Fighting for the Wrongfully Convicted; Fighting for Rodney K. Stanberry


Blog Entry: October 21, 2011

 If you want some insight into what it is like to fight for someone who is wrongfully convicted every single day, here it is. You read newspapers often looking for cases about wrongful convictions, articles about the Mobile DA’s Office (the Office that convicted Rodney K. Stanberry), articles about anything that can possibly relate to Rodney’s case and then you write to the reporters, to the people in the articles, or just share posts on Facebook, Twitter, and one’s listserv.  It doesn’t matter if you’re tired, it doesn’t matter if you’re frustrated, it doesn’t even matter that you are fighting an uphill battle. What matters is that you are fighting for an innocent person’s chance at freedom and exoneration, not only for him, but for his family and for the criminal justice system, for no one truly wins when the wrong person is convicted. So on this Friday eve, after calming down a bit from Henry James being released after nearly 30 years in prison for crimes he did not commit (http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/New_Orleans_Man_Wrongly_Incarcerated_for_30_Years_Exonerated_of_Rape_that_New_DNA_Evidence_Proves_He_Didnt_Commit.php), I was about to rest for a few hours. But I decided to look at the Mobile Register one last time and saw the article that you see below.  From there, I went though my mental file to think about the people I’ve written letters/emails to about Judge Ferrill McRae within the year.  My latest letter about him was to New York Times Reporter Adam Liptak following an article he wrote that included Judge McRae (As mentioned, writing letters and sending emails are a constant part of the process).  So I sent him, and a few others, the message you see below and attached the original letter that you can read via this link (http://www.freerodneystanberry.com/rodney__buzz_jordan_interview_april_1992_and_judge_ferrill_mcraes_concerns_about_the_interview- you can also read the letter Rodney’s father wrote to Judge McRae via the link). 

 So, that’s my life.  This is why I am grateful when you take the time to offer our family moral support, to send a letter to the Mobile District Attorney’s Office and others, to provide us space on radio shows as Dr. Wilmer Leon, Atty. Nkechi Taifa, V. Atkinson and others have done, to provide a Banner on your webpage for Rodney as Dr. Boyce Watkins is doing, to allow one of your reporters to air a story on Rodney as WKRG TV 5 has allowed Bill Riales to do in the past, to allow space in your newspaper as Lagniappe Mobile has allowed Bill Riales to do in the past, to write to the parole board, the Governor, the Attorney General, reporters, and to send letters to key people as some well known people (some that I can’t name for sake of their privacy) have done.  You are the wind that keeps us going, so we need you.   This is fighting the good fight. It is a tough battle, but it is the good fight.  This is why I get very sleep; this is what countless others are doing to fight for people who are serving time in prison for crimes they did not commit. Imagine what it is like to serve time in prison for crimes you did not commit. I can’t imagine having the strength to endure such a fate. 

Peace,

Artemesia Stanberry

Cousin of Rodney K. Stanberry

 Mobile Press Register Reporter Kathryn Sayre wrote an article posted on Friday, October 21st, about the death of Judge Ferrill McRae.  I feel much sympathy for his family. The loss of a loved one is devastating.  I am constantly in fear that Rodney K. Stanberry’s parents will not live to see their son free and exonerated.  I am sending you this article by Ms. Sayre (http://blog.al.com/live/2011/10/longtime_mobile_county_circuit.html) and the message I sent to you this summer in the hopes that in the future, you will look into Rodney’s case. Judge McRae, while he allowed the prosecutor to exclude from the jury evidence that could have led to a not guilty verdict, evidence that further proves Rodney’s innocence, he did chastise, on record, the prosecutor, Buzz Jordan, for some of his tactics.  Rodney’s father is 77 and his mother is 68 and in and out of a hospital.  His parents have been married for as long as he has been alive- over 41 years.  So while we appropriately mourn Judge McRae and allow his family space to mourn, I do hope that some day Rodney’s case is reviewed from arrest to conviction; Judge McRae was the judge during his trial and during his Rule 32 Post Conviction Hearing.  It is the Mobile District Attorney’s Office that is willing to sacrifice the life of an innocent man, judges just seem to be very willing to allow them to do so.  Each of you has written articles about Judge McRae, which is why I am sending this email to you.

(Signed, Artemesia Stanberry)

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