News Blog

This Week in Court 9/6/16

I was happy to watch a good friend win a trial in a very serious matter. The State had a garbage case that rested solely on one cross-racial ID. The victim initially insisted that the person who assaulted her had a neck tattoo. However, she ID’ed someone without a neck tattoo. It seemed like a case of “any old hispanic man will do.” Thankfully, the Judge saw through it and found the man without a neck tattoo NOT GUILTY!


On the down side, I was once again reminded of the stark racial disparities in our Criminal Justice system in North Carolina. While walking through a Superior Courtroom the other day, I noticed that all of the faces in the gallery were black. These were persons accused and the loved ones of accused. It was a “property day,” meaning all of the cases in court were where someone was accused of taking some property from another, either from their home, car, or business. Now, it is statistically clear white people commit property crime at similar rates of other ethnic groups, yet, on this day, I saw only black people being prosecuted. Meanwhile, all of the DA’s were white. There was racial diversity only amongst the Defense Attorneys and the Deputies in the courtroom. It is not anything remotely close to “Justice” when the laws are enforced so disproportionately between different ethnic groups. I wonder if others in the courtroom noticed this stark contrast. Perhaps some did, perhaps others are so accustomed to it as their reality that it does not even register as unusual.