Month: September 2013
Guilty in Innocence Project -The New Movement to Exonerate George Stinney Jr. At 14 the Youngest Person executed in US History
The New Movement to Exonerate George Stinney Jr. Youngest Person ever executed in U.S. History
FLORIDA, September 21, 2013 —Today the Guilty in Innocence Project along with the website Causes announced its first campaign to Exonerate and correct the historical record of seemingly innocent young man, who was the victim of one of the most horrible incidents of racial prejudice and a broken justice system in United States History
Clarendon County, South Carolina, -At fourteen years of age George Stinney Jr., a young boy with no criminal record in his entire life, who’s name now lives in infamy as the youngest person executed in U.S. History. The case of George Stinney Jr. stinks of circumstantial, unproven and unsubstantiated prosecutorial testimony combined with a host of other injustices. The list of questionable characters is heavy, they include; a judge with double standards, a prosecutor who mislead jurors and a Defense Tax lawyer who was not trained for Defense of Capital Cases preparing for an election that dropped the ball and totally misrepresented Stinney. Also don’t exclude the Racist Sheriff who may have been responsible fabricating the case from start to finish. The confession of George Stinney, Jr. was never recorded in police files Detectives offered the boy ice cream once they were done.
On the day of the Murders on March 23, 1944–The defendant, a young George Stinney Jr. was walking his cow and happened to pass two white young white girls who were collecting “maypop” flowers. The two girls, 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and seven-year-old Mary Emma Thames, had crossed paths with George and his sister Katherine Stinney the day the two girls would eventually go missing. Binnicker and Thames’ bodies were later found in a ditch the following morning. Their skulls shattered into pieces and their bodies were so brutally beaten with a railroad tie rod that many medical experts felt a 95 pound boy could not impose that amount of damage and not leave physical scars to him. Stinney even participated in the manhunt for the murder of the girls, mistakenly telling the posse members that he saw the two girls “down by the railroad”
The Confession of Stinneywas a historic miscarriage of justice and according to witnesses and court records the confession of George Stinney, Jr. was never recorded in police files and Three Sheriff’s offered the boy ice cream once they were done.
To this day, no physical evidence that he committed the crime exists. His trial — if you call it that —He was convicted and sentenced in one day of court which lasted less than two hours. Prosecution Testimony included three sheriff officers who claimed that Stinney had confessed, although that was the only evidence the prosecution presented. No outside witnesses were called. No defense evidence was presented. The boy faced his sentence without family who were forced to move away from the city for fear of lynching from the angry mobs. Stinney Jr. would be left to face trial alone 1,000 people-whites only crammed the South Carolina courthouse. Blacks weren’t allowed inside. Jury selection began at 10:00 am and a guilty verdict just after 5:00 p.m the all-White jury deliberated for all of 10 minutes in between lunch before sentencing him to death by electrocution
On June 16, 19447:30 pm Execution Day, – Stinney walked into the chamber with his bible under his right arm. The shackles did not fit the 14 year olds feet! Stinney’s frail, 5-foot-1, 95-pound when fully seated would not touch the floor. Stinney had to step up and sit on the bible as his booster seat because his small frame would not encompass the entire electric chair seat. 2,400 volts had to be sent three times into the boy’s body, and at one point his arm slipped out of the constraints. The mask was too large and slipped off his small face, exposing Stinney’s wide open tearful eyes. Within four minutes Stinney Jr. was declared dead!
According to Gregg Greer the Chair of the Guilty in Innocence Project, we must began to combat and look at wrongful convictions in America overall-According to Amnesty International Since 1973, over 130 people have been released from death rows throughout the country due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. In 2003 alone, 10 wrongfully convicted defendants were released from death row. Example-African Americans are disproportionately represented among people condemned to death in the USA. While they make up 12 per cent of the national population, they account for more than 40 per cent of the country’s current death row inmates, and one in three of those executed since 1977.
Factors leading to wrongful convictions include
- Inadequate legal representation
- Police and prosecutorial misconduct
- Perjured testimony and mistaken eyewitness testimony
- Racial prejudice
- Jailhouse “snitch” testimony
- Suppression and/or misinterpretation of mitigating evidence
- Community/political pressure to solve a case
I believe the best way we can commemorate the birth of this poor 14-year-old boy’s short life is to take a moment to really ask ourselves would we allow any member of our own family to be treated like this, secondly we must look at the cruel form of punishment to begin with
What you can do to help clear Stinney’s Name!
Guilty in Innocence Project and Causes have a joint petition Campaign to ask President Obama to Pardon George Stinney Jr.
Guilty in Innocence Project has a Posthumous Presidential Campaign to Pardon 14 year old George Stinney because his case reveals the outrage of human rights abuse but inspires in each one of us to strive for change of Justice Laws; we are dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people to prevent future injustices. Specifically when those cases are due to racial prejudice. We also believe strongly that when we raise awareness and concern about the failings of our criminal justice system, if innocent people are imprisoned or, worse, being put to death for crimes that they did not commit, it is a facet of our society that eventually will inflame our society. We think the President will agree that year, 2015, the 71st anniversary of Stinney’s birth, is a most timely moment to correct this historic miscarriage of justice.This type of injustice should be intolerable to every American, or human being. Stand with us! Please go to causes and sign our campaign.
Greer is a member of the SCLC-Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Chair of the Guilty in Innocence Project spent 2 years in research of the case. We hope to write a final chapter in this case. I’ve told my team that ultimately it must be our goal to protect human rights worldwide. As we enter into a new world a new day and age, we must look for change, too much pain, too many lives lost we must dedicate our lives to this cause..
You can reach Greer at .firstname.lastname@example.org