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Comment Did Jammie get a trial by a jury of her peers? (Score 1) 793

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.

Comment Re:NCYL, the juicy details please! (Score 1) 231

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?

Comment The REAL reason the RIAA is going after Ray (Score 1) 725

The RIAA is going after Ray Beckerman is because they want to shut down his blog. Pure and simple. Recording Industry vs. The People has made it possible for defense lawyers in different jurisdictions to be aware of what the RIAA was doing in the courts, so they could hone their legal arguments and focus on what matters. Without Ray's blog, defense lawyers would have to spend countless hours "reinventing the wheel" in redundant legal research. Against the perverse, well-funded multi-jurisdiction legal campaign by the RIAA, a defense lawyer might have no chance at all, were it not for Ray's blog.

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.)

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