VOTE IN WAYNE CO. DEM. PRIMARY AUG. 4
#NotWORTHY! Victoria BURTON-HARRIS YES!
The video above was compiled by the International Citizens Commission for Human Rights (CCHR) in California. The international group gave Maryanne Godboldo its annual human rights award in 2012.
DOES WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY CARE ABOUT BLACK CHILDREN?
Global hero #MaryanneGodboldo held off tanks, police helicopters, and cops with assault guns to stop 13-yr-old daughter’s state kidnapping in 2011
CPS sought to re-medicate child with dangerous drug Risperdal
Two judges repeatedly dismissed all criminal charges v. mother, but Worthy appealed for 5 yrs. until mother suffered aneurysm, died
Worthy opposed “Second Chance” changes in state juvenile sentencing laws shortly after she took office in 2004
Later opposed SCOTUS rulings banning mandatory juvenile LWOP, asked for renewed life terms for 60 defendants, continues to stall re-sentencings
By Diane Bukowski
July 29, 2020
MARYANNE GODBOLDO Jul 25, 1954 – Oct 11, 2017 Warrior Mother, global hero
DETROIT – On May 24, 2011, Detroit mother Maryanne Godboldo barricaded herself and her daughter Ariana Godboldo-Hakim, 13, inside her home on Detroit’s impoverished west side, then held off tanks, police helicopters and cops with assault weapons for 10 hours.
Godboldo’s heroic stand against the illegal state seizure and forcible psychotropic medication of her child resonated around the world, making her a global leader in the battle for parental rights for five years.
But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who has a daughter about Ariana’s age, charged Godboldo with eight felonies for the stand-off.
She pursued the charges for five years, appealing five times despite the fact that Judges Ronald Giles of the 36th District Court, and Gregory Bill of the Wayne County Circuit Court each twice dismissed the charges. They said the seizure of Ariana was unconstitutional, and that the court order a Child Protective Services worker obtained to get police to take Ariana was illegal, because it was not signed by a judge. A probation officer working at Juvenile Court stamped Chief Judge Leslie Kim Smith’s name on it.
Worthy won an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court on her fifth try and reinstated the charges. On the eve of the court hearing on those charges, the warrior mother suffered a massive brain aneurysm and died six months later.
“Her blood pressure had been rising and this caused a brain vessel to burst, Godboldo’s attorney Allison Folmar-Givens said. “Five years of court hearings took their toll.”
The Voice of Detroit published multiple stories on the battle by Maryanne Godboldo and her family, which is broadly known in the community, for her freedom and for Ariana, who now lives with Godboldo’s sister Penny Godboldo-Brooks. (Stories are linked at the conclusion of this article.)
In the process, VOD broke two stories, about the lack of a judge’s signature on the petition to seize Ariana, and the ties that Hawthorne Hospital in Northville has with the pharmaceutical industry. Ariana was kept without her parents’ consent at Hawthorne Hospital for six weeks, during which she was forcibly medicated with multiple drugs including Risperdal, and otherwise severely abused and traumatized.
During the battle, the Godboldos’ 91-year-old mother Lovey Godboldo and Godboldo-Brooks’ husband of 37 years, Stephen Brooks, passed away.
The family sponsored dozens of rallies and forums through those years, at their home church Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, and in other venues.
Hundreds came out to the first rally at Hartford while Godboldo was still in the Wayne County Jail. They continued to pour out through the long years of the ordeal, rallying outside 36th District, Wayne County Circuit, and Juvenile Courts as Godboldo, Ariana’s father Mubarak Hakim and sister battled CPS for custody of the child and the right to determine her medical care. They won stays in Juvenile Court of any further administration of Risperdal and other drugs, and finally overcame CPS in the custody battle, with the assistance of a dedicated team of lawyers that included Allison Folmar, Byron Pitts, and Roger Farinha.
