Friday, November 30, 2007

Beyond Mychal Bell!

Self Destruction or the Outside Influence of destructive forces. A young black man in Ruston, Louisiana; home of La. Tech University, working at a Lowes store was involved in a Noose incident on the job. He reported the alledged incident with evidence. He was told a day later, that he was better off confessing that he did it. Members of the justice community were contacted and the approached was softened somewhat, but the press stayed on, to get the 24 year old black man to confess. By then the man had, wandered through east central Louisiana, and was headed back home to Mom & Dad. STUNNED in America.

The night Gerwoski Washington was found dead in Westlake, Louisiana - we went to Jonesboro, Louisiana, as the new elected black mayor, was threatened with Klan action. TODAY, a report was made of a KKK signature in a hamlet a little ways from Jonesboro called Goldonna.

All the while, the Nationalist Movement is steadily swearing to be in Jena, Louisiana on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's annual day of parade's and festivities. On the front page of the local newspaper the Jena Times, it is explained that NOOSES will be displayed. The announcement goes on to say that --those displaying the nooses, should not do so in an adversarial manner.

It was explained to the US ATTORNEY for the WESTERN DISTRICT of Louisiana that such an event could be tantamount to inciting a riot.
Yet the white folks, are insistent on going forth with this travesty. The locals in Jena of the establishment are trying to pass it off, as something nothing can be done about. Yet, we know the mayor of the town was in the Klan haven, down south Louisiana way near Hammond, a couple months ago.

And still, the Media Litigants have come to Jena, Louisiana to open the files on One Mychal Bell & Mychal Bell Only ,who is the proverbial whipping boy, with the somewhat reputation to repudiate the true facts of the corrupt Judge, DA & the entire adminstering of criminal justice in Louisiana. Mychals Defense in disaray, not knowing what to do; NEGOTIATING WITH THIS, corrupt systematic divesting of absolute truth. WHO DOES REALLY GIVE A TINKERS!! The Louisiana legislature, will; by force of nature - deal with this matter! Juan Lafonta get ready to convene hearings, immediately on the plight of the american negro male in Louisiana. We the people are tired of the buck passing. Do something Now!!

I remember Liberty City!!

Still, to top it all off, the infamous day of December 6th in Jena, Louisiana will go down in history as the biggest travesty on humankind in the events leading to the fall of the envisioned great society "which could of been America", but never was and which never shall be. When Richard Barrett and his crew do their thing in America's Jena, Louisiana; this night, no this the world knows. France will remember the Nazi invasion, Italy will think on Mussolini, Warwaw will recall the Fuhrer and an international uprising will occur. Not because of Mychal, but because of a government, that can go to Afghanistan to fight terrorism, a nation that can go to Iraq and embrace Pakistan, allow the Palestinian purging to persist, and then to in America; demonicly reject the olive branch from King's son, "across the board" attempt to institute a faux pax.

Bring in the entire upper echelon of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice to Jena's First Baptist Church, but still there IS NO JUSTICE IN AMERICA in Jena, Louisiana.

Bush Must Come!! JENA IS GROUND ZERO FOR THE RACIAL HOLOCAUST that has persisted in America for 500 years.

November 30, 2007
Obama Woos Sharpton at Sylvia's, Sharpton Said Dems Have Marginalized Black Voters

Barack Obama spoke to a packed crowd at the Apollo Thursday night. But the real story happened a few hours before, when he sat down to have dinner with the Rev. Al Sharpton at Sylvia's Restaurant, a Harlem institution.

Obama had showed up at Sharpton's office just a few blocks away earlier in the day to ask the reverend to have dinner with him at Sylvia's so they could talk about the importance of hate crime legislation. The Obama campaign made sure to invite the New York and national press along to photograph the event.

Sharpton said repeatedly that his meeting with Obama was not an endorsement of the senator, though he did praise him for paying attention to the issue of hate crimes, reports NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan.

"And we are trying to get hate crime legislation, and I think it showed something for him to call us and bring me to dinner and say I want to come out strong on it," Sharpton said.

Asked if the meeting had moved the reverend closer to endorsing, "Well, we'll wait and see. I didn't go to the Apollo because I'm not endorsing," Sharpton added.

