Petition to State Government, criminal justice lawyers, Terry McAuliffe
Clemency for Ryan L. Artis (my father) life is too excessive.
“Good evening, I pray my letter finds you in good health. This letter is regarding my father Ryan. L. Artis, my name is Chamyra Riddick, and I am the oldest daughter out of a loving family of two. My father has been incarcerated since 1998. We are all found of the catch phrase “you do the crime, you do the time”. My question to you Mr. McAuliffe is how much time is needed to heal any wounds? how much time can be set for a crime and to say, “well he learned his lesson”? My father is not here to speak for himself so I hope you take the time and hear what I must say for him. Since my father has been incarcerated, he has helped countless inmates either obtain their GED or further their education by picking up a trade, which will help them integrate into civilization upon their release. My father did not have a high school diploma when he was taken from me, but since he’s been in prison he has obtained his high school GED and picked up a trade in HVAC graduating top student. My father has had zero incidents while locked up, which to me says a lot about his character, when you lock a man up, it’s possible to have a breaking point or either get upset and cause a scene, he has not. He is known as a friendly man, a man who has picked up the Bible to better himself and a man who has made mistakes and has put the time in for those mistakes. Mr. McAuliffe one thing I’ve learned is “it’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us”. My father I truly believe is doing what he can to show he is a good man and that he deserves another chance at being a father, being a man, watching his daughter graduate college, knowing his children, and even being able to have a conversation with us that’s not fifteen minutes long. You have the power in your pen to decide if my father deserves that second chance. We all make mistakes don’t let that be the reason you give up on somebody. I hate to sound selfish, but I need my father in my life. I have seen the ugly and positive side of life, I truly believe in second chances from this. I pray and hope we can have the opportunity to hold one another again, to hear his voice in my ear giving me words of encouragement, to see him at my competitions, to see my phone ring and my caller ID say dad and not Nottoway Correctional center, and honestly to just know he is home safe surrounded by loved ones. Thank you for your time and god bless”..
Petition to The United States Census Bureau, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan
U.S. Census Bureau, LGBTQ Americans Are Americans, Too
In the wake of the LGBTQ rights movement, the U.S. Census Bureau was in talks of adding "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to a long-awaited report outlining new categories to the 2020 survey. Tuesday, March 28, 2016, the Bureau had admitted that it had "inadvertently" included "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." This is even though other federal agencies had urged the Bureau last year to add the categories. The president's administration has sent a discouraging sign to LGBTQ Americans and its allies - that LGBTQ concerns are frivolous and unimportant. With the victory of marriage equality coming from the Supreme Court Case - Obergefell v. Hodges, the census has the chance to change the way it tracks same-sex households. In the midst of the numerous murders of American transgender women, the Bureau has the chance to change the way transgender people are represented by the government. With all due respect, those who sign in agreement, agree that 1) LGBTQ Americans should have their identities acknowledged by the U.S. Census Bureau, 2) want the Bureau to add the categories of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to the 2020 survey, 3) that LGBTQ Americans are Americans, 4) that LGBTQ Americans need equal representation, 5) that with more focused questions answered with the help of the Bureau, law makers would be better equipped to ensure appropriate legislation to improve the lives of LGBTQ citizens, and 6) that LGBTQ people matter.
