Tag Archives: court

Bail Revoked!!!

So it is, justice I mean, a Florida judge did the responsible thing by revoking bond for the assassin George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. ordered Zimmerman to surrender to the county sheriff within 48 hours.

Most observer in the case or I should speak for myself believed Zimmerman misrepresented himself from the very beginning, particularly how much money he had when his bond was originally set in April when he claimed to be indigent. I will go further and say about everything!

The murderer according to the prosecution cited as evidence recorded telephone conversations that Zimmerman had with his wife prior to the hearing. The conversations were recorded while Zimmerman was being held in the Seminole County Jail after being charged with second-degree murder on April 11. Now, everyone knows when you call someone from jail or receive mail the jailers are listening or will read the correspondence.

This, in my mind, gives reason to question anything that Zimmerman has said throughout this ordeal. Is charged with fatally shooting Martin, 17, on February 26 while he walked in a Sanford, Florida, neighborhood where he was staying during a visit with his father. Zimmerman, 28, a neighborhood watch volunteer claimed he shot the teenager in self-defense.

The trial prosecutor stated accurately that “The defense, through Mrs. Zimmerman, lied to this court about the amount of money that they had… I don’t know what words to use other than it was a blatant lie.” Outside the courthouse, the lawyer for the family of Martin said Friday’s decision is significant. “Judge Lester’s finding that George Zimmerman was dishonest is very important because his credibility is the most important thing in this entire case,” said Benjamin Crump.

“Remember, this is only George Zimmerman’s testimony that says Trayvon Martin attacked him. All of the evidence suggests that George Zimmerman pursued and confronted Trayvon Martin. Therefore, that’s why this is such an important ruling today.” In court documents, State Attorney Angela B. Corey acknowledged she was making the strongly worded assertions in describing how Zimmerman’s wife represented his finances.

Zimmerman’s defense team stated during an April court hearing that Zimmerman’s “family members misinformed the court (the state would use a much stronger and accurate word to describe what occurred — defendant’s wife lied to the court) about defendant and his family’s finances,” Corey wrote in court papers.

She went on to say that Zimmerman had two passports, and the passport that he surrendered to the court at the April hearing was one that Zimmerman had reported stolen on March 8, 2004, court papers said. That passport was valid until May 2012, Corey said. Zimmerman was issued a second passport on March 26, 2004, and that one is valid until 2014, she said. The prosecutor asked the court that Zimmerman be ordered to surrender the second passport to authorities.

Prosecutors have informed federal authorities about Zimmerman’s second passport in case he attempts to use it “to flee the country,” Corey said. Regarding Zimmerman’s finances, Corey alleged that recorded phone calls in April between Zimmerman, while he was in Seminole County Jail, and his wife showed that the couple “spoke in code to hide what they were doing” regarding more than $135,000 in a credit union account belonging to the couple.

The money was apparently donated by members of the public to Zimmerman’s website that Zimmerman “fully controlled and participated in the transfer of money from the PayPal account to defendant and his wife’s credit union accounts,” Corey said in court records. “This occurred prior to the time defendant was arguing to the court that he was indigent and his wife had no money.” But Corey stated in court documents Friday: “The money still belongs to defendant and he can demand it at any time.”

The prosecutor said the judge “relied on false representations and statements” by Zimmerman and his wife when the court set his bond at $150,000. He was required to post only 10% of that. Corey argued that the court should revoke the bond or increase it “substantially.”

Lester appeared angry that the court had not been told about the money. “Does your client get to sit there like a potted palm and let you lead me down the primrose path?” he asked Zimmerman’s lawyer. “That’s the issue.”

The facts for this writing are attributed to news reported by CNN. I wanted to make sure my readers around the world were informed and know that we stand for justice, we will not relent until justice is served. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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This Court!!!

 The Supreme Court is shaping up to be very significant in terms of issues involving race, at least the way I see this session. The justices are poised to decide some high-profile cases that could have long-term effects and certainly a huge impact on African and Hispanic Americans.

