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Should We Be Blogging About the "Jena 6"?:
I'm with Glenn Reynolds on this. I'd really like to blog about the case, and I spent about 30 minutes this morning trying to research it, but I couldn't get a good enough sense of what the facts are or what the precise cause of the protest is to really know what to make of it. Wikipedia has the best summary I could find, and it seemed to suggest that the problem was a decision by prosecutors to overcharge a case in an environment of severe racial tensions. Specifically, the state charged one juvenile as an adult and initially charged him with attempted murder even though there was no evidence of that intent (and then dropped it to assault with a deadly weapon, even though the evidence of a deadly weapon was questionable). But I did find it hard to get a sense of what was going on, at least so far. As Glenn puts it, "The signal-to-noise ratio [isn't] that good."

  UPDATE: I had missed this summary by Radley Balko, which is very helpful.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Sunday Song Lyric:
  2. TalkLeft on the "Jena 6":
  3. Should We Be Blogging About the "Jena 6"?:
Justin (mail):
JUSTICE in Louisiana is blind, to say the least. The only problem is that the PROSECUTORS are not. LaSalle does not have the reputation of Jefferson Parish, but it is still a very disturbing criminal justice system, particularly for black men.
9.20.2007 7:36pm
Jason McKim (mail):
I'm at UVa Law. There were some people dressed all in black today in support of the Jena 6. About a week ago someone in my class emailed around a link to a YouTube Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuoiZnr4jLY) that is full of logical fallacies.

It's quite plausible that there is injustice in the case, but I have this gut reaction of distaste to people trying to convince me based on emotion not backed by real evidence. The only arguments I see to support the Jena 6 are bad ones. That doesn't preclude the possibility that there are good arguments, but why is everyone using bad arguments if good ones are available?
9.20.2007 7:59pm
Justin (mail):
BTW, what is wrong with Glenn Reynolds? "As always, it's constructive to ask how people would act if the races were reversed." You mean in a society where a white kid wanted to sit under the black tree but wasn't allowed, and then was reminded of how blacks used to kill white people for sport back in the day?

Does he really think that the animus of the black kids in this war is really equal to those of the white kids? Is he really trying to equate the actions of the Jena 6 with the guys who hung up the nooses for real, so many decades back, even in spirit?

Disgusting. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the only other plausible reading is he thinks his readership is a bunch of racists who would be okay with Balko's description.
9.20.2007 8:00pm
Justin (mail):
Jason - are you saying that in a teenage race-war that was instigated by a bunch of white kids, that its reasonable to lock up (no prior record) black kids for 20 years or more for a schoolyard fight? Especcially when the white kids were not locked up a day for similar (or, given the shotgun incident, even scarier) actions? (And note: I think the response of "lock up the white kids too" is silly - lets try not to ruin too many lives over the stupid prejudices that these kids parents' instilled on them, and the temperment of youth)?
9.20.2007 8:03pm
John87 (mail):
I would really like to see what the minds at Volokh have to say on this topic. I have only heard of this story through traditionally biased media, like the NY Times. I count on Volokh for down the line, incisive analysis of controversial topics, so I hope I won't be let down.
9.20.2007 8:03pm
Visitor Again:
There have been stories with some background in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
9.20.2007 8:08pm
Realist Liberal:
I agree with Prof. Kerr. I've tried to find actual facts on this case but really can only find a bunch of people screaming that the other side is racist. While this may go beyond what is normal (and I have no idea whether it does or not) but every DA in the country up charges as a means to negotiate plea bargains. Whether that is right or not (for the record I don't think there is anything wrong with it as long as the prosecutor thinks they can reasonably make each charge they bring) is a different issue.
9.20.2007 8:09pm
John87 (mail):
I would like to see someone (hopefully a Volokh regular) take a stab at what is the appropriate charge and punishment for a group of people who kick a defenseless individual until he is unconscious. Understanding, of course, that provocation would not apply as a mitigating defense since words are not enough. Furthermore, understanding that a prosecutor is an adovocate rather than a judge or jury, would a charge of attempted murder be too aggressive?
9.20.2007 8:09pm
Observer (mail):
From what I've read, it's obvious that the prosecutor overcharged the black kids. They stomped a white kid until he was unconscious - that's assault, not attempted murder or assault with a deadly weapon.

It's also wrong that the prosecutor has charged white kids who've beaten up black kids in the past few weeks with only minor offenses. I think that's what really has the black community in Jena upset - the lack of equal treatment for black and white criminals.


What I'd really like to know, though, is why he didn't just charge the Jena 6 with a hate crime? Beating a white kid cause he's white - that sure sounds like a hate crime to me. Ditto for the white kids beating up black kids. What are hate crime statutes for if not stuff like this?
9.20.2007 8:13pm
davod (mail):
As with most things these days I bet we are only getting one side of the story. I read that the white guy was at a school function that evening. I read somewhere else that he had concussion and a fractured jaw. Who is correct.

Just once I would like to see a minority charged with a hate crime? Color and sexual persuassion should have nothing to do with the way someone is charged. If the facts are the same the charge should be the ame.
9.20.2007 8:23pm
Weird:
Just once davod? Those statistics make it look like you don't know you're talking about. Weird!
9.20.2007 8:32pm
KeithK (mail):
Just once davod? Those statistics make it look like you don't know you're talking about. Weird!

Anti-white crime gets a lot less media attention than anti-black crime. Which is why it's easy for someone to say "just once" even though it's not true.

This relates to Prof. Reynolds comment. In context I imagine he meant would there be great uproar if a bunch of white kids were overcharged after an assault like this. Which is a much more reasonable question to consider than Justin's interpretation.
9.20.2007 8:45pm
JeremyR (mail):
I think they were definitely overcharged. But seriously, 6 kids stomping 1 kid unconscious, and continued to kick him when he's down is hardly a "schoolyard fight", either. That's just wrong. Yeah, he ended up not being seriously hurt, but that is probably because he didn't have much in his head to begin with.
9.20.2007 9:18pm
Sebastian Holsclaw (mail):
I'm inclined to believe that there might be some racial unfairness in the charges, but I'm not inclined to think so MERELY from the stomping and kicking either. I would need to know more. Skinheads kicking people to death (gay or black) didn't used to be an unheard of crime 15 years ago or so. (Maybe more recently, I haven't kept up.).
9.20.2007 9:25pm
Justin (mail):
All these poor white oppressed people....the black man keeping you down. I guess the War Liberterian did have a point after all.
9.20.2007 9:35pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Justin: "Disgusting. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the only other plausible reading is he thinks his readership is a bunch of racists who would be okay with Balko's description."

Do you dispute Balko's description? I'm not sure if you do. If so, can you set us straight and tell us what really happened?
9.20.2007 9:37pm
frankcross (mail):
As a matter of fact, minorities are charged with many hate crimes. At a higher rate than whites, I believe, if you check the DoJ figures. When people make a factual claim, it is generally a good idea for them to first check to see what the facts are.
9.20.2007 9:40pm
RainerK:
Indeed, the narrative is hard to follow. What did it for me is a simple fact: A felony charge resulting in a 15-year sentence. On a juvenile no less. That is insane under any circumstances except proven maliciousness resulting in irreparable harm. Prosecution resulting in destruction of lives is no way to calm racial tensions nor will it bring positive results.
Something stinks. I'm afraid that Jena is not an exception. There is a lot of stinking matter in the way criminal justice is carried out in this country. Beginning with the police, by way of the porsecution on to the courts. All that with tacit approval by the public.
9.20.2007 9:41pm
Tortmaster:
From what I have heard about the Jena 6 case, it is a question of prosecutorial discretion. I disagree with the prosecutor, but I am not the one with the discretion.

For example, I have a big problem with charging a shoplifter with burglary, which is allowed in Illinois. On the other hand, the timeline of events seems to suggest ever-escalating tensions and actions, and the district attorney may have wanted to send a message. Whether intentional or not, his "message" seems to have stopped the violence in Jena.

I am also having a problem finding a credible source for information about the Jena 6. If, for example, somebody would report what injuries the African-American male had from the "beer bottle" attack, as well as the criminal history of the beer-bottle attacker(s), that would be helpful.

I could then compare those injuries and criminal histories to the injuries and criminal histories involved in the alleged beat down of the white victim. Then, if the situations were similar, but the charges were different, there would be a serious question in my mind about prosecutorial misconduct and the equality in charging crimes. Since the media is not reporting that information, I am very suspicious. I saw how the PC media reported the Duke Hoax case.

Politically, it is shaping up to be a big issue. Jesse Jackson has been very quotable about the situation, including the following:


"Jackson sharply criticized presidential hopeful and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for 'acting like he's white' in what Jackson said has been a tepid response to six black juveniles' arrest on attempted-murder charges in Jena, La. Jackson, who also lives in Illinois, endorsed Obama in March, according to The Associated Press.

'If I were a candidate, I'd be all over Jena,' Jackson said after an hour-long speech at Columbia's historically black Benedict College.

'Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment,' said the iconic civil rights figure, who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1965 Selma civil rights movement and was with King at his 1968 assassination.

...

Obama's South Carolina campaign pointed to a statement it released last week in which Obama called on the local Louisiana district attorney to drop the excessive charges brought in the case."


Jena News

I agree with Obama's position that charging attempted murder was uncalled for (based on the apparent facts) and that over-charging has occurred. With this over-charging, the DA set himself up for the appearance of impropriety. I need more credible information to reach any conclusions, however, except that Jena ain't no Selma.
9.20.2007 9:46pm
Nifonged:
"I would like to see someone (hopefully a Volokh regular) take a stab at what is the appropriate charge and punishment for a group of people who kick a defenseless individual until he is unconscious."

I don't consider myself a regular but I'll bite, I would say 6-12 months in state pen or juvie, depending on the age of the defendant. This is an aggravated offense, in that there was some level of premeditation (in other words, not a random testosterone fueled engagement between two meatheads over a girl) and due to the 6 on 1 engagement...again, not "boys being boys" but a beatdown. I don't think race matters, whether it was white on white, white on black, black on white or black on black. Whoever engaged in these acts are going to have future meeting with the justice system in the future until they change their ways.

I don't think they should face anything more than that and the attempted murder charge is indefensible but unless you follow the "race war" defense its an offense that is punishable more than a suspension.
9.20.2007 9:57pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
1. The first problem is overcharging. Prosecutorial indiscretion.
2. The second problem is the selectivity of the overcharging. Blacks, not whites, were targets of overcharging when white students (a) started it and (b) did worse. The white kids who left the nooses should have been reported to the FBI. The white kid with the shotgun should have been reported to local police. All four should have been expelled.
3. The third problem is we're talking about a bunch of kids. If the school district had properly disciplined the white kids who started it, this unfortunate situation would not even exist. On that note, we're in the weird situation of arguing about whether the prosecutors stepped in to overpunish blacks when the real argument should be about why the white kids weren't punished properly in the first place. Kids need discipline. Why we let dangerous white kids run rampant is mind-boggling.
9.20.2007 9:59pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
6-on-1 stompings are beatdowns. But, people, that's what schoolyard fights are nowadays, which is exactly why you keep your mouth shut lest it be stomped shut for you. These are probably otherwise decent kids who would be rehabilitated by however many months of juvie and community service.
9.20.2007 10:03pm
Anderson (mail):
when the real argument should be about why the white kids weren't punished properly in the first place.

