Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Convicted With No Evidence: a Very Dangerous Precedent!

I am Reverend Edward Pinkney, a community activist who tragically became a political prisoner in Michigan on December 15, 2014. On July 26, 2016 the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected my appeal. I was convicted in Berrien County, Michigan by an all-white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth.

I have already served over 21 months as a result of a Jim Crow trial that had me accused of altering dates on a recall petition against then Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower. The prosecutor and judge both instructed the jury they could convict me “with no evidence.” Indeed, there was no evidence. I am an innocent man, threatened, charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced in an effort to isolate and silence me against the power of the land-grabbing, job-outsourcing, criminal Whirlpool Corporation that has its headquarters in Benton Harbor. My unusually harsh sentence was imposed by county judge Sterling Shrock.

On September 7, 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court denied me bond while accepting my application for leave. It will take up to a year for the Supreme Court to reach its decision on my Appeal. The corruption inside the courtroom and the justice system today must stop.

The Court of Appeal decision is published and sets a very dangerous precedent for the people of the State of Michigan and all around the country. The decision indicates that there is sufficient evidence to convict even when there is absolutely NO evidence at all! The prosecution’s case rested on the idea that since I was an outspoken organizer, active in political and social matters (both related to and unrelated to any election), I must have been motivated to alter dates. The prosecution offered no witnesses, no confession, no proof, no evidence of guilt; yet, I was convicted and sentenced to an unusually lengthy sentence of 2.5 to 10 years.

Almost twice the required number of petitions were turned in and processed by the County Clerk’s office and handed over to ascertain the date to be set for the recall election. These petitions were handled by multiple individuals before any charges were made against me, and it was never proved in court that any forgeries had even occurred. A number of individuals testified that they changed the date themselves (realizing they wrote the wrong date or after trying to sign with a pen that its ink had stopped flowing due to the cold winter weather during the petition drive). No forgeries were committed.

The people claim this is the greatest country in the entire world. They claim we have the best criminal justice system. If the blindfolded lady holding the scales of justice exists in this country, then this conviction should not and cannot stand in America, in Michigan, in Berrien County. It is worth repeating that this is a very dangerous precedent for everyone in our country. Convicting without evidence is that dangerous precedent that we must work together to overcome. No human being should ever spend one minute in jail or prison without evidence against him or her!

Lady Justice demands that judges must adhere rigorously to the law of the land and that prosecutors have the responsibility to be ministers of justice, not just to take on the role of advocates. This responsibility, which prosecutor Mike Sepic in my case was charged with, carried with it specific obligations to see that justice is served. But justice was not served.

In my case, and in so many cases that we are witnessing with especially the release of prisoners of color after being exonerated after years, sometimes decades, of false imprisonment, justice was not served. The scales of Lady Justice are imbalanced, especially against people of color. We must continue to fight against this grave imbalance to ensure a humane, just future for people of color, for the homeless, for the poverty-stricken, for the weary and beaten populace of America. All across our country, we must demand that justice be served!

Reverend Edward Pinkney
#294671
West Shoreline Correctional Facility
2500 S. Sheridan Drive
Muskegon Heights, MI  49444

 

More articles by:
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
Ramzy Baroud
That Single Line of Blood: Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah
Zhivko Illeieff
Addiction and Microtargeting: How “Social” Networks Expose us to Manipulation
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What is Truth?
Michael Doliner
Were the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a Mistake?
Victor Grossman
Cassandra Calls
Ralph E. Shaffer
Could Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing Ended Differently?
Vanessa Cid
Our Everyday Family Separations
Walaa Al Ghussein
The Risks of Being a Journalist in Gaza
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal and Treachery—The Extremism of Moderates
James Munson
Identity Politics and the Ruling Class
P. Sainath
The Floods of Kerala: the Bank That Went Under…Almost
Ariel Dorfman
How We Roasted Donald Duck, Disney’s Agent of Imperialism
Joe Emersberger
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence
Ed Meek
White Victimhood: Brett Kavanaugh and the New GOP Brand
Andrew McLean, MD
A Call for “Open Space”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail