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Write to Pinkney: Marquette Branch Prison, Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671, 1960 US Hwy 41 South, Marquette, MI 49855

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rev. Pinkney was Right: It’s Comin’ to Your City Next!

Appeals Hearing Wed. May 11, 10am
State Office Building
350 Ottawa NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2349

The courtroom is on the main level. 

by Polly Hughes

Little bitty Benton Harbor was the testing ground. It was the testing ground to see what they can get away with….It’s comin’ to your city next, whether you like it or not. 
 — Rev. Edward Pinkney
What do Michigan emergency managers, water rights, illegal corporate land acquisitions, and gentrification have to do with political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney? Rev. Pinkney has been fighting against injustice for decades in the small town of Benton Harbor, Michigan. But, his activism has reached far beyond Benton Harbor, the first city in Michigan to fall under the control of an emergency financial manager (EFM) in 2010.

Read more at CounterPunch....

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rev. Pinkney’s appeal set for May 11, 10am

By David Sole posted on April 25, 2016

Marquette Branch Prison, Mich. — A three-judge panel of Michigan’s Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the case of political prisoner the Rev. Edward Pinkney on May 11. Rev. Pinkney has already served 17 months in prison following his conviction in December 2014 in Berrien County on the western end of Michigan.

Rev. Pinkney’s attorney, Tim Holloway, filed an appeal in September 2015. The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild then submitted amicus briefs supporting the appeal.

Read more at Workers World...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Questions Presented in Brief on Appeal

(Excerpt from pages xi-xiii of Appellants Brief on Appeal for Rev. Edward Pinkney's case. Oral arguments hearing scheduled May 11, 10am, Grand Rapids Appellate Court.)

Questions Presented
I. Whether there was insufficient evidence, under state law and the constitution, to convict Pinkney of forgery of recall petitions when:
(a) he did not have exclusive possession of the petitions;
(b) no one testified that they saw Pinkney forge the petitions;
(c) Pinkney did not confess to forging the petitions;
(d) the forensic handwriting examiner, from the Michigan State Police, indicated that he could not determine who made the changes to the petitions;
(e) the prosecution’s own witnesses indicated that persons other than Pinkney circulated some of the petitions that were forged; and
(f) Pinkney’s witnesses indicated another person forged the petitions? 
The trial court answered this question “no.”
Defendant Pinkney answers this question “yes.”
II. Whether it was reversible error to instruct the jury on an aiding and abetting theory when there was no evidence, beyond conjecture, that Pinkney aided or abetted anyone in forging the recall petitions?
The trial court did not answer this question.
Defendant Pinkney answers this question “yes.”
III. Whether it violated the Michigan Rules of Evidence and the Constitutional rights to Free Speech and Due Process for evidence of Pinkney’s political and community activities to be admitted under MRE 404(b) based on the prosecution’s allegations that because Pinkney was politically and socially motivated (as indicated by his political and social activity that was 100% legal) that it was likely that he committed the illegal act of forgery that promoted Pinkney’s political goal of having the recall go forward ? This question must be considered in the context of: (a) the fact that the prosecution admitted political and other First Amendment activity that was not the subject of the prosecution’s notice of intent to introduce evidence under MRE 404(b); and (b) the fact that Pinkney’s political and other First Amendment activity, that was not the subject of the notice, was unpopular with many people in the community and was not relevant to whether Pinkney committed forgery.
The trial court answered this question “no” in relation to the evidence that it agreed could be admitted pursuant to the prosecution’s MRE 404(b) notice, but did not clearly answer this question in relation to the evidence that was not the subject of the prosecution’s notice or the trial court’s written order.
Defendant Pinkney answers this question “yes.”
IV. Whether trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the aiding and abetting instruction that is the subject of Argument II?
The trial court did not answer this question, but a motion to remand is being filed contemporaneously with this brief.
Defendant Pinkney answers this question “yes.”
V. Whether in relation to the only statute that was the basis of felony counts in the Information, MCL 168.937:
(a) MCL 168.937 only sets forth a penalty provision for forgeries that are prohibited by some other section of the election code and does not set forth a substantive crime that can be the basis of a prosecution;
(b) Due Process, the vagueness doctrine and the rule of lenity are violated if MCL 168.937 – which merely states forgeries are punishable by up to five (5) years and a fine – is deemed to be a statute which prohibits forgery of any and all documents involved in an election; and
(c) where the Information fails to state an offense that can be prosecuted and there is no jurisdiction when no charges were brought under any other section of the election code? 
The trial court answered this question “no.”
Defendant Pinkney answers this question “yes.”

