James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, September 21, 2007

Charge People for the Crimes They Actually Committed

Rev. Eddie Thompson of Jena, LA has an excellent article on the Jena Six. The article covers a lot of ground, but I want to focus on this: It looks like the second-degree murder charge was another example of what Vache Folle calls overcharging, charging people with more serious crimes in order to extract plea bargains from them and avoid jury trials. Thompson asks the D.A., "Why charge those black students with attempted second-degree murder if you intended to adjudicate lesser charges against them all along?"

The problem isn't just about race; whites get over-charged too, though probably not as often or as severely as blacks are. Which do you think is the best way to make the criminal justice system more equitable:

1. Overcharge whites to the extent blacks are now overcharged?
2. Overcharge blacks only to the extent whites are now overcharged?
3. Stop the practice of overcharging?

"Colorblind" conservatives may favor #1, whereas progressives may favor #2. Perhaps #3, the just solution, is not "practical," as the justice system has too many cases to process. The problem is, innocent people and others who refuse to plea would get the Genarlow Wilson treatment.

The problem of the overloaded justice system is that there are too many laws and too many crimes. If actual crimes against person and property were prosecuted, and laws against mere vices were repealed, the cops and the courts would do a much better job.

And race relations would be better.

No comments:

Post a Comment