America’s Six Saturday, Aug 25 2007 

Good Government Advocates Press To Place Judicial Accountability On The Agenda Of 2008 Presidential Candidates

Rice University of Houston, Texas was the site of what may turn out to be one of the most important civil rights and constitutional liberties conferences in recent history. On August 11, 2007, National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc. (NJCDLP) hosted a free conference at the prestigious university campus to solidify a national grassroots movement for important judicial reforms.

Crown Point, IN (PRWEB) August 20, 2007 — Rice University of Houston, Texas was the site of what may turn out to be one of the most important civil rights and constitutional liberties conferences in recent history. On August 11, 2007, National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc. (NJCDLP) hosted a free conference at the prestigious university campus to solidify a national grassroots movement for important judicial reforms. The conference title asks the rhetorical question “Silencing of the Lambs?”, prompting consideration of whether average Americans truly have a say about the quality of justice dispensed by American courts. Zena Crenshaw, NJCDLP Executive Director, explained that “we begin our analysis with a consideration of how effective average Americans seem to be in holding the gatekeepers of justice accountable for their conduct.”

Attending the NJCDLP conference were many good government advocates representing more than a dozen states – Texas, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, California, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Virginia, District of Columbia, Florida, New Mexico, and Georgia. The gathering summoned the spirit of Washington Whistleblower Week (WWW) which brought scores of activists to Washington, D. C. to protest government waste, fraud, and abuse in May 2007. While strengthening and expanding federal legislation was a key focus of WWW, its participants largely understood that law breakers essentially act with impunity when legal processes and courts are not affordable, reasonably prompt, and fair.

the halls of justice are supposed to be open in America
Sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges tacitly aligned to deny the civil and constitutional rights of Blacks among others, even at the height of America’s civil rights movement. Attending the NJCDLP conference in Houston were Louisiana’s infamous “Jena 6” as well as poor and minority residents of Abilene, Texas who could relate to that problem and saw through conference presentations its potential link to inadequate judicial accountability. Crenshaw reminded the audience that “the halls of justice are supposed to be open in America”, noting the “large number of dollars and supporters it (otherwise) takes to access justice when your name is not Scooter Libby.” Marcel Reid, a NJCDLP conference presenter and President of the D. C. chapter for ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) added “if there is no justice for the least of us, then there is no justice for the rest of us – Without Justice for All there will be Justice for None.” ACORN is the nation’s largest community organization of low and moderate income families with over 350,000 member families.

The appointments of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito and recent controversial High Court decisions assure that America’s judiciary will be on the agenda of 2008 Presidential candidates. NJCDLP and most who convened with the organization in Houston seek to ensure that appropriate judicial reform and accountability are part of the Presidential debate. Attorney Michael R. McCray, chairman of “The 3.5.7 Commission”, confirmed that “an unaccountable and unassailable judiciary is a serious threat to democracy and can literally destroy the American way of life.” His newly formed private commission will examine the propriety of summary judgments entered against federal employees under Title VII, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and certain employees seeking relief under the False Claims Act.

Matthew F. Fogg, a high profile government whistleblower presenting at the NJCDLP conference, lauded the event and WWW for uniting patriots who fearlessly combat government corruption. Fogg referenced impending federal legislation, initiated by the D. C. based No FEAR Coalition which he co-chairs. No FEAR II would amend the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 and is presently co-sponsored by U. S. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tx), Albert Wynn (D-Md), and John Lewis (D-Ga). According to Fogg, “No FEAR II closes loopholes hindering enforcement of various antidiscrimination and government whistleblower protection laws.” It also harkens to a concern expressed by famed civil rights activist Thomas N. Todd at the NJCDLP conference.

Attorney Thomas N. Todd, widely known for his dynamic oratorical skills as TNT, personally called on House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich) to move towards federalizing the regulation of speech among lawyers. In an explosive pre-recorded interview, Todd calls for a complete overhaul of professional disciplinary rules purporting to preserve the sanctity of America’s judiciary. He projects that in some communities, lawyers are likely unwilling to accept cases that may place them in “bad standing with the judiciary”. This “chilling effect” on a right as fundamental and critical as free speech, particularly troubles Todd when lawyers are called in 2007 to represent “very, very unpopular clients, just as they did in the South”. Noting the “consistent” concern about equity and justice of Chairman John Conyers, Todd envisions that relevant hearings before the House Judiciary Committee may lead to a “national (lawyers’) commission with one standard” for free speech.

