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Author Topic: Thoughts on the Jena 6  (Read 27512 times)

7S

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #90 on: September 27, 2007, 04:37:38 PM »
kept making these subtle, passive aggressive statements about how if it weren't for the Jena police the thousands of black demonstrators who came to Jena last week would have gotten out of hand.  Moreover, he said that but for the prayers of the Christian people of Jena, last week would have gotten out of hand.

I saw the press conference and was offended at this part, too. I didn't even stick around for the questioning. His "south-shall-rise-again" demeanor made me flip the channel.
It is easy to change the language of oppression without changing the sociopolitical situation of its victims.

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #91 on: September 27, 2007, 04:49:11 PM »
kept making these subtle, passive aggressive statements about how if it weren't for the Jena police the thousands of black demonstrators who came to Jena last week would have gotten out of hand.  Moreover, he said that but for the prayers of the Christian people of Jena, last week would have gotten out of hand.

I saw the press conference and was offended at this part, too. I didn't even stick around for the questioning. His "south-shall-rise-again" demeanor made me flip the channel.


You hit the nail on the head.  It was difficult to endure.  And the white town folk in the audience kept clapping for everything he said like this man is some type of hero.   He made it very clear that his only concern thoughtout all of the events that have transpired during this fiasco is the white student who was beat up.  That's it.  Everything else would, in his estimation, be going outside the rules of ethics for him to go after as a prosecutor.  WTF?!? 

I'm a pretty patient person and I usually don't sweat the small stuff one way or the other when people state their opinions, beliefs, etc. but this one had me upset.

He has decided not to appeal the La. Ct. App. 3d Circuit opinion that Bell can't be tried as an adult and so the case will procede to juvenile court as it should have from the very beginning.
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Miss P

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #92 on: September 28, 2007, 02:15:17 AM »
Ha ha nice: putting all that education to work.  I think the point that intent for the attempt muder charge has previously only been infered from use of weapons is pretty compelling.  Of course it doesnt completely preclude that inference in other situations (even apart from the Jena 6).

I read it differently: when intent on an attempted murder charge is to be inferred from a weapon, that weapon must be a deadly one.  Oh, well.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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cui bono?

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #93 on: September 28, 2007, 01:39:56 PM »
You ever just wanna smack somebody?


hilarious.  how do u really feel?

Not saying it wasn't in poor taste.  I'm sure these high school kids didn't share your keen understanding of history, Burning Sands. 

My understanding of history is not all that keen, but one doesn't exactly need a keen sense of history to know what nooses hanging from trees means. Your average joe still knows what that means even in 2007.  Especially if you grew up in the South.

This is spot on.  Context is key.  Even if nooses were used by cowboys in the wild west, when modern Americans see a nose dangling from a tree they think of racism/lynchings.  And this was taking place in the South... in a town known for its racial divisions!  Similarly if I go to decide to go to school wearing a t-shirt with a swastika on it, no one's going to believe my argument that it's just a Buddhist religious symbol.

I mean, give me a break.

Agreed.  I'm still stuck on nooses = wild west.  The avg citizen, black , white, or other does not associate nooses with the wild west.  Even if they did ::), the manner in which they were hung screams more "jim crow" than "clint eastwood"
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality...  I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word - -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

PNym

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #94 on: September 28, 2007, 03:42:59 PM »
No that's my typo.  I should have said "dangerous" weapon instead of deadly. 

As far as Credo's post - no we're saying the same thing.  Literally anything could become a "dangerous weapon" based on the circumstances.  The real question becomes - is it a "dangerous weapon" for battery purposes or for attempted murder purposes? 

What is important for us to note here is that, for attempted murder charges, the cases generally invovled dangerous weapons that were likely to produce death AND which were used in a manner that would likely produce death.  That would rule out Tennis Shoes for attmpted murder. 

For the battery cases, most of them did not invovle a "dangerous weapon" at all, and if they did, the "dangerous weapon" was something along the lines of the shoes which, in all likelihood, would be more likely to cause a black eye rather than cause death.   Even in the cases like Guin and Linear, the defendant was actually using a conventional "dangerous weapon" that we would all agree is a dangerous weapon in the common sense meaning of the word such as a knife or a gun but, because their intent was clearly to cause bodily harm and not death, a charge of attempted murder could not be sustained.  So it appears that the common theme in LA when it comes to weapons and attempted murder revolves around two things:

#1 - a conventional weapon that will likely kill somebody (ie. gun, knife, bomb, lead pipe)
#2 - using that weapon in a manner that will likely kill sombody

Throughout my extensive searches of the Westlaw and LexisNexis databases, I saw no case sustaining an attempted murder charge in Louisiana where the only "dangerous weapon" involved was a shoe.  Maybe I missed it.  I guess I can keep looking. :P

Yes, I think this is exactly right.  Here's an explanation coming from a different angle:

Use of a "dangerous weapon" is an element of aggravated battery in Louisiana.  "Dangerous weapon" is defined by the statute as "any gas, liquid or other substance or instrumentality, which, in the manner used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm." La.R.S. 14:2(A)(3). For the purposes of an aggravated battery conviction, the dangerous weapon used can be one that (as used) is intended or likely to cause death OR great bodily harm.   (This makes sense because while Louisiana battery and assault law is defined in terms of the instrumentality, common law aggravated battery is often defined in terms of the injury, as battery that causes great bodily harm.)

