UNLAWFUL, UNJUST! RALLY THURSDAY MAR. 17 TO FREE WRONGLY HELD PRISONERS; OPEN VISITS, COURTS, FILES

OPERATION LIBERATION  586-943-8780 

By Diane Bukowski

Editor, Voice of Detroit (Please note: to contact the organizers of these events, use the phone number above for Operation Liberation.)

Donate to VOD to keep our stories coming    https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

DETROIT — Operation Liberation rallied hundreds of supporters and family members of prisoners, including the wrongfully convicted, outside the Frank Murphy Hall last year, June 4, 2021. They took over the street in front for five hours and marched around the Wayne Co. Jail. Now they have issued a new call to address current urgent issues affecting prisoners in the Wayne County Jail and throughout the state.

Family members of Tamerra Washington were among hundreds who turned out to rally June 4, 2021 at Detroit’s Frank Murphy court/jail complex June 4, 2021.

Others organizing for this event include Wayne Co. exonerees Larry Smith and Davontae Sanford, and family members and supporters of prisoners in the Wayne County Jail and the MDOC.  Michigan Liberation, which will be getting petition signatures for the restoration of MDOC prisoners “good time” credits, and Silent Cry, based in New York City.

See: Good Time Makes Good Legislation Introduced by Senator Irwin – Michigan Justice Advocacy (mijustice.org)

Darrell Ewing and Derrico Searcy, who helped organize last year’s event, were in the jail then and are still there 10 months later, despite the fact that their convictions were vacated in 2020. They will be in court Friday, March 18, part of a seemingly non-ending series of “final conferences” to set up a new trial. Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy is refusing to dismiss charges despite a Mirandized confession to the crimes given to State Police by another man in February, 2017 which had been concealed in prosecutor’s files.

There are currently 1,416 men packed inside the Wayne County Jail with them, many also locked up months and even years past legal limits. None of them have been convicted of the charges on which they are being held. The state Speedy Trial Act sets a six-month pre-trial time limit and mandates release on recognizance in the case of confirmed violations.  Operation Liberation is further demanding:

DISMISS CHARGES VS. THOSE HELD PAST 180 DAY SPEEDY TRIAL ACT LIMIT

Operation Liberation organizer Darrell Ewing is shown at bottom right of photo.

VOD interviewed a sample of men held without timely trials at the Wayne Co. Jail March 10. Screenshots of some of their faces are shown at left. VOD reviewed the Registers of Action on the Wayne Co. Court website for each to be able to report accurately on the comments.

However, as stated above, the actual PUBLIC records cited on each Register are NOT available for public review in violation of the Michigan FOIA>

Corey Holmes, 44: held since Oct. 19, 2018, bound over to Wayne Co. Circuit Court (WCCC) Jan. 18, 2019. First pre-trial hearing Dec. 2, 2019. Multiple pre-trials and adjournments since. A pre-trial set for March 3, 2022 was adjourned to June 6, 2022.  “This is causing me and my family a great deal of stress and anxiety,” he told VOD. “It’s affecting my mental health, causing hopelessness and despair with no end in sight. My attorney usually stays in touch, but since COVID-19, it’s harder to see him.”

LaTonya Holmes, Corey’s sister, told VOD, “The situation in Wayne County Jail is deplorable, a violation of my brother’s rights. He caught COVID while he was in there, which had to have been brought in by a guard. Every time he goes to court, the prosecutor says they need additional time; they’re hiding evidence from his attorney. One judge retired, and the next one adjourned a hearing for a family funeral. Meanwhile, my brother was arrested while we were making arrangements for our brother’s funeral, so he wasn’t able to go to that, our mother had a heart aneurysm and we’ve lost many family members to COVID.”

Wayne County Jail Cell/Detroit Free Press photo

Javonte Wiley, 26: Held since Oct. 3, 2017 on capital (life) charges which were dismissed twice in 2017 and 2019 after lengthy trial proceedings including jury trials. The same charges in the same case were brought back in 2020 by Wayne Co. 3rd Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Kenny, acting as a one-man grand jury.  A “review date” is set for May 17, 2022 in front of 3rd Circuit Court Judge Shannon Walker, after a year of constant adjournments.

“Javonte’s grandmother and aunt passed,” his mother Deloris Jones told VOD. “His younger brothers and sister are going through school without him, and his daughter is growing up without her dad. He gets frustrated and depressed. The pressure they put on young Black men. I help by constantly putting money on his phone and commissary accounts and his father and I are spending a lot of money on attorneys every time the charges are brought back.”

Wayne County High-Security Jail Cell area, Div. 2. Detroit Free Press photo

Immanuel Wesley: Held since Sept. 4, 2020 under a similar scenario. Court records show he was charged with assault with intent to commit murder and other crimes on that date. He was not arraigned in 36th District Court until Nov. 4, 2020, a violation of state law.

His preliminary examination was held Feb. 22, 2021, four months after his arraignment (another violation) and the case was dismissed without prejudice due to the failure of a witness to appear. His case then appears on a second docket for the same charges in 2021, with a preliminary exam held March 25,2021, resulting in a bind-over to WCCC with a bond of $150,000 which was not paid. Several final conferences, adjournments and a pre-trial hearing later, he is now awaiting another pre-trial hearing March 17, 2022 this week. “They don’t even have a victim in my case,” he told VOD, “but they’re trying to get me to take a plea deal.”

Young protesters outside the failed Wayne County Jail site across from the current one, Jan. 21, 2017.

Lartrell Iverson, 24:  Held since Dec. 19, 2020, has not yet had a preliminary examination to bind him over to WCCC. He is still under the 36th Dist. Court’s jurisdiction. “They are using the pandemic as a license not to hold hearings,” he told VOD. “The prosecutor’s office keeps stalling, trying to get guys to take plea deals. There is nothing to occupy us, recreation has been eliminated, we can’t get exercise or fresh air.”

Roderick Graham:  Held since 12/16/2020 on manslaughter charge. Bound over to WCCC Feb. 10, 2021. Multiple conferences, motion hearings, held since then, with several adjournments. Motion hearings indicate multiple orders were “signed and filed,” but VOD has no way to access what those orders were, since they are not accessible on-line or in the court clerk’s office. Witness lists filed Dec. 10, 2021. Review date set for March 30, 2022.

Christian Mitchell-Childress, 23: Held since October 20, 2020. Bound over after preliminary exam May 26, 2021. Four final conferences held in last half of 2021; next Final Conference scheduled for April 14, 2022. Once again, no public way to determine results of all previous hearings. Mitchell-Childress says most have been due to the prosecutor searching for missing discovery evidence and trying to locate prosecution witnesses.

Old Wayne County Jail houses high-security cells.

Antrell Brown, 25: Held since December 21, 2020. Bound over after preliminary exam Jan. 13, 2021. Multiple pre-trial hearings, final conferences held with next review date April 1, 2022. That review has been postponed four times since May 25, 2021. He told VOD there are still many questions regarding actual evidence. He also said he suffers from heart problems and has symptoms of chest pain when he takes deep breaths, but the only test administered so far is an EKG and he needs to go to a hospital for follow-up.

Jordan Davison, 25: Held since August 24, 2020 on multiple assault and weapons charges with bond of $500,000, four of which were dismissed March 22, 2021 after preliminary examination was held.  Review date pending April 4, 2022 after multiple pre-trial, conferences, and motion hearings.

PUBLISH PUBLIC COURT FILES ON COURT WEBSITE!

Meanwhile, the public and the media are being denied their lawful right to review court case files. The only information currently on the website at Odyssey Public Access (OPA) (3rdcc.org) lists dates of hearings and actions, but no access to referenced documents is available. The Court has a separate website set up for internal use with links to those public documents, which could easily converted for public on-line use.

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act, enacted in 1977, guarantees access, with some restrictions, to public records of government bodies at all levels in Michigan. However, Third Judicial Circuit Court Criminal Division offices are still closed to the public, so individuals cannot go in to view actual court files. The Wayne Co. Probate Court provides links to all case documents on its website, citing the COVID pandemic. Why can’t the Criminal Division do the same?

OPEN THE COURT AND JAIL VISITATION!

Although COVID restrictions have been lifted, for the most part, in Michigan and across the country, family members still cannot visit their loved ones in the Wayne County Jail, and even attorney visits are sometimes constricted. Courtrooms are not open to the public in-person.

Open jail visitation and court observation are vital to the interests of both the public and prisoners in the Wayne County Jail, who have not yet been convicted of any crime. Their families and attorneys are legally entitled to see them in-person to ensure their proper treatment and to maintain support systems, both in jail and in court.

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 VOD’s staff lives either on limited fixed incomes or is incarcerated. We are not paid; we publish the newspaper pro bono. Help keep us afloat by chipping in so stories on this Prison Nation and Police State, and related matters, coming! Any amount is appreciated.

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DARRELL EWING/DERRICO SEARCY Final Conference

Continued FRIDAY MARCH 18, 2022 @ 9 a.m.

Watch Live: Hon. Darnella D. Williams-Claybourne – YouTube

Derrico Searcy (l) and Darrell Ewing (r) listened intently to testimony in their evidentiary hearing in 2017 which led Judge Michael Hathaway to grant a new trial. His ruling was in line with numerous other state and federal courts, but the two men have been held in custody for nearly 4 years since.

“The right to defend is given directly to the accused, for it is he who suffers the consequences if the defense fails.” Faretta v. California :: 422 U.S. 806 (1975) :: Justia US Supreme Court Center (cited by Darrell Ewing in his “Motion to Compel Reconsideration of Brady/Discovery Violations”) 

Darrell Ewing and Derrico Searcy are among others in the Wayne County Jail held beyond Speedy Trial Act time limits. Multiple courts ordered a new trial on their 2010 murder convictions, which were finally overturned in October, 2020. But defense attorneys have moved instead to dismiss the case, and for an evidentiary hearing, due to alleged violations of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by the prosecutor.

A detailed Mirandized confession to the crimes by another man, given to the Michigan State Police in Feb. 2017, which surfaced in the prosecutor’s files during pre-trial discovery, is the key Brady issue.  It had not been disclosed to the defense during the years after the 2010 conviction for the murder of J.B. Watson, while Ewing and Searcy filed repeated appeals.

 A “final conference” on the case is set for Friday, March 18 in front of Wayne 3rd Circuit Court Judge Darnella Williams-Claybourne. She denied defense motions Jan. 10, saying that Brady does not apply post-conviction. But she set time for reconsideration, ruling “Within 21 days, the parties can submit case law that shows that Brady applies on post-conviction, and any new theories.”

Working with his attorney Lillian Diallo, Ewing has submitted his own “Motion to Compel Reconsideration of Brady/Discovery Violations and Egregious Prosecutorial Misconduct.”  Ewing has used his years of incarceration to study law and says he spends most of the day in his cell surrounded by legal work.

He cites extensive case law in his motion, buttressed by two packages of supplemental authorities also submitted to the court. He lists the following topic headings in the main motion:

Brady does apply on post-conviction“Numerous federal and state courts have extended Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 87 (1963) and its progeny into the post-conviction context.”

Due Process Clause“In 2017, shortly before the suppressed confession in the present case was taken, the Michigan Supreme Court adopted in the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3.8 (B), which placed on notice and was broadcast to every prosecutor in this great state their duty and “Special Responsibility.” (See graph above left.)

As far back as 1915, the Supreme Court held that when a state grants a criminal defendant a right to direct appeal, “The proceedings in the appellate tribunal are part of the process of law under which he is held in custody by the state, and to be considered in any question of alleged deprivation of his life or liberty, contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment.” See Frank v. Mangum 237 US 309, 327 (1915); see also Evitts v Lucey, 469 U.S. 387, 393 (1995).

Ewing also cites the following case as precedential with regard to his and Searcy’s, and provides detailed analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in:

Tennison v. City and County of San Francisco, 2009:  eerily similar to the circumstances of the Ewing-Searcy conviction.  In 1989, J.J. Tennison and Antoine Goff were convicted for the murder of a young man which the prosecution claimed was related to gang wars. The only witnesses who testified at trial to identify the defendants were two children, girls 11 and 14 years old. Another man afterwards confessed to the murder.

Courts thew out the convictions in proceedings after trial, citing Brady. Tennison later won a $4 million wrongful conviction settlement and was fully exonerated after the prosecutor filed for dismissal of the case.

They said the prosecution did not report a $2500 payment to the witnesses under a “secret witness” program, and concealed the Mirandized confession of another man to the crime.

Brady extends to police officers:

Although AP Kam Towns and Jon Wojtala submit that they were never informed of the [Tyree Washington] confession, it matters not. For Brady purposes, “the DPD/MSP and the prosecutor are one.”

Even though “The state’s obligation under Brady is managed by the prosecutor’s office, that obligation applies to relevant information in the hands of the police, whether the prosecutors knew about it or not, whether they suppressed it intentionally or not, and whether the accused asked for it or not.” Harris v. Lafler, 553 F.3d 1028, 1033 (6th Cir. 2009).

Mirandized Confession Like No Other

“A confession is like no other evidence, in that it is among the most probative and damaging types of evidence because it “comes from the actor himself, the most knowledgeable and unimpeachable source of information about his past conduct.” Arizona v. Fulminante US S.Ct 1246, 1257 (1991).

LATER CONFESSION SHOULD HAVE CONSTITUTED NEW EVIDENCE

Tennison and his family reacted with joyful tears after he won his exoneration and a $4M wrongful conviction settlement.

With regard to Washington’s 2017 Mirandized confession to the State Police, Ewing, “In People v. Gumble, 1997 Mich App Lexis 1507 (1997), the Court of Appeals held, “It is the later confession suggesting [his] involvement that constitutes new evidence.”

Therefore, as found in Tennison, when MSP and DPD received Washington’s Mirandized confession by one who had been named pre-trial by a reliable witness [Christopher Richardson] known to FBI agents and multiple grand juries, and a confessor who recounted events surrounding the murder in detail, and whose accounts contradicted that of the prosecution’s witnesses, that it should have immediately been disclosed to the defense.” Tennison at 1094.

He goes on to allege multiple other discovery and Brady violations, including those he says happened during his original trial.

Ewing’s motion joins the motions filed by his attorney and well as his co-defendant Derrico Searcy’s attorney for dismissal and an evidentiary hearing, which are expected to be argued in court March 18.

Related coverage, documents and previous VOD stories:

The cases of Ewing and Searcy have been featured on various national wrongful conviction websites, including a series of six episodes in which legal criminal conviction experts have reviewed the Ewing-Searcy case and found it woefully wanting in evidence to convict.

Darrell Ewing | Actual Innocent Prisoners

Rico Searcy | Actual Innocent Prisoners

Undisclosed Podcast (undisclosed-podcast.com)

https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/post/episode-8-darrell-ewing

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RUSSIA WANTS DEMOCRACY IN UKRAINE: COVERAGE FROM RT AND IZVESTIA

From RT (Russia Today) and Izvestia, globally recognized news outlets of the Russian Federation.

Voice of Detroit Editor’s Note:  I recently announced that this paper is being devoted to issues regarding mass incarceration and police abuse in this country. But as a journalist for the past 22 years, I cannot stand by while the U.S. mainstream media shamelessly delivers coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war straight from the mouths of U.S. politicians and military leaders. 

Some of hundreds at rally for 19-year-old dad Terrance Kellom, executed by Detroit/ICE police in April, 2015.

I was appalled when I tried to access RT (Russia Today) online and found the website is blocked to prevent the U.S. public from reading the other side. VOD is also a news outlet and feels an obligation to do what it can to tell the other side of the story.

 VOD’s coverage of issues relating to prisoners and police brutality will continue. This includes objections to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to spend $40 million to force incarcerated human beings in the MDOC to wear wristband tethers to track their every move, while providing inadequate funds for the replacement of lead pipes in homes in Benton Harbor.

GPS prisoner/offender tracker

While millions, mostly Black people and others of color, and poor people languish in the concentration camps that are U.S. prisons, and while police murder and abuse of the same populations increases without pause, the U.S. continues to spend over half the federal budget on the military, and para-military funding of local police forces, rather than on health care for all, jobs, social services, and infrastructure needs.

It is now sending billions of our tax dollars to prop up the fascist government in Ukraine.


Above: In 2018, Max Blumenthal reported that the US has provided military assistance to the Azov Battalion, known as a bastion of neo-Nazism within the Ukrainian armed forces. He also discusses US and Israeli ties to the far-right government in Poland, where neo-Nazism is on the rise. 

DEMOCRATIZATION OF UKRAINE

Photo: Izvestia

 Under the title “Democratization of Ukraine,” Denis Denisov wrote in Izvestia about the direction of development Russia wants for its neighbor Ukraine. Denisov, Director of the Institute for Peacekeeping and Conflict Initiatives, Associate Professor at the Russian Government’s Financial University, said:

Denis Denisov

“After the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, two of its main objectives were announced: disarmament and the cleansing of the country from Nazism.

“With regard to the goal of disarming Ukraine, the situation is well understood, as it in fact requires a series of actions aimed at destroying the military infrastructure that Ukraine and NATO can use to attack Russia; the second objective, the cleansing of Ukraine from Nazism, has not yet received a clear and comprehensive explanation.

The term “de-Nazism” itself came into use after the end of World War II and was applied to operations in Germany, Austria and other countries. It was aimed at cleansing all areas of society from Nazi ideology. With regard to Ukraine, taking into account the specifics of the state, de-Nazism acquires a slightly different tone and, in fact, means a process of democratizing the country.

Pro-Russian protesters replace Ukrainian flag with Russian flags at Donetsk Oblast State Building    March 1, 2014

Politically, this means that parties, public organizations, movements that proclaim and disseminate ideas of national exceptionalism, incite ethnic and religious hatred, and call for artificial restrictions on the linguistic, educational and scientific rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens must be banned and eliminated.

In the linguistic field, all restrictions on the use of Russian, as well as the languages of other national minorities (Hungarian, Polish, etc.), should be abolished. Ukraine is a multi-denominational country, and historically a large number of religions have lived on its territory. This area will be strictly protected from political influence and confrontation: freedom of belief for all, comprehensive and complete.

As with many other problems, Ukraine’s regions have traditionally enjoyed different foreign policy orientations. For the west of the country, there is a European orientation, and for the southeast the Eurasian orientation. At this level, the territories will have the opportunity, with the assistance of the central government, to make contact with those states and the areas of interest to them, in all aspects of life.

This article only reflects the opinion of the newspaper or the writer.

SITUATION IN DONBASS

PUTIN OUTLINED TO SCHOLZ THE APPROACHES OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN THE MATTER OF THE OPERATION TO PROTECT THE DONBASS

Olaf Scholz/Vladimir Putin

IZVESTIA 4 march 2022, 18:50

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz explained to him the Russian fundamental approaches in the context of a special operation to protect the Donbass. This was told on March 4 in the Kremlin.

“The main danger comes from neo-Nazi military formations that commit numerous war crimes using terrorist methods, deploying strike weapons in residential areas, cynically hiding behind the civilian population. At the same time, official Kiev does not fulfill its promises to stop this barbarism: in recent days, the number of such cases has been increasing, “the report says.

Putin once again stressed that the Russian military does not fight with the civilian population, but strikes only at military facilities.

Following the talks, the Russian president called on Scholz to influence the Kiev authorities for the speedy release and safe evacuation of foreigners. Putin confirmed that Russia is open to dialogue with the Ukrainian side, as well as with all those who want peace in Ukraine, but on condition that all Russian demands are met.

The German Chancellor during the conversation called on Moscow to immediately stop the special operation to protect the Donbass. He also noted the need to ensure the access of humanitarian aid to the area of hostilities, the official representative of the Cabinet of Ministers of Germany Steffen Hebestreit told reporters.

On February 17, 2022, the situation in the region escalated. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) announced a general mobilization, the evacuation of civilians to the territory of Russia and asked for help.

Russian troops in Ukraine/Photo: Izvestia

On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees recognizing the independence of the DPR and LPR, as well as treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, which, among other things, provide for the granting of the right to build military bases on the territory of the parties and the provision of military assistance to each other.

On February 24, the Russian leader announced the launch of a special operation to protect the civilian population of Donbass. Western countries that disagree with its implementation began to introduce new anti-Russian sanctions.

For more relevant videos and details about the situation in Donbass, watch on the Izvestia TV channel. 

PUTIN URGED THE UKRAINIAN MILITARY NOT TO FOLLOW CRIMINAL ORDERS

Short link

24 February 2022, 08:32

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a televised address that all Ukrainian soldiers who refuse to follow Kiev’s criminal orders and lay down their arms will be able to leave the combat zone without hindrance.

 

 

 

 

RELATED:

UKRAINE: WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH BLACK FOLKS? BLACK AGENDA REPORT | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Nazis Demand Respect – Consortium News

Neo-Nazis active in Ukraine as White House adds 3,000 troops – People’s World (peoplesworld.org)

US & Ukraine at UN Refuse to Condemn Nazism – Consortium News

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UKRAINE EXPOSES U.S./NATO WHITE SUPREMACIST FOREIGN POLICY–BLACK AGENDA REPORT

 

Image – Carlos Latuff 

White supremacy is at the heart of US war propaganda. The exhortation to “stand with Ukraine” is no exception to this rule.

US-NATO destroyed the nation of Libya, attempted to do the same in Syria, occupied Afghanistan

NATO wages war across African countries with US, French and British troops deployed across the continent

“Instead of standing with Ukraine, Americans should stand with humanity across the world.

Margaret Kimberley, BAR Executive Editor and Senior Columnist

March 2, 2022

By now everyone knows that Ukraine’s flag is blue and yellow. It is impossible to miss as the Empire State Building in New York, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris have all been bathed in those colors. Nearly every city and town across the United States has followed suit and politicians ranging from local legislators to members of congress shout “Stand with Ukraine!” at every opportunity.

Eiffel Tower

Yet it must be pointed out that those blue and yellow motifs and pleas for solidarity are all about white supremacy. Ukraine is upheld as a bastion of “civilization” which is supposed to put it off limits for war and suffering. The quiet part is now being spoken out loud. We are told that Ukrainians are more deserving of concern because they are Europeans.

Ukraine’s deputy chief prosecutor said as much in a BBC interview. “It is very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed…” He wasn’t alone in his assessment.

An NBC reporter was asked why Poland was willing to admit Ukrainians even as it turned away other refugees. “Just to put it bluntly, these are not refugees from Syria, these are refugees from neighboring Ukraine. That, quite frankly, is part of it. These are Christians, they are white, they’re … um… very similar to the people that live in Poland.”

CBS followed suit, “This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan who has seen conflict rage for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully – city where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it was going to happen.”

The narrative that only white people deserve peace and security is all the more shameful because the global south suffers from war and privation as a direct result of US/NATO actions.

U.S.-NATO bombs over Tripoli, Libya in 2011. The invasion destroyed most of Libya’s infrastructure including world-class water and energy facilities.

It is NATO that destroyed the nation of Libya, NATO which attempted to do the same in Syria, NATO that occupied Afghanistan, NATO which wages war across African countries with US, French and British troops deployed across the continent. The white world causes suffering and then says that the people of the global south are “uncivilized” with no rights that need to be respected.

A Watson Institute of Brown University study showed that more than 37 million people in North Africa, Western and Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa have been displaced by the US and its allies since 2001. The humanitarian disasters begun years ago are ongoing, as refugees use the Mediterranean and even the US border with Mexico as points of escape.

After experiencing wars of aggression these nations are then subjected to punishment as the United States steals Afghanistan’s assets and keeps Syria under the thumb of Caesar Sanctions. These thefts cause more suffering and even death as nations are robbed of the ability to care for their people. Who is civilized and who is not?

Nazi-supported 2014 coup in Ukraine included bombing of government headquarters in Kiev.

Ukraine has been pushed to the forefront of American thought in order to defend the imperialist foreign policy which led to the current conflict with Russia. If the blue-eyed nation is suffering it is because of US and NATO arrogance and aggression.

Ukraine’s current situation is a direct result of the 2014 coup engineered by the US and its EU partners. An elected president was dispatched and a civil war began that has killed some 14,000 people. Ukraine is a US colony with a puppet government now under military attack. Ukrainians are themselves refugees as they flee to neighboring Poland, Romania, Slovakia and other countries. It is the supposedly advanced, democratic, and supposedly civilized who have created their problems.

Black student in Ukraine tells NBC that Blacks are last to get out; Ukrainian, Polish governments have had anti-immigration policies for a long time.

Yet once again bare-faced racism is evident. African migrants and students in Ukraine were prohibited from boarding trains and buses that could take them to safety. A group of Jamaican students was forced to walk 20 kilometers when they were forced off of a bus enroute to Poland. Africans and Jamaicans live and study all over the world because the US and Europe under-develop their nations through a variety of means. Yet Ukrainians and Poles didn’t see people in need of help. They determined that the non-blondes were not deserving of assistance.

Ironically, it is the white supremacist underpinnings of US/NATO foreign policy which have created all of Ukraine’s suffering. The need to dominate, to “contain” Russia and its ally China is not playing out the way they had hoped but the Ukrainians be damned. The Minsk II agreement which was unanimously approved in the United Nations Security Council was a roadmap to peace. Ukraine should be a neutral nation but that is the exact opposite of what its lords and masters in Washington want. The good faith negotiations that could resolve the crisis are a non-starter because NATO is a very dishonest broker.

The corporate media have joined the state in an extraordinary effort to create war propaganda. They deliberately tug at heartstrings and demand solidarity with Ukraine because the truth is very unpalatable. Instead of standing with Ukraine, Americans should stand with humanity across the world. If they did they would be better able to understand why there are wars in Europe or anywhere else.