Others riveting the NJCDLP audience at Rice University included attorney Mark A. Adams of Florida; attorney Dale Nathan of Minnesota; Dr. LeRoy Gillam, national president of Southeastern Christian Association; school reform activist Peyton Wolcott; NJCDLP director Thomas Saunders; and attorney Caroline Douglas. Keynote remarks were made by the stately, 2006 congressional candidate Byron De Lear. “Coming from all walks of life and from a diverse set of political affiliations, we all see and feel the urgent necessity for a more representative and fair justice system supporting the principles of equal protection under the law and equality for all” says De Lear.

Participants left the NJCDLP conference, committed to pursue their lofty ideals through practical, effective action. Rodney Logal, a NJCDLP board member and primary benefactor, emphasized that “meaningful government reform will likely come on a grassroots basis through the small financial contributions of many if it is to be afforded at all.” Echoing that sentiment and other tenets of grassroots activism, NJCDLP Project Coordinator Andrew D. Jackson announced the formation of “You Can Count On Me”. This new commercial venture of NJCDLP is a professionally administered network of organizations and individuals, pledged to provide each other a manageable level of simple, but vital support.

NJCDLP is a nonprofit, grassroots organization combating abuses of the American legal system that are facilitated by judicial misconduct. NJCDLP is also a member of the No FEAR and Make It Safe coalitions which advocate for federal workers, including Title VII claimants and government whistleblowers.

Aryan Circle in Bastrop?!Jena Conex Monday, Aug 20 2007 

 Bastrop Shooting Suspects Get Attorneys(August – 17 – 2007)  VIDEO

BASTROP (TV8) – Also today – Alex Brendle and Chrystal Harrell went before a Morehouse Parish judge.
They are two of the three suspects charged with helping Tonya Smith get away… after the shootings of Detectives Smith and Wilson.
TV-8’s Dustin Barnes was at the courthouse today, and met with Toyna Smith’s appointed attorney:

Alex Brendle of Mer Rouge and Crystal Harrell of Collinston left the Morehouse Parish Courthouse after both pled “not guilty” to charges over last Friday’s shootout in which two Bastrop police detectives died along with their accused killer.Two emergency medical technicians were wounded in the shootout at the Budget Inn in downtown Bastrop.

Brendle and Harrell are both charged with two counts of accessory after the fact to first degree murder, two counts of accessory after the fact to attempted first degree murder, and obstruction of justice.

 

Brendle is also charged with possession of stolen property and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Judge Scott Leehy set bond for Brendle at one-million dollars, and for Harrell at 350-thousand.

A third suspect–Michael Coleman of Bastrop–will be arraigned next week. All three are represented by indigent defenders.

Asst. District Attorney Dion Young says “they were appointed judges and attorneys and the other individual Coleman will be in the courtroom Tuesday with his attorney Murray.”

Meanwhile, Monroe Attorney Louis Scott has been appointed to represent Tonya Smith, the girlfriend of Dennis Clem, the man accused of killing the detectives. The couple was wanted for questioning in connection with a double homicide last month in the Houston area.

Both Clem and Alex Brendle are reputed members of a white supremacist group called the Aryan Circle.

Tonya Smith fled Bastrop after last Friday’s shootout but was caught Sunday by a U-S Marshal’s Task Force in Harris County, Texas.

Tonya Smith, charged with two counts of first degree murder, is now in a Texas jail awaiting extradition to Louisiana.

Louis Scott says “I have been verbally notified that i will represent her.”

Scott says based on the facts, it’s doubtful Tonya Smith can be convicted of first degree murder.

Scott says “I read a report that she reported the incident to the hotel clerk and asked the hotel clerk to call 911 so that doesn’t sound like the reaction of someone who was guilty or wanted someone to be killed.”

(Reporter standup:)
Scott says based on Smith’s nationality, it is unlikely that she is a member of the white supremacist group The Aryan Circle. However, if she is, it would have no relevance to the case. The case would be based on if she committed the crime.

Scott says “it doesn’t seem logically because she is alleged to be Hispanic and or American Indian origin so i doubt seriously that someone of that background would be a member of a white supremacist group.”

