Saturday, November 27, 2010

Double Life Sentences for $11? Som'em Ain't Right

So, will two black Mississippi women, whom so many agree have been unjustly imprisoned, now be freed?

On Sunday, syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald became the latest to raise his voice. He wrote:
"Let’s assume they did it.

"Let’s assume that two days before Christmas in 1993, a 22-year-old black woman named Jamie Scott and her pregnant, 19-year-old sister Gladys set up an armed robbery. Let’s assume these single mothers lured two men to a spot outside the tiny town of Forest, Miss., where three teenage boys, using a shotgun the sisters supplied, relieved the men of $11 and sent them on their way, unharmed.

"Assume all of the above is true, and still you must be shocked at the crude brutality of the Scott sisters’ fate. You see, the sisters, neither of whom had a criminal record before this, are still locked away in state prison, having served 16 years of their double-life sentences.

"It bears repeating. Each sister is doing double life for a robbery in which $11 was taken and nobody was hurt. Somewhere, the late Nina Simone is moaning her signature song: Mississippi Goddam."
As I'm to understand:
. . .[T]hey have served more time than many Mississippians who have committed much worse crimes: people who actually brandished weapons, people who injured or killed or raped other people, people who bilked families out of livelihoods or helped indict their political enemies while keeping their buddies and their kids out of jail for real crimes. (Hint on the latter: Read Curtis Wilkie’s new book, “The Fall of the House of Zeus.”)
But not only is their evidence that the boys were under pressure by police to perjure themselves, the belongings of one of the alleged victims was found,
 . . . two sheriff’s deputies took [prison trusty Willie ] Shepard and other trusties to The Cow Pasture to search for evidence. Another trusty, Melvin Gilbert, found a wallet containing $60 and some cards belonging to Mitchell Duckworth [one of the defendants], Shepard said.
You can find more info and links here, and you can find tons of info with just a simple google search. I'm kinda late on this myself and'll have to do some more reading of my own.

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This isn't too complicated. If you disagree with me, I'm more than happy to have an honest discussion. I'm quite open to learning new facts and ideas. I'm dying for a conservative to explain their ideas in a sensible way.

But, I do have rules, and they also apply to those who agree with me. They just get the benefit of my already knowing the fact they'll be referring to.

So, here're the comment thread rules:

1 - Use facts.
2 - Refer to policy.
3 - Don't rely on theories and conjectures. Show me how, for example, a public health insurance option will lead to "rationing" of health care.
4 - No unfounded attacks on any entity.

If you break those rules, I will edit your comment to my own whimsical satisfaction.

Lastly, perhaps most importantly, I'm not going to entertain too much pro-white/racism-denying discussion. I want this to be a space to discuss strategies to fight racism, not space where I have to fight racism. I want anti-racists to be able to come here for a mental respite. If what you're interested in doing is attempting to demonstrate the fallacy of anti-racism by repeating the same ole comments and questions and accusations we hear all the time, please do that somewhere else.

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