Decolonized English class Jailhouse Lawyering Semester Finals from Youth PovertySkola Students 2019-2020

Tiny - Posted on 28 May 2020

Photo: Decolonize Academy visits the Alameda County Law Library 





For their final assignments in Jailhouse Lawyering class, the Decolonize Academy you wrote arguments in the famous cases. 


Kimo. VS . Mcmichaels

by Kimo Umu


Summary of the Case

A 36-second video of the incident was recorded by William "Roddie" Bryan, a neighbor of the McMichaels, using his cellphone from his vehicle as he followed Arbery jogging down a neighborhood road.[3][36][37] From the camera's perspective, Arbery is seen jogging on the left side of the road when he encounters a white pickup truck that has stopped in the right lane.[36][37] Gregory McMichael is on the truck bed, while Travis McMichael initially stands beside the driver's door with a shotgun.[38][39][37][40] Bryan's vehicle comes to a stop behind Arbery and the pickup truck.[38][39]

As Arbery approaches the pickup truck, shouting can be heard.[38] Arbery then crosses from the left side of the road to the right side and runs around the passenger's side of the truck. After passing the truck's front, Arbery turns left.[39][37][41] Meanwhile, Travis McMichael, holding his shotgun, approaches Arbery at the truck's front.[40][42] The camera's view of the confrontation between Arbery and Travis is then momentarily blocked.[43]

Several media accounts of the video report that the audio of the first gunshot seems to be heard before Arbery and Travis struggle with each other.[36][41][44] Some media accounts first report a struggle, and then mention the gunshot(s).[39][45] Other media accounts describe that it was "not possible" to see from the video what was happening when the first gunshot was fired,[46] or report that the truck "blocks the view of how the men first engage each other" with regard to when the gunshot is heard.[47]

Travis and Arbery grapple over the shotgun in view of the camera.[48][41] While struggling, both men disappear off camera view on the left side of the camera frame, after which the audio of a second gunshot is heard.[39][37] When they come back into camera view, Arbery appears to throw punches and tries to grab the shotgun.[49][39] A third gunshot is heard being fired by Travis at point-blank range as Arbery appears to throw a right-handed punch at his head.[50][38][37] Arbery recoils back, stumbles, and collapses in the middle of the road face-down while Travis walks away.[36][39][40] Gregory McMichael, who has taken out a handgun but not fired, then runs towards the other two men.[39][38]

The official autopsy determined that Arbery was shot three times with the shotgun. One gunshot wounded the upper left chest, one gunshot wounded the lower middle chest, and one gunshot caused a "deep, gaping" graze wound to the right wrist.[51] There were no signs of alcohol or drugs in Arbery's body.[51]


First Degree Of Murder 

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought. This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter

Aggravated Assault Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought. This state of mind may, depending upon the jurisdiction, distinguish murder from other forms of unlawful homicide, such as manslaughter

Laws Used in the Case

Today you people have the decision to believe that these men are innocent or that Gregory and Travis Mcmichael are guilty for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

On the day that Mr.Arbery was jogging through the neighborhood of Gregory and Travis Mcmichael. He had seen a house that was still under construction and became curious and went into the house. That’s when Mr.Arbery who was 25 was approached by Gregory being 34 and Travis being 64. 

Travis and Gregory had made a phone call to the police at 1:08 claiming there was many burglaries going around the neighborhood of stolen weapons. That claim turned out to be false. They then proceeded without any permission from police and began their presuit on mr arbery.

Gregory and Travis along with two other people approached the arbery in a white truck behind arbery. What happened next could be only seen slightly on a video camera recorded by friends of the Mcmichaels. Some shouting was heard and then a scuffle between travis and arbery. Three shoots were heard from a shotgun through the video.

I believe Gregory and Travis should be convicted for their poor decision making. Taking matters into their own hands instead of leaving the situation up to professional was a mistake. They murdered this man in cold blood i believe they used racial profiling to justify their crusade against blacks.


