Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is Summary Justice OK with White People?

I don't think most people with white skin on juries are making police brutality/atrocity decisions based on the evidence presented at trial. White people believe that the police are there to protect them (white people), so white people ignore the facts and make public poliicy decisions to support police regardless of the evidence presented at trial.

This is why it is so important for prosecutors to select an all-white jury, such as the one that tried Esteban Carpio (even though Providence, Rhode Island is over 50% Black and Latino). By getting an all-white jury AND favorable evidentiary decisions from the judge, prosecutors are more like (practically guaranteed) to get a conviction, regardless of the atrocities that police are shown to have committed during the arrest and questioning.

Of course many or most white people will disagree with what I've said here, but they'll also agree that if police beat or electrically shocked an arrestee, then the arrestee "probably got what he deserved". And white juries are unwilling to convict or punish police for their behavior when they believe that the defendant/victim "probably got what he deserved."

What this means is that many or most white people are willing to accept and support summary justice and pre-trial extrajudicial punishment of prisoners as well as a type of informal double jeopardy, in which arrestees for punished once by police at the time of arrest then a second time by the judge after a conviction.

When "justice" works this way, I'm not sure what distinguishes the United States from many other countries. I personally believe that the right to be tried by a jury or judge before punishment is meted out is a more fundamental and important right than the right to bear firearms. Most white people would strongly disagree with me, at least when it is most important -- when making a decision as a member of a jury, but also when delineating the role of police officers in society.

Most white people would insist that there is a significant difference between the police and the Klu Klux Klan, because police are part of the formal, legal criminal justice system. But when police regularly act summarily, as an angry lawless white-hooded mob would, and with impunity, then the difference between the police and klansmen is one of degree, but not one of substance.


Anonymous said...

you are such an ignorant racist asshat.

Anonymous said...

racism will NEVER die in this country because of people like YOU!

JaWill said...

Yeah, the denials don't make the obvious true, white people benefit from having white skin in this racist society, yeah you didn't have slaves, but you start the race with 400 + years head start in his "society" and continue the racism that your forefathers instilled in you, hell the constitution still regards blacks as 3/5 man, and black have civil rights that are voted on every 50 years, your laws!

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Of course I agree with you, JaWill. Many whites don't want to acknowledge the head start they got because of slavery, even though some of them still have land and houses in their family that were bought and/or built with money from slave labor.

Meanwhile, Anonymous and JaWill:

You use the term "racism", but I think the term is a misnomer. "Racism" is discrimination against a person or group of persons based on the "race" of the victims and/or the "race" of the perpetrator.

However, it is not possible to discriminate on the basis of race because race itself has been proved not to exist. If race doesn't exist, you cannot discriminate on the basis of race, but only on the belief in "race". This is actually quite an important distinction, since most people who discriminate on the basis of skin color do at least partly because they believe in "race". And race doesn't exist.

So, it is quite absurd to say that "racism" will never die because of me. "Racism" will never die as a fallacy pseudo-scientific divider of persons for so long as people on BOTH sides of the color divide insist that the color divide is more than color: it's "race".

The Human Genome Project, to which you will find a link at the Francis L. Holland Blog and the American Journal of Color Arousal, explains based on DNA mapping that "race" does not exist. Meanwhile we all know based on what we can see with our own eyes that skin color DOES exist.

I wish people like both of you, on two different sides of the divide, would stop exaggerating the differences between human beings by using words like "race", "racial", "racist" and "racism".

It's really nothing more than color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior and doesn't deserve to be honored with a pseudo- scientific term that has no basis in science.

Anonymous said...

The previous, ridiculously stupid anonymous comments were unfortunately predictable. Anybody who addresses the behavior of white people as a group is an "ignorant racist"? Sure, just 'cause you say so. And racism wouldn't exist if blacks and Latinos didn't keep complaining about it. It's like a dirty restaurant saying there wouldn't be rats running around the kitchen if customers would just stop calling the Health Department. Can't they see that health inspections CAUSE infestations of vermin?

Nevertheless, the Original Post is just asking for this kind of degenerate racist response. It's obviously true that all-white juries give abusive cops the benefit of all possible doubt, but is there really any evidence that mixed juries are any better? Certainly no such evidence is cited in the article.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Anonymous #2, I would have to do some research to prove statistically that mixed juries return different results than all-white juries. But there is quite a bit of well-known anecdotal evidence.

