Courts Are Not a Place for Racism

It is nice to see that the justice system is taking a stand against racism. In a recent 5th District Appellate case in Illinois, a Judge essentially said just that: courts are not a place for racist comments.

Earlier this year the Court granted a new trial to a man who had been found guilty of a homicide and sentenced to 85 years in prison. The reason? The prosecutor in that case had made consistent racist comments in his closing arguments, often making "white world" and "black world" comments, in what amounts to an "us versus them" argument and bias. The Appellate Court ruled these comments were unjustified and inflammatory.

This case stands as a reminder that personal bias is not allowed in courtrooms. Rather, it is the evidence and facts alone that should influence justice. Even if, as happened in this case, an individual is a victim of such racism at the trial court level, that doesn't mean they have to accept it. You can continue to fight your case, and the racism, to the higher courts. In this case, the defendant will have a new trial, though the new date has not been set yet. Whether he is found guilty or innocent has yet to be determined, but we know it will not be because of racist comments this time, but because of the evidence.

The world is changing, and the legal system is clearly changing with it, thank goodness.

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