A racist travesty of justice
The tragic case of the Scott sisters
Published Apr 29, 2010 8:21 PM
Anyone who still believes that the U.S. is the most democratic and just country
in the world has only to examine the shocking case of the Scott sisters to be
disabused of that erroneous notion. While this case is becoming more and more
well-known by word of mouth, mainly on the Internet, the 16-year-old case has
never received the national and international media attention that it so richly
deserves. The facts of the case will explain the reason why.
Who are the Scott sisters?
Jamie and Gladys Scott are African-American sisters who lived in the small town
of Forest, Miss., when they were arrested on Dec. 24, 1993, on a charge of
armed robbery of two Black men. The amount involved in the robbery was $11 and
nobody was injured. In October 1994, both sisters were found guilty and
received double-life sentences. They are not eligible for parole until they
spend at least 20 years in prison.
Their sentence is very reminiscent of the life sentence, without the
possibility of parole, given to the martyred Black Panther and Soledad Brothers
prisoner, George Jackson, in the early 1960s. Jackson was convicted of stealing
Three teenagers, who eventually admitted that they had committed the robbery,
recanted the false testimony they gave during the Scott sisters’ trial.
These teenagers stated before the judge and jury that they were forced by local
authorities to implicate the sisters, with the promise of a lenient sentence.
Even the robbery victims said that the sisters had nothing to do with the
robbery. Neither Jamie nor Gladys had a prior record before this outrageous
conviction and life sentence.
At the time of their arrest, conviction and sentencing, Gladys was 19 years old
and pregnant with her second child; Jamie was a 22-year-old with three young
children. Their children are being raised by Jamie and Gladys’ mother,
Elaine Rasco. Despite having to move to Florida due to years of emotional
stress, Ms. Rasco remains active in fighting for her daughters’
The state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have refused to
hear the Scotts’ appeals. Since being in prison, Jamie has developed
almost complete kidney failure due to poor diet and inhumane prison medical
care. She is receiving irregular dialysis treatments and has gone into shock
numerous times. If it were not for the pressure and local attention that
community, legal and political activists have put on the prison authorities,
Jamie Scott could have easily died.
How to get involved
There is a growing grassroots movement to broaden awareness around the Scott
sisters’ case, including a letter-writing campaign demanding that
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder release
them. The campaign also includes getting petitions signed and getting press
releases sent to local, state and national press on the case.
The Scott sisters’ case has put another human face on the constant racist
repression that is woven within the very fabric of U.S. capitalist society. In
an Aug. 19 article, Jamie Scott wrote: “The injustices that have occurred
are patterns within this county and their police departments. This type of
injustice and exploitation has been done to many African Americans who have
lived in this county for many years. They have been very successful in
destroying many lives.”
Jamie continued: “This is a time we show Americans what really occurs in
most small towns in the state of Mississippi. We are convinced that once this
chain of events is exposed and unraveled, the events that occurred, the lives
that have been destroyed, the pain and suffering the citizens of Scott County
have endured; everyone will be utterly amazed, astonished and compelled to
assist us in our plight for freedom.”
Go to freethescottsisters.blogspot.com to read Jamie’s entire article,
find out more information about the case and get involved.
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