In the past months Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf has made many public statements criticizing the Pennsylvania (PA) Parole Board and calling for much needed reform in how the parole process is carried out by the board. It is rare for a newly sworn Governor in any state to call for reform measures in the parole process. Is Governor Wolf just speaking liberal talk? Or is he ready to take true action by correcting the wrongs that keep men and women in prison past their minimum sentences?
There have been many cases in which men and women throughout Pennsylvania have been denied by the parole board 5, 6, 7–as many as ten times–still not able to come home to their families and communities. In 2008 Edward Goodman Africa and seven other men and women known collectively as the Move 9 became parole eligible after serving 30 years of their minimum sentence of 30 to 100 years. Since 2008 to as recent as June 2015, all of the Move 9 have been denied parole under very clear bias at the hands of the PA Parole Board.
Our Brother Eddie’s parole hearing was scheduled for October 2015 but for some reason was pushed to November 2015. We are very concerned due to the fact that Eddie, like the rest of our Move family, has not had a one fair parole hearing since 2008 nor does the parole board intend to give Eddie and the rest of the Move 9 a fair parole hearing. Since Governor Wolf wants to make calls for reform in the Pennsylvania Parole system we are going to now encourage him to turn his words to into actions for Eddie Africa.
This Monday we are asking people interested in justice to contact Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf via phone call (717) 787-2500 or email: Governor@pa.gov and demand immediate parole for Edward Goodman Africa, #AM4974. When emailing or calling Governor Wolf these are key points:
- Upon Parole Edward Africa has employment and housing secured.
- Edward has an excellent prison conduct record in which he has kept down racial and gang violence for the 37 years he has been in prison and has not had a write up in 16 years now.
- Parole Board member Leslie Gray, a former law enforcement official with strong ties to current law enforcement, creates a clear conflict of interest sitting over this hearing; it has been shown over past hearings that having past law enforcement officials sitting over these hearings, example Lloyd White and Randy Feathers.
- Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has given negative reviews for parole for Edward despite having nothing to do with the prosecution of Edward and the Move 9 in 1980 as Seth Williams was only 14 years old when they were prosecuted.
Let’s put the pressure on Governor Wolf this Monday to push his words for reform in seeing that Edward Goodman Africa is finally granted parole seven years after reaching his minimum sentence. Also we are urging people to sign the petition we have aimed at The United States Justice Department In The Case Of The Move 9. People can sign at https://www.causes.com/campaigns/92454-free-the-move-9.
In November 2015 our Brother Eddie Africa is set to make another appearance before the Pennsylvania State Parole Board. Your letters of support is urgently needed. All of the information is below as follows:
We are asking for your support at this critical stage to secure the freedom Eddie deserves. Feel free to use parts of the sample letter below. Please write in your own words and with your own experiences of/with Eddie.
NOTE: Please send all letters of support to Orie Ross, P.O. Box 575, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0575 so they can be reviewed and sent to the Parole Board.
Board of Probation and Parole
Attn: Inmate Inquiry
1001 South Front Street, Suite 5300
Harrisburg, PA 17104
September 3, 2015
Regarding October 2015 Parole Hearing for: Edward Goodman #AM-4974
Dear Honorable Members of the Parole Board:
As a concerned citizen interested in helping Mr. Goodman successfully transition into life outside prison, I am writing to ask that you please grant him parole. He has served now 37 years of a 30-100 year sentence, even though the average sentence for his charges is 10-15 years. He is still in prison years after his minimum sentence despite having no major disciplinary problems in the last three decades. The notice provided to Mr. Goodman for his last parole denial lists the reasons for the denial as: “Your minimization/denial of the nature and circumstances of the offense(s) committed,” “Your refusal to accept responsibility for the offense(s) committed” and “The negative recommendation made by the prosecuting attorney.”
I understand the severe nature of the crime of which Mr. Goodman was convicted, however, I am concerned that Mr. Goodman maintaining his innocence is seen as an attempt to minimize or deny the nature and circumstances of the offense(s) or refuse to take responsibility, even while there is evidence that corroborates that the shot was fired from a location where it is well known he was nowhere near. This phenomenon is referred to as “the innocent prisoner’s dilemma” implying that it is unfair and unethical to require someone who may have been wrongly convicted to provide false admission of guilt or remorse. Please take this dilemma into consideration.
I also understand that Mr. Goodman has not been recommended for parole by the institution where he is held despite having a clear disciplinary record for many years. In fact, the only time he received a disciplinary infraction in the last fifteen years was for not cutting his hair. He has completed all of the institutional programs he was asked to complete and has volunteered for others. Please take into consideration his good conduct as well as him having housing and employment secured upon his release. These factors, along with strong family and community support, make it very unlikely that Mr. Goodman will recidivate and I firmly believe that he is an excellent candidate for parole. I will personally help him acclimate in any way I can upon his release.
Mr. Goodman has now spent most of his life in prison, and the recidivism rate for people released at his age is very low. Please grant parole and allow him to be a part of, and contribute to, society as free citizen, a loving father and grandfather.
[Name and signature]
September 8, 2015 By onamove
In November 2015 our Brother Eddie Africa is set to make another appearance before the Pennsylvania State Parole Board. Your letters of support is urgently needed. All of the information is below as follows: We are asking for your support at this critical stage to secure the freedom Eddie deserves. Feel free to use parts […]
September 1, 2015 By onamove
In June 2015 Our Brother Delbert Africa appeared before The Pennsylvania Parole Board. This was Delbert’s first appearance since being denied in June of 2013. Delbert like other MOVE members were denied Parole by the board based upon the reason: Delbert Africa is a threat to the community of Philadelphia. The Parole Board never consulted […]
May 13, 2015 By onamove
Linn Washington Jr. May 13, 2015 , The Root Today many Philadelphia residents, particularly those under 30 years old, are unaware of that history-staining 1985 police attack on members of MOVE, an anti-establishment group founded in 1972. Authorities deemed MOVE a radical organization. The 11 people incinerated were MOVE members, including the organization’s founder, John […]
March 8, 2015 By onamove
We now have great merchandise for sale. This is what we have: MOVE “30 Years” Commemorative T-shirt$15 $3 shipping Sizes (unisex/men) Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large Free the MOVE 9! button $1 Let The Fire Burn DVD $10 apiece $2 shipping “MOVE Documentary” & “MOVE Confrontation in 1978” movie $10 for both $2 shipping “30th […]
September 10, 2015 By onamove
All Souls Unitarian Church
1157 Lexington Ave. (bet. 79/80th Sts.)
New York, NY
REPORT TO THE MOVEMENT ON MUMIA
Legal, Medical, and Political Updates and Discussion of Next Steps
http://freemumia.com for flyer & more info
May 22, 2014 By onamove
The new documentary film, Let the Fire Burn, has catalyzed long-needed discussions about the May 13, 1985 bombing of the MOVE family by Philadelphia-Pennsylvania-U.S. authorities. It again highlights the tragedy of why are the innocent, parole-eligible MOVE 9 still imprisoned? Watch the discussion generated at the recent Philadelphia showing on Sat. May 10, 2014.