SUPPORT WILLIE MERRIWEATHER AT PUBLIC PAROLE HEARING JULY 11, 1PM ON ZOOM; REGISTER BY JULY 9

BRING WILLIE MERRIWEATHER HOME

Willie Merriweather, now 70, in his most recent MDOC photo taken August 21, 2023,

The Voice of Detroit is calling on supporters of justice and fair treatment for Michigan prisoners, and friends and family of Willie Merriweather, to attend his public parole hearing Thursday, July 11 at 1 PM, on Zoom, in his support.

Mr. Merriweather is now 70 years old,  and under treatment for cancer, with a poor prognosis.  He wants to come home in what time he has left. 

He has been in and out of the hospital for months, and  is suffering greatly. He has been incarcerated for 37 years since 1987, convicted of three counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder.  The crimes, allegedly drug-related, took place under murky circumstances and involved police officers cited in multiple wrongful convictions. These include those of Dwight Love and Danny Burton, which took place in the late ’80’s, a period of rampant Detroit Police Department abuse. 

Merriweather previous photo

Others originally charged in the crimes have spoken out in Mr. Merriweather’s support, including Mark McCloud and Scott Crump.

Co-defendant Mark McCloud swore in a 2001 affidavit that “police misconduct plagued our entire trial . . . the trial judge threatened to throw the police in jail for their conduct.”

Alsham Haleem FB photo.

He says Merriweather told five other co-defendants  he would take the stand and say none of them were there or knew anything about the murders.

“We all asked Merriweather not to do so because he would be saying he knew about the crime, but he stated to us that we didn’t have a chance in the world at a fair trial, McCloud said.” McCloud and his codefendants were then were then acquitted at trial.

“I’ve been knowing Will for about 20 years,”Alsham Haleem  told VOD. “He’s a very humble guy. His spirit and energy have always been that he has made mistakes in his life, and he felt being convicted for something he didn’t do was his punishment. But he feels like enough is enough, he has worked to change his thinking and his life. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

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A public hearing to consider the possible parole of Willie Merriweather, #131483

The Michigan Parole Board will hold a public hearing on Thursday, July 11, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. to consider the possible parole of Willie Merriweather, #131483. The hearing will be conducted via video through Microsoft Teams.

Those planning to access the hearing must complete the online registration form no later than July 9, 2024.  Instructions for accessing the public hearing can be found here. Willie Merriweather was sentenced to four terms of Life for the crimes of Murder 2nd Degree (three counts) and Assault with Intent to Murder. Willie Merriweather was sentenced on September 30, 1987, out of Wayne County.

Timothy S. Flanagan, Member of the Michigan Parole Board, will conduct the hearing under the provisions of the Lifer Law, MCLA 791.234.

When logging into the hearing, your video camera must be turned off and audio muted to eliminate distraction during the hearing.

Please be advised that recordings, photography, or screenshots of the proceeding are prohibited.

If you are a member of the news media and have questions about the hearing, please contact Kyle Kaminski, Acting Public Information Officer at 517-242-1233.

Note: comments can also be sent to the Parole Board at https://www.michigan.gov/corrections/parole-probation/contact-the-michigan-parole-board

RELATED: DETROIT COPS WHO FRAMED WILLIE MERRIWEATHER IN 1987 INVOLVED IN MULTIPLE WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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SUCCESSFUL RETURNING CITIZEN DAY IN DETROIT BUILDS SUPPORT FOR PRISONERS, INSIDE AND OUTSIDE WALLS

Previously incarcerated men and women are introduced for panel discussion on Michigan prisons and coming home, at Returning Citizens Day June 23, 2024. (L to R) : Kimball Gaskin-El, Machelle Pearson, emcee Zsa Zsa C. Hubbard, LaToya Perry, Larry D. Smith (exonerated in 2021.


Adeyemi Dance Academy members at Returning Citizens Day June 23, 2024 See https://adeyemidanceacademy.com/ for info on the Academy.

For more information on Returning Citizens Day and continued organizing efforts for victims of criminal injustice, call:

Larry Darnell Smith, Jr.: (313)677-2354; larrydarnellsmithjr@gmail.com

Shirletha Gaskins: (586)222-2764; (20+) Facebook

RICKY RIMMER

THIS FLIER UPDATING RICKY RIMMER’S CASE WAS DISTRIBUTED AT RETURNING CITIZENS DAY TO THE MANY INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS PARTICIPATING; Emcee Zsa Zsa C. Hubbard called out from the stage: FREE RICKY RIMMER!

VOD RR Articles: RIMMER CASE: JUDGE’S DAD, DPD SGT. MICHAEL BLOUNT, & SGT. JAMES HARRIS BOTH ON S.T.R.E.S.S., MAYOR’S SQUAD | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

JUNE CUNNINGHAM

The passing of Robert “June” Cunningham only months after he was paroled from a lifer sentence was also announced from the stage. A profoundly moving memorial was held July 5, 2024 (see obituary below). Numerous men who had served time with him paid tribute to him. They noted the unbreakable b0nds they had formed with members of their prison family during decades of oppression in the system.

Perry J. Scott wrote in his printed tribute:

“. . .in spite of being pressed against vicious walls of injustice for 50 years, he took his crusade for justice to the source and clamored for fair treatment with defiant methods of creative protest for his freedom. Robert JR Cunningham was an upright learned man, strong, pragmatic Brother of change who struggled endlessly to liberate himself from the unpromising limitations of prison life, a corrupt System  filled to its capacity.”

 

Some of those who attended June Cunningham’s wake July 5, 2024. Photo: Abner Hines

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VOD’s editors and reporters, most of whom live on fixed incomes or are incarcerated, are not paid for their work. In addition to quarterly web hosting charge. other expenses include P.O. box fee of $226.00/yr., costs including utility and internet bills, costs for research including court records and internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc.

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CASH APP 313-825-6126 MDianeBukowski

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RIMMER CASE: JUDGE’S DAD, DPD SGT. MICHAEL BLOUNT, & SGT. JAMES HARRIS BOTH ON S.T.R.E.S.S., MAYOR’S SQUAD


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DPD’s James Harris lauded killer unit in
“Detroit Under S.T.R.E.S.S.” film, after 20 yrs. in prison  on drug charges.

Judge Christopher Michael Blount’s father, ret. DPD Sgt. Michael Blount,  a “charter member” of S.T.R.E.S.S. along with DPD Sgt. James Harris, chief witness against Ricky Rimmer in 1976 trial

Both continue to praise killer cop unit — “Best police work of my career,” “made streets safer.”

Mayor Coleman Young put Blount and Harris on his security squad in 1974, after disbanding S.T.R.E.S.S.

Harris charged in 1972 Rochester Street Massacre of Black Deputy Sheriffs, later spent 20 yrs. in federal prison for protecting drug shipments to Detroit

Judge Blount denied Rimmer’s Motions for New Trial and Evidentiary Hearing Feb. 9, no response yet to Motion for Reconsideration

Another case remanded by the Mich. Court of Appeals to Blount’s court on the same issues cited by Rimmer’s atty. surfaces: Sean Darnell Daniels

SOURCE: A History of Violence: The Detroit Police Department, The African American Community and S.T.R.E.S.S. An Army of Occupation or An Army Under Siege. – S.T.R.E.S.S. was responsible for the lowest crime rate in decades…but there were other serious issues attached to it… (dougmerriman.org)

Wayne State University History Dept. Newsletter Fall 2017

By Diane Bukowski

June 19, 2024

Christopher Michael Blount’s campaign ad.

