Thursday, 14 April 2016

Court Report from Tuesday April 12 – Day 6 of the Dallas 6 Trial




Breaking news from Wed, Day 7 and final day of the trial
VICTORY: No conviction, hung jury ending in mistrial!!!

After closing arguments Wednesday, the jury came back deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial. Andre, Carrington, and Duane have not been convicted on any charges. PLEASE STAY ALERT FOR ACTIONS TO TAKE NOW TO PUBLICIZE THIS VICTORY!

Full report from Wednesday's closing arguments and jury results coming soon.
Duane Peters, Carrington Keys, and Andre Jacobs being led out of courthouse after mistrial declared on Wednesday.
“A win is a win,” Keys said, adding that the men plan to continue fighting their charges “all the way.”
“A win is a win,” Peters repeated.

Court report from Tuesday April 12 - Day 6

The judge rejects outrageous proposal by the DA for jury instructions

·     The judge rejected the prosecutor's outrageous proposed instruction to the jury that prisoners don't have the same constitutional rights as other people, along with other biased instructions.
·     Re. the prosecution’s claim that Carrington threw feces at guards during the incident, the judge ruled that both Carrington's jury instruction regarding the DOC's failure to produce evidence, and the DA's jury instruction that the Commonwealth is not required to present "chemical evidence", can be given. 

Defendants take the stand in their own and others' defense

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Court Report Mon April 11 – Day 5 of the Dallas 6 Trial

MAKE A DONATION! Online at http://tinyurl.com/rally4dallas6 or send check/money order payable to Abolitionist Law Center, P.O. Box 8654 Pittsburgh PA  15221  Memo line: Dallas 6

DROP THE CHARGES!  For those who can’t make it to the trial but want to show support, please take part in a CALL-IN/FAX-IN to the DA demanding she drop charges. Details and talking points at - http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter

UPDATE: Closing arguments Wed morning (April 13), jury verdict could come anytime after. Let’s pack the court! Contact us about rides from Philadelphia (see below).

Prison official witnesses contradict themselves; more video proof.
·  Lt Mozier testified today that he did not order pepper spray and "no one was sprayed," yet the video of the debriefing after Andre Jacob's extraction, played just after his testimony shows him saying, "OC [pepper spray] was applied to the front and back of the cell."
·  That and Lt Mozier saying only "OK" twice, without issuing further orders leading up to the extraction lends credence to Andre's defense that the cell extraction was planned ahead and staged.
·  The video of the debriefing after Carrington Keys' extraction shows that nowhere does Lt Mozier say that feces was flung, as previously stated by the 6 guards. Nowhere can you see feces on the uniforms or shields of the same guards, and all the officers report "no injuries sustained" and "no concerns."
·  Lt Martin testified, "I don't remember Captain Wilson asking to speak to the defendants" (during the investigation into the "riot" charge) while Captain Wilson had said in his testimony that the men told Lt Martin that they wouldn't "effing" speak to him.
·  Captain Bromsburg contradicted himself and other testimony that cell extraction always happens when prisoners refuse to comply with orders to remove the covers from the windows when he said that "every situation is different, every lieutenant is different." 
·  Bromsburg also said he didn't remember that when he was at SCI Mahanoy, 17 inmates covered their cell doors but none of them were extracted, that he had ordered only misconduct charges. 
·  Those two statements are significant because the prosecution is saying that the men knew that cell extraction would be the result of their actions and that they were coercing officials to extract them and therefore it is a "Riot".
·  Robin Lucas, Asst to the Superintendent, who herself was named in a lawsuit from Andre Jacobs, read out loud a letter from HRC outlining the torture Andre experienced and his request to be separated from named prison officials. 
·  Video from a fixed camera during the cell extraction showed Dep. Superintendent Mooney making a hand gesture which appeared to mimic firing a handgun, which he said was just to signal that their fire suppression equipment needed attention.
·  The prosecution produced prison logs stating that in April the prisoners had been contacted by their "counselors" and there were “no complaints”, that therefore the prisoners hadn't utilized a complaint channel open to them, while the defendants said they made official, written complaints directly to the pertinent authorities every chance they got, that counselors don't have authority over those matters and that one counselor serves 90-100 prisoners.  Carrington raised that his mother and Pastor had been calling on his behalf.
·  Attorney Wiseman got Deputy Mooney to agree that by asking to speak to an attorney, Duane Peters was making an attempt at dialogue and the psychologist on their hostage negotiating team could have responded to that and sought to break the impasse without cell extraction/use of force. 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Court Report Thurs April 7 – Day 4 of the Dallas 6 Trial

MAKE A DONATION! Online at http://tinyurl.com/rally4dallas6 or send check/money order payable to Abolitionist Law Center, P.O. Box 8654 Pittsburgh PA  15221  Memo line: Dallas 6
DROP THE CHARGES!  For those who can’t make it to the trial but want to show support, please take part in a CALL-IN/FAX-IN to the DA demanding she drop charges. Details and talking points at - http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter

Please note: the trial will resume on Monday April 11 and may wrap up on Monday or Tuesday. Let’s pack the court! Contact us about rides from Philadelphia (see below).

Highlights: Final prosecution witnesses called; defense witnesses begin.

HRC Attorney Bret Grote
Defense witness Attorney Bret Grote read out a press release detailing criminal complaints filed by Human Rights Coalition (HRC) against SCI Dallas guards for abuses, including for retaliation against Andre Jacobs who had won an $115,000 settlement against SCI Dallas.  
Prisoner Armando Lago testified that all of them on the cell block had covered their windows in protest that day, and that they had been asking for help but no one would help them.  
Isaac Sanchez
Former prisoner Isaac Sanchez testified.  His April 28, 2010 protest of guards' withholding food for Anthony Kelly led to his 15-hour torture in a restraint chair that sparked the April 29 incident.
The August 24, 2009 coerced suicide of Matthew Bullock, a white man with mental health issues, featured prominently in all their testimony.  An attorney with a law firm that brought a successful lawsuit against the prison on behalf of his estate also testified.  

Friday, 8 April 2016

Testimony to the court: Press release from Human Rights Coalition/Fed Up!

The following press release from 2009, before the 2010 incident for which the Dallas 6 are charged with "riot", was read by Bret Grote as testimony to the Dallas 6 trial on Thursday, April 7, 2016.


RELEASE: Retaliation escalates as human rights group files criminal complaints against SCI Dallas guards

In two separate criminal complaints submitted to the District Attorney of Luzerne County, Jacqueline Caroll Musto, investigators for the human rights coalition have asked that charges be brought against SCI Dallas staff for their role in the suicide of Matthew Bullock and in acts of retaliation against Andre Jacobs.

“We have submitted over half-a-dozen eyewitness reports to the DA’s office regarding guards tormenting Bullock, encouraging him to kill himself, and subsequently boasting of their success,” said Dominique Reed, an investigator with the Human Rights Coalition/Fed Up! chapter, an advocacy organization that has recently exposed conditions of control unit torture and criminal conduct on the part of staff at SCI Dallas.

A separate complaint describes prison guards retaliating against 27 year old Andre Jacobs, a jailhouse lawyer whose civil actions against prison staff and officials have led to four jury trials in the last few years and made him the target of animosity and retaliation by the PA DOC all the way up to Secretary Beard.  Just last month, Andre was awarded $115,000 by Federal Judge Joy Flowers Conti, a ruling which lessened but upheld the decision reached by a jury in the Western District of PA Federal Court in Pittsburgh last November. 

In a letter received later in the week after a visit human rights activist, Jacobs reported that five minutes after returning from the visit, guards destroyed his legal documents and he was placed on a series of restrictions.  “Andre had his water turned off for days, was denied yard and showers, issued death threats, and had his hand slammed in the tray slot by guards,” reports investigator Bret Grote, who has documented human rights violations committed against Mr. Jacobs throughout the PA DOC during the past two years.  “Perhaps most cruel of all is the fact that Andre was placed on ‘food loaf’, which is a policy whereby the PA DOC grants itself the right to use the withholding of food as a form of coercion.  Prisoners on this restriction are given a processed, scarcely edible loaf of indeterminate origin.” Furthermore, Andre was told by Sgt. Buck and Lt. Bleich that he was being targeted for his affiliation with the HRC.  Andre and several other inmates have reported receiving death threats in recent days and weeks due to their efforts to resist and expose control unit torture. 
 
Although HRC/Fed Up! continues to request that the administration launch a public investigation and formally announces such in a press release, criminal complaints are being prepared to send to the Department of Justice as soon as next week.

“We will continue to press for accountability at every level,” said Hannah Grace, an HRC member.  “Crucially, we will continue to expose the reality of illegal and abusive conditions inside Pennsylvania prisons to the public so that people understand the social and economic damage this system creates and demand change.”

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Court Report Wed April 6 – Day 3 of the Dallas 6 Trial


MAKE A DONATION! Online at http://tinyurl.com/rally4dallas6 or send check/money order payable to Abolitionist Law Center, P.O. Box 8654 Pittsburgh PA  15221  Memo line: Dallas 6

DROP THE CHARGES!  For those who can’t make it to the trial but want to show support, please take part in a CALL-IN/FAX-IN to the DA demanding she drop charges. Details and talking points at - http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter


Prison officials and police grilled on brutal cell extractions and riot charges


graphic by Molly Crabapple
Painful videos of the cell extractions were shown. (Some of the video Carrington’s cell extraction can be seen here). Andre Jacobs is heard saying "they are going to kill me" before they carry him out as he is unable to walk.  Duane Peters was placed in the restraint chair. Carrington Keys was thrown naked on a cold concrete floor to be body-searched, and his wrists were injured. 
Andre questioned Lt Mozier whether he recalls that he had complied and removed the covering on his cell, and why the use of pepper spray.
Carrington questioned the absence of evidence of and testing for feces.  Wiseman, attorney for Peters asked why the men fingered in the HRC report are the ones chosen to remove the men from the cells.
Police investigator Corporal Wilson was grilled on why he took three months to file riot charges, and why he never in that time spoke to the men who were charged, why he took the DOC's word that the men did not want to talk with him.  He said, "There are two sides of the story and the truth is somewhere in between."  In a powerful moment, Andre asked if the April 28 incident (what we know is the 15 hours restraint of prisoner Isaac Sanchez) that prompted the April 29 incident was part of his investigation and he said they were not related. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Court Report from Tuesday April 5 – Day 2 of the Dallas 6 Trial

