Thursday, September 6, 2007

First person report from the Jena 6 Proceedings at the LaSalle Parish Courthouse

(Email from Clifford Boxley)
September 5, 2007

Peace and Blessings!

This is an unofficial update on the happenings relative to the Jena 6. On Tuesday September 4, 2007, there were two sessions of the La Salle Parish Court involving three of the Jena 6 and supporters continuing the struggle for justice.
At a 9:00, A. M. session defense lawyers for two of the Jena 6 appeared in court along with their clients for entering a plea. In both cases, the two Jena 6 young men, Theo Shaw and Carwin Jones, pleaded not guilty and their lawyers requested a jury trial for them, which the judge granted. There was no objection from the District Attorney’s office. The District Attorney, Reed Walters, was not present in this session of the court.
The courtroom was full of Jena 6 supporters along with a dozen or so local and national media, CNN and a reporter for a German news agency among them. By 10 A. M. this portion of the Jena 6 proceedings were concluded and supporters and media relaxed outside the courthouse waiting for a 1 P. M. court session involving Mychal Bell, the convicted Jena 6 youth who remains in jail awaiting sentencing on September 20, 2007.
Media persons with TV. cameras rolling, pursued parents of the Jena 6, members of the Jena 6 present, and their lawyers for any angle of a story they could get. The camera crews stood vigilantly along the walkway in front of the courthouse during the completely long day. In temperatures that climbed to 93 degrees by noon, CNN’s director even dispensed soft drinks and water to family members of some of the Jena 6.
While waiting for the one O’clock court appearance of Mychal Bell, there was a chance for my person to circulate among and converse with parents of the Jena 6 and others supporters.

Fund Raiser in New Orleans. Conseptla Bailey and Trina Wallace stated Parents of Jena 6 would travel to New Orleans at the week’s end for a fund raising event.

Jena 6 T-shirts banned at Jena High School. Trina Wallace stated some African American high school students had their own personal t-shirts designed showing support of the Jena 6. School officials banned the wearing of the t-shirts backing up the ban with a 3-day suspension from school for violators. In the courtroom, a student sat in front of me with “Jena 6” cut into his hair. Didn’t have the opportunity to ask what were the school officials’ reactions to his styled haircut?

A Twenty-Mile March on September 20, 2007 Day of Mychal Bell Sentencing. Jesse Muhammad from a Huston Texas based organization called Southern Christian Leadership inform me they are planning to have a 20-miles march on September 20th as part of the national call for two (2) thousands persons to come to Jena in a show of support for the Jena 6 and Mychal Bell in particular. One of the representatives said they are going teach the Jena “white power” structure a lesson regarding destruction of “our black youth.”
I hope to have updated information about the planned march, its beginning location and other details.

The Black Court Appointed Attorney for Mychal Bell. The original court appointed attorney for Mychal Bell, Blaine Williams attended the courtroom. One of the Jena 6 supporters informed my person she went up and talked to the Black court appointed attorney who did not call one single witness on Mychal Bell’s behalf or ask the District Attorney’s witness questions during the trail. She specifically asked him about his position and thinking that an “all white jury would be fair” to Mychal Bell as his reason. “Do you think I am cynical” was his response. I told her cynical was not the right description, he must have been out of his mind thinking the jury would have been fair in the highly charged white supremacy domination atmosphere permeating Jena’s white psyche.

A Bit of Exciting Information. Just before lunchtime, a research lawyer for the Jena 6 defense lawyers came over to show King Downing of the New York based ACLU a copy of a letter statement obtained from a white football coach at Jena High. The statement was obtained just hours before Mychal’s Bell’s case was schedule at 1 P. M. Listening in on the discussion it appeared that the coach had signed this statement saying that an unidentified juvenile member of the Jena 6 was the person who had allegedly punched Justin Barker, the white student beaten at Jena High allegedly by the Jena 6 last December.
Reaction from the persons gathered around was upbeat about the new information. However, it was stated that the unnamed juvenile who was now named, had been sent off to boot camp months ago. Supposedly, he had been given a choice of go to jail or go to boot camp. He was shipped out of town early and not around for any of the court proceeding involving the of aged teenage members of Jena 6.

High Drama just outside the courthouse door. While Jena 6 supporters and media folk continued lingering on the courthouse lawn, Jena 6 member Robert Bailey came outside and shouted to his mother Conseptla Bailey, “they got Theo!” The sheriff deputy got Theo!” Theo Shaw was one of the Jena 6 members whose arraignment for trail on January 28, 2008 took place at 9 A. M. Suddenly, there was a rush of Jena 6 supporters, lawyers and media folk all trying desperately to get inside as sheriff deputies had them pass through the single metal detector stall. Once inside us all learned that a sheriff deputy had grabbed Theo and dragged him into a back room of the courthouse. By then, Theo and the team of Jena 6 lawyer emerged from the backroom. Theo appeared mentally crushed and was crying his poor heart out.
Word had it that the deputy supposedly overheard Theo singing a “curse word.” Jena 6 Robert Bailey repeated the line of the song he said was a rap song Theo was singing to himself while waiting in the waiting area of courthouse. The so-called curse word in the four-word line was “shit.” Shit man you get man handled by a sheriff deputy for saying shit. Shit did happen to Theo Shaw at La Salle Parish Courthouse for the whole world to see right on CNN and other media.
Word is the particular deputy always has been an “aggressive” deputy. Well! Poetic justice came around in what goes around comes around. The whole world could see on CNN yet another example of the type of white supremacy domination oppression Blacks of Jena Louisiana and the Jena 6 are subjected.

Mychal Bell’s Defense Team Couldn’t Get No Justice Satisfaction All Afternoon. As the one P. M. court session convened, the only item on the docket was Mychal Bell. The dark and handsome young black man was brought in by La Salle Parish Sheriff Courthouse deputies and sat down among his legal defense team. Immediately behind sat his father Marcus Jones. The son really possessed the facial features of his also tall, dark and handsome father. Filling up the rest of the courthouse seats on the left side were Mychal’s mothers, other Jena 6 members, relatives, friends and supporters of the Jena 6 from afar and near. Filling in most of the seats on the right hand side of the courtroom were relatives and friends of Justin Barker, the white student beaten in the Jena High School fight.
Mychal’s team of lawyer waged four and half hours of motions at the judge in a seemly no win situation with the same judge who presided over Mychal’s trail when he was convicted by an all-white jury, pressured by an overly aggressive and excessive District Attorney, Reed Walters. Reed Walters sat opposite Mychal unmoved and hard-nosed challenging each motion from Mychal’s lawyers. It seemed at times in my mind the judge appeared to be practicing the law, instead of judging it as he time and time again fingered through the Louisiana legal reference book to find some text he used to refute the arguments of Mychal’s defense lawyers.
The lawyers tried to no satisfaction to get the judge to agree with them on several motions that included discrediting one of the trail jurors, District Attorney’s failure to produce an instrument for the charge of attempted murder, the District Attorney amendments of his bill from juvenile court to criminal court and motion for a new trail. One after the other the judge sat there displaying a jackal demeanor, while time and time again denying or overruling Mychal’s attorneys’ motions.
On one issue, they did get some satisfaction. The judge granted their request for a dismissal of conspiracy charge against Mychal as well agreed that he should have been tried in juvenile court instead of adult court.
King Downing of the ACLU thought this small victory might become a large victory if the judge’s dismissal of conspiracy charge applies to all the other Jena 6 members’ charges.
Overall, the judge teased the lawyers to make appeals to the Louisiana Appellate Courts who might just agree with their claims. Certainly, he could not be moved.
Therefore, let us heed the call for two thousand (2,000) protestors from all over America to flood into Jena on September 20, 2007 in support of justice, justice for the Jena 6 and justice of Mychal Bell. In my opinion, we must help the judge have a change of heart and do the right thing for Mychal Bell or Mychal is going to be sent off to prison.
Come to Jena on September 20, 2007 and help “Chant Down Babylon.”

Again, as we did back on July 31, 2007 we want to go to Jena in a car caravan departing from Natchez Mississippi. At 6:30, A. M. assembles at the Natchez Visitor Center’s parking lot at the juncture of U. S. Highway 84 West and Canal Street just before crossing the Mississippi River Bridge into Louisiana.

Please call me @ 601- 442-4719 or email: to let me know you are planning on joining us. This way I can look out for your arrival.

Ser Seshs Ab Heter-Clifford M. Boxley reporting.

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