Friday, December 28, 2007

Update on Thalia Outlaw and the Mississippi Department of Corrections!

Well, I'm sorry I haven't updated my post but with the holidays things have been wild. That is no excuse but I have been working on some things regarding Thalia's case. Her application has been sent to the Mississippi Innocence Network and is being reviewed. Please keep this in prayer. Also, I am still waiting (as I have been for the past year and a half, two years) for a meeting with Governor Barbour. I am told that it is in his "to read" file so I expect to hear back soon about this.

There is so much going on at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility that most people would be completely shocked to know. I know I am was and am! However, as yet I am not at liberty to go into a great detail about this. All I can say is that if you have a friend, family member serving time, please stay on top of it. Dig and find out the truth about the situation and you will be surprised. More later as I will be making some phone calls today and getting more information and will post updates this evening!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thalia and the MDOC

Well, finally got property returned to Thalia. I had to throw a fit and send e-mail to Governor Barbour, Senator Trent Lott, Sentor Thad Cochran and Representative Chip Pickering, as well as Commissioner Chrisopher Epps, Deputy Commissioner Emmit Sparkman, Superintendant Margaret Bingham, Warden Holman and the folks in internal affairs with MDOC but it got handled FINALLY. I probably haven't posted the information out here on that but it all boils down to harrassment by one officer and Thalia's personal property being taken. Property she is allowed to have, none the less. Anyway, it was 2 pair of earring studs (one of them very sentimental to her as they were her mother's) and the officers out there wanted to keep them for themselves.

I am here to tell you, those are some of the rudest most unprofessional people I have ever had to deal with in my life but I can also tell you they know I am not going to put up with it. We have another potential attorney looking into the matter about getting her back into court. She has received her application from the Mississippi Innocence Project and we are working on getting that filled out. We are also trying to get statements from people who know what happened and can tell the truth about it now!

North Carolina has a law that was recently passed called the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission and I was talking to one of our House members who, of course, before the election was all ears but told me to contact him after the election because he couldn't do anything unless he was re-elected. Well, he had asked me to call him back on election day but I thought better of it and waited to give him some down time and I called him today. Well, imagine his not wanting to hear about it. He said he would NOT introduce a Bill that would allow a murderer to go free.

First of all, that just shows me he wasn't listening to me the first time I talked to him and he didn't listen today.

Secondly, it's not like it's a Bill that automatically releases people; it's a bill that has a committee of 8 people that reviews cases of people who pled not guilty to the crime, were convicted and have exhausted all their appeals or done everything they know to do that will review their case to see if it merits being returned to Court. The statistics are actually shocking from a similar Bill in the United Kingdom where there were several thousand cases reviewed. 300 of those cases were referred back to Court and 220 were overturned. That's almost 75%. But, as usual Mississippi isn't interested in doing anything like that. No, our State would much rather spend more money to build more prisons and keep the ones who shouldn't be in prison locked up FOREVER and have the citizens foot that bill and let the ones out who should be there that did, in fact, pre-mediate and kill someone get out on parole or a slap on the wrist. See, this really sux too because depending on when you are sentenced, determines your time served. Example, a lady out there, very young, drugs involved, killed an ex, assaulted current girlfriend, robbed them first and was actually sentenced to death. Well, death sentence was overturned or commuted in 1984 (which I am thankful for) and she got life and two 25 year sentences. She is eligible for parole in February of '08. Thalia, however, who was only protecting herself and her unborn child is sentenced to life. And because her sentence occured in 1999, that means life. Only eligible for conditional release when she is 65. So we are talking two totally different situations, one out and out killing and stealing from someone, planned, etc. and the other self defense in a domestic situation with an unborn child being threatened. It just makes no sense whatsoever to me! And all the lawyers and PEOPLE who could do something say "she is out of time to do anything". I am sickkkk of hearing that. Because I will not give up until somebody hears me. Somebody is going to want to know about this. I am going to mail John Grisham a copy of her transcript from her trial. It will make an awesome book (full of mystery, corruption and coverup within the legal system). Right up his alley!

If I can figure out how to scan her transcript and put it out on here as a PDF file, I am going to. I think I will go work on that now. Have a great evening all and thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Update on Innocent in Mississippi

Well, ups and downs! Good news and bad! Like riding a roller coaster. Just when I think we are getting somewhere, we take a few steps back. And then I/we move ahead a little bit and then back again. I guess all in all we are making progress.

