(mailed August 17, 2000)
In an unprecedented move reminiscent of David against Goliath, two Death Row prisoners in Alabama, the only husband and wife on Death Row in America, are charging a prosecutor, a trial judge, and two appeal judges including the state supreme court"s chief justice, of Conspiracy to Commit Murder - theirs. George Everette Sibley and Lynda Lyon-Sibley claim that these judicial officers knowingly hid evidence that would have acquitted them, or participated in the cover-up. They state in their charges that to knowingly participate in legal action to convict and sentence to death innocent people is to conspire to commit murder by state execution.
In a nearly 5-lb. appeal document, Lyon and Sibley have provided extensive proof that not only did these four accused participate in this cover-up, but also that the whole judicial system is corrupted with expansive Rules of Procedure that encourage all involved in criminal trials across America to hide evidence, disallow mitigating information that would help the defendant during trial, and allow the judge to direct the jury toward conviction by giving them restrictive instructions as to how they should deliberate, to name just a few. Lyon and Sibley argue that because the whole judicial system is corrupted - all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court - they had no recourse but to make yet another unprecedented move: they have taken their appeal to Congress.
Lyon and Sibley have been imprisoned in Alabama since October 4, 1993 when they shot and killed in Opelika police officer in a shoot-out in a Wal-Mart parking lot. According to the couple, the officer was told erroneously by a stranger that the family, which included Lyon"s 9 year-old son, may have needed assistance because their car was packed heavily for traveling. But when the officer approached the parked car where George and the boy were sitting while waiting for Lynda to finish a phone call at a pay phone in front of Wal-Mart, he belligerently demanded that George produce a driver"s license, without stating his reason. When Sibley didn"t respond quickly enough, the officer began pulling out his gun, at which time George pulled his in an automatic defensive reaction. As the gun battle ensued, Lynda heard the shots and ran to the scene, and also-shot the officer in defense of her husband. The officer got into his car and drove away, mortally wounded. George took a bullet in his arm. Both George and Lynda were convicted of capital murder in separate trials and sentenced to death in Alabama"s electric chair.
What the jury was not told, the couple contend, is that the officer had a record of abusing those he accosted while on patrol, and was reported to have already shot and killed a man under questionable circumstances. This evidence, which was in his personnel file, was disallowed by the trial judge, who then ordered the file sealed. Because Opelika is a small town, nearly everyone involved in the trial knew the officer, particularly the prosecutor, who was a close friend.
In their Petition to Congress requesting their release, Lyon and Sibley have also included a Demand for Damages against all those involved, including lawyers, clerk and court reporter, for a total of over $40 million. Among those named in the suit are the Alabama State Bar Association and the American Bar Association, for the acts of their members and for the Rules of Procedure drafted by the ABA that promote such evidence-tampering and cover-up in order to obtain more convictions. Money is the prime motivation for these prosecution-friendly trial procedure rules, the couple charge - the more convictions a county or state gets, the more federal grant money they can receive, which goes into the pockets of judges on down to court reporters and police departments.
The Petition and Charges from Lyon and Sibley are now in the hands of six Representatives and Senators: Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (D-Colo.), Rep. Helen Chenowith (R-Idaho), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Rep. J.C. Watts, Jr. (R-Okla.), and Rep. James Hansen (R-Utah). Congress may hear private cases, which it often does if the case has national interest and it can be determined that the case will not get a fair hearing in any court. Lyon and Sibley did establish both these criteria in their appeal to Congress. Considering all the recent media exposures of police brutality and prosecutorial and judicial mishandling of cases, resulting in the convictions of innocent people, this Petition from Death Row can hardly be ignored by these six Congress members.
Names of those charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder:
Ronald Myers, Prosecutor, Lee County, Alabama Robert Harper, Judge, Lee County, Alabama Sue Bell Cobb, Judge, Criminal Appeal Court, Alabama Perry Hooper, Sr., Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Alabama
Copy of Formal Charge against judge Robert M. Harper
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