Though this was not an endorsement of Obama, the picture of Obama with Sharpton recalled an image from the 1992 Democratic primary, when the mayor of Chicago insisted that he wasn't endorsing then Gov. Bill Clinton but allowed himself to be photographed with him. It was a tacit acknowledgment of support and helped Clinton considerably in Illinois. The question from last night is whether or not Sharpton was doing the same thing.

"Tonight he came to Harlem, and he came with a message that Harlem might want someone to discuss at a presidential level and that is hate crime," Sharpton praised Obama.

Sharpton added that he was looking to meet with all the Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, on the issue of hate crimes and feels the issue is as urgent as ever because 2007 had been the year of Imus, Jena and hangman's noses, adding that a noose had been found at Obama's alma mater, Columbia University. He said that Obama had promised to bring up the issue during debates.

Whatever Sharpton's feelings, he had sharp words for the Democratic candidates on their treatment of black voters. He called African Americans the "most loyal constituency" of the Democratic party, but said they have been "marginalized" in their treatment by the candidates.

"I think the Democratic candidates take us for granted," he said and later added, "They want 90 percent of the black vote but they want to act like we are a marginal issue. To me that's offensive."

Sharpton also appeared to agree with Jesse Jackson's comments that aside from John Edwards, the Democratic candidates have not focused on issues of racial inequality, but but also praised Obama for reaching out on the issue.

"I've been saying all year that there has not been given a priority given to the concerns of African Americans and the concerns of racial disparity. ... How do our candidates expect our people to vote 90 percent for them and they are not giving any concern. Obama heard that and that's one of the things we talked about in my office and riding over here," Sharpton said.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Real FBI

FBI agent questions image of civil rights martyr
11/9/2007, 12:06 p.m. CST
The Associated Press

MARION, Ala. (AP) — A former FBI agent tried in court to discredit the image of Jimmie Lee Jackson as a martyr of the civil rights movement.

Former agent Coleman Keane said Jackson admitted to him that he tried to grab the pistol of the state trooper who shot him.

Keane testified in Marion in a hearing for former trooper James Bonard Fowler, who was trying to get murder charges against him dismissed.

Fowler was indicted in May for shooting Jackson during a 1965 civil rights protest. Jackson died eight days later at a Selma hospital.

Keane testified he saw Jackson moments after he was shot and then interviewed him a day or two later at a Selma hospital.

Mr. Keane said it's wrong to try to prosecute former Trooper James Bonard Fowler 42 years later.

Mr. Keane testified in the second and final day of a hearing for Mr. Fowler, who is trying to get murder charges against him dismissed. If that does not happen, he wants the trial moved out of Marion, where Jimmie Lee Jackson's death is memorialized by monuments and signs.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Double Standards

Civil Rights denied-Marshal Law---------------->>>>

Blackwater,like Whitewater,like Watergate!
All Over the World!

I waited a while, to write; in order to see if any thing would really change. We have the same intrigue & disguisings of efficiency and effectiveness. Of owning up to what it is that's really going on. The klan is still the klan in America. The Nazi's are still the nazi's in Germany. The Muslims are still muslims in Islam. Pakistan is still Pakistan.

Louisiana is still Louisiana. Lies, Lies & more lies! Some might say a pessimistic view, but it is just the facts jack, since a June 28th decision led into a July 4th ludicrous-ness. It was ludicrous for a celebrating of that holiday. Young brother in the central Louisiana land, laid low in a systematic methodology set to destroy a race.
And now, we have a brown man as governor a republican to say the least, if only Lincoln could be fair. I said on JFP the "Greatest Societal Need" and the same thing on Alms & Deliverance.

The so-called counter demonstration "Countered" 21Jan08

20Jan Jan 20 2008

20 Jan 08
Press Conference 20Jan

August 2007

Two Levels of Justice Aug 07

2Levels of Justice

September 20, 2007

Jena student OK to play
One of 'Jena 6' students gets waiver to play football for Shaw High School

FORSYTH, Ga. --Shaw High School will have another football player on its sideline Friday night, and one of the "Jena 6" will take a step toward normality in his life, thanks to the Georgia High School Association's decision Monday.

The GHSA granted a hardship waiver from its eight-semester rule to Robert Bailey Jr., one of six black teenagers from Jena (La.) High School charged with beating a white student in December 2006. He immediately is eligible to play for the Raiders. Shaw opens its regular season Friday against Central-Phenix City at Garrett-Harrison Stadium.