The Case of Ahmaud Arbery

by Tiburcio Garcia


Case Summary


Two white men committed a hate crime and murder in the first degree against an unarmed black man. Ahmad Arbery, 25, was jogging in a residential neighborhood when Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, followed him, thinking he was the robber that was allegedly entering houses of different houses in that neighborhood. Once Arbery realized he was being followed, he ran faster, but the suspects were in a vehicle, and quickly caught up with them. Both Travis and Gregory were armed with a shotgun and a revolver, and when Arbery attempted to fight for his life, they shot there was a struggle and he died on the scene. The McMichaels were not arrested, and only were looked at when a cell phone video taken by William Roddie Bryan, a friend of the McMichaels, that shows the murder of Arbery, surfaced and became viral. The suspects were arrested 2 months after the murder.




One count of Murder in the 1st degree 


Closing Arguments


Ahmad Arbury was a former football player, and a man who loved to run. Everyone in his small Brunswick community knew that he liked to jog, and as someone who enjoys exercising, that makes sense to me. While jogging, as a black man in a world where the color of your skin isn't supposed to matter yet it does, he ran through a white neighborhood. He was accused of breaking and entering, his attackers saying they saw a video of him entering a house in their neighborhood, yet they didn't hunt down and shoot many others who went into the same house, all of whom were white, including two children. Do you, as the jury, believe that if Ahmad Arbery was a white man jogging down that same street, and was seen earlier walking into that house that wasn't his property, that things would have turned out the way they did?  



Ahmaud Arbery

by Akil Carrillo 

On February 23, 2020 Ahmaud Arbery was on his daily jog.Gregory and travis Mcmicheal, a father and son due chased him down and killed him with their shotguns. They said they were suspicious that Ahmaud Arbery was the person responsible for recent break ins. This is a simple case of murder. Two armed men chase down an unarmed man and kill him. There is nothing more to it. But for some reason the cops let them free. Gregory turns out to be an ex cop which explains why they weren't arrested. Glynn county is known to not arrest “one of their own”. There have been multiple cases in which an ex cop was arrested in that area.


According to Georgia Code Section 16-5-1 causing the death of another person is prohibited, with expressed or implied malice. There are no laws against hate crimes in Georgia but this was clearly a hate crime. A couple weeks ago a picture surfaced of Gregory Mcmicheal in a KKK rally. This rally took place in Rome, Georgia and he is seen wearing a confederate hat, and KKK uniform. This is a clear connection on why he assumed Ahmaud Arbery was responsible for the break ins.


Ahmaud Arbery was a 25 year old black man, his mom, Wanda Cooper-Jones, said he used to play football, which is why he always stayed in shape. She described her son as a humble, kind, well mannered, and beloved by friends and family. He would have turned 26 on May 8th. She said “Ahmaud didn't deserve to go the way that he went”. She also added that the first thing she was told by the investigators was that Ahmaud was involved in a home robbery and in that robbery was confronted by the owner and after a struggle for the handgun was shot and killed. This should give a good example of how they system changes its rules and lies for certain people.




The State vs Rodney Reed

by Kimo Umu


Summary of the Case


The story goes that 19 year old Stacey Sities, was found dead on April 23, 1996. Police had received a phone call at 3:11pm about a body near a dirt trail, behind a local high bastrop high school, in bastrop Texas. The authorities also found a truck that Stacey sites borrowed while going to work. Police made their assessment from clues from the body that she had been beaten,sodomized, and raped plus strangled with her own belt to death sometime between 3:00 and 5:00 am.



Rodney Reed would be charged on the record for the murder of Stacey Sites on April,4 1997 and held without bond.

Rodney Reed was given 2 charges of murder 1 for the course of aggravated assault,sexual assault, and for the murder of kidnapping. 

 He was convicted on may 18, 1998 

The case was dependent on the DNA evidence found at the crime Scene. There were no eyewitnesses in 1988. 


Laws Used in the Case


Under Penal Code 141 PC, California law makes it illegal to plant or tamper with evidence for the purpose of causing someone to be charged with a crime, or to be produced with a deceptive effect at a legal proceeding. ... And police officers who plant or tamper with evidence will be charged with a felony.


Closing Arguments


You people have a choice whether you're gonna decide that my defendant is the murderer, or whether he is an innocent man being falsely prosecuted which I intend to prove.


The defendant Rodney Reed was accused and convicted for life, plus sentenced to the death penalty. He's been incarcerated for over 25 years.


