Law & Disorder

Contra Costa Co Overcharges Black People; Felony Murder Law Imprisons Friends of Victim in Phoenix Police Killing; Plus, State Terror Rounndup

We start today’s show with our ongoing Thursday segment, the State Terror Roundup.

Then, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge David Goldstein ruled on May 23rd that prosecutors have disproportionately charged Black defendants with sentencing enhancements that unfairly target them for life in prison without parole – at about a 40% greater likelihood than non-Black defendants. This court case legally acknowledges what we’ve long-known – that Black people are given heavier charges than others. Joining us to discuss is Evan Kuluk, a deputy public defender with the Contra Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office. He was the lead attorney on the racial dynamic of a court judgment that pokes serious holes in the county’s disproportionate charges against Black people.

Then, we continue to lift up the case of Jacob Harris who was murdered by the Phoenix Police Department four years ago at age 19, as he ran away from them. But Jacob and his family were not the only victims in this tragedy. Jacob’s friends, Johnny Reed and Jeremiah Triplett were in the car with him, witnessed their friend being killed by the police, and then were arrested, charged, and convicted for the murder of their friend under a Felony Murder law, which gives prosecutors the ability to charge people completely uninvolved in a murder as long as they had committed a crime together. In this case, a small robbery led to the killing by police of Jacob Harris, and Jacob’s friends were charged with Jacob’s murder even without any allegations that they participated in violence of any kind. We are joined by Shawanna Chambers, the mother of Johnny Reed, a 14 year old who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in connection to the murder of Jacob Harris, along with Theresa Greene, the mother of Jeremiah Triplet, another of the friends of Jacob Harris who has been sentenced in connection to that murder.

Our Resistance in Residence Artist this week is writer, poet, educator, and Executive Director of Youth Speaks, Michelle “Mush” Lee. Listen to our full length interview with Mush on our podcast (link below)

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