***From the Alexandria Town Talk (6/27)***
JENA -- The prosecution and defense rested their cases today in the trial of Mychal Bell, 17, charged with aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit the same in connection with a Dec. 4 fight at Jena High School.The trial resumes tomorrow. Bell's attorney called no witnesses. Is that strange?...If convicted on the charges he now faces, Bell could be sentenced to as many as 30 years in prison.
***Update from the Alexandria (LA) Town Talk (6/26)***
All-white jury selected in Bell trialThis gives me a sick feeling.
JENA -- An all-white jury of five women, one man and a female alternate was selected today in the trial of Mychal Bell...
***Update from the Monroe (LA) News-Star (6/26)***
Until Monday, Bell, Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and Robert Bailey Jr. had all been charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit the same crime. Those charges remain for all of the boys except Bell, who also faces a conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery.This contradicts what I read on the Friends of Justice blog, so I will have to do some more digging once I get off. The original post and updates are below. ***From what I've read in other papers, I believe only Bell's charges have been reduced.***
There is also an unnamed juvenile charged, whose court records aren't public.
Two of the black students are to go on trial Tuesday on the charges, which supporters say are way out of line."The detective investigating told me it would be simple battery," Bailey said. "My son has never been in trouble before. He's never done anything wrong, now he's facing this. How can that be?"...
The two facing trial this week are Theodore Shaw and Mychale Bell. Robert Bailey Jr., Bryant Purvis and Carwin Jones face trial on the same charges, but no date has been set.
Shaw and Bell, have been jailed since their arrests, unable to make $90,000 bond.
More from the Times-Picayune (6/25).
***Update from Alexandria's Town Talk (6/25):
JENA -- LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters this afternoon reduced the charges faced by Mychal Bell -- one of the six Jena High School students charged in a Dec. 4 fight at the school -- to second-degree aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit second-degree aggravated battery.An ***Update*** from the Friends of Justice blog (6/25):
He, along with five other students charged in the fight -- together called the Jena Six -- had faced charges of attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder.
Earlier this morning, a plea agreement for a lesser charge was turned down by another member of the Jena Six, Theodore Shaw, who is on trial this week in the courtroom of 28th Judicial District Court Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr.
Shaw's attorney, Tim Shumate, tried to persuade him to plead guilty to aggravated assault, a felony, against the wishes of Shaw's father, Theodore McCoy.
"We are confident to go to trial," McCoy said. "They are trying to avoid trial because they don't have a case."
So this case goes to trial, beginning with jury selection tomorrow. All defendants now face the reduced charge of aggravated assault.This is what worries me, as well. I see this all the time, everyday--young men who are deemed "unemployable" because of a felony conviction. In my area (here) about the only places they can go for work are the poultry processing plants. If they can't hang with the work there......But aggravated assault is still a felony charge, and even if the defendants escape with probated sentences their lives will never be the same. Any minor slip-up could land them behind bars. A college education will become illusive because felons are denied all forms of federal assistance. Most decent jobs are unattainable for felons. And so it goes. We are calling the District Attorney to drop the charges to simple battery–the same charge filed against the boy who attacked defendant Robert Bailey at a dance short days before the incident at the school. Then there is the issue of the all-white jury that will almost certainly be selected tomorrow. We aren’t where we need to be, but we have traveled miles from where we were when this fight began–and in the right direction.
The post also mentions that "CNN will broadcast its Jena feature on Paula Zahn’s NOW program this evening between 7:00 and 8:00 (central)." I missed it, of course, but am going to dig around the CNN website now.