A big THANK YOU to all who have already sent letters to the three judges of the Michigan Court of Appeals asking them to reconsider the decision denying Rev. Pinkney bond pending appeal. According to the Court of Appeals docket, at least 70 letters have been received. However, we need MANY MORE, preferably mailed out FRIDAY (tomorrow).
If you've already written a letter, ask your friends and family to send letters right away too. Spread the word on social media. Read on for details.
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! On Aug. 10, 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.
YOU CAN HELP!
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. Ideally, personalize the letters with your own voice and thoughts. You might wish to thank Judge Shapiro for supporting bond pending appeal for Rev. Pinkney in your letter to him.
Letters must be mailed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE in order to reach the judges before they decide. A decision is expected in the next week or so.
Legacy of Racism and National Oppression in Michigan by Abayomi Azikiwe
No Justice For Rev. Pinkney—Again! by Philip A. Bassett
Why Is Rev. Edward Pinkney in Prison? by Jackie Miller
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. No evidence presented at trial supported the conviction. 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]