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.
http://friendsofjustice.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/introducing-the-scott-sisters/ (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 Commentator.com, 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?"