Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Failed Justice System

When I first started this post, it didn't have a title. I thought about it and I didn't just want to base this on the sentencing in the Oscar Grant trial, although it is somewhat motivated by it. For those of who you may not be aware of the Oscar Grant situation, Oscar Grant was a young man in the Bay Area who was "accidentally" killed by a transit officer who claims he was reaching for his taser and reached for his gun instead, while Grant was faced down and handcuffed on the ground. The transit officer, Johannes Mehserle, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in prison with time served. Without getting into too many more details about the trial, the case and it's impact on me, I do want to say that we live in a time where justice is rarely served. 

Help me understand this folks: Johannes Mehserle received two years with time served for shooting an unarmed man on New Years' Eve 2009

Michael Vick, NFL Quarterback, received a 21 month prison sentence and a suspension from the NFL for DOG fighting.

Plaxico Burress, former NFL wide receiver, received a 2 year prison sentence for shooting HIMSELF. 

Ben Roethlisberger, NFL Quarterback, has seen his fair share of high profile problems off the field - a near fatal motorcycle accident, and sexual assault allegations in 2008 and 2010 which led to no criminal charges being filed but a 4 game suspension from the NFL. 

Now I know it's not right to just pick on celebrities and their legal troubles (luckily I didn't pick on white b list druggies) but I use these four examples to make a point. We live in a time where our justice system continues to fail us. I don't know if it's only in America, but why is it that what Michael Vick did so much more vicious than what Johannes Mehserle did? Now I am not an animal person, but I believe an animal's life can't be more precious that a human life. That may sound controversial that may not be PC, but I don't believe a man should have to serve more jail time for killing a dog than killing someone else. I'm not saying that you shouldn't value an animal's life, I just can't wrap my head around an animal's life being valued more than a human life. After Michael Vick served his time and lost millions of dollars, people are still hounding him (no pun intended) about him and the dogfighting. In my best Allen Iverson voice, "we're talking about dogs...not people, but dogs." GTFOH....

Plexiglass - that dumb ass fool deserves to be in jail for shooting himself, there's no question about that. But he "accidently" shot himself and got two years in prison - not with time served. Yes he endangered the lives of many, but this dumb ass is basically in jail for shooting himself. He may get out for "good behavior" but he's still a dumb ass...

Ben - all I can do is shake my head at him. I believe he has so much potential as an athlete but he makes some of the dumbest choices. But it also looks like even in making those choices, he gets bailed out. And that's unfortunate. I believe most people won't learn the lessons they should learn if they keep getting bailed out and told "okay just don't do it again". 

So what does all this mean? I feel like the justice system, like a lot of systems in America may have an agenda against the African American male. I believe if the situation in the Oscar Grant case had been reversed, the verdict would have been different but the outcome would have been the same. I don't know what we can do to change it. What I do know is that we live in a time with a failed justice system.