Joe Riley is currently incarcerated in New Orleans, LA. Two years ago, shortly after moving to New Orleans for work, Joe was involved in an altercation. During that altercation, Joe was assaulted and fired a couple of warning shots to thwart the assault.
Initially charged with a misdemeanor, Joe went through the New Orleans court system over the last two years. In March, a sudden twist happened, and the charges were escalated. Since then, Joe was tried and convicted on the felony charge of firing a handgun during the commission of a violent crime (a charge that is inconsistent with the actual events of the case) and was recently sentenced to 10 years with no chance of parole. The escalation of the charges, as well as other courtroom irregularities, are potential violations of Joe’s civil rights. Joe’s defense team is preparing to appeal his sentence and conviction, but funds are needed.
Joe’s case highlights the lapses of judgment that sometimes occur in the criminal justice system because of over-zealous prosecution and politically-enacted mandatory minimum laws that fall heavily on the shoulders of black men. Joe is a no criminal. He is the father of three boys who has never been in trouble with the law. A professional in the architectural industry, he has a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Georgia State University and a Master’s degree in building construction from Georgia Tech in the college of architecture. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and has given a number of hours to community service.
Joe is not a threat to society. There is no public safety issue that demands him to be locked up for a decade. Have we become such a prison society that we can so easily take a productive member of society and lock him up for a decade in such a case where there was NO criminal intent? Justice is not being served in this case. Indeed, for the criminal justice system to work, it must be fair and reasonable. A system that decimates lives rather than leave them with some form of dignity and a chance at redemption is unjust. For justice to be relevant it must contain an element of mercy and common sense. Again, help Joe appeal this unjust sentence. All proceeds from this fundraiser go to the Joe Riley Legal Defense Fund which is administered by Joe's family on his behalf. Contact us at [email protected] for any questions.
-- “No other country in the world incarcerates such an astonishing percentage of its racial and ethnic minorities [as America].” – Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
All proceeds from this fundraiser go to the Joe Riley Legal Defense Fund which is administered by Joe's family on his behalf. Contact us at [email protected] for any questions.