Bingo. When the authorities don't punish privileged offenders, then the unprivileged folks become more likely to resent and lash out against those who got off scot-free.
9.20.2007 10:03pm
jrman:
Justin,

You have to be intentionally misreading instapundit. He's asking how people would act if a white kid beat a black kid unconscious with a shoe and was charged with murder.

I read that question as: in that case would Al and Jesse be asking for reduced charges - or would they be agitating for the death penalty.
9.20.2007 10:04pm
Bored Lawyer:

Sharpton called Jena the beginning of the 21st century civil rights movement


In the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement was about the right to vote and access to public accomodations -- lunch counters, buses, etc.

Now, its about the right for a gang to beat the crap out of someone and not get punished too heavily for it.

My how times have changed.
9.20.2007 10:04pm
Bored Lawyer:
The article said that hanging a noose over the tree could be considered a federal hate crime, but the feds decided not to charge that.

Is that really so? What's the crime? It strikes me as mere free expression -- granted in extremely poor taste, and worthy of condemnation, but a federal hate crime?
9.20.2007 10:07pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
Is that really so? What's the crime? It strikes me as mere free expression -- granted in extremely poor taste, and worthy of condemnation, but a federal hate crime?

I am really bored and unimpressed by this kind of indifference. At the very least, the kids should have been expelled. They can join a KKK rally on their own free time, once they are no longer students.
9.20.2007 10:10pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
The problem I see, if the description is accurate, is a possible misuse of prosecutorial discretion. The problem is that prosecutors stack charges these days as a matter of course. Nothing different here except that the white kids didn't get the same treatment.

And if you want another example of stacking of charges against a black man, how about O.J.?

But this presumably differs from the Duke LAX case in that in that case, the prosecutor not only charged racially, but did so knowing that he couldn't make the case. In this case, the prosecutor presumably could have convicted on the charges, he just appears to have made then in a racial way.

Maybe, because the prosecutor may also have overreacted in response to a worsening situation in order to shut it down. Maybe, or maybe he was just a good-old-boy engaging in racist behavior. Don't know.
9.20.2007 10:15pm
Public_Defender (mail):
According to both NPR and the Randy Balko story Professor Kerr links to, after the black students sat under the whites-only tree, the prosecutor told the black students, "with a stroke of this pen, I can ruin your lives."

The prosecutor claims he said it to the whole student body. Other witnesses said he was looking specifically at the black students.

This doesn't make me trust his prosecutorial discretion.
9.20.2007 10:17pm
Justin (mail):
As I said, for someone to read Balko's post and think "sure, okay, nothing to see here" without having to go through the last scenes of "A Time to Kill" (now imagine she's white!) strikes me as bordering on absurd. If the absurdity can be cured by switching the races, then the person in question's absurdity is - duh - racism. I originally couldn't imagine that Reynolds thinks his readers are racist like that, although seeing some of the comments in this thread maybe Reynolds just doesn't overestimate his readership the way I have.
9.20.2007 10:20pm
Justin (mail):
The crime, I assume, would be along the lines of threatening someone's life/intimidation with the threat of violence. Read the majority opinion of Virginia v. Black. I think such a prosecution could be seen as a violation of the holding in Black, but the easier argument is that it is within the safe harbor exception.
9.20.2007 10:23pm
Bored Lawyer:

Is that really so? What's the crime? It strikes me as mere free expression -- granted in extremely poor taste, and worthy of condemnation, but a federal hate crime?

I am really bored and unimpressed by this kind of indifference. At the very least, the kids should have been expelled. They can join a KKK rally on their own free time, once they are no longer students


Sorry to bore you, but the kids WERE expelled. This was then reduced to a three-day suspension, which I agree is too lenient.

Still has not answered my question -- what is the hate crime here?
9.20.2007 10:24pm
Joel B. (mail):
A couple thoughts,

First I know virtually nothing about this particular case, but for thought...

In the State of California for example if you were involved in a 6 on 1 fight that involved stomping on someone and you personally stomped on them, instead of just yelled "yeah beat the crap out of them" you'd almost certainly be good for the crime of "Assault by Means Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury" a violation of PC 245(a)(1). A violation of that particular code section is enumerated in Cal. Welf. and Inst. code 707(b). That means that a minor who commits this offense at the age of 16 or 17 could be direct filed with no real recourse for the minor. Absolute prosecutorial discretion. Also, if the DA chose they could set it for fitness and the minor would be presumed unfit and would most likely not be found to be appropriate for juvenile court meaning even the court would have a hard time choosing to keep the case if the prosecutor chose not to direct file.

Also, if someone was kicked unconcious that would be easily a 12022.7 enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury easily adding an exposure of up to 7 years. And the line between that an attempt murder can easily be fuzzy.
9.20.2007 10:24pm
A rude dude (mail):
Observer asks:


What I'd really like to know, though, is why he didn't just charge the Jena 6 with a hate crime? Beating a white kid cause he's white - that sure sounds like a hate crime to me. Ditto for the white kids beating up black kids. What are hate crime statutes for if not stuff like this?


I thought it was well understood that only whites could be charged with hate crimes. They're the only ones that hate, aren't they?
9.20.2007 10:25pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
Sorry to bore you, but the kids WERE expelled. This was then reduced to a three-day suspension, which I agree is too lenient.

I was and am aware that the principal initially took the correct action. That is why I criticized "the school district", not "the principal".

It was a 3-day in-school suspension. They were never actually expelled from school or, to my knowledge, barred from school premises.
9.20.2007 10:33pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
Still has not answered my question -- what is the hate crime here?

I said they should have been expelled and reported to the FBI. The boy who brought the shotgun, I said, should have been expelled and reported to local police. I didn't make any further argument than that.
9.20.2007 10:35pm
Bored Lawyer:
My question was not directed at the argument of any poster, it was directed at this statement in the CNN article:


Although Washington acknowledged the FBI and other investigators thought the noose incident bore the markings of a hate crime, a decision was made not to press federal charges because the case didn't meet federal criteria.


I cannot see what is criminal about the noose incident. (Although it certainly is a basis for expulsion from school -- free speech in school has its limits, and this is well beyond those limits.)
9.20.2007 10:41pm
Mitchell J. Freedman (mail) (www):
Folks, I think the Jena 6 is very much like the Duke case in that a prosecutor made assumptions based upon racial stereotyping. There is also prosecutorial abuse going on.

To say, well, we don't know enough is a cop out, especially when this web site continues to obsess over the plight of some white skinned young men who were at Duke University.

So count me as one that says whether one discusses one at length without wanting to discuss the other is possibly motivated by political and perhaps even racial biases. And that goes for Al Sharpton as much as anyone at Volokh Conspiracy or Glenn Reynolds or his commenters.
9.20.2007 10:43pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
FYI:


Existing federal law protects people like Denise McCollum from workplace harassment and violent acts based on race, color, national origin or religion. Federal Civil Rights statute 18 U.S.C.A. section 245 has been instituted in the United States Congress to safeguard people like McCollum from vicious attacks by inconsiderate persons. The Department of Justice considers noose incidents to be federal crimes of intimidation, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation annually reports and collects statistics it gathers annually on the number of bias-related criminal incidents from law enforcement agencies. In 1996, based on reports from law enforcement agencies covering 84% of the nation's population, the FBI reported 8,759 incidents based on the Hate Crime Statistics Act.

9.20.2007 10:43pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
Section 245 of 18 U.S.C provides for criminal penalties, where, in part, a person, whether or not acting under colour of law, by force or threat wilfully injures, intimidates or interferes with any person because of his race, colour, religion, or national origin, and the person is engaging in a variety of activities such as attending a public school, applying for employment, using the services of a restaurant, and travelling in any facility of interstate commerce.
9.20.2007 10:46pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
That's rather rock-solid, it seems. Noose. Public school. Racially motivated. Intimidating ("stay away from our tree").
9.20.2007 10:47pm
Tortmaster:
I need more credible information. I would hate to angry up my blood just to find out Jena was just another Decatur.
9.20.2007 10:47pm
A rude dude (mail):
Someone pontificates that:


It was a 3-day in-school suspension. They were never actually expelled from school or, to my knowledge, barred from school premises.


What is this with suspension and expulsion? A good proportion of kids don't want to be at school. Suspending them or expelling them only rewards their behavior.

If you really want to punish them and change their behavior, do something serious, like some physical punishment, or put them in a labor gang or something like that.
9.20.2007 10:48pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
Now I want to know what federal criteria the noose incident failed to meet.
9.20.2007 10:48pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
A good proportion of kids don't want to be at school. Suspending them or expelling them only rewards their behavior.

That might make sense with regard to suspension, particularly in school suspension. But being permanently barred from school premises, being un-enrolled from that school, and having the discipline on your permanent record is no fun. Expulsion is not fun. You might not graduate high school. You might not graduate high school on time. It is harder to get into college. And it is harder to do any number of things, such as be admitted to the bar, later in life.
9.20.2007 10:51pm
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
What's the argument these white kids shouldn't be on trial?
9.20.2007 11:00pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
On its face it looks like the prosecutor waited too long to treat this situation with a serious "spend a night or ten in jail" manner, and then overreacted when he did begin to respond, and did so with the first major incident perpetrated by black students, as well as against the black students involved in an earlier incident perpetrated by white kids. Whether the kid had a broken jaw, went to the party that night, or both, it wasn't attempted murder and it wasn't assault with a deadly weapon. Kids who brandish weapons to intimidate other kids should be charged -- and to charge the kid who had the weapon brandished at him with stealing the gun is absurd. All of the boys who ganged up on another boy and stomped him repeatedly should be in the criminal (juvenile for the minors) system.

At a minimum, the school district, police, and prosecution have made some egregious errors, and the community has tolerated some really seriously wrong attitudes and behaviors from its youth (apparently for a while: a "whites only" tree? What the heck?) I feel bad for all the kids at that school (actually, the whole town) -- but now at least ten of them (three for the noose incident, one for the shotgun incident, and these six boys) have crossed the line from being victims of their circumstances to active perpetrators, in the criminal sense of the word (I can see the kids who put up the noose just getting expelled and charges along the lines of criminal mischief/disturbing the peace, but then, I also think hate crime legislation is counterproductive, so.)

Bottom line: it's a bad situation. None of those ten boys should spend ten years in prison for it, though.
9.20.2007 11:13pm
A rude dude (mail):

That might make sense with regard to suspension, particularly in school suspension. But being permanently barred from school premises, being un-enrolled from that school, and having the discipline on your permanent record is no fun. Expulsion is not fun. You might not graduate high school. You might not graduate high school on time. It is harder to get into college. And it is harder to do any number of things, such as be admitted to the bar, later in life.


I think someone here is divorced from reality. The kind of boys who use violence to solve their (perceived) problems do not care about being admitted to the bar. Baring an enormous upheaval in society where even more rogues are admitted to law school, they are not getting into law school and are probably more worried about getting into their favorite gang. Heh, being expelled from school is likely one of the entrance requirements.
9.20.2007 11:25pm
Justin (mail):
A rude dude,

I don't remember any 17 year olds at all who were worried about their C&F test. I certainly did stupid things as a 17 year old (nothing that stupid, granted, but I was also never challenged with the unique circumstances that these kids were), and I'd like to believe I'm a more than capable and moral lawyer.
9.20.2007 11:43pm
Dan Weber (www):
I heard that the white kid who pulled the gun did it in response to a threat. I don't remember at all where I heard it, though, and I could well have tapped some unsavory vein of "facts" when someone told me that.

