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Sara Kruzan (d.o.b. January 8, 1978) is a survivor of child molestation, rape, of child-sex trafficking and of intimate battering. March 10, 1994, when child-sex captor G. G. Howard was motioning to rape Sara inside of a hotel room, Sara let off the fatal gunshot that ended her sex-captors life. A year later on May 10, 1995, at the age of 17, Sara was convicted of the first degree murder [PC 187] of George Gilbert Howard. Sara was sentenced to life in prison, plus four years, with no possibility of parole. Signed on December 31, 2010, the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, commuted Sara’s sentence to life with the possibility of parole, come 2020. 
Sara Kruzan grew up in Riverside, California with an older sister and a single mother on welfare. Sara’s father was an ex-convict and heroine addict. On one of three occasions when Sara met her father, she witnessed him shooting up heroin in a bathroom. Sara’s mother was mentally ill, emotionally unstable and addicted to cocaine. She battered Sara and Sara’s sister physically and psychologically since they were infants. In one of Sara’s earliest memories, her mother smacked her across the face until blood splattered from her nose onto a nearby dresser. Child Protective Services opened an investigation in 1989, due to being notified (by Sara’s school) of bruises on Sara’s body. In 1993, Child Protective Services determined it to be unsafe for Sara to reside with her mother.
Sara was molested by several of the men her mother brought home. Sara’s earliest memory of molestation is cited at age five. As these incidents persisted, Sara’s mother did nothing to stop them, but instead displayed jealousy and blamed Sara. Sara was exposed to her mother’s sex and drug activity. By fourth grade, Sara started cutting. By age 11, Sara began to leave home without permission. Sara’s mother showed no sign of concern. Instead, she physically assaulted Sara and forced her out of her residence. At age 11, Sara was hospitalized for attempted suicide. Rather than to provide Sara with adequate safety, the State sent Sara home. 
At age 11, George Gilbert Howard picked up Sara as she was walking home from school. G. G. bribed Sara with ice cream, then took her to his residence, where he undressed her and molested her, thereby committing a first degree felony sexual assault. From that date forward, G. G. Howard indoctrinated Sara into the child-sex trade. At age 12, Sara’s mother set Sara up with a 23 year old “mentor”, who furnished Sara with alcohol and raped her repeatedly over the course of a year. [In the State of California under PC 261.5, sex with a minor is defined as rape.]  At age 13, Sara was gang raped by three men. Sara’s mother refused to allow Sara to press charges. She insisted it would backfire and that Sara had “asked for it”.
At age 13, 33 year old George Gilbert Howard raped Sara Kruzan [PC 261.5] then immediately began to sexually exploit Sara, selling her body for three years in the child-sex trade. G. G. Howard threatened Sara and set her in dangerous situations, in addition to the dangers of prostitution. At age 15, Sara was hospitalized when she survived a fatal car crash. Sara was then placed in five or six foster care homes, while she repeatedly ran away to return to G. G. Howard over the course of five months. 
Plans to Escape
November of 1993, Sara attempted to escape a life of prostitution by going to Ontario with a 15 year old male friend. Sara’s mother threatened to report kidnap, ergo Sara returned to her mother’s neighborhood. Sara’s friend found a place where the two could temporarily stay with a friend’s uncle, James Earl Hampton. “James Earl” was a convicted felon and drug dealer out on parole. (James E. Hampton, Prisoner ID P23654, has since been convicted of rape and attempted murder, and is serving out a life sentence in the State of California.)  As James Earl bragged of the murders he committed and threatened to take Sara’s friends life, Sara hoped to borrow money from G. G. to get her own apartment. When James Earl caught wind of this, he demanded Sara follow his instructions to rob and murder G. G. if she wished that she and her loved ones survive.
The Crime Scene
March 9, 1994, James Earl Hampton garnered Sara Kruzan with a pistol and a pager. He ordered Sara to call G. G. Howard to arrange that the two of them meet. James Earl Hampton brought Sara to where G. G. picked her up to take her to a movie theater. Sara began to receive several pages from James Hampton, instructing “187″ (as she knew to be the California Penal Code Section for Murder). G. G. escorted Sara to the same hotel room where he had raped her on prior occasions. While G. G. payed for the room, Sara called James Earl and asked to speak with her friend. James Earl declined to allow it and threatened Sara that she would not survive if she did not follow through with the murder and robbery of G. G. Howard.
