O. J. Simpson gets locked up

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O. J. Simpson is a damn fool.  Probably as a result of a drunken musing, he told his bail bondsman to contact a co-defendant in his sports memorabilia theft case, a clear violation of his bail agreement.   O. J. is too damn old to get locked up.  It serves no purpose, but that’s exactly where his old arse is going.

The Associated Press picks up the story, “O.J. Simpson was taken into custody Friday in Florida and will be brought before a judge next week on allegations that he violated terms of his bail in a Las Vegas armed robbery case, court officials said.”

“Clark County District Attorney David Roger alleges that in a November voice message, Simpson told his bail bondsman to contact co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart and express frustration about testimony given at hearing where Simpson, Stewart and a third man were ordered to stand trial.”

“I’m tired of this (expletive),” Simpson is quoted as saying in a transcript that was included in Roger’s motion to revoke bail filed Friday. “Fed up with (expletive) changing what they told me. All right?”

Simpson had been instructed by Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure in September not to have any contact with anyone involved in the case — not even by “carrier pigeon.” Simpson was to go before a judge Wednesday.
 

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Al Sharpton’s 2004 Presidential Committee being investigated

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In what could only be charitably called suspicious timing, the FBI announced a federal investigation into Al Sharpton’s 2004 campaign finances.      The Village Voice covered this in depth and shows us how shaky and nefarious all that bidness was and so I won’t do so again here.   However, after this was announced late last week and a Grand Jury impaneled for December 26th, I waited for a plausible explanation from the Department of Injustice about why they seem so damn pressed about this crap now.   This whole series of events is tailor made for skeptical negroes like myself to point the finger and say, “See they messin’ wit him again because he done got on their cases for ignoring the rash of nooses and racial terrorism in this country and the Jena 6.”   I would respectfully submit that if its political corruption that y’all are after, Chicago Mayor Rich Daley, a Barack Obama patron, is a more ripe target for a corruption probe.

Obama declares Iowa voters beyond race

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photo courtesy of flickr by Guy as in Gee

The “Safe Negro,” Barack Obama, has declared that Iowa voters are beyond race.   He is quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “People are less concerned about race and much more concerned about, is this somebody who is going to be fighting for me.”   That is an astounding statement of cynical calculation which panders to Iowa’s lily white electorate that is false on its face and goes to the root of why black people like me remain skeptical brotha’s and sistah’s.    For the record, all of my closest friends are supporters of the Safe Negro, but I just can’t go there.   I probably never will as long as he keeps serving up rhetorical gems like this to a narcissistic and oblivious white electorate.

Let me be clear, y’all.   I was born and raised in a neighboring state to a family of southern transplants looking for a kinder and gentler racism so that they might have a fighting chance to raise healthy and happy chirren.  My grandparents largely succeeded.  After high school, I realized that in terms of a future, there was no there there and decided to strike out for the greener and decidedly blacker pastures in the south.  

After a false start in Louisiana, I ended up in the Carolinas.  Having four generations of my family living in the rural Midwest, you’d think that our sense of pride in self and community woulda dimmed somewhat, quite the opposite is true.    We know exactly who we are, where we came from, and we appreciate it and celebrate it.   We’re realists that were raised to see the world as it is, defects and all. It is because we do that statements like Obama’s can be decisively debunked with little effort.

According to Human Rights Watch, it is patently ridiculous for Barack Obama to be giving racial absolution to Iowans, “In every state, the proportion of blacks in prison exceeds, sometimes by a considerable amount, their proportion in the general population (Figure 2). In Minnesota and Iowa, blacks constitute a share of the prison population that is twelve times greater than their share of the state population. In eleven states — Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming –the percentage of the prison population that is black is more than six times greater than the percentage of the state population that is black.”

