Friday, April 15, 2011

A Call For Full Justice

Although the Scott Sisters were freed from prison thanks to the thunderstorm of letters which people sent to Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, full justice has still not yet been done.

The sisters are not able to work because their sentences have only been suspended. They could be returned to prison at a moment's notice as soon as the Republican primaries are over and Haley Barbour no longer needs to look presentable for the voters. So we 1961 Freedom Riders and friends are petitioning Barbour that he grant full justice for the sisters, a full pardon.

Full justice must be done.

FULL PARDON FOR THE SCOTT SISTERS - - - Information Line: 601 353-4455

Governor Haley Barbour
P. O. Box 139
Jackson, MS 39205

RE: Jamie and Gladys Scott (The Scott Sisters)

Dear Governor Barbour:

Thank you for releasing Jamie & Gladys Scott from their double-life sentence received for the questionable armed robbery conviction. Now, please complete the freedom parade by granting them a full pardon. We are fully convinced that Jamie and Gladys can and will be a tremendous asset to the community if they are allowed to freely pursue their passion to return the love they have received.

Reading Amos 5:14-15: "Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good, maintain justice in the courts."

We realize that we should seek the good in Jamie and Gladys in order to find the good in ourselves. Having observed Jamie and Gladys through media interviews, we can testify to some of that goodness in them and firmly believe that America should maximize the potential in them.

The state and nation has a great healing opportunity through the growth and development of Jamie and Gladys as advocates for Diabetes Awareness & Education, Kidney Donorship, Preventive Health Care, Crime Prevention, Offender Rehabilitation, Recidivism Reduction and more.

The vision of the nation's greatest leadership will be manifested through its citizenry. It is time for the citizenry to point out this great opportunity to the leadership. In this land of opportunities, it is the visionaries who can see the opportunities, and it is the great leaders who do seize them.

Governor Barbour, a full pardon for Jamie and Gladys Scott is a grand opportunity that must be seized by the state and the nation. Proverbs 31:9 tells us that we shall "Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy." A full pardon for Jamie and Gladys would be a blessing for so many in need.

So, Governor Barbour, we ask that you please do a great deed for the nation and grant Jamie and Gladys a full pardon.

With due regards,

Phil Posner, Ajijic, Mexico
Dan Stevens, Chicago, IL
Paul Breines, Boston, MA
Steven F. McNichols, San Francisco, CA
Bob Zellner, Southampton, NY
Thomas Armstrong, Naperville, IL
Robert Farrell, Los Angeles, CA
Joan Pleune, Brooklyn, NY
Edward Johnson, Inglewood, CA
George Blevins, Nederland, CO
Ellen Ziskind, Brookline, MA
Lew Zuchman, NY, NY
Claude Liggins, Los Angeles, CA
Larry Bell, Los Angeles, CA
Edward A. White, Washington, DC
Robert Singleton, Los Angeles, CA
Carol Ruth Silver, San Francisco, CA
Catherine Burks-Brooks, Birmingham, AL
Bernard LaFayette, Kingston, RI
Luvaghn Brown, Hartsdale, NY
Woollcott Smith, West Tisbury, MA
Joan Mulholland, Arlington, VA
Patricia Kovner, CA
Eugene J. Uphoff, M.D., Portland, OR
Matt Walker, Nashville, TN
Mimi Feingold Real, Mill Valley, CA
John Steele, Los Angeles, CA
Rita Martinson, West Hollywood, CA
Rick Sheviakov, San Anselmo, CA
John Dolan, Oakland, CA
David Fankhauser, Cincinnati, OH
Jorgia Siegal Bordofsky, Santa Barbara, CA
Albert F. Gordon, Stephentown, NY
Ellen Broms, Sacramento, CA
Charles Person, Atlanta, GA
Gilbert S. Avery, Eugene, OR
Alphonso Petway, Mobile, AL
Kredelle Petway, Apollo Beach, FL
Genevieve Houghton, Carbondale, IL
Edward Kale, La Pointe, WI
Gene L. Lee, Jackson, MS
Bill Harbor, Atlanta, GA
Dr. Allen Cason Jr., Nashville, TN
Claire O'Connor, Eden Prairie, MN
Pauline Knight-Ofosu, Rex, GA,
Meryle Joy Reagon Leonard, Nashville, TN
Catherine Burks-Brooks, Birmingham, AL
Peter Sterling, Amherst, MA
Larry Hunter, Atlanta, GA
Rev. J. M. Lawson Jr, Los Angeles, CA
Helen I. Singleton, Inglewood, CA
William Leons, Brattleboro, VT
John R. Washington, Claremont, CA
Rabbi Israel Dresner, Wayne, NJ
Albert Gordon, Stephentown, NY
John Dolan, Ashland, OR
Max Pavesic, Portland, OR
Winston Fuller, Morgantown, NY
Edmond Dalbert Jr., Waynesboro, GA
Thomas Gaither, Prospect, PA
Ameen R. Tuungane, Helena, AL
Willie Bradford Jr., Shreveport, LA
Joseph Stevenson, Astoria, OR
Doratha Smith-Simmons, New Orleans, LA

