(Photo of Rodney and his now teenage son included in this article: http://www.bostonreview.net/us/who-shot-valerie-finley)
#FreeDad- To the Fathers Who Are Wrongfully Convicted
I wrote most of this on Father’s Day but did not put it in a blog. So, here it is in blog form.
Among the valuable lessons that a father can teach a son is that of integrity, strength, and perseverance in the face of adversity. Michael Morton, who spent 25 years in prison for crimes he did not commit, never gave up on these three lessons, even after his own son changed his name on his 18th birthday, believing what the prosecutors had said about his father. Morton had the strength to carry on, to not give up, to show his son that even in the face of a flawed judicial system, that he would not be and was not a flawed man. Morton was exonerated and he and his son reunited. Morton’s mother helped to sustain him during these very difficult times.
Rodney K. Stanberry is living and expressing these same values. He has a son who is now a teenager, born just before Rodney began his years in prison for crimes he did not commit. Rodney showed integrity when he discovered what had happened and defied the no-snitch rule and went to the police; he showed strength when faced with a conviction and prison time to give himself up to face his legal fate; he also showed strength in refusing to say he was guilty for crimes he did not commit, even if he could possibly have received less prison time and/or could have been out of prison by now; and he showed perseverance in the face of adversity for continuing to believe that he will receive justice. Dr. Wilmer Leon said to Rodney during this interview http://freerodneystanberry.com/blog/?attachment_id=78 that he (Rodney) in spite of this nightmare continues to believe in the system. Rodney’s response was yes, perhaps it is a character flaw. It most certainly is not a character flaw, rather; he is being a father, a son, a brother, a friend, a nephew, and, yes, a cousin, who knows he was raised to be a decent human being and who knows that in spite of a flawed judicial system that he can’t change who he is. Rodney could have given up a long time ago, he could have a long time ago played the game that prosecutors and the parole board want the innocent to play (or to put it in the words of the New York Times, the Innocent Prisoner’s Dilemma), he could have been a broken man by now. But he has support, because he has his integrity, his strength, and perseverance and that is a lesson not only for his teenage son, but for all of us.
Let’s hope this is the last Father’s Day that Rodney has to spend in prison. Let’s hope he will soon be a free man. But hope doesn’t do it alone, we need you. Please read this link and act: http://www.freerodneystanberry.com/what_can_you_do-road_to_parole_hearing_in_july_2013 . Rodney’s father is 79 years old. He deserves to see his son as a free and exonerated man. To the fathers who are wrongfully convicted who find it particularly difficult to get through a Father’s Day, stay strong. Your children will see and recognize that strength and learn from it. As Dr. King is quoted as saying, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. We have to believe this.
WKRG-TV Report– Features Prosecutor, the Person Who Confessed and Rodney K. Stanberry
Here’s the confession by another individual made 3 times before Rodney’s trial, AND made in front of the prosecutor, who got the confession suppressed. At some point, the truth should matter. Rodney should be released and exonerated, but certainly he should be granted parole.
Please save this webpage as in the days to come, there will be a petition to the parole board for you to sign: http://www.freerodneystanberry.com/what_can_you_do-road_to_parole_hearing_in_july_2013