We must end racism to obtain justice in our courts

Friday, February 28, 2014

Good afternoon:

Never forget that the battle for justice started long before the pyramids were built and it will continue as long as we humans continue to exist.

To get a sense of how far we have come and how much we have accomplished, let’s take a brief review of how the law has changed since our Founding Fathers declared their independence from England, fought and won our independence and wrote our constitution.

The Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights are extraordinary documents that we should treasure, respect and protect.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Purchased in sweat and blood over many centuries and honed during the enlightenment, this sentence is a startling, radical and revolutionary rejection (1) of the divine right of kings to govern without the consent of the governed and (2) the rich aristocracy that owned most of the wealth and real estate not owned by the king. With the exception of the Church of England and a merchant class that grew wealthy and powerful during the industrial revolution, no one else had any civil rights, wealth or political power. No justice existed for them and with few exceptions, none of them expected any justice.

The merchant class, by the way, created the Liberal Party in England to advocate for their economic and political agenda, which was freedom to trade with whomever they pleased without oversight by officials of the Crown. Using The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith as their bible, they claimed that the invisible hand of greed was the only appropriate form of regulation. In making that argument, they conveniently ignoring that Adam Smith had cautioned that some government regulation would be necessary to control runaway greed.

Smith was right because one of the atrocious activities that some members of the merchant class engaged in was shipping boatloads of African slaves to the southern states where they were sold at auction to wealthy plantation owners who used them to till the soil, harvest their crops, clean and maintain their homes and also wash their clothes. Some of them also abused the pretty females and handsome males sexually whenever they wanted.

Slaves were slaves for life and the owner had the right to discipline them in any manner, including the right to torture and kill them without having to explain why they did it or face any consequence.

The merchant class proved many times over from the late 18th century until President Franklin Roosevelt finally called an end to their reign of terror. that greed and unregulated capitalism are incredibly destructive.

The neoliberals of today are the wealthiest 1% of our population. They seek to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else by turning back the clock to the 19th century and they are pitching their thoroughly discredited ideas in an attempt to convince we the people whom they plan to exploit that it is in our best interests to support their agenda and vote for their candidates because our fortunes will improve as the additional money and wealth they accumulate at our expense will eventually trickle back down to us.

In other words, a rising tide raises all ships.

The Founding Fathers taught us how to respond,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The term “all men” necessarily includes the 1% and they have no right to exploit us for their fun and profit.

The criminal justice system will work only as well as the people who participate in it.

Justice is an idea, not a commodity for sale to the highest bidder. Justice cannot happen in the presence of racism, special interests and corruption. Without honesty, and diligent effort in good faith by all participants, justice cannot happen. The criminal justice system cannot produce just results when jurors, lawyers, judges, police, forensic experts and witnesses with hidden agendas attempt to rig the outcome.

We have witnessed the tragic results of racist thinking by white people who believe that all black male teenagers are dangerous.

We have seen them deny that they are racist.

Yet we know that the same white people who believed that Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were dangerous would not believe that two white boys the same age were dangerous.

Events have a way of focusing our attention on problems that need fixing. Viewed with detachment from afar, which is what we must do to get an objective diagnosis of what ails our criminal justice system, it should be clear to everyone with eyes to see that we are not living in a post-racial society.

We absolutely must tackle this problem head on and so discredit racism that people come to regard it as an evil delusion that is not supported by any evidence.

Rather than feel dispirited and depressed, we should realize that we are being called by these events to do all that we can to correct a terrible wrong.

Yes, we live in trying times with injustice and death all around us. We would like to walk away, but those who have been called know in their hearts and minds that they cannot walk away and pretend that reality does not exist.

We have limited time and unfinished business to resolve.
Fortunately, we have each other to rely on.

We are many and they are few.

events are propelling us to take action

Racism needs to end and until it does no one should expect the criminal justice system to produce just results.

52 Responses to We must end racism to obtain justice in our courts

  1. Trained Observer says:

    As the world turns in fogenville … Trayvon’s murderer wants to drop fight with Corey in order to facilitate his NBC suit, but Corey wants to duke it on out and Mantei has filed the paperwork. Meanwhile, bad news for SheLie in the divorce action

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-zimmerman-gives-up-fight-with-corey-20140304,0,6931564.story

    • towerflower says:

      Yep, no surprise, he is dropping all the motions that will pay MOM/West and not him. He also asked to drop the request that the state pay his legal bill (about $350,000 worth).

