Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Report on Post-evidentiary Hearing for Reggie Clemons
by Jamala Rogers, Coordinator for the Justice for Reggie Campaign
October 3, 2012
Reggie is eternally grateful for all those who actively assisted in the actualization of his evidentiary hearing that was held September 17-20 in the Carnahan CourtBuilding. He, his family and the Justice for Reggie Campaign acknowledge this has been a painful ordeal for all the families involved. We know that members of the Kerry and Richardson families attended the hearing.  It is a complicated case based upon the circumstances and numbers of people involved. It was sufficiently muddied by the roguish misconduct of Prosecutor Nels Moss and St. Louis police officers Chris Pappas and Joseph Brauer.
The evidentiary hearing conducted by Judge Michael Manners is unprecedented inMissouri judicial history. The Missouri Supreme Court appointed Judge Manners as a special master three years ago to independently review the case—just days before Reggie’s execution.
The hearing was not a criminal trial; it was a hearing officiated by a judge who could exercise flexibility in his judicial conduct. He appeared to be even-handed in his approach to both sides, even sometimes allowing the legal teams to negotiate one another’s objections.
We are closer to truth and justice than we’ve been in the 20 years of the case. That is what the fight has been for—truth and justice. Our hope is that this is the goal for all those directly and indirectly involved in the case. It is certainly the lofty goal of the judicial system but as we’ve seen many times, the goal can be derailed whether maliciously or unintentionally. The Campaign has always viewed the hearing as a space for all the families to get information and insight relative to the case, not just a space for Reggie’s side to be aired.
For those not in the courtroom and with no access to Twitter, Facebook, etc, their hunger for information about the hearing came mostly through the mainstream media. The coverage was a bit anemic of objectivity and depth and so many still have hunger pains. I want to address a few issues of the hearing that we received the most responses about.
Police Brutality
The accusation of forced confession came not just from Reggie. Both Marlin Gray and Tom Cummins echoed the same complaint. Their accounts of brutality and coercion were basically the same—beaten about the heat and torso, given a script to read, etc. The divergence in similarity occurred when Reggie and Marlin received death sentences based upon their confessions and Cummins received a $150,000 settlement from the St. Louis Police Department.
            Witnesses for Reggie, including his mother and sister who saw him within days of the beating, testified that they saw a swollen face and busted lip. We already know that Judge Michael David sent Reggie to the hospital for medical treatment after he appeared in court for his arraignment. Witnesses for the state all testified that Reggie’s face was perfectly normal and that he never informed staff at the police department that he had been beaten. Sometimes these individuals saw Reggie minutes after others who saw his distorted face. Medical reports confirm the validity of Reggie’s account.
Prosecutorial Misconduct
            One of the most damaging pieces of evidence related to Nels Moss’ manipulation of evidence was the original police report on Cummins’ confession; it contained margin notes by Moss to “omit” or ways to make changes. The final, sanitized version was void of any of damaging or incriminating comments by Cummins. Reggie’s defense team showed the two documents side by side on the court’s big screen for all to see. Moss testified that there were no differences in the two reports.
            Moss was caught in a number of half-truths and outright lies as squirmed on the witness stand. At one point, Reggie’s attorneys asked a series of questions regarding contradictory statements made by Cummins and the officers accused of brutality. He had to ask Moss several times whether that meant someone was not telling the truth before Moss mumbled yes it did mean such.
Pleading the 5th
            Again, because this was not a trial on the entire Chain of Rocks Bridge case, part of Team Clemons’ legal strategy was to focus on particular elements of the case. Prior to the hearing, all parties knew that Reggie would be taking the 5thon issues that his legal defense deemed not relevant to their case. On the stand, Reggie answered those questions directly related to whether he was involved in the rapes or murders of the Kerry sisters; he maintained his innocence as his has for the past 21 years. This is precisely the crux of the case: Should Reggie be executed if there is no scientific evidence that links him to rape and murder?
            Assistant Attorney General Susan Boresi did what any prosecutor worth their salt would do—she used the opportunity to paint her account of the Bridge incident by asking a number of questions knowing that Reggie would plead the 5th.  Hence, the media’s provocative headlines of “Pleads the 5th 30 times.” Because there was no jury, Boresi’s tactic was not as impactful although should there be a trial, all such questions will have to be answered.
            Of note here and illuminating the bias of media, at one point Judge Manners asked the investigating officer in Internal Affairs at the time of Reggie’s brutality complaint about whether Pappas and Brauer had pled the 5th during their statements for his report. Both officers had pled the 5th in queries about brutality but this didn’t get the same media attention as Reggie’s plea.
DNA Evidence
            You may remember that a rape kit for Julie Kerry was mysteriously uncovered in police custody just weeks before the first scheduled hearing of Reggie in 2010. Judge Manners immediately ordered testing. Retested were a swatch from Marlin’s pants and boxer shorts.
            Representatives from the State Highway Patrol and a private company testified as to the results. Regarding the DNA evidence on the clothing items, theDNA experts used the vague phrase “could not be excluded” when referring to profile matches for Reggie, Marlon or Antonio Richardson. Under cross examination by Reggie’s attorneys, the DNA technician admitted that there was no exact DNA match for Reggie in any of the evidence. Further, she admitted that contamination of the evidence was possible and that there was no scientific way to prove how old her sperm sample was or if it could even date back to the 1991 crimes.
            The DNA evidence was not the smoking gun the state had hoped for but the onus of proof is not on them--it is on Reggie. Many still believe if Moss had compelling evidence about rape, he would have certainly used it when he prosecuted the cases of Reggie, Marlin and Tony.
While the hearing answered some questions about this complex case, it also raised other questions by supporters such as …
-If the state says the Kerry sisters were killed to get rid of any witnesses, why was Tom Cummins spared?
-If the police brutality accounts of Reggie, Marlin and Cummins were virtually the same, why were Reggie and Marlin’s charges ignored?
-What was the significance of the state prosecutor bringing up the controversy as to whether it was Julie Kerry’s body that was actually recovered?
-What will happen to people who appeared to have perjured themselves in the original case or during the evidentiary hearing (including Moss)?
 Judge Manners is in a unique position to review old evidence and testimonies that had been procedurally barred in the appeals court as well as look at new evidence and testimonies. No one has ever had the authority, will or access to the expanse of this case. He has set November 1 as the deadline for both the state and Reggie’s legal team to submit any other evidence including videotapes of witnesses who could not attend the hearing. Both sides must present their written arguments by December 1. At this point, another open court date is not expected.
 It is anticipated that after the first of the year, Judge Manners will began the arduous tasks of combing through piles of evidence—audio and video tapes, exhibits, court transcripts, etc. We don’t know how long this will take. Ultimately, the judge will send his recommendation to the Missouri Supreme Court who must make its decision. Again, we don’t know how long this decision-making process will take. 
What we do know is that getting to such an evidentiary hearing has been an extraordinary journey. We are appreciative to the Missouri Supreme Court for its due diligence. Those able to attend the hearing cited it as a memorable experience and a great lesson in better understanding our judicial system.
As we wait for the decision-making process to come to an end, the Campaign will continue its efforts to keep you updated, to raise the troubling issues in Reggie’s case (and many other death penalty cases) and to make sure justice prevails. 

