Thursday, May 22, 2008


Kobe Bryant is the best player to ever lace up sneakers, Yes better than Michael Jordan. First Kobe is playing against better competition. The Chicago Bulls championship run was during one of the weakest periods in NBA history. Remember that Jordan could never get past the Detroit Pistons when the Pistons were in their prime.

Bryant is a better outside shooter, better passer and this year has morphed into a better teammate. He trusts his teammates in way that Jordan never did.

But it is the brilliance of Kobe’s game that has never been seen. Bryant commands every facet of the game, a rare combination of speed, strength and intelligence. He moves on the court with the elegance of virtuoso jazz player, innovating in every move, like Coltrane playing notes in a melody. Jordan overwhelmed opponents with superior athleticism and power. Kobe possesses equal athleticism and power but he is so much more beautiful to watch. There is something sensual about his game.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I continue to find the media’s election night commentary both puzzling and disingenuous. Chris Matthews put the racial element on the table by reporting that 2 out of 10 primary voters in Kentucky told exit polls that race was a major determination in their selection. Matthews went further and stated that a higher percentage of voters shared that view but would never state it to exit pollsters.

Not one commentator on MSNBC would admit that Matthews was correct. Even the African-American commentators like Harold Ford and Eugene Robinson danced around the issue. They acted as if to acknowledge that race is an undeniable trend in the democratic nomination process would cause them a Jerimiah Wright moment.

CNN was much better because of David Gergan, whose honesty and integrity in his analysis of race has been the most refreshing of the political season. He has often brought a clarity on issues of race that you would expect from African-American commentators, the exception being Roland Martin who has been brave in calling out some of the hypocrisy in the media.

I have to believe that the Oboma campaign has factored in that race will be a element in the general election. That is why they have thrown the 2004 democratic electoral strategy out the door. The fact that Oboma is on the verge of winning the democratic nomination says that racial voting among some voters is not fatal.

The greatest service that the media can do for the country is show the courage that Matthews did and just put it out there. This is an extraordinary opportunity for the country to own up to its racial history and its impact on our 21st century democratic process. To do so makes us no less in the eyes of the world. Hilary Clinton and Barack Oboma historic race has given us the moral basis to finally acknowledge our short comings, and despite them we remain the unique democratic experiment in the history of the world.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weeping Mothers

On Monday morning I talked with a client who was captured in Idaho after several days on the run. He allegedly killed his mother-in-law, father-in-law and stepson. After he hung up from me, he went back to his cell and tried to kill himself.

On Tuesday I argued a Motion For Post Conviction Relief that my client had a right to a new trial. Several years ago he went to a club with his friends. While he sat at a bar talking to a young lady, his friends got into a argument and almost came to blows with some other men in the bar. He and his friends then left the club. His friends returned within minutes of leaving and randomly opened fire. One of their bullets struck a innocent 19 year-old bystander killing him. My client was sitting in the car, while the shooting took place. His friends ran back to the car and what took place then is murky.

According to the State my client attempted to run over police officers who had arrived on the scene. According to my client the police randomly opened fire hitting him in the chest and almost killing him and it was only then when the car lounged forward. The State took my client to trial where he was represented by a Public Defender and was convicted of Second Degree Murder. The shooter hired a private attorney and was found guilty of manslaughter. My client was sentenced to life, the shooter got 15 years.

On Wednesday I argued for the life of two clients. One of them who was 35 years old was automatically given life as a third-time habitual offender. I had wept for him weeks earlier –I never weep after a trial- because I felt he was truly innocence of the charges, but my skills had fell short before the jury. There is no greater burden for a criminal defense lawyer than to have a client you believe to be innocent sitting in prison for life.

