Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another Delay For the Jena Six - Judge Mauffray Hearing

So whatever happened to the constitutional right to a speedy trial? Charges were first leveled against them more than 17 months ago, and now another month long delay.

Lawyers in Jena 6 case seek judge's ouster

By Howard Witt | Tribune correspondent
8:40 AM CDT, May 31, 2008

OUSTON—Lawyers for the five remaining defendants facing trial in the racially divisive Jena 6 incident in Louisiana presented evidence Friday of what they said was bias on the part of the judge presiding over the cases and sought his removal.

After four hours of testimony, a visiting judge appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to hear the recusal motion against LaSalle Parish District Judge J.P. Mauffray asked for more evidence and postponed a ruling until at least July.

Defense attorneys have long asserted that the white-dominated justice system in the small central Louisiana town was biased against their African-American clients: six high school students who were initially charged with attempted murder in the December 2006 beating of a white classmate...

According to some of those present during Friday's hearing, defense attorneys testified that Mauffray had made prejudicial comments to them about their clients on multiple occasions. David Utter, who represents defendant Jesse Ray Beard, said Mauffray had labeled the Jena 6 defendants "a violent bunch" and had asserted that "crime has gone down" in the months after the youths were jailed on the beating charges.

When he was called to the witness stand, those present said, Mauffray appeared to concede that he had made such statements, testifying at various points that "I probably said that" and "I might have said that." But the judge maintained that he had not formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused youths.

Mauffray "has proven through his testimony that he does harbor prejudice and prejudgment in these cases," said Derwyn Bunton, an attorney for Theodore Shaw. "We want a fair trial with a fair judge, and the hearing illustrated we cannot have that with Judge Mauffray."

Chicago Tribune article

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Jena 6 DVD Is Now Avaliable

Apparently there's a documentary out on the Jena 6 situation. I could find no background info about who produced it, or anything. It doesn't even have an IMDB page (Internet Movie Database)

The Blogger News Network has a short review saying in part that:

"The Jena 6 story is a disturbing one. This DVD explores the story in detail. When you examine the people involved, and the crimes committed, a rather disturbing trend emerges. If you are white, you are just exhibiting youthful exuberance, but if you are black, you are doomed.

The Jena Six story is one that everyone needs to understand, and this DVD gets right to the hub of the issue."

You can purchase it here

Louisiana Court To Hear Arguments on Recusing Jena 6 Judge Mauffrey

I told you about the motion to have Judge Mauffrey removed in my last post on May 8th. It Appears arguments will finally be heard on this on May 30th.

Lawyers accuse judge in ‘Jena 6′ trial of racial bias

(CNN) — A Louisiana appeals court has agreed to a request by attorneys for four of the “Jena Six” defendants to hear arguments that the trial judge in the case should be recused because of alleged racial prejudice.

District Judge Thomas Yeager will hear arguments next Friday for the recusal of Judge J.P. Mauffrey Jr., according to court documents released this week.

One of the attorneys, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the case in the small town of Jena, Louisiana, said the lawyers must prove “substantial bias” in their effort to have Mauffrey removed.