“Racially disaggregated incarceration rates that measure the number of confined blacks and whites per 100,000 residents of each racial group yield another perspective on the extent of racial disparities in imprisonment. Nationwide, blacks are incarcerated at 8.2 times the rate of whites. That is, a black person is 8.2 times more likely to be in prison than a white person. Among individual states, there are even more extraordinary racial disparities in incarceration rates (Figure 3). In seven states — Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — blacks are incarcerated at more than 13 times the rate of whites.”

“….Nationwide, black men are incarcerated at 9.6 times the rate of white men. In eleven states, black men are incarcerated at rates that are twelve to twenty-six times greater than those of white men (Table 5). Thus, in Minnesota, the state with the greatest racial disparity in incarceration, a black man is 26.8 times more likely to be in prison than a white man. In Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, a black man is more than fifteen times more likely to be in prison than a white man.”

The criminal justice system is always an accurate measure of how deep the sickness of racism is. In Iowa, on the basis of these 7-plus-year-old figures, the sickness is profound.   Apparently, Barack Obama is a glass is half-full kinda guy.  I’m just the opposite.  It’s one thing to campaign on the basis of optimism and hope, its quite another to pander to some white people’s grossly inflated sense of racial fairness and fairplay when statistics clearly show that their “fairness” is a lie from the pit of Hell.  Because of these and other reasons, I shall continue remaining skeptical about Barack Obama.  

 

To the Jena 6: Just hold on, change is coming

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Norman Hutchin’s song, “A move of God,” has been in my head all day.

To Mychal Bell,  Robert Bailey, Jr, Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, and the other unnamed young brotha, just hold on, change is coming.

“I feel a breakthrough coming your way, it’s a mighty move of God, it’s gonna change your day. With signs and wonders, miracles to perform, God is gonna bless you for just holding on.”

“Just hold on, a change is coming, feel it in the air, it’s in the atmosphere. Just hold on, a change is coming, a move of God is on the way.”

“You’ve been expecting a change in your life, looking for your midnight to turn to sunshine. It’s gonna happen, you wait and see, all things are possible to them that believe.”

“Just hold on, a change is coming, feel it in the air, it’s in the atmosphere. Just hold on, a change is coming…A move of God is on the way.”

Thousands of chanting demonstrators filled the streets of this little Louisiana town Thursday. It's not about black and white. It's about right and wrong. I would like to see these young men set free,

We should have progressed past this kind of unequal treatment based on race; however, we clearly are not. The outpouring of community support in the black community and the dearth of support from others is quite telling.   Katrina became an enduring symbol of neglect and racial indifference and Jena, Louisiana has provided the nation with another.  

There is nothing particularly unique about the disproportionate felony charges meted out to these six teenage boys, this happens everyday to black children somewhere in America, as Al Sharpton has pointed out.  What is unique is the black reaction the racially discriminatory actions of the LaSalle Parish School Board and LaSalle Parish District Attorney provoked.    

Today’s rally was amazing in its genesis and scale, as the song above says, “It’s a mighty move of God, it’s gonna change your day.” I feel confident in predicting that the charges against all six young men will be dropped.  

Praise God for Michael Baisden, Tom Joyner, Howard Witt, Amy Goodman, Roland Martin, Rev.Al, Rev. Jackson, Color of Change, the black blogosphere, and for the many black college students and other concerned persons who raised the alarm to inform the community when it was needed.  

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, on hand for the day’s events, told CNN’s Kyra Phillips that the House Judiciary Committee is preparing to subpoena the LaSalle Parish District Attorney to Washington to explain his conduct and the President himself said that the Justice Department is monitoring this case.  Despite protestations to the contrary, there is a valid reason why Tina Jones, mother of Purvis Bryant, believes that the D.A. is “so adamant about destroying these kids lives.”  I would love to hear his explanation of how a tennis shoe becomes a deadly weapon.   

