Friday, December 31, 2010

After 16 Years Behind Bars for an $11 Robbery, the Scott Sisters Will Be Free at Last

December 29, 2010 Solidarity Watch
by James Ridgeway
The Scott sisters are freed. In a release today, Haley
Barbour,Governor of Mississippi,made the following announcement:

Dec. 29, 2010


"Today, I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the
sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott. In 1994, a Scott County jury
convicted the sisters of armed robbery and imposed two life sentences
for the crime. Their convictions and their sentences were affirmed
by the Mississippi Court of Appeals in 1996.

"To date, the sisters have served 16 years of their sentences and are
eligible for parole in 2014. Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis,
and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her. The
Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer
pose a threat to society. Their incarceration is no longer necessary
for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical
condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi.

"The Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the sisters' request for a
pardon and recommended that I neither pardon them, nor commute their
sentence. At my request, the Parole Board subsequently reviewed
whether the sisters should be granted an indefinite suspension of
sentence, which is tantamount to parole, and have concurred with my
decision to suspend their sentences indefinitely.

"Gladys Scott's release is conditioned on her donating one of her
kidneys to her sister, a procedure which should be scheduled with
urgency. The release date for Jamie and Gladys Scott is a matter for
the Department of Corrections.

"I would like to thank Representative George Flaggs, Senator John
Horne, Senator Willie Simmons, and Representative Credell Calhoun for
their leadership on this issue. These legislators, along with former
Mayor Charles Evers, have been in regular contact with me and my
staff while the sisters' petition has been under review."


Sister's Kidney Donation Condition Of Miss. Parole

Dec. 30, 2010

Unique Parole Condition: Miss. Inmate Must Give Kidney To Sister To
Have Life Sentence Lifted

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has
suspended the life sentences of two sisters convicted in 1994 for
their roles in an armed robbery, but one sister's release is
contingent on her giving a kidney to the other.

Gladys and Jamie Scott were convicted of leading two men into an
ambush in central Mississippi in 1993. The men were robbed of $11 by
three teenagers who hit both men in the head with a shotgun and took
their wallets, court records said.

The Scott sisters are eligible for parole in 2014, but 38-year-old
Jamie Scott "requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to
donate one of her kidneys to her," Barbour said.

Barbour said in a news release that 36-year-old Gladys Scott's
release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister.

Dan Turner, Barbour's spokesman, told The Associated Press that Jamie
Scott was released because she needs the transplant. He said Gladys
Scott will be released if she agrees to donate her kidney because of
the significant risk and recovery time.

"She wanted to do it," Turner said. "That wasn't something we introduced."

Barbour is a Republican in his second term who has been mentioned as
a possible presidential contender in 2012. He said the Mississippi
Parole Board reviewed the case at his request and agreed with the
indefinite suspension of their sentences, which is different from a
pardon or commutation because it comes with conditions.

An "indefinite suspension of sentence" can be reversed if the
conditions are not followed, but those requirements are usually
things like meeting with a parole officer.

The Scott sisters have received significant public support from
advocacy groups, including the NAACP, which called for their release.
Hundreds of people marched through downtown Jackson from the state
capital to the governor's mansion in September, chanting in unison
that the women should be freed.

Still, their release won't be immediate.

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said
late Wednesday that he had not received the order. He also said the
women want to live with relatives in Florida, which requires approval
from officials in that state.

In general, that process takes 45 days

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