu-Jamal’s jury.

It is “not surprising” that McGill used 10 of his 15 challenges to exclude qualified Black people from Abu-Jamal’s jury, attorney Heidi Boghosian, former executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, wrote in an email to Truthout.

“Philadelphia has a deep-rooted Batson problem, or racial discrimination in jury selection,” Boghosian wrote. “From 1977-1986, its district attorney struck 58 percent of potential Black jurors, compared with 22 percent of white ones. In the homicide cases that McGill tried from September 1981 to October 1983, he peremptorily challenged African American jurors 8.47 times more than non-black ones.”

“The newly discovered evidence supports a Batson claim,” Boghosian said. “It must be reviewed, not only in fairness to Abu-Jamal, but also to redress the city’s racially discriminatory tradition.”

Clemons wrote in her notice of intent to dismiss that Abu-Jamal’s Batson claim was waived because he didn’t object at trial and on direct appeal. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys responded that his Batson claim was not waived because it was based on newly discovered evidence. They also wrote that the new McGill notes were relevant to his purposeful state of mind in exercising his challenges to exclude Blacks from the jury.

UN Experts Express “Serious Concern” About Racial Discrimination in Abu-Jamal’s Case

In 2000, Amnesty International found “that numerous aspects of this case clearly failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings,” and therefore “the interests of justice would best be served by the granting of a new trial to Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

Julia Wright

Twenty-two years later, UN experts are expressing “serious concern” about racial discrimination in Abu-Jamal’s case. “The United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGEPAD) has followed Mumia’s case for years and has just filed an amicus brief for his hearing,” Julia Wright, elder daughter of renowned author Richard Wright, told Truthout. 

“Given instances of the pervasive systemic racism tainting the case to this day, these experts note that international human rights law requires jurists to take responsibility for ongoing effects of racial discrimination, even decades later.” Julia Wright is founder of the Mumia Health Committee, for whom she liaises with the WGEPAD at the United Nations.

According to WGEPAD’s amicus brief, “a significant percentage of the police officers involved in gathering evidence and presenting the case were investigated and eventually convicted and jailed on charges including corruption and evidence tampering, information that was unavailable to the jury at the time it was assessing the credibility, tendency toward bias, and reliability of these officers.”

It took 37 years for the prosecution to turn over exculpatory evidence to Abu-Jamal’s legal team. If progressive prosecutor Larry Krasner had not been elected district attorney of Philadelphia, the six boxes of evidence would still be collecting dust. It is high time to grant Mumia Abu-Jamal a new trial in which a jury that hasn’t been selected in an overtly racist manner can hear all the evidence.

Alternate analysis of Judge Clemons’ ruling on Mumia:

Mumia’s Judge on Racism and Justice | Love Not Phear

In a shocking reprieve, Judge Lucretia Clemons ordered the District Attorney to open up all of their files to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s defense team. Judge Clemons, stayed for the moment, her “intent to dismiss” notice. She stated she would rule in 60-90 days on Mumia’s request for a new trial.

Asst. Philadelphia DA Grady Gervino

peaking directly to all parties from the bench, she said “I do not want to return to this issue again. I want, once and for all, to resolve all of these questions.”

Prior to her surprising directive, which occurred at the very close of a contentious hearing, there had been no indication that Judge Clemons would be sympathetic to granting relief. Her questions regarding the “Batson Claim”, specifically notes taken by prosecutor Joseph McGill during the original trial, in which he actively tracked the race of prospective jurors, did not recognize the very basis of Batson v. Kentucky.

Striking even one juror because of a racial consideration is a violation of the potential jurors’ rights as well as the defendants constitutional rights. She seemed to assume, despite evidence to the contrary, that the DA’s office in 1982 was color blind and had no animus. She also did not waiver from her written decision on the “Brady Issue” that the two main prosecutor’s “eyewitnesses” even if they did lie, was not necessary, “not material” for the conviction. Meaning even if they were paid or incentivized for their testimony that information would not have impacted the deliberations of even one juror. 

During arguments Judge Clemons did not probe prosecutor Grady Gervino’s mischaracterizations of the law and the record. She did not address or expose his omissions. Clemons simply chose not to challenge him at all.

Statue of former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo, who ordered the horrific bombing of the MOVE house in 1985, was removed in 2020 due to George Floyd protests.

Thus, the reason for Judge Clemons’ expansive discovery order is ripe for speculation. She implied that allowing a complete review of prosecution files would resolve any and all issues of potential suppressed evidence, thus, in her mind, finally closing the door on the case and allowing her to wrap it up.

The problem with that theory is that if you frame someone for murder it is really hard to cover up all the loose ends. It makes one wonder: does Judge Clemons truly understand the depth and widespread corruption of the Philadelphia police department and the former DA’s office?  The police and former prosecutors acted with complete impunity for decades. They are proud to be the sons of Rizzo, and they certainly did not care about a defendant’s constitutional rights. See this Assistant District Attorney Jack McMahon prosecution training tape about removing Black people from Philadelphia Juries!

