Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Following is  posted on Revolution Newspaper website at revcom.us.

Post-Conviction Relief Petition Filed
Overturn the Wrongful Conviction of Gregory Koger
Not One More Day in Jail!
   The Ad Hoc Committee for Reason has issued the following statement about important new developments in the fight to oppose and overturn the wrongful conviction of Gregory Koger. We urge readers to join in this battle (See "What You Can Do" below) and visit the committee's website often for updates. For an in-depth statement by Gregory Koger, see"What This System Does to the People of the World Is Criminal-Dedicating Your Life to Emancipating Humanity Is Not," Revolution, November 18, 2012.  

  For the last three-and-a-half years, Gregory Koger has been fighting a vindictive political prosecution, an outrageous conviction, and an over-the-top 300 day jail sentence. Why? He peacefully videotaped a statement against censorship at a public meeting of the "Ethical Humanist" Society of Chicago (EHSC) on Sunday, November 1, 2009. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed his conviction without addressing the serious legal issues involved, and the Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal.
Gregory and his legal team are now filing a Post-Conviction Relief Petition to overturn his wrongful conviction. This Petition exposes the lies at the heart of the false charges against him and provides documentary evidence (suppressed by the judge at trial) of the perjured testimony and prosecutorial misconduct that laid the basis for his conviction-and demands that his wrongful conviction be overturned.

Gregory's prosecution was based upon false claims that he was trespassing and violent at the EHSC. These claims were made by key figures within the EHSC, and falsely corroborated by the Skokie police. Some of their claims were actually audio recorded, and some were published and distributed prior to Gregory's trial.
  
Just weeks after Gregory's arrest, which was quite brutal, the ex-president of the EHSC, who was a complaining witness at the trial, issued a public statement, which was published on several humanist websites, giving his account of what he claimed had taken place. He also gave an account of the incident at a recorded meeting of the EHSC board on November 18, 2009. Another EHSC board member also spoke at the board meeting, propping up the president's version of events. Their accounts are also included in the official police report and charging documents, and the Skokie police officer who arrested Gregory claimed he witnessed what they said. These documents formed the basis of Gregory's prosecution.

None of these claims were true! The video that Gregory recorded on the morning of November 1 proves that the claims of the EHSC and Skokie police were totally false. The day before trial, Gregory's lawyer gave the video to the Cook County State's Attorney, as evidence. Instead of dropping the charges, now that the claims of the State witnesses had been shown to be lies, the State's Attorney met with the EHSC and Skokie police witnesses to completely change their stories.

On the first day of trial, the State's Attorney rewrote the charges against Gregory, with the help of the presiding judge. As the trial went forward, the judge-who knew the witnesses had previously given completely different accounts in the Skokie police report of the events on November 1-prevented Gregory's lawyer from presenting this fact to the jury. In addition to the police report, Gregory's legal team also had audio recordings of the State's witnesses telling different stories than they gave at trial. The judge also prevented the jury from hearing this evidence. Gregory was convicted and sentenced to 300 days in jail, based on the false accounts given during sworn testimony by members of the EHSC and Skokie police.

Many people who hear about this case say: "There must be something more to this story..."-and there is:

In his youth, Gregory spent years in solitary confinement while in prison. He transformed himself and has dedicated his life since his release to opposing injustice and struggling for a liberated world for all humanity. But the State's Attorney and judge held his former prison record against him and treated him with contempt, and the judge gave him a 300 day sentence that is unusually high for non-violent misdemeanor violations.

Gregory's experience is not unique-2.4 million people, mostly Black and Latino, are imprisoned under a New Jim Crow system of injustice. Tens of thousands are held in conditions of solitary confinement that amount to torture under international law. Millions more are denied basic human rights after they are released from prison and have supposedly "served their time." Former prisoners who step forward to challenge the injustices of this society and inspire others to do the same must not be allowed to face political repression.

Before trial Gregory stated, "Now my life is dedicated to the struggle to end all exploitation and oppression and getting to a world where people contribute what they can to society and get back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings." This is the person the judge condemned as a menace to society and sentenced to 300 days in jail. Gregory Koger should be celebrated, not sent to jail! He needs to be out here in society continuing the fight to bring this new world into being, and his wrongful conviction must be overturned.

Now is the time for all people of conscience to put the court and the powers-that-be on notice that there are thousands of people supporting Gregory across the country who demand "Overturn the Wrongful Conviction of Gregory Koger" and "Not one more day in jail for Gregory."   

Ad Hoc Committee for Reason
 
What You Can Do:

Support real justice by letting others know about Gregory's wrongful conviction and mobilizing to overturn it. Spread this announcement far and wide!
    
Go to dropthecharges.net and watch the video of what really occurred at the EHSC and listen to the false allegations of the EHSC board members.
    
Be ready to come out if there is a court hearing or other development. The State has acted vindictively throughout this process so we need to be ready to demonstrate our support on short notice.
   

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