Thalia is doing well. She is keeping her spirits up and her faith strong. She has her bad days but we all do. But she is a strong woman and her faith is strong. I had a day last week where I needed her and somehow she knew it because she called at a time when she normally wouldn't have (just before I was scheduled to work in the morning) and I had just gotten some news about her case that really upset me. I found out the attorney we were hoping and praying would take her case wasn't going to have time so I was really upset about it. I didn't know how I was going to tell her but she called right after I talked with their office and she knew something was wrong. Since I don't keep anything from her, I told her. I don't want to keep her hopes up so I don't mislead her about what is going on with her case. She stayed strong for me during that moment and I am so thankful for that. Of course, I pulled it together and towards the end of the call, I was optimistic again and telling her everything was going to work out. I firmly believe that and I know that God is going to provide a way. So when she called me later that day, of course, it was my turn to be the comforter. She had a bad day after getting that news and was sick most of the day but I told her it was going to be okay and this just wasn't the right attorney or not the time for him to do anything with her case but I know that God will show us when and who.

So now we are on to other things. She should be getting her application from the Mississippi Innocence Project any day. I spoke with Mr. Carrington the first of the week and he said he had received her request and that the application would be mailed out by mid-week. That is one good thing we can keep in our hearts and thoughts and prayers!

The other is I began calling our State Representatives (House and Senate members). I spoke with several who are attorneys and several who serve on the Corrections Committee. I even spoke with the Vice President of the Corrections Committee. He heard a little about what I was trying to do and asked me to contact him back after the elections on Tuesday. He is running for re-election and if he gets re-elected, he is going to sit down and meet with me. He told me that if he doesn't get re-elected, obviously he wouldn't be able to help with anything. So, I will call him back on Wednesday of next week. My proposal is some sort of bill that allows people who are incarcerated to continue to fight for their freedom without the restriction of a time constraint. Now I know some of you may say that is a waste of tax payers dollars but it really isn't. There are certain criteria in order that they be allowed to continue the fight. And once again, I will tell you how wonderful the Lord is because I told Thalia about this and that this was one of the things I really wanted to see happen not only for her but for any other person currently incarcerated who may be in a similar situation. This was about mid-week, I believe. Well, she called me the very next day and told me about a law she had heard about in the Prison Legal News that one of the other inmates gets that is very similar to what I am talking about. This law was passed in North Carolina and it is H/1323. I looked it up the next day and it is worded almost exactly the way I would like to see one for Mississippi worded. This law for North Carolina, to my understanding, is based on something the United Kingdom did and the results that came about were as follows:

8500 cases reviewed
300 were sent back to court.
220 of the 300 had the sentence reversed.

How's that for some statistics? That number blows my mind. 300 cases were sent back to court and 220 of those were reversed. That is almost 75% of the cases that were returned to Court. That is 220 people who were wrongfully convicted and had served time for crimes they didn't commit.

Our elections are Tuesday and I am still undecided on my vote for Governor. I know I am only one person and just a very small sprinkle in the bucket but I am still struggling. Our current Governor, Haley Barbour, has done a wonderful job, in my opinion as Governor. He handled the situation with our Coast very well during Katrina and we are well on the way to the rebuilding of the Coast. Both bridges (Gulfport/Bay St. Louis and Biloxi/Ocean Springs) have re-opened. I'm not happy that he didn't stay the execution of a man sentenced to death on October 30th based on the US Supreme Court investigation into the methods of the lethal injection. I feel all scheduled executions should be held until the US Supreme Court makes that determination. And quite honestly, I feel all who have a sentence of death should be commuted to Life without parole. I am against the death penalty because I know what the Bible says. And thankfully the US Supreme Court did step in and stay the execution about 19 minutes before he was to be executed. I hope that this will be a message to all states who have executions scheduled to hold off until a decision is made. And I pray that one day we will abolish the death penalty all together. Now, some of you may be thinking that is wrong but let me explain this to you. If Thalia's case was such that the death penalty could have been sentenced, it would have been. Only because it wasn't a crime where the death penalty could be imposed is she not sitting on death row. For that I'm thankful. But if she had received the death penalty AND she were executed for this, we as a State would have her blood on us. And I feel that we as a Country have the blood on us for any person who has ever been executed for a crime they didn't commit. And I believe there have been people executed who were innocent. Therefore, executions in any form should be halted completely. Our judicial system isn't perfect and until we can show that it is, no one should be taking another persons life. But this blog isn't about the death penalty. This blog is about Thalia and her freedom.

