Ricky Jackson, Hillary Clinton And The Death Penalty

Last night as I was watching the Democratic Town Hall hosted by CNN, a man named Ricky Jackson took the mic. Ricky said that he spent 39 years in prison, part of it on death row, for a murder he didn’t commit. He emotionally confronted Hillary Clinton about her position on the death penalty.

The tiny bit of his story caught my interest so I looked up information about his case. Here is Ricky’s story.


Ricky Jackson then and now

Ricky Jackson is an Ohio man who, in 1975, was accused of murdering Harold Franks, a Cleveland area money order salesman. Jackson was 19-years old. Without a witness, the state had no case. Some reports say that the witness was 12-years old and other reports say that the witness was 13-years old.  Edward Vernon was the reason why the state charged Ricky as the trigger-man who killed Harold Franks. Ricky was sentenced to death.

Ricky’s death sentence was vacated because of a technical error. Two others who were convicted along with Ricky were also sentenced to death. They are commonly referred to as the Bridgeman brothers and they remained on death row until 1978 when the Supreme Court declared that Ohio’s death penalty was unconstitutional. One of the Bridgman brothers came within 20 days of execution.

(Ohio reinstated its death penalty law in 1981.)

Edward Vernon, now in his 50’s, recanted his testimony. Vernon said that he confided in a pastor who encouraged him to reach out to the Innocence Project. Vernon said that he was coerced by detectives and in 2013, he filed an affidavit stating that he never saw the murder take place.

The Ohio Innocence Project took the case. In November 2014, Ricky, then 57-years old, was exonerated. Ricky, along with Bridgman, spent 39 years in prison for a crime they did not commit, making them the longest-serving exonerees in U.S. History.

In March 2015, a judge on the Ohio Court of Claims ordered a check for more than $1 million to be sent to Michele Berry of the Cincinnati Innocence Project on behalf of Ricky Jackson.   It is tax-free and was deposited in an annuity account, which Attorney Berry says will be run by a financial advisor who will help Ricky receive payments and handle the money in the wisest way.

death-penalty-mostly-awarded-to-dalits-and-religious-minoritiesHere is Ricky Jackson asking Hillary Clinton about her position on the death penalty. Her response does not bring me satisfaction. Death is the only sentence that we impose for death. There is no other sentence that requires convicted people to suffer the crime that they committed.


Posted on 03/14/2016, in Cases, civil rights, politics, Ricky Jackson and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. I personally don’t like the death penalty either however, where do we find a candidate that we agree with all they stand for completely? We can’t! I adore Xena, but when it come to certain issues, like Hillary Clinton, we seem to be on different pages… lol

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Roach!
      One of the problems with politicians is that one candidate never meets all of the requirements. In many elections, voters are faced with the lesser of two evils.

      We can be on different pages, as long as we are reading the same book because the ending does not change. LOL!


  2. Two sides to a story

    I’m so glad I watched this last night. Powerful!! Big respect to Mr. Jackson.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The problem is that the death penalty is not reserved for just extreme cases where the guilty party is obvious as in the Timothy McVeigh case. I have a preference to NOT ALLOW for judicial discretion in applying the death penalty. Recently, Utah became another conservative state to abolish the death penalty.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This man’s story is heartbreaking and we know not uncommon. Hilary admits that the state court systems cannot be trusted to mete out justice, but seems to say that the federal courts can. Bottom line. If we take a moral stance against murder by an individual, we must take a moral stance against murder by the state and federal governments and their courts. Justice clearly is not blind in the United States. It really never has been and it makes me angry when people pretend it is.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hey Cindy!
      What you said needs and deserves repeating;

      “Bottom line. If we take a moral stance against murder by an individual, we must take a moral stance against murder by the state and federal governments and their courts.”



  5. Annie Cabani

    I agree. It was a completely unsatisfactory response from Hillary. It didn’t even make sense, IMO. Perhaps the most accurate part of her response was, “Maybe it’s a distinction that’s hard to support, but….” And then she evoked the “terrorism” boogey-man meme in a bizarre attempt to draw some random distinction to the effect the death penalty is OK for the feds, but not for those pesky 50 states that can’t impose it “properly.” WTF??!!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Two sides to a story

      I’m against the death penalty at all levels in the US, but I thought Clinton’s response made total sense.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Annie,
      So good to see you. Hope that all is well.

