Justice for George Stinney
In 1944 there was a 14-year-old boy named George Stinney who went to the electic chair in South Carolina, having been convicted of killing 2 young girls.
He was the youngest person ever executed in the United States, and while that fact is horrible enough, the whole story is far more heart-breaking.
George Stinney was black, and the girls he was convicted of killing were white.
There was no evidence of any kind presented that he did it, except a ‘confession’ that was undoubtedly extracted by various methods.
After their bodies were found, he was questioned and then arrested by the police. The only ‘evidence’ that was presented was the fact that he spoke to them as they stopped by his house.
George’s family was forced to flee for their lives when they were threatened with lynching, and George was left to face his 81 day ordeal totally alone.
His “defense lawyer” was a county tax commissioner who had no idea what he was doing and was running for a local political office. He never questioned the police about their ‘evidence’ and nor presented any defense during the 1 day ‘trial’.
The jury was made up of 12 white men, and they took 10 minutes to deliberate his fate.
At his execution George carried a Bible and used it as a booster seat to sit on the electric chair. Because he was a small boy, the mask did not fit his face, and the straps would not completely wrap his arms.
He died in agony, to be sure..and for many years the case lay in the archives, collecting dust until a local historian and writer took up the cause of reopening the case.
Two defense lawyers became interested in this and filed a motion for a retrial on October 25, 2013.
On December 17, 2014, George Stinney’s conviction was vacated by District Judge Carmen Mullen, who ruled that his confession was “undoubtedly coerced due to the power differential between his position as a 14-year-old black male apprehended and questioned by white, uniformed law enforcement in a small, segregated mill town in South Carolina.”
The real irony of this case is that the solicitor for the state of South Carolina was the son of the first black State Supreme Court Justice since Reconstruction. He argued against exoneration.
Which goes to show that sometimes justice is not only delayed and denied, it’s also ignorant to the point of evil.
But George Stinney now is cleared of murder..and the true perpetrator is also dead.
Reportedly, the actual murderer was a very well-connected and prominent white man, whose own family members sat on the original coroner’s jury and voted to prosecute George Stinney.
There are so many things that were so wrong about this case that one cannot help but feel that it’s not justice delayed, but ground down to ashes by the process of segregation and racial hatred.
Then you have to ask why so many black people feel distrustful of the police and the justice system?
George Stinney’s is one very good case to cite.
May he rest in peace. He suffered enough.
Source: George Stinney