The eight-semester rule limits a student's eligibility to play interscholastic sports to eight semesters.

"Once you begin ninth grade in the block system, you have eight semesters of eligibility," said Brandon Wood, Shaw's defensive coordinator

Bailey and family members declined to be interviewed because of pending legal action surrounding the Louisiana case.

The conflict between the block scheduling Muscogee County schools use and the traditional scheduling at Louisiana high schools made some of Bailey's high school credits non-transferable.

Wood, Shaw head coach Scott Newman, Damon Hewitt of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Bailey presented the hardship appeal to the GHSA's 35-member executive committee during a closed session Monday morning in the Central Georgia Convention Center in Forsyth.

After deliberating the case, the executive committee gave its OK to the appeal by voice vote without any dissent.

"Awesome! Awesome!" Newman said, leaving the meeting room as members of the family celebrated. The teenager has been a student at Shaw since January and lives with his step-mother, Kim Bailey, in Columbus. He figures to see playing time early for the Raiders, likely as soon as Friday.

Bailey still is facing second-degree battery and conspiracy charges in Louisiana.

"He's really a great kid," Hewitt said. "He did a great job of speaking for himself. A great job."

Our view: Jena 6 goal still about justice for all
August 26, 2008 Copyright ©2008 The Town Talk

No matter how many interviews convicted "Jena 6" member Mychal Bell gives to the media and no matter how many times he points the finger of blame at racism, justice will remain the most important goal in the case of the Jena Six.

The Jena Six defendants are accused of assaulting a fellow student at Jena High School in December 2006. The victim, Justin Barker, was attacked from behind, knocked down and while unconscious was stomped.

The criminal case became a rallying cry for some who said racism led to the attack and then to escalated charges. The six defendants are black. Barker is white.

That perception led to the nation's biggest civil rights march of the new millennium last September in Jena.

Bell, the only student tried in the attack so far, was first found guilty in adult court of second-degree aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit the same. His verdict was thrown out when a judge ruled the case should have been heard in juvenile court. Bell then pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served and probation. As part of his plea, he must testify in the trials of the other five defendants.

This case has always belonged in a courtroom and not in the court of public opinion.

Unfortunately, Bell, is taking the case back to the media spotlight. On Sunday he was interviewed by CNN. After admitting that he did, in fact, attack Barker, he went on to say that Jena is a "real racist town."

Bell is entitled to his opinion just like anyone else in this country. He has served his time and is moving on with his life. But it may be time for those who truly wish to help Bell to get him to understand the danger of trying to mitigate his part in the crime by point the blame at racism and address the underlying problems that cause a young man to exhibit little remorse for beating another human being.

Whatever people want to believe about Jena, Ladalle Parish or Louisiana, Bell cannot get around the brutality of the attack. He cannot undo a conviction, and he cannot justify his violence.

Jena, like much of the nation, is a place where race needs to be addressed, and the Jena 6 incident pointedly marked a place to start -- for Jena and the nation. Jena's citizens have begun the hard work that must be done if it is to heal and to move ahead.

Questions about racism will be raised no matter what eventually happens in court. That is the power of this nation's most difficult social issue. At the end of the day, without justice -- blind justice -- we won't ever get beyond the issue of race.
Copyright ©2008 The Town Talk

Bell to CNN: Jena 'a real racist town"
Town Talk staff • August 25, 2008

Mychal Bell, the only "Jena Six" defendant to face trial, admitted to hitting white classmate Justin Barker in the 2006 attack that led to one of the country's largest civil rights demonstrations in decades.

"I hit him, you know, whatever," Bell told CNN during an interview televised Sunday on the Headline News cable channel. "You know, I walked on, I went on about my business, whatever. You know. Ain't anything else about it."

In addition to briefly talking about his part in the attack, Bell -- who is currently living in Monroe with a foster family and under state supervision -- talked about his feelings about the community he was raised in.

"Jena is a real racist town, you know," Bell told CNN. "It always has been like that, you know. You got a couple people say, 'It ain't a racist town,' but it's a real racist town."