      Hillary, like some other candidates, default to state rights on some issues such as the death penalty. They talk about raising the minimum wage, but they don’t say that the federal minimum wage does not apply to the states because of state rights.

      I sat in front of the television talking back at Hillary saying, “You mean to tell me that you can’t appoint an Attorney General to petition the Supreme Court to rule the death penalty unconstitutional, especially when believing that innocent people are executed?”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. yahtzeebutterfly


    “There is no other sentence that requires convicted people to suffer the crime that they committed.”

    And, that is what should be at the root the argument for eliminating the death penalty.

    Also…excerpt from NYTimes book review of Just Mercy:

    Unfairness in the Justice system is a major theme of our age. DNA analysis exposes false convictions, it seems, on a weekly basis.

    The predominance of racial minorities in jails and prisons suggests systemic bias.

    Sentencing guidelines born of the war on drugs look increasingly draconian.

    Studies cast doubt on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony.

    You can read more about the book here:

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Took my undergraduate degree at a university in Huntsville, Texas, the location of many death penalty executions. I came out of a philosophy class there in the early 1980s with a lifelong commitment to oppose the death penalty in the U.S.A.. Huntsville, Texas is a place where the death penalty is very, very real.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Zoobeefoo. Welcome! I remember when Dubya was running for president, Oprah interviewed him and asked about Texas executions. He replied that everyone on death row had received a fair trial. HA!

      Thanks for opposing the death penalty. I live in Illinois and it took us awhile, but we finally accomplished it.


  8. Yeah, I’m anti death penalty. This election is going to drive me crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Chosenpaths! Please don’t let this election drive you crazy. We need sane people at the voting booths. 🙂


  9. Slightly off topic about Ricky Jackson and the abhorrent Death Penalty … I’ve come to the following conclusion… If sheep could vote they’d pick the guy who feeds them even if it’s the same person who will slaughter them later. Voters, whether they are Democrat or Republican are no different than sheep, they fall for the same schemes over and over, voting for the lessor of two evils while expecting a different outcome from the last jumble of inefficient and corrupt legislators waiting to slaughter them.

    As people scramble in confusion for a new master to kill the last one, they neglect to realize democracy is no different than changing the batteries in a toy, it doesn’t change the function or design of the toy, no matter how many times you exchange the batteries for new ones……. it only gives the toy more power to continue as it was designed to behave.

    The war on Indigenous and Black people is continuing… Democrat/Republican/Liberal/Conservative etc. is just a label to divide and control people. When are we going to recognize enslaving and killing people of color has been going on since the beginning of this government? This is not new! Everyone needs to awaken to this fact and unite instead of thinking a group of people, this oligarchy which effectively rests with a small number of people controlled by greed and selfish purposes could/would actually care about you or me.

    In the small minds of these intolerant bigoted xenophobic Trump followers they believe; in order to keep America great you must be racist….you must promote slavery, either of self, others or both. You must support segregation in some form and genocide in another. To keep America great you must allow a conquering people to educate your children and mold them into their image. If you can’t mold them into your image you must force them to believe they are substandard, less than. To keep America great, you have to endorse destruction of land and ownership of water. You have to accept some are above and others are below. You have to accept an immoral unjust system to use violent force against those who oppose any ideal which made amerikkka great in the first place. To keep amerikkka great you must use segregation to cultivate peace with violence. You must use nationalism and fear to remain in control. To keep amerikkka great you must create a ruling class who decides which form of education you are ALLOWED to know and what is an acceptable way to combat the ruling class based on their rules, in their game on their timeline in their jurisdictions, codes and regulations. This is known as democracy. This is its real definition. So when you vote, you don’t vote for a human who is different from another, you vote for a new owner who not only controls your actions and circumstances, but your entire mind. Your vote only means you accept this contract of your mind, body and spirit to be governed and controlled by an entity who doesn’t care if you live or die. ~ Rudy TwoMoon

    To make myself perfectly clear I believe voting IS NOT going to change the oligarchy (not democracy) we live under. We’re divided by religion, divided by borders, divided by politics, divided by race. When are we going to realize we are easier to control when we’ve divided? The answer is to “Unite through organizations such as Black Lives Matter and stop being controlled and manipulated by liars and thieves.”

