Their story is shocking, disturbing, yet common - African Americans indicted, prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned despite their innocence. Nearly always society's most vulnerable are affected, including Muslims by the "war on terror" and people of color - Jamie and Gladys Scott's experience explained below.
Updated information on their case and status can be found on Free the Scott Sisters.blogspot.com, accessed through the following link:
Residents of Forest, Mississippi, they were arrested on December 24, 1993, charged with armed robbery of two Black men. The amount - $11. No one was hurt. The sentence - both given life in prison, a shocking miscarriage of justice if proved guilty. They're not. They're innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt and had no prior convictions. They were aged 22 and 19 respectively at the time, and have been incarcerated since October 1994.
On Christmas eve, 1993, their car broke down after leaving a mini-mart near their home. Two young men drove them there, one they knew. The same evening, three teenagers allegedly robbed two men at gunpoint, netting $11. Police falsely accused the sisters of involvement.
Their mother, Evelyn Rasco, now ailing, believes no robbery occurred, saying from her new Pensacola, FL home:
"This has a lot to do with my family giving testimony against the Scott County sheriff for taking bribes and kickbacks that sent him to prison."
Now it's payback, two innocent women victimized. The price - their lives. The outrage - America's racist/prosecutorial injustice tradition, colluding with state and federal courts stacked with right-wing hacks, serving the privileged, damning others, putting a lie to democratic freedoms, endangering the powerless for any reason or none at all.
At trial, witnesses said Deputy Sheriff Marvin Williams "coerced and threatened them to lie." In addition, Gladys and Jamie were poorly represented, their attorneys Firnist J. Alexander, Jr. and Gail Shaw-Pierson never subpoenaing key witnesses, calling only one to testify when several knew the truth. Also, neither victims or the sisters got to speak for themselves, to set the record straight.
Further, State witnesses gave conflicting testimonies, admitting they disagreed with the sheriff's account, saying he demanded they sign prepared statements misstating the facts.
Moreover, three affidavits not introduced absolved the sisters of culpability, one written by a trustee of the local jail, explaining that a wallet later found contained one victim's photo ID and $60. He also said no robbery occurred, admitting he was threatened with imprisonment if he told the truth. As a result, Gladys and Jamie were framed despite their innocence. Sixteen years later, they remain imprisoned.
Three teenagers eventually admitted guilt (whether or not true), recanting false testimony at trial, and accepted a plea bargain in return for 10 months in prison. The victims also absolved the defendants out of court.
Appeals attorney Chokwe Lumumba later presented a Request for Commutation of Sentence and/or Pardon, arguing insufficient evidence at trial, an overwhelming amount exculpating. However, the appeals court found no procedural errors, affirming the lower court's decision on December 17, 1996.
A Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court followed, also denied on May 15, 1997, then an Application for Leave to File Motion to Vacate Conviction pursuant to the Mississippi Post Conviction Collateral Relief Act. Unsurprisingly, the High Court again was unresponsive, rarely ever affording justice to society's most disadvantaged, nearly always supporting the privileged even when guilty of high crimes of war or against humanity.
As a result, for years the family's been "shell-shocked," yet determined "to fight on," believing right will eventually triumph over wrong, freeing Jamie and Gladys. Their mother raised their children. A massive heart attack took their father from the strain.
In addition, because of poor nutrition, inadequate healthcare, and inhumane treatment, Jamie now suffers from kidney failure, other life-threatening conditions, and since January, almost weekly setbacks.
Yet she's gotten sporadic dialysis treatments and shoddy care overall, exacerbating her condition, several times experiencing shock. As a result, she's gravely ill, her kidney failure at Stage 5, the highest danger level before death.
Imprisoned at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF), she wrote:
"The injustices that have occurred are patterns within this county and their police departments," symptomatic of America's racist history. "This type of injustice and exploitation has been done to many African Americans (and others of color) who have lived in this county (and nation) for many years. They have been very successful in destroying many lives."
"What began as an implication and outright miscarriage of justice, has catapulted to destroy an entire family. Gladys was a 19 year old pregnant mother, and myself, Jamie, a 22 year old mother during the time of our arrest, conviction and sentencing for a crime we did not commit."
"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 that the people would insist upon an investigation into their misconduct and miscarriage of justice."
Civil Rights Advocate Dr. Adam Reza said:
"The people of Mississippi demand an investigation into the case of the Scott sisters, and we call on Attorney General Jim Hood to personally look into the health of Jamie Scott. This is (America. They're) entitled to their civil rights. We shall pursue legal action against the state of Mississippi if matters are not rectified."
So far, Hood assigned attorney Charles T. Rubisoff to investigate the case. Helpful information should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also contact the Committee to Free the Scott Sisters by emailing Mrs. Evelyn Rasco at:
A Final Comment
America is plagued by prosecutorial and judicial discrimination, Gladys and Jamie supporters sighting their "trial fraught with legal malpractice and witness coercion....Judge Marcus Gordon over(seeing) one of the most blatantly corrupt trials in history, culminating in (a) staggering" injustice.
More than ever today, the pattern repeats across America in federal and state courts, endangering anyone challenging power by revealing truths and defending right over wrong, making us all as vulnerable as the Scott sisters.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.