Ahmaud Arbery Case: Jury Selection

Ahmaud Arbery Case,

Day Five, 10/22/21

Friday Morning Reflections: Jury Selection

Few people seem concerned with the private questioning, away from public scrutiny, that is going on in the trial of the men who abducted and shot Ahmaud Arbery.  I think more people should be concerned.

Trials are public for a reason.  Trials are public so that the members of the community can exercise an oversight function.  There are not supposed to be secret trials in this country, but that is exactly what it going on in Brunswick, Georgia.

Because of the rulings of the judge in this case, potential jurors are being questioned collectively.  A panel of 20 potential jurors are called in and asked to hold up their juror number in response to questions from attorneys.  After that, jurors are separated from the rest of the people in the pool and questioned individually by the attorneys.

The problem here is that the judge seems to feel that these jurors deserve to be selected (or deselected) for jury duty in a process that is removed from public scrutiny. 

Defense attorneys moved to make the entire process secret, but after objections the judge gave what has been described as a “compromise” ruling.  The compromise is that two reporters at a time can sit in the room where individual questioning is going on and take “notes.”

I have no idea how long each set of reporters is allowed to sit in the courtroom before they are rotated out and replaced by others, but it can’t be long given the notoriety of the case and the number of media outlets that seem to be present. 

Last Saturday, I attended a rally for Ahmaud Arbery at the courthouse.  There were approximately 75 – 100 people there.  A large proportion of those in attendance were media.

So, the judge’s ruling means that in the first phase of questioning, the part where the jurors are asked to agree or disagree with certain statements by holding up their juror cards, the public can only see the attorneys and hear the juror number of the responding jurors being read out.

For example: “Do you support the Black Lives Matter movement?”  “241, 242, 255, etc.”  “Very good.”

We cannot see the jurors.  I am not completely happy with that situation but I can live with it.

During the second part of jury selection, however, the part where the attorneys question the juror individually (out of hearing of the other jurors) the public is excluded. 

I assume it was a ruling by the judge that allowed Glynn County to stipulate that only persons involved with the case can enter the courtroom and therefore witness the proceedings.  This means that the general public is excluded from this part of the trial and has to rely on the “notes” of a couple of reporters.  And remember, these notes are not a transcript.

They are just that, notes, fragments of statements considered relevant by a couple of reporters sitting in a courtroom for a few minutes and not reporting on the entire day of juror questioning.  This might very well make the press very happy.  Each reporter gets to file a story as if s/he was in the courtroom, but doesn’t have to do the work of sitting in on the whole day of jury selection.  It does not, however, serve the public interest.

Trials are supposed to be public.  As the incomparable Elie Mystal told me yesterday (yes, he actually did tweet me) the pubic right to view the process applies only to the trial, not the pretrial process.  But, that means that one of the most important parts of the trial, jury selection, is shielded from public scrutiny.   

Perhaps most people are not interested in witnessing jury selection.  Court TV, which purports to be covering the trial, is not even covering all of the general questioning.  I assume that attorneys for the media did not challenge the two-reporter compromise ruling.

Yesterday, an attorney for certain media outlets challenged a gag rule the judge had issued which prevents the attorneys from responding to certain questions about the case.  The media attorney argued that this would put a chill on what the attorneys said.  He argued that the attorneys would err on the side of caution since it was unclear exactly what they were and were not allowed to discuss.  I would guess this was exactly what the judge had in mind. 

The media attorney argued that usually when such gag orders are given, they are accompanied by a detailed explanation of the case law on which they are based and clear instructions of what is and what is not allowed.

The judge seemed to react with impatience to the media attorney’s arguments.  The judge informed the court that (essentially) he was a busy man in the middle of a trial (in which the lawyers were taking a lot longer to question potential jurors than he wanted them to, although he was determined to take all the time needed, but also that they should hurry the f… up).  He said, somewhat ironically, that as soon as he had time to explain exactly what he was talking about, he would.