    If you wish to keep slaves, you must have all kinds of guards. The cheapest way to have guards is to have the slaves pay taxes to finance their own guards. To fool the slaves, you tell them that they are not slaves and that they have Freedom. You tell them they need Law and Order to protect them against bad slaves. Then you tell them to elect a Government. Give them Freedom to vote and they will vote for their own guards and pay their salary. They will then believe they are *Free persons*. Then give them money to earn, count and spend and they will be too busy to notice the slavery they are in.
    ~ Alexander Warbucks

    I feel you’re more likely to win the Powerball than to decide an election. Individual votes don’t make any difference because US Citizens don’t elect the president or the vice president; instead, these voters elect designated intermediaries called “electors” who pledge to vote for a particular presidential and vice presidential candidate. Almost none of us consent to the outcome of the election. The outcomes, including all ensuing laws, regulations, taxes, budget expenditures, wars, and so on are imposed upon us.

    The motivation for not voting is no different than the one for voting. People say they vote to make a political statement, to have a say in things, well not voting is making an equally valid political statement, but one that is made about the whole system, not just a candidate.

    Okay, I hope I haven’t bored anyone to sleep… And thank you, each and everyone here, especially Xena for allowing our sometimes differing opinions to be voiced without retribution.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yahtzeebutterfly


      Thanks for sharing your viewpoint and ideas.

      “When are we going to recognize enslaving and killing people of color has been going on since the beginning of this government?”

      It is important for us to recognize that our Founding Fathers declared that ours would be a country of liberty where all people are created equal while at the same time they owned slaves and were conquering and killing the indigenous population. John Quincy Adams resisted King George by asserting to him that “We will not be your negroes.”

      I believe is only through voting that we can correct the contradictions present within our country’s founding ideal of freedom and equality.

      Whether after the Civil War or following the Civil Rights Movement with its achievement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, those people who wanted to maintain control and keep the “old order” in place knew that they had to suppress the votes of the newly freed slaves and, later, those citizens protected by the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

      “well not voting is making an equally valid political statement, but one that is made about the whole system, not just a candidate.”

      It is my personal opinion that not voting is dangerous. Not voting will guarantee that white supremacists and those who “buy” elections will be able to turn the clock back and continue to erode advances made during the Civil Rights Movement.

      The vote is so important. Why else would the Southerners in the 1880s try to end the benefits to African Americans of Reconstruction by terrorizing Black voters through the violence committed by the KKK, the Red Shirts (in Mississippi and SC), the Knights of the White Carnelia, and the White Man’s League? Why are voting suppression efforts still going on today? I believe it is because those who “want to take the country back” to more horrible times recognize that the vote IS powerful.

      That is why I would never surrender my vote or advise anyone not to vote simply to make a statement that they are not pleased with the political system.

      Too many people have marched, been beaten, lost their lives, lost their jobs and their homes or have been thrown off their sharecropping land for attempting to gain their voting rights. I wish to honor the voting-rights heroes of the past and of today by always valuing my vote and their children’s/descendant’s votes.

      Dr. William Barber shares insight in this video:

      Liked by 2 people

      • I may not have mentioned it before,
        but I tend to distrust preachy religious type ppl. I’ve often wondered why so many civil rights activists have religious instead of academic backgrounds.
        Like why not legal backgrounds? How about science based like doctors of psychology or biology? Even history scholars? I don’t know, just something that’s crossed my mind a few times.

        But anyway, I saw this the other day & the title was the NAACP addresses Trump rally violence.
        The thing is tho, the man speaking isn’t just a religious speaker, he’s an Evangelical and to my horror I actually liked him and then learned something! Dammit!😠

        Liked by 4 people

        • Hey Shannon,

          I’ve often wondered why so many civil rights activists have religious instead of academic backgrounds.

          Because religious leaders are allowed to have biases based on their spiritual beliefs. Those of most other professions who would make their opinions about race, sexuality, etc. public, stand to be judged by those who disagree with them, hindering their ability to perform their secular jobs.

          Church pastors are generally supported by their congregations, who agree with or at least suffer what the pastors believe. So their livelihoods do not suffer or are not dependent on working in the secular structure.

          Most are also very articulate public speakers. In fact, there is a law professor who teaches his students that if they want to be good litigators in court, to sit under a good preacher.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Never even thought of it that way! And makes sense because the uniqueness of racism as opposed some of the others civil rights issues. There are educated ppl who would deny scientific facts in order to justify their ideology. Because to be racist you must believe one human being is superior to another based on skin color. That means that person doesn’t believe their own education. Like ppl who don’t believe the earth is round.
            Its crazy because its those flat earthers who should be worried about their professional standing, not the rest of society that accept the facts as we know & have known for centuries.

            Liked by 1 person

        • yahtzeebutterfly

          Thanks so much, Shannon, for posting this outstanding video.

          “The thing is tho, the man speaking isn’t just a religious speaker, he’s an Evangelical and to my horror I actually liked him and then learned something! Dammit!”

          Brouhaha Oh my hahahaha, coming from you, that is so so funny!

          Liked by 2 people

        • yahtzeebutterfly

          Hey Shannon,

          These emoticons might be useful as we watch the primary voting returns this evening:

          Liked by 1 person

      • Yatzeebutterfly,

        I used to believe everything you said in your comment and up until this coming election I’ve always voted for all the reasons you listed, but after taking some classes and investing countless hours in research I’ve come to the conclusion my vote is doing little more than making myself feel good for executing my civic duty to all those who fought for those rights. I voted in election after election in hopes I was buying into what I perceived was at least a limited access to power, which I now realize was long ago sold out; My vote only determines which sell out is closest to what I want to happen therefore I’m subjugating myself to the wisdom of someone who’s no wiser than I am.

        I don’t believe our current government is “by the people, of the people, and for the people.” Politics is motivated by self-interest rather than public interest. The word “public servant” doesn’t apply to Congress, the President or Supreme Court. These politician’s seem only to exist to serve their own self-interests; power, money, or getting votes to retain their political positions. It’s now clear to me the government really is “by the politicians, of the politicians, and for the politicians.” *Rights* are granted and taken away by the people in power at the discretion of the people in power.

        I realize I’ve come to the slippery slope of voting vs non-voting as you stressed

        Not voting will guarantee that white supremacists and those who “buy” elections will be able to turn the clock back and continue to erode advances made during the Civil Rights Movement.

        This scares me because 125 years ago you didn’t have to ask permission from the government to collect rainwater, drive a car or renovate your home. You didn’t have to ask permission or pay to get married, obtain a license, certification or permit to hunt or fish, own a weapon or become a professional in a trade. You didn’t have to ask permission or get permits to protest, feed the poor, have a garage sale or sell a product (which you’re also being taxed for and must also tax the person who purchases such goods). Licensing is government’s way to take away your right to do something then sell it back to you. Nowadays you can do virtually nothing without being extorted by local city, county, state and federal government without getting their permission.

        Blacks and women already HAD the vote but were illegally kept from it. In 1924 (Utah 1956) Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act granting all Native Americans who have been living on US soil for thousands of years US Citizenship. However, this didn’t automatically create a right to vote. It wasn’t until the 1968 Voting Rights Act put an end to Natives being restricted from voting.

        What it comes down to is I don’t want to fight over which slave-master is best suited for the White House because Bernie brings people to the democrats with tough talk and “free Stuff” but scares people who actually understand socialism… Donald Trump divides the GOP with his own tough talk but scares people with his ignorant rhetoric and volatile behavior… Bilderberg selected Hilary with her super delegates “wins” in the primary and appears the “less evil” of the three.

        I don’t want to settle for the lessor evil just because s/he is the least evil. It’s not the president who runs the country anyway, s/he is just a figurehead; it’s the house and it doesn’t matter if there is a good guy/gal or bad guy/gal in office I don’t feel voting will do anything but appease our minds that we’ve done our best by carrying out our civic duty.

        We live in an open air prison as free range human beings yet we’re thoroughly manipulated and controlled by the illusion of a free society. I believe the only way through this is to unite through organizations such as Black Lives Matter and stop being controlled and manipulated by political thugs, liars and thieves.

        Liked by 1 person

        • yahtzeebutterfly


          You clearly have good insight into “things as they are.” I am troubled by so many of the same things you are. We have a lot of work to do to bring about positive change.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Lady! Thanks for the comment. It’s a lot to absorb. My thought at this moment is that, in my opinion, this nation would do much better if there was local government for ordinances, then the federal government. State rights that were negotiated as part of the Civil War is what keeps “the sheep” pretty ignorant of laws, judicial procedures, and even elections. The most horrible of injustices leading to demonstrations and protests such as the Civil Rights Movement against Jim Crow and discrimination in education, was because of state rights.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’ve made a very good point (if I understand you correctly). Bring things down to the local level to control the federal leverage as opposed to the other way round… Unfortunately politicians are created for oppression and not protection, this is exactly why nothing will happen to them. This system isn’t corrupt. This is how it’s built. It’s made to confuse and anger us.

        It is we who needs to educate ourselves. This is why they pound this crap into our heads as children, rewriting history and telling flat out lies, it’s all perpetrated with media hype by promotion through every TV show, movie, billboards, social media, newspaper’s etc….. We’re playing at a table surrounded by hustlers, a stacked deck, marked cards dealt from the bottom all while forcing us to participate at gun point or at the very least punished by fines, court costs and threats of jail. The entire history of democracy is a con.

        What we’re really playing is called Magicians Choice. The outcome isn’t only planned, but drafted and created with limited choices *they* designed to fool us into believing we’re in control.

        Magician’s Choice
        The magician will ask a spectator to make an apparently free choice among several items. No matter what choices the spectator makes, the magician verbally forces the item which he wanted the spectator to choose.
        Example, the performer may deal two cards face down onto the table, requiring for the purposes of his trick that the card on the right be selected. He will ask the spectator to point to one of the cards. If the spectator chooses the card on the left, the performer will say something like “you keep this card, I’ll take the remaining card.” If the spectator chooses the card on the right, the performer might say “okay, let’s use the card you chose.” Thus, the choice of which card to use is really made by the magician, hence the term “Magician’s Choice.”


        • yahtzeebutterfly

          Isn’t “magician’s choice” what libertarians talk about?

          “I am Libertarian. Democrats and Republicans, well, it’s kind of like a ‘magicians choice’ — two identical incumbent organizations pretending to be different so that we will vote the same old mob back into power.” –Teller in an online chat on WashingtonPost.com (December 29, 2000)


        • Hey Lady. Re:

          You’ve made a very good point (if I understand you correctly). Bring things down to the local level to control the federal leverage as opposed to the other way round…

          What we have with “state rights” are 50 different governments within one nation. Each state government legislates its own laws, its own minimum wage, its own human rights commission (if it has one), it’s own income and sales taxes. Within each state, each county has its own ordinances and real estate taxes. Jim Crow laws were state specific, as were school discrimination, marriage and other laws. The ability of local government within each county (within each state) has been instrumental in discriminatory practices that are dependent on things such as real estate taxes that support schools and county law enforcement.

          In other words, no matter what federal politicians promise regarding education, housing and those things that are considered the basic requirements of life, they have no jurisdiction to actually implement any of it — they can only provide financial assistance to local governments.

          If America is truly a nation of laws, then it needs to operate under one law and 50 different state laws.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I would vote again *IF* we could get it together but as to this coming election I know whomever is selected will only be the lesser of two evils 😦


  10. Xena, Tweeted and posted your article to Facebook

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ricky Jason gave the following statement about Hillary Clinton’s position on the death penalty.

