DETROIT: FAMILIES OF WRONGFULLY CONVICTED TELL PROS. KYM WORTHY, POLICE, JUDGES–‘FREE THEM ALL’

Hearing held June 21, 2021 on Darrell Ewing (2nd row, l), Derrico Searcy (3rd row, l). Attys. Lillian Diallo (2nd row, 2nd from l), Coral Watt (3rd row r) and Blase Kearney (1st row, 2nd from r) represented defendants; AP Kam Towns (3rd row, second from 4) for prosecution.

UPDATE JUNE 21, 2021

Darrell Ewing/Derrico Searcy case: Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy, AP Kam Towns still stall compliance with orders by 8 judges for new trial.

Hearing to continue Thurs. July 29, 2021 at 9 a.m.

Detroit–Wayne Co. 3rd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Darnella Williams-Claybourne ordered all parties to reconvene Thursday, July 29 at 9 a.m. after Wayne Co. Assistant Prosecutor Kam Towns pressed for a “protective order” on case and witness information.

Defense attorneys Lillian Diallo and Coral Watt (for Ewing) and Blase Kearney (for Searcy) said Towns is seeking to exclude information protected under the Sixth Amendment.

Darrell Ewing and Derrico Searcy (top); 8 judges who affirmed order for new trial.

“We are not signing [for] a protective order,” Atty. Diallo said. “The prosecutor has the burden to show  there should be a protective order.  We have been going back and forth on this.”

Diallo cited a March 11, 2021 Michigan Court of Appeals ruling in the case of Ricky Dale Jack which held that unredacted police reports must be provided to the defense. The opinion says the prosecution CAN request a protective order, but AP Towns has not filed a motion for such an order to date.

COA 354524 PEOPLE OF MI V RICKY DALE JACK Opinion – Authored – Published 03/11/2021

Eight judges (at right) have ruled that Ewing and Searcy must get a new trial on murder charges in the 1999 death  of J.B. Watson, but Prosecutor Worthy has appealed at every step. She said last month  she will re-try the case, instead of releasing Ewing and Searcy for lack of sufficient evidence.

In a separate matter relating to Ewing, federal prosecutors said, “According to a representative of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, he is not
expected to be retried until the late fall of 2021, at the earliest.”

Unprecedented turn-0ut of hundreds  for June 4 rally to free wrongfully convicted,  filling the street at Detroit’s Frank Murphy Hall for 5 hours 

Historic event called by wrongfully  convicted Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy, Darrell Ewing, and their families, founders of OPERATION LIBERATION

“This is a MOVEMENT!” — LaSonya Dodson, mother of Darrell Ewing 

Exonerees Larry Smith, Kevin Harrington, George Clark, Kenneth Nixon and Davontae Sanford joined  families of loved ones still in prison

Michigan Liberation,  NY’s “Silent Cry,” Pure Heart Foundation joined rally

MONDAY, JUNE 21, 9 AM: Hearing on Darrell Ewing/Derrico Searcy case in front of Judge Darnella Williams-Claybourne to decide re-trial or release.

Faces of Michigan’s wrongfully convicted, displayed in 2 banners by Tearra Dodson.

VOD has covered the cases of the wrongfully convicted men above, still in MDOC, Wayne Co. Jail, or out on bond, (l to r): Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy, Darrell Ewing, Derrico Searcy, Ricky Rimmer-Bey, Carl Hubbard, David Shelton, Temujin Kensu.

Ricardo Ferrell

By Diane Bukowski, VOD editor with 

Ricardo Ferrell, VOD field editor

(Ricardo Ferrell, incarcerated since 1981, writes from inside the walls. He has authored VOD’s stories on many of the wrongfully convicted people noted in this article, and written over 40 articles for VOD. He writes for other publications as well.)

This is a feature article, with numerous videos and photos of the historic event June 4, meant to fully reflect the accounts of wrongfully convicted men and women represented at the rally.

June 14, 2021

Nieces of Tamera Washington  demand, “Free Them All” at wrongful conviction rally.

DETROIT– This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Attica Rebellion, a heroic four-day uprising Sept. 9, 1971 by 1281 prisoners demanding basic human rights, which reverberated around the world. It ended with the slaughter of at least 33 prisoners and 10 corrections employees by State Police, called in by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller.

But the Attica uprising inspired a global prisoner solidarity movement, like that triggered by the torture-execution of George Floyd by Minneapolis police May 25, 2020.

The “Rally/Protest for the Wrongfully Convicted”  held June 4 at the Frank Murphy courthouse and jail in downtown Detroit had the feel of another such movement in birth.

Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy, Darrell Ewing: 

Operation Liberation phone # 586-943-8780

Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy, at home on tether.

Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy, speaking from home while on tether in the video above, and Darrell Ewing, currently held at the Wayne County Jail awaiting a hearing June 21, masterminded and organized this event.

Searcy told VOD that he and Ewing founded “Operation Liberation” in 2016 while both were confined in the Michigan Department of Corrections, fighting for their freedom, and that of Ewing’s co-defendant Derrico Searcy, Shawn’s brother, from wrongful convictions.

Searcy spent 17 years in the MDOC, while Ewing has been there 11 years. Both devoted their time to studying the law, determined to find a way home while aiding others with their cases and mobilizing people on both sides of the walls.  Both recently won stunning victories at Michigan’s Court of Appeals which affirmed previous rulings by higher courts.

Voice of Detroit’s most recent articles on their victories, which include links to previous coverage from 2017 on:

THELONIOUS ‘SHAWN’ SEARCY WINS NEW TRIAL; MICH. APPEALS COURT CITES HITMAN’S CONFESSION, BALLISTICS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought;

8 JUDGES SAID EWING, SEARCY DENIED ‘FAIR TRIAL’ IN 2010; KYM WORTHY: WE WILL PRESENT SAME CASE MAY 19, 2021 | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Darrell Ewing

Ewing and his co-defendant Derrico Searcy, currently housed at the Wayne County Jail downtown, are scheduled for a hearing Mon. June 21 at 9 a.m. in front of Judge Darnella Williams-Clayborne to determine whether or not Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy will re-try them.

Searcy said he and Darrell’s sister Cieddah Ewing worked day and night for weeks, recruiting wrongfully convicted people they met in and outside prison, along with their families, Wayne County exonerees, and community supporters across the country, from Miami to New York City to Los Angeles. Shawn Searcy worked from home, where he is being held on appeal bond after a definitive victory in the Court of Appeals, pending Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s decision on whether to re-try him.

He said that he and Cieddah told Ewing’s mother LaSonya Dodson to take a break from her non-stop battle to free her son, while they took the organizing work on. Darrell’s sister Tearra Dodson provided stunning banners showing the faces of dozens of the wrongfully convicted. Families and supporters wore T-shirts and carried signs advocating for their loved ones.

Cieddah Ewing, sister of Darrell

Willie Merriweather

Video above: Exoneree Kevin Harrington leads opening prayer; co-chair Cieddah Ewing explains the rally’s goals, calls for a people’s townhall meeting for the wrongfully convicted:

“We want to shed light on the corruption that’s taking place in the City of Detroit, to speak for the voiceless, so the people can bear witness to what’s taking place in the Prosecutor’s office, Frank Murphy Hall, and the DPD homicide section.” –Cieddah Ewing

Advocate for Willie Merriweather, in prison 37 yrs. due to DPD HQ 9th floor snitch accounts.

Mr. Merriweather, in 2015 letter to Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Willie-Merriweather-The-City-of-Detroit-Corrupt-Police-Force.pdf 

Larry Smith, exonerated Feb. 2021

(Above) Larry Smith, exonerated February 4, 2021 after 26 years in prison,  hit the ground running, spending 24/7 fighting for those he left behind. He was one of dozens convicted with false testimony from DPD’s “Ring of Snitches,” used by the prosecutor’s office. Larry’s mother Debra Smith and daughter Nakira Smith joined him June 4(See videos of their talks below.) 

WRONGFULLY CONVICTED AND FREED AFTER 26 YRS, LARRY SMITH LISTS MANY MORE WHO SHOULD FOLLOW | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought AND

LARRY SMITH FREED, JOINING OTHERS FRAMED BY DETROIT POLICE, PROSECUTORS USING ‘RING OF SNITCHES’ | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Exonerees Kevin Harrington & George Clark;

Vargas & Marco Johnson, Ricky Rimmer-Bey, Carl Hubbard

Marco and Vargas Johnson

Exoneree Kevin Harrington, from Inkster, speaks above. He was joined by his co-defendant exoneree George Clark, and met with the families of  Inkster natives Vargas and Marco Johnson (r) in prison for nearly 30 years. Harrington and Clark were framed by Inkster PD Det. Anthony Abdallah, while Inkster PD Det. Gregory Hill framed the Johnsons, according to witness recantations.Family members of Vargas and Marco Johnson, inc. (r) Vargas’ wife Niecola Klima.

