Urgent: Demand Freedom for the Tulia Victims 9/13/02

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(action alert from Common Sense for Drug Policy)

Three years ago in Tulia, Texas, a corrupt drug sting resulted in the arrest of half the town's African American male population overnight. While no drugs, money or guns were found, many were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on the uncorroborated and radically inconsistent testimony of one undercover officer. Thanks to media attention and the Senate race in Texas (the State Attorney General is running for US Senate), the next two months may provide the best opportunity to end the injustice of Tulia. Please take action today to help overturn the illegal convictions. Please contact two people -- the District Attorney of Swisher and Hales counties (where Tulia is located) and the Attorney General of Texas, using the information below.

DA Terry McEachern has been deluged with letters since New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote about Tulia several times, and reportedly he has been shaken by them. Letters to McEachern should be strongly worded, but hate mail is counterproductive. Your letters should make the following points:

  • The Tulia drug prosecutions are an embarrassment to Tulia, to Texas and to the United States. Coleman's actions were well outside the bounds of conventional law enforcement procedure. Anyone can see that an injustice has been done in Tulia.
  • Overturn the Coleman-based Tulia drug convictions immediately. Every day that people stay in prison or sit with felony convictions based on Tom Coleman's testimony is another day of injustice.
  • You must do the right thing and either acknowledge error based on the fact that you relied on a thoroughly unreliable witness in all of these cases, or else give the cases up to the Attorney General's office in the interest of justice.
Send your letter to:
District Attorney Terry D. McEachern
64th and 242nd District Attorney's Office
500 Broadway, Room 300
Plainview, TX 79072-8050
Phone: (806) 291-5245, Fax: (806) 293-9618
Please also write to Texas Attorney General John Cornyn. Points to make in your letter to him include:
  • The investigation you ordered is too little and too late. An investigation is unnecessary when it is now in the public record based on trial and deposition testimony that the only witness in the case is unreliable, uncredible, and completely inconsistent. Tonya White's case was but one demonstration of Coleman fabricating evidence against Tulia residents. Overturn the convictions on the basis of what is already common knowledge, then investigate further to determine if other action is needed.
  • You have the power to make this right, and if you are sincere about administering justice as Texas's chief law enforcement officer, then you must overturn the convictions in these cases. Your recent announcement of a state investigation otherwise appears entirely politically-motivated, particularly since you yourself handed Tom Coleman the "Lawman of the Year" award.
Send your letter to:
John Cornyn
Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
(512) 463-2100, [email protected]
Read published columns about Tulia, including Bob Herbert's, at:
(Visit http://www.csdp.org to learn more about Common Sense for Drug Policy.)

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Issue #254, 9/13/02 Conflict Heightening in California Medical Marijuana Battle | Michigan "Treatment Not Jail" Initiative Knocked Off Ballot | Dance Culture Holds Raves Against RAVE Act -- Techno at the Capitol Last Friday | Montana Activists Hold First Drug Policy Summit | Marijuana Reform Party Makes New York Ballot | Pictures of DRCNet StopTheDrugWar.org Merchandise Now Online | John Perry Featured on NY1 News Channel | Urgent: Demand Freedom for the Tulia Victims | Other Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | Newsbrief: Seattle Marijuana Initiative in Trouble | Newsbrief: Canadian Justice Minister Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization Next Year, Rejects Legalization | Newsbrief: Noelle Bush in Trouble Again | Newsbrief: Afghan Marijuana Trade Back in Business | Newsbrief: Missouri Man Takes Pot Shots at Dope Chopper | Newsbrief: Oregon Drug Task Force Wants Tax Hike to Fund Operations | Newsbrief: Tennessee Drug Task Force Director Fired for Sampling Evidence Stash | Web Scan: WAMM, State on Eradication, Deborah Small, DEA Museum, Canada, California Student Survey, The Onion | The Reformer's Calendar

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