Steve Bright is searingly brilliant.
He's a practicing lawyer, a law professor, a passionate advocate for the poor, for people of color, for those dispatched from society either to the netherworld of prison or to the execution chamber. He is president and senior counsel of the Southern Center for Human Rights. He's one of the sung heroes, and deservedly so.
And he's now the "publisher" and at least occasional author of a blog, Second Class Justice.
Here's how he describes what SCJ is all about.
SecondClassJustice.com is about ending the unfair and discriminatory treatment of people in the criminal justice system by documenting that treatment. Contrary to the constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws and the etching “Equal Justice Under Law” on the Supreme Court building, the kind of justice people get in America’s courts depends very much upon the amount of money they have. Poor people are deprived of their liberty – and even their lives – because they cannot afford competent legal representation. The rich and guilty often have a better chance of avoiding conviction than those who are poor and innocent.
Race matters too. The criminal justice system is the part of society least affected by the Civil Rights Movement. Race influences every aspect of the system from arrest and charging decisions to the exclusion of people of color from juries to sentencing disparities influenced by race of both victim and defendant.
Courts are failing in their fundamental purpose to protect the constitutional rights of the accused. Elected state court judges are often more concerned about the next election than the Bill of Rights. Federal courts apply technicalities – procedural rules made up by the Supreme Court and the Congress – to avoid enforcing the Constitution more often than they confront injustices presented to them. In addition, the courts simply refuse to recognize racial discrimination that is before them.
This page documents examples of second class – and sometimes third world – “justice” for the poor and people of color in the hope that knowlege will someday overcome the indifference, hostility and racism that have affected the criminal justice system throughout America’s history, and bring about a just, fair, humane and reliable system.
Go there now. Check it out.