________________, ______________

________________, ______________

________________, ______________

Friends of Justice

Janis McDonald, Syracuse, NY
Charlotta Janssen, Brooklyn, NY
Frances Canty, Cincinnati, OH
William Canty, Cincinnati, OH
Pam Blankenheim, San Francisco, CA
Mary H. Lee, Jackson, MS
Reuben V. Anderson, Jackson, MS
Phyllis Anderson, Jackson, MS
Angeline Butler, NY, NY
Margaret Petway, Tampa, FL
Carla Vaughn, St. Petersburg, FL
Lola Petway, Mobile, AL
John L. Bell, Nashville, TN
Ernestine A. Bell, Nashville, TN
J. B. Ross, Birmingham, AL,
Sally Zigmond, Amherst, MA
Lucy A. Davenport, Decatur, GA
Joyce Ladner, Sarasota, FL
Karistea J. Ward, Atlanta, GA
Denice Jackson, Jonesboro, GA
Drewy Jackson, Jonesboro, GA
Grace B. McCahill, Farm Hills, MI
Thom W. Buite, Shreveport, LA
Kim A. Leons, Brattleboro, VT
Shirley Washington, Claremont, CA
Sidney Shanken, Boynton Beach, FL
Carol Booker, Washington, DC
Simeon Booker, Washington, DC
Alice M. Thompson, New Orleans, LA
Barbara Johnson, Inglewood, CA
Stacie Dennis, Ridgeland, MS
Diane Gaither, Prospect, PA
Thomas Gaither, Prospect, PA

________________, ______________

________________, ______________

________________, ______________

To add your signature to this petition, please call 601 353-4455 .

It's so easy to make the world a better place!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Freedom Riders Respond To Barbour

A number of the Freedom Riders who petitioned Mississippi governor Haley Barbour for mercy for the Scott sisters have sent the governor the following letter:

A Conditional Thank You for Your Release of the Scott Sisters
An Open Letter to Governor Halley Barbour
From 1961 Freedom Riders

Dear Governor Barbour,

          You may remember that last October over fifty of us Freedom Riders, most of us arrested in Mississippi, wrote asking you to commute the Scott sisters’ sentence. We never herd from you and now your recent release of the sisters has produced among us a mix of gratitude and dismay.

          As you may also remember the original letter was based on our empathy for their imprisonment in the very State where we were imprisoned, the result of a gross injustice. So, while we are grateful for their release we are also appalled that in justifying your action you totally ignore the injustice done to them – two life sentences for an alleged $11.00 crime. Instead you make their release contingent upon a kidney transplant. Which turns what could have been a real act of justice and compassion into a trade deal – exchanging freedom for a human organ.

          Yes, Gladys has for a long time expressed a desire to donate a kidney to her sister. But, as Bob Herbert wrote in the New York Times (January 1 2011) “to make that a condition of her release was unnecessary, mean spirited and potentially coercive. It was a low thing to do.” And after her serving 16 years of her life time sentence, apparently, you action was not an expression of real concern for Jamie’s health. 

          In your statement announcing the sisters’ sentence suspension you said, “Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott’s medical condition creates a substantial cost to the state of Mississippi.”

          Not only is this an immoral quid pro quo it may even be illegal as Associated Press reporter Holbrook Mohr wrote in an article carried by the San Francisco Chronicle (December 31, 2010) He quotes Dr. Michael Shapiro, chief of organ transplants at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, “’If the governor is trading someone …for a kidney that might potentially violate the valuable consideration clause in federal regulations.’ That clause is meant to prohibit the buying and selling of organs.”

          Governor Barbour, when the State of Mississippi frees the Scott sisters and pays for Jamie Scott’s transplant we will be delighted to send you an unconditional thank you. Until then you have one as conditional as your conditional release – freedom for less than a pound of flesh – a thank you for a political act made to look like an act of compassion. 

Philip M. Posner, Ajijic, Mexico (, 
Steve McNichols, San Francisco, Calif., 
Dan Stevens, Chicago, Ill, 
Thomas Armstrong, Naperville Ill., 
Charles Person, Atlanta Ga., 
Rick Sheviakov, San Anselmo, Calif, 
Ellen Ziskind, Brookline, Ma., 
Robert Farrel, Los Angeles, Calif., 
Bob Zellner, Southampton, NY, 
Lew Zuchman, NY, NY, 
Paul Breines, Boston, Ma., 
Ed Johnson, Inglewood, Calif

Subsequent to the sending of the letter. the following Freedom Riders have asked that their names he added as co-signers:
 George Blevins, Nederland, Colo.
David B. Fankhauser, Batavia,
Tom Roland 
Catherine Burks-Brooks, Birmingham, Ala.

To add your name to the extended list of signers, please contact Phil Posner at chatrabbi @

A Third Bob Herbert Column:

Bob Herbert, columnist for the New York Times, responded to Mississippi governor Haley Barbour's "quid pro quo" release of the Scott sisters by delineating the governor as a conservative without conscience:
"I was happy for the Scott sisters and deeply moved as Gladys spoke of how desperately she wanted to “just hold” her two children and her mother, who live in Florida. But I couldn’t help thinking that right up until the present moment she and Jamie have been treated coldly and disrespectfully by the governor and other state officials. It’s as if the authorities have found it impossible to hide their disdain, their contempt, for the two women."

"The prison terms were suspended — not commuted — on the condition that Gladys donate a kidney to Jamie, who is seriously ill with diabetes and high blood pressure and receives dialysis at least three times a week. Gladys had long expressed a desire to donate a kidney to her sister, but to make that a condition of her release was unnecessary, mean-spirited, inhumane and potentially coercive. It was a low thing to do."
"What is likely to get lost in the story of the Scott sisters finally being freed is just how hideous and how outlandish their experience really was. How can it be possible for individuals with no prior criminal record to be sentenced to two consecutive life terms for a crime in which no one was hurt and $11 was taken? Who had it in for them, and why was that allowed to happen?
The Scott sisters may go free, but they will never receive justice."