Scott says he is unaware when Smith will be brought back Bastrop for arraignment.

He says a Texas judge has given her 14 days to be extradited.

Dustin Barnes, TV8 News
 

Smith set a lifelong example of dedication and friendship

By WES HELBLING
Published: Saturday, August 18, 2007 3:29 PM CDT
E-mail this story | Print this page
 

For those who had the privilege to know him, Detective Sgt. John Smith’s devotion to service and family was matched only by his loyalty in friendship.

The world has many different ways of saying good-bye, the Rev. David Campbell, Jr. told the audience who gathered to pay their respects at First Baptist Church on Saturday morning. Smith and Detective Sgt. Chuck Wilson were killed by a member of a white supremacist group on Aug. 10 at the Best Budget Inn. The suspect believed to be responsible for shooting the detectives died in a later exchange of gunfire with police officers.

But how do you say good-bye? As simple as it is, good-bye is a hard word to say to a great detective, husband, father and friend,” Campbell said.

 
 

People who knew Smith can say good-bye with grace and strength, Campbell concluded.

Bastrop Mayor Clarence Hawkins drew a parallel between the friendship of Smith and fellow Detective Sgt. Chuck Wilson, and the coming together of citizens to memorialize both men.

“John and Chuck gave us an example of working together, and it’s phenomenal and amazing that they departed together,” Hawkins said, adding that the service was “an historic moment for Bastrop, in more ways than one.”

Hawkins thanked Smith’s wife, Leslie, for sharing him with the community and asked the audience for a standing round of applause for Smith’s performance on the stage of public duty.

Bastrop Police Chief Allen Freeman described Smith as “one of the finest officers I’ve known,” a man who loved life and was dedicated to work and family.

“If I had a hundred officers like him, this town wouldn’t know crime,” Freeman said.

 
 

Freeman added he couldn’t talk about Smith as a co-worker apart from Smith as a friend.

“He was just awesome. John and Chuck were always putting their lives in harm’s way when someone needed help,” Freeman said. “John was always there for anyone who needed him.”

Speaking on behalf of the police department, Freeman said, “We stand together, and we feel the pain together.”

 
 

Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy Mike Tubbs told a story that illustrated both Smith’s professionalism and his sense of humor. In the early days of both their careers, Tubbs recalled riding patrol with Smith one night in a brand new squad car.

“This young man ran into us, and we didn’t have a warrant on him, but John was sure he had done something. So we took him into custody. Then we couldn’t get the car to move. It turned out the guy had cut all four tires. I looked in the back seat, and John was already sentencing the guy,” Tubbs said as the audience laughed.

“John was a winner,” Tubbs added. “When he left to go the hotel that day, he was still a winner.”

 
 

The Rev. Steven Conley encouraged Smith’s friends and family to emulate the example set by Smith, and to find hope in the faith they share.

“Someday there is going to be a reunion,” Conley said. “We will see John again.”

Bastrop, Louisiana is a city of twelve-thousand.   But, we must realize that our society is in a state of extreme flux.  On both ends of the pole, blacks & whites are flexing there muscles of determination.  On the one hand white folk are attempting to regain, in a stealth kind of way the ground that was lost during & since the sixties.  We, as black folk don’t believe the struggle was ever over, and recent events such as Jena, says that it wasn’t finished.   The connection between Jena, Louisiana & the Bastrop Police shootings is the fact that the young white woman who got from Bastrop after Clem blasted her way out of the city limits.

[From the Bastrop Enterprise – August 17, 2007]

“Three suspects arrested as accessories in the shooting deaths of two detectives with the Bastrop Police Department might learn today whether they will be released on bond.The 4th District Attorney’s Office asked District Court Judge Scott Leehy on Tuesday that the trio be held without bond for aiding a suspect in the shooting deaths of Detective Sgt. John Smith and Detective Sgt. Chuck Wilson flee the area after the officers were slain. Donald Alex Brendle, 31, of Mer Rouge, Michael L. Coleman, 38, from Bastrop and Chrystal L. Harrell, 37, from Collinston were taken into custody on Friday evening and later charged with being accessories after the fact in the first-degree murder of a police officer and obstruction of justice.Investigators allege Brendle, Coleman and Harrell helped Tanya Smith escape from the area after Smith’s boyfriend, Dennis Clem, allegedly shot and killed the officers.”Neighbors Shocked Over Three People Arrested in Bastrop Police Murders(August – 13 – 2007)  VIDEO