This is very serious because Ray Charles can see that the Roberts court is more conservative than any of its recent predecessor which surely does not bode well for minorities. Can I remind you that they do wear robes, which are more dangerous than the folks who wear the white ones.

Their decisions will have a huge impact on the president who suddenly finds himself running for reelection not only against Mitt Romney and the House Republicans, but now against the Court as well. The influence of the four conservative justices has already been witnessed in the January decision on Texas’ redistricting maps.

The big thing before them is the future of Healthcare, which is critical but there is another hot-button issue – anti-immigration laws. The top court will hear oral arguments April 25 on the Obama administration’s challenge to Arizona’s controversial law. The administration says such laws are irreconcilable with federal laws. Should the court uphold Arizona’s law, Latinos would feel the effects nationwide as other state will surely follow with more to do the same.

More serious, in my opinion, is the court’s ideological shift on affirmative action in an upcoming case that could undo the compromise reached in Grutter v. Bollinger. That 2003 ruling barred public colleges from using a point system to boost minority enrollment, but allowed race to be taken into account to achieve academic diversity. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a key swing vote, wrote the majority opinion is not there this time and her replacement, Justice Samuel Alito, reflects the court’s extreme rightward turn.

Another indication is that Robert’s made this statement that should provide some insight to his thinking: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”. He wrote this regarding a 2007 decision striking down school desegregation programs in Seattle and Kentucky. If the issues of race and education or poverty were that simple!

The way this court has rendered decisions harkened back to a time I thought was long past. Maybe you can remember the Dread Scott Decision during slavery or Plessey v Ferguson which ushered in what history has recorded as “Separate but Equal”. If that does not ring a bell how about calling it as it was –Apartheid American style. I am going to go out on a limb and say the fate of Obamacare is not as dire as it appears at this moment.

I think it is possible, even likely, that the Court will uphold part if not all of the legislation because the Court is keenly aware of public opinion and hopeful still has a bit of sanity. With the public’s trust of the judicial branch tying a historic low of 63 percent, down thirteen points from just two years ago, it’s doubtful that Roberts—who has wanted to be seen as an impartial “umpire”—would choose to imperil that trust even further with a ruling that would place the Court squarely in the election-season crossfire.

Overturning Obamacare would be a political decision but this is the court that thinks – corporations are people. With that said, the other two issues – all bets are off! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Living Yesterday – Today!

Let me first say to all who follow THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVES that I am indeed honored that you read my words. I try to provided and add a prospective to reality whereby you may be empowered and maybe, just maybe, see the world through new eyes. If you knew me personally, you would know that I rarely ask for anything, maybe that is a fault, but I am a benevolent spirit and this is my way of giving.

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I WILL HOWEVER, TODAY, ASK EACH OF YOU FOR SOMETHING. PLEASE SHARE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS MURDER, ASK FOR JUSTICE, AND RAISE YOUR VOICES IN PROTEST OF THIS INJUSTICE!!!

I have lived long enough to have witnessed many vial and unspeakable things done under the auspices of RACISM. I remember the first time I saw the brutally beaten corpse of little Emmitt Till, which was done because of a way of life. I can recall crying that day and I cry today for the murder of Trayvon Martin. As I see it, these two horrible events are strangely similar and equally frightening.

It shows that we, as African Americans, are still a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality. Translated – no justice!

Of course, we don’t yet know every detail of the encounter between Martin and the monster who murdered this unarmed 17-year-old high school student. But, we know enough to conclude that this is an old familiar story with the same tenets rooted in RACISM. Emmitt’s murderer got away with it and so far so has this guy.

Now let me ask, how many guys named George are out there cruising the streets? How many guys with chips on their shoulders and itchy triggers fingers with loaded handguns? How many self-imagined guardians or more aptly put vigilantes who say the words “black male” with a sneer? You do know that was the Klan’s mantra!

