Topic

Criminal Justice

1,314 petitions

Update posted 9 hours ago

Petition to Sean K. Hammers

Why is my son still in prison when DNA exonerates him?

I have two children - sons Philip and Nathan Barnett.  Both of my sons were wrongfully accused and convicted of a cold case crime they did not commit based upon a false confession of Brian Dement who was already in trouble with the law who took a plea deal in order to point the finger to three other men - my two sons and another man.  Dement not only gave a false confession, but also gave various conflicting stories of what happened.  Since then, he has admitted on two different occasions that he lied on my sons and fully admits he lied on the stand. About two years ago, the Innocence Project became involved in each of my sons' cases in order to prove their innocence through DNA testing.  DNA testing was completed from a cigarette butt and semen found from the victim's pants that were gathered at the crime scene.  All DNA samples matches a convicted pedophile named Timothy Smith who has a history of abuse and other crimes against women and children and who was never ever questioned in the crime. Although it has taken some time, my youngest son Nathan has served his sentence, but is still awaiting exoneration.  However, my oldest son Philip, the father of four young children, is still in prison and awaiting exoneration to correct this injustice and free him from his wrongful conviction and incarceration.  DNA proves both of my sons' innocence, yet Cabell County (West Virginia) Prosecuting Attorney Sean ("Corky") Hammers refuses to vacate these unjust and wrongful convictions and is continuing to allow Timothy Smith whose DNA was found at the crime scene to remain unconvicted of this crime.  This is not what our appointed or elected officials are supposed to do, but instead a prosecuting attorney fights for justice like a prosecutor is supposed to do.  It is a travesty that Prosecuting Attorney Hammers will not even grant my son's bail motion while we fight to overturn his conviction.  Instead, there are further delays in the exoneration of our case.  DNA is scientific and doesn't lie!!! We would appreciate your signing this petition to help our family have a united voice so Prosecuting Attorney Hammers knows the public expects and demands justice in this case by releasing Philip and exonerating both my sons and going after the real perpetrator - Timothy Smith.  Our family has lost 12 years in our lives because of my sons' wrongful convictions and this miscarriage of justice. Our family and friends thank you for your support in helping to influence the Cabell County Prosecutor to do the right thing by exonerating both sons based upon various and powerful DNA evidence that supports their innocence and points to another man.   We would appreciate your signing our petition before their August 30, 2018 hearing as time is of the essence and sharing it on your FaceBook, Messenger, Twitter, etc. and urging your family and friends to share it on their media accounts to get this time sensitive petition signed to help increase the strength of a united voice to Prosecuting Attorney Hammers who has the power to do the right thing by exonerating them based on powerful DNA evidence.  Each voice counts and can help in our fight in correcting the wrong that has been done.  WE DESPERATELY NEED YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT TO OVERTURN THIS CLEARLY WRONGFUL CONVICTION!!!! For more information on this case, here are some media links: DNA Points to New Suspect in 16 year old murder case Murder Case Reopened - Men to Expel Convictions DNA Test Results Exclude Barnett Brothers and Identify Alternate Suspect Innocence Project Mother's Day Blog  

Tammy Nichols Barnett
4,111 supporters
Update posted 15 hours ago

Petition to Donald Trump, Lawrence Kupers, William N Taylor II

GRANT CLEMENCY TO OUR SON EDWIN RUBIS - 40 YEARS FOR MARIJUANA IS NOT JUSTICE

Our son, Edwin Rubis, is serving a federal sentence of 40 years for a non-violent marijuana offense. [www.marijuanaliferproject.org/federal-prisoner-edwin-rubis-is-serving-life-for-marijuana/ At age 29, our son, while battling drug addiction, associated himself with drug couriers, and was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana. After his arrest, his court-appointed attorney advised him, along with us, that he needed to provide information on others in the drug trade. Edwin could not provide such information. Therefore, he was quickly deemed "uncooperative", and the judge gave him a harsh sentence - 40 years.Edwin has been away from us for the last 19 years. During the course of time, we have adamantly petitioned, and at times cried, for his early release, at every level of the court system. Sadly to say, we continue to struggle, missing him, with no positive resolution to obtain his freedom. Edwin's children need him. We need him. Our son is not a terrorist, a rapist, a gang member, nor a violent individual to continually be kept in prison for decades for distributing marijuana. While imprisoned, Edwin has taken diligent steps to better himself. He has achieved numerous rehabilitation programs from the psychology and religious departments. He has graduated from college with a degree in Religious Education; and he is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Counseling and Therapist Certification. In addition, he serves as a mentor to others, under the supervision of the head chaplain. He is also working as a G.E.D. and E.S.L. tutor in the education department, at his present institution of confinement, helping others further their education. In addition, Edwin also finished a 2 year dental apprenticeship from The Department of Labor, and worked as a dental assistant for the last 7 years in the medical department.We love our son, [uncle, father, and brother]. We wish for him to receive another chance at life. But our dream for him to be reunited with us, can not be accomplished without your full support. Please help us obtain our son's freedom by signing this petition urging President Donald Trump to grant our son clemency or a pardon. Edwin is a changed man. He has been fully rehabilitated and deserves a second chance at life. Sincerely, Maria Roque - and - Family.

