June 2, 2007

Justice or Just-Us: ShaQuanda Cotton

We have asked the question before -- do we really care about our children? -- here in the Electronic Village. I have three children and I know that I need to do better. My children are African American and subject to the nonsense that exists in our country at times. I see that a Texas appellate court let stand the conviction of this Black teenager from the small east Texas town of Paris.

You may recall the case of ShaQuanda Cotton. She was convicted and sentenced for shoving a hall monitor at school. Her sentence of seven years in youth prison for pushing a hall monitor at her high school provoked national criticism and fueled allegations of racial discrimination in the town's schools and courts. Some judges in Texarkana denied the 16-year-old's appeal of her conviction for assault on a public servant and turned aside her claim that she received ineffective assistance from her defense lawyer at her trial in juvenile court before Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville.

"It's not right, it's not fair that Shaquanda has to go around with this felony conviction," Creola Cotton (ShaQuanda's mother, shown with her daughter in the photo) said. "I am just sick over this, I really am."

Fortunately, the appeals court decision has no immediate impact on ShaQuanda, who was ordered released in late March by a special conservator in charge of the state's juvenile justice agency after she had served one year of her sentence. Her case rose to national prominence after it was actively discussed in the Afroshpere. One of the ironies was that three months before ShaQuanda, who was 14 at the time of the shoving incident, was sentenced to prison, Judge Superville saw fit to place a 14-year-old white girl convicted of the more serious crime of arson on probation.

Villagers, it seems to me that we have another Black child charged with a criminal offense that is totally out of line with the incident. Another Black child placed into the criminal just-us system. In my view, the Paris school district should have never let a minor school incident escalated into criminal charges of this magnitude. And the district attorney and others involved in the case should be ashamed of themselves.

It appears that the public school administrators and the criminal just-us system do not have our children's best interest at heart. So, we have to each do a better job. I have to be a better father and parent so that my children don't get caught up in this nonsense.

How about you? How do you respond to the question --> Do We Really Care About Our Children?


Edward Padgett said...

This is a case of injustice and nothing less than in justice, this young lady should have been expelled from the school and nothing more. Unfortunately, this story did not make the mainstream media across our land, this is the first time I have heard of this case.

We constantly hear the land of the free in the media, but free for whom? The propaganda we are fed daily is meant to keep everyone divided; otherwise we would all band together to make changes in the right directions.

Three weeks ago as my girlfriend and I stopped at a mini-mart in El Segundo for smokes, as I returned to the car, the police had my girlfriend outside my car questioning her; she’s a beautiful black woman. My girlfriend enjoys driving my SL500, so she was behind the drivers seat as I stepped into the mart. When I questioned the white officers on what the problem could be, they stated she had thrown trash from the car onto the private parking lot of the store, and then released us. As we backed out of the parking stall, no trash could be seen, and Debi told me she threw nothing from the car. Could this be another case of DWB (driving while black) or did the officers have nothing better to do than harass a black woman?

I hope this was not too far off topic, I wanted to share this experience with everyone in the blogosphere, thank you.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you raise the idea of being a better parent so that your children don't get caught up in this sort of thing speaks volumes for the excellent job you must already be doing. Educating them about the injustices they may face will help them deal with them.

I find injustices such as the one you outline outrageous. Congratulations on doing your bit to raise awareness.

Last night on a local Australian current affairs TV show a report was aired dealing with "Justice Texas Style". The report highlighted a number of capital cases where the court appointed defense lawyer slept through most of the Court proceedings. Needless to say the individual was convicted.

Your use of the term "just-us" would appear justified.

Foofa said...

I think WE care about OUR children very much. The larger question is does the "establishment" care about them? Unfortunately I don't think they do. I would argue that the majority or parents, even bad parents, want the best for their children. They may not know how to give them the support that they need. to succeed.

Eddie G. Griffin said...

We must always stay in control of our institutions or our institutions will turn around and take control of us (let alone disregard the rights of our children). How in the world can a public school system become so hostile to one segment of the public? And, how can public servants (DAs and judges) turn against the public interest of minorities? We allow it by not challenging it.

Believer said...

People are prejudice, and they tried to use this circumstance to send a message. Unfortunately, it was the wrong message! A commitment to do community service and a good talking to what have sufficed. Really! Still, this struggle, which was "added" to her life, will be used for good.

Unknown said...

Ed - Thank you for sharing the recent experience of your girlfriend. DWB resonates in the Black community. I am very conscious of traffic laws when I drive because I sincerely believe that I'm more likely to be stopped than others. Anyhow, thanx again for visiting our village!

Coach - Thanx for your kind words and your insights on capital punishment. I haven't talked about it on my website, however, I'm not in favor of the death penalty ... mainly because I think it is used disproportionately against African Americans in this country.

peace, Villager

Unknown said...

Natalie - Very good observation! I agree with your assessment of the 'establishment' view of OUR children.

Eddie - I wonder when we will learn the importance of controlling our own institutions? What will it take for us to learn?

Rosemarie - I hope you are right. I hope that young Ms. Cotton turns this obstacle into a positive opportunity for her growth as a person.

peace, Villager

Yobachi said...

You know they're just trying to lock us up as fast as they can. Any exscuse will do. They need more criminals in order for For Profit Prisions to succeed.

The Industrial Prision Complex is the new slave trade, and just like then when they need labor to make their capitalistic system run they went got blacks, likewise they're doing the same now.

They're even carting off 5 year olds in hand cuffs.

Unknown said...

Yobachi - The issue of prisons is a big one where I live in Cincinnati OH. There is a large battle in the political realm about funding a new prison in the middle of town. Your points are well taken and I appreciate you taking time to visit us here on the Electronic Village! Can you share more about the 5-year olds being carted off in handcuffs?

peace, Villager

Yobachi said...


This article should shed some light on the child handcuffing incidents: http://www.blackcommentator.com/137/137_fr_five_year_old.html

hottnikz said...

I remember reading about this a while ago and I was wondering what happen to her but I couldn't remember the name for Google.If there was more media coverage I think that would have remembered her name. But trust, I did not forget her struggle. Just like that black woman in I think was in Florida that went missing, no one heard about her, but we sure heard all about that white woman that went missing up to the minute they found her. Did they find that Florida woman? I'll try google later.

Getting to the question do we care about our children? Yes WE do but THEY do not, as clearly shown in Texas. I say we rescue our peeps from Texas and burn that sh!t down,lol. Just playing, but it gotta be an place that spawns evil. Crazy racist sh!t seems to happen there all the time. Ain't that where Bush is from?

Unknown said...

Hottnikz - Thanks for your comments. You're on point. Let us know what you find out about the sister in Florida...

peace, Villager

hottnikz said...

Her name is Stepha Henry, and they haven't found her as of yet. She is from New York but was in Florida visiting. America's most wanted aired something on her on June 30th, and she as a profile page on their site.

The latest article I could find is here.

hottnikz said...