Whether Zimmerman can or should be prosecuted, given Florida’s “stand your ground” law providing broad latitude to claim self-defense, is an important question. But, the more important question is: “we should stand up to repeal these deadly laws designed to give license to “Kill Black People”. This often happens because this bull’s-eye that black men wear throughout their lives, and in many cases, just caught on the wrong street at the wrong time.

Protect, teach your children, and may this child’s soul rest in peace. I have lost a child through tragedy and I know this pain. My heart and prays go out to the Martin family.

If you never took a stand for anything – now is the time. And that is my Thought Provoking Prospective…

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The Ghost of Jim Crow

 If you follow my blog, Thought Provoking Perspectives, and I hope you do, you know that I often write about issues concerning and pertaining to the African American Diaspora. I do so, hopefully, to empower those who either don’t know our history or have forgotten it. Therefore, in honor of Black History Month I will write a post each day on this topic that I hold dear. Let me say that I believe our history is American History and as I have said many times; “It is the Greatest Story Ever Told”.

In an earlier article someone made a comment and ask a question that, frankly, surprised me. The question was; “What do you mean when you say Jim Crow”? My first thought was, how can history so recent and one that I’ve witnessed, and know to be true, be removed from the consciousness of anyone living in America. I suppose it speaks to the indifference of what is learned today, or not, through the education system or that the system is designed to protect the system.

So in today’s post I will explain the term Jim Crow for those who don’t know! The term originated in a song performed by Daddy Rice, a white minstrel show entertainer in the 1830’s. Rice covered his face with charcoal paste or burnt cork to resemble a black man as he sang and danced a routine in the caricature of a silly black person. By the 1850’s, this cruelly belittling blackface character, one of several stereotypical images of black inferiority in America’s popular culture, was a standard act in minstrel shows of the day.

The term became synonymous with the wicked concept of segregation directed specifically toward African Americans in the late nineteenth-century. It is not clear why this term was selected. However, what is clear is that by 1900, the term was generally identified with those racist laws and actions that deprived African Americans of their civil rights by defining blacks as inferior to whites while identifying them as subordinate people.
It was around this time that its inception entered the lexicon of racial bigotry after the landmark U.S Supreme Court decision Plessy verses Ferguson in 1896 resulting from a suit brought by the New Orleans Committee of Citizens. The notion was devised as many southern states tried to thwart the efforts and gains made during Reconstruction following the Civil War.

They, the Committee of Citizens, arranged for Homer Plessy’s arrest in order to challenge Louisiana’s segregation laws. Their argument was, “We, as freemen, still believe that we were right and our cause is sacred” referring to the confederacy. The Supreme Court agreed and a policy of segregation became the law of the land lasting more than sixty years as a result of that crucial decision.

As a result of reconstruction African Americans were able to make great progress in building their own institutions, passing civil rights laws, and electing officials to public office. In response to these achievements, southern whites launched a vicious, illegal war against southern blacks and their white allies. In most places, whites carried out this war under the cover of secret organizations such as the KKK. Thousands of African Americans were killed, brutalized, and terrorized in these bloody years. I might add that anywhere south of Canada was “South” as this was the law of the land.

The federal government attempted to stop the bloodshed by sending in troops and holding investigations, but its efforts were far too limited and frankly were not intended to solve the problem. Therefore, black resistance to segregation was difficult because the system of land tenancy, known as sharecropping, left most blacks economically dependent upon planter/landlords and merchant suppliers. In addition, white terror at the hands of lynch mobs threatened all members of the black family – adults and children alike. This reality made it nearly impossible for blacks to stand up to Jim Crow laws because such actions might bring the wrath of the white mob on one’s parents, brothers, spouse, and children.

