Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Scott SIsters Free? Barbour Suspends Scott Sisters’ SentencesThe Scott SIsters Free? Barbour Suspends Scott Sisters’ Sentences

Barbour Suspends Scott Sisters’ Sentences
by Ward Schaefer
Jackson Free Press
December 29, 2010

Gov. Haley Barbour has issued orders for the release of Jamie and Gladys Scott, sisters serving life sentences for a 1993 armed robbery. Barbour granted the Scott sisters an indefinite suspension of their sentences, which is "tantamount to parole," he said in a statement posted on his website this afternoon.

A large movement of civil-rights advocates and online activists has lobbied for the sisters' release, arguing that their sentences are disproportionately severe for an armed robbery that allegedly netted as little as $11. The sisters have spent 16 years in prison, and Jamie Scott is currently suffering from total kidney failure.

Reached by phone en route to the grocery store, the Scott sisters' mother, Evelyn Rasco, had to pull her car over upon hearing news of Barbour's order.

"Oh my God. You're kidding me," Rasco said. "Oh, please--oh my God." Rasco said that she had not been informed of the governor's decision but had plans to listen to Charles Evers' radio show this evening, on which Barbour is scheduled to appear as a guest.

Nancy Lockhart, a South Carolina-based activist who has worked with Rasco since 2005 to publicize the sisters' case, said that she looked forward to meeting the women she has only known through letters and phone calls.

"I am elated," Lockhart said. "I would like to thank Governor Barbour, and I can't wait to meet to meet Jamie and Gladys."

verbatim, from Gov. Haley Barbour:
Dec. 29, 2010


"Today, I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott. In 1994, a Scott County jury convicted the sisters of armed robbery and imposed two life sentences for the crime. Their convictions and their sentences were affirmed by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996.

"To date, the sisters have served 16 years of their sentences and are eligible for parole in 2014. Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her. The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi.

"The Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the sisters' request for a pardon and recommended that I neither pardon them, nor commute their sentence. At my request, the Parole Board subsequently reviewed whether the sisters should be granted an indefinite suspension of sentence, which is tantamount to parole, and have concurred with my decision to suspend their sentences indefinitely.

"Gladys Scott's release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister, a procedure which should be scheduled with urgency. The release date for Jamie and Gladys Scott is a matter for the Department of Corrections.

"I would like to thank Representative George Flaggs, Senator John Horne, Senator Willie Simmons, and Representative Credell Calhoun for their leadership on this issue. These legislators, along with former Mayor Charles Evers, have been in regular contact with me and my staff while the sisters' petition has been under review."


Sister's Kidney Donation Condition Of Miss. Parole
The Associated Press
Dec. 29, 2010

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has suspended the life sentences of two sisters convicted in 1994 for their roles in an armed robbery, but one sister's release is contingent on her giving a kidney to the other.

Gladys and Jamie Scott were convicted of leading two men into an ambush in central Mississippi in 1993. The men were robbed of $11 by three teenagers who hit both men in the head with a shotgun and took their wallets, court records said.

The Scott sisters are eligible for parole in 2014, but 38-year-old Jamie Scott "requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her," Barbour said.

Barbour said in a news release that 36-year-old Gladys Scott's release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister.

Dan Turner, Barbour's spokesman, told The Associated Press that Jamie Scott was released because she needs the transplant. He said Gladys Scott will be released if she agrees to donate her kidney because of the significant risk and recovery time.

"She wanted to do it," Turner said. "That wasn't something we introduced."

Barbour is a Republican in his second term who has been mentioned as a possible presidential contender in 2012. He said the Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the case at his request and agreed with the indefinite suspension of their sentences, which is different from a pardon or commutation because it comes with conditions.

An "indefinite suspension of sentence" can be reversed if the conditions are not followed, but those requirements are usually things like meeting with a parole officer.

The Scott sisters have received significant public support from advocacy groups, including the NAACP, which called for their release. Hundreds of people marched through downtown Jackson from the state capital to the governor's mansion in September, chanting in unison that the women should be freed.

Still, their release won't be immediate.

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said late Wednesday that he had not received the order. He also said the women want to live with relatives in Florida, which requires approval from officials in that state.

In general, that process takes 45 days.

Listen To The W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Specials:

Still Strange Fruit: 'The Eyes Of Willie McGee' Author Alex Heard & Major Scott Sisters Update (2nd Hour)...
All Eyes Are Still On Mississippi: Free The Scott Sisters!!!

Also On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio...
***Check Out The Scott Sisters Update Featuring Sis. Nancy Lockhart 3/24/2010 (Starts In The 2nd Hour)***
W.E. A.L.L. B.E. TV: Tha Artivist: Don’t Let Mississippi Make Jamie Scott Into A Martyr Like Clyde Kennard

(Text) Tha Artivist: Don't Let Mississippi Make Jamie Scott Into A Martyr Like Clyde Kennard:

More Scott Sisters On W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:

More Civil Rights Movement On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. :

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