Any details on this? Or did someone just imagine it and tell it to me?
9.20.2007 11:51pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I heard that the white kid who pulled the gun did it in response to a threat. I don't remember at all where I heard it, though, and I could well have tapped some unsavory vein of "facts" when someone told me that.

Any details on this? Or did someone just imagine it and tell it to me?


Per the Wikipedia article Orin linked:

On Saturday, December 2, 2006, an incident apparently stemming from the Fair Barn fight the day before occurred at a local convenience store. A student who had attended the party encountered Bailey and several friends. An argument ensued, after which the white student ran to his pickup truck and produced a 12-gauge shotgun. In the court transcripts, the gun owner states that as he was walking towards the convenience store, Bailey and his friends ran towards him after shouting, "We've got action." Bailey then ran after the white student and wrestled him for control of the gun. Bailey's friends intervened in the scuffle and took the gun away. Bailey refused to return it and ultimately took it home with him. Local police reported that the accounts of the white student and black students contradicted each other and formed a report based on testimony taken from eyewitnesses. This resulted in Bailey being charged with three counts: theft of a firearm, second-degree robbery, and disturbing the peace. The white student who produced the weapon was not charged.
9.21.2007 12:17am
Justin (mail):
So the guy grabbed a gun in response to an argument, got it taken away, and then....asked for it back? Balls.
9.21.2007 12:23am
Justin (mail):
And once again, I want to point out that this is Louisiana. I have experience with this place - but if you don't - read up on Ryan Matthews.
9.21.2007 12:25am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
It is a serious question how serious the beating the student received was or if he even ever lost consciousness. He was apparently well enough to attend a ceremony to pick up his class ring at the school just a few hours later (not before as some of you seem to think).
9.21.2007 12:31am
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
The kind of boys who use violence to solve their (perceived) problems do not care about being admitted to the bar.

This is a remarkably ignorant statement. In my law school class, many had previous arrests or run-ins for stupid pranks, drunken antics, and so forth. Many also had fights that never resulted in arrests. All are practicing lawyers, many in BigLaw.

And, stop calling these kids a gang. They were a bunch of athletes being taunted in the school cafeteria. Jocks are pretty easy to get riled up in high school. That doesn't make them Crips, or whatever nonsense you're implying.
9.21.2007 12:42am
Nifonged:
"In my law school class, many had previous arrests or run-ins for stupid pranks, drunken antics, and so forth. Many also had fights that never resulted in arrests. All are practicing lawyers, many in BigLaw."

You went to NYU?

Seriously, major call on BS here....I wasn't "Joe Cool" in law school but I got to know everyone in my section and a good part of my class in general, and I knew of ONE person who had an arrest record and he was so embarassed about it that it was known only among a few people (I found out about it because some dimwit blurted it out during Thursday night bar review after a couple of pitchers). You went to a law school where "many" people had arrests and still ended up at Biglaw? Do ya think their potential employers were a bit concerned about their character evaluation?

If you're going to make up arguments, do it right. Like this: "I'm the lord Jesus Christ. I think I'll go get drunk and beat up some midgets."
9.21.2007 12:50am
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
None of those ten boys should spend ten years in prison for it, though.

I don't think you can lump them all together. The black kids reacted because the white kids got off. The real issue is why the prosecutors, state and federal, and the school district, let the white kids off. It just doesn't make sense. I don't care what their race is, I don't want anyone racially intimidating my kids at school or drawing guns on them. That's crazy.
9.21.2007 12:51am
Justin (mail):
In Decatur,

1) Nobody was 19. Facts are useful. There were 3 17 year old freshmen.

2) Nobody considered the Decatur guys boy scouts. Nobody argued they were provoked. Nobody argued that there were racial overtones to the violence itself, only to the punishment. Decatur was a debatable question about whether race was relevant. Race PERMEATES Jena.

3) Nobody was injured in Decatur, and the question was whether expulsion was severe enough. Apparently, a fight is enough to expel you, racially intimidating the black minority of a class and pulling on gun someone is just boys being boys.
9.21.2007 12:55am
Justin (mail):
Nifonged,

I assume people didn't tell you about their arrests. I suspect most people in law school were not arrested. But Juliana's point were that alot of her law class mates had done petulant/violent behavior that doesn't end up in arrests - and this point is very well taken.

Full disclosure: I was arrested when I was younger, when a cop called one of my friends the N word and pushed him, and he was stupid enough to push back. The charges were dropped.
9.21.2007 12:59am
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
You went to a law school where "many" people had arrests and still ended up at Biglaw? Do ya think their potential employers were a bit concerned about their character evaluation?

No, this isn't made up at all. Indeed, one dude was worried that being subpoenaed for downloading music via Napster would interfere with his C&F. And a girl in one of my classes got a weird ticket that resulted in a fine while on vacation during her 3L year and was worried about it. The fact of the matter is not all of these run-ins resulted in documentation that would pop up on a background check. An arrest by campus security isn't really an arrest, apparently. Etc., etc. There are a lot of lawyers who broke the law before they entered law school. You must be living in crazyland if you think no practicing lawyer has ever toked a joint. And no, I am not talking about myself. But, no, I knew no one who was arrested for a serious violent crime. At most, we're talking bar-fighting where no one was seriously injured, getting drunk in public, or some dumb prank, like pissing on someone's lawn. Not all arrests result in reports and not all run-ins are arrests. But the point is, being expelled does result in documentation, so can be worse for you than toking a joint that no one knows about.
9.21.2007 1:03am
A rude dude (mail):

I don't care what their race is, I don't want anyone racially intimidating my kids at school or drawing guns on them. That's crazy.


Then give your kids guns to take to school. People won't mess with them after that.
9.21.2007 1:48am
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
Then give your kids guns to take to school.

I hunt. I used to be a member of a shooting range. You're an idiot.
9.21.2007 1:51am
A rude dude (mail):

The black kids reacted because the white kids got off.


Ahhh, so because some white kids got lesser sentences than they should have, it was ok for 6 black kids to beat a white kid senseless?

That's a great sense of justice you have there. Remind me not to let my kids associate with your kids.
9.21.2007 2:26am
A rude dude (mail):


Then give your kids guns to take to school.

I hunt. I used to be a member of a shooting range. You're an idiot.


So, someone who used to be a member of a shooting range does not think he/she can teach their kids how to handle firearms?

Are you for real or are you the idiot?
9.21.2007 2:28am
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
so because some white kids got lesser sentences than they should have, it was ok for 6 black kids to beat a white kid senseless?

No. First, the white kids received no sentences at all. That is not "less than," it is zero. Second, the point is you cannot evaluate each event abstractly because it takes them out of chronological order. X caused Y. Intervening quickly to deal with X would have prevented Y. Evaluating Y as if it did not happen because of X is to ignore reality.

someone who used to be a member of a shooting range does not think he/she can teach their kids how to handle firearms?

Remarkably enough, I don't think teens should be bringing guns to high school. I was a member of a shooting range as an adult.
9.21.2007 4:01am
davod (mail):
Did the white kids beat someone senseless?
9.21.2007 5:18am
BGates (www):
Did the white kids beat someone senseless?

Juliana Klovquist, apparently.

"6-on-1 stompings are beatdowns. But, people, that's what schoolyard fights are nowadays, which is exactly why you keep your mouth shut lest it be stomped shut for you." - Juliana Klovquist, 1st Amendment Absolutist.

One of the six black kids arrested for assault had two prior battery convictions. I'm not sure what white people did to provoke those incidents.
9.21.2007 6:08am
davod (mail):
Jason Wheelock of the Kansas City Star has some pertinent facts which show a different perspepctive to the one being spewed forth at present.

While I recomend everyone read his complete article, just one part of the timeline - the nooses on the tree incident happened three months before the white guy was attacked.

Lessons from Jenna
9.21.2007 10:04am
Juliana Klovquist (mail):
1. I'm not sure of what relevance that kid's battery convictions are to the Jena incident.

2. It isn't prudent to walk into a biker bar and start talking about how all bikers suck turds. A beatdown by bikers is an obvious risk. Fighting words aren't traditionally protected speech, either.

3. The First Amendment is compatible with dueling. It is not compatible with threats of lynching and threatening unarmed students with a shotgun, both of which warrant indictment.
9.21.2007 10:05am
NJ (mail):
Ms. Klovquist,
18 USC, Part I, ch. 13, sec. 245, if you are correctly citing that as the basis of what could have been an FBI action, doesn't seem to apply here. The parts that appear relevant are b.(2)(A) and (B). But for (A), they had to have intimidated him BECAUSE he is or has been enrolling in or attending public school. From what I remember, they allegedly intimidated/threatened him not because he was attending the school, but because he was about to sit where they wanted to sit (like if a white comp sci major wanted to sit where the jocks always sat).

As for (B), he wasn't being intimidated/threatened for enjoying a benefit/privileged administered by a State or subdivision; unless you can go so far as to say that tree and the shade it provided were, etc.

See here
9.21.2007 10:14am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I know this is off-topic, but I hope "stomped him" isn't becoming standard English.
9.21.2007 10:25am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
It is just amazing. Over the past couple days we have spent time berating the MSM, out of control media, overzealous prosecutors, and left wing academia for jumping to conclusions and stereotyping relatively well-off middleclass white athletes as boorish racist rapists. I was criticized because I opined that some of you would ignore, or jump to the exact opposite conclusion, if the victims of the prosecutorial misconduct were minorities.

"No, never, we never trust the man, we are colorblind" you all screamed. "We don't trust anything the MSM tells us and never jump to conclusions, we are always willing to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt, regardless of the color of their skin or their economic background."

This prosecutor is just another Nifong. It's amazing how you can just ignore the fact that after this poor kid received a supposedly near fatal beating (bad enough to justify attempted murder charges) he was treated and released from the hospital and was well a enough to attend a school function just a few hours later.

Oh and btw, the Court of Appeals has overturned the first conviction, and ordered the release of the defendant, after the prosecutor refused to offer bail.
9.21.2007 10:36am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
As for (B), he wasn't being intimidated/threatened for enjoying a benefit/privileged administered by a State or subdivision; unless you can go so far as to say that tree and the shade it provided were, etc.

Since the tree was on school grounds, I think you most certainly can say it was. How would it be different than if there were certain restrooms that were implicitly off-limits to blacks?
9.21.2007 10:39am
Roundhead (mail) (www):
I can see that "J.F. Thomas"-troll and others have succeeded in changing the subject from the complicity of multiculturalist academics in the near-lynching of three innocent youth - to another case elsewhere which doesn't stasnd comparison AT ALL...

"J.F. Thomas" -

*This prosecutor is just another Nifong. It's amazing how you can just ignore the fact that after this poor kid received a supposedly near fatal beating (bad enough to justify attempted murder charges) he was treated and released from the hospital and was well a enough to attend a school function just a few hours later*

But just what is your point of comparison of the Jena case to that in Durham? That the defendants in both cases allegedly attacked an individual of another race?

Is that it?

Let alone that, what is the basis of your statement that the Jena prosecutor was engaged in "misconduct"? Did he withhold evidence from the prosecution that showed the defendants were not culpable in the crime? Did he conspire with other law enforcement officials in this effort to railroad the accused? Did he exploit this case in order to gain reelection in his constituency? did he do anything at all that would compare with the conduct of Nifong?

From what I read on Google (as you advised), I don't see any reference to that at all. The complaints from those who see this case as "injustice" is that the prosecutor brought more serious charges - attempted murder - against the accused that the critics believe is justified - and that one of the defendants at least was a juvenile at the time of the crime, but was prosecuted in adult court.

I hardly think an attack by six individuals upon one person constitutes a "schoolyard fight"; there is, in any case, absolutely no doubt that the assault in Jena took place (unlike in Durham) - only how it was disposed of by the prosecutor.

In fact, the response to this case on the part of those who criticize actually shows up the culpability of the so-called Durham 88 in creating a lynch mob mentality, as the authors of the book excerpted at the VC state.

After all, did 88 academics in Louisiana sign a statement urging that the "Jena Six" be prosecuted for their crime, or urge vigilante-style "protestors" to "not wait" for the mechanisms of due process to be completed, before coming to conclusions about the guilt of the accused?

The answer is, of course not. On the contrary, the "Jena Six" are the recipients of a great deal of support among academics (including one of these who signed the "Durham 88" ad!), as quoted by the New YOrk Times and other mainstream media posted on Google News - even though no one actually questions their guilt. Soon enough, Jena will be the locale to as many as 30,000 people who will come to smear the town's residents as `racist' and everything else...

Also, as far as I know, the charge of attempted murder is not dependent upon the extent of injuries of the victim; perhaps the law is different in Louisiana (and someone could speak to this), but injuries may be used as *evidence*, but otherwise is irrelevant to a charge of attempted murder.

(Parenthetically, it appears that the story about "white nooses" on trees only came out AFTER the individuals were charged...)

"J.F." and the rest is is the best you can do, I think you've struck out.
9.21.2007 10:51am
RSwan (mail):
J.F. Thomas,
I agree somebody who has been convicted of multiple assaults should be let out on the street. Oh and I'm not talking about the six-on-one beating this case is about. Read the article Davod linked above. If even half of Jason Whitlock's article is true, then comparisons to the Duke case are laughable -- and people are being played.
9.21.2007 10:55am
Roundhead (mail) (www):
amending what I said - you didn't "strike out" at all, in fact, unfortunately the VC has taken your bait and is now falsely comparing the media-lynching of the lacross players with the Jena case...

hail the left-wing noise machine!
9.21.2007 10:56am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas writes:

This prosecutor is just another Nifong.
Let's see: the Jena 6 were convicted of knocking a white kid to crowd, and stomping him. Now, perhaps they were overcharged on this, but no one is disputing that a violent criminal assault took place.

Mike Nifong prosecuted three men for a rape that he knew didn't take place.

And you think these are equivalent situations? Only to a liberal.
9.21.2007 11:03am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

knocking a white kid to crowd
should be "knocking a white kid to the ground"
9.21.2007 11:03am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
(Parenthetically, it appears that the story about "white nooses" on trees only came out AFTER the individuals were charged...)

Where on earth did you pick up this tidbit of misinformation?

You're right, extent of injuries isn't dependent on the extent of injuries (e.g., shooting at someone with the intent of killing them and missing is attempted murder), but in the case of physical battery, the extent of injuries is certainly indicates the intent of the batterer. When six people beat on someone and that person is treated and released from the hospital (i.e., isn't even kept over night for observation even though the victim and the prosecutor later claim he suffered serious head injuries), and is well enough to attend a function just a few hours later, the argument that the batterers intended to kill the person but failed in their attempt (the legal definition of attempted murder) rings hollow.
9.21.2007 11:07am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


so because some white kids got lesser sentences than they should have, it was ok for 6 black kids to beat a white kid senseless?

No. First, the white kids received no sentences at all. That is not "less than," it is zero. Second, the point is you cannot evaluate each event abstractly because it takes them out of chronological order. X caused Y. Intervening quickly to deal with X would have prevented Y. Evaluating Y as if it did not happen because of X is to ignore reality.
If I understand Juliana's logic here, because some white kids were not punished for crimes that should have been punished, six black kids should be allowed to knock some other white kid to the ground and stomp him.

Tell me, if some guy raped you because some other woman had mistreated him and was never punished, would you regard that as an adequate reason for your rapist to be charged with a lesser crime such as loitering?

Liberalism is fundamentally racist, because it argues that each of us is not an individual, but only a symbol of our race. Hence Juliana making excuses for six black kids to beat up a white kid because some other white kid did something wrong.

Juliana must be a law professor somewhere to believe such dangerous nonsense.
9.21.2007 11:08am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas writes:

When six people beat on someone and that person is treated and released from the hospital (i.e., isn't even kept over night for observation even though the victim and the prosecutor later claim he suffered serious head injuries), and is well enough to attend a function just a few hours later, the argument that the batterers intended to kill the person but failed in their attempt (the legal definition of attempted murder) rings hollow.
It may well be that the prosecutor overcharged this, but let me point out that if they had shot at this young man, with malice aforethought, but the bullets only grazed him, and he was out of the hospital several hours later, "attempted murder" would be a valid charge.
9.21.2007 11:11am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
the Jena 6 were convicted of knocking a white kid to crowd, and stomping him. Now, perhaps they were overcharged on this, but no one is disputing that a violent criminal assault took place.

They were charged with an attempted murder that did not take place. A white kids had previously committed an assault with a deadly weapon (I know you consider such behavior appropriate) that was not charged--in fact the black kid that disarmed the white kid who threatened him with the shotgun was charged with theft of the shotgun.

The beating was the final act in a string of incidents where white kids committed crimes, got away with them, and black kids who were either defending themselves or committed minor crimes were punished, their concerned ignored, or charged with more serious offenses.
9.21.2007 11:14am
LizardBreath (mail):
Hah -- I read the whole comment thread intending to make a point, and then find that JF Thomas has made in the very last comment.

Certainly the Jena 6 committed battery -- the complaint about prosecution is not that they're being prosecuted at all, but that prosecutorial discretion is being applied in a racially biased fashion. But with respect to the intent of the assault -- the victim was in a fight with six people, leaving him at one point unconscious and unable to effectively resist. And yet his ultimate injuries were a black eye and a concussion, mild enough to allow him to attend a school event the same day. It's a pretty safe conclusion that the kids he was fighting with didn't intend to hurt him any worse than they did, given that they had the opportunity to hurt him much worse, and didn't take it.
9.21.2007 11:15am
Elliot123 (mail):
JF Thomas: "This prosecutor is just another Nifong. "

The below quotes are rom the Jason Whitlok story in the KC Star cited above:

"Reed Walters, the Jena district attorney, is being accused of racism because he didn't show Bell compassion when the teenager was brought before the court for the third time on assault charges in a two-year span."

"A black U.S. attorney, Don Washington, investigated the "Jena Six" case and concluded that the attack on Barker had absolutely nothing to do with the noose-hanging incident three months before."

"Much has been written about Bell's trial, the six-person all-white jury that convicted him of aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery and the clueless public defender who called no witnesses and offered no defense. It is rarely mentioned that no black people responded to the jury summonses and that Bell's public defender was black."
9.21.2007 11:16am
rarango (mail):
IANAL, But Juliana Klovquist's post seems about right to me; and very nicely summarized. Are there issues of race involved--sure looks like it to me. And what happened in the court system offends my sense of justice--although I remain totally ignorant of the law there.
9.21.2007 11:17am
Bob from Ohio (mail):
I am confused. A justification for SIX kids beating and kicking ONE is that other kids were not prosecuted for earlier crimes? Or that the kid was not seriously injured by happenstance? Or they were emotional jocks? Or that that is what happens nowadays in schools?

By the way, hard to take seriously someone who within minutes says both:

Why we let dangerous white kids run rampant is mind-boggling.

and then

These [the Jena 6] are probably otherwise decent kids who would be rehabilitated by however many months of juvie and community service.


The white kids are dangerous but the blacks are decent. Maybe both are dangerous?

One more thing to note, the FBI did investigate the noose incident and the Black US attorney decided that it did not meet the hate crime criteria. Is it even remotely possible that this was a good faith determination?
9.21.2007 11:19am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
It may well be that the prosecutor overcharged this, but let me point out that if they had shot at this young man

But they didn't shoot at him, they beat him, and let up after he went down with no more than minor injuries. Obviously they did not intend to kill him. Therefore there was no malice aforethought.
9.21.2007 11:19am
Mr L (mail):
1. I'm not sure of what relevance that kid's battery convictions are to the Jena incident.

It sure might have an effect on the decision of what to charge the kid with, though. Also, since one of the big complaints in the original post is that there's not a lot of solid information flying around the fact that one of the attackers had multiple convictions for violence at the tender age of 17 is certainly relevant. Well, at least as relevant as tales about the racially charged atmosphere of Jena.

2. It isn't prudent to walk into a biker bar and start talking about how all bikers suck turds. A beatdown by bikers is an obvious risk. Fighting words aren't traditionally protected speech, either.

Too bad that's irrelevant. According to accounts, he wasn't attacked until well after he'd taunted Bailey, and even then from behind and by someone else. And mere offensiveness (as offensive as taunting a possible racist and confirmed thug for getting beaten up by another race can be) doesn't count.

3. The First Amendment is compatible with dueling. It is not compatible with threats of lynching and threatening unarmed students with a shotgun, both of which warrant indictment.

I think characterizing an (admittedly racist and stupid) prank as a 'threat of lynching' is clearly stretching it.

The shotgun incident, while serious, isn't clear cut -- the white student asserted that the black students ganged up on him and he produced the gun to protect himself. The students had been beaten up at a party he'd attended, and he could plausibly assert that they were looking to revenge themselves on someone present. The only witnesses who say otherwise are involved parties, and given the propensity of the media to omit things like 'multiple previous battery convictions' securing a conviction (assuming that the white student did indeed threaten them) might well have been impossible. Is it any surprise that the prosecutors threw up their hands and went after the only provable crime?
9.21.2007 11:20am
TerrencePhilip:
I have yet to see a rational argument for "freeing" the Jena 6, who beat a single boy unconscious and kicked him while he was on the ground. It was a cowardly and vicious act.

It was not, however, "attempted murder." The DA should have charged all of these cases as juvenile offenses for those under 17, and since there appears to have been no serious or longlasting harm to the victim they should have been charged with misdemeanors.
9.21.2007 11:22am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I am confused. A justification for SIX kids beating and kicking ONE is that other kids were not prosecuted for earlier crimes? Or that the kid was not seriously injured by happenstance? Or they were emotional jocks? Or that that is what happens nowadays in schools?

No, it is not a justification for the beating. What it does is demonstrate the bias of the prosecutor. He ignored the crimes of the white students and overcharged the crimes of the black ones. Has anyone argued the six should not have been charged as juveniles with battery?
9.21.2007 11:24am
Mr L (mail):
But they didn't shoot at him, they beat him, and let up after he went down with no more than minor injuries. Obviously they did not intend to kill him. Therefore there was no malice aforethought.

'Minor injuries' being a concussion, a mangled jaw, and being blind in one eye for three weeks. It's pretty clear from the specific accounts that the beaten kid was an idiot who thought that going to a ceremony was more important than his injury; he had to leave anyway regardless through due to the pain.
9.21.2007 11:25am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The shotgun incident, while serious, isn't clear cut -- the white student asserted that the black students ganged up on him and he produced the gun to protect himself.

