Leonard Peltier Statement February 6-2018 – 43 years innocent in prison – Donate and sign!

Logo of Free Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Free Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Free Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
Greetings Family, Friends and Supporters

I am overwhelmed that today Feb 6th is the start of my 43rd year in prison. I have had such high hopes over the years that I might be getting out and returning to my family in North Dakota. And yet here I am in 2018 still struggling for my FREEDOM at 73.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful to all my supporters who have stood by me through all these years. I dearly love and respect you and thank you for the love & respect you have given me.

But the truth is I am tired and often my ailments cause me pain with little relief for days at a time. I just had heart surgery and I have other medical issues that need to be addressed: my aortic aneurysm, that could burst at any time, my prostate and arthritis in my hip and knees. I do not think I have another ten years, and what I do have I would like to spend with my family. Nothing would bring me more happiness than being able to hug my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

I did not come to prison to become a political prisoner. I’ve been part of Native resistance since I was nine years of age. My sister, cousin and I were kidnapped and taken to boarding school. This incident and how it affected my cousin Pauline, had an enormous effect on me. This same feeling haunts me as I reflect upon my past 42 years of false imprisonment. This false imprisonment has the same feeling as when I heard the false affidavit the FBI manufactured about Myrtle Poor Bear being at Oglala on the day of the fire-fight. A fabricated document used to extradite me illegally from Canada in 1976.

I know you know that the FBI files are full of information that proves my innocence. Yet many of those files are still withheld from my legal team. During my appeal before the 8th Circuit, the former Prosecuting Attorney, Lynn Crooks, said to Judge Heaney. “Your honor, we do not know who killed those agents. Further, we don’t know what participation if any, Mr. Peltier had in it”. That statement exonerates me, and I should have been released. But here I sit, 43 years later still struggling for my Freedom.

I have pleaded my innocence for so long now, in so many courts of law, in so many public statements issued through the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, that I will not argue it here. But I will say again I DID NOT KILL THOSE AGENTS!

Right now I need my supporters here in the US and throughout the world helping me. We need donations large or small to help pay my legal team to do the research that will get me back into court or get me moved closer to home or a compassionate released based on my poor health and age.
Please help me to go home, help me win my freedom!

There is a new petition my Canadian brothers and sisters are circulating internationally that will be attached to my letter. Please sign it and download it so you can take it to your work, school or place of worship. Get as many signatures as you can, a MILLION would be great!

I have been a warrior since age nine. At 73 I remain a warrior. I have been here too long. The beginning of my 43rd year plus over 20 years of good time credit, that makes 60+ years behind bars.

I need your help. I need your help today! A day in prison for me is a lifetime for those outside because I am isolated from the world.

I remain strong only because of your support, through prayers, activism and your donations that keep my legal hope alive.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
Doksha,

Leonard Peltier

If you would like a paper petition please mail: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Please Donatehttps://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/donate-now/#overlay-10582

Please Signhttps://www.gopetition.com/petitions/international-demand-for-the-immediate-freedom-of-indigenous-political-prisoner-leonard-peltier-89637-132-wrongfully-imprisoned-42-yrs3.html

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Prosecutor Apologizes for Sending Innocent Man to Louisiana’s Death Row

March 27, 2015
From: Equal Justice Initiative

A.M. “Marty” Stroud III, the lead prosecutor responsible for sending Glenn Ford to death row for a murder he didn’t commit, apologized and called for abolition of the death penalty in an open letter published in the Shreveport Times.

Mr. Stroud wrote in response to the paper’s coverage of Mr. Ford’s struggle to obtain compensation for the nearly 30 years he wrongfully spent on death row. Mr. Ford was released on March 11, 2014, after the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office filed a motion to vacate his conviction and death sentence based on new evidence that someone else committed the crime. Louisiana law allows compensation of $25,000 a year capped at $250,000 for the wrongfully convicted, but prosecutors are opposing Mr. Ford’s request.

“Glenn Ford should be compensated to every extent possible,” Mr. Stroud wrote. “The audacity of the state’s effort to deny Mr. Ford any compensation for the horrors he suffered in the name of Louisiana justice is appalling.”

Read the rest and see the interview here.

Here is the open letter A.M. Stroud III wrote to the Shreveport Times.

Nevada Has An Innovative Idea For How To Right Wrongful Convictions

This comes from ThinkProgress, with thanks to Tonja Brown:

on April 2, 2015

Nolan Klein spent the last 21 years of his life in prison on a life sentence that he never stopped fighting.

Klein claimed a witness misidentified him in a photo lineup and he had nothing to do with the 1988 robbery and sexual assault that occurred in a Payless shoe store in Sparks, Nevada. His sister has continued advocating for his innocence, even after his death.