Jeremy Malone
14,642 supporters
Update posted 1 day ago

Petition to Georgia Governor, Jackie Johnson, Mr. Rocky Bridges, Chris Carr, Mr. Chris Lee, Sheriff Jim Proctor

Help us demand prosecution of the murderers of slain Army Veteran Taylor Justin Williams

As a mother, we plan out our child’s lives from the moment they’re born. Never did I imagine my son’s life would be so short-lived or ended so violently. Taylor was in the medical field saving lives, not taking them. He accomplished so much during his short time on this earth. In my heart, I feel strongly he had a lot more to accomplish. I miss him every minute of every day. This is a nightmare no mother would wish upon any other. To all involved in the murder of my son Taylor Justin Williams, I have this to say: You can’t imagine how devastating it is for any parent to receive a knock at the door to be told by police that their child is dead. To make this horrible situation even more overwhelming, I live 1800 miles away, therefore not allowing me to see for myself that Taylor really, truly was dead. My initial thought was maybe they made a mistake in the identification? When it partially sank in, I dropped to my knees crying hysterically for my baby. Please God no, not my boy. I begged and pleaded for God to give him back. Screaming throughout the house, “he’s mine and I want him back!” As family members start to fill the house and get the journey to Georgia in motion, I still wanted to keep the tiniest bit of hope that it wasn’t really my Taylor. My mind was in shock, I was vibrating unable to eat, drink or sleep. I just wanted to get to Georgia as fast as I could. When I finally was able to see my lifeless boy, who was always full of energy, I once again dropped to my knees. I heard a loud, guttural sound and was later told that it came from me. It’s true, my son is dead, gone forever never to hug me or tell me “love you” again. I beg God to take me too, please! We aren’t supposed to bury our children. I will NEVER FORGET, as no loving mother would. You took a part of my heart and soul the moment that knife plunged into my son’s body repeatedly causing fatal stab wounds. Nobody from your group tried to stop you nor did you try and control yourself from stabbing my unarmed son numerous times. Then when my son’s friend tried to pull his lifeless body away from you, you continued to stab his unarmed friend numerous times as the others looked on. As my son lay there lifeless and gurgling (as described by one of the four) I have to wonder did anyone feel remorse, sadness, empathy? I think about what was described to me, and it pains me every minute of every day. Was my son scared? What was he thinking? Did he say any last words? Was he sad to be torn from his life? I’m terribly sad because he died so brutally with no love around him, alone with nobody to care and hold him as he gurgled on his own blood. I’m dying inside as I write this. It’s shocking to realize how people are so desensitized to death and destruction. Their behavior and the legal system’s delay in taking action is very disturbing. Residents in the area should be fearful, this type of behavior demonstrates anger with no control and this could very easily happen again in my opinion. Taylor wasn’t the only one murdered that fateful night. I too was murdered, not physically but emotionally. I will admit I wanted you to murder me too so I could be with my son. You took an integral part of me. You changed my journey in life to one I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Let me remind you, very strongly, that I will never forget and I will fight for justice until it is served. This is now my full-time job. I love you my son, Taylor Justin Williams.#JusticeForTaylorWilliams - Nichole Williams, Grieving Mother

Susan Doutre
2,957 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Andrew Cuomo, New York State House, New York State Senate, Sue Serino, Didi Barrett, Carl Heastie, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Aileen Gunther, Angelo Santabarbara, Latoya Joyner, James Skoufis

Bailey’s Law now! Hold criminals accountable for victimizing the developmentally disabled!