First my defendant was not given proper handling, he was set forth in front of a mostly white jury with no black people. Not a single person of color or in particular a black person. The jury that proceeded to put my defendant wrongfully  on the other end of prosecution. The jury that day should reflect upon the daughter who cannot see her father anymore. 


When Stacy's body was found in the back of the Local Bastrop HighSchool. She had been found on her back.  Investigators looked at staceys body, analyzed her, and found that Stacy's fingertips were white meaning she had died face down. This means Stacey's body must’ve been dragged to the place they found stacey. 


I believe the reason Stacey's fingertips were white, is that Jimmy Finell took her to the apartment that was not searched, one of the prime suspects for murrder was not searched. Plus the murrder weapon itself, could not be tested because it was supposedly tampered with by officers during the investigation. The reason I believe the police were keeping the evidence away from investigators, was because it could've revealed Finell as the true killer. Under Penal Code 141 PC, California law makes it illegal to plant or tamper with evidence. For the purpose of causing someone to be charged with a crime, or to be produced with a deceptive effect at a legal proceeding. ... And police officers who plant or tamper with evidence will be charged with a felony. 


The defendant had claimed to have been in a clandestine relationship with Stacey , he also said the only person Stacey had mentioned to Rodney. When Stacey made the exchange 

 to trade marijuana for crack/cocaine to rodney. Rodney asked stacey ‘’where did you get this’’ and stacey replied ‘’I got it from ed.’’ Rodney say’s this ed name was actually known locally as Ned who worked for the police and was a keeper of evidence. Ned died though tragically because found shot in the head his case was ruled a suicide. Ned’s brother believes rodney didn't kill stacey and the police killed his brother 


I believe because of the clandestine affair my defendant Stacey was having with she couldn't let her crazy american psycho husband Jimmy finell who couldn't stand his women being with a black man. Jimmy Finell must’ve known about their relationship so he used his leverage of being a cop murdered and killed Stacey at his apartment. ‘’Quote while in jail an inmate heard the confession of jimmy finell saying in his cell another inmate, ‘’ I had to kill my ni#$!% loving wife".


Whatever you thought was happening between Rodney Reed and Stacey stites was not rape. This was the work of an egotistical Fiance who set up Rodney using the power of the police department and justice system to wrongfully convict my defendant. So if you don’t want to test the DNA weapon fine, but know a family is struggling everyday because of the action of jimmy finell.  Because of the tampering with evidence and the constant mishaps. I'm going to ask you to return the verdict as not guilty on every count of rape and abuduction. It’s the only fair decent proper thing to do. The evidence in the case backs the facts. And i think we understand each other.


My defendant Troy Davis

by Amir cornish





Troy Anthonydavis October 9, 1968, Butts County, GA . Davis was the eldest child of korean war vetern joseph davis and his parents got  divorced when Troy davis was young . Troy Davis  dropped out of his junior year because his  sister was disabled and had to drive her to therapy. 


Charged with

In the year 1989, the case of Troy Davis was alleged for the murder of Mark Macphail alongside other people, which all took place in Georgia. Mark Macphail  was a security guard at Burger King who was arresting a person and Troy Davis was a witness who saw this and took some action in his own hands. 



Closing arguments .

I am fighting for the appeal of  Troy Davis. I found the 45th amendments that stated that you could not keep my client in jail or keep him in custody because they couldn’t find the murder weapon on  my client, therefore they wrongly  held him in custody  for 24 hours. 



Troy Davis was born october 9 1968. The police couldn’t find the murder weapon on my defendant. He  was accused of  killing a white officer named Mark MacPhil. Troy Davis had  his 1991 trial 34  witnesses but seven of them witnesses recanted  what they said about Davis . Davis was simply helping a man that was experiencing police brutality Davis was in the right. 


Under the 8th Amendment I am fighting for Troy Davis of the United State of  america states that, “Excessive bail shall not be  required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”  This amendment fit with my client because my client was simply on death row and had to suffer unusual punishments. 


The People v. Leonard Peltier

Tiburcio Garcia


Case Summary


Leonard Peltier was born on September 12, 1944 on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota. When he was nine, he was forced to go to the Wahpeton Indian School in Wahpeton, North Dakota, where he stayed until he graduated 4 years later. That school was one of the many forced assimilation schools that cut native childrens hair and would beat them if they didn't speak English. The fact that Leonard went through a school like that is most likely what inspired him to fight against the continued mental colonization that is happening to his people.


