7/8/2003 Newsletter


  • Appeals Court Victory in Rickey Jones Case

Talk about fast work! The state court of appeals issued two rulings in Rickey's case that we told you about yesterday.

The first ruling was to grant a "writ of prohibition" to block Judge Wieland's order that no more motions could be made in the case. Writs of prohibition are used to prevent public officials from exceeding their boundaries. They are very, very rare--the courts almost never grant them. So the appeals court judges must have gotten just how unfair Judge Wieland's order was.

The second ruling is a little convoluted but here goes: it prohibits the trial court judge from preventing Rickey from seeking sanctions (punishment) against the prosecution. In the court's view, the worst punishment against the prosecution is for them to have to drop the charges. This ruling opens the door for Rickey to ask that his case be dismissed because the prosecution destroyed and/or refused to produce "exculpatory" evidence--evidence of his innocence.

So, in this two-part ruling, the appeals court told Judge Wieland to back off AND more or less invited Rickey to file a motion to have his case dismissed because key portions of the videotape got erased while under the prosecution's control. THIS IS BIG STUFF! The appeals court clearly recognizes that Rickey's rights were being violated and they aren't willing to go along with the charade. Moreover, rather than just dropping the charges themselves, they are making room for the trial court to "do the right thing" to uphold the integrity of the court system.

We have known for some time that tapes get erased, evidence gets destroyed, etc. but it is rare that anyone has been able to hold the Minneapolis Attorney's Office (MAO) accountable for their overprosecution of Blacks and the kind of railroading we see when we sit in court day in and day out. It is refreshing to see someone getting some real justice, especially because it may lead to justice for others later. Kudos to attorney Jill Clark for going right up against the power structure of the court system to defend her client!

Rickey goes back to court soon, but not for trial. Instead, his attorney will be bringing motions to secure justice in Rickey's case. Folks should be there as observers. We will send out the date and time when it becomes available.
Communities United Against Police Brutality
2104 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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