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*Pre-Trial Hearing for Jason Vassell*
*Monday, September 8 2008 at 2 pm* Hampshire Superior Court (15 Gothic Street, Northampton MA) Carpools will be leaving UMass from the Southwest Café & the Student Union at 1pm We will be holding a *SILENT VIGIL* in support of Jason Vassell at his next pre-trial hearing on *Monday, September 8th at 2PM* at the court house in Northampton. At this hearing, Jason’s lawyers will report to the court on the state of discovery, and tell the court what pre-trial motions, if any, they plan to file.
This may be the last pretrial hearing before Jason’s case comes to trial, and it is *IMPERATIVE* that you attend if at all possible. Over 150 supporters attended Jason’s last hearing in July, and we hope that many more can attend this upcoming hearing to make it clear to the judges, the prosecution, and the DA that our community stands with Jason.
Please *TAKE TIME OFF* from work, classes, whatever it may be*YOUR PRESENCE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE* We cannot and shall not allow a law-abiding, studious, and well-respected member of our community to be victimized by this miscarriage of justice. Jason Vassell does not deserve to have his life destroyed and his record besmirched by two undeserved class A felony charges. This exemplary citizen certainly should not have the threat of a 30 year criminal sentence hanging over his head. This is especially incomprehensible because one of his assailants has not been charged with anything, while the chief aggressor, John Bowes, who has a prior conviction for racially motivated violence, has been only charged with the equivalent of four misdemeanors.
*WEAR APPROPRIATE COURT ATTIRE &/OR YOUR JUSTICE FOR JASON T-SHIRT* If you don’t have a t-shirt you can donate $10 for one (all proceeds go towards Jason’s legal fees).
*Background:* On Sunday, February 3, 2008, two white men—not university students—appeared at the window of the dormitory room of Jason Vassell, a twenty-three year old African-American student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The two men subjected Vassell to racial invective and threats of violence. They kicked in Vassell’s window and later gained access to an outer vestibule of the dorm, where they attacked Vassell, breaking his nose and causing a serious concussion. The injured Vassell, defending himself with a small pocketknife, wounded his assailants.
At present, caught up in a protracted and costly legal process, Jason Vassell—an otherwise decent, gentle, young black man and law-abiding citizen described by his professors as a serious, respectful, and diligent student—finds himself in a Kafka-esque nightmare. Removed from school he faces two charges that could, if the prosecution succeeds, subject him to 30 years in state prison.
*HELP ORGANIZE FOR JASON*: Students, community members, and Jason’s family members have made an astounding difference in the outcome of his pre-trials. Now it’s YOUR CHANCE to help organize around his trial, as well as to fundraise for his $20,000 debt in legal fees. If you would like to get involved with the Justice for Jason Organizing Committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*SIGN THE PETITION:* If you haven’t yet done so, please sign the petition calling for the charges again Jason to be reconsidered: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/justiceforjason/ .
*MAKE A CONTRIBUTION*: To contribute to Jason’s defense, you may write a check to Esmie James, Mr. Vassell’s mother. Please mail checks to "Justice for Jason," PO Box 197, Amherst MA 01004.
For more information, please check out our website at www.justiceforjason.org. We also encourage you to join our facebook group, at http://umass.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8053969667&ref=nf.
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