Jena: The Prosecutor's perspective

Jims Rottweiler

Anyone ever smell my ass?
Apr 23, 2005
898
1
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#1
This guy is articulate, and his argument is persuasive. Who would've guessed?

Justice in Jena

By Reed Walters

THE case of the so-called Jena Six has fired the imaginations of thousands, notably young African-Americans who, according to many of their comments, believe they will be in the vanguard of a new civil rights movement. Whether America needs a new civil rights movement I leave to social activists, politicians and the people who must give life to such a cause.

I am a small-town lawyer and prosecutor. For 16 years, it has been my job as the district attorney to review each criminal case brought to me by the police department or the sheriff, match the facts to any applicable laws and seek justice for those who have been harmed. The work is often rewarding, but not always.

I do not question the sincerity or motivation of the 10,000 or more protesters who descended on Jena last week, after riding hundreds of miles on buses. But long before reaching our town of 3,000 people, they had decided that a miscarriage of justice was taking place here. Their anger at me was summed up by a woman who said, “If you can figure out how to make a schoolyard fight into an attempted murder charge, I’m sure you can figure out how to make stringing nooses into a hate crime.”

That could be a compelling statement to someone trying to motivate listeners on a radio show, but as I am a lawyer obligated to enforce the laws of my state, it does not work for me.

I cannot overemphasize how abhorrent and stupid I find the placing of the nooses on the schoolyard tree in late August 2006. If those who committed that act considered it a prank, their sense of humor is seriously distorted. It was mean-spirited and deserves the condemnation of all decent people.

But it broke no law. I searched the Louisiana criminal code for a crime that I could prosecute. There is none.

Similarly, the United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, who is African-American, found no federal law against what was done.

A district attorney cannot take people to trial for acts not covered in the statutes. Imagine the trampling of individual rights that would occur if prosecutors were allowed to pursue every person whose behavior they disapproved of.

The “hate crime” the protesters wish me to prosecute does not exist as a stand-alone offense in Louisiana law. It’s not that our Legislature has turned a blind eye to crimes motivated by race or other personal characteristics, but it has addressed the problem in a way that does not cover what happened in Jena. The hate crime statute is used to enhance the sentences of defendants found guilty of specific crimes, like murder or ****, who chose their victims based on race, religion, sexual orientation or other factors.

Last week, a reporter asked me whether, if I had it to do over, I would do anything differently. I didn’t think of it at the time, but the answer is yes. I would have done a better job of explaining that the offenses of Dec. 4, 2006, did not stem from a “schoolyard fight” as it has been commonly described in the news media and by critics.

Conjure the image of schoolboys fighting: they exchange words, clench fists, throw punches, wrestle in the dirt until classmates or teachers pull them apart. Of course that would not be aggravated second-degree battery, which is what the attackers are now charged with. (Five of the defendants were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder.) But that’s not what happened at Jena High School.

The victim in this crime, who has been all but forgotten amid the focus on the defendants, was a young man named Justin Barker, who was not involved in the nooses incident three months earlier. According to all the credible evidence I am aware of, after lunch, he walked to his next class. As he passed through the gymnasium door to the outside, he was blindsided and knocked unconscious by a vicious blow to the head thrown by Mychal Bell. While lying on the ground unaware of what was happening to him, he was brutally kicked by at least six people.

Imagine you were walking down a city street, and someone leapt from behind a tree and hit you so hard that you fell to the sidewalk unconscious. Would you later describe that as a fight?

Only the intervention of an uninvolved student protected Mr. Barker from severe injury or death. There was serious bodily harm inflicted with a dangerous weapon — the definition of aggravated second-degree battery. Mr. Bell’s conviction on that charge as an adult has been overturned, but I considered adult status appropriate because of his role as the instigator of the attack, the seriousness of the charge and his prior criminal record.

I can understand the emotions generated by the juxtaposition of the noose incident with the attack on Mr. Barker and the outcomes for the perpetrators of each. In the final analysis, though, I am bound to enforce the laws of Louisiana as they exist today, not as they might in someone’s vision of a perfect world.

That is what I have done. And that is what I must continue to do.

Reed Walters is the district attorney of LaSalle Parish.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/26/opinion/26walters.html?ref=todayspaper
 
Feb 20, 2006
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**** Island
#2
Thank you for posting this. I'm sure it will be quickly forgotten by the people that think blacks can not possibly be racists. Things have got to change people.
 

WhiskeyWhispers

I Want To Kill You All
Mar 11, 2007
3,544
3
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Jersey
#4
The days of Martin Luther King Jr. and evil white guys that burn down churches with little black girls in it are gone. There is no "civil rights" movement today. In fact, I would dare to say that ol' MLK Jr is rolling over in his grave at this very moment.
You cannot within reason defend what these kids did. A sickeningly large amount of black youths have an utter disregard for human life, and it is not limited to their victims, but also to themselves.

There is absolutely no fucking excuse for what is going on this country. I don't give a shit if your oppressed or not, join the fucking club. Oppression has been going on since the first caveman took off in search of food and clubbed another caveman and took his sabre-toothed cat rib from him.

