Racial & Criminal Injustice: The Case of the Jena 6 and Its Implications

February 27, 2008

A University of San Francisco Law Justice Forum

Co-Sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild, Black Law Students Association, and the Student Bar Association

Panel discussion in Kendrick Hall Room 100 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Reception to follow in the Terrace Room from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The Jena 6 are six young black men – mostly minors – from rural Jena, Louisiana, who in the winter of 2005 found themselves to be the undeserving scapegoats of a community still heavily influenced by the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow. As a result of the social and racial inequities that pervade the criminal legal system throughout the South and nationwide, these young men were effectively persecuted on trumped up battery charges, and faced with the prospect of adult criminal trials without adequate or fair representation. The charges were brought after the Jena 6 allegedly got into a fight with a white youth in the violence-filled weeks following an incident in which a noose was placed underneath a tree designated for whites only on their high school campus. The mishandling of the case by Jena D.A. Reed Walters drew nationwide criticism about the racially disproportionate severity of the charges and sentences for the Jena 6. Professors and practicing attorneys in the fields of juvenile justice, race law and policy, and American studies will discuss the legal status of the case and its social and political implications within larger struggles among black communities and other communities of color.

Panelists include: USF Law Professors Sharon A. Meadows and Rhonda Magee, USF Politics Professor James Taylor, and S.F. Assistant D.A. Eric Flemming. Dr. Joe Marshall from Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers, invited.

USF Law is located at 2130 Fulton Street at Parker Street. Accessible by the MUNI #5 and 21 lines from downtown S.F.