In mid-August of 1989 several lives and events collided to create the situation that led to the murder of Savannah Georgia Police Officer Mark MacPhail. Although there were many parties to the events that transpired, the narrative that the police chose to pursue involved Troy Davis not only being the man who killed Officer MacPhail, but they alleged his involvement in another shooting prior to the murder and the beating of a homeless man with a pistol that was allegedly the same as was used in the shootings. I'll admit I wasn't convinced at first. But let the evidence and the course of the investigation tell the story. It's an interesting one and hopefully it can one day be used to save the lives of others who have been condemned on (at best) flimsy evidence and questionable (and then recanted) witness testimony. I have come to the conclusion, all told, that the system not only failed Troy at the trial level, that much is painfully obvious. But the real travesty in this story is how the courts failed to do the right thing when presented with reason upon reason why the original trial was tainted. I truly hope we can use this case in positive ways, and that Troy's memory can live on through positive changes within the system that just might prevent such a miscarriage of justice in the future.
He said, She said
As is typically the case in these situations, the prosecution relied on a narrative that doesn't always make sense. From their point of view, the police are looking to solve a crime, and a personal one at that since it is one of their own. However, there can be a problem with knowing (or thinking you know) the details of A and Z and now you need to figure out what happened in between. When trying to build a strong case, you may run into obstacles that challenge your assumptions about your suspect. In this case, as with others, the charged atmosphere of wanting to avenge a fallen brother probably poisoned the well and they found someone that looked good for the crime. Once that happened, everything was about making him look guilty. Cops often talk about that sense that they just 'know' when someone is guilty. I don't doubt for a second that someone on the job develops a sixth sense of being able to tell when someone is lying or hiding something. But I don't necessarily believe that every cop possesses this trait or that it is as well developed as they might think. That said, it appears that the police did everything they could to fortify the case against Troy Davis. There were other suspects, but some of these were part of their narrative to nail Troy. Below I will lay out some of the testimony and evidence and you can decide for yourself which way it points, or at the very least, which way it doesn't point.
The prosecution's case began with an attempt to tie Troy Davis to the shooting of Michael Cooper on the evening of August 18. They then alleged that Davis met with 'Redd' Coles at a pool hall, struck Larry Young with the pistol he had used, and then killed MacPhail.
Cooper testified that he was intoxicated when he was shot, and although he had quarrelled with a few people of whom Davis was one, he said that Davis, "didn't know me well enough to shoot me."
Benjamin Gordon described the clothing of the shooter as a white Batman t-shirt and blue shorts, but upon cross-examination he admitted that he hadn't seen the shooter and didn't know Davis.
Daryl Collins had said in a statement that he had seen Davis shooting at the car containing Cooper. However on cross he admitted that he had not seen Davis carrying or shooting a gun on that night. Collins,16 at the time of his statement, claimed he was told by police he would be imprisoned if he didn't cooperate with the investigation.
Doesn't seem like much so far, does it? If I didn't know any better I might think Troy was being set up at the early crime to strengthen the case of the murder.
But the meat of the prosecution was reserved for dealing with the murder of Officer MacPhail.
Antoine Williams said that Davis, wearing a white shirt had struck Young and then shot MacPhail.
Harriet Murray and Dorothy Ferrell testified to the same as Williams, but also that Davis shot MacPhail again when he was on the ground.
Sylvester 'Redd' Coles testified that Davis, wearing a white shirt, had shot MacPhail. He admitted to quarrelling with Young himself but claimed Davis was the one who pistol-whipped him. Upon cross, Coles admitted to owning a .38 caliber pistol, the type determined to having been used, but claimed he had given it to another man earlier on the night of the crime. And here I thought cops didn't believe in coincidence.
Air Force personnel Robert Grizzard and Steven Sanders were called. Sanders identified Davis as the shooter while Grizzard could not.
Daryl Collins also testified to having seen Davis approach Macphail, but as earlier, he retracted his statement upon cross examination.
No gun was produced, and the ballistics expert stated that the bullet that killed MacPhail could have been fired from the same gun that wounded Cooper. He also stated the .38 casings from both scenes matched.
In all, 34 witnesses testified for the prosecution, to the Defense's 6.