The other co-defendant was 25 years-old and facing a sentence of 20 to 60 years also as a habitual offender. I argued with passion to the judge not to “throw the young man away” – slang the young hoppers use for life in prison. I argued that 32 percent of young black men will come through the criminal justice system. That we lock up more of our citizens than any industrial nation in the world. I pleaded that I too was once headed for a life of crime, and only by luck did I escape the black man’s mark of carrying convicted felon for life. I argued with all my skills for the judge to give the young man 20 years and a chance at life after prison

The Judge listened patiently and when he began to speak, he acknowledged the power of my words and commended me on my good work at trial. He then recited that my client had been in the gangs since a pre-teen. He had been convicted of a sexual battery on a juvenile, and at trial he had been found guilty of standing on one of the busiest street corners in the city, at ten o’clock in the morning, and fired into a car to kill a useless soul named Donut. Donut wife was in the front passenger seat and his two year-old daughter was riding in the backseat. One of the bullets missed the two year-old head by two inches. The Judge then sentenced my client to 50 years.

A week earlier I had sit on the front porch of a mother and her family who had called me because several days before her son was caught coming out a furniture store at 3 am. The Police officer who had been staking out the store, reported that her son got into his car and tried to run him over. The officer allegedly fired six bullets into the vehicle killing her son. The police waited some 14 hours to notify her and when she arrived at the hospital her son was brain dead. Doctors told her that the fatal bullet was to the back of her son’s head, which would have meant that he was shot while fleeing the scene. The Officer who did the shooting had been involved in two other shootings one fatal and all three incidents allegedly involved a car being used as a weapon. Most police officers go their entire careers without firing their weapons. The Police Chief, who is black, within hours before the Department’s internal investigation had even begun declared the shooting was valid.

This is what I do. I work triage in a war. Only my emergency room is the court room and the wounded of this war are the young black men who are at war with themselves and each other. I rarely save the whole life. I try to turn life into 20 years, 20 years into five, five years into probation.

Over the years I have grown to fear these young men as my grandfather must have feared an encounter with the Klan on a dark highway fifty years ago.

Yet, much of my life the last ten years has been defending them. These young men are not born monsters. We- all of us- raise them to be. We allow their mothers to carry them without proper healthcare. We send them to school hungry and when they become distracted by the hunger in their bellies, or the chaos in their home life, we label them mentally deficient and warehouse them in Special Education. When they enter the Juvenile Justice System there is no real attempt at intervention to remedy the dysfunction that led them into the system in the first place. Instead we begin their rapid mental preparation to spend their lives as a convicted felon or at worst years in prison

While the corporate media is fixated over flags on lapels, or whether Jeremiah Wright loves America, or who loves Israel more, another black male child is being born to a teen-age mother fathered by a worthless soul, who like his father before him will never offer any emotional or financial support. The mother, who was born into dysfunction and will pass it on to the children, will do her best but the social and economic realities of being poor, black, a teenager, and with child will overwhelm her.

One day she will sit on a bench in the back of a court room and weep softly as a judge throws her child away. At the young age of 35 she will take the hand of her grandchild and walk onto the street, she will feel the warmth of the sun on her face and say a prayer in her heart that she will not lose this one.

That evening she will sit in front of her television and in another political race hear commentators ponder on why Candidate A cannot connect with “hard working white voters”. Tears will form in her eyes as she realizes the pains of her life, her children life, her grandchildren life have no place in America’s political dialogue.

What does it say about America that it will allow another generation to grow up in this madness? What does it say about our moral compass that a debate about who wears flag pins is more important than a debate about a genocide that is happening within our own cities?

Maybe history will prove Jeremiah Wright right that God Damns America. We have certainly dammed our inner-cities.

The Silencing Of Jerimiah Wright

I am contemplating the impact of Rev Jeremiah Wright on Barack Oboma's steady march toward the democratic nomination. The fact that Wright has become the latest racial boogey man of the “corporate owned media” as Wright righteously refers to them says more about America and the state of race relations than it does about Wrights’ controversial comments.

I was introduced to Rev Wright’s sermons over a decade ago. I immediately became a follower. His sermons represent the essence of the black theological tradition at its best. Wrights’ combination of intellect, showmanship and natural born talents to preach has no equal. His courage and willingness to speak truth to power, and most importantly put the teaching of Christ to practice in his south side neighborhood by helping ‘the least among us’ went against the trend of wealth theology, now so prominent in many of America’s black mega-churches.

