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Friday, September 14, 2007

Jena 6


1245670205_838eb7b1a1Hat Tip: Write What I Like Blog

Source: journalgazette.net

A state appeals court Friday tossed out the aggravated battery conviction that could have sent a black teenager to prison for 15 years in last year's beating of a white classmate in the racially tense north Louisiana town of Jena.

Mychal Bell, who was 16 at the time of the December beating, should not have been tried as an adult on the battery charge, the state Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles ruled.

Bell is one of six black Jena High School students charged in an attack on fellow student Justin Barker, and one of five originally charged as adults with attempted second-degree murder.

The charges brought widespread criticism that blacks were being treated more harshly than whites after racial confrontations and fights at their school.

Attorney Louis Scott of Monroe said he didn't know whether Bell, whose bond was set at $90,000, would get out of jail immediately.

"It means that at the present time all charges are dismissed," Scott said. "But we don't know what approach the prosecution is going to take - whether they will re-charge him, where he would have to be subjected to bail all over again or not.

"We're working on that right now," he said.

Bell was to be sentenced Thursday in a case that has brought international attention to Jena. Civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, have been planning a rally in support of the teens that day.

"Although there will not be a court hearing, we still intend to have a major rally for the Jena Six and now hopefully Mychal Bell will join us," Sharpton said in an e-mailed statement.

"Mychal Bell's parents will still join me in Chicago tomorrow and we will still continue mobilization on this miscarriage of justice."

Jackson said, "The pressure must continue until all six boys are set free and sent to school, not to jail." More HERE

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