You are not as special as you think you are. Right is right and wrong is wrong, it's a cop out to do the wrong thing in life, it's fucking easy. It's a lot harder to be a fucking man and swallow your pride and do the right thing and work hard, than it is to always play the victim and rob and cheat and steal.

You can at least try, but no, teach your kids they are victims, let them know there is no hope and that whitey is the enemy. That is sure to breed success and respect for yourself and your fellow man.

It's time to step the fuck up and stop the bullshit.

And I know most black people realize this, but these white people who act like they want to help you are just as racist. They feel you are unable to succeed yourself, that you need their lily white angelic ways to rescue you from yourselves.

Look at all the Hollywood movies where this just incredibly tolerant and understanding white teacher comes in and rescues all the black and hispanic students from their community, because Lord knows you can't educate yourselves, you need Angelina Jolie to adopt your children and Michelle Pfeiffer to teach them. They belittle you and they don't know shit.

Take it from a lower class white boy, let go of this "You owe me I hate you attitude", you will get nowhere in life, on any continent , in any time period.

Work with me and I'll work with you.
 

Myhairygrundle

Screw you guys, I'm going home.
Jul 16, 2005
6,798
1,947
608
Texas
#5
They just wanted more iced tea motherfucker....shit.



.
 

MJMANDALAY

Registered User
Jan 26, 2005
13,145
1
0
#6
The days of Martin Luther King Jr. and evil white guys that burn down churches with little black girls in it are gone. There is no "civil rights" movement today. In fact, I would dare to say that ol' MLK Jr is rolling over in his grave at this very moment.
You cannot within reason defend what these kids did. A sickeningly large amount of black youths have an utter disregard for human life, and it is not limited to their victims, but also to themselves.

There is absolutely no fucking excuse for what is going on this country. I don't give a shit if your oppressed or not, join the fucking club. Oppression has been going on since the first caveman took off in search of food and clubbed another caveman and took his sabre-toothed cat rib from him.

You are not as special as you think you are. Right is right and wrong is wrong, it's a cop out to do the wrong thing in life, it's fucking easy. It's a lot harder to be a fucking man and swallow your pride and do the right thing and work hard, than it is to always play the victim and rob and cheat and steal.

You can at least try, but no, teach your kids they are victims, let them know there is no hope and that whitey is the enemy. That is sure to breed success and respect for yourself and your fellow man.

It's time to step the fuck up and stop the bullshit.

And I know most black people realize this, but these white people who act like they want to help you are just as racist. They feel you are unable to succeed yourself, that you need their lily white angelic ways to rescue you from yourselves.

Look at all the Hollywood movies where this just incredibly tolerant and understanding white teacher comes in and rescues all the black and hispanic students from their community, because Lord knows you can't educate yourselves, you need Angelina Jolie to adopt your children and Michelle Pfeiffer to teach them. They belittle you and they don't know shit.

Take it from a lower class white boy, let go of this "You owe me I hate you attitude", you will get nowhere in life, on any continent , in any time period.

Work with me and I'll work with you.
Wow that was probably the best post I ever read -and I read them all-.
I hope you don't mind but I will be quoting some of that in my new sig. Nice job.
 

Zona992006

New Wackbag
Jan 26, 2007
4,129
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#7
Thank you for posting this. I'm sure it will be quickly forgotten by the people that think blacks can not possibly be racists. Things have got to change people.
There are plenty of black racists. Plenty. I can go into some chat rooms even in paltalk and listen to a sort of black KKK room. And believe me, when I show them how insane some of their ideologies are, I am called a Sambo and get kicked out. LOL



"They just wanted more iced tea motherfucker....shit."
 

d0uche_n0zzle

**Negative_Creep**
Sep 15, 2004
46,847
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F.U.B.A.R
#9
he was blindsided and knocked unconscious by a vicious blow to the head thrown by Mychal Bell. While lying on the ground unaware of what was happening to him, he was brutally kicked by at least six people.
Typical pussy move, by a pussy.
 

HummerTuesdays

Another girrrrl!!!
Apr 24, 2005
7,347
0
261
On the road to ruin
#10
At least someone understands me. Thanks :).
I think a lot of people understand you and agree with you. Unfortunately they are not the ones that need to hear it. Those that have severe entitlement issues villify people like Bill Cosby for speaking out against the ghetto mentality, rather than giving it some thought and trying to better themselves & their neighborhood.
 

TheDrip

I'm bi-winning.
Jan 9, 2006
5,051
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#11
I filled up a little while reading this thread! Walters' essay was spot-on. I'm glad he actually came out and fired back at all these 'activists' who are just railing him in the media. By saying that the noose-hangers should end up in jail, they are wanting the rules bent, and in doing that, they are essentially lobbying in favor of the same thing they constantly rally against. Hypocrisy from the activists at it's finest.

As for WhiskeyWhispers, yep, you hit it out of the park there! Well said.

On the Bill Cosby theme, I find it interesting that when people in the black community do stand up and say to segments of the black community 'look at yourselves, your a disgrace' they get lambasted by others of their race. I just can't fathom a white person saying "white trash meth users are a disgrace", and having to deal with backlash from the white community for it.
 

Sprite

permanent case of the Moooondays
Apr 27, 2005
3,834
2
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Jersey
#12
damn good read. if only one of those protesters was able to read it as well.