Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Justice and Freedom for John Moore

I have written before on this site about the case of John Moore, an Ojibway man from Serpent River First Nation who now lives in Sudbury, Ontario, and who has been fighting for decades against an unjust second degree murder conviction.

In the last six or eight months, a more sustained sort of committee has formed to support John in his struggles for justice. The committee is called Justice and Freedom for John Moore.

John is ultimately seeking a full exoneration. However, as an interim step, he has been asking the federal Justice Department for a review of his conviction. The law under which he was convicted was ruled unconstitutional in the late '80s in another case. The only demonstrated justification for the ten years he spent in Millhaven Penitentiary and for the ongoing judicial regulation of his life through the parole system is that he spent some time with two men and it was ruled that he should have known that they were going to commit murder later that day. He was convicted despite not being present when the crime was committed, something that would not happen under today's laws.

To support John's efforts to obtain a review of his conviction, we are circulating a one-paragraph statement that we are asking organizations and prominent individuals to sign on to. John has had lots of supporters in Sudbury for a long time, but the stonewalling of the federal government will only be overcome if we can show that people from coast to coast to coast care about justice and freedom, and will not stand by as yet another indigenous pereson suffers from the racism in Canada's judicial system.

For more information on John's situation, see the committee's new site. In particular, check out the statement that we are asking organizations and prominent individuals to sign on to, as well as the list of preliminary signers. Initial signers include Glenn Thibeault, our local Member of Parliament; the Aboriginal Peoples Alliance of Northern Ontario; the Sudbury and District Labour Council; renowned indigenous and feminist activist/author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

"What can I do?" I hear you asking. A very good question. The first thing is learn more about John's situation. If you are a blogger or a twitterer or on a relevant email list or in some other way a circulator of information, you might want to pass this request along. If you think your name, your position, or your accomplishments are something that might make Conservative politicians and jaded bureaucrats say, "Uh-oh, this is maybe something we should listen to," then sign on to endorse the statement as an individual. If you belong to a group or an organization -- especially some sort of activist grouping or trade union -- you could take the information on the site and the statement and get your organization to endorse it. Or you could do all of these things.

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