Margaret Kimberley’is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents. Her work can be found at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley can be reached via email at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

RELATED:

UKRAINE: WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH BLACK FOLKS? BLACK AGENDA REPORT | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Why are fleeing Ukrainians being talked about with such sympathy? They are white. (msn.com)

Ukraine issue must be settled by implementing Minsk II agreement – CGTN

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MICH. CANNABIS FREEDOM COALITION HELPED FREE MICHAEL THOMPSON, WORKING TO FREE MANY MORE

Michael Thompson (l), with Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. (Photo courtesy Mike McCurdy)

Michael Thompson released from prison at age 70 after serving 25 yrs. of 42 to 60-year sentence on marijuana-related charges

Last Prisoner Project and MDP Cannabis Caucus jointly formed Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition

With them, Michael Thompson founded the Michael Thompson Clemency Project

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Ricardo Ferrell

By Ricardo Ferrell, VOD Field Editor

February 25, 2022

In 2021, the Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition (MCFC), secured their first major victory, helping free Michael Thompson, a convicted cannabis offender who was sentenced in 1996 to serve 42–60 years on marijuana related charges out of Genesee County, MI.

Mary Bailey of Last Prisoner Project; Mike McCurdy Cannabis Project/Michigan Dems

Thompson, 70, was released one year ago on January 28th, 2021, after being granted a commutation by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Thompson, deemed a model prisoner by Attorney General Dana Nessel, had only incurred one misconduct report in his entire 25 years of incarceration.

“It was truly inspiring to watch Michael walk out of those doors and immediately issue a powerful statement to the press about the inhumane conditions of Michigan’s prisons and to promise to fight for those he left behind,” said Mike McCurdy, Chair of the Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party. Cannabis Caucus of the MDP (michigandemscannabis.com)

McCurdy, working in conjunction with Last Prisoner Project (LPP) managing director Mary Bailey, co-founded the MCFC. The two were able to see their work manifest itself when Thompson walked out of a prison in Jackson. Last Prisoner Project – Cannabis Reform Nonprofit

Michael Thompson speaks to media on his release from prison, surrounded by family members. Photo/ J. Scott Park MLive.com

It was 4:30AM on a brutally cold winter morning when Thompson walked out of the prison gates in Jackson, Michigan to an awaiting crowd of press, family and supporters.

“Twenty-five years is a long time,” Thompson said, struggling to control his emotions.

“Hopefully those left behind can be helped, guys who shouldn’t be there, like guys still in for marijuana, they shouldn’t be in there. I just hope somebody can hear me, especially those dealing with prison reform. There are a lot of things that need to be done. Those guys are human beings and the way they treat them is not good. It’s not just about me, it’s about thousands of guys that need help and we need to quit talking and start doing something about it.”

Since that fateful morning, Bailey, McCurdy and their coalition have strongly advocated for the release of all cannabis prisoners including Rudi Gammo, another convicted cannabis offender serving time in a Michigan prison who’s currently being considered for release.

Rudi Gammo and family

In 2021, Gammo, with the help of McCurdy and Bailey, pushed on the outside to have his application for commutation looked at by the Michigan Parole Board.

Gammo was charged under a RICO statute for operating grow houses in Detroit and received five and 1/2 years. His earliest release date isn’t until 2023. It is ironic that just a few months after he was shipped off to prison, Michigan passed legislation making it legal for citizens to possess recreational marijuana.

Michael Thompson, with McCurdy, founded the “Michael Thompson Clemency Project” (MTCP), which recommends review and consideration for possible commutation by Gov. Whitmer, in the cases of other incarcerated individuals many of whom Thompson served time with.

Among those who Thompson and McCurdy are pushing for, is the late Robert Cannon Jr., a co-organizer that worked with Thompson to put together the George Floyd ‘Celebration of Life’ while housed at the Muskegon Correctional Facility. This incredible act of resistance was recently a featured story on the National Public Radio Snap Judgment. The show was dedicated to Cannon’s memory. Sadly, Cannon died in prison although his name was being considered for release. Advocates like McCurdy and Thompson have vowed to remember him and fight hard at gaining the release of others in recognition of Cannon. https://snapjudgment.org/episode/the-feast/

Robert Michael Cannon, Jr.

“…For me personally, to watch daily the diversity of all the beautiful hearts come together to say in one voice, they have had enough, gives some of us hope that one day those same people will bring to light the great injustice Michael Thompson received…” – Robert Michael Cannon Jr. (from an article by Sarah Gersten of Last Prisoner Project).

Ironically, Cannon was speaking Thompson’s freedom into existence, and his spirit shall live on through those of us who can feel his energy flowing within the universe. The work of McCurdy, Thompson and others must be applauded, as their efforts include bringing a sharp focus on unfair sentencing practices and over-incarceration. These factors have undoubtedly contributed to the build-up of 2.2 million people incarcerated in the U.S., with some 40,000 behind bars for cannabis offenses.

Video interview of Michael Thompson by FOX WILX Jan. 29, 2021

MTCP is currently advocating for dozens of people to be released. Among those with clemencies already, or soon to be on Governor Whitmer’s desk awaiting her signature are: Donald Williams, Horace Peterson, Rudi Gammo, Corey McCullough, Keith Stinson and LeRoy Washington. MTCP is urging the governor to sign the petitions immediately, invoking the adage that “Justice delayed is Justice denied.”

Let us all embrace the same hope that Robert Cannon expressed, when he advocated from the inside for Thompson’s freedom. The work of the Michael Thompson Clemency Project and the Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition is moving forward and making a real difference in reforming this broken system.

MICHAEL THOMPSON CLEMENCY PROJECT: 

https://www.mtclemency.com/

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LIFER PAUL DAVIS: FRAMED BY DETROIT COPS, APA WHO SENT CHILDREN TO CPS, JAIL TO GET FALSE TESTIMONY

Paul Davis, serving life without parole for 2004 murder, says he is innocent, framed by crooked cops including LaNesha Jones (video above), prosecutors

A mother recanted her ID of Davis in 2017, saying police threatened her and five juveniles ages 12 to 16 to get false IDs of Davis

Lanesha Jones, Officer in Charge, fired by DPD trial board in 2009 after being charged with felony aggravated assault off-duty 

David Pauch, ballistics tech for Detroit Crime Lab, shuttered in 2008, testified at trial, but no physical evidence presented

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For a print version of this article, go to: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/LIFER-PAUL-DAVIS_-FRAMED-BY-DETROIT-COPS-APA-WHO-SENT-CHILDREN-TO-CPS-JAIL-TO-GET-FALSE-TESTIMONY-_-VOICE-OF-DETROIT_-The-citys-independent-newspaper-unbossed-and-unbought.pdf

Ricardo Ferrell

By Ricardo Ferrell

VOD Field Editor

With Diane Bukowski, Editor

DETROIT — Despite there being no physical evidence linking him to a 2004 homicide, and the use of juvenile witnesses taken from their mother to force their false testimony, Paul Davis, now 40 years old, still languishes behind bars for the 2004 murder of Larry Snipes, Jr. on Spokane Avenue in Detroit.  He has always unequivocally denied he committed that crime.

PAUL DAVIS

“My husband has been suffering in prison for almost two decades for something he did not do,” Shannon Davis told VOD about her husband. “The justice system failed him terribly. The officers involved were corrupt, his attorney was grossly ineffective, and the evidence was inconsistent. With all this, he couldn’t have received a fair trial.”

Attorney Robert Goldman of Dickstein & Lewis, PLLC, wrote a detailed nine-page letter to Valerie Newman, head of the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit, urgently asking her to accept Davis’ case. He had reviewed available court files and other documentation.

He noted first that Davis was in Taylor, Michigan at the time of the murder.

“Tamika Holmes gave a witness statement to Detective J. Wolff indicating that she, along with [three other adults] and their children, were at her home in the Pond Village Apartments in Taylor, Michigan with Paul Davis at or around the time of the alleged murder,” Goldman wrote.

Holmes testified at trial, but the others were never called by Davis’ defense attorney George Davos. (See complete letter from Goldman at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Paul-Davis-memorandum-to-CIU.pdf.)

Instead, DPD Detective Sgt. Lanesha Jones, who was the Chief Investigative Officer (CIO) on the case, DPD Officer Kurtiss Staples, and Asst. Wayne Co. Prosecutor Suzette Samuels elicited statements from a mother and five juveniles ages 12 to 16, who were staying or visiting at the Spokane address. The prosecution’s entire case was later based on the children’s testimonies, despite gross inconsistencies and failures to identify Davis at in-person line-ups and in court testimony.

(L to r) AP Suzette Samuels, DPD Sgt. LaNesha Jones, Judge Craig Strong–kidnappers??

Court records show that these “public servants” threatened to have Child Protective Services (CPS) take the children if they didn’t cooperate. Even though the children signed typed witness statements for Sgt. Jones, they were abruptly taken from their mother and placed in foster homes. It is not known if they were ever able to return.

Wayne Co. 3rd Circuit Court Judge Craig Strong ordered the 13-year-old child incarcerated at the Wayne Co. Juvenile Detention Center to ensure his testimony, after he ran away from his foster home. Strong signed petitions from AP Samuels to have the other children held under bond to force them to testify.

Judge, AP sent child to Wayne Co. Juvenile home to ensure testimony.

Atty. Aaron Z. Gordon Jr., who interviewed the 13-year-old, said the child asked that the prosecution protect him from the defendants’ family when he testified. Several of the other children didn’t show up at trial. To bolster the remaining children’s testimony, Sgt. Jones testified FOR them at length, reporting what she claimed they told her and addressing issues like their demeanor at the time of their conversations with her.

Denise Henry, the mother of most of the juveniles, did not testify at trial. In 2017, Henry signed a notarized statement stating that she and her children were coerced and pressured by authorities to provide false statements and testimonies against Davis. Henry stated she only did this because Officers LaNesha Jones and Kurtiss Staples threatened to have Child Protective Services take her children away. She included a handwritten letter to Davis begging his forgiveness and recalling the intense distress to her family caused by the officers’ actions. 

OTHER CHARGES AGAINST DAVIS CASE COPS, TECHS

LANESHA JONES —The DPD fired Sgt. Lanesha Jones in 2009 after a trial board unanimously recommended her dismissal (see WXYZ video at top of story). She had been charged with felony aggravated assault while off-duty, causing severe wounds to a woman’s forehead at Flood’s Bar in downtown Detroit. The charges were later reduced to misdemeanors. She was later hired at the Highland Park Police Department and became Deputy Chief, despite WXYZ’s expose′, but she was laid-off in 2012 according to published reports.

Jones was among DPD defendants cited in the 2006 frame-up and wrongful incarceration of Elroy “Lucky” Jones, which resulted in the City of Detroit’s $1.5 million settlement of a civil lawsuit.

DETROIT CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM March 16, 2016: $1.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH ELROY LUCKY JONES; Defendants included Lanesha Jones.

Elroy Lucky Jones is listed on the National Registry of Exonerations.

The lawsuit cited defendants including Lanesha Jones. It alleged long-time DPD Detective WIlliam Anderson targeted Elroy Jones because he believed, falsely, that the man killed his nephew, then recruited other officers to systematically frame him.

After Elroy Jones’ conviction, the Detroit Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF), including DPD and the U.S. Department of Justice, discovered and charged the (alleged) real killer during the VCTF investigation of the “7 Mile Bloods” gang. (See video above.)

Family of Jarrhod Williams, whose case led to shut-down of crime lab, at Detroit People’s Task Force march in 2011. VOD/DB photo

DAVID PAUCH — Pauch worked in the Detroit Crime Lab as a ballistics examiner. The lab was shut down in 2008 after discoveries by Michigan State Police (MSP) that it had more than a 10 percent error rate, likely caused by faulty and/or falsified work.  

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy, with the State Appellate Defenders Office, reviewed Crime Lab evidence collected over the decades before the discoveries.

But Worthy decided to focus only on convictions from 2003 to 2008. At least 1200 prisoners victimized by faulty crime lab evidence remain incarcerated in the Mich. Dept. of Corrections.

Pauch himself has been found to have falsified and/or tampered with evidence in multiple cases. Other crime lab techs including Claude Houseworth have been cited in many cases that have managed to make it to the level of exoneration.

Desmond Ricks and Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy each were affected by faulty and/or falsified testimony from Pauch.

Desmond Ricks was exonerated in 2018 after spending 25 years in prison, with the help of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, including director Dave Moran who vigorously fought to get his client freed. Ricks was wrongly convicted in 1992 of 2nd-degree murder based on reports from Pauch and another crime lab tech. They reported that bullets from the victim’s body came from a gun Ricks possessed, but the Innocence Clinic investigation found that was not the case, after the prosecutor’s office sent them photos of the fatal bullets fired from a different gun. Ricks won a $1 million wrongful conviction claim from the state.

Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy–Pauch was also involved in the case of Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy. Searcy was released to home confinement last year after 17 years in prison, under a definitive Michigan Court of Appeals ruling that was highly critical of the roles Chief Judge Timothy Kenny and AP Patrick Muscat played at the original trial and an evidentiary hearing.  The COA cited the duo’s claim that bullets from the victim’s body were “unrecognizable.”

During an evidentiary hearing, it was revealed that a .40 caliber bullet taken from the victim’s body had been concealed in an evidence envelope labeled “9 mm. casing.” The prosecution had claimed the murder weapon was a .45 caliber gun and that the bullets were “too deformed” to identify.

Darrell Siggers–One of the earliest exonerations due to crime lab errors was that of Darrell Siggers, who had been serving life without parole since 1984 before his exoneration in 2018. Siggers and his attorney Wolfgang Mueller filed a $150 million lawsuit against former Detroit police detective Joseph Alex, and the estate of Detroit Crime Lab technician Claude Houseworth. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith just denied a motion by Alex asking for dismissal of the case. Goldsmith’s ruling gives extensive information relating to Siggers’ exoneration.

See:  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Microsoft-Word-19-12521-Siggers-v.-Alex-et-al-op-denying-mot-for-reconsideration-abf-v6-cc.docx.pdf

Houseworth had testified that a bullet fragment was found near Siggers’ apartment, but a police report said no evidence was found there. Bullet casings were found at the crime scene location instead. Houseworth also testified that the bullet taken from the victim matched a bullet taken from a gun that was recovered, but there was never a match.

PAUL DAVIS/Family photo

PAUL DAVISLewis-Dickstein attorney Goldman wrote, “Physical evidence was never presented at trial; APA Suzette Samuels only admitted Pauch’s statements into evidence to corroborate her witness testimony that the deceased was shot with a .45 caliber weapon. Moreover, due to ineffective counsel at the time of trial, no experts on ballistics or trajectory were questioned with respect to the questionable collection and analysis of the evidence asserted by Mr. [David] Pauch.

Goldman cited Pauch’s testimony on paper laboratory records introduced as People’s  Exhibits 5-8, citing one .38 caliber lead bullet, a .45 caliber metal-jacketed hollow point bullet, and a microscopic comparison of two .45 caliber spent casings supposedly showing they came from the same gun. All the evidence was sent to the property section “pending recovery of a suspected weapon,” which was not produced at trial.

Goldman wrote further, “People’s Exhibit 8 indicates the two spent shell casings tested by Pauch in Exhibit 7 contained no readable prints found. These results are extremely relevant in light of facts now known regarding David Pauch and his history of falsifying and/or otherwise tampering with evidence in question in homicide investigations, such as the case of Mr. Desmond Ricks.”

DPD HOMICIDE FILE ‘DOES NOT EXIST OR CANNOT BE LOCATED.’

“It should be noted . . . that the Detroit Police Department’s homicide file relative to this matter does not exist or cannot be located,” Goldman notes. “The information as provided below is a result of years of efforts to collect what documents are available; with an impression a great deal more was removed or destroyed by their absence and/or inability to be produced. . . ”

Scott Lewis being interviewed by Fox 2 News reporter.

“Of extreme concern in this matter is the finding of the record or file being entirely void of any valid warrant, autopsy photos, pictures of the victim, victim clothing photos, blood samples, photos of shell casings and other investigatory evidence which would customarily be found in a homicide investigation file and prosecution.”

Davis hired noted private investigator Scott Lewis to obtain his homicide file and Child Protective Services records. Lewis’ FOIA request was denied, other than receiving two police incident reports which contained minimal information. An appeal was filed and again the request was denied.

Davis himself wrote to VOD about his CIU Application:

Valerie Newman, head of CIU, at rally for Davontae Sanford, exonerated in 2016. VOD/DB photo

“1. On or around April 6, 2021, I received a letter from Valerie Newman indicating that I needed to file an application with the CIU soon or my file would be closed. Thereafter, I quickly filed an application with the CIU.

2. On April 27, 2021, one of my attorneys Robert Goldman emailed Ms. Newman asking to prepare an application on my behalf. She responded back stating that she preferred to have a memorandum of law filed by attorneys.

3. On June 25, 2021, my attorney Mr. Goldman filed a memorandum with the CIU on my behalf. Valerie Newman accepted my memorandum and said my case was pending.

4. On July 17, 2021, my attorney sent Valerie Newman alibi witness affidavits and FOIA request and denial responses. She responded back that same day stating that the materials will be added to my file.

5. Since then I’ve been having my attorney check-in with the CIU once a month. I also had Claudia Whitman call the CIU on my behalf last month regarding my case and hiring experts. Valerie said to wait on the experts and be patient because it’s a process.”

One supporter says, “Paul Davis, and many others like him have been wrongfully convicted and those convictions must be overturned in an expeditious fashion, so they can be reunited with their families, where they so rightfully belong. Anything other than exonerating Davis and the hundreds or thousands more would be a blatant disregard of both the State and U.S. Constitutions, and the meaning of justice Under the Color of Law.”

