Sunday, October 14, 2007

Judicial lynching in Jena

No point mincing words here, and I won't: a cracker judge in the town of Jena, Louisiana, has just sent Mychal Bell, one of the Jena Six, to jail for eighteen months for an alleged "breach of probation." I'm amazed that a white mob hasn't taken the cue and shown up to bust the kid out of jail to give him a "nigger necktie." A caricature? These people caricature themselves. Welcome to the Red State of Louisiana. In 2007.

State District Judge J.P. Mauffrey, Jr., whose decision to try Bell as an adult was overturned recently by a Louisiana appeals court, had another kick at the cat Thursday, and he kicked hard. Bell had been on probation, it seems, for an unrelated juvenile matter. The judge, whose removal from the case had been requested earlier by Bell's attorneys, seized on this opportunity for vengeance, claiming that the charges against Bell, for which a new trial had been ordered by the appeals court, constituted a breach of probation. This 21st century version of Judge William Callaghan (the unlettered hillbilly who sentenced the Scottsboro boys to death in a celebrated miscarriage of justice in the 1930s) also assessed court costs against Bell's struggling parents, who are now facing bankruptcy as a result.

My gut reaction, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this: the demonstrators who went to Jena scant weeks ago to show their disgust at peckerwood justice should have seized and occupied the town until real justice was done. Maybe next time they show up they'll stick around. And may that day come soon.

H/t Mattbastard.

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