In what seems to be a repeating chorus – Yet another black man, falsely convicted – wins his freedom after 14 years of being locked up.
In what seems to be a repeating chorus – Yet another black man, falsely convicted – wins his freedom after 14 years of being locked up.
It is not surprising…And it is why black folks have so little faith in the criminal justice system. What is amazing to me is the number of TV Shows on cops on the air which are completely propaganda and bear no relationship to reality. Perhaps it is time to start suing the Networks for promoting propaganda which encourages police violence, lack of accountability, and wrongful actions. The reason so many white folks believe the police are doing a fine job is that is the only narrative they are ever exposed to. The reality, as this shows is quite something different, and without substantive change to make the system more fair and accountable – there just isn’t going to be any trust.
The U.S. set a record for exonerations in 2016 for the third consecutive year.
The majority of the 2,000 people in the United States formally exonerated of crimes they never committed are black, according to a new report examining the relationship between race and wrongful convictions.
In addition, the majority of more than 1,800 innocent defendants framed by law enforcement since 1989 in widespread police scandals are African American, says the report, “Race and Wrongful Convictions in the United States,” published Tuesday as a companion to the annual National Registry of Exonerations.
“Judging from the cases we know, a substantial majority of innocent people who are convicted of crimes in the United States are African Americans,” the report declares.
The report examines exonerations for defendants who had been wrongly convicted of murder, sexual assault and drug crimes since 1989.
While African Americans make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, half of all defendants exonerated for murder are black ― a rate seven times that for innocent whites. These wrongly convicted black Americans spent on average more than 14 years in prison, the report says.
Many more are innocent, but not yet cleared. “More often than not, they will die in prison,” researchers wrote.
The false murder convictions of black defendants were 22 percent more likely to involve police misconduct than those of white defendants. On average, African Americans who were exonerated waited three years longer in prison before their release than whites in similar circumstances.
The major reason for the disproportionately high number of black murder exonerations is the high homicide rate in the black community, researchers say. But those who are wrongly convicted did not contribute to the murder rate, and instead are “deeply harmed by murders of others,” the report says.
A black person imprisoned for sexual assault is 3.5 times more likely to be innocent than a white inmate convicted on similar charges. Blacks also received much longer prison sentences than whites who were exonerated of sexual assault charges, spending an average of 4.5 years longer in prison before being cleared.
Researchers found that a major cause of this disparity was mistaken identification by white victims.
“It appears that innocent black sexual assault defendants receive harsher sentences than whites if they are convicted, and then face greater resistance to exoneration even in cases in which they are ultimately released,” the report reads.
While black and white Americans use illicit substances at about the same rate, African Americans are about five times more likely to go to prison for drug possession as whites. And innocent black people are about 12 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of drug crimes than innocent white people, according to the report.
The primary reason for the drug crime disparity is that police enforce drug laws more vigorously against the black community, according to the report. Blacks are more frequently “stopped, searched, arrested and convicted ― including in cases in which they are innocent,” researchers write.
“Of the many costs that the War on Drugs inflicts on the black community, the practice of deliberately charging innocent defendants with fabricated crimes may be the most shameful,” said Samuel Gross, a University of Michigan law professor who authored the race report and is senior editor of the national registry.
A Record Year
There were 166 exonerations in 2016, an average of three per week ― the most since the analysis began in 1989 and double the number in 2011, the National Registry of Exonerations annual report finds. It was the third consecutive year with a record number of exonerations.
“The room for growth is essentially unlimited,” the researchers conclude. That’s because the number of innocent defendants who are cleared is “a function of the resources that are available to reinvestigate and reconsider cases on the one hand, and the level of resistance to doing so on the other.”
The report found a range of factors leading to wrongful convictions, including including government misconduct, false guilty pleas by innocent people, and situations where it was later determined that no crime was committed.
The National Registry of Exonerations now lists 2,000 exonerations since 1989. On average, those who were cleared had served almost nine years in prison. Some had been on death row. Others were younger than 18 when they were convicted, or had intellectual disabilities.
Even after they are cleared and released, those exonerated often get little assistance as they adjust to freedom, update job skills and re-enter society. Thirty-one states, Washington, D.C., and the federal justice system offer some compensation, but the majority do not receive anything meaningful.
Just yesterday, a white man attacked a black man, dragged him from his car and shot him dead…And was released from jail without charges.
Bresha Meadows is a 14 year old girl, who after years of domestic abuse and beatings by her father, shot him dead. She was locked up immediately, and 6 months later is still incarcerated awaiting trial.
Once more “justice” in America depends a lot more on the color of the purported criminal…Than the commission of a crime.
Bresha Meadows knows what monsters looked like.
She saw one daily, his presence unavoidable as he tormented her family through the shadows of the night and even in the broad daylight. She watched helplessly as he brutalized her mother, threatening and beating his children, hoping against hope that the looming horrors would end.
