Saturday, January 14, 2017

Support Requested for Fellow Inmate

Mr. Juan Hawkins is having a tough time, having lost his cousin a few weeks ago. He is a fellow inmate with Rev. Pinkney at their level I (lowest security level) facility. Rev. Pinkney requests that supporters send Juan letters/cards of support. Also, if you are willing, Juan would like a longer-term pen pal. Connection to the outside is so important for morale.

You can write to Juan at:
Juan Hawkins, #261184
Brooks C.F.
2500 S. Sheridan Dr.
Muskegon, MI 49444

Friday, January 13, 2017

Rev. Edward Pinkney's Work Pays Off!

Berrien County Hires New Chief Public Defender

Berrien County recently introduced the new Berrien County public defender after Rev. Edward Pinkney, along with BANCO and allies, advocated for over 15 years for a public defender's office. This is a major victory for the people!

Eight new defense attorneys, who will represent indigent clients as part of Berrien County's first public defenders office, were introduced to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners last month. During the commisioners' administration committee meeting, Prosecutor Mike Sepic said he might need more prosecutors to keep up with an increased workload.

In over 20 years, court-appointed attorneys Ernest White, Scott Sanford, Richard Sammis, Fuller, and James Jessie never won a single case in Berrien County on behalf of indigent defendants. This group refused to file any motion for the defendants. This very same group worked with former prosecutors Jim Cherry and Art Cotter, and now prosecutor Mike Sepic, to send as many defendants as possible to prison.

Berrien County provided the poorest quality of legal defense through 15 to 18 contract attorneys who handled about 5,000 felony and misdemeanor cases per year.

First Rev. Pinkney argued for over 15 years and then the statewide commission took up the argument for an indigent defense system with a lower case load and independent of the judges and the court, who previously ran the Berrien County indigent defense system.

Chief Public Defender Carl Macpherson selected his team from 50 applicants and 20 finalists, who were interviewed. Among the new attorneys are Jennifer Lamp, a Jackson County attorney who has been practicing for 15 years and Stephanie Farkas of Oakland County with six years of experience. The other attorneys are Ryan Seale of Kent County who has five years' experience practicing law, Jonathan Baber of Wayne County with three years, Brandon Barthelemy of Kenty County with one year, Jennifer Field with one year, and Kaitlin Locke of Kent County with six months.

Macpherson, a University of Michigan graduate, has worked in criminal defense systems in Washington, D.C., Portland, OR, and Washtenaw County in Michigan.

This is the very first step. Mr. Macpherson must be strong and committed to justice for all. He has to deal with the power of the land grabbing, job out-sourcing, blood-sucking criminal enterprise of Whirlpool Corporation that has its headquarters in Benton Harbor.

Mr. Macpherson must also stand tall and deal with the corrupt judges. Judge Dennis Wiley, Judge Charles LaSata, Judge Schoffield, Judge Art Cotter, Judge Angela Pasula, and we cannot forget the most corrupt of all prosecutors, Mike Sepic.

County Commissioner Bill Chickering said the wild card is the (corrupt) judges and how the judges react to the new system.

We must confront the corrupt justice system. Let's make this struggle a victory for all the victims of the corrupt criminal justice system in every city and town in America.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Brandon Hall Sentenced to Only 30 Days for 10 Felony Counts of Election Fraud

The sentence handed down Tuesday to Brandon Hall demonstrates without a doubt the disparities in the (in)justice system. The 27-year-old from Grand Haven was convicted in November on 10 felony counts of election fraud. This was after admitting that he and a friend conspired to forge countless signatures on the petition to get attorney Chris Houghtaling on the ballot in 2013.

Hall, a young white man, enjoyed his freedom over the past four years, during which he ran for a state House seat and volunteered for Donald Trump's campaign--which has raised more calls for a recount of Michigan's presidential votes. In 2010, Hall was convicted of stealing from a school fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society, while serving on the Grand Haven school board.

Yet after admitting to blatantly and intentionally forging signatures on a ballot petition, Hall was sentenced to only 30 days in prison. The Michigan State Police investigator, Lt. Greg Poulson, said he thought Hall's sentence was "appropriate."

In contrast, Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, a Black community organizer for racial and social justice, was convicted of five felony counts of election fraud and sentenced to two-and-a-half to ten years in prison. He maintains his innocence to this day and continues to fight to overturn his conviction. The district, appeals, and supreme courts of Michigan refused all petitions for bond pending appeal for Rev. Pinkney, despite acknowledging that he posed no flight risk whatsoever.

Hall and his friend Zachary Savage (who was not charged in exchange for his testimony) both maintain that the would-be judicial candidate Houghtaling was aware of the forgeries, but Houghtaling has not been charged and continues to practice law in Ottawa County. A commenter wrote: "Houghtaling should be in jail for more than just this one crime, lawyers don't go under oath unfortunately."