The current District Attorney’s office knows and will admit (just not in open court), that the police for decades routinely brutally beat victims and witnesses, and manufacturing false confessions. The police suppressed evidence of innocence, fixed crime scenes, raped informants, robbed bodegas, payed witnesses for testimony, planted evidence and were on the take.

Philadelphia prosecutors and the courts did not just turn a blind eye; they actually colluded and continue to collude with the police to maintain convictions of a generation of poor black and brown people in Philadelphia.  Police and prosecutorial corruption in Philadelphia is no secret.  In this case, the byzantine rules of the post conviction relief act (PCRA) has already kept key evidence* from being in the record before Judge Clemon.** Now the question remains did “district attorney McGill and the detectives keep additional notes that reveal corruption”?

(Above) Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo ordered the horrific bombing of the M.O.V.E. row house which destroyed an entire block and resulted in the deaths of 11 M.O.V.E. members including children, and the arrests of many more, some still in prison. Mumia Abu-Jamal came to national prominence for his coverage of that story and support of the M.O.V.E. members,

Related:

Supporters rally for Mumia Abu-Jamal as court considers evidence showing police, DA corruption – Liberation News

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Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper, now devoting itself entirely to stories related to our PRISON NATION and POLICE STATE.

VOD’s editors and reporters, most of whom live on fixed incomes or are incarcerated, are not paid for their work. Ongoing costs include quarterly web charges of $460.00, P.O. box fee of $180/yr. and other costs including utility and internet bills, costs for research including court records and internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

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MICHIGAN INNOCENCE CLINIC SECURES 36TH EXONERATION– KELVIN NOLEN

Michigan Innocence Clinic client Kelvin Nolen (third from right) celebrates his exoneration on December 19 with, from left, Marvin Cotton Jr. (Organization of Exonerees); his sister, Mercedes Sails; Michigan Innocence Clinic Fellow Elizabeth Cole; his mother, Kathy Sails; and student-attorney Reem Aburukba.

 By Amy Spooner

The Michigan Innocence Clinic

December 19, 2022

VOD Editor: The Michigan Innocence Clinic (MIC) has played a major role in most exonerations announced by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). The exoneration of Kelvin Nolen was announced only by the MIC to date.

David Nolen

Michigan Innocence Clinic client Kelvin Nolen was exonerated and released on December 19 after serving eight years for a murder he did not commit.

Nolen was convicted for the 2014 murder and robbery of a gas station clerk in Detroit. The crime was captured on store video, but the perpetrator’s face was obscured by his hoodie. The entire case against Nolen at trial came from his estranged sister’s testimony, who said that the man in the video could be Nolen, though she couldn’t be sure.

“There was literally no other evidence against him, but that statement was enough to send Mr. Nolen away for life without parole,” said David Moran, ’91, clinical professor of law and co-founder of the Michigan Innocence Clinic.

Atty. David Moran (center with exoneree Richard Phillips) and Atty. Imran Sayed.

Nolen became the Michigan Innocence Clinic’s client in 2018, and some 13 student-attorneys worked to build Nolen’s case alongside Moran; the clinic’s co-director, Imran Syed, ‘11, a clinical assistant professor of law; and former forensic science attorney Mary Soo Anderson, ’15, who co-supervised the case with Moran.

The team presented three new pieces of evidence:

  1. Photogrammetric analysis from two professors of engineering who independently agreed that the perpetrator was three to four inches taller than Nolen, based on measurements of multiple landmarks in the store and the video of the perpetrator.
  2. An affidavit from a woman whom Nolen recognized in the store surveillance video. The woman had been in the store at the same time as the perpetrator, who committed the crime shortly after the woman left. The Michigan Innocence Clinic found the woman, who stated that she got a good look at the perpetrator. In fact, she tried to make eye contact with the clerk to warn him that the man in the hoodie was behaving suspiciously. Crucially, the woman confirmed that she knows Nolen and that he was not the man in the hoodie.
  3. An affidavit from Nolen’s sister in which she said the authorities had misrepresented what she said about whether her brother was the man in the video.

Michigan Innocence Clinic client Kelvin Nolen, pictured here with his mother, Kathy Sails, and his sister, Mercedes Sails, after his exoneration, spent eight years in prison for a murder and robbery that he didn’t commit. His is the clinic’s 36th exoneration since its founding in 2009.

In February 2021, the Michigan Innocence Clinic filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial court but agreed to put that motion on hold while presenting this new evidence to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). After review, the CIU agreed to join the motion based on the first two pieces of new evidence listed above and to stipulate that Nolen’s convictions and sentences be vacated, that the charges be dismissed, and that he be released from custody immediately.