Jonathan Meadows, she says, repeatedly threatened to kill them all.
But when the then 14-year-old Ohio girl picked up a gun and shot her father in the head last July 28, ending a years-long campaign of terror, she woke to a new monster—one that was supposed to protect her: the criminal justice system.
Bresha was arrested and held in a Warren County juvenile detention center, charged with aggravated murder. Warren County prosecutors fought to push to try her case into the adult system where she would face a possible life sentence. The district attorney reversed course Thursday, but the question remains: Should she face charges at all?
Like Bresha, I’ve met my share of monsters. There was my father who pushed my mother’s face through a plate glass window and, later, her live-in boyfriend forced me into a bathtub filled with scalding hot water. I was five years old at the time, but I can still see the redness and the yellow blisters that swelled on my pale bony legs. I can still hear my screams roaring in my ears. My then 14-year-old brother Donnie kicked down the bathroom door and pulled me from the tub. My sister Lori Ann, who was 12, called my mother at work.
Mama shot Tony in the leg that night, leaving him with a permanent limp. Years later, she brandished her pistol again after he threatened to kill her and dump her body in the Mississippi River.
She was arrested on a gun possession charge. Nearly four decades later, my mother thought the case was closed until it was discovered in a background check for a concealed carry license.
I will never forget the night that Tony beat her savagely, upending our living room furniture as she struggled to get away. My brother Christopher, best friend Debbie and I locked ourselves in a bedroom, stuffing metal and wooden toys into pillow cases and barricading the door. We were children– eight and nine years old– preparing to defend ourselves with anything we could get our hands on.
I ran away from home at least twice that year, trying to escape the madness. Debbie helped me pack an overnight bag with clothes, a few toiletries, my favorite dolls and a sandwich she took from her mother’s kitchen. But, at eight years old, I had barely enough money—between my allowance and hers– to catch a Bi-State bus down St. Charles Rock Road in St. Ann, Missouri and cross into the city limits of St. Louis to get to my Aunt Doris Jean’s house.
Tony circled the block, looking for me. I hid out in the county library, clutching the bus schedule, until the next one came by. I watched him turn the corner, then I hurried aboard, dropped two quarters into the slot and slunk down into the nearest seat. I didn’t feel safe until the bus reached the stop near Martin Luther King Drive and Taylor Avenue. I walked the last block, lugging my suitcase down an unpaved alleyway.
Nobody was home when I got to my auntie’s run-down, walk-up apartment, except her feral old cat Samantha and a mutt named Lady. I waited on the porch with the dog until my Uncle Willie Byrd stumbled in drunk after nightfall.
That was 1976.
Our physical wounds have healed, but the emotional scars remain. I was told that Anthony Gino Delgado died in prison after he was convicted on capital murder charges. My brother Donnie said Tony was in jail because he decapitated a man with the sickle.
Like my mother, I would later face down my own abuser. I repeatedly tried to leave and was stabbed in the back the day I finally got out. We were lucky.
“Approximately 75 percent of women who are killed by their batterers are murdered when they attempt to leave or after they have left an abusive relationship,”researchers found, and “women are 70 percent more likely to be killed in the two weeks after leaving than at any other time during the relationship,” experts say.
One in three women are victims of domestic violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the presence of a gun in the household increases the likelihood by 500 percent. “One in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90 percent of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.”
Children are not only witnesses, but are often victimized—as both Bresha and I were– by the same abuser. The impacts are life-long. We are “six times more likely to commit suicide,” according to Brian F. Martin, who founded the nonprofit advocacy group Children of Domestic Violence.
Despite the facts of the Meadows case and the body of research that clearly spells out the dangers of domestic violence, prosecutors chose to charge Bresha in her father’s death. The announcement that her case will be tried by a juvenile judge was welcome news. However, if convicted, Bresha, who is the niece of a Cleveland police officer, can still be incarcerated until her 21stbirthday.
“I am obviously thrilled with the decision by the prosecutor to keep Bresha’s case in the juvenile court,” defense attorney Ian Friedman said. “This doesn’t change our position that this was a self-defense scenario and we will press on with our effort to get Bresha home with her family right away. Today is a great day.”
There is a national movement to free Bresha. “Over 100 domestic violence organizations have endorsed a call to drop the charges against her and grant her an immediate release,” according to Huffington Post. “A petition with the same request has over 24,000 signatures.”
Before the shooting, Officer Martina Latessa said Bresha ran away from home and opened up about her father’s brutality. She reportedly told her aunt that her father had beaten her mother and “threatened to kill the entire family.” Bresha, she said, was “suicidal.”
“We didn’t know for months what was going to happen,” she said. “Now we know she will not spend the rest of her life in prison, no matter what.”
