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  #1  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:02 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Zimmerman/Martin case...is this why the founding fathers wanted a grand jury?

Subject says it all. Could it be that the prosecutor with political motivations wanted to charge Zimmerman for fear that Al Sharpton would torch the community when members of the community wouldn't, left to their own good judgment, see a crime?

Maybe 15 people in Sanford, FL would have not bowed to the national pressure and not charged. Maybe they would have charged him with murder one?

In any event, shouldn't citizens of the community view the evidence and see what is there before a man is jailed without bail and forced to defend his life?

Or is that somehow a relic today?

Last edited by jtgain; 04-13-2012 at 09:02 PM..
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:09 PM
Ibn Warraq Ibn Warraq is offline
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
Subject says it all. Could it be that the prosecutor with political motivations wanted to charge Zimmerman for fear that Al Sharpton would torch the community when members of the community wouldn't, left to their own good judgment, see a crime?
I'd recommend not starting a thread by engaging in race-baiting and avoid using hackneyed racial stereotypes in your posts.

Last edited by Ibn Warraq; 04-13-2012 at 09:10 PM..
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:13 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Originally Posted by Ibn Warraq View Post
I'd recommend not starting a thread by engaging in race-baiting and avoid using hackneyed racial stereotypes in your posts.
You deny that national figures brought pressure on the prosecutor to bring charges and threats of violence were made? To any extent that I insulted the black community, I apologize as it was not my intent. In any event, my OP is a hybrid GQ/GD.

Is this why agents of the state (at the federal level) have to let the citizens of the community bring these charges?
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:37 PM
Bricker Bricker is online now
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
Subject says it all. Could it be that the prosecutor with political motivations wanted to charge Zimmerman for fear that Al Sharpton would torch the community when members of the community wouldn't, left to their own good judgment, see a crime?

Maybe 15 people in Sanford, FL would have not bowed to the national pressure and not charged. Maybe they would have charged him with murder one?

In any event, shouldn't citizens of the community view the evidence and see what is there before a man is jailed without bail and forced to defend his life?

Or is that somehow a relic today?
Even if a grand jury had been used, the remaining citizens of the community wouldn't see the evidence either; grand jury proceedings are secret.

Most states permit charges to be brought without a grand jury. They are a requirement in the federal system.

GFactor and I did a Staff Report several years ago on the subject.
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:39 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Eh, its not like Grand Juries are immune from public pressure.

Historically they were seen as a measure against political corruption, but they've largely been replaced in that function by independent prosecutors.

As to why they're in the Constitution and were common in earlier US history, I think that's mainly just a codification of the status-quo. The colonies had a low population density so it didn't make sense for a lot of places to pay for a professional prosecutor, so they took the Grand Jury system from England (note this is in the same period when state circuit court judges had to literally circulate from place to place, presumably for similar reasons). When the federal and state constitutions were being written, they just stuck to the system that already existed.
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2012, 11:37 PM
Ibn Warraq Ibn Warraq is offline
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You deny that national figures brought pressure on the prosecutor to bring charges and threats of violence were made?
Your comments are moronic. I'm no fan of him, but Al Sharpton never once threatened to "torch the community".
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
You deny that national figures brought pressure on the prosecutor to bring charges and threats of violence were made?
This is a stupidly obvious "gotcha" question. It's correct, but only if you break it into two separate sentences.

"national figures brought pressure on the prosecutor": There was plenty of pressure on Florida to re-examine the initial findings of the local police department, sure.

"threats of violence were made": And yes, threats of violence against Zimmerman were made.

But there were no threats of violence made by national figures. Sharpton repeatedly called for peaceful protests.
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Is this why agents of the state (at the federal level) have to let the citizens of the community bring these charges?
I have no idea what you're even complaining about here. That Sharpton and others were allowed to exercise free speech? That people were allowed to peacefully assemble in protest of the decision of the local government? Are you asking why the Federal government has to let Florida have it's own justice system?
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2012, 04:17 AM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Even if a grand jury had been used, the remaining citizens of the community wouldn't see the evidence either; grand jury proceedings are secret.

