The State Doesn’t Cry, Maybe It Should- The Case of Rodney K. Stanberry

January 17, 2012

Mobile District Attorney Ashley Rich can be reached at (251) 574-6685


On her one year anniversary as the District Attorney please call DA Rich and request that she allows the Alabama Attorney General to investigate Rodney’s case and/or that she takes the legal steps necessary toward retrying or releasing Rodney K. Stanberry. January 18, 2012 is her one year anniversary as District Attorney.

The State Doesn’t Cry, Maybe It Should- The Case of Rodney K. Stanberry

In a recent Mother Jones article about Timothy Cole, a Texas native who died in prison while serving a sentence for a rape he did not commit, the individual who actually committed the crime for which Cole was accused said Cole cried in jail. He cried after hearing his sentence and as he was being led away to a prison. Jerry Wayne Johnson, the real rapist, was in jail with Cole waiting for his own trial. He knew Cole was innocent, but to protect himself, he did not confess to officials.  However, seeing Cole cry, made him cry. Here is a quote from Beth Schwartzpafel’s piece entitled “No Country for Innocent Men: 

When Cole was taken to the Lubbock County Jail after his sentencing, in September 1986, the real rapist was right there in a nearby cell. Johnson, who was awaiting trial for two other rapes and a murder, had followed Cole’s story in the paper. He listened to Cole cry. “It was terrible to learn that Tim was…on trial for something I knew he hadn’t done,” Johnson wrote to me in a letter in 2010. “Seeing him cry his first night in jail and seeing him leave to be taken to prison was difficult, I cried.” But he did nothing. He was already facing the death penalty. “I knew it wasn’t good to say anything before I went to trial.” (

Even among people who commit horrific crimes, knowing that someone has been unjustly incarcerated elicits a tear.  This same response isn’t found among many prosecutors doing everything they can to get a conviction.  This response isn’t found among many prosecutors after being made aware that a prisoner may be innocent, the response by prosecutors is to double-down and to make sure that the inmate remains in prison.  The state doesn’t cry; the state, in a stoic manner, somehow believes that bringing about justice to the victim is keeping an innocent person in prison. Even  convicted rapist Jerry Wayne Johnson did not believe that philosophy.

As stated by Schwartzapfel in her investigative piece entitled “No Country for Innocent Men:” 

The tale of Tim Cole and Jerry Johnson, which I investigated for more than a year, reveals a system in which an innocent man, once convicted, has virtually no chance of redemption—even with the guilty man fighting for it. For the thousands of Americans spending years of their lives in prison for crimes they did not commit, the odds couldn’t be much bleaker. (

Timothy Cole was a 26 year old college student who found himself falsely accused of the rape.  He was a victim of eyewitness misidentification and “shoddy law enforcement” (Ibid).  As he and his family fought and waited for the system to correct itself, Cole died in prison, 13 years later at the age of 39.  His sentence amounted to a death sentence.  Gov. Perry posthumously pardoned Cole.  While his pardon is to be applauded and the family of Cole appreciated his actions, there wasn’t a tear in his eyes when he did so; no crying over a system that cost an individual his life.

Gov. Perry was asked during a presidential primary debate if he had lost any sleep over the number of death penalties that the state of Texas has carried out.  His response was no, but before he responded, he received applause at the Republican debate.  He’d posthumously pardoned Timothy Cole well before this debate, but said that the justice system in Texas works fairly.  He was referring to capital cases, but given that Cole’s prison sentence was a death sentence, it is something that Perry should have had on his mind as he responded to the question.   The problem is that the state does not cry when it is presented with evidence that an individual may be innocent at the beginning, during or well after a conviction.  The state, represented by law enforcement, prosecutors, politicians, and governors, does not have the empathy that even an accused and convicted rapist and murderer had when he saw someone else arrested, convicted, and serving his time.  Of course as individuals with families, friends, and who are decent human beings, representatives of the state have empathy and do cry, but when they represent the state in wrongful conviction cases, they do not cry, for the state does not shed a tear when an innocent person is convicted, dies in prison, or is executed by the hands and authority of the State.

Rodney K. Stanberry

Jerry Wayne Johnson cried, but he wasn’t prepared to own up to what he did until well after Cole was sent to prison. He deserves no empathy for allowing a man to serve his time in prison, but he, unlike the state, demonstrated some degree of consciousness in seeking to right a wrong. Rodney K. Stanberry was arrested in 1992, convicted in 1995, and began serving a prison sentence in 1997. Rodney was 23 when he was arrested, 26 when convicted, and 28 when he began serving his prison sentence. He will be 43 on April 27th, 2012.   He is in his 15th year of incarceration for crimes he did not commit.  In 1993, Terrell Moore sat in the law office of Clark, Deen & Copeland in the presence of Assistant District Attorney Buzz Jordan and in nearly 50 pages, he confessed to a crime that would have resulted in his spending life in prison.  He had the decency to do this two years before Rodney’s trial.  You can watch a WKRG investigative report featuring Moore and Buzz Jordan here:  Moore told the state- prosecutor Buzz Jordan- that Rodney was not at the victim’s house and had nothing to do with the crime.  The state asked him if he were offered money or lunch meat in return for his testimony.  The State, without a tear in its eye for arresting and charging what evidence indicated was an innocent man, had a perverse sense of  humor- asking someone with a criminal record if he were offered lunch meat in return for confessing to a crime to cover for someone that he did not know. 