The idea of a 21st century civil rights movement which focuses on the disproportionate punishment of people of color in the criminal justice system warms my heart.  That’s something that this skeptical brotha can get with enthusiastically.  Much remains to be done and it is not simply a local issue.   I hope that that Congresswoman Waters and Congressman Conyers grasp that a comprehensive solution which addresses the lack of resources for indigent defense is at the root of the harsh and disproportionate treatment that our children and adults face nationwide. 

 

Louisiana black caucus appeals to Gov. Blanco

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Hat Tip: By Sherrell Wheeler Stewart, BlackAmericaWeb

The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus asked Gov. Kathleen Blanco to intervene in the case of the Jena Six, but the governor maintains that state law prevents her from acting at this time.

Black Caucus Chairman  Rep. Juan LaFonta wrote Blanco a letter on Monday and said he spoke with the governor personally to ask for clemency for Mychal Bell, a 17-year-old jailed following his conviction in connection with a Dec. 4 fight that followed a series of racially charged incidents in the small town of Jena, Louisiana.

“The next thing for us to do is look at the appellate process and look at what can be done through the Legislature,” LaFonta, a New Orleans Democrat, told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Bell is one of six black youths to face criminal charges in connection with the fight with a white student at Jena High School. He is the first to be convicted and is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 20. Also on that date, thousands are expected to descend on the central Louisiana town to rally for justice in the case of the youths dubbed the Jena Six.

Earlier this week, a LaSalle Parish judge reduced the charges against Robert Bailey. His attorney, Jim Boren, told BlackAmericaWeb.com that Bailey still faces one charge for aggravated assault and charges of second degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same.

Bailey also faces charges from an incident where a white male pulled a gun on him. He took the gun from the man and was “charged with theft and aggravated assault of the person he took the gun from,” Boren said.

Last month, Judge J.P. Mauffray reduced charges filed against Carwin Jones and Theo Shaw. He also reduced an additional charge against Bell. Weeks after the attempted murder charge was dropped, the judge vacated Bell’s conspiracy conviction, his attorney, Louis Scott, told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Charges have not been reduced for Bryant Purvis and an unnamed juvenile.

The fight at school that resulted in the criminal charges followed months of incidents touched off in August when blacks sat under a tree used as a regular gathering place for white students. The next day, three nooses were hung from that tree. The white students who hung the nooses were suspended from school for a few days. The black students in the school fight were expelled from school, arrested and jailed. They also had bonds ranging as high as $130,000. 

In a statement from Blanco made available to BlackAmericaWeb.com, the governor said, “I must clear up a widespread misunderstanding of my authority in this case. Our State Constitution provides for three branches of state government — Legislative, Executive and Judicial — and the Constitution prohibits anyone in one branch from exercising the powers of anyone in another branch.  This issue is currently a matter in the Judicial System, and should those involved in this case suffer any defects, it is their right to address them in that system through the appeals court.”

According to state law, the Louisiana governor can grant a pardon, but only after a person has been convicted and sentenced, said Marie Centanni, Blanco’s press secretary. The person must apply for a pardon and have that case reviewed by the Board of Pardons, who would make a recommendation to the governor.

Louisiana officials have received requests for intervention on several levels.

In addition to the call for clemency for Bell, national leaders also have called for both the investigation of the district attorney’s office in LaSalle Parish and for the dismissal — and even disbarment — for District Attorney Reed Walters.

According to several published reports, Walters visited the school during the unrest last fall and told students, “I could end your lives with the stroke of a pen.”

Boyce Watkins, a Syracuse University professor and political commentator, said Walters’ comments are examples of his abuse of power and further evidence of a trend to ruin the lives of young people.

“I have seen black men get railroaded by prosecutors. I want to fight for them,” Watkins told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Also the Rev. Al Sharpton has said he wants the state attorney general and judicial oversight agencies to investigate the actions of Walters.

Repeated attempts by BlackAmericaWeb.com to reach Walters have been unsuccessful.

