I love me some Howard Witt, I really do. He is one of the last truly fearless journalist left in A-murder-ca. Anyway, he sent the following article to the Afrospear, and I wanted to share it with you, my fellow field hands and lurkers.
"Tribune correspondent April 6, 2009 HOUSTON - The crime Aaron Hart confessed to was undeniably repellent. Last September, the 18-year-old man was charged with sexually assaulting a 7-year-old neighbor boy behind a tool shed in the small east Texas town of Paris. A relative of the victim said she walked outside and saw Hart with his pants pulled down, standing next to the boy. Police read Hart his Miranda rights and he quickly admitted his guilt. On Feb. 11, Hart's court-appointed attorney entered guilty pleas to each of five related felony counts, a jury recommended multiple sentences and a judge then ruled that the prison terms be served consecutively, for a total of 100 years.
That might have been the end of Cause No. 22924 in the 6th Judicial District Court of Lamar County, Texas-just another dismal criminal case on the docket of an obscure town. Except that now, less than two months after Hart was sentenced, every court official who had a hand in the case seems to agree that he doesn't really belong in prison for what amounts to the rest of his life.That's because Hart is profoundly mentally retarded. He has an IQ of 47, and his parents say he functions at the level of a 9-year-old. The boy he confessed to molesting is mentally retarded as well. What's more, the judge and the jury never heard any expert testimony about Hart's diminished mental functioning, his capacity to understand his Miranda rights or his ability to assist in his own defense, because his defense attorney never subpoenaed any experts. And since he has been in jail, Hart himself has been repeatedly raped, according to his parents. The first assault, allegedly by an inmate who is serving a far shorter sentence of just 8 years for sexual indecency with a child, so disturbed the alleged rapist's mother that she called Hart's parents to apologize.
'I have nightmares thinking about Aaron in prison and how he is going to survive in there,' said Robert Hart, Aaron's 70-year-old father. 'He's the type of kid who his whole life people beat him up, took stuff from him, and he wouldn't defend himself. He can't read or write. He can't hardly talk.' Hart's complex case is threatening to once again bring unwelcome outside scrutiny to the functioning of the criminal justice system in Paris. The town of 26,000 drew national civil rights protests in 2007 following a Tribune report contrasting the judicial treatment of a 14-year-old black girl, who was sentenced to up to 7 years in youth prison for shoving a hall monitor at her high school, with the treatment of a 14-year-old white girl, who was given probation for the more serious crime of arson. More racial tensions erupted last year after the slaying of a 24-year-old black man, allegedly at the hands of two whites. "
Wow, great community that Paris, Texas. Anyway, I hope that all of you will be as equally outraged when I tell you that there was no racial component to this story, and that both the victim and the accused are white. Sorry house Negroes, you can't accuse the field of racism chasing tonight. Nope, tonight I am chasing just plain injustice, and I will be damned if I didn't find it. I don't give a damn if the person being subjected to this injustice is purple yellow or green; this was outrageous, plain and simple. The good folks of Paris, Texas, once again, have some "splaining" to do. But before they start, they might want to read some law books.
On a side note: It looks like our Police Chief apologized to State Rep. Williams for that incident I blogged about yesterday. Now let's see if he fires those two punks.