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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

God Wears a Robe - Part 1

By: Donald V. Watkins

© Copyrighted and Published on January 19, 2020

Justice should be fair, impartial, and colorblind. In America, it is not.

One of the last and largest bastions of white supremacy in America is the federal criminal justice system. Comprised of law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, and probation officers, the federal criminal justice system incarcerates black men at six times the rate of white men. It incarcerates black women at nearly double the rate of white women. Overall, blacks make up 13% of the nation's population, but account for 37.5% of the federal prison population.

Are black men six times more likely to commit federal crimes than white men? Of course not. Is America's black population three times more likely to engage in crime than its white population? No. What is true is that the federal criminal justice system is rooted in deep-seated racism against people of color.

The trend of using the criminal justice system to terrorize the black community dates back to the era of slave codes, which severely punished blacks under color of law for any and every act that attempted to recognize their humanity. In the 1857 Dred Scott case, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that blacks in America -- whether freed or slaves -- had no rights that white men were bound to respect.

When Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, it gave federal and state judicial systems the power to perpetuate slavery and indentured servitude as long as this inhumane status was used in punishment of a crime. Not surprisingly, this loophole in the Thirteenth Amendment has been aggressively used by state and federal prosecutors and judges to drive the mass incarceration of blacks as a political and racial agenda.

The reign of racial terror conducted by the federal criminal justice system against African-Americans and other "undesirables" was first documented by Congress in the 1976 Church Committee Report on COINTELPRO activities. This formal FBI program, which operated on a centralized basis from Washington, D.C. from 1956 to 1971, targeted black civil rights activists and other dissidents for neutralization. FBI agents, federal prosecutors, and cooperating federal judges railroaded blacks on trumped up federal charges in an effort to destroy their credibility in the white and black communities.

When the formal COINTELPRO program ended, FBI field offices in the South continued COINTELPRO activities unabated to this day. The official and unofficial versions of COINTELPRO have been hugely successful because highly intelligent and more polished white supremacists have been able to quietly and surreptitiously infiltrate the ranks of law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' offices, and judgeships to carry out this racist agenda.

This exclusive five-part series of articles exposes the nature and scope of the federal judiciary's embedded racism, as illustrated by the criminal cases of three prominent alleged "first-time offenders" -- Isaac Culver, Christopher Pitts, and Dr. Donatus Mbanefo. All of these men are black; all of them are the victims of impermissible selective prosecution; all of them are imprisoned; and all of them are actually innocent of the charges for which they have been convicted. In each case, the prosecution was driven by a modern-day COINTELPRO racial and political agenda. In each case, the trial judge betrayed his sworn duty to guarantee a fair and impartial trial. In each case, there was a complete failure of justice.

Federal Prosecutors and Judges

At the outset, we must all understand that the titles "prosecutor" and "judge" are no different than the titles "electrician" or "plumber." Federal prosecutors and judges are simply attorneys who are paid to do a job. There is no magic that happens when these individuals enter their offices (courtrooms); they simply go about performing their designated duties.

Every modernized society has abolished the prosecutor's favorite tool, the grand jury, including England, which is the original source for most U.S. laws. The reason for abolishing the grand jury is because it ultimately became a mechanism by which prosecutors got to "tar and feather" defendants before trial.

In the U.S., federal grand juries are often empanelled without the designated "target" of the investigation being notified. Likewise, the "target" has no idea of who is sitting on the grand jury. It could very well be an ex-girl or boyfriend. It could very well be someone with whom the targeted person has had a past altercation.

The grand jury is a one-sided affair in which prosecutors simply present whatever evidence they would like the grand jury to consider with absolutely no challenges to its truth or veracity. Because the grand jurors have no idea of their job or the power they could potentially wield, they do not realize they can subpoena witnesses, they can demand to hear and consider exculpatory evidence that exonerates the "target," and that prosecutors are merely "guests" in the grand jury room who can be excused from their presence at will. It is the grand jurors, not the prosecutors, who are "in charge" of the proceedings.

As described by author Eddie Curran in his 2009 book titled, "The Governor of Goat Hill" (at page 491), U.S. Attorneys lead the 93 offices of federal lawyers who prosecute crimes and represent the government in civil matters. For the most part, U.S. Attorneys are "political hacks." Very few of them won an appointment to office on the basis of competence or merit. Many of them were active campaign operatives for the successful presidential candidate. Some of them are diehard racists, particularly in a couple of the Deep South states.

Federal judges are selected by a group of elite members of the local community for which they are to serve a lifetime appointment. The presidential appointment is only a token administrative gesture. The community group recommends to their district congress members the attorney they would like sitting on the bench. Since this appointment is made for life, the list of misdeeds of these judges is well-documented and never ending. For example, there are federal judges who sleep with prosecutors, law clerks, and courtroom bailiffs in clandestine relationships, those who hold court while high on drugs or intoxicated, those who surrender control of their courtrooms to prosecutors and powerful political figures, those who beat their wives, those who take bribes and payoffs, and those who are nothing more than shameless political hacks.

To be clear, there are some fair-minded and decent federal judges who work hard every day to make sure the scales of justice in their courtrooms are balanced and colorblind. Unfortunately, their numbers are dwindling each year.

Sadly, when these people are appointed to judgeships for life, they feel and act like gods. Maybe the U.S. Supreme Court judgeships require a lifetime appointment, but there is simply no justification for thousands of attorneys to be appointed as gods to district and appellate-level courts. There are simply too many of them to closely monitor their behavior.

This self-perpetuating political patronage system creates a breeding ground for charging, trying, and convicting innocent people, particularly defendants of color. Even when these convictions are overturned (which occurs many years later), the victims of these miscarriages of justice have already suffered irreparable harm and they have absolutely no recourse against the racist prosecutors and judges in their cases because these culprits have immunity from lawsuits that is granted to them under federal law.

Tomorrow, we will expose the "Judicial Lynching of Isaac Culver" in "God Wears a Robe" - Part 2.

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