So, back to my original thought and that is my torn decision between our two opitions for Governor. Haley Barbour or John Eaves. I will say that when I contacted John Arthur Eaves campaign headquarters, I spoke with a very nice lady, his campaign manager, I believe and she was very forthcoming with information and helpful in answering my questions. Of course, as I know this is a campaign and the candidates are going to basically tell us what we want to hear (and that isn't to say that they don't have good intentions of doing what they say), I also know what the reality will be in the end. So I further questioned the Eaves Campaign about how he would make the time to meet with the average every day citizen of the State of Mississippi if he is elected. My original question was would he make time to meet with the average every day citizen and, of course, the answer was yes. But, again, I'm not stupid. I wanted to know how he would make the time to do that, what is his plan on that. His campaign office was very informative on the subject. I was told that he, in fact, had already discussed this with them and this is in his plan. Not only does he want to do that, he wants to have a time for the children of our state to come to the Governors mansion and visit with him, ask questions and see how it is to be in the Governors office. So I was very impressed with the further disclosure of something I didn't even inquire about. So do I believe that is something that he wants to do for our state? Absolutely!

And I already know how Governor Barbour handles meeting with the average every day citizen of the state. He doesn't. You see, I have gone through all the channels and departments that he put forth in his office/cabinet, whatever. I am told he is the next person that I need to meet with but he won't meet with me. I am told he doesn't get involved in these matters. Well, you see, the Governor is the one who ultimately makes the decision in these cases so I'm not quite sure WHY he refuses to meet with me. I know I am just one person but you know what, my vote counts. And before I was in the position I am currently in, knowing the things I know about this case, I never realized how important it is that we (the average every day normal citizen) have access to our local government. Certainly, go through those steps set forth but once that is done, then it is my opinion the Governor should make time to meet with a citizen on any issue when that citizen has followed the protocol. BUT AGAIN, I TELL YOU, OUR GOVERNOR WILL NOT MEET WITH ME ABOUT THIS ISSUE. So what is your opinion on this? Do you believe that the Governor of your state should be accesible to you if need be? Do you believe that he should make time to meet with you when you have followed his protocol for the matter you are trying to get handled (no matter what that is)?

I guess that is all for now. I will see Thalia tomorrow and update again on how things are going.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What's happening now!!

Well, yesterday I contacted the campaign headquarters for our current governor and the one who is running against him. I am/was a supporter of our current governor but since I requested a meeting with him about a year and a half ago and I am being told he IS NOT going to meet with me about this (in spite of the fact that I have gone through all of HIS department heads and am told he is the person I need to talk with). I am very concerned that the citizens of our state don't seem to have access to our local government. We elect them! Why won't they meet with us? I didn't ask for the meeting tomorrow. I asked for one over a year ago! So, I did contact the local news to see if I could get an answer about how this might change in his next 4 years if he is re-elected. This will be a big determination in my vote. I got a straight and direct answer (as well as an explanation on how that will be implemented) from the opposing candidate! Looking forward to hearing you you soon!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Update on the latest!

Well, I attended a meeting this evening to hopefully get some information about some possible help with this case. It went well and I did, in fact, meet someone who can potentially help. I am supposed to get a call tomorrow about it. Please keep it in your thoughts and prayers! I am anxiously awaiting for something positive to happen in this case!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Experience

I am writing this blog in hopes that somewhere, someone can give some direction and support for this purpose. I have experienced so much frustration in trying to help someone who is serving time in one of our State Prisons. After much research on my own (and not just taking a person for what they say), I truly believe that we have people incarcerated who are innocent of the crime for which they were convicted or have been sentenced to time that does NOT equal the crime.

Let me tell you a little bit about what I have experienced and am working on and I hope to hear back from some of you who have either experienced the same or someone who can help.

Several years ago, my step sister was incarcerated on a drug charge. Through her I met another inmate who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to life. After hearing her story and really thinking, it didn't make sense why she was serving life for what in essence was self defense. So I got a copy of the transcript from her trial which led me to more questions of her "defense" which is certainly questionable at the very least! Upon further looking into the situation, I have found so many things that were done ineffectively on her behalf that I can't help but feel a sense of responsibility to try to help her.

