Friday, March 27, 2009
Scott Sisters’ Wrongful Conviction: Double-Life for an $11 Robbery
Thanks to the grassroots people at ThugLifeArmy for republishing the letter of Jamie Scott below. She and her sister Gladys were sentenced to double-life in prison for a 50-cent robbery in Mississippi, a case full of Southern intrigue.
O Mississippi, do you think we have forgotten Emmitt Till, Medgar Evers, Vernon Dahmer, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney?
O Mississippi, you cannot make legal out of lynching? What kind of mind could conceive perpetual evil? Maybe it runs in the blood.
Forest, Mississippi, county seat of Scott County, home of Tyson Chicken. Should it surprise anyone that chickens are tortured to death, pissed on, and then sold to KFC... at least, according to http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/tortured_by_tyson (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
Torture, murder, and false imprisonment are so Mississippian.
The Wrongful Conviction By Jamie Scott
Fourteen years ago in a small town, Forest, MS, two young Black women, who are sisters, were given a double life sentence. This sentence was for a crime, in which they did not commit. The alleged crime was Armed Robbery of two Black men. No one was killed or harmed during this alleged robbery.
Three young Black men confessed to the robbery. They also implicated that Gladys and me, Jamie Scott, were involved and participated in this crime. On December 24, 1993, Scott county Sheriff’s Department arrested Gladys and me for armed robbery. This was the beginning of a real life nightmare for everyone in our family: our parents, our children, and especially us.
Our trial began on October 4, 1994. Gladys, nineteen, and I, Jamie, were twenty-two years old. The three young men called the “Patrick Men” because they were related. Through coercions, threats and promises they chose to turn states evidence against Gladys and me. These men were promised a lenient sentence, in return for their testimonies.
During our trial, the tale began to unravel. One of the Patrick men testified he didn’t write the statement used as evidence against Gladys and me. He testified that the police coerced and threatened him with a long sentence at Parchman State Prison, if he didn’t sign the written statement. The Scott county Police used fear, threats, and intimidation against the Patrick Men to sign a statement against us.
This man testified regarding the coerced statement on the witness stand; however, the jury found Gladys and me guilty. We received a double life sentence.
Prior to our trial, the two victims who had been robbed went to our parents with a bribe. They requested a large sum of money in exchange for there disappearance and unavailability to testify against us. However, our attorney advised our parents to cease all communications with the victims.
We contend our innocence. Our parents believe in our innocence and the Patrick Men know we are innocent.
In 1998, one of the Patrick Men wrote a sworn affidavit clearing Gladys and me. But, the courts never heard the affidavit. Our attorney, Chokwe Lumumba, filed our Post-Conviction, regretfully, too late. The most devastating and unfair thing about this is the police and investigators know we are innocent.
What began as an implication and outright miscarriage of justice, has catapulted to destroyed an entire family. These accusations and subsequent convictions have totally destroyed mine and Gladys’ life. Causing a chain reaction which has led, Gladys, a nineteen year old, mother of a seven year old daughter and pregnant with another child, myself, Jamie, a twenty-two year old mother of three children; seven, three and one years of age, during the time of our arrest, conviction and sentencing for a crime we did not commit. Before being eligible for parole, we will have to serve a total of twenty years. We have exhausted all of our appeals in our fight for freedom. We now realize we are unable to receive justice within the Mississippi Judicial System. Our hopes and dreams of freedom lie with the American people. Who can become our voice and assist us with our plight for freedom. By voicing their opinions, speaking our against this atrocious miscarriage of justice, and a court system that has denied us our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We are compelled to plead and ask for a public outcry. Attention needs to be given to public officials and a county that refuses to let justice be served.
Our situation is complex, multidimensional, and heart-wrenching. We will never cease speaking out against the disservice done to us. However, we have discovered our voice carries very little weight, especially now, we are convicted as violent offenders serving a double life sentence.
