Rev. Edward Pinkney speaks to guests at his home after the sentencing hearing on May 14 in Benton Harbor. Pinkney was given five years probation. (Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe).
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos.
Pinkney's Sentence - Victory! No Prison and Free for Now
On May 14, 2007, Reverend Edward Pinkney was spared
the possibility of prison for up to 10 years and was
left free on house arrest until a decision is made on
his Motion for Bond Pending Appeal. All of Pinkney’s
supporters from Benton Harbor, Berrien County,
throughout Michigan and around the country get credit
for this success. The Court received more than 1000
letters in support of Pinkney, many from prominent
individuals and organizations. The Court specifically
commented on the support letters.
Judge Albert A. Butzbaugh courageously resisted the
recommendation of the probation department and the
arguments of the prosecutor for Pinkney’s
imprisonment. Any sentence over 12 months is
automatically prison time. Once in the prison system,
you are subject to the control of the parole board.
Had Pinkney gone to prison, he could have been held
for up to ten years.
Pinkney successfully argued that the probation
department had improperly scored his guidelines to
come up with a 14 month minimum. The Judge granted
enough of Pinkney’s objections to reduce the minimum
to 12 months. The Judge could still have used the
guidelines to give him up to 3 years. To his credit,
Judge Butzbaugh refused to do so, sentencing Pinkney
to a maximum of 12 months in jail.
Pinkney has a number of powerful issues on appeal,
including underrepresentation of minorities on the
jury, defects in the procedure by which he was
arraigned, denial of public trial because the
inability of his supporters to watch the jury
selection or come into the courtroom, the validity of
the statute and others. One of the big issues is that
Pinkney cannot participate in any electoral activity
while on probation. Pinkney’s lawyers Hugh M. Davis,
Elliott S. Hall, and Timothy M. Holloway, working with
other attorneys on this National Lawyers Guild
Project, are filing those motions. The Judge could
decide to give Pinkney a new trial without an appeal.
The hearing on all those issues will probably not be
held before July or August, 2007.
But there are very serious financial considerations.
Just to keep Pinkney on tether and house arrest costs
$84.00 a week. He has to pay for his transcripts from
his first trial at the rate of $200.00 a month. There
are probation costs every month for 5 years. He has
to pay for the transcripts from the second trial.
Even though his lawyers are working without fee, the
costs must be paid. His house is in foreclosure and
he is in bankruptcy. His ability to work has been
destroyed by more than two years on bond and house
Pinkney is confined to his home, not even able to go
into his yard. He cannot work. He cannot travel. He
cannot speak to groups that wish to invite him.
Everybody that would invite Pinkney to speak and pay
him for his expenses or an honorarium should send a
letter to him or his lawyers.
Hugh M. Davis, Constitutional Litigation Associates,
P.C., 450 West Fort Street, Suite 200, Detroit, Michigan,
48226. Phone: 313-961-2255; Fax: 313-961-5999;
Now that Pinkney has won his freedom, he has to be
able to survive and fight on. People are needed to
contribute everything they can to the Pinkney/ BANCO
There is an ongoing battle for the poor, unemployed
and homeless in Benton Harbor. The fight to save the
Jean Klock Park from the Harbor Shores project
continues. Some justice has been won, but no peace.
Concerning what's reported on Pinkney: If you actually know
him and hear or read what's reported about his life and activities, it takes your breath away. How can people so easily make up sheer fiction and report it in a court of law or in the media? This kind of dishonesty means there is much at stake....
Sign to support Rev. Pinkney: