Breaking: EDDIE CONWAY FREE‏

eddie-conway

Received via email from the National Jericho Network:

“Greetings
I just received the great news at 3:15 pm that Marshall Eddie Conway a Jericho Political Prisoner held for over 40 years has been released. More info to follow.”

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun:

Former Black Panther leader and convicted cop killer Marshall “Eddie” Conway was released after four decades behind bars on Tuesday, after striking an agreement with prosecutors over a challenge to his conviction based on of the way judges explained the law to juries in old cases.

Conway, now 67, spent more than 40 years behind bars after being convicted in the 1970 killing of Baltimore Police Officer Donald Sager, 35, who was killed in an ambush. Conway has maintained his innocence, saying that he was set up, and denied any role in the attack. For years there has been a campaign by supporters to get him pardoned.

His release Tuesday after a hearing in Baltimore Circuit Court was a result of the “Unger” decision, under which the state’s highest court ruled that jurors had been given improper instructions in cases tried before 1980. More than a dozen people were released last summer as a result of the decision, and officials have said as many as 200 others could be released.

Under the agreement, Conway’s conviction stands but he was re-sentenced to time served. He will be on supervised probation for the next five years, the agreement says.

Robert J. Boyle, one of Conway’s attorneys, said that while Conway has always maintained his innocence in the shooting, “he accepts this disposition and he willingly went along with it.”

But Boyle added that had Conway decided to press his claim under the Unger decision, he could have mounted a strong defense in any retrial.

“It was an extremely weak case against him,” said Boyle, who has worked on a number of cases involving wrongfully convicted Black Panthers.

The Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hailed Conway’s release as a triumph.

“Today is a monumental day for the thousands of Marylanders and the millions around the world that have championed the release of Marshall “Eddie” Conway for a very long time,” said President Tessa Hill-Aston. “The release of Conway after four decades of imprisonment is an important page turner in this tragic story. … Our prayers remain with him as he makes the transition to freedom.”

But police union officials said they were troubled by the release. In addition to Sager’s death, another officer, Stanley Sierakowsky, was wounded.

“It’s a very difficult thing to learn, after all these years, that he’s not going to fulfill the sentence he was given, which was life,” said Gene Ryan, vice president of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police lodge.

An update from Eddie Conway

Revolutionary Greetings, to all my family, friends, and supporters.

The last few months have been a very busy time for me. I am very happy to report that some progress has been made in several areas. The best news to date is the progress with my parole situation. Since my last update letter, my lawyer filed a request for a parole hearing for me. I had the hearing on November 30, 2011. I met with two commissioners and they decided to advance my case to the next level of the parole process for persons with life sentences. That level requires a psychological evaluation, which means that sometime in the near future I will be transferred to another institution for a three month evaluation. This whole process is called a Risk Assessment, and once this level is completed the case goes before the full body of the parole commission. There are ten commissioners and a majority vote is required before the case can be sent to the governor who has the final right to approve or deny.

Thanks to all of you who wrote support letters or sent cards. One of the key reasons for moving my case forward was the enormous amount of community support reflected by those letters and cards. You all really helped, thank you once again. For those who did not know that this process was underway, it happened fast, but there is still time for you to write. The case will go before the full commission and the members will once again read the letters of support. So please continue to send letters requesting parole to:
Mr. David Bloomberg
6776 Reisterstown Rd.
Baltimore, MD. 21215

My lawyer, Phillip Dantes and his legal team has committed to filing my case in court by the end of this year 2011. As of this writing, that schedule is still being honored. We are looking forward to being in court sometime in 2012. Once we have a date, I will make you all aware via facebook and an update letter. We will be organizing a fundraiser in the spring to help with legal and court costs.

Since my last letter I have had the opportunity to speak at a number of events. I spoke with students and activist at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of California at Riverside, and Students Against Mass Incarceration at Howard University. I also spoke at several community events and book readings of Marshall Law The Life and Times of a Baltimore Panther: the Urban Network in Detroit, MI., Internationalist Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., and readings in Chicago, Ill., and in Baltimore, MD. Some of these events also included large groups form Occupy Riverside, CA. and Occupy Chicago, plus students from University of North Carolina. In October I participated in a conference of community leaders and activists like Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle organized by Dylan Rodriguez with the American Studies Association; their annual meeting was held in Baltimore. I also had the opportunity to meet and speak with National Black United Front members who visited me and offered some encouragement for the survival of our community.

The work we are doing with the Friend of a Friend (FOF) mentoring organization is going very well. The organization has developed so many positive community leaders and mentors that I can no longer keep up with all the new people around the system and out in the community; that is a good thing and I am happy with both the group’s growth and direction. The (FOF) prison project is expanding into another prison- with one more wanting the program; it is currently in five Maryland prisons.

I will never be able to thank the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) for taking on this task and helping us save hundreds of lives and put many positive activists back into the community. We are now organizing our families outside with the support of a local church, Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and Pastor Heber Brown. Members of a Friend of a Friend are working with a local school to help provide guidance to youth; they are starting a Freedom School in 2012, and are also speaking at colleges in the region.

