NJ4 Case Updates
3.18.10 Renata Hill to be release from Albion State Correctional Facility on April 14th, 2010!:
Renata Hill will be released from Albion State Correctional Facility April 14th, 2010, once again, but this time for good! Renata was sent back to complete an additional year and a half after she accepted a plea bargain last year. In 2008 the Appellate Court granted her a retrial. She was out on bail for six months, but decided against a retrial since she would have had the same judge, Judge Mclaughlin, who originally sentenced her to eight years. She will continue to be on probation for five years.
Unfortunately, Patreese Johnson will remain at Albion until 2015. Please do not forget to write Patreese!
Albion Correctional Facility
3595 State School Road
Albion, NY 14411-9399
5.16.09 Renata Hill returns to prison & info to offer her support:
On May 4th Renata Hill turned herself in as per her plea agreement. She will serve an additional year and a half sentence. Renata has been out on bail since late August 2008. The prosecutors would not grant her the deal she was seeking of two years time served. She still fights for custody of her seven year old son.
Please let her know she still has supporters and write to her at:
Albion Correctional Facility
3595 State Road
Albion, NY 14411-9399
There is also a documentary in progress on the case of the NJ4. You can visit the site for ongoing updates as well. Click HERE to visit the website for the film The Fire This Time.
3.17.09 Renata Hill accepts plea bargain and will return to prision:
On March 17th, Renata Hill accepted a plea bargain. She was faced with either a retrial or to take a plea. The retrial would have meant a possibility of having to serve the original eight years she was sentenced with. She took the plea bargain. She plead guilty to gang assault in the second degree with a sentence of three and a half years with an additional five years probation. This means that she will have to go back for an additional year and a half. She decided to accept the plea thinking of her son, it being better to serve an additional year and a half oppose to risking the original eight she might get back if she went to a retrial.
On April 30th Renata will turn herself into Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to begin the completion of her sentence. On March 19th she saw her son for the first time in almost two years. Only, to have to tell him that she has to go back to prison. She is currently going through a custody battle for visitation before she has to turn herself in.
The only remaining pending case now facing the seven young women from New Jersey is the civil law suit filed by their attacker, Dwayne Buckle, who is suing them for 5 million for what he calls a straight-hate crime.
Please check back for updated information on how to write letters to Renata once she is re-incarcerated.
3.4.09 Renata Hill court date postponed until March 17th:
On March 4th, Renata Hill expected to hear whether or not she would get resentenced to more time or get time served on reduced charges. Her court date was postponed to March 17th. 450+ letters to Manhattan District Attorney demanding that they stop the prosecution of Renata Hill are need. Click HERE for more info on how to support.
2.17.09 Venice Brown time served, Renata Hill next court date March 4th:
On February 3rd, Venice Brown accepted a plea bargain of Attempted Gang Assault with 26 months -time served, plus two years probation. Unfortunately, this means Venice is still stuck with a felony, however she is no longer at risk for any more prison time.
Renata, was not given a plea. Her next court date is March 4th. It is still very important to send letters to the District Attorney's office, urging him to stop the further prosecution of Renata Hill.
However, Venice is still in need of a civil attorney. Dwayne Buckle's civil law suit of $5M against the seven women, is moving forward. Currently, Venice is the only one without legal representation. If you or anyone you know would be interested, please email us HERE with your information.
11.25.08: Renata Hill retrial rescheduled AGAIN to February 3rd, 2009 & NJ4 Benefit on December 11th
Renata Hill's retrial was pushed back, yet again, to February 3rd. Keep the letters pouring in! Every letter sent to the DA, urging him to stop prosecuting her, will help!
Venice and Patreese recently had their appeals heard at the First District Appellate Court. Two of the five judges were the same judges from Terrain and Renata's appeals. We are staying positive. But with Patreese being the only NJ4 to remain incarcerated, it is important to continue to send her letters of support.
December 11th we will be having a benefit for one of the NJ4 who currently faces losing her housing. She is currently out on bail/bonds, awaiting her retrial, which will be heard in front of the same judge who sentenced her to eight years. In 2006, seven African-American lesbians were attacked in the West Village by a cat-caller who also threatened to "F them straight." The girls defended themselves and were charged with varying degrees of gang assault and assault. In June of this year Renata & Terrain had their appeals heard. Terrain was found innocent and immediately released after two years of incarceration. Renata was granted a retrial. Venice & Patreese just had their appeals heard, & are currently awaiting a decision. Venice is also recently out on bail. This benefit will help raise money for immediate housing needs. Come out and show your support for the right to be who you are and the right to defend yourself and your friends.
