Slavery by the 13th Amendment

By Elisha Macon

When my wife told me that she had watched the documentary the 13th. She now better understand why I am still INCARCERATED in SIDE of ADOC. She now sees that IT’S not the crime that they say that I committed that has me INCARCERATED all these decades. And thousands of more men are in slavery,along with me. Yes, slavery people such as well as myself are TRAPPED into slavery through the courts systems, along with other agencies. HOUSING us worse than ANIMALS and working us SLAVES for nothing, while these different agency’s make billions of dollars off the backs of the SLAVES and our families who dare to stand by our sides and support us. These agencies are so corrupt that they even charge us SLAVES for medical treatments. They charge us SLAVES for disciplinaries. The very same items that our loved ONES use to have the privilege of sending us, we now must buy them from the agency. They have entrapped us into slavery with the new laws that our so called legislatures are passing TARGETING the black men of America. LOCKING us up for long periods of time. So many people are blind to these facts. Please I not only urge you to watch the documentary the 13th but I also beg you to. please don’t take my word for this and watch it for yourself please. Even if you don’t know anyone in prison, I promise you that someone who you love and care about is subject to fall victim to this SLAVES trade that is still operating strongly through the United State court systems. If you care anything about the future of our CHILDREN, PLEASE STAND with me and the OTHERS who are making the necessary sacrifices to change the way that we are being Mistreated and enslaved behind these plantation walls. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

WHEN BEING BLACK BECOMES AN AGGRAVATING ELEMENT OF THE CRIME: HOW ALABAMA PROSECUTORS USE GANG ENHANCEMENT LAWS TO OVER-PROSECUTE BLACK PEOPLE

 

  In the midst of the George Floyd protests for racial and social justice and a call for the end of police summary executions and murders of innocence, unarmed Black men and women with impunity, many people around the world were shocked when a Democratic prosecutor in Utah charged Black Lives Matter protestors under gang enhancement charges that carried a possible life sentence in prison for merely splashing paint across the steps and part of the street in front of the DA’s with red paint.

“George Floyd: US protesters charged as ‘gang’ face life sentence – BBC News” https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-us-canada-53698048

  While these excessive ‘gang’ charges drew condemnation far and wide, this incident exposed a practice that many Black men know all too well, especially here in Alabama. But, unlike the prosecutor in Utah, who acknowledged that he doubts that anyone will spend even a day in jail for these charges that carry a life sentence, Black men in Alabama have not been so lucky.

  In fact, hundreds of Black men in Alabama have been charged with gang-related capital murder offenses that carry the death penalty or life without parole. Although no one has ever received the death penalty under these statutes, hundreds are çurrently serving life without parole sentences after being prosecuted under these gang laws even though none of them were ever charged with actually being in any gang. Many others were originally overcharged with capital offense but ultimately had their charges reduced in plea deals.

HISTORY OF ALABAMA’S GANG LAWS

  In 1992, the Alabama Legislature convened to address what was the considered to be a public outcry against gang violence. Among the issues of concern were “drive-by” shooting, where vehicles were being weaponized to carry out gang murders. These gang killings were also taking the lives of innocent children who were outside playing in their yards, or sitting inside their homes when these drive-by shootings were being carried out. In response, the Alabama Legislature added four new capital murder crimes to the Alabama criminal code that were now punishable by death or LWOP:

  Over time and after years of these laws being on the books, we have learned that these laws have not been applied as intended. We’ve also learned that the uneven and disparate application of these laws have been applied almost exclusively to young Black men. The facts are undeniable. Alabama prosecutors are intentionally and systematically using gang laws to overcharge, wrongfully convict, and over sentence young Black men for capital murder where the only aggravating factor used to enhance their charges is the fact that they are Black. Excepting a few isolated instances, white people who commit the exact same crimes are not charges with capital murder.

SHIRLEY HENSON: Road Rage and Black Rage

Every fire has a spark.

