Our judicial system is rigged against communities of color, but we’re making progress. Don’t believe us on either count? Look at these recent court rulings from around the country.
- Ruling on Private Prisons
- Why we’re watching: The Biden administration is facing staunch criticism for its strict immigration laws, mostly by way of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. California, in a separate effort to ban private prisons, also rolled in a prohibition on private immigrant detention centers, a provision recently reversed by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel.
- Racial Disparities of Judicial Rulings
- Why we’re watching: In Connecticut, Black and Brown defendants with no prior criminal history were convicted at higher rates than their white counterparts. This first-of-its-kind data revealed the discrimination faced by minorities when they first enter the judicial system as well as the continued impact of mandatory minimum laws.
- Ruling in Ahmaud Arbery’s Mental Health History
- Why we’re watching: Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley ruled that Ahmaud Arbery’s mental health records were inadmissible in the trial of his murderers. The judge ruled that Arbery’s medical privacy trumps the defendant’s right to a robust trial and that there is no evidence Arbery was suffering from a mental health crisis at the time of his death.
- Ruling on Vehicular Assault
- Why we’re watching: Last year, Jared Lafer drove into a group of Black Lives Matters protesters, leaving one man with two broken legs. The entire assault was captured on video, but a grand jury recently refused to indict Lafer, who reportedly created memes following the event, mocking the protesters.
- George Floyd Posthumous Pardon
- Why we’re watching: Many labeled George Floyd, brutally murdered last year in Minneapolis, as a drug user and criminal thanks to a 2004 arrest on the word of Houston officer Gerald Goines. Now, Goines is the focal point of a massive policing scandal and stands accused of fabricating evidence. The Texas parole board has accordingly recommended a posthumous pardon for Floyd, clearing his name of the 2004 charge.
What do you think of the bills in this week’s legislative roundup? Did we miss anything? Drop us a line on any of our social channels or hit us up through our contact us form. Let us know what’s happening in YOUR neighborhood!