Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Help the New Jersey 4's Renata Hill!

The below is from an e-mail I received today from Bay Solidarity concerning the upcoming re-trial of Renata Hill. To help, you must get this letter out before October 14th when her re-trial is scheduled. I'll be sending mine out tomorrow morning!On June 14, four African-American women—Venice Brown (19), Terrain Dandridge (20), Patreese Johnson (20) and Renata Hill (24)—received sentences ranging from three-and-a-half to 11 years in prison. None of them had previous criminal records. Two of them are parents of small children.

Their crime? Defending themselves from a physical attack by a man who held them down and choked them, ripped hair from their scalps, spat on them, and threatened to sexually assault them—all because they are lesbians.

The mere fact that any victim of a bigoted attack would be arrested, jailed and then convicted for self-defense is an outrage. But the length of prison time given further demonstrates the highly political nature of this case and just how racist, misogynistic, anti-gay, anti-youth and anti-worker the so-called U.S. justice system truly is.

You are needed to help stop the re-prosecution of Renata Hill, of the NJ4. Below is a sample letter addressed to Robert M. Morgenthau, the District Attorney of New York County, in which we state our goals of ending the prosecution of Renata Hill. Please send your letter immediately.

On Ocober 14th, Renata Hill, one of the New Jersey 7, is scheduled to face her retrial. We are in support of her desire to not have to go back to trial, and demand that the charges against her cease.

Please send this letter, or one similar in your own words, to the address listed. After sending in the letter, please let us know so that we can tally how many letters have been sent. (freenj4@yahoo.com)

Forward widely. We will be in touch to follow up with where we are in pressuring the DA or the possible need to escalate pressure.

For Our Defense,
Bay Solidarity

Below is my letter, and you should feel free to use it, or to write your own that reflects more of what you feel about this case.


Robert M. Morgenthau
District Attorney
New York County
1 Hogan Place
New York, NY 10013

October 7, 2008

Re: People vs. Renata Hill

Dear Mr. Morgenthau:

I am writing concerning the case of Renata Hill, who is currently awaiting a retrial on charges stemming from an incident that occurred in August 2006. Her original conviction for Gang Assault was recently overturned on appeal, and I want to encourage you to stop any further prosecution and to release Ms. Hill.

Ms. Hill has already served two years on charges resulting from a street altercation that she did not initiate. While she was incarcerated, she was separated from her young son. She also suffered the death of her mother, whose memorial she was unable to attend. Since their convictions on Gang Assault charges, the felony convictions against both Ms. Hill and one of her co-defendants were overturned by the appellate courts. The two other defendants are currently awaiting their appeal hearings.

Notably, the complainant in this matter has commenced a multi million dollar lawsuit and runs a website, Dwayne Buckle Foundation for Justice, seeking donations to his cause based on virulent anti-gay and lesbian attacks. Prosecuting Ms. Hill further sends the message that attacking gay and transgender people is acceptable, and that the act of self-defense is reprehensible. It also furthers the stigma against women who defend themselves against their attackers, as Ms. Hill clearly did in this case.

I believe that further prosecution and incarceration of Ms. Hill would be unjust. She has been punished enough for her role in the event – both by actual imprisonment, and in the impact that imprisonment has had upon her life. We do not need any more young people brought up separated from their parents. I appreciate any assistance you can provide in preventing any further injustice.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Mik

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