Most states permit charges to be brought without a grand jury. They are a requirement in the federal system.
I understand that. I was just wondering if the decision of 15 citizens in the community would be different from one prosecutor who must answer to political pressure. And if it could be different, is this not the important distinction that our founding fathers thought was important.

There's no reason to reignite the debate over this. It's being done in other threads and none of the posters here know all of the evidence. It's possible, for example, that there is evidence that Zimmerman premeditated the murder and a grand jury would have charged murder one, but the prosecutor took a middle road.

A grand jury would have (theoretically) looked at the evidence without political pressure in mind.
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2012, 04:41 AM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is online now
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As Allen Dershowitz commented, the US is the only major democracy to have elected judges and prosecutors. I'm sure that some of those officials pay no heed to the wishes of the electorate in their deliberations. I'm equally sure, especially in such highly charged cases as this, that many of them do. It's difficult to believe that impartial justice is best served by such a system.
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2012, 06:15 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Originally Posted by Ibn Warraq View Post
Your comments are moronic.
I would suggest that you back off on this favorite adjective of yours. Too often it comes across as placing your toes on the line of the rules, strongly implying the personal insult while maintaining the appearance of attacking the argument rather than the poster.

Noting that one's opponent is wrong does not require one to indicate that they demonstrated a lack of intelligence in reaching their conclusions or expressing their opinions.

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  #11  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:00 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post
As Allen Dershowitz commented, the US is the only major democracy to have elected judges and prosecutors. I'm sure that some of those officials pay no heed to the wishes of the electorate in their deliberations. I'm equally sure, especially in such highly charged cases as this, that many of them do. It's difficult to believe that impartial justice is best served by such a system.
And yet I can see the opposite: judges that aren't elected don't have to worry about ever getting kicked out, so they can be as biased as they want without repercussion.
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  #12  
Old 04-14-2012, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldeb View Post
.

But there were no threats of violence made by national figures.
Well, I hate to nitpick, but Mikhail Muhammad is certainly a national figure of sorts, although I grant his group probably roughly analogous to the Westboro Baptist Church in terms of numbers and influence. But in fairness.... a national figure.
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  #13  
Old 04-14-2012, 08:36 AM
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And yet I can see the opposite: judges that aren't elected don't have to worry about ever getting kicked out, so they can be as biased as they want without repercussion.
Just because a judge is not elected doesn't mean they're immune from removal from office for misconduct. In Canada, for example, all judges are appointed and they are all subject to removal for misconduct in office. Appeals courts are available to review any allegations of bias by the trial judge. And once in office, they never have to worry whether a particular judgment will affect their chances of re-election, so they can do what they think is called for in a particular case, regardless of marches in the streets.
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  #14  
Old 04-14-2012, 10:53 AM
Oldeb Oldeb is offline
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Well, I hate to nitpick, but Mikhail Muhammad is certainly a national figure of sorts, although I grant his group probably roughly analogous to the Westboro Baptist Church in terms of numbers and influence. But in fairness.... a national figure.
I think that's stretching the national figure title nearly to the breaking point. The New Black Panther Party is considered a hate group by both the Anti-Defamation League and the US Commission on Civil Rights. Despite their claims to the contrary they've been denounced by the original Black Panther Party as being completely unrelated as well as being "xenophobic" and "absurd". On a good day they might be able to scrape up about a thousand members.

I agree the WBC is probably the best comparison. Nobody outside his followers cares what Mikhail Muhammad has to say. He's completely irrelevant, noted only because he plays the "scary black man role" for people already looking for one. Claiming there was increased violence or an increase in political pressure because of him is like saying Phelps is behind every hate crime against gays or the Defense of Marriage Act. It's giving him far more credit than he deserves. If that's the best example of a national figure trying to incite violence then it's pretty much the same as saying there were no national figures trying to incite violence.
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  #15  
Old 04-14-2012, 11:28 AM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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Originally Posted by Simplicio View Post
Eh, its not like Grand Juries are immune from public pressure.