“I am thrilled that Kelvin Nolen’s conviction has been overturned and that he is with his family again,” Moran said. “Mr. Nolen owes his freedom to the hard work and dedication of our students, who took measurements at the store, tracked down the woman in the video, and met with Mr. Nolen’s estranged sister. I hope that the police and prosecution will reopen the case to see if they can determine who actually committed this terrible crime.”

Established in 2009, the Michigan Innocence Clinic is the first exclusively non-DNA innocence clinic in the country. Since its inception, the Michigan Innocence Clinic has successfully won the release of 36 men and women who had been wrongfully convicted of crimes and served anywhere from a few months to 46 years in prison.

The student-attorneys who worked on the case include alumni Caroline Howe, ’19, Amanda Kenner, ’19, Mary Novakovic, ’21, Taylour Boboltz, ’21, Philip Cho, ’21, Juan Mora, ’21, Ziv Ben-Shahar, ’22, and Allison Epshteyn, ’22, as well as current third-year students Riyah Basha and Saba Khan and current second-year students Reem Aburukba, Martin Greene, and Luis Ramos.

“They did terrific work, and they should be proud of the role they played in securing justice for Mr. Nolen,” Moran said, noting that he had exchanged celebratory emails with many alumni who had worked on the case, including the former student-attorneys who took the measurements in the store that facilitated the exculpatory photogrammetry analyses.

“Amanda [Kenner] and I started working on Mr. Nolen’s case in our last semester of law school, and while we were hopeful, we knew it would be an uphill battle to overturn his conviction,” said Howe, recalling the pair’s travel to the crime scene to take the critical measurements for the experts’ review. “This is truly the best news. ”

Said Moran, “These cases stick with our students after they graduate, so it’s an exciting moment for everyone to reach this kind of closure.”

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WRONGFULLY CONVICTED: TERRY LAMONT WILSON RECOUNTS SELF-DEFENSE CLAIM; JURY TRIAL FEB. 7

Second jury trial on first-degree murder charges set for Feb. 7, 2023 after conviction overturned in 2018 due to evidence of racial bias on first jury

“The jury got it wrong finding Terry guilty of First Degree Premeditated Murder. I expected a lesser verdict of manslaughter or second-degree murder.” — Corey Kennedy – longtime friend of  both Terry Wilson and William Clark (victim).

“I feel like its my fault.” Clark’s brother Desmond Rodgers says he started argument with Wilson, then instigated other brother’s argument with Wilson.

Ricardo Ferrell

“The Macomb County Prosecutors Office can fairly resolve this case with offering Wilson a manslaughter plea which accurately depicts what happened between Clark & Wilson. NO FIRST DEGREE PREMEDITATED MURDER!” — Ricardo Ferrell

By Ricardo Ferrell, VOD Field Editor

Editorial

December 23, 2022

“For my n***a lil terry…I still love you bro, even though you took my brother from me I still feel for you and i hope this make it back to you,” Desmond Rodgers, a brother of William Clark. messaged recently on social media.

Terry Wilson killed Clark in a crowded Clinton Township park in 2014 during a disagreement between the childhood friends. Clark’s two brothers including Rodgers were present.

“I just want you to feel how I feel bc you killed one of the few n***as who still cared about you,” Rodgers went on. “I feel like its my fault and it should have been me but GOD has other plans for me and I see that now more than ever, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

As his second trial approached, Wilson told  VOD in a phone interview. “It was self-defense. I never intended to kill Willie.”

“He and his two brothers were approaching me,” Wilson explained.  Willie actually began galloping towards me in an aggressive manner, after first going to his car. I honestly believed he had retrieved a gun, especially by my knowing beforehand that they were supposedly looking for me to pistol whip me.

“I never deliberately planned, intended or laid in wait to shoot and kill Willie, as the prosecution has contended since 2013. Nowhere in the case does it show that I’m guilty of First Degree Premeditated Murder, at best I’m guilty of committing involuntary manslaughter in Willie’s death. How can it be a planned murder, when I was backing up and away from Willie and his brothers, as they angrily and aggressively kept coming towards me?”

SELF-DEFENSE

Willie Deon Clark

In 2006, the Michigan Legislature enacted the Self-Defense Act (SDA), MCL 780.971 et seq. Effective October 1, 2006, the SDA “codified the circumstances in which a person may use deadly force in self-defense or in defense of another person without having the duty to retreat.” Dupree, 486 Mich at 708. Specifically, the SDA modified the common law’s duty to retreat that was imposed on individuals [*4] who were attacked outside their own home or were not subjected to a “sudden, fierce, and violent” attack. People v Conyer, 281 Mich App 526, 530 n 2; 762 NW2d 198 (2008).

However, the SDA continues to require that a person have an honest and reasonable belief that there is a danger of death, great bodily harm, or sexual assault in order to justify the use of deadly force. MCL 780.972(1).