Passed midnight, in the hotel room, 36 year old G. G. Howard put on a pornographic movie and began undressing and touching 16 year old Sara. G. G. took out a large sex toy. Sara dreaded being raped by G. G. Howard. When G. G. turned to plug the sex toy into the wall, Sara shot him. Sara took G. G. Howard’s money and keys, but left behind her purse, identification and shoes. She delivered the car and money to James Earl. James held a gun to Sara’s head and instructed her of what to say if she were questioned. James Earl brought Sara to some other residence where he ordered she be kept locked away in a room. When James Earl brought Sara to his mothers house, she was arrested. Sara initially repeated the story that James Earl demanded, yet she soon confessed to the shooting.
Her Life Sentence
Sara was 16 years old and had no priors. The convicted James Earl Hampton and the minor (then a friend of Sara’s) were never brought to trial. Sara’s defense counsel, David Gunn, advised Sara to take the case to trial. Sara Kruzan was tried in Riverside County Superior Court, with Judge J. Thompson Hanks presiding. The testimony lasted two and a half days. The jurors were not aware that George Gilbert Howard had sexually assaulted, raped and indoctrinated Sara into the child-sex trade for five years. While no expert witnesses spoke in Sara’s defense, Sara agreed to nearly every leading question the prosecutor asked. The probation officer assigned to Sara Kruzan’s case overlooked PC 190.5, that granted court discretion to sentence minors convicted of first degree murder to 25 to life with the possibility of parole. The officer incorrectly stated that State law required the court to sentence Sara to life without possibility of parole. On May 10, 1995, at the age of 17, Sara was sentenced to life in prison, plus four years, without possibility of parole.
Two key experts independently concluded that Sara suffered from the effects of intimate partner battering at the time of the shooting and that expert testimony would have affected the outcome of the criminal proceedings. After a thorough evaluation of Sara Kruzan and her documents, Dr. Linda S. Barnard concluded that, “Sara was suffering from the effects of intimate partner battering in March 1994 and her behaviors and actions were affected – if not controlled by – the years of abuse she endured. By failing to have an expert on intimate partner battering and its effects to explain the many complexities involved in this case, Sara Kruzan’s defense was severely limited.” Dr. Nancy Kaser-Boyd concluded, “Ms. Kruzan clearly suffered the common effects of intimate partner battering on the night of the shooting. Most young people [suffering from intimate partner battering and its effects] respond well to therapy and become healthy adults with therapeutic intervention.” 
Free Sara Kruzan
Free Sara Kruzan was founded in 2006, by Kim Deanne, whose dedication was inspired by her friend Sara Kruzan to combat her plight as a victim of child-sex slavery and subsequently being sentenced as a youth to life in prison with no possibility of parole. In 2012, Free Sara Kruzan is a National Campaign run by three women (Kim Deanne, Jesaka Sekmet, Carrie Christie), whose mission is to raise awareness of Sara’s story, to facilitate her release from prison and to prevent all forms of child-sex slavery. With the aid of international supporters and Sara’s 2007 interview by Human Rights Watch (see: external links), on the last day of 2010, Sara’s sentence was commuted by Governor Schwarzenegger to 25 to life with the possibility of parole. Sara currently resides in an honors dorm in a women’s facility in the State of California. Sara has earned a college degree and has been named Woman of the Year by Correctional Officers. Sara’s final appeal to be released with time served was dated July 19, 2012, yet granted a 60 day extension. On September 18, 2012 Riverside District Attorney Paul Zellerbach will decide whether Sara will be released with time served. The National Campaign to Free Sara Kruzan is currently petitioning, educating and demonstrating for Sara’s immediate release.
I was unlawfully arrested, illegally prosecuted & wrongfully convicted by a corrupt court and sentenced to die for crimes “I DID NOT COMMIT”.
This was done to me based solely on the false testimony of a male who is a habitual felon, known drug dealer, drug user who was a bitter drug rival of the deceased men in my case. This individual was the initial suspect in the case & was a fugitive from the law at the time he was detained as a suspect in my case. However, despite stating that he was allegedly with me &several others (who stated I never committed these crimes) when these crimes were allegedly committed & having several outstanding warrants out for his arrest, this individual was never arrested for anything & was released after giving a false statement against me. I was the only person charged & don’t have any co-defendants.
There was no physical evidence or a motive or anything that connected me to these crimes. Everything was based solely on the false testimony of an individual who has been arrested approxi9mately 35 times since my trial. He has been arrested &/or convicted for numerous crimes including: several counts of giving false information to the police, alluding arrest, assault on a pregnant female, assault with a firearm on his parents, just to name a few. When he testified against me, he was a prison inmate & was released from prison afterward.
He is a mental health patient that was hearing evil sounds & voices that told him to do bad & violent things. He was diagnosed as being of the paranoid schizophrenic type but was still allowed to lie against me. The false statement that he gave to the police was inconsistent wit his false trial testimony & both his false statement & false testimony were contradicted by the facts in my case.
Based on the lies of this individual, I was abducted from society and placed in such adverse surroundings where over 40 people have been killed since I’ve been here. I’m in a system that allow corrupt prosecutors to use lies to get innocent people like me indicted on murder charges & doesn’t require them to use such evidence during the criminal trial. Civil & inexperienced attorneys are assigned to death penalty cases & innocent people are railroaded like I was. I’m being held captive in a system that denies me access to the law & even to adequate medical care because of my sentence. Innocence Projects in this state don’t investigate capital cases for claims of innocence
.Innocent man trapped in the system
Prison Address TERRANCE TAYLOR #0539901 Central Prison 1300 Western Boulevard Raleigh, NC 27606
Johnnie Lee Savory, 45, spent two-thirds of his life behind bars for a double murder that he says DNA testing can prove he did not commit.
The trouble is that, even though Illinois law guarantees the right to DNA testing when it is relevant to a claim of actual innocence, the courts have denied that right in Savory's case.
As a result, Savory is asking Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to order the testing, which would be paid for privately, at no cost to the taxpayers.
And today Savory was joined in his quest for DNA testing by a broadly based coalition of supporters — including five former U.S. Attorneys, 30 former prisoners who were exonerated by DNA, authors John Grisham and Studs Terkel, and arrays of business, religious, and civil rights leaders, academics, defense lawyers, and past and present and public officials.
Letters signed by the supporters — 212 in all — were released today at a press conference in the offices of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law.
Lawyers from the Center and the Chicago law firm of Jenner & Block took on the Savory case five years ago at the behest of the late U.S. District Court Judge Prentice H. Marshall, who in retirement had taken an interest in the case and had come to believe that Savory was innocent.
Although the lawyers succeeded in obtaining Savory's release on parole on December 19, 2006, on-going efforts to obtain DNA testing through the courts have not succeeded. With those remedies exhausted, Savory's only hope of proving his innocence lies with Governor Blagojevich before whom a petition for executive clemency based on innocence is pending.
It is in that context that Savory's supporters are asking the governor to order the testing. There is precedent for that — Governor James R. Thompson did it in 1988 in the case of Gary Dotson, who as a result became the first person ever to be exonerated by DNA. Since that case, DNA has exonerated 209 additional wrongfully convicted prisoners nationally, including 25 more in Illinois.
Johnnie Savory, an African-American, was twice convicted by all-white juries of the murders of teenagers James Robinson, Jr. and Connie Cooper, who were found stabbed to death in their Peoria home on January 18, 1977. The second conviction, which is the only one that matters now, rested primarily on the testimony of three informants who claimed that Savory had talked about committing the crime in their presence. Two of the informants eventually recanted, stating that the conversations in fact had not occurred.
The physical evidence in the case — a bloody pair of pants seized from Savory's home, fingernail scrapings from both victims, head hairs found in the victims' hands and bathroom sink, and a pocket knife with a blood-like stain on it that the prosecution theorized was the murder weapon.
The blood on the pants was of the ABO type shared by Johnnie, one of the victims, and, importantly, Savory's father, who testified that the pants were his. The pants were several sizes too big for Johnnie, and his father had suffered an injury at work consistent with the positioning of the blood. (Actually, the father was treated at a hospital, where there were records that would have corroborated his testimony, but that the defense did not present.)
The fingernail scrapings were said to be of no evidentiary value, and nothing regarding them was presented at the trial. Nor was anything presented regarding the hairs. The knife was entered into evidence, but the stain on it was so minute that it could not be determined whether it was blood. Most if not all of these items should be amenable to DNA testing with today's state-of-the-art technology.
Not only could the requested DNA testing exonerate Savory but it also could identify the real killer of James Robinson and Connie Cooper.
The five former U.S. Attorneys who support Johnnie's request for DNA testing are Samuel K. Skinner, Thomas P. Sullivan, Dan K. Webb, Anton Valukas, and Scott Lassar. They were represented at the press conference by Sullivan, a Jenner & Block partner and chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.
The broad range of the group is perhaps best illustrated by the names of Skinner, who was Secretary of Transportation and White House Chief of Staff under President George H.W. Bush, and Abner J. Mikva, White House Counsel under President Bill Clinton. Among other names indicative of the diversity are those of Noam Chomsky, a retired MIT professor who has characterized his personal visions as "fairly traditional anarchist ones," and Richard A. Epstein, a Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago known for libertarian views. Religious leaders among the signatories include Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and Greek Orthodox. Among business leaders on the list is Lester Crown, president of Henry Crown & Co.
The 30 former prisoners exonerated by DNA were represented at the press conference by Kenneth Adams, one of the defendants in the Ford Heights Four case. They languished a total of 434 years behind bars for crimes they did not commit. Four of them were on death row — Kirk Bloodsworth, in Maryland, Rolando Cruz, in Illinois, Ray Krone, in Arizona, and Curtis Edward McCarty, in Oklahoma.
The letter to which the exonerated lent their names notes that many of them would still be in prison and some of them might have been executed if they had been denied DNA testing, and ends with a simple plea to the governor on Savory's behalf — "We beseech you to do the right thing."
Chicago Sun-Times Story
Chicago Tribune Story
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
Letter to Governor Rod Blagojevich
Letter from Exonerated to Governor Rod Blagojevich
Excerpts from Johnnie L. Savory's Clemency Petition
Fighting for social justice. Seeking justice for those who were falsely imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Born on the same day of Emmett Till. http://thesavoryfiles.com/
. Background (Preamble): Cyntoia Brown wrongly tried as an adult to a murder she committed in self defense at 16. She deserves tobe freed as she has served her time for the crime she did not intend to do.
Davontae Sanford is now 19. He has spent the last five years of his short life in adult prisons, convicted of murdering four people on Runyon Street on Detroit’s east side on Sept. 15, 2007, when he was 14. He is 5’6,’’ slightly-built, blind in one eye, and “developmentally disabled.”
Shortly after Davontae was sentenced to 37 to 90 years in prison in 2008, Vincent Smothers, now 28, of Shelby Township, confessed to the Detroit police on videotape that he and a different man committed the murders as part of a series of drug-related hits. Highly placed members of the police department have testified they believe Davontae is innocent, including a former chief of homicide who says Davontae was with him at the time of the murders.
Help us to end this gross miscarriage of justice, sign, share and be counted...No Justice No Peace!
October isBullying Prevention MonthandNational Substance Abuse Prevention Month, a busy and important time for prevention efforts. On the surface, bullying and youth substance use may seem like separate problems. However, from research, we know that youth who use substances are at risk for other pro…
The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.
Standing for the Innocent: Highlighting and fighting for Justice of Juvenile Defendants/wrongfully incarcerated prisoners of whom we strongly believe are innocent, deserve the passion and dedication of advocates, and as such will tirelessly fight on to bring them safely home.
Mr. Spencer has spent just over half his life locked up for a crime he swears he did not commit. Spencer was arrested in March 1987 for the robbery and killing of Dallas business owner Jeffrey Young. Unlike the many wrongful-conviction cases that have resulted in exonerations, there is no DNA evidence to settle Spencer’s guilt or innocence. In fact, there was no physical evidence against him at all. The only material evidence against Spencer is the testimony of three West Dallas residents who said they saw Spencer dump the victim’s car in their neighborhood the night of the crime. Mr. Spencer believes they made up the story to collect a reward and the facts as we have reviewed them suggest that a significant bias to that effect exists. A lighting expert has since studied the area. He testified that with the darkness and distances involved, the witnesses couldn’t possibly have recognized Mr. Spencer or anyone else that night. After having visited the area at night ourselves, we believe that no identification could have been made at the distances described in the court papers. Also, the friend of a man known as the Batman, who had committed several crimes using the same methods as those used against the victim, testified that his friend bragged to him about killing the victim. Many of the facts described by the Batman’s friend were consistent with facts surrounding the murder that were never released to the public. Based upon the Batman’s friend’s testimony, that of the lighting expert and on other testimony, a Dallas judge ruled on March 28, 2008 that he believes Spencer is actually innocent. The Dallas judge recommended that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturn Spencer’s original conviction. Mr. Spencer continues to await their decision in a prison cell.
Christy Clinton Phillips. I am being held in prison under violations of my civil and political rights I need help in fighting for the protection of these rights. The issue of my case in short form, is as follows: I was 15 yrs. old when my crime occurred and was sentenced to life in prison. According to the UN INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS(to which the United States is a party to) AND CRC(Convention/Committee on the rights of the child). a life sentence for a child is explicitly prohibited under article 37(a) of CRC and(article 6 the right to life, survival and development) paragraph 11 and paragraph 77.