Related:

MICH. SUPREME COURT NIXES WORTHY’S APPEAL OF STRONG COA RULING IN THELONIOUS SEARCY CASE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Man exonerated in ’84 slaying sues ex-Detroit cop, lab tech’s estate (detroitnews.com)

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

TASK FORCE CONTINUES BATTLE TO EXPOSE CRIME LAB CRIMES; WANTS ALL AT COUNCIL MEETING JULY 19 WHEN WORTHY ASKS FOR RENEWAL OF FUNDS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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VOD’s staff lives on limited fixed incomes or is incarcerated. We are not paid; we publish the newspaper pro bonoHelp keep us afloat by chipping in so stories on this Prison Nation and Police State, and related matters, keep coming! Any amount is appreciated.

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DEFUND THE POLICE SO CONVICTION INTEGRITY UNITS CAN SAVE THE LIVES STOLEN BY CROOKED COPS

Detroit’s police department will make up almost 29% of the city’s general fund expenditures this year. . .total police spending in 2022 @ $341 M.

Police misconduct involved in most wrongful convictions–fund Conviction Integrity Units to free them all!

Donate to Voice of Detroit  https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

Editorial

By Robert T. Hinds

Robert T. Hinds is one of Wayne County’s juvenile lifers still incarcerated TEN YEARS after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed mandatory juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). He is also fighting for exoneration based on his innocence claim, having submitted an application to the County’s Conviction Integrity Unit in 2020.

Every year, police misconduct in Michigan steals the lives of countless innocent individuals who become lifelong victims of a corrupt and shameless justice system.

Robert T. Hinds

Hundreds of innocent people like me sit helplessly in prison while the police who have victimized us are not only free but are still being paid by the state or federal government with funds that could be being used to shed light on their misconduct that led to us being unjustly placed in prison in the first place.

In July 2020, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy released a list of 34 police officers and one sheriff’s deputy whose credibility is so weakened by their own crimes or misconduct that it must be disclosed to jurors if they testify. (See current list published in Dec. 2020 at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Wayne-County-Prosecutor-GIGLIO-BRADY-LIST-12-7-2020-2-1.pdf.)

My question is: WHY ARE THEY STILL WORKING IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AT ALL? 

Currently, I have an open exoneration claim at the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). I submitted my application in April of 2020, with more than an actual claim of innocence. I provided iron-clad proof of police misconduct, including an entire miscellaneous file from the Detroit Police Department that was withheld from my trial attorney over 20 years ago. The file contained:

  • Fingerprints that didn’t belong to me. The detective lied on the witness stand and said there were not any usable fingerprints.
  • A hair follicle with root end attached that was never disclosed/tested as DNA evidence.
  • Police reports of a previous home invasion involving the victim where the perpetrators threatened to kill him.
  • A tip sheet saying the victim’s children’s mother’s new boyfriend threatened to kill him.
  • Police report regarding where guns were found that impeached the prosecution’s key witness’ testimony.
  • Tip sheet implicating the last person with the victim as a suspect.

This file combined with credible affidavits from witnesses who saw the prosecution’s witness in the vehicle linked to the crime only hours before the murder and who heard him brag about being involved in the crime and having people come to court to falsely accuse me was a clear game changer. I was sure that my case was a no-brainer.

So why am I still rotting away in a prison cell in Kincheloe, MI over two years later? Because the CIU has 1,800 applications, 1,000 open cases, and 30 active investigations. Mine is one of the 1,000 open cases that they say they haven’t had the resources to investigate because they are underfunded and understaffed.

It takes money to hire attorneys and investigators. Most recently, the CIU reported only having four staff attorneys and two investigators. That’s 250 cases per attorney and 500 cases per investigator. That’s an overwhelming caseload. Optimistically, if 100 cases were reviewed yearly, it could take 10 years to go through these cases.

Meanwhile in Detroit, the police department will make up almost 29% of the city’s general fund expenditures this year and the total police spending in the 2022 budget is $341 million. Defunding the police and reallocating those funds would help the CIU clean up the mess that was made by the police in a lot of cases. Police misconduct accounts for most of the exonerations in Wayne County. So why should we continue to fund criminals instead of funding the heroes who are exonerating the innocent?

If money is not made available to hire more CIU staff, the police who are actually guilty of committing misconduct will not be identified until it’s too late. Police are human beings, which means that they are creatures of habit. Police misconduct doesn’t happen by chance. Their actions are deliberate and consistent. My case is a clear example of extreme police misconduct.

I am happy for the few who have already been exonerated due to the CIU, but just think about the other hundreds of lives that could be saved if we valued justice over politics. How much does freedom really cost? This is the question that I ask myself every morning when I wake up still in prison…waiting. More information about my case can be found at www.change.org/freeroberthinds.

Contact @ Jpay.com Robert Hinds #410196 (Michigan)  

Chippewa Correctional Facility

Kincheloe, MI

rtsecondchance@gmail.com 

Robert Hinds’ struggle for his exoneration and freedom is fully supported by A Life for a Life Urban Initiative (ALALUI), a nonprofit grassroots organization in Michigan founded in 2013. Their mission is to advocate for social justice by creating greater awareness about the wrongfully convicted and to share their stories of innocence and humanityA Life for A Life Urban Initiative

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Robert-Hinds-Life-for-a-Life-Urban-Initiative.pdf

ALSO READ:

Government_Misconduct_and_Convicting_the_Innocent.pdf (umich.edu)

Some Wayne County wrongful convictions — Tweeted by Maggie Freleng

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 VOD’s staff lives either on limited fixed incomes or is incarcerated. We are not paid; we publish the newspaper pro bono. Our quarterly web publication fee of $435 is due in MarchHelp keep us afloat by chipping in so stories on this Prison Nation and Police State, and related matters, keep coming! Any amount is appreciated.

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(Contact editor for details on other ways to send funds, at 313-825-6126 or diane_bukowski@hotmail.com.)

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LIFER GARY BRAYBOY, FRAMED BY DETROIT SQUAD 7 COPS INVOLVED IN EXONEREE CASES, IN COURT MON. JAN. 24

DPD’s William Rice/Monica Childs Squad 7 tag team engineered Brayboy conviction, has been involved in multiple wrongful convictions

Childs cited for coerced confessions and “snitch” witness testimony in multiple cases

Rice on Wayne County Prosecutor’s “Giglio-Brady list” for running a criminal enterprise,and two counts of perjury

To watch Brayboy’s court hearing on a date to be determined after Feb. 22, go to Hon. Thomas M. J. Hathaway – YouTube

UPDATE

Judge Hathaway postponed the Jan. 24 hearing to allow the prosecutor a chance to respond to the defense’s motion for relief from judgment (filed in Aug. 2021) by Feb. 22, 2022.  The hearing should take place on a date to be determined after Feb. 22.

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

By Diane Bukowski

January 22. 2022

Gary Brayboy MDOC Photo

DETROIT —   Gary Brayboy has been serving life without parole since 1993, one of hundreds caught up in the Detroit Police Department’s “Ring of Snitches,” which snared Black men using jail-house and street informants, witness round-ups and intimidation, and coerced confessions, through the 1990’s continuing into the 21st century.

“I am unlawfully condemned to die in prison for a crime I did not commit,” Brayboy wrote to VOD. “There is overwhelming new evidence of Detroit Police Department corruption in my case, involving Monica Childs, William Rice and others.”

A private investigator who has researched dozens of such cases involving police department corruption estimates that 80 percent of Wayne County defendants sentenced to prison in the era involved are actually innocent.

Atty, Wolfgang Mueller, who has filed multi-million-dollar lawsuits for many exonerees, told Channel 7, “It was the Homicide Section in the 1990’s and early 2000’s frankly running rogue, doing what they wanted to.”

But to date, virtually none of the prosecutors and police officers responsible for these acts have been prosecuted for their crimes.

Judge Thomas Hathaway

After jumping through endless hurdles in state and federal court systems, Brayboy will appear in front of Wayne 3rd Judicial Court Judge Thomas Hathaway this Mon. Jan. 24. Attorney Adrienne Young of the State Appellate Defenders Office will argue in a supplemental motion for relief from judgment that his conviction should be vacated, and a new trial granted.

Brayboy was found guilty of the charges of Felony Murder, Armed Robbery and Felony Firearm, and sentenced to life without parole in 1993. The charges stemmed from a Dec. 1992 robbery/murder in a basement known for after-hours gambling. Larry Tennison was shot and killed during the robbery, and one other person was shot in the leg. None of the surviving witnesses in the basement could identify Brayboy or his co-defendant Keith “Mooky” Griffin.

Involved in Brayb0y’s conviction was the Detroit Police Department’s Squad 7 homicide tag team including Lt. William Rice and Det. Monica Childs, both of them linked to multiple wrongful convictions in recent years. (See Channel 7 News report at top of story.)

“During the investigation into Tennison’s death, DPD Squad 7 homicide officers arrested several witnesses, held them for days without warrants and threatened them in order to obtain statements,” SADO Investigator Julianne Cuneo wrote in a memo to her superiors.