Few black families were economically well off enough to buck the local white power structure of banks, merchants, and landlords. To put it succinctly: impoverished and often illiterate southern blacks were in a weak position to confront the racist culture of Jim Crow. To enforce the new legal order of segregation, southern whites often resorted to even more brutalizing acts of mob terror, including race riots and ritualized lynchings were regularly practiced to enforce this agenda.
Some historians saw this extremely brutal and near epidemic commitment to white supremacy as breaking with the South’s more laissez-faire and paternalistic past. Others view this “new order” as a more rigid continuation of the “cult of whiteness” at work in the South since the end of the Civil War. Both perspectives agree that the 1890’s ushered in a more formally racist South and one in which white supremacists used law and mob terror to define the life and popular culture of African American people as an inferior people.

I want you to remember that words have meaning and power. Therefore, as we witness the already in progress, presidential campaign that you think about what you have heard and hear from the States Rights folks from the right-wing so-called conservatives. Those vying to become president in 2014, as well as others seeking highly placed positions, understand this tried and true principle as they speak to the so-called real Americans and those who want to take back their country because history is known and has repeated itself!

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Drum Beats of Yesterday

The drum beat of the Republican Party’s dogma looms large in this political season as the GOP desperately try to find someone to unseat President Barack Obama. We have witnessed endless debates with the kind of political rhetoric unlike any that I’ve ever seen. Wait a minute; let me qualify that by saying not since the last Presidential election. At which time America, because of the republicans, was facing financial Armageddon and now in 2012 we are about to really see Armageddon; if one of these right wing-nuts were to become president.

I read an article recently written by the author Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad where he said:

“Four years ago, they were predicting terrorist attacks in the first month of his administration if Obama was elected. Of course, it didn’t happen—but the rhetoric sounds good. The Republican’s “Big Three,” which many call the last three, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul sound like the Supremes singing “Baby Love” asking the American People, “where did our love go” for President Obama. Stands to reason it went the same place our love for every incumbent President facing re-election went…in the gutter. Mud-throwing is a professional sport in politics. No matter what the incumbent does, it will never be good enough for the party out of power. Same goes here.

The real question is how far are the Republicans willing to go to get Obama? Will they say anything to get Obama? Will they be, God-forbid, unpatriotic in their attacks of the nation’s Commander-in-Chief, that ended the war they started, soft-landed an economy that was falling fastest than a safe pushed off a roof, and had to fight for every single concession—even perfunctory tasks like debt-ceiling raises and payroll tax extensions. The rhetoric of refusing to compliment Obama, on anything, is not healthy for the national morale. Stands to chance that none of them would have done any better they been in the President’s shoes and the rhetoric toward healing our wounded spirits would be much different.

Under Nixon, Reagan and Bush II, the nation did what it was asked to do for the national good during recovering economies and re-election bids. The opposite party was asked to tone down the rhetoric for the good of the nation’s morale. There has been no such call from the Democrats for this President. In fact, some Democrats have added to the rhetoric. While the President has no party opposition (at this time), some in his party have kind of been getting their “digs in” on the slide… And then there’s the Tea Party rhetoric, an obstructionism that makes no sense.”

I could not have said it better. However, the difference in this election season is that the last crop of pretenders projected their bigotry vaguely in subliminal coded language. This “pool of fools” has no shame in their game. The race card is being displayed so transparently that Ray Charles can see it. One of these pretenders owned a lodge named “N-Word Head” and another had a news letter that espoused racial hatred so vial that one would think he was the Grand Wizard of the Imperial Knights. Another Republican candidate has said that “black children where better off during slavery” than today.

Wait there’s more! One of them has publically talked about succession. Another said, get off welfare and get a check. It was this guy who went on to say if you’re twelve years old you should be cleaning schools. This is not the same candidate who said if you’re black and twelve or thirteen this “buck” should be treated as an adult if he were to be punished in the criminal justice system.

Who are they talking too or speaking for? I seriously doubt these people would say that about an enemy captured in a time of war. Oh sorry, when they were in power they did and brought them to a place Called Gitmo.

