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.