Bell and five other black Jena High students were charged in December 2006 of attempted second-degree murder in connection with the attack at the school on Barker, who was knocked unconscious and treated at a hospital for his injuries. Charges against all the students were eventually dropped to aggravated second-degree battery.

After an adult conviction on that charge was overturned by the Third Circuit Court of Appeal, Bell pleaded guilty to juvenile charges of second-degree battery in December.

The other five defendants are awaiting trial. Earlier this month the trial judge in Bell's case -- and the only district judge in LaSalle Parish -- was recused from the cases. Attorneys for the other students have filed motions to recuse the parish's district attorney as well.

Barker and his family have filed a civil suit against the Jena Six defendants, their parents, the school and the School Board.

Bell was sentenced to 18 months to be served concurrent "' where possible "' with sentences he had received for previous juvenile adjudications. Part of the deal also read that he would be required to testify against the other defendants if the cases went to trial.

The Jena Six case sparked national attention and led to more than 20,000 people coming to the rural LaSalle Parish town to march in protest nearly a year ago.

Bell not likely to play football
By Bret H. McCormick • • August 20, 2008

It's likely that Mychal Bell's high school football career is finished.

Bell, the 18-year-old former star at Jena High School who was at the center of the "Jena Six" controversy, has completed his eight semesters of eligibility but was hoping to appeal for a ninth in order to play football at Carroll High School in Monroe.

Carroll football coach Jackie Hamilton said a compliance officer at the school mailed the paper work on Monday for Bell to go before the Louisiana High School Athletic Association's hardship committee next week.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, however, LHSAA Commissioner Kenny Henderson said "no request for an eligibility hearing" had been made on Bell's behalf.

"We mailed it (Monday)," Hamilton said. "I kept it out of my hands. We had a compliance officer to handle all of that. I know we had letters of recommendation, letters from the state and others to be turned in with that. I don't want to give you any false information. Anita Coats, our compliance officer, took care of the paper work."

Henderson said it's unlikely that Bell will be able to go before the hardship committee, particularly since Carroll waited so late to begin the process. It's the stance Henderson has taken since before spring practice, when Bell enrolled at Carroll in January.

"We've dealt with more than 50 eligibility rulings in the last two days," Henderson said. "He's not one of them."

Bell is hoping to regain an extra season because he spent part of last year in jail in connection with the beating of fellow Jena High student Justin Barker. Bell was one of six students charged in the Dec. 4, 2006, incident.

After originally being charged with attempted murder, Bell was convicted in June 2007 of aggravated second-degree battery and missed his senior season. Bell's adult conviction was overturned, however, and he pleaded guilty as a juvenile and was sentenced to 18 months as a ward of the state.

Bell moved into a Monroe-area foster home in January and has since been working with the Carroll team during summer conditioning and preseason practices. Hamilton has said that if Bell does get reinstated, he would most likely play both sides of the ball at running back and linebacker.

The hardship committee is expected to meet on Aug. 27, and Hamilton said he expects to be in attendance to support Bell.

"I want to be there for him," Hamilton said.

"Maybe they'll give me the opportunity to put my two cents in on why he should be ruled eligible. He's a great kid and a great leader. He's the ideal kid -- he does well in the classroom, in the weight room. He already scored an 18 on his ACT as a sophomore. If we get him, we'll be fortunate. It will be another blessing. I think the kid has been through a lot and needs something positive in his life."

Tabby Soignier of Louisiana Gannett News contributed to this report.

Mychal Bell of 'Jena Six' requests ruling on football eligibility; coach says he's 'the ideal kid'
Louisiana Gannett News • August 19, 2008

Mychal Bell, teen at the center of the "Jena Six" controversy last year, is seeking a ruling his high school football eligibility.

Bell, 18, is asking a panel to rule whether he can regain his senior football season he missed due to spending time in jail after his role in the beating of fellow Jena High student Justin Barker.

The LHSAA Hardship Committee meets three times a year to determine whether players who missed a season due to uncontrollable circumstances should be reinstated for their senior seasons. The committee will meet next week, and Bell is hoping for a ruling from the panel.

Barker was allegedly attacked by at least six high school classmates, including Bell, on Dec. 4, 2006. Bell and the others were initially charged with attempted murder, which sparked a racially charged debate. In June 2007, Bell was convicted as an adult of aggravated second-degree battery and missed his senior season in 2007, while serving time in jail.