Under article 14(g)4 the court procedure must be such as will take account of a juvenile persons age and the desire ability of promoting their rehabilitation. In my case, the court did not take my age into consideration nor did they promote rehabilitation by sentencing me to LIFE in prison. "LIFERS" in prison are mostly denied access to rehabilitative services because of the lengthy sentence. Article 14(g) also prohibits law enforcement to cause a child to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt. In my case, I reported a homicide, I was held in the lounge area of the Rialto Police Station over night and interrogated the next day. I requested to the interrogating officers three times if I could be taken to a telephone to contact my mother I was told that I could not contact anyone outside the police station until after I was interrogated.
After being held away from home and in a police station over night, I was intimidated confused and tired so under duress I cooperated with them I was under the impression that I would not be allowed to go home until after I cooperated with them. During my interrogation the detectives made it clear that they wanted me to admit guilt and would not end the interrogation until after I had done so, I did and was convicted and sentenced to life in prison based on that coerced confession.
Letter of support:Christy Phillips W-94100 C.C.W.F. P.O.BOX 1508 512-11-4up Chowchilla, Ca. 93610
After i've inhumanely being subjected with the unimaginable experiences of 13yrs of false imprisonment in Indiana. i've come to realize that im the very definition of living vicarious: (Vicarious/adj. 1) experience or realized through imagination, second hand, or indirect participation in the experience of another. 2) suffered, undergone, or done as sustitute for another. 3) delegation. 4) taking the place of another) Firstly, on August 8, 1998 some reckless person murdered Kasey Scheon in cold blood, yet the law authorities forced me to stand trial for the same crime i absolutely had no involvement in. As a result, i felt the "second hand" wrath of accusations due to a killers reckless action. Secondly, because i was a young Afrikan-male from the hood & an adamant part of Hip-Hop culture, that mainstream media attach negative stereotypes. It generated fear in those who wasnt directly familar with my race, culture, & generation. Therefore, i became an"assigned delegate" for all the negative stereotypes of young black men, esp. the one who really committed the murder i was being tried for, when jurors found me guilty of the murder on July 8, 1999 using blatantly conflicting evidence & logic(probably saying he the only black dude being tried it must've been him). Finally, for 13yrs i've been falsely imprisoned in an Indiana prison under the weight of a 60yr sentence, while enduring all the pains & losses that comes with it"in the place of another"person who did the killing, & whose walking free in society as if nothing happened. I am still angered to no ends about the entire situation. Me & Kasey Schoen(R.I.P) remain the victims of a corrupt judical system. Vicariously, i hope you can feel my pain & stuggle so strongly that it sparks indignation within your heart & mind; allow this spark to compel you to sincerely extend a helping hand to resolve this injustice; & discover the gems of humanity & justice along the way. www.adspread.com/leonbenson Contact Leon Personally: Leon Benson#995256 P.C.F 4490 W. Reformatory Rd. Pendleton,IN,46064
The gross injustice being done to Curtis Jones at the hands of the Allen County Prosecutors Office! On December 01, 2008 Troy D. Phinezy confesses to the murder of Tracy Williams in Judge John F. Surbeck's courtroom! On December 01, 2008, witness testified that Troy confessed to him that he had done the shooting! April 27, 2012, eyewitness testifies in Judge Surbeck's courtroom that she saw the shooting and that Curtis Jones was not the person she observed running from the scene of thee crime! On April 27, 2012, witness testifies that he observes Troy Phinezy retrieve the murder weapon! On June 18, 2012, the same eyewitness identified Troy Phinezy in a photo lineup at the Allen County Prosecutors office
Bright, C.L., P.L. Kohl, and M. Jonson-Reid. Females in the juvenile justice system: Who are they and how do they fare? Crime & Delinquency (in press) By Lori Whitten, Staff Writer, RTI International, Rockville, MD How do boys and girls who engage...
Michael Blair was exonerated of murder charges in 2008. He wants compensation for his wrongful imprisonment. But he's still in prison, on unrelated charges, and the state comptroller says he's not entitled to the money.
Consistent and substantial evidence exists that supports the relationship between substance abuse and criminal behaviors in youth. Youthful offenders demonstrate elevated rates of substance abuse in comparison to non-offending youth.  Substance abuse often increases recidivism and reflects a d…