Davis denied shooting Cooper or MacPhail, and testified that he had seen Coles fighting with Young but had fled the scene before shots were fired. His mother testified that he was at home on August 19 until 9pm when he drove to Atlanta with his sister.
Appeal: (v) to make a serious or urgent request
During the first appellate proceedings, Davis requested a new trial citing problems with the site of the trial and jury selection. It was denied. In 1993 the GA Supreme Court upheld the conviction, stating the trial judge was correct in not changing the site and that Davis' rights were not compromised by the racial composition of the jury. In 1994 an order was signed for his execution.
Davis began Habeas Corpus petitions in 1994, but in 1995 the federal funding for the GA Resource Center was slashed by 70% and Davis' defense suffered as a result. In 2001 he filed his petition in US District Court. From 1996 onward, seven of the nine primary witnesses for the prosecution had changed or recanted their original testimony. The following might explain this:
Dorothy Ferrell stated she felt pressure from the police to identify Davis as the shooter because she was on parole for shoplifting.
Daryl Collins stated that the police threatened to charge him as an accessory to the crime. Remember, Collins was 16 when this happened. He furthermore stated that he had not seen Davis do anything to Young.
Antoine Williams, Larry Young and Monty Holmes all stated in affidavits that their original testimony had been coerced by'strong-arm' police tactics.
In addition to all of this, three witnesses signed sworn statements stating that Redd Coles had confessed the murder to them.
I think, considering all of the above, that we can safely say at this point that Troy Anthony Davis was absolutely railroaded in this investigation. Witnesses were coerced and recanted. The police wanted their pound of flesh, and they didn't seem to care whose it was. The primary motivation in the wake of a murder is to catch the person responsible, but that doesn't seem to always be the case. Is it a case of people being evil when they dismiss evidence that could lead them down a new path? In a case like this, is it racism? There has to be a way of keeping things fair. I always make the argument that our justice system, as flawed as it is, seems to be the best working example when used as it was meant to be used and not abused for vendettas or politics. But that isn't to say it needs no help. The blogosphere is rife with stories of the wrongly convicted, and even if half of those were bogus, it still shows the need for solutions within the system. These judges make decisions that seem to come from arrogance a lot of the time. What else are we supposed to think of the justice system when we see witnesses recant testimony due to coercion and the Judge tells us that he's sorry, he just doesn't find that evidence credible or compelling, so he's going to stick with their original statement. Not only that, a disservice was done to the memory of Mark MacPhail and to his family as the true murderer never paid for his crime.
And just so we can all say we were honest with each other about the racial implications at play here, let's take a look at this. Come on, we're all adults. But what will we do about it?
Racial disparities pervade every component of the justice system. A report from Amnesty International concluded that 77 percent of people executed since 1977 were people convicted of crimes involving white victims, compared to only 15 percent of people executed for killing blacks. A full 42 percent of the 3,100 inmates on death row are people of color. (Benjamin Todd Jealous, "Remembering Troy Davis and Ending the Death Penalty"
Walking the Long Mile
The public reaction to Troy's case grew immensely in the early to mid 2000's. A short list of celebrities and activists calling for everything from a stay of execution to a new trial to an outright pardon included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking), actor Mike Farrell (MASH), singer Harry Belafonte and Pope Benedict XVI.
Bob Barr, former presidential candidate, a firm believer in the death penalty when appropriate, wrote that the proper measure of fairness and accuracy required for the ultimate punishment had not been met in Davis' case.
Former President and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter released a letter stating, "Executing Troy Davis without a real examination of potentially exonerating evidence risks taking the life of an innocent man and would be a grave miscarriage of justice."
Troy's first execution date was stayed to allow for the examination of possible evidence and defense requested a new trial based on statements of mistaken identity. On March 17, 2008, the Georgia Supreme Court denied the appeal by a 4–3 majority, writing that the recanting witnesses "have merely stated they now do not feel able to identify the shooter", and that they favored the original testimony over the new. In dissent, the Chief Justice wrote that "if recantation testimony, either alone or supported by other evidence, shows convincingly that prior trial testimony was false, it simply defies all logic and morality to hold that it must be disregarded categorically".
Two more execution dates came, more stays, and more hearings. Troy eventually found his case before the Supreme Court of the United States in August 2009 when it ordered the Savannah federal district court to "receive testimony and make findings of fact as to whetyher evidence that could not have been obtained at the time of the trial clearly establishes [Davis'] innocence."