Our Neutral Grounds project has opened up a snack and beverage stand to demonstrate our concept of “Do for Self”. Since unemployment is highest among people of African descent and even higher among former prisoners we have to think of ways to employ ourselves, and create our own economic opportunity. My family is okay in general. However, I recently lost a brother-in-law; he was married to my sister for thirty-nine years. Many of the family are planning a large holiday dinner and I plan to call in to the gathering. I am still struggling with high blood pressure, but I am exercising and trying to eat right, but prison food only allows so much right eating.

One thing I wish I could do better is write everyone as soon as the mail comes in, it’s just not possible, but I greatly appreciate every letter – thank you all. I am looking forward to the coming year, and hope to see positive changes in the world. 2012 is an important year for our community and as the economic picture continues to change and capitalism collapses, food and basic needs will be in greater demand for the most vulnerable people in our communities. We need to learn and teach everyone how to grow our own food in local city gardens, and meet our needs collectively. Block by block – help rebuild the community- grew something to eat!

In Struggle,
Eddie Conway

via – Dominque Stevenson

Support PP Marshall Eddie Conway

From Marshall Eddie Conway:

Good news! I was just told that I have a parole hearing on November 1, 2011. We will need as many letters of support as we can get. I would appreciate any assistance you can give in our pursuit of a favorable recommendation from the parole board. If you need any information please call Dominique Stevenson at 410-948-6302. Please encourage people to send letters on my behalf. They can simply say they believe I should be granted parole based on my many contributions to the prison population through mentoring projects and other activities, and my record as a ”model” prisoner. For those of you that know me personally, please speak to the work I have done for prisoners and the community.

Send letters of support for Marshall Eddie Conway’s parole to:

Maryland Parole Commission
Attention: Mr. Blumberg
6776 Reisterstown Road
Suite 307
Baltimore, MD. 21215

Summer Update from Eddie Conway

Political Prisoner Eddie Conway, though locked up has been busy continuing his work for justice and community self-determination.  Framed for the murder of a Baltimore police officer and the shooting of two other officers, Eddie is actively fighting his life sentence in prison, has been instrumental in the mentoring program, A Friend of a Friend, and has released his autobiography, Marshall Law, which has been accompanied by a book tour and several speaking engagements over the phone at schools and community centers.  

Read the details about all of this and more in his Summer Letter here-

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Summer update from Eddie Conway

EDDIE CONWAY’S SUMMER 2010 UPDATE LETTER

Eddie's new bookGreetings to everyone,

I wish you all well and hope that this letter finds you in good spirits. The past few months have been full of good and exciting news as well as some that was saddening. I honestly don’t know where to begin.

Jack Johnson, the other BPP member who was held on the same charges as me, was released from prison in May of this year. This was news that I found both good and bad. I was pleased to see the brother gain his freedom after forty years of fighting this corrupt and racist criminal justice system. However, I am still being held illegally after four decades and nothing can make right the destructive actions of the COINTELPRO operations. This does however push me to work even harder for my release.

The saddest and hardest time of this whole prison ordeal just recently hit me. My mother, Eleanor Conway passed away in early June. Though she died peacefully in her sleep, her transition has left the family sad and in pain. This was due in part to my inability to start the grieving process by viewing mother as she made her final rest, or attending her funeral. While I recognize that my mother has made her transition to join the ancestors, the loss is still too profound for words because my mother was so dear to me. During this time, I fasted and reflected upon her life, and eventually found some degree of spiritual comfort. I thank all of you who faxed letters, sent email messages and made calls to the secretary of public safety on my behalf.
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Support Black Liberation Prisoner Eddie Conway’s Right to Attend Mother’s Funeral

Social activist and former Black Panther Eddie Conway‘s mother, Eleanor Conway passed suddenly on last Thursday. Eddie has not been able to see his mother for quite a long time.  Friends and family are asking supporters to call Secretary, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Gary D. Maynard who has the authority to temporarily provide bereavement leave to Eddie so that he can properly say goodbye to his mother.

Gary D. Maynard, Chair
Secretary, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services|
Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions
6852 4th St, Sykesville, MD 21784-7433
Telephone: 410-875-3400, Fax: 410-875-3582

Eddie Conway was wrongfully accused and convicted of shooting a police officer. You can learn more about his case at Denver ABC’s profile page and his support sites- http://eddieconway.wordpress.com and freeeddieconway.org.

Systemic Injustice Against Two Longtime Political Prisoners

by Stephen Lendman

Their names – Marshall “Eddie” Conway and Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, both activist COINTELPRO-targeted Black Panther members, unjustly imprisoned for four decades for crimes they didn’t commit.

They’re two of many targeted Panthers, victims of COINTELPRO viciousness, “dirty tricks,” after J. Edgar Hoover’s orders to infiltrate, disrupt, sabotage, and destroy their activist mission for ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines.
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