After the Wounded Knee Occupation, Pine Ridge Reservation (where the occupation took place), became a war zone. Elders in the community who were opposed to the tribal president, a corrupt and violent man by the same of Dick Wilson, began to be murdered. In response to this, the people of the reservation called the American Indian Movement (AIM) for help, so they sent Leonard Peltier and a few others to protect the people from Dick Wilson and his private army, Guardians of the Oglala Nation (or GOONS as they were called, rightfully so). When Leonard and the others from AIM got there, they camped out in tents on a ranch owned by the Jumping Bull family. Because of tensions already being at an all-time high, when the FBI followed a car into the ranch because they were chasing someone, the families of the elders who were killed and others who were at risk became alarmed. Shot’s were then heard and a shootout began. 


When the smoke cleared, two FBI agents,  whom Peltier was convicted of killing, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, were dead. Another man, a Native by the name of Joseph Stunz, was also killed by a single sniper bullet to the head. No leads were ever followed by any authorities in regards to his death. Over 40 native people and AIM members participated in the shootout, but only Leonard, a man named Rob Robidue and another named Darrell Butler (all AIM members) were brought to trial for the murders of the FBI agents. 



Charges Filed


Federal Indictment with two counts of First-Degree Murder and aiding and abetting. (Mr.Peltier was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison) First degree murder is an unlawful killing that was premeditated and deliberately thought out.e


Codes Used In My Argument


  1. 18 U.S. Code § 1622: Section Code barring the act of inducing another to commit perjury. (I would use this to prosecute the FBI for their conduct in forcing Myrtle Poor Bear to sign an affidavit claiming she was in close relations with Mr. Peltier and witnessed him shoot the officers. She claimed the statement was false later yet the presiding judge barred her from testimony due to mental incompetence)
  2. 18 U.S. Code § 1621: The FBI admitted to withholding up to 12,000 documents in the first trial and sentencing that contain evidence that FBI officials who testified in the trial may have committed perjury. 
  3. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenouus Peoples (UNDRIP): Instrument adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to enhance the human and civil rights of Indigenou People all over the globe. Leonard Peltier is a Native American, therefore protected under this Article.  (Citing that although this bill was created in 2007, Mr. Peltier is still incarcerated without parole.)   


Carlos DeLuna Appeal Case

by Akil Carrillo

Narrative Summary:

Carlos DeLuna was 26 years old when he was executed on December 7, 1989. He was accused of killing Wanda Lopez, a gas station cashier with a buck knife. Through his trial, he claimed the actual murderer was a man by the name of Carlos Hernandez who he has known for about five years. The police claim that they searched that name but came up with nothing so they dismissed it as part of DeLuna’s imagination. 


What he was charged with:

His trial was quick and he got sentenced to death row. Until the day he was executed, he claimed his innocence. He said that he hoped one day his innocence would be proven.  In my case, I will argue the amendments 5th, 6th, and 8th to prevent this kind of injustice from ever happening again.




The 5th Amendment Amendment of the United States of America states that “...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. This amendment claims that no person shall be kept from their right to liberty or property and can not be killed without a trial or process of law. This played an important role in the case of Carlos Deluna because he was sent to death row without a proper investigation on the case, therefore, resulting in him being guilty.


The 6th Amendment Amendment of the United States of America states that “...and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation”. This amendment claims that the judge and jury shall be well informed of the case and should not lack any details or evidence. Despite this, Carlos Deluna was allegedly accused of this murder even though there was a lack of information.


The 8th Amendment  of the United States of America states that “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This amendment claims that no cruel and unusual punishment should be inflicted, which contradicts the death row. In the case of Carlos Deluna, he was sentenced to death row with very little evidence of him committing murder.


Closing Arguments:  


Carlos Deluna was a 27 year old latino man accused of killing a 24 year old cashier. Carlos Deluna was innocent, due to racial profiling, a quick trial, and mistakes during the investigation he was killed with lethal injection. 


His last words “I didn't do it but I know who did, and I want to say I hold no grudges”


 Even in the last seconds of life Carlos still forgave everyone and had no hate in him. This is the man that was killed in his last words you could feel how humble he was and how we lost such an important person.


These mistakes can not keep happening, a family lost a son and gained trauma. Racism has been the cause of many people's deaths and this story is no different. 


The 8th amendment “Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment” I believe that getting sentenced to death because of some racist witness who “Couldn't tell the difference between latinos” falls along the lines of Cruel or Unusual punishment.


I am arguing for the appeal of the case DeLuna v People. He was unjustifiably killed and at the very least this case should be re-looked at. The judicial system that has been proven to be biased, dirty and selfish is the same system that chose if Carlos Deluna should've lived or died.  


Carlos Deluna’s case demonstrates a clear violation of the 5th, 6th and 8th amendments of the United States Constitution.


The Stanley “Tookie” Willams story  

By Ziair Hughes


Stanley “Tookie Williams was an African American gangster, known as one of the original founders and leaders of the Crip gang(criminal group/gang) in Los Angeles, California tookie was imprisoned Supposedly for killing four victims. tookie Williams lived as a criminal. he was born on  December 29, 1953, - December 13, 1969 and at the age of Sixteen Stanley was arrested and was convicted and released. Tookie Williams was arrested again (San Quentin) on December 13, 2005, Williams was executed by lethal injection after considerable appeals for clemency and a four-week stay of execution were both rejected by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Willams moved to Los Angeles young submerge in gang activity Stanley with his friend Raymond Washington ( Washington was an American gangster, known as the founder of the Crips gang in Los Angeles, California. Washington formed the Crips as a minor street gang in the late 1960s in Los Angeles' South Central area, becoming a prominent local crime boss) were street life. Tookie Willams himself became an inmate educating himself while still being an inmate prison politics tookie found himself to be apart of tookie Williams was on the front to fight for his life this leads to the journey of proving he was changed man once imprisoned.     


In conclusion, tookie Willams wrote books in his books he informed people about gangs he was a young man that was mislead this is a sad story i think that the judge shouldn’t have just arrested him for what he was or if he was a big criminal boss they should not judge him by his appearance and he was targeted as scary black man and I feel people should look up to him. that if they took Stanley tookie, Willams, out they out weaken the crips did tookie do it or did his clique/organization do. fun fact Tookie Williams was really a buff man and very strong tookies were named big took, had 22-inch arms, and weigh almost 300 pounds Stanely has three children and Stanley was close friends with Snoop Dogg. in the end, tookie was just a savage

Personal life

“Stanley Williams III was born on December 29, 1953, in Shreveport, Louisiana, to a 17-year-old mother, and his family moved to New Orleans. His father abandoned the family when Williams was just a year old, and in 1959, Williams moved with his mother to Los Angeles, California, and settled in the city's South Central region

As Williams' mother worked several jobs to support them, Williams was a latchkey kid and often engaged in mischief on the streets. He recalled that, as a child, he would hang out in abandoned houses and vacantlotsaround his neighborhood in South Central where he would watch adults get drunk, abuse drugs, gamble and engage in pit bull fights. Williams stated that after the adults finished the dog fighting they would make the children fight each other, including himself. Williams began to participate in these street fights regularly as a child, where adults would bet on him and give him part of the proceeds for winning his fights. Williams was often the target of older bullies and street thugs in his neighborhood and, by the age of twelve, began carrying a switchblade in order to protect himself. By the time Williams was a teenager he had gained a reputation in South Central's West Side as a vicious street fighter. Williams was expelled from George Washington Preparatory High School and was blackballed by several other high schools in the South Central area for fighting, and eventually began doing stints in Central Juvenile Hall”.













“Travon Williams, the first oldest son by Bonnie Travon was the only family member who spoke at the funeral. He "brought the church to its feet" when he promised to teach Schwarzenegger about redemption. He said, "I feel it's my duty to go on a worldwide campaign to show that redemption is real," he said.

Stanley Williams' other son, Stanley "Little Tookie" Williams, IV, a Neighborhood Crip, was found guilty of shooting a 20-year-old woman to death in an alley off Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Williams IV was sentenced to sixteen years in prison for second-degree murder”






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