Incidentally, among the dissenting Justices were the seemingly deaf-mute Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, who stated a new hearing would be a "fool's errand" and that Davis' case was a "sure loser".
I'm not sure which case they were referring to. If it was Davis', I would suggest they are not qualified to sit where they do.
In response to the SCOTUS order, a two day hearing was held. It was filled with recantations, statements by witnesses that they were illiterate and couldn't read the police statements they signed, and more inconsistencies. However, Judge William T. Moore was still not convinced. He dismissed witness claims that Coles confessed to the murder unless Coles showed up to testify. In his decision, Moore wrote: "while Mr. Davis's new evidence casts some additional, minimal doubt on his conviction, it is largely smoke and mirrors. "
Troy Anthony Davis was executed by lethal injection on September 21, 2011. He was declared dead at 11:08pm. Twitter recorded 7671 tweets per second in the moments before receiving word of Davis's execution. Below are his last words.
Well, first of all I'd like to address the MacPhail family. I'd like to let you all know, despite the situation – I know all of you are still convinced that I'm the person that killed your father, your son and your brother, but I am innocent. The incident that happened that night was not my fault. I did not have a gun that night. I did not shoot your family member. But I am so sorry for your loss. I really am – sincerely. All I can ask is that each of you look deeper into this case, so that you really will finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends that you all continue to pray, that you all continue to forgive. Continue to fight this fight. For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on all of your souls. God bless you all.
Sources and Links
All images found via Google and are linked to their source websites.
If the owners of these images wish them removed, please contact us to do so.
Troy Anthony Davis Official Website
Remembering Troy Davis and Ending the Death Penalty
Listen: Amnesty's telephone conversation with Troy (mp3)
Troy Davis on Wiki
Everybody has heard of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito by now and we all have our opinions on their guilt or innocence. This case from the beginning has been all over media in both Italy and America. However, we (for the most part) have seemed to change our view within the last couple of years. Being an avid 'True Crime' reader, recognized that this case resembled that of another case, the 'Monster of Florence' and the arrest of Mario Spezi, way too closely to believe credible. Therefore, from the beginning have believed Amanda and Raffaele were innocent. These kind of coincidences seem to be a pattern in many cases we've studied, even in the few cases we've profiled on this website. Find one case of injustice and you are sure to find quite a few other cases of the wrongfully arrested and convicted in that same jurisdiction. You will find the accused in these cases are being charged with doing the same things and in some such as this are so outlandish that the media and citizens just eat it up. I always find myself saying "What are the chances?" while researching the cases such as these.
There's so much information available on Amanda Knox that I won't go into specifics on the case but have provided plenty of links at the names and phrases. Originally, I decided that because of the abundance of information I wouldn't share my views but there are key factors in this case and so many others that shouldn't be ignored. I want to go over similarities in these cases as well as many cases of the wrongfully accused and the 'very interesting' way things were handled during trial.
There is however, one major difference in this case and many other wrongful conviction cases. The brutal killing of Meredith Kercher is and has been solved for over five years. Rudy Guede was charged and convicted October, 2008 based on DNA, fingerprints, shoe prints, a confession and a mountain of other evidence but despite all of this was only given 16 years on appeal. For whatever reason, (pride an obvious factor) the investigator/prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini and his followers refuse to let Amanda and Raffaele be. And because Mignini won't let it be, and is quite the actor I might add, neither will media and public opinion in most of Italy and England.
After the murder of Meredith, the people's opinion as in so many other cases, was that Amanda was not behaving as she should. I have said this so many times that I'm beginning to feel like a broken record and again ask if there's some sort of manual on how to react after an unthinkable tragedy. I can agree that some of the things Amanda did were a bit on the strange side. However, from the beginning I have always been of the opinion that she is just a bit strange in general. I think I can safely say that all of us have known a few eccentrics and/or drama geeks and combine with this the kooky way young girls and women behave when they meet a new boy. I saw no evidence of an evil vixen or 'Foxy Knoxy' as the media put it, I saw a young naïve woman in bad circumstances with a new crush, that didn't know when to sit down and shut up.