 Barbour rather obviously looks for the quid pro quo.  He doesn't cite human decency as his reason for releasing the sisters - he says that the savings to the state at having the kidney transplant done outside the prison was what what made him do it. Another chance to cut government expense!

Thousands of letters from dozens of civil rights organizations was what made him do it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Free At Last!

Haley Barbour, Mississippi governor:

"Today, I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott. In 1994, a Scott County jury convicted the sisters of armed robbery and imposed two life sentences for the crime. Their convictions and their sentences were affirmed by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996.

“To date, the sisters have served 16 years of their sentences and are eligible for parole in 2014. Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her. The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott’s medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi.

“The Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the sisters’ request for a pardon and recommended that I neither pardon them, nor commute their sentence. At my request, the Parole Board subsequently reviewed whether the sisters should be granted an indefinite suspension of sentence, which is tantamount to parole, and have concurred with my decision to suspend their sentences indefinitely."

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Letter to Haley Barbour

Editors note: We have adjusted the letter below to reflect the sisters' location and a an updated version of the letter has been sent to Governor Barbour. 10/27/10 ~dms

Freedom Riders to Free the Scott Sisters
268 Bush Street, Suite 3602
San Francisco, CA 94104
(210) 200-8879 chatrabbi -@-

October 26, 2010

Hon. Haley Barbour
Governor of Mississippi
300 East Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39201-34957

Shannon Warnock, Chairman
State of Mississippi Parole Board
660 North Street, Suite 100A
Jackson, MS 39202-3141

Re: Parole or Commutation of Sentences for Jamie and Gladys Scott

Dear Messers. Barbour and Warnock:

You have probably read or otherwise learned about columnist Bob Herbert’s piece in the New York Times (October 12, 2010) regarding two black sisters named Jamie and Gladys Scott who have been languishing in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility for 18 years, allegedly for helping three younger children steal $11.00. Incredibly, beyond the comprehension of any but the most cynical criminal law practitioner, each sister received two lifetime sentences for these offenses. And now Jamie Scott is suffering from a serious kidney disease.

Fifty years ago, 436 idealistic young Americans “sat in” at segregated bus stations and railroad terminals, where blacks and whites were prevented from using the same restaurants, restrooms, drinking fountains, etc. Nearly three-quarters of us were arrested in Mississippi for violating “Jim Crow” laws, and were imprisoned in Parchman for up to 39 days. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed our convictions after the Interstate Commerce Commission barred segregation in interstate transportation facilities.

On behalf of all Freedom Riders, who did time during the summer and fall of 1961, we are writing you to ask for a modicum of justice and compassion for the Scott Sisters.

We who did time at Parchman have a special reason to empathize with the suffering of the Scott Sisters. You can also see by the other organizations and friends of justice who have signed this petition, that many of our sisters and brothers share our indignation at this egregious act of criminal justice malpractice.

As we plan to celebrate our 50th Freedom Rider reunion next May in Jackson, we respectfully ask you to commute the Scott Sisters’ sentence or pardon them well before then. We hope to see that, because of your justice and compassion, these two women are no longer imprisoned in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.

In the words of the Prophet, Isaiah 42:7, we call upon you to "bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”


Freedom Riders

Steven McNichols, arrested August 11, 1961, lawcenter -@-, (650) 689-5682
Rabbi Philip M. Posner, arrested July 30, 1961, chatrabbi -@-, (210) 200-8879

Charles Person, Atlanta, GA, on the first bus May 14, 1961, beaten in Anniston and Birmingham.
Catherine Burks-Brooks, Birmingham, AL, arrested May 21, 1961 and May 28, 1961

Bernard LaFayette, Jr., arrested May 24, 1961
Jean Thompson, arrested May 24, 1961
Matt Walker, Nashville, TN, arrested May 24, 1961
John David Maguire, Claremont, CA, arrested May 24, 1961
David B. Fankhauser, PhD, Batavia, OH, arrested May 28, 1961
William (Bill) Harbour, Atlanta, GA, arrested May 28, 1961
Robert Heller, NY, NY, arrested, arrested May 30, 1961
Ralph Fertig, Fullerton, CA, arrested June 2, 1961
Joan T. Mulholland, Arlington, VA, arrested June 8, 1961
Eugene Uphoff, Portland, OR, arrested June 11, 1961
Rabbi Israel Dresner, Wayne, NJ, arrested June 16, 1961 (Tallahassee)
Elizabeth Hirshfeld, Oakland, CA, arrested June 16, 1961
Joan Pleune, Brooklyn, NY, arrested June 20, 1961
Miriam Real, Mill Valley, CA, arrested June 21, 1961
Jorgia Siegel Bordofsky, Santa Barbara, CA, arrested June 20, 1961
Margaret Leonard, Tallahassee, FL, arrested June 21, 1961
Thomas Armstrong, Naperville, IL, arrested June 23, 1961
George Blevins, Nederland, CO, arrested June 25, 1961
John Dolan, Emeryville, CA, arrested June 25, 1961
Dan Stevens, Chicago, Il, arrested July 7, 1961
Albert Gordon, Stephentown, NY, arrested July 9, 1961
Edward Johnson, Inglewood, CA, arrested July 9, 1961
Lew Zuchman, NY, NY, arrested July 16, 1961
Paul Breines, Boston, MA, arrested July 21, 1961
Candida (Lall) Pugh, Chicago, IL, arrested July 23, 1961.
Margaret Oakley, San Francisco, CA, arrested July 23, 1961
Ellen L. Ziskind, Brookline, MA, arrested July 29, 1961
Rick Sheviakov, San Anselmo, CA, arrested July 29, 1961
Woolcott Smith, West Tisbury, MA, arrested July 29, 1961
Helen Singleton, Los Angeles, CA, arrested July 30, 1961
Bob Singleton, Los Angeles, CA, arrested July 30, 1961
Joseph Stevenson, Astoria, OR, arrested August 9, 1961 (Houston)
Ellen Kleiman (Broms), Sacramento, CA, arrested August 11, 1961 (Houston)
Patricia Kovner, Laytonville. CA, arrested August 11, 1961 (Houston)
Beverley Radcliffe Mill, Pitt Meadows, Canada, arrested August 11, 1961 (Houston)
Steven Sanfield, Nevada City, CA, August 11, 1961, (Houston)
Gilbert S. Avery III, Eugene, OR, arrested September 13, 1961
Joan Browning, arrested December 10, 1961 (Albany)
Bob Zellner, Southampton, NY, arrested December 10, 1961 (Albany)