Now the interesting part of all of this is that none of the abusive history between her and the deceased was ever entered into evidence during the trial. I have no idea why her attorney failed to bring this out other than based on the things I have heard about him. Despite her own injuries from the "assault" and the many, many discrepancies of testimony in the trial, she was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life. Remember, the jury never heard the previous history so self defense was not in their minds when they convicted. The people who testified against her basically lied. They told the same "very re-hearsed" (obviously by reading the transcript) story which by the way was different from the statements given the date of the incident. Once again, another avenue her attorney did not choose to pursue during trial. Within the last few weeks I have, in fact, spoken with one of the people who testified who still basically tells the same story, but not quite. There is a big part of the story that she now recounts differently than she did when she testified which was even different than the statement she gave on the date of the incident. This is just one of the MANY things wrong with this entire case.
So what have I done? Well, I have tried to get copies of the police reports that she had filed on him in the year prior to the incident. These reports do in fact exist. I have seen them myself on the computer AND have spoken with an officer who used to work the area and remembers the many calls they used to get. However, no one can seem to "find" them. Once her attorney filed her first appeal (which in and of itself leaves a lot to be desired), he then filed the Motion for Appointment of Attorney to Perfect an Appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court Due to Indigency and that she be appointed Counsel to help her perfect her appeal. The Judge granted the Motion for her to proceed as Indigent but denied her appointment of assistance to perfect the appeal. Yet another point of interest in my opinion! I am not a lawyer but how can someone who can't afford a lawyer and who has exhausted all of her funds paying for her defense (such as it was) not be given proper Counsel to assist her? So she has done all of her own appeals, PCR and Writ of Habeaus Corpus, all of which have been denied for various reasons including untimely filing (in spite of her not having the knowledge or availability to get the information to file it timely).

My personal experience in dealing with the people involved in this has not been very good. Of course, everyone is friendly and helpful UNTIL they find out what I want and then doors slam shut and nothing is available, etc. The few that I have talked to who have provided information have really done so, I believe, not really realizing they were giving me information (if that makes sense). For example, corroborating an event she had previously told me about (this is the Officer I am referring to) who indicates there was a police report filed. But, it doesn't seem to be there now. Or, maybe it is, it just depends on what day you call and who you ask. Literally, I have been given three different numbers with regard to the reports on file yet I know what I saw on the computer when I went to retrieve them myself and was told they would have to be pulled and sent to me. Of course, I never received anything and upon calling to check on the status was told there was only 1. NOT TRUE! I know what I saw on the computer. I have contacted several attorneys, different organizations and am in hopes of getting some help for her from the Mississippi Innocence Project (recently opened). There are a couple of attorneys I am hoping will take an interest in this as well because I have so much more information with regard to this case there is no possible way I can put it all out here in one sitting.

Now that I have given you a general idea of what I am doing and trying to help with, please feel free to ask me questions if you have any, share your story (if you have one) and please offer advice as to what I can do next. I am currently waiting to talk with several attorneys and she is waiting to hear back from the MS Innocence Project to see if they can help. But I am not going to quit pushing just because we have some "irons in the fire" because I can't. Those irons might not turn out "hot" and I need to have a backup plan or something else already in the works. This woman has been separated from her children for to long as it is. Did I mention she was pregnant when this incident occurred? Yes, she was and hasn't seen her children in almost 10 years.

I have never blogged before (as far as writing my own) so bear with me as I learn how to do this. But, I understand it is a place where you can write and people will express their opinions and offer advice back to you. I can assure you that this is not a waste of anyone's time and I do believe that when it all finally comes out, it is going to be a big mess.

Oh, and by the way, for those of you who are keeping up with the "expert" forensic issue currently going on in our State. Well, yep, you guessed it. Steven Hayne testified in her case as well. How's that for a kicker??

I look forward to your suggestions and comments and will try to post daily on what is happening because I do work on this daily even if I only make a little bit of progress -- it is more than I had the day before! If I have kept your attention this long, thanks for your time and please stay tuned because I am sure this is going to get very interesting before it is over with. Honestly this would make a great book (and I am considering writing one)!