As a former prosecutor, when I saw that Felicity Huffman received a sentence of 250 hours of community sentence, 14 days jail time, a $30,000 fine and one year’s probation for paying $15,000 to Rick Singer to boost her daughter’s SAT test scores for college entrance, I was outraged but not surprised. Huffman knowingly admitted to paying Singer. She knew her actions were wrong and illegal. Her case was part of the largest college scandal case in history prosecuted by the Justice Department. Actress Lori Loughlin decided to enter a plea of not guilty. She paid $500,000.00 to advance her daughter’s college entrance. Her case is pending. After today’s sentencing, Loughlin may breathe a sigh of relief. White defendants and particularly white celebrity defendants most always get a break in court sentencing. A one -month sentence recommendation by prosecutors is usually never heard of. As a former prosecutor, I recall a minimum jail sentence recommendation by prosecutors is … [Read more...] about Felicity Huffman is the Ultimate Case of White Privilege
An Alabama grand jury indicted Marshae Jones, a 27-year old black woman, with manslaughter for allegedly starting and getting into a fight for which she was shot. The gunshot resulted in the death of her unborn baby. Alabama prosecutors are reviewing the case to determine if they should pursue the charges. Every prosecutor’s office has discretion to determine which cases are brought and charged—regardless of a grand jury indictment. The fact remains that a prosecutor went before a grand jury seeking the charges, in the first place. Alabama recently passed restrictive abortion laws which subject a woman to jail time for receiving an abortion and doctors up to 99 years in jail for performing an abortion. Ultimately, the law or similar ones recently passed in other states may end up at the Supreme Court. America – are you listening? Alabama’s barbaric abortion law should be a wake -up call with sirens blasting for every woman and every man who has a wife, mother, sister, daughter or … [Read more...] about Alabama’s Abortion Laws Have No Place in America
I first met Senator Kamala Harris in February 2011 as she gave the keynote address for NARAL Pro-Choice’s 38th anniversary luncheon in Washington, D.C. She highly impressed me. That was before she became a U.S. Senator and now candidate for Democratic nominee for president. I followed her campaign for president as well as that of the other 20 plus candidates. I watched as she opened her campaign headquarters in my hometown -Baltimore. Her presidential campaign appeared to be at times—lackluster and devoid of what I saw of her in 2011. At last night’s debate, Senator Harris shined like a rare diamond. As a black woman and former prosecutor, I could not have been prouder of Kamala Harris than if she were my own sister. The debate exchange between Senator Harris and Vice President Joe Biden was emotional and a rare teaching lesson for America. While discussing the issue of school busing and Biden’s past support against busing Black students to integrate schools, she made the point … [Read more...] about Kamala Harris Schools Joe Biden and America
On Sunday, June 23, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a wake-up call on criminal justice issues. Instead of prepping for the Democratic presidential debate to be held on June 27, Buttigieg held a South Bend, Indiana town hall over the fatal police shooting of a 54 -year old black man by a white police officer. The police officer’s body camera did not record the shooting. Many black residents expressed anger at Buttigieg over the city’s ongoing criminal justice issues involving blacks and the police. Eric Logan was just the latest black man shot and killed by a police officer. He follows a long list of many others throughout the country. This is not an isolated issue solely for Mayor Buttigieg but for all Democratic presidential candidates in 2020. Criminal justice reform, including police shootings and killings of blacks, is an issue that must be addressed by Democratic presidential contenders. As an African American woman and former prosecutor, it’s painful to listen to my friends … [Read more...] about 2020 Presidential Candidates Must Address Criminal Justice
Today is June 19. It marks the date in 1865 that slavery was abolished in Texas and the broader U.S. emancipation of African Americans. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties holds a hearing today to discuss the legacy of slavery and the path to restorative justice. The issue of reparations for Blacks who are descendants of slaves is being raised through House Bill 40. HR 40 would establish a commission to study the effects of slavery, the role of the U.S. government in supporting slavery and beyond and the lasting effects of slavery on Blacks in America. Many of the Democratic party presidential candidates support the idea of reparations. Julian Castro was the first one to voice support. Others like Bernie Sanders prefers to shy away from the idea of reparations for slave descendants. It is a difficult topic and one that cannot be boiled down in one legislative hearing or article. Many Americans view reparations as a fancy word for … [Read more...] about Juneteenth and a Time for Reparations
A police officer, armed with a gun, froze in the line of duty during the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida. The massacre killed 17 students and faculty. In the face of gunfire coming from inside the school, a school deputy, Scot Peterson, remained outside the school with a gun. He never went inside the school to protect and perhaps save lives. He was the only person initially on the school with a gun. Now Peterson is charged with 3 counts of culpable negligence, one count of perjury and 7 counts of neglect of a child. If convicted of all counts, he could land in prison for 96 years. According to video, it appears that Peterson took the coward’s way out. The real question is whether he can be legally found guilty of culpable negligence—a charge routinely reserved for parents, caregivers, day care providers and others similarly situated. Police are usually charged for acts that they did. While I am usually an outspoken critic of … [Read more...] about Is Parkland Officer’s Cowardice a Criminal Act?