Resentencing of Johnny dell Pippins
Resentencing of Johnny dell Pippins
I want to tell you part of the story of my friend and in-law, Johnny Pippins. My hope is that this story convinces you to sign this petition to help him get home to his family and started on his PhD, in a program he has already been accepted into and fully funded.
In 1996, Johnny, whom we call Dell, was involved in a string of robberies of drug dealers here in the Quad Cities. The Rock Island robbery that he was convicted of included the accidental homicide of a dealer that he was once friends with. He attempted to shoot the lock off a door, and the bullet passed through the door killing the victim who, unbeknownst to him, was standing on the other side of the door.
Concerning this crime he had four codefendants: William Pippins who has been out since 2004; William Euring who has been out since 2003; Nakia Ivy who has been home since 2002; and, Antwon Butler who has been home since 2001. Again, these crimes happened in 1996, It is 2022 and Dell remains in prison until early 2026. His codefendants served between 4.5 to 8.5 years and he is serving 29.5 years, it is not a stretch to call the differences in those sentences disparate.
Two of the codefendants had Iowa time in addition to the Illinois sentence just like Dell, but their Illinois sentences were run concurrent with their Iowa sentences, Dell’s was run consecutive. Two of his codefendants had prior history of handgun violence, Dell had no history of violence before these convictions, yet he received a sentence that was between 3 1⁄2 to 6 1⁄2 times longer than theirs.
The only difference between Dell and his codefendants is that he did not inform or take a plea, but instead went to trial. That is it. In fact, at this point, he has served more than double the time that the original prosecutor wanted him to serve; his plea offer would have seen him serve 12 1⁄2 years, and as of today he has served 25 years and 4 months.
I guess that there is at least one more distinction between him and his codefendants and most other prisoners. I am proud to say that this dissimilarity is an immense one. Dell did not sit in prison lifting weights and watching VH1, not at all, this brother did a study on the deadly, auto- immune disease Lupus with the Baker Center for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics! He did it as part of his requirements for a Masters of Science degree in Statistics. Before he earned his masters degree he did his bachelors degree in Sociology writing papers on the demonization of Black women as welfare queens. There are men reading this writing who will tell you that they learned mainstream Islam, and harbor no extremist views, because that is what Dell taught them for seventeen years. Speaking of teaching, there are men reading this writing that will tell you that when the school in Anamosa (he is serving his time in Iowa) had their math teacher retire, it was Dell who they turned to to teach Algebra. He taught the course with an unprecedented rate of success. Can you imagine the value that he will bring to this community if we get him home to pursue that PhD that the University of Iowa has offered him with full funding? Imagine the influence of that voice that gang members both in and beyond prison walls respect.
We recently witnessed the release of two men, on two different incidents in Chicago. Each of them were serving 199 years for the purposeful murder of a law enforcement officer, they were both given a 50 year break. Now juxtapose those facts with this case. Dell has served 25 years on an unintentional homicide, it should not be beyond the reach of mercy to give him a 4 year break. We believe that to be in the interest of justice.
I am happy to report that the Rock Island County State’s Attorney’s Office did not contest, or otherwise object to, his clemency petition which Governor Priztker has not taken any action on—I assume COVID-19 is keeping him busy. So I believe that if the community shows the States Attorney that he has our support, that she will use her power to have him resentenced. Please do this by signing the petition. I thank you, and so does he.