“Brayboy’s co-defendant Keith Christopher Griffin was interviewed repeatedly. Griffin’s third statement, given to Detective [Monica] Childs, became the only direct evidence identifying and incriminating Brayboy.”

The names of Squad 7 homicide officers Monica Childs and her superior, then Lt. William Rice, both involved in Brayboy’s conviction, have surfaced repeatedly as others caught in the web of informants have been exonerated, one by one. They include Larry Smith, Ramon Ward, and Bernard Howard, whose cases are referenced in the Channel 7 News report at the head of this story.

Exonerees (l to r) Larry Smith, Ramon Ward, Bernard Howard

Also cited in Brayboy’s motion for Relief from Judgment (MFRJ) are the cases of exonerees Justly Johnson and Kendrick Scott, which also involved Childs’ actions, and an Oct. 28, 2021 Michigan Court of Appeal opinion in the case of Mark Craighead.

It upheld his claim that “potential impeachment evidence” regarding former DPD Detective Barbara Simon’s alleged misconduct discovered after his previous motions was “newly discovered evidence.” See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/COA-356393-PEOPLE-OF-MI-V-MARK-T-CRAIGHEAD-Opinion2-Per-Curiam-Unpublished-10_27_2021.pdf

Rice is now listed on the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Giglio-Brady list of police officers not to be trusted to testify due to previous convictions and disciplinary actions. He spent two years in prison on federal charges for running a criminal enterprise related to housing mortgages, and two counts of perjury. See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Wayne-County-Prosecutor-GIGLIO-BRADY-LIST-12-7-2020-2-1.pdf.

Atty. Adrienne Young

In the Motion for Relief from Judgment which will be argued in court Jan. 24, SADO attorney Young writes, “In her June 2021 interview with SADO’s Julienne Cuneo and Angie Jackson, Ms. Childs said, ‘it is plausible that Griffin was the shooter’ and she believes had he gotten a fourth statement he would have confessed. Additionally, Mr. Griffin’s statement evolved, with Mr. Griffin’s first statement not implicating Mr. Brayboy at all, to ultimately pinning Mr. Brayboy as the principal.”

The motion claims Detective Childs had “a common scheme of misconduct that involves multiple interviews and recording the final, false statement in her own writing. The same steps were taken in this case.”

It concludes, “Gary Brayboy respectfully requests that this Court grant the motion for relief from judgment, vacate his judgment of conviction, and order a new trial.”*

Related:

Ring of Snitches: How Detroit Police Slapped False Murder Convictions on Young Black Men (truthout.org)

Innocent Blacks Seven Times More Likely To Be Wrongfully Convicted Of Murder Than Innocent Whites – The Seattle Medium

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

WRONGFULLY CONVICTED AND UNLAWFULLY IMPRISONED: MICHIGAN RANKS 2D IN U.S. WITH EXONERATIONS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

RAMON WARD, FAMILY CELEBRATE RELEASE AFTER 27 YRS. ON FALSE CONVICTION; WHEN WILL 100’S MORE BE FREED? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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 VOD’s staff lives either on limited fixed incomes or is incarcerated. We are not paid; we publish the newspaper pro bono. Help keep us afloat by chipping in so stories on this Prison Nation and Police State, and related matters, keep coming! Any amount is appreciated.

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SIGN THE PETITION FOR CITY OF DETROIT RETIREES TO GET $1400 PENSION ‘BOOSTER SHOT’

City of Detroit Retirees Deserve $1400 Pension “Booster Shot”

 

2021 COVID INDUCED INFLATION CUT PENSIONS SEVEN PERCENT (7%)

 

Voice of Detroit normally covers stories involving mass incarceration and police abuse. But Editor Diane Bukowski is a City of Detroit retiree, and strongly endorses petition.

Sign the petition

City of Detroit General Fund Retirees have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Retirees are among the most vulnerable population due to declining health and income. The death rate of Detroit General Fund Retirees during the pandemic has exceeded expectations by 151%.

Inflation for 2021 was at a forty year high of 7%. This surge has decreased retiree buying power substantially. For comparison, from 2015 to 2020 retirees lost only 9% in six years from inflation increases.  General Fund Retirees stopped receiving cost of living adjustment due to the bankruptcy plan of adjustment in 2014. (Police and fire retirees did not lose all of their cost of living protection).

Retirees are having a hard time providing for their basic needs during the pandemic.

Detroit’s elected officials could use some of the $826 million Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to rescue Detroit’s General Fund Retirees.

There are about 11,200 General Fund retirees with an average yearly pension of $20,000 (2020 figures). A 7% “booster shot” one-time payment would be $1,400 to rescue these retirees from this severe loss.

The cost to the City would be less than $16 million – less than 2% of the total American Rescue Plan package. This is what these funds were intended to do!

We call on Detroit’s Mayor and City Council to take immediate action to protect City of Detroit General Fund retirees who gave so much to the city in their years of service by rescuing General Fund Retirees with a $1,400 pension “booster shot.”

Sign the petition

 Visit moratorium-mi.org for sample resolution and more

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JUDGE DENIES BRADY MOTIONS ON KILLER’S CONFESSION AT EWING-SEARCY HEARING, MAY RECONSIDER MARCH 9

Above: families who say their loved ones were wrongly convicted rallied outside the Frank Murphy Hall in Detroit June 4; Darrell Ewing and Derrico Searcy’s brother Shawn Searcy of “Operation Liberation” organized rally.

Judge says “Brady” ruling does not apply in Ewing-Searcy case, upholding prosecutor, but she will entertain further motions, next hearing March 9

Defense atty. Blase Kearney: “The court’s denial of the ability to have an evidentiary hearing is tantamount to adopting the prosecutor’s factual representation—a finding of fact.”

To donate to VOD, go to

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By Diane Bukowski

January 18, 2022 

Judge Darnella Williams- Claybourne

DETROIT—During a Jan. 10 pre-trial hearing on the cases of Darrell Ewing and Derrico Searcy, Wayne Co. 3rd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Darnella Williams-Claybourne denied two defense motions to dismiss and/or compel further evidence disclosure under Brady v. Maryland. That is a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which mandates that prosecutors and law enforcement officials promptly provide all exculpatory evidence, favorable to the defense.

In the motions, defense attorneys Lillian Diallo and Blasé Kearney contended that the prosecution concealed Tyree Washington’s Feb. 2017 Mirandized, videotaped confession to the 2009 murder of J.B. Watson, the crime for which Ewing and Searcy were convicted. That confession was given to the Michigan State Police and forwarded to the Detroit Police Department and the Wayne County Prosecutor.

As part of his motion, Kearney asked the Court to hold an investigative evidentiary hearing on the case, but the Judge also denied that request.

The Michigan Court of Appeals vacated the Ewing and Searcy convictions October 22, 2020, in the wake of previous rulings by multiple federal and state courts that the two Detroit men deserved a new trial, because jury members illegally engaged in gang-related research about Washington on the internet that led them to discount third-person testimony about his confession.

Top: Darrell Ewing (l) Derrico Saarcy (r) Bottom: Wayne County Pros. Kym Worthy

“I don’t see where Brady applies to post-conviction settings,” Judge Williams-Claybourne said, noting she had extensively researched applicable case law.  “Even if Brady does apply—from what I saw—I did not see where dismissal is the remedy.”

The Judge did grant a request from Ewing’s attorney Lillian Diallo to require the prosecution to provide all copies of the Detroit Police Department’s “progress notes” on the cases by January 19,  and left the way open for defense motions to reconsider her rulings. She set a date of March 9 at 1 p.m. for the next hearing.

“Unable to let the record go uncorrected, I had to mention during the hearing that there are numerous cases that hold Brady applies post-conviction,” Ewing told VOD. “That’s not to exclude the ethical duties of the prosecutor to adhere to the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct 3.8(f).” (See box below right.)

Ewing has been studying the law and taking courses for a paralegal degree since his incarceration in 2010.

He continued, “God willing, on March 9th, when she gives her ruling, I hope the honorable Judge, who graciously gave us another shot, will use all of the power at her discretion to send a strong message to the Wayne County Prosecutor repudiating this travesty of justice: ‘enough is enough!'”

Ewing noted that Wayne County has the second highest number of wrongful convictions in the country, and asked, “How many more innocent men and women are they doing this to?”

Ewing and his family helped organize a rally June 4 outside of the Frank Murphy Hall attended by hundreds of others who say their loved ones have been wrongfully convicted.

During the hearing, Ewing spoke directly, citing two cases which he said showed there were rulings that Brady is applicable in similar situations. VOD’s review of one case, Tennison v. City and County of San Francisco, 2009, found it eerily similar to the circumstances of the Ewing-Searcy conviction.  In 1989, J.J. Tennison and Antoine Goff were convicted for the murder of a young man which the prosecution claimed was related to gang wars. The only witnesses who testified at trial to identify the defendants were two children, girls 11 and 14 years old. Another man afterwards confessed to the murder.