Additional Signers

Friends of Justice

Elizabeth Adair, Glendale, CA
Shelley Kovar Becker, Southington, CT
Rabbi Haim Dove Beliak, Los Angele, CA
Alan Bensman, Minnetanka, MN
Carol Bensman, Minnetanka, MN
Julian Bond, Baltimore, MD
Reber Boult
Lois Chafee, NY, NY
Rabbi Hillel Cohn, San Bernardino, CA

Eileen Collard, Minneapolis, MN
Gordon Fellman, Cambridge, MA

Jane Fellman, Glendale, CA

Rabbi Allen L. Freehling, Los Angeles, CA
Sam Friedmann
John Gibson, Brookland, AR
Hunter Gray, Pocatello, ID
Scott Harrison, Nederland, CO
Roberta Hilleman, Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico

Bruce Hartford, San Francisco, CA
Ash-Lee Henderson, Chatttanooga, TN
Rabbi Mark Hurvitz, NY, NY
Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs, Woodland Hills, CA
Professor Paula C. Johnson, Syracuse, NY
Anita Lee, Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
Chokwe Lumumba, Jackson, MS (lawyer for the sisters)
Janis McDonald, Syracuse, NY
Rev. John Mingus, Venice, FL
Ellen T. Moore, AIUSA, Colorado
Curtis Muhammed
Charles Ogletree
Rev. Dr. Peter A. Petit, Allentown, PA
Myra Posner, Dana Point, CA
David Ranney
Susana Salazar
Rabbi John M. Sherwood, Oxnard, CA
Gwendolyn Simmons, Ph.D., Gainesville, FL

Paula Tavrow, Pasadena, CA

Sheila Turner, Ajijic, Jalisco, CA
Clifford Vaughs, Puerto Vallarto, Jalisco, Mexico
Greg Van Hook, Upper Black Eddy, PA
Susan Sklaroff Van Hook, Upper Black Eddy, PA
James A. Young

Additional signers

Jan Hillegas, Jackson, MS
Phyllis Cunningham, NY, NY

Ed Gresham, Ajijic, Mexico
Lin Gresham, Ajijic, Mexico
Bette Poole Marsh, Chicago, IL




Jackson NAACP
Mississippi NAACP
Mississippi ACLU

Religious Action Center of the Union of Reform Judaism
Catholic Bishops of America

Organizations Calling For The Scott Sisters Release

Jackson NAACP
Mississippi NAACP
Mississippi ACLU


Add your name to the lists above by sending your name and city-state to:
chatrabbi -@- (Delete the dashes to make a sendable address.)
Suggestions are welcome!

The Press Release For The Scott Sisters

Editors note: the sisters are being kept in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility at Pearl, MI. This release correctly identifies their location. ~dms

For release
Tuesday 10/26/2010

1961 Freedom Riders Call For Scott Sisters' Release

As Freedom Riders from the summer of '61 prepared for a 50th reunion visit to the "New Mississippi" with a red carpet welcome by governor Haley Barbour, some were appalled to discover last week that a piece of the "Old Mississippi" still exists.

Set to visit Parchman prison and see what it has become, they learned of two women, the Scott sisters, who have been incarcerated in a Mississippi prison for almost 20 years, each serving two life terms for the theft of $11. The victims of the crime and the perpetrators have all sworn that the women were not involved.

Why the draconian sentences? There is speculation that the sisters' father had declined to pay off the sheriff.

Scott County, Mississippi, is a dry county. According to court records, the sheriff secretly allowed night clubs to serve drinks privately for a fee - $100 a week. The sister's mother, Evelyn Rasco, says that when Jamie and Gladys Scott's father arrived with his family from Chicago in the early 90's and bought his nephew's night club, he declined to pay the fee.

“I will get you one way or the other, even if it is through your daughters!” deputy Marvin Williams, now deceased, is reported to have said. And it would appear that he did. A trio of teens was arrested for a minor robbery. By coercing testimony from a 14-year old, telling him, according to the victim, that he would be sent to Parchman and he would “be made out of women” - raped - if he did not implicate the Scott sisters, deputy Marvin Williams appears to have built a phony case. The sisters were arrested, told by their attorneys not to speak during the trial, and were sent directly to prison, where they still sit today, almost 20 years later. One of them is dying.

