Author: justice for lucasville prisoners

Greg: Join the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March!

Amend The 13th Logo

Amend The 13th Logo

Greg Curry asks us all in this Soundcloud recording to join the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March, that takes place on August 19th, 2017, in Washington, DC and in several locations around the country. If you cannot get to one of these, you can go to the Virtual March website.

Greg is a member of the Amend The 13th: Abolish Legal Slavery in Amerika Movement.

For more information about the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March, please visit iamweubuntu.com, but do not forget to return to Greg’s site!

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Greg Curry on: The Final Straw

Greg Curry on: The Final Straw
Airs on WSFM-LP 103.3 in Asheville / streaming at AshevilleFM.

This week Bursts speaks with Greg Curry, a prisoner serving time for alleged participation in the Lucasville Prison uprising of 1993 where prisoners took over the Ohio prison, leading to the death of 10 inmates and one guard. For the hour, they speak about incarceration in the U.S., intersections of race and class, the prison strikes, capitalism and resistance.

Greg Curry on BlockReportRadio

Greg on BlockReportRadioToday August 12th BlockReport Radio published this internetcast with an interview with Greg Curry and JR:

https://soundcloud.com/blockreportradio/ohio-prisoner-greg-curry-speaks-on-september-9th-natl-prison-strike

Greg speaks about the Lucasville Prison uprising, supermax prisons and solitary confinement, and the September 9th National Prison Work Strike.

This was published on the SF Bay View website:

Lucasville Rebellion Survivor Greg Curry speaks with BlockReportRadio.com about the September 9th National Prison Strike, his comrade Imam Saddique Hasan being placed in the hole by the Ohio prison authorities to disrupt his part in organizing the national prison strike, and the personal plight of prisoner Greg Curry.
Greg-Curry-croppedTune in for more at BlockReportRadio.com. Free’Em All!

This interview was recorded for BlockReportRadio.com by The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey. Valrey is the author of a number of books including the upcoming “Halfway to a Hundred: Dispatches From the Black Panther Party.” Tune in for more at BlockReportRadio.com

Injustice continues 23 years after the Lucasville prison uprising – April 11-22nd, 1993 – interview with Greg Curry about the Aftermath

Greg Curry, interviewed by Kunta Kenyatta

Introduction by Annabelle Parker:

This week we commemorate the 23rd year passing after the Lucasville prison uprising / riot / disturbance (April 11-22nd, 1993). Nine prisoners and one officer were killed during the 11-day uprising, which ended in a 21-point agreement, brokered by a few prisoners who showed great responsibility in keeping control and order. They would later be indicted and charged and convicted, to receive death penalties. Many innocent prisoners were indicted because they refused to be used as informants for the state.

This tragedy is still making victims, by still keeping at least 9 people locked up who have always proclaimed their innocence. Five of these are on death row: Keith Lamar, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Jason Robb, George Skatzes and Namir Mateen (James Were).

In the words of Greg, Derek, Eric, Rasheed of OurFight4Justice.wordpress.com:

We encourage you to lend your hearts and ears to the true account of how lies and corruption lead to the conviction of innocent men during the 1993 Lucasville riot. The men were singled out and used as scapegoats because they would not lie and take part in the department of rehabilitation and corrections (DRC) broader political scheme to bilk the Ohio tax payers out of money and persuade the state to use this money for a supermax prison.

This is an interview with Greg Curry by former fellow prisoner and successfully re-entered prisoner advocate Kunta Kenyatta:

Kunta: I understand you’re indicted on two counts of aggravated murder in a major prison riot?

Greg: Yes. On April 11th, 1993 at the maximum security prison in Lucasville Ohio a riot took place. At its conclusion I was indicted on two aggravated murders for the deaths of two prisoners during the riot. At trial I was found guilty of one, and given 20 to life on the other. By chance I (not a lawyer/judge/prosecutor) was able to discover by conversation that someone else had already plead guilty to murdering this victim by himself under circumstances and location far different from that which the prosecutor was accusing me of. So I told my lawyer and strategically the lawyer failed me by telling the court, which just switched the charge, correcting a reversible appellant era, from aggravated murder to attempted aggravated murder. I received 15 to 25 yrs. After I do 20 to life consecutively.

