Since the campaign’s inception, Represent Justice has been dedicated to restoring the humanity of system-impacted people and fighting for a more equitable justice system. As such, Represent Justice is honored to lend our efforts to support the Justice for Julius Jones campaign — an urgent effort to free an innocent Black man on death row in Oklahoma.
As a 20-year-old football player and student at University of Oklahoma, Julius Jones was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in 2000. His case and subsequent trial for the murder of Paul Howell was riddled with factual errors and racial bias from the start.
During Julius’ arrest, an Oklahoma police officer used a racial slur. His co-defendant, who fit an eyewitness’ description of the shooter though Julius did not, was the state’s key witness against him. In preparation for the trial, the state removed all prospective Black jurors except for one, and a juror was discovered to have used the n-word during deliberations at the sentencing phase.
In collaboration with the Justice for Julius Jones campaign, Represent Justice has been able to cull support from influencers and stakeholders in Oklahoma. Athletes with ties to the state like Blake Griffin, Trae Young and Russell Westbrook have written letters in support of the campaign, Kim Kardashian spoke with Jason Flom about the case on Flom’s Wrongful Conviction podcast, and have enlisted the support of leaders in the faith community like Craig Groeschel of Life Church and Bishop TD Jakes. A petition in support of Julius’ freedom has garnered over 6 million signatures.
The case of Julius Jones is one of far too many examples of the way the failures of our justice system can rob an innocent person of their life, and with the State of Oklahoma announcing in early 2020 that it would resume executions, the fight to overturn Julius’ sentence and conviction is even more pressing.