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

Stories on Ricky Rimmer-Bey and Carl Hubbard, convicted on false and coerced witness testimony, mirroring Harrington/Clark and Johnson cases:

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

TIME TO FREE CARL HUBBARD; AP GONZALES JAILED KEY PROS. WITNESS AFTER HE RECANTED AT TRIAL | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

LaSonya Dodson, mother, Darrell Ewing

LaSonya Dodson, with family members has tirelessly fought to free her son Darrell Ewing and his co-defendant Derrico Searcy for 11 years. Eight judges in four courts have ordered new trials for Ewing and co-defendant Derrico Searcy. However, Prosecutor Worthy continues to push for a re-trial, not release.  She may reconsider after she has viewed the following, which leaves little room for doubt about the wrongful convictions of Ewing and Searcy.:

View 8 episodes of STATE vs. DARRELL EWING on Undisclosed, a national podcast series featuring legal and expert analyses of cases. 

Undisclosed Podcast (undisclosed-podcast.com)

Nakira Smith, daughter of Larry Smith

EXONERATE HIM!

Family calls for loved one’s exoneration June 4, 2021 (Please call 313-825-6126 so his name can be included in this article.)

LET MY PEOPLE GO !!

Nicholas Buckingham, Michigan Liberation

Michigan Liberation members.

“Not only do we need to call out police and prosecutors, we need to call out judges.”

Michigan Liberation BAILS BLACK MAMAS OUT, calls for bail reform.

Women–Black women– the fastest growing population in MDOC, housed only at Huron Valley under horrible conditions.

Michigan Liberation | Comprehensive criminal justice reform – courts, prosecutors, policing, prisons, juvenile systems, re-entry and diversion programs, and parole. (miliberation.org)

Davontae Sanford, wrongfully convicted at age 14

Davontae Sanford with mother Taminko Sanford-Tilmon and late stepfather Jermaine Tilmon; both led battle to free their child.

VOD editor Diane Bukowski covered Davontae Sanford’s case extensively, starting in 2010. His case is the most egregious example of a deliberate frame-up carried out by DPD and the prosecutor’s office, who knew from the day of the Runyon St. murders in 2007 that Sanford was not involved.

DAVONTAE SANFORD FORMALLY FREED; TIME FOR CHARGES VS. KYM WORTHY, COPS IN FRAME-UP | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Taminko Sanford June 29, 2010/photo  by Diane Bukowski

MSP: WAYNE CO. PROS. KYM WORTHY KNEW DAVONTAE SANFORD WAS INNOCENT FOR 8 YEARS, NOT 8 MOS. | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

VICTORY FOR DAVONTAE SANFORD IN APPEAL OF CONVICTION AT AGE 14 FOR FOUR MURDERS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

 Shawanna Vaughn, founder of ‘Silent Cry’ in NYC 

‘Silent Cry’ at Gus Harrison CF Dec. 11, 2020: (l to r): Shawanna Vaughn, Shirletha Gaskins-El, Justus Noww

COPING WITH COVID-19 IN MICHIGAN PRISONS: RALLY BY ‘SILENT CRY’ FRI. DEC. 11 AT GUS HARRISON CF IN ADRIAN | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

DO PRISONERS LIVES MATTER? 125 NOW DEAD, HALF IN MICH. DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS INFECTED WITH COVID-19 | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Silent Cry, Inc. | Silent Cry, Inc. (silentcryinc.org)

(20+) Silent Cry Inc. | Facebook

(19) Silent Cry Inc. (@SilentcrySv) / Twitter

Shawanna Vaughn and Silent Cry members travel across the U.S. to advocate for men and women victimized by mass incarceration.

They also have a YouTube channel which just featured VOD Field editor Ricardo Ferrell from inside the walls. Ferrell has been serving a LIFE WITH PAROLE sentence since 1981. The parole board has constantly denied his release despite his excellent record, numerous contributions and talents. 

The U.S. is the only country in the world that sentences people to ACTUAL DEATH in prison:

FREE RICARDO NOW!

Chauncey Johnson, formerly incarcerated

Chauncey Johnson gave a shout-out to Ricky Rimmer-Bey. “I’ve been out for 4 years; I have over 10-15 guys calling me, texting me, I keep money on my phone.  These guys are not animals, not who Kym Worthy say that they are, they need to be freed. I hope this movement continues to grow!”

March around Courthouse and Wayne County Jail 

The Old Wayne County Jail (Div. 2).

Darrell Ewing said he and fellow residents of Wayne County Jail enthusiastically watched march outside. Ewing and co-defendant Derrico Searcy are scheduled for hearing Mon. June 21, at 9 a.m. in front of Judge Williams-Clayborne.

WAYNE CO. JAIL RESIDENTS SAY MANY SICK, DYING WITH COVID-19; MDOC PRISONERS SAY LARGE NUMBERS TOO | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

KEITH PORTER:

Mother Patricia Shelton, sister speak

Tearra Dodson, sister of Darrell Ewing

Shawn Searcy told VOD that Tearra organized the production of beautiful banners and fliers depicting the faces of the wrongfully convicted who have contacted Operation Liberation.

To contact Operation Liberation,

call 586-943-8780

 

VOTE KYM WORTHY OUT!

Victoria Burton-Harris ran vs. Kym Worthy in 2020.

Nicholas Buckingham of Michigan Liberation addressed last year’s election battle. They strongly supported Kym Worthy’s opponent Victoria Burton-Harris, who won a resounding 40 percent of the vote, giving hope to ongoing struggles.

Burton Harris is now the top assistant prosecutor in the office of Eli Savit, Washtenaw County, one of numerous “progressive prosecutors” who have taken office across the country. They advocate comprehensive reforms to the criminal justice system, including release of hundreds of people framed up by corrupt police and prosecutors.

WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY MUST GO! VOTE FOR VICTORIA BURTON-HARRIS AUG. 4 IN DEM. PRIMARY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

EDWARD SANDERS, juvenile lifer, legal mentor

VOD editor Diane Bukowski covered Edward Sanders’ case extensively for the Michigan Citizen starting in 2004, then for VOD:  Wayne Co. has the highest proportion of juvenile lifers in Michigan and the U.S.; the U.S. Supreme Court vacated their sentences in 2012 and 2016, but 150 remain left behind. Sanders helped organize rally in Jan. 2021 demanding release of juvenile lifers.

150 MICHIGAN JUVENILE LIFERS FACE POSSIBLE DEATH FROM COVID-19 AS THEY SERVE OUTLAWED SENTENCES | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

DOES KYM WORTHY WANT 54 MICH. JUVENILE LIFERS TO DIE IN PRISON, VIOLATING U.S. SUPREME COURT ORDERS? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

C. Little, bound over to adult court as juvenile

TAMERA WASHINGTON: sister K. Stokes

Family of Tamera Washington turned out in force June 4, 2021.

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

Operation: Free Tamera!  Convicted of assault, armed robbery in 2002, serving 32-5o yrs. her mother and grandmother have died; sister’s grandchildren love their aunt and want her home.

Deborah Smith, mother of LARRY SMITH

Family of CLARENCE CLARK

Family members say Clarence Clark (MDOC misspells it ‘Clerence’ on OTIS) has been in prison serving 15-30 years for armed robbery. “He does not deserve to be in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.” 

JASON BOWERS: Fiancee Alicia Garcia speaks 

Family members of Jason Bowers

Family of MELVIN HOBBS

Brother of KEVIN HARRINGTON; he also served time 

Crystal Smith mother of JESSE AGNEW

Grandmother of JAMES ALLEN JONES

Sherelle Hogan Pure Heart Foundation

Do your job Kym Worthy

***********************************************************************************

Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper, which now is devoting itself entirely to coverage of 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 $380, P.O. box fee of $150/yr. and costs for research including court records, and internet fees, as well as office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

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

This Sept. 10, 1971 file photo shows inmates of Attica State Prison as they raise their hands in clenched fist salutes to voice their demands during a negotiating session with New York’s prison Commissioner Russell Oswald. AP File Photo

**********************************************************************************

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MICH. LIFERS VARGAS & MARCO JOHNSON FIGHT 30-YR. FRAME-UP; CITE INKSTER COP FROM 2 EXONEREES’ CASE

Brothers Vargas and Marco Johnson say Inkster Police Det. Gregory Hill, involved in the 2002 wrongful convictions of  George Clark and Kevin Harrington (video above) elicited false witness statements in their case.