This past December, however, Bell pleaded guilty for his role in the beating. As part of his plea agreement, he was sentenced to 18 months as a ward of the state, ultimately landing him in Monroe and enrolled at Carroll High School.

The hardship committee met in February, but it was too soon for Bell and the administration to file the proper paper work.

"We mailed it today," football coach Jackie Hamilton said Monday. "I kept it out of my hands. We had a compliance officer to handle all of that. I know we had letters of recommendation, letters from the state and others to be turned in with that. I don't want to give you any false information. Anita Coats, our compliance officer, took care of the paper work."

The panel will review the paper work before Bell goes in front of the group next Wednesday, Aug. 27.

"I'm planning on going regardless," Hamilton said. "I want to be there for him. Maybe they'll give me the opportunity to put my two cents in on why he should be ruled eligible. He's a great kid and a great leader.

"He's the ideal kid — he does well in the classroom, in the weight room. He already scored an 18 on his ACT as a sophomore. If we get him, we'll be fortunate. It will be another blessing. I think the kid has been through a lot and needs something positive in his life."

Bell moved in an area foster home in January and has since been working with the team to the fullest extent during summer conditioning and preseason practices. Hamilton has said that if Bell does get reinstated he would most likely play both sides of the ball at running back and linebacker.



For Release: August 25, 2008
Contact: Ryan Balis at (202) 543-4110

"Jena Six" Defendant Could Provide Example of the Benefit of School Choice

Washington, D.C. - Jesse Ray Beard, the youngest member of the "Jena Six," is reportedly interested in spending a portion of his legal defense fund on private school tuition.

Beard and five other black students attending Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana are accused of beating a white student in a racially-charged December 2006 incident. The case received international attention and protests in favor of the black students. One of the Jena Six - Mychal Bell - has pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge related to the incident. Beard and the others are awaiting trial.

"Without discounting the seriousness of the charges against Jesse Ray Beard, the fact that he now appears to want to take advantage of a means of getting the best education possible is heartening," said Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli. "The fact that the only way he was given this choice was through a tragic series of events points to inherent problems in our nation's educational system that must be rectified."

Borelli, in addition to her work as a fellow with Project 21, is a member of the board of trustees of the Opportunity Charter School in Harlem.

Beard is living in New York with attorney Alan Howard while serving a 16-month sentence of house arrest on unrelated juvenile crime charges. He is allowed to work in a law firm and was accepted to a summer English course at the Canterbury School, a college preparatory boarding school.

Beard applied to be a full-time student at Canterbury, and would like to spend some of the money donated for his legal defense to pay for the school's tuition.

"They say that every dark cloud has a silver lining. In this case, Jesse Ray Beard is laying the groundwork to give himself a second chance through a quality education at a reputable school. This is unfortunately not a choice available to his classmates in Jena," added Project 21's Borelli. "While Beard may still be punished for what he allegedly did back in Louisiana, he is now taking advantage of something that could open up collegiate and career opportunities that were little more than a dream at Jena High. It's a crime that parents and students everywhere don't have a similar ability to go to a school that provides ample opportunity."

According to the America's Promise Alliance, 17 of the 50 largest cities in America have high school graduation rates of less than 50 percent. The Alliance for Excellent Education has estimated that dropouts from the 2007 school year alone will cost the nation over $300 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity. A new study of the Milwaukee Parental School Choice Program found that 85 percent of students involved in the school choice program graduated high school in 2007 as opposed to 58 percent in the Milwaukee Public Schools.

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact Ryan Balis at (202) 543-4110 or, or visit Project 21's website at

Beard using 'Jena Six' defense funds for schooling
By Mandy M. Goodnight • • August 15, 2008

Jesse Ray Beard is using his portion of the Jena Six Defense Fund to attend a private boarding school in Connecticut, which has piqued the interest of the attorney representing Justin Barker.

Cost to attend Canterbury School is $39,900 a year, according to the school's Web site.

Beard is the youngest of the six Jena High School students who are accused of attacking Barker in December 2006 at the school. The six students -- known as the "Jena Six" -- are black, and Barker is white.

Five of the six students are awaiting trial, while Mychal Bell pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge in connection with the incident.

