I meant to include this in the previous post, hence the “Other Good News…” title. Oh well. Life distracts me sometimes.
Mychal Bell, the only one of the Jena 6 to remain in prison, was freed yesterday on reduced bond after the district attorney gave up his quest to try the teenager as an adult. Bell, who was 16 at the time of his arrest, was tried and convicted of aggravated battery as an adult and could have faced 15 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned by the Circuit Court of Appeals because of his age. He still faces retrial as a juvenile and could be held till he turns 21 if convicted.
This seems like a reasonable outcome to me. Yes, I know he had a juvenile record, which apparently influenced the DA’s decision to try him as an adult. How I know is problematic; aren’t juvenile records supposed to be sealed? The initial attempted murder charges smacked of gross overreaction, and the disparity between those charges and the ones faced by a white kid who jumped and beat up a black kid at an off-campus party sure smelled like racism. The DA’s insistence on trying Bell as an adult just ended up wasting resources.