    (CNN) At the CNN Town Hall meeting between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders last night, I had the privilege of asking Clinton how she could still support the death penalty in light of all the innocent people in this county in recent years who have been wrongfully convicted and sent to death row.

    I said last night that I was “satisfied” with Clinton’s answer, but that does not mean I agree with her. While I respect her opinion and her honesty, I completely disagree with her position on the death penalty.

    The fact that we too often send innocent people to death row in this country can no longer be debated.

    I ought to know. I was one of them.

    In 1975, I — along with my two childhood friends and co-defendants Wiley Bridgeman and Kwame Ajamu — was wrongfully convicted and sent to death row for the murder of a white businessman that occurred in our predominantly poor and black neighborhood in Cleveland. We spent more than two years on death row before having our sentences reduced to life in prison.

    I came within two months of my execution date but was saved by a lucky technicality — the court made a mistake filling out the death penalty sentencing paperwork. Bridgeman and Ajamu later escaped death only because the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Ohio’s death penalty statute as unconstitutional.

    They both came even closer to death — one of them came within a week of his execution date. If not for pure luck and chance, none of us would have been alive to see our exoneration nearly 40 years later.

    Because of an investigation by the Cleveland Scene newspaper and the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, we were vindicated and gained our freedom in November 2014. By that time, I had served 39 years in prison for a murder I didn’t commit — the longest sentence by an innocent person in U.S. history.

    I know that the death penalty does not deter. That can no longer be seriously debated.

    I also know that it is very expensive at a time when states are struggling financially and many are on the brink of bankruptcy. As an expensive government program with no proven track record of effectiveness, it is, indeed, the proverbial “bridge to nowhere.” But I also know that it sends innocent people to death row, and sometimes kills them.

    Some of those likely innocents, such as Cameron Todd Willingham and Carlos DeLuna, have been executed at the hands of the government.

    Other innocent inmates — in fact more than 150 of them — have been lucky enough to have been exonerated and freed before their execution. Furthermore, I learned from my time on death row that even the guilty are worthy of salvation.

    As an innocent and scared 18-year-old boy sent to death row, it was only the kindness and humanity of death row’s guilty, who took me under their collective wing, that kept my sanity and maintained my faith in humanity. These inmates made horrible mistakes, and deserved to be punished, but they are not the animals our criminal justice makes them out to be.

    A society should not be judged on how it treats its best, but rather on how it treats is lowest. And even the lowest are capable of incredible acts of humanity and are worthy of decency. They are worthy of God’s grace, just as they bestowed grace upon me.

    When I asked Clinton why she still supports the death penalty, she said she supported it only for the worst of the worst: those who committed acts of mass killing or terrorism. I cannot accept that.

    In cases such as those, the societal pressure to convict is at its highest. And when an intense pressure to convict is present, that is when the risk of convicting an innocent is greatest.

    The death penalty is also not a deterrent in terrorism cases. In fact, death can serve the purpose of many terrorists who wish to become “martyrs” for their cause.

    During all the decades I sat in prison as an innocent man, I saw societal views gradually change. Not too many years ago, a Democratic candidate could not publicly support same-sex marriage and stand a chance of getting elected in a general election.

    Now, a Democratic candidate could not be taken seriously if he or she didn’t support same-sex marriage.

    Likewise, no serious Democratic candidate should be able to support the death penalty. We have evolved. We have seen the evidence that the death penalty doesn’t work and that it kills the innocent.

    Given this evidence, it is time that no candidate — Democrat or Republican — should be taken seriously if he or she supports capital punishment.

    The fact that Clinton continues to hang on to this antiquated relic confuses me. She touts “criminal justice reform” — and much reform is needed — but she misses one of the lowest hanging pieces of fruit.

    I said last night that I am an “undecided” voter. I hope that Clinton reconsiders her position on capital punishment before I do what I have been waiting my entire life to do: cast my first presidential vote as a free and vindicated man.


    Liked by 1 person

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