Thursday, June 04, 2009

Quote for the Day

It is a trick among the dishonest to offer sacrifices that are not needed, or not possible, to avoid making those that are required. Ivan Goncharov, novelist (1812-1891)

This reminds us of the long list of community service efforts and bar association honors which Judge Alfred Butzbaugh has accumulated. However, all are in conflict, ethically and morally, with his direct participation in the Berrien County Courthouse where it's routine for all-white juries to convict African-Americans from Benton Harbor. With great ease, he presides over these convictions.

Approximately three years ago, the court was observed and studied by the NY ACLU. It was also visited by an author researching a book which explores American courts where judges, prosecutors, and defenders cooperate and work together (otherwise known as being in bed together). In both of these instances, the visitors to the Berrien court were appalled, and had similar comments indicating they had never before seen this level of corruption.

U of M researchers have stated that the innocent and juvenile convictions are at the highest rate in Michigan in this courthouse, or at least very close to the top of the list. Other observers report witnessing consistent injustice by judges toward Benton Harbor African Americans. Benton Harbor residents have reported police misconduct, harrassment, drug planting, and other abuses going back years. Atty. Hugh Davis's remarks on this are worth reading again: