The Jena 6 Sell Out
Bell was in dire need of sound legal advice after Barker initiated his civil lawsuit on November 29. Any plea of guilt would help Barker establish a prima facie case against Bell. The Goldman family would have loved it if O.J. Simpson had copped a plea. O.J.â€™s lease on life would have come to an end more than a decade ago and he would have been unable to seek sanctuary in Florida.
[I Write What I Like]
When I was practicing law, I made it perfectly clear to all potential clients that if they were looking to cop a plea, they should knock on the doors of judicial wimps.
I preferred to fight it out in court rather than to see Black clients live on their knees for the rest of their lives. On Monday, December 3, I learned that Mychal Bell of the Jena 6 not only had agreed to cop a plea, but he also had agreed to get in bed with LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed Walters and testify at trial against the other members of the Jena 6. Given the cast of characters representing Bell, I was not surprised.
This deal was made after persons of goodwill pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the coffers of silver rights leaders and after Justin Barker, on November 29, sued the Jena 6, their parents and the local school system. Bell has also agreed to get in bed with Barker against his own parents and friends.
Bell was in dire need of sound legal advice after Barker initiated his civil lawsuit on November 29. Any plea of guilt would help Barker establish a prima facie case against Bell. The Goldman family would have loved it if O.J. Simpson had copped a plea. O.J.’s lease on life would have come to an end more than a decade ago and he would have been unable to seek sanctuary in Florida.
The local district attorney, J. Reed Walters, is also the attorney for the school district. No law permits him to wear two hats. This is an odious conflict of interest. One of his clients will end up on the short end of the stick. In this case, it is the school district. Barker has been empowered to behave like the “kid” in the candy store. This dual representation is unethical.
Reed should have never been involved in this case because of his well-publicized threats in September 2006. United African Movement personally asked the disciplinary authorities in Louisiana to discipline him and for the state attorney general in Louisiana to appoint a special prosecutor for the Jena 6.
Now, there is a conflict of interest. In the meantime, the Jena 6 are being railroaded and Blacks are running for the tall grass. This is one of the worst sellouts in our 400 years in North America as enslaved Africans. The motives were dollars and publicity.
Since December 3, silver rights leaders and silver rights attorneys have taken the “fifth.” Talk show programs on Sundays in New York City have aided and abetted them. As I predicted in my October 25 op-ed piece, “Saying goodbye to the Jena 6,” this case has become history.
The pacification program has been successful and Jena, La., is back to its Jim Crow ways. This program had been successful in Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell et. al. Whites created it and have financed it. They pick the cast of characters. It will work over and over again until Blacks are able to connect the dots and think outside the box.
The Jena 6 turnabout is not surprising. When more than 30,000 persons descended on Jena on September 20, without demanding the immediate release of Bell, I knew that the fix was in. No one even made a legal claim of double jeopardy in September or October. Any belated claim of double jeopardy only arose after I wrote an op-ed piece.
A Louisiana appeals court ruled on September 14 that the prosecutor in Jena had failed to present sufficient evidence to sustain the charges against Bell and that the adult court had also lacked jurisdiction over Bell. Constitutionally, double jeopardy prohibited his retrial in any venue. Silver rights leaders behaved on September 20 as though double jeopardy was of no moment.
This turnabout flies in the face of the Black legal struggle for justice. Heretofore, Black victims have never falsely incriminated themselves. The prosecutor in Jena usurped his authority by prosecuting Black youths who had complained about Jim Crow. The prosecutor personally made threats against them. Any December 2006 assault on Barker was made with provocation.
Silver rights leaders entered the fray to get white Louisiana officials off the hook and to punish Blacks for being uppity. This is the handiwork of “house Negroes.” Even Ray Charles could have seen this scam. This cop-out is an assault on the sacrifices of our revered ancestors. See for example, the Scottsboro Boys.
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco is the primary beneficiary. She is governor of Louisiana and she still has the power to pardon Bell. In addition, Louisiana has an interesting law that automatically pardons a defendant convicted of aggravated battery.
Instead of demanding that the governor pardon Bell, silver rights leaders led thousands of Blacks on a wild goose chase around the Department of Justice building in the nation’s capital on November 16. This was a classic case of Blacks knocking on the wrong door, talking to the wrong people and asking the wrong questions.
The telltale sign of a sellout is the refusal of Bell’s representatives to assert and pursue a claim of double jeopardy. This claim should have been pursued up to the United States Supreme Court. It is still not too late. The question is whether a plea of guilt will waive a claim of double jeopardy?
If silver rights leaders and media hounds were up to any good, they would immediately call for massive civil disobedience in Baton Rouge until Blanco pardons the Jena 6. Blacks made up 40 percent of her gubernatorial vote and she is a lame duck. If she refuses to take action, Blacks should retaliate against the Democratic Party nationally in 2008.
The Black vote must stop being taken for granted. We are participating in plantation politics. There is no quid pro quo for the Black masses. What have “we” gotten from voting? This is akin to picking cotton without enjoying any compensation.
Even in sharecropping, Blacks were indebted to the land. We were serfs.
Today, we have become political pawns and economic squatters. There is a big difference between a slave or a serf, on the one hand, and a pawn and a squatter, on the other hand. We have no economic relationship with the land and no political relationship with government.
Rev. Sharpton should know better. In 1989, he was up the creek without a paddle. I signed on to represent him pro bono and John Beatty, owner of the Cotton Club, put up his club as collateral to secure Sharpton’s release on bail. This was it. Sharpton’s “friends” went into hiding. The trial lasted four months.
A plea would have appeared attractive, but I chose to stick to my guns and fight it out in Manhattan Supreme Court. During the trial, I was asked to turn over to the state Brawley’s file evidence or else. The or else was that my suspension from the practice of law would be as long as Sharpton’s sentence under a 67-count indictment.
Brawley’s file presumably would have aided the prosecution. I chose to remain principled, and the rest is history. On the other hand, the prosecution of the Jena 6 symbolizes Jim Crow in the South. This is a bigger issue, and it is no longer personal welfare, but it is group welfare.
In retrospect, neither Michael Bell nor Michael Vick needed a lawyer. The same rule applied to Mumia Abu-Jamal. Prisons are busting at the seams. The absence of legal representation is a problem. Do Blacks have the ability to solve this problem? The jury is still deliberating.
Note: December 14—Alton Maddox will be the keynote speaker at 7 p.m. at Galbraith AME Zion Church, 1114 6th Street in Washington, D.C.
December 19—United African Movement will host its next forum at 7:30 p.m. at the Elks Plaza, 1068 Harriet Tubman Avenue (Fulton Street) near Classon Avenue in Brooklyn. Take the “C” train to Franklin Avenue.
December 26—Kwanzaa celebration to show appreciation for the works of Drs. Rosalind and Leonard Jeffries at the Elks Plaza, 1068 Harriet Tubman Avenue (Fulton Street) near Classon Avenue in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m. Take the “C” train to Franklin Ave. Min. Clemson Brown and Rev. Herbert Oliver recently revisited Birmingham after nearly 50 years. Their findings will be shown on the screen.
January 5—UAM’s annual Kwanzaa breakfast at the Cotton Club, 656 West 125th Street in Harlem, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
January 19—UAM’s annual membership dance at the Cotton Club, 656 West 125th Street in Harlem, from 9 p.m.
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