MAKE A DONATION! Online at http://tinyurl.com/rally4dallas6 or send check/money order payable to Abolitionist Law Center, P.O. Box 8654 Pittsburgh PA  15221  Memo line: Dallas 6
DROP THE CHARGES!  For those who can’t make it to the trial but want to show support, please take part in a CALL-IN/FAX-IN to the DA demanding she drop charges. Details and talking points at - http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter

Highlights Day 2

·       Big news!  The court heard why the Dallas 6 did the peaceful protest. There was concern that they would not have been allowed to lay this out in court, so the fact that they did was in and of itself a victory. Andre Jacobs and Carrington Keys gave powerful opening statements laying out why they did the peaceful protest.  They were well-prepared, thorough and were effective in their cross-examinations.
·       Prosecution called two prison officials as witnesses in an attempt to back their claim that the men wanted to coerce the guards to forcebly remove them from their cells.  They further charged Carrington Keys with assault: they claimed he threw feces.   
·       A video was shown in which Duane Peters is clearly heard over and over saying, “We want to talk to the Luzerne County Public Defenders,” prior to guards removing the men from their cells (cell extraction).

·       Defendants blew holes in the prosecution’s assault charges by showing discrepancies with official reports; they said they did not know cell extraction would happen and that prison officials could have avoided it. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Dallas 6 Trial begins! Court report Monday April 4, 2016

Summary:
·       Trial began after six years
·       Unredacted video will be shown in court although the men may not have seen it despite court orders
·       The judge has not ruled on "justification" - whether the men will be allowed to say why they took the action they did.
·       Jury selected and, with alternates, includes nine women and five men, including three women of color

·       Duane Peters retained attorney Michael Wiseman (Carrington Keys' stand-by attorney) to represent him


After nearly six years – the incident took place on April 29, 2010 – the long-delayed trial of the three remaining "Dallas 6" began on Monday, April 4.  The day began with a press conference on the steps of the courthouse where mother of Dallas 6 member Carrington Keys spoke about the trial starting on the anniversary of the assassination of MLK.  Supporters raised that the court had already dismissed these ridiculous riot charges once, but were only brought again by then attorney Lisa Gelb who was running for judge.  Now Judge Gelb is presiding over the case.

About 15 supporters attended the start of the trial, a multi-racial group drawn mainly from the families, a women's group (Global Women's Strike), the religious community (members of Mishkan Shalom and Germantown Friends Meeting in Philadelphia), and Payday men's network. Most of the day was spent on jury selection, behind closed doors – no one was allowed in the courtroom presumably because of lack of space. But the day began with the men – Carrington Keys, Duane Peters, and Andre Jacobs – raising questions about why none of them got the same version of the cell extraction videos, and Judge Gelb laying out what would be allowed to raise to the jury and responding to the defendants' witness lists.

The men raised with the judge again that they have never received the original, unredacted videos of their cell extractions -- the beatings by guards for which they are accused of "rioting". They were only able to see the video once, and each of them saw different versions. This is a violation of their right to evidence and amounts to tampering with and hiding evidence. How can they adequately prepare their defense without having the original videos? The judge said that she had ordered the DA to send them the original videos and they told her they had. The DA and the judge said, outrageously, that "they have no control over the DOC (Department of Corrections)" – a bad precedent, which the men challenged. However, the judge said that all the original videos would be shown during the trial. Andre Jacobs also asked for a paper trail of who, when, and how the videos were redacted. The DA revealed the name of the attorney who ordered the redaction (Hogan) and the detective who did it – Charles Ballow (sp?).  They may be called as witnesses.

On the witnesses, those who were present at Dallas prison during the incident were accepted. Several character witnesses that Duane Peters requested were struck down because they were not at Dallas at the time, even though they could speak to the reasons Duane was sent to solitary at Dallas in the first place. The judge would not serve any subpoenas on behalf of the men – particularly those related to Carrington's criminal complaint, such as Superintendent Mooney – but said they can subpoena them now.

Tuesday began with opening statements. Carrington and Andre are representing themselves, while Attorney Michael Wiseman is now representing Duane. The trial is expected to last a week. Stay tuned for a report from Tuesday's hearing, which went very well!  TV coverage can be found here.

ANYONE WHO CAN ATTEND THE TRIAL ANY DAY THIS WEEK, PLEASE CONTACT US! 
WE URGENTLY NEED AS MANY SUPPORTERS AS POSSIBLE TO BE PRESENT IN THE COURTROOM.

Now is the time to help these brave prisoner whistleblowers win a major victory for prisoners across Pennsylvania and across the US!

Please do the check-in if you want to come or contact by email or phone. Rooms are available in the area.  

If you cannot attend, PLEASE, do the call-in/fax-in.  http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter