Haley Barbour’s Organ Bargain For Freedom: Scott Sisters Life Sentence Suspended

JACKSON, Miss. – For 16 years, sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott have shared a life behind bars for their part in an $11 armed robbery. To share freedom, they must also share a kidney.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour suspended the sisters’ life sentences on Wednesday, but 36-year-old Gladys Scott’s release is contingent on her giving a kidney to Jamie, her 38-year-old sister, who requires daily dialysis.

The sisters were convicted in 1994 of leading two men into an ambush in central Mississippi the year before. Three teenagers hit each man in the head with a shotgun and took their wallets — making off with only $11, court records said.

Jamie and Gladys Scott were each convicted of two counts of armed robbery and sentenced to two life sentences.

“I think it’s a victory,” said the sisters’ attorney, Chokwe Lumumba. “I talked to Gladys and she’s elated about the news. I’m sure Jamie is, too.”

Civil rights advocates have for years called for their release, saying the sentences were excessive. Those demands gained traction when Barbour asked the Mississippi Parole Board to take another look at the case.

The Scott sisters are eligible for parole in 2014, but Barbour said prison officials no longer think they are a threat to society and Jamie’s medical condition is costing the state a lot of money.

Read more here:

A life sentence for $11? Haley Barbour, if you’re going to suspend the sentences of the Scott sisters, do it for the right reasons. It was unfair. The sentences were harsh & excessive. Own it. I’m not down with bargaining for an organ.  It’s unethically and morally wrong. 

I’d like to know why is Haley Barbour suspending the sentences now?  The timing is suspect to me.

What are your thoughts, 3 Chics?

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A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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11 Responses to Haley Barbour’s Organ Bargain For Freedom: Scott Sisters Life Sentence Suspended

  1. http://africanamericanpundit.blogspot.com/2011/01/naacps-benjamin-jealous-sleeping-with.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AfricanAmericanPundit+%28African+American+Pundit%29

    AAPsays: All that being said, America, particularly Black America should salute and thank Nancy Lockhart for a job well done! She has taught us a new lesson for the 21st Century, “grassroot Internet organizing can work for America, particularly black America, if we put your mind, heart and soul into it.” I remember urging the NAACP to get involved, suggesting it was really time for afrospear bloogers, the national office of the NAACP, and the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights to take a look at, research, investigate and advocate for a new trial and immediate release of the Scott Sisters. Read more HERE
    Now all of a sudden they say they have lead the effort. They are a bunch of liars!

    As Francis L. Holland has noted, although the Scott sisters have been in jail for sixteen years, while the NAACP’s President Ben Jealous may have first mentioned the case to the media on September 15, 2010. “NAACP backs pardon for Miss. sisters serving life”, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-09-14-scott-sisters_N.htm. “The president of the N.A.A.C.P., is seeking a pardon from the Governor of Mississippi, announced the Red Mountain Post on October 15, 2010. When the NAACP announces its support in a nationally-known case of injustice that has been advocated at blogs and community groups for years, and the NAACP’s freshly-painted involvement becomes national news, you know that organization has lost its way. It has gone from political leader to political opportunist, just as occurred in the Jena Six case, where “NAACP Spent More on Internal Jena Six Activities Than on Youths’ Defense Funds.”

    Ben Jealous is a disgrace!

    AAPP reported on Jack and Jill Politics “late breaking news,” the family of the scott sisters was just informed that they (The Scott Sisters) will be on parole for LIFE!

    Say it ain’t so? No way! Lifetime parole? For $11? You have got to be kidding me. Is this some third world country or what? WTF is wrong with these people? WTF is wrong with Ben Jealous? Is Jealous insane to agree to this madness?

  2. Mississippi Gov “unethical” over jail release: surgeon

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BT3ZN20101230

    (Reuters) – Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour acted unethically when he suspended a woman’s life sentence on condition she donate a kidney to her sister, a prominent transplant surgeon said on Thursday.

    Barbour agreed to free sisters Gladys and Jamie Scott, who have served 16 years of a double life sentence for an armed robbery in which nobody was hurt and $11 was stolen. The case has drawn national attention.

    A condition of Gladys Scott’s release is that she donate a kidney to her sister in an operation that should be performed urgently, Barbour said in a statement on Wednesday. She had agreed to be a donor for her sister, who requires dialysis.

    Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, is considering whether to run for president in 2012.

    Michael Shapiro, chief of organ transplantation at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, criticized the decision to impose a condition for the release.

    “While Governor Barbour probably meant nothing nefarious by this decision, what he did was unethical and possibly illegal. He is unaware of the procedures of transplantation that include making sure donors are not coerced,” Shapiro said.

    There were also medical reasons why such a condition was inappropriate, not least that Barbour may not know whether Jamie Scott is suitable or healthy enough for a transplant, said Shapiro, chair of the ethics committee of the nonprofit United Network for Organ Sharing.

    Shapiro also questioned whether Barbour ordered Scott released because her treatment was a financial burden on the state.

    “If either party could be turned down for medical concerns, the transplant team would feel pressured to continue with the transplant or send them back to prison. It is a position they should not be put in,” he said.

    GUNPOINT ROBBERY

    The sisters were convicted of robbing at gunpoint two men driving them to a nightclub in Forest, north Mississippi, in 1993. They had no prior criminal record. Each was sentenced to two life terms.

    “I have issued two orders indefinitely suspending the sentences of Jamie and Gladys Scott,” Barbour said in a statement.

