Assembly-Line Justice

Kobe Bryant is a lucky man. Not because he was indicted on sexual-assault charges and faces trial — that is without doubt an unfortunate occurrence, particularly if the basketball star is not guilty of the crime. But while his impending court appearance must put a lot of pressure on him, there is one concern the Los Angeles Laker gets to avoid: He easily can afford the best defense money can buy.

But what if a poor person was in the same situation? Could that person get a fair shake within the legal system?

It appears the answer is often no. Sometimes, the best an indigent defendant can get is “assembly-line justice” that is anything but just.

On Friday, Nov. 7, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held a press conference in Atlanta to stand up for indigent defendants and to demand change in Georgia’s judicial system. The civil-rights organization says many people society designates as African-Americans are wrongly accused and sent to jail without proper legal representation. Another complaint: Funding often is not available to provide equal defense for low-income people facing trial.

“It’s a nationwide problem for African-Americans, simply because we don’t have any money,” said NAACP-Georgia president Dr. Prince Jackson in a sweeping statement. “Everyone knows if you have money, you can get out of anything.”

Read the entire story at Open Source Politics.

While you’re there, partake of other excellent reads, including:

Augustine Nada’s plan for dealing with unwanted spam;

Barbara O’Brien on the effort to get Dubya Bush his own library, apparently by any means necessary;

Loren Webster on 50 power plants getting off scot-free for violating the Clean Air Act; and

P.G. Gandy on a state of emergency in Sri Lanka.

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