This language takes me back to a time I thought had long past. This kind of thinking conjures up images of Bull Connor and Strom Thurmond. Let’s face it because the man duly election to be the Commander in Chief is a man of color. It appears to me from the rhetoric that is being hurled with such distinction that these folks have come from under the hood and taken off the sheets.

Whichever candidate might emerge as the GOP contender to which each of them has used the coded language like “take back our country”. They WILL DO damage under a cloak of cover and not worry about the law coming for them because they will be the law.

So, we are back to the question: How far are the Republicans willing to go to get Obama? Moreover, what will they do to us, if elected! And that’s my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE…

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The New Miranda Rules


The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that criminal suspects should speak up if they want to preserve their right to remain silent. This is a stunning shift concerning the latest test of the court’s famous Miranda rule and shifts the burden to suspects to invoke their right to refuse questioning. If we can go back to 1966 and remember why the original decision was rendered, it is hard to understand the court’s reasoning today. When we consider law enforcement practices prior Miranda it was necessary for the court to require law enforcement to make what became known as the Miranda rights part of routine police procedures to ensure that suspects were informed of their rights. This decision is widely viewed as a huge setback to citizen’s rights.

This is a drastic shift from the spirit of the 1966 law that says; “statements made in response to interrogation by a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of the right to consult with an attorney before and during questioning and of the right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police, and that the defendant not only understood these rights, but voluntarily waived them”.

The newest member of the court, Justice Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion that “Today’s decision turns Miranda upside down,” while accusing the majority of casting aside judicial restraint. “Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent … which, counter intuitively, requires them to speak. At the same time, suspects will be legally presumed to have waived their rights even if they have given no clear expression of their intent to do so.”

Justice Sotomayor, a former prosecutor who some had speculated might be less protective of the rights of suspects than other liberals on the court, called the decision “a substantial retreat from the protection against compelled self-incrimination.” She was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who wrote for the majority said, “Where the prosecution shows that a Miranda warning was given and that it was understood by the accused, an accused’s uncoerced statement establishes an implied waiver of the right to remain silent.” Kennedy was joined, of course, by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

A little history about the landmark Miranda v. Arizona 384 U.S. 436 (1966) case with its 5–4 decision of the 1966 Court, which revolutionized the way the nation’s police departments were required to interrogate arrested persons by informing a suspect of their rights under the ruling, termed a Miranda warning. The Miranda decision was widely criticized when it came down, as many felt it was unfair to inform suspected criminals of their rights, as outlined in the decision.

President Nixon and many conservatives denounced Miranda for undermining the efficiency of the police arguing that the ruling would contribute to an increase in crime. Nixon, upon becoming President, promised to appoint judges who would be “strict constructionists” and who would exercise judicial restraint. Many supporters of law enforcement were angered by the decision’s negative view of police officers. The federal Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 purported to overrule Miranda for federal criminal cases and restore the “totality of the circumstances” test that had prevailed prior to Miranda.

The validity of this provision of the law, which is still codified at 18 U.S. Code 3501, was not ruled on for another 30 years because the Justice Department never attempted to rely on it to support the introduction of a confession into evidence at any criminal trial. Miranda was undermined by several subsequent decisions which seemed to grant several exceptions to the “Miranda warnings,” undermining its claim to be a necessary corollary of the Fifth Amendment.

In this case the court ruled 5 to 4 that a Michigan defendant who incriminated himself in a fatal shooting by saying one word after nearly three hours of questioning had given up his right to silence, and that the statement could be used against him at trial. In the case before the court, suspect Van Chester Thompkins was read his rights and, at police request, repeated some of them out loud. But he did not sign an offered waiver of the right, and he did not acknowledge that he was willing to talk. Nor did he say that he wanted the questioning to stop.

Detectives persisted in what one called mostly a “monologue” for about two hours and 45 minutes, until one asked Thompkins whether he believed in God. Then a follow up question – “Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?” Thompkins answered “Yes” and looked away. The statement was used against him, along with other testimony, and Thompkins was convicted of killing Samuel Morris outside a strip mall in Southfield, Mich.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit said that Thompkins’s prolonged silence “offered a clear and unequivocal message to the officers that Thompkins did not wish to waive his rights.” “The fact that Thompkins made a statement about three hours after receiving a Miranda warning does not overcome the fact that he engaged in a course of conduct indicating waiver.” Today the conservative arm of the Supreme Court disagreed making the case a president and now law. This decision, I believe will have a far reaching dangerous impact on a society that is becoming largely more diverse.

I am not a lawyer but I was around prior to the 1966 ruling and I will tell you that there was significant reason to establish that law because of what police departments were able to do to suspects in custody, and get away with it. So I would encourage you to advise you children and young people how to conduct themselves once they have been detained by police, and to be aware yourself that anything you say can and will be used against you.

The John T. Wills Chronicles


Brown v Board of Education – fifty five years later

This year we will celebrate the fifty fifth anniversary of the landmark Brown v Board of Education case successfully argued before Supreme Court of the United States. It is also very appropriate at this time to also take this opportunity to recognize the skill of the late great Thurgood Marshall who brilliantly won this case and more than fifty other cases before the Supreme Court – winning all of them.

This case changed the face of America in away unlike any other decision. The Brown case, as it is known, was not the first such case regarding civil rights argued before the court it is worth mentioning. It was just the most significant of what some would say was the final battle in the courts that had been fought by African American parents since 1849, which started with Roberts v. City of Boston, Massachusetts. It is also important to note that Kansas was the site of eleven such cases spanning from 1881 to 1949.

The case was named after Oliver Brown one of 200 plaintiffs. The Brown case was initiated and organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leadership who recruited African American parents in Topeka, Kansas for a class action suit against the local school board. The Supreme Court combined five cases under the heading of Brown v. Board of Education: Delaware, Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The ultimate goal sought by the NAACP was to end the practice of “separate but equal” throughout every segment of society, including public transportation, dining facilities, public schools and all forms of public accommodations.

The Brown Supreme Court ruling determined racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional in Brown I, the first opinion. The court’s implementation mandate of “with all deliberate speed” in 1955 is known as Brown II. In 1979, twenty five years later, there was a Brown III because Topeka was not living up to the earlier Supreme Court ruling, which resulted in Topeka Public Schools building three magnet schools to comply with the court’s findings. As had been the case since Homer Plessy, the subject in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a Louisiana law mandating separate but equal accommodations for blacks and whites on intrastate railroads was constitutional. This decision provided the legal foundation to justify many other actions by state and local governments to socially separate blacks and whites.

Now that I have provided some history related to the case let me add my commentary. It has been said that as sure as things change they remain the same. First, it took 60 year to overturn Plessy with Brown and it took “with all deliberate speed” 13 years for integration to begin fully. During this period of time from 1954 to 1967 Governors blocked school entrances and actually closed schools rather than comply with the law of the land. I am not going to touch on the violence that caused President’s to send the US Army and National Guard troops to schools in order to protect the safety of those the ruling was intended benefit as a result of the Brown decision.

Since then and over time many scams have been devised to disenfranchise minorities and African Americans in particular – need I only remind you of “No Child Left Behind”. This brings us to where we are today. Schools are equally as segregated, poorly funded, dilapidated facilities, and a police presence to save, often times, the kids from themselves. The dropout rate averages 2 to 1. These are just a few issues and by any measure of academic standards or common sense – is a failure.

Let’s make sure we understand that public education was not created to develop minds rather it was intended to simply teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. It was created to maintain a permanent underclass. Now maybe the word “class” is the operative word in all of this – the haves have and the have not’s will have not. So as sure as things change they remain the same. That is why it is imperative for us to celebrate this milestone and continue to the struggle as the ghosts of so many who died for the principle that “education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair”.

JUST A SEASON


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