After spending 5 weeks in a Cleveland jail for posting anti-Bush, anti-war posters as shown in the photo above, Carol Fisher, 54, whom I have blogged about here, here and here, was released last Friday afternoon. On July 6, the Appeals Court finally granted her an appeal bond, which freed her from jail while her trial and conviction are reviewed by a higher court. She must still take a court-ordered “anger management class” and perform two years of community service while on probation. Carol’s attorneys, Terry Gilbert and Dan Shields, will continue to fight in the courts in the hopes that this dangerous legal precedent, in which opposing the Bush regime results in being ordered into a psych unit for evaluation, will be overturned.
In a letter from jail dated July 4, Carol described filthy premises, a fly-invested, unsanitary medical clinic, women deprived of their medications or needed medical attention, towels the size of dishtowels, bedsheets thin as gauze, blankets full of holes, foul water, and 30 women sharing three rolls of toilet paper for a week. While these conditions are bad enough, what she wrote here was of deepest concern to me:
There’s no regard for due process or “right to a speedy trial,” or “right to contact your attorney.” Those who are appointed public defenders often don’t know their attorney’s name or have any way of contacting them. If you don’t have someone on the outside pulling for you, forget it. The only hope is thru the social worker who comes once a week. The majority of women in here are sitting and waiting for an unknown date for arraignment, for a hearing, for sentencing, or to be assigned a bed at an outside treatment center. People wait weeks and sometimes months even to be charged. When those with public defenders finally go to court they wait all day in holding cells with 2 to 8 others, often you get sent back upstairs with no results — hearing is rescheduled. Obviously you have no control over any of this.
Carol spoke of organizing the women in jail, urging them to speak up, write letters, began to work together to draw attention to their situation.
More information can be found at World Can’t Wait. Close to $3,000 has been raised so far, most of which has paid for court transcripts. Because of her legal troubles, Carol has now lost her job. If she does not win on appeal, she will have to pay court costs of $2,400 so far.
If you want to help, make checks payable to “Carol Fisher Defense Fund” and mail to “NION/WCW PO Box 609034 Cleveland, OH 44109. You can also donate online if you go to the World Can’t Wait site.
Thanks to JJ at OneOhioWoman for this update.