Topic

prisoners rights

70 petitions

Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Todd Spitzer (Orange County Supervisor 3rd District), California Governor, Tony Rackauckas, Loretta Sanchez, Loretta Lynch, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, DIane Feinstein, Alex Padilla

Exonerate Kenneth Clair: DNA Evidence Points to Someone Else.

On November 15, 1984, 5-year-old Jerrod Hessling witnessed the beating, rape, and stabbing death of his babysitter. When asked to describe the killer, he said, without hesitation, that it was a white male. Another child present during the murder saw a white man’s tattooed arm reach inside the house to open a sliding glass door. Yet somehow, the lawyers in the case determined that Kenneth Clair, a dark-skinned African-American homeless man who had been squatting next door, was the killer. When Jerrod saw him on the witness stand and insisted they had the wrong man, the prosecution chalked it up to youth and trauma and pursued the death penalty for Kenneth Clair. To this day, 31 years later, Mr. Clair sits on San Quentin’s death row, awaiting his execution date. [UPDATE: I was recently made aware that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals secretly overturned Mr. Clair’s death sentence and changed it to life in prison without parole. This is mixed news -- his life is spared, but he no longer has the right to an attorney under habeas corpus laws, and he has not been granted a retrial. That means the exonerating DNA evidence will NOT be seen in court. We now have to focus our energy on asking Governor Jerry Brown and California State Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate the case and exonerate Kenneth Clair for this crime he did not commit. It is Mr. Clair’s only remaining chance for justice. ] But that’s not the biggest bombshell in this case -- in 2008, forensic testing revealed that DNA found on the murder victim did not match Clair’s. DNA taken from a glove found at the scene also did not match. It matches another individual, but the Orange County District Attorney insists that “confidentiality is required” concerning this evidence, and for 7 years now, the identity of the person whose DNA does match the swab has remained a secret. In the interest of justice, we must call on the Orange County DA and California state lawmakers to demand that the DNA evidence be turned over to Kenneth Clair’s defense. Since his conviction, Clair has struggled with ineffective counsel. He wanted his lawyers to work at investigating the crime, rather than simply trying to free him from death row, but they never did. His plea for substitute counsel even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, and he did eventually receive a switch of counsel. Finally, he is being represented by people who are dedicated to his exoneration. But their hands are tied without this crucial DNA evidence, and more of Clair’s precious life is wasting away in prison as they fight to obtain it. Please sign my petition: Obviously the Orange County District Attorneys office, with their current district attorney Tony Rackauckas will continue withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense. The only alternative is to both Mr. Rackauckas out of office. So our goal now is to fight this battle both by rallies and at the voting box. If you cannot vote, we still need your donations and also your time if you can volunteer. OUR MAIN MESSAGE IS THAT THE DNA IS NOT KENNETH CLAIR'S. WE DO NOT CARE IF THE DA'S OFFICE CONTINUES TO WITHHOLD THE RESULTS ANY MORE........  NOW OUR MISSION IS TO EXONERATE KENNETH CLAIR. "IF THE DNA SAYS NO .........YOU HAVE TO EXONERATE AND LET KENNETH CLAIR GO......."  

C. J. Ford
163,044 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Charlie Baker

Support my son Arnie King by signing his petition to commute the life (without parole) sentence so that he can become eligible for parole release.

