July 26, 2011
According to this article by Mobile Press Register reporter Kathryn Sayre http://blog.al.com/live/2011/07/mobile_district_attorney_rich.html, Mobile County DA Ashley Rich is threatening to sue the Mobile County Commission for alleged money owed to the DA’s office. The Mobile District Attorney’s Office owes Rodney K. Stanberry his freedom. It feels awful to be treated unfairly, doesn’t it? DA Ashley Rich is able to sue the County Commission, but thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in the Connick v. Thompson case, Rodney can’t sue her office for a wrongful conviction and prosecutorial misconduct (note, Rich is basing her standing in a potential suit on the actions of the previous two District Attorneys (Chris Galanos and John Tyson, Jr. Given that she worked for Tyson for 14 years as Assistant District Attorney, Rodney should be able to ask and receive from her office a remedy to the misconduct practiced by a prosecutor (Buzz Jordan) who began “investigating Rodney’s case under Galanos and who tried and got a conviction under John Tyson, Jr.). The Mobile County Commission should stand strong, give the DA’s Office more money if they agree to establish a conviction integrity unit to help prevent wrongful convictions and to help those who have evidence that a wrongful conviction may have occurred. If Rodney serves his entire 20 years, it would have cost the state well over $250,000. If there are 5 wrongful convictions with 20 year sentences, that’s over a million dollars! This should be addressed. By the way, the county attorney Jay Ross is the law partner of Buzz Jordan, the prosecutor in Rodney’s case. See Buzz Jordan here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEVURKsGoMI.
While the Mobile County Commissioners will say that they do not have jurisdiction over criminal matters relating to the DA’s office, an article by Mobile Press Register Reporter Robert McClendon indicates that the Mobile County Commission funds 1.5 million dollars of the DA’s office’s 5 million dollar budget. So one would think that the Mobile County Commissioners would have a vested interest in ensuring that the taxpayers of Mobile aren’t not supporting a culture that allows for wrongful convictions to occur and that maintain said convictions at all costs. Again, if it costs on average $13,000 to incarcerate a person in Alabama, it has already cost the taxpayers nearly $200,000 to incarcerate Rodney (15 X 13,000). Without getting into details here, two of the Mobile County Commissioners know about Rodney’s case- one knows or should know that the company Rodney worked for (BFI) would not falsify records or provide false testimony IN COURT to cover for Rodney, as the DA implied. Yet, neither of these individuals wants to get involved with Rodney’s case. Throughout Mobile, as is often the case in wrongful conviction cases throughout the nation, there is a “see no evil, hear no evil” mentality. You can call all three Mobile County Commissioners and ask them to insist that the Mobile District Attorney’s Office establishes a Conviction Integrity Unit similar to one established by District Attorney Craig Watkins in Dallas County, Texas. Here is information about the Conviction Integrity Unit: Conviction Integrity Unit
“Established by District Attorney Craig Watkins in July of 2007, the Conviction Integrity Unit reviews and re-investigates legitimate post conviction claims of innocence in accordance with the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 64 (Motion for Forensic DNA Testing). In addition, the Conviction Integrity Unit reviews and prosecutes old cases (DNA and non-DNA related) where evidence identifies different or additional perpetrators. Special Field Bureau Chief Russell Wilson supervises the Conviction Integrity Unit, the Appellate Division, the Public Integrity Division, the Federal Division and the Mental Health Unit, as well as public information, evidence destruction and expunctions at the District Attorney’s Office. The Conviction Integrity Unit is staffed by two assistant district attorney, one investigator and one legal assistant. This special division is the first of its kind in the United States.” (source www.dallasda.com)
The numbers to reach the Mobile County Commissioners is: Mecercia Ludgood (District 1) (251) 574-1000. Connie Hudson (District 2) 251-574-2000 and Mike Dean (District 3) (251) 574-3000. Call today. They will likely not be interested in this, but let them know that you are watching how they respond to the Mobile District Attorney’s Office.
I support funding the DA’s office, by the way, as they are a valuable asset to the community. I do wish DA Ashley Rich luck and success in her tenure. But the DA’s office would be strengthened if they addressed wrongful convictions. This should not be a political liability! Rodney K. Stanberry was wrongfully convicted, he is in his 15th year of incarceration and will likely remain there for a full 20 years because he won’t sell his soul to say he is guilty for crimes he did not commit. In many ways, he has been and is being punished for being innocent. For more information about Rodney’s case, please go to www.freerodneystanberry.com and www.freerodneystanberry.com/blog. Please share with your friends.