LAST THURSDAY AUGUST 12, RUSSELL MAROON SHOATZ’S PETITION TO QUIETLY LIVE OUT HIS DAYS IN HOSPICE CARE WAS DENIED.
Judge Kai Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas denied Russell Maroon Shoatz’s petition for a medical transfer, despite his immobility and terminal cancer diagnosis, because she believes he is a danger to the community and a risk of escape.
Statement from the ‘Free Maroon Now!’ Coalition
We are in total disagreement with the obviously politically influenced decision by Judge Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to currently deny our Elder’s petition for transfer to hospice care, due to an unfounded believe that Maroon is still a “threat to escape & a threat to society.”
Too, we are vehemently opposed to the needless days of waiting that the family was forced to endure between the two court hearings and to then have to come to grips with this falsely hopeful “selling of a dream” decision that was both totally unreasonable and emotionally cruel.
The armed domestic war during the late 60s, 70s and early 80s in the United States between the Police & Black Radicals has long since passed with extreme casualties on both sides and the call for peace & reconciliation is the only way for society to justly move forward from those turbulent years of struggle in America.
Russell Maroon Shoatz can no more be considered “a threat to escape & a threat to society” than the elderly bedridden ICU patients on ventilators from COVID that he too, by the grace of God & community support, somehow survived from the medical neglect that so many other prisoners have died from.
We call upon all clergy, community activists, educators, elected officials, and freedom loving people to join in our struggle to support and call on Judge Scott have the courage to reverse her decision at the next appeals hearing and grant Maroon’s petition to hospice care.
Statement from the Shoatz Family
On behalf of the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and the ancestors of Russell “Harun-Maroon” Shoatz, we would like to first thank all of those who have stood with us over the years in action & prayer to help bring our beloved Elder Patriarchal Father back home to us.
That said, we are saddened but not disheartened about the recent decision by Judge Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to deny our Elder’s petition for transfer to hospice care and pledge to continue our struggle to have Russell Harun-Maroon Shoatz peacefully spend his last days amongst both his loving family and the duly respected members of our community.
We unequivocally disagree with Judge Scott’s opinion that a 78-year-old deeply religious, COVID-surviving, partially blind, wheelchair bound, urinary catheter bag dependent, and waiting to die from stage 4 pancreatic cancer person could in any way possibly “still present a risk of escape and threat to public safety”.
We therefore would respectfully appeal to her stated belief in mercy to ultimately reverse her decision to grant the hospice care petition and insure that Russell Harun-Maroon Shoatz not die in prison.
Statement from Russell Maroon Shoatz’s Legal Team
Maroon’s petition for transfer to hospice care was denied by Judge Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas after two hearings. That law that allows people in Maroon’s position to request transfer to hospice care is very limited, and requires people to meet a strict set of criteria to be eligible for transfer to hospice care. Even then, judges have the discretion to deny these petitions if they choose.
In Maroon’s case, Judge Scott acknowledged that he met every eligibility requirement except for one — that we must prove he does not present a risk of “escape” or a threat to public safety. Judge Scott acknowledged many factors weighing in favor of Maroon — his medical and physical condition, letters of support describing how he has mentored countless people over the years, decades without being charged with any crimes or misconducts in the DOC, and the extensive support he would have from the community around him. Judge Scott also expressed that she believes in mercy and that everyone should be able to transition to the next life with their loved ones around them.
Ultimately, however, Judge Scott said that she would not be doing her job as a judge if she granted Maroon that mercy. She decided that, based on his past criminal convictions from the 1970s and 80s, Maroon still presented a risk of escape and threat to public safety. We obviously disagree with this decision, and we’re committed to continuing to work with Maroon to carry out his wishes.
Join the Coalition to FREE MAROON NOW!