He went back to his truck to get his shotgun. I don't think even the most adamant supporters of the "Castle doctrine" say that when threatened, you have the right to retreat from a dangerous situation to retrieve a firearm and deliberately place yourself back in harm's way once you have plucked up some 12-gauge courage. Maybe Clayton can enlighten us since he is such a tough guy.
9.21.2007 11:29am
Dan Weber (www):

One of the six black kids arrested for assault had two prior battery convictions.

I'm not sure of what relevance that kid's battery convictions are to the Jena incident.
Wait, when someone is charged with battery, you don't think prior battery convictions are relevant?

Seriously?
9.21.2007 11:32am
ejo:
no, no rational reason not to charge the Jena 6 for beating a person 6 on 1. although, if only a mild beating, perhaps a chipped tooth and a concussion, JF, Justin and JK and other good liberals would be happy to see them walk. let's see if I have this straight-JF, justin, Jackson and Sharpton are fine with prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke case because the targets were white while we have no showing of misconduct in the case as no one has made any claim that the Jena 6 didn't stomp the victim. One is an outrage (Jena 6) while the other is something not to worry about. how did you get so warped?
9.21.2007 11:33am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
'Minor injuries' being a concussion, a mangled jaw, and being blind in one eye for three weeks. It's pretty clear from the specific accounts that the beaten kid was an idiot who thought that going to a ceremony was more important than his injury; he had to leave anyway regardless through due to the pain.

Those purported injuries contradict the length of his hospital stay. He is exaggerating the extent of his injuries. A concussion alone would have warranted an overnight stay in the hospital for observation, let alone losing the sight in one eye--that implies some serious damage to the optic nerve and/or brain. There is no way he would have been released.

If you don't believe a black stripper in Durham in the face of contradictory medical evidence, why should you believe him.
9.21.2007 11:34am
Roundhead (mail) (www):
three cheers for J.F. the left-wing troll!

He (and Al Sharpton) have managed to change the subject! Let six people go who attempted to kick someone to death !
It's just like Duke, damn it!

and the VC follows right along!
9.21.2007 11:34am
LizardBreath (mail):
You know, in the context of a story where black kids are being being punished more severely for similar conduct than white kids, the fact that one of the black kids already has a record is a fact that affects the analysis in a less simple way than you seem to think. Without a full story on the prior conviction, who's to say that it's not the result of the same sort of selective prosecution that we're seeing here?

Now, I don't have the full story and neither do you, but that means that I wouldn't rely on the prior conviction to mean anything at all much.
9.21.2007 11:35am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
let's see if I have this straight-JF, justin, Jackson and Sharpton are fine with prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke case because the targets were white while we have no showing of misconduct in the case as no one has made any claim that the Jena 6 didn't stomp the victim.

I would like you to find one statement of mine where I said I was "fine" with the prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke case. I have said all along the Duke case was appalling. I just said that most of the prosecutorial misconduct in this country is directed at poor and minority people and that the people who were so concerned about the Duke victims would deny or ignore it when the victims were poor or minorities.

Don't cover your hypocrisy by accusing me of it. I predicted this a couple days ago in the Duke thread.
9.21.2007 11:40am
LizardBreath (mail):
I'm wondering what the source is for the 'blind' claim, given that I'm not finding it with a quick google. Got a link?
9.21.2007 11:40am
Justin (mail):
ejo,

care to rack up any more misstatements and lies about my viewpoints while you're at it?
9.21.2007 11:40am
Justin (mail):
Does Clayton Cramer have a point? If they put poison in his drink, and he didn't drink it, they'd still be liable for attempted murder! Heck, if they put lemonade in his drink, and they thought it was poison, same result. I'm not sure what that has to do with these facts here.
9.21.2007 11:43am
Dan Weber (www):
Without a full story on the prior conviction, who's to say that it's not the result of the same sort of selective prosecution that we're seeing here?

Maybe it was. But we had a poster claiming out-of-hand that the prior conviction(s) was irrelevant.

You can say "possibly relevant" and then look closer to figure out if those earlier convictions have prosecutorial abuse

But once you summarily dismiss them as "irrelevant," well, that's it, you're done, because you don't look closer at irrelevant things.
9.21.2007 11:51am
Dan Weber (www):

I know it's in debate about whether the white kid was kicked while on the ground (and we'll probably never know, because both camps have biased witnesses).

But it seems to be a factual determination as to his injuries. We can just look at the hospital's report.

So what does it say?
9.21.2007 11:56am
LizardBreath (mail):
The deal is that we don't have access to information about the prior convictions. In the absence of such information, and in the context of this story, the prior convictions are irrelevant unless supported by a factual basis we don't have.
9.21.2007 11:57am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Justin writes:

Does Clayton Cramer have a point? If they put poison in his drink, and he didn't drink it, they'd still be liable for attempted murder! Heck, if they put lemonade in his drink, and they thought it was poison, same result. I'm not sure what that has to do with these facts here.
My point (which I made very clear) was that the lack of overnight hospitalization alone does not demonstrate that attempted murder was overcharging. It is possible that they did not attempt to kill him, or that they lacked malice aforethought. Those are factual questions to put before a jury. I agreed that it is possible that the prosecutor overcharged the case--but the mere fact that the victim didn't spend the night in the hospital does not mean that attempted murder was an invalid charge to have filed.

I can understand concerns about a failure to adequately prosecute previous racial incidents. But this liberal enthusiasm for treating six thugs who attacked and beat up one other kid at school as "victims" really shows how hate-filled and racist liberals are. If the situation were reversed--if six white thugs beat up a black kid because some other black kids had been punks--liberals would be screaming "racism" and doing their best Mike Nifong impressions.
9.21.2007 12:00pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The deal is that we don't have access to information about the prior convictions. In the absence of such information, and in the context of this story, the prior convictions are irrelevant unless supported by a factual basis we don't have.
Except that it might explain why the prosecutor filed attempted murder charges.

I can't imagine what sort of person has two convictions for assault at 17. Other commenters here have indicated that this is very typical for people in law school. Fortunately, most Americans have higher moral codes than that.
9.21.2007 12:01pm
Happyshooter:
Putting the boot into a child's head is attempted murder.

Sorry guys, sometimes truth has to out.

Doing it six on one means six people tried to beat someone to death.

Thousands of people marched to say that it should be cool to kick someone in the head six on one because they are a different race than the criminals.
9.21.2007 12:02pm
Justin (mail):
When you're talking about a physical beating, Clayton, the only other way than how close they beat him to his grave is if you can read their subjective minds. You think these 6 kids tried to kill him, but missed and punched the floor for half an hour?
9.21.2007 12:04pm
ejo:
guys, you just have to read your posts. you're appalled by the Duke misconduct but come up with excuses for the behavior. read your own posts-you typed them. save the fake outrage.
9.21.2007 12:06pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas writes:


The shotgun incident, while serious, isn't clear cut -- the white student asserted that the black students ganged up on him and he produced the gun to protect himself.

He went back to his truck to get his shotgun. I don't think even the most adamant supporters of the "Castle doctrine" say that when threatened, you have the right to retreat from a dangerous situation to retrieve a firearm and deliberately place yourself back in harm's way once you have plucked up some 12-gauge courage. Maybe Clayton can enlighten us since he is such a tough guy.
The only way that going back to your truck, getting a gun, and returning the confrontation can be legally justified is if you are returning to protect another party from imminent danger. If he wasn't doing that, then any use of deadly force coming out of that would be almost impossible to justify--and would be incredibly stupid.

I'm not "such a tough guy." That's why I own a gun--because if were in liberal paradise, with six guys trying to beat me up for being the wrong color, a gun makes it possible for me to defend myself. (Doubtless why liberals support disarming victims--so that we can learn to atone for the crimes of our race.)
9.21.2007 12:09pm
Justin (mail):
ejo - at what point did I ever provide excuses for Nifong's behavior? Links, please.
9.21.2007 12:09pm
LizardBreath (mail):
Except that it might explain why the prosecutor filed attempted murder charges.

Or it could be the result of the same sort of racially motivated prosecutorial overcharging that looks to be going on here. The point is that without the underlying facts, we don't know which way it cuts.
9.21.2007 12:11pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Justin writes:

When you're talking about a physical beating, Clayton, the only other way than how close they beat him to his grave is if you can read their subjective minds. You think these 6 kids tried to kill him, but missed and punched the floor for half an hour?
Oh, this went on for a half hour? No, I didn't think so.

There's considerable misunderstanding of the level of violence that causes death. A lot of people think, from watching movies, that you can hit someone on the head with a club, and they wake up an hour or two later with a headache. No, frequently they die, or end up with brain damage.

Were they interrupted in their attack? Did they each kick him a few times? You are right--it is hard to know exactly what their motives were. As I have said several times, the prosecutor may have overcharged this. But the mere fact that the kid didn't end up in the hospital overnight doesn't make attempted murder clearly overcharging.

It is fascinating watching liberals make excuses for this kind of violence--as long as it is directed against someone for the crime of being white. Just like they justified Nifong's prosecution of a crime that did not happen (unlike this beating, which did) because the prosecution was of white people.
9.21.2007 12:14pm
Roundhead (mail) (www):
*I just said that most of the prosecutorial misconduct in this country is directed at poor and minority people and that the people who were so concerned about the Duke victims would deny or ignore it when the victims were poor or minorities.*

And all you can come up with is Jena? You were asked, by me, by many others, what is the exact comparison with the judicial lynching at Duke, and you've come up with anything...

Ignore this troll (who won't give a real email or www) unitl he at least comes up with something instead of just making noise to change the subject...
9.21.2007 12:15pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


Except that it might explain why the prosecutor filed attempted murder charges.

Or it could be the result of the same sort of racially motivated prosecutorial overcharging that looks to be going on here. The point is that without the underlying facts, we don't know which way it cuts.
Exactly. But the liberal insistence that this had to be overcharged based on the lack of an overnight stay by the victim is simply wrong. This single fact is not dispositive of the question. Liberals are so intent on justifying a racially-based beating that they can't admit even for an instant that attempted murder might not have been overcharging.
9.21.2007 12:17pm
rustonite:
just to add my two cents (which is from the perspective of a transplanted white Northerner who lives in Lincoln Parish, LA):
The story I've gotten from my friends* (who are fairly typical of white opinion in Northern Louisiana) is the black kids sat under the white kids' tree, and everything that's happened since is exactly what those uppity n*****s deserve. The story in the newspaper here is approximately the same, minus the racial slur.

In Northern LA, when they think no one's watching, people act like it's 1955. That's what you have to keep in mind as you read the coverage.

*Why am I friends with bigots? Because I go to a university that's 85% white, I'm in a major that's 95% white, and it's easier from a social perspective to just keep my mouth shut and my head down. Not a very brave answer, I'm afraid.
9.21.2007 12:18pm
Dan Weber (www):
The deal is that we don't have access to information about the prior convictions. In the absence of such information, and in the context of this story, the prior convictions are irrelevant unless supported by a factual basis we don't have.

This is an entirely new meaning of "irrelevant" to me. We can't discuss them?

Maybe it's explained by "in the context of this story," though. What do you mean by that?

