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Jammie Thomas is an Ojibwa woman living in a state where 89.3% of the population is Caucasian. Yes, there is racism in Minnesota -- not overt, cross-burning, KKK-style racism; but a kind of smug, condescending relegation of non-white people to second-class citizenship; people to be tolerated with feigned PC magnanimity, while hinting that life would be better if they would just all go away, "back to where they came from."
Against this backdrop of white Minnesota popular culture, it only stands to reason that Jammie Thomas could not have gotten a fair trial from an all-white jury. For justice to be served, the jury should have included at least a few Native Americans, if only to remind the other jurors that Ms. Thomas was not some abstract cultural archtype that they could direct their fears and frustrations at, but that she was a real human being like they were.
Were there any Native Americans on the jury? In a comment on NewYorkCountryLawyer's blog, I politely asked what the gender and racial composition of the jury were. He rejected this question, characterizing it as "offensive." "People's lives are at stake in these cases," he offered in self-justification.
Oh really? Let's set aside, for the moment, that the notion of a trial by a jury of her peers is somehow offensive. How does suppressing information about whether there were Native Americans on the jury actually HELP Jammie Thomas? I think suppressing this information actually hurt her, and continues to hurt her.
Racism hurts people in the justice system. Not acknowledging it hurts people even more.
...the RIAA is basically irrelevant in this day and age.
For being irrelevant, they sure do file a lot of lawsuits.
they weren't giving their clients [the RIAA] sound advice. And the record companies were being played for the suckers. Highly 'aggressive' clients are easy prey.
Stockbrokers who churn their clients' accounts are subject to civil and criminal penalties. Is it the same for lawyers who churn the cases of aggressive clients?
We have the First Amendment precisely because blogs like Ray's can exist. He defends democracy against RIAA fascism, and is a true patriot. (Said without irony or sarcasm.)