james prindle update

Here is the latest news from Memphis from our Redemption Project advocate, Stephen Sydebotham:

I have spent the last four days (Sunday thru Thursday) in Memphis, Tennessee, visiting James Prindle and meeting with the attorney we hired for him.

There had been a plan in place for a ride to pick me up at the bus to take me to my motel so I could freshen up and then go down to the jail to see James, who had been awaiting my arrival all day. However, my ride got lost and I ended up waiting several hours before I called a cab. After arriving at the motel, I got cleaned up, fretting all the while that I would let James down because I was so late and might not be able to see him that night.

I called the jail, told them who I was, and they said James was waiting. I said I would be there ASAP, and they said they would relay a message to James. My ride finally arrived at the motel, and we drove down to the jail. After checking in at the jail and pleading with the authorities to let me go upstairs where the glass and phone hookups are, I finally won them over, and they allowed me to go up.

James and I have been communicating with each other by letter and phone for 15 months, and with all the anticipation and buildup to this event, you would think there might have been a let-down, but there wasn’t. James saw me before I saw him, and he had the most enormous smile on his face and held out both arms, as if showing me he wanted to hug me through the glass. He ran over to the chair, picked up the phone and pointed at it like, “let’s talk.”

That was the most special hour-long conversation I have ever had. I was allowed a second visit the following day, which was even more special. At the end of that hour, I put my hand on the glass, he put his hand in the same position on his side of the glass, and he said to me “I love you,” and I said “I love you too, James.” 

James is everything I had hoped he would be, and even more. His spirit is like a breath of fresh air. None of his family ever spent any appreciable time with him or made him feel wanted. He thoroughly lights up when he knows you care about him. 

The meeting with our attorney Claibourne Ferguson went well too, and he answered all the questions I asked. He and his investigator both affirmed their belief that James is absolutely innocent. They even submitted James to a rather brutal test which convinced them of this fact. Claibourne and his investigator spent about 3½ hours with me and encouraged me to make certain we keep James in a positive frame of mind through the whole trial. The way James appears to the jury will have a big impact on the outcome.

Even though the state has no evidence linking James to the sexual assault of his baby sister, the trial is not going to be a slam-dunk for our side. The state requested a delay to collect additional “evidence” and is now coming to court with videotaped testimony from an unreliable witness whom we will be prevented from cross-examining except on appeal. The judge in this trial is a former prosecutor named Bobby Carter, who has a reputation for favoring the prosecution in his rulings on motions presented. The court system in Memphis has a proven track record of being discriminatory against juveniles (see http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/documents/shelbycountyjuv_findingsrpt_4-26-12.pdf). Our best hope is that we will be able to seat a fair jury.

I will end this update with a plea for help. We need approximately 15 people who live in the Memphis area, or who would be willing to travel there for James’ trial, to sit on his side of the courtroom. We need to show that James has a large support group. If the jury sees this, it will help our cause.

Thank you.

~ Stephen Sydebotham



Groove of the Day 

Listen to Soul Asylum performing “Stand Up and Be Strong” 



James was attacked and injured by other inmates on May 28th. Read the postscript to yesterday’s post, “Mommy Dearest,” for full details.


18 Responses to “james prindle update”

  1. 1 Andy Rich
    May 25, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Im so glad you got there in the end and that you got in the visit, it sounds like the amotsphere from inside James was overwhelming, I hope the trial goes well, theres alot of love and effort gone into revealing the truth and for someone to say its lies ant not true would be the tearing up of the heart. I have faith the truth will set you free.

    If i was in the US i would make the effort to support you on the day im over the pond in the uk though but i would be happy to write by snail mail if thats okay? if you could send me an email on how to contact or send some reading material.

    Best wishes

  2. 2 matt
    May 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Great work, Stephen. Your dedication is inspiring.

  3. May 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for the update Steve. My question is, doesn’t the defendant have the constitutional right to confront witnesses against them? How can a video tape be used in court without the chance for cross-examination except on appeal? It would seem that would be an appealable offense.

  4. May 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    i will pray for james everyday from now to the court and even after hes released from jail. he’s been on my heart also. got to talk phone only once. i like to talk atleast one more time and pray with him and enbcouerage him. i wrote to james few times. time for truth to stand out and find james absolutely innocent. 100 percent. time for courts to stop corruping justice truth and let james released and then go from there to help james. I LIKE TO GO TO THE TRIAL IF I CAN GET A RIDE. IF i don’t have a thing i may have to or not attend thats happened to me. BUT i consider standing side by side to stand up 4 james prindles justice. Encourage him, see a smile on face cause he knows more than one person cares for him and loves him as he is. ALSO HIGH FIVE CONGRADULATING JAMES!

  5. May 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I believe James is innocent and will be praying for his release. I received a letter from him and am writing back to him today !

  6. 6 Frank Manning
    May 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    “videotaped testimony from an unreliable witness whom we will be prevented from cross-examining except on appeal.” Constitution of Tennesee, Article I, Section 9: “…in all criminal prosecutions, the accused … hath the right to meet the witnesses face to face…” In addition, the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the absolute right of the accused “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” The Supreme Court of the United States in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), ruled that an out of court testimonial is not admissible as evidence if the witness cannot be cross-examined at trial. So Judge Bobby Carter and the prosecutors, it would seem, are engaging in an armed insurrection against the United States and the State of Tennessee. This insurrection should be crushed by all necessary means. I don’t mean appeals judges signing scraps of paper, I mean federal troops shutting down the court by force of arms and arresting the insurrectionists. Let’s not fuck around with legal niceties here. This boy is being railroaded by a kangaroo court, and that court must be stopped–by the armed violence of the state if necessary. If the court decides to shit on the Constitutions of both the USA and Tennessee, then the full armed might of the federal goverment must be unleashed against it!

  7. May 26, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Thenx for that Stephen. All of us over here in Ozzieland believe in James’ innocence, which we hope and pray will be shown on June 18. We would ALL be over there physically to support James if it were within our means; but outside of winning the national lottery, we will have to settle for being with him “in spirit”. Best wishes and thanx for all you (and Dan) are doing for him, from us all over here. £ance (and “The Gang”).

  8. May 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I live in Memphis. There is a trend here for innocent people to be thrown under the bus to cover up the inability for officials to investigate and actually SOLVE cases. Such a tragedy. Is June 18 the date of the trial? What time?

  9. May 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I’d like to send James a note of solidarity, if you would not mind sharing his contact info.

  10. June 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Reblogged this on Hope and Voice Journal and commented:
    Can you attend the trial in support of James?

  11. 12 Tina
    May 15, 2015 at 6:59 am

    If there something news about James? Have he contact to his family?

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