Despite Godboldo’s broad support, Prosecutor Kym Worthy continued her relentless persecution of Godboldo and her daughter in the courts, even after Godboldo’s aneurysm in June, 2016. Worthy did not drop criminal charges against Godboldo until a court hearing in front of Giles in January, 2017. Giles dismissed the charges for a third time, ruling against the prosecution, after Godboldo’s attorneys said she could not defend herself.
“The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the charges today because it has been determined that Ms. Godboldo is not expected to gain competency to stand trial,” Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, said in a statement.
She later told VOD that if Godboldo did regain her mental competence, a determination would be made then whether to reinstate the charges, which were dismissed “without prejudice.”
She said Worthy had no comment on whether her continued prosecution of Godboldo contributed to her brain injury. Worthy frequently employs “dismissal without prejudice” tactics, meaning she can bring the charges back later. She did so in the case of Davontae Sanford, and nearly all the 20 “exonerees” her office has taken credit for had their charges dismissed in similar fashion.
They frequently had to wait months before their actual release until Worthy determined whether she would ask for re-trials. They still live with the possibility that Worthy can re-instate the charges against them.
Godboldo and her family assisted many families in Michigan, the U.S., and globally in similar fights against. state-sponsored child kidnapping and the forced administration of psychotropic drugs.
Her family still holds an annual Maryanne Godboldo Forum for Parental Rights. Godboldo received numerous awards, including one from the International Citizens Commission on Human Rights in 2012.
WORTHY FIGHTS JUV. LIFER RESENTENCINGS; BURTON-HARRIS: ELIMINATE JLWOP, PERIOD.
Bekeiba Holland: 150 Mich. Juvenile Lifers still not re-sentenced 8 yrs. after Miller v. Alabama (2012); time to remove Kym Worthy
Bekieba Holland spoke at a rally outside Detroit’s Frank Murphy Hall July 2, called to support Darrell Ewing. Ewing has been in prison since 2010 for a murder that he and his family say he did not commit. Two judges at the state and federal levels have ordered a new trial in his case, because his trial jury was tainted by social media “research” about gangs. Another man has repeatedly confessed to the crime for which Ewing is doing time.
But Worthy continues to waste taxpayers’ money appealing, just as she kept appealing the rulings of the two judges who dismissed charges against Maryanne Godboldo, leading eventually to Godboldo’s stress-related death.
Holland was convicted and sentenced as a juvenile lifer in 1991, and served more than two decades in prison before he was re-sentenced.
“We have over 150 juvenile lifers in Michigan who haven’t gone back for re-sentencing yet,” Holland told VOD. “What is the hold-up? I had to wait three years before I could get resentenced. Worthy tried to re-instate life on me, but since it wouldn’t stand, she came with a cop, 30 to 60, so I took the deal and I’m out. The high court said it’s unconstitutional to give a juvenile a mandatory life sentence, but she doesn’t want to abide by their ruling.”
In 2006, Worthy virulently opposed Michigan state legislation that would have ended juvenile life without parole sentences, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Miller and Montgomery.
Flanked by top staff members (white males), she testified before the Michigan legislature against changes supported by hundreds of Second Chance families and even victims of juvenile lifers. A broad coalition of organizations brought together by the Michigan ACLU also supported the changes, which were eventually defeated.
Worthy went so far as to show legislators a security video of several Black youths beating a man to death in a Coney Island in Detroit, as if that typified the youth of Detroit.
After the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory juvenile life without parole in Miller v. Alabama (2012), Worthy allied herself with former Atty. General Bill Schuette and insisted that Miller was not retroactive, but SCOTUS ruled in Montgomery that it was.
After that ruling, she filed motions to re-instate life with parole sentences for 41 percent of the County’s 144 juvenile lifers: 60 plus three on “conditional” terms. She said she would recommend terms of years for the remainder, but added that many would have recommendations higher than the minimum 25 years allowed under state statutes.
Worthy continues to demonstrate complete callousness regarding juvenile lifers and others in the MDOC as the COVID-19 virus runs rampant through prison systems in Michigan and nationally.