This is important because Arnie is requesting a 6th public hearing. Governor Patrick rejected a 6-0 favorable vote in 2008, and Arnie was granted another hearing in October 2010. Two months after the hearing, a police officer was killed by a lifer on parole. The governor then fired 5 parole board members and selected replacements. After that, Arnie received an unfavorable vote in March 2011, and he was denied another hearing request in March 2013. Arnie is responsible for killing a man in 1971, when he was 18 and had been drinking and drugging for several days. He has been clean for over 30 years now, obtained 3 college degrees, successfully completed more than 2 dozen weekend furloughs, participated in and created many support, rehabilitation, and education programs, and he remains very active in community service. Based on his age, the number of years he has served in prison, his level of educational achievement, and his community service while inside prison, Arnie is no longer a risk for danger to society. Over the years he has formed many significant bonds with people who are high achievers, and they support his reentry as a contributing member to society, including offers of employment and the prospects of becoming a taxpayer rather than costing the state $50,000/annually. Here are a few examples of support shown at Arnie's public hearings over the past 7 years: Charles Ogletree (Professor, Harvard Law), I have never seen anyone transform their life the way he has in the more than 40 years of service in prison. Gloria Fox (State Representative), I believe he is a changed man … and we support this commutation. Mel King (Professor Emeritus/MIT), What we need to see in this world is epitomized by Arnie and his change and behavior…    Jill Soffiyah Elijah (Attorney), How many youth counselors have I met regularly, who have been impacted by Mr. King! Reverend William Dickerson (Greater Love Tabernacle), Arnie King is not the average inmate.  He doesn’t play games.  He is sincere. Reverend Dr. Ray Hammond (Bethel AME), I appreciate that he inspires young people to make the right choices and not simply scare them.  We really need the voice and presence of Arnie King. Eva Clark (Executive Director, Judge Banks Community Justice Program), Nothing short of catastrophic illness would prevent me from being here today to support Arnie King. Lyn Levy (Executive Director, SPAN, Inc.), I met Arnie in 1976 and I will be one of the people holding his hand.  Our agency will help him also. Dr. Fran Roznowski (Community Psychologist), I have known Arnie since 1979, and I will be joining many others to have his back. Robin Casarjian (Executive Director, Lion Heart Foundation), For 15 years, he showed up with a sense of purpose and encouraged other prisoners to participate in group activities. Bob David (Side By Side Community Circle), Of the large numbers of disciplinary reports, some may be questionable, while other were earned. Paul Marcus (Executive Director, Community Change Inc.), What Arnie’s life means to me is the power of transformation, and society needs to see this example. Abrigal Forrester (Street Safe Boston), I’m here as a product of Arnie King.  Hope – Lifeline – Redemption.  He engaged the ignorance within me and told me I had value. Peter McGuane (Student, Truck Driver), I was in for involuntary manslaughter, and he got me active with Prison Voices, which I continued upon release.  I’m honored to be here for Arnie. Paule Verdet (Professor Emeritus/BU), It’s a way of life for Arnie.  He is a superb model. Becky Thompson (Professor/Simmons College), Recognizing Mr. King as a man worthy of commutation, no one benefits if the policy exists theoretically but is never granted. Felix Arroyo, Sr. (former Boston City Councillor), The first time I met Mr. King, I was with his brother.  I wondered about him and found a calm person, at peace with himself.  We have a recourse… ‘cause I know it will help our community. Nancy Murray (ACLU), Why is the community present?  We are interested in redemption… He couldn’t bring back the life, but he would do what he could to try to prevent others from going down that path. George Lee (Community Organizer), I heard a lot about him.  He wasn’t about tooting his own horn.  He was present for young folks and the other men. Seth Kirshenbaum (Director, The City School), Having Arnie with us in the community will help save young lives, and we have a job or volunteer opportunity for him. Banjineh Brown (Boston School Teacher), He works with prevention.  The “Arnie” factor is about redemption, and we use him as a case study.  He is an entrepreneur activist. Jason Lydon (Minister), Through Barbed Wire has been quite active at the Community Church of Boston. Aaron Tanaka (Boston Workers Alliance), I hope you will see his deep commitment to change and rehabilitation. Dianne Zimbabwe (Community Artist/Educator), My involvement with Through Barbed Wire allows me to witness the positive impact of Arnie’s community endeavors. Myriam Ortiz (Executive Director, Boston Parents Organizing Network), Arnie King has been an asset to us and students benefit from his example. Daniel King (Brother), I was a 16 year old teenager in 1971.  We have prayed for the family of John Labanara for comfort and peace, and we hope for their forgiveness. Marva King (Sister), It matters that we heal together. Eddie Berkin (Attorney), People are much more friends than supporters.  Because they are friends, they are also supporters. Margaret Burnham (Attorney), Your legal obligation is to review and decide whether this man has made exceptional strides in development. Walt Silva, Ed D  (Professor Emeritus/BU), Arnie is the classic example of prison injustice gone way over the top. He's jumped through every hoop, made every effort to contribute to the community from behind bars more than anyone else that I have known in my 25 years involved in prison higher education, and remains in prison at a cost of what - $60,000 + a year when he could be out contributing and paying taxes with zero threat to anyone?                                                                                                                 I have written to Governor Patrick more than once, concerning parole in general and Arnie specifically. If Arnie King doesn't qualify for commutation, then who does? It sends a sad message back to the prison population. If Arnie doesn't get a consideration, what's the sense of trying? But I'm sure Arnie doesn't feel that way, and will continue to keep contributing from behind bars. Imagine what he could do if he were out. He's paid his dues several times over. Arnie is the 3rd of 9 children through which many grandchildren and great grandchildren are a major part of this family circle. I complete 82 years of living this month, full of tremendous joys and blessings. However, this journey will be incomplete until I’m able to welcome Arnie’s return to the world community. My son has been inside Massachusetts prisons for the 1971 murder of another human being. He was 18, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, in Boston, and responsible for the death of this young man. Our entire family-and-friends network was devastated, as well as that of the Labanara family. After Arnie was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, without parole, I traveled to Massachusetts with his younger brothers and sisters to visit him in the maximum security prison. I told him that “God would not forsake him and neither would our family-and-friends community”. Arnie has grown, matured, and progressed during this lengthy period of imprisonment. He obtained 3 college degrees, created major rehabilitative programs within the prison and offered services to communities beyond the walls. He has been encouraged by many people, while inspiring the success of others. By examining the volumes of documents, transcripts, and opinions, it will become clear - the need to support the eventual release of my son. God Bless and One Love! Please sign the petition and encourage your family members and friends to support this effort. - Mary King