Under Louisiana Law, district attorneys are elected by voters in their parish. “A D.A. can be popular and powerful in their parish,” Scott said. “You have to remember they answer mainly to the voters who elect them.” 

According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, there are 8,798 voters in LaSalle Parish. Of that number — 7,998 are white and 661 are black. Most of the them are Democrats.

A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti Jr. said it is very rare that a district attorney is removed from office in that state.

Watkins said Walter’s conduct warrants not only removal from office but disbarment. He has started a petition and said he plans to present it to the Louisiana governor and other state officials.

“If Mike Nifong can be disbarred for his handling of the case involving the rich boys at Duke, then certainly this guy is eligible for disbarment,” Watkins said, referring to the former prosecutor who led in bringing charges against members of the Duke University lacrosse team.

Rapper Foxy Brown gets locked up

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Hat Tip: Samuel Maull, Associated Press, Yahoo News.

Foxy Brown was sentenced to one year in jail Friday for violating probation stemming from a fight with two manicurists in a New York City salon.

Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson sentenced the rapper at a probation hearing for Brown, 28.

“I’m not going to give you any more chances,” the judge told Brown. “I hope you turn your life around and never again have to stand in a court of law.”

Brown was also indicted in Brooklyn Friday on charges that she smacked a neighbor with a cell phone.

Brown, whose real name is Inga Marchand, was on three years probation for assaulting two manicurists at a Manhattan nail salon in August 2004.

Just before her hearing began, Brown, in handcuffs and wearing an elegant gray pantsuit, asked the judge for yet another chance at freedom and promised to straighten out her life.

“I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to change,” Brown told the judge. She said she had made a lot of mistakes before Jackson jailed her. “I realize that’s not where I want to be. It’s humbled me in ways I never imagined.”

Jackson replied, “Ms. Marchand, it’s too little, too late. I’m glad you’re learning something; that’s a positive.”

Jackson rejected a deal in which Brown would have gone to jail for nine months in exchange for a misdemeanor guilty plea. The judge had said the defendant knew she would face a year in jail if she violated probation.

A Probation Department lawyer, Matilda Leo, read four violations the Probation Department filed against Brown. She said Brown had twice left New York without telling the court or Probation Department; that she had changed her address from Brooklyn to Mahwah, N.J., without permission; and that she had failed to tell the court she had received seven traffic summonses in New Jersey.

Angry black activists march on Douglas County Courthouse for Genarlow Wilson

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Hat Tip: nal Constitution

With thunder overhead and rain threatening, about 2,000 marchers took to the streets in Douglas County today in support of Genarlow Wilson’s release from state prison.

The group, led by the NAACP, marched from Douglasville High School to the county courthouse, chanting “Free Genarlow Wilson” and singing civil rights songs.he case of Wilson, serving a 10-year sentence for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17, will be heard by the Georgia Supreme Court July 20.

Attorney General Thurbert Baker is appealing a Monroe County Superior Court judge’s decision to reduce Wilson’s felony conviction to a misdemeanor and free him from prison. Baker said the judge overstepped his authority when he granted Wilson’s motion last month. Wilson’s attorney is arguing his 10-year prison sentence is cruel and unusual punishment.

The high court also decided to hold an expedited hearing on a Douglas County Superior Court judge’s decision to deny bond for Wilson pending Baker’s appeal. The judge says Wilson is not eligible for bond during the appeal because of the nature of his crime, aggravated child molestation.

The almost entirely black march Saturday started around 10 a.m. and ended with speeches at the courthouse. Speakers denounced Baker and Douglas County District Attorney David McDade. The U.S. attorney’s office said McDade violated federal law when he distributed a videotape from a rape and child molestation case to legislators and journalists.

Police were present at the march to prevent any clashes with counterprotesters.

“We were worried aabout a bunch of neo-Nazis and Skinheads showing up,” said Douglasville police Chief Joe Whisenant , “Fortunately, they didn’t.”