Tag Archives: trial

Judge Joe Brown Released on Contempt Citation

Judge Joe Brown who was charged with “Contempt of Court” in Memphis – was released after 4 hours on “Personal Recognizance” despite a sentence of 5 days…

Here, Brown discusses aspects of the case, and why the tribunal actually has no authority.

A take on things from Advise News, an independent YouTube Channel


Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Giant Negros


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Prosecutor to Seek Death Penalty for Charleston Murderer

And here I was thinking along the lines of 999 years in Gen Pop with the other prisoners…

Alleged SC Church Shooter Facing Possible Death Penalty

State prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against the alleged South Carolina church shooter, they announced today.

In a court filing released today, state prosecutors indicated that they will be seeking the death penalty when Dylann Roof is tried in the killing of nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June.

That more than two people were killed and others’ lives were put at risk were cited in the filing as the rationale for seeking capital punishment.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is scheduled to explain the state’s decision at a news conference this afternoon.


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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Domestic terrorism


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Officers Involved In Freddy Gray Death to Be Tried

Earlier today a judge rejected a motion by the defense to dismiss the case against the 6 Officers involved in Freddy Gray’s death. Following that – a ruling on how the trial(s) would be conducted…

Trying the officers separately, will be a longer process, but will establish individual culpability.

Baltimore Officers To Be Tried Separately Over Freddie Gray Death

It’s “not in the interest of justice” to try them together, a judge ruled.

A judge has ruled that all six Baltimore police officers charged in connection with Freddie Gray’s death will be tried separately.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams denied the state’s motions to try three of the officers as a group. He said evidence against any of the three is not mutually admissible and “not in the interest of justice.”

Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died a week after sustaining injuries following his arrest on April 12.

His death sparked riots and unrest in Baltimore for days following his funeral.

The trial for all six officers was initially set for Oct. 13. Dates for the new trials have not yet been set.

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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter


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Lynching…Not Just Black Folks

Mobs in the South also occasionally lynched Jews. The most infamous case being that of Leo Frank, who was lynched purportedly for murdering a 13 year old white girl at the Factory which he managed. Didn’t really matter whether Frank was guilty…He was different.

A century after Jewish man’s lynching, Georgia town unsettled

Down past the Big Chicken, the 56-foot-high, steel-beaked beacon of extra crispy that may be this town’s most prized landmark, the wedge of dirt hard by Interstate 75 is notable only for its lack of notability. Stopping here, Rabbi Steven Lebow leaves the engine running and car door open.

Nearly ever since the South Florida native came to this Atlanta suburb three decades ago, this spot – or, more specifically, the tale of murder and vengeance that has stained its ground and local history for 100 years – has weighed on him.

But with transportation crews readying to build over the place where Marietta’s leading citizens lynched a Jewish factory superintendent namedLeo Frank a century ago, Lebow talks only of what’s worth preserving.

“There’s nothing to see here,” Lebow says. “That’s why we need to be the memory.”

As this community prepares to revisit that tale, though, there are reminders that it remains unsettled as well as unsettling.

In 1913, Frank was convicted of murdering 13-year-old Mary Phagan, who worked in his Atlanta factory. The case, charged with race, religion, sex and class, exploded in a national media frenzy. When Georgia’s governor commuted Frank’s death sentence, citizens took matters in their own hands.

The case established the Anti-Defamation League as the country’s most outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism. It also fueled the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Until ADL lawyers pressed officials to posthumously pardon Frank in the 1980s, the case was hushed in Atlanta’s synagogues, the homes of Old Marietta, and among Phagan’s descendants.

Though granted, the pardon was less than conclusive. Now, in a summer that has seen Southerners wrangle with the best-known symbol of the region’s embattled past, Lebow and others want to re-open a chapter some would prefer to let be.

But their effort to right history, as they see it, has renewed charges that, in doing so, they are unfairly trying to rewrite it…

Frank, raised in New York, ran a factory in industrializing Atlanta. In 1913, Phagan, her hair in bows, stopped to collect her pay.

That night, a watchman found her bloodied body in the basement. Police arrested several men before settling on Frank, who proclaimed his innocence. His conviction rested on the testimony of a custodian, Jim Conley, a rare case of a black man’s word used against a white defendant.

Frank’s lawyers appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that a climate of anti-Semitism had resulted in an unfair trial. The court upheld the verdict, 7-2. In 1915, Gov. John Slaton commuted Frank’s sentence to life. A furious crowd hanged the politician in effigy.

Months later, a group of Marietta men took Frank from prison. On Aug. 17, they hanged him outside town. Nobody was ever charged.