This brings me to another huge similarity in many wrongful convictions, Amanda didn't do as her roommates did by refusing to talk and returning home to the safety of family. Her parents begged her, many times to return home immediately but she wanted to help in the investigation (and coming from a once boy-crazy girl, I'm sure leaving Raffaele behind played at least a small part in staying) and she trusted law enforcement. She wanted to do anything necessary to help in solving the murder of her roommate and friend, Meredith and she did just that, just not in the way she expected. Her actions combined with her state of mind and the language barrier resulted in the false confession, arrest and conviction of both her and Raffaele. She also named another man (her boss at the time) by the name of Patrick Diya Lumumba but he had a rock solid alibi and is now suing Amanda because of this. The fact that the investigators found a text to him in Amanda's phone and suggested his involvement to her first, during a very hostile interrogation has not swayed his very negative opinion of her.
It seems that these trials and public opinion as a whole in Italy resemble that of cases in American history but decades behind in some instances and centuries in others. The charges in this case and those of Mario Spezi can easily be compared to investigation and news reporting during the late 1980's- early 1990's 'Satanic Panic' here in America (as well as many other English speaking countries). Giuliano Mignini accused 20 suspects related to the Monster of Florence case, among those Mario Spezi of committing satanic rituals and being involved in a satanic cult. while in this case he accused the defendants of performing a ritualistic orgy on Halloween night. (when faced with criticism, he did however point out that Satan was never mentioned in the Knox case, by ritualistic orgy he meant that Meredith had refused group sex so they raped and killed her) (Hummmm? Very interesting and confusing term used to describe rape and murder.)
In both cases every little detail Mignini found important was transformed to hard evidence despite the very sloppy police and forensic work. A very, for lack of a better word, weird fact about the Italian Judicial System is that the lead investigator is also the prosecutor during investigation and trial. Here in America there have been many proven cases of the investigator planting evidence or the prosecutor withholding information from defense; can you imagine the chaos if all this power were at the hands of one man? Trials in Italy are reminiscent of 17th century America, the prosecutor and attorneys wear long robes and resemble paintings of George Washington. The trials are very media-based and include plenty of drama to boot. It is a known fact that defendants in Italian court are sure to receive a very large sentence but on appeal will receive reduced sentences or are in many cases, freed. All of this for the extra drama effect. You will also find countless lawsuits in the aftermath of Italian trials, Mignini himself has sued quite a few for libel and/or slander for things said during trial or to the public by media and the defense. Again, the word chaos comes to mind.
The charges against Mario Spezi were eventually thrown out when the 'Supreme Court of Italy' ruled that the main case related to his charges, did not exist. Giuliano Mignini was found guilty January, 2010 and sentenced to 16 months, suspended for wrong doing in the 'Monster of Florence case'. This was over thrown in 2011 for 'lack of jurisdiction' and turned over to the prosecutor in Turin, they will decide if charges will be refiled. Further, more than likely, even if the charges are refiled and he is found guilty, a felony charge is not enough to have him removed from his position in office.
Amanda and Raffaele were found guilty in December, 2009 and after spending four years in prison the verdict was overturned. That decision was then appealed by the prosecution and ultimately overturned (Some more of that drama I talked about earlier). Both are due to receive a new verdict on January 30, 2014 and they as well as prosecution will still have the option to appeal one more time. (Good lord!) Raffaele was given the chance in the beginning and I'm sure the option is still there to put the blame in the hands of Amanda, but he has not done this. Mignini claims that he is under some sort of spell (There he goes again, this man has quite the imagination) and that is ridiculous. The two had only just begun dating in 2007 and became and have remained friends in the aftermath. I pray that an innocent verdict is returned but after the way this case has gone, I don't put my faith in the Italian Judicial System. The appeal is being handled by a different prosecutor by the name of Alessandro Crini but he has based the new trial on the same junk forensics and responses given during the very hostile interrogation. Crini has changed one thing however, his argument is that Amanda had Meredith raped then led the other men in her ravenous murder because of disagreements over cleanliness. (I won't comment on that, you can draw your own conclusions) The last hope I have is that even if found guilty, our Judicial System refuses to extradite. Unfortunately this wouldn't help Raffaele as he is in Italy attending the proceedings with his father.
We are keeping them in our thoughts and hope for a good ending.