Use of a "dangerous weapon" is not an element of attempted second-degree (reckless) murder.  It is, rather, a judge-made standard about the kind of evidence from which the factfinder can infer intent to kill -- which is an element of the crime.  Thus, in an attempted murder case, the dangerous weapon must be one that (as used) is likely to cause death, not merely a weapon that (as used) is likely to cause great bodily harm short of death.  Otherwise, the weapon couldn't be offered as proof of intent to kill as opposed to proof of intent to cause great bodily harm (which is not sufficient to make out an attempted second-degree murder case).  

Sands may have meant to type "dangerous weapon" instead of "deadly weapon," but I actually think that a real distinction lurked beneath the slip.

EDIT

Could the prosecutor infer an attempt to kill from the circumstances surrounding the event? He seems to be making that claim in the NYT op/ed:

Quote
Only the intervention of an uninvolved student protected Mr. Barker from severe injury or death.

I don't think making that inference is an egregious misinterpretation of the facts at hand; a 6-on-1 beating from behind by thugs with a criminal record and a reputation for violence, only broken up due to the involvement of an uninvolved spectator, would certainly persuade me that the boys were attempting to kill the victim.

I think reasonable people can differ on this interpretation, though, which is why I'm not sure that the prosecutor should face charges of misconduct. It isn't as if he charged the Jena 6 with grand theft auto or something; an attempted murder charge may be somewhat supported by what he knew of the facts of the case at the time of the charge. I'd be interested to see when the charge was first filed, and when the charge was changed to aggravated battery.

PNym

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #95 on: September 28, 2007, 03:57:23 PM »
**This incident in particular is bizarre.  A white student pulled a gun on some black students, and they wrested it away from him and left.  They were charged with theft of the gun, but white student's initial threats, at gunpoint, weren't investigated.

I don't think this incident is bizarre at all. The white student had likely been involved in Justin Sloan's assault on Robert Bailey. When Robert Bailey approached the white student with his friends, the white student likely anticipated trouble, especially since Robert Bailey's friends were known as troublemakers.  Assuming that the white student was by himself, he probably wanted to even the odds in any altercation that could break out, so he ran to arm himself.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/03/AR2007080302098_2.html

I'd wager that defending yourself with a firearm in a scenario where you face an altercation in which the opposing party has an advantage in disparity in force is not against any law.

This assessment would be different, though, if the white student, and not Robert Bailey & co, had instigated the encounter.

PNym

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #96 on: September 28, 2007, 03:59:17 PM »
My take is simply, that the prosecutor has a history of "handily looking the other way" or "throwing the total book at him" depending on his personal preferences, and in direct parallel to the race of the defendant.

That's a pretty severe allegation. Do you have any evidence to back it up?

PNym

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #97 on: September 28, 2007, 04:08:33 PM »
John Hawkins brought up a good point about the "end your lives with a stroke of a pen" statement:

Quote
After this event occurred, racial tensions unsurprisingly ratcheted up several notches at the high school. A building was burned down. Fights broke out. Prosecutor Reed Walters went to the school and told the entire student body that, "I can end your life with the stroke of a pen," as part of an effort to stop the violence.

See http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JohnHawkins/2007/09/28/what_they_don%e2%80%99t_want_you_to_know_about_the_jena_6_case (and refrain from commenting upon the site, as I know that some of the material hosted there would offend you - as some of it offends me)

What if that statement was merely intended to bring to the attention of the high schoolers that the DA was sick of the violence that was occurring in Jena, and therefore was ready to enforce the law, in an effort to reduce that violence? This explanation would fit the facts as well as the explanation that he made the statement to intimidate black students.

Can anyone provide more information about the context of this statement?

PNym

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #98 on: September 28, 2007, 04:59:53 PM »
My take is simply, that the prosecutor has a history of "handily looking the other way" or "throwing the total book at him" depending on his personal preferences, and in direct parallel to the race of the defendant.

That's a pretty severe allegation. Do you have any evidence to back it up?

Yes but I'm keeping it secret.  ::)

Are you working with Miss P on her pro-bono project?

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Thoughts on the Jena 6
« Reply #99 on: September 28, 2007, 06:20:45 PM »

I think reasonable people can differ on this interpretation, though, which is why I'm not sure that the prosecutor should face charges of misconduct. It isn't as if he charged the Jena 6 with grand theft auto or something; an attempted murder charge may be somewhat supported by what he knew of the facts of the case at the time of the charge. I'd be interested to see when the charge was first filed, and when the charge was changed to aggravated battery.


Have to strongly disagree. A biased mind would differ on this interpretation, but not a reasonable mind.

I was talking to one of my friends today who is a prosecutor and I was curious to hear his opinion on the matter having worked at the DA's office for 2 years now, and in his experience he strongly felt that the charge of attempted murder was not only, to use his words, "a stretch," but also he thought it didn't make any practical sense because at the end of the day, as a prosecutor, you have an even higher standard to prove when you actually argue the charge in court.  Therefore, it doesn't make any sense to bring a charge you know is not supported by the evidence even if it wasn't against the code of professional conduct and ethics. (which it is)


Can one reasonably believe, given all the events that took place in this series of events, that Reed Walters was not motivated by his biases at all in the handling (or not handling) of these cases?


FYI: it is against the law for the kid to have a gun at the quick shop in the first place.  Louisiana, like many other states, requires a permit in order to carry a gun and in order to get a permit in Louisiana, like many other states, you must be 21. Most high school students are no older than 18. If you are not 21, then you need to be prosecuted for illegally carrying a firearm in public.  But I guess our reasonable Jena prosecutor simply forgot about that little rule during his extensive research on attempted murder.


"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
Charles H. Houston