Tuesday, 5 April 2016

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

·       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.


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