6/1/12

UPDATE ON THE ASHLEY WILLIAMS CASE – The court hearing to decide on Ms. Williams' request to be represented by attorney Pauline Ewald will NOT take place this Monday, June 4. What will happen Monday – by email – will be deciding the DATE for the court hearing. We should know that date by Monday afternoon, and will post and send out the information.

An explanation: A June 4 hearing is listed on the Virginia Courts Case Information website (http://ping.fm/DiYZP), the standard site reporters use to find out the progress of cases. But Ms. Ewald has told us that an actual hearing will not take place on that day. There has been confusion about hearings in the past, so, just to double-check, I stopped by the court clerk's office yesterday, and was told the same thing.

Hopefully, everyone who had planned to attend a June 4 hearing will be able to make the new date. If Ms. Williams is granted her request, Ms. Ewald will then ask the court to allow Ms. Williams to withdraw her guilty plea and let the case go to trial, under a new judge. If Ms. Williams is denied her right to be represented by the counsel of her choice, the case will go back to Judge Richard Taylor – not for a trial, but for sentencing. Ms. Williams is facing up to 45 years in prison for a crime she did not commit, so a big turnout for the court hearing will be crucial to prevent a major miscarriage of justice.

Look for a public statement to be jointly issued soon by the state NAACP, the Defenders and the Coalition for Justice, a group of longtime Richmond Black activists that is playing the leading role in supporting Ms. Williams right to a fair trial.

FOR THE BACKGROUND ON THIS CASE, PLEASE VISIT WWW.DEFENDERSFJE.ORG.

The Defenders also are urging everyone to support the courageous Virginia prisoners carrying out a hunger strike at the notorious Red Onion State prison. (See http://ping.fm/24TXg)

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO IS FOLLOWING BOTH THESE IMPORTANT STRUGGLES.

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