Jamala Rogers, Coordinator
JUSTICE for Reggie Campaign
P. O. Box 5277  St. LouisMO  63115
(314) 367-5959

NAACP calls for thorough investigation in Winnsboro burning - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

NAACP calls for thorough investigation in Winnsboro burning - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Why are Blacks still being set on fire?  Beware of Jim Crow - the hate that fuels it leads to gross crimes against humanity.
Keep Civilian Review of Police --
Vote NO on Prop A, Tues. Nov. 6

Missouri Municipal Police Amendment (Local Control),
 Proposition A - Jobs with Justice has supported local
control of the St. Louis City Police
 Department, collective bargaining rights for police
officers, and a civilian
review board for our neighbors for over a decade.

However, the current ballot initiative proposing local
control of the police
unnecessarily undermines the power of a civilian review
board and threatens
 good community/police relations.

Therefore we endorse a NO vote on Prop A, but
continue to support other
efforts to return control of the St. Louis City Police Department
 in a way that
protects the rights of our police force and our neighbors by
 protecting collective
 bargaining rights for officers and the establishment of a
civilian review board
for our city. For more information
check out:

Proposition A

Official Ballot Title:

Shall Missouri law be amended to:

allow any city not within a county (the City of St. Louis)
 the option of
transferring certain obligations and control of the city’s
 police force from the
board of police commissioners currently appointed by the
governor to the city
 and establishing a municipal police force;

establish certain procedures and requirements for governing
such a municipal
 police force including residency, rank, salary, benefits,
insurance, and pension;

prohibit retaliation against any employee of such municipal
police force who
reports conduct believed to be illegal to a superior, government
agency, or the press?

State governmental entities estimated savings will eventually
be up to $500,000
annually. Local governmental entities estimated annual
potential savings of $3.5 million;
however, consolidation decisions with an unknown outcome
may result in the savings
 being more or less than estimated.

For the Full Text of Proposition A, visit this page on this
Secretary of State's website.
For the Fair Ballot Language, visit this page on the
Secretary of State's website.
To see the full list of MO JwJ's recommendations on this
election's Propositions
and Amendments, click here.