(In fact, if it turns out that those prior convictions were the result of prosecutorial abuse, they're extremely relevant to this case.)
9.21.2007 12:18pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Thousands of people marched to say that it should be cool to kick someone in the head six on one because they are a different race than the criminals.
I think the thousands are marching to protest what they consider an inequality of prosecution, because earlier crimes in this locality weren't prosecuted with this severity, and they are assuming that it is because of race. Maybe. But maybe it is because a lot of previous crimes weren't treated sufficiently severely, and these six thugs were made an example of to get the message across: This has to stop.

If the first of these crimes had been by blacks, and by the time it escalated to this six on one stomping the crime involved white thugs, no one would be screaming that the prosecutor was a racist, or had overcharged it. We would recognize that an escalating problem was finally being treated with the severity needed to stop the cycle of violence.
9.21.2007 12:23pm
quasimodo (mail):

Those purported injuries contradict the length of his hospital stay. He is exaggerating the extent of his injuries. A concussion alone would have warranted an overnight stay in the hospital for observation, let alone losing the sight in one eye--that implies some serious damage to the optic nerve and/or brain. There is no way he would have been released.


Don't know much about how medicine is practiced today, uh? They'll throw you out of the hospital as soon as they possibly can today and do everything inhumanly possible to keep the stay under 24 hours.
9.21.2007 12:25pm
SamChevre:
What I would find helpful is an analysis of what the noose incident from a 1st Amendment/Hate Crimes perspective
9.21.2007 12:29pm
Dan Weber (www):
Just saw on CNN that some guys were arrested in Jena while driving a red pickup truck around town with nooses on it.

That's totally unacceptable, and probably constitutes a threat of violence.

I can understand how they might feel intimidated by all the protesters pouring into town, but it's still not acceptable. Just like it's not acceptable for six black kids to beat one white kid because they're being intimidated by the weak prosecution being applied against white kids.
9.21.2007 12:29pm
rarango (mail):
rutonite: no need to apologize: discretion is the better part of valor.
9.21.2007 12:31pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Don't know much about how medicine is practiced today, uh? They'll throw you out of the hospital as soon as they possibly can today and do everything inhumanly possible to keep the stay under 24 hours.
Injuries sometimes don't show up immediately, either. If the damage to the optic nerve was caused by swelling of tissues caused by the beating, it might take many hours before that would show up.

I'm not saying that the victim did not later exaggerate the extent of his injuries--but the fact that they took a while to appear doesn't make him a liar.

My wife was in a traffic accident many years ago in which she turned a full-sized Ford station wagon into a compact. She was frightened by what happened, but she felt fine that afternoon. The next morning, however, she was in enough pain that I took her to the emergency room. It was basically a bad bruise caused by the seatbelt--and it took overnight for it to become painful.
9.21.2007 12:31pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Just saw on CNN that some guys were arrested in Jena while driving a red pickup truck around town with nooses on it.

That's totally unacceptable, and probably constitutes a threat of violence.
And in a town filled with angry black people? That's crazy, too. I notice that the driver was charged with DUI--about the high level of intelligence that I would expect of someone who would drive a pickup truck around town with nooses on it.

Will the ACLU be defending the driver's right to freedom of expression? I mean, if nude dancing is protected, and burning the American flag is protected--why not nooses on your car? Or will liberals decide that racism trumps freedom of expression?
9.21.2007 12:34pm
Happyshooter:
I think the thousands are marching to protest what they consider an inequality of prosecution, because earlier crimes in this locality weren't prosecuted with this severity, and they are assuming that it is because of race. Maybe.

I disagree. If six black students had been arrested with some top charge for a hanging white guy figure when the first incident was let go--then your view would be accurate.

No matter what object was hung from the tree and what was done about it, booting victims in the head six on one is a whole different level of crime.

The protesters demanded the six criminals be let loose because they thought the crime didn't deserve punishment.
9.21.2007 12:35pm
Happyshooter:
My wife was in a traffic accident many years ago in which she turned a full-sized Ford station wagon into a compact. She was frightened by what happened, but she felt fine that afternoon. The next morning, however, she was in enough pain that I took her to the emergency room. It was basically a bad bruise caused by the seatbelt--and it took overnight for it to become painful.

I was an MP in the army doing law enforement work for a year (long story). What Clayton said happens a lot.

I used to always try to convince auto accident and head and neck injury assault victims to go to the hospital even when they could walk.

Many times that night or the next day things end up being a lot worse than they thought.
9.21.2007 12:38pm
Justin (mail):
Three things:

1) Attempted murder is a specific intent crime. You can't accidentally attempt to murder someone. A very important question to ask is if these 6 people attempted to kill him, why did they stop beating him when he was clearly still alive and doing ok?

2) Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but as a specific intent crime, I do not believe there can be a conspiracy to commit attempted murder (though Lousiana law could be odd). Thus, if one person happened to kick him in the head, it cannot justify charging all 6 for the attempt.

3) I think some people might hear kicking in the head (which, btw, is much disputed) and immediately think curbing. Curbing is not alleged. It is almost impossible to kill someone just by kicking them in the head - if it weren't so, nobody would play soccer (or kickbox for that matter).
9.21.2007 12:42pm
Constitutional Crisis (mail):

Then give your kids guns to take to school. People won't mess with them after that.
Actually, apparently people will mess with that. They will take the guns right out of your hands when you threaten them, and then be charged with stealing...
9.21.2007 12:42pm
unwelcome guest:
White kids who get in fights, are generally not arrested, not charged, fights are broken up (sometimes suspensions). This includes cases where there were mismatches. I think that when minority and immigrant kids get in the same fights, the law gets more involved, whether for fear of gangs or what.

Did you guys not go to high school in america? Or did you all go to private school?
9.21.2007 12:47pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
unwelcome guest:

White kids who get in fights, are generally not arrested, not charged, fights are broken up (sometimes suspensions). This includes cases where there were mismatches. I think that when minority and immigrant kids get in the same fights, the law gets more involved, whether for fear of gangs or what.

Did you guys not go to high school in america? Or did you all go to private school?
I went to a public high school where there was indeed a different standard of justice, depending on your color. Some of the black kids at our school carried whips, and would occasionally pull them out, and crack them. It made an absolutely terrifying sound, because we knew what would happen if we got hit. To my knowledge, no one was ever punished for this, and it continued for at least a couple of months, apparently until the kids doing this got tired of the fun of watching other kids look scared--but afraid to say anything for fear of being called racists.

Perhaps the administration would have ignored white kids carrying and displaying dangerous weapons--but white kids didn't do that sort of thing at my high school. (Most of them were too mellow from smoking pot.)
9.21.2007 1:00pm
LizardBreath (mail):
Maybe it's explained by "in the context of this story," though. What do you mean by that?

What I mean is that the allegations in the Jena 6 story are that black kids were charged more severely than white kids for crimes of comparable magnitudes -- batteries committed by white kids were uncharged, while batteries committed by black kids were charged severely. The allegation is that prosecutorial discretion in Jena is racially biased.

In that context, you can't point to the fact that one of the black kids has a prior battery conviction acquired in the same jurisdiction where prosecutorial discretion is being called into question as evidence that the later prosecutorial discretion was justified, unless you have the underlying facts. That prior battery conviction could tend to demonstrate that the kid is generally a violent thug, or it could tend to demonstrate that prosecutors in Jena have abused their discretion to go after black kids generally, not just in this incident. Without the underlying facts of the convictions, they're almost perfectly ambiguous -- they could be strong evidence for either interpretation.

Irrelevant, maybe not, but in the absence of the underly facts certainly useless.
9.21.2007 1:00pm
Justin (mail):
I will say that is the weirdest personal anecdote Clayton Cramer has ever related.
9.21.2007 1:04pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Justin writes:

Three things:

1) Attempted murder is a specific intent crime. You can't accidentally attempt to murder someone. A very important question to ask is if these 6 people attempted to kill him, why did they stop beating him when he was clearly still alive and doing ok?
I agree that this does make it unlikely, but not impossible. It is conceivable that they thought that they had killed him. I wouldn't call it likely, but possible.

2) Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but as a specific intent crime, I do not believe there can be a conspiracy to commit attempted murder (though Lousiana law could be odd). Thus, if one person happened to kick him in the head, it cannot justify charging all 6 for the attempt.
How then does the felony murder rule work? If three people go into a bank to rob it, and a death results (and it could even be a bank guard shoots one of the robber), everyone who went into the bank with the intent of committing a felony (bank robbery) gets charged with murder. How is this different from attempted murder?
9.21.2007 1:04pm
calmom:
Mychal Bell, the first assailant tried for this beating, had four prior convictions for violent crimes. Two for battery and two for criminal damage to property.

What no one is asking is: What was he doing attending a regular high school? Juveniles with violent crimes should be put in a GED program for repeat offenders, not going to high school where they are a menace to the kids trying to get an education. My guess is that he was allowed in school and not permanently expelled because he was the star football player.
9.21.2007 1:05pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I will say that is the weirdest personal anecdote Clayton Cramer has ever related.
I won't claim to have gone to a typical high school, or had a typical set of experiences. From the second story classrooms in the English building, we could see the Pacific Ocean. I had friends who went to Malibu Junior High, and they could see whales at some times of the year spouting in the Pacific. My high school had a rather remarkable combination of equipment and staff--and so I was hacking into Arpanet (the military predecessor of the Internet) in 1971.
9.21.2007 1:07pm
Gary McGath (www):
Interesting discussion, even if I don't have time to read it all.

It looks to me as if there have been miscarriages of justice in favor of whites and against blacks. But the protesters aren't regarding the "Jena 6" as people who have committed crimes but have been treated disproportionately; they're regarding them as heroes. There isn't any excuse for that, and it shows that there's racism on both sides.
9.21.2007 1:14pm
rarango (mail):
Clayton: small nitpick--1971 or 1981? 1981 I can buy. Computer technology was pretty limited 1971 to mainframes (you are talking to the proud owner of a commodore 64)
9.21.2007 1:27pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton: small nitpick--1971 or 1981? 1981 I can buy. Computer technology was pretty limited 1971 to mainframes (you are talking to the proud owner of a commodore 64)
You are incorrect. Our high school had an Interdata Model 15 minicomputer, and a bunch of terminals, some with modems, in 1971. (We even had a 300 baud modem!) This Model 15 had what was for the time a cutting edge operating system largely the work of Vint Cerf--a multiterminal, multipriority operating system that was supposed to allow 16 teletypes to simultaneously run Basic and several languages. (I learned a lot about operating systems from that, seeing how interrupt service routines worked, online debuggers, priority scheduling.) The operating system had some bugs in it, and there simply wasn't the processing power to keep more than about three terminals reliably working.

A lot of the computers that made up Arpanet in those days were PDP-10s and some PDP-11 minicomputers. Harvard had a PDP-10 running DECUS on the Arpanet--and just for amusement, I decided to see how long it would take to run a one million county empty loop in Fortran IV on Harvard's PDP-10. (It took about nine seconds of clock time.)
9.21.2007 1:36pm
Kelvin McCabe:
Let's see...mob action. Aggravated battery. No criminal record...17 yrs old defendant's... Dispo: 2 yr's court supervision, $1,000 fine's, 30 hrs community service and some form of mandatory counseling. Keeps the record clean, and Al Sharpton from appearing.