“Every case these officers was involved in needs to be reopened. . .we need to start right here, right now.”–Kevin Harrington

Johnson brothers have been in prison for 30 years although witnesses recanted, said Hill had threatened them.

Ferrell

Report by Nat’l Registry of Exonerations:  Gov’t. misconduct involved in 54% of exoneree cases, 78% of murder cases involving Black defendants

By Ricardo Ferrell, VOD Field Editor   

With Diane Bukowski, VOD editor

Marco (l) and Vargas (r) Johnson

In a homicide dating back thirty years, evidence has surfaced which calls into question the convictions of two brothers from Inkster, Michigan, who are serving life without the possibility of parole in the 1991 murder of Corey Smith.

Vargas Johnson, 50, and his younger brother Marco Johnson, 48, say they have been sitting inside Michigan prisons based largely on the coerced and concocted lies of witnesses who have recanted in court beginning in 1995, and in sworn affidavits since.

Anthony Lee, Brian Day, and Anthony Brown claim Inkster Police Detective Gregory Hill (deceased in 2016), the lead detective on the case, obtained their false statements and testimony, by threatening to charge them also if they did not cooperate.

The National Registry of Exonerations issued a report in Sept. 2020 which found that misconduct by police and prosecutors was involved in the wrongful convictions of 54 percent of exonerees, and 78 percent of Black defendants in murder conviction cases. (See link and summary below story.)

Hill’s name surfaced earlier during  investigations into the cases of Kevin Harrington and George Clark, who were exonerated of the murder of Michael Martin, and released after 17 years in  2020.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court found under Brady v. Maryland that the Wayne County prosecutor’s office had suppressed a  statement by Hill’s step-daughter Kaneka Jackson that could have cleared the two men.

She said she told Hill that she  witnessed the murder of Michael Martin, and that neither Harrington nor Clark were involved.

“Jackson’s stepfather, Gregory Hill, was a detective with the Inkster Police Department,” the National Registry of Exonerations reported on Clark’s case. “Jackson wrote, ‘after I explained everything in detail to my father, he told me to keep my mouth closed, and don’t mention what I saw to anybody, because he would take care of the situation and he did not want me placing my life in danger.”

Police and government officials are required under Brady to submit all “exculpatory” evidence including such statements to the defense.

The chief prosecution witness additionally recanted her testimony against Harrington and Clark, swearing that Inkster detective Anthony Abdallah, a close associate of Hill’s, had threatened to have Child Protective Services take her children if she did not implicate the two men.

In the Fox 2 News video at top, Harrington said, Every case these officers was involved in needs to be reopened. If we’re going to be transparent about the criminal justice system, we need to start right here, right now.”

Vargas Johnson described the history of his and his brother’s case in a detailed report with documents sent to VOD. He cited first a 1994 Michigan Court of Appeals ruling. The COA remanded the case to the trial judge, 3rd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Wendy Baxter, now retired, for a Ginther evidentiary hearing. It cited “tainted identification evidence,” including Brown’s testimony at the preliminary exam that Hill showed him mug shot photos of the two defendants to obtain an identification.

Three years later, Brian Day testified before Baxter at the Ginther hearing in 1995 that the testimony he gave at trial was false and that he was high on cocaine at the time of his testimony, and that he was threatened by Det. Hill,

After Baxter denied the Browns’ motion for relief, the three witnesses later executed written affidavits stating that their testimony at trial was false and obtained under threats from Hill. Brian Day executed his on Nov. 23, 2005. (Excerpt below).

See the full affidavit at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Affidavit-of-Brian-Day.pdf.

The second witness at the Ginther hearing was to have been Anthony Brown, regarding the mug shots shown to him by Hill.  Hill told Judge Baxter that he could not locate Brown, because he was on drugs and likely homeless. But Brown has since executed a written affidavit stating the following:

Full affidavit at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Affidavit-of-Anthony-Brown-in-M-and-V-Johnson-case2.pdf..”

Full affidavit at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Affidavit-of-Anthony-Lee-re-M-and-V-Johnson-case3.pdf.

Vargas Johnson said he does not blame the three men who testified against him, but puts the guilt on the Inkster Police Department and prosecutors.

“Who knew what they were facing while they were being questioned by Detective Gregory Hill?” he remarked. “How could anyone have known? One thing for certain, in those moments alone with an officer seasoned at his craft, fear and his power over you become the clearest things you know.”

Niecola (Klima) Johnson, wife of Vargas Johnson/Facebook

Vargas’ wife Niecola Johnson decried what she says  is a miscarriage of justice.

“I haven’t been able to get a good night’s sleep knowing my husband is locked away in a cage like an animal for something he did not do,” Ms. Johnson (Klima) said.

“When we first decided to get married I told Vargas I’d always stand by him. I’ve known in my heart that he is innocent and didn’t commit this crime. What kind of system of justice do we have, when it locks someone away for the rest of their life, when evidence points towards them being innocent?

The detective in his case used unsavory tactics to pressure witnesses to falsely accuse Vargas and Marco, or be charged criminally for the same murder they were being interrogated about.  My wish, is that some light will shine on this corruption by Detective Gregory Hill, which unfortunately has led to my husband sitting in prison for the last 30 years for something he unequivocally had nothing to do with.”

The two men and their families say they were told May 11 by Valerie Newman, director of the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit,  that the Unit is now reviewing their cases.

(L to R) Ricardo Ferrell, Quentin Jones, and Leroy Washington, are founders of “My Life Matters Too,” which publishes a regular newsletter on prison issues. See:

DO PRISONERS LIVES MATTER? 125 NOW DEAD, HALF IN MICH. DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS INFECTED WITH COVID-19 | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Editorial comments by VOD field editor Ricardo Ferrell: “Sadly, we see more and more people serving decades upon decades for crimes they were later shown to be innocent of. Since its inception in 2018, the Conviction Integrity Unit has exonerated 29 innocent men, the majority of them young Black men at the time of their arrest. In the City of Detroit and Wayne County, homicide investigators have often used trained ‘snitches’ to help obtain convictions.

Study by National Registry of Exonerations, 2020.

They have relied on jailhouse informants, obtained false confessions, tampered with evidence, and threatened witnesses to give fabricated statements, and false and perjured testimonies. In the cases of Davontae Sanford and Thelonious Searcy,  the actual killer, Vincent Smothers, came forward to testify and provide written affidavits and interviews to heal his conscience.

But corrupt police and overzealous prosecutors have often turned a blind eye, condemning innocent people to years and decades in prison when the truth was known from the beginning.  Even in the case of recently released Raymond Gray, who served almost 50 years for a 1973 murder another man admitted his role in, Gray still remained in prison.

GOVERNMENT MISCONDUCT AND CONVICTING THE INNOCENT: The Role of prosecutors and police and other Law Enforcement.”

The National Registry of Exonerations published a report in Sept. 2020, “Government Misconduct and Convicting the Innocent, the Role of Prosecutors, Police, and Other Law Enforcement.”   (Summary and link below.)
https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Government_Misconduct_and_Convicting_the_Innocent.pdf

***********************************************************************************

Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper. 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 $380, P.O. box fee of $150/yr. and costs for research including court records, and internet fees, as well as office supplies, gas, etc.

Please DONATE TO VOD at:

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

**********************************************************************************

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

RAY GRAY, FREE AFTER NEARLY HALF-CENTURY BEHIND BARS, VOWS TO CONTINUE BATTLE FOR EXONERATION

“The struggle is not over: I’m still going to pursue my innocence.” -Ray Gray

Four-time Golden Gloves champ convicted of  1973 murder of Ruben Bryant at age 21, despite eyewitness and alibi testimony, lack of physical evidence

“He is innocent!”–Private investigator Bill Proctor, former Ch. 7 News anchor, after covering case for 15 years

Ricardo Ferrell, VOD Field Editor

Affidavits from two eyewitnesses identified another man as killer, but WCPO says third eyewitness ID key

Master artist “painted portrait of my godson Amir, as if his face was actually on the canvas”–VOD field editor Ricardo Ferrell

By Ricardo Ferrell, VOD Field Editor

With Editor Diane Bukowski

May 28, 2021

Raymond Gray, 69, leaves Muskegon CF May 25, 2021 after serving 48 years for murder investigators say he did not commit.