That isn’t enough. The charges should be dropped altogether and the family should be given the resources necessary to rebuild their lives. The profound and traumatic impacts to Bresha, whose mother called her a “hero,” will be long lasting. By the time Bresha makes the next court appearance on January 20, she will have spent nearly six months behind bars.
That will be six months too long.
The American (in)Justice system has claimed any trust in the willingness of the State to deliver Justice.
What most people (and activists) miss, is this extends to the Civil Courts.
Black Americans don’t have a lot of faith in the justice system, and history is on their side.
Aaron Sims knew a manslaughter conviction in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray was a long shot.
“There’s no justice,” the West Baltimore resident told The Huffington Post.
Sims believed Baltimore Police Officer William Porter, the first of six to be tried in Gray’s death, would likely be convicted of misconduct in office. But he figured Porter’s attorneys would maintain that the officer was simply doing his job and that the more severe charges — involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment — wouldn’t hold up.
Sims was right. After deliberating for three days, a jury informed Judge Barry G. Williams that its members couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on any of the four charges against Porter — including the most serious charge of manslaughter. Williams declared a mistrial.
Jurors split 11 to 1 in favor of acquittal on the most serious charge of involuntary manslaughter, according to The Baltimore Sun. The jury split 8 to 2 in favor of acquittal on second-degree assault, 7 to 3 in favor of conviction on reckless endangerment and 10 to 1 in favor of conviction on misconduct in office.
Cynicism like Sims’ is common. Forty-seven percent of African-Americans said they believed the officers would be punished too leniently, according to HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in December while the trial was ongoing.
And 70 percent of black Americans believe the judicial system is unfair, based on data from a 2013 Pew Research Center survey.
Why do black people expect so little from the justice system? Experience. …Read the Rest Here…
One of the most dispicable lies told by black conservatives about the black community has to do with crime. That somehow the black community has failed in policing it’s own. This is despite the fact that more black men have been incarcerated sine Raygun’s “War on Drugs” than were held in slavery in 1860, at the start of the Civil War.
Because 90% of crime is intra-racial – this means that it’s within the community, AND if the Justice System is selecting a “Jury of Peers”…
That many of the jurors are black.
So the community that is supposedly doing nothing, or in the most racist screeds by the Uncle Tom black conservative set is acquiescent to the criminality…
Is the same one that has put 1.5 million black men in jail for their crimes.
Hardly “doing nothing”.
The problem is – the “Criminal Industrial System” in America is a failure – taking small time users, giving them sentences with hard core felons…
And making more felons.
Indeed the sole purpose of the “War on Drugs” is to suppress the vote. There is an excellent book on the subject by Michelle Alexander – “The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”.…
After three days of deliberation, jurors found William Balfour guilty in the October 2008 shooting deaths of the Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew.
Balfour has been convicted on all seven counts against him, which include three counts of first-degree murder, one count of home invasion, one count aggravated kidnapping, one count residential burglary, and one count possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Hudson, who expressed her undisguised disdain for William Balfour when she took the witness stand and who endured weeks of excruciating testimony about the October 2008 killings, was visibly overcome with emotion as the verdict was read. Hudson’s eyes filled with tears and she shook her head and bit her lip. Afterward, she looked over at her sister, Julia Hudson, and smiled.
Balfour, the ex-husband of Hudson’s sister, killed 57-year-old Darnell Hudson, 29-year-old Jason Hudson and 7-year-old Julian King. Prosecuters believe that Balfour shot the family in a jealous rage because ex-wife Julia Hudson was dating another man.
Balfour, 31, now faces a life sentence in prison.
Just for the heck of it… One of my favorite artists, Howard Hewitt…
Judge Mathis weighs in with a powerful condemnation of the Legal System and Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis.
Hat Tip to Truthout for this marvelous analysis and dissection of Justice in America.
The biggest crime in the US criminal justice system is that it is a race-based institution where African-Americans are directly targeted and punished in a much more aggressive way than white people.
Saying the US criminal system is racist may be politically controversial in some circles. But the facts are overwhelming. No real debate about that. Below, I set out numerous examples of these facts.
The question is – are these facts the mistakes of an otherwise good system, or are they evidence that the racist criminal justice system is working exactly as intended? Is the US criminal justice system operated to marginalize and control millions of African-Americans?
Information on race is available for each step of the criminal justice system – from the use of drugs, police stops, arrests, getting out on bail, legal representation, jury selection, trial, sentencing, prison, parole and freedom. Look what these facts show.
One. The US has seen a surge in arrests and putting people in jail over the last four decades. Most of the reason is the war on drugs. Yet, whites and blacks engage in drug offenses, possession and sales at roughly comparable rates – according to a report on race and drug enforcement published by Human Rights Watch in May 2008. While African-Americans comprise 13 percent of the US population and 14 percent of monthly drug users, they are 37 percent of the people arrested for drug offenses – according to 2009 Congressional testimony by Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project. Read the rest of this entry »