Twenty-two years is a long time to remain silent. Jermane Scott broke that silence via a live radio interview with A9Radio397 in Springfield, Ohio this past week. During the 30-minute interview Scott spoke of a Springfield Police investigation that had only been in operation for 4 days before he was charged with the aggravated murder of Bertram Thomas on Dec. 3rd, 1996.
For those perplexed as to why a man would remain silent for over twenty years when wrongfully convicted, look no further than opportunity and its provision—and the lack-of either. Scott, 19 at the time of his arrest denounced his involvement in the murder of Thomas from the initial day he was first questioned by Springfield Police. To this day Scott has maintained that innocence, his past silence gauged by the number of people willing to listen to him—until recently they’ve been few and far between.
Remaining silent is not so unfathomable when you realise that nobody is listening. After all—and to quote a well loved film—when it comes to prisons, “Everybody is innocent in here, don’t you know that?”
Things can change though over time , and victims of wrongful convictions can in turn regain their lost voices. During the interview—linked below—Scott’s message was clear.
“I would challenge the listeners to this: I would challenge them to read my case files from beginning to end.”
Scott’s desire to have as many eyes as possible pour over his case files is understandable: His is a case that has been kept in the dark, and for good reason. The remarkable lack of investigation that saw a rush-to-judgement by Springfield Police back in 1996 was—as is often the case—further compounded by state prosecutors shaping their own narrative to make the pieces fit.
~Here at CJRJ we echo Jermane Scott’s message to the public: Read the case files and make up your own mind. Each of the cases we cover here have many similarities, and naturally their differences too. Of the cases I cover, Jermane’s is unique by the fact that he is the only one who has no legal representation. Investigative articles are written to raise awareness to the key issues that point towards Jermane’s wrongful conviction. However, there is no substitute for reading the case files yourself. Case files are linked directly below.
The next step for Scott will be to find legal representation. As mentioned in his interview, repeated FOIA requests for complete files relating to Scott’s case have been met with their own silence. It would appear that the only way to gain access to these ‘missing’ documents will come through the aid of lawyers. Owing to the fact that Scott was singled out as the only perpetrator—perhaps due to his admittance of fraudulent use of a credit card and checks—no other potential suspects were scrutinised. After all, as Scott mentioned, prints were taken from items at the victim’s residence and vehicle. The fact that Scott’s were not those found apparently ended that part of the investigation there and then. Yet the question remains: Whose prints were they, and were any attempts made to match them other than to that of Scott? For further reading on Jermane Scott’s case link here.
Whether these evidentiary items, or the results to which still exist remains to be seen. What is clear however, is that Scott needs legal representation. Due to financial restrictions Scott will be seeking a post-conviction lawyer willing to work on a pro bono basis. Even with a legal representative working Scott’s case pro bono, certain fees will still be applicable. If you are able and willing to help subsidise this cost, please visit his fundraiser linked directly below.
When nobody is willing to listen, it’s very easy to remain silent. Jermane Scott’s case has come a long way in just the last few months alone. The reason for this? People are now listening.
A big h/t to A9Radio937. Without media outlets such as them providing a voice-piece to the wrongfully convicted, silence can win out. Thanks for being part of the solution.
For further reading related to Jermane Scott’s case please visit Justice For Jermane Scott. Follow @Justice4Jermane on twitter too.
If you have any questions or queries regarding this article, or indeed anything CJReform related please don’t hesitate to contact me here.