Wednesday, August 12, 2015

URGENT! Send letters to Court of Appeals IMMEDIATELY!

On August 4th, a 3-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals in District III (Grand Rapids) issued a 2-1 decision denying Rev. Edward Pinkney bond pending appeal.

This outrageous decision by two of the judges keeps Rev. Pinkney locked behind bars for even longer than the 8 months he's already served. The entire appeals process could take many months more. The ACLU of Michigan wrote in a brief supporting bond pending appeal that the trial court conviction against Rev. Pinkney is “almost certain” to be reversed on appeal. That means he's “paying a debt to society” he doesn't owe.

We know that the Berrien County trial court is a corrupt and racist institution. We had higher hopes for the state Court of Appeals! Yesterday Rev. Pinkney's attorney filed a motion to the Court of Appeals for “Reconsideration” of their decision. The Reconsideration motion points out that the prosecution made a false legal argument regarding the appeal bond issue that may have misled two of the judges to make the wrong decision.


We need you to write letters immediately to the three Court of Appeals judges regarding the Reconsideration decision. Please mail a separate letter to each judge at the District III address listed below. If you only have time to write two judges, focus on Judges Hoekstra and Sawyer, the two who decided against bond pending appeal for Rev. Pinkney.

Below is a sample letter. Copy it to three separate blank documents, add the appropriate name for each judge, print, and sign. If you wish, personalize it with your own voice and thoughts.

Letters must be mailed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE in order to reach the judges before they decide. Ask your friends and family to send letters right away too.


Background information:
Legacy of Racism and National Oppression in Michigan by Abayomi Azikiwe
No Justice For Rev. Pinkney—Again! by Philip A. Bassett

Names of the three judges:
Hon. Joel P. Hoekstra (decided against bond pending appeal)
Hon. David H. Sawyer (decided against bond pending appeal)
Hon. Douglas B. Shapiro (would have granted bond pending appeal)

Sample letter text:


Hon. [judge's name]
Michigan Court of Appeals, District III
State Office Building
350 Ottawa NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2349

Re: People of MI v. Edward Pinkney, COA Case Number: 325856

Dear Judge [judge's name]:

On August 11th, defendant Rev. Edward Pinkney filed a “Motion for Reconsideration of the August 4, 2015, Order That Denied Bond Pending Appeal.”

I am writing to respectfully request that, in reconsideration, the Court exercise its discretion and grant Rev. Pinkney bond pending appeal.

Like many in his community and across the state, I believe that Rev. Pinkney is innocent of the charges and that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice. The ACLU of Michigan filed an amicus curiae brief in which they write that his conviction is “almost certain” to be reversed on appeal. He is paying a debt to society that he does not owe. He is 66 years old and has already spent eight months in prison. The trial court judge agreed that Pinkney has significant ties to the community and poses no harm to the community.

For these reasons, I believe that anything short of granting bond pending appeal will be a miscarriage of justice. If the Court denies bond pending appeal for a second time, I believe that Rev. Pinkney should and must appeal that decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.


[your signature, name, and address]