This week has seen a lot of discussion of the American criminal justice system and its failings, and a lot of concern about what can be done to fix it.
In 1947, a working class black man looked like he was about to have the full weight of the system brought down on him for taking justice into his own hands. But after Chicago leftists - including labor unions, religious leaders, artists, civil rights activists & others - launched a movement, James Hickman was set free
after an all-white jury, in a trial presided over by a white judge, failed to convict, and the DA chose not to re-try because of the magnitude of public support for Hickman.
According to a review
in The Nation, a new book
tells the story in a way that turns the typical right-wing biases of the true crime genre on their head. [more inside]
posted by univac
on Sep 22, 2011 -
"I couldn't let these Klansmen get away with murder..." Investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell has started a blog
focusing on cold case murders
of civil rights workers. In this Moth Podcast
, Mitchell discusses some of his investigations, the death threats he received, and the stunning redemption and forgiveness he witnessed. For his work Mitchell
was recently awarded
a MacArthur "Genius
" grant. [more inside]
posted by bguest
on Feb 15, 2010 -
In a case
reminiscent of Bernard Goetz
, pharmacist Jerome Ersland was held up by two gun-wielding men, shot one of them in the head, and then, when the other had left, shot the prone man several more times, killing him (store security video
). Now he's being charged with first-degree murder, and is the center of intense controversy about whether he engaged in legitimate self-defense by making absolutely sure his attacker was incapacitated or in an unjustifiable vigilante-style execution. Complicating matters is the fact that Jerome is white and the robbers black.
posted by shivohum
on May 30, 2009 -
"Four years after father's dragging death, Ross Byrd speaks about his change of heart over executions."
James Byrd Jr., was tied to the back of a pickup with logging chain, then dragged along a Texas country road until his body fell apart. White supremacist John W. King was one of two men sentenced to death for Byrd's murder. "On Wednesday, Ross Byrd traveled to the state prison in Huntsville to lead a 24-hour fast and prayer vigil on King's behalf. 'When I heard King had exhausted his appeals, I began thinking, `How can this help me or solve my pain?' and I realized it couldn't,' Byrd said."
So much for retribution. Instead of yet another senseless execution (this next to be performed with 18-gauge intravenous needle in lieu of logging chain), ponder a possible healing...a rebirth...crystallizing from the son of a murdered black man saving the life of his father's racist killer.
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on Jul 5, 2002 -