DETROIT– On Feb. 9, Wayne 3rd Circuit Court Judge Christopher Blount unexpectedly denied Detroit lifer Ricky Rimmer’s motions for a new trial and evidentiary hearing. The motions deal largely with the roles two corrupt, racist Detroit cops, James Harris and Leo Haidys, played in concocting his 1976 murder conviction.

VOD has just discovered that              Harris was a close associate of Judge Blount’s father, retired DPD Sgt. Michael Blount. Both were among a select few Black officers who served on the killer cop unit S.T.R.E.S.S.  After 1974, when Detroit Mayor Coleman Young disbanded the unit, both served on the Mayor’s security squad.

In an earlier campaign ad, Judge Blount said his father and other family members in DPD  were among his role models. (Sidebar)

Judge Christopher Blount (campaign photo)

VOD emailed Judge Blount and his Judicial Asst. Evan Ford, asking whether he deems the relationship between his father and Harris, a chief witness against Rimmer, to constitute an “appearance of impropriety.”

Michael Scott, the Court’s Public Information Officer, responded, “In relation to your inquiries earlier to Judge Blount and his office: the Court does not comment on pending litigation and speaks through its written orders.”

Sean Darnell Daniels/ MDOC 

Judge Blount still has not responded to a Motion for Reconsideration of his Order and Opinion, filed March 1 by Rimmer’s attorney Darnell Barton.

The motion notes that the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned Judge Blount’s ruling in the case of Dwayne Ballinger on Feb. 8  on the same issues raised by Barton.

Meanwhile, the case of Sean Darnell Daniels, also remanded to Judge Blount by the Michigan Court of Appeals on July 3, 2023, has surfaced.

There, the COA said  Judge Blount erred by saying Daniels’ successive motion for relief from judgment was 1) procedurally barred under MCR 6.502G;  2) holding wr0ngly that “newly available” evidence is insufficient to grant a new trial; and 3) that newly available impeachment evidence is barred under two rulings that have since been overturned.

In remanding Daniels’ case to Judge Blount, an MCOA panel of Judges Michael J. Riordan, Thomas C.  Cameron and Noah P. Hood cited People v Swain, 499 Mich 920 (2016), (the same ruling Blount scoffed at in Rimmer’s case); People v Rao, 491 Mich 271, 282-283; 815 NW2d 105 (2012), and People v Grissom, 492 Mich 296, 319-320; 821 NW2d 50 (2012). See complete ruling in link below story.

In the Daniels case, the COA ordered, “On remand, the trial court shall do so promptly, reconsidering this matter on the merits in light of this order.” Judge Blount has a July 2, 2024 “post-conviction” date set on Daniels’ case.

VOD’S editor Diane Bukowski and legal analyst Travis Herndon appeared on the Jay Love show, “Turning a Moment into a Movement,” June 14 to discuss Ricky Rimmer’s case and its relevance to all defendants adversely  affected by Michigan’s severely flawed criminal justice system.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Ricky Rimmer Motion for Reconsideration filed March 1, 2024:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Ricky-Rimmer-MOTION-FOR-RECONSIDERATION-Final-version-Barton-3.pdf

Judge Christopher Blount’s Order and Opinion filed February 9, 2024:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Rimmer-Ricky-Order-and-Opinion-2-Feb-2024-3.pdf

MCOA Order in Sean Darnell Daniels Case July 7, 2023:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/COA-364929-PEOPLE-OF-MI-V-SEAN-DARNELL-DANIELS-ORDER-7_3_2023-Christopher-Blount.pdf

Other documents linked in VOD story published June 5, 2024:                                

JUDGE BLOUNT DENIES RICKY RIMMER’ S MOTIONS FOR NEW TRIAL, HEARING ON RACIST COPS, NEW WITNESSES | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

“MOMMALOVE!” CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF LOVIE MAE RIMMER FEB. 26-27, MOTHER OF RICKY RIMMER-BEY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

MICH. LIFER RICKY RIMMER CITES RACIST, VIOLENT HISTORY OF DPD COPS HAIDYS, HARRIS IN MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

MICHIGAN LIFER RICKY RIMMER-BEY: CONVICTED DRUG DEALER COP JAMES HARRIS FRAMED ME FOR MURDER | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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URGENT. Funds  regularly needed for quarterly web hosting charge of $465.00  or VOD and 13 years of its stories will be taken off the web.  VOD 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. In addition to quarterly web hosting charge. other expenses include P.O. box fee of $226.00/yr., 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

CASH APP 313-825-6126 MDianeBukowski

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JUDGE BLOUNT DENIES RICKY RIMMER’ S MOTIONS FOR NEW TRIAL, HEARING ON RACIST COPS, NEW WITNESSES


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DPD officers in Rimmer case were charged in 1968 Vets Memorial white cop mob attack on Black youths (Leo Haidys); and 1972 Rochester St. Massacre of Black Dep. Sheriffs by DPD/S.T.R.E.S.S. (James Harris)

These events played major role in Detroit’s Black civil rights history vs. police abuse.

Judge Blount says  “not guilty” verdicts in those cases negated use for impeachment evidence, flying in face of  Brady, Giglio, People v. Layher, other case law.

On Feb. 8, COA called similar Brady ruling  by Blount’s court in case of  Dwayne Ballinger unconstitutional for “conflating Brady with Cress”

Ricky Rimmer, mother during MDOC visit.

Blount’s Opinion/Order, copied from WCPO 2023 response, cites 2015 COA opinion in People v. Lorinda Swain, overturned by Mich. Supreme Court in sweeping 2016 ruling, 499 Mich 920 (2016)

Blount refuses to hear new testimony from two eyewitnesses to the murder for which Rimmer has spent nearly 50 years in prison.

“Mommalove” Lovie Mae Rimmer died waiting for her son’s evidentiary hearing, during multiple court postponements; Rimmer now 70, was 21 when sentenced to death in prison 

(Complete copies of all court filings cited  in this article are linked at the end of  story.)

By Diane Bukowski

May 30, 2024

Judge  Blount

After multiple postponements since 2021, Wayne 3rd Circuit Court Judge Christopher Blount abruptly denied Detroit lifer Ricky Rimmer’s motions for a new trial and evidentiary hearing under MCL 770.1 and MCR 6.500, on Feb. 9.

He has not responded to a Motion for Reconsideration by the defense filed March 1, or to VOD’s repeated requests for comment.

“I’m 70 now. they can’t keep playing games with my life,” Rimmer told VOD. “My mother  died waiting for this hearing while the Judge took his time. That was a gut shot. I was 21 when I came up in here. This is making me and my family and supporters question the entire judicial system.”

Rimmer has been serving a sentence of death in prison since March 3, 1976, for the murder of Joseph Kratz, a white car dealer on Detroit’s east side in 1975.

Judge Blount  said in part in his Order and Opinion, “Defendant is claiming that the People violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 US 83 (1963) and Giglio United States, 405 US 150 (1972) by failing to advise him that two of the police officers involved in this case were found not guilty in either of these unrelated cases. Defendant clearly does not understand the purpose of Brady and Giglio.”

