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Statement From The Families of the "Jena Six"

By: 
Caseptla Bailey
Date Published: 
July 13, 2007

This letter is an attempt to shed light on the recent ruling in the trial of Mychal Bell.

It is important for the public to understand that Mychal did not receive proper or fair representation from his attorney, the "public defender."

First, why didn't the attorney (Blane Williams) challenge the fact that these kids are being charged as adults for a schoolyard fight? Why wasn't a change of venue filed in this case, even though it has received so much attention locally? What did Justin Barker as well as his friends do to these young men to provoke harass, intimidate and hassle them? (ie, three of them were identified as the students that hung the noose in the tree at Jena High School on September 1, 2006).

Second, Mychal Bell (as well as the other defendants) were not presumed innocent in Jena, due to the negative press in the local newspaper (Jena Times) beginning with the December 6 issue and continuing until the present. In addition, District Attorney Reed Walters has personal and special interest in this case - he is a neighbor of the Barker family.

Third, approximately 44 statements from teachers, students and administrators filed in this case at Clerk of Court (public records) office states 44 different and conflicting events Why didn't the public defender call any of these witnesses? In fact, he did not call any witnesses for the defense.

Fourth, a defendant has the constitutional right to a jury trial with a jury of your peers. An all-white jury (accepted by the defense) is not a jury of his peers.

Furthermore, the jury that was selected was far from impartial. For example, the only male juror is the friend and former classmate of Justin Barker's father, David Barker. Two potential jurors (African-American females) were not selected. One did not receive her notice in the mail, and the other one is the sister of one of the defendants.

One witness called by the DA was one of the white students identified that hung the noose in the tree at Jena High School on Septmer 1, 2006. The mother of one of the eye-witnesses that testified is a long-time friend/co-worker of Kelli Barker (Justin Barker's mother).

In conclusion, this letter has outlined some truths that were not allowed to be presented in this case. The defense attorney's lack of defense is evident in this case. In fact, he did nothing.

Sincerely,
Caseptla Bailey
President, NAACP LaSalle Parish Branch
PO Box 1895 Jena, LA 71342

Update 7/25/07
Contact The Family Members of the Jena Six:

Jena 6 Defense Committee
PO BOX 2798
Jena, LA 71342
jena6defense(at)gmail.com