Mary King
658 supporters
Update posted 3 months ago

Petition to Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan parole Board

Battered elderly woman incarcerated 29yrs, Governor Whitmer please release LuAnne Szenay

Summary: We are petitioning Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to grant a “commutation of sentence” to Luanne Szenay. Szenay has been incarcerated over 29 years, since 1990 and is now 62-years-old. Personal story: LuAnne Szenay, now 62, she has been in prison in Michigan for almost 30 years. She is a domestic violence survivor. Her husband was shot & killed by a young man who the couple employed, he acted to protect LuAnne & her small daughter.  The couple owned & ran a health food store.  The husband isolated LuAnne from all her friends and any visits to & from her own family were closely supervised and monitored by him, thus preventing her from feeling that she had a safe place to run, this is standard behavior for narcissistic spousal abusers. Words from Luanne’s daughter: “My mother lived in constant fear.  At times my father would drive erratically while screaming at her.  He would throw dishes at the wall next to her.   Sometimes he would hold her against the wall & scream.  I found cocaine twice. I Was kidnapped twice…once by my dad …and once by his friends.  I was raised in an ‘extremists’ religion, this church handled abuse internally. Despite my mother’s pleas for help to the church, she was ignored. This religion demands a wife respect her husbands wishes unconditionally. If she is abused and complains, she will be directed to pray.”The issue: We need your support TODAY. Please sign & share this petition. If you can please email Governor Whitmer at: gretchen.whitmer@michigan.gov. Please request the Governor grant commutation to MDOC inmate #214992 LuAnne Szenay. LuAnne is not, never has been, nor ever would be a threat to society. After 29 years in prison, her incarceration has cost the MI tax payers over $1.2M. Please consider allowing this elderly women to return to her loving family. Take action! Please sign my petition as my mother is now elderly and ill. She is not allowed access to the health care she needs.  In her words,  “Unfortunately, my medical needs, which are not being met inside the prison, will most likely cause my death. For example, women die often of cancer here. But no one is diagnosed with ‘Stage 1 or 2’. Cancer is only diagnosed at Stage 3/4. You see, once illness is found, then the prison is obligated to give some treatment. Teatment is expensive.” 

Jennifer Szénay
2,618 supporters