BASTROP (TV8) – State police today confirmed Dennis Clem–the man accused of gunning down two Bastrop detectives on Friday–was a member of the Aryan Circle… white supremicist group.The FBI says the Aryan Circle is a splinter group of the Texas Aryan Brotherhood… and functions mainly within the Texas prison system… providing protection for white inmates.What relationship exists between Clem, his girlfriend Tonya Smith, and three Northeast Louisiana residents arrested in connection with Friday’s shootout remains unclear.Today, some of those close to the arrested locals told TV8’s Dustin Barnes not all of them were so well acquainted with the Texas couple.
36-year-old sherman kimball lived at this home in the 73-hundred block of James Chunn Road in Bastrop with 38-year-old Michael Coleman….a full week before his roomate was arrested.Coleman, along with Crystal Harrell of Collinston, and Donald “Alex” Brendle of Mer Rouge, have been booked in the Morehouse Parish Jail for helping Dennis Clem’s girlfriend–Tanya Smith–leave the Bastrop area, after police say Clem killed two Bastrop detectives before he was killed in a shootout with responding officers.Kimball says he was with Coleman the day of the shootings.Sherman Kimball says “He was with me all day Friday evening…we were moving stuff all day out to the new house and we were together all day Friday.”

“he didn’t even know her….he had met her through chrystal…”
Kimball says Coleman had only seen Tanya Smith once, and that was with Crystal Harrell.

Kimball says “he didn’t even know her….he had met her through Chrystal…”

Reporter standup:

Sources tell TV8 that Chrystal Harrell lived in this trailer and she personally knew Tanya Smith.

Harrell’s 16-year-old son…declined to be on camera, but told TV8 News about his mother’s relationship with Smith.

The son says “she met her once or twice and my mom said she didn’t like her.”

Harrell’s son says his mom met Smith through Alex Brendle, who was his mom’s boyfriend. Police connected his mom and Smith as friends when police saw Harrell’s car at the budget hotel.

The son says “they saw her car over there…over there at the hotel when Alex went to see them people.”

Harrell’s son has not talked to his mother since her arrest, but says Alex told him Tanya Smith held her at gunpoint, forcing Harrell to drive her to Olla, where she apparently found a ride to Harris County, Texas.

In Bastrop, Dustin Barnes, TV8 News.

Mission Statement
The Decency Initiative of the National Action Network, led by Tamika Mallory, was established in order to address standards in the media and entertainment industries. The Initiative’s initial goal is to eliminate the use of three words in music and media; the “N” word, the “B” word and the “H” word, which are a blatant disrespect to women and the African American community. The overall goal is to establish a single standard that will be adopted by media and entertainment entities that will respect all people regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation. The Initiative is targeting record labels, major corporations and media conglomerates that continue to profit from racism and sexism. The Initiative is leading a national effort to educate consumers on corporate policies, purchasing power and consumer rights and will mobilize consumers towards direct protest of companies who support the degradation of any group. 
http://www.nationalactionnetwork.net/assets/images/cartoon.jpg

This cartoon on the editorial page of Friday’s Florida Times-Union generated strong reaction from readers and the leader of the NAACP.

Times-Union Editor Regrets Offensive Word In Cartoon
Readers, NAACP Complain To Newspaper
UPDATED: 12:35 pm EDT August 20, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An editorial cartoon taking shot at those who fail to turn in violent criminals generated controversy, then a response from the Florida Times-Union.The cartoon appeared on the editorial page of Friday’s newspaper with a caption saying, “The new rule of law.” It shows what appears to be a man shot, and a gunman standing over the victim wearing shirts reading “Don’t Snitch.”Two young children depicted in the cartoon say “I didn’t see nuttin’!” Then the gunman says, “Now that’s a good little ho!” 

The cartoon generated controversy on two levels: for using the slang word that got Don Imus fired from his nationally syndicated radio and television shows and for sending the wrong message. The president of the local chapter of the NAACP said he found both the picture and the words offensive. “I was stunned about it,” said Isaiah Rumlin, president of the local NAACP chapter.