The evidentiary hearing was to assess Brady disclosure violations involving DPD Sgts. Leo Haidys and James Harris, who masterminded his 1976 conviction. The two have corrupt, violent and racist histories including their participation, respectively, in the 1969 Veterans Memorial Incident and the 1972 Rochester Street Massacre. Both events played a major role in Detroit’s Black history.

Additionally, two direct witnesses to the crime were to testify at the evidentiary hearing that Rimmer did not shoot and kill Joseph Kratz, a white car dealer, in 1975, during a robbery on Detroit’s east side. The hasty ruling cites no “findings of fact or conclusions of law” per MCL 6.508(E).

Rimmer’s attorney Darnell Barton strongly disputed Judge Blount’s findings on numerous legal grounds in a Motion for Reconsideration filed March 1.

Among other precedents, Attorney Blount cited People v. Layher, a 2001 Michigan Supreme Court ruling. The high court said in part:

“We hold, consistent with existing precedent and the Michigan Rules of Evidence, that a trial court may allow inquiry into prior arrests or charges for the purpose of establishing witness bias where, in its sound discretion, the trial court determines that the admission of evidence is consistent with the safeguards of the Michigan Rules of Evidence.

“We conclude that evidence of the witness’ prior arrest without conviction to show the witness’ bias was admissible under MRE 402 and MRE 403. People v. Layher, 464 Mich. 756, 757-56, 621 N.W.2d 281, 282 (2001).

In his ruling, Judge Blount also cited arguments that the Michigan Court of Appeals roundly rejected Feb. 8 in the case of another defendant whose case is in front of Blount, Dwayne Ballinger. (See quote from Ballinger COA ruling in sidebar.)

Dwayne Ballinger 

In Ballinger, the COA ordered, “On remand, the trial court should promptly reconsider this matter in light of both this order and our Supreme Court’s order in Ballinger IL The trial court may hold whatever further proceedings it deems appropriate to that end. This order is to have immediate effect. MCR 7.215(F)(2). We do not retain jurisdiction.”

Ballinger’s Register of Actions shows no action by Blount since the COA order. Neither Judge Blount nor his judicial assistant Evan Ford have responded to VOD’s repeated requests for comment on Rimmer’s case after the dismissal.

BLOUNT, HEBEL WRONGLY USE SWAIN, A CASE WHERE DEFENDANT EXONERATED OF CHILD ABUSE,  TO DENY RELIEF UNDER MCL 770.1

Judge Blount’s Feb. 9 Opinion and Order (excerpt above) wrongly identifies a 2015 Court of Appeals unpublished opinion in People v. Swain,  with the citation 499 Mich 920 (2016). But that is the Michigan Supreme Court ruling that overturned the COA in 2016.

In People v. Swain, No. 314564, 2015 WL 52163 (2015), the COA held that the trial judge’s finding that “justice had not been done” pursuant to MCL 770.1, was error and reversed the grant of a new trial. However, on May 18, 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court, in  People v. Swain, 499 Mich 920 (2016) remanded the case for a finding not inconsistent with the trial court’s findings under MCL 770.1. Michigan Radio celebrated the ruling at  Lorinda Swain, once convicted of child abuse, is free (michiganpublic.org).
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NEWLY PRESENTED WITNESS TESTIMONY 

Old DPD HQ 1300 Beaubien

“Defendant provides two affidavits which mostly consists of inadmissible hearsay,” Judge Blount, copying from AP Hebel, says in his ruling. “The only portion of those that would be potentially admissible is the 45-year late assertation of-two of his Co-conspirators that he was not involved in the murder. These witnesses are incredible. The delay is incredible. They are choreographed affidavits that are inadmissible.”

Defense filings say the affidavits contain new testimony that Rimmer did not shoot Kratz. They say that Sgt. James Harris put the two, along with another man, all under arrest, into a room together at Police Headquarters, 1300 Beaubien. Then he told the three to “get your stories together” to finger Rimmer, who was arrested the next day.

One was later charged as a co-defendant but never testified at trial (invoking his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent), then sat next to Rimmer at trial as a co-defendant. Sgt. Harris was then allowed to read the co-defendant’s statement, manufactured after Harris ordered the three men to ‘get your stories together,” to Rimmer’s jury. The second man took the stand at trial. His alleged police statement was read to the jury, but he denied on the stand that he told police that Rimmer was the shooter.

The third man later recanted in front of  trial judge Henry Heading, with the jury excused, but on the record. He said he lied at the preliminary exam because Harris told him falsely that Rimmer had murdered his brother. But Judge Heading then declared him “unavailable” and had his false testimony read to the jury by AP Timothy Kenny.

HAIDYS, HARRIS IN 1969 VETERANS MEMORIAL COP ATTACK ON BLACK YOUTHS, 1972 ROCHESTER STREET MASSACRE OF BLACK DEP. SHERIFFS

Judge Blount was born in June, 1978, after what he calls “unrelated” cases involving DPD Sgts. Leo Haidys and James Harris:  the Veterans’ Memorial Incident of 1968 and the Rochester Street Massacre of 1972, involving DPD’s killer S.T.R.E.S.S. unit.

Rimmer’s motions contend that then Asst. Prosecutor Timothy Kenny should have made Rimmer and his jury aware of those histories when the two testified during his trial.

Haidys was tried on charges stemming from the notorious Veterans Memorial Incident of 1968 during which armed white cops, shouting the N word, chased, shot at, pistol-whipped and beat Black youths attending a church dance at the building. Haidys was singled out by Jimmie Evans as the cop who smashed him in the face with his gun. After an uproar in the Black community, a police panel ordered him charged, but he was acquitted by a white jury after a change of venue to to Mason, Michigan to avoid Black Detroit jurors. (DFP 11/26/1968 graphic: white cops attack Black youths in car, drag them out to beat them.)

See: https://policing.umhistorylabs.lsa.umich.edu/s/detroitunderfire/page/veteran-s-memorial-incident

One of hundreds of anti-STRESS protests in Detroit, this one at DPD headquarters in 1973.

 

Harris was charged in the Rochester Street Massacre of 1972, during which he and two other cops with the notorious  S.T.R.E.S.S. killer decoy unit, abetted by two white DPD officers, invaded an apartment, guns blazing, where Black Wayne Co. Deputy Sheriffs were playing cards on a pretext. One Deputy Sheriff, Henry Henderson was killed, Deputy Sheriff James Jenkins was disabled for life.

Wayne County Prosecutor William Cahalan charged Harris and  the other S.T.R.E.S.S. cops with murder, attempted murder, felonious assault, and felony firearm with intent to commit murder.

Massive rally against STRESS including Black Panthers.

But he did not charge the white DPD officer who shot Henry  Henderson six times, killing him. The Wayne County Sheriff’s office did an independent investigation of the case, concluding that Harris and four other DPD officers fired on the Deputy Sheriffs without cause.

The case was a prominent factor in the massive community movement against S.T.R.E.S.S. that developed as the cops killed 22 Black men and women over the years. It led to the election of Detroit’s first Black Mayor, Coleman a. Young, who ran against Police Commissioner John Nichols in 1074.   https://policing.umhistorylabs.lsa.umich.edu/s/detroitunderfire/page/rochester-incident

‘MOMMALOVE’ RIMMER DIES WAITING FOR SON’S COURT HEARING

Rimmer’s mother Lovie Mae Rimmer, born in Kosciusko, Mississippi in 1937, died Feb. 13, 2023, after Judge Blount ordered an indefinite stay on proceedings. requested by the Wayne Co. Conviction Integrity Unit, with no notice to Rimmer or his attorney. Judge Blount later rescinded the stay, but kept adjourning hearings for the next two years, allegedly for “further research.”