Horror, frustration and humiliation of being subjected to life in prison for a crime, we did not commit, has made both of us feel hopeless and helpless at certain times; but we will continue to fight for our lives. This is a story that could happen to anyone.
My mother, Evelyn Rasco, decided to leave the state of Mississippi due to this “miscarriage of justice” inflicted upon Gladys and me. There is a great deal more to our story than what we are revealing presently. Events which have happened to us during fight for freedom.
Hopefully, someone will find this story worthy enough to be exposed and to show what has happened in a small town in Mississippi, during this time in America. Someone may decide to come forward and speak out against what has happened to my sister and me. We pray this will happen.
This is not a movie, it is a real-life situation, this happened to real people. An untruth has taken away our lives. A life that included our parents and children (now grandchildren). Unless someone decides to take a stand against the county, it’s officials and not allow intimidation and fear to discourage them from helping us with our fight for freedom; our children will be adults before we are free citizens.
The injustices that have occurred are pattern within this county and their police departments. This type of injustice and exploitation has been done to many African-Americans who have lived in this county for many years. They have been very successful in destroying many lives. This should not be happening in America today. This is a time we show Americans what really occurs in most small towns in the state of Mississippi. We are convinced that once this chain of events is exposed and unraveled, the events that occurred, the lives that have been destroyed, the pain and suffering the citizens of Scott County have endured; everyone will be utterly amazed, astonished and compelled to assist us in our plight for freedom. We pray, the people would insist upon an investigation into their misconduct and miscarriage of justice.
The officials in this community should be exposed and reprimanded for all they have done and continue to do to others and us. Once this has occurred, and revealed; perhaps, it will bring an end to this horrific story we have endured and experienced for the past fourteen years.
We need someone willing to take a stand for our families, to be our voice and us. Also, to assist, guide and lead our mother, because she is fearful. Our mother and children need us. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
May God Bless You,
Link To Petition:
United Nations (UN), Amnesty International, The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR Justice), The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), The Supreme Court of the United States, and other International Government Institutions.
Federal Association for the Advancement of Visible Minorities (FAAVM Canada)
P.O BOX 32070 - 3651 Shelbourne St.
Victoria, British Columbia
V8P 5S2 Canada
Web Address: www.faavm-canada.org
Nancy R. Lockhart, M.J.
Whereas In the State of Mississippi (USA) - On December 24, 1993, Scott County Sheriff's Department arrested two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott for armed robbery, and In October of 1994, Jamie and Gladys Scott were each sentenced to double life terms in prison. Neither sister had prior convictions, nor arrests, nor criminal history. Three young black male confessed to the robbery, implicated and linked Jamie and Gladys into the crime; and these men also received a light sentence of 10 months in exchange of a plea bargain. Allegedly; between $9-$11, were stolen; subsequently no one was injured or murdered.
We are urging everyone to support this Petition and assist our efforts in obtaining Freedom for these innocent Ladies.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
ASK & IT SHALL BE GIVEN… SEEK
We have been seeking. Now look what we have found at:
Summer Youth Job Information
click here: http://sites.google.com/site/tcyouthinthe21stcentury/
4709 E. Lancaster
Ft. Worth, TX 76103
(817) 536-8559 (main)
(817) 536-8972 (fax)
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Thursday 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Other Empowerment HQ Locations:
1400 Circle Dr
Ft. Worth, TX 76119
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
UTA Continuing Educ. &
140 W. Mitchell St., Rm B100J
Arlington, TX 76010
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
An Eye on the Recovery Stimulus Plan
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
While the nation is suffering, economically, AIG executives have come to symbolize greed in tuxedoes, the very reason why we must have transparency and vigilance in the disbursement and management of these stimulus funds.
Although I know very little about Capitalist economics, I do know that President Barack Obama’s Stimulus Plan is designed to float all the boats on the pond, not just float the yachts out in the open seas. But wherever there is money, there is greed.
