Thursday, September 20, 2007

Obligatory Topical Post

Here's my take on the "Jena 6." At first I was thinking, hey, what's the big deal? While charging them with attempted second degree murder is excessive (although not without precedent), it's not like any of them should be let loose. C'mon, it was a 6-on-1 beatdown, and the one defendant to go to trial had prior violent offenses on his record...certainly no angel. Moreover, while putting nooses in the "White Tree" is reprehensible, it's not *really* a crime, other than leading one to the conclusion that the tortfeasors morally deserved an ass-kicking.

However, upon learning that his 6 member all-white (but then, with a rural parish with 15% minority population, that's not shocking, or trial court error) petit jury had as members "the mother of one of the prosecution witnesses, and a good friend of [the victim's] mother," I had to throw the penalty flag.

Bad, bad district court judge. No! Try again. The court of appeal was correct to overturn the conviction because he shouldn't have been tried as an adult (due to procedural trickery on the part of the DA), and because of the aforesaid jury composition. It's a no brainer that the jury was unfairly composed. No amount of argument could justify either of those two members.

If you really want to examine inequity in sentencing, look at the difference in the federal guidelines for crack vs. powder cocaine.


And there's my expert opinion.