Historically they were seen as a measure against political corruption, but they've largely been replaced in that function by independent prosecutors.

As to why they're in the Constitution and were common in earlier US history, I think that's mainly just a codification of the status-quo. The colonies had a low population density so it didn't make sense for a lot of places to pay for a professional prosecutor, so they took the Grand Jury system from England (note this is in the same period when state circuit court judges had to literally circulate from place to place, presumably for similar reasons). When the federal and state constitutions were being written, they just stuck to the system that already existed.
(emhasis added)
That's also my understanding of why the Grand Jury was established in the federal constitution, rather than some sort of grand (hah) philosophical principle. In any case back in the mother country there eventually evolved the Crorn Prosecutor's office, itself independent and theoretically apolitical.

As I understand it, for practical purposes at the state level Grand Juries are merely an alternate tool the State has for bringing charges, and hardly represent any safeguard vs. the DA.
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:53 AM
Ibn Warraq Ibn Warraq is offline
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Originally Posted by JRDelirious View Post
As I understand it, for practical purposes at the state level Grand Juries are merely an alternate tool the State has for bringing charges, and hardly represent any safeguard vs. the DA.
That's certainly true.

Sol Wactler, a New York State judge once famously said that a prosecuted could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.
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  #17  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:00 PM
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All a grand jury does is decide if there is probable cause that a crime was committed. The target 'Zimmerman' would have had no right to present evidence nor are targets allowed to even have council in the room. The State attorney would have presented all of the information although each of the 23 members could have asked questions.

I am betting the only reason thy did not call one is because Murder 1 was just not possible but they would have returned a true bill for second degree.
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  #18  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:09 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Originally Posted by Ibn Warraq View Post
That's certainly true.

Sol Wactler, a New York State judge once famously said that a prosecuted could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.
Yea, my understanding is that Grand Jury's have pretty much been abandoned in all non-US common law jurisdictions and are largely vestigial in the US, as they pretty much follow the lead of the State Attorneys anyways.

So whatever their theoretical advantages might be, they don't seem to have held up very well over time.
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:16 PM
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  #20  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ibn Warraq View Post
That's certainly true.

Sol Wactler, a New York State judge once famously said that a prosecuted could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.
Well assuming all the jury shows up you have to convince a simple majority that a prudent and cautious person would be think that certain facts are probably true.

That is a pretty low standard.
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  #21  
Old 04-14-2012, 02:31 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Originally Posted by Simplicio View Post
Eh, its not like Grand Juries are immune from public pressure.

Historically they were seen as a measure against political corruption, but they've largely been replaced in that function by independent prosecutors.

As to why they're in the Constitution and were common in earlier US history, I think that's mainly just a codification of the status-quo. The colonies had a low population density so it didn't make sense for a lot of places to pay for a professional prosecutor, so they took the Grand Jury system from England (note this is in the same period when state circuit court judges had to literally circulate from place to place, presumably for similar reasons). When the federal and state constitutions were being written, they just stuck to the system that already existed.
So, this is the GQ answer? No higher calling for grand juries in 1787 other than to keep from paying professionals? Why the need to put it in the Constitution?

Prosecutors are elected in most states, are they not? Therefore the "independent prosecutor" goes out the window.
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  #22  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:01 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Prosecutors are elected in most states, are they not? Therefore the "independent prosecutor" goes out the window.
Independent Prosecutor is a job title, not a description of a prosecutor who is independent. An independent prosecutor is by definition appointed.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:04 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Independent Prosecutor is a job title, not a description of a prosecutor who is independent. An independent prosecutor is by definition appointed.
Fair enough, but this person is still subject to losing his/her job if Sanford, FL burns to the ground because of a decision that he/she makes. That's not functionally different from an elected position.