For every Stimulus dollar that comes into Texas, we are watchful, vigilant, and vocal. That people are interested and talking is a good thing. But there has been one thorn in my flesh. Will the Stimulus funds be distributed in such a way that it perpetuates age-old financial disparities, such as discrimination in employment? Will blacks be the last hired and the first fired? Or, will be hired, at all, or at a comparable pace?
I am focused on an interesting watch over $4 million coming to Fort Worth for summer youth employment, targeting “low-income” youth.
Question: How many of our poorest of the poor will land a real and meaningful job? The agency of distribution is the Texas Workforce Solution.
What makes this situation interesting is the possibility of creating a “shell population” of so-called low-income. The Stimulus money could wound up going out into the suburbs of a newly created category “low income” population. For example, those earning less than $1 million could become the new low income in Texas, just to siphon off the poorest of the poor rightful share. Although this is an exaggerated hypothesis, it is a daily scenario.
Texas is well noted for its buddy-buddy system of employment. The truly low-income people are excluded out of the loop of communications. Therefore, they know not how to access these grants and opportunities.
The American Recovery Act is wisely designed, but money brings out the “ugly”. We, therefore, need to keep our heads about us, while others are going insane and blaming it on the President. Watch the bouncing ball, not the dribbler named Magic. Each dollar is going somewhere, and not into some Ponzi hole in space where money simply disappear. Madoff created a $50 billion void that has yet to be filled..
I’m watching this $4 million, because I know whose paws are the stickiest.
Monday, March 23, 2009
End Mass Incarceration of Our Youth
The agency last biennium received about $550 million in state funding, including $100 million in one-time funding to address problems raised in a sex-abuse scandal that brought about sweeping reforms in 2007.
In its initial budget request for the next two years, the agency asked for $463 million, even though the number of incarcerated teenagers under its care had dropped by about half and officials had initiated plans to lay off more than 700 of 4,200 employees.
Also cut: Proposals by the agency to expand the number of beds its operates and leases, to open new regional centers, to expand staffing for the inspector general and ombudsman and to upgrade radios and communications gear, among other initiatives.
Senators noted that the agency has seen its population of incarcerated teenagers drop by nearly half in two years, and said the agency should shrink accordingly.
They cited as proof the estimated $99,000-a-year cost of incarcerating a youth, a $39,000 jump in two years, when the comparable cost of incarcerating an adult is $15,500.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Unemployment Taxing Texas Businesses
Lonnie Arrington is president of Fabric on International in Beaumont, a company that makes pressure vessels for use in the petrochemical industry.
Arrington said he employs about 120 people and the annual payroll is about $6.9 million. Last year, he paid a combined $14,824 in state and federal unemployment taxes. This year, he'll pay $23,532, a 59 percent increase.
Arrington said he prefers not to see the unemployment law changed because it will add to his tax burden. He hopes instead the economy improves and the extra tax he might have to pay to cover the shortfall in the unemployment trust fund is taken off.
In 2008, at a time when Texas State Unemployment Insurance rates should have been rising because of the national recession, the insurance rates paid by employers into the Trust Fund actually went down.
The Minimum Rate (often called the “preferred rate”) was only 0.10% compared to 0.29% in 2007. The Maximum Rate (often called the “inexperience rate”) dropped from 7.70% to 6.10%.
And, now the state claims that it is running a deficit. By law, the Deficit Tax Rate should kick in as it did in 2002, when Minimum Tax Rates jumped from 0.30% to 0.67% and Maximum Rates jumped from 6.54% to 8.47%.
Whenever there are massive layoffs, the business community is taxed at a rate to replenish UI Trust Funds depleted by unemployment claims.
Notice also the disparity between “preferred rates” and “inexperience rates”. The brunt of the State Unemployment Insurance Fund falls onto the back of small business. These are the companies that are projected to pay 6.26%, though not nearly as high as the 2003 rate of 8.47%, but still nearly 25 times more than the preferred 0.26%.