DETROIT–Raymond Gray, now 69, walked out of a western Michigan prison in Muskegon May 25, after serving 48 years for the first-degree murder of Ruben Bryant in Detroit in Feb. 1973, a crime he has always sworn he did not commit. Many supporters have vigorously campaigned for his exoneration during the decades since his conviction.

Gray’s attorneys Gabi Silver and Philip Comorski entered into a deal with  Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Conviction Integrity Unit director Valerie Newman to allow Gray’s immediate release in exchange for his nolo contendere (no contest) plea to a lesser charge of second-degree murder in the case.

Crying with joy, Barbara Gray (neé Rinehardt), Gray’s  wife of 37 years who is reportedly ill,  and other family members folded Gray into their arms as he left the prison. His wife was an art instructor at Jackson Prison when they met, and has spent her life fighting to free Gray, an acclaimed artist himself. Gray told reporters that he loves his wife “very much,” and that she is the main reason he is now free.

“It’s a dream come true, one of the best days of my life,” Gray said. “But the struggle is not over. I’m still going to pursue my innocence.”

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy (seated) with Atty. Gabi Silver (l) and CIU head Valerie Newman (r) behind her, during announcement of Richard Phillips’ exoneration in 2018.

In a terse release, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said, “Given the passage of time, the ensuing inability to substantiate the claim of innocence, eyewitness Marie Clark’s trial identification testimony and her recent interview identifying Ray Gray as one of the two robbers, this is not an exoneration.

“However, this case does present many questions that cannot be answered. Looking at the time Mr. Gray has been incarcerated, we agreed to allow Mr. Gray to enter a no contest plea to Second-Degree Murder with a sentence agreement to time served. We wish him well.”

Worthy said the plea means that he “is not admitting guilt but will not contest the charge of the crime. He receives a conviction and accepts punishment from the judge in the case. A no contest plea cannot be used as an admission of liability in a civil case.”

During a virtual hearing on Zoom May 25, Wayne County Third Circuit Court Judge Margaret Van Houten re-sentenced Gray to a term of 25 to 40 years, and ordered him immediately released with time served. Gray was not present until the very end of the hearing, after Judge Van Houten had already stated on the record that she was accepting his voluntary plea.

Newman relayed Clark’s alleged feelings to Judge Van Houten, but did not present a written statement.

Bill Proctor  at 2016 press conference on release of wrongfully-convicted Davontae Sanford.

“[Gray] needs to be recognized as a kind, gentle, talented man who has suffered since February of 1973 for something he had absolutely, positively nothing to do with,” said private investigator and former Channel 7 News reporter Bill Proctor, now with Proctor and Associates, LLC, in an interview with Detroit’s Channel 4 News.

Proctor has spent 15 years researching Gray’s case. He said Gray’s conviction posed some very serious questions surrounding the 1973 homicide, including misconduct by “government officials.” Gray and the one of the killers, now deceased, each had “Fu Manchu” mustaches, but Gray was the only man in the police line-up who had facial hair, Proctor said.

Two eyewitnesses including Charlie Matthews and Barbara Jean Hill signed affidavits swearing Gray was not the killer. Hill rented the apartment that two armed robbers broke into and opened the door to them. She identified Matthews as the shooter, but Matthews swore his accomplice was the shooter. Five friends and relatives testified Gray was with them at the time of the killing.

(Listen to Metro Times interview of Proctor on April 7, 2021, below.)

Despite this evidence, Gray still remained behind bars, hoping, praying, crying and pushing and fighting to prove his innocence. He even submitted to a polygraph examination years in 2012, and passed it, yet he remained in a prison cell.

Ray Gray with wife Barbara on his release May 25, 2021.

Earlier this year, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Newman stated they couldn’t substantiate Gray’s claim of innocence, but said they would support a commutation request to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Raymond Gray is the perfect example of someone exercising patience, strength, fortitude and faith. He kept holding on to hope, even at times when his plight seemed to be filled with hopelessness and despair. Nevertheless, he found solace in his artistic creativity, by becoming one of the most talented artists to ever pick up a paint brush inside the World’s Largest Walled Prison in Jackson.

That talent led to him meeting his amazing wife Barbara (nee Rinehardt) Gray, who was previously an MDOC art instructor. She has remained in Gray’s corner, relentlessly and tirelessly fighting non-stop to get her beloved husband freed.

One of countless paintings by Ray Gray appears to show its subject gazing at the sky and freedom while buried underground.

Ricardo Ferrell: Special thanks to Gray’s attorneys Gabi Silver, Phillip Comorski, Bill Proctor, other advocates, and Ellis Stafford, deputy director of Detroit’s Crime Commission who was also convinced that Gray didn’t commit the crime, and believed in his innocence, as well as family, friends and the many supporters who pushed to:

Free Ray Gray.

See 2015 article by reporter Fred Rosen detailing the Gray case: Ray Gray: 43 Years and Counting for a Murder He Didn’t Commit (the-line-up.com)

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

EX-DALLAS PROSECUTOR DISBARRED DUE TO WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS; WHAT ABOUT WAYNE CO. PROS. WORTHY?

Former Dallas prosecutor Richard Jackson (l), disbarred in wrongful convictions of Stanley Mozee (center) and Dennis Jackson (r).

Former Dallas County prosecutor disbarred after withholding exculpatory evidence in the capital cases of Stanley Mozee, Dennis Jackson

“This is someone who repeatedly and intentionally hid favorable evidence from two defendants who were on trial for their lives.”–Atty. Lena Morrison

Jail-house informants used, recalling Wayne County’s “Ring of Snitches,” current Oakland Co. case of Juwan Deering

The Associated Press

May 16, 2021 

Innocence Project Atty. Nina Morrison with Dennis Allen and Stanley Muzee.

DALLAS –A former Dallas County prosecutor has surrendered his law license after the State Bar of Texas said he withheld evidence that led to the wrongful convictions of two men who spent 14 years in prison in the fatal stabbing of a pastor.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Richard E. “Rick” Jackson surrendered his law license last month. The State Bar concluded that he failed to inform Dennis Allen and Stanley Mozee’s defense attorneys about evidence that could have cleared them at their capital murder trials in 2000.

“This case is not about someone disbarred for making a mistake or a prosecutor who accidentally or even sloppily failed to turn over favorable evidence,” Nina Morrison, a lawyer with the Innocence Project in New York who worked to clear Allen and Mozee, told the newspaper. “This is someone who repeatedly and intentionally hid favorable evidence from two defendants who were on trial for their lives.”  20 years ago, a Dallas pastor was stabbed 47 times, and 2 innocent men paid for it (dallasnews.com)

Rev. Jesse Borns, Jr.

Allen and Mozee had been sentenced to life in prison in the slaying of the Rev. Jesse Borns Jr., who was stabbed 47 times at his leather and woodworking store in 1999. [Borns operated a storefront ministry with homeless congregants.]

Allen and Mozee were freed from prison in 2014 after the Dallas County district attorney’s office said they were wrongfully convicted based on prosecutorial misconduct.

They were declared innocent five years later after DNA testing helped clear them.

The district attorney’s office under former DA Craig Watkins had reopened the file and found evidence that defense lawyers said they’d never received, such as accounts from witnesses who saw two men arguing with Borns outside the store the evening he was killed. Witnesses said one man was distinctly taller than the other and one had a noticeable scar across the side of his neck. Allen and Mozee are about the same height, around 6 feet. Neither had a scar.

The file also included previously undisclosed letters from people in jail who agreed to testify against Allen in exchange for favors in their cases.

Former Dallas DA Craig Watkins

The Innocence Project in New York and the Innocence Project of Texas filed a 196-page grievance with the State Bar in 2018 against Jackson.

Jackson’s lawyer, Bob Hinton, said Jackson has long maintained that he handed over the evidence to the defense and still believes that Allen and Mozee are guilty. Hinton said Jackson didn’t want to comment.

Jackson retired from practicing law in 2013 after he was fired from the Denton County district attorney’s office. Hinton said Jackson now spends his summers driving tour buses in Alaska.

Hinton said that against his advice, Jackson chose not to spend his retirement savings fighting the accusation at a disciplinary hearing where he faced losing his law license.

The person who killed Borns has not bee)n caught.

Wayne County Pros. Kym Worthy: Media Cover-up?

On May 24, the Detroit Free Press ran an excellent article by Bill Laitner describing in detail the progressive programs newly-elected Prosecutors Karen McDonald of Oakland County and Peter Lucido of Macomb County have instituted. See: Are police the problem? These prosecutors say, ‘No, it’s mainly us’ (freep.com)and Juwan Deering arson case leads Oakland Co. prosecutor to probe office (freep.com.)