Rimmer remembered his mother in a tribute published by VOD.

“In preparation of this missive for my mother, this is the hardest communication I have had to address due to the fact my emotions are RAW,” he said in part. “With MOMMALOVE, I could talk about any subject and she would always give me her honest opinion. When I would call home, before hanging up, she would always ask me, “RICKY, when are you coming home?” I would tell her about the filing of my case, and that I would be home soon.”

Rimmer told VOD.”My mother’s death was a gut shot. Me and my mother had plans go to the Detroit Zoo. I’d never been to the zoo, and I used to watch TV stories on the Bronx Zoo in prison. I wanted to sit down and pick Mommalove’s brain about how it was growing up in Mississippi.”

(See Rimmer’s full statement on  his mother’s death in VOD link below).

Rimmer’s sister Mary Catherine wrote to Judge Blount after their mother’s death, relaying her request that “Ricky’s case be reviewed with fairness.” (See box at left.)

But Judge Blount ignored Ms. Rimmer’s simple request to give her son a fair hearing and review of his case after nearly 50 years in prison.

VOD interviewed Ms. Rimmer in its first story on this case, during which she told how Sgt. James Harris came to her house and ate dinners she cooked for him, while covertly planning to set her son up.

William Messenger, who grew up in Rimmer’s east side neigborhood, further recalled details of Harris’ history in a sworn affidavit.

William Messenger, MDOC photo.

“In 1975, Detective Harris, who was the head of Squad Seven homicide division, was routinely assigned to patrol our community. It was known to everyone that he was a corrupt dirty cop. He had a reputation for getting street guys to say they saw or heard about someone committing a murder or robbery—people who had nothing to do with the crime. . . I personally told Detective Harris when he stopped me on the streets, and again in the witness room at the Frank Murphy Hall, that Ricky had nothing to do with this crime. His response was, ‘I want Rimmer.’”

Harris was later sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after he was exposed in an FBI sting off the coast of Miami in 1991 accepting a $50,000 bribe to have Detroit Police guard international drug shipments coming to Detroit. He served 20 years of that sentence. ______________________________________________________________

VOD Editorial Note: VOD discovered this photo of Daniel Hebel, the Wayne Co. Asst. Prosecutor who wrote the “Plaintiff’s Response” that Judge Blount virtually copied in his ruling, on the Facebook Page of the “Student Statesmanship Institute.”

SSI’s motto: Inspiring Teens To Find Their Ultimate Identity In Christ And Their Highest Calling As His Ambassador.”  https://ssionline.org/

“The Student Statesmanship Institute (SSI) in Lansing, Michigan . . .has, since the mid-1990s, staged multi-track,  weeklong summer trainings for conservative Christian high school and homeschooled young people in the basics of legislation, the judiciary, business, media, and election campaigns. The institute touts itself as “Michigan’s Premier Biblical Worldview & Leadership Training Program for high school students” and claims to train 300 students during its annual summer programs. The program is substantially underwritten by the philanthropies of the family of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.” Christian Right | Political Research Associates   The Proselytizers and the Privatizers – The American Prospect. ________________________________________________________

RELATED DOCUMENTS:

Atty Darnell Barton/Ricky Rimmer Defense: MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION March 1, 2024 http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Ricky-Rimmer-MOTION-FOR-RECONSIDERATION-Final-version-Barton-3.pdf

Judge Christopher Blount: ORDER AND OPINION DENYING RECONSIDERATION OF DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT INCLUDING PROSECUTOR’S RESPONSE Feb. 9, 2024, at: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Rimmer-Ricky-Order-and-Opinion-2-Feb-2024-3.pdf

Asst. Prosecutor Daniel Hebel: PLAINTIFF’S RESPONSE TO MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT, July 17, 2023, at: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Ricky-Rimmer-Peoples-Response-to-Motion-for-Relief-2.pdf

DEFENDANT’S RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFF’S ANSWER TO MOTION FOR
NEW TRIAL/MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT (includes Amicus Brief from state and federal prosecutors in Swainadvocating for all Michigan defendants in the use of  Michigan Statute MCL 770.1)  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Ricky-Rimmer-Defendants-Response-Final.pdf

RICKY RIMMER’S ORIGINAL MOTIONS FOR NEW TRIAL, EVIDENTIARY HEARING http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/RICKY-RIMMER-MOTIONS-FOR-NEW-TRIAL-EVIDENTIARY-HEARING-BRIEF-IN-SUPPORT-ET-AL-2.pdf.

MICH. COURT OF APPEALS IN BALLINGER: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/People-v.-Ballinger-COA-2-9-24.pdf

PEOPLE V. LORINDA SWAIN COURT OF APPEALS OPINION FEB. 5, 2015  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Lorinda-Swain-COA-opinion-Feb-5-2015.pdf

PEOPLE V. LORINDA SWAIN, MICH. SUPREME COURT May 18, 2016  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/People-v.-Swain-Michigan-Supreme-Court-2016.pdf

RELATED STORIES:

“MOMMALOVE!” CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF LOVIE MAE RIMMER FEB. 26-27, MOTHER OF RICKY RIMMER-BEY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

MICH. LIFER RICKY RIMMER CITES RACIST, VIOLENT HISTORY OF DPD COPS HAIDYS, HARRIS IN MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

MICHIGAN LIFER RICKY RIMMER-BEY: CONVICTED DRUG DEALER COP JAMES HARRIS FRAMED ME FOR MURDER | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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URGENT. Funds  needed for quarterly web hosting charge of $465.00 by June 19, 2024 or VOD and 13 years of its stories will be taken off the web.  VOD 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. In addition to quarterly web hosting charge. other expenses include P.O. box fee of $226.00/yr., costs including utility and internet bills, costs for research including court records and internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

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CASH APP 313-825-6126 MDianeBukowski

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U.S. REP. RASHIDA TLAIB: ON GENOCIDE OF PALESTINIANS, INVASION OF RAFAH; SUPPORT SJP AT WSU MAY 28 @6PM

VOD UPDATE JUNE 7, 2024: THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES FOR WSU STUDENTS SUPPORTING THE PEOPLE OF GAZA AND PALESTINE.

U.S. REP. RASHIDA TLAIB

VOD is publishing this statement from U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib today, Tues. May 28, 2024. Tlaib spoke May 25 at the WSU Students for Justice in Palestine encampment at Wayne State University. Included are Facebook photos from the encampment. SJP is  calling on the public to support them tonight Tues. May 28 at 6PM as a police assault on the peaceful encampment is likely. Their Facebook page is at: (20+) WSU Students for Justice in Palestine | Facebook.

PRESS RELEASE fr0m the Office of U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib

May 7, 2024 

WSU Students for Justice in Palestine/Facebook photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) released the following statement on the Israeli government’s ground invasion of Rafah:

“It’s no coincidence that immediately after our government sent the Israeli apartheid regime over $14 billion with absolutely no conditions on upholding human rights, Netanyahu began a ground invasion of Rafah to continue the genocide of Palestinians—with ammunition and bombs paid for by our tax dollars. Over 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, including over 600,000 children, are trapped in Rafah, living in makeshift tents, without food, clean water, sanitation, medicine, or any form of shelter.

