U.S.A.: Ruchell Cinque Magee: (see previous): writing in BayView Magee lets us know his parole application will be heard by the state under a federal mandate requiring release of prisoners over 60 that have served over 25 years. He’s 79 this month held more than 54 years in a California state prison. He has committed no act of violence and his initial sentence in 1963 of 7 years to life was in his words “a conviction for kidnap to rob for $10.” In 1975 he was sentenced to seven years to life, concurrently, for “kidnap to run”, after attempting to escape at the Marin County courthouse in 1970 when Jonathan Jackson (at 17) stormed the courthouse. Jackson, two prisoners and a judge were killed by guards. Magee, critically wounded, survived. Magee writes he was sentenced under Penal Code 1168 which allowed only a 17 year maximum sentence. The system hasn’t dealt honestly or justly with him and he should be released with compensation; no correction of the system can give him back his years. They are using cruel and gross injustice against prisoners as a tactic to frighten Americans into cooperation. Those responsible for no earlier parole should be investigated, if not by a U.S. ombudsman then under international law. Partial sources online: “Ruchell Magee, longest held political prisoner in the world, heads to parole hearing,” March 2, 2018, Ruchell Cinque Magee, BayView; Ruchell Cinque Magee, sole survivor of the Aug. 7, 1970, Courthouse Slave Rebellion,” Kiilu Nyasha, Feb. 2, 2017, BayView; “Ruchell “Cinque” Magee,” Nov. 16, 2017, Prison Solidarity.
“Slavery 400 years ago, slavery today. It’s the same but with a new name.” – Ruchell Cinque Magee (apprec. Kiilu Nyasha)–
New York City: ATTEMPTED TAKEOVER OF COURT AND PAROLE BOARD DECISIONS
Herman Bell of the New York Three was finally granted parole at his eighth parole hearing with his release date set for late April. Bell is 70. The State Parole Board immediately came under fire from New York’s Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, the widow of one of the slain patrolmen and part of the other officer’s family. Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Senator Patrick Gallivan heading the state’s Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee, publicly stated their opposition to the Parole Board decision, undermining the rights and expectations of all prisoners, and the institution of parole. The sentence given Bell by the judge was not a life sentence but 25 years-to-life which intentionally includes the possibility of parole. Police and politicians don’t have the legal right to take over the judge’s decision, or the Parole Board’s. Our pages haven’t followed the “New York 3” among many other prisoners whose lives and fate were formed by the FBI and NYPD’s administration of COINTELPRO policies. These were evident in the makeshift trial of the San Francisco Eight. But in New York this extreme public reaction of the police union, the PBA president Pat Lynch’s harangue fit for a mob (“This animal” is how he referred to Bell) , the misstatements of fact, politicians’ risking the democratic process for police approval, all warn of fascism. They also revile Bell, a model prisoner, whom they’ve made a target when he is released. Understanding that police anger remains tangled in the tragedies of two who died in the line of duty (many Black Americans have also died but simply walking down the street), it should be remembered that allegations of killing police was a crime of preference for prosecuting Black community leaders (and white radicals) under the COINTELPRO program, and often in circumstances where testimony of prosecution witnesses later came into question. Partial sources online: “Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Issue International Call for Justice for the SF8,” Feb. 10, 2008, 4strugglemag; “Don’t let Parole Become a Meaningless Concept,” Editorial Board, March 18, 2018, The New York Times; “Free Herman Bell,” Feb.21, 2016, Makheru Bradley.
-by J.B.Gerald, Gerald and Maas nightslantern.ca