      • Malisha says:

        I think he is dropping everything that could give any authority access to his financial records before April 15, 2014. Juss sayin’ …

  2. Some very recent legal maneuvering in regards to Dunn’ s sentencing, by “still” his Attorney, C. Strolla.

    http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2014-03-03/story/michael-dunn-seeks-delay-his-prison-sentence

    • Trained Observer says:

      Thanks for alert. Paywall interferes … in a nutshell, what does it say?

      • bettykath says:

        Sentencing should be delayed until after his retrial for M1.. Dunn should testify at his sentencing but it would violate his 5th amendment rights while the other trial is pending. Not said is that probably keeps in county jail rather than prison..

        • Trained Observer says:

          Thanks. It’s to Dunn’s advantage to stay in the comparatively civilized Duval jail. He won’t find the state pen pleasing.

          Am enjoying his dilemma. To testify or not to testify. He’s toast either way.

  3. Any news on Dunn’s new council?

  4. J4TMinATL says:

    Amen!

  5. bettykath says:

    Need some inspiration?

  6. bettykath says:

    The second half of “Suspicion Nation” deals with the racism of our society and the criminal (in)justice system.

  7. bettykath says:

    Malissa Harris-Perry program had a segments today on justice system.
    http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry
    You have to scroll horizontally to find the segments. They also suggested at the beginning that there is news of fogen’s trial. I’m still listening. Will post whatever comes up on the topic.

    • bettykath says:

      The fogen bit was Lisa Blum on her book “Suspicion Nation”. She mentions that Maddy, the only person of color, was the only juror who had a police officer outside her door every night; Rachel was frustrated because she wasn’t at all prepared for her testimony and she wasn’t allowed to tell the entire story of her phone call with Trayvon. Really good teasers. Guess we’ll have to get the book.

      • Do you think they “threw” it or they just plain failed @bettykath? On another note I’m on team “Dallas Buyers Club”!

        • bettykath says:

          They either threw the case deliberately or they were incredibly incompetent.

          What “Dallas Buyers Club”? and what does it mean to be on the team?

        • Trained Observer says:

          Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and Gatsby doing well.

          • bettykath says:

            I know what gravity is, but not Gravity. I know of the literary Gatsby. All of Dallas is pretty much a buyers club from my view of the city. But what the devil do they have that puts them in the same sentence?

          • Trained Observer says:

            Looks like Wolf and Hustle were total shutouts despite double-digit noms.

      • bettykath says:

        Some on this blog have been pretty hard on Maddy so I want to share more of Maddy’s story.

        From Lisa Bloom’s book (spelled her last name wrong in previous message), Maddy was isolated from the other 5 women by their behavior that showed bigotry based on race and class. Maddy truly knew absolutely nothing about fogen or about court procedures.

        Don West was intimidating by the questions he ask her in voir dire. Opening statements began with blasphemy and joke she didn’t get.

        The other women, especially B37, made fun of her. B37 repeatedly made fun of her English mistakes They got to watch TV together but one woman decided what they would watch. Maddy’s choice was watched for one 30 minute segment and the women made fun of it. They made fun of her for making her own bed rather than having the maid do it. Maddy used to work as a hotel maid. She would try to save food for later but the others made fun of her, after all, the state was paying for all their meals. Maddy and her kids have been homeless, living in shelters, so she knows what it’s like to be hungry and you don’t throw away perfectly good food. One juror tried to be nice and gave her a CD to listen to. She thought Maddy would like it b/c it was in Spanish – it was in French.

        One woman got to spend an entire day with her dog; Maddy was only able to get one extra hour with her 3 month old daughter. She couldn’t see her longer because children can talk. She wanted to go home twice but a Black deputy and an HIspanic deputy talked to her, made her feel better about herself, and convinced her to stay.

        During deliberations other women would interject their superiority in that they had a lawyer husband or son; they knew more about the case from news reports (Trayvon was a really bad kid), manslaughter required that fogen knew when he left home that he was going to kill Trayvon. Maddy was further handicapped by the legalese in the jury instructions that she couldn’t understand. (Consider if you went to Puerto Rico with conversational Spanish and had to decipher legalese in Spanish.)

        After losing her job, she and her family have moved back to Chicago where they are homeless and looking for work.

        • groans says:

          Lesson learned:

          Do the right thing, and bad things could happen.
          Do the wrong thing, and bad things could happen.