Kunta: Did you bring in a paid attorney?

Greg: No, I couldn’t afford legal counsel and I don’t believe in burdening my family even if by chance they were willing to take on such debt. I also felt in no way I could have been found guilty when I was never inside the prison block once the uprising began.

Kunta: What do you hope to accomplish by risking an open interview?

Greg: I don’t see it as a risk first of all. To imply risk would be to assume I have something to hide. I’m doing interviews, passing out flyers, requesting law schools and firms help at all forms where injustice is the topic. Also I direct people to a website (Ourfight4innocence.wordpress.com) that gives the complete and official account of my claim of innocence. I believe once people know, their their heart will require an involved response.

Kunta: What keeps you trying to prove your innocence?

Greg: Actually I grew frustrated at the transparency of the backwood justice and policies. I tried not to think about the injustices but my children need me home. I owe it to them to get there, my parents are getting older and I’m innocent [note: Greg’s father has since this interview passed away].

Kunta: What legal issues do you have should a court accept this case?

Greg: I have multiple issue ranging from ineffective counsel on trial and direct appeal, prosecutor misconduct, such as hiding and refusing to turn over all discoverable material including at least 100 exculpatory statements that clearly point to others as the perpetrators.

In Ohio it is illegal for prosecutors to deny deals or purchased testimony at trial, it is also illegal for prosecutors to not correct any lies known to be untrue. In the following cases the courts speak with one voice: new trials must be granted for this behavior:

– Beckett v. Haviland 76 Fed appx.726; 2003 U.S. App. 6th Cir. [https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5J4ss3ukvm1enR0bzFPYm9GQTg/edit ]

– Napue v. Illinois 360 U.S. 264 (1959), 269-71 U.S. Supreme Court [https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/360/264/]

– Wesener v. Straub 110 Fed. Appx. 618, 625 (6th Cir. 2004) (see: Napue Nightmares: Perjured Testimony in Trials Following the 1993 Lucasville, Ohio, Prison Uprising, Staughton Lynd, in: Capital University Law Review 36 (2008): pp. 559-634 [linked to on http://publicdefender.mt.gov/training/09/Annual09/LyndLawReview.pdf ].

My defense was largely based on “a bunch of paid liars saying anything to get out of charges and prison.” All the witnesses and both the prosecutors swore every sentence that there were no deals given in front of my jury under oath.
Members of my jury requested to know, because that would matter in their decision-making.

On direct appeal, the same two prosecutors admitted they gave my star witnesses a deal (a parole to a convicted murder[er] who admits to being part of a “death squad” in the riot, with no new charge).

This information is on the website using court documents not speculation. See for yourself at Ourfight4justice.wordpress.com.

Kunta: What proof of your innocence do you have?

Greg: I was never inside. I had at court many non-riot-related prisoners as witnesses and one staff-member who was my job supervisor, testifying to my whereabouts. No officer or people without something to gain accused me. Since my convictions I’ve gathered many police statements stating prisoners accused others of these crimes, but the prosecutors hid them until after my trial so that my name couldn’t be cleared.

Kunta: If there was no officer present or in control, how does the State go about sorting out personal vendettas and otherwise “he said/she said”?

Greg: This question is at the heart of these convictions. It was said many times by those investigators: you help us or you become a target. I knew nothing so I couldn’t help. When you read the investigators’ statements you will see at first a person knew nothing, then he knows everything as if he was reading a script, and when he knows everything, the recorder happens to be on, and the hint of favors begin to enter the picture on tape and / or in the statements. You can read people being “guided” along. Some witnesses even admit they didn’t like me. It was all about convictions, getting people convicted.

Kunta: Briefly give me an idea of the area where the prison is, the court location and how that may have a effected a fair trial?

Greg: The prison is in Southern Ohio in the hills connected to Kentucky and West Virginia. Very rural European-dominated area by far. The prison is the driving force to the economic stability. The courthouse sits right in the center of town about 15 minutes from the prison in a place called Portsmouth; racial tension is historic in that area, especially in that prison. Just a few years before the riot a white female prison teacher was killed by a black prisoner; that never sat well and the wound was burst wide open on April 11, 1993.

Of the 50 or so indictments, over 40 were against black prisoners. The white officers mostly refused to testify on the “Aryan” prisoners. Of course the jury pool was all European.

Kunta: Why in your opinion hasn’t the judicial system worked for you?

Greg: The judicial system is meant to work for its founding fathers’ offspring and it mostly does work for them. In that climate at that time it would have been a riot in the streets had I won the case. From lack of funding, lack of investigation, court decisions, prosecutors’ behavior, jurors’ frame of mind, etc. I didn’t have a chance, and since the appeals process reviews only the trial record, the lawyer must put something on record, and his ability was limited, assuming his heart was sincere. We want to believe that about everyone.

The Columbus Public Defenders Office requested I send all my legal work to them for possible post-conviction. During the direct appeal process I sent it in. They sat on it 8 days before my time would expire, then they turned over 1,000 pages of material and said “your time is almost up, rush something to the courts” (yeah) and I know nothing of the law, but I did what I could. I tried to explain to the courts what happened and to please allow me more time. I never got a response, but I did as soon as possible put my best effort before them, again to date never receiving a response.

On direct appeal everything was “harmless error” or a non-issue. Remember this is a major event in Ohio and I’m dealing with Ohio courts, judges, prosecutors, and court-appointed lawyers who receive their pay from the same source.

I actually filed more motions than my appointed lawyer to start a double murder trial in a highly inflammatory environment that – by the way – he grew up in; also his office is right across the street from the courthouse. It was April 1996, I sent my post conviction material and all legal work to the Columbus Public Defenders Office. They held it until September 13, 1996: 8 days before the deadline.

Kunta: Do you know any of the victims’ witnesses for the State, or other accused?

Greg: No, I don’t know either of the people I am accused of killing and thus never knew their background or character. A few of the witnesses for the State (my accusers) I did know casually, none intimately that we were of shared thought or ideals. I know a few of the people also indicted for murder, of course I know them all now. I also knew my parents and sons, who are also victims of this false conviction.

Kunta: Why you?

Greg: The climate was convictions, and so I was a magnet for treatment others didn’t face. I fit once they decided my good friend was a satisfactory fit, his partners would be the natural targets.

In prison it’s a common procedure: if anyone gets in trouble, the administration will ask who he runs with? Go get them! Prisoner-on-prisoner incidents happen the same way: you fall out with one, you fall out with both or have to assume as much. Everyone has a partner and so it’s easy to clean up a bad situation by taking out partners, plus the person telling knows or again assumes “I can’t take one down without taking them both, or I put myself at risk,” and this was a serious risk.

Kunta: if I’m a law-abiding citizen that believes our judicial system works and is always honest in its pursuit of justice, what can you point to in the record of the contrary?

Greg: I repeat: please visit Ourfight4justice.wordpress.com, and look at the court documents that can be provided additionally. This isn’t “he said, she said,” it is official; I’ve given the prevailing case law. The law is clear, the documents are real, and so I expect the ideal that the judicial system works, but please verify. Realism over idealism. Each of you can become active to make your government work for all the people in all situations.

Kunta: How many people were charged with the same crime?

Greg: No less than five, and then we were all tried separately as if they (we) were the principal offender. Yes, all were found guilty.

Kunta: I understand that the community signed a petition asking for the death penalty and other punitive measures against prisoners before indictments or trials, and many of them [the signers of this petition] sat on jury trials?

Greg: Your facts are correct. It appears that at least two of them judged me. This wasn’t discovered until 2006 [see: https://justiceforlucasvilleprisoners.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/petitionsalynd.pdf ]. I couldn’t have known at trial. One would think a trial lawyer from there should know…

Postscript by Annabelle:

The latest update on Greg’s case is that he had filed a motion to the courts “to be heard,” and the court ruled that he had the responsibility of telling the court that the court failed to rule. So the court denied Greg’s appeal as “untimely.” This was around 2013. Since then, his case has not moved. Every day in solitary confinement is one too many, and every day in prison is one too many for Greg and the other people who have been cheated out of their lives by corrupt and uncaring state/court officials.

What you can do to help:
You are much needed as a supporter in any way you can deem useful: for instance, writing Greg to keep his spirit up, and/or spreading the word (we have flyers, websites) about the injustices done in the aftermath of the Lucasville prison disturbance, are simple ways to help.

You can contact Greg Curry at any of the below to learn more, support, correspond, help out, etc.:

Greg Curry, #213-159
OSP
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road,
Youngstown, Ohio 44505
U.S.A.

You can also go to Jpay.com and write him via an email-system.

Useful websites:

Gregcurry.org

Ourfight4justice.wordpress.com

Page by supporters on facebook: www.facebook.com/greg.curry.370

Zine about Greg

Greg’s Flyer

For further information on the Lucasville prison uprising of 1993 and its aftermath:

Prisonersolidarity.org

Keithlamar.org

Georgeskatzes.org

Jasonrobb.org

Lucasvilleamnesty.org

Lucasvillejustice.wordpress.com

Kunta Kenyatta was in the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville on the other side from where the riot took place. He knows the innocent people who were falsely indicted after the riot and he knows what the environment and the mood was like before the uprising and disturbance. Kunta has been active in prisoner support; he was released years ago and has successfully rebuilt his life, which still includes supporting prisoners. He lives and works in Ohio.

Annabelle Parker is a prisoner advocate, permaculturist and (web)editor.

Actions, ideas?

People, we need some combined unified help for Greg Curry and his brothers (for instance Derek Cannon) who are still serving (life) sentences following the 1993 Lucasville prison disturbance, even though he and the others had nothing to do with it but were mentioned by informants who wanted an easier way out, helped by prosecutors who did not care about the truth.

Let’s all work together on getting Greg and the others released! This is not easy, and innocence projects mostly take (easier) DNA cases, but together we can do more than all people apart. 

So if you want to help, brainstorm, write , or have an idea for Greg, Derek Cannon and others, get in touch with Greg (facebook, Jpay e-messages and normal correspondence), thank you!!

New flyer (zine) out for Greg Curry

This is a zine, made by Lucasville Amnesty (Ben Turk) for Greg Curry. It can be downloaded here. There are unfortunately no print copies left we are told.

Front of the new zine for Greg “Repression Breeds Resistance”

ACLU Case: We filed this suit because the ODRC is violating the First Amendment rights of the prisoners and of the press

This is about the ACLU Media-access case, in which Greg Curry also is a plaintiff, from the ACLU Ohio website:

21 years after the Lucasville prison uprising, the media is still waiting for face-to-face interviews with the condemned prisoners.

For more than two decades, Siddique Hasan, Jason Robb, George Skatzes, Keith LaMar and Greg Curry have claimed they are innocent of the crimes attributed to them during the 1993 prison uprising at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF).

Among other things, these five men accuse the state of coercing false testimony from other SOCF prisoners in order to convict them. They have spent years in solitary confinement, soliciting media attention in an attempt to convince the public—and ultimately the court system—that they do not belong where they are.

In response, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) has completely banned face-to-face media contact with these men, arguing that they are too much of a security risk to be allowed to tell their stories in person.

In late 2013, the ACLU of Ohio filed a lawsuit challenging this ban. The suit was filed on behalf of Hasan, Robb, Skatzes, LaMar and Curry, as well as one teacher and four reporters, including Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges. 

We filed this suit because the ODRC is violating the First Amendment rights of the prisoners and of the press. It’s not hard to see that their actions have very little to do with security and everything to do with silencing an uncomfortable conversation about the Lucasville uprising.

For proof, consider that many other death row inmates in Ohio have been granted face-to-face access to the media. They include spree killer John Fautenberry, neo-Nazi murderer Frank Spisak, and convicted arsonist Kenneth Richey, who has since been released from death row.

In all, Ohio prison officials have approved nearly two dozen media interviews with other death row inmates while denying each and every request for face-to-face interviews with the five Lucasville prisoners. This ban is a special form of extended vengeance, reserved only for them.

These prisoners are complicated characters, and the Lucasville uprising is a complex story.

Hiding these complexities behind a wall of censorship will not make them go away.
The Basics

21 years ago, on Easter Sunday 1993, more than 400 inmates at an overcrowded prison in Lucasville, Ohio staged an 11-day prison uprising. In the ensuing violence, nine inmates and one corrections officer lost their lives.

The Basics – read more here.

(clockwise from top left) Jason Robb, Siddique Hasan, Greg Curry and Keith LaMar are all incarcerated at Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, Ohio. Not pictured is George Skatzes, who is incarnated at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution (photo courtesy of Siddique Hasan and Greg Curry).

Artist Laurel Herbold’s imagined rendering of an actual legal meeting between prisoner Jason Robb, former ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James Hardiman, prisoner Greg Curry, ACLU Volunteer Attorneys Alice and Staughton Lynd, prisoner Siddique Hasan, ACLU of Ohio Managing Attorney Freda Levenson and prisoner Keith LaMar.

From Greg to Denver Anarchist Black Cross – August 2013

Dear Comrades,


Greetings from behind enemy lines, I hope as all of you attend this year’s conference, you will meet like-minded comrades that will help to strengthen your resolve for true justice.

Invariably the question of how to best serve those of us trapped behind prison walls turn to prisoner input, from my personal experience and in my humble opinion developing a personal report with us in order to help you feel our pulse is the way to proceed.

How many of you know that one of the prisoners you’ve rallied on behalf of has lost a parent or some other loved one this year, or has a teenage child rebelling at home? Would you invite that teen to do something constructive in your realm of influence? Also how many of you know how close to starvation a prison system keeps the occupants under its jurisdiction and control? Sure, you’re told our birthdays just like American doctors are told our symptoms as they go about their clinically detached analysis – that is, nothing personal to it while they’re off to their next patient. As we all know American health care is nothing to brag or get excited about (smile). Thus, any detached method of activism would seem counter-productive to a sustained effort at freeing all political prisoners. I’d like for the various organizations represented today to be sure that they’re getting the most out of their resources, for example, pooling their printing and postage resources whenever possible.

And to the question of what direction I’d like to see you moving in, perhaps it’s time to reconnect with law students, radicalizing and urging them to file lawsuits over every legitimate prison issue, e.g. the draconian treatment of SHU prisoners in California, false detentions, eligible prisoners being randomly denied paroles, religious discriminations, etc.

Until we touch base again, for the prisoners it’s…

Freedom First,

Greg Curry
213-159
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, Ohio 44505

Demand an End to the Abuses in Guantanamo Bay, the CA SHU’s and in Solitary Confinement units in OH and elsewhere!

06/14/2013
 
Salute, please be encouraged to demand an end to the abuses at Guantanamo Bay or those at the SHU units in California or in Ohio or anywhere in the world. For the progressives with standards too high for the lowly or prisoner or voiceless child laborer please apply your standard to the family men & women working low wage jobs, economically forced to abuse prisoners, to deny us the basic Human Dignity of a Human, these low wage workers have to choose forced feeding folks who demand freedom, cell extractions that break bones and even worse.

A low wage worker must play along with denial of Human Dignity or ignore the plea of an innocent man who demands freedom and nothing less. Worse even for a low wage worker is having to load a prisoner into a van on a one way trip to the death house. The worker mentally has to be crying for help from progressives when their job title calls for them to load a prisoner up and ship them to their death…

Mentally these workers carry this baggage home to their dinner table, to their child’s baseball game. I can only imagine that if this worker knew there was a revolution out there that could help them out of a low wage job…

Whatever your standard, join this call for help!

[Sent in to Revolution, May 2013]

Greg Curry #213-159
OSP
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road,
Youngstown, OH 44505