One Lawyer's Experience Defending A Black Teen Lays Bare The Criminal Justice System's Flaws

"For reasons I don't understand, I'm *still* in disbelief that this sh*t *still* happens, when I know better."

As prospects for comprehensive criminal justice reform in 2017 looks less promising under a post-Obama presidency, one lawyer's example of the system's deep glaring flaws that disproportionately affect African Americans is even more pertinent than ever. 

Back in February, T. Greg Doucette, a criminal justice reform attorney in North Carolina, laid out in a series of tweets his experience defending a 17-year-old black boy. The teenager had been charged with reckless driving to endanger, which Doucette stated was "very serious" in a tweet. But what actually transpired, according to Doucette, was stunningly different from what the officer who charged him claimed. 

Doucette used the boy's case as an example of how the American criminal justice system profits off of shuttling people, particularly young black men, into the court system, and fosters distrust of law enforcement in African American communities. 


Though this experience took place early this year, not much, if anything at all, has been done on the policy front in tackling the criminal justice system's failings. But reform has become a growing talking point in recent years, thanks to anti-racial policing groups like Black Lives Matter that brought this issue to the forefront of the national conversation. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, too, has spoken up about the court system's racial weakness in jury selection. And under President Obama, the Justice Department is shifting its approach slowly, making moves to ease overcrowded prisons, as well as, crucially, being more proactive in investigating police brutality.  

Cover image via a katz /

(H/T: Fusion)


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