A grand jury, OTOH, is confidential and immune to such reprisals.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:16 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Fair enough, but this person is still subject to losing his/her job if Sanford, FL burns to the ground because of a decision that he/she makes. That's not functionally different from an elected position.

A grand jury, OTOH, is confidential and immune to such reprisals.
Sanford FL wasn't going to burn to the ground regardless, so I'm not sure it really matters. But in anycase, I believe Independent and Special Prosecutors usually are appointed to investigate a particular case or issue. When the Grand Jury makes their decision, they lose the job irregardless of what the decision is, because the job then no longer exists.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:23 PM
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Sanford FL wasn't going to burn to the ground regardless, so I'm not sure it really matters. But in anycase, I believe Independent and Special Prosecutors usually are appointed to investigate a particular case or issue. When the Grand Jury makes their decision, they lose the job irregardless of what the decision is, because the job then no longer exists.
Unless you are one of those who is called to serve on the "people's panel" at the federal level for 18 months.

They still only see the case as presented by the AUSA.
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  #26  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:32 PM
Ibn Warraq Ibn Warraq is offline
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Prosecutors are elected in most states, are they not? Therefore the "independent prosecutor" goes out the window.
Not exactly. States Attorneys/District Attorneys are elected politicians, but outside of the movies they rarely prosecute the cases themselves. Virtually all prosecutors are appointed.

Similarly the special prosecutor in this case was appointed by the Governor of Florida.
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  #27  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:32 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Sanford FL wasn't going to burn to the ground regardless, so I'm not sure it really matters. But in anycase, I believe Independent and Special Prosecutors usually are appointed to investigate a particular case or issue. When the Grand Jury makes their decision, they lose the job irregardless of what the decision is, because the job then no longer exists.
Burning to the ground is hyperbole. The political fallout from a bad decision could still cause the prosecutor to be fired, even if that was his only case that he made a bad decision.

The grand jurors would be happy to "lose the job" unless they enjoy the luxurious $15 per day that the state of Florida pays.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:36 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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The grand jurors would be happy to "lose the job" unless they enjoy the luxurious $15 per day that the state of Florida pays.
Sorry, that sentence was a mess. I meant to say:

"But in anycase, I believe Independent and Special Prosecutors usually are appointed to investigate a particular case or issue. Once the case ends they lose their job regardless of the outcome, because the job no longer exists".

I meant to say "Special Prosecutor", not "Grand Jury".

Kenn Starr, to cite probably the most famous example, kept working at his "day-job" in a private law firm after he was appointed to investigate White Water.

Last edited by Simplicio; 04-14-2012 at 03:39 PM..
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  #29  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:47 PM
Ibn Warraq Ibn Warraq is offline
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Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
Fair enough, but this person is still subject to losing his/her job if Sanford, FL burns to the ground because of a decision that he/she makes. That's not functionally different from an elected position.

A grand jury, OTOH, is confidential and immune to such reprisals.
It's a bit amusing that a few posts after apologizing to "the black community" you decide to insult them yet again with a post that is offensive, stupid and borderline racist.

"The black community"(to borrow your phrase) was not going to burn down Sanford, Florida anymore than they were going to start gang-raping white women.

And for the record, I'm not accusing you of being offensive or stupid, I'm referring to your post.

Last edited by Ibn Warraq; 04-14-2012 at 03:49 PM..
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  #30  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:58 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Originally Posted by Ibn Warraq View Post
It's a bit amusing that a few posts after apologizing to "the black community" you decide to insult them yet again with a post that is offensive, stupid and borderline racist.

"The black community"(to borrow your phrase) was not going to burn down Sanford, Florida anymore than they were going to start gang-raping white women.

And for the record, I'm not accusing you of being offensive or stupid, I'm referring to your post.
There is political pressure being brought and an implicit threat of violence. I don't care if it is a bunch of rednecks doing the taunting, the threat is there and it affects the prosecutor/grand jury subject of my OP.

I don't know where you get these accusations that my post is racist or that I implied that blacks were gang-raping white women. I suggested no such thing.

Last edited by jtgain; 04-14-2012 at 04:00 PM..
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  #31  
Old 04-14-2012, 04:18 PM
Ibn Warraq Ibn Warraq is offline
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I don't know where you get these accusations that my post is racist or that I implied that blacks were gang-raping white women. I suggested no such thing.
Had I said that you implied blacks were gang-raping white women you'd have a point, but I didn't so you don't.

What I said was that suggesting that the black community would burn down Sanford Florida was as stupid as suggesting they start gang-raping white women en masse.

Please don't misrepresent what I say.

Now, what you very strongly implied in two seperate posts was that "the black community"(as you put it) would burn down Sanford, Florida if Zimmerman wasn't arrested.

I said that such a claim is stupid, offensive and borders on racism and I stand by that.
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:25 PM
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Now, what you very strongly implied in two seperate posts was that "the black community"(as you put it) would burn down Sanford, Florida if Zimmerman wasn't arrested.

I said that such a claim is stupid, offensive and borders on racism and I stand by that.
The burning of the whole town was hyperbole. The threat of violence was not. I take issue with your claim of racism because I point out that fact.
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  #33  
Old 04-14-2012, 04:32 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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I suspect prosecutors deal with threats of violence from people far more credible then the "new black panthers" on a relatively regular basis. Presumably they get used to it.
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:56 PM
Ibn Warraq Ibn Warraq is offline
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The burning of the whole town was hyperbole. The threat of violence was not. I take issue with your claim of racism because I point out that fact.
So, after twice invoking the boogeyman of angry blacks burning down Sanford, you're merely saying you were engaging in "hyberbole"?

Perhaps someone should complain that Barack Obama should "stop spending so much time eating KFC and start spending more time governing" and when people complain say "that was just hyperbole."

If Trayvon Martin was white and Zimmerman black, would you be talking about being afraid that Sean Hannity might "burn down Sanford"?

Please.

And no, you didn't point out "a fact".

No national black leaders have made any explicit threats(please don't try and pretend the three people who compromise the New Black Panther Party count).

You invoked Al Sharpton. Fine, show us the threats he's made.

In fact, compared to the Republic politicians who invoked "second amendment remedies" and the Tea Partiers who brought guns to anti-Obama rallies the leaders of the black community has been extremely restrained despite facing far more provocative actions.

A
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:42 AM
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Your comments are moronic. I'm no fan of him, but Al Sharpton never once threatened to "torch the community".
I'm late to the party, but I will say that you are 100% wrong here. Technically speaking he never called for a "torching", but I clearly remember him saying if Zimmerman wasn't arrested that there would be "civil unrest". That sounds like a threat to me. And no, I don't have a cite at hand and it's too late to go searching for one so you will have to take my word for it. I listened to it live and my father and I discussed it. He made a threat and in my opinion he should have been arrested for inciting a riot. We all know a riot hasn't happened and I applaud the African American community in Sanford for staying calm. Zimmerman might be guilty our he might be innocent, but it isn't up to you, me or a mob to decide that. A jury will make that determination and they don't need Al Sharpton help to do it either.
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:51 AM
obbn obbn is offline
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Originally Posted by Ibn Warraq View Post
So, after twice invoking the boogeyman of angry blacks burning down Sanford, you're merely saying you were engaging in "hyberbole"?

Perhaps someone should complain that Barack Obama should "stop spending so much time eating KFC and start spending more time governing" and when people complain say "that was just hyperbole."

If Trayvon Martin was white and Zimmerman black, would you be talking about being afraid that Sean Hannity might "burn down Sanford"?

