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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blanco: No Appeal On Jena Case

Activism at work! Put enough of the right pressure in the right place and change can happen! Now, can we get Mychal out on bail.

BATON ROUGE, La.—Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Wednesday that the prosecutor in one of the so-called "Jena 6" cases has decided not to challenge an appellate ruling that sends the case to juvenile court.

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters had earlier said he would appeal the state appeals court's decision that 17-year-old Mychal Bell's second-degree battery conviction be set aside. The court ruled that Bell could not be tried as an adult.

Blanco said she had spoken with Walters and asked him to reconsider pushing to keep the case in the adult courts system. She said Walters contacted her Wednesday to say he had decided not to appeal the ruling.

"I want to thank him for this decision he has made," Blanco said.

Bell, who remains behind bars, was one of six Jena High School teens arrested after a December attack on a white student, Justin Barker. Five of the six teens initially were charged with attempted second-degree murder, though charges for four of them, including Bell, were later reduced. One teen hasn't been arraigned, and the case of the sixth, handled as a juvenile, is sealed.

Blanco made her announcement at a news conference with activists Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Sharpton said he hopes a bond will be set low enough to allow for Bell's release, and he thanked Blanco for getting involved in the matter.

"I want to congratulate her for showing leadership," Sharpton said. "And I want to congratulate the district attorney for good judgment."

The Denver Post


Anonymous said...

"Change can happen" - what change is that? Condoning the 6 on 1 beating of someone because, "they had it coming"?

While certainly a disgusting act, how can hanging nooses be compared to physically assaulting someone until, and after, they are unconscious? What law did hanging nooses violate that they could possibly be prosecuted for? Should we just make up laws because we don't like them?

The KKK has every right to march down the street spewing their filth. The laws PROTECT them, not punish them. Instead of trying to violate the Constitution to go after them, decent human beings of all races reject their hate speech and condemn their beliefs. THAT is how you deal with racist idiots, not by beating them bloody.

If you want real change, try preaching personal accountability and civility among all. Personally, I like the idea of judging people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character; and the character of the Jena 6 do not make them role models.

"Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true."

Anonymous said...

One more...

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

Anonymous said...

Not only is there almost no coverage in the corporate media of black violent crimes against white people, but in high profile cases, they proffer black criminals as 'real victims'.

To illustrate the racial bias of the corporate media, imagine if the facts were reversed - if a gang of six white kids led by someone with four previous convictions for violent-crime had attacked a lone black student, kicking and stomping him into unconsciousness. As far as the corporate media are concerned, they would be interviewing the black victim on every TV talk show across the land, discussing his fear, his pain, his suffering. They would be interviewing his crying relatives and friends. They would not be voicing any fear that the white attackers would be treated too harshly, or that they would be treated at all. They would not be celebrated.

Anonymous said...

I am appalled by this entire Jena subject. On the one hand you have students who insult the black race through disgusting comments and behaviors. On the other hand..you have students who physically and criminally inflict bodily injury on a member of another race. BOTH are wrong.. but let’s face it.. the system recognizes the severity of each and every crime that occurs and applies the right amount of justice to fit the bill.
This was created out of unforgivable acts..but to take vigilante justice against another person ..bringing them close to death.. is even more unforgivable.
Most whites I have spoken with are appalled by the behavior of the whites in Jena.. but even more appalled that the blacks chose to take justice into their own hands and deliver their own choice of punishment.
THEN you have the TYPICAL scenario where civil rights leaders Martin Luther King III and Al Sharpton come running to establish a platform. The platform has been questionable in the past and is definitely questionable in this case. The platform has changed.. and their arguments are becoming historic in nature.
Blacks are afforded the same rights and luxuries as the whites. I am surrounded by successful, respected black members of our community. I am also surrounded by poverty stricken whites. The choice to succeed in life is not left to opportunity but to the individual desire and drive within each of us. It is time to be comfortable in our own skin.
I believe that change is in order in Jena.. but I also believe that marches in a Jena only aggravate a volatile situation. This is a matter for the court.. not a platform. This is a matter for the school board.. not a platform. This is a matter within families.. not a platform. This is not a divided issue.. blacks.. whites.. Hispanics.. we all feel that this situation deserves swift justice through proper channels. Tolerance.. empathy.. love... brotherhood... these are things that we instill in our children. Obviously.. the parents involved in this situation miserably FAILED their children and society. The parents should be held as accountable as the children. It all starts at home...children learn what they live. If children are grow up with racist parents..they will develop those same lowly qualities. If children grow up with violence then they develop those lowly qualities.
This is not a national issue. This is upbringing! None of these individuals -BLACK OR WHITE- reflect my views or social beliefs. They are all under one God..they are all under the laws of our land..they are all sons..daughters. THEY each made choices.
Think about this… a type of “shoe on the other foot” reflection..
The whites should unite...march against the savage beating of a member of our race. As a matter of fact.. we should march against anything and everything we feel insults our race and heritage. Where is our NAACP?? If we created a NAAWP... could you imagine the outcry that would be shouted from the good Rev.'s and Al's platform then?? It is a fact that minorities and women in this country obtain benefits unavailable to those of a different race or gender. (I am a woman by the way). Progress brings about balance? Or does it? I do know that I love my country …and it’s citizens who treat me with love and respect..no matter their color or nationality.
GET real.. my family embraces the black race. My son is the only white member of an all black football team. His participation was voluntary and the community center he plays for is in a neighboring town. My views are not based on race..they are based on moral decency and respect for the judicial system of our country.
It is time to remove the race card and treat all of the Jena participants in a manner that is within the fullest extent of the applicable laws. If you hung a noose.. you should suffer a consequence. If you beat a person in a criminal manner..you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent under applicable laws.

Read this excerpt from a news story ... SLOWLY…take in the information.. understand what is dividing the issue..proper JUSTICE.

"Last week, they led about 15,000 marchers to Jena, a town of 3,000, to protest how authorities handled the cases of Bell and five other black teens accused of beating white high school student Justin Barker."

"Many said they are angry the students, dubbed the "Jena 6," are being treated more harshly than three white students who hung nooses from an oak tree on high school property."
SEE… each side is angry… seeking justice….and that is what the community should get..EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW.
I do not feel this is a racial issue for the nation. This is a single town corrupt from a lack of discipline..morals..standards..and proper upbringing. It is also a town that needs to establish a more reliable and stringent system of behavioral correction within its schools.
This can stop today… all that it takes is morals, unity, values, and tolerance…NOT just tolerance…acceptance. We all bleed red…we all shed tears..we all have hearts and minds. This world would be a boring place if we all looked the same..had the same accent..the same desires and needs. Of course…Hitler would thrive in that environment … wouldn’t he!
I would also like to say a quick comment to the white students in Jena…
We are with you in your desire to seek justice… however…we do not stand with your hate and racial discrimination. Your ideas seem historically back woods and are shunned by the majority of your race. If you ever desire to move from Jena…your ideals will not survive elsewhere and you..in fact…will be the outsiders wherever you go. Find it in your heart to change…catch up with the rest of the world.
To the black students in Jena….
I understand your pain…and your desire for justice…and share your thoughts that racism is unacceptable. I do not share the thought that personal vengeance or justice is the answer. Violence is a disease that spreads hate.

It starts at home... Stop the cycle.
Seek justice…not hate.

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