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Tag Archives: Justice

Stacking Juries Against Black Defendants

The American Legal System is stacked against the poor, and persons of color. Whether the case is Civil or Criminal, a minority defendant pays a “Black Tax” on the outcome of the trial proceeding based on the sometimes intentional, and often subconscious bias of the jury. As such a Jury Trial is not the shield for the innocent it is for white defendants.

The process of racial Jury “stacking” has been exposed before, and addressed by the Appellate and Supreme Court. Yet it continues. Perhaps, in addition to the focus on Law Enforcement, BLM and other organizations need to attack the system at it’s very roots – the Judicial.

The Old Jim Crow Jury

Exclusion of Blacks From Juries Raises Renewed Scrutiny

SHREVEPORT, La. — Here are some reasons prosecutors have offered for excluding blacks from juries: They were young or old, single or divorced, religious or not, failed to make eye contact, lived in a poor part of town, had served in the military, had a hyphenated last name, displayed bad posture, were sullen, disrespectful or talkative, had long hair, wore a beard.

The prosecutors had all used peremptory challenges, which generally allow lawyers to dismiss potential jurors without offering an explanation. But the Supreme Court makes an exception: If lawyers are accused of racial discrimination in picking jurors, they must offer a neutral justification.

“Stupid reasons are O.K.,” said Shari S. Diamond, an expert on juries at Northwestern University School of Law. Ones offered in bad faith are not.

In Louisiana’s Caddo Parish, where Shreveport is the parish seat, a study to be released Monday has found that prosecutors used peremptory challenges three times as often to strike black potential jurors as others during the last decade. That is consistent with patterns researchers found earlier in Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina, where prosecutors struck black jurors at double or triple the rates of others. In Georgia, prosecutors excluded every black prospective juror in a death penalty case against a black defendant, which the Supreme Court has agreed to review this fall.

“If you repeatedly see all-white juries convict African-Americans, what does that do to public confidence in the criminal justice system?” asked Elisabeth A. Semel, the director of the death penalty clinic at the law school at the University of California, Berkeley.

As police shootings of unarmed black men across the country have spurred distrust of law enforcement by many African-Americans, the new findings on jury selection bring fresh attention to a question that has long haunted the American justice system: Are criminal juries warped by racism and bias?

Some legal experts said they hoped the Supreme Court would use the Georgia case to tighten the standards for peremptory challenges, which have existed for centuries and were, until a 1986 decision, Batson v. Kentucky, considered completely discretionary. (Judges can also dismiss potential jurors for cause, but that requires a determination that they are unfit to serve.)

But many prosecutors and defense lawyers said peremptory strikes allow them to use instinct and strategy to shape unbiased and receptive juries. “I’m looking for people who will be open, at least, to my arguments,” said Joshua Marquis, the district attorney in Astoria, Ore.

Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s elected public defender, said peremptory challenges promote fairness. “You’re going to remove people who are biased against your client,” he said, “and the district attorney is going to remove jurors who are biased against police officers or the government.”

Another Courthouse Guarded By a Confederate Memorial

Reprieve Australia, a group that opposes the death penalty and conducted the Caddo Parish study, said the likelihood of an acquittal rose with the number of blacks on the jury. No defendants were acquitted when two or fewer of the dozen jurors were black. When there were at least three black jurors, the acquittal rate was 12 percent. With five or more, the rate rose to 19 percent. Defendants in all three groups were overwhelmingly black.

Excluding black jurors at a disproportionate rate does more than hurt defendants’ prospects and undermine public confidence, said Ursula Noye, a researcher who compiled the data for the report. “Next to voting,” she said, “participating in a jury is perhaps the most important civil right.”

‘It Dashes Your Hopes’

Prospective jurors arriving at the courthouse here walk past a towering monument to the Confederacy, featuring grim likenesses of four Confederate generals.

Carl Staples, a 63-year-old African-American, recalled how the monument made him feel when he reported for jury duty. “It dashes your hopes,” he said, taking a break at the gospel radio station where he works as an announcer. “It has its roots in the ideology of white supremacy.” He said much the same thing during jury selection in a 2009 death penalty case, and that played a part in his dismissal for cause.

‘It Dashes Your Hopes’

Prospective jurors arriving at the courthouse here walk past a towering monument to the Confederacy, featuring grim likenesses of four Confederate generals.

Carl Staples, a 63-year-old African-American, recalled how the monument made him feel when he reported for jury duty. “It dashes your hopes,” he said, taking a break at the gospel radio station where he works as an announcer. “It has its roots in the ideology of white supremacy.” He said much the same thing during jury selection in a 2009 death penalty case, and that played a part in his dismissal for cause….Read the Rest Here

The New Jim Crow – Just Like the Old Jim Crow…Just sneakier

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Marissa Alexander Released on Bail

Marissa Alexander is the Florida woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison…

For shooting some drywall.

In the same state where George Zimmerman got “not guilty” for murder – and doesn’t seem to be able to go to jail for shoving guns in the faces of his soon-to-be ex-wife and girlfriend.

At least she gets to spend this Thanksgiving, and possibly Christmas with her kids while awaiting retrial.

Woman Sentenced For Firing Alleged ‘Warning Shot’ At Her Husband Gets Released

The Jacksonville woman awaiting a new trial in a controversial “stand your ground” case is free on bond.

First Coast News (http://fcnews.tv/18q19sa) reports that Marissa Alexander was released from jail Wednesday. According to the Duval County Clerk of Court, she must remain under house arrest while awaiting trial.

In 2012, Alexander was sentenced to a mandatory 20-year prison sentence for firing what she insisted was a warning shot during a fight with her husband. She tried to invoke Florida’s “stand your ground” law, but the judge threw out her self-defense claim.

