Letter to Jury for Nancy Seaman Trial
Dear (Jury Member):
My name is Kelle Lynn, and I am the founder of Justice Thru Storytelling, a nonprofit in Grand Haven, MI, focusing on women incarcerated for issues related to intimate partner violence.
I am reaching out to you because, in 2004, you were a member of the jury panel that convicted Nancy Seaman of first-degree premeditated murder for the homicide of her abusive husband. The sentence was mandatory life with no chance for parole.
In 2016, I interviewed and filmed the Honorable Judge Jack McDonald. In the interview, he asked then-Governor Snyder to release Nancy Seaman from her LIFE sentence by giving her a commutation. Judge McDonald firmly believes that had the jury members been given the enclosed information, there is a strong probability they would have never convicted her of first-degree murder. Instead, he believes they would have considered a verdict of manslaughter or self-defense. The interview is on my website at jtsadvocates.com.
As Judge McDonald stated, the jury came to their conclusion based on the information they were given. However, his reason for overturning the first-degree conviction is based on the information they were NOT given. There is no greater injustice than to put
a person on trial and deny them the evidence needed to prove their innocence. Ms. Seaman’s jury WAS NOT TOLD that Michigan law severely limited the testimony of her expert witnesses or that the prosecutor faced no similar restrictions.
The enclosed documents contain evidence critical to Nancy Seaman’s “self-defense” defense, which WAS OMITTED FROM JURY CONSIDERATION.
Proof of guilt must be beyond ANY reasonable doubt. According to the state and federal judges that TWICE overturned Ms. Seaman’s conviction in 2005 and 2010, the prosecutor FAILED TO PROVE premeditation and deliberation necessary for a first-
degree murder conviction and that, combined with trial counsel’s INEFFECTIVE REPRESENTATION and the OMISSION OF CRITICAL PTSD/BATTERED WOMAN SYNDROME (BWS) EVIDENCE, denied Ms. Seaman a fair trial.
- Moreover, jurors WERE DENIED the clinical reports from psychologists verifying that Ms. Seaman was a “battered woman” who has severe PTSD due to long-term battering.
- Ms. Seaman’s two expert witnesses WERE PROHIBITED from connecting PTSD/BWS to the facts in the case to explain the state of mind, behaviors, or perception of imminent danger.
- Those psychologists WERE NOT PERMITTED to explain why the testimony of Ms. Seaman’s two sons was contradictory or that this is common in domestic violence cases.
- Jurors DID NOT HAVE ACCESS to the State Nurse Examiner’s report, which documented that injuries on Ms. Seaman’s body at the time of arrest were “DEFENSIVE INJURIES” – injuries a person receives when they try to protect themselves from being injured further.
- Finally, jurors WERE DENIED testimony from a toxicologist who could explain how the amphetamines and alcohol in Mr. Seaman’s system found at autopsy likely contributed to his violent attack on Ms. Seaman.
State and federal courts have ruled that Nancy Seaman must be given a new trial, re-sentenced on a lesser charge, or immediately released from prison. If Ms. Seaman had been re-sentenced as Judge McDonald ordered in 2005, she would have returned to society in 2014. Instead, she remains imprisoned because of the prosecutor’s continuing efforts to preserve a conviction the appellate courts have ruled is unjust.
Judge McDonald was unwilling to stay silent and allow Nancy Seaman to die in prison unjustly. Therefore, I respectfully ask if you will consider reading the enclosed information provided by two well-regarded experts on the complex dynamics of intimate partner violence as it relates to Ms. Seaman.
In addition, Nancy Seaman’s case was updated on Court TV and aired on July 11, 2021. You can watch it on your computer by going to the Court TV website and typing in Michigan v Seaman. The episode is also featured On Demand. I highly recommend
watching this critical update since you will hear in more detail from Dr. Michael Abramsky, who testified at Nancy’s 2004 trial. Dr. Abramsky once stated that he has testified in over 1000 trials, and Nancy Seaman is the most over convicted case he has
seen regarding battered women.
If you feel that your decision to convict Ms. Seaman of first-degree murder would have been different if this evidence had been available for your consideration in 2004, be sure to get in touch with me as soon as possible. Any statement you provide would
help rectify the unjust outcome in this case and will be given to Nancy Seaman’s attorney.
I certainly welcome further discussion with you for any questions you may have.
- 2005 letter from nationwide expert Dr. Lenore Walker to Judge Jack McDonald.
- 2018 Letter from the Desk of Judge Jack McDonald (ret)
- 2021 study and detailed report on the case of Nancy Seaman by MSU Safe Place Director Holly Rosen, LMSW
The goal of this campaign is to convince our legislators in the state of Michigan to change People v Christel to model the California law in order to bring #Justice4Women.