Petition to Kim Foxx, Bruce Rauner
New trial for an innocent man
Detective Richard Zuley may be most famous for his notorious interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, but he first learned his torture techniques in the interrogation rooms of Chicago. Now, this 30-year veteran of the Chicago PD is under investigation for using illegal methods to coerce confessions that have put several possibly innocent people behind bars. One of his cases has already been overturned, and a man who spent 23 years in prison is now finally free. But while officials slowly make their way through the pages of evidence against this corrupt cop, my friend Lee Harris -- another of Zuley’s many victims -- still wastes away in prison. My name is Robert. From 2000-2001, I shared a cell with Lee. We became good friends. Like a lot of people in prison, he would go on about how he was innocent and how he had been wrongly accused, but I never knew what to believe. However, when I received letters from the “witness” who put him away, apologizing for lying on the stand, I started digging: Lee’s conviction doesn’t add up. And now that I am on the outside, I am doing everything I can to get him a new trial so he can prove his innocence. I am asking Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to grant my friend Lee Harris a new trial, so he can prove his innocence. He shouldn’t spend one more day behind bars while the true criminal is allowed to walk free. At first, Lee collaborated with Detective Zuley to help him find the real killer in the crime he is doing time for. Facing public pressure to find the killer, they pressed Lee for information using both threats and rewards. In one instance, Zuley offered him a $20,000 reward, and in another, he threatened to stop providing protection for his family, exposing them to retaliation. When they couldn’t find the real killer, they turned on their informant and charged him with the crime. They had no murder weapon or evidence connecting Lee to the crime. Yet, even with all these legal missteps and the lack of evidence, they still threw Lee behind bars for 90 years. He remains in jail to this day for a crime I am sure he didn’t commit. And I am not the only one: Chicago attorney Kathleen Zellner, who has won more exonerations than any other lawyer in the US, is now taking a closer look at Harris’ conviction. It’s time to grant my friend Lee Harris a new trial and let true justice be served. We cannot continue to keep this man behind bars while the real killer could be walking the streets. Please sign my petition and help me fight for justice for Lee Harris.
Petition to Jack Dalrymple
Free Red Fawn
On Oct 27th, police raided the frontlines of the Standing Rock resistance. That day, Red Fawn was serving as a trained medic, helping those that had been hit by tear gas and rubber bullets. During the raid, three officers tackled Red Fawn and threw her to the ground. One officer pulled his weapon and placed it against her back. While she was pinned to the ground, police allege shots were fired. Red Fawn is being accused of firing a weapon. Eyewitness accounts and video show otherwise At a press conference, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said he, “Couldn't confirm any shots were fired by water protectors on Oct. 27.” More than 140 people were arrested that day. Water protectors were strip searched, placed in cages and their bails were raised from $200 to $1,500. Red Fawn’s bail stands at $110,000 and she is facing up to 20 years in prison. Immediate Ask We are asking North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple for the immediate release of Red Fawn. Tweet to @NDGov To @NDGov Gov. Jack Dalrymple, I am asking for the immediate release of Red Fawn. Her detention is unlawful & an abuse of power #FreeRedFawn Standing Rock Since the inception of the Standing Rock resistance, Red Fawn has stood with her brothers and sisters, inspiring many to stand tall amidst police brutality, the desecration of sacred sites, and the destruction of sacred symbols. The frontline camp was named the "1851 Treaty Camp" and honored the original Treaty signed by the U.S. Federal Government, granting them that very land. As has been the case with nearly every Treaty signed between Native Americans and the U.S. Federal Government, the Treaty was not honored. Today, much of their land belongs to wealthy cattle ranchers. The Ongoing Fight Still in custody, Red Fawn is political prisoner of Standing Rock. She joins a long legacy of people who have been arrested or murdered as figureheads in movements, and who have been unjustly accused. Although the opposition has been fierce, often using illegal tactics, and continuing to harm the water protectors - we will not back down. We will ensure that justice is served for Red Fawn. We will continue to expose the Black Snake for what it is; a lie and the further exploitation of indigenous people and our land. How else can you help? In a show of unity and solidarity, we are asking all water protectors wear red on Fridays for Red Fawn Fridays until she is free. Upload your photos on social media using #FreeRedFawn Help her fight the charges: Her legal battles are going to be long and expensive. Red Fawn is innocent of these charges, and deserves to be free. Donate to her legal fund HERE. Sign this petition. Tell your friends. Come to Standing Rock.
