07 January 2011

Injustice In Mississippi

There are so many things wrong with this story.

The two sisters, and three teenaged boys, are supposed to have robbed a couple of guys of $11. All three boys have long since gone free, but the sisters are sixteen years into two consecutive life sentences. Each

Double life sentences? for $11???

One of the "boys" mentioned in the article was 18, and therefore already an adult. It might make sense if the minors got less jail time, but why a few years for a legally adult male, and life sentences for the two women? The article mentions that the sisters are black, but doesn't specify the race of the others convicted; could race be a factor in the differential sentencings?

Maybe more to the point: why didn't the reporter ask any of these questions?

The Jackson Free Press has more detail here: Turns out one of the originally convicted young men stated in an affadavit in 2000 (yep, eleven years ago) that he and his brothers were pressured by the police to testify against the women or face life sentences. But the governor refused to release the two women. The boy who was fourteen at the time has testified that the police suggested he'd be raped in prison if he didn't comply. (A Huffington Post article reveals that the youg men were black, too.)

Maybe the truth is on indybay, a Bay Area independent media site, which includes information none of the mainstream media want to touch (or maybe they haven't dug deep enough to find it). According to an article by Carolina Saldaña, the real issue was that the sheriff had a vendetta against the sisters' father -- and manufactured the case against the women in revenge.

Oh, and the reason for their release? So one sister can give the other a kidney transplant. But is this out of concern for their welfare? Here's what Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said:

"Jamie Scott’s medical condition creates a substantial cost to the state of Mississippi.”

Sickening. All of it.