Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rev. Pinkney Given Five Years Probation

Benton Harbor leader remains under house arrest until judge decides conditions of sentence

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
Pan-African News Wire

BENTON HARBOR, MI, 14 May (PANW)--Today's sentencing hearing at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph's, Michigan, located in the southwest region of the state, for Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers'leader, Rev. Edward Pinkney, resulted in the activist being given five years probation for his conviction on five counts of felonious and misdemeanor fraud.

Pinkney, who was allowed to walk free from the courtroom after the hearing, faced the potential of up to twenty years in prison.

The charges brought against Pinkney derived from a sucessful recall election in 2005, when Glenn Yarbrough, a Benton Harbor City Commissioner, was voted out of office as a result of a political campaign led by BANCO. Supporters of BANCO and Rev. Pinkney believe that the charges were politically motivated because of the activist's outspoken work against officials in Berrien County.

Over 100 supporters of Rev. Pinkney attempted to enter the Berrien County Courtroom for the hearing, however, because of lack of space, dozens were turned away. The people who could not enter the courtroom joined an ongoing picket line outside which called for the release of Pinkney and the overturning of the convictions.

Attorney Hugh Davis emerged from the sentencing hearing saying that presiding Judge Alfred M. Butzbaugh wanted another seven days to decide the final terms of the sentence imposed on Pinkney. The defense team has repeatedly pointed to the numerous constitutional violations against Rev. Pinkney during the process the prosecution and of the jury selection.

All potential African-American jurors were disqualified resulting in Rev. Pinkney being judged by an all-white jury in Berrien County.

Read more at Pan-African News Wire

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