Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Plea For Michael Bell Is Not the End of Fight For Equal Justice

For Immediate Release
Mychael Bell Plea Not the End of Fight For Justice
D. Yobachi Boswell 615-478-5204 * LionRunner777@yahoo.com

On yesterday, Monday December 3, District Attorney Reed Walters offered a plea deal to Mychael Bell in the Jena 6 Case, dropping the conspiracy charge; leaving Mr. Bell an 18 months sentence on second degree battery. The sentence also includes time served, and is to run concurrent with his present parole violation incarceration.

While we are delight that an overzealous and malicious prosecution that brought charges which would have made Mychael Bell eligible for approximately 100 years of incarceration will now see the young man out of Juvenile corrections by next summer, to resume his young life; let it be understood that the Afrosphere Jena 6 Coalition remains steadfast in our position that this prosecution was unjust, we remain steadfast in fighting against injustice in this particular case for the other 5 young men, and we will continue to fight against unequal justice in the legal system across the country; which are primarily racially and socio-economically based.

Attorney, and noted “AfroSpear” Blogger Francis L. Holland, Esq states “AfroSpear bloggers and our audiences will continue to assert our role as forceful advocates of equal justice for Blacks in the American justice system…we will continue to insist that ALL ADULT AND JUVENILE CHARGES AGAINST ALL 6 DEFENDANTS be dropped and foreclosed for the future, and that de jure and de facto segregation be ended at Jena High School...we have to ask ourselves whether the final result in this criminal case is what it would have been if Mychal D. Bell were white. We know that it isn't. Black young people in Jena should not go to jail while white students commit the same acts with impunity."

There is a greater issue highlighted here of how the legal system overcharges people to force them into a corner to take a lesser deal, in order not to risk being convicted on higher trumped up charges, and to point the finger at others who may very well be innocent; in order to save themselves.

It highlights the criminalization of Black youth to get them in the system, because once there in the system of incarceration and parole they are virtually a ward of the state; and this provides needed bodies for the for-profit prison industrial complex to make money. They can’t profit unless they have a continued stream of bodies in the cells.

What’s most interesting here is if D.A. Reed Walters actually believed that Bell and others attempted to kill Justin Barker, how could he possibly settle for 18 months? He tried to lock Bell down for 100 years and then when that didn’t fly legally; 22 year.

In Reed Walters own Op-ed piece in the New York Times on September 26, when defending his actions as being from a purely legal standpoint, he states himself that “a district attorney cannot take people to trial for acts not covered in the statutes.”

If he doesn’t really believe, and further did not have the evidence to support the charge that six Black students attempted to commit murder, and that there was a conspiracy; how could he have ever rightfully charged the former, and how could he have ethically and legally tried Mychael Bell on the latter.

Those of us in the Afrosphere Jena 6 Coalition and others will continue to stand up against unequal justice. We will Fight, and we will Win! video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7253600219767288651

Afrosphere Jena 6 Coalition

D. Yobachi Boswell, Coordinator

BlackPerspective.net and TheJena6Blog.blogspot.com

Monday, December 3, 2007

In Jena 6 Case Mychael Bell Makes Plea Deal

I reported earlier today on The Jena 6 Blog that Bell was probably near a deal; now it seems official.

According to this CNN article the deal should have him out by june of ’09 – a far cry from the 100 plus years district attorney Reed Walters initially wanted, and even from the 22 years he wanted when he was forced by lack of a case to drop the conspiracy to commit murder; but still illegally prosecuted Bell as an adult.

Free The Jena 6  Tree Graphic

Bell was convicted of felony aggravated battery by an all white jury containing members with alleged ties to the Judge and the DA, back in July. While waiting on sentencing, facing 22 years, the conviction was overturned by the 3rd circuit court of appeals because Bell was not eligible to be tried as an adult, but they ruled he could be retried as a juvenile.

After Judge Mauffrey, the same Judge who allowed Bell to be illegal tried in the first place, tried to deny Mychael Bell a release on bail for a week; he was then freed 13 days after the overturning of his conviction.

Then, in a surprise to all legal watchers of this case, Bell was put back in jail by yet the same judge for a parol voilation based on the same actions his conviction was overturned on. He was out for only 15 days on house arrest. He went to a routine hearing for his parol in relation to an earlier case than the Jena 6 incident, and Judge Mauffrey surprisingly revoked his parole and put him in jail for 18 months on October 11th.

I spoke with Alan Bean of Friends of Justice, this evening; the social advocacy organization for the falsely accused who pushed the Jena Six story into the public eye. He says from what he's heard from direct contact with people in the court room, he was in Lafeyette today, not in Jena as I had thought; that the CNN reporting that Bell would be out by June sounds about right. He's being told 6 - 8 months. I'll have more of my interview with Mr. Bean in the next day or two either here at The Jena 6 Blog or at BlackPerspective.net

Having recieved conflicting reporting, I'm not sure if it is a misdemeanor deal for the 6 to 8 months, or a felony deal that is adding 6 to 8 months to the 9 plus he's already served from the time he was arrested in December 2006; where he is getting credit for time already served.

Mychael Bell May Be Near Plea Deal

I got this from Friend's of Justice. I plan to talk with Friend's of Justice Director Alan Bean some time today. He's in Jena Louisiana for todays Court Proceedings.

Lawyer: ‘Jena Six’ Teen Near Plea Deal

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A black teenager whose prosecution in the beating of a white classmate led to one of the largest civil rights protests in years is close to a deal that would allow him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and avoid a second trial, his attorney said Sunday.

Mychal Bell, 17, could enter the plea as early as Monday, said attorney Carol Powell Lexing. He has been charged with aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy.

“We were prepared to go forward with the trial, but you have to do what’s best for the client,” Lexing said.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters did not return a call Sunday evening requesting comment.

Bell, who is black, is scheduled to go to trial Thursday on the felony charges for his suspected role in an attack on Justin Barker, a white student at Jena High School in central Louisiana.

Barker spent several hours in the emergency room after the attack but was discharged and attended a school event the night after the attack, which occurred about a year ago.

Bell was originally charged as an adult with attempted murder. That charge was reduced before a jury convicted him in June of aggravated second-degree battery. In September, that verdict was thrown out by an appeals court that said Bell should be tried as a juvenile.

The charges against Bell and five other black students led to a civil-rights demonstration in Jena in September. Felony charges against the other students are pending.

Critics said prosecutors have treated blacks more harshly than whites in LaSalle Parish, pointing to an incident three months before the attack on Barker in which three white teens were accused of hanging nooses from a tree at the high school. The three were suspended from school but never criminally charged.

Walters has said there was no state crime to charge them with.