The Church Is Failing the Community on Economic and Racial Justice: Rev. Pinkney

Preachers Have Been Tempted

Let the truth be told: We preachers have been tempted by the enticing cult of conformity, seduced by the success symbols of the world. We have measured our achievements by the size of our parsonage. We have become showmen to please the whims and caprices of the people. We preach comforting sermons and avoid saying anything from our pulpit that might disturb the respectable views of the comfortable members of our congregations. Have we, ministers of Jesus Christ, sacrificed truth on the altar of self-interest and, like Judge Sterling Schrock, yielded our convictions to the demands of the evil Whirlpool corporation?

Gradually the church became so entrenched in wealth and prestige that it began to dilute the strong demands of the gospel and to conform to the ways of the world. The Church has been a weak and ineffectual trumpet making uncertain sounds. The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.

Martin Luther King, Jr., said:
In the terrible midnight of war men have knocked on the door of the church to ask for the bread of peace, but the church has often disappointed them. What more pathetically reveals the irrelevancy of the church in present-day world affairs than its witness regarding war? In a world gone mad with arms buildups, chauvinistic passions, and imperialistic exploitation, the church has either endorsed these activities or remained appallingly silent. During the last two world wars, national churches even functioned as the ready lackeys of the state, sprinkling holy water upon the battleships and joining the mighty armies in singing, "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition." A weary world, pleading desperately for peace, has often found the church morally sanctioning war.
I say: Those who have gone to the Church to seek the bread of economic justice have been left in the frustrating midnight of economic privation. In many instances the church has so aligned itself with the privileged classes and so defended the status quo that it has been unwilling to answer the knock at midnight. It is becoming impossible to be rid of the corrupt political and social system without being rid of the Church--God have mercy!

It is very important that we confront the Church. We must let this struggle be a victory for all who are victims of this corrupt system. Evil cannot permanently organize itself. We must stand together and confront the evil and corrupt system that refuses to stand for the people. I hope this article will help lead to the death of evil and inhuman oppression.

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

The Church Is Failing the Community

Honesty also impels us to admit that the church has not been true to its social mission on the question of racial justice. In this area it has failed Christ miserably. This failure is due not only to the fact that the Church has been appallingly silent and disastrously indifferent to the realm of race relations, but even more to the fact that it has often been an active participant in shaping and crystallizing the pattern of the race-caste system. Racism could not have been perpetuated if the Christian Church had really taken against it. One of the chief defenders of the vicious system of apartheid in southern American slavery could not have existed for almost two hundred and fifty years if the Church had not sanctioned it, nor could segregation and discrimination exist today, if the Church were not a silent and often vocal partner. We must face the shameful fact that the Church is the most segregated major institution in American society, and the most segregated hour of the week is 11 o'clock on Sunday morning. How often the church has been an echo rather than a voice, a taillight behind the Supreme Court and other groups, rather than a headlight guiding people progressively and decisively to higher levels of understanding.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against power, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand. Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication for all saints and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly. 

We must now confront the Church, we have allowed the Christian Church to lag in its concern for social justice and too often given the Church a free pass. We must stand together and educate the Church about social justice and force the Church to be accountable.

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

From Rev. Pinkney: Corrupt Partnership and the Struggle

Marquette Branch Prison Partnership with Corrupt Berrien County

Gov. Snyder is the man in charge of Marquette Branch Prison, the concentration camp of America where prisoners are tortured. I was sent here by Judge Sterling Schrock and his sidekick Prosecutor Mike Sepic, who stated in his brief that my First Amendment-protected activities could not be prejudicial in nature because they involved things like the fight for freedom, justice and equality for all, and to provide food, clothes, and shelter for the needy. Yet he argued a different story to the jury, a story that was not true, arguing that the jury should come to a conclusion about my activities that clearly indicate the prosecution had a prejudicial purpose in admitting my protected activities as evidence. 

This was a vindictive prosecution in which I was singled out under the corruption of Berrien County, Michigan, for exercising my constitutionally-protected rights. Sepic intentionally charged me with a more serious crime, seeking a more severe punishment in retaliation for a lawful exercise of a constitutional right. This all-white jury was motivated by something other than the truth.

I have been court watching for over 15 years and have never witnessed a jury of this nature. The jury ignored the law and evidence in reaching a capricious and racist verdict. The rogue jury based their verdict on unrevealed prejudices, not on a desire to achieve a just, fair, or moral outcome.

We are living in a time where truth is still important, but I know how it feels to be in prison for a crime you never committed in a corrupt system that will get away with it. We must confront the system.