 Please Support the Passage of #BaileysLaw We cannot allow criminals to get away with the death of their victims. My 19 year old autistic son, Bailey, committed suicide on 7-31-17, my birthday of all days. After nearly 20 years of complete family devotion and cultivating our lives in support, contemplation and preparation of his each new life phase, new stage, new challenge, and new triumph our lives were completely and irrevocably upended in the span of 8 minutes. Bailey had many friends. He was kind, funny, caring, generous, gentle, down to earth, and creative. He was an artist, a lover of history, and had compassion for all living things. He was a teacher his whole life as much as he was a student of it. Bailey made me stronger, made me determined, made me timely, made me adjustable, made me more understanding...and it was Bailey that made me an advocate for kids with special needs for all these years. Of course, his 3 siblings also helped make me, and him, over the years...we all made each other. Our family has always been very tight. Being a single mom the last 16 years enabled me to make my children my world, and show them we are a team. I’ve tried to give them everything I am and everything I have within me, with intention. But despite everything I’d, we’d, put in over the years my son, their brother, is gone...less then 8 minutes after leaving my side. Bailey resorted to suicide 7 days after being a victim of a financial crime, 4 days after I realized he was victimized, and less than 5 hours of being asked to ID one of the perpetrators. He was preyed upon, betrayed, and taken advantage of by a girl he knew for years and had recently befriended him. This girl connected her male friend to my son under the guise of helping them cash a check. From what I’ve been told by State Police, Bailey was hesitant to help them, unsure of whether or not the request was legitimate, and she assured my son that the request was fine and then promised him, I believe, $200 from the proceeds for his assistance. I suspect Bailey provided them with his bank card and his PIN number. On 7-24-17 the male deposited a $1675.00 fraudulent check at an atm in Highland, NY and then immediately withdrew $200 (the amount fronted with a check hold); this was caught on atm bank video. I realized there was a problem on Thursday the 27th when I noted on our joint account both the deposit and withdrawal as well as the $200 withdrawal ultimately being pulled from my separate account. Bailey was learning banking and I would transfer his disability money to the joint account so he would learn about money management, budgeting, grocery shopping, etc. Bailey was devastated over the loss. We connected with local police on the 27th, who then directed us to the nearest state troopers on the 28th, who in turn directed us to State Troopers in Highland on 7-29-17 where we filed a complaint. Later on that Saturday, my youngest son told me he overheard his brother Bailey on the phone after hearing of the banking problem on Thursday, extremely upset over the financial loss and insisting on the return of funds. On Monday, 7-31-17 the investigator came to our house at 12:30 to see if Bailey could ID the male in the bank video. Bailey claimed he did not know the person and by his reaction I believe he didn’t. At 5:16pm he left our home stating he was going for a walk to draw; this was not unlike him as his executive processing speed is slower than many and he’d use walks or drawing to manage stresses. By 5:30 I heard the emergency response sirens and ran down our street, because I never wanted my kids around the chaos when EMS was in the area, and of course I wanted to count the safety of my chicks. The area they were responding to is a nuisance area that has had more than it’s fair share of fires....but there was no fire truck, only medical response. My son had hung himself in the woods less than a block from our home. The next day I was presented with a note he’d written; he clearly believed he’d done something very wrong in trusting the wrong person. No law enforcement involved in this case believes that Bailey had the faculty to understand what was happening, or the complexities that he was a victim, and neither does any of his family nor his longstanding therapist. There is no doubt in my mind that he merely thought he was helping someone. Both accused, at this point, will only be charged minimally; one with grand larceny 4th and the other with Endangering a disabled person 1st, both class E non violent felonies. Theoretically they could each get probation. They have each since been arrested for other crimes; her on drug charges in October 2017 and him for killing a 16 year old with his car after an argument in Yonkers in December 2017. The male is being held without bail in Westchester and has yet to be charged for our case. The female was arrested and arraigned for this case but was granted release on $2000 cash/$4000 bond. I am sickened over what may be obvious to you at this point, that the charges do not reflect their role in the death of my son. People with disabilities, including autism, are among our most vulnerable community members. It seems so unjust that a charge of endangering specifically relates to affecting the mental well-being of a vulnerable person yet they are not charged with the actual consequences of this criminal action. I’m currently working with our local representatives to start the process of pushing for new legislation in the state to hold perpetrators fully accountable for the consequences of their actions. The law for Endangering in NY currently states: “Under our law, a