Meanwhile, the attorneys are under the badly defined gag order.

This trial is raising a lot of questions.

Ahmaud Arbery: Jury Selection

Brunswick, Georgia

Wednesday, 10/20/21

Already, on day three, I have a lot of questions about the way in which the Ahmaud Arbery case is being tried.   

If my understanding is correct, no members of the public are allowed to attend the trial.  Only people involved with the case are allowed in the courtroom.  This means that the community is excluded from participation.

In addition, all the potential jurors are being questioned privately, that is outside the hearing of the other jurors.  Defense attorneys did not want the public to have access to the juror answers to the questions when they were questioned individually.  The judge made a “compromise” and allowed two journalists in the room to take “notes.”

These “notes” are obviously not comprehensive.  The reporters are not taking down a transcript.  The public is then only hearing information about jury selection that is filtered through reporters.  As of today, these “notes” supposedly released to other reporters have consisted of a few quotes and some numbers.

To make matters worse, the reporters are being rotated in and out, so there is no prolonged observation.  This may please the reporters since each of them can file stories as if they were in the room, but it does not serve the public interest since each reporter is only observing a tiny snippet of the questioning. 

To me, this system is insane.

Glynn County, Georgia has chosen to hold the trial in a regular courtroom completely ignoring the interest in and the importance of this case.  Then, because of social distancing, they are only allowing people involved in the case to attend.  This means that the community is prevented from performing the oversight function it is meant to perform during a public trial.  There is a reason trials are public, so the public can witness and monitor and alert the rest of the community when something is going wrong.

We do not have that in the trial of the men who hunted down and shot Ahmaud Arbery. 

I also do not understand how jury selection can be carried out in secret.  I can understand if a particular juror asks to speak in some completely private forum, but to allow all the jurors to be questioned in private, not seen and not heard by the rest of the community just seems wrong.

Jury selection is one of the most important parts of a trial and the community is being prevented from monitoring this phase of the trial. 

In an interview on Court TV, one of the criminal defense attorneys said that he was always less concerned with what a particular juror said than he was with the facial expression and the body language of the juror answering.  But, in this case, we have been denied access to that information entirely and we only have the answers given by the potential jurors through third, fourth and fifth parties. 