The incident sparked international attention and led to a march of more than 20,000 in the rural LaSalle Parish town of Jena.

The Barkers have sued four of the Jena Six defendants and all six families. Bell and Beard are not listed in the lawsuit because they were minors at the time of the 2006 attack.

Henry Lemoine Jr., attorney for the Barkers, has said money from the defense fund could go to make restitution for Justin Barker. The fund was generated from donations given, including $10,000 from rocker David Bowie.

"I am following up on this," Lemoine said Thursday after hearing how Beard planned to pay for his out-of-state education.

This month, 9th Judicial District Judge Thomas Yeager removed the now-17-year-old Beard from house arrest on charges not related to the Jena Six case.

The move allowed Beard to remain out of state and attend Canterbury School, a private boarding school where he had been accepted this summer.

For the latter part of the summer, Yeager allowed Beard to move to New York to live with attorney Alan Howard. The teen had to take an English course, work as an intern in a law firm and be involved in a physical fitness routine.

In a letter to Yeager, Howard said Beard "is an engaging young man, with none of the negative qualities attributed to him by certain media reports."

While living with Howard, Beard applied and interviewed to be accepted at Canterbury School. He also participated in a football camp led by the school's football coach.

"Jesse Ray impressed me as a respectful and clear-thinking young man," coach Tom Taylor said in a letter to the court. "He also indicated a deep desire to have the opportunity to attend Canterbury School, grow as a person and student and realize his dream of going to college."

The school's football program has a 100 percent college attendance rate for players.

David Utter, attorney for Beard, said Beard is paying for the school partly with a scholarship, Jena Six Defense Fund money, and additional money is being raised for the remainder of the cost.

Beard's defense has been done pro bono, so Beard's $20,000 portion of the defense fund went to his education, Utter said.

"It (the money) was held by JJPL (Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana) and used 100 percent for his education," Utter said.

Lemoine said he is going to pursue where the defense fund money is at and the legal uses of that money.

He said he planned to track that money.

A young man who was one of Louisiana's infamous "Jena Six," a group of youths charged with the beating of two fellow students following alleged hate crimes involving nooses displayed at their high school in 2006, is expected to be joining other students at Canterbury School in September.

