Three separate litigations in three different states might make one aware of how justice is defined and interpreted in various courtrooms in America. Often the outcomes are drastically different for each proceeding—giving the term “blind justice” a permanent status in our halls of justice.
The recent trial and guilty verdict for Detroit’s former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick sent shock waves across the city. Many onlookers felt that 28 years in prison was too harsh for the crimes he was convicted of. Some maintained that he did not kill anyone.
Others felt that he got what he deserved. Comments ranged from, let him go to Texas with his family so he can be executed, and, 28 years is not enough.
There was a laundry list of charges that stacked up against Kilpatrick. His trial was replete with witnesses that had turned state's evidence. Virtually his entire administration was brought down.
His mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick lost her bid for U.S. Representative due to his goings-on. His chief of staff, Christine Beatty, served time in jail and left the City of Detroit with less than a stellar work ethic after she was confirmed to be his mistress and partner in crime.
The steamy text messages between Beatty and Kilpatrick revealed an unrequited love and political cover ups that moved over the city like a tsunami
His close associate, Bobby Ferguson, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for strong arming and securing city contracts by any means necessary. The ripple effect was asphyxiating for those who became collateral damage during Kilpatrick’s watch.
A jury of Kilpatrick’s peers found him guilty and Judge Nancy Edmunds sentenced him for his crimes.
“I think everyone here understands Mr. Kilpatrick was convicted of running a criminal enterprise,” Judge Edmunds said. She indicated that his enterprise started while he was still in the state House of Representatives and continued through all six years he was in the mayor’s office.
Judge Edmunds declared that the scheme to maneuver contracts to pal Bobby Ferguson made projects more costly for a city that couldn’t afford it and drove contractors out of business. http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/10/10/sentencing-underway-for-ex-detroit-mayor-kwame-kilpatrick/
Justice delayed is justice denied
The Angola 3 were members of the Black Panther Party’s prison chapter while in the Louisiana State Penitentiary a.k.a. Angola Prison. The three were incarcerated for armed robbery in 1971. While in prison the three were accused of killing a prison guard.
Herman Wallace, one of the Angola 3, died three days after being released from prison on Oct. 1, 2013 at the age of 71. He spent 41 years of his life in solitary confinement at Angola.
Just a few days before Wallace’s death, Federal Judge Brian Jackson overturned Herman’s 1974 conviction of killing a prison guard. According to Judge Jackson, the murder charges were “unconstitutional”. Wallace died Oct 4, 2013 from inoperable liver cancer.
Despite the lack of material evidence, “discredited” witnesses and a sham trial, Wallace, who was a poet and lover of literature, and [the] two other prisoners [of the Angola] Three, were locked up to spend a life of untold hardship for a crime they didn’t commit.
The State's case was riddled with inconsistencies, obfuscations, and missteps. http://www.angola3.org/thecase.aspx
In Wallace’s own words from his poem The Defined Voice:
“They removed my whisper from general population, To maximum security, I gained a voice; They removed my voice from maximum security, To administrative segregation, My voice gave hope; They removed my voice from administrative segregation, To solitary confinement, My voice became vibration for unity…”http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/world/2013/10/13/Herman-Wallace-and-the-never-ending-battle-for-freedom.html
One of Wallace’s supporters maintained that, “He’s had 42 years of maintaining his innocence in solitary confinement, and if his last few breaths are as a free man, we’ve won." http://www.wafb.com/story/23604666/released-angola-3-member-indicted-again-for-1972-murder
Justice delayed is justice denied. This Examiner respectfully disagrees that Wallace won.
The right to bear arms
George Zimmerman never denied shooting Trayvon Martin; He said he did so in self-defense. A Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty in Martin’s death.
The jury had three choices: to find Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder; to find him guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter; or to find him not guilty.
Prosecutors argued that Zimmerman “wrongly and spitefully prejudged Martin as one of those "f***ing punks," as he's heard saying under his breath in his call to police”. http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/13/justice/zimmerman-trial/index.html?eref=googletoolbar
The fallout from Zimmerman’s verdict was tremendous. Many could not phantom how Martin’s murder could go unpunished. Others were in a state of disbelief when the verdict was read. A very somber looking Zimmerman accepted his verdict without much expression.
A jury of his peers found him innocent.
Trial lawyers, judges, and juries make up the system of justice that governs the United States. Yet, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, the color of a defendant and victim's skin plays a crucial and unacceptable role in deciding who goes to prison and who goes home.
"Amnesty International Appeals for Release of Terminally Ill 'Angola 3' Prisoner, after 40 Years in Solitary Confinement".July 10, 2013. Amnesty International.
McGaughy, Lauren. NOLA.com | The Times Picayune October 01, 2013.