Contact: Nsombi Lambright, firstname.lastname@example.org, 601-573-3978
JACKSON - Today the ACLU of MS joined a coalition of organizations including the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the NAACP and the Worker's Center for Human Rights to celebrating the suspension of the Scott Sisters double life sentences. Gladys and Jamie Scott were convicted of armed robbery in Scott County MS during an incident where less than $11 was allegedly stolen in 1993. The sisters have maintained their innocence and other witnesses have admitted committing perjury during the trial, yet the sisters were allowed to languish in prison for the past 16 years.
Governor Haley Barbour announced his decision to suspend their sentences after receiving a report from the state parole board on yesterday. Local Jackson attorney Chokwe Lumumba has led a team of lawyers to file appeals for their release over the last few years. The Scott Sisters will be released from custody within the next few days. This victory comes after the tireless work of many attorneys, legislators, activists and media outlets who have been filing legal actions, petitions, hosting marches and rallies all calling for Glady's and Jamie's release.
The ACLU is delighted that the Governor took this step toward justice and we're overjoyed that these sisters will be reunited with their families. We also help that Jamie Scott can now receive the adequate medical care that she has so desperately needed since her kidneys began to fail years ago while incarcerated.
The ACLU has been committed to the release of the Scott Sisters and overall sentencing reform in the state of Mississippi. There are many other cases that deserve reconsideration and we hope that this is a first step in sentencing reform in Mississippi. The Scott Sister's 16 year incarceration represents another blotch in the state's history of racial injustices within the criminal justice system.
The judge who sentenced the Scott Sisters, Marcus Gordon, is the same judge who sentenced Edgar Ray Killen to 20 years for the murders of the three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mikey Swerner in Neshoba County in the late 1960's.
For more information on the Scott Sister's story and for updates about their release, please visit our website, www.aclu-ms.org.