Louisiana youth getting a break
By: Emily M. Olson ©New Milford Times 2008

Jesse Ray Beard, 17, was accepted for admission to Canterbury Aug. 1 after meeting with Headmaster Tom Sheehy and the school's director of admissions, Keith Holton, according to a motion to terminate his probation order filed earlier this year in the 28th Judicial District Court, Juvenile Division, in the Parish of Lasalle in Louisiana.
The documents state that Mr. Beard filled out his own application and met in person with Mr. Sheehy and Canterbury's athletic coach, Tom Taylor. This summer, he also participated in a football camp run by Mr. Taylor.
"Coach Taylor, as indicated in his letter to the court, is committed to help Jesse Ray Bear succeed academically and athletically at the Canterbury School, and realize his dream of going to college," the motion states.
Mr. Beard's admission to Canterbury "would provide Jesse Ray Beard with top notch academic support, athletic programs, and spiritual and moral guidance," the motion states. "Significantly, it would also address the two concerns raised at the time Jesse Ray was originally placed on house arrest, namely negative peer influences and a lack of supervision ... [he] would be surrounded by positive peer influences, and there would be a dramatic step-up in supervision and structured activity."
The youth is being represented by David Utter, an attorney and founder of the Juvenile Justice Program of Louisiana (JJPL), who confirmed that Jesse Ray was sent to live in the home of an attorney in Westchester County, N.Y., following his probation. "He has done so well in his current placement," Mr. Utter said during a telephone interview this week. He sent the court documents to confirm his client's attendance at Canterbury in the fall.
Mr. Utter, who left the JJPL in December 2007 to pursue a new venture in Florida, is still representing Jesse Ray and will continue to do so until he receives a fair trial.
Mr. Utter is now the director of the Florida Initiatives for the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization focused on civil rights and hate crime investigation and prosecution.
"It's about the same thing we [continue to do] in Louisiana-we're looking to reform Florida's juvenile justice system," Mr. Utter said. "Like Louisiana, Florida overuses incarceration to deal with juvenile cases. The juvenile justice system is in a shambles, and we're devising a system to repair this broken justice system, as we have done in Mississippi and Alabama.
"It's a constant battle," Mr. Utter continued. "The fact that in Louisiana, in 2006, 2007 or 2008, you can still have a case like this, where if you're [African American] and you don't have a lot of money for a good lawyer, that the presumption is guilt and incarceration, is a pretty sad thing."
Teens, no matter what color they are or where they are from, face many challenges, the lawyer said. "I think that it's always 'cross your fingers and pray' with all teenagers, but I have a lot of faith that with the right support, all these young men are going to be successful," he said, referring to the Jena Six youths.
"Jesse Ray, thus far, has done a great job and it's a great opportunity for him," he said. "It's fantastic. He's getting exposed to all sorts of things. That's what teens need, lots of exposure, lots of support, and the research shows that it works."
Regarding his work with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mr. Utter said the approach is simple. "We just want a fair trial for juveniles, and juvenile justice reform is so important," he said. "I brought [Jesse Ray Beard's] case with me and I'm doing it in this office."
A published report indicated that money donated for the defense of the Jena Six will partly pay for the youth's tuition at Canterbury.
As part of the court proceedings in the case, recusals were sought for several court officials, including a judge and District Attorney J. Reed Walters. In a motion from Mr. Utter filed in the state's superior court requesting the recusal of the district attorney, the Jena incidents were outlined in detail.
"On August 31, 2006, African American students arrived at school to find two hangman's nooses hanging from a tree that sits in the center of the Jena High School square ... where most students assemble during recess and lunch breaks,'" Mr. Utter's motion reads. "Disregarding the 4,863 recorded lynchings over the past 125 years, almost all in the Deep South and almost all hangings of African-Americans, officials reported to the local media that "most of the 'racial tensions' were more media hype than reality."
Despite a recommendation by the school principal that the three "noose hangers" be expelled, the expulsion hearing committee of the LaSalle Parish School Board voted to suspend the students instead.
"The attorney representing the school board (both in the noose-hangers' cases and also with regard to the expulsions of six African-American students including Jesse Ray) was, and remains, District Attorney J. Reed Walters (Walters): the very person who refused to prosecute these white students but charged Jesse Ray with attempted murder for allegedly hitting a fellow student ... ," Mr. Utter's motion continues.
"On December 4, 2006, after 3 months of racial tension at the school, including but not limited to: 1) protests and a sit-in by African-American students; 2) a meeting of African-American parents and students in response to the nooses; 3) African-American parents' efforts to discuss their opposition to the light punishment of the noose-hangers with the School Board; 4) numerous fights between African-American and white youth that spilled off school grounds; 5) at least one day of the entire school being placed on "lockdown;" and 6) an arsonist's fire that destroyed the main school building, Justin Barker (Justin), a white student, was injured in a battery, allegedly by six African-American students," the motion reads.
Shortly after the incident, sheriff's deputies arrested the young men, now known as the Jena 6, and charged them with aggravated second degree battery. Even though Justin was well enough to attend a school function hours later, Mr. Walters increased the charges against the Jena 6 to attempted second degree murder, and conspiracy to commit attempted second degree murder, and transferred one of the young men-Mychal Bell-to adult court.
Then, in February 2007, Jesse Ray Beard was charged with three misdemeanor offenses: simple battery, simple criminal damage to property less than $500, and simple assault. In a pre-disposition report from that motion, "factors contributing to delinquency were noted to be that 'Jesse is associating with a negative peer group involved in a continuous suspected delinquent behavior' and that 'there is not much supervision in the youth's home.' Jess Ray was given a suspended sentence of custody and placed on probation for a year, and ordered to house arrest with electronic monitoring.
For the following year, he received counseling and attended school. When his probation expired in March 2008, he was allowed to spend a month at the home of Alan Howard in Westchester, N.Y., to engage in an "interim educational plan" including a physical fitness program, an English course, no cell phone and a job. He worked as an intern at the firm of Dewy & LeBoeuf LLP, and followed the other terms of the agreement, according to the motion. In August, he was accepted to Canterbury School.
Ms. Kaplan's biggest concern for Jesse Ray Beard was his privacy, "so he can just be a kid," she said. "We're just hoping he's afforded that opportunity. There's a great level of scrutiny on this."