community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
On today's show... * We hear from the head of Mexico's independent mineworkers union -- in exile in Canada * Updates from the Joseph Hall case * Reel Grrls speak to their funding battle with Comcast * A report from the March on Blair Mountain, against mountaintop removal. * And more in our local and global headlines
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Rustbelt Radio for July 4, 2011
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
Rustbelt Radio is broadcast live from WRCT studios every other Monday at 6 PM on 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, and the program airs again on WRCT every Tuesday morning at 9AM.
We can also be heard weekly on the following stations:
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We turn now to local stories.
On June 21st, supporters of Joseph Hall gathered outside of the city council building, before his lawyer presented oral arguments in an appeals hearing in front of the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Hall, now 21, was convicted in November of 2008 of third-degree murder in the shooting death of James Stubbs in Homewood--despite the lack of any physical evidence linking him to the crime.
Hall's mother and founder of Mothers Against Convictions of the Innocent, or MACOTI, Cecilia Coleman, spoke of her son’s initial linking to the murder on the steps of City Council.
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The only witness from the prosecution was a young man by the name of Alan Struthers.
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After coming to Ms. Coleman and admitting that he was coerced into making a statement against her son, Mr. Struthers changed his testimony. On the stand during Joseph Hall's trial, Struthers repeated that he had been coerced by Pittsburgh police officers. Little to no other evidence was presented against Hall at his trial. Ms. Coleman recounted that day outside of the council building.
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After Hall's trial, Ms. Coleman took her son’s case to the Innocence Institute, a project of Point Park University which investigates claims of wrongful convictions. The Institute recently published a report on Hall's case. Bill Moushey, director of the project, was at the hearing on Tuesday; he said this of the case.
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The oral arguments made in the courtroom on Tuesday by Hall's attorney, Paul Gettleman, mainly pertained to the conviction that Hall received, which was seventeen & a half to thirty-five years in prison, for a third-degree homicide ruling. Mr. Gettleman argued that Judge Cashman, who handed down the verdict, had disregarded the jury--referencing specifically the judge's statement from the bench that, "This is 'murder one' if I ever saw it."
The appeal submitted to the Superior Court by Mr. Gettleman, challenged the conviction on several other grounds. Gettlemen argued the following: the rulings by Judge Cashman aided the prosecution in withholding exculpatory evidence; permitted the introduction of surprise testimony the defense was unprepared to counter; and prevented the jury from hearing evidence implicating another person as the shooter. Judge Cashman also threatened a witness with jail time, after he testified that the police had coerced a statement from him implicating Hall in the shooting. According to Gettlemen, these decisions violated Joseph Hall's constitutional right to a fair trial.
Despite raising numerous trial errors, many issues surrounding the conviction of Hall were not raised on Tuesday--including the lack of any physical evidence. Supporter and OneHood organizer, Paradise Grey, spoke to this reality outside of the courtroom.
Bret Grote, supporter and Human Rights Coalition organizer, made a statement outside of the council building, linking Joseph Hall’s case to many others in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.
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For more information on Hall's case, you can visit Mothers Against the Conviction of the Innocent at macoti.ning.com
We turn now to the PA Prison Report.
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[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to other independent news from around the country.
The following segment features audio from the Allied Media Conference, an annual event hosted in Detroit. At the conference, media-makers, activists, educators, artists, and organizers converge to [quote] cultivate strategies for a more just and creative world; we come together to share tools and tactics for transforming our communities through media-based organizing [end quote]. Several Rustbelt volunteers attended the conference in June, and we will be sharing pieces from it during the upcoming shows.
The Seattle non-profit, Reel Grrls, came to this year’s Allied Media Conference to give an account of their fight with media giant, Comcast. Reel Grrls is an organization that works to "empower young women from diverse communities to realize their power, talent and influence through media production."
Last May, Reel Grrls was told by Comcast that they would cut funding to their summer camp because of a tweet, or message, sent out on the social media site, Twitter. The Twitter message criticized the decision by FCC chairman, Meredith Baker, to join Comcast shortly after approving the controversial merger of NBC and Comcast.
Immediately following Comcast’s decision to cut their funding, Reel Grrls released this video in response.
The technical director of Reel Grrls, Lila Kitaeff, gave an account of the group’s history with Comcast.
Following the presentation, a member of the group did admit that they don’t expect to receive as much funding once the momentum dies down, and will in fact have to look for other funding sources for the summer camp.
Asked by a member of the audience where their funding comes from, executive director Malory Graham says that their operating budget is, in fact, quite substantial compared to the amount Comcast pulled from them.
For more information, go to reelgrrls.org.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.
It's not easy being a mineworker, in the United States or in Mexico. We hear from the head of Mexico's independent mineworkers union about the dangerous barriers government and corporate interests are imposing on collective bargaining, and how strategic alliances with such groups as the Pittsburgh-based Steelworkers union are helping to keep up the fight.
For more information about solidarity for Los Mineros, check out the Steelworkers website at usw.org
That was "MTR Song" by 2/3 Goat.
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WIUP Indiana, WNJR Washington, WLRI LanChester, and FRSC Santa Cruz.
Our hosts this week are [Peter Claus] and [Emily Laychak] with contributions from [Lizzie Anderson, Seth Bearden, Peter Claus, Emily DeMarco, Ben Fiorello, Jessica McPherson, Bonnie Pfister, and Hannah Taleb]. This week's show was produced by Phill Cresswell. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
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Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's bi-weekly review of news from the grassroots.