Juwan Deering

David Shelton

The article cited in particular the case of Juwan Deering, a Royal Oak Township resident convicted in Oakland County with the use of what the U-M Innocence Clinic called arson-related “junk science,” as  well as three “jail-house snitches.”

Another Royal Oak Township resident, David Shelton, has been in prison for 28 years on rape charges. His conviction was based solely on strands of hair found at the crime scene. Later, a Michigan State Police forensics lab report ruled Shelton out as the source of the hairs, which were identified as those of a Caucasian man. Michigan Atty. General Dana Nessel’s Conviction Integrity Unit has taken Shelton’s case after other clinics dropped it. See EXPOSED!! RACIST FRAME-UP OF DAVID SHELTON BY OAKLAND COUNTY IN 1993 RAPE CASE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Freep left Kym Worthy off the hook; endorsed her in 2020 election

The Freep article as published failed to call out the third prosecutor in the tri-county triumvirate: Kym Worthy. VOD has covered numerous cases involving wrongful convictions in Wayne County, handled either directly by Worthy’s office since her term began in Jan. 2004, or indirectly dealing with prisoner appeals alleging police and prosecutorial misconduct.

Although Worthy’s office currently boasts of its Conviction Integrity Unit’s work in the exoneration of 29 individuals to date, nothing has been done to hold police and assistant prosecutors responsible for those wrongful convictions. A 2018 Detroit Free Press article in the case of exoneree Kenneth Nixon blew the whistle on one Wayne County AP, Patrick Muscat, saying he had instructed police officers in the jail to interview Nixon’s cell-mates. One testified in exchange for a reduction in his sentence in another case.

(L to r): Kenneth Nixon, Davontae Sanford, Thelonious Searcy, AP Patrick Muscat

AP Muscat was also involved in the wrongful conviction of Davontae Sanford in 2009, who spent nine years in prison, and in the pending case of Thelonious “Shawn” Searcy, with 17 years in prison.

A Court of Appeals opinion in Searcy’s case essentially blasted the roles of Muscat as well as trial judge Timothy Kenny (now Chief Judge of the Wayne County Third Circuit Court) in Searcy’s 2005 trial and his 2018 evidentiary hearing.  See: DID WAYNE CO. APA MUSCAT SUBORN PERJURY IN CASE OF DETROITER KENNETH NIXON? HAS HE DONE IT BEFORE? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Prosecutor McDonald told the Free Press she is opening up investigations into other cases where testimony from the snitches in Deering’s case was used.

Despite extensive coverage in multiple media outlets identifying jail-house informants involved in Wayne County’s wrongful convictions, Prosecutor Worthy has not announced broadened investigations into other cases involving the informants, or into cases involving the police officers who produced the informants.

The Freep published only non-specific comments on Worthy’s institution of “key reforms,” along with previously published information on the alleged underfunding of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

A VOD ataffer commented as follows on the Freep article:

Victoria Burton-Harris (l) ran strong campaign vs. Kym Worthy (r) in 2020. She is now Chief Asst. Prosecutor in Washtenaw County.

“Wonderful article on the new wave of reform and justice-minded prosecutors. Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit, with his top Asst. Prosecutor Victoria Burton-Harris, has initiated a similar broad wave of reforms there. Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon is reviewing the cases of 90 individuals serving life without parole sentences and a  host of other reforms. THE QUESTION IS–WHY IS WAYNE COUNTY PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY  LEFT OFF THE HOOK IN THIS ARTICLE? An editorial decision? If so, it needs to be re-assessed because it does NOT serve the interest of justice for all in Wayne County.

“The Free Press editorial board’s endorsement of Worthy last year, (and endorsements by the News, religious leaders llike Wendell Anthony,  union leaders, etc., in the face of strong opposition from Victoria Burton-Harris, who advocated the same program of reforms described in this article, severely damaged the outcome of that election and the futures of hundreds of thousands of county residents for the foreseeable future.”

WRONGFUL CONVICTION PROTEST/RALLY FRI. JUNE 4, 2021 9AM-2PM (FRANK MURPHY) GRATIOT/ST. ANTOINE DETROIT | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2020/07/21/wayne-co-prosecutor-kym-worthy-must-go-vote-for-victoria-burton-harris-aug-4-in-dem-primary/

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2021/04/06/did-wayne-co-apa-muscat-suborn-perjury-in-case-of-detroiter-kenneth-nixon-has-he-done-it-before

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2021/03/18/does-kym-worthy-want-51-mich-juvenile-lifers-to-die-in-prison-violating-u-s-supreme-court-orders/

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WRONGFUL CONVICTION PROTEST/RALLY FRI. JUNE 4, 2021 9AM-2PM (FRANK MURPHY) GRATIOT/ST. ANTOINE DETROIT


Share
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

5OTH ANNIVERSARY OF MARVIN GAYE’S ‘WHAT’S GOING ON,’ THE GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME

Editor: VOD readers may have noticed that we are publishing stories dealing with this PRISON NATION and POLICE STATE exclusively. This has been a necessary change from our previous coverage, which attempted to address a multitude of issues. On the 5oth anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” we are publishing that cut from what Rolling Stone called “The Greatest Album of all Time.” Also see below, Sam Cooke’s timeless “A Change is Gonna Come.”

We sincerely thank you for your readership and support throughout the last decade, and ask that you continue to read and share our articles relating to the  Police State and Prison Nation. Editor Diane Bukowski first got involved in the people’s movement after the 1971 Attica Rebellion and wishes to carry on the legacy of the Attica Brothers in this fashion. VOD articles on these issues have been one-of-a-kind, thoroughly researched and laid out in the hopes of bringing our sisters and brothers home at long last.

***********************************************************************************Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper. 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 $380, P.O. box fee of $150/yr. and costs for research including court records, and internet fees, as well as office supplies, gas, etc.   Please DONATE TO VOD at:

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

**********************************************************************************

ATTICA SEPTEMBER 10, 1971

 

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

8 JUDGES SAID EWING, SEARCY DENIED ‘FAIR TRIAL’ IN 2010; KYM WORTHY: WE WILL PRESENT SAME CASE MAY 19, 2021

National ‘Undisclosed” Podcast on Darrell Ewing’s case starts as re-trial hearings begin WED. MAY 19 at 9 a.m.

State v. Ewing–Episode I of 4-part series

UNDISCLOSED

“The Undisclosed podcast investigates wrongful convictions, and the U.S. criminal justice system, by taking a closer look at the perpetration of a crime, its investigation, the trial, and ultimate verdict… and finding new evidence that never made it to court.”–   https://undisclosed-podcast.com


8 judges said Darrell Ewing, Derrico Searcy were denied fair trial in 2010; Worthy says “not” in 2021

Judges cited jurors’ outside research on gangs, which negated another man’s confession, questionable eyewitness ID, other facts in evidence

But Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy plans to present same facts, evidence from first trial, recapping her national role as “Innocence Denier” 

 _________________________________________________________

Darrell Ewing, Derrico Searcy COURT HEARING

3rd CC Judge Darnella Williams-Claybourne (l) to hear case of Darrell Ewing (center), Derrico Searcy (l)

WEDNESDAY

MAY 19, 2021 

       9 A.M.

Click on “View   Streaming” below at 9 a.m.

Hon. Darnella D. Williams-Claybourne JOIN MEETING VIEW STREAMING JudgeWilliams-Claybourne-Court@3rdcc.org

____________________________________________________________

DETROIT’S CHANNEL 4 DEFENDERS FEATURED STORY ON CASE MAY 3; some story claims are disputed

By Diane Bukowski

May 17, 2021

DETROIT— Over the last four years, a total of eight federal and state court judges have ruled that Detroiters Darrell Ewing and Derrico Searcy, charged with the murder of J.B. Watson, were denied a fair trial in 2010.

The judges faulted trial jurors’ introduction of  internet research on urban “gangs” which the judge had expressly barred. The research led jurors to discount the confession of another man, claiming he sacrificed himself due to a “gang hierarchy.” The prosecution’s theory of the case was that the murder was a result of a gang feud.

At trial, Christopher Richardson, a federal informant produced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, testified that his cousin and Tyree Washington killed J.B. Watson and wounded a passenger in his vehicle. Richardson said he heard Washington admit the killing in detail twice, including while both were being held in the Macomb County Jail.