Petition to Tony Martinez, Jessica Tetreau, Cesar de Leon, Joel Munguia, Ben Neece, Ricardo Longoria, Rose Gowen
MOVE Jefferson Davis Monument to Museum
Many cities cross the United States of America are removing statues/memorials from public spaces and are also renaming roads and buildings that honored Confederate leaders. Brownsville has had numerous racist incidents in the past. Our biggest one happened in 1906. Feel free to Google "Brownsville Black Raid". The newspaper was very biased in its reporting. The soldiers involved were later exonerated by President Nixon. We also had a bridge known as "N" bridge and it appeared in local maps with the racist slur. We can only imagine what took place on that bridge. Yes, we are a city full of history and we're proud of it. We can't deny that we were part of the Confederacy. But, what is the purpose of keeping the Jefferson Davis Memorial at Washington Park? It was originally on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Palm Blvd. It marked the Jeff Davis Memorial Highway which never really took off. It was then moved to Washington Park (not sure when). Hundreds of families enjoy this park, especially during big community events like Sombrero Festival and Cyclobia. What do you think the monument tells families when they are enjoying the park? We have a growing population of African-Americans in this community. This monument does not welcome the descendants of those who've been enslaved and oppressed in the past. Our nation fought to unify our country during the Civil War. Sadly, many people did not obtain full rights until the 1960s. We don't need reminders of a bygone era in a space that should be welcoming. We need to stop kissing up to the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy! They claim that it is heritage. Their heritage thought that it was a God-given right to own people. This is not right. Washington Park currently has three monuments dedicated to: Miguel Hidalgo, Jose Marti, and Jefferson Davis. The first two were liberators. Davis was the opposite. He fought to keep human beings enslaved. He was not a liberator! He also saw mestizos (mixed European and Native American) as inferiors. The majority of Brownsville is mestizo. We don't want it destroyed. We are asking the City of Brownsville and the Brownsville Historical Association to place it in a museum. For many people, this monument represents HATE and feel that it doesn't belong in a public park. Washington Park should be welcoming to ALL people! Please VOTE on relocating it to the Historic Brownsville Museum.
Petition to Jerry Brown, Riverside County District Attorney
Justice for Jesse Meraz
To California Governor Jerry Brown and the Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, Jesse Meraz is just a six-character inmate number. But to me he is a faithful, hard-working, loving husband and father. You see, Jesse was thrown back into prison even after serving his sentence and our family is in a tail spin. Jesse made some bad decisions when he was a kid and before he even went to his first middle school dance, like too many men of color he was just another statistic in the criminal justice system. Jesse and I make no excuses for his bad behavior. He was hanging out with the wrong crowd, skipping school, and doing drugs. It wasn’t long before he was arrested for possession of a firearm. By his mid-20s he had been accused of four felonies and was serving his sentences. Under California’s draconian three-strikes law, he was looking at a life sentence for the non-violent crimes he committed. But in 2014, a Court of Appeals, reversed two of the charges and Jesse was resentenced to what we all believed was the maximum sentence under the law. Since he had already served seven years, Jesse was released with probation. Jesse was 36-years-old when he left prison and he worked hard to make the most of his second chance. He got a job, a good union job as an ironworker with Local 433. That’s no small feat for someone with a criminal record. He remained drug-and-drink-free. He obeyed all laws, had zero run-ins with law enforcement, and fulfilled all the requirements of his probation. He had even began getting his tattoos removed with the help of Homeboy Industry in Los Angeles. As a family, we both worked hard to provide for our four kids. We are home owners and during the housing crunch when we fell behind on our payments, Jesse worked every day to get us caught up. We did not have to rely of government services for anything. We attended church regularly, made sure our kids did well in school, and we paid our taxes. We were productive members of our community and Jesse had finally put all the mistakes of the past behind him. Then suddenly in all came to an abrupt halt. The Riverside District Attorney (Indio office) filed a petition to reverse the appeal that got him out in 2014. At his court hearing, Jesse had more than 20 people show up to speak on his behalf and we also had character letters from several community members including the former Indio Chief of Police but the judge did not allow us to present anything. The District Attorney argued that Jesse should not