During research for this article, we discovered that George Clooney is set to star in the movie 'Monster of Florence' and it's currently in production. Can't wait to see it!
When I think of last meals of the soon-to-be executed, my mind conjures these outlandish requests that I've heard to have actually been the case. But I've never considered what it might be like to look at the last meals of the condemned as a window into who they are and what they are alleged to have done. I can't imagine that the 'last meal' ritual is easy for anyone. But perhaps for people that made their bed and have accepted it have an easier time going overboard. They've fantasized about good food their whole time inside, so it makes sense. But it also makes sense that someone who has never accepted their place among the condemned, someone who steadfastly protests their innocence to their dying breath, may have a different sort of appetite. Perhaps not so bold as to reject it altogether, but certainly not on the level of those stories we've all heard. It's something to consider, and I wonder what other behaviors of inmates could be used to help determine when someone is legitimately being raked over the coals.
I came across an interesting USA Today story that came out recently. I'm sure everyone has heard of the shaken-baby syndrome? It looks as though there may be reason to question the science used when determining this to be the cause of death. There have been thousands of convictions based on this science including one man on death row in Mississippi, Jeffrey Harvard. If there is any reason to question science used for a conviction and especially a death sentence, it needs to be explored.
In our recent post, Cameron Todd Willingham, the science used to convict was completely disregarded by top Arson scientists BEFORE his execution. This is not acceptable; A human life should never be swept under the rug. Full story on website set up by Jeffrey Harvard supporters below as well as the USA article, published January 19, 2014.
Jeffrey Harvard USA Today, Shaken-Baby article
We wanted to start the website because stories we share have had a profound affect on us. We believe the cases we've studied would do the same for many others if detailed, easy to follow articles were more readily available. Filed court affidavits are very repetitive and use language that can be difficult to interpret while news stories can be very biased or leave out pertinent information. In our search we have found a few good injustice based blogs but that isn't nearly enough! How many blogs and websites are there about criminals and celebrities?
We want to bring awareness by telling stories that need to be heard and believe to be a violation of our Human Rights and failure of the judicial system. The ultimate goal we share though is to get the chance to help those that are fighting for freedom as we sit and who are completely unheard of. The problem with writing about these cases, is the information is much more difficult to come by. Fortunately, Mike and I have lots of experience with research and will undoubtedly find the information, we just need to be pointed in the right direction. This brings me to the next case, a reader asked us to visit the website set up for their father Jeffery Wayne Wansley.
Jeffery Wansley was found guilty by jury of selling 0.89 grams (or $100 worth) of crack cocaine to an under cover informant by the name of Cleveland McCall. (During discovery Prosecution claimed they had found 39.4 grams of crack in 2 glass vials within Jeffery's house; However he was not arrested for this at the time this 'evidence' was supposedly found.) He was sentenced to THIRTY years in prison and he began serving his sentence early February, 2000.
The website set up by supporters as well as Affidavits filed by both Jeffery and the State of Mississippi show that Jeffery was arrested by the 'Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics' (MBN) for distribution and committing the crime within 1500 ft of a church. The trailer in which Jeffery lived was 1500 ft 'more or less' from Emmanuel Baptist Church thus causing him to receive the max sentence and much harsher penalties. The State also alleged to have 'substantial evidence', namely a marked $100 bill, used to pay for the drugs and a cassette tape recording of the transaction between Jeffery and Cleveland McCall.
Let's be honest here, if investigators were using a tape measure to check the distance from his home to the church, down to the inch... There was no substantial evidence. In my opinion this is not only abuse of power but total manipulation of the law. The charge implies he was selling crack on a church parking lot thus endangering citizens while they prayed.
My first thought after a quick review of the case? Guilty or not of selling $100 worth of crack in 1999 this man has done more then enough time and this is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment. There is a coalition called 'The Drug Policy Alliance' working to eliminate the mandatory minimum and racially biased crack/cocaine sentencing in a number of states. Further, the group played a huge role in the passing of a federal law in 2010 called 'The Fair Sentencing Act' and thousands of men and women were released who were serving sentences very similar to Jeffery's. In 2009 the U.S. Sentencing Commission released a report showing that there is no other drug class that puts as much focus on one specific race as crack cocaine and I have to tell you, the numbers are astonishing. At the time of Jeffery's arrest the weight ratio for sentencing of crack cocaine was 100:1 in regards to its counterpart cocaine in the powdered form.
