This map highlights the geographical reach of our work.
Friends of Justice is currently telling the story of Shaun Cooks, a Texas man serving a life sentence for allegedly assaulting a sheriff’s deputy. Most of the relevant evidence wasn’t heard at trial and Friends of Justice is breaking the silence.
- The Tulia Drug Sting: 1999-2003. In July of 1999, 46 men and women were arrested in pre-dawn trials and accused of selling powdered cocaine to an undercover officer named Tom Coleman. Friends of Justice emerged as a coalition of defendants, their families, and local supporters. After four years of unrelenting advocacy, all charges were dropped, the innocent were freed from prison, and millions of dollars in reparations was paid to the victims.
- Ann Colomb 2005-2007. Ms. Colomb and three of her sons were charged with running a crack cocaine ring out of their modest bungalow in Church Point, Louisiana. The only evidence against them came from drug dealers in the federal system eager to lop decades off their sentences in exchange for “cooperation”. Although convicted at trial, the prosecution fell apart when one of the witnesses confessed that he had been part of an elaborate behind-bars conspiracy to tell the Assistant US Attorney what he wanted to hear. The family was freed and a federal investigation was launched into the abuse of jailhouse snitch testimony in the federal criminal justice system.
- Jena Louisiana 2007. In Jena, nooses were hung in a tree in the high school courtyard the day after a Black freshman asked if he could sit under that tree. Tension grew and the Black community exploded in outrage. Six Black students were accused of assaulting a white student. The evidence was extremely weak and the local DA threatened to send the alleged perpetrators to prison for 25 years. The advocacy organized by Friends of Justice sparked national media coverage and a rally in Jena that drew so many people that the highways into the isolated rural community were reduced to gridlock. Eventually, the matter was resolved reasonably and the defendants went on to attend college and lead productive lives.
- Curtis Flowers 2007-2020. Friends of Justice learned about Mr. Flowers’ case when Dr. Bean spoke to an conference of legal professionals in New Orleans. Flowers had already been tried five times for allegedly murdering four people in a Winona, Mississippi furniture store in 1996. After analyzing the evidence, Friends of Justice concluded that Flowers was innocent and set about explaining the dynamics of his wrongful conviction. Several people from our organization attended trial number six in 2010. Thirty blog posts later, the case attracted the attention of an award-winning true crime podcast which followed the template we had established. Eventually, conviction number six was overturned by the Supreme Court, almost all the witnesses recanted their testimony, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office dropped the charges, and Curtis was released to the free world after 23 years of wrongful incarceration.
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