On April 18, 2020, juvenile lifer William Garrison, who earlier was resentenced to a term of years and should have been released forthwith, died of COVID-19 in the Macomb Correctional Facility as he waited for Worthy’s office to register its formal approval of his release. A judge had ordered his release in March.
Garrison went to prison at the age of 16 in 1976, convicted of a murder during a robbery that went awry. He subsequently taught himself to read and write, studied the law, and became an advocate for other incarcerated persons.
“THERE IS NOTHING A CHILD CAN DO TO JUSTIFY DEATH BY INCARCERATION.” Victoria Burton-Harris
(VOD was not able to reach Victoria Burton-Harris for comment on this article before press time, so it is publishing the following excerpts from the national The Appeal.)
“Victoria Burton-Harris . . . is campaigning on a promise to end juvenile life in prison. She told [The Appeal’s] Political Report that she views Worthy’s handling of juvenile lifers, and her repeated claims that she is reviewing the cases, as “cruel and callous.”
In a statement, Worthy told the Political Report that her office has held 95 resentencing hearings for juvenile lifers, and 64 of them have been released.
“My office has been working diligently to ensure that each and every juvenile murderer convicted in Wayne County receives an individualized sentencing hearing,” she said. “We can only go as quickly as the defense and the courts will allow.”
(VOD editor: Worthy’s characterization of all juvenile lifers as “murderers” is false. Charges that put them in prison range from first-degree murder to others including felony murder, which is commission of crimes such as robbery that result in a death, not directly at the hands of the defendant. A 1980 Michigan Supreme Court ruling invalidated such sentences, but not retroactively — People v. Aaron 409 Mich. 672 (1980) 299 N.W.2d 304. Many MDOC prisoners including juvenile lifers are still behind bars for felony murder.)
Worthy’s challenger, Burton-Harris, told the Political Report that, if she were elected prosecutor this year, she would upend the incumbent’s approach. “It is not acceptable, no longer an option, that we resentence to life,” she said.
She said she would make it a priority to bring relief to juvenile lifers and recommend that they be granted a new sentence that would allow for a release. “I’m committed to not just reviewing them but bringing them home,” she said. The only instance in which she would consider resentencing to life in prison is if a person has committed new murders in prison while an adult.
Moreover, she said she would also revisit old resentencing cases and in instances where Worthy’s office objected or opposed, she would instruct her prosecutors to change the office’s position.
“It would be a written policy,” she said. “All cases that have been previously decided need to be reopened and reviewed.”
If she were at the helm of the DA’s office, her prosecutors would never seek life without the possibility of parole sentences against minors in future cases.
“THERE IS NOTHING A CHILD CAN DO TO JUSTIFY DEATH BY INCARCERATION!” she told the Political Report in an email. “We are not the worst thing we’ve ever done, and people age out of crime. Prosecutors have a responsibility to protect our children, ALL children. All people have value.”
She says she looks forward to advocating for a state law that rules out life without the possibility of parole sentences for children, as 23 states and the District of Columbia have already done.
Explore our coverage of 2020 prosecutorial elections throughout the country
(VOD: The Appeal has covered prosecutorial elections nationwide, as many young candidates emerge, committed to goals that would end mass incarceration.)
From Victoria Burton-Harris for Prosecutor campaign literature:
We will treat kids like kids and work to address the school-to-prison pipeline. People grow and change- especially our children. Children’s brains continue developing until around the age of 25 and research supports that they change in dramatic ways– even those convicted of the worst crimes. Children should not be prosecuted in adult court unless there is a specific threat to public safety, nor should they be given punishments that preclude the opportunity for redemption like life in prison. In our office, it will be the exception not the rule to prosecute a child in adult court.
End juvenile life in prison. Across the country, even the most conservative states have stopped sentencing children to life in prison. The Supreme Court ruled sentencing minors to life without parole was unconstitutional. Yet in Wayne County, we have continued to sentence children to die, and we’ve adhered to these sentences. We will no longer sentence children to life without parole, and we will insist that children who previously received these sentences get new ones.