Ahmaud Arbery: Jury Selection Notes

  • Defense attorneys wanted to prevent the media from having access to the answers of potential jurors during the jury selection process.
  • Since members of the public not involved in the case are not allowed in the courtroom, this essentially would prevent the public from knowing about the jury selection process.
  • The judge “compromised” by allowing two reporters to take “notes” during the individual sequestered questioning of the potential jurors. These notes have consisted of almost nothing every day.
  • Trials are supposed to be public.  Public scrutiny of the trial process is an essential check on the process.  Glynn County, however, has held the trial in a normal courtroom, completely ignoring the importance of the case.
  • Court TV is supposed to be line-streaming the trial, but after the first day of jury selection, they have moved on to other trials.
  • This situation effectively blocks the public from examining one of the most important parts of the trial.
  • Citizens in a democratic society should not be shielded from answering questions when they serve on a jury.  Citizens should not be afraid or ashamed of answering questions in public about their views and opinions.
  • One criminal defense lawyer on Court TV commented that she felt questions like “Do you think displaying the former state flag of Georgia is racist” were “lazy.”  An attorney from Georgia maintained that lawyers in Georgia have to start with a general question and then go onto a specific question in individual questioning.
  • When I used to teach, I used an article entitled “Is it Possible to Pick a non-racist Jury?”  The jest of the article was that asking blunt questions like “Do you consider this or that racist” were not useful.  A much more useful way of getting at racial prejudices was to ask, for example, if jurors had ever had a member of a racial minority in their house.
  • On Tuesday, the state objected to the defense attorney for Travis McMichael using the fact that T. McMichael had worked for the Coast Guard in asking potential jurors if they knew Travis.  The Assistant DA argued that the attorney was trying to introduce character evidence into the jury selection process.
  • A criminal defense lawyer interviewed later in the day pointed out that Assistant DA, Dunikowski, is normally an appellate lawyer and she is particularly sensitive to protecting the process from later appeals.
  • While I am sure that attorneys regularly introduce their clients with their arm slung over their shoulder, this seemed particularly hokey yesterday when it was done.  Travis McMichael stood up (cleaned up to look like a law clerk) and the attorney stood next to him hugging him like he was Travis’ father.  Maybe people fall for that kind of cheap showmanship, but I doubt it.
  • My impression of Sheffield is that he is an expert at introducing minute signals to the jury that slide under the level of something that would be successfully objected to, but which are nevertheless intended to leave a message.
  • For example, when Sheffield was questioning potential jurors yesterday, he would add a comment after he got a show of hands.  “Very good, thank you.”  He would say after the response to some questions and not others.
  • This may seem like a small point, and I am sure he would argue that he was just trying to establish rapport with the jury pool, but those affirmative responses can influence a juror.
  • When I was a teenager, the brother of a friend was a graduate student and he sat each of us down individually and asked questions about an interaction between two people.  He would respond positively (like “Very good, thank you.”) to responses to some questions but remain silent after the responses to other questions.
  • When he had finished the interview he asked if I knew what he was doing.  “You were responding positively when I answered questions supporting actor A, but not respond when I gave answers supporting actor B.  this was in fact exactly what he was doing.
  • The point of the experiment was to demonstrate that psychiatrists and psychologists could mold the answers of their clients by small positive or negative responses.
  • Sheffield asked if there were any negative feelings about criminal defense lawyers and no one raised their hands, he said: “This is very encouraging.”
  • I don’t see the need for Sheffield to make any evaluative comment in response to the juror responses.  But, I also don’t see the state objecting to it.  It is just too subtle.
  • Assistant DA Dobronski was already getting criticism for objecting to the identification of Travis McMichael as a former member of the Coast Goard.  One of the attorneys on Court TV noted that repeated objections to things this small would annoy the judge and slow down the trial.
  • The judge, while repeatedly claiming that he will take all the time needed, also repeatedly reminds people that they need to speed up.
  • He had initially thought that the attorneys could get through 40 potential jurors a day.  They have gotten through less than 20.

The Attorneys

  • The Assistant DA who is doing the jury selection had concerns about biases against the prosecutors because they came from outside of Glynn County.
  •  

Ahmaud Arbery: Jury Selection

Ahmaud Arbery Case: Day 2

Blog #6

Jury Selection

It was reported that the Court in Brunswick, Georgia was going to go into the night selecting jurors, but instead the court stopped jury selection around 6 PM. 

Today, jury selection continues with general questioning by the Prosecutor, Dunikoski.  Dunikoski and the other prosecutors on the team are not from Glynn County where Ahmaud Arbery was killed.  They are instead from Cobb County.  Dunikoski seemed concerned yesterday that jurors would hold prosecutors responsible for corruption cases in and around Atlanta.  The judge, however, did not see the benefit of introducing that subject into the jury questioning.

Dunikoski did, however today, ask the prospective jurors if they had any negative feelings or weren’t going to be able to be fair because the prosecution team was not from Glynn County.  No one raised their hands.

Jurors were asked:

  • If they were law enforcement personnel.
  • If they knew or were related to the present DA in Glynn County.
  • If they knew or were related to the former DA in Glynn County.
  • Note: The former DA was indicted for her handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case and it is widely believed that she lost reelection because of this.
  • Whether they knew any of the defendants (several did)
  • Whether they had served on a jury and whether that jury reached a verdict.
  • Whether they had had negative experiences with law enforcement (one did)
  • Whether they had had bad experiences with prosecutors (the same juror had)
  • Whether they had been arrested, or prosecuted for a crime (three had)
  • Whether they had a close friend or relative who had been arrested, prosecuted or convicted of a crime. (eight had)
  • Whether they had been a victim of a burglary or a home invasion (five had)
  • Whether they had given a statement to law enforcement (gone to the police department and given a statement) (four had)
  • Whether they owned a gun (11 did)
  • Whether they had carried a gun as part of their work (four)
  • Whether they had lived in Glynn County for less than five years.
  • The DA then went through a list of witnesses and asked if the potential jurors knew any of them. 