Courts have denied him a posthumous exoneration, but lawmakers in Nevada introduced legislation with bipartisan support last week which would have helped Klein fight his wrongful conviction and could grant an exoneration after his death, his sister, Tonja Brown, told ThinkProgress. The bill, AB 401, would make Nevada the second state in the nation to allow the creation of separate courts that would re-examine possible wrongful convictions.

“If this bill existed, Nolan Klein and others like him could have their cases heard,” said Brown, who also wrote about her story in an exhibit attached to AB 401. “It would allow all evidence that was not presented at trial that may have been hidden from the defense, newly discovered evidence that was overlooked, DNA evidence to be tested and witnesses that were never investigated.”

To date, there have been 329 people exonerated by DNA testing in the United States, with the average exoneree serving 14 years in prison. Since 2003, prisoners in Nevada can petition the court for DNA testing, but creating a separate court would allow judges to examine all of the available evidence and other information that may have been withheld in the original trial that convicted an innocent person.

The jury in Klein’s case was only shown around 20 exhibits — a small portion of the evidence that was available to the defense counsel, Brown said.

Read the rest here…

Jeffrey Havard fights wrongful conviction and death sentence from Mississippi’s death row

Dec. 16, 2014
The future is uncertain for Jeffery Havard, who currently sits wrongfully convicted in solitary confinement on Mississippi’s death row, where he has remained for almost 13 years. Time is running out for prisoner L3955.
Havard, 36, has been incarcerated at Parchman Penitentiary since December of 2002, when he was charged for sexually abusing and murdering his former girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt, who died from preexisting medical conditions and an accidental shortfall.
In fact, the baby slipped from Jeff’s hands while he was lifting her from the bathtub, which tragically resulted in her hitting her head on the toilet. Following the accident, Havard evaluated the infant, who appeared to be uninjured.
New findings by experts support Havard’s claims that he is innocent of all charges filed against him by the state of Mississippi.

Ohio prisoners freed 39 years after wrongful murder convictions

This is from: Deutsche Welle, Nov 21, 2014:

After decades behind bars for a 1975 murder they did not commit, Ricky Jackson and Wiley Bridgeman have walked free in Ohio. The key witness, a 12-year-old boy at the time, said police coerced him into false testimony.

Ricky Jackson, 57, and Wiley Bridgeman, 60, walked free on Friday after spending two-thirds of their lives in Ohio prisons for a murder they did not commit. The two men, and Bridgeman’s brother Ronnie, who now goes by the name Kwame Ajamu, were sentenced to death in 1975.

A child, Eddie Vernon, testified that he saw the trio kill businessman Harry Franks on May 19 that year. Vernon recently admitted that he never saw the murder, saying that police detectives had coerced him into giving false testimony in the trial.

“The English language doesn’t even fit what I’m feeling, I’m on an emotional high,” Jackson said on Friday after his release, also saying that he harbored no ill will towards witness Vernon.
“I guess a lot of people will want me to hate that person and carry animosity towards them, but I don’t,” Jackson said. “People see him as a grown man today, but in 1975 he was a 12-year-old kid and he was manipulated and coerced by the police and they used him to get us in prison. As far as that young man is concerned, I wish him the best. I don’t hate him, I just wish he has a good life.”
Once set for death penalty, now pardoned

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, a University of Michigan project tracking wrongful convictions, Jackson’s 39 years in prison make him the longest-serving exoneree in US history.

The three-year process leading to the exonerations started with a story published in Scene Magazine in 2011, detailing flaws in the case and questionable elements of star witness Vernon’s testimony. Vernon, now 52, recanted in 2013 when a religious official visited him.

During a court hearing for Jackson on Tuesday, Vernon broke down as he described detectives’ threats before the trial, and the burden of guilt he had shouldered since. By Thursday, prosecutors had filed a motion to dismiss all charges against the three men.

After Scene’s 2011 article, the Ohio branch of Innocence Project, a national organization fighting to exonerate people convicted wrongfully, took up Jackson and Bridgeman’s cause.

ll three men were initially handed the death sentence, but their sentences were later commuted to life in prison. According to Mark Godsey from the Ohio Innocence Project, “one of them came within 20 days of execution before Ohio ruled the death penalty unconstitutional.”

Ronnie Bridgeman, now Kwame Ajamu, was released in 2003; he attended both men’s exoneration hearings on Friday.

Free Leon Benson: Truth never dies, it is only rediscovered!

Leon Benson: sentenced to life in prison in 1999, for a crime he did not commit. We need some more attention to his case, and you can help by reaching out, spreading the word, listening to Leon’s story. Thank you for caring about the truth.

Please visit the website to learn more: Freeleonbenson.org

Reggie Clemons judge finds police suppressed evidence in death row case

This comes from The Guardian, Aug. 7th, 2013:

Finding gives Clemons, who has been on death row since 1993 for Missouri double murder, hope of avoiding lethal injection.

Read the whole article here.