Inadequate treatment for diabetes can cause both kidneys to fail. Jamie Scott's kidneys have both failed. She is going to die soon if she doesn't get proper treatment. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has referred the whole matter to his Parole Board. But he can release the sisters tomorrow, he has that power.

On behalf of the sisters, the
Freedom Riders to Free the Scott Sisters committee has just released the following request to Governor Barbour:

"As we plan to celebrate our 50th Freedom Rider reunion next May in Jackson, we respectfully ask you to commute the Scott Sisters' sentence or pardon them well before then. We hope to see that, because of your justice and compassion, these two women are no longer imprisoned in the very prison system where we did time.

In the words of the Prophet, Isaiah 42:7, we call upon you to "bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."

Whether Jamie Scott dies in a Mississippi prison for a trumped-up offense depends now on Governor Haley Barbour's signature.

Press contacts:

Freedom Riders to Free the Scott Sisters
268 Bush Street, Suite 3602
San Francisco, CA, 94104
(210) 200-8879 chatrabbi -@-

The full text is online at
- - - - - -

Add your name to the lists in the Barbour letter by sending your name and city-state to: chatrabbi -@- (Pull the dashes out to make a normal address.)
Suggestions are welcome!

Videos of The Sisters

Here is a link to a YouTube search for videos about the Scott Sisters:

This finds 53 videos as of 10/24/10.

Here is a four-part discussion with Charles Evers:

10:08 Added to queue

The Scott Sisters -Evelyn Rasco on Let's Talk with Charles Evers-Show 2 ...

The Mother of the Scott Sisters Evelyn Rasco talks with Charles Evers about her two daughters being in a MS prison. For more info visit ...

by CunningWorkerTV 8 months ago 971 views

8:40 Added to queue

The Scott Sisters -Evelyn Rasco on Let's Talk with Charles Evers-Show 2 ...

The Mother of the Scott Sisters Evelyn Rasco talks with Charles Evers about her two daughters being in a MS prison. For more info visit ...

by CunningWorkerTV 8 months ago 287 views

8:36 Added to queue

The Scott Sisters -Evelyn Rasco on Let's Talk with Charles Evers-Show 2 ...

The Mother of the Scott Sisters Evelyn Rasco talks with Charles Evers about her two daughters being in a MS prison. For more info visit ...

by CunningWorkerTV 8 months ago 838 views

10:12 Added to queue

The Scott Sisters -Evelyn Rasco on Let's Talk with Charles Evers-Show 2 ...

The Mother of the Scott Sisters Evelyn Rasco talks with Charles Evers about her two daughters being in a MS prison. For more info visit ...

by CunningWorkerTV 8 months ago 341 views

Here is the Scott Sisters' lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba

0:56 Added to queue

Lumumba To Ask Governor To Pardon Scott Sisters

The attorney for two sisters sentenced to life in prison says he's sending a formal-request to Gov. Haley Barbour to pardon them.

by wapttv 1 month ago 64 views

7:32 Added to queue

Chokwe Lumumba - Scott Sisters Rally 9.15.10 Part 1.MP4

Chokwe Lumumba speaking at Scott Sisters rally on September 15, 2010.

by kaliakuno 1 month ago 59 views

The five most watched videos are:

1:16 Added to queue

Scott Sisters on the Jane Velez-Mitchell show

During the April 6, 2010 show on Headline News, Jane Velez-Mitchell discusses the injustice of the Scott Sisters sentencing. For more info: www ...

by niteskolar 7 months ago 8,868 views

5:27 Added to queue

The Scott Sisters / Free Jamie and Gladys Scott

Two sisters have spent 15 years in a Mississippi Prison for a crime they did not commit. Even if they did , a double life sentence does not fit ...

by Natturner187 1 year ago 7,738 views

7:23 Added to queue

Jamie and Gladys Scott - Coercion of Witnesses to Ensure a Conviction

threats, and harassment to convict the Scott Sisters of armed robbery. The case of the Scott sisters is an intriguing one, with transcripts ...

by freekelseysmom 1 year ago 5,017 views

9:59 Added to queue

Scott Sisters Rally, the Family Speaks

Rally in Mississippi on behalf of the Scott Sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott falsely imprisoned for double life sentences each for the alleged ...

by niteskolar 5 months ago 1,759 views

5:43 Added to queue

Free the Scott Sisters

Scott Sisters

by willierooster 1 year ago 1,111 views

Research Links For Reporters

Here is a long article from the Jackson Free Press, dated 11/03/10:

Diane Dimond @ HuffPo writes "The Need For Justice Doesn't Expire, on 10/18/2010:

Here is the Bob Herbert column from the NY Times that got us interested. 10/12/2010:

And here is a second Bob Herbert column just a couple of days later, 10/16/2010:

Twin Cities Indymedia - story on the Gray-Haired Witnesses, 06/21/2010:

A three-part report in the Jackson Advocate, 06/17/2010:

Before It's News, 06/13/2010:

The blog of the Scott Sisters' mother, Evelyn Rasco. (has embedded audio):

A very detailed summary showing many of the flaws of the case, with links to the transcript:

SF BayView, 07/08/2009:

A second SF BayView story on Jamie Scott's 18 year old son, 08/07/2009:

Philly Independent Media Center, 06/04/2009:

News One For Black America, 05/05/2009:

Here are documents on ScribD:

Judge Marcus Gordon

Here is more information about Judge Marcus Gordon, the judge who sentenced the sisters and who managed their case.