For more: Grand Haven Tribune: "Hall Gets 30 Days in Jail"
Grand Haven Tribune: "Jury finds Brandon Hall guilty of election fraud"
Michigan Radio: "After long legal battle, GOP blogger gets 30 days in jail for forging voter signatures"

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Long Range Master Plan to Imprison Blacks

On Nixon's orders, in the spring of 1970, the Bureau of Prisons devised a ten-year "Long Range Master Plan" to expand and modernize the American correctional system. The $500 million initially allotted for this expansion--more than $1.5 billion in today's dollars--represented an entirely new phase of investment in federal prisons. The Department of Justice, created in 1870, had operated only three penal facilities for the first fifty years of its existence, although it steadily opened twenty-four more between 1923 and 1950. Mitchell worked closely with the Bureau of Prisons as it set out to construct a dozen prisons for adult men, a dozen reformatories, four women's prisons, four psychiatric facilities and a special Metropolitan Correctional Center to replace overburdened jails in select "high crime" urban areas by the end of the decade. Nixon had called for a "prototype" at the federal level that would inspire states to follow suit and the administration's strategies reverberated throughout the entire American penal system.

The Nixon administration's commitment to a complete overhaul of American prisons all but ensured the future arrest and incarceration of millions of Americans far removed from the meeting rooms of the White House and the Bureau of Prisons. Mitchell and other Nixon officials knew well that their anticrime policies would result in a significant increase in the number of Americans behind bars. The draconian sentencing measures Nixon planned for Washington, D.C., as well as the heavy-handed policing strategies he and other conservative policymakers supported, were rationalized by the idea that incarceration functioned as a powerful crime deterrent, the value of which could only succeed if punishment was certain. "Deterrence and retribution, many times overlooked in the languages of crime justice, are again being recognized as valid reasons for incarceration," as Norman Carlson, the director of the Bureau of Prisons from 1970 to 1987, testified before the House Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Administration of Justice in 1975. In embracing the expansion of the prison system and the incarceration of violators for long periods as the only effective means to protect society, Carlson and other Nixon officials believed prisoner rehabilitation was an impractical goal. "The idea that violent offenders can be rehabilitated by some combination of vocational, counseling, and other programs, inside or outside an institution, has yet to be demonstrated," Carlson argued, citing the work of criminologist Norval Morris and political scientist James Q. Wilson. Far from an inevitable process, the deliberate strategy of increasing the number of prisoners that federal officials and law enforcement authorities embraced throughout the 1970s was a critical aspect of the War on Crime.
Within the federal prison system, black and Latino Americans came to occupy every additional prison bed called for by the Long-Range Master Plan. Between 1970 and 1977, a period in which the percentage of federal inmates who were black and Latino increased from 27.4% to over 38%, the Bureau of Prisons opened fifteen new prisons for 4,871 inmates. At the same time, federal prisons took in 4,904 new black and Latino Americans. Observing this development at the annual meeting of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency in 1974, corrections expert William Nagel said, "We must conclude, therefore, that the new prisons are for blacks."

-excerpt from Elizabeth Hinton's From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime, Harvard University Press, May 9, 2016.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton Protects Berrien County's Corrupt Courthouse

We are living in a time where corruption keeps rolling in. Berrien County is one of the most corrupt counties in the whole nation but the county is protected by Representative Fred Upton who is the heir to the Whirlpool Corporation.

Sheriff Paul Bailey operated the sex to play operation in Berrien County for the last ten years. The problem is you have to play or get fired. At least 14 women have filed suits against Berrien County sheriff's deputies for sexual assault and harassment while they were incarcerated in Berrien County Jail, and even after they were released.

As reported in the IndyStar:

A federal grand jury has indicted a northwestern Indiana sheriff, his top deputy and a mayor, accusing them of collecting bribes in return for contracts for towing and other services, a prosecutor announced Friday.
Indictments name Lake County Sheriff John Buncich, Chief Deputy Tim Downs, Portage Mayor James Snyder and tow company owners William Szarmach of Chase Street Auto in Lake Station and John Cortina of Kustom Auto Body in Portage, U.S. Attorney David Capp said at a news conference.
The FBI last week raided Buncich’s offices in Crown Point, Indiana, 45 miles southeast of Chicago.
The indictment alleges that between February 2014 and October 2016, Buncich, Downs and Szarmach worked to enrich Buncich and his campaign committee, Buncich Boosters, through towing contracts.
Buncich received over $25,000 in cash and $7,000, often collected by Downs, in checks from Szarmach and an unnamed individual for towing contracts in Gary and Lake County, prosecutors said. The three men face wire fraud charges, and Buncich and Szarmach also are charged with bribery.
Snyder, named in a separate indictment, is accused of receiving $12,000 from Cortina and the same unnamed individual for towing contracts in Portage, located in neighboring Porter County. He’s also accused of accepting $13,000 for other city contracts or projects from 2013 to 2014.
The problem is these are the very same kind of activities that exist in Berrien County, Michigan, led by Sheriff Paul Bailey. Corruption is an act done with an intent to give some advantage inconsistent with official duties and the rights of others. It is the act of an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and wrongfully uses for himself his office or character to procure some benefit for himself or for another person, contrary to duty and the rights of others.

