Hutchinson: Juv Court “No Bargain” for Bell

Earl Ofari Hutchinson has some good commentary on DA Reed Walters’s decision, following Governor Blanco’s request, to abandon his plan to take the Third Court of Appeals decision on Mychal Bell’s case up to the Louisiana Supreme Court. Instead he will, in all likelihood, retry Bell in juvenile court. This may sound like progress, Hutchinson notes, but given what passes for justice in Louisiana’s juvenile courts, it’s not. The juvenile justice system in Louisiana, he explains, is “a broken, flawed, repressive system that emphasizes punishment, and not rehabilitation for teens.”

A few weeks ago, when Bell’s conviction was vacated, lead counsel Louis Scott drew on a football metaphor to explain what had happened. “We started the game down by a touchdown and a field goal,” he told the New York Times. “On September 4 [the day Bell’s charges were reduced] we got the field goal. Today, we got the touchdown. Now, we get to start the game all over again.” The good news is that Bell will head into this “new game” with a much stronger defense and a national audience watching to make sure the refs are calling it fair.


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