“The Frank case was like a lightning strike,” says Steve Oney, who wrote “And the Dead Shall Rise,” a 2002 book on the case. “Everything in the South stood briefly in relief and then it was dark again.”… More


Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Domestic terrorism


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A Little Bit of Justice – Judge Overturns Marissa Alexander Conviction And 20 Year Sentence


Under the category “Special Laws for certain people”…

Marissa Alexander at sentencing


A Florida woman who claimed to be a victim of abuse was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for allegedly firing a warning shot during an argument with her husband was granted a new trial.

The appellate court ruling erased a decision by a jury that took just 12 minutes to convict Marissa Alexander, a mother of three, of aggravated assault.

The conviction of Alexander, who is black, sparked outrage and cries of a racial double standard in light of the exoneration of George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, for the death of Trayvon Martin, who was black. In particular, outrage aired on social media and among some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Alexander unsuccessfully tried to invoke Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as the same prosecutors who unsuccessfully worked to put Zimmerman behind bars told the court that she did not act in self-defense.

In granting the new trial, Judge James Daniel also seemed unmoved by the Stand Your Ground defense.

“We reject her contention that the trial court erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, but we remand for a new trial because the jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous,” wrote Daniel.

Alexander testified that, on Aug. 1, 2010, her then-husband, Rico Gray Sr., questioned her fidelity and the paternity of her 1-week-old child.

She claimed that he broke through a bathroom door that she had locked and grabbed her by the neck. She said she tried to push past him but he shoved her into the door, sparking a struggle that felt like an “eternity.”

Afterwards, she claimed that she ran to the garage and tried to leave but was unable to open the garage door, so she retrieved a gun, which she legally owned.

Once inside, she claimed, her husband saw the gun and charged at her “in a rage” saying, “Bitch, I’ll kill you.” She said she raised the gun and fired a warning shot into the air because it was the “lesser of two evils.” The jury rejected the self-defense claim and Alexander was sentenced under the state’s 10-20-life law, sparking outrage over how self-defense laws are applied in the state.

A Florida appellate court ruled that jury instructions, which unfairly made Alexander prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that she was acting in self-defense, were wrong — and that there were other incorrect instructions that self-defense only applied if the victim suffered an injury, which Gray had not.

The Lynching of Laura Nelson. The Old Jim Crow…Just Like the New Jim Crow

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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in The New Jim Crow


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75 Years Late…Scottsboro Boys Pardoned

This was one of the major (Mis)Trials of the last century. 9 black Boys accused of raping two white women in the segregated, Jim Crow, Alabama of 1931.Amazingly enough, despite high tensions – they didn’t get lynched. All but one of the boys was convicted and given the death penalty. None of the Boys was executed, but spent long terms in jail.

The Scottsboro Boys, with attorney Samuel Leibowitz, under guard by the state militia, 1932

   Alabama grants posthumous pardons to Scottsboro Boys

Alabama’s parole board voted Thursday to grant posthumous pardons to men known as the Scottsboro Boys from a 1931 rape case.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles granted full and unconditional pardons to three of the nine black boys who were falsely accused of raping two white women on a train in northeast Alabama in 1931.

The board unanimously approved the pardons for Haywood Patterson, Charlie Weems and Andy Wright after a short hearing in Montgomery. The three men were the last of the accused to have convictions from the case on their records.

“This decision will give them a final peace in their graves, wherever they are,” said Sheila Washington, director of the Scottsboro Museum and Cultural Center in Scottsboro, who helped initiate the petition.

Patterson, Weems and Wright, along with defendant Clarence Norris, were convicted on rape charges in 1937, after a six-year ordeal that included three trials, the recantation of one of the accusers and two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions on legal representation and the racial make-up of jury pools.

The men were all convicted by all-white juries, and all but the youngest defendant was sentenced to death.

Alabama ultimately dropped rape charges against five of the accused. Norris received a pardon before his death from Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1976.

Last spring, the Alabama Legislature unanimously passed a law to allow the parole board to issue posthumous pardons for convictions at least 75 years old. The law was specifically designed to allow the pardon of the Scottsboro Boys to go forward.

In October, a group of scholars petitioned the Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant pardons to the men. The petition was endorsed by the judges and district attorneys of the counties where the initial trials took place.

“This is a different state than it was 80 years ago, and thank God for that,” said state Sen. Arthur Orr, a Republican from Decatur where the second and third round of trials took place. “It’s an important step for our state to take.”

Under Alabama law, pardons can only be granted to those who have felony convictions on their record. The petitioners had initially hoped the board would review the status of each of the defendants.

The Board’s decision led to a round of applause Thursday morning, but many of those who worked on the pardon called the news bittersweet. Patterson died of cancer in 1952, and many of the other defendants, including Weems and Wright, felt compelled to move out of Alabama and keep a low profile after their release from prison.

University of Alabama professor John Miller, who helped prepare the petition, said at the time of his pardon, Norris was living in New York under his brother’s name.

“With some of them, we really don’t know if they died with their right name, or a different name,” Washington said. “They no longer wanted to be known.”