“I was outraged.” Rumlin said he took calls from at least 20 angry people who also found this cartoon offensive. He said he called the newspaper and expressed his concern to publisher Carl Cannon. “We’re going to see how we can work together and alleviate this type of language in the paper,” Rumlin told Channel 4.

In Sunday’s newspaper, editorial page editor Mike Clark was quoted as saying he reviewed and approved the cartoon by longtime Times-Union cartoonist Ed Gamble.” Using the word ‘ho’ was bad judgment, and I regret that I did not edit it out,” Clark told the newspapers reader advocate. “The object of the cartoon was to comment on the rise of a no-snitching culture, something that is widely in the news today. There was certainly no intent to offend the many law-abiding Jacksonville citizens.”

cartoon.jpg

Gamble told the reader advocate that the term “ho” is demeaning to women, but said, “I was making a point that rappers are demeaning to women.” In the background of the cartoon is a billboard displaying: “Rap your life away.”

The comments in Sunday’s newspaper came after complaints about the cartoon flooded into both the newspaper and Channel 4. “Why would you even put something like that in the paper in the first place?” one resident told the local station’s Jennifer Bauer.”That’s not comical at all,” another newspaper reader said. “That’s poor teaching of children.”

Copyright 2007 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS

 

 

 

Mychal Bell & the Quigley Affair Friday, Aug 3 2007 

Mychal Bell,  immediately after his trial was put through and ordeal, no prisoner should have to be subjected to.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mychal Bell left Hanging

<–Emancipation Oak But help has arrived!

As it would turn out, Bill Quigley; before he left the country, failed to provide certificate of service to the opposing attorneys notifying them of new motions, as per the law.

The attorney now handling Mychal Bell’s case has established a team of lawyers to sift through the uncertain.

The scenario of the famed civil rights attorney, forgetting such a mundane legal chore is puzzling to say the least. That, coupled with actions by some ACLU staff is suspect. The new attorney was able to file motions to fire Blane Willaims,
and get a hearing on these actions.

3 August 2007

Revs. Jackson and Sharpton plan trip to show support for Jena Six
By Abbey Brown
abrown@thetowntalk.com

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday said the charges against the six black teens known as the “Jena Six” are “disgraceful” and said he is coming to Jena to spread a message of “reconciliation rather than retaliation.”
Although the date for his visit isn’t yet final, the Rev. Al Sharpton’s office confirmed Wednesday that he will be speaking in support of the students some of whom still face attempted murder charges at 11 a.m. Sunday at Trout Creek Baptist Church in Jena.

Robert Bailey Jr., Mychal Bell, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, Theo Shaw and an unnamed juvenile were charged in December with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the same after a Dec. 4 attack that left white student Justin Barker unconscious and in need of medical attention.

Bell was convicted in June of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit that crime the highest charge possible after LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters reduced the charges just before the trial began. He faces more than 20 years in prison when sentenced on Sept. 20.
Shaw, who was behind bars for more than seven months, was recently released in lieu of bond after family and supporters raised enough cash and property for the $90,000 bond. Bell remains behind bars.

The case has captured headlines and airtime across the world in both alternative and mainstream media, including recent segments on CNN, NBC and CBS nightly news.

But one of Bell’s appeals attorneys, Bob Noel of Monroe, said he hopes the attention from both the media and national public figures will have no effect on the case positive or negative.

“I would hope not,” he said of any possible effects. “I hope the outcome of the case is based solely upon the law as it applies to this case, and if it is, I feel very positive about the outcome.”

Noel, along with the lead attorney in the case, Louis Scott, and other Monroe attorneys Lee Perkins, Peggy Sullivan and Carol Powell-Lexing, signed on to represent Bell through the appeals process. The attorneys are all members of the 4th Judicial District Indigent Defenders Board but aren’t being contracted to do this.

All agreed to handle the defense work pro-bono after being contacted by Scott, who was contacted by Bell’s father, Marcus Jones.

Alexandria defense attorney Mike Small said the widespread attention generated by the cases will virtually ensure that a motion to change venue for the other defendants will be granted.

“Given the polarization caused by these cases, it is difficult for me to imagine fair and impartial juries can be selected in LaSalle Parish,” he said.