Thursday, June 29, 2006

Not Acceptable

Jarvis De Berry is an awarding winning journalist and editorialist at the New Orleans Times-Picayune..He along with members of the New Orleans Times-Picayune Staff recently won a Pulitzer Prize for their amazing reporting post-Hurricane Katrina and also for an open letter to Mr.Bush concerning the Hurricane Katrina Fiasco entitled Dear Mr. President...Mr. De Berry like W.E. A.L.L. B.E.'s founder and Minista of Information R2C2H2 Tha Artivist is an alum of Washington University and The John B. Ervin Scholars Program...Mr. Deberry can be e-mailed at or called at (504) 826-3355

We've shown we can force the system to change. Now let's stop the bloodshed
Sunday, June 25, 2006

You and I together are about to focus more attention than we ever have before on the way our criminal justice system operates; more specifically, in the ways that it doesn't operate as it should.
I'm guessing that I am not alone in my disgust and, that you, too, are tired of picking up the paper and reading a story about yet another murder and then reading quotes from officials who tell us that our growing alarm is unwarranted.
We're not stupid. We know propaganda when we hear it. We know the difference between spin and the unvarnished truth. Whereas the New Orleans Police Department uses COMSTAT (an acronym for computer statistics) to measure crime trends, as citizens, we know that crime is more than just statistics.

Technically, crime could go down if fewer people wrote bad checks. Crime could go down if fewer car stereos were stolen. Crime could go down if fewer husbands battered their wives. But if those crimes diminish to zero and there's a simultaneous increase in the number of people killing others, then statistics be damned. Crime is on the rise.
If criminals are getting more brazen -- shooting police officers or unloading dozens of rounds of ammo into a SUV filled with teenagers -- then it's only natural that law-abiding people are going to grow frightened.
Therefore, the first thing you and I have got to do is to let it be known to everybody who plays a role in the criminal justice system -- police officers, prosecutors and judges -- that we aren't going to accept any more excuses for their failures.
We're fair-minded people, you and I. We know that everybody who gets arrested isn't guilty of a crime. We know that not everybody who gets arrested should be prosecuted. We know that not everybody who is prosecuted is going to be, or even should be, convicted.
But after allowing for the exonerations and acquittals of innocents, we expect our criminal justice system to take bad actors off the street: not just for 60 days, not just for the time between arrest and their scheduled court date, and certainly not for the few hours it takes an attorney to find a judge opposed to the very idea of suspects being locked up.
Police Superintendent Warren Riley said, "The biggest problem in fighting crime is that our criminals don't fear the justice system."
Why should they fear it? MORE

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