Then a strange and wonderful thing happened. One of his members stood several hundred delegates from capturing the democratic nomination. But then that demented child called race that we keep locked up in our mental attics escaped, and all hell broke loose.

Wright became the Louis Farrakhan incarnate and most damaging he had polluted the mind of the wonder Negro Oboma, and his little brown children too.

What has been done to Wright by Fox News and right wing radio with the tacit complicity of the mainstream media is nothing less than criminal. A who man joined the marines when Dick Cheney and other neo-cons were hiding out at the academy, a man who put to sleep and woke up the President of the United States when he had surgery was painted as unpatriotic. A man who possesses two master degrees, a PHD from the most respected theological school in the world, speaks five languages, is a gifted musician and is one of America’s greatest living biblical scholars was redefined as a demagogue and crucified all because he dared to criticize Rome. The liberal paper of record New York Times called him a racist. Less we forget they called Martin King Vietnam speech a grave “error”

Barack Oboma is a politician. However, I believe him when he says he is outraged by some of Rev. Wright’s comments. I understand that after Wrights latest media tour he will be compelled to further distance himself from Wright. The truth is he should have distanced himself from Wright more forcefully when Wright first became a political issue.

However, Jeremiah Wright has every right to defend himself and his life work as forcefully as he sees fit no matter the cost to Oboma. Wright was in no way actively involved in the Oboma campaign. He was quietly moving toward retirement when the right-wing press drug him into a maelstrom.

Now the white media is telling Wright we can say any god damn thing we want about you and you are required to be silent. If Wright is allowed to be silenced it only reinforces the white supremacist notion that an indigenous black voice from the bottom of the well has no place in our civic discourse. African-American criticism of America’ foreign policy is now deemed to be both deficient and racist.

The call from the talking heads of the corporate media for Wright to stay invisible reeks of hypocrisy One need only to turn on talk radio and you will hear such racist and xenophobic spewing, that it makes one rethink the wisdom of the First Amendment. Never mind that some of America’s most prominent conservative politicians prize a 5 minute interview with the Hannitys and Limbaughs who communicate that filth. But silence reigns among a supposedly shocked corporate media as they participated in the skin game by failing to tell a complete picture of Wright, his good and bad.

No one wants Oboma to be elected President more than me, more than black people in this country. But if the price of electing a black President is the silencing of authentic indigenous voices like Wright then that price is to high.

Each one of us knew that at some point it was going to come to this. America was going to have to confront its racist tendencies. It always does. If not Wright, then it would be some other manufactured issue. But that is okay, to be free of our racist past we had to have our Jeremiah Wright moment.

Several months ago I wrote how hopeful I have become because of Oboma’s candidacy. That hope has only grown. Despite what the corporate media says, THIS RACE IS OVER. However, Oboma has been forced to do the unthinkable, campaign in every state and fight for every vote. Guam’s with just four delegates and its citizens unable to vote in the general election was coveted. This is truly remarkable in that a political party will finally produce a nominee that the whole country and its territories had a say in nominating. And with the whole world watching no less.

So my hope is not dampened by the race baiting of the Wright story. North Carolina and Indiana affirmed that hope. In the end I believe that fifty-one percent of us, of all races, religions, regions, genders, sexual orientation and political parties will choose a new way in the general election. I have hope.

Representing Police Chief Wrongly Indicted

Larry English, Lawyer, City Council, Alexandria Louisiana, Bridget Brown, Contract, Litigation, Louisiana, Claude Williams, Federal Government, Contract, Litigation

The link below is to a news article and video of my representation of an African-American Police Chief in Boyce Louisiana. Chief Claude Williams was indicted by the Federal Government for possession of illegal weapons. Chief Williams had the weapons ,all confiscated legally, as part of his work in teaching safety locks on weapons to school children. His trial is in December 2008.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Interview on Jena Six

Below is link to interview I did on the Jena Six case. Attorney Explains the Legal Side to Jena 6 Case