Friday, February 12, 2010

Sean Isbell and Other Wrongfully Convicted

The Patriot Act - the power to seize liberty

A YOUNG MAN wrote to me seeking help publishing the fact that he is wrongly convicted. Sean Isbell laid out substantial evidence on his website attesting to his innocence. He is 23. Like most innocent people who wind up behind bars, Sean is convinced that he needs only to prove his innocence, then he will be released. It is not that simple. Sean has already been convicted. Courts have no burden to consider even irrefutable proof of a convicted person's innocence and overturn a wrongful conviction, according Supreme Court Justice Scalia. Furthermore, the High Court determined in a 2009 ruling that convicted persons have no constitutional right to prove their innocence after conviction through DNA tests. What matters is the conviction, not fairness, justice, or the fact that while innocent people are behind bars, guilty parties remain free and may continue to commit crimes. Please visit Sean's website. Google "Sean Isbell Wrongful Conviction," or use this link: (If the link fails, please use the name of Sean's website. Links that pertain to human/civil rights are frequently attacked by cyberstalkers, especially with regard to prison issues. For instance, none of Sean Isbell's links on his Twitter page work.)

Sean said the "Pledge of Allegiance" every morning in school and at ball games. He went to fireworks on Independence Days and probably has family members who are or were in the military. Therefore he believes we live in a land of liberty and justice for all. He probably does not know yet what I was late learning: Americans' "inalienable rights" to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are really quite alienable. Those rights are easily set aside when one is charged with crimes and lacks the resources for a good defense at trial or if convincing evidence of innocence arrives after conviction. Furthermore, "inalienable rights" are not bestowed equally on all Americans in the first place. Minority citizens, poor people, and the mentally ill are therefore over-represented in prisons throughout the country.

Sean doesn't get it yet. I imagine he worked for many hours building a website to display his proof of innocence. He probably agonized over which documents to present and in what order. Poor young man. I wonder how many years wrongly convicted people do that sort of thing before they finally understand that their innocence does not matter. Some wrongly convicted people hope that public exposure about their wrongful conviction and support from We the People will help make the justice system behave fairly. I am inclined to disbelieve that since I have spent the past six years on a justice quest after the secret arrest and wrongful death of my mentally and physically disabled brother - an executed man who was not convicted of any offense whatsoever. Larry Neal wound up dead in a jail that had denied having him incarcerated for weeks and ignored his missing person reports.

After Larry Neal's death, the same justice system that drags healthy people down corridors and straps them on lethal injection tables to take their lives refuses to answer how Larry Neal was murdered in government custody. In defiance of the president's executive order to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, boastful claims of transparency in government, and in total disregard of Larry's and his family's human and civil rights, the jail refuses to release information and records on Larry's secret arrest and murder. The Department of Justice also refuses to release records or ask police how they killed the lifelong mentally ill heart patient. Instead, the justice system decided to cover-up Larry's inconvenient death in 2003, and the cover-up continues.

Larry Neal was black. It is less common for black men to be lynched than a few decades ago, but African Americans being killed by police and black families having their civil rights ignored are American traditions. Therefore, Sean Isbell and other white citizens may be more surprised than African Americans are when they are wrongly convicted. It is one of those tragedies that one never expects to happen. The truth is that wrongful convictions happen regularly to people of all races, men and women alike. Sean asked for help getting his case before the public, and I hope this blog helps him to do that. You are invited to assist Sean by copying this information, emailing the link, or you may use the handy "Add This" feature. For people who have suffer great injustices in the justice system like Sean and my family, it helps when others know about the wrongs and express concern.

I have much in common with Sean and other wrongly convicted people. When Larry's death was followed by a cover-up facilitated by our wrongful death attorneys, The (Johnnie) Cochran Firm, various officials, and the USDOJ, I responded by taking the matter before the public on a website. Like Sean, I published documents that evidence the injustices against Larry and our family, expecting change. See the DOCUMENTS tab at my website, "Wrongful Death of Larry Neal" - . Larry's family had to publish our own injustice like Sean is doing, because mainstream media blacked out The Cochran Firm Fraud (Google the term). I imagine that most innocent inmates are as disappointed at the lack of repentance the unjust justice system shows as I am. Not only is the system reluctant to set things right, but district attorneys actually argue against possibly innocent inmates getting new trials or DNA tests on evidence that was used to convict them (even at the inmates' expense). When the system is wrong, it does not appreciate any DNA test results or witness testimony evidencing the fact. Instead, there is an unGodly tendency is to cover-up mistakes or intentional wrongdoing by people in the justice system, even by illegal means. Regarding Larry Neal, the justice system plans never to investigate his lynching while under secret arrest (and have to prosecute its own members), but instead, my family is persecuted for asking, "What happened to Larry Neal?"

Unfortunately, America's voting machines do not give receipts. Many elected officials no longer seem to care what the public thinks about injustice, and they now propose to expand/improve railroads and build six concentration camps within our country for Americans using taxpayers' money (Google H.R.645). Like many people, I find it alarming that prison is planned for millions more Americans, perhaps under the Patriot Act, which requires no criminal charges. I express my concern and so do relatively few other brave citizens. Our criticism is not welcome; in fact, I am greatly censored. See an example of my online censorship in a YouTube video called "PRISON LABOR PROFITS" at this link: (use the name if the link fails). Public opinion simply does not matter as much as Sean thinks it does, and neither does the Constitution. Even if Sean and other wrongly convicted persons do get substantial public support as they hope, most judges and parole boards continue to ignore their evidence of innocence and deny them new trials. The Thomas Arthur case, involving another wrongly convicted white citizen, is evidence of that fact. When Arthur's DNA results ruled him out as being Troy Wicker's murderer according to the crime scene evidence tested, a judge simply ordered Arthur's test results sealed, and Alabama's D.A.'s office announced plans to ask for Arthur's death warrant a month after his forensic evidence indicated innocence. Arthur's daughter, another blogger, and I reported Arthur's dilemma, unlike mainstream media, and he will now get a hearing. Meanwhile, Arthur remains on death row.


