And the notorious Scott Sanford (the Worst of the Worst)
All Defenders are white
Overseeing these Defenders are the County Commissioners who refuse to take action
Overseeing the Commissioners is Whirlpool and everyone knows the corporation's position regarding the courthouse role in African-American removal from Benton Harbor for land development
These Berrien County public defenders have sent more people to prison than most judges. Rev. Pinkney has not witnessed one of these men ever win a case in his ten years of court watching. They work hand-in-glove with judges and prosecutors. The Michigan ACLU has named this court the worst in the state.
In 2005 the Michigan ACLU sent a group of New York law students to study the courthouse. They were so shocked that they returned several more times to verify what they had seen and heard.
All public defenders in Berrien County are picked by the judges, undermining the independence of the public defender system from the court.
News: Right to Counsel may have a chance in Michigan
In the latest twist in the truly bizarre history of an important 2007 lawsuit, the Michigan supreme court recently reversed its reversal of a previous ruling to allow a legal challenge to the state's woefully inadequate indigent defense system to move forward.
The lawsuits were filed by the ACLU of Michigan on behalf of the indigent criminal defendants in Berrien, Genesee, and Muskegon counties alleging that the state's public defender system is so inadequate that it violates the Sixth Amendment guarantee of the right to counsel.
In April 2010 the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously rejected the state's motion to dismiss the case. Three months later, the court inexplicably reversed that unanimous ruling and dismissed the case. Three weeks ago, it reversed itself again, dismissing their July order. They sent the case to the lower court for a full trial.
News: McGinnis Murder Case May Re-Open in Berrien County
The Eric McGinnis murder case just might re-open. A witness has come forward. Berrien County Judge Dennis Wiley was one of the last people to see McGinnis alive. Rev. Pinkney suspects Wiley and believes this is why he drinks, even on the bench. Stay tuned for more information.
In 1991 McGinnis was badly beaten and murdered. He was an African-American teenager, age 16, from Benton Harbor who had been dating a white St. Joseph girl. She became an outcast in St. Joe and was eventually forced to leave town.