Washington had pled the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying himself, but had his attorney present his affidavit confessing to the murder during the trial. Washington alleged Asst. Prosecutor Kam Towns refused to take the affidavit, saying that the killers were already on trial. Washington was later interviewed by Private Investigator Scott Lewis, formerly a well-known TV news reporter.

Private Investigator Scott Lewis’ interview of Tyree Washington:

 

The judges also remarked on questionable eyewitness identifications and other trial testimony and facts which led them to believe the evidence of guilt presented in 2010 was “not overwhelming.”

But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told the Channel Four Defenders May 3 (see video above), that her office “will be retrying this case” based on the evidence originally presented.

Darrell Ewing told VOD that the Channel 4 broadcast was the first time he’d  heard about Worthy’s intent to retry him, instead of dismissing the charges. Various attorneys familiar with the case had thought a re-trial would not be possible, citing a lack of  insufficient remaining evidence.

“With the agenda Kym Worthy has been pushing —starting to correct this widespread issue of wrongful convictions— I foolishly thought for a second she was going to get this one right and release me,” Ewing said.

“I can’t imagine how her office actually plans to retry me when  the federal officers had their informant testify that I was not responsible, and Tyree has repeatedly confessed.  The jury had to go outside and launch their own extraneous investigation to find a way to convict an innocent man, so how will it go when all the pieces of the mosaic are presented to a new jury?

“I just thank Allah that through this storm he have kept me strong, sane and have used what the devil meant for bad as good. True to that, since being incarcerated not only have I grasped a bit of understanding of the law, I have also used my period of incarceration as a place of incubation. Where I have found a true appreciation and value for life, and acquired skills that are going to assure that I’m successful after this struggle.”

Ewing is now represented by Attorney Coral Watt, appointed by Judge Williams-Claybourne.

She has filed a motion for his resentencing and compassionate release due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the federal case pending against him referred to in the May 3 Channel 4 “Defenders” Broadcast.

Atty. Coral Watt (l) and U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy III

Channel Four claimed that even if Ewing wins his current state case, he will remain in prison due to the federal case.

But the docket for that case shows that U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy has ordered the U.S. Attorney to respond to Ewing’s motion by May 28. Murphy earlier granted a compassionate release to Tonia Miller, a 37-year-old Calhoun County woman accused of killing her infant daughter in 2003. New evidence brought by the U-M Innocence Clinic has shown that the baby died not from “Shaken Baby Syndrome,” but pneumonia.  See: New judge and new hearing for woman convicted of killing her child (battlecreekenquirer.com)

Ewing is incarcerated at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Michigan. It has had the most severe outbreak of COVID-19 among MDOC prisons, resulting in 24 deaths, the highest number in the MDOC. At one point, 80 percent of the men there were infected with the coronavirus.

Ewing and Searcy’s trial judge the late Carole Youngblood banned gang-related testimony referencing the “Hustle Boys,” including the testimony of Detroit police officer Terri Graves. Assistant Prosecutor Kam Towns tried to introduce her an an expert, but Youngblood held a pre-trial hearing to judge her qualifications, which mainly included “experience” in researching gangs from social media and the internet.

Polygraph exam of Darrell Ewing April 29, 2010

Ewing also passed a lie detector test  with flying colors, administered April 29, 2010 by  Forensics Polygraph Examiner Andrew Sims, who was previously employed in that capacity by the Detroit Police Department. The exam was conducted four months after J. B. Watson was killed.

“Based on the examination given, it is the opinion of this examiner that the subject is being truthful on this issue,” Sims said.

Recent court rulings on the Ewing-Searcy case have for the most part been strong and unequivocal.

Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway, who presided over an evidentiary hearing ordered by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Denise Page Hood, ordered a new trial Oct. 29, 2018. He cited stunning testimony by trial juror Kathleen Byrnes, who said, weeping, that she had been haunted for 10 years by her “guilty” vote.”

“[I]t is just inescapable from Byrnes’s testimony that the outside influences, the inappropriate influences caused her to change her mind,” Hathaway said.

“There is just no way to get around that based on her testimony. And that the information, particularly about gang culture, gang hierarchy, gang signs, et cetera, were highly prejudicial. . . .

Judge Michael Hathaway (l), Juror Kathleen Byrne

“The trial evidence . . . was insufficient to convince Byrnes beyond a reasonable doubt that the [defendants] were guilty. It was the extraneous information that did so.

. . . But I think it is very important to note that pretrial, the trial [j]udge disallowed evidence from a People’s so-called expert witness that was [proposed], a witness by the name of Terry Graves who apparently is a police officer who fancies herself to be an expert in gang culture and in a pretrial hearing to determine the admissibility of Graves’s testimony the trial [j]udge excluded the testimony, wouldn’t let her testify as an expert.” He added:

A Michigan Court of Appeals panel strongly affirmed Judge Hathaway’s ruling on Oct. 22, 2020.  The state appeals panel agreed with Judge Hathaway, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood, and three Sixth Circuit Court judges on the issue of jury contamination.

“During deliberations, the members of a jury are permitted to consider only the evidence that was admitted in open court,” appeals Judges Patrick M. Meter, Douglas B. Shapiro, and Michael J. Riordan held.

“A jury’s consideration of extraneous information that was not introduced at trial constitutes a deprivation of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights of confrontation, cross-examination and assistance of counsel.”

Ewing and Searcy’s supporters said they hope the appellate ruling may lead to the review of hundreds of convictions obtained through the use of untrained “gang” experts by the Wayne County Prosecutor  and the Detroit Police Department.

Worthy was dubbed an “Innocence Denier” along with two other prosecutors in 2018 in a Slate Magazine article by Lara Bazelon, a law professor and the director of the criminal juvenile justice and racial justice clinical programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Bazelon cited in particular the cases of Davontae Sanford, a 14-year-old child charged and convicted of the 2007 murders of four adults in a house where marijuana was sold, and sentenced to 32-92 years in prison, and LaMarr Monson, convicted of the 1996 murder of a 12-year-old girl and sentenced to 30 to 50 years in prison.

Both had been tricked into false confessions by police. Sanford was freed after nine years in adult prisons, and Monson was freed. both had their convictions dismissed despite Worthy’s stated belief that they were guilty. See: Innocence deniers: Prosecutors who have refused to admit wrongful convictions. (slate.com)

Family and friends celebrate Oct. 24, 2019 after Judge Michael Hathaway granted a new trial to Darrell Ewing, Derrico Searcy.

The cases of Ewing and Searcy have been featured on various national wrongful conviction websites, including:

Darrell Ewing | Actual Innocent Prisoners

Rico Searcy | Actual Innocent Prisoners

Episode 8: Darrell Ewing (unjustandunsolved.com)

Related documents:

Michigan Court of Appeals ruling affirming order for new trial in Darrell Ewing, Derrico Searcy cases: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/2-Darrell-Ewing-COA-opinion-10-13-20.pdf

Transcript of Judge Michael Hathaway’s order for a new trial: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Darrell-Ewing-Derrico-Searcy-Remmer-Hearing-Transcripts.pdf

6th Circuit ruling on Michigan AG’s appeal of District Court ruling:  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Ewing-6th-CC-2-5-19-compressed.pdf

Judge Denise Page Hood’s opinion on remand from 6th Circuit Court: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Opinion-on-remand-Ewing_v_Woods__miedce-15-10523__0016.0.pdf

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood’s order for new trial:  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Darrell-Ewing-habeas-corpus-grant-1.pdf

Related articles on Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy:

Headline photo: Innocence Deniers–By Lara Brazelon

Innocence deniers: Prosecutors who have refused to admit wrongful convictions. (slate.com)

DOES KYM WORTHY WANT 54 MICH. JUVENILE LIFERS TO DIE IN PRISON, VIOLATING U.S. SUPREME COURT ORDERS? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

KYM WORTHY PROSECUTED MARYANNE GODBOLDO TO DEATH; STALLS JUVENILE LIFER RESENTENCINGS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY MUST GO! VOTE FOR VICTORIA BURTON-HARRIS AUG. 4 IN DEM. PRIMARY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

***********************************************************************************Voice of Detroit is a pro bono newspaper. 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 $380, P.O. box fee of $150/yr. and costs for research including court records, and internet fees, as well as office supplies, gas, etc.   Please DONATE TO VOD at:

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

**********************************************************************************

Related stories:

DARRELL EWING, DERRICO SEARCY IN DETROIT COURT APRIL 13, NEW TRIAL ORDERED BY 8 STATE, U.S. JUDGES | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