Weems is known to have moved to the Atlanta area after his release, but his date of death is unknown. Washington said Wright, along with his brother Roy, another one of the Scottsboro Boys, is buried in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“It’s tragic in that those young men’s live were destroyed, all by a very biased and unfair judicial process,” Orr said. “The place where you seek justice did not dispense justice for these young men. It ruined their lives, some more than others, and it affected them to their graves.”

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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in Black History


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Trolling for a White Trayvon – and the Rights Racist Obsession With Crime

Searching for the white Trayvon – the right wing an Faux News troll the crime ledgers.

The right’s black crime obsession

There are a few black people up to no good in this country and Fox News is on it! So is Drudge Report. Vigilantly on the lookout, 24 hours a day, for stories about black youths behaving badly.

This isn’t a particularly new phenomenon, but it’s intensified noticeably in the past year for at least two reasons. Conservatives, particularly white conservatives, feel a burning urgency to find a racial counterweight to the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s shooting (including President Obama’s public comments about the incident), a logical response to the argument that things like background checks and an assault weapons ban are appropriate ways to reduce the likelihood of another Sandy Hook-style massacre, and anecdotal justifications for indiscriminate policing of dangerous neighborhoods.

But these are hopeless pursuits. The incidents they draw attention to fail by definition to underscore the things they believe. They all require projecting motives or details or both into tragic events, to create false dichotomies between shootings perpetrated by whites and blacks. They have the unhealthy effect of creating dueling tallies of white-on-black and black-on-white crime. And ironically they all tend to underscore the argument that more “stand your ground” laws and more racial profiling are off-point responses to these incidents.

The latest conservative cri de coeur is over the tragic shooting death of Chris Lane, a 22-year-old Australian attending East Central University in Oklahoma on a baseball scholarship. Two teen boys spotted Lane on a jog last week, trailed him in a car, and allegedly shot him fatally in the back (a third teen reportedly served as their driver). One of the suspects said the boys committed the murder out of boredom.

Word of the shooting spread quickly. And that’s when the right clumsily revealed that its obsession with gun violence reflects an obsession with racial score settling rather than with averting further tragedies. The conservative media, including Fox News, repeated the claim that the Oklahoma suspects were all black. But this turned out to be a toxic mix of racial bias and wishful thinking. You almost wonder whether the people whose ulterior motives led them into error like this actually lamented the fact that one of the suspects happened to be white. It would be so much more convenient if that weren’t the case.

This racist yellow-journalism article kicked off the Tulsa “race riot” of 1921.

But let’s pretend for a minute that the suspects had all fit the stereotype the hosts at Fox and Friends wanted. Then the idea is that Chris Lane’s death should somehow offset Trayvon Martin’s, or that the people who sought to turn George Zimmerman’s actions into a national referendum on “stand your ground” laws are somehow hypocritical for having little to say when the races of the culprits and innocent victims are reversed. For reactionary Obama foes like former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., the obvious question is, “Whom will POTUS identify w/this time?”

I’ll give West, et al., this: If you ignore motive, circumstance, history and (likely) outcome, then liberals, particularly black liberals, sure seem craven. By that standard, though, Jean Valjean and John, King of England are moral equals — just a couple of guys with similar names taking other people’s property.

This racist yellow-journalism article kicked off the elaine “Race riots” of 1919

So let’s review: George Zimmerman wouldn’t have shot Trayvon Martin if he hadn’t been profiling by race. And even if he had been, the shooting feasibly wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been legally allowed to carry a handgun and didn’t think he was empowered by law to take matters into his own hands. The monstrous killing of Chris Lane has no such back story. The killers apparently had no motive whatsoever, were armed illegally, and certainly weren’t trailing Lane because they believed, based on his race, that he might be a criminal. They are, however, likely to face serious prison time for their crimes. Zimmerman walked.

Put that all together, and it turns out these stories aren’t counter-parallel at all. And more to the point, the events don’t even anecdotally augur for policies the right supports. The kids in Oklahoma weren’t “standing their ground,” and a “stand your ground” law wouldn’t have saved Chris Lane. Neither would a stop-and-frisk regime — the killers were trailing him in a car. By contrast, a “stand your ground” environment and a stop-and-frisk mentality were instrumental in Trayvon Martin’s death. Take either away, and there’s a good chance he’d be alive today. Martin in fact personified the statistical folly of stop-and-frisk. If Zimmerman had yielded to real police, they would have, in absence of any suspicious behavior, stopped Martin, frisked him and found only the skittles and iced tea that made his death that much more tragically poignant.

You could twist that into a claim that stop-and-frisk might have saved Martin’s life. But that gets the onus backward. Proponents of profiling policies need to do better than argue we have to violate the civil rights of minorities in order to protect them from hair-triggered vigilantes.

What might well have stopped both killings, though, is making it harder for people, legally or illegally, to come into possession of handguns. That’s a conversation the right is less obsessed with.


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