I wonder if the DA, like the duke lacrosse prosecutor, has an electorate to think about. What do the people who elect me expect me to do??
9.21.2007 1:36pm
rarango (mail):
Clayton: thanks for the clarification--I stand amazed--had no idea the d/arpa net was that old!
9.21.2007 1:39pm
Guest101:
Clayton,

Felony murder does not require a specific intent to commit murder; it just requires an intent to commit some felony and that a death occur in the course of the commission of that felony. Otherwise there would be no purpose to the felony murder rule-- it would be co-extensive with attempted murder.

One fact in all of this that seems under-emphasized to me is the incident with the white kid and the shotgun. If I understand it correctly, the white kid pointed a loaded shotgun at some black kids, the black kids wrestled it away from him, and then the black kids were charged with theft. That seems to me to be a course of events that is simply impossible to justify, and supports the inference that the DA's actions in the beating incident were racially motivated much more strongly than the noose incident does.
9.21.2007 1:46pm
Happyshooter:
Let's see...mob action. Aggravated battery. No criminal record...17 yrs old defendant's... Dispo: 2 yr's court supervision, $1,000 fine's, 30 hrs community service and some form of mandatory counseling. Keeps the record clean, and Al Sharpton from appearing.

Let's see...gang action. Kicking victim in the head 6 on 1....criminal records....adults....dispo: 2-7 on a plea; 5-15 on a trial.
9.21.2007 2:10pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Whips, huh?

That reminds me. My wife teaches Spanish and we have taken kids overseas on field trips, principally to Spain, but once to Mexico in 1975.

We stayed in a "student" hotel in Mexico City (means the elevator was broken). There were other groups there, including some blacks from the East Coast someplace. One had a whip which he enjoyed cracking in the lobby and intimidating kids from going up the stairs. I had a talk with him--no accounting for what my face looked like--and he stopped.

Man. Haven't thought of that in years. Getting old, I guess.
9.21.2007 2:34pm
Banned_Boston:
I saw the CNN program on 'Jena 6' last night. It called into question whether Mychal Bell and another one of the 6 (name was mentioned, I've forgotten) were in fact not part of the group that beat Justin Barker. All other reports I've seen on the Jena 6 don't question that the 6 charged did participate in the beating. Is there in fact a dispute on this issue?
Also saw on another site that the 3 white kids who placed the nooses contended that they placed them in the spirit of a football pep rally - the team Jena was playing was the 'Cowboys' ('Hang 'em high', I guess, being the idea.) Similar kinds of stunts were done routinely (e.g., mock funeral for this week's opponents). The black student's previous 'can I sit here?' remark was just some jocular off-hand comment that had no significance at the time. The 3 white kid's had no history of racism or getting into any other kind of trouble. Obviously, it's impossible to look inside their minds, but some of this would seem to be verifiable - were the nooses placed on the day of a football pep rally against a team whose nickname is the 'Cowboys'? This (possible) alternative explanation was (according to the site) the reason why the school district reduced the white kid's punishment from expulsion to three days' suspension. Does anyone have any more information on this?
9.21.2007 2:42pm
Juliana K (mail):
If I understand Juliana's logic here, because some white kids were not punished for crimes that should have been punished, six black kids should be allowed to knock some other white kid to the ground and stomp him.

No. My logic simply accepts that the second incident was backlash for the first. What the prosecutors should have done is properly dealt with the first incident. If they had done so, the second incident would not have occurred. That does not excuse the kids who executed the second incident. But it certainly casts an awful light on the people here who seem to be defending negligent, biased prosecutors and the kids who perpetrated the first incident(s). They shouldn't be defended. They should have been punished. At the least by explusion. It appears the reason they were not is because of what another poster has noted: "The story I've gotten from my friends* (who are fairly typical of white opinion in Northern Louisiana) is the black kids sat under the white kids' tree, and everything that's happened since is exactly what those uppity n*****s deserve. The story in the newspaper here is approximately the same, minus the racial slur." As for the specific charge of intimidation under federal law, I agree with J.F. Thomas's reply in the below exchange:
Delusional Fool: As for (B), he wasn't being intimidated/threatened for enjoying a benefit/privileged administered by a State or subdivision; unless you can go so far as to say that tree and the shade it provided were, etc.

J.F. Thomas: Since the tree was on school grounds, I think you most certainly can say it was. How would it be different than if there were certain restrooms that were implicitly off-limits to blacks?

I take it that some readers understand my logic without the need to distort it, given the following post: Juliana Klovquist's post seems about right to me; and very nicely summarized. Are there issues of race involved--sure looks like it to me. And what happened in the court system offends my sense of justice--although I remain totally ignorant of the law there.

But we had a poster claiming out-of-hand that the prior conviction(s) was irrelevant.

That is false. I wrote that I was "not sure" what the relevance was to the Jena incident. I am still not sure what its relevance is, especially given the dispute ongoing here. One poster wrote, "we don't have access to information about the prior convictions. In the absence of such information, and in the context of this story, the prior convictions are irrelevant unless supported by a factual basis we don't have." Another wrote: "if it turns out that those prior convictions were the result of prosecutorial abuse, they're extremely relevant to this case." So, maybe they are relevant, maybe they are not, maybe they show the prosecutors are racist, maybe they show nothing. In any event, I don't think in a racially heated context it is at all useful to claim a black assailant has an inherent propensity to commit violent acts, as another commenter notes well: "you can't point to the fact that one of the black kids has a prior battery conviction acquired in the same jurisdiction where prosecutorial discretion is being called into question as evidence that the later prosecutorial discretion was justified, unless you have the underlying facts. That prior battery conviction could tend to demonstrate that the kid is generally a violent thug, or it could tend to demonstrate that prosecutors in Jena have abused their discretion to go after black kids generally, not just in this incident. Without the underlying facts of the convictions, they're almost perfectly ambiguous -- they could be strong evidence for either interpretation. Irrelevant, maybe not, but in the absence of the underly facts certainly useless."

Those are factual questions to put before a jury.

Yes, and there was certainly enough evidence to charge the kids who hung the nooses under 18 USC 245. There is little doubt the indictment would have survived a motion to dismiss. The "prank defense" is just that: a defense one argues during closing to a jury. So, too, is the "I was afraid for my life" defense a defense to the charge associated with the shotgun. It can be made to a jury. It seems there is consensus that the shotgun-dude had a poor defense, e.g., "The only way that going back to your truck, getting a gun, and returning the confrontation can be legally justified is if you are returning to protect another party from imminent danger. If he wasn't doing that, then any use of deadly force coming out of that would be almost impossible to justify--and would be incredibly stupid." Which makes outrageous that he was never even charged. As I noted, there is no reason the first incident(s) should have gone uncharged.

mere offensiveness (as offensive as taunting a possible racist and confirmed thug for getting beaten up by another race can be) doesn't count.

Actually, since we're talking about kids and the threat of lynching, there is the argument that the common-law rule okaying provocation by words might apply, if we were in England. Obviously, we're not in England, but the point is analytically and doctrinally, you aren't necessarily right. In any event, the point is there's no point in victimizing someone who racially taunts the school's star football player, especially when he knew of the noose-incidents and knew the star football player had assaulted people before. It's just a dumb move. It doesn't excuse the beatdown, but, as I said, you don't walk into a biker bar saying that bikers suck turd and then act bewildered when they kick your ass. As I pointed out before, the First Amendment is compatible with dueling, whether the word nigger is a fighting word or not.

I think characterizing an (admittedly racist and stupid) prank as a 'threat of lynching' is clearly stretching it.

I think that's a nice defense for you to articulate on your client's behalf. At trial. I'll say for the last time: what really disturbs me about this is the penchant some have for focusing on the "black thugs" -- to the extent of transforming them into a roving posse of gangbangers -- while ignoring the white kids toting shotguns on school property and hanging nooses on school property. And the fact that they had to sit in detention for three days, and nothing else. Those kids should have been punished more severely, and that's why so many people -- mistaken as to the facts or not -- are marching in Jena. Anyone who says any different needs his head checked.

And I say this even in light of Banned_Boston's post, as no pep rally defense could explain what another commenter wrote and I have reproduced below:


One fact in all of this that seems under-emphasized to me is the incident with the white kid and the shotgun. If I understand it correctly, the white kid pointed a loaded shotgun at some black kids, the black kids wrestled it away from him, and then the black kids were charged with theft. That seems to me to be a course of events that is simply impossible to justify, and supports the inference that the DA's actions in the beating incident were racially motivated much more strongly than the noose incident does.
9.21.2007 3:09pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
One fact in all of this that seems under-emphasized to me is the incident with the white kid and the shotgun. If I understand it correctly, the white kid pointed a loaded shotgun at some black kids, the black kids wrestled it away from him, and then the black kids were charged with theft.

The white kid actually went back to his truck to get the shotgun and after the black kids took his shotgun away one of them took it home. The cops later showed up and arrested the black kid for theft of the shotgun.
9.21.2007 3:14pm
A rude dude (mail):
Well, it turns out that, as usual, the actions of some people, who are not white have had a liberal dose of whitewash :-)

See, for example: Steve Sailer's little piece on Jena.
9.21.2007 3:22pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


Those are factual questions to put before a jury.

Yes, and there was certainly enough evidence to charge the kids who hung the nooses under 18 USC 245. There is little doubt the indictment would have survived a motion to dismiss.
This black columnist for the Kansas City Star reports:

A black U.S. attorney, Don Washington, investigated the "Jena Six" case and concluded that the attack on Barker had absolutely nothing to do with the noose-hanging incident three months before.
Why? Self-hating black person?

Why was there no prosecution of the nooses incident? Perhaps there was a plausible (maybe not accurate, but plausible) claim that it was "Hang 'em high" related to playing against a team called the Cowboys. Why spend a lot of time and energy pursuing a case that a jury would very likely decide lacked the proof required for a criminal case?

Oh, and why is it that liberals believe that nude dancing and burning the American flag are Constitutionally protected freedom of expression, but even racist putting of a noose in a tree is not? I don't find the argument plausible in any of the first three cases (and the Supreme Court agreed with respect to nude dancing, although they did find that burning the American flag is--and that is an action likely to provoke violence). But why do liberals suddenly decide that there are limits to freedom of speech? It's okay to demand public funding for art that offends, but the noose in a tree is beyond the limit.
9.21.2007 3:23pm
Roundhead (mail) (www):
I was wrong, in fact, before when I said that the Duke judicial lynching has no relation to the case of the so-called "Jena 6" -

in both cases, there is:

1) the same attempt to intimidate and politicize the judicial system
2) the same endorsement of mob violence (the "castrate" protestors in the Duke case, the murderous kicking of the so-called Jena Six)
3) the same academic attempt to second-guess the justice system (one of the endorsers of the Jena mob violence is a signature of the Durham 88 letter!)
4) the same distortion of narrative to fit preconceived biases of the critics
5) the same attempt to change subjects when the facts of both cases are finally revealed - both cases are really "about race" in spite of the fact that the established facts don't fit...
9.21.2007 3:29pm
ejo:
just out of curiousity, would JF and JK still be excusing their actions if they had actually killed the real victim in this matter. I use the words "real victim", of course, because only one person got stomped by the Jena 6. they transformed themselves into a roving gang of thugs, no one else did. was it overcharged-I guess it depends on how many kicks to the head you think are necessary to make a crime serious. my guess is, if it were you, the answer would be one.
9.21.2007 3:54pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
just out of curiousity, would JF and JK still be excusing their actions if they had actually killed the real victim in this matter.