When O.J Simpson was tried before a mixed jury in Los Angeles, he was found not guilty; the jury didn't find there was enough evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, when O.J. Simpson went to civil trial in a different location where all or virtually all of the jurors were white, they found O.J. Simpson to be guilt, "more likely than not". Certainly the burden of proof was less in the civil case than in the criminal case, but I submit to you that even with the criminal burden of proof a white jury would have found O.J. Simpson guilty, even with evidence that the prime prosecution witnesses had committed perjury in court. (Ferman said he had never used the "N" word when in fact he had used it over a hundred times in conversation with ONE of the many people with whom he discussed Blacks."

Look now at the Rodney King case. When he was tried in front of an all-white jury, the jury found that the police had not committed a crime. When the case was tried again before an integrated jury, simply by moving the case to a different and more integrated city, police were found to have acted illegally.

This is why jury selection specialists and prosecutors use their exemplory (sp. ?) challenges to take all of the Blacks and Latinos off of juries, even though the US Supreme Court has found this unconstitutional. But the burden of proof that the challenges were used on the basis of skin color and national origin falls on the shoulders of the defense, and it is hard to prove precisely why the prosecutor has fought hard for what turns out to be an all-white jury.

What is certain is that, in the case of Esteban Carpio, it was unfair to Carpio and to his community to try him before an all-white jury in a city that is half Black and Latino.

Parenthetically, I notice that you spell "Black" with a lower case "b" and you spell Latino with a capital "L". What is the logic behind your choice?

If you think that "black" is merely a color and therefore need not be capitalized, you are obviously wrong. People whose skin-color ranges from vanilla to jet black are all lumped together into a group called "Black people" or the "Black race". Obviously, if color is not the reason why people of so many different colors are called "Black", then we must be called "Black" because we are perceived to have a largely common historical and political experience, as well as voting patterns, social status and economic status vis a vis whites, etc. That makes us far more like an ethnic group, whose name must be capitalized, than a group whose members share the same skin color, which obviously isn't true if you compare Justice Thurgood Marshall to Justice Clarence Thomas.

"Black" is an ethnic and political group as much as the "Democratic Party" is a political party, and therefore "Black" must be spelled with a capital "B".

We Blacks are not "all the same" in terms of our skin color, but then neither are Latinos, whose skin colors range from dark brown to white on the islands of Cuba and the Dominican Republic, in Nicaragua, as well as in the United States.

Latinos speak English and Spanish and have different skin colors, and hail from a dozen different contries yet all are considered Latino with a capital "L". So the determined refusal to spell "Black" with a capital "B" can only be yet another example of color-aroused antagonism on the part of the whites who engage in this behavior.

At my blog, I insist that you spell Black with a capital "B" or offer a logical reason why you refuse to do so, other than being consumed with color-aroused antagonism.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Now, I remember the correct expression is "peremptory challenges".

lk080188 said...

This question pertains to no of race discrimination, but your title is police brutality and atrocity, now it is to my understanding that your writing almost entirely pertains to race, however, Upon my observations I see that the article is almost entirely on the jury selection of "white" people over other people. I was deliberating whether or not to opening this link, but why is it just police brutality with segregated juries, why not use cases beside rodney king, that pertain to this, yes the king case is a very questionable case, but use cases around the neighborhoods to present your views. it was well written, with good supporting evidence, but it seems to be highly opinonated, but why pertain it entirely to prosecute one race, while their is others that have defaulted as well?

Anonymous said...

The rationale for capitalizing the word "Latino" in English is probably that it's derived from a proper noun. Latium, also known as Lazio, is an actual place in Italy and that's where the word comes from.

Whites probably fail to capitalize "Black" because we usually see it spelled with small letters in newspapers and magazines. Don't blame me man. Also, we don't capitalize "white." Well, white supremacists probably do.

Levitican said...

Wait a minute. "Most" white people do this, "Most" white people think that. Isn't characterizing people based on the color of their skin, um, what's that word again?

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Hey, Levitican, I hear what you're saying about not all whites supporting the police and societies that have no Black people have police brutality nonetheless.

However, polls in the US show that there is a vast difference between Blacks' experience and attitudes toward police and whites', statistically.

I also have never heard of a white person refusing to serve on a jury because the jury had not members who were NOT white.

Whites complain about the treatment of the Dahli Lama, and Afghans by the US Government (rightly so in the latter case), but are strangely relatively silent as prison populations of Blacks skyrocket and the prisoners are compelled to produce goods for mass consumption, just as Blacks did during slavery.

The title of this post is posed as a question. Thanks for commenting and saying that not all white are in favor of summary justice. I asked the question and you've helped to answer it.