WHEC Rochester – June 12, 2007

Community activist sentenced to 16 years in prison

A community activist well known in several city neighborhoods is going to prison.

The Reverend Joyce Powell, as she was referred to, told the judge she was raped, railroaded and bamboozled. The community activist maintained her innocence Tuesday morning as she was sentenced for burglary and assault.

The judge sentenced her to 16 years for burglary and seven years for assault. She’ll serve the sentences concurrently.

Powell told the judge she was not given a fair trial. She complained that not one juror was African-American. She also says she was not allowed to use evidence and testimony that could have helped her, like her years of community activism and the fact that she ran a church.

She also told the judge she heard he did not like her, but she told Supreme Court Judge Francis Affronti she loved him.

A jury found Powell guilty in may of burglarizing the home of a long time friend and severely beating her with a bat.

Judge Affronti told Powell her comments were offensive. He said she showed no remorse and has not once taken responsibility for her actions. Affronti told Powell, the justice system did not fail her, she failed the system.

“Somebody who holds themselves out to be that kind of person in this community and can commit that type of act. I just think it’s abhorrent. It’s as if they’re leading a double life,” said Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Perry Duckles.

“There really was no forensic evidence at trial. The case was based solely on the testimony of one witness,” said David Owens, Powell’s attorney.

Powell served time in jail back in 1993 and was released in 1995. She ran an anti-violence program and has been vocal against crime, weapons and street violence since.