Furthermore, according to People v Guajardo, 300 Mich App 26, 34-35; 832 W2d 409 (2013), “This Court discussed the circumstances under which a person could claim lawful self-defense under the common law and under Michigan’s Self-Defense Act (SDA), MCL 780.971 et seq.:

TERRY WILSON HAD A NEARLY ALL-WHITE JURY IN 2014. WILL THE COURT ENSURE THAT HE HAS A REPRESENTATIVE JURY IN 2023? Can Black jurors better understand conflicts among Black youth?

“Factors relevant to whether a person in a defendant’s position could have an honest and reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm include: (1) the condition of the people involved, including [*5] their relative strength; (2) whether the other person was armed with a dangerous weapon or had some other means of injuring the defendant; (3) the nature of the other person’s attack or threat; (4) whether the defendant knew about any previous acts of violence or threats made by the other person. People v Goree, 296 Mich App 293, 296; 819 NW2d 82 (2012).”

This recent post by Rodgers strongly tempers the message he posted after Lewis’ trial in 2014, which gave a sense of the bitter conflict between the Lewis and Clark families then.

“Shot outta fear, talking like he was so tough and then gon pull out the burner that’s what makes you tough? No, for all you young n***s thinking you tough BC you got a piece that just makes you a HOE…A HOE that got something worse coming his way….F***YOU N***A YOU WAS LIKE FAMILY AND YOU TOOK MY BF AND BIG BRO AWAY AND IF I see you before they catch you IDK what Im gonna do to you and that’s real deal. hope you keep that strap bo I CAN PROMISE YOU THAT IF YOU DONT HAVE IT. I WILL SHOW YOU WHY YOU NEEDED IT.”

In this particular case, the evidence and testimony clearly showed that Clark was in fact acting angrily as he approached the defendant, and that the defendant complained of having difficulty seeing because of an eye condition.

The defendant repeatedly told Clark and his two brothers he didn’t want to fight and he couldn’t see as he continued to move backwards in a non aggressive manner. Wilson’s fear of imminent death and/or serious bodily harm was real on that May 5th in 2013. His foreknowledge that Clark was looking for him to pistol whip him only added to the genuine fear that already existed, especially when Clark went to his car just moments before he and his brothers started coming towards him in an aggressive and angry way.

Prince Drewry Park site on night of the killing of William Clark/screenshot Channel 4 WDIV

There was testimony during the course of the trial that Clark may have had previous access to a gun. Any reasonable-minded individual would infer that he may have had continued access to one that day as well.

Obviously this goes to the state of mind of Terry Wilson on the day in question and what he perceived in that very moment which caused him to react in a non-intentional way that resulted in him shooting his childhood friend based on the fear element that over powered his rational thinking. The more one looks into this case and digs into the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it, it is clear that Wilson never deliberately nor with any malicious intent, planned on killing William Clark. The Macomb County Prosecutors Office can fairly resolve this case with offering Wilson a manslaughter plea which accurately depicts what happened between Clark & Wilson. NO FIRST DEGREE PREMEDITATED MURDER!

Under the common law, the affirmative defense of self-defense justified the killing of another person if the defendant “honestly and reasonably believes his life is in imminent danger or that there is a threat of serious bodily harm and that it is necessary to exercise deadly force to prevent such harm to himself.”

Related:

LIFER TERRY WILSON FACES NEW TRIAL IN HISTORICALLY RACIST MACOMB COUNTY; CHANGE OF VENUE NEEDED | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

MICH. LIFER TERRY WILSON STILL FIGHTS FOR JUSTICE, BATTLING RACISM IN MACOMB CO./ RE-TRIAL FEB. 2023 | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

The Myth of the Black-on-Black Crime Epidemic | Demos

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KENSU TO GOV. WHITMER: XMAS PLEA FOR ‘FREEDOM, DELIVERANCE, AND LIFE’ FOR MICHIGAN PRISONERS

Lifer Temujin Kensu pushes clemency for hundreds of Michigan prisoners to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as holidays begin

Many prominent cases featured in Xmas Carol video above

VOD Field Editor Ricardo Ferrell among 12 with applications in through the Michael Thompson Clemency Project; he has done many stories on others

By VOD Staff (Diane Bukowski, Ricardo Ferrell, and welcoming Tamerra Washington)

December 21, 2022

Portrait of Temujin and wife Paula Kensu, done by a friend .

Tamerra Washington’s young nieces at Detroit rally June 4, 2021.

VOD interviewed Kensu at length Dec. 22, and will be publishing excerpts of that interview in an upcoming article.

MICHIGAN–Michigan lifer Temujin Kensu, convicted in 1986 for a murder he could not possibly have committed because he was 400 miles away, has sent the song above to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. It advocates for many others still incarcerated, many for life and many for decades, who could be released and sent home to finally celebrate a new year with their loved ones.

