This is from Alan Bean at Friend's of Justice.
Jena Hearing Postscript
October 17th, 2007 at 3:46 pm (Uncategorized)
In the end, what was accomplished? Most committee members aimed their questions at US Attorney Donald Washington, the man who has been consistently unplaying the seriousness of the noose incident since mid-June. Washington initially felt pressured to side with Jena officials in this matter; now, with some pressure coming from opponents of the status quo, the political appointee has adapted his testimony . . . slightly. It is no longer possible for noose apologists to site Mr. Washington as an ally. So far, so good.
Tragically, most of the people interrogating Mr. Washington and his associate, Lisa Krigsten, seem to feel that the noose hangers should have been tried as adults under federal hate crimes law, even if this meant locking them up for ten years without parole (remember, parole has been eliminated from the federal judicial system).
There are two problems: (1) the limp response of Jena officials to the noose incident; and (2) an inept reaction on the part of the Department of Justice that, in the minds of most observers, appeared to validate the inaction of folks like Roy Breithaupt and Reed Walters.
The hearings represent a giant step forward. They would have been more effective, however, if more attention had been paid to the egregious behavior of Reed and Roy. When Mr. Sharpton focuses on the noose boys he lets Jena officials slip into the shadows.
But this is just a matter of emphasis. The significant fact is that hardly anyone, Democrat or Republican, made the slightest attempt to defend the indefensible. The very fact that most Republicans chose to be elsewhere suggests they have no appetite for this fight.
Unfortunately, proponents of a knee-jerk law-and-order, lock-em-up philosophy don’t have to fight–they currently control the public policy agenda. Nonetheless, we congratulate Mr. Conyers for convening an illuminating hearing on a timely topic.