benefit from the new laws and would have to be resentenced under the old three-strikes law. He was sentenced to 25-years-to-life. Jesse was placed back into custody on January 30, 2017. I have worked for Riverside County for almost a decade now. I believe in a rehabilitation system that punishes those who commit crimes and then allows that person to do their time and move on. Additionally, as a taxpayer, I do not want to have to pay for another inmate when he has already served his time and has a proven record of living as a productive member of society who is not reliant on the government dime. Please sign my petition to ask the court to reverse the latest sentence and release my husband. Our family wants to go on living our lives quietly and without fear of having to pay for my husband’s mistakes from his past. Sincerely,Guadalupe Meraz
Petition to Pelicia Hall, Jerry Williams, Ron King, Marshall Tucker, Jacqueline Banks, Anthony Compton, Grace Fisher
Please Stop Group Punishment
We are tired of everyone being punished for things the majority of the men are not involved in. We do not understand why so many men who are following the rules and doing what they are supposed to be doing are being punished for the actions of others. There are more men being punished for absolutely no logical reason than there are men being punished for breaking the rules. Not only are the men being punished for no logical reason, but their families are being punished as well. We feel this practice constitutes cruel and inhumane treatment/punishment for both the inmate and their families, especially the children of these men and women who cannot understand why mommy and daddy are unable to write, call, or have visits. These babies are left wondering what they have done wrong despite their mom and dad following rules in order to be the best parent possible while incarcerated. We do not see any way that it is going to help any problem MDOC faces to punish the innocent (abiding by MDOC rules) along with those guilty of breaking the rules. Many of us have reviewed MDOC’s disciplinary policies and do not see where the department of corrections has the right to punish those men who are abiding by MDOC’s rules when there are RVR procedures for punishment. Is it not enough punishment that they are separated from their families and real life? What is it that you are looking to accomplish with this practice? There has been an increase in aggression, it is less likely for men to obey MDOC rules since they are being punished already for things they have not done or have any control over, and there has been an increase in depression, anxiety, and possible suicides. I am no doctor or expert but when you take away everything the ones behaving are behaving for, what is left to motivate them to behave? Why are all the men being punished for the actions of the few? We do understand that there is a standard 72 hour lockdown that is to occur after any major situation for investigation and are not fighting that, but this is weeks and months of lockdowns when the ones breaking the rules obviously are not concerned with losing their privileges, despite the suffering of the ones that are obeying them. There are significant problems with over punishing which is why the military and our own department of corrections (before Marshall Fisher) stopped these practices years ago. Marshall Fisher’s statement was that the inmates need to learn to police themselves. They do not get paid to do that and it puts them in danger if they decide to become snitches and tell on everyone. The CO’s look down on them for that just as much as the other inmates do and in the long run is it really going to change the outcome? There will still be contraband, assaults, thieves stealing from others, and so on regardless of whether or not all the inmates that behave tell on the ones that misbehave constantly. It would just cause more problems for the department, inmate, and the families of the inmates. The inmates are not the only ones being punished. The families of these inmates who live visitation to visitation to see their husbands, brothers, cousins, fathers, and sons are being punished as well. We live visit to visit and phone call to phone call. Our lives revolve around our visits we are becoming extremely frustrated that despite the fact that only certain inmates are causing trouble, they are all being punished. Parchman Unit 29 has barely had any visits over the last year. All communication with their families has been cut off and the reason being because a handful of inmates refuse to follow the rules. For medium custody inmates, who are obviously obeying the rules or they would not be medium custody, that just makes no logical sense. What message does that send? Do we really want to tell these men that it does not matter what they do, they are still going to be disciplined and have all privileges taken away? On top of losing visitations, their ability to buy hygiene, food, and writing supplies is taken away. They cannot visit, cannot call home, cannot write home, cannot buy soap and deodorant, and cannot eat anything other than what the prison provides when it