Sunday, September 23, 2007

What's going on in Jena?

Somebody finally published a pretty good step by step review of what's known and not known about what's going on in Jena criminal justice wise.

Although I'm not sure I buy it, it also seems like it's possible that there was no racial message in the nooses at all, except in the minds of some older observers.

Louisiana is 33% black. Jena is 12% black.

I've lived in Louisiana, in Mississippi, in East Texas, and in South Texas. It's been my observation that the higher the percentage of blacks (or in the case of South Texas hispanics) the more historic race conflict there has been. When the group in power is not a clear majority then it tends to use more heavy handed methods to stay in power.

That makes me doubt that the motives of the prosecutor are racial. I'm convinced that there is prosecutorial misconduct, I think intentional overcharging is serious misconduct, although most lawyers probably don't agree with me since overcharging seems to be the norm. But I'm becoming less and less convinced that race is the motive.

One observation about Jena that I think is odd, is that it seems to have an excess of teenage boys. There appears to be about 4 times as many boys in their late teens than girls in that age groups. Is there a military base in town or something? It's the county seat, are jail inmates counted as part of the population? That's probably the case, over 12% of the population is institutionalized.

Bottom line, I guess, I don't know what's going on.

Another view on Jena.

A white, female, law professor doesn't understand it.

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