“We hope that Gov Whitmer will be issuing some pardons hopefully before Thanksgiving but definitely before Christmas, Kensu’s wife Paula told VOD. “Temujin’s clemency application was again submitted  to Gov. Whitmer Aug. 28, after the state Attorney General Dana Nessel’s Conviction Integrity Unit denied his application for a new trial. We have eight Innocence Networks signing on in support along with his many other advocates.”

VOD Field Editor Ricardo Ferrell is among 12 Michigan individuals who have clemency applications in through the Michael Thomas Clemency Project, who have served up to five decades in Michigan prisons.  VOD wishes all of them freedom in the new year, as we continue advocating for freedom for the people below whose cases and lives we have covered.
TO SEE VOD’S COVERAGE OF BATTLES BY THESE MICHIGAN PRISONERS AGAINST MASS INCARCERATION, put names of individuals in our search engine at the top of our home page.

These Wayne County men were sentenced to death in prison as children. Despite US Supreme Court rulings in 2012 and 2016 outlawing JLWOP, Wayne Co. Pros. Kym Worthy had kept them in prison, as of 2021. Some may have been released since then due to re-sentencings won by the Mich. ACLU and SADO.

GOV. WHITMER:  SEE OREGON GOVERNOR KATE BROWN’S RECORD:   

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown just commuted all 17 death sentences in the state.

“Last October, Kate Brown, the governor of Oregon, signed an executive order granting clemency to 73 people who had committed crimes as juveniles, clearing a path for them to apply for parole,” The Guardian reported.

“The move marked the high point in a remarkable arc: as Brown approaches the end of her second term in January, she has granted commutations or pardons to 1,147 people – more than all of Oregon’s governors from the last 50 years combined. The story of one US governor’s historic use of clemency: ‘We are a nation of second chances’ | Oregon | The Guardian

TO SEE VOD’S COVERAGE OF BATTLES BY MICHIGAN PRISONERS AGAINST MASS INCARCERATION, put names of individuals in our search engine at the top of our home page.

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Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper, now devoting itself entirely to stories related to our PRISON NATION and POLICE STATE.

VOD’s editors and reporters, most of whom live on fixed incomes or are incarcerated, are not paid for their work. Ongoing costs include quarterly web charges of $460.00, P.O. box fee of $180/yr. and other costs including utility and internet bills, costs for research including court records and internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

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MERRY XMAS! UP TO 800 WAYNE COUNTY JAIL DETAINEES FREEZING IN BITTER COLD, NO EXTRA BLANKETS, NO VISITS

As 800 Wayne County jail detainees suffer in below-freezing temperatures with no heat, thousands of bundled up people attend X-mas Tree lighting, other holiday events only a few blocks away in downtown Detroit.

Heat at old Wayne County Jail out again since weekend, after previous outage Nov. 28.

Officials have not provided additional blankets, heaters, or access to outer clothing through family visits

Virtual visits must now be scheduled ahead of time

Hundreds of jail detainees have been held without trial for up to 4 years

By Diane Bukowski

December 19, 2022

Darrell Ewing and co-defendant Derrico Searcy have been held in Wayne County Jail since June of 2020, after Kym Worthy claimed she planned to re-try them despite COA ruling overturning their convictions. Hundreds of others in the jail have been held up to 4 yrs. awaiting trial.

“It’s 10 a.m. in here, and you can’t hear a soul,” Darrell Ewing, a detainee at the old Wayne County Jail Division II since June, 2020, told VOD today. “That’s because the heat has been off since Friday, and everyone is staying in bed, huddled up under one thin cotton blanket, in thin jumpsuits, trying to stay warm.”

Temperatures are supposed to drop by Xmas weekend to highs of 19 degrees, according to weather reports.

Jail officials have not ordered additional blankets for detainees, provided electric heaters or other sources of heat, or told them when the heat would be back up, he said. The jail stocks extra blankets which are used during “shake-downs” of cells, but taken back immediately afterward.

“Freezing air keeps flowing in through the wall vents from the outside, and they haven’t turned it off,” Ewing reported.

Ewing recalled that after the heat went out for three days Nov. 28, Chief of Jails Robert Dunlap promised detainees there that he would call out a a crew immediately if it happened again.

The jail website reports that the old jail at 525 Clinton has a 770-bed capacity, but detainees have reported that new arrivals are forced to sleep on the floor in many cases. Seventy-five percent of the detainees are Black, most between the ages of 18 and 35.

These officials supervise conditions in the Wayne County Jail. Judge Kenny is head of a task force created in 1971 to address conditions at the jail. They are defendants in a new federal lawsuit filed by 11 detainees in June, 2022.

Detainees report that in-person family visits, despite initially being allowed recently, are not now allowed, contradicting the website at: Inmate Visitation | Sheriff Connect – Wayne County Michigan. Detainees have no coats or other outerwear to put on over their thin jumpsuits.