I will note for those of you who are so quick to jump to judgement (and so roundly condemned the rush to judgement in the Duke case) the Louisiana Court of Appeals has overturned the only conviction in this case and ordered Bell released by Monday, saying he should never have been tried as an adult.

The Louisiana criminal justice system is not known for being soft on crime.
9.21.2007 4:01pm
just watching666 (mail):
clayton
as a liberal i am totally not ok with racist nooses or nude dancing or burning american flags on public high school property.

thanks.
9.21.2007 4:06pm
ejo:
is that a "yes" to the question? typical.
9.21.2007 4:14pm
K Parker (mail):
X caused Y
Wow, talk about bigotry of low expectations! The absolute most you could say here is that Y was done in the context of X having recently happened.
9.21.2007 4:19pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
One fact in all of this that seems under-emphasized to me is the incident with the white kid and the shotgun. If I understand it correctly, the white kid pointed a loaded shotgun at some black kids, the black kids wrestled it away from him, and then the black kids were charged with theft.


According to the Washington Post, it was an unloaded shotgun.
9.21.2007 4:26pm
davod (mail):
The pro "Black", and that's all it is, faction posting here appears to feel the juvenile was railroaded and the appeals court decision recognized`this.

Unless I missed something no one has explained the appeals court ruling. Unless I am mistaken:

The juvenile was originally charged as an adult because of the murder charge. The murder charged was dropped and the case continued in adult court.

The appeals court ruled that once the murder charge was dropped the remaining charges did not rise to the level of being pursued in adult court.

The prosecuter should have tried him in children's court on the remaining charges.

The appeals court did not question the guilt or innocence of the juvenile. An angel he appears not to be.
9.21.2007 5:07pm
bittern (mail):
GOD here. You're all making me grumpy. I do wish I hadn't read this thread*, but I still haven't figured out how to make time run backwards, so I must accept what I cannot change. A number of you who have made interesting arguments in other contexts are, unfortunately for you, now OFF the rewards program. Yourselves are showing. I'd say I was sorry, but that's not something I do.

*"thread" is what you call this, correct? BTW, bittern let me use his connection. Thanks, bittern!
9.21.2007 5:35pm
Dan Weber (www):
The appeals court did not question the guilt or innocence of the juvenile. An angel he appears not to be.


While some people outside this forum may be claiming such, I don't think anyone in here has claimed that he's an angel.

Really, there's room between "they're innocent little kids" and "they deserve 20 years in jail."
9.21.2007 5:41pm
ejo:
your conclusion may be right but your analysis is dead wrong. we have people here issuing apologies for the stomping of an innocent by six assailants. we have protests likening this to the Selma Era (I have a dream that some day, groups of people of any race will be allowed to stomp on the heads of anyone they please). I haven't heard one protestor that gives a damn about the person getting stomped on. until that happens, spare me the wiggle room nonsense.
9.21.2007 6:01pm
Justin (mail):
Clayton,

There's no such thing as "attempted felony murder." Felony murder is akin to a negligence action - but just like in tort, if there's no actual harm, then one can't be liable for the negligence. The only intent you need for felony murder is an intent to commit the instigating crime. But for attempt, you need to actually intend to commit murder.

Now there may be "reckless endangerment" crimes that are not specific intent - but attempt by definition is an intent crime. One cannot "accidentally," "negligently," or even "recklessly" *attempt* anything.
9.21.2007 6:07pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

clayton
as a liberal i am totally not ok with racist nooses or nude dancing or burning american flags on public high school property.

thanks.
You might want to go look up how that word liberal is commonly used by liberals, such as the ACLU, who argue that burning American flags is constitutionally protected, as is virtual child pornography. (I can't imagine the ACLU wouldn't regard nude dancing as protected as well.)
9.21.2007 6:24pm
Justin (mail):
Quick question: anyone know what a Ring Ceremony is? Is this as big of a deal as it sounds? I could understand graduation, maybe even prom, but a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to get your class ring? Don't those generally come in the mail?
9.21.2007 6:25pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

According to the Washington Post, it was an unloaded shotgun.
From the standpoint of assault, it doesn't matter. The person at whom it is aimed can't tell that. Threatening someone with an unloaded firearm is idiocy--you get all the legal risk of having a loaded firearm, with the additional risk that someone will see this, assume it is loaded, and shoot you.
9.21.2007 6:27pm
Justin (mail):
Steve Sailor should be cautious about linking to a guy who he claims is a critic of white racism, whose post equally blamed blacks as white, and whose blog

1) did not mention anything about the noose incident or any racism problems through several years of blogging

2) who, however, deemed the 2004 elections (happily) a victory for "Pat Buchanan's Cultural Revolution."

3) who (though clearly very sympathetic and heartbroken about Katrina - I don't think Thompson is a bad guy, just not necessarily an unbiased guy, whose ministry that he loves is the white community of Jenas), had nothing to say about race at all (though partisanly defended Bush generally) during one of the more intense racial situations in recent history.

And that brings up another interesting question - the blog notes that Jenas took in refugees during Katrina. Did they take in black refugees, or just white ones? How did the racial angle play in Jenas (or in towns across central Louisiana)?

Not sure I will get an answer to it, but its certainly worth investigation.
9.21.2007 6:39pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Banned:
One fact in all of this that seems under-emphasized to me is the incident with the white kid and the shotgun. If I understand it correctly, the white kid pointed a loaded shotgun at some black kids, the black kids wrestled it away from him, and then the black kids were charged with theft. That seems to me to be a course of events that is simply impossible to justify, and supports the inference that the DA's actions in the beating incident were racially motivated much more strongly than the noose incident does.
Well, that would certainly depend on why he pointed the shotgun at them, doesn't it? If he unprovokedly (I know it isn't a word, but it should be) pointed the shotgun at them, it's entirely indefensible that he wasn't charged and they were. If they were threatening him and he grabbed a shotgun to deter them from attacking him, then it isn't.

And as for the claim made that such behavior isn't consistent with the castle doctrine, the poster is apparently unfamiliar with so-called stand-your-ground laws. Louisiana isn't New York City; people aren't required to run and hide when threatened in a public place.

As far as I can tell from reading Wikipedia (Yes, I know, but I also read the references cited in the Wikipedia article) the "Jena 6" were overcharged, but there doesn't seem to be the gross miscarriage of justice being portrayed by some here. Indeed, I'm not sure why people are so focused on the argument that "attempted murder" is a gross overcharge, given that the same prosecutor who bumped the charge up to attempted murder bumped the charge back down to aggravated second degree battery. Perhaps even that was an overcharge, and perhaps Bell should have been tried as a juvenile, but "Try the 16-year old member of the Jena 6 with two prior convictions as a juvenile" doesn't really seem to me to pack quite the same rhetorical power as "Free the Jena 6."
9.22.2007 4:29am
davod (mail):
David M. Nieporent:

I do not know what Wikepedia has but you might want to read this:

Jena thugs (start calling them what they are)
9.22.2007 8:55am
Banned_Boston:
Just to clarify one point - the individual involved in the gun incident was not one of the students involved in the 'noose' episode. Some in this blog have maintained that expulsion from school(as the principal first directed) is the proper penalty for this act. Even assuming it was a completely racist gesture (see my earlier post casting some doubt on this interpretation),that seems to me to be an unduly harsh penalty for a non-violent first offense, particularly since it wasn't aimed at any person directly (as would be the case if they had put the noose in a lack kid's locker, for example.)
It seems to me that when dealing with minors the authorities should choose the mildest penalty that will effectively deter future episodes of this type (either by the students in question or others). Since there were no more racist gestures of this kind, the punishment was (arguably) an effective one. However, given that one of the purposes of the law is deterrence and maintaining order (and not just individual justice), I'd advocate increasing penalties if a repetition of noose hangings (or its like) continued to occur: the 2nd set of students get 3 months suspension, the 3rd get 6 months, the 4th get expelled. I don't if you get away with this from a legal standpoint (the 4th set of students could claim they got unequal treatment).
9.22.2007 1:57pm
Tortmaster:
A few words of warning from someone who closely observed the fundamental errors in the Duke Rape Hoax:

1. Media reports were almost always fundamentally flawed or completely wrong early in the case.

2. It was later found out that the media failed to report a large number of devastating facts for whatever reason or reasons.

3. The only way to find out (at least to my satisfaction) what really happened was to observe the source documents (i.e. Crystal Mangum's numerous contradictory police statements).

4. The truth took months to surface, and even then, it required an almost death-struggle battle with the metanarrative that interest groups wished to trumpet.
9.22.2007 2:15pm
Tortmaster:
More information trickling in. This was posted "1 hour and 1 minute ago" by a national AP writer:


Consider:

_The so-called "white tree" at Jena High, often reported to be the domain of only white students, was nothing of the sort, according to teachers and school administrators; students of all races, they say, congregated under it at one time or another.

_Two nooses — not three — were found dangling from the tree. Beyond being offensive to blacks, the nooses were cut down because black and white students "were playing with them, pulling on them, jump-swinging from them, and putting their heads through them," according to a black teacher who witnessed the scene.

_There was no connection between the September noose incident and December attack, according to Donald Washington, an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department in western Louisiana, who investigated claims that these events might be race-related hate crimes.

_The three youths accused of hanging the nooses were not suspended for just three days — they were isolated at an alternative school for about a month, and then given an in-school suspension for two weeks.

_The six-member jury that convicted Bell was, indeed, all white. However, only one in 10 people in LaSalle Parish is African American, and though black residents were selected randomly by computer and summoned for jury selection, none showed up.


Associated Press
9.22.2007 3:56pm
davod (mail):
I watched the morning news show on Fox (Show is the more correct term) yesterday. After they listened to Al Sharpton, they interviewed the journalist from the Kansas City Star. The basically shouted him down when he explained the lack of relationship between the noose incident and the battery in question. It seemed clear that they must not have read his article and were just talking from whatever they had been given by their off-scene people.
9.23.2007 7:16am
Banned_Boston:
Tortmaster, I think you're on to something - from Patterico regarding the shotgun incident:
According to CNN, the shotgun incident took place at a "convenience store in a predominantly black part of Jena." The Jena Times says:

The victim, Matt Windham, alleges that three black males attacked and robbed him while the three accused are claiming self-defense.

According to CNN, Windham

would later tell police he felt threatened by three black students. Windham hurried to his pickup truck and returned with his shotgun. Three black students wrestled it away from him.

What really happened? I have no idea. But according to the Jena Times story:
Both the victim and those arrested offered different statements to the police, however, eye witnesses to the event unrelated to the victim or those arrested, gave a report of the incident that corresponded with the victim['s].
It could be that the Jena Times is a racially biased paper. It could be that the independent witnesses didn't say what the paper claims they say — or, if they do, it could be that they are lying are wrong. Let me be perfectly clear: I have absolutely no idea what really happened.
9.23.2007 10:59am
Seamus (mail):

What no one is asking is: What was he doing attending a regular high school? Juveniles with violent crimes should be put in a GED program for repeat offenders, not going to high school where they are a menace to the kids trying to get an education. My guess is that he was allowed in school and not permanently expelled because he was the star football player.



Gosh. You think?
9.24.2007 12:41pm