Courts thew out the convictions in proceedings after trial, citing Brady. Tennison later won a $4 million wrongful conviction settlement and was fully exonerated after the prosecutor filed for dismissal of the case.

They said the prosecution did not report a $2500 payment to the witnesses under a “secret witness” program,  and concealed the Mirandized confession of another man to the crime.

During the four-hour hearing, Judge Williams-Claybourne cited many cases that she said led her to believe that Brady does not apply in post-conviction proceedings, such as District Attorney’s Office for the 3rd Judicial District v. Osborne (U.S.2009). See link below story.

The defense countered that the ruling in Osbourne was basically that Brady was not the proper forum for the case, not that Brady was barred from all post-conviction proceedings.

She also cited a 2013 Court of Appeals opinion on the case, saying the courts already knew of Washington’s confession.

She quoted from the opinion in part, “Washington contended that the prosecutor in this matter indicated a lack of interest in having him testify at Ewing’s and Searcy’s trial ‘because they had who they wanted. Washington indicated a willingness to waive his ‘Fifth Amendment rights of self- incrimination’ and to “tak[e] full responsibility and consequences of my actions.'” See:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/People-v.-Searcy-Ewing-COA-2013.pdf

A review of that opinion shows that most of it related to the juror misconduct, deeming it harmless error. The entire opinion was overturned later, in opinions by U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood and the Sixth Circuit Court, which cited the juror misconduct and ordered an evidentiary hearing on the case.

In 2019, Wayne 3rd Circuit Judge Michael Hathaway ordered a new trial for Ewing and Searcy. His ruling was strongly upheld by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Asst. Prosecutor Kam Towns contended that dismissal of the case is not a proper remedy, and neither is an evidentiary hearing, in part because witnesses testified at the 2010 trial that they knew Washington was responsible for the murder of J.B. Watson.

Wayne Co. AP’s Kam Towns (l), Jon Wojtala (r).

“We provided all the exculpatory information to the defense,” she said, claiming that neither she nor AP Jon Wojtala knew of the 2017 confession by Washington to the State Police until they received the criminal case file from the Detroit police officer in charge in 2020.

“It is important to understand that the entire basis for appeal had to do with jury misconduct, Towns said. “There is nothing in case law that can support an evidentiary hearing. . . The remedy is a new trial, based on the rogue actions of jurors. Not the fact that the jury listened to alleged confession of Mr. Washington and still convicted him.”

According to trial transcripts reviewed by VOD, Washington himself did NOT testify at trial, which would have allowed the jury to hear from him directly and judge his demeanor. Despite claims in the affidavit presented by his attorney to Towns that he would testify, he took the Fifth Amendment and did not. He did provide a videotaped interview to Private Investigator Scott Lewis, six months after he gave his confession to the Michigan State Police.

Searcy’s attorney Blase Kearney said regarding his motion to compel, that the legal claims in addition to Brady also include a due process violation, [a U.S. constitutional issue], and Michigan Court Rules related to discovery and professional conduct.

Attys. Blase Kearney, Neighborhood Legal Defense (l), Lillian Diallo, Legal Warriors, PLLC (r).

“I think that the court’s denial of the ability to have an evidentiary hearing is tantamount to adopting the prosecutor’s factual representation—a finding of fact. . . The Officer in Charge (OIC) is not conducting any further investigation—that’s WRONG. . .the government has decided not to act to investigate further. That adds an element of nefariousness to the OIC. There are questions that have a constitutional character to them, including factual questions. That requires an evidentiary hearing.”

Judge Williams-Claybourne cited the original Brady ruling only, but did not refer to subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that expanded the scope of Brady, including Cone v. Bell (U.S. 2009): A prosecutor’s pre-trial obligations to disclose favorable or impeaching evidence “may arise more broadly under a prosecutor’s ethical or statutory obligations” than required by the Brady/Bagley post-conviction “materiality” standard of review.  A “prudent prosecutor [should] err on the side of transparency, resolving doubtful questions in favor of disclosure.” (Below)

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US SUPREME COURT Rulings on Brady violations 

Brady v. Maryland (U.S. 1963) held that a prosecutor under the 5th and 14th Amendments has a duty to disclose favorable (exculpatory) evidence to defendants upon request, if the evidence is “material” to either guilt or punishment. 

Giglio v. United States (U.S. 1972): Required reversal of conviction due to non-disclosure of immunity agreement given to prosecution witness; “evidence of any understanding or agreement as to a future prosecution would be relevant to [co-conspirator’s] credibility and the jury was entitled to know of it.” Said “impeachment” evidence on witnesses is to be treated as exculpatory evidence under Brady.

United States v. Agurs (U.S. 1976): Prosecutor has a due process duty to disclose evidence about a victim’s criminal record, with noted exceptions.

United States v. Bagley (U.S. 1985): A prosecutor’s duty to disclose material favorable evidence exists regardless of whether the defendant makes a specific request. “Favorable evidence” is “material” if there is a reasonable probability that disclosure of the evidence would have produced a different outcome at trial.

Kyles v. Whitley (U.S. 1995): Accused entitled to a new trial because the prosecution’s failed to comply with the due process obligation to disclose material evidence favorable to the accused. That evidence raised a reasonable probability that its disclosure would have produced a different result. Even if the prosecutor was not personally aware of the evidence, the State is not relieved of its duty to disclose because “the State” includes, in addition to the prosecutor, other lawyers and employees in his office and members of law enforcement. 

Strickler v. Greene (U.S. 1999): A Brady violation occurs when: (1) evidence is favorable to exculpation or impeachment; (2) the evidence is either willfully or inadvertently withheld by the prosecution; and (3) the withholding of the evidence is prejudicial to the defendant. 

Cone v. Bell (U.S. 2009): A prosecutor’s pre-trial obligations to disclose favorable or impeaching evidence “may arise more broadly under a prosecutor’s ethical or statutory obligations” than required by the Brady/Bagley post-conviction “materiality” standard of review.  A “prudent prosecutor [should] err on the side of transparency, resolving doubtful questions in favor of disclosure.” 

District Attorney’s Office for the 3rd Judicial District v. Osborne (U.S.2009): Prosecution’s duty to disclose applies only to evidence suppressed at trial, not evidence suppressed post-conviction. In this case, Plaintiff sought post-conviction release of DNA evidence through a civil lawsuit although he had not pursued the state’s established remedies for release. The USSC said Brady v. Maryland was not the proper format for Osborne to bring his complaint.

Smith v. Cain (U.S. 2012): Impeachment evidence must be disclosed when other evidence is not strong enough to support conviction. 

Wearry v. Cain (U.S. 2016): The prosecution’s failure to disclose material evidence violated the death row inmate’s due process rights because the newly revealed evidence sufficed to undermine confidence in the inmate’s conviction.  The only evidence directly tying the inmate to capital murder were two witnesses’ “dubious” and “suspect” testimony.

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Related:

The cases of Ewing and Searcy have been featured on various national wrongful conviction websites, including a series of six episodes in which legal criminal conviction experts have reviewed the Ewing-Searcy case and found it woefully wanting in evidence to convict.

Darrell Ewing | Actual Innocent Prisoners

Rico Searcy | Actual Innocent Prisoners

Undisclosed Podcast (undisclosed-podcast.com)

https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/post/episode-8-darrell-ewing

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Related documents:

U.S. SUPREME COUT RULING BRADY V. MARYLAND: at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Brady-v.-Maryland-__-373-U.S.-83-1963-__-Justia-US-Supreme-Court-Center.pdf

Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct: at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Rule-3.1-3.9-Advocate-Mich.-R.-Profl.-Cond.-3.1-3.9-_-Casetext-Search-Citator.pdf

District Attorney’s Office for Third Judicial District v. Osborne:  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/08-6-District-Attorneys-Office-for-Third-Judicial-Dist.-v.-Osborne-06_18_09.pdf

Tennison v. City and County of San Francisco: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Tennison-v.-City-and-County-of-San-Francisco-570-F.3d-1078-–-CourtListener.com_.pdf

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

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 VOD’s staff lives either on limited fixed incomes or is incarcerated. We are not paid; we publish the newspaper pro bono. Help keep us afloat by chipping in so stories on this Prison Nation and Police State, and related matters, coming! Any amount is appreciated.

      DONATE TO VOD

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

(Contact editor for details on other ways to send funds, at 313-825-6126 or diane_bukowski@hotmail.com.)

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VIRTUAL MASS MEETING RE: INCREASING CCW ARRESTS OF BLACKS IN DETROIT V. WHITE ARRESTS SAT. JAN. 29 @ 4 P.M.

Bit.ly/DPDstopandfrisk

Go to the link above to register with email address to attend the meeting.

 

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