APPEALS CT. UPHOLDS NEW TRIAL ORDER IN ‘GANG’ SOCIAL MEDIA CONVICTIONS OF DARRELL EWING, DERRICO SEARCY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2020/09/29/fighting-for-his-life-darrell-ewing-in-court-again-despite-3-orders-in-3-yrs-granting-a-new-trial/

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2020/07/12/free-darrell-ewing-two-judges-have-ordered-new-trials-in-innocence-case-kym-worthy-still-appeals/

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2019/10/27/darrell-ewing-derrico-searcy-win-new-trial-in-murder-case-after-nearly-two-decades/

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2019/09/17/ewing-searcy-hearing-on-jury-use-of-internet-research-on-gangs-in-2010-trial-to-continue-oct-4/

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2019/08/27/juror-in-2010-ewingsearcy-murder-trial-verdict-tainted-by-jurys-gang-related-internet-research/

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2019/02/14/sixth-circuit-orders-evidentiary-hearing-instead-of-new-trial-in-darrell-ewings-2010-murder-conviction/ 

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2017/11/27/fed-judge-strikes-down-darrell-ewing-conviction-due-to-jury-discussion-of-gang-social-media

 

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LANSING, MI RALLY V. WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS, PRISON ABUSE, PAROLE BOARD FLOPS FRI. MAY 14 12 noon – 4 pm

RELEASE THE INNOCENT, MEDICALLY FRAIL AND OVERSENTENCED!

FRIDAY MAY 14, 2021 12 noon to 4 pm

MICHIGAN STATE CAPITOL BLDG. 110 N. Capital Ave. Lansing, MI

Speakers include:

MICHIGAN EXONEREES

Larry  Smith, Lacino Hamilton, Kenneth Nixon     

 Sponsored by Paula Kensu and David Stinson with t he New (ERA) Ethical Responsibility and Accountability in Criminal Justice

BY Paula Kensu  

David Shelton (center) with son David Stinson (l) and daughter Mariah Stinson (r).

The State Conviction Integrity Unit  was created and is desperately needed and appreciated, it’s grossly understaffed and there is no clear and expedient path to freedom for those wrongfully incarcerated in Michigan prisons. We want to reinforce to Michigan leaders our SUPPORT of criminal justice reform – including releasing the Innocent, Medically Frail and Over-sentenced! This is a SUPPORT rally – not a bash against Whitmer or Nessel in any way!

We can be better. The Clemency process is BROKEN – there are clear gaps that need to be addressed. If the parole board doesn’t consider innocence, then they should NOT be part of the process at all!

The Parole Board continues to Flop eligible parolees for no reason or for reasons completely out of the inmates control such as not completing classes that have been suspended due to COVID. Less inmates were released during COVID than in 2019!

Temujin and Paula Kensu.

The MDOC is lying to Governor Whitmer and her staff. Clear example: Prisoners are NOT given bleach to clean their cells. This is one of MANY lies she is being told.

Prisoners are abused mentally and physically (extremely poor diet, denied healthcare, denied gym/yard time, denied showers and thrown in the hole if they have COVID or were exposed to COVID or any other reason the COs come up with on any given day). MDOC Prisoners get NO healthcare treatment. Inmates are spun and spun and nothing gets fixed. These abuses need to stop!

RELEASE THE INNOCENT, MEDICALLY FRAIL AND OVERSENTENCED!

Show up and show Governor Whitmer that you SUPPORT the INNOCENT,  SUPPORT releasing the medically frail and over-sentenced and you SUPPORT more oversight into Heidi Washington’s “leadership” in the MDOC.

VOD has covered the wrongful convictions of (l to r) Thelonious Searcy, Darrell Ewing, Derrico Searcy, Ricky Rimmer-Bey, Carl Hubbard, David Shelton, and Temujin Kensu–SEE STORY LINKS BELOW

RELATED:

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

IN NEW ORLEANS, D.A. JASON WILLIAMS IS FREEING VICTIMS OF ‘JIM CROW’ JUSTICE, REMAKING SYSTEM

Williams addresses illegal ‘Jim Crow’ convictions by non-unanimous juries, juveniles held for LWOP, excessive sentencing, obstacles to parole 

Dismissed over 400 criminal cases pending under previous D.A. in first month in office

Louisiana was one of only 2 states in the U.S. still allowing convictions by non-unanimous juries

U.S. Supreme Court struck down split jury verdicts in  Ramos v. Louisiana, in April 2020; now Williams is campaigning to make ruling retroactive, has already released many in New Orleans convicted by non-unanimous juries

“While Williams said his office is continuing on its “painstaking” path to reevaluate cases — an estimated 340 of them are in New Orleans — a highly anticipated U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the coming weeks would decide whether its previous finding in Ramos v. Louisiana (2020)  that makes non-unanimous juries unconstitutional should also be applied retroactively to defendants who had exhausted their appeals. ” — NBC NEWS

NEW ORLEANS PARISH D.A. JASON WILLIAMS IS PART OF NATIONAL WAVE OF PROGRESSIVE PROSECUTORS WHO HAVE SWEPT INTO OFFICE SINCE 2018 AS VOTERS DECLARE AN END TO ‘JIM CROW’ JUSTICE

************************************************************************************

Victoria Burton-Harris (l) ran against Kym Worthy in 2020.

VOD is featuring this story on New Orleans D.A. Jason Williams, from The Appeal,  following up on previous VOD articles related to progressive prosecutors across the country. (See links below story.)

Last July, Victoria Burton-Harris, part of the same wave of activist attorneys, came close to defeating Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, declaring Worthy the “Queen of Mass Incarceration.” She cited Worthy’s record of 16 years of wrongful convictions, refusal to  prosecute killer cops, refusal to withdraw LWOP recommendations for juvenile lifers, and other injuries inflicted on the people of Wayne County.

Victoria Burton-Harris is now the Chief Assistant Prosecuting Atty. under Eli Savit in Washtenaw County, also part of the national progressive wave.

**********************************************************************************

In Nation’s Incarceration Capital, a New D.A. Is Freeing People From Prison – The Appeal

Katie Jane Fernelius Apr 21, 2021

Jason Williams, New Orleans Parish D.A.

In recent years, prosecutors on a mission to challenge mass incarceration have been using their power to keep people out of prison, but now they’re beginning to turn their attention to those who are already locked up. Few have pursued this as promptly and publicly as Jason Williams, the new district attorney of New Orleans, who may be setting the bar for DAs nationwide. And this focus could be transformative in New Orleans, the largest city in a state known as the nation’s incarceration capital.

Since he entered office in January, Williams has rolled out sweeping changes. He has granted new trials to nearly two dozen people convicted by split juries, announced he would no longer oppose parole applications, dropped his predecessor’s efforts to maintain life without parole sentences for people convicted when they were minors, and moved to secure the release of multiple wrongfully convicted people.

“There are innocent people in jail,” said Williams, who was elected in 2020 on a progressive platform. “There are people in jail for sentences that are far longer than they should be. … There are people who got convicted without a fair trial.”

This retrospective approach to addressing injustice is taking shape beyond Louisiana too; prosecutors like George Gascón in Los Angeles County and Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore have established resentencing units that have reviewed lengthy sentences and released those serving them.

Prof. Lara Bazelon

This is a big departure from what has been the norm for decades. The traditional focal point of conviction integrity units has been innocence claims. But the post-conviction reviews that are springing up, in certain places thanks to legislative changes in state law, are taking a broader look at redressing excessive sentencing and other drivers of mass incarceration.

“[Prosecutors] can have an enormous impact for post-conviction review because it’s not limited to people who are factually innocent,” said Lara Bazelon, a law professor and the director of the criminal juvenile justice and racial justice clinical programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law. “They can work backward and try to rectify really draconian sentences, and I feel like Orleans Parish is kind of ground zero for that.”

Williams has also taken steps to prevent people from going to jail in the first place by directing his staff not to prosecute for possession of personal amounts of most drugs.

One driver of mass incarceration in Louisiana is the “multiple-bill” statute, an “habitual offender” sentence enhancement. The statute enables prosecutors to use prior convictions as leverage to force longer sentences.

While campaigning last year, Williams pledged never to use the multi-bill statute. That commitment has expanded as his office now also reviews multi-bill cases handled by previous DAs. In Louisiana, nearly 40 percent of those imprisoned are serving maximum sentences that exceed 20 years.

Norris Henderson, Exec. Director Voice of the Incarcerated (VOTE)

“The fact that they are looking at these cases is really unprecedented,” said Norris Henderson, founder and executive director of VOTE, an organization of formerly incarcerated people who work to end mass incarceration. “The ‘long-timers’ are there [in prison] because they got these habitual sentences … And what we found out during our research was that it wasn’t really but three or four parishes using the multi-bill exclusively, [including] Orleans Parish.”