The jury pool was asked whether because of religious or moral reasons they could not pass judgement on another person.  Three raised their hands.

Five said they belonged to no organization, religious or other.

When asked if they had ever been arrested and treated unfairly, two jurors raised their hands.

Note: Juror 69 raised his hand in a number of these questions.

Jury Selection: Ahmaud Arbery Case

Ahmaud Arbery Blog #5, Monday 18 October 2021

Approximately 1,000 people were called for jury duty in the Ahmaud Arbery case in Brunswick, Georgia.  Roughly 600 of them showed up on Monday when jury selection began.

During the first part of the day, the judge considered objections to juror questions.  The judge increased the number of peremptory strikes of both the defense and the prosecution.  In cases where there are multiple defendants, it is common for the judge to increase the number of peremptory strikes.  One lawyer on Court TV, however, commented that he thought it was unusual for the judge to give the prosecution additional strikes.

Defense attorneys tried to exclude the press from juror questioning entirely, but the judge allowed two reporters in the courtroom to take “notes” on jury pool members’ answers to questions. This means that the only access the community has to the answers of potential jurors is filtered through a third party. Because only people involved in the case are allowed in the courtroom, members of the community have no independent source for this information. The reporters are not making a transcript, only making “notes.”

According to these “notes,” one juror who was retired military was dismissed from the jury pool.  This man said that he had a negative view of Gregory McMichael, but not evidently of Travis McMichael.  When asked why, he said that Greory McMichael seemed to him to be the “lead dog.”  This potential juror also said that he got the impression that Gregory McMichael was “stalking” Arbery. 

Another potential juror said that he had seen the video of the killing a number of times and that he was “sick of the video.”  He also said that he had talked about the video with his brothers, one of whom was also called for jury duty.  This same juror claimed not to care what happened in the case, but admitted that he had “said they were guilty.”

Ahmaud Arbery: Jury Selection

Blog #5

Jury selection in the trial of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery is starting this morning. Speculation is that the process may take as much as three weeks.  Over 1,000 people have been called for jury duty which is a much larger pool than is usual in most cases, even in high profile cases like this one.  Attorneys have said that they have never heard of a case where this many potential jurors have been called.  There is speculation that many of the people called will not show up – for legitimate reasons and because they don’t want to take part.

The potential jurors have been asked to fill out a questionnaire.  It is not a long questionnaire especially not in comparison with other trials of this prominence.  Some of the questions are:  Have you seen the video of the shooting in Satilla Shores? How many times have you seen the video.  Have you been to the neighborhood?   Potential jurors will then be asked questions in the courtroom.  Commentators are creating the impression that

Social media posting will be searched for the potential jurors.  Strict rules about how they can access that information.  They cannot sneak onto their social media, but it is generally accepted now that the lawyers are responsible for searching any information that is public.  There will be people who have posted about this case, about the issues related to this case.  A lawyer is saying that she was not going to convict another black man.  She said that she was going to court and would not convict. 

No matter how many times people are told, and how many times they see other defendants’ videos of jailhouse conversations (Casey Anthony), they assume privacy when they post on the internet and talk on the telephone.  It is also difficult for people even if they know they are being taped, to remember this once they get into a conversation. 

One of the issues that was raised in this case was the use of the jailhouse phone conversations of the defendants.  As I previously posted, there are notifications literally beside the phones in jails and prisons informing people that their conversations will be recorded, but people still make those phone calls and conduct those conversations like it was 1950.  The judge in this case, for that reason, turned down a defense motion to exclude all the jailhouse conversations of the defendants. They argued 14th amendment, they even argued for Gregory McMichaels, spousal confidentiality.  But, the judge ruled, once you are informed that you are being recorded and you pick up that phone you make a decision to give up all those rights. 

