Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Open Letter from Political Prisoner Robert ‘Seth’ Hayes Legal Fund

The Rev-elution welcomes Crystal M. Hayes as a guest blogger.  Hayes is the Associate Executive Director at NC Peace Action and Clinical Assistant Professor at NC State University. I met her years ago over a cup of coffee, and soon learned that she has a passion for justice rooted in a bond with her father. In today’s blog, Hayes introduces her Father. This post first appeared on Kulture Kritic on July 9, 2013.  Please note the plea for support and spread the word about Seth and Crystal's journey.

My father, Robert Seth Hayes, is a former Black Panther Party Member and Political Prisoner. He has been incarcerated for 40 years, but this isn’t a message about the politics of mass-incarceration. This is a message about a father who deserves to be home.

My father is one of the most gentle, caring, loving individuals you’ll ever know. Prison hasn’t hardened his heart or his resolve for freedom.  He remains committed to social justice and building safe communities.  If you’ve ever loved someone in prison, you know that prison is a place where love goes to die. It’s designed to destroy families and to turn people into monsters.  My father fought to make sure that didn’t happen to us, and even when I didn’t have the courage or strength to hold on with him and wanted to give up, he held on for all of us. He continues to do so today.

Below is an open letter, written by my father, regarding his most recent legal battles and struggle for freedom. Please share his story far and wide and help his legal team in whatever way that you can.

Thanks for your support.

Crystal M. Hayes (Twitter: @motherjustice)

Greetings Gentle Folk, Supporters, Workers, Interested Individuals, Elders, Young Ones, and All People Struggling.

This is my 40th Year of incarceration and it even gives me pause when I think about it because it turns towards the obvious question, WHY?

By law and legal application, there is no answer for why. But if we pondered about hidden motivations or descent into the mire that distinguishes itself as human value and concerns, then the answer is quite clear. But in any case, ours is the desire to educate and be educated through enlightenment. A means, a way, to seize the time and force real consideration towards my release.

The law in the beginning, said, “you will serve a minimum of 25 years of incarceration with the maximum term of life if it is so deemed that criminal activities remain an aspect of your incarceration.”

Well, I have records dating from 1998, the first time I came up for parole. These documents stated that “you have an exemplary incarceration record of work and program completions. As well as a strong, complimentary discipline history. However. Due to the serious nature of your crime, release is not recommended at this time.”

Thereafter, from the year 2000 to 2012 I have been remanded, denied release, each and every time I appeared in spite of my continued accomplishments of program and outside accredited achievements. The statement of “exemplary and distinguished good discipline” resounds throughout each and every one of my parole appearances.


It is for us to distinguish when and where officials deviate from guidelines and implement their own personal agendas. The authority they are claiming in keeping me incarcerated was never granted to them, but belongs to the Courts, Judges and Legislators. It is not the Parole Board’s to appropriate.

Next we should ask ourselves. If it were so blatantly obvious that they are doing this to you Seth, what are the chances it might occur to someone close to me? A loved one, a friend, or a friend of a friend. Shouldn’t we all come under the dictates of the law as equal representatives of society?

If you are in agreement, lend a hand. Donate a small portion of your earnings that we might take the fight to the courts loud and clear. We are a society of workers, parents, students, and teachers. Members of communities in need of honest laborers and socially conscious members. Let us say NO to those who would usurp and take possession without legal claim or authority of your God-given rights.

Stand up, stand firm and lets correct a continued case of criminal activities within the state. We do not surrender our rights to be heard, seen and understood. We must come together and struggle for what is right. Prisoners who have done their time should be released so that they can go home to their families and contribute to making this world a better place.


Love and Support in yours and my endeavors.

Robert Seth Hayes

Please send contributions for the Legal Defense Fund for Robert Seth Hayes to Nate Buckley, 438 Massachusetts avenue, Buffalo, NY 14213. Please send an e-mail confirmation to buckleynate1@gmail.com to make sure that it was received.

If you wish to send a letter to the parole commissioners requesting my release and asking them to bring closure to our communities as a whole, send your letters c/o Cheryl L. Kates, P.C., Attorney At Law, PO Box 734, Victor NY 14564.

Your efforts are honored and appreciated. Stay Strong.

Know that your love and support provides support and strengthens Seth’s and others determined to prevail.




  1. Crystal, I know you love your father and wish to see him returned to you, but you have neglected to state some important facts for us to judge the situation and decide whether to send money.

    Robert Seth Hayes was convicted of killing a NYC policeman. Do you have any facts about the case or subsequent trial?

    When police came to arrest your father at his home, there was an altercation, resulting in resisting arrest charges and assault on an officer. Any details known on this other than the similarly worded blogs and letters from numerous web sites? People seem to be copying one another rather than quoting actual facts.

    Some of the web references conflate the two events. Others ignore the cop killer convictions and only mention his home arrest. What details or references can you supply us?

  2. Crystal, still waiting for more information. If you and Carl classify your father as a "political prisoner," then please supply the information to justify the designation. It's hard to give money to a cause that is not yet defined.

  3. Thanks for responding. I am not an attorney. Please refer to his attorney Cheryl Kates (see above for her contact information) for any legal questions about his case, arrest, sentencing, or even donations. To your other question, I did not give my father the title "Political Prisoner." He was declared a Political Prisoner by Amnesty International. Again, thanks for your inquiry. Peace

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