person is guilty of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree when he or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect. The term "knowingly” has its own special meaning in our law. I will now give you the meaning of that term. A person KNOWINGLY acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect when that person is aware that he or she is acting in such manner. Actual harm to the incompetent or physically disabled person need not result.” Currently under our criminal laws culpability for a persons suicide rests on the aspect of “aiding and abetting”, or, in practical terms, specifically aiding, directing or encouraging the suicide. This MUST change. Those that would intentionally cultivate an environment and/or circumstances specifically to use people with disabilities to commit a crime, need to be held accountable for the full range of actual damages they cause, including the death of their victim. We need #BaileysLaw to firmly establish... If a defendant is charged with endangering in the first degree, or another crime related and/or connected to a charge of endangering in the first degree (as in coconspirators/codefendant), whereby the events result in the victim’s suicide within reasonable proximity of the crime, defendants should be criminally charged for the victim’s death. This area of law, as it specifically relates to endangering, also needs to be updated to incorporate the disability standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Social Security Administration in trials. As it stands, the question of a successful trial seems tied to whether or not the victim has an IQ over 40, and can dress and feed oneself. This is an extremely low threshold for a successful trial against a perpetrator charged with endangering and is not in line with current state and federal laws to protect the disabled. There are an enormous number of people with autism, and other disabilities, who have a high IQ and can feed and clothe themselves but cannot fully meet their own needs in a manner that could be characterized as independent living. Bailey’s Law should protect anyone that can be considered a vulnerable person by including the state and federal standards of disability.   I urge you to support Bailey’s Law. It will not help my family but it will help many others. PLEASE, sign this petition to help me get it passed!  To view or VOTE YES on the #BaileysLaw bill (NY S.8541) you can visit https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/s8541  - there is a link at this location for the identical Assembly version as well. To learn more about my beloved Bailey you can visit the guestbook at https://m.legacy.com/obituaries/poughkeepsiejournal/obituary.aspx?n=&pid=186269333&referrer=0&preview=True To follow our journey, visit https://m.facebook.com/DearBaileyLoveMom/ & http://BaileysBridges.org/baileyslaw/ Sincerely, Gae Marie Cannon, Poughkeepsie, NY *6-17-18 Update: Our bill for Bailey’s Law passed in the NY Senate on 6-11-18 with a vote of 44/17. The bill is now in the NY Assembly (A.10874) and I’m pushing to have it passed before the end of the legislative session on 6-20-18.  The Ulster County Court has declined to take on the female’s case (the facilitator of this crime), and referred it back to the Town Court. This means that HER CHARGES WILL BE REDUCED from felony to misdemeanor or less- because Town Courts CANNOT process felonies. It is looking more and more like she will get 3 years of probation... To put this into context- a DWI, WITHOUT LOSS OF LIFE, can result in 3 years probation, over $1000 fine and revocation of drivers license...  I am disgusted.... these people KNEW they were committing a crime. KNEW they were targeting someone with a disability, and their actions resulted in the DEATH of their victim......  Please, please share our petition... This is just not right..  Targeting our vulnerable loved ones breaks a sacred social contract in our society and we must prevent this from happening to someone else...  8-15-18 Update: Our bill for Bailey’s Law is currently stuck in the Codes Committee of the Assembly but I am pushing forward with public support signatures as well as organizational and legislator support. Our bill now has 4 Assembly sponsors: Didi Barrett, Christine Pellegrino, Angelo Santabarbara, and David McDonough. This is immensely helpful but until this bill passes in the Assembly and is signed by Andrew Cuomo, we cannot stop pushing for more bill support.  Our next court hearing for the female’s case is on August 28th. It’s expected she will be offered a plea bargain of a reduced charge (felony Endangering in the 1st to misdemeanor Endangering) with a sentence of 3 years probation. THIS IS NOT JUSTICE FOR AN INTENTIONAL CRIME THAT RESULTED IN DEATH.  The male has not yet been brought up to our county for arraignment; he is still pending trial for Murder 2 in Westchester County in an unrelated case.  What you can do to help:1. SHARE the petition and Bailey’s story, in person and online2. Go to our website and print free flyers for local venues and local bulletin boards in your town, and deliver them to all the neighbors on your street 3. Call agencies that support the disabled and/or elderly and ask them to join our coalition of support. You can give them the website address as a contact. 4. Stay informed. The blood and guts of this journey is on our Facebook page Dear Bailey. Thank you so much for your support, your caring messages (yes, I read them all), and I hope you’ll stay with me through this process of fixing the law. With gratitude, Gae Marie 

A Mourning Mom *
13,249 supporters