(Ed. note:  We have learned that the sentences themselves were set by the jury. Apparently 12 Scott County citizens unanimously decided to commit the sisters for two life sentences each. It would be interesting to hear a juror's story. Perhaps someday this will surface.

Judge Gordon remains a person of interest. Someday perhaps his own self-told story will join the rest, out in the info-sphere.)

Investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger says that he sentenced Killen, the killers of Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner to 60 years. I read somewhere else that Killen's sentence was reduced to 10 years. Both could be true. Killen was very old. Killen was the clergyman of choice in the funeral of Judge Gordon's parents, but Killen had threatened Gordon years before and had spent months in jail for it. Killen was also a KKK leader. This would suggest that Gordon's father may have been involved in the organization. But Killen and Gordon were no friends.

... From a long retelling of the sisters' story by Evelyn Rasco, the sisters' mom:

"I would also like it known that in 2003, an attorney, Edwin Thompson, one of the most crooked lawyers in Mississippi, told my husband that he knew Judge Marcus Gordon well and would talk to him about reducing Jamie and Gladys' time. It was a ploy to try'to get money out of my husband. My husband paid Thompson a large sum of money in order for Marcus Gordon to have Jamie and Gladys time reduced. Marcus Gordon brought Jamie and Gladys back from prison. He began thumbing through a rulebook. He then stated that a rule in there prevented him from reducing the sentence. This is something they knew from the beginning.
"They exploited my husband. Marcus Gordon pulled some undercover stuff that judges don't usually do. A lot of people don't really know about that. How do you bring someone back from the prison to socall reduce their time? Don't that sound stupid or strange? I will add that they had already served a lot of years before he brought them back. So all of a sudden, out of the kindness of his heart, he decides to bring them back? He did it for the money he could get out of my husband.
"How much money did Thompson get? How much did Judge Gordon get? I don't know! But I do know that my husband died a broke man. And a sad man! After they tricked him out of his money, it wasn't long before my husband died of a massive heart attack (2003)."

After Killen's conviction, he appealed and was released on bond for health reasons. But when Judge Gordon heard that Killen was walking around like a healthy man, he revoked bond and put Killen back in jail. Gordon does not like to be fooled. Judge Gordon considers himself to be a sensitive person. To himself, he is.

Perhaps someone close to him could ask Judge Gordon, "How can we teach convicts about the Golden Rule?"

A Second Bob Herbert Column

Bob Herbert stays on the case:

The "Free The Scott Sisters" T-shirt

Here's something we can all wear to the Barbour speech - t-shirts!

I bet he'd be really embarrassed. Dontcha think.

Well, maybe... Up to him.

Scoping Out Haley Barbour

... Scoping out Haley Barbour ...

Suppose we let Steve McNichols' description of a politician set the baseline:
"Almost all politicians are hard-headed, two-fisted bastards. They wear a nice, conciliatory expression, but only compromise when they have to. Qualities painfully acquired during years of political competition and conflict."
This has no arguments from me. So what do we know about Mr. Barbour?

Yesterday, a google search on barbour pardon record found 331,000 mentions. Today it finds 337,000. That's a 2 percent increase overnight. This is a very general search. Extending the search phrase to haley barbour pardon record reduces the find set to about 10,000 hits. But some mentions may call him only by his last name, too, so this focused find would have some misses. What they say, of course, is what matters.

From a rather friendly Time Magazine article on him, dated Sept 23rd, 2010...
(at,8599,2020798-1,00.html )
"Among the totems in Haley Barbour's office in Jackson, Miss., is a cheeky sign that reads, "Power corrupts but absolute power is kinda cool." "
"His fundraising — expected to top $90 million by Election Day — has enabled him to pour millions of dollars into voter-turnout efforts that will help all kinds of Republicans further down the ballot and generate chits from grateful recipients..."
"Barbour also earned renown as a Republican who could battle with Democrats all day long and then invite them to kick back over an occasional toot of bourbon in the evening."

"Democrats from Donna Brazile to David Axelrod consider him cooperative and, in some cases, a friend. And Barbour would return the compliment. Several decades in Washington taught him never to make an enemy he doesn't need."

"...for all of Barbour's prominence, neither his lobbying work nor his record as governor has endured the kind of scrutiny a presidential run would bring. His associates express open concern about Barbour's financial and professional ties to the firm he stepped away from after being sworn in as governor."
- - - Aha! - - - ( He was for years a very successful Washington lobbyist. )

From a 09/02/2010 story at :
"Yet in an interview with Human Events yesterday, one high-profile Republican broke with his party and condemned conservatives advocating for policies that take advantage of immigrant labor but fail to comprehensively reform our immigration system. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), who comes from a state ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, explained that the state would be “way, way, way behind where we are now” if it wasn’t for immigrants — “some of there [who] were here illegally” — that helped to rebuild the state. He went on to say that people should search for “common sense” solutions for undocumented immigration,..."

" (quoting Barbour) "My idea is everybody from Stanford who’s from India that gets a PhD, we ought to stamp citizenship on his diploma. So instead of him going back to India and starting a business that employs 1,800 people, then he’ll start a business that employs 1,800 people in Des Moines, Iowa, instead of India."