The women are being sexually attacked by Berrien County sheriff's deputies. There are more than fifty women who have been sexually harassed.

Stop all corruption inside the establishment!

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

Sheriff Paul Bailey Runs Sex to Play Operation Inside the Berrien County Jail

Sheriff Paul Bailey, one of the good old boys, is using his position inside Berrien County jail to run an actual sex to play operation inside Berrien County Jail.

The women are being sexually attacked and sexually exploited by Berrien County sheriff's deputies under Sheriff Paul Bailey's watch. There will be more than fifty sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations against Berrien County deputies.

The latest is that four more women have filed suits alleging two more Berrien County Sheriff's deputies sexually harassed them while they were jail inmates, joining 10 other women who have made similar allegations and fifty who have refused to file a complaint as of yet.

The latest complaint was filed on October 12 in U.S. District Court against former Sheriff Sergeants Brett McGrew and John McCoy who are no longer with the Berrien County department. Another former deputy, Keegan Trail, was named in the most recent action, but was removed from the lawsuit on October 19, 2016. He continues to be a defendant in the first lawsuit. If the plaintiff's attorney applies pressure to Keegan Trail, he will likely flip on at least ten Berrien County deputies.

Following an investigation last year by the Sheriff's department of his family and friends, Brett McGrew and Keegan Trail resigned and Sergeant John McCoy was fired for the sexual harassment that took place inside the jail while the women were under the Sheriff's department supervision. According to  court documents in the latest lawsuit, three of the women allege that Brett McGrew made sexual advances towards them while they were inmates in Berrien County Jail under Sheriff Paul Bailey's watch, including inappropriate physical touching, hands down the pants contact. Several of the women claim that Sergeant McGrew was able to force them to submit to all of his demands. Another woman, who was in the Berrien County jail on several occasions from 2005 to 2013, claims that McGrew continued to contact her while she was in state prison from 2013-2016 and provided money to her.

Another plaintiff charged that she was incarcerated in Berrien County jail on various occasions from 2010-2014 and that Sergeant McCoy repeatedly made several sexual advances towards her. He contacted her through social media and continued his demands, even after her release from the Berrien County jail.

Berrien County deputies here in Berrien County jail were touching the women's private parts and smashing their breasts, like they belonged to them.

The Berrien County courthouse believe they are above the law. The law does not apply to Berrien County judges, prosecutors, and the sheriff's department under Sheriff Paul Bailey, yet they profess to uphold the law and to punish those who allegedly violated the law.

As the community across the country has noted of such hypocrisy, it breeds contempt for the law. It invites every man and woman to become a law unto himself/herself.

Dare to struggle, dare to win! All power to the people. We must stop this corruption at all costs. The hypocrisy in this country has no limits.

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

More information: ABC57 and Moody on the Market

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tragedy in Berrien County

The hypocrisy of Berrien County, Michigan has no limits. I am an invisible man, like the body-less heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows; it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard distorting glass. That invisibility to which I refer occurs because of a peculiar disposition of eyes of those with whom I come in contact.

In Berrien County I have been treated, and the blacks are treated, as if they are a thing instead of a person, above all things they have denied me a fair trial. We have got to show the world we are determined to have a fair and just trial not only in Berrien County, but around the whole country.

I was convicted by an all white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth. A rogue jury that ignored the law and evidence in reaching a capricious verdict. The rogue juries include those that base their verdicts on unrevealed, deeply held prejudices. This rogue jury verdict was not based on a desire to achieve a just, fair, or moral outcome for me, but I am saying to you my friends that often the path to freedom will carry you through prison.

I was entitled to ad Direct Verdict based on the evidence presented in prosecutor Mike Septic's Case in Chief. Pinkney made a motion for a direct verdict at the close of the prosecution case in chief. Whether the prosecutor met its burden of proof must be evaluated only in reference to evidence admitted at the point. Assessing a motion for a directed verdict of acquittal, a trial must consider the evidence presented by the prosecution to the time the motion is made. The evidence presented during the defense phase of the trial has no bearing on whether Pinkney was entitled to a directed verdict at the close of the prosecution's case, just because the prosecutor questioned the validity of the claims regarding Venita Campbell made by Rev. Pinkney and three defense witnesses. This was not affirmative proof that could support the prosecution. The prosecutor had to say this to save his case, evidence does not lie, but judges and all-white juries do.

The all-white jury was led by Gail Freehling of Three Oaks, a known racist.  If we are ever going to have fair trials we must shed ourselves of fear and say to those who oppose us:  you can't stop us by shooting us, you can't stop us by killing us, you can't stop us by brutalizing us, because we're gonna keep on keeping on until we receive justice for all!    -Rev. Pinkney