Update: Amber alert subject taken into custody - News

Update: Amber alert subject taken into custody - News

Amber Alerts work for all colors of children - too often though, we never hear of the missing Black kids.  Keep your eyes open and if you see something - say something.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Another civil rights activist passes and it makes me wonder is the war on women working? Where are the good people to fight these fights and are you one?

Adelaide Mahaffey Schlafly: Force for social justice

12:49 pm on Wed, 10.03.12
Adelaide Schlafly, who spent a lifetime advocating on behalf of people whose voices are diminished by poverty, social injustice, racial discrimination, and educational deficiencies, died Sunday (September 30, 2012) at her home in the Central West End. She was 97.
“Our city has lost a wonderful champion for justice,” said Thomas M. Nolan, executive director of Access Academies, a middle school program for disadvantaged children in faith-based schools.
Adelaide Mahaffey Schlafly
Family photos
Adelaide Mahaffey Schlafly
“She was simply a woman of great talent and great energy who sought the common good in so many ways.”
A memorial Mass for Mrs. Schlafly will be celebrated on Thursday at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
From Rome, Cardinal Justin Rigali expressed his disappointment that he would be unable to attend her services, noting, “I recall Adelaide Schlafly with great esteem and admiration for her outstanding service as an active Catholic.”
Mrs. Schlafly inherited a life of privilege; she chose a life of service.

Never forget

The 2004 commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that ended segregated schools caused Mrs. Schlafly to reflect. She said that Brown v. Board of Education “may seem like ancient history to many people, (but) this is a story that must not be forgotten.”
She was ever vigilant.
Mrs. Schlafly was on the front lines in the successful fight that gave all Missouri citizens the right to use public facilities, a law that predated the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She was a leader in the Missouri Association for Social Welfare and she helped found the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.
“I was familiar with her work in education and the quest for human rights,” said Nolan, who previously worked in the Human Rights Office of the St. Louis Archdiocese. “She focused on issues of poverty and racism.”
Mrs. Schlafly was bold in calling attention to injustice.
In a 1989 letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she wrote: “The first five candidates on the ballot for six-year terms are all well-qualified and concerned, above all, with education …. An opposition slate for the five seats represents racism that could tear our community apart, hurt the schoolchildren and damage prospects for the economic growth of the metropolitan area.”
During a 1961 visit with her son, Daniel Jr., who was a student at his father’s alma mater, Georgetown University, she noticed that one portrait was missing from the gallery of former university presidents.
Father Patrick Healy, the son of a former slave and a wealthy Irishman, was conspicuously absent.
At least it was conspicuous to Mrs. Schlafly, a history major who graduated magna cum laude from Saint Louis University in 1956.
She insisted that the portrait of the nation’s first and only African-American president of a major college or university be given its rightful place of honor.- And so it was.

The children

All of Mrs. Schlafly’s efforts were inextricably linked to those of her husband, Daniel, who, despite never having set foot in a public school as a student, served on the St. Louis School Board for nearly three decades.
When he died in 1997, Mrs. Schlafly continued their work unabated.
She wrote in the Post-Dispatch in 1998: “The school children of St. Louis were then, and are now, our children. Their welfare in school and in the world outside has been a special concern of ours that continues for me today.”
Her commitment to children had begun early. As a volunteer in a Catholic preschool prior to World War II, Mrs. Schlafly saw the effects of poverty and discrimination on African-American children. Then and there she committed to making things better for disadvantaged children.
“She was interested and engaged throughout her long life,” said Waller McGuire, executive director of the St. Louis Public Library.
Until recently, she was a frequent visitor to the library just blocks from her home that, at the recommendation of Missouri Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Richard B. Teitelman, bears the Schlafly name.
“She was particularly interested in how school children were using the library,” McGuire said.
Mrs. Schlafly donated a large collection of children’s books, including some rare and quite valuable volumes from her youth, to the Schlafly Library.
Many of Mrs. Schlafly’s numerous civic and cultural affiliations reflected her commitment to human rights, education and diversity: the White House Council on Education, the St. Louis Internship Program, Harris-Stowe State University, the Urban League, the NAACP, St. Louis Catholic and Public Schools, the Catholic Interracial Council and the Archdiocesan Human Rights Commission.
She also supported the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Zoo and the National Council of Catholic Women.
She served on the board of the One William Street Fund and buoyed many institutions, including the Cathedral Basilica, Desloge Hospital, Saint Louis University, St. Louis University High School, the St. Louis Priory, and the St. Louis Symphony.
Described as “exceptionally modest and self-effacing,” Mrs. Schlafly was nevertheless much lauded.
Her awards included A Dame of Malta. She was a Globe-Democrat Woman of Achievement in 1966, and was honored by the Associated Alumni of the Sacred Heart, the Missouri History Museum, the Urban League, Maryville University, and Oasis. In 1989, she received an honorary degree from Saint Louis University and the archdiocesan Order of Christ the King in 1997.
She established the Adelaide M. Schlafly Preschool Teacher of the Year prize and she and her husband funded a pilot program that developed into the St. Louis Partnership, which brings white and black students together.
Mrs. Schlafly's international education and travels inspired her to work with the St. Louis chapter of the United Nations Association, the American Forum for Global Education and the United Nations University.