          So, should you do the right thing, or the wrong thing?

          • bettykath says:

            The attorneys should have realized that Maddy was unprepared to do jury duty. Her life was all about surviving day to day. She knew absolutely nothing about the justice system and her education and language skills were insufficient to pick it up on the fly.

            She was at a loss from the very first day of Don West’s questioning and things just went from bad to worse. The attitudes of the other jurors who didn’t think fogen did anything wrong were the same attitudes that isolated Maddy – white privilege and its bigotry against “others”.

          • groans says:

            Bettykath, our comments overlapped. I have reserved Lisa Bloom’s book at B&N, and I very much look forward to reading it and seeing how it affects my thinking.

            Thanks for your efforts towards keeping me in check!

        • groans says:

          That is: I am convinced that Maddy knew in her heart, in her gut, and in her conscience what a fair result looked like.

          But “going along with” people who had no regard – at all – for her did not land her in any better position than if she had bucked them. (To the contrary, she would likely have found herself with a whole lot more “recovery” support if she had followed her own conscience!)

          Bad things were bound to happen either way. But being true to herself and to her conscience was the only chance of avoiding the internal hell she’s living in now.

          Lesson learned.

          • bettykath says:

            Good points. She was in an untenable position. Her heart was in the right place but she lacked the language skills to argue the point.

            I once worked with a man from France. We were trying to solve a problem when there were people in the group who were working for another end. He understood the problem/solution much better than I did. He educated me on what was going on but he let me do the arguing for what became our point of view. His English was quite good but he found that it was insufficient to make the necessary arguments against those who had a different agenda.

          • bettykath says:

            You’re right, that Maddy would probably feel better now if she had held firm, but I suspect she didn’t understand that she had power, real power, in forcing a hung jury. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she was told they had to all agree no matter what and that she had to go along with the majority. This isn’t in the book, it’s just my surmise.

            I’m about half way through the book. Lisa skewers the prosecution. She is especially critical that they didn’t prep any of their witnesses, including Bao and Rachel, that they propped up the defense’s expert witness instead of putting doubt in what he had to say, that they let West go on and on with Rachel without objection, and that their closing was a bunch of questions instead of statements that showed their theory of the case. Of course, their theory of the case seems to have been that fogen was telling the truth.

            What’s interesting is that she doesn’t just say that the prosecution bungled their questioning of the key witnesses, she gives the actual q/a and why it wasn’t effective, then gives an example of how the questioning should have been done and why.

            Lisa makes the case that fogen was racially profiling Trayvon. The agreement before trial that it wasn’t about race meant that the cross of the scared white lady hiding in an upstairs closet from burglars wasn’t done effectively. Maddy got it by listening to the fogen’s previous calls to SPD but she didn’t make the argument in deliberations b/c everyone said it wasn’t about race and she wasn’t strong enough by that time, being made to feel completely insignificant prior to deliberations to make the argument herself against the tide.

        • MDH says:

          What you have revealed from Lisa Bloom’s book and other evidence I have seen clearly shows that B37 purposely tired to mislead Maddy about the law. That, amongst the legal community, is a serious violation of ethics. And I would have no problem telling B37 and her “space lawyer” husband what unethical life forms lower than shit they both are right to their face.

          My mother was deaf and, as a child, I helped he her interpreter to the hearing world. Although my mother was an outstanding lip reader and talker, she still had and accent and slur that would lead others to call her a retard or foreigner.

          And that piece of crap – B37- made fun of how Maddy spoke?

          Gee, the next time we get an inventor from Japan who has published many papers about topics such as reducing Raman scattering in long distance optical communication fibers, I should mock his English.

          Don West and B7, are two people I would like to be locked in a room with for about two hours. They would get a verbal evisceration for the ages.

          What would West do?

          Hit me?

          I would take his fist and hit it to my head 20 to 30 times. And I bet he would be the one crying like a baby. And then we would have a long discussion about why his fat client was lying.

          I have little respect or patience for those who bully other in any way shape or form.

        • shyloh says:

          “living in shelters” Aren’t you suppose to have and address in order to be contacted to sit on a jury?

  8. ed nelson says:

    Good post Prof Fred:

    [“The criminal justice system will work only as well as the people who participate in it.”]

    I guess, we the people, as inclusive as it may be here… Well go figure, in the sense that the people, are who they… have become… and that ain’t who they were… or… They may no more be the wonderful… Yeh… they may no more be. The way we thought of the way it was/should a been… No more/ said the Raven!