100 to 1? For those that don't know, crack is cocaine cooked with baking soda, there are no other drugs added and any experienced drug user can cook cocaine in minutes to smoke; this is also known as 'freebasing'.
The state of Mississippi 'generally' allows parole after 10 years for non-violent offenders. Not in Jeffery's case though, when he reached 10 years his sentence was converted to an enhanced sentence (press the link at his full name at top of page to see he's serving an enhanced sentence) which made him ineligible. The status change was due to his trailer being 1500 ft (more or less) at the time of his arrest. The enhanced sentence probably also explains why he wasn't released after the The Fair Sentencing Act was signed into law in 2010. At this point in the case, I was so focused on the preposterous sentence Jeffery is serving that I wasn't sure the injustice could get worse. I'm always having to remind myself to stop thinking that something 'couldn't get any worse' and once again, unfortunately that was indeed the case.
A brief word about this controversial Enhanced Sentence portion of Jeffery's case. In the document below entitled Memorandum Opinion and Order (page 2-3), it is noted that during his Habeas proceedings, Jeffery argued that sentence enhancements such as the one he was charged with violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. The Mississippi Attorney General's Office replied with the following:
"...Most importantly however, the enhancement provision of [the law] was not applied here."
"Although indicted under both statutes, Wansley was only sentenced to 30 years, the maximum allowed under [the drug sales statute].The sentence was not doubled to 60 years as provided for by [the second statute]."
So in effect, the State of Mississippi has kept Jeffery Wansley from having a parole hearing for 4 years past when he was eligible.The courts have ordered the State to comply. So far it has not, and the issue is being argued in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Court Affidavits show that 'evidence' was introduced to jury by word of mouth, however it has never been physically present. Neither the jury nor anyone else has ever seen the marked $100 bill and the cassette tape has never been heard by anyone except the arresting officers. It was later said that the $100 bill was lost before Jeffery's arrest but the Serial number was provided in its place. Jeffrey contacted the US Department of Treasury who confirmed the serial number in fact, belonged to a $20 bill (wow, maybe prosecution didn't realize that could be tracked?). The cassette tape was said to have been inaudible and therefore destroyed but not before making the jury aware of it's existence. If this isn't enough to make you question the integrity of the prosecution, hang in there, there's more....
Lets talk about the state informant or 'snitch' whichever you prefer. Cleveland McCall. I've read many times in many different places that he is a convicted felon but haven't been able to find details on his arrests. Mississippi is only beginning to get records online for viewing and there isn't anything available on his personal history as of yet. What I have been able to confirm through filed court affidavits is the following. McCall played a huge roll in 4 major convictions.
A witness in the 1994 case of The State of Mississippi Vs Rodney Gray, McCall testified that Rodney confessed guilt to him and told him details of the day in question, while they were incarcerated together. Rodney was executed on May 17, 2011 for the kidnapping, robbery, rape and murder of 79 year old Grace Blackwell. It was a heinous crime and my first reaction was that Rodney Gray was a monster. However, in my search to find court affidavits for Jeffery's case, I came across several filed in the case of Rodney Gray and there is an eerie similarity.
Rodney's defense too, stated that evidence (DNA from the rape as well as blood) was introduced to jury by word of mouth but never verified. In fact, I saw that it wasn't even sent for testing and my guess, that's because in 1994 this was quite expensive and still took a very long time. In the 90's investigators started using DNA as a tool for 'shaking' the defendant and even evidence by word of mouth but didn't have the means to have everything tested. The other similarity is of course their number one witness, Cleveland McCall and keep in mind, this was six years before Jefferey's conviction.
At trials for two of the men Jeffery Wansley and Trellis Windham, McCall testified that he bought crack from both men and each of them received 30 year sentences. Again I couldn't believe the similarity in these cases. What are the chances?
Yet another case in which McCall was involved (even more so because McCall himself was shot in the head) Christopher "Pee Wee" Cleveland was sentenced to 17 years for Aggravated Assault. McCall testified that the defendant knocked on his door and shot him in the head even though witnesses put Cleveland (his last name is the same as informant's first) at another location at the same time and multiple statements were received naming the shooter, a man by the name of Raymond Murrell. (We in no way endorse this, but it does leave room for doubt) You know there is an issue of serious credibility if you are given reason to believe the victim is lying about his own victimizer.