During Rodney’s Rule 32 Hearing (Post Conviction Hearing requesting a new trial), Moore happened to be in the Mobile county lock-up. Rodney notified his attorney and Moore was brought to the stand to the surprise of Assistant District Attorney Martha Tierney. See how she reacted. She was not going to let him say what she already knew, that he confessed, knew details about the victim’s home that only someone who was there would know. The DA’s office continues to perpetuate the false statement that the victim identified Rodney from the time she got out of a coma (Prichard Police placed photos, provided by Rodney, in front of the victim as she was recovering and said which of these individuals could have been at your house. She pointed- she couldn’t talk at the time- to the person she was familiar with, someone who was often at her house. From there, a series of mistakes and intentional acts occurred by law enforcement and the Mobile District Attorney’s Office to convict Rodney K. Stanberry).  The ADA perpetuates the belief that Moore, someone who did not know Rodney was confessing to a crime to protect Rodney. It makes no sense, but they have long been concerned about the conviction and not the truth, which is anti-justice and anti-victim, as no one receives true justice when the wrong person is convicted.

                        Martha Tierney to Terrell Moore- You Talk, You Get Life.   

Buzz Jordan on Terrell Moore- I Never Believed He Was Involved with these crimes and never will believe it.

Terrell Moore on Terrell Moore- I was involved, I was at the house, I saw who shot Ms. Finley, and it was Angel Wish Melendez- we were the only two at the house, Rodney had nothing to do with this.

It is a sad day when the person who commits a crime is more truthful than the people paid by taxpayers to uphold the law. (

Moore may not have cried when Rodney was hauled off to prison or by the fact that he is still in prison-nearly 15 years and counting- for crimes he did not commit, but he did confess and unlike Johnson, he did not wait until after Rodney’s trial. Granted, he had no idea that the Mobile DA’s office wasn’t concerned with him, or the person who shot the victim, or anyone else, but he did his part in the pursuit of justice. 

Mobile District Attorney Ashley Rich- One Year Anniversary

District Attorney Ashley Rich will complete her first year as the DA on January 18th, 2012.  She has received phone calls and emails about Rodney’s case from many citizens around the country. Within the first month of her term, she received so many phone calls that she asked her investigator (Mike Morgan) to find out why people were calling about Rodney K. Stanberry.  On her one year anniversary, please call DA Rich and request that she allows the Alabama Attorney General to investigate Rodney’s case (251) 574-6685.  DA Ashley Rich, like former DA John Tyson, Jr. will say that she has looked at Rodney’s case and has come to the same conclusion as Tyson, that Rodney is the responsible party. In Tyson’s letter found via the link below, he says that Jordan meticulously documented the case and went to New York to interview Rene Whitecloud (the person the DA Office claims to be the shooter- see and that Martha Tierney spent hundreds of hours reviewing Rodney’s file.  During Rodney’s Rule 32 when Jordan was under oath, he says 1) he just happened to go to New York while on vacation and just stopped by Riker’s Island prison where Rene was located to see if he actually existed, that he didn’t take notes, and that he learned little from Rene (although in another statement he says that Rene told him to look at the husband.) Further, Jordan says that he never believed Moore and never will believe Moore. Jordan had his own theory and nothing else was going to change it, not even the evidence.  They never attempted to charge nor convict anyone else for these crimes. If they did, more trial records would demonstrate what I believe they already know, Rodney did not commit these crimes. I understand that the jury ruled against Rodney, but Tyson, Rich and other district attorneys know that the jury rules based on the information they are given. Jordan’s Motion in Limine (keeping the confession, tape recordings secretly made by Rodney that also cleared him away from the jury) coupled with Moore’s pleading the 5th limited what the jury was privy to and if ADA Tierney saw the notes from Jordan’s interview at Rikers Island, either Tyson, Jordan, or Tierney is being dishonest- either he had interview notes as Tyson says or he didn’t, as Jordan said.   (

District Attorney Ashley Rich can be reached at (251) 574-6685, (251) 574-5000 or (251) 574-8400 and (each of these numbers is good).  Rich stated during her campaign that she would reopen a case if it is discovered that a prosecutor did not disclose exculpatory evidence. Please click on this link for additional information.   On her one year anniversary as the District Attorney please call DA Rich and request that she allows the Alabama Attorney General to investigate Rodney’s case and/or that she takes the legal steps necessary toward retrying or releasing Rodney K. Stanberry.


Artemesia Stanberry

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