Israeli forces have already killed over 35,000 Palestinians, and the families displaced in Rafah will now face even more unimaginable human suffering. Many of my colleagues are going to express concern and horror at the crimes against humanity that are about to unfold, even though they just voted to send Netanyahu billions more in weapons. Do not be misled, they gave their consent for these atrocities, and our country is actively participating in genocide. For months, Netanyahu made his intent to invade Rafah clear, yet the majority of my colleagues and President Biden sent more weapons to enable the massacre.

WSU SFP FB photo.

“There is nowhere safe in Gaza. Nearly 80% of the civilian infrastructure has been destroyed. There is no feasible evacuation plan, and the Israeli government is only trying to provide a false pretense of safety to try to maintain legal cover at the International Court of Justice. Netanyahu knows that he will only stay in power as long as the fighting continues.

It is now more apparent than ever that we must end all U.S. military funding for the Israeli apartheid regime, and demand that President Biden facilitate an immediate, permanent ceasefire that includes a complete withdraw of Israeli forces from Gaza, and the release of all hostages and arbitrarily detained Palestinians.

I urge the ICC to swiftly issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and senior Israeli officials to finally hold them accountable for this genocide, as is obviously warranted by these well-documented violations of the Genocide Convention under international law.”


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SUPPORTERS OF PRISONERS AT WOMEN’S HURON VALLEY CONTINUE THE BATTLE AGAINST ‘THE VALLEY OF DEATH’

Supporters of women in the Women’s Huron Valley (WHV) correctional facility gather outside March 16, 2024. Photos: 

This is a message from KRYSTAL CLARK # 435064 (one of plaintiffs in WHV class action lawsuit v. MDOC)

March 16, 2024

Shawanna Vaughn, of “Silent Cry” organized the March 16 WHV rally. Eric Walston of Prisoners Doing the Right Thing is at center (top).

Ypsilanti, Michigan — As you may be aware, in 2019 women prisoners at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (WHV) in Ypsilanti, Michigan filed a two-count civil rights action against the Michigan Department of Corrections (Case No. 19-13442).

This lawsuit alleged that Women’s Huron Valley, Michigan’s only women’s prison, is riddled with dangerous conditions which include haphazard retrofitting, leaky roofs, inoperable windows, inadequate ventilation, and outdated heating/cooling and ventilation systems which have created a breeding ground for harmful fungi and spore-producing molds such as Ochroconis, Cladosporium, and Chaetomium and that exposure to these molds constitute cruel and inhumane punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Make no mistake, the women in Women’s Huron Valley Correctional facility are suffering from mold exposure. In the lab reports of those women lucky enough to get an off-site medical diagnosis, ” MOLD” is clearly defined as the cause of their ailments.

Fire MDOC staff that has failed to address health concerns.

Mold related symptoms include: constant headaches, nosebleeds, constant fatigue, breathing disorders, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, hair loss, skin rashes, open sores, short term memory loss, neurological disorders, swollen glands, chronic ear, sinus and bronchial infections, and pain in joints and muscles. Because of the substandard healthcare in this prison, women are not receiving the medical care nessesary to address mold-related ailments.

On August 25th, 2023, federal judge Victoria A. Roberts for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed the lawsuit brought by the women prisoners. What should shock the conscience of every citizen in the State of Michigan is what the attorneys representing the Michigan Department of Corrections stated when they stood before the Court.

Protesters at WHV March 16, 2024.

They said: ” There are no cases establishing a prisoner’s right to be free from these molds  (Ochroconis, Cladosporium and Chaetomium), that it is not clearly established that any type of mold at WHV is sufficiently dangerous to incarcerated people, and EVEN IF IT WERE CLEARLY ESTABLISHED THAT CERTAIN MOLDS WERE DANGEROUS ENOUGH TO IMPLICATE THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT, IT IS NOT CLEARLY ESTABLISHED THAT PRISON OFFICIALS NEED TO TAKE ANY PARTICULAR ACTION TO REMEDIATE THE PRESENCE OF MOLD.”

The women imprisoned at Women’s Huron Valley are somebody’s loved ones. We have families and friends that worry about our health and safety.

The Michigan Department of Corrections DOES NOT share that concern. In their arguments before the Court they expressed NO responsibility or accountability for the mold- contaminated facility women are forced to live in. In other words, women prisoners should just shut up and die a slow, painful death in here from their mold- related illnesses.

By ANY standard of decency, this treatment is inhumane. If you wouldn’t allow a dog to live in such deplorable conditions and suffer the health consequences, how can you in good conscience allow Michigan’s imprisoned women to live this way.

Judge Victoria Roberts

COURT BATTLE NOT OVER, SAYS JUDGE ROBERTS: PLAINTIFFS CAN RE-FILE  EMPHASIZING INADEQUATE VENTILATION

“The Court DISMISSES Plaintiffs’ claim without prejudice and allows them the opportunity to refile. Although the Court concludes there is no clearly established constitutional right in the Sixth Circuit to be free from exposure to mold that poses a serious risk to an incarcerated person’s health or safety, mold can be actionable in a different context.

The presence of mold—to the extent it contributes to inadequate and unhealthy ventilation systems in prisons—could support a claim of unsanitary prison conditions/inadequate ventilation which violates Eighth Amendment rights.“

GROUP PHOTO OF PROTESTERS OUTSIDE WOMEN’S HURON VALLEY PRISON March 16, 2024

Judge Roberts continued, “Defendants were on notice that Plaintiffs may have alleged an inadequate ventilation claim. In the amended complaint, Plaintiffs mention inadequate ventilation at least 22 separate times. . . .(“the prison and its bunkrooms lack proper ventilation, leading to a general moist environment and dampness in most of WHV’s units.

. . .In particular, the facility’s haphazard retrofitting, leaky roofs, inoperable windows, inadequate ventilation, and outdated HVAC systems all contribute to the mold problem at WHV.”) (“Defendants have failed . . . to replace the inadequate and failing HVAC system; instead allowing vents to fill up with mold and electing to use floor fans causing the mold to circulate in the air.”); id. at PageID.1107 (“Defendants have failed to replace the inadequate and failing air handlers, directly contributing to poor ventilation and condensation levels that encourage mold growth.”).

WHV PLAINTIFFS

Defendants even acknowledge the inadequate ventilation allegations in their briefing. See [ECF No. 152, PageID.2837] (articulating that Plaintiffs’ complaint alleges failure to remedy inadequate ventilation). Since the amended complaint already alleges inadequate ventilation, Defendants are on notice of this potential claim and will not be harmed if the Court dismisses this case as pled and allows Plaintiffs to amend the complaint.”

Court records show that a second amended Complaint was filed on behalf of plaintiffs PAULA BAILEY, KRYSTAL CLARK, AND HOPE ZENTZ, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, on September 15, 2023, by attorneys from multiple law firms including MARKO LAW, PLLC (Jonathan Marko), Detroit, MI; NICHOLS KASTER, PLLP (Matthew Morgan, Minneapolis, MN.; PITT MCGEHEE PALMER &RIVERS (Cary S. McGhee), Royal Oak, MI; LAW OFFICES OF DAVID S. STEINGOLD, PLLC, Detroit, MI;
STEINGOLD, PLLC; and EXCOLO LAW, PLLC Solomon M. Radner, Southfield, MI.
See amended complaint at

The complaint is now before USDC Judge Stephen Murphy III, with Elizabeth Stafford remaining as the Magistrate Judge. The Defendants again have filed for Summary Judgment, with the most recent filing on the case dated April 5, 2025.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office represents the Defendants, who are HEIDI WASHINGTON (MDOC Director), JEREMY HOWARD, iSHAWN BREWER, JEREMY BUSH, LIA GULICK,, ED VALLAD, DAVID JOHNSON,  KARRI OSTERHOUT, JOSEPH TREPPA, DAN CARTER, JOEL DREFFS, i
RICHARD BULLARD, and TONI MOORE.

