Monthly Archives: October 2016

Serving 13 years after Attorney misconduct leads to wrongful conviction

On November 11 and 21, 2008 in Muscogee county of Columbus, GA, two armed robberies took place. Police arrested several people, charging them all with armed robbery, assault, and a host of other charges. Although every witness said Ladarious Colbert was not one of the perpetrators of the robbery, the court would not allow his case to be separated from the others, Richard and Raimone Boynton. Victims of the November 11 robbery of Little Ceasers, Sade Williams and Anet Montgomery, both stated at trial that Colbert was not the perpetrator who comitted the robbery.

Colbert’s attorney failed to file a motion for the cases to be separated, interview the witnesses, prepare a defense, or ask for a continuance so he would have time to prepare. He later testified that he had failed to provide adequate assistance; it is highly unusual for an attorney to admit that his assistance was ineffective.

Colbert was convicted in October 2009 and sentenced to 25 years, to serve 13, without parole.

In a violation of professional ethics and the law, the then District Attorney who tried the case (now a defense attorney), David Helmick, spoke with witnesses ahead of time and got them to testify against Colbert, coaching them on what to say. Colbert’s co-defendant Jasmine Arrington and two voluntary state witnesses Demarco Jones and Nigel Towler each cooperated in exchange for a hope of benefit. Co-defendent Jasmine Arrington testified against Colbert, and denied under oath that there was any deal between her and the DA. But after Arrington’s testimony and Colbert’s 11-count conviction, her case was transferd to the juvenile jurisdiction and she was given probation, even though her crime was a “seven deadly felony” with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. Another co-defendent, Demarco Jones, testified that the DA had not offered to reduce his sentence in exchange for his testimony against Colbert, yet the attorney asked the court for leniency in his sentencing for his “cooperation and testimony”. Before Colbert’s trial Jones had been sentenced six years to serve four for an aggarvated battery conviction in Feburary 2009. After Colbert’s conviction in October 2009, Jones was released on a “supersedes appeal bond” and remained out until the complete termination of his 6-year sentence on March 14th, 2014. All proposals of lenincy were made by Helmick, who at trial had denied any consideration or agreement of a deal.

In a hearing in May 2013, Helmick could not sufficiently rebut the accusation that he had coached the witnesses. He and his entire office was removed from the case and replaced with the Griffin Judicial Circuit’s DA. Colbert argued that he should be given a new trial because deals made between the DA and witnesses had not been revealed to the defense as they are legally required to be.

In June 2014 Colbert’s motion for a new trial was given a hearing. The judge, Ron Mullins, was supposed to rule on the hearing within six weeks, but Colbert waited in prison for over two years before Mullins finally rejected the motion, denying a new trial. Colbert made an appeal to a superior court, which if it succeeds would allow him a new trial.

In the seven years Colbert has waited in prison, he has been active in efforts to improve prison conditions, protest mistreatment, and encourage an end to gang violence. He has networked with prisoners and published newsletters and articles urging unity among gangs and prisoners so that they can face their real enemy, the prison and justice system that aims to treat them as slaves.

Colbert took the judge’s rejection of his motion for a new trial in stride, saying, “I take the denial as motivation. The more injustice the courts of Muscogee County commits to keep me confined, the greater the reward of justice will be. In due time every criminal is punished by righteous fate, your oppression is the fuel to my drive and determination.”

A Slave Without Chains…

8-3-2016
By: Willie “King Coe” Coe

The whips have been exchanged but at the end of each day I’m still a slave. The shackles have been removed but I’m still a slave. Free labor where they work me for my food; my wages are paid dues… It’s called my debt to society but my acknowledgment of my subjugation remains denied. They lie to me and my people and say that it will be alright but it’s been over 100 years and there’s still no light in sight. Punished if I fight and a fool if I don’t. I just pray when the bell rings that I don’t choke. I smoke to give me hope and sleep so that I cannot think. To cloud out the life of a slave without chains…

I dream strange things but none of them seem to set me free, these visions of death I see only bring me closer to the God-I-Be. Because I’m a slave that’s free! A slave without chains, that’s me… That’s we; so how can a king be at peace? With Willie Lynch’s divide and conquer still combating me? They worked me for free and say; “good job!” Damn!! Suicide is so hard. It’s what they want. To break me and make me, and I fight and fight with no avail, why must they rape me? The slave without chains I be… That’s me, that’s me, that’s we; our enemy is longer massah, but it’s we. The prison is our plantation. The menu is our slop. Work the detail or rot in a cell, but only time will tell if I single-handedly fail…

The women were planted to distract us. But the fact-us is they can’t break us or make us… Or can they? Because daily my people fold and break the mold, change the code and alter the mode. So, I ask myself, do I really wanna live and grow old? Or can I decipher the code and force the world to see the vision, themselves through the eyes of the Great king Coe?? Enter my realm of thought and realize that we’re slaves without chains…

Respect and power to the Fallen comrades of the 1971 Attica Rebellion. Long live the revolution… September 9th….