Please.

And no, you didn't point out "a fact".

No national black leaders have made any explicit threats(please don't try and pretend the three people who compromise the New Black Panther Party count).

You invoked Al Sharpton. Fine, show us the threats he's made.

In fact, compared to the Republic politicians who invoked "second amendment remedies" and the Tea Partiers who brought guns to anti-Obama rallies the leaders of the black community has been extremely restrained despite facing far more provocative actions.

A
The black community has been doing a fantastic job in showing restraint. However Al Sharpton hadn't been doing the same. I know I said it was to late to provide a cite, but since you are so convinced I thought it was worth the effort to prove you wrong. So, here you go:

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...al-association

I am sure you will tell us he was just kidding or that the threat of civil disobedience is code for getting together and holding hands. There is no way you can defend this. The black community needs to tell this guy to shut the hell up as he does more to divided the races than just about anyone else in this Country.

Last edited by obbn; 04-18-2012 at 02:53 AM..
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  #37  
Old 04-18-2012, 06:12 AM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
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You deny that national figures brought pressure on the prosecutor to bring charges and threats of violence were made? To any extent that I insulted the black community, I apologize as it was not my intent. In any event, my OP is a hybrid GQ/GD.
Having political pressure exist is different than showing that pressure unduly influenced a decision.
People all over the world do jobs everyday where they face a great deal of pressure of various sorts. None of that means that those people are necessarily performing poorly or un-ethically merely because they're performing a job under pressure.

So, before we accept that Corey's decision was unduly motivated by external pressures, we should make the case which shows that Corey was unduly motivated by external pressures.
Imho anyway.
ymmv

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  #38  
Old 04-18-2012, 10:09 AM
Oldeb Oldeb is offline
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The black community has been doing a fantastic job in showing restraint. However Al Sharpton hadn't been doing the same. I know I said it was to late to provide a cite, but since you are so convinced I thought it was worth the effort to prove you wrong. So, here you go:

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...al-association

I am sure you will tell us he was just kidding or that the threat of civil disobedience is code for getting together and holding hands. There is no way you can defend this. The black community needs to tell this guy to shut the hell up as he does more to divided the races than just about anyone else in this Country.
Pssst. You may want to read the article before claiming that it somehow supports your position.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando Sentinel
If George Zimmerman is not arrested in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin soon, the Rev. Al Sharpton will call for an escalation in peaceful civil disobedience and economic sanctions.
What was this crazy act of civil disobedience?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando Sentinel
Saturday's scheduled 11 a.m. march from Crooms Academy of Information Technology to the Sanford Police Department headquarters was organized by National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Oh. They marched. Admittedly while wearing hoodies and eating skittles, but notably lacking in the pitchfork and torches department.
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  #39  
Old 04-18-2012, 10:28 AM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obbn View Post
I am sure you will tell us he was just kidding or that the threat of civil disobedience is code for getting together and holding hands.
Civil disobedience isn't code for getting together and holding hands -- getting together and holding hands is the definition of civil disobedience. According to Websters, civil disobedience is "nonviolent opposition to a government policy or law by refusing to comply with it, on the grounds of conscience." It is the term used most frequently to refer to the philosophies of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., who advocated non-violent resistance. By calling for civil disobedience, Sharpton was explicitly asking for protests to be non-violent, even if he hadn't used the word "peaceful".
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  #40  
Old 04-19-2012, 11:37 AM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtgain View Post
There is political pressure being brought and an implicit threat of violence. I don't care if it is a bunch of rednecks doing the taunting, the threat is there and it affects the prosecutor/grand jury subject of my OP.

I don't know where you get these accusations that my post is racist or that I implied that blacks were gang-raping white women. I suggested no such thing.
If a professional prosecutor can be scared that urban youths are going to burn the town down, why exactly wouldn't conscripted grand jurors be even more scared?
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