Free Criminalized Domestic Violence Survivor Latoya Dickens

Free Criminalized Domestic Violence Survivor Latoya Dickens

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the devi co-op started this petition to District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson

[Content warning: graphic descriptions of violence and abuse]

Latoya Dickens suffered 14 years of documented abuse at the hands of her husband. She has now spent more than 20 years in prison for taking his life after he physically stopped her from leaving the relationship. Latoya met her husband when she was only 13 years old and he was 17. Over the course of their relationship, he raped her when she did not want to have sex during her pregnancies and frequently hit her with enough force to leave her with bruised lips and black eyes. Once, he threw her off a porch when she was eight months pregnant and then continued to hit her in the face with his fists. He frequently demeaned and insulted Latoya, and he controlled her by preventing her from talking to other people or going places by herself.

In 1999, after years of abuse that were so harmful to Latoya she even considered suicide, Latoya responded to one of her husband's outbursts by attempting to leave the relationship. Her husband prevented her from doing so, and a struggle ensued that resulted in Latoya taking her husband's life. She was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and sentenced to life in prison for felony murder. Though Latoya is currently eligible for parole, she has yet to be reunited with her family in the free world, including her three daughters and eleven grandchildren. 

Latoya’s legal battle was marked by a series of injustices and errors. During the three years she was held at Gwinnett County Jail, she only met with her attorneys twice. She was only able to meet with an expert on Battered Woman’s Syndrome after she insisted on it, and she met with the expert just once. The expert did not even testify at her trial. At the trial, Latoya’s attorney was unable to secure witness testimony from a woman who could attest to Latoya’s husband’s abuse against herself and other women she knew in Louisiana (where Latoya’s husband had previously lived). The trial judge also acted improperly, behaving as a prosecutor—he prevented one witness from giving testimony by declaring it was hearsay before anyone had even objected. 

the devi co-op, a grassroots coalition of Georgia community members seeking to liberate criminalized survivors of gender-based violence, calls on District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson to support the release of Latoya Dickens through the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole. In addition to her writing a letter of support for Latoya's parole release, we urge DA Austin-Gatson to initiate the process of resentencing Latoya to a sentence length she has already served. Sign this petition to tell DA Austin-Gatson to #BringLatoyaHome.

Please note: if you choose to sign, change.org provides an opportunity for you to 'chip in' money. This money goes to promote the petition on change.org so that it reaches more people, not to Latoya. You can find more petitions at https://www.thedevicoop.org/survivor-defense/survivor-stories-and-petitions/ 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!