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Tag: racial

Ex-Detroit U.S. Attorney on Manfort’s Sentence: ‘It Reflects The Class and Racial Disparities That Exist In The Criminal-Justice System’

U.S. Attorney McQuade

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Outrage is voiced about a 47-month prison sentence for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, whose federeal penalty for bank and insurance frauds falls far short of the 19-24 years suggested in sentencing guidelines. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III on Thursday called the guidelines “vindictive” and “way out of whack.”

But ex-Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, who now teaches law at the University of Michigan, sees something far more troubling than the judge did. She thinks class and racism are at play, and that Manafort may have benefited from being a privileged white guy.

She writes in The Daily Beast:

In the case of Manafort, I believe that the drastic variance from the guidelines range has little to do with Manafort’s connections to Trump, though Judge Ellis openly expressed hostility to the special counsel and its prosecution of Manafort throughout the case. Instead, I think it reflects the class and racial disparities that exist in the criminal-justice system.

As a former federal prosecutor, I have often seen white-collar defendants receive sentences below the calculated guidelines range. This practice sends a terrible message that wealthy and powerful defendants are treated differently than other defendants. I didn’t see many drastic drops from the guidelines in sentences for indigent defendants.

During his sentencing hearing, the closest Manafort came to contrition was saying that he felt shame and suggesting he had already been punished. This is a common trope from white-collar crime defendants, who suggest that they don’t need to go to prison because their loss of income and status in the community is punishment enough. They submit letters of support that their expensive lawyers have billed many hours gathering from prominent people to praise their good works.

Indigent defendants, on the other hand, don’t receive leniency because they have suffered harm to their status in their community. Their overworked court-appointed lawyers don’t have the resources to collect letters, nor do the defendants know the kinds of prominent people who might persuade a judge to impose a lower sentence. We fill our prisons for lengthy periods of incarceration with disadvantaged people with few economic opportunities, but defendants whose crimes are motivated by nothing more than greed are the ones who get a break. The sentence imposed by Judge Ellis appears to reflect that tendency.

FBI Opens Civil Rights Investigation of Fatal Shooting By Cops of Unarmed Teen

The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation to determine what prompted a police officer to shoot an unarmed blacked teenager in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday afternoon.

The New York Times reports the inquiry into Michael Brown’s death came on the third day of protests. Ferguson, a city of 21,000 residents, has a history of racial issues. Although black people make up a majority of the residents, the local government and police are predominately white.

When the all-white school board suspended a black superintendent, protests broke out.

“The community is still highly segregated,” said Karen Knodt, interim pastor of the Immanuel United Church of Christ, whose congregation has 800 members, only four of whom are black. “The institutions of power don’t yet reflect the changing demographics of the county.”

The city also has been under a Justice Department investigation following claims of racial disparities for juveniles in Family Court.

 

Feds Indict 3 Men For Racist N.Y. Beating on Election Night

A Liberian immigrant teen was beaten by three men hunting for blacks on a historical night that broke a racial barrier in America.

By TOM HAYS
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK — Three men, riled by Barack Obama’s victory, spent election night hunting down black people to beat up and yelling insults about the president-elect, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The men beat a Liberian immigrant teen, pushed a black man to the ground and drove their car over a white man they thought was black, according to the indictment.
Ralph Nicoletti, 18, Michael Contreras, 18, and Brian Carranza, 21, were arrested early Wednesday. All three pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to interfere with voting rights.
“Violence and intimidation aimed at interfering with the constitutional rights of every citizen, including the right to vote, will not be tolerated,” U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell said in a statement.

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