Wayne County Jail Cell/DFP  photo

Ed Foxworth

VOD contacted Ed Foxworth, Chief of Communications for Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington’s office, and Chief of Jails Dunlap this morning to ask if families could schedule emergency visits to bring warm coats for their loved ones, and for information about restoration of the heat, but had not heard back by the end of the day.

Families and friends of the detainees used to be able to contact them for virtual visits on demand, but the Telmate site sponsoring the visits is now allowing only visits scheduled ahead of time, creating further problems for them.

Ewing and other detainees at the Wayne County Jail updated their lawsuit against the jails’ top cops Dec. 5, filing for expedited review of the case after waiting for five months to see progress on the suit. The entire filing can be read at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Darrell-Ewing_et_al_v_Wayne_County_Sheriff__miedce-22-11453__0026.0-FIling-12-5-22.pdf

Darrell Ewing and jail detainees updated their federal lawsuit against jail officials Dec. 5, 2022 as above.

RELATED:

WAYNE CO. JAIL DETAINEES SUE TOP COPS FOR DENYING SPEEDY TRIALS, OPEN COURTS, FAMILY VISITS, RECREATION | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

VIDEO VISITS TO INMATES AT WAYNE COUNTY JAILS SHUT DOWN, ACCESS TO FAMILIES, COURTS CURTAILED | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

FAMILIES MARCH FOR MEN HELD WITHOUT TRIAL UP TO 4 YEARS IN WAYNE CO. JAIL; DEMAND “OPEN THE COURTS” | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

UNLAWFUL, UNJUST! RALLY THURSDAY MAR. 17 TO FREE WRONGLY HELD PRISONERS; OPEN VISITS, COURTS, FILES | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

DID WAYNE CO. PROS. HIDE KILLER’S CONFESSION TO MSP IN EWING-SEARCY CASE, USE DPD TO STOP RETRIAL? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

DETROIT: FAMILIES OF WRONGFULLY CONVICTED TELL PROS. KYM WORTHY, POLICE, JUDGES–‘FREE THEM ALL’ | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper, now devoting itself entirely to stories related to our PRISON NATION and POLICE STATE.

VOD’s editors and reporters, most of whom live on fixed incomes or are incarcerated, are not paid for their work. Ongoing costs include quarterly web charges of $460.00, P.O. box fee of $180/yr. and other costs including utility and internet bills, costs for research including court records and internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

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‘VALLEY GIRLS:” TAMERRA WASHINGTON, AT WOMEN’S HURON VALLEY CF, JOINS VOD AS REPORTER/COLUMNIST

Tamerra Washington’s young nieces at rally June 4, 2021. VOD photo.

Tamerra Washington’s family members were among hundreds attending a  historic “Rally/Protest for the Wrongfully Convicted”  held June 4, 2021, at the Frank Murphy courthouse and jail in downtown Detroit. It was sponsored by “Operation Liberation,” founded by Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy and Darrell ‘Apple’ Ewing and their families. Searcy was fully exonerated after 19 years in October; Ewing, also wrongfully convicted, continues his battle at the Wayne Co. Jail Division.

“Women–Black women–are the fastest growing population in MDOC, housed only at Huron Valley under horrible conditions.” –Nicholas Buckingham, Michigan Liberation, at June 4 rally

EXONEREE LARRY SMITH ADVOCATES FOR TAMERRA WASHINGTON AT SECOND LOOK RALLY IN LANSING NOV. 14, 2021

VALLEY GIRLS

Tamerra Washington

By Tamerra Washington, VOD Reporter/Columnist

Womens’ Huron Valley 486364

December 15, 2022

Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility has housed and released many exemplary women who are steadfast, refusing to be defined by their worst choice in life. Nation Outside now sponsors Valley Girls which is a sisterhood linking previously incarcerated women in MDOC to events and gatherings.

Lawanda Hollister/Photo Nation Outside

Nation Outside sponsored a 2022 Gala at the historical Masonic Temple in Detroit. Acknowledgements and awards were given. Glen Martin was the keynote speaker and the movement hosted by Lawanda Hollister, long time Valley Girl. She received a MVP award. That award confirmed her progress from serving 34 years in prison and successfully completing parole, to becoming a pillar in the returning citizen community,

Lawanda has had a hand in the reentry process for many organizations.

” The only way to go forward is to go together.”

  • Advocating at Avalon Housing to end homelessness.
  • Legislating for freedom and the importance of a Second Look.
  • Voting Access for All Coalition, V.A.A.C, beating the streets so returning citizens know that they have a right to vote.
  • She’s one of the first participants selected in Eastern Michigan University returning citizen fellowship program.
  • Doing pop up appearances with The Chow Hall prison cook-up food service.

For over three years I witnessed Lawanda doing business plans and making vivid goals for her release. She was paroled at the beginning of a pandemic in 2020. There, passion to make a difference within the reentry process ignited in her. None of the many plans held up to the shutdown of Covid 19. Blessed to parole to a stranger, a friend of a friend, the need for her own space was eminent.

Marchers demand end to abuse at Women’s Huron Valley Jan. 25, 2022. Photo: Final Call

Can you imagine filling out an application for housing and a job with no information beyond your name and D.O.B? No life history, being incarcerated since the age of 17, released at 51. There were no cell phones when she went in, never driven a car. The reintegration was challenging. With the tenacity of a Valley Girl, Lawanda continued to reach. Humble beginnings, she worked for a farm, cultivating new ground. Accepted to a returning citizen apartment home in Ypsilanti. Attracting a variety of forces that propelled her forward. Creating a reentry family that’s invested in her success.

American Friends Service Committee, Brighter Way, Youth Justice Fund, Safe and Just Mi, Reentry United, Mi Liberation, Nation Outside and her LOL’s all rallied around her with forward motion.

Tamerra Washington’s family at rally for the wrongly convicted June 4, 2021 outside Frank Murphy Hall in downtown Detroit.

According to Lawanda, “Prison holds two options, either you die there or you get out. Getting out we need to move forward with tools for success and education, or the result is failure.” For the returning citizen community the pressure is heightened to step out in front of failure; unfortunately the failure of one reflects all. Her hope is to accomplish more opportunities and doors opening for the whole community like never before.

From her position at AFSC she had the experience of reintegrating one of the Valley Girls. Being the face a sister Valley Girl sees upon crossing the threshold of captivity is “very rewarding”. Lawanda wants only the best and success for everyone.

The month of October 2022 WHV received 21 GED completions. The most obtained in MDOC statewide prison systems.

Stay tuned to The Voice Of Detroit for more successful highlights of the exceptional Women of Huron Valley.

Tamerra Washington 486364
WHV

Hello, I am Tamerra Washington #486364. WRONGFULLY CONVICTED. Temporarily housed at WHV 3201 Bemis Road. Ypsilanti, Mi 48197. In 2011 Sentenced 32-50 years in prison for Armed Robbery and 32-50 years for Assault, crimes I did not commit. I enjoy seeking Truth, higher learning, and reading books. I love Conscious conversations and uplifting my mind. 

Search Results for “Tamerra Washington” – Thoughts Beyond the Wall (wordpress.com)

RELATED:

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2021/06/16/detroit-families-of-wrongfully-convicted-tell-pros-kym-worthy-police-judges-free-them-all/

New Eastern Michigan program supports formerly incarcerated students (freep.com)

‘Trauma in the highest form’ The suffering, the culture of abuse and still harrowing plight of women in prison – Final Call News

 

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WHERE ARE MASS EXONERATIONS IN WAYNE CO. AND MICHIGAN? CHICAGO, BALTIMORE HAVE RELEASED 100’S

 By NATIONAL LIFERS OF AMERICA, INC.  Chapter #1016 c/o Mark McCloud #199143  4269 West M-80 (URF) Kincheloe, MI 49784

Baltimore, Maryland/Cook County, IL. 

What do these places have in common?

Where are the mass exonerations in Detroit, Wayne County?

Detroit cops David Pauch, Donald Stawiaz framed many

In the past several years, the above cities have had Mass Exonerations by County prosecutors for police corruption. As recently as August 10, 2022, Cook County Prosecutor (state’s attorney) Kim Foxx, dismissed murder charges against eight (8) more men due to police misconduct by one disgraced Detective, Reynaldo Guevara. In 2013, the City of Chicago hired an independent investigator to look into his cases and the two-year probe found problems, according to Foxx.

Connected to this investigation of Detective Reynaldo Guevara, up to 30 people have had their convictions overturned after wrongly serving a combined total of 500 years in prison.

The alleged Police Misconducts range from:

Coercive interrogation tactics; Hiding evidence (withholding evidence); Intimidating witnesses; Falsifying evidence in multiple cases; Influencing witnesses.

Chicago Prosecutor Kim Foxx

According to Foxx, it came down to the serious allegations of misconduct and findings of credibility against Det. Guevara, as to why her office declined to oppose release of these men.

Source: By Steve Almagy, CNN Wed. August 10, 2022

The criminal misconduct of disgraced police Sgt. Ronald Watts, along with several other disgraced Chicago police officers, led  to the MASS EXONERATION of more than ONE HUNDRED (100) cases.

The Alleged Police Misconducts range from:

Falsified testimony, Planting evidence, Extortion, Lying under oath, and Assault.

An investigation by the Cook County Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) revealed that the officers were not being truthful, meaning “The CIU could not longer maintain confidence in the Officers’ reports or testimony, according to Mark Rotert, director of the Cook County CIU.

These police misconducts stretch back as far as the 1980’s.

Source: Phil Rogers published Jan. 14, 2022; Source: By Matt Masterson Nov. 16, 2017.