Emily Maw, the Civil Rights Division chief under Williams, estimates that nearly 700 people are in prison from Orleans Parish because of excessive sentences imposed by  prosecutors who used the multi-bill statute.

In her first weeks on the job, Maw joined with a group of defense attorneys to motion for a “negotiated settlement” in court which enabled Herbert Estes, a New Orleans man with leukemia, to be released from prison. Estes had been serving a life without parole sentence after former DA Harry Connick Sr. used the multi-bill statute to compel the sentence. This month, the office supported the release of Guy Frank, who received a multi-bill sentence during Connick’s tenure and was in prison for 20 years for stealing two shirts.

“We know that Orleans Parish is mass producing often-inaccurate convictions and certainly excessive sentences,” Maw said. “We have to try to remedy those cases by category, because there’s just so many of them—more so than any other district attorney’s office in the country.”

Maw, a former director of the Innocence Project New Orleans, which advocated for Frank’s release, says that in addition to tackling multi-bill cases, her division is identifying who is in prison because of non-unanimous juries.

In Louisiana, non-unanimous, or split, jury convictions were written into the state constitution in 1898 as a defense by white lawmakers eager to quell the influence of Black jurors. This law disadvantaged Black people, according to The New Orleans Advocate, by acting “as a capstone to trial system that becomes more titled against black defendants at each stage: when jurors are summoned, when they’re picked for juries, and in deliberation rooms, where voices of dissent can be ignored.”

Emily Maw

According to Maw, approximately 340 New Orleanians are in state prison based on a conviction by a split jury.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that guilty verdicts for criminal trials must be unanimous. The Court’s decision in Ramos vs. Louisiana affected cases still in the appeals process, but doesn’t apply to old cases. However, Williams’s office has decided to waive objections to new trials for those convicted by split juries even if those cases are no longer pending appeal. Already, two dozen new trials are underway.

Ben Cohen, one of the lawyers who led the Ramos lawsuit, now serves as chief of the Appeals Division under Williams.

Ben Cohen at left, with Jamila Johnson, Calvin Duncan, Shanita Farris, Erica Novlance of Promise of Justice Initiative, after U.S. Supreme Court victory in Evangelisto Ramos v. Louisiana.

“Our job is to do justice, not to defend convictions or secure convictions,” Cohen said. “We would be avoiding our legal and moral responsibility if we didn’t look backward, and we only looked forward.”

There are numerous ways to do that, Cohen told the Appeal: Political Report. Prosecutors have the discretion to permit opportunities for commutations, clemency, or parole. These can be avenues to remedy cases where the factors working against defendants aren’t as cut and dry. “[Non-unanimous juries and the habitual offender statute] are the most obvious catalysts for injustice, but they are not the only ones,” Cohen said. He noted that shoddy police work, speedy courtroom trials, and broader conditions of poverty have also stacked the deck against people accused of crimes.

Cohen added that the office will no longer use procedural barriers to slow down appeals or motions for post-conviction relief. This is part of a broader policy of the office to stop creating obstacles to release by default.

“One of the first policies that [Williams’s office] produced was that they were no longer going to send [prosecutors] to parole hearings and contest everything,” Henderson said. “That was the first thing that gave me an indicator that promises made were going to be promises kept.”

Williams announced in January that his office would no longer oppose any parole or pardon application. This is a major departure from his predecessor’s policy of routinely opposing applications.

Williams’s office has also withdrawn his predecessor’s bids to maintain life without parole sentences for people convicted as children, enabling them to apply for parole.

Leon Cannizaro, former Orleans Parish D.A.

In 2012 and 2016, the Supreme Court ended mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences, and applied this ruling retroactively. In response, Louisiana made people sentenced while minors automatically eligible for parole unless DAs filed notices in court objecting to this. Williams’s predecessor Leon Cannizaro was doing just that in many cases. But Williams’s decision to withdraw those motions means that a dozen people will now be newly eligible to apply for parole.

Throughout the state, approximately 300 people are serving life without parole sentences for crimes that they committed while children.

“I know all 300 of them,” Henderson said. “Other people just see something abstract. But I see an individual who I know personally who is serving life without parole because he was a kid. … To see, one day, there’s no hope of you ever getting out of prison, and the next day you’re walking out the gate—that speaks volumes.”

Besides expanding the scope of post-conviction review, Williams’s office is still intent on rooting out wrongful convictions and freeing innocent people. In March, prosecutors worked with Bazelon to secure the release of one of her clients, Yutico Briley, who was serving a 60-year sentence for an armed robbery he didn’t commit.

Yutico Briley

Bazelon said the weighty sentence was handed down in a process that “probably lasted five minutes. It took less than five minutes to just throw him away. And I don’t think people understand that that is routine.”

Williams and his team have faced obstacles to their efforts: Not only is the new approach a vast culture change for many of the staff, but the processes for post-conviction review also have to be developed in an office with limited capacities and poor paperwork.

“This is extremely painstaking and difficult work,” Williams told the Political Report. “Our file clerks literally had to find these records that are all over the place and not in good working order. … They’re not well organized. They’re not electronically available. So, this review involves moving boxes in and out of the office.”

Williams hopes that all of these changes will improve the reputation of the office and encourage community members to want to work with prosecutors when they experience crime.

“We are repairing that breach of trust with our community,” said Williams. “I believe that we will find more robust participation in the process going forward in terms of new and existing cases if we can show that we are willing to do the hard work of confronting the sins of past administrations.”

RELATED:

“PHILLY D.A. EPISODE I:” LARRY KRASNER TAKES OFFICE IN LANDSLIDE, FIRES 31 A.D.A.’S, BEGINS ENDING CASH BAIL | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

DID WAYNE CO. APA MUSCAT SUBORN PERJURY IN CASE OF DETROITER KENNETH NIXON? HAS HE DONE IT BEFORE? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

LARRY SMITH FREED, JOINING OTHERS FRAMED BY DETROIT POLICE, PROSECUTORS USING ‘RING OF SNITCHES’ | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MOTHER’S DAY OF ACTION

TODAY AT 3 PM EDT

Mothers Day of Action

Free  Nagel park, 3100 Wabash, Detroit, MI 48216

Event by MI Liberation     Price: Free

 This Mothers Day Michigan Liberation is #ConnectingFamilies.

It’s time to #FreeBlackMamas , #EndCashBail , and secure #PhoneJustice for all!

Join Michigan Liberation this Sunday, May 9, 2021 for a rally and car caravan. We will meet at 3 pm with materials for signs and car decorations at Nagel Park, 3100 Wabash St, Detroit, MI 48216. The rally will start at 3:30 pm and focus on the fight to #EndCashBail and to secure #PhoneJustice across Michigan.

This event will be COVID-safe. Please stay inside vehicles unless otherwise instructed by car marshals. Masks and hand sanitizer will be provided to those who need it.

Can’t join the car caravan and rally?

Join our social media power hour this Sunday, May 9th at 4pm!

Follow Michigan Liberation on Facebook and @miliberation on Twitter and Instagram!

https://www.facebook.com/MichiganLiberation

*************************************************************

A Mother’s Day Tribute
by Ricardo Ferrell

This is dedicated to all the beautiful women around the globe, you’ve stood by us no matter what with patience like Job.

All of you are in deserving of being honored and praised, its time for real men to serve you all of your days.

So many women have been directly  impacted by this COVID-19, this disease has hit our people hard like nothing we’ve ever seen.

I think about the mother’s who have lost their child, isn’t it amazing how these women can still have a smile.

This shows they have the strength from their ancestors and Creator, in the midst of this crisis God is their motivator.

Our women are key to bringing life into the world, so tell me how can they not be our favorite girl.

Now is the time to say we’re sorry and ask their forgiveness, this is how solid men right their wrong and show their realness.

There’s not enough days in the calendar to properly honor you, but each day we live we can show our love is true.

Ricardo Ferrell, VOD Field Editor

The sacrifices our women have made time after time and still held strong, we must be honest and ask ourselves how can they be wrong.

Mere words will never be able to express how much you’re loved, that’s why you deserve your flowers now and gentleness like a dove.

And to all the mothers who have children locked in a cage, please know we understand what you’re going through and feel your rage.

Nothing can compare to your love not money or silver and gold, it can’t measure up you’ve stuck with us on that lonely road.

To all of us who have lost our mothers by death, always remember they’re still with us ’til our last breath.

**************************************************************

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