Democrats vote to renew Patriot Act
By Bill Van Auken 27 February 2010

With almost no debate, the Democratic leadership in Congress pushed through an unamended extension of the USA Patriot Act’s most notorious provisions, granting sweeping powers to eavesdrop and seize library, Internet and other personal records of US citizens. The provisions were set to expire by Sunday. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation before then, securing his administration the ability to continue and expand the domestic spying and attacks on basic democratic rights that he and other Democrats had pretended to oppose under the Bush administration.


To illustrate how deaf the justice system is to public outcry against injustice, consider Troy Davis' case involving the wrongful conviction of a young African American. Davis was convicted for the murder of a white police officer in Savannah, Georgia nearly two decades ago. The case against Davis is so weak that he has fervent support from a former president, the Pope and other world leaders, as well as millions of people worldwide. Yet Davis remains on death row, gagged to prevent him from discussing his evidence of innocence like Sean Isbell can. Public protest against Davis' execution in the absence of proof of his guilt and millions of requests for him to have a new trial were ignored for years. Finally, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in July 2009 that the Davis case will be heard by a Georgia USDC judge to determine if Troy gets a new trial. The High Court placed stipulations on the judge's decision, however. First, Davis must present irrefutable proof of innocence (although his case has no forensic evidence), and secondly, the proof must come from evidence that was not available when Davis was convicted. If Davis' overworked public defender overlooked any evidence that should have been used in his initial trial, it will apparently be ignored when the judge decides whether to grant Davis a new trial.

NOTE: I do not care about people's race. However, race is a definitive issue in criminal justice matters. I pointed out the races of persons being treated unjustly in this article to dispell any belief my readers may hold that denial of justice is something that pertains to only one group of people. Wrongful incarceration can happen to any of us. With the Patriot Act being extended and H.R.645 gaining support in Congress and in view of Massachusetts' Martial Law Bill that passed on October 13, 2009, imprisonment in the absence of crime may be the future being planned for millions more Americans. Congressional members and other leaders who are righteous and courageous should stop the End Game and support justice system reform.

Innocent in Prison Project International carries stories of wrongly convicted people from all over the world. Visit at - Please see more about wrongful convictions in the article below by Dave Mann.

Who Gets Wrongly Convicted and Why - Published on Thursday, February 25, 2010

On Feb. 4, Freddie Peacock was cleared of his wrongful conviction for rape 33 years ago in New York state. He’s the 250th innocent person exonerated in the United States by DNA testing, according to the New York-based Innocence Project. To mark the occasion, the Innocence Project released a report that details each of the 250 cases.

The report has some fascinating figures on who gets wrongly convicted and why. I've listed a few of the most interesting numbers below.

The 250 innocent people have been sent to prison in 33 states for a combined 3,160 years. That's an average of 13 years in prison. Think about where you were in 1997. (I was in the middle of my sophomore year in college). Bill Clinton was just a year into his second term. Now think about spending every day from 1997 till now in prison for a crime you didn’t commit.

—60 percent of the 250 exonerees are African American; 29 percent are white.

—17 were on death row when they were exonerated. That’s 17 innocent people who would have been executed had DNA testing not cleared them. You have to assume there's been an innocent person somewhere who wasn’t lucky enough to have testable DNA in their case and was wrongly executed in this country—quite possibly in Texas and quite possibly Cameron Todd Willingham.

—76 percent of the wrongful convictions were caused, at least in part, by witness misidentification. In 38 percent of the cases, more than one eyewitness wrongly identifying an innocent person.

—52 percent of the cases involved faulty forensic evidence. Makes me think of the flawed arson convictions of Curtis Serverns and Ed Graf that the Observer chronicled last year.

—In 27 percent of the cases, the accused falsely confessed to a crime that DNA would later prove they didn’t commit.I know many people can’t envision how someone could confess to a crime they didn’t commit, but it clearly happens. And I believe that’s what happened to Alfredo Guardiola, who the Observer profiled last fall.

—Finally, the 250 wrongful convictions allowed the actual perpetrators to commit at least 72 violent crimes that could have been prevented. This is the facet of wrongful convictions that’s often overlooked. Wrongful convictions harm many people, not just the person imprisoned for a crime they didn't commit. That includes the victims (and their families) of violent crimes that could have been prevented had the right person been in prison all along.

May God bless Sean Isbell, Troy Davis, Darrell Lomax on California's death row, the Scott sisters who are serving life sentences in Mississippi for an $11 theft they dispute, and all other wrongly convicted persons. May God also bless inmates who received excessive sentences, thousands of innocent women who are imprisoned under the War on Drugs "girlfriend" law (jailed for loving "bad boys" - no crime necessary), children tried and sentenced as adults, and the 1.25 million mentally ill inmates who suffer cruel incarceration because punishment has replaced treatment for mental illness in America.

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Mary Neal
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
P.O. Box 153, Redan, GA 30074-0153
**Use the mailing address to make donations and request CDs filled with more examples of cybercensorship like "PRISON LABOR PROFITS" on YouTube.

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