Mr. Arrington states: “He hopes instead the economy improves and the extra tax he might have to pay to cover the shortfall in the unemployment trust fund is taken off”, and yet he would reject the very financial assistance that would head off the Deficit Tax Rate.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Texas Governor: Wrong, Mathematically and Factually
By Eddie Griffin
Monday, March 16, 2009
Texas Governor Rick Perry refuses $555 million in federal stimulus funds to alleviate the impact of massive unemployment in the state. The reason given is that it obligates the state to unemployment claims in the future that would force Texas to raise taxes on employers.
What is obscured is the fact that State Unemployment Insurance Tax (SUITA) rates are going up anyway for employers who have laid-off workers, with or without federal assistance.
When a new company in Texas starts a business and hires employees, they pay the “inexperience” SUITA tax rate. As the business grows and employment stabilizes, they pay the “preferred rate”.
Unemployment claims are supposed to be paid out of SUITA. Therefore, the state of Texas is not liable to pay unemployment claims, unless SUITA is insolvent by virtue of all companies in Texas going out of business, or it is under-funded by virtue of a “too low” SUITA tax rate.
The SUITA employment tax favors the companies with stable employment. When companies lay workers off, their SUITA tax rate automatically goes up.
For example, our engineering firm started out paying something like 2.8% on gross wages paid. The more wages paid usually meant more profits for the company and a decrease in SUITA tax rate. Within five years, our company was paying one-tenth or 0.28% rate.
There is an enormous gap between “inexperience” rate and “preferred” rate.
What Governor Perry fails to see is that many companies that once employed a stable workforce now have a large pool of unemployed workers. By right and by law, the SUITA tax rate, for them, is supposed to rise, in order to replenish unemployment insurance funds being depleted by displaced workers.
Here is the Mathematical Miscalculations. How much will the state raise SUITA on the big companies in Texas that suffered massive lay-offs?
The governor cannot have his cake and eat it too. Whether he protects the business community or not against future unemployment claims, he forgets that there is an immediate “liability” created by recent lay-offs that must be covered by the State Unemployment Insurance. This is the bullet that the business community must bite now, with or without assistance; otherwise, the governor will find himself shifting the lion share of employment insurance liability onto the backs of Small Business, in an effort to spare Big Business from having to revert to the “inexperience” rate.
The Obama administration offered $555 million in order to cushion that burden, in exchange for a few extra weeks for a displaced worker to get back into the workforce. In theory, a worker should be able to claim unemployment benefits until they are re-trained with new skills and again absorbed into the workforce. That is the ideal.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Hit the Ground Running? Not Quite, Wendy Davis
Okay, so you all know that I'm a freshman, right?
Dang, this Capitol is BIG! I must admit that several times I have turned left when I should have turned right; I have gone up when I should have gone down...you get the picture. But there's no need to worry, my faithful friends. I play it cool. Way cool. Somehow I manage to pretend I know what I am doing at all times!
And I am proud to say that after several weeks on the job, I can now navigate my way to the restrooms, the cafeteria, my committee hearing rooms, and most importantly to the senate floor, without guidance. (Well, occasionally I do look for those breadcrumbs that my staff leaves to guide my way.)
In the hallways, I am greeted by a steady chorus of "Hello, Senator," "Hi, Senator," "How are you, Senator...."
I think to myself, "Who the heck are they talking to? Oh, wait... that's me!"
It catches me off-guard because I don't really believe in the whole "title" thing. So, I am striving to let folks here know that my first name is Wendy, not "Senator."
Please come visit me at the Capitol sometime, and wear comfy shoes when you do. I think my office is about as far from the front door of the Capitol as one can get! Once you've navigated the miles and miles of hallway, let's talk about what you care about and how I can help you. After all, that's job NUMBER ONE for all of us here in the office.
Oh...and when you visit, PLEASE...just call me Wendy!
- Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, District 10
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs puts Education into Proper Perpective
“Well, I think part of the house that's on fire is the dealing with the education problem,” he said. “Let's posit this. Let's get our banking system fixed. Let's get credit flowing again. But tell me which business is going to borrow money to expand, to add jobs, to do stem cell research that can't find the people either coming out of college today or graduate school to do those jobs. Where are we going to go? Where do those jobs usually go? Somewhere overseas, right? Does that make sense for our long-term economic growth?”
Monday, March 9, 2009
Signs of Hope & Change: USS Fort Worth
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Dear Kay Granger:
I know time will not permit our speaking at length, so first let me say: “Congratulations” on all you have accomplished in Congress on behalf of the people of Fort Worth. The Trinity River Vision, which you championed through the legislature, was outstanding. And, I see where J. D. has started on the Oxbow with money out of the stimulus package.
Great job lobbying for the USS Fort Worth, it gives us pride, especially recognizing the fact that it will be built under the Barack Obama presidency. Thank you also for helping the Fort Worth ISD get the Arts grant.
I have been hoping that the massive Trinity River Vision project would provide an opportunity for us to grow more engineers out of our educational system. We could strengthen our math-science curriculum, raise academic achievement, and produce more students aspiring to become local engineers, and keep this city growing.
I have worked with our revered civil engineering firms in Fort Worth and recognize there is a lack of diversity due to the lack of qualified engineering graduates. Freese & Nichols laid the first civil infrastructure in the City of Fort Worth over a hundred years ago and has been one of the lead engineering firms throughout its development. We need more diversity also at Carter & Burgess.
These companies will be modernizing the City for many years to come. Our children will grow up in the shadow of these new developments, like the Trinity River Vision. Shall they not have a part in the planning and design of the city’s future?
This is an opportunity that we cannot pass up. I hope you speak again with Dr. Johnson and demonstrate how the project can benefit our students. Let me assure you that the project will have our support for many years to come.
President Barack Obama has been gracious to the Fort Worth community, maybe because he has Facebook pictures with Marc Veasey, Kathleen Hicks, Donovan Wheatfall, Trista Allen, Opal Lee, and others. These are names you might recognize as your friends.
No matter Democrat or Republican, we love Kay Granger.
Friday, March 6, 2009
CoC Petition Demands Republican Governors Distribute Obama's Increased Unemployment Benefits
Please sign the Color of Change Petition demanding that Republican governors accept the increased unemployment benefits that President Obama is offering.
The country is in real trouble right now, with unemployment spiraling out of control. President Obama's stimulus plan provides money to expand unemployment assistance. But a group of Republican governors, led by Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, is trying to score political points by blocking that assistance from reaching the people who need it. It's cynical and disgusting.
These governors are playing with people's lives. They're trying to further their political ambitions while showing they could care less about the fate of everyday folks--even in their own state.
Please join me in calling them out and forcing the media spotlight on them. I just signed ColorOfChange.org's open letter demanding they do the right thing. Together, we can help make sure that in times of hardship folks get the assistance they need. It only takes a moment:
It's incredible. President Obama's stimulus package provides money for states to extend unemployment benefits for people in dire need of help, but a handful of Republican governors--Bob Riley of Alabama, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Rick Perry of Texas, Sarah Palin of Alaska, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana--are putting politics over people.
All six governors have threatened to turn down these funds. Four are 2012 presidential contenders, and they all have a vested interest in seeing Obama fail. They're attacking the President's policies to increase their own profile and cozy up to the most die-hard conservatives. They also claim that taking the stimulus money would leave their states in debt when it runs out in three years. But that argument rings hollow--state legislatures could reduce benefits to pre-stimulus levels at that point.
While these governors posture, Black folks suffer the most. In all of these states, Black unemployment is at least twice that of Whites--and in Louisiana and Mississippi, the two Blackest states in the Union, the unemployment rate among Black people approaches three times that of their White neighbors.
Please join me in telling these Republican governors to stop putting their personal and political interests above the good of all their states' citizens. Demand that they accept all of the stimulus money designated for unemployment benefits. And please ask your friends and family to do the same by passing this message on.