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'Never Give Up': Ronnie Long, Wrongfully Convicted by All-White Jury, Freed After 44 Years in Prison

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/28/never-give-ronnie-long-wrongfully-convicted-all-white-jury-freed-after-44-years

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five years after his lawyers learned that investigators had withheld exculpatory evidence proving his innocence.

Just who are the people that withheld exculpatory evidence? They need to be indicted and if found guilty, be locked up!

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They probably have immunity. Hey, its the United States…land of the free and home of the not so free.

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It wouldn’t surprise me but I still would like to know their names. I’ll bet Ronnie Long knows their names!

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Those wrongfully convicted have told similar stories to Long’s about their treatment by the police and the courts, and their stories ought to be figured into the recent wrongful killings that have generated so much protest around the country. Black and minority communities, targeted by the police, have been the victims of a corrupt system coming and going. Some of this is the result of perverse incentives (such as prosecutors and sheriffs depending upon conviction rates for reelection), but much of it can be traced back to institutional racism in concert with a belief that the poor make easy targets for prosecution because they simply don’t have the resources to fight back against illegal and corrupt behavior on the part of the state.

To change that system, the country must be changed first. The police got their start in the country funded by wealthy landowners and industrialists, and the police, therefore, were charged with protecting their interests. They were principally used to break strikes and public protests against the bad behavior of the wealthy and the politicians they’d bought. Over time, the police became political entities in their own right, serving to protect first of all, themselves, and second, the same interests that got them started in the first place, and third, to preserve and extend the state’s sole right under law as a purveyor of violence.

Inevitably, such a system brings us to where we are today. It was virtually baked into the government cake. This corruption is an integral part of our origin story.

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How do you recompense a man for taking away 44 years of his life? Or do you? Does the State just say, “We’re sorry, here’s a bus ticket home,” or do they pay him $1 a day for forced labor? He was sent up at age 20. How much could he have earned? What about the children he might have had? And Long isn’t the only one–there are thousands like him.

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What seems odd to me is the I’m-now-at-peace view of Ronnie Long. I would be mad as hell, and would go after those who ruined my life. Or is it that he is intimidated by police “justice” around there?
The SOBs that did him in (and kept him in prison) should be embarrassed–if not charged with crimes–beginning with judges, prosecutors, and going down to the police.
And what about the money owed him for a destroyed life? Taxpayers should understand there is a price to be paid for a corrupt justice system.

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The US has a totally corrupt judicial system! That has been proven time and time again. It’s very embarrassing and shameful that nothing is ever done to correct the abuse.

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Agree, what we need is a Single Payer Legal System, meaning all lawyers are paid by the government, and all sides receive the same level of legal representation. This could be applied to criminal and civil cases. Granted the police/evidence gathering system would have to be revamped, but it would go a long way to leveling the legal playing field for the poor.

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“Judge Julius N. Richardson”
A name to remember.

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“Despite these shocking revelations, a tribunal of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Long a new trial in a 2-1 decision this January. Judge Julius N. Richardson, appointed by President Donald Trump, argued that Long would have been convicted anyway, regardless of the exculpatory evidence.”

A Trump judge, figures. Probably goes home and puts on his white robe and matching pointed conical hat. Elections matter!

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This man should be awarded a huge compensation taken from the investigators, lawyers, judges and state that did this to him. Huge. And then he should get to decide if they get locked up in his place and for how long.

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Some states do have some compensation policies. Not sure about this one though.

After a length of time, over four decades the anger would eat you up inside. I know about anger and it it remains for some time but it does become less powerful because it would kill you if you hold onto such negative energy for so long.

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Agree with the compensation. But another thing this poor man has to deal with, is adjustment to life as it is now, compared to 44 years ago.

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US America has been stealing Black lives in so many ways. Imagine having 44 years of your life taken from you…Can anything compensate for that? I doubt it seriously.

We have so many reasons to overthrow this system of oppression.

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I hear you, Mary.

All Bost remembered was the “coloring of his skin”.

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He hasn’t been removed yet?

Surely Jesus was Ronnie’s companion as he persevered through all that wasted time. I can only vaguely imagine the tears I might have shed if I was held in his position. Live now Ronnie! You have the blessing of a vast multitude who have ever been wrongfully convicted of offenses whether great or minor.

Alexander Selkirk, the model for “Robinson Crusoe”, was marooned on an uninhabited island because he was so constantly quarrelsome (and because he wanted to mend the un-seaworthy ship before continuing, something its captain incorrectly believed was unnecessary).

When rescued by another British ship 5 years later, his personality had become calm, relaxed, and peaceful.

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