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Joe Ligon, the oldest and longest-serving juvenile lifer in the United States, has been released after 68 years in prison.

Ligon was jailed in February 1953 when he was just 15-years-old. He was given a mandatory life sentence after pleading guilty to charges related to a Philadelphia stabbing spree with four other teenage boys, as well as robbery charges. His crimes left two men, Charles Pitts and Jackson Hamm, dead and six others wounded.

The now 83-year-old says that he got “caught up” in the streets, which led him to trouble with the law.

Ligon admitted to stabbing at least one of the eight people stabbed. However, his attorney Bradley Bridge maintains that his client never killed anyone.

“The child that committed those crimes back in 1953 no longer exists. The person that came out of prison in 2021 is 83 years old, has grown, changed, and is no longer a threat,” Bridge told CNN. “He has amply repaid society for the damage and harm that he did. And now, it’s appropriate that he spends the last years of his life in freedom.”

Bridge argued that a mandatory life sentence for a crime committed when Ligon was a teen was unconstitutional. After a failed hearing at the Pennsylvania intermediate appellate court, Bridge presented the case to the federal court, where he won the plea in November 2020. This granted Ligon freedom without having to be on parole.

“I’m a grownup now,” Ligon said. “I’m not a kid anymore. Not only am I a grown man, I’m an old man and getting older every day.”

Ligon and his accomplices were given a clemency option in the 1970s. While the other two men accepted the offer, Ligon declined it because it meant that he would be on parole. In 2016, the courts ruled that juvenile life sentences without the possibility of parole were unlawful. This decision resentenced Ligon to 35 years to life, which made him eligible for parole since he had been incarcerated for over 60 years. However, he turned down the offer as well, once again objecting to parole. In 2017, he turned down another offer.

“The state parole board presumably would have released him but on condition that he would be under their supervision for the rest of his life,” Bridge explained. “He chose not to seek parole under those terms.”

With the help of John Pace, coordinator for the Philadelphia-based Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project, Bridge has begun helping Ligon with re-entering into society. They were able to find Ligon housing via domiciliary care, where he has been living with a Philadelphia family that has also played a role in his reentry process.

Ligon says that he is looking forward to helping people how so many have rallied to help him. When asked what it felt like to be back in the free world after all these years, he replied, “Beautiful.”




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Michigan Boy, 10, Has Hands And Legs Removed During Battle With COVID-19

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A  10-year-old Michigan boy had to have his hands and legs amputated during his battle with COVID-19.

It’s been weeks now that Dae’Shun Jamison has been in the hospital fighting Coronavirus complications. These rare side effects of the often deadly disease have led to the child having to have his legs and hands removed, People reports.

His mother, Brittney Autman, detailed Jamison’s journey in a GoFundMe, saying the boy was first taken to the hospital in late December after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Initially, Jamison showed no signs of COVID-19. Not long after that, Jamison developed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, a condition in which a child’s body becomes inflamed. The condition can affect a child’s brain, heart, and lungs, leading to fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and other symptoms.

Eventually, doctors at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital placed Jamison on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which pumps oxygen into a patient’s entire body to help support failing heart and lungs, the outlet reports. Two weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19, he began developing MIS-C symptoms. “They say don’t question God, but I don’t understand, why my son?” said Autman. “I wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone else’s child, but why me?”

Medical officials first removed his right leg. They let his family know that more limbs may have to be removed in the upcoming weeks. “He understood that when he wake up his leg will not look the same,” Autman wrote in an update on the donation page set up to help pay for the family’s medical bills. “Dae’Shun completely broke down in tears which affected me in so many ways, I can’t believe this is really happening to my baby.” His left leg and hands were removed on Feb. 22 after his hands were damaged due to lack of blood flow.

“Dae’Shun is very emotional about his amputations, and it breaks my heart,” Autman wrote on GoFundMe. “Please keep the prayers coming.” Jamison’s mother says her son is moving forward despite the pain; he will be joining a rehabilitation center. Autman says she believes her son will adjust to his prosthetics. “I’m trying to find ways to get him back to the way he was as much as possible,” she said. “That’s my goal for him. That’s what I want for him.”

We are praying for you, King Dae’Shun.




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Ava DuVernay Is Not Surprised By Golden Globes Voting Committee Having Zero Black Members

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Hollywood producer Ava DuVernay says that she is not surprised that there are no Black members on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

According to a new report by the Los Angeles Times, which was published on Sunday, the group of 87 international journalists who chooses the nominees and winners of the Golden Globe Awards each year does not have any Black members.

The Hollywood Reporter tweeted their story regarding the report, to which DuVernay responded by writing, “Reveals? As in, people are acting like this isn’t already widely known? For YEARS?” Golden Globes nominated actress, and director Regina King responded to DuVernay with a Drake GIF, indicating that he agreed. DuVernay responded with a Sinbad GIF with the words, “those are the facts.”

Hollywood Foreign Press Association has been under scrutiny for years for its lack of diversity and subpar ethics.

Last year, the group’s lack of inclusion of Blacks and Black talent was thrust into the spotlight when the Golden Globes snubbed DuVernay’s critically acclaimed Netflix series “When They See Us,” which documented the story of the wrongly convicted Central Park Five. Several other Black-led projects that were recently snubbed include Spike Lee’s Vietnam war movie “Da 5 Bloods” and the HBO series “I May Destroy You.” Neither project received Golden Globe nominations despite immense praise.

The 2021 Golden Globes Awards will take place virtually on Sunday and hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

A representative with the HFPA has said that the group is aware of the racial disparities and is “committed to addressing” them.




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‘An Accident Is Not A Crime’

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Investigators have decided not to press charges against Tiger Woods in his rollover car crash incident, saying it was an accident.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva officials will not be pursuing charges against the 45-year-old golf icon. “We don’t contemplate any charges whatsoever in this crash,” Villanueva said in a Facebook Live chat. “This remains an accident. An accident is not a crime. They do happen, unfortunately.”

The incident happened on Tuesday a little after 7 a.m. when Woods was driving in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The golfer drove his SUV across a median and veered through two lanes before hitting a curb and then a tree, CNN reports. The car ended up on its side. According to CNN, Woods was “awake, responsive, and recovering” from a major surgery in the hospital.

Woods sustained leg injuries but remained conscious. Woods was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent surgery on his lower right leg and ankle. The wreck fractured Wood’s legs, and medical officials had to break the bone into more than two parts in order to expose it to open air, which can run the risk of infection, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anish Mahajan said in the statement.

The golfer had to have a rod inserted into his tibia to stabilize it and the fibula bones. His foot and ankle bones had to be stabilized with screws and pins to take away some of the pressure. “His right leg was basically crushed,” Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport told CNN on Wednesday.

Villanueva said Woods surviving the tragic crash was “nothing short of a miracle,” adding that Woods wearing his seatbelt more than likely saved his life. “We have seen accidents with far less obvious (damage) that are fatalities.”




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