Tag Archives: court

Rapper Da Brat gets 3 years in jail

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution – A DeKalb County judge sentenced rapper Da Brat to three years in prison Friday for hitting an Atlanta Falcons cheerleader in the head with a nearly full liquor bottle at an Atlanta-area nightclub, causing permanent facial damage.

Superior Court Judge Gail Flake also sentenced the rapper, whose real name is Shawntae Harris, to seven years probation and 200 hours of community service. Harris also must get substance abuse treatment and a mental evaluation and attend anger management classes.

A handful of Harris’s family sat on the back row of the courtroom. They wept when a sheriff’s deputy took her into custody.

“I love y’all,” Harris, 34, said as she was led out of the courtroom.

“We love you too” the relatives replied in unison.

Dressed in black pants and top with her short hair in braids, Harris did not comment other than to answer “yes” several time when the judge asked her if she understood her guilty plea to a felony aggravated assault charge and her negotiated sentencing. Continue reading


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Were Black women in support of R. Kelly during the trial?

Here’s part of a recent Newsweek article titled “Why did so many African-American women support R. Kelly?Were we in support of R. Kelly, Sistas????

Letisha Harlins made sure she took her lunch break early last Friday so she could sit in her black Honda and listen to the live radio broadcast of the R. Kelly verdict. Kelly was once Harlin’s favorite musical celebrity. She plastered his album covers on her walls when she was in high school, and she saw him in concert nine times. But her support of the R&B crooner stopped six years ago when Kelly was arrested and charged with 14 counts of child pornography and child endangerment. The charges were the result of a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with an underage girl. Harlins, now 24, was crushed. “I just couldn’t believe it,” says the native of Chicago, which is also Kelly’s hometown. “I’d put him on this pedestal for years and then I saw the tape. I can’t even look at him anymore. I couldn’t stand it.”

Harlins was crushed again this month when Kelly was found not guilty of all the charges. But almost as disturbing to her was how African-Americans, and especially African-American women, reacted to Kelly’s acquittal. When the verdict was announced, dozens of black women (and some black men) cheered outside the courtroom as the singer made his way past them to his waiting tour bus. It wasn’t just in Chicago. African-American blogs such as Young, Black and Fabulous, What About Our Daughters and Essence quickly filled up with letters from women exclaiming their joy over Kelly’s freedom. “That had to hurt the most,” said Harlins. “Seeing black women who could have very well been that girl–or had a daughter that could have been that girl–cheer that he got off. How could a woman not support the punishment of someone who hurt another woman? I just can’t understand it.”

It’s important to note that the alleged victim herself refused to testify and had insisted that she wasn’t on the tape; Kelly, too, insisted it wasn’t him on the tape. Those factors undoubtedly contributed to Kelly’s acquittal. Still, the reaction to the case raises a host of familiar, difficult issues, starting with the role celebrity can play in a criminal trial. Fame has long affected–or perverted–the way justice is meted out by a jury. The celebrity effect is arguably more pronounced when the defendant is black, in part because African-Americans feel protective when one of their own achieves mainstream success. “It’s sick,” says Aaron McGruder, creator of the comic strip “Boondocks,” which featured a scathing episode focused on Kelly and his supporters. “The love we have for our celebrities in the black community no matter what they do is crazy, and there is no excuse for it. It’s just blind and clueless.” As the O. J. Simpson case demonstrated, some African-Americans believe that the criminal-justice system is so stacked against them, they almost don’t care if a defendant is actually innocent or guilty. “I know it sounds crazy, but it’s just nice so see a brother beat the system–the way I know white guys with money do all the time,” said Lamont Gillyard, 25, a loan officer in Los Angeles. “It’s not right, but there are so many black men in jail for stuff they didn’t do, it’s hard not feel like this is a way of balancing out the game that isn’t fair anyway.” Continue reading

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Black Judge apologizes for kicking Whites out of the courtroom

Hello Negro says…”Sometimes you just gotta chat Negro y Negro. LOL”

One week after he cleared his courtroom of white people so he could have a “fireside chat” with the black defendants assembled before him, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Marvin S. Arrington Sr. offered an explanation and—for anyone offended by his act—an apology.

“There were no official acts” during the private lecture, he said, “just a frank chat.”“It was not done for race reasons,” he said, explaining that he is confronted daily with a stream of criminal acts, “most committed by African-Americans.”“At some point, it needs to come to a halt,” said Arrington, citing several cases of senseless violence—killings over $15 worth of crack cocaine, a wristwatch or for no reason at all, even the night his own sister and brother-in-law were held up at gunpoint at the door of their Atlanta home—that compelled him to try to reach the young defendants before him.

“These young people are completely out of control,” he said, adding, “People can’t go to a gas station in my neighborhood at night without somebody coming up and putting a gun on them.” Arrington’s decision to hold a “black-only” chat last week came after he had finished a morning slate of bond revocations and sentences, according to an attorney who was present.

