Blog Assignment # 1: The George Stinney case of 1944, and the Retrial of 2013-14

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_7aC7Uf2ww, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ywOldIv4_s, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEbidLbXFRU, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhrlAQY_PQQ, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nkztkrxR70, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KRHiLvRqXY

Has the eyesight of Lady Justice, who is supposedly blind, worsened over the past seventy years?  Between the year 1944 and 2014, has Lady Justice gotten better at her ability to discern when she is in the presence of “truth?” or…  Has Lady Justice become more adept at theatrics in the courtroom, with an “oh well” to the truth?  Each of the YouTube addresses above pertain to the George Stinney Jr. murder case.   This is a current case that actually began seventy (70) years ago; however, justice is still being sought.  The above addresses will introduce you to many more, and allow you to determine for yourself whether or not justice was served.  In my opinion, it was not.

George Stinney Jr. was a 14 year of child (by today’s standards, as well as by the standards of 1944) of African descent, who was accused of killing two female children, of Anglo origin.  The youngest girl was seven (7) years of age, while the oldest girl was eleven (11) years of age .  Fourteen (14) year old George Stinney Jr., according to the Child Forensic Psychologist involved with the pre-retrial, was under extreme duress, was in an unequal power structure (adult to child), and he was attempting to stay in “compliance” with the Sheriff who was questioning and holding Mr. Skinney against his 14 year old will.  This fourteen year old child of African descent, in the South… this child who could barely read, at a time in American history when many Southern Whites were bold in their expression of hatred towards Black people, was asked to sign his name on a sheet of paper with potential writing on it that it is unclear whether or not Mr. Skinney could truly read..  According to the story told, the Sheriff challenged Mr. Skinney to prove he “knew how to write his name…” This child, with no parent or adult present to represent or protect him, would have had fear of the white authority Sheriff, he would have been afraid of what the white authority might do to him.   This child, having been raised thus far in the South, would have had first hand knowledge of the negative treatment Africans endured in that environment, and this child who had not been fed for many hours while sitting in a holding cell, was tricked into signing a confession in exchange for food.  He unknowingly signed away his 14 (fourteen) year old life.  My question is, if “the truth” is the thing the authorities want, then why are those in authority allowed to forgo telling the truth in order to attempt to garner it?  How is it “just” that those supposedly charged with upholding “truth and justice,” are allowed to lie to get “the truth,” and are still considered “purveyors of honestly?”  It seems to me, if the first lie told, is told by those intrusted not only with authority, but also with being purveyors of “the truth,” then everything after their initial dishonestly should be suspect.   If a police officer, sheriff, lawyer, or judge are servants of the Court, are ruled beyond reproach with their word being their bond… if this level of trust is bestowed upon them,  how is any lie…no matter why it was used by them, no matter the reason, not cause for all evidence gathered by them against a person or group of people not thrown out?  Isn’t the legitimacy of this evidence called into question?

George Stinney Jr., age 14, standing somewhere around five feet (5′) tall, weighing in at approximately 90 pounds, was executed for a crime where there was no evidence linking him to the crime.  He, a child, was electrocuted.   Electricity was forced through this child’s tiny body until he was dead… for something, if the presented evidence made available to the public through the telling and retrying of this case, about the girls is true, there is no feasible way that this 14 year old, undersized, underweight male child, could have done this crime.  He is the youngest person (supposedly), in the last one hundred years, to be put to death… although, I am almost sure that their are other children of color and poor white children, all across America, held in adult prisons, some for crimes they did not do, who are also being put to death.  It may not be the state taking their life; however, if the state placed them in a place where they are in danger, and they are killed, isn’t the state ultimately responsible for their deaths?

Justice was not served in this case!  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  Even though a retrial may be granted, it will not bring George Stinney Jr. back from the dead to the loving arms of his family or to those in his community who cared about him, or to the world at large for whom he may have contributed mightily.  A retrial has the potential to force the hand of Lady Justice wide open, making her and all those who worship at her feet, face the lie they mutually told and clear this young boys reputation that his family, in that Southern Community, has had to live with.  Likewise, maybe by forcing a retrial it will finally allow for those people who are still alive and knowing the truth, to come forward and tell the truth before they die.   One person has already taken advantage of this opportunity.  A retrial won’t bring back the two little girls to the loving arms of their families, community, or the world at large either; but, it may allow for those who have vehemently held that Mr. Stinney was the guilty party to finally see that they too were wrong, and my offer them the opportunity to put aside their hatred, and allow them to see the world around them in a new light… especially the world within themselves.

The facts of this case are as clear as mud in some areas, and as muddy as filtered tap water in others.  What is clear though is the mishandling of this case and the children involved in it.  Not one of them was protected by Lady Justice or those who serve her.

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2 Responses to Blog Assignment # 1: The George Stinney case of 1944, and the Retrial of 2013-14

  1. Tracy Encizo says:

    Thank you for your post. I never heard of George Stinney or the travesty of justice that prevailed in that South Carolina courtroom. As we learned through reading Bowers v. Hardwick, justice is not always served up in the Supreme Court but in the case of George Stinney and his one-day trial without proper representation in a racist community and courtroom, sometimes justice is not present at all. Although in the Trayvon Martin case there was a battle fought to convict George Zimmerman (which was lost), it was discouraging to see racism played out in the courtroom once again. It makes me wonder how much progress has really been made in this country. Even with an African American president, our country is still often polarized along racial lines and racial politics are reflected in our law and public policy.

  2. Harmon Gale says:

    What a horrifying story. It’s almost always ugly when the police are under pressure to solve a gruesome case. Suddenly kids are painted as cold, calculating monsters. And when police and prosecutors are proven wrong, there’s usually zero accountability.

    Linked below is a similar case involving a minor accused of murder, though thankfully, it didn’t end nearly as tragically:
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/507/confessions?act=2

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