The Defendants are all being sued in their individual and official capacities.

RELATED:

VALLEY GIRLS:” TAMERRA WASHINGTON, AT WOMEN’S HURON VALLEY CF, JOINS VOD AS REPORTER/COLUMNIST | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

TAMERRA WASHINGTON: LETTERS FROM A MODERN CELL, HONORING MLK 6OTH ANNIVERSARY OF DETROIT MARCH | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

MDOC EXPERIENCING RISE IN SUICIDES AT TREATMENT PROGRAM; ARE CORRECTIONS OFFICERS RESPONSIBLE? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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URGENT. Funds  needed for quarterly web hosting charge of $465.00 by June 19, 2024 or VOD and 13 years of its stories will be taken off the web.  VOD 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. In addition to quarterly web hosting charge. other expenses include P.O. box fee of $226.00/yr., costs including utility and internet bills, costs for research including court records and internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

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CASH APP 313-825-6126 MDianeBukowski

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VIVIAN KINCAID: ACTIVIST, POET, ACTOR/MOTHER, SISTER, NIECE, FRIEND–CELEBRATION OF LIFE APRIL 20 @2:30 PM

SUNRISE NOV. 8, 1965     SUNSET MARCH 29, 2024

Vivian Kincaid was a close friend of VOD Editor Diane Bukowski. She was well-known in many circles, from those fighting for justice and freedom for imprisoned family members, to her fellow actors at Enter Stage Right in Port Huron. She was a brilliant, beautiful, courageous woman. She will be sorely missed.

For more information, call Vivian’s aunt Mattie at 313-330-4100 or daughter Lia at 313-815-6453.

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INKSTER COP DARIAN WMS. EXTORTED DRUG DEALERS DURING CASE V. MICH. LIFER MICHAEL DEGRAFFENRIED

Michael DeGraffenried, convicted of Inkster murder in 2000,  is set for an evidentiary hearing Fri. April 12,  WCCC Judge Tracy Green, FMHJ Rm. 604

Witness expected to testify he was not the shooter, was not present at crime

Inkster, MI Police Car 2004

Former Inkster Police Sgt. Darian K. Williams, OIC in case, was robbing, extorting drug dealers using his police car from 1999 through 2001, convicted 2003

Inkster PD’s Gregory Hill and Anthony Abdallah, also involved, cited in cases of exonerees George Clark, Kevin Harrington

Exoneree Alphonso Clark, Jr. others still in MDOC, cite role of  Inkster police  Sgt. Anthony DelGreco in wrongful convictions

Michigan Supreme Court ruling in People v. Hammock, 946 N.W.2d 546 | Casetext Search + Citator is relevant to witness testimony expected at April 12 evidentiary hearing on Degraffenried’s case

By Diane Bukowski

April 2, 2024

DETROIT — As Michael Degraffenried was being tried for murder and sentenced to 30 to 50 years on March 3o, 2000, the officer in charge (OIC) of his case, Inkster Police Sgt. Darian K. Williams, was robbing and extorting drug dealers using his official police car.

Sgt. Williams was charged with those activities, which occurred from May 1999 to December, 2001, in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, according to court documents. He was convicted in 2003 and incarcerated in a federal prison until Sept. 1, 2005.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve

“At trial, the Government presented evidence that from May 1999 through December 3, 2001, Steele conspired with co-conspirators Darian Williams, Ernest “Newt” Butler, and Andre Patterson to extort money from drug dealers through wrongful use of fear and under color of official right,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve. “At the time of the conspiracy, Williams was employed by the Police Department of Inkster, Michigan and held the rank of Detective Sergeant.” See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Daryl-Steele-et-al-inc-Darian-Williams-US-District-Court-opinion-and-order.pdf.

(VOD has contacted the Inkster Police Department for information on whether they terminated Williams after learning of his federal charges but has not received a response yet.)

Williams, with other Inkster detectives including Gregory Hill and Anthony Abdallah, fingered Degraffenried as the drive-by shooter who killed one man and wounded two others June 15, 1999 on Florence St. in Inkster.

WCCC Judge Tracy E. Green/LinkedIn

One of the two wounded men, Willie Wimberly, is expected to testify at an evidentiary hearing April 12 that Degraffenried was not the shooter and was not present during the shooting.  At issue is Degraffenried’s claim on appeal of  “ineffective assistance of counsel,” which cites his trial attorney’s “failure to investigate” matters such as Wimberley’s statements to Dets. Williams and Hill.

The hearing is set to take place in front of Wayne 3rd Circuit Judge Tracy E. Green, Courtroom #604, Friday, April 12 at 9 AM.

“On June 15, 1999, I was wounded, shot in the leg, in a shooting incident that happened on Florence Street in the City of Inkster,” Wimberly says in a sworn affidavit dated July 19, 2019.

“Another person, Raymond Williams was also wounded and Alondre Davis was killed by the gunfire. . . .I saw the person who fired the shot that injured me but I did not recognize his face. . . After I was released from the hospital, Detective Williams and Detective Greg Hill came to my house and interviewed me again. At that time they mentioned Michael Degraffenried and asked me if Degraffenried was the person who shot me. I told them Degraffrenried was not the person who shot me.”

(Top l to r) George Clark, Alphonso Clark Jr., Kevin Harrington; (bottom l to r) Marco and Vargas Johnson.

Wimberly says he knew Degraffenried from the neighborhood and would have recognized him.  Later in the affidavit, he says he testified at the preliminary exam with the same  statement, but was not called to testify at trial.

“If I had been called to testify at the trial I would have testified, as I did at the preliminary hearing, that I did not recognize the shooter and the shooter was not Degraffenried,” he said.

Wimberly also says that his cousin Broderick Ward, who identified Degraffenried at the exam, was not present during the shooting.

Detectives Hill and Abdallah were cited in the wrongful convictions of  George Clark and Kevin Harrington, exonerated in 2021. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed Harrington’s case FOUR TIMES causing him to suffer through FOUR TRIALS before finally agreeing to his release.

Clark and Harrington are shown in the photo at right (top), with Alphonso Clark, Jr. whose case involved another Inkster officer, Anthony DelGreco.

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed Harrington’s case FOUR TIMES causing him to suffer through FOUR TRIALS before finally agreeing to his release.

Gregory Hill was also involved in the cases of Vargas and Marco Johnson, which were covered in the Voice of Detroit in 2021, with claims that he elicited false witness statements for trial. DelGreco has been involved in the cases of two other men who are appealing what they say are their wrongful convictions, jncluding Robin Emmanuel Hammock.

 

Robin Emanuel Hammock won a ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court validating a witness affidavit obtained from another MDOC prisoner at People v. Hammock, 946 N.W.2d 546 | Casetext Search + Citator.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Megan Cavanagh

In that ruling, Michigan Supreme Court Justice MEGAN CAVANAGH wrote in part:

Justice MARKMAN expresses disbelief that Carter was selling marijuana at 2 a.m. when he was 13 years old, that Carter and defendant happened to be incarcerated together eight years later, and that Carter happened upon the Court of Appeals opinion affirming defendant’s conviction. In Justice MARKMAN’S view, this version of events “lacks an air of credibility ….”

