Friday, October 12, 2007

AfroSpear Furious Over Re-Arrest of Mychal Bell on Old Charges

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As Mychal D. Bell, one of the Jena Six, was re-imprisoned today even after a Louisiana Appeals Court had ordered that he only be tried as a juvenile and he be considered for bail, Blacks and some whites across America are re-evaluating whether the local judge in Jena is in open rebellion against the rest of the criminal justice system or whether the entire system is rotten to the core. Local judge Judge Maufrey, who presides over both adult criminal court and juvenile court in Jena, Louisiana, had released Bell two weeks ago, after orders from the Third Circuit Louisiana Appeals Court, but then suddenly decided to re-imprison Bell today on prior charges that existed at the time when he was released two weeks ago.

Although the legal aspects of the case remain murky, Blacks are generally furious and looking for new strategic options, beyond marching, to compel equal justice in cases concerning Blacks and what some call the criminal (in)justice system.

Howard Witt, a Chicago Tribune writer whose reporting has helped catalyzed public opinion by consistently making the facts known to a larger audience, wrote today,

It was unclear why [judge] Mauffray decided to send Bell to jail on the prior charges. The judge has ordered all the proceedings in Bell's case to be closed and directed all the lawyers in the case not speak about it publicly.

Other experts on Louisiana's juvenile laws said that Mauffray's decision to jail Bell on the earlier charges appeared to run counter to the state's juvenile statutes.

"I don't know the motivation for this judge and the district attorney, but what they did goes against the grain of our own juvenile code, which holds that home and the community is the best place to treat juveniles," said David Utter, an attorney and founder of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. Utter is representing one of the Jena 6 defendants. ChicagoTribune
Having marched sixty-thousand strong in Jena on September 20 in Jena, the AfroSpear bloggers who helped organize the march are determinedly seeking Bell's release, with one blogger even discussing a picketing stores during the Christmas shopping season to pressure all of America to see that Mychal D. Bell does not spend Christmas in jail.