Dr. Artemesia Stanberry has been relentless in fighting to free her cousin, Rodney K. Stanberry, who appears to be in prison for crimes he did not commit. I first heard about the case from Dr. Wilmer Leon, as we were headed to Missouri last year to rally on behalf of Heather Ellis, a college student threatened with 15 years in prison for cutting in line at a Wal-Mart.
When I first heard about Rodney’s case, I couldn’t believe my ears. From what Dr. Leon was telling me, it sounded like a case of lazy police work, where officers didn’t want to go through the efforts of going all the way to New York to find the true killers. Additionally, like so many others affected by our racially-skewed criminal justice system, Rodney K. Stanberry ended up in prison because he was the most convenient person to incarcerate. This is particularly true in Alabama, a state where the modern prison system has powerful links to slavery.