TPM's Christina Bellantoni :
"Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said today that he opposes a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11, and said he accepts "totally" that President Obama is a Christian."
(He had previously opined that 'as far as he knew ' Obama is a citizen. Some think that he should be considered "birther-curious'.)

Here's something interesting from TalkLeft ...

Barbour Refuses to Pardon Innocent Man

by TChris

Clyde Kennard was railroaded. He was sentenced to seven years in a Mississippi prison for possessing $25 worth of stolen chicken feed. The only witness against him later recanted his testimony. His real crime was his attempt to enroll at the University of Southern Mississippi after four years in the service. His temerity drew the ire of segregationist leaders who were determined to fight integration at USM.

Kennard died years ago, but those who want to set the record straight were hoping that Gov. Haley Barbour would award him a posthumous pardon. Not gonna happen.

This does sound like the kind of guy who "only compromises when he has to." Not even pardoning the deceased victim of state oppression...

( )

Ethics group named Barbour one of America's worst governors

In its April 2010 report, the liberal ethics watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Barbour one of 11 "worst governors" in the United States because of various ethics issues throughout Barbours' term as governor.[51][52][53] Some of Barbour's ethics lapses cited by the watchdog include:

  • Allegedly laundered campaign contributions
  • Refused to accept federal stimulus funds to expand unemployment insurance
  • Used his position to enrich himself and his family members[54]

So he's about as Steve described, except maybe a bit more adaptive. He has a 70% approval rating. His term ends in 2011 and he cannot run for governor again. At 62, he may want to retire. If he runs for President, it would probably be more for the sake of collecting campaign funds, as his chances of winning the North are pretty slim.

A scandal "as big as Watergate" is breaking. (Soros) has discovered foreign money - $850,000 so far - flowing into attack ads on Democrats. Very illegal. It is being linked to Republicans who favor outsourcing. 80 foreign companies that were promised that their donations would be kept private are seeing their names on a list. Some are state-owned. American corporate cash pooled with this foreign money is tainted, and will be until full disclosure becomes the law. Does Barbour know his cash sources? Can he confirm that none of the 90 million dollars he expects to have by election day came from abroad? He will need to reveal his donors to do this. Can he confirm that none of it came from BP? He needs to be asked. He's the head of the Republican Governor's Association. Will he return the corporate money that was improperly given?

Barbour has his ears open. But he apparently doesn't do what he doesn't have to. He's not going to be spontaneously a good person. He doesn't do the 'pro quo' without the 'quid'.

The Father's Story

Here are some details on the father's story - -

"Scott County Mississippi was a dry county, meaning no alcohol could be sold in the county. A relative of the Scott Sisters turned state's evidence on Sheriff Glenn Warren which placed the sheriff behind bars. The Sheriff had been accepting payoffs to allow business owners to sell alcohol. Deputy Sheriff Marvin Williams briefly worked under Sheriff Warren and is the deputy responsible for fabricating this robbery. Deputy Williams is said to have promised the father that he would "get" him, even if through his daughters. This robbery with double life terms is the method Deputy Marvin Williams used to "get" Mr. Rasco.

Judge Marcus Gordon Presided over this trial. Judge Gordon is the judge who presided over Edgar Ray "Preacher" Killen's trial. Edgar Ray "Preacher" Killen is a Ku Klux Klansman who assisted in the murders of three civil rights activists, Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in 1964. Killen was found guilty of three counts of manslaughter on June 21, 2005, which was the forty-first anniversary of the crime. Killen's punishment was 3 times 20 years in prison or 20 years for each murder - which was reduced by Judge Gordon to manslaughter."

Deputy Marvin Williams was black. He is deceased. It would be interesting to know what his descendants know of the case and his feelings about it. He once went to school with Mr. Rasco. (Nancy Lockhart's blog)

"It is difficult to reconcile the trial transcripts with the Scott sisters’ conviction without assuming that there is some kind of corruption behind this ordeal. Through research and investigations I have heard the following account from several people involved with the case. Scott County likely charged the Scott sisters with armed robbery because a family member turned state’s evidence against Sheriff Glenn Warren which resulted in his incarceration. Scott County is a dry county, and allegedly this sheriff was running a bootlegging operation that also may have involved the judge who presided over the Scott’s trial. Deputy sheriff Marvin Williams, who is also deceased, worked under Sheriff Glenn Warren and allegedly promised to pay their family back for the relative’s testimony.

The Scott County sheriff department also apparently tried to pin a restaurant robbery on the Scott sisters while they were awaiting trial, but the restaurant owners refused to cooperate."

"The injustice stems from not only racism, but a vendetta against the family because of Scott Sisters’ outspoken late father and another family member, explained Mrs. Rasco. The nephew of James “Hawk” Rasco, the father of the Scott Sisters, implicated a White sheriff who was extorting Black night club owners which resulted in the sheriff serving time in prison, she said. The night club owners had been paying approximately $100 per week to sell alcohol in Scott County, which was a dry county. Mr. Rasco who had recently moved to Mississippi from Chicago bought the night club from the nephew.

According to the mother, a Black deputy felt her husband should continue paying bribe monies that the nephew paid. Supporters say when Mr. Rasco refused the deputy responded, “I will get you, even if it is through your daughters.” Mr. Rasco died in February 2003 from a heart attack."