“And yet, it is true that people in prison run into past acquaintances, that some people serving long prison sentences spend long hours in the law library falling down legal rabbit holes, and that some of those people were selling marijuana at 2 a.m. when they were 13 years old. These experiences are unlike my own, and though I cannot speak for him, they may also be unlike Justice MARKMAN ’s. But maybe for exactly that reason the judicial function in this matter is not to pass on the credibility of Carter’s story, but only to ask “whether a reasonable juror could find the testimony credible on retrial,” Johnson, 502 Mich. at 567, 918 N.W.2d 676 (emphasis altered).

Former MI Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman

“Justice MARKMAN weighs these and other considerations and is left with “serious questions regarding Carter’s affidavit ….” Whether or not there are serious questions about Carter’s affidavit, Carter’s corroborated account raises serious questions about Pippen’s account, which sent defendant to prison. And an evidentiary hearing presents the opportunity to answer both sets of questions.”

The ruling in Hammock is now case law binding on all subordinate courts in Michigan, according to VOD’s legal analyst, and certainly applies to the affidavit of Willie Wimberly, who is being writted out from the MDOC for the April 12 hearing in front of Judge Green.

RELATED DOCUMENTS:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Daryl-Steele-et-al-inc-Darian-Williams-US-District-Court-opinion-and-order.pdf.

Kevin Harrington exoneration at  https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=5727

George Clark exoneration at https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=5728

Alphonso Clark, Jr. exoneration at https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=6597

RELATED:

MICH. LIFERS VARGAS & MARCO JOHNSON FIGHT 30-YR. FRAME-UP; CITE INKSTER COP FROM 2 EXONEREES’ CASE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

WRONGLY CONVICTED, ALPHONSO CLARK JR. LOST MOM BEFORE RELEASE; PUBLISHES BOOK ON GRIEF IN PRISON | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

MICH. LIFER NOSAKHARE ONUMONU WON NEW TRIAL BEFORE JUDGE TRACY GREEN DEC. 2021, FIGHT GOES ON | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought⁤  See recent article on this case at Key case looms for nonprofit trying to reform system (freep.com)

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URGENT. Funds  needed for quarterly web hosting charge of $465.00 by June 19, 2024 or VOD and 13 years of its stories will be taken off the web.  VOD 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. In addition to quarterly web hosting charge. other expenses include P.O. box fee of $226.00/yr., costs including utility and internet bills, costs for research including court records and internet fees, office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

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CASH APP 313-825-6126 MDianeBukowski

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VICTORY! JUDGE KIEFER COX DISMISSES CHARGES V. EWING, SEARCY, CITING DUE PROCESS VIOLATIONS

“For the reasons placed on the record, I hereby dismiss all charges.” Judge Kiefer Cox March 25, 2024

Judge Cox cites due process violations by police, prosecutors after failure to disclose evidence despite multiple “Brady” motions filed by Darrell Ewing 

Courtroom supporters cheer and cry; Dep. Sheriff issues only mild warning to take it outside the courtroom

WCPO says they “plan to appeal,” but does not remark specifically on ruling

By Diane Bukowski

March 25, 2024/updated March 29, 2024

DETROIT—In a stunning development today in the murder re-trial of Darrell Ewing and co-defendant Derrico Searcy, Wayne Co. 3rd Circuit Judge Kiefer Cox passionately dismissed all charges against the two.

He said the prosecution and Detroit police committed gross due process violations that made it impossible for him to conduct a fair re-trial on charges involving the 2004 murder of J.B. Watson.

Ewing walked out of the Wayne County Jail in downtown Detroit, into the arms of family and friends screaming and crying with joy. Ewing’s supporters helped him carry out boxes of legal documents kept in his jail cell.

“They just want to solve the crime to get it off the books, it’s not about getting it right,” Ewing told Mara McDonald of WDIV Channel 4 News. “This is how you get free. You have to have these—it’s all about case law. . .What I have to do now is get with the prosecutor’s office and try to usher in reforms about wrongful convictions, despite [their] rate in Detroit.”

Derrico Searcy has a case in a separate conviction pending, and remains in the Wayne County Jail.

Delmerey Morris

In that separate case, charges against Searcy’s co-defendant Delmerey Morris were vacated by WCCC Judge Miriam Bazzi March 27, subsequent to an evidentiary hearing, according to Morris’ attorney Michael Dezsi. He told  VOD that Morris’ case was overturned due to lies told by a prosecution witness. He said the ruling applied only to Morris at this time. VOD is following up with Dezsi for a story on that case.

Morris was serving a sentence of 35-50 years in that case, according to Michigan OTIS.

Darrell Ewing degree

“Regardless of what happened with Morris,” Searcy’s defense attorney Blase Kearney told VOD, “we believe Mr. Searcy is entitled to a re-sentencing on that case, because we believe the J.B. Watson murder in this case was factored into that original sentence.” He said a motion is to be filed shortly.

Ewing chose to represent himself during a year of pre-trial hearings. He studied law through 14 years of incarceration and earned a paralegal degree from the Blackstone Career Institute in the stark confines of the Jail.

Darrell Ewing (top center) embraces stand-by atty. Christopher Sinclair as he and Derrico Searcy (r) leave; other attys. shown are Blase Kearney (for Searcy), Adam Clements of Perkins Law Group (for Ewing) Insets: Searcy, Ewing embrace during ruling/VOD screenshots

Judge Cox cited dozens of hand-written motions Ewing filed since June of last year. Ewing argued that prosecutors routinely denied those motions, citing violations of Brady v. Maryland and related cases, which require the disclosure of evidence favorable to the defense.

“This Court’s not satisfied,” Judge Cox told Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Brendan Sawyer during the hearing today. “I get a motion on Friday at 4:20 pm to adjourn the trial, [about] interrogation recordings with respect to Mr. Ewing and Mr. Searcy, evidence that for months since last June when Mr. Ewing first filed his motions to compel, requested and addressed and demanded.”

Darrell Ewing (l) Derrico Searcy (r)

“Mr. Ewing stated Williams said, ‘I know you didn’t commit this crime, but If you don’t tell me who did,  he would make Mr, Ewing go down for it,’” Judge Cox continued. “This was reported to have been around the time of his arrest. [At the hearing on] March 19, I pushed back a little bit, asking did you talk to Mr. Williams, did [current OIC Lisa Johnson] speak with Mr. Williams.” (See remainder of Judge Cox’s ruling in video, box above).

Judge Cox asked defense attorneys for any motions. Attorney Adam Clements of the Perkins Law group [representing Ewing]  joined by defense attorney Blasé Kearney of Neighborhood Legal Defenders, representing Searcy, moved to dismiss all charges.

Asst. Prosecutor Brendan Sawyer withdrew a motion asking for an adjournment, but said issues could still be addressed during a trial by by curative jury instructions and a missing evidence instruction, reasoning rejected by Judge Cox. Cox said the re-trial already had been postponed multiple times.

The Wayne Co. Prosecutor’s Office told WDIV Channel Four News that they will appeal Judge Cox’s ruling.

