Free Rodney Stanberry Blog Entry – May 10th 2012
The Significance of Birthdays and Mothers- The Case of Rodney K. Stanberry
Birthdays are a way in which many of us mark the passage of time. Year in and year out, we realize that there is a clock and that we cannot turn back time. Rodney K. Stanberry is in his 16th year of prison for crimes he did not commit. He was arrested in 1992, a young man in his early 20s, convicted in 1995, a man in his mid twenties, and he began serving a prison sentence at 27. On April 27th, 2012 he spent his 43rd birthday in prison. He has been dealing with a wrongful arrest and conviction for 20 years- this is the equivalent of a generation. During this time, his son turned 16 years old- on May 3rd, 2012. He son has absolutely no memory of his father outside the confines of a “correctional facility.”
Rodney’s mother had a birthday on May 7th. Her memory is failing, but if her son were to appear by her bedside, she would light up like a kid on a Christmas morning who had just received the gift of a lifetime. Unfortunately, his mother will have to make it to another birthday and wish that she can receive what would be her special gift. Rodney’s mother is with his sister and father being fed with a feeding tube. Rodney’s father turned 78 on February 12th, 2012. He was in his early 60s when his son was unfairly and unjustly arrested and convicted. As Rodney’s sister, father and mother are gathered together, their hearts will have a gaping hole that can only be filled by the release and exoneration of Rodney K. Stanberry. Rodney’s parents have been married for as long as Rodney has been alive- over 43 years.
Consequences of Wrongful Convictions: Mothers and Sons
There are consequences to a wrongful conviction and families do serve time with the inmates. If Rodney were guilty, then there would be an understandable lack of sympathy and empathy in his plight as the victim’s family is without their loved one- she died after Rodney’s trial. They, too, have a gaping hole in their hearts. But Rodney is innocent and the Mobile District Attorney’s Office refusul to acknowledge a series of mishaps that led to the wrongful arrest and conviction of Rodney K. Stanberry only serves to harm both families as neither family receives closure when the wrong person is convicted.
Mike Morton of Texas spent 25 years of his life in prison for crimes he did not commit (http://www.npr.org/2012/04/28/150996459/free-after-25-years-a-tale-of-murder-and-injustice). From the day his wife was brutally raped and murdered, Morton maintained his innocence while law enforcement believed him to be guilty. The police centered their focus on Morton because of a sarcastic letter he wrote to his wife that he left on a bathroom mirror before he went to work. This type of tunnel vision has resulted in so many innocent people being locked up in prisons for years on end. In the meantime, as with Morton’s case, the actual killer went on to rape and kill again in the same manner as Morton’s wife was murdered. Mike Morton said he gave up during year 14. He received a letter from his son who had just turned 18th saying that he was changing his name. You see, the Williamson County District Attorney’s Office convinced the family of Morton’s wife and his son that he was guilty. Imagine how you would feel as an innocent man to receive a letter from your son saying he was essentially disowning you and your name. After year 14, Morton went on to spend another 11 years in prison! He explained that he relied on his faith one last time. “A God if you are listening to me please show yourself” type of moment. He reports that he received the sign that he was looking for and that is what carried him throughout the remainder of the time he spent in prison. Indeed, Morton also relied on the strength of his mother to help sustain him. You can listen to her voice by clicking on the NPR link above. Rodney’s mother has been in and out of hospitals for many years, there were situations when her situation was dire. In 2004 during a particularly fretful hospital stay, I sent a letter to DA John Tyson, Jr. and this was his response: http://freerodneystanberry.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/09-07-2010_121703PM.24992718.BMP. As was the case with Morton, Rodney’s mother serves as a source of his strength. His love for his mother and his desire to be by her side will continue to strengthen him. Likewise, the strong bond he has with his son will also continue to strengthen him. Further, his knowledge that so many of you are advocating on his behalf will continue to strengthen him as he endures this continued injustice.
Mike Morton would need his faith and sources of strength because for 6 years after a bandana containing DNA that could have cleared him was found, the Williamson County District Attorney’s Office continued to fight against having it tested. Again, far too many District Attorneys care about the conviction and upholding the conviction more than they care about the truth and justice. Incidentally, the daughter of the woman killed by the same person who killed Morton’s wife is endorsing the OPPONENT of the current Williamson County District Attorney- he is the one who fought against testing the bandana that would free Mike Morton. More people need to make endorsements like this. Prosecutors who engage in misconduct and otherwise sanction it so as to avoid admitting that a wrongful conviction had occurred should fear that they will lose the next election, regardless of how tough on crime they appear to be. How District Attorneys act when confronted with a potential wrongful conviction is how they should be measured, in my opinion. I wrote a blog last year entitled “The Prosecutor and the Criminal” after reading John Grisham’s book The Confession and Picking Cotton (Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Cotton-Cannino): http://freerodneystanberry.com/blog/2011/08/11/the-prosecutor-and-the-criminal/
District Attorneys- The Power to Convict, but not the Conviction to Right a Wrong
District Attorneys can and will do everything within their power to keep an innocent person in prison. We cannot allow them to forget about their duty to ensure that the right person is in prison, no matter how much time has passed by. Mobile District Attorney Ashley Rich continues to pretend like a confession doesn’t matter (http://www.freerodneystanberry.com/the_confession-_testimonial_immunity_agreement).
The way District Attorneys operate confuses me. Rodney had a solid alibi: It didn’t matter. The person who confessed described the house and victim as only someone who was there could describe: It didn’t matter. The person who confessed, like the individual in this Mobile Press Register article ( al.com: Mobile : Mobile man’s confession in 1996 cold case led to murder conviction) confessed because his conscious bothered him: It didn’t matter. This individual in the article below confessed to this murder, he gets a split sentence that resulted in a one year prison sentence. Rodney maintains his innocence because he is innocent and he gets punished, he is on year 16 of his sentence. The person who confessed in Rodney’s case revealed information that others involved in his case revealed all exonerating Rodney, but it didn’t matter to former DA John Tyson, Jr. and it doesn’t matter to DA Ashley Rich. Please go to www.freerodneystanberry.com and click on the tab entitled “The Shooter: What They Want to Wish Away.”
District Attorney Ashley Rich said during her campaign that any prosecutor who withholds exculpatory evidence is making a career-ending decision and that she would reopen a case where such evidence is withheld (http://www.freerodneystanberry.com/key_documents_in_rodneys_case). As the actual District Attorney, this doesn’t seem to be as much of a concern as evident in this interview featuring her Chief Investigator in response to questions about Rodney: (http://newsone.com/1809115/rodney-k-stanberry-is-alabama-still-the-land-of-jim-crow/). Rodney K. Stanberry should not have to spend another birthday in prison. District Attorneys have the power to do what is right, but they do not have the conviction. Your voice is needed. Please call Mobile District Attorney Ashley Rich, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama Lieutenant Governor, and Alabama Bar Association President James Pratt, III.
Call to Action-
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (334) 242-7300
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (334) 242- 7100
Chief Investigator Timothy Fuhrman, Attorney General’s Office (334) 242-7300
Chief Investigator Mike Morgan, Mobile District Attorney’s Office (251)-574-8400
Alabama Bar Association President James R. Pratt, III
|James Roy Pratt, III
Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, LLP
2025 3rd Ave N Ste 800
Birmingham, AL 35203-3331
Enough is enough. Justice for Trevon (Rodney’s son), Justice for the taxpayers of Alabama, and Justice for the sake of justice! Free Rodney Stanberry.