    “The incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation and Jamie Scott’s medical condition creates a substantial cost to the state of Mississippi,” Barbour said.

    The Mississippi Parole Board reviewed the sisters’ request for a pardon and recommended he neither pardon them, nor commute their sentence, Barbour said.

    At his request, the board then reviewed whether to suspend the sisters’ sentences indefinitely, which is tantamount to parole and concurred with Barbour’s decision, he said.

  3. Ametia says:

    ‘Conditioned on’ kidney donation, sisters’ prison release prompts ethics debate
    By Krissah Thompson
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, December 30, 2010; 3:34 PM

    Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s decision to commute the prison sentences of two sisters drew wide attention in part because their cause has been embraced by civil rights activists. But an unusual aspect of the arrangement is also drawing scrutiny: Barbour said his action was “conditioned on” one sister donating a kidney to the other.

    The case involves sisters serving double life sentences for armed robbery convictions. Barbour agreed this week to suspend their sentences in light of the poor health of 38-year-old Jamie Scott, who requires regular dialysis. The governor said in a statement that 36-year-old Gladys Scott’s release is conditioned on her giving a kidney to her inmate sibling.

    “The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society,” Barbour said in the statement. “Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott’s medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi. . . . Gladys Scott’s release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister, a procedure which should be scheduled with urgency.”

    Some medical ethicists are concerned about the role of the organ donation in the Scotts’ release. Barbour’s spokesman Dan Turner said the contingency was Gladys Scott’s idea.

    “It was something that she offered,” Turner said. “It was not something that the governor’s office or Department of Corrections or the parole board said, ‘If you do this, we would do this.’ It was not held as a quid pro quo. She offered.”

    Gladys Scott will not be forced to return to prison if for some reason she cannot donate the organ, the governor’s office said. Medical ethicists say they’re still concerned, even if the donation is voluntary.

    “If the sister belongs in prison, then she should be allowed to donate and return to prison, and if she doesn’t belong in prison, then she should have her sentence commuted whether or not she is a donor,” said physician Michael Shapiro, chief of organ transplantation at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey and chair of the United Network for Organ Sharing’s ethics committee.

    NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, who met with Barbour about the sisters’ case and has pushed for their release, said the governor’s office has made it clear Gladys Scott will not go back to prison if her kidney is not a match. Both sisters will follow traditional parole release procedures.

    “This is a shining example of how governors should use their commutation powers,” Jealous said. “At the end of the day, the most important thing is that they are free and reunited with their families. This is a day when the right thing is being done.”

    The sisters are a blood-type match, but it’s not yet known whether they are a tissue match. They plan to relocate to Florida, where they have relatives, and future health costs would likely be paid by Medicaid or that state if they do not acquire private insurance. Kidney transplants are part of routine Medicaid coverage.

    The release of the Scott sisters, who are African American, had become an issue of social justice among civil rights advocates, who argue that they were given an extraordinarily long punishment for the crime. They were convicted of luring two men into an armed robbery that netted $11. Their alleged accomplices, three teenagers who hit each man in the head with a shotgun and took their wallets, have served their sentences and been released.

    However, the state parole board had previously denied the Scotts’ applications for early release. The governor’s office said their applications .
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/30/AR2010123002930.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics

  4. Lisa MB says:

    From what I’ve been able to gather, these women actually did NOT commit the crime. The state of Mississippi has refused to hear the new evidence, but the confessions that pointed the finger at them were allegedly coerced.

    Only the people involved know the “truth” but I do agree that life sentences were ridiculous.

    Do I think this is a ploy by the Gov? Duh. What always gets my goat is that people really believe they aren’t that damn transparent.

    • Ametia says:

      Hi Lisa. Hope you had an enjoyable Christmas.

      That’s the travesty here, and the sentencing just floors me..

      • Ametia says:

        Speak on it, SG2. Did you read teh WaPo article above. There’s an ethics debate about the organ donation.

        Barbour’s such a slime.

    • Hi Lisa!

      Tell it. They act as if we’re blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other. I want the sisters to be released…for the right reasons. The sentences were ridamndiculous and Barbour knows it. But organ bargaining for freedom? Hell No! It’s unethically & morally wrong. He get no props from me and neither does the NAACP. I concur with Ametia, the life sentence was the crime. The Mississippi justice system is still a mockery after the Emmett Till case. Mississippi got damn!

  5. dannie22 says:

    Barbar is not human. So he does not have human feelings and emotions that would make him an ethical and compassionate person.
    Hopefully the two girls will live on and have some productive years.

  6. Ametia says:

    I’m glad to hear the Scott sisters are being released after a long and wrongful sentencing. What I object to very strongly is the timing of Boss Hogg**yes, you Haley Barbour’s timing of his change of heart.

    I’m also strongly suspect of the NAACP. What wouldn’t they do for the all mighty Benjamin?

    This all seems so premeditated, and not just recently because of old Haley’s statements about how good teh White Citizens Council is or how the “Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi wasn’t so BAD.”

    What takes the cake is the organ bargin. Why the hell should one sister give up a kidney for the other before she is released. And I don’t buy the it’s costing the state too much money for dialysis bullshit. Ask Boss Hoggs how he’s spending the State’s money on elaborate helicopter tirps and shit.

    Bottomline here is the sisters commited a crime. They hit a guy over the head with a gun and ran off with $11 fucking before they were apprehended. They were each given a LIFE SENTENCE for the crime.

    The life sentence in itself was a CRIME. Now runtelldat!

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