Support HB1246 and SB207: Texas Pay Joyce Ann Brown

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Support: HB1246 and SB207 - Relating to eligibility for compensation of persons wrongfully imprisoned. Bill authors are Representative Rafael Anchia (HB1246) and Senator Royce West (SB207) --  28 years later, the state of Texas has yet to compensate Joyce Ann Brown for her wrongful incarceration. Texas current law time-bars Joyce Ann Brown from seeking restitution.  #TexasPAYJoyceAnnBrown 

I am Koquice Spencer the “only” daughter of Joyce Ann Brown. Because of my mothers’ proven earthly strength—I have faith that she wants me to continue her fight for restitution from the state of Texas.  Today, my mother is mourned by my brother, 12 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and 15 loving siblings. My uncle John "Jig" Spencer Sr., passed seven months after my mother in January 2016, and her mother my maternal grandmother Ruby “MaDear” Kelley recently passed December 2016.

I’m not asking the state of Texas to pay for my mother’s death but I am asking the state of Texas to reciprocate for her nine years, five months and 24 days of “wrongful incarceration.” There can be no doubt that my mother Joyce Ann Brown is worthy and should receive the same restitution consideration as those currently receiving relief.

I thank Representative John Smithee, Chair, Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee for holding hearings for HB1246. I now ask the Chair  to vote out HB1246. And, I'm asking Senator Joan Huffman, Chair, State of Affairs Committee, to grant a hearing and bring SB 207 to a vote.

Background

May 6, 1980, a robbery and murder was committed. Accused, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison for a murder she did not commit was the beginning of a nine-year nightmare for Joyce Ann Brown. Joyce began serving time in the Texas Department of Corrections. Joyce never gave up even with the tragic death of her son Lee Jr. With the help of Jim McCloskey and Centurion Ministries, continuing support of her court appointed attorney Kerry Fitzgerald of Dallas, and national media exposure from 60 Minutes (CBS); on Valentine’s Day, 1990, the charges were dropped and Joyce Ann Brown was freed! This judicial injustice belongs to yesterday's Texas lawmakers.

In 1993, Ms. Brown founded Mothers (Fathers) for the Advancement of Social Systems Inc. (MASS, Inc.), a 501(C) (3) organization effectively providing community-based programs to those least likely to obtain help elsewhere. The vision to build an organization on the cornerstone of Justice and Equality began when Joyce Ann Brown was released from prison. Her initial goal was simply to nurture change in an inequitable judicial system by supporting the wrongfully convicted. However, her passion to support others who had lost their voice in the community soon led her to expand the mission of the organization to include: helping those being released from prison readjust to life without bars and become productive law-abiding citizens; providing support for children and families of adult offenders who are themselves at high risk of continuing the cycle of crime and poverty; improving economic opportunity by promoting educational achievement, job development and housing availability and public advocacy of the Innocence in Prison programs. 

October 2009, Ms. Brown was recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives with a Congressional Record honoring her 20 years of Freedom and Fighting for Justice. August 2005, under the leadership of Ms. Brown, MASS began immediately helping Hurricane Katrina Evacuees, bypassing FEMA red tape and oftentimes senseless policy for how to distribute housing and funding allowances to those who had a felony. Moreover, MASS continues to monitor and serve 170 of 350 Katrina victims serviced in 2005. It is MASS policy to continue to be a resource for all MASS clients. Ms. Brown has testified before Congress addressing Katrina Victim issues. Ms. Brown was a longtime supporter of Centurion Ministries and worked closely with the Center on Wrongful Convictions Women’s Project, Bluhm Legal Clinic Northwestern Law.

It is Ms. Brown's hope that today’s Texas legislature will support HB1246 and SB207. By supporting HB1246 and SB207, the state of Texas takes another legal step forward to correct its current law by acknowledging that an individual should not be time-barred and or denied the right to seek compensation when wrongfully imprisoned in the state of Texas. 

I signed this petition to support HB1246 and SB207, and the efforts of the family of Joyce Ann Brown. We thank you for your consideration. 



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