The host of Court TV today is again repeating the William “Roddie” Bryan.  I have no idea why this middle name is repeated by almost every commentator on television and every print journalist. 

Court TV is doing live coverage of the trial. There are also several interesting interviews with attorneys in the case posted on the site.

Notes: 600 of the called 1,000 potential jurors showed up on Monday 18 October 2021. The court interviewed 8 of them in individual voir dire. One juror was dismissed after stating that he had negative views of Gregory McMichael but evidently not Travis McMichael. The potential juror said that Gregory McMichael appeared to be the “lead dog.”

Updates on the Arbery Trial: Vanity Plates and Jailhouse Conversations

Blog #4: Ahmaud Arbery: Updates

Updates on the trial of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery.

The judge in the Ahmaud Arbery murder case has ruled that recordings made of jailhouse phone calls of the three white men who chased Arbery down and killed him in the street, will not be excluded in the trial.  The defense had argued to exclude the calls.  (Court TV, 10/13/21)

         Depending on what is on the tapes, this could be a blow to the defense.  But, the ruling is no surprise.  There are signs all over the place in jails an prisons warning inmates that their conversations are being recorded.  You would have to be a fool, or someone who thought that you were not subject to the rules or the law, to ignore the warnings and conduct incriminating conversations over the telephone. 

         Anyone who watches trials or court news will remember the revealing conversations between Kasey Anthony and her parents while she was incarcerated.  Anthony did not admit her guilt, but her behavior was enough to raise serious questions about her stability and responsibility.  But, as watchers of court news also know, she was found not guilty.

The Confederate Vanity Plate

         Similarly, defense attorneys are trying to exclude a photograph of Travis McMichael’s truck that shows his confederate flag vanity plate.  While prosecutors have reportedly said that they will not introduce evidence of racial motivation in their case in chief, they have said nothing about introducing such information in their rebuttal case. 

         A defense attorney interviewed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution has argued that the defendants are likely to testify since the task for defense attorneys has to be to make these men human and understandable.  If one of the men claims that he had no racial bias or animus, this opens the door for the prosecution to introduce evidence that demonstrates racism (Atlanta Journal Constitution

The same defense attorney, commenting as an expert, argued that she thought the introduction of the vanity plate as evidence would be highly prejudicial to Travis McMichaels.  I am not so sure.  Growing up in Georgia, I would guess that jurors have seen these confederate symbols all their lives and know people who have displayed them.  I am not sure that the presence of the symbol on McMichael’s truck will be that influential.  I am not arguing that it should not be, just that I am not sure it will be.

Like Sharks in Charge of Water Safety: Elie Mystal and the Supreme Court

Elie Mystal, of the Nation Magazine, is a national treasure. 

He is like a breath of fresh air in the middle of the stale, phony, self-serving, power and celebrity worshiping hosts and commentators appearing regularly on corporate news.

One, just one of the reasons I love him is that he rolls his eyes on national television.  Another reason I love him is that he tells the truth and talks like a regular person.  He doesn’t use ten words with one will do, and he doesn’t surround every statement he makes with a boat load of qualifying phrases.  

He rolls his eyes, he tells the truth, he doesn’t obfuscate because (unlike almost every other person appearing on corporate news) he is not afraid.

The right is not afraid of stealing Supreme Court seats, lying, cheating, rigging elections, subverting justice and a whole host of other things.  The center, however, is a culture of people who are afraid.  They are afraid to see the truth right in front of their faces, afraid to confront depressing and distressing facts, afraid of the very possibility of offending somebody, afraid of being inconvenienced, afraid of not perhaps, maybe not getting some job they haven’t even thought of yet.