Prior to beginning court business Thursday, Arrington, one of the first black graduates of Emory Law School, described his own troubled youth as an impetus for outreach. Continue reading

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Updated 3/2/09: Jamal Harrison Bryant and Wife Gizelle Divorcing…”and another one down”

Update 7/7/09:  Case still open

The MD court records show that they are again divorcing (Filing date 2/10/2009).  Don’t blame the messenger. http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry/inquiryDetail.jis?caseId=24D09000418&loc=69&detailLoc=CC – Case # 24D09000418 (type: Divorce Absolute)

EURWeb.com is reporting that mega church pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant and his wife Gizelle are headed to divorce court. After 5 and a half years of marriage Gizelle Bryant filed for a divorce in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County on January 9. The clergyman also filed divorce papers in Baltimore City Court on the same day, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Jamal Bryant is the affable 38-year-old pastor of Empowerment Temple A.M.E in Baltimore, Maryland. Many view him as a burgeoning voice in the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) denomination as his influence has extended nationally and internationally.

Known for articulating relatable sermons, the former 11th grade drop-out who entered the prestigious Morehouse College with a GED, has not released a statement about the situation, likely under his attorney’s advisement.

“This is a private matter between Dr. Bryant and his wife, and we’d like to keep this matter private,” attorney Jimmy A. Bell told the paper. The copious blog and chat entries on the troubled marriage suggest this may be a personal matter, but it is far from private. Scandalous rumors of alleged affairs with several women have been rampant since the couple’s engagement. His supposed womanizing went overboard when he impregnated a church member said to be 17 at the time of the time of copulation. When accusations of this affair surfaced in the Summer of 2007, church leaders asked him to step down while they initiated an investigation and awaited paternity test results. Months after the investigation, Jamal Bryant remains the pastor of Empowerment Temple.

Court records acquired from the Circuit Court of Maryland do indicate the pastor is the father of a least one other child who was born before he got married. The couple has a set of 1-year-old twins and a 3-year-old. This story is developing. More details will be provided as they become available.

Links to Jamal Bryant Court Records:

Id=03C00007941&loc=55&detailLoc=CC – Regarding Daughter Naomi




Update 6/21/08: One of our readers, BK, pointed out a possible change in this case…

I’m not sure what has transpired since this filing, but unless something else has happened, this is the last entry.

Docket Date: 01/24/2008 Docket Number: 6
Docket Type: Docket Filed By: Plaintiff


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Black South Africans Express Anger at Trial of White Shooter

One Black Protester had a sign that read “One Settler, One Bullet”.
Associated Press – CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Protesters tried to force their way into the court hearing Thursday of a white teenager charged with a shooting rampage in a black settlement that left four people dead, including a mother and her infant.

The bloodshed on Jan. 14 in the Skielik settlement, 100 miles northwest of Johannesburg, has ignited racial tensions that remain close to the surface more than a decade after the end of South Africa’s apartheid system.

Riot police were called in to control the dozens of black protesters who gathered outside the Swartruggens District Court, trying to push through the compound gates as 18-year-old Johan Nel made a brief appearance inside. He faces charges of murder and attempted murder.

The crowd waved signs saying ” no bail, let him rot in jail,” the South African Press Association reported. Police pushed the group was pushed to the side of the street.

Police are unclear on a motive, but Skielik’s residents allege that Nel killed out of racial hatred. Leaders of the trade union movement and African National Congress have joined demonstrations in Skielik, which is part of an area known for its game reserves, biting rural poverty and deep divide between black and white.

Full article – USA Today 

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Desegregation Rulings Cause Confusion

The Associated Press reports…“Officials in Shelby County, Tenn., complain they’ll have to spend millions to satisfy a federal judge’s “arbitrary” desegregation order. It’ll mean busing minority students up to an hour away and replacing hundreds of white teachers with black ones, they say.In Huntsville, Ala., under a similar court order, students can transfer from a school where they’re in the racial majority, but not the other way around.

And in the Tucson, Ariz., Unified School District, students could move from one school to another only if the change improved “the ethnic balance of the receiving school and (did) not further imbalance the ethnic makeup of the home school.”

But wait: Hasn’t the U.S. Supreme Court consistently moved away from using race as a factor in deciding where kids should go to school?

Didn’t the high court recently put an exclamation point on that trend, ruling that two districts’ heavy reliance on race in student assignment policies violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection?

Yes, and yes. But there are still hundreds of districts across the country, from the Northeast to the Southwest, that operate under federal court desegregation orders — some more than four decades old.

These districts are in a unique and sharply debated position with respect to the Supreme Court’s rulings. They exist in what critics consider a historical Twilight Zone, where federal judges can make seemingly contradictory decisions.

“So which ruling do I violate?” asks a perplexed Bobby Webb, superintendent of schools in Shelby County, where Memphis is located. “The judge’s ruling now, or the earlier rulings that we can’t discriminate against people on the basis of the color of their skin?”

Front-page court battles over integration are mostly a thing of the past. But according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, there are at least 253 school districts still under federal court supervision in racial inequality cases — and those are just the ones in which Justice intervened.

Many of the more infamous names — Boston, Little Rock, Charlotte, N.C. — are gone from the list, having satisfied judges with their desegregation efforts and being granted what’s called “unitary status.” In the last two years alone, at least 75 districts have won such status.

Of those that remain, most are in the South. Georgia leads with 61, followed by Mississippi with 51, Alabama with 50 and Louisiana with 30. But long-standing cases are still pending in places like Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana and Illinois. Continue reading

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