The Department of Justice announced today that it will not seek federal civil rights violation charges against George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. Following the acquittal of Zimmerman in July, 2013, the Justice Department began its investigation on whether there was sufficient evidence to charge and convict Zimmerman under federal statutes. In the end, due to the high standard in these cases, Attorney General Eric Holder found that the evidence would not meet the standard of proof. While the evidence did not warrant federal criminal charges, the death of Trayvon Martin sadly remains a case that is still a bitter pill to swallow for many persons in the African American community. Trayvon Martin, armed with only iced tea and Skittle candy was approached and killed for being in a Sanford, Florida neighborhood where George Zimmerman believed that he did not belong. Wearing a hoodie, he was walking back to the home of his father’s fiancé at the time … [Read more...] about Why No Federal Charges for George Zimmerman
Archives for February 2015
While American Sniper lost in its Oscar nomination for Best Picture on Sunday, the real life American Sniper trial is set to end soon in a small court room in Stephenville, Texas. Closing arguments are set to be heard this week in the murder trial of former U.S. Navy Seal Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in U.S. war history. Kyle and another man, Chad Littlefield were allegedly killed on February 2, 2013 by a friend, Eddie Ray Routh. The defense clearly admits to killing Kyle and asserts he is not guilty by reason of insanity. All three men were headed to a gun shooting range on the day of the killing. Ironically, Kyle’s life ended in the manner in which he was decorated as a war hero—by a gun shot. Routh after the killing told his sister that “people were sucking his soul,” according to prosecutors. Routh suffers from PTSD, psychosis and severe schizophrenia, according to his medical experts. Most cases of insanity are difficult to prove and amount to a battle of … [Read more...] about Real Life American Sniper Trial Lacks Movie Appeal
The Oscars had something to interest everyone on Sunday night including lawyers and politicians with acknowledgements in various acceptance speeches on equal pay for women, gender equality, Voting Rights Act, mass incarceration, suicide awareness and immigration, to name a few. I believe the newly found awareness was rooted in what occurred after the Oscar nominations were announced. After the nominations, there were many discussions about the lack of diversity in the Oscars and particularly the snub of blacks and women. After all, the voters in the Academy are overwhelmingly white males. The lack of diversity led to the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. This was the first year in many years where there was a blatant lack of diversity among those who were nominated. There was even talk of a boycott by the NAACP chapter in Los Angeles due to the lack of a nomination for Selma’s director Ava DuVernay, a black woman. But DuVernay advised that she did not want a boycott or any … [Read more...] about Politics and the Oscars
On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the Press Club in D.C. and gave what may be one of his last speeches before stepping down. He announced that there have been quantitative strides in his actions taken to reform criminal sentencing in America. Holder realized very early on that the criminal disparities in sentencing in drug cases resulted in African Americans being sentenced to higher sentences and to mandatory minimums. Attorney General Holder stated, “For years prior to this administration, federal prosecutors were not only encouraged – but required – to always seek the most severe prison sentence possible for all drug cases, no matter the relative risk they posed to public safety. I have made a break from that philosophy.” Data compiled by the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows that the efforts made by Holder have helped to dramatically reduce mandatory minimums and to reserve higher and harsher sentencing to more serious offenders. Attorney General Holder’s approach … [Read more...] about AG Eric Holder Announces Strides in Sentencing
Debbie Hines discusses DC's marijuana law on Fox 5 News. DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG In November, 2014, DC residents and voters went to the polls and overwhelmingly by a margin of 70% voted to make marijuana legal in the District of Columbia. With DC voters’ approval of Ballot Initiative 71, the new law was enacted. Since the vote in favor of Ballot Initiative 71, two events have occurred that might either derail or give life to the legalization of marijuana in DC. In December, MD Republican Congressman Andy Harris placed a rider in the federal government spending bill that would prohibit any monies—federal or DC from being used towards a marijuana law. The District of Columbia, including Mayor Bowser, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and DC Attorney General Karl Racine take the view that the rider has no effect as the new law was enacted in November. The complication of the status of DC as a non-state bears on how laws become laws in the District of Columbia. … [Read more...] about Will DC’s Legalization of Marijuana Law Become Law?
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to celebrate Black History Month as seen through two very different lenses with events held by the Republican National Committee (“RNC”) and another one at the White House. February is a time when many organizations are hosting events to honor the accomplishments of African Americans in America. The White House event consisted of a forum given by Association for the Study of African American Life and History (“ASALH”). The RNC event was a luncheon at the historic Howard Theatre honoring the recent political black Republican wins and a tribute to former Senator Edward Brooks and co-hosted by Roland Martin. Both evoked the singing of Lift Every Voice and Sing, known as the "Negro National Anthem". But that is where the similarities ended. At the RNC Trailblazer luncheon, the honorees were Senator Tim Scott (R. SC), Congresswoman Mia Long (R. UT), Congressman William Hurd (R. TX)and the legendary Senator Edward Brooke who recently passed in … [Read more...] about Black History Month: A Tale of 2 Political Parties