Jena 6: Judge Refuses to Overturn Bell Conviction

A judge in Jena, Louisiana has refused to overturn the battery conviction of Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena 6 to be tried. The judge did throw out the conspiracy conviction, which maybe a warning to prosecutors to not pursue this charge with the other members of the Jena 6. Bell now faces 15 year in prison instead of more than 20. While, in some sens, this is good news any time that any of the Jena 6 may face is completely unjust.

Democracy Now continues to cover the story in depth and today's program revealed some of the treatment faced by 2 of the 6 while spending time in jail prior to their release on bail. The full interview and transcript with Theo Shaw and Robert Bailey can be found here.

The two men detail how mace was used on them and other inmates during their time in jail. They discuss how the use of the mace was often arbitrary and used against inmates with asthma. On a side note, I have heard many first hand stories from prisoners in Florida who have complained of frequent, malicious, and arbitrary use of mace on prisoners. Some prisoners were often left to sit in the clothes they were sprayed in for hours when showers and a change of clothese were supposed to immediately occur.

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