A Jefferson County prosecutor has decided not to press charges against Marshae Jones, the woman who was arrested for manslaughter after another woman shot her, killing her fetus. Lynneice O. Washington announced that it would not be “in the interest of justice” to follow through on the Grand Jury’s indictment.
We are encouraged that Marshae Jones’s legal nightmare is over and hope that she can now begin to heal from her ordeal. But behind this victory lies the hard work of members of the National Council in Alabama. LaTonya Tate, who has connections to Ms. Jones’s family, reached out to them and then issued a rapid response call to action. Among those who responded were the YellowHammer Fund, Rose Saunders, Commissioner Shelia Tyson, Catrena Norris, and Rodreshia Russaw. These women organized a protest that got significant media attention and swayed the DA to make the right decision in this case.
This was a national story that demonstrates that participatory defense is a powerful tool. Every day National Council members are gathering in living rooms, cramped offices, and library study rooms to support people who have been caught up in the criminal legal system. When the community comes together to make clear to prosecutors that they know what real justice looks like and will not settle for anything less, DAs have to listen. Thanks to the voices of her sisters, Marshae Jones is a free woman today.