    Get real peeps! it’s into another realm or dimension, the old paradym, isn’t holding much… or as Yeats’s poem… THe Center will not hold”

    • texad says:

      Nikki Giovanni wrote a poem entitled Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea (We’re going to Mars) which, on the surface, seemed to be about “another realm or dimension”. IMO, It was really about ending racism. An excerpt:

      “If Mars came here it would be ugly.
      Nations would ban together to hunt down and kill Martians
      And then the stupid, undeserving life forms that we are, we would also hunt down and kill what would be termed Martian sympathizers,
      As if the fugitive slave law was not bad enough then, as if the so-called war on terrorism is not pitiful now.
      When do we learn and what does it take to teach us?
      Things cannot be what we want, when we want, as we want.”

  9. colin black says:

    Also as Ive said many time before raceism is not colourism its hateism .

    An colour can sometimes be used as an excuse to unleash the hate.

    But whites can be racesit to whites an Africans towards Africans .

    Research the genocide takeing place In differing regions of Africa the Congo Tanzina am many many more.

    its a non news worthy genocide in the west so goes unreported .

    Differing Tribes based on ancient hunting rights ect long sice condemned to oblivion.

    But the hate continues Tu Tu tribesmen slaghter village after villige or differing tribes.
    And then theres a reprisal mass slaughter of Tu Tus an the violence escalates.

    Serbs an Croats slaughtered hundreds of thousands of white compatriots dureing the Balkan conflicts after the collapse of communism.

    Suddenly once again ancient fueds dateing back eons In the past became a viable reason .

    To hate an slaughter there fellow country men and with no Soviet big BROTHER TO SAY NEIT.

    They had at it with a vengeance

    Hey remember like in 1716 long before us even existed an we used to have a King an our own small kingdom.

    And you lot used to have a what was a Duke or Emperor no it was a Queen .
    A right iron maiden an bitch I I recall

    Wich I cant because I wasn’t born but what the hey.

    We have lived as brothers for centuries now,

    But just remembered we fucking hate you with a passion.We want you to get out of OUR country you forign devils .

    An thus they splintered up the former Yugaslavia an Chech states the Balkans an they all killed an slaughtered each other .

    Used consentration Camps mass shooting s .I lived In India for four years foothills of the Himmalas

    Place called Rishakesh a river runs through it the Ganges .

    Anyway I love India with a Passion its People its beuty its smells an vibrant energy,,

    But its also an open an unashamed raceist culture its called the caste system.

    And to be honest its the most back to front fucked up raceism Ive ever witnessed it would be funny if it wasn’t realy based on hate rather than the excuse of pigmentation.

    Basicly theres a caste =rank system.

    Its based on skin colour .

    The lighter ones skin the higher the caste .

    Darker pigmentation the lower you go down the totem .

    At the bottom are the untouchables,

    They are so disgusting and low base creatures they can not be touched or have a trade ,
    Except collect the sewage Indian toilets are basic an in the boonies there no flush plumbing.

    Untouchables have the jubs of using buckets of water to swill them out an collect the piss an shit.
    ROAD SWEEPING all the back breaking manual work .Untouchables

    There easy to spot as they are so Dark an nearly all men an women have dreadlocks.

    Not as a fashion statement just that no barber will touch them.

    Thing is they are the purest aboriginal Indians there D N A Is pure as to the original inhabitants.

    The higher castes are ones mated with European blood therefore lighter complexion.

    So theres the absurdity of colour fuelled hate?

    The ones whom think there hot shit top caste are actually the most mixed up geniticly unpure Indians.

    You couldn’t make this up I tells ya.

    Any way raceism =hateism=you cant fix stupid.

  10. colin black says:

    diss possessed of my money an dope …robbed.

  11. kllypyn says:

    Racism will never end because people continue to teach their kids to hate other people for stupid reasons. That vicious cycle will only end when people stop telling those same ridiculous lies that have been told for centuries to justify slavery and later those Jim Crow laws. The same lies that are told to justify peoples bigotry today. Black people are no more likely to commit a crime than any other group. If black folks were as violent as certain hate groups say,those peaceful demonstrations during the 1950’s and 1960’s wouldn’t have been so peaceful.Even those peaceful protests after Trayvon Martin was killed wouldn’t have been so peaceful. racism is the result of centuries of lies all to justify slavery and denying people their rights. Not to mention that silly nonsense about putting people into separate categories because of a few minor external differences. Peel off our skin what will you see?