A song of peace

Adelaide Mahaffey Schlafly was born July 19, 1915, in St. Louis, the second of four daughters of Birch Oliver Mahaffey and Laura Elizabeth McBride Mahaffey, who died when she was a teenager. She attended the old City House School in St. Louis and boarding schools in South Carolina, New York, Paris and Florence, Italy.
In 1935, the students of Miss May's School in Florence, which included a girl who became Frederica-Queen of Greece, met Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
Dan Schlafly said his mother, an exceptional storyteller, vividly recalled the brief meeting and Mussolini’s billboard PR campaign to convince the world that he invaded Ethiopia to free enslaved people.
She married Daniel Lyons Schlafly, whom she’d known since childhood, on Dec. 2, 1939. They were married by then-Archbishop (later Cardinal) John J. Glennon. They wed despite the practical joke she played on her future husband.
“She forged a letter asking him to lead a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne (in St. Charles),” said Dan Schlafly.
He was “earnest and civic minded,” so he agreed, unaware until he arrived at the departure point, that he’d been had.
In memory of her husband, friend and cohort for justice, Mrs. Schlafly donated The Angel of Harmony, a 14-foot high sculpture by Wiktor Szostalo to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. It is an African-American angel surrounded by a Hispanic, Asian and European-featured child playing a song of peace on their instruments.
“Her splendid efforts to assist generously those in need and to apply faithfully the social teaching of the Church remain a great legacy that she leaves to the community of the Church, to her family and to all who knew and loved her,” said Cardinal Rigali, formerly the Archbishop of St. Louis. “I express my prayerful condolences, especially to her family, and ask the Lord Jesus to confirm in Christian hope all who mourn her passing.”
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Schlafly was preceded in death by her sisters Katherine Mahaffey Walsh and Elizabeth Mahaffey Mullins.
Her survivors include her children, Daniel L. (Shannon) Schlafly Jr. of St. Louis, Ellen S. (Robert L.) Shafer of New York City, and Thomas F. (Ulrike) Schlafly of St. Louis; her sister, Dorothy Jane Mahaffey Moore of Weldon Spring; grandchildren Maria Schlafly (David Aholt) and Theresa Schlafly (Matthew Russell), Adelaide (John) Barrett, Katherine (John) Coleman, Daniel (Vanessa) Shafer and Margaret Shafer; and seven great-grandchildren.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell at Newstead.
Memorials appreciated to a charity of the donor’s choice.

2012 Jefferson City MO, NAACP Awardees - Putting Meaning into "Standing for Equality, Fighting for Justice"

Criteria for Awards

Jack and Carolyn Hembree
The Roy Wilkins Award is given in recognition of individuals who have devoted their lives to finding solutions to racial inequality, promoted educational excellence and demonstrated courage in the fight for equality, justice and civil rights.

Ina Boone
The Rosa Parks Award is given to individuals who have committed their lives, and have exhibited dedication and commitment to the cause of equality and justice in the face of personal sacrifice, and for standing up against racism and discrimination.

Governor Jeremiah (Jay) Nixon
This Corporate/Public Image Award is given to a company or individual in the public/private sector, in recognition of its/their commitment and dedication to equal opportunity, employment, diversity, community support and

Senior Master Sergeant Alvin Sims
Lieutenant Colonel Janice McCall
Second Christian Church
Tim Dollar
This Presidential Choice Award is given to an organization or individuals in the public/private sector, in recognition of its/their commitment and dedication to equal opportunity, access, employment, diversity, community support and leadership.

Terrell Fain
The Myrtle Smith Oden Service Award is given to individuals who have worked faithfully in the NAACP or othercivic organizations for the overall betterment of the community.

Herb Johnson
Dr. Carolyn Mahoney
The Lifetime Service Award is given in recognition of an individual for a lifetime career, dedicated toward the cause of justice, equal opportunity and civil rights for all people.

The Honorable Ike Skelton
The Lifetime Achievement Award is given in recognition of an individual who has worked diligently and given honorable and dedicated service in the safeguard of justice and democracy.