Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Court Report - Press Release: Ruling in case of Carrington Keys of the “Dallas 6”


Date: March 15, 2017
What: Ruling in case of Carrington Keys of the “Dallas 6”
CONTACT: Shandre Delaney, mother of Dallas 6 defendant Carrington Keys; Human Rights Coalition 570-763-9504.  Phoebe Jones, Justice for the Dallas 6 Support Campaign and Global Women’s Strike  610-505-4944 
Victory: Judge’s Decision Ends Nearly 7 Year Fight to Exonerate the “Dallas 6” Prisoner Whistleblowers
In what supporters have proclaimed a victory for the last remaining “Dallas 6” defendant Carrington Keys, on Monday March 13 Judge Lesa Gelb sentenced him to no extra prison time.  Mr. Keys had been facing 6 felony counts of aggravated harassment by a prisoner. The Judge ruled that Mr. Keys was only guilty of lesser charges of disorderly conduct and sentenced him to 4-8 months, concurrent with his current sentence. (Mr. Keys waived his right to a jury trial and withdrew two motions he had filed to dismiss and quash the charges.) With this ruling, none of the Dallas 6 have been found guilty of riot or of (in Mr. Key’s case) aggravated harassment in the 2010 incident in which six African American prisoners at SCI Dallas staged a peaceful protest and were viciously beaten by guards in response. See background on case below.

On Tuesday, there were misleading headlines and articles in the Luzerne County Times Leader and Citizens Voice saying that Mr. Keyes was found guilty of slinging feces.  He was not.  He was found not guilty of aggravated harassment which was based on the allegation that he threw feces.  He was found guilty of the lesser offense of disorderly conduct, which does not include in its terms that he threw anything. The family states they are requesting a retraction of these “alternative facts.”
Mr. Keys said:

“It was important that we fight this case to send a message of inspiration to other prisoners who are falsely accused.  There are far too many people who have been pressured by a system to plead guilty to false allegations due to the fear of the consequences of what may occur if found guilty by a jury.  Secondly it was important to stand up for all prisoners in solitary confinement, all people of color and all oppressed people who have been singled out by tyrants in this government.  In the beginning we were all charged with riot and in the end it was only one Dallas 6 found guilty of riot – Anthony Kelly, who plead guilty in the very beginning so he could go home (he had maxed out).  More of us in the Dallas 6 came out unaffected by any punishment imposed as a result of misdemeanors and two were exonerated after years of fighting. In the beginning, I was charged with riot and six felony counts of aggravated harassment.  In the end I came out with a disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor conviction.  That is the result of standing up for myself, and the support from my mother and all other people who rallied together for justice.  It may not be everything that I wanted but, hey, this is the price that men pay for standing up to an injustice system.  All power to the people!”

Shandre Delaney, Mr. Keys’ mother and coordinator of the Justice for the Dallas 6 Campaign, said,

"My son is happy that it’s over, but it’s bittersweet. He blew the whistle on torture he witnessed by prison guards and for that he was dragged through court for almost seven years.  It is an outrage.  The guilty ones are the guards who abused their power and the racist justice system that covered for them. As his mother along with supporters we intend to continue to fight for the rest of the prisoners trapped in this torturous system.  I just got some letters from prisoners at SCI Dallas, and there was another coerced suicide, just like the case of Matthew Bullock which sparked the men to take action in 2010. So we take this victory to the next level now.”
Attorney Michael Wiseman, who acted as Mr. Keys’ standby counsel at this proceeding, and during the first trial that resulted in a hung jury and dismissal of the riot charges, was pleased with the result:

“In comparison with the brutality and inhumanity of the conditions under which Mr. Keys and his fellow prisoners were held in solitary, it is hard to see how Mr. Keys violated the law.  Nonetheless, we are pleased that he was not convicted of any felony counts, and, most important, that the outcome will not result in any additional prison time for him.”
“We are very pleased that at least partial justice has finally come for this courageous man, and his tireless mother who has organized support for him all these long years,” said Phoebe Jones of the Justice for the Dallas 6 Support Campaign and Global Women’s Strike.
“But who will be held responsible for the hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money this trial has wasted going after these innocent men, instead of investigating the abuse they brought to light?  And what about the money and resources spent by family members and supporters in fighting for justice in this case? What about the emotional and mental stress suffered by these prisoner whistleblowers and their families? The prison guards and prison officials must be held accountable for what they did and continue to do.”
Fifteen supporters and a documentary film team were present in court to hear the good news. Shandre Delaney added,

“I want to thank all the loyal supporters who came out to the hearings over so many years, got the word out, put us up in their homes, invited me speak to their congregations and synagogues and at rallies, signed the petitions and made calls to the prisons when they retaliated against the men. It was the families, the supporters and mainly the grit of the men themselves that led to this victory."
Who are the Dallas 6?  On April 29, 2010 six courageous African American prisoner whistleblowers held in solitary confinement at SCI Dallas staged a peaceful protest against the widespread abuse, violence and torture by guards against Black, Latino and white prisoners which they had documented and took a stand against.

The abuse they documented included:
 beatings; mental abuse; foreign objects in food such glass, metal, feces, spit, semen and urine; mail and legal document tampering; deprivation of human contact; withholding medication; starvation and cutting off water; and coerced suicide. 

When they covered their cell doors and windows in protest, prison authorities responded by viciously beating them in so-called “cell extractions” and four months later charging them with “rioting” after the official complaints they had filed were publicized.

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 [2016] - 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