"In Chicago, James “Hawk” Rasco decides its time to return home, to his native soil – Mississippi. Now, he was returning to Scott County with his family. Rasco’s nephew ran a nightclub – in dry Scott County. The nephew, along with other Black nightclub owners, paid the sheriff in order to sell alcohol. The sheriff was Glenn Warren, otherwise known as the “High White Sheriff.”

Some things do change but only slightly. Years later, an FBI investigation landed Sheriff Warren in a courtroom and ultimately in prison. Rasco’s nephew ends up turning state’s evidence against “High White Sheriff.” James Rasco buys the nightclub after the nephew enters the witness protection program.

And sometimes things tragically remain the same. Enter Deputy Sheriff Marvin Williams – “Black!” Sheriff Williams is angry. He believes Rasco, the new owner of the nightclub, should continue business as usual. Show me the money! James Rasco refuses.

And Williams tells Rasco that he will get him! “I will get you one way or the other, even through your daughters!” is his message."

"The absurd and vicious incrimination of the Scott sisters," a blogger writes for "free the sisters" posted at IndyBay news, "is the result of a vendetta by former Sheriff Glenn Warren… because the father of the Scott Sisters, James 'Hawk' Rasco, and other family members refused to be intimidated by a Mississippi county system of white power and corruption." A cousin who had had to pay a bribe to the former sheriff in order to sell illegal alcohol in his club testified against Warren in a case investigating 'a bootlegging operation, which may have also involved the judge who presided in the trial of the Scott sisters.' After the cousin and former sheriff bribery incident, the Scott sisters' father, James Rasco, bought the nightclub from his nephew and refused to go along with the official corruption. Marvin Williams, the new sheriff, "a Black man at the service of white power, swore that the family would pay dearly.…"

Here is more detail on the story itself from Nancy Lockhart's blog. I bold-faced several new items. Nancy Lockhart is a person we should contact.

"The two sisters start out in their car on a December day in 1993 to purchase heating fuel. Along the way, they experience car trouble.
There was more trouble to come…

On December 24, 1993, Jamie (22) and Gladys (19), with 5 children between them, were arrested and charged with armed robbery. Three men, known as the “Patrick Men” because they are related, confessed to the crime of robbing a man of 10 dollars. But the men were coerced and threatened with Parchman prison were, as Sheriff Marvin Williams informed them, they would “be made out of women,” if they did not implicate the Scott sisters.

According to an affidavit by a trustee of the local jail, the wallet turned up 2 days later with a photo ID of the “victim” and 23 dollars, writes Nancy Lockhart, M.J., Legal Analyst and Grassroots Organizer. The trustee also claimed that a robbery did not take place, writes Lockhart.

It came to Lockhart’s attention that a “real” robbery did take place at a local restaurant. Two Black boys, according to witnesses, committed the crime. Yet, the sheriff approached the two owners (white women) to coerce them into pinning the crime on the Scott sisters!

In the meantime, there were more affidavits, as Lockhart discovered, testify to the innocence of Jamie and Gladys. The 5 witnesses, who provided conflicting stories in court, have all declared that the Scotts were not involved.

One of the “Patrick Men” wrote a sworn affidavit, Jamie explains, clearing her and Gladys. But the courts never heard the affidavit.

“The most devastating and unfair thing about this is [that] the police and investigators know we are innocent.”

The lawyers for the Scott sisters, Firnist J. Alexander, Jr. and Gail Shaw-Pierson failed to interview or subpoena witnesses, “only calling one when there were several,” writes Lockhart. No one heard from the sisters at trial. Why?

Alexander and Shaw-Pierson advised the sisters not to testify!

Jamie and Gladys have been often in isolation and away from their children for 14 years. How is this not torture? Their father suffered a heart attack and died. How is this not torture?

Evelyn Rasco, who had to leave the state of Mississippi, is providing for 5 grandchildren while she battles to free her two daughters.

Nancy Lockhart served as a community service consultant with Operation Push/Rainbow Coalition while she worked on her Masters degree in Jurisprudence at Loyola University Chicago. One day, a letter came across her desk. It was from Mrs. Rasco. As it turns out, Mrs. Rasco had written several letters to Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. over the years, asking him to submit the letter to his father, Rev. Jackson. She never received an answer from Congressman Jackson or Rev. Jackson.

But Lockhart contacted Mrs. Rasco.

Nancy Lockhart has worked independently of any law firm or Black leadership to draw attention to this case. She does not receive pay for her efforts! Of this case, she writes, I am “convinced that a grave injustice had been wrought from the judicial bench. This injustice has proven to be the misrepresentation of poor Black women seeking justice in Mississippi’s legal system. Justice was denied.” Lockhart writes in Black, according to the Request for Commutation of Sentence and/or Pardon prepared by attorney Chokwe Lumumba, the Scott Sisters challenged their convictions on direct appeal; arguing that there was insufficient evidence to convict them, and the guilty verdict was against the overwhelming weight of evidence, which should exonerate them. The court of appeals found no error and affirmed the convictions on December 17, 1996. As a result, they filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court, which was denied on May 15, 1997.

They consequently filed an Application for Leave to File Motion to Vacate Conviction pursuant to the Mississippi Post Conviction Collateral Relief Act. The Supreme Court also denied that application.

Attorney Chokwe Lumumba submitted a request for commutation of sentence and pardon to the governor. It was denied.

…Justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream… in this “post-racial” era!

Who will be held accountable for the wrongful conviction and incarceration of Jamie and Gladys? Who will be held accountable for all the Scott family members have suffered?"

Who indeed?