However, VOD’s legal consultant says, “Looking to the Judge’s reasoning for his ruling, that any instructions he would give could not restore the defendant’s right to a fair trial under the Due Process clause of the United States Constitution, any success on appeal is unlikely.”

Judge Cox noted that the defendants have been waiting for the re-trial since the overturn of their convictions in 2019. During an evidentiary hearing then,  WCCC Judge Michael Hathaway ordered a new trial after an evidentiary hearing.

AFTER THE VICTORY IN COURT (MORE PHOTOS TO COME):

Below, Larry Darnell Smith, exonerated of murder charges after 26 years in prison, addresses prayer circle after the hearing March 25.

Darrell Ewing/by LaSonya Dodson

VOD Field Editor Ricardo Ferrell (r) Darrell Ewing’s mother LaSonya Dodson display Ewing’s discharge papers March 25, 2026.

Larry Smith in Tshirt celebrating victory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

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 Cash App at (313) 825-6126

Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper, now devoting itself entirely to stories related to our PRISON NATION and POLICE STATE. Funds are needed regularly to pay quarterly web hosting fee of $460.00 and other expenses. VOD will disappear from the web if fee not paid.

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.

************************************************************************************See previous VOD article which includes all VOD stories from the past seven years on the Ewing/Searcy case at:

DARRELL EWING INVOKES RIGHT TO ATTY. FOR RE-TRIAL MARCH 25, CITES COX’S CRIPPLING ‘RULES OF THE ROAD’ | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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DARRELL EWING INVOKES RIGHT TO ATTY. FOR RE-TRIAL MARCH 25, CITES COX’S CRIPPLING ‘RULES OF THE ROAD’

2nd trial of Darrell Ewing, Derrico Searcy begins Monday, March 25, 8 am, Frank Murphy Hall, Gratiot at St. Aubin, Judge Kiefer Cox courtroom #602

Public encouraged to attend 

Ewing to be represented by attys. Christopher Sinclair & Adam G. Clements due to Cox’s trial restrictions; Searcy by attys. Blase Kearney & Glen Oh

Defense has moved to dismiss all charges. In limine motions will be addressed prior to jury selection March 25.

Cox will also address defense requests regarding jury voir dire, witnesses

DONATE TO VOD: https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

Darrell Ewing (l) and Derrico Searcy (r) during earlier pre-trial hearing.

By Diane Bukowski

March 23, 2024

DETROIT–During a pre-trial hearing March 19, Darrell Ewing invoked his right to counsel at his and co-defendant Derrico Searcy’s retrial, set to begin Monday, March 25 at 8:30 a.m.

Third Circuit Wayne County Judge Kiefer Cox had ordered crippling restrictions on the trial conduct, rights and privileges of defense and prosecution representatives, calling them his “rules of the road.”

“Due to the rulings that you [Cox] put in, I’m going to let my stand-by counsels be my voice at trial,” Ewing told Cox. “I’ll let these guys do what they do, so we can have a good trial, without any disruption or security risks. The trial has to be done in a proper and orderly fashion.”

He alleged that Cox’s restrictions targeted him as a pro se defendant, deriving from “security matters” about his approaching and impeaching witnesses, and other matters.

Attys. Christopher Sinclair and Adam G. Clements will now represent Ewing at trial March 25. They appeared in court March 19.

Also appearing to monitor proceedings were Searcy’s attorneys Blase Kearney and Glen Oh of Neighborhood Defense Services Detroit. They consulted with Ewing’s attorneys during breaks in the proceedings.

Ewing and Searcy are being re-tried for the Dec. 2004 murder of J.B. Watson on Detroit’s east side and other charges, after multiple state and federal courts overturned their convictions.

On March 19, Cox said the restrictions applied to both sides, but appeared to focus primarily on Ewing.

“With respect to any sort of disruptions in the court—previously there was floated information that there may be a disruption or there was a disruption in the past trial,” Cox said. “One warning outside the presence of the jury will be given. . . after that, the defendant will have the remainder of trial  [outside courtroom], be provided with a laptop, and [stand-by] counsel will be provided with opportunity to step into the back to consult with defendant.”

Ewing’s stand-by Counsel Sinclair earlier countered Cox’s claim about disruptions during a previous pre-trial hearing, noting that he had not witnessed any such problems. That involved murmurs from the audience, not any act by Ewing.

Judge Kiefer Cox at hearing March 19, 2024.

Cox ordered restrictions severely limiting witness selection and approach by the parties, confining attorneys to the podium for opening and closing statements and examination of witnesses.

“Just know that I’m going to need an offer of proof for any individual you want to call, if there was no involvement with facts and circumstances of the 2009 incident,” Cox said. “I can’t imagine they have anything relevant to say.”

Ewing has filed numerous motions citing violations of Brady v. Maryland (failure to disclose evidence favorable to the defense) before, during, and since his trial in 2010. Kearney, on behalf of Searcy, joined in many of those motions. They cite many post-trial occurrences, including a Mirandized confession to the murder of J.B. Watkins by Tyree Washington, given to a state trooper in 2017.

Defense attorney cross-examines witness at trial.

Cox said March 19 that he will address “in limine” motions from both sides before jury selection March 25.

Cox ruled that defense and prosecution representatives will be confined to the podium during their opening and closing statements, and during examination of witnesses. He said the Wayne Co. Sheriff’s deputy assigned to his court would give witnesses any documents needed during testimony.

He barred attorneys from conducting voir dire of prospective jurors, which he intends to do, including any issues submitted by attorneys.

Atty. Clements countered, “I have done voir dire during three trials held before you with no problem.”  Atty. Sinclair obtained an assurance from Judge Cox that he will address the matter again before jury selection.

During the hearing, Ewing clarified to the Court that there were two separate files on the case kept during and after the 2010 trial, one by the state, and one by the federal government, which was dealing with a separate case involving witnesses in the state case. Ewing said his defense had to go through a “Touhy” hearing with the U.S. to get various pieces of evidence in their possession.

Toward the hearing’s conclusion, Cox said, “I’m not satisfied with the responses I’m getting from the people. I would like the people to follow up specifically with not only the OIC (DPD Officer in Charge Lisa Johnson), but the federal contact they’ve been using . . .I’m asking the people to present an order in consultation with the stand-by counsel, for the court to sign today to the extent that there’s any documentation in the federal (file).” He said he will possibly hold an evidentiary hearing on the matter March 25.

He highlighted issues of concern to him including, alleged statements by Tyree Washington and William Beal on the J.B. Watson murder; recording of trial OIC DPD officer Theophilus Williams allegedly telling Ewing that he knew he wasn’t guilty, but that he would charge him with the murder anyway if he didn’t identify the real killer; and other recordings by Williams; the recording of a conversation between Beal and Ewing’s mother LaSonya Dodson.

Tyree Washington has confessed in multiple venues, including to a Michigan State Trooper which was videotaped, a video by private investigator Scott Lewis, and affidavits. He is currently serving a federal sentence at the Oklahoma City FTC, with a release date in 2068.

Previously in this case, Wayne Co. Criminal Court Chief Judge Pro Tem Donald Knapp denied Darrell Ewing’s motion to disqualify Judge Kiefer Cox due to his employment in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for four years directly prior to his assuming the bench, and other matters.

Judge Kiefer Cox previously denied motions filed by Searcy’s defense attorneys objecting to the presentation of original trial witnesses including Raymond and Jendayi Love, and others related to the testimony of expert witnesses, after three days of “Daubert” hearings.

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