The case that sparked the fire leading to the discovery of the racial discrimination in how these laws were being used was the road rage case involving a middle-class white woman named Shirley Henson. Ms. Henson was driving down an Alabama interstate when she got into an altercation with another driver over tailgating. When the driver of the other vehicle got out of her car to confront Ms. Henson, Ms. Henson retrieved her gun and shot through her window striking the woman in the face, killing her.

As shown above, under Alabama law, when a person inside a vehicle fires a weapon outside that vehicle and kills someone this is capital murder:



(18) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise used within or from a vehicle.

Indeed, firing a weapon from inside a vehicle and killing someone outside that vehicle is exactly how a drive-by shooting is committed. But, Ms. Henson was not charged with a capital offense. Instead, she was charged with reckless murder.

Same facts, same crime. Different color, different time !!!

  This lesser charge was a revelation to Black men in Alabama because they, unlike Ms. Henson, were told that there crimes were capital based on the factual predicate that a weapon was fired from inside a vehicle that killed someone outside the vehicle or vice versa. This was a fact that, according to their prosecutors and defense attorneys, automatically rendered their cases capital.

  Yet, here it was playing out on news stations all around the State that when a white women committed the exact same crime, with the exact same facts, she was not charged with a capital offense. Ultimately, Ms. Henson was famously convicted of road rage and spent appx. 10 years in prison before being released.

Young Black men, however, were receiving life without parole sentences, left to die in the Alabama prison system for the exact same offense.

https://youtu.be/sKZgtIa_2wI

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 575

  While Shirley Henson, a middle classes white woman received the benefit of white privilege in the Alabama judicial system,  Phillip Fondren, a young white male did not. Phillip Fondren was charged with capital murder after killing a man (Fondren claimed self-defense) in a domestic situation after an argument with his wife’s ex-boyfriend. A single gunshot was fired from Fondren’s vehicle:

After his conviction, Phillip’s mother, understanding the injustice done to her son, became a vocal activist, refusing to accept as fact that her son would spend the rest of his life in prison simply because he was charged under a statute that defined the crime and length of punishment based solely on the location of the parties when the crime occured. In order words, if Phillip had stepped outside of his truck and he and the victim were both standing in the driveway when the same fatal shot was fired, he would not have been subject to a capital offense or life without parole.

Phillip’s case and many others highlight the fact that gang affiliation and using the vehicle as an instrument of the crime (drive-by) are the elements that the Alabama Legislature intended to punish. These were the aggravating factors that enhanced the punishment. When those aggravating elements are absent, then what prosecutors are supposed to be punishing is a murder case.

Avoiding absurd results like this is the very reason why gang relation was a critical aspect of the original legislation. If there was no gang involvement or the vehicle was not being used to carry out the crime then there was no aggravating facts that would justify enhancing the charge to capital murder instead of regular murder.

  This injustice compelled Ms. Fondren to start writing articles, reaching out to legislatures and taking other proactive actions, all of which ultimately lead to her understanding that her son had been charged under a gang-related statute even though his crime was not gang-related and he was not in a gang.

  Her efforts lead the Alabama Legislature to passed a House Joint Resolution 575, which was signed by the Governor, all stating that the gang statute was being misapplied in Alabama inconsistent with their intent in passing the law in the first place.

Acts. 2006-642

“Legislative Acts | Alabama Secretary of State” http://arc-sos.state.al.us/cgi/actdetail.mbr/detail?page=act&year=2006&act=642

  PHYRRIC VICTORY AFTER THE JUDICIAL BRANCH GETS INVOLVED

  The success of Ms. Fondren’s campaign was short-lived. After receiving the Resolution, the next step was to file a writ bringing Phillip’s case back to his court of conviction for sentencing relief. The court, however, refused to grant relief, contending that the Resolution did not have the effect of law. As such, all relief was denied.

    Challenges to the Resolution went all the way to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Judicial Circuit, all to no avail. The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari review and any hope for obtaining relief based on the House Joint Resolution were dashed.

According to the judiciary the problem resided in the fact that the Alabama Legislature omitted certain language from the Bill that was voted on after it was enacted into Law, and the House Joint Resolution cannot be used as an amendment to supply that language.