The Struggle

I, Rev. Edward Pinkney, am thankful for the struggle, because without it I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength. In our struggle for justice, let your oppressor know that you have neither a desire to defeat him nor a desire to get even with him for all the injustice that this corrupt system has heaped on us. The festering sore of injustice debilitates the white man as well as the black man; by having this attitude, you will keep your struggle on high levels.

Many people realize the urgency of eradicating injustice. I hope many blacks will devote their lives, as I have, to the cause of freedom and justice for all. Many white people of good will and strong moral sensitivity will dare to speak for justice. Honesty impels me to admit that such a stand requires a willingness to suffer and sacrifice. I will not despair because I was condemned and persecuted for righteousness' sake. When you testify for truth and justice you are liable to be scorned.

In Berrien County, Judge Schrock--a man intoxicated with power and ego who transmitted an obsessive fear of blacks to the Berrien County citizens--is capable of swaying any audience in the typical manipulative manner displayed by Adolf Hitler. I despair of getting justice in the courts; I can only say that I am thankful there is a God in heaven to give real justice to the people. I believe it was easier for the children of Israel to cross the Red Sea than for a Black man or woman to get justice in Berrien County, Michigan. The Berrien County newspaper, the Herald Palladium, WSJM, News 22, News 57, and News 16--the white press--are acting as a tool for the Berrien County "justice" system and the bloodsucking Whirlpool Corporation to suppress the facts through one-sided stories that sway the community.

We must confront all who deny one of life, liberty, and justice. We must let justice roll down like water and righteousness!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Officer Basal is a menace: Warden Napel and Director Washington are afraid of officers

It has become clear to me that Warden Robert Napel and MDOC director Heidi Washington are afraid of the correctional officers, at least in Marquette Branch Prison, if not IN other Michigan prisons.

If they were not afraid, I believe they would not allow current officer behavior to continue inside Marquette, or any other Michigan prisons.

In particular, officer Basal's attacks on me are so off-the-charts unprofessional that I am left with the distinct impression that she is untrained, unskilled, and uneducated regarding her job.  Besides being untrained, she has intense hatred for Blacks.  Basal believes she is above Napel and Washington.

My message to director Washington is that Basal's behavior is very serious:  threatening, harassing, intimidating behavior which the warden keeps silent about.  Taxpayers are funding this behavior.

The problem for prisoners is that there is absolutely no one to turn to for help.  I never know when, where, or how the attack will occur; it's a very hostile situation which is out of control.

My current prison experience is traumatizing.  I didn't realize this until I thought about asking the warden for help.

The MDOC should have a zero tolerance policy for employees who break the rules and law.  Some bring contraband into Marquette Prison and should be terminated.  Stop the corruption by enforcing the state of Michigan law and state policies.  CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS MUST STOP ATTACKING PRISONERS.  STOP THEM BEFORE THEY STOP US!

Rev. Pinkney

Monday, April 11, 2016

Rev. Pinkney's Appeals Hearing May 11th in Grand Rapids!

Rev. Pinkney's appeals hearing will happen in one month! This is the big development in his case that we have been waiting for.

It is scheduled to be heard at the Michigan Court of Appeals in Grand Rapids on May 11th at 10am. There will not be any protest, but it is a public hearing and those who would like to listen to the attorneys' oral arguments may attend. Rev. Pinkney will not be present. He wrote that he appreciates the support of those who can attend.

The address is:
State Office Building
350 Ottawa NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2349

The courtroom is on the main level. Watch this space for updates.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Michigan: a state carved up for corporate profit

",,,corporate interests...exist in Benton Harbor with the heavy hand of Whirlpool"

I've been saying RICO for months regarding the #FlintWaterScandal. What becomes crucially important is that Emergency Manager Law is revealed to be a mechanism crafted with intent to remove public grievance processes and standing as tax payers. I've been looking at Snyder's EM Law as it came to be in 2011 and as it went through what many claim  to be an unconstitutional conversion from PA4 (repealed in 2012) to PA436 (signed to law at the end of 2012 under questionable circumstances). Various legal ploys have been used to remove the voice of the people, including making laws referendum-proof through appropriations. Attorney General Bill Schuette violated Michigan Constitution MCL 8.4.1 when he opined that PA11 should be brought back when PA4 was being put to ballot. Every court in Michigan upheld his opinion. 

The ties to corporate interests can be found not only in Flint's water situation, they exist in Benton Harbor with the heavy hand of Whirlpool; Detroit Public Schools / EMA and the pursuit of charter operations with willful sacrifice of public assets in property held; and there are many more connections that RICO investigation needs to unravel and pursue. Flint's water is the bleeding edge bringing needed attention to a state carved up for corporate profit.      

Stephen Boyle, mlive comment