DETROIT and WAYNE COUNTY, Michigan

Desmond Ricks (2nd from l) with family members, spent 25 years in prison based on ballistics evidence falsified by Detroit cops David Pauch and Donald Stawiasz

Desmond Ricks: In a case out of Detroit, similar to the disgraced Detectives Guevara and Watts out of the Chicago area, in 2017, a man named Desmond Ricks was exonerated because it was discovered that two disgraced Detroit police officers committed misconduct which led to Mr. Ricks’ conviction for second-degree murder and sentence of 30 to 60 years. Ballistics expert David Pauch and Homicide Detective Donald Stawiasz committed numerous criminal acts.

In the Desmond Ricks case, the Alleged Police Misconducts range from:

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy; the other “Kim” who will not charge cops, AP’s.

Giving false testimony under oath; Fabricating evidence; Planting evidence (the Detective switched out the bullets); and Withholding evidence.

Source: Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press Columnist August 26, 2017

There are numerous poor African-American men currently incarcerated within the Michigan Department of Corrections who alleged that the two disgraced police officers, David Pauch and Donald Stawiasz did in fact commit misconducts in their cases. 

The difference is, in Chicago and Baltimore, once it was proven that the disgraced officers did in fact commit misconduct (in one case worked on by the disgraced detectives), States Attorneys Kim Foxx and Marilyn Mosby began independent investigations to seriously look into other cases worked on by the disgraced detectives. And ultimately knew and concluded that their offices could no longer have faith in the credibility of the disgraced detectives’ work, which led to MASS EXONERATIONS of many innocent men and women! 

Prisoners in Lakeland Correctional Facility yard.

In other words, Kim Foxx and Marilyn Mosby DID NOT put an INSURMOUNTABLE BURDEN on POOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN AND WOMEN, with no resources to prove what their independent investigations and offices had already discovered.

There are many other current and former disgraced Detroit police officers and Detectives who committed misconduct, and have either been allowed to retire with full pensions, forced into early retirement or prosecuted for the criminal acts. Yet, there are numerous Poor African-American men and women who were sent to prison in their youth, and are still in prison on the Testimony, Credibility, and investigations by these disgraced current and former Detroit police officers.

WHERE ARE THE MASS EXONERATIONS IN WAYNE COUNTY!?

Former Detroit Police Chief William Hart

Disgraced Detroit Police:

Former Chief of Police William Hart:

In 1976, Hart was appointed as Chief of Police, a post he held until Feb. 1971, Convicted of embezzlement and tax fraud, after it was discovered that he embezzled funds from a covert operation fund while he was chief and reported none of the money as income on his tax returns. He was sentenced to a ten-year prison term and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,347,710.90.

Investigator/Detective Donald Stawiasz: Ballistics Expert—David Pauch

In 1992 a 21-year old man named Gary Bennett was shot to death outside a restaurant. Police found at .38-caliber revolver under the pillow of Desmond Ricks’ mother. Pauch and Stawiasz claimed –testified that the bullets that killed Mr. Bennett matched those from the gun. PROBLEM WAS—THEY DID NOT! The two officers lied and switched bullets. It took 25 years for Desmond Ricks to prove his innocence with help from the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic.

Former Detroit Police Homicide Chief William Rice

Sgt. William Rice:

Rose to the head of Detroit Police Homicide Division, convicted of drug dealing, Mortgage Fraud, and Perjury (Detroit Free Press Nov. 13, 2012).

Sgt. Walter Bates: 

Convicted in federal court of fifteen counts of bank robbery. (See U.S. v. Bates, 552 f3d 474 (2009). HE STILL GETS HIS PENSION. 

RELATED:

THELONIOUS SEARCY: “IT’S OVER!–FREE!” CHARGES DISMISSED, JUDGE BLASTS WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

DETROIT: FAMILIES OF WRONGFULLY CONVICTED TELL PROS. KYM WORTHY, POLICE, JUDGES–‘FREE THEM ALL’ | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

AS 31ST EXONERATION ANNOUNCED, WAYNE COUNTY, ASST. PROSECUTORS, DETROIT COPS FACE FEDERAL LAWSUITS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

LIFER KENNETH COOPER FIGHTS 2001 CONVICTION; NO PHYSICAL, EYEWITNESS EVIDENCE; BRADY VIOLATIONS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

LIFER PAUL DAVIS: FRAMED BY DETROIT COPS, APA WHO SENT CHILDREN TO CPS, JAIL TO GET FALSE TESTIMONY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper, now devoting itself entirely to stories related to our PRISON NATION and POLICE STATE.

VOD’s editors and reporters, most of whom live on fixed incomes or are incarcerated, are not paid for their work. Ongoing costs include quarterly web charges of $460.00, P.O. box fee of $180/yr. and other costs including utility and internet bills, costs for research including court records and internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

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