  See, the original Bill submitted to committee and voted on by both houses states specifically that the Bill was intended to punish gang-related drive-by activity. This language is also in the minutes of the debates and conversation about the Bill. But once the Bill was enacted into law, the “gang-related” language, somehow and for whatever reason was excluded. As a result of this snafu, hundreds of people have been wrongfully convicted and no one has been able to obtain relief. This is a travesty of justice.

  OTHER CASES INVOLVING WHITE DEFENDANTS TREATED DIFFERENTLY AND MORE FAVORABLE THAN THOSE INVOLVING YOUNG BLACK MEN

  Over the years, countless other instances of cases have surfaced involving facts where the defendants were treated differently based on the color of skin. In one the more egregious instances of white privilege, a white man named Steven Bedgood in Georgetown, Alabama, arrived home and noticed a truck leaving the direction of his residence. Upon realization that the truck was being driven by a burglar leaving his home, Mr. Bedgood retrieved a high-powered rifle and shot over 1/8 a mile down the road, striking the assumed burglar in the head, killing him instantly.

  Under Alabama’s gang statute, this killing of another person inside a vehicle by shots fired from outside the vehicle is capital murder :

(17) Murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon while the victim is in a vehicle.

  Unlike hundreds of young Black men before him, however, Mr. Bedgood was charged with manslaughter, a class C felony. Ultimately, Mr. Bedgood was convicted of the lesser included offense of criminally negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, and received 6 months suspended sentence, while each of the Black men mentioned above received life or life without parole. Absent intervention or change in the law, each of them will die in prison, while Mr. Bedgood never served a day in prison.

Oeatha Archie III, Brandon Johnson, Antwaun Phillips, and Jeremy Cattage are just a few of the young Black men who were charged with capital murder pursuant subsection (17), a circumstance where the victim was killed inside a vehicle by a gushot fired from outside that vehicle. Well-known activist and civil rights leader Pastor Kenneth Sharpron Glasgow and his codefendant are two Black men who are currently facing capital murder charges under this racially discriminatory law for a non-gang related offense where the vehicle was not used as a weapon to carry out the crime.

These Black men were all charged with capital murder and sentenced to Life or Life Without Parole even though they were not accused of being gang members or of committing a gang-related killing. The enhancement element in each of their cases was the the fact that they are Black.

CONCLUSION

Systemic racism and abuse at the hands of law enforcement takes on many forms, resulting in death by different means. While George Floyd met his death in the street, those who protested his death were charged under gang statutes that carry death-inducing life sentences. Prosecutors who routinely overcharge Black defendants are no less guilty that the officers who murdered George Floyd. The manner of death does not remove the certainty of it.

In Alabama, Black men are sentenced to death by incarceration for committing acts that when committed by white people sometimes doesn’t even result in a single day spent in jail. This need to change. The House Joint Resolution makes clear that their intent was to punish ONLY gang-related drive-by killings and/or those killings that uses a vehicle as an instrument of the crime, as a capital offense. Being Black is not a symbol for gang involvement, and being Black should no longer be countenanced as being an element of a crime. Prosecutors should not be allowed to punish Blackness; those who are currently charged or have already been wrongfully convicted as such deserve justice now.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

What More Can A Person Do For Parole In Alabama?

By Brother Mika’il, a servant to the people and voice for freedom and justice.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

 

We had a brother, Tommy James Rogers, AIS 246679, go up for parole the other day with a 16 year clear record and multiple program completions, not to mention Mr. Rodgers is a first-offender who has never been in trouble before in his life or since. Nevertheless, his efforts to regain his freedom were denied by the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles. 

  Mr. Rodgers has shown the upmost remorse for his crime and it shows in his actions. After first graduating himself, Mr. Rodgers went on to serve as an intern for eight (8) years in one of the most dangerous program’s in the Alabama prison system, the TC program at St. Clair CF. Mr. Rodgers further served for eight (8) years as a Facilitator for the Long Distance Dads program, in addition to completing many other programs over the years of his incarceration. (See below)

Many rehabilitative and program accomplishments. No disciplinary reports in 16 years of incarceration.

