Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Free the Scott Sisters!

A few weeks ago, syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald raised his voice about a case that has been crying for justice from coast to coast the last couple of years. It has to do with a pair of sisters in Mississippi (yes, I know, but that doesn't make it okay) who've already "served" more than fifteen years in prison for supposedly setting up a robbery that injured no one physically and netted a whopping $11 for the five people involved (that's two dollars apiece, folks). He wrote:

"Let’s assume they did it.

"Let’s assume that two days before Christmas in 1993, a 22-year-old black woman named Jamie Scott and her pregnant, 19-year-old sister Gladys set up an armed robbery. Let’s assume these single mothers lured two men to a spot outside the tiny town of Forest, Miss., where three teenage boys, using a shotgun the sisters supplied, relieved the men of $11 and sent them on their way, unharmed.

"Assume all of the above is true, and still you must be shocked at the crude brutality of the Scott sisters’ fate. You see, the sisters, neither of whom had a criminal record before this, are still locked away in state prison, having served 16 years of their double-life sentences.

"It bears repeating. Each sister is doing double life for a robbery in which $11 was taken and nobody was hurt. Somewhere, the late Nina Simone is moaning her signature song: Mississippi Goddam.

"For the record, two of the young men who committed the robbery testified against the sisters as a condition of their plea bargain. All three reportedly received two-year sentences and were long ago released. No shotgun or forensic evidence was produced at trial. The sisters have always maintained their innocence.

"Observers are at a loss to explain their grotesquely disproportionate sentence. Early this year, the Jackson Advocate, a weekly newspaper serving the black community in the state capital, interviewed the sisters’ mother, Evelyn Rasco. She described the sentences as payback for her family’s testimony against a corrupt sheriff. According to her, that sheriff's successor vowed revenge."
Want to know more? The best rundown I've seen to date was written by Richard Prince and published on Black Agenda Report.

7 comments:

fwoan said...

Wow. I read your post incredulously until the last paragraph. The testimony/revenge theory makes it all come into place.

Double life sentences? I bet that sheriff sleeps soundly too, ugh.

Changeseeker said...

Fwoan: He probably drinks himself to sleep. An obvious waste of cheap liquor.

Anonymous said...

Hey CS, when I opened my email this morning this article was on my front page:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101230/ap_on_re_us/us_sisters_pardon_kidney

I'm sure you've already heard, but just in case I wanted to pass it along.

Thank you for sharing it with us. I did send a letter to the governor's office after I read your blog and the opinion piece in the Miami Herald. And I've been bitching about to everyone every chance I've had since you brought it to my attention via your blog, encouraging everyone to do the same.

Thanks for all you do. I know it's been years since I've sat in your classroom, but I'm thinking of your frequently, sending you warm thoughts from Tampa. I hope you are okay where you are now...I don't know how you can stand it there, I know I never could. :^/

Anyway, I wish you peace and health in the New Year.

Much love,
RP

Changeseeker said...

Yeah, RP, the Powers-That-Be needed an excuse. Letting one sister out because she needs dialysis regularly and the other one out to donate a kidney to her sick sister gets them both out of prison "early" without ACTUALLY admitting they should file a civil suit. Color me disgusted, but glad a little attention helped to move the process along.

Thanks for the kind words. I miss our talks, too. Hope all is well with you and 2011 is your best year yet.

fwoan said...

Looks like they are getting "released"

http://socialistworker.org/2011/01/10/freedom-for-the-scott-sisters

fwoan said...

whoops, this is already known, should've read all the comments.

Changeseeker said...

Yes, fwoan. They were released Friday, but there were questions about the legality of the "conditions" when the release was first announced. One was about the constitutionality of forcing a person to give up a body part. Another was what will happen under the stated conditions, if the sister with two healthy kidneys is not a workable match for the sister who needs one. Would the healthy sister then be required to go back to prison? The Governor is obviously an ass. Which is hardly new news.