I spent almost a decade out of the country.  When I returned, I was astounded to hear a student tell me she couldn’t take an internship at World Wildlife (World Wildlife, not the Communist Party) because she might someday want to apply for a job with the State Department.  This is who we have become.  The right, the Republican party is fighting 24-hours-a-day to establish a Christo-fascist authoritarian government and those in the center are afraid of their shadows.

On Thursday, Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC, spent an entire segment of her program listening to people lionize the members of the January 6 Commission for considering, considering referring Steven Bannon to the Justice Department for criminal contempt.  But, as Eli Mystal pointed out on CNN this morning, the whole process of the referrals to the Justice Department is nothing but theatre.

What every news program and every host should have been pointing out is that the Committee has (but is not using) the right of inherent contempt.  Using this right, the Congress can jail people who don’t abide by subpoenas until they do abide.  They don’t have to refer the matter to the Justice Department and wait for Biden’s (wimp noodle) hatchet man, Merrick Garland to act. 

In addition, inherent contempt means that people like Bannon will be jailed and stay jailed until they provide the information that was subpoenaed.  Going down the criminal contempt path and referring to the Justice Department, assuming Garland will prosecute  (which he will not) and assuming a conviction, only punishes the offender for not cooperating.  It does not secure the information needed. 

So, the House Commission investigating the coup attempt should be shamed and criticized for not taking the path designed to get the information we need.  Instead, they are heralded as heroes, patriots, courageous public servants.  The Nicolle Wallace program last night became a virtual campaign ad for Benie Thompson and the other members.  Not once, did Wallace or any of the members of the panel she assembled tell the American people that what the Commission was doing was a sleight of hand maneuver to look like they were doing something and not doing it.

Similarly, the Commission Biden appointed to study the Supreme Court expansion was “designed to fail.”  As Mystal wrote in April when the commission was formed: “Biden’s choices confirm the worst fears court reformers had about the president: He doesn’t want a solution; he wants an excuse to do nothing.”

Quoting from Eli Mystal’s article IN APRIL:

“Instead of creating a commission of high-minded reformers or bare-knuckle politicos, Biden has created the quintessential government committee that is purposefully designed to accomplish nothing. The “Commission on the Supreme Court” isn’t even allowed to make policy recommendations on what to do about the Supreme Court. It is merely supposed to “study” the issue, which is like hiring a chef to draw pictures of food instead of cooking a meal. When Republicans take power, they don’t commission a book report on what they should do with the courts. They show up to Washington prepared to reshape the judiciary from day one. Biden showed up prepared to read a law review article.”

“Perhaps even more troubling, instead of balancing some of the center-left people on the commission with more, or any, outspoken advocates of court reform, Biden went the other way and put Federalist Society scholars and judges in there to drag the whole thing to the right. I cannot recall the last time a Republican president bothered even to consult a Democratic voice, never mind a genuinely left voice, on how to proceed with a matter related to the Supreme Court. But Democrats continue to act like they need a hall pass from Republicans before they take any action.”

Their inclusion—again, at the expense of some of the individuals who have been actively fighting these people and their conservative takeover of the courts—is insulting.

It’s also a giant waste of time. Donald Trump appointed 226 fire-breathing conservative judges to the federal bench in just four years; we are 20 months away from a midterm election during which Democrats might lose their tenuous grip on power; yet Biden’s committee on studying whether we should maybe, possibly try to fix the court will spend 180 days dickering with Federalist Society people about what Thomas Jefferson would do.”

This report did exactly what it was intended to do, provide cover for Biden who doesn’t have the stomach to expand the Supreme Court (or get rid of the filibuster for that matter).  As Mystal pointed out, the commission itself was composed of people who make their living arguing before the Supreme Court.  Appointing a commission like that is like appointing the sharks to supervise water safety.

In addition, the commission had nothing to say, nothing, about ethics and the Supreme Court.  The Supreme court is the only judicial body in the country with absolutely no ethics regulations.  There is no requirement for members of the Supreme Court to recuse themselves from cases in which they might have an interest.  There is nothing to prevent the wife of a sitting Supreme court Justice to participate in a coup attempt to overthrow the government.  Ethics complaints filed against Bret Kavanaugh were summarily buried after his appointment to the Supreme Court. 