Mr. Rodgers has also worked as a trustee in the store, kitchen stock room, and on the truck crew for a combined 8 years, all while leading by example and helping others learn from their mistakes as well. Mr. Rodgers has committed himself to serving as a positive example to others entering into Alabama’s prison system. However, the decision of the Parole Board to deny him parole further shows that even with an annual budget of over $600 million, taxpayers aren’t receiving any return on their investment in Education, Rehabilitation and corrections. Indeed, if a person is completing all of the programming available and still being denied parole, what is the incentive to others to even consider engaging in Positive behavior?

Please speak up for Mr. Rodgers, as anyone and everyone who knows him can and will vouch for his character, credibility and integrity without hesitation!

He has been an inspiration to young men like myself for years, always showing and teaching what is right and standing on that even when it is dangerous to do so!

Brothers like him and his situation are never made known to the public or taken into consideration because he will come out, teach, and represent what is right and be listened to, hence stopping the “womb to prison pipeline” in the hood; something the system of racism clearly doesn’t want.

Instead of releasing people who have demonstrated their willingness to be a positive influence once returned back to society, the ABPP has released a man who had a stabbing disciplinary as short as 6 months before parole. But this man with an impeccable record before and after his one and only criminal case in his life, who, after atoning and rehabilitating himself from his one and only mistake in life, gets no justice or opportunity at redemption!!!

What can we do to help?

Well, first we need to start a petition and make calls to the parole board and every office over it, all the way to the Governor in regards to him and others like him that have impeccable proof of rehabilitation and remorse but are still being denied parole anyway.

Second, we all must start documenting our own progress of rehabilitation to present before our peers in order for them to go to bat for us with proper ammunition. No one can help us if we don’t make ourselves candidates for help.

Then, we will have evidence and a leg to stand on in our fight for liberation. Those are really the best and most important things we can do at this point; we must stand up for self and each other, it must be documented and sent through the proper channels with the full support of the Movement on the street to bring about true results.

And please know that what is going on here in Alabama with the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles is going on in most other states around the country. Texas, Ohio, Mississippi and Oklahoma, just to name a few, all have a history of this too. Denying people parole for reasons like nature of the offense is simply a way to keep the prisons full and to keep making profits off of these human warehouses and slave labor ppantatu. There are orgs introducing legislation that encourages transparency in the parole process. When people are denied, the board should explain to them what they can do to work toward going home and set out a clear parole criteria, instead of citing static, arbitrary reasons.

The current methods of denying parole for any reason or for no legit reason at all, creates feelings of hopelessness and doesn’t encourage people to want to stay on the right path, especially if they feel like they won’t make it home anyway. Thus, fighting for changes like FAM’s 12 DEMANDS is the type of legislation and change we should be pushing for.

Cases like this one should be the evidence and ammunition to make it happen. Let’s make it happen today. 🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️

Bro. Mika’il

E.P.I.C. !!!! News You Don’t Want To Miss

Today, September 5, 2020, organizers with E.P.I.C. org. (Ensuring Parole for Incarcerated Citizens) held their 24th consecutive protest at an Ohio prison is support of Freedom and Justice. E.P.I.C. has protested at 24 of the 28 Ohio prisons, and they have no intention of stopping.

E. P. I. C.

E.P.I.C went LIVE today on social media and FAM and the FAM QUEEN TEAM are promoting and supporting these amazing organizers in every way possible.

FAM and FAM QUEEN TEAM is asking all of our supporters, friends and allies in the Ohio area to reach out to E. P. I. C. and support their amazing effort.

There FB group information is below. We need boots on the ground in other states supporting as well. This is what dedicated activism looks like that changes things. E. P. I. C. is leading by example. Let ALL join in and do something EPIC.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=659444598285769&id=100026607050570&sfnsn=mo&extid=IjO2wnBqC8A6YEM3

PLEASE SHARE WIDELY.