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Music

Fiona Apple asks fans to phone Maryland politicians amid campaign for court transparency

Singer-songwriter, Fiona Apple has been a high-profile advocate of virtual court observations in Prince George’s Country, Maryland, for some time. Now, she’s shared a plea to her fans, asking them to join her in phoning the state’s lawmakers to support a new bill that would continue to allow virtual court access. Not one for giving up easily, in the new video, she included an explanation and a prompt for how to do it.

In the video, posted to Twitter by CourtwatchPG, a grassroots organisation that campaigns for transparency in local courtrooms, the New York legend called for all “caring people”, even those with “phonephobia”, to call Maryland house delegate Luke Clippinger and state senator William C. Smith, Jr. The ultimate goal is to advance and spread the word of House Bill 647 and Senate Bill 469 to “keep our courts fair, open and transparent.” 

Apple‘s campaigning hasn’t stopped there. In February, she pledged her support to a movement that’s attempting to remove a heinous law from the American criminal justice system. She posted a video on Twitter that outlined just how simple it is to protest a historic law that is keeping over 200 people who have not received fair trials in prison in Louisiana and Oregon. 

Interestingly, the law in question only exists in those two states, and was lobbied for by the Ku Klux Klan over 80 years ago in a bid to dismiss the opinions of jurors of colour, seeking to “establish the supremacy of the white race”.

Per the American constitution, a unanimous verdict is needed to convict someone of a crime. However, under this particular law, the opinions of up to two jurors are allowed to be dismissed, therefore giving convictions without a unanimous jury. 

Unsurprisingly, the result of the law is that many Black defendants have been convicted without a fair trial. 

We hope in both cases that Apple succeeds. 

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