April 27, 2011
Today, April 27, is Rodney K. Stanberry’s 42nd birthday. He remains in prison for crimes he did not commit. When Rodney was arrested, he was approximately 23 years old. When he was convicted, he was approximately 25 years old. When Rodney began serving 3 20 years sentences (to be served concurrently) for attempted murder, robbery, and burglary, he was a month shy of his 28th birthday. Rodney, has spent his entire 30s in prison, and is now in his early 40s. Imagine waking up one day going about your day as usual as a law-abiding, middle-class, loving son of two parents who have been married as long as you’ve been born, and a loving sister only to find your world turned upside down, accused of a crime you did not commit. Imagine knowing that you were at work, work documents proving you were at work, supervisors, co-workers, and even a City of Mobile date stamp as additional evidence, but being arrested and convicted, nevertheless. Imagine how it feels to help law enforcement by going to them immediately to help them. You provide them of the photos of the people thought to be involved, only to have the detective to use those photos for an improper line-up. In other words, after the victim says she doesn’t know who shot her, the police places the photos you provided in front of her and asks which of these individuals could have been at your house. As someone frequently at the victim’s house, imagine your surprise when her pointing to indicate that you could have been at your house would lead to an Assistant District Attorney ignoring all evidence proving your innocence to get a conviction. Imagine you secretly recording someone with knowledge of the crimes in order to get to the full truth and turning that information over to law enforcement only to have the people sworn to uphold the law to ensure that the jury doesn’t here it. Imagine then learning that another individual confesses, more than two years before the trial in front of the prosecutor. Imagine the prosecutor again working to ensure that the jury doesn’t hear the confession. Imagine that the 4 people intimately involved in the crimes (including the person who confessed), all exonerating you on paper, via a confession, and/or in trial at expense to themselves (the actual shooter died in a violent street crime), but because the prosecutor has a laser beam focus on you, that doesn’t matter. And then imagine going day in and day out thinking about this, thinking how it has impacted your family, thinking about how the system has let everyone down in this case, except, of course, the prosecutor who was part of a 4 member murder team in the Mobile DA’s office who put another notch on his belt. And then imagine waking up on your birthday, your mother is in a nursing home in another state, your 77 year old father is still struggling to survive, your son can’t hug you and wish you happy birthday in person, and your sister is playing the role that both of you would play with aging parents. I ask you to imagine Rodney a free and exonerated man, hopefully the universe will respond to us collectively and justice will finally be served. I also ask that you give Rodney a birthday present, that you call:
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley at (334) 242- 7100
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange at (334) 242-7300,
Mobile District Attorney Ashley Rich at (251) 574- 5000 or (251) 574- 8400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.