Fiona Apple is fighting against a racist law supported by the KKK
The law has been deemed unconstitutional, but it's still keeping over 200 people in prison.
Fiona Apple, never one to shy away from important issues, is drawing attention to an egregious injustice in the criminal justice system. Over the weekend, Apple posted a video in which she shows how easy it is to take action to protest an antiquated law keeping over 200 people who did not receive fair trials in prison in Louisiana and Oregon.
The law in question, which only exists in the two states, was lobbied for by the Ku Klux Klan over 80 years ago in order to dismiss the opinions of jurors of color and “establish the supremacy of the white race.” Constitutionally, a unanimous verdict is required to convict someone of a crime — but under this racist law, up to two jurors’ opinions were allowed to be dismissed, and a conviction given with a non-unanimous jury. The result of the law was that many Black defendants were convicted without a fair trial, and are either still in prison or have been released and have to live with the burden of a wrongful conviction on their record.
Luckily, the practice no longer happens. One man who was wrongly convicted and imprisoned in Louisiana, Calvin Duncan, became a jailhouse lawyer and advocate for the cause. From 2011, when he was released, to 2019, he petitioned and was denied by the Supreme Court 22 times. On his 23rd attempt in 2020, the court finally agreed to hear the petition and ruled that the law is in fact unconstitutional and meant to reinforce racism. So while it’s no longer being enforced, those that it affected remain in prison or continue to have unfair convictions on their records.
Apple, who is known for acts of protest and political statements like turning a 1930s Gershwin song into a voting PSA for Joe Biden, and her iconic parody “Trump’s Nuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” is no stranger to getting involved in important causes. She urges people to go to StillInPrison.org, where with just a few clicks you can email legislators urging them to do something to help those still imprisoned without a fair trial.