An inmate who spent nearly 30 years on death row was released last week after it was revealed there wasn’t enough evidence to link him to two murders. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Laura Petro dismissed the case against Anthony Ray Hinton, who is now 58. “We’ve been hoping for this. We’ve believed that this should have happened,” said Bryan Stevenson, Hinton’s attorney, who has been representing him for 16 years. Stevenson said that Hinton wept, when he heard the news. The case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the higher court ruled that Hinton did not have the proper legal representation during his trial, and the case was sent back to the state to try again. However, state prosecutors claimed recently that they did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute Hinton for the murders.
No criminal charges will be filed against a White Phoenix police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man in December during what authorities described as a struggle, county prosecutors said last week. According to an investigation, authorities say that Officer Mark Rine was justified in using deadly force against Rumain Brisbon. Prosecutors said the shooting was within Arizona law. Police have said that Brisbon, 34, was shot and killed on Dec. 2 as he struggled with Rine, who suspected he was selling drugs. Rine mistakenly believed that he felt the handle of a gun in the man’s pocket. It was later learned that Brisbon was actually carrying a pill bottle. Marci Kratter, the attorney for Brisbon’s family, said she was not surprised that Rine will not be held accountable “there was no investigation,” Kratter said. “They were certainly not interested in finding out what the truth was.” Kratter said the family plans to pursue further legal action.
The Jonathan Foundation announced its second annual Spring Fundraiser on Sunday, April 19, at Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin. The foundation is an assessment scholarship program advocating for children diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s Developmental Delay, and other intellectual disabilities. Cartoon Network’s “The Amazing World of Gumball” stars—Jacob Hopkins and Terrell Ransom Jr., youth advocates for the foundation, will be in attendance. Co-MCs include award-winning film and television writer Dave Shelton, who is also a cartoonist, voice actor, author, comic and director (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” Nickelodeon, Disney, etc.). Joining Shelton will be entrepreneur Thomas Leffer, president of iMatrix Software. More help is needed to help fight learning disabilities. Go to www.thejonathanfoundation.org for more information.
Attorney Zulu Ali will moderate a conference in Los Angeles that will discuss police and prosecutor accountability and the abuse crisis. The conference will also call for United Nations involvement. The American Committee on United Nations Oversight, a civil rights and advocacy group, will host the conference on April 11 at 2 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel at 120 S. Los Angeles St. One of the things on the agenda is the launching of the Stop and Frisk Academy, a non-profit project designed to educate minority youth on how to properly interact with law enforcement during police contact. For more information on the conference, call (951) 782-8722.
Three Ku Klux Klan members who worked at a Florida prison have been charged with plotting to kill a Black inmate after his release. The trio reportedly believed that the man—who had allegedly bit one of them—was infected with HIV and hepatitis. The three men—Thomas Jordan Driver, 25, David Elliot Moran, 47, and Charles Thomas Newcomb, 42—were arrested last week and each faces one state count of conspiracy to commit murder, according to the Florida Attorney General’s office. The state said the murder plot started after Driver, an officer at the Department of Corrections Reception and Medical Center in rural north Florida, had a fight with the inmate. Moran is currently a sergeant at that facility. Newcomb was fired in 2013 for failing to meet training requirements, according to the department.
A woman in Palmetto, Lee Hardy, recently spent her time and money putting together some 600 Easter baskets for children in need. “People around here don’t really celebrate Easter,” Hardy said. “It’s my favorite holiday, and I love to share it, especially with people who need it.” Hardy has been giving Easter baskets to the less fortunate for nine years. Over the years, she has also begun receiving donations from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, but most of the treats and toys are bought with her own money. She spends the year collecting the items. “When I have a little extra money, I take it to the dollar store and buy stuff for the baskets,” she explained. Her goal is to one day put together 1,000 baskets. “I just think of joy and love.”
The Comedy Central Network has announced that Trevor Noah, who is from South Africa and is of mixed race, will take over “The Daily Show” as host later this year when longtime host Jon Stewart retires from that spot. The 31-year-old comic is the product of a
Black South African woman and a Swiss man. He was actually conceived at a time when interracial marriages were illegal in South Africa. Growing up, he had to learn how to survive as a light-skinned Black in a neighborhood that was full of people tones deeper than his own skin color. The result is that he learned how to use humor to cross cultural and racial barriers at an early age.
School officials at Duke University are refusing to reveal the name of the student who hung a noose on school grounds. All school authorities are saying that the student has left the campus, although he/she is still enrolled in classes, pending an investigation. Duke is considering what disciplinary action to take, says school spokesperson Michael Schoenfield. The noose was found hanging from a tree one night in a plaza that is in the heart of the campus. Photos began popping up on social media, which drew concern from Black students and faculty. The noose was removed the next morning and an investigation was begun by both campus and a student review board. At some point, the student who hung the noose came forward.
A Texas state trooper was ordered to get counseling for posing with Snoop Dogg. The White officer was told by a superior at the Department of Public Safety that taking a picture with rapper Snoop Dogg “reflects poorly on the agency,” according to documents made public. The trooper, Sgt. Billy L. Spears, was in uniform working at the South by Southwest music and technology festival in Austin last month when Snoop asked Spears to pose for a picture with him, according to a letter from Spears’ attorney to the department. After the picture appeared on Snoop’s Instagram account—with the caption “Me n my deputy dogg”—a supervisor drove 80 miles round-trip to deliver the counseling order. Spears’ lawyer, Ty Clevenger, wrote that, in fact, it was Snoop’s publicist who took the photo, not Spears. And Spears didn’t have a clue about Snoop’s long arrest record, and he said that’s because, “believe it or not, some folks don’t watch TMZ or read People Magazine.” Referring to another big-time star who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges,” Clevenger wrote: “So what’s the big deal? Would the DPS hierarchy get so bent out of shape about a picture with Willie Nelson?”
President Barack Obama and his family spent Easter Sunday at the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria. The church is more than 200 years old and was founded by slaves in 1803. It has a membership of more than 7,000. The service was conducted by Rev.
Howard-John Wesley, who has been at the church for seven years. “It was an honor to just worship with the president. It allows us to know that he recognizes the work that God is doing in our church,” he said. “The biggest thing for me is knowing and believing that the president is a man of faith who just wanted to hear the good news of the Resurrection. He really enjoyed the worship.”
Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya.