GLAA urges retrial of PG murderer

GLAA urges retrial of PG murderer

Response from State's Attorney
Letter to PG County Executive
Response from County Executive

Letter to State's Attorney for PG County

Thursday, July 2, 1998

Jack Johnson, Esq.
Prince George's County State's Attorney
14735 Main Street
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

Dear Mr. Johnson:

We are writing you to express our outrage at the miscarriage of justice in the murder trial of Charles Carney, the admitted killer of Anthony Barnes. The acquittal of Mr. Carney was clearly based on anti-gay bias rather than regard for justice in the murder of Anthony Barnes. We urge you to prosecute Mr. Carney on the manslaughter charge rather than any lesser charge.

As an organization with members, friends, family, and allies in Prince Georges County and elsewhere in Maryland, we feel less safe as a result of this case. The jury's decision suggests that murder is an acceptable response to encountering someone who is gay or who allegedly makes homosexual advances. We are appalled that such an argument can be considered reasonable in our own community. Even in Laurel, Mississippi — not a place known for its liberal leanings — a jury rejected the increasingly discredited "homosexual panic defense" in a similar murder case three years ago, as have juries throughout the country.

We recognize that Mr. Carney cannot be retried on the charges of which he was acquitted. However, the jury's deadlock on the manslaughter charge enables you to retry him on that charge. Please do so in the name of justice and the safety of the entire community, rather than plea bargain for a lesser charge. It is our duty to speak up for justice in this case, because Anthony Barnes can no longer speak for himself.

Please don't let Anthony's killer use anti-gay bigotry to get away with murder and go free to look for more victims. We urge you to prosecute Carney for his crime to the fullest extent possible.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Rosendall
President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance


Letter to PG County Executive

Thursday, July 2, 1998

Wayne Curry, County Executive
Prince George's County Government
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772
By Fax: (301)952-3784

Dear Mr. Curry:

We are writing you to express our outrage at the miscarriage of justice in the murder trial of Charles Carney, the admitted killer of Anthony Barnes. The acquittal of Mr. Carney was clearly based on anti-gay bias rather than regard for justice in the murder of Anthony Barnes. We urge you to speak out on this issue and to state your support for the retrial of Mr. Carney on the manslaughter charge.

As an organization with members, friends, family, and allies in Prince Georges County and elsewhere in Maryland, we feel less safe as a result of this case. The jury's decision suggests that murder is an acceptable response to encountering someone who is gay or who allegedly makes homosexual advances. We are appalled that such an argument can be considered reasonable in our own community. Even in Laurel, Mississippi — not a place known for its liberal leanings — a jury rejected the increasingly discredited "homosexual panic defense" in a similar murder case three years ago, as have juries throughout the country.

We recognize that Mr. Carney cannot be retried on the charges of which he was acquitted. However, the jury's deadlock on the manslaughter charge enables State's Attorney Jack Johnson to retry him on that charge. Please join us in urging him to do so in the name of justice and the safety of the entire community, rather than plea bargain for a lesser charge. We are sure that you agree with us that fundamental rights, such as the right to equal justice under law and to life itself, should be granted to all citizens and not selectively denied on the basis of prejudice. It is up to us to speak up and speak out for justice in this case, because Anthony Barnes can no longer speak for himself.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Rosendall
President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance


Response from State's Attorney

July 8, 1998 [postmarked July 14, 1998]

Richard Rosendall, President
Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, DC 20013

Re: State v. Charles Carney

Dear Mr. Rosendall:

Thank you for your letter expressing your deep concern about the outcome of this case.

I want you to know that I was also disappointed in the Jury's decision. However, I want you to know that this office vigorously prosecuted this case and did all within its power to obtain a first degree murder conviction. The issue concerning homosexuality and other issues relating to sex were advanced by the defense, and we tried as hard as we could to overcome those issues. I wish I could rid the world of prejudice, but I cannot. I can assure you that as a human being and as a public servant, I will never make a decision based on a person's race, religion, or sexuality.

Finally, let me assure you that I will pursue this case vigorously to the end.

Sincerely,

Jack Johnson
State's Attorney for Prince George's County

JJ/ah


Response from PG County Executive

The Prince George's County Government
Office of the County Executive

[postmarked July 14, 1998]

Richard J. Rosendall, President
Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, DC 20013

Dear Mr. Rosendall:

Thank you for contacting me. After reviewing your letter, I asked the State's Atty Office, a County Agency to review your conerns. They will respond to you with a summary of their findings and actions.

In the meantime, should you have any questions regarding a County matter, please feel free to contact my Citizen Services Division at (301)952-4131. We will be available to assist you Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Sincerely,

Wayne K. Curry
County Executive

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