An appeals court ruled in September that the judge in the case gave improper jury instructions.

Alexander says she fired a bullet at a wall in 2010 to scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her.

 

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in The New Jim Crow

 

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85 Years For Stalking Wife

The American Justice System is a joke.

Admittedly this guy needed to go to jail… But 85 Years?

You can’t get that for Murder in most states.

And after the George Zimmerman trial – you are under less of a risk to go to jail at all committing murder of black children.

Pr. George’s man who used social media to stalk ex-wife sentenced to 85 years

A Hyattsville man accused of posing as his ex-wife online and posting ads soliciting sex from strangers was sentenced Thursday to 85 years in prison.

Michael A. Johnson II created a Craigslist ad with abhorrent titles advertising sex from his ex-wife, according to court papers. The ads attracted about 50 men to the woman’s house, including some who tried to break in, the records said.

“It’s hard to imagine doing this to someone you once loved,” Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Maureen M. Lamasney said in court.

The case is among several nationwide in which people have been accused of stealing their victim’s online persona and postingInternet ads offering sex.

The woman told The Washington Post in a recent interview that she resorted to buying a shotgun and staying up all night pointing it at the door. She said she found several fake profiles in her name on sites including Facebook and the pornography aggregator XTube. One of the ads offered up her three children for sex and included their photos.

“This wasn’t just a case of him sending e-mails,” the woman said in court. “He changed my life and my children’s lives forever.”

“We felt like refugees in our own home, no one should have to live like that,” added the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of continued harassment.

The woman obtained a restraining order against her ex-husband after he assaulted her in 2011, wrapping his hands around her neck, court papers say. After that incident, the cyber-terror began in earnest.

Johnson was convicted in June of more than 70 counts, including stalking, reckless endangerment and violations of a protective order.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Don’t Mess With Dad’s Girl – Dad Delivers and “Old Tyme” Spanking

Folks can complain all the want about “absentee dads” etc – but in the last few weeks some Dads have shown how far they are willing to go to protect their daughters.

A father in Lavaca Country Texas found his 5 year old daughter being raped by a scumbag, and delivered some “Texas Justice” with his fists. He is not being charged with the killing of the scumbag. This was not a case of vengeance, as the Dad caught the man in the act. No charges are being filed by Police for the beatdown and subsequent death of the perv.

Then there was the case in San Francisco, where Dad – with a little help from Mom, delivered some “.40 Caliber Justice” to a Pimp who was pimping their teenage Daughter. Both parents have been charged and bail has been set at $2 million. Seems to me that if the National Rifle Association (NRA) was really about self protection, instead of providing cover for racist whack-jobs they’d have paid the bail and given Mom and Dad a “Marksmanship Award”.

And then there is this case – caught on YouTube –

Now – I’d hardly call this “brutal” as the Video does. After all, as the father points out – it is a lot better than a full-on ass whipping!

Proving that in at least a few small corners of America, not yet polluted by right-wing sissified posturing, don’t mess with Dad’s Baby Girl.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Domestic terrorism, The Post-Racial Life

 

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The New Jim Crow – And Exoneration

The common depiction of Justice with a blindfold wasn’t meant as a cover for willful blindness to innocence. To date, 873 people convicted of crimes in our “Justice” system, and in at least one provable case executed have been exonerated. They just didn’t do the crime they were convicted of doing. Some interesting statistics about that –

50 Percent of Those Exonerated in National Registry are Black

The University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law have partnered to launch a National Registry of Exonerations that keeps an up to date list of all known exonerations in the United States since 1989. The group’s inaugural report released this week reveals 50 percent of false convictions are of black defendants.

The National Registry of Exoneration documents include 891 exonerations with summaries of the cases and searchable data on each. Their latest report focuses on the 873 exonerations that were entered in the Registry as of March 1, 2012.

Below are key findings from the Center’s study of the 873 exonerated defendants as printed in the report:

  • 93% are men, 7% women;
  • 50% are black, 38% white, 11% Hispanic and 2% Native American or Asian;
  • 37% were exonerated with the help of DNA evidence; 63% without DNA; as a group, they spent more than 10,000 years in prison – an average of more than 11 years each.
  • Since 2000, exonerations have averaged 52 a year – one a week – 40% of which include DNA evidence.
  • The 873 exonerations are mostly rape and murder cases, but the data also include
    many more exonerations for other crimes than previously known.

For all exonerations, the most common causal factors that contributed to the underlying false convictions are perjury or false accusation (51%), mistaken eyewitness identification (43%) and official misconduct (42%) – followed by false or misleading forensic evidence (24%) and false confession (16%).

Of course, 873 is only a small portion of the convictions for crime we see in any year – much less over 30 years. And the fact that 50% of the folks who were exonerated in a system where 50% of the convicted are black, doesn’t necessarily prove racial bias when considered on its own. The vast majority of criminal convictions in the US are for minor drug offenses with major incarceration times. Those are not disprovable by DNA.

What it does mean is, considering the shoestring budget of groups seeking Justice meaning that only the most egregious cases of injustice are pursued, and the fact that States throw the legal kitchen sink at the legal teams seeking exoneration in order to avoid the exoneration and likely cost of a lawsuit for wrongful conviction… The number of wrongful convictions is probably much, much, much higher.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Jennifer Hudson Family Killer Conviction

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”.

Read it.

Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial: William Balfour found guilty on all counts

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…

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Juvenile Incarceration

"Juvenile in Justice" photo project captures kids behind bars

The above pic is from a series called “Juvenile in Justice”. They don’t say what this particular kid did to get in that cell – but some of the other pictures are of juveniles who have committed extremely violent crimes.

Worth a look.

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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