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 Lisa Wallace
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Freedom For All
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Article written by Mike Palmer