In case anyone missed it, let me point out again that Christopher "Pee Wee" Cleveland received 17 years after being found guilty of shooting someone in the head. Both Jeffery Wansley and Trellis Windham were found guilty of selling $100 worth of crack and received 30 year sentences. Every single one of these men called McCall's character into question on appeal and filed affidavits. Does any of this seem the least bit suspect to you? The case has so many twists and turns it could be a written for movie script and I'm praying for a happy ending.
The Jeffery Wansley case has injustice written all over it and is probably one of the most blatant I've ever seen. People need to know about Jeffery's case and the unknown number of men and women with cases that are just like his. There needs to be questions asked and we need to do our part by spreading the word. More over, unless the state has evidence hidden away more convincing than the blase' blase' responses given on filed Affidavits, it appears that an exoneration is in order not just his release.
Jeffery was wronged in 1999 and is still being wronged today. He is the victim of the 'War On Drugs", an apparently soulless man and a less than honest investigation (at best) and he deserves Justice.
On February 20, 2012 the attorney generals office, made the following statement to CNN: "Our office has the singular responsibility to not only ensure that the guilty are punished, but that the innocent are set free."
If that's true, then ask Attorney General Jim Hood (601)359-3680, the following question:
How can Jeffery Wansley be charged, tried and convicted for the sale of a controlled substance and the State of Mississippi, never has to produce the alleged evidence for which he's charged, or prove that it ever existed?
Please help this man regain his freedom. Click the link below to visit his website and to donate to his defense.
Free Jeffery Wansley!
*references and additional information tagged at names and phrases
Article written by Mike Palmer
The way a society protects and treats its children says volumes about that society. When corruption is allowed to rule unchallenged, the effects can be far worse than just the sum of the acts committed. Society as a whole must be aware that injustices committed have a ripple effect and always come back to harm that society tenfold. August of 2011 brought a close to a very dark chapter in criminal justice when disgraced judges Mark Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan were convicted in Federal court of essentially running the local court system as a racketeering enterprise. Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 28 years and ordered to pay $1.17 million in restitution for his crimes, which included accepting (along with Conahan) $2.8 million in kickbacks from the owner of two privately run juvenile detention facilities. But accepting money under the table isn't the worst thing he did. That's just what allowed him to be prosecuted.
Office Space Redux: Meet the Bobs
Robert Powell was an attorney and power broker in Luzerne County and co-owner of the facilities and Robert Mericle was the developer. The money came to Ciavarella as a kind of 'referral bonus' for the kids sent to stay there for however long their sentence provided. Unfortunately for them, the longer the sentence, the more money the scheme made and the higher the kickbacks became. Ciavarella and Conahan agreed to shut down the county facility, which would have competed with Robert Powell's bottom line. With no local competition, Powell was receiving funds to compensate for each juvenile his and Robert Mericle's institutions housed. For each teenager Ciavarella sentenced to these institutions, he received money from Powell. During the trial,Powell (who ended up serving 18 months himself) testified that Ciavarella kept detailed records in terms of the number of juveniles sentenced to the facilities, as well as how much money he was making from Powell as a result. Court documents state that Ciavarella allegedly told Powell, "...so its not about me sending kids anymore. I know how much you're making, and it's time to step up."
The story began to break back in 2007 following a call from a very upset parent regarding irregularities and disparities in Luzerne County's Juvenile Court. Research found that hundreds of kids had appeared without counsel in front of Judge Ciavarella and were quickly found guilty and sent to live at one of the facilities involved. Most of the offenses in question were quite minor, but this had no relevance in the sentencing. Once the US Attorney became aware of the situation and came to allege that Ciavarella had accepted bribes, more intense investigation revealed that between 2003-2008, over 50% of the children appearing before Ciavarella lacked counsel and 60% of these children were removed from their homes. The scandal ultimately touched the lives of more than 2500 children and over 6000 cases. In 2009, as a result of the scandal, the PA Supreme Court vacated the adjudications of all youth who had appeared in front of Ciavarella between the time in question and had their cases dismissed with prejudice and records expunged.
The Plea and Trial, or
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