FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
August 23, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Notes on Inauthenticity in a Creeping Fascist Nuthouse
Andrew Levine
Recession Now, Please
Rob Urie
Mr. Trump Goes to Kensington
Jeffrey St. Clair
Deep Time and the Green River, Floating
Robert Hunziker
Earth 4C Hotter
Kenneth Good
Congo’s Patrice Lumumba: The Winds of Reaction in Africa
Pete Dolack
The Realism and Unrealism of the Green New Deals
David Rosen
The White-Nationalist Great Fear
Kenn Orphan
The War on Indigenous People is a War on the Biosphere Itself
L. Michael Hager
What Netanyahu’s Travel Ban Has Revealed
Ramzy Baroud
Jewish Settlers Rule the Roost in Israel, But at What Price?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Is Environmental Protection Possible?
Josue De Luna Navarro
What It’s Like to Grow Up Hunted
Ralph Nader
They Don’t Make Republicans Like the Great Paul Findley Anymore!
Gary Olson
Whither the Resistance to our Capitalist Overlords?
Dean Baker
On Those Downward Jobs Revisions
Rev. William Alberts
Beware of the Gun-Lover-in-Chief
Helder F. do Vale
Brazil: From Global Leader to U.S. Lapdog
Laura Finley
Educators Actually Do “Work” in the Summer
Jim Goodman
Farmers Need a Bill of Rights
Tom Clifford
What China’s Leadership is Really Worried About: Rising Debt
Daphne Wysham
Saving the Planet Means Fighting Bipartisan Corruption
Tierra Curry
Amazon Fires Put the Planet at Risk
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Decentralize Power and Revive Regional Political Institutions
John W. Whitehead
American Apocalypse
George Wuerthner
How Agriculture and Ranching Subvert the Re-Wilding of America
Daniel Murphy
Capital in the 21st Century
Jessicah Pierre
400 Years After Slavery’s Start, No More Band-Aids
Kim C. Domenico
Finding the Comrades: Maintaining Precarious Sanity In Insane Times
Gary Leupp
“Based on the Fact She Won’t Sell Me Greenland, I’m Staying Home”
John Kendall Hawkins
The Chicago 8 Trial, Revisited
Rivera Sun
Tapping into People Power
Ted Rall
As Long as Enemies of the State Keep Dying Before Trial, No One Should Trust the State
Jesse Jackson
The Significance of the “1619 Project”
Thomas Knapp
“Nuance” in Politics and Public Policy? No Thanks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and Endangered Species, Wildlife and Human
Mel Gurtov
China’s Hong Kong Nightmare, and the US Response
Ron Forthofer
Sick of Being a Guinea Pig
Nicky Reid
Why I Stopped Being White (and You Should Too)
Jill Richardson
As the School Year Starts, I’m Grateful for the ADA
Seth Sandronsky
Rethinking the GDR
Adolf Alzuphar
Tears / Ayizan Velekete
Stephen Cooper
General Jah Mikey: “I Just Love That Microphone, Man”
Louis Proyect
Slaves to the Clock
David Yearsley
Moral Cantatas
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail