Via The Thin Black Duke:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 24, 2007
Contact: Kerry McLean, 917-334-9331
Marjorie Cohn, NLG President, 858-204-3565
NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD CALLS FOR RELEASE OF MYCHAL BELL, FOR ALL CHARGES AGAINST THE JENA 6 TO BE DROPPED, AND FOR FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO JENA 6 ARRESTS AND PROSECUTIONS
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls for the immediate release of Mychal Bell, one of the six high school students who have come to be known as the “Jena 6.” The Guild also calls for all charges against the Jena 6 to be dropped, and for the investigation and disbarment of Judge J.P. Mauffray and District Attorney Reed Walters.
Judge J.P. Mauffray and DA Reed Walters have engaged in a string of egregious actions, the most recent of which was the denial of bail for Bell on Friday. The NLG urges that: 1) The United States Department of Justice convene an immediate inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the arrests and prosecutions of the Jena 6; 2) Judge Mauffray be recused from presiding over Bell’s juvenile court hearings or other proceedings; 3) The Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel investigate Reed Walters for unethical and possibly illegal conduct; 4) The Louisiana Judiciary Commission investigate Judge Mauffray for unethical conduct; and 5) The Jena school district superintendent be removed from office.
“Contrary to what Reed Walters and J.P. Mauffray may think, Jena is subject to the same Constitution that the rest of the United States is,” remarked Kerry McLean, member of the executive board of the NLG.
“There have been numerous, brazen violations of the constitutional rights of the Jena 6.” McLean continued, “In addition to the constitutional violations, Walters and Mauffray have breached the ethical requirements of their offices. They should be made to answer for all of this.”
“The double standard of justice in Jena, one for black students and another for whites, is emblematic of the racism that still permeates many towns throughout the South and the country as a whole. There must be an immediate and full investigation of judicial and prosecutorial malfeasance in Jena, Louisiana,” said Marjorie Cohn, President of the NLG.
There is an unequal justice system in Jena, where blacks are routinely the victims of discriminatory and oppressive treatment by officials.
Founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association which did not admit people of color, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.