is provided. These men are barely fed. If the families want to buy them extra food so they are not going hungry, they should be able to, especially when said inmate is obeying the rules of the department. This is cruel and inhumane treatment and needs to be stopped. No good can possibly come of all of this group punishment practice MDOC has chosen to incorporate. Why are we not cracking down punishment on the ones misbehaving and showing them that there are privileges available if they behave as men instead of animals? If they are going to have everything taken anyway, what is to stop them from becoming caged animals, rioting, and worse? There are people just being moved that were not on restriction or lockdown when they were moved being punished because of things that happened before they even arrived at the prison. There has to be a better way of handling things of this nature. There has to be a way to punish only those that are doing wrong and stop punishing those that do their best to stay under the radar and out of trouble. We are asking that this practice be reevaluated and that the Mississippi Department of Corrections stop punishing every one for the mistakes of few. Everyone makes mistakes, some get caught and end up with a prison sentence while others never get caught and become politicians, attorneys, journalists, and other successful members of society. Once the inmate enters the department of corrections they begin paying for their crimes. Their behavior should determine the harshness of their treatment while in the department, not the behavior of others whom they probably never met before and have nothing to do with. Please think this through before our men get to a point of feeling there is nothing left to lose and everyone ends up with more problems than we started with. Justice is supposed to be fair. Humans are supposed to be treated as humans not animals that are not important. Whether we make mistakes or not, we are still all human and not a single one of us means more to God than the other. We do not see any reason why the people who receive rule violations cannot be punished without everyone else being punished because of their violations. A man who misbehaves should pay for his own crimes and rule violations not everyone else’s crimes and rule violations and no one else should be made to pay for his mistakes. This practice is no different than if God were to set fire to the entire world right now and force us all to burn in it because of one or two men’s sin. Please stop making the families and inmates suffer for things that have nothing to do with them. We are asking for you to exercise empathy and integrity. We are asking that you do the right thing in our Mississippi Department of Corrections. Let each man make their own bed instead of trouble makers being the ones making the beds for all men. There are many men suffering the consequences of those men that lack integrity. We are asking that this group punishment be dismissed and that the real trouble makers be made to suffer their own mistakes instead of everyone suffering. What if God decided to punish all humans this way? I think we would be in a world of hurt. Can we please find a better way?
Petition to Maria Cantwell, Jeff Merkley, Roni Norton, Washington State Attorney General, Washington State Department, Oregon State Department
ADRIANA UCAN IS HOME IN THE UNITED STATES WITH HER GRANDPARENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Adriana UcanEverett, WA APR 29, 2017 — So my Sister and and I went to Yukatan and managed our way through this foreign country and we brought Adriana home!!!!!Yukatan Authorities had no idea Oregon State took Adriana from her family here in the United States....Between the Consulate and DIF we were successful in proving Oregon State's Negligence in sending Adriana there. They had no idea Adriana had never been there before and never met her family there.They had NO idea of her families desperate search for her in the United States.Now that Adriana is home and safe it is now time to move forward with demanding rights for Grandparents so no other family has to endure what Adriana and our family endured. I fully intend to continue this fight for justice for Grandparents and thousands of children who have no voice in their fate...Please continue to pass this VERY IMPORTANT PETITION to stop the Abuse of Power forced upon families from State agencies that do not have children's best interests at heart and give Grandparents the rights to protect their families.Ken and I want to thank each and everyone who supported our efforts to bring Adriana home safe and sound to be reunited with her family. We are not done yet. There are thousands of children across this great nation who still need to be saved. Adriana's story is now being discussed at the Senate in Washington D.C. With Senator Jeff Merkley.This is our platform......Lets change these agencies from abusing the power given to them by the government and put these children first!!!!! Please join us in changing things for all these families and children. Adriana and our suffering has not been in Vain.... Thank You!!!!Ken and Roni Norton