Whites and Blacks Differ on Jena and Justice System

17 10 2007

Unsurprisingly, recent polling data of the opinions of whites and African-Americans regarding the Jena Six situation in Louisianna, and discrimination within the criminal justice system generally, reveal a huge gulf in their attitudes.

According to a CNN-Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday, 79 percent of blacks said the black teenagers in Jena were treated unfairly. Whites were more evenly divided, with 33 percent saying they were treated unfairly, 29 percent fairly and 38 percent saying they were unsure.

In an Associated Press-Ipsos poll taken late last month, nearly nine in 10 blacks said that blacks and other minorities cannot receive equal justice to whites under the nation’s justice system. Whites agreed, but by a much narrower 50 percent to 44 percent.


Mychal Bell Sentenced to 18 Months in Juvy Facility

12 10 2007

Instead of recieving a routine juvenille court hearing that Mychal Bell and his attorney’s were expecting, state District Judge J.P. Mauffrey Jr. sentenced Mychal Bell, one of the accused Jena Six teens, to a juvenille facility yesterday for 18 months due to four prior juvenille offenses including, two counts of two counts of simple battery and two counts of criminal destruction of property.  The sentencing comes after Bell was freed a couple of weeks ago following the overturning of his adult conviction by the state appeals court.

Bell’s attorneys said they will appeal the decision.

A closer examination of Judge Mauffrey Jr.’s history makes this recent decision less surprising.  Keep in mind, this is the same judge who did set Bell’s bail initially at an unreasonably high $90,000 before reducing it to $45,000 in a separate hearing before a different judge after Bell’s lawyers complaining about Judge Mauffrey.  Plus, the ruling came down when most of the activist were out of town and the glare of the national spotlight died down.

So, while ostensibly, this ruling has little to do with Bell being accused of attacking  Justin Barker, the white youth who was beaten unconscious, it does suggest something else is at work here than merely reexamining Bell’s record.

Jena 6 Protest at the Justice Department

3 10 2007

In an effort to pressure federal authorities to actively investigate misconduct or mishandling of the Jena 6 case, 80 protesters assembled in front of the Department of Justice yesterday, the Associated Press reported. Activists shouted, “No justice, No peace,” at the event organized by the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop the War and End Racism).

Jena 6 versus O.J. Simpson

1 10 2007

The Pew Research Center for the People in the Press recently surveyed blacks and whites about which stories they followed more closely in the press: the Jena Six case or O.J. Simpson’s recent arrest. Below is a graph of the percentage breakdown of survey’s results.



Mychal Bell Freed on $45k Bail

28 09 2007

The Associated Press has reported Mychal Bell was released on $45,000 bail only a day after District Attorney Reed Walters relented in appealing the court’s decision to have Bell’s case tried in juvenile court instead of adult court. Interestingly enough, the bail was reduced from its initial from $90,000 to $45,000.

In his op-ed in the New York Times Reed Walters explained

Only the intervention of an uninvolved student protected Mr. Barker from severe injury or death. There was serious bodily harm inflicted with a dangerous weapon — the definition of aggravated second-degree battery. Mr. Bell’s conviction on that charge as an adult has been overturned, but I considered adult status appropriate because of his role as the instigator of the attack, the seriousness of the charge and his prior criminal record.

But now he claims he “still believes there was legal merit to trying Bell as an adult but decided it was in the best interest of the victim, Justin Barker, and his family to let the juvenile court handle the case,” according the AP.

Walters also was quoted as saying:

”The only way — let me stress that — the only way that I believe that me or this community has been able to endure the trauma that has been thrust upon us is through the prayers of the Christian people who have sent them up in this community,” Walters said.

”I firmly believe and am confident of the fact that had it not been for the direct intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ last Thursday, a disaster would have happened. You can quote me on that.”

And we will.

At any rate, its also possible many of those very same Christians, including those in town of Jena and beyond, also prayed for the protesters and the accused teens. And maybe just maybe it was never the intent of the protesters to be violent at all.

It will be interesting to hear how the apologists out there will argue how while these comments were inappropriate they should not be construed as racist.

The saga now continues in juvenile court.

Jena 6 Prosecutor Drops Appeal to Court Ruling

27 09 2007

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters has just dropped his appeal to an Louisianna State Appeals Court to have Mychal Bell tried in adult court, according to the Associated Press.

BATON ROUGE, La. — The prosecutor in the “Jena 6” cases has decided not to challenge a ruling that sent 17-year-old Mychal Bell’s case to juvenile court.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters had earlier said he would appeal the state appeals court’s decision to set aside Bell’s second-degree battery conviction on the grounds that Bell should not have been tried as an adult.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, with Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Al Sharpton at her side, announced Wednesday that she had spoken with Walters and asked him to reconsider pushing to keep the case in the adult system. She said Walters contacted her Wednesday to say he had decided not to appeal the ruling.

Read the rest of the story here.

VA Blogger Says She Was Harrassed for blogging on Jena 6 Case

24 09 2007

Vivian J. Paige, an African-American blogger, claims she was harassed for blogging on the Jena 6 case.

Since Monday, my blog has been slammed with visitors from all over the country, looking for information on yesterday’s Jena 6 rally. Many of those new people have left comments here, some of them thoughtful and insightful, and others of them a lot less so. I’ve had to edit – or sometimes delete – more comments in the past week than I have in the 18 months I’ve been blogging.

Some of the comments were personal attacks on me – for what, I wasn’t sure. I guess simply because they could see that I was black, some commenters assumed that I thought the boys in Jena were completely innocent, that I support Al Sharpton and his ilk, that I supported the woman in the Duke case – heck, that I thought OJ was innocent. I’ve been called the n-word and the b-word by people who have never visited my blog before.

All of that – simply because I happen to be black.