But, the Biden administration, so widely hailed on corporate news spins its wheels, claims the high ground and does nothing.

Sources:

Eli Mystal

Ahmaud Arbery Trial: Glynn County, Georgia

Ahmaud Arbery

Blog #3

Case of Police Violence

Gregory McMichael was an investigator for the DA’s office for more than 20 years and was a Glynn County police officer for seven years before that.  He retired in May of 2019. 

When Gregory McMichaels saw a young man jogging past his house, he called to his son.  They immediately armed themselves, jumped in a pick up truck, and drove after Arbery.  They cut him off in the street with their truck and the truck of a neighbor who (of couse) saw the chase and joined in. They shot and killed Arbery in the street.

Three men, saw a black man jogging past their houses, armed themselves and gave chase.  Defense attorneys plan to argue that information Arbery was on probation should be admitted to the trial because that information explains why Arbery ran from the men.

First, Arbery was already running.  He was jogging.  He wasn’t in the beginning running FROM anybody.  Second, the fact that he kept running and did not stop does not necessarily mean he was running FROM the three men.  Third, Arbery had no obligation to stop running because someone ordered him to.  Even if you concede that Arbery was running FROM the men at some point in the chase, what of it?  I am a 71 year old white woman and I would have run from three white men (two of them armed) in pick up trucks who were driving after me and trying to cut me off when I was walking down a residential street. Third, none of these men could have known that Arbery was on probation, and even if they did, they had no right to stop him. 

Greg McMichaels has agued that he thought Arbery was a man who had burglarized a house in the area that was under construction.  But the owner of the house had access to all the video from the site.  The owner did not phone the police or become concerned about anything he saw on the videos.  So, who does Greg McMichaels think he is to try to hold a man even if he entered the house site?  Second, there is video of various people walking in and out of the house site.  Why is Arbery considered different from the other people (white) who entered the construction site?  Third, McMichaels has provided no evidence to demonstrate why he thought Arbery was one of the people on the video tape who had entered the house.   

It is obvious that Gregory McMichaels still considered himself active law enforcement, able to chase, stop and detain other people at will. And, also McMichaels also thought he was perfectly within his rights to arm himself and chase down another human being. None of the men saw Arbery commit any crime. They saw a black man in a predominately white neighborhood and assumed he had committed a crime. They armed themselves and hunted him down and killed him in the street.

A GBI investigator testified that Travis McMichaels used the N word in the conversation that occurred with the police officers who arrived on the scene of Arbery’s killing.  

Federalist Society Justice: Chris Hedges Interviews Steven Donziger

If you want a glimpse of what the legal system is already looking like under the reign of the Republicans and the Federalist Society, listen to this podcast where Chris Hedges interviews Steven Donziger “the human rights environmental justice attorney, about the grim reality when we confront the real centers of power.Donziger has been fighting polluting American oil companies for nearly three decades on behalf of indigenous communities and peasant farmers in Ecuador, and has been under house arrest in Manhattan for nearly two years. He went on trial in federal court in New York two weeks ago on contempt of court charges, which could see him jailed for six months, for appealing the demand to hand over his computer, cellphone, and other electronic devices to the court, a violation, he argues, of attorney-client privilege. No attorney without a criminal record in federal court has ever before been detained pretrial for a misdemeanor offense.”

YouTube channel: On Contact

People somehow believe that the authoritarian take over of the government will not affect them, that their lives will go on as usual. This is not the case. Increasingly, Republican ideologues are being appointed to the courts. They have no interest in law, reason, or justice. They have interest in power.

In this instance, the courts are persecuting an attorney for daring to confront the criminal behavior of a corporation. Federalist schooled Republican judges are using the criminal justice system to make sure that other attorneys realize that if they go after those in power, they risk their careers, their families and their livelihoods. This case is designed to send a message.

YouTube channel: On Contact