    • kllypyn says:

      There are even racist black people.

      • bettykath says:

        Bigots come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Blacks in this country cannot be racists because they don’t have the power needed to institutionalize their bigotry; only whites have that power.

        • colin black says:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_murders

          Blacks in this country cannot be racists because they don’t have the power needed to institutionalize their bigotry; only whites have that power.

          @

          I cannot believe you wrote that .As if somehow only institutionised raceism on say an industrial scale Is problem.

          Read the account of the true life mass murdering spree a few AA converts to Islam sanctioned ney encouraged as a right of passage into there sick perverted cult abomination an perverted the sacred religion an teachings off the Prophet.

          Listen to the crazed idealoigys of Luis Farahkans predesseser whom .
          Insists that white people arose as a mateing of Black Men with female sow pigs.

          Produceing the white race off blue eyed Devils.

          Its absurd to claim AA can ot be raceist or Blacks cannot be raceist
          I lived in St Pauls In Bristol an almost exclusive Black area and my Girlfreind at the time ,.Was mixed race white Mom an her Pops from Jamacia..

          The Majority of neighbours people within the community were ok .

          But hey I got beat up more than once an disposed of my money an dope.

          As did Joe my G F for having me as a BF we both were spat at on numerous occasions.And ironicly she spent hours appoligiseing for the actions of a minority of her heritage.

          So please don’t diminish the victoms an sufferings of anyone subjected to raceism from any ethnic back ground.

          You think your any less dead just because the raceists the killed you were not instituinilised raceists.You think there familys greive any less because the victims there sons an daughters there children were targeted by raceists whom were an aberration an not amongst the standard trend?

          • bettykath says:

            Bigotry of one sort or another exists everywhere. It is expressed in many different ways, everything from name-calling to shunning to bullying to murder. Groups of bigots can form and further energize their bigotry into vile expressions of hatred.

            However, racism is where those with the power are able to institutionalize their bigotry such that they have rights and privileges that the “others” do not have. In the US it was formalized

            * in the 3/5 compromise that declared slaves to count as 3/5 of a person for representation in Congress but they had no right to vote for representation,

            *in the Dredd Scott decision of the US Supreme Court that declared that African Americans were not citizens and had no standing to sue in federal court for their freedom or anything else,

            *in the Jim Crow laws that perpetuated the “whites only” in public places and facilities,

            *in the difficult voter literacy tests that only AA had to take,

            *in the segregation of the military where only white men could be commanders,

            *in the banks and the government “red lining” neighborhoods such that AA WWII vets were not able to take advantage of the low interest mortgages for homes that white veterans were able to get,

            *in the “separate but [not] equal” schools where white schools were well financed but the AA schools were not,

            *in the current practice of racial profiling by police, the entire judicial system, the topic of this thread

            *in the practice of many employers who don’t see AA as having the skills or the potential that they see in similarly skilled whites.

            This is just a small list of examples of the US history of racism that has taken us to where we are today. White privilege is alive and well, unfortunately.

            I’m not familiar enough with other countries.

  12. bettykath says:

    Police entered a bar with a racially mixed clientele, created a situation and escalated it, brutally beating some of the patrons. The speech to the Troy city council is extremely powerful.

    • Girlp says:

      Refreshing to see someone standing up for justice. Wonder if my brother knows him. My dad and brothers were involved in civil rights movement in MS.

  13. bettykath says:

    Lots of good truth in this article.

  14. Tom Metzger says:

    What justice in our courts for anyone?

  15. lady2soothe says:

    Professor will you check your email
    Thank you

  16. colin black says:

    In other words, a rising tide raises all ships
    @

    Sure does an all those that have no ships drown.

  17. Vicky says:

    What an incredible and well articulated article! 

    • groans says:

      Great clip, bettykath!
      Thanks for sharing … I haven’t been able to watch Colbert recently as regularly as I typically do.

  18. bettykath says:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/02/11/275087586/study-stereotypes-drive-perceptions-of-race

    The transcript of the NPR interview to which Colbert referred in the clip I posted on previous thread. It shows just how deep our bigotry goes.

    • Pdeadder says:

      Bettykath I just went to the Colbert thingy it says “Sorry this video is not available from your area,probably due to your overly polite attitude”. Something like that. Huh but I am a little dense.

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