Help Free a Good & Innocent Man - Wrongfully Incarcerated by Mobile County Court & DA

Help Free a Good & Innocent Man - Wrongfully Incarcerated by Mobile County Court & DA

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Mrs S Coleman started this petition to Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Jay A. York and

On January 5, 2012, Leonard Coleman received a life sentence in Mobile, Alabama for a crime another man confessed to committing. Together, I believe we are ready to start asking the hard questions and put our Judges and District Attorneys on trial. How does a hardworking, family-oriented, single father, with no prior convictions, end up being found guilty for a crime with which he had no involvement? In fact, Leonard’s next-door neighbor testified in court to speaking with him for hours during the time the crime took place.

Leonard was such a non-threat to society that, prior to being wrongfully convicted, he was issued a TWIC card by the TSA, which requires passing a national background check. Mobile County's inadequate initial investigation process failed Leonard Coleman, mostly because bias existed from the beginning. One of the detectives who interrogated Leonard used to date the victim. Leonard recalls him saying that he would make sure the charges stuck and that he would become another Black statistic. Perhaps, because of this, Leonard was the only suspect ever pursued and a false case was purposefully built solely around him, although there were no fingerprint, nor ballistics matches to warrant being held for the crime. The Court's own response to Leonard's appeal highlights this atrocity by saying, "McSpadden testified that he tested all of the Petitioner's firearms and he was unable to identify any of them as the weapon that killed the victim."

The truth is that no one witnessed the event, other than a vulnerable and innocent 4-year-old child, who suffered a speech and developmental disability called echolalia. The condition had been diagnosed by a speech pathologist - a graduate of the University of Alabama. Trial transcripts of her testimony have her on record saying that the child demonstrated red flags for autism. Because he would often parrot what others said, authorities coached him into giving a false statement against Leonard (see article link below). Testimonies from his family at trial revealed that he could not yet dial phone numbers by himself, but that it sounded like someone took the phone from him and hung it up during the crime window.

The Mobile County District Attorney, Ashley Rich, likely knew the child's statements were unreliable, as she covered herself by presenting a motion to declare the witness unavailable, which was subsequently granted. The trial transcript reads, according to DA Ashley Rich, "we attempted to solicit testimony from him at the grand jury but were unable to lay the proper predicate as to whether or not he understood the difference between right and wrong due to his young tender years." To take matters a step further, the fact that Leonard was even wrongfully convicted on out-of-court statements is a violation of our 6th Amendment rights.

Even more alarming is that, towards the end of Leonard's trial, the presiding Judge stated, "I was trying to be a good judge so there wouldn't be errors on appeal and I know several other things just like that and I'm going to zip up my lip."

In October of 2020, Leonard’s uncle came across two gentlemen in a barber shop, I believe by divine intervention. These men, close friends of the true offender, were saddened to learn that Leonard was wrongfully incarcerated, because they both knew who actually committed the crime in question. On October 26, 2020, they put their official testimonies on file, with M and M Investigations, stating in detail how, shortly before taking his own life, the perpetrator confessed to them how he was able to execute the crime and use the child to frame Leonard. A few months later, a third witness came forward to corroborate their stores – recalling how she heard the perpetrator threaten the victim, "B****, I am going to make sure you die too." This evidence was filed with the Mobile County Circuit Court, under District Attorney Ashley Rich, on April 20, 2021. Yet, regrettably, the Assistant DA filed a motion on 8/10/2021 to have my husband’s evidence dismissed as hearsay. We are beyond-blessed that Judge York has continued to remain objective, resulting in a denial of the State’s motion and an evidentiary hearing, which will take place in July 2022. In a few short months, Leonard’s fate will finally be decided. We are praying Judge York agrees with the facts, evidence, and that justice for Leonard (holding the right person accountable) also means justice for the beloved victim.

The dark side of our system is that Leonard, an African American man, was found guilty in a Southern State, by a White Judge, White District Attorney, and an all-White (11/12) jury. If we think about it, he never stood a chance. Not to mentionLeonard’s case is not the only wrongful conviction specifically associated with Mobile, Alabama. Internet research shows that Bryan Douglas Cannon, Raymond Shane Greene, Dennis Morgan Hicks, Scott Jones, and Rodney Stanberry are also claiming false convictions by the Mobile County Circuit Court, or District Attorney Ashley Rich. Unfortunately, this information is not surprising, as articles have been published questioning the practices of Rich. In 2017, the Mobile Lagniappe featured a 2010-2015 study by Harvard University’s Fair Punishment Project, which called Mobile County out as a death penalty outlier. It elaborated that Ashley Rich presided over at least 7/8 of those cases. However, the questionable and prejudiced behavior does not end with the notorious Mobile County DA. Four years after Leonard’s wrongful conviction, Judge Rusty Johnston, who oversaw Leonard’s trial, posted the following statement in an online blog: “The Black Lives Matter narrative is a lie, is not true, is a fraud and we must confront this lie every time we hear it…”

We are grateful for every signature and ask that you stand in solidarity with us by sharing this petition with as many people as you can. Continue on the journey with us by following us @JusticeforLeonardColeman on Instagram. Additionally, if my husband's story has touched your heart, please consider reaching out to the Governor of Alabama at https://contact.governor.alabama.gov/contact.aspx and the Mobile County DA’s Office in regards to this clear human rights violation.

Mobile County District Attorney: (251) 574-8400, P.O. Box 2841, Mobile, AL 36652

District Attorney Ashley Rich: (251) 574-5000

Assistant DA Chris McDonough: (251) 574-3404

Presiding Judge: Jay A. York

Article Links re: Mobile County & DA Ashley Rich:

https://www.al.com/live/2011/12/expert_witness_suggests_boys_s.html

https://www.al.com/live/2013/04/former_mobile_police_captain_f.html

https://issuu.com/lagniappemobile/docs/lagniappe_2011.15.17_web

https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/617195002

https://mynbc15.com/amp/news/reality-check/innocent-until-proven-guiltyor-not

https://filtermag.org/alabamas-prosecutors-coronavirus-bailout/amp/

Podcasts:

Wicked Wisdom - Episode 60:  Mrs. Coleman’s Story - Husband, Leonard Coleman

The Law And Justice Podcast - Justice For Leonard Coleman

https://youtu.be/3NdBYxHjsdA

Lunchtime W/ Ana - Leonard Coleman case

https://fb.watch/9QEOI8fFg3/

Change The Narrative with JD Fuller - #FREELEONARDCOLEMAN

https://youtu.be/_28d37ROFww

0 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!
At 25,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!