10.15.08: Renata Hill retrial rescheduled to November 20th & Venice Brown released on bail!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to send out a letter on behalf of Renata Hill! The retrial date has been rescheduled for November 20th. So anyone who has not sent out a letter or knows people who would still like to send them out, please do! They will still help very much. If you would like to write your own, that would help a lot as well.
Also, Venice Brown was released on bail on October 7th. This is great news because her 21st birthday is less than three weeks away. She is awaiting her appeals which should be sometime in November.
10.7.08 ACTION ALERT: urgent request to support Renata Hill of the NJ4
Renata Hill, who is one of the New Jersey 4, had her appeal heard on June 3rd, 2008. The First District Appellate Court found her innocent on the charge of Assault in the Third Degree and granted her a retrial on the charge of Gang Assault in the Second Degree, based on a judges error. She was originally sentenced to eight years in maximum-security prison. After the appeals decision she was moved from Bedford Hills prison to Riker's Island. On August 29th, 2008, she was released on bail after over two years of incarceration. Her retrial date is set for October 14th. The trial will be heard in front of the same judge, Judge McLaughlin, who originally sentenced her. The same Appellate court found her co-defendant, Terrain Dandridge innocent on the same Gang Assault charge, based on insufficient evidence. Terrain is currently the only one of the seven (the other three have felony convictions with five years of probation) who was found innocent of all her charges and has no criminal record, after she too served two years in prison. The remaining two, Venice Brown and Patreese Johnson are awaiting their appeals, which will be held this November.
We are planning to flood the District Attorney's office with letters encouraging him to not prosecute Renata any further. She has already served two years for defending herself against a man who harassed and initiated a fight with her and her friends in the West Village during August 2006. Two weeks before she was bailed out, her mother passed away. Judge McLaughlin refused to lower her bail from $75,000 to the $5,000 so that she may attend the funeral. However, one week later the Appellate court lowered it to $5,000 and activists across the country were then able to raise the money and bail her out.
Please take the time to download this letter, fill in your name and the date where appropriate and mail to the below address:
Robert M. Morgenthau
New York County
1 Hogan Place
New York, NY 10013
Or you can come by FIERCE this Thursday:
Letter writing solidarity party!
Thursday, October 9th
5:30 - 7:00pm
147 West 24th Street, 6th Floor
F/1/E/R/C to 23rd St.
FIERCE will provide snacks, drinks, materials and postage to send letters. Please feel free to help us save money by donating postage (bring stamps if you can).
If you plan to attend the letter writing solidarity party, please RSVP to NJ4@fiercenyc.org so we know how much food and materials to plan for.
Below is the information for Renata Hill's retrial if we are unable to get the DA to stop further prosecution of her case. FIERCE will send out any updates on the trial as we receive them. You can also check out our website for updates here: http://www.fiercenyc.org/index.php?s=128
Renata Hill retrial
Tuesday, October 14th (time TBA)
Supreme Court Criminal Term
100 Centre St. in part 93.
Your timely support by sending letters to the DA is extremely important. Renata has now been out on bail for just over a month. Please help her so she does not have to go back!!
8.29.08: Renata Hill out on bail!
Renata Hill, sentenced to 11 years with the NJ 4, won her appeal this summer and has been given a new trial this fall. Her bail was set at $75,000 and has spent her time until now at Riker’s Island Correctional Facility in New York. Last week, her bail was lowered to $5,000. Friends, family, and supporters from all over the country sent donations for Renata’s release. On August 29, 2008, Renata left Riker’s Island to join her family and friends, including Terrain Daindrige from the NJ4 released after her successful appeal this summer.
Renata and Terrain will be guest speakers, among others, at the Brecht Forum on September 16, 2008 at 7:00 pm to help further fundraising for the New Jersey 7. The benefit will raise support for all of the women who were originally involved in the incident over 2 years ago. The three women that were not incarcerated still face probation and other hardships due to their criminal records. Venice Brown also has a reachable $5,000 bail and Patreese Brown is anticipating her appellate trial sometime in November.
6.23.08: Terrain Dandridge wins successful appeal and released from prison with conviction overturned!
Terrain Dandridge’s appeal has been successful and she was released from Albion Correctional Facility on Monday, June 23, 2008. Terrain Dandridge’s case was overturned, all her charges were dropped and her record has been cleared. Renata Hill is awaiting a new trial of the events concerning the night of August 18, 2006, where her and seven other young black lesbians from Newark, New Jersey faced a homophobic assault in New York’s West Village.