Criminal Justice News, and a Horse Race

Have I mentioned I’m not exactly dealing with this moving to New York thing with stoic Zen equanimity? I’m barely functioning, in fact. I’ve also realized there’s not enough time to move Mahablog to a less expensive host before the next billing cycle.  And I don’t want to be offline when the jury delivers a verdict in the E. Jean Carroll trial. So I’m going to do a fundraiser instead. This is a PayPal link, and soon I’ll have a GoFundMe link up also.

I wanted to say something about Jordan Neely, the homeless man choked to death on a subway on May 1. One of my Facebook friends wrote that when he lived in the Village he used to see Neely on the A Train. He could sometimes be unpredictable but didn’t seem threatening.

This is life in NYC; sometimes you see people arguing with lampposts. On one train I used to ride a lot there would be an older guy who spoke long, nonsensical soliloquies about a teddy bear. In a better world there’d be some services for such people, so that they didn’t have to spend their days using subway cars for shelter. Errol Louis wrote at New York

To be Black, destitute, homeless, and mentally ill in our city is to be one of those outsiders, existing in a kind of internal exile from society’s circle of care and concern.

“I don’t have food, I don’t have a drink, I’m fed up,” Neely screamed in the final minutes of his life, according to Juan Alberto Vázquez, a freelance journalist on the train who recorded the incident. “I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison. I’m ready to die.” It seemed to be a complaint shouted to the heavens, aimed at nobody in particular. Neely “didn’t seem like he wanted to hurt anyone,” Vázquez later said. But the doomed man’s words were sadly accurate about the choices he believed New York offered: prison or death.

Yes, that’s how it is, and everybody knows it.

There’s a video of a Marine veteran named Daniel Perry choking Neely to death. There were several other people on the subway car who saw him do it. “Prosecutors had yet to make a decision on criminal charges in the case, although the city Medical Examiner ruled the death was a homicide,” says Larry McShane at the Daily News. I understand there have been protests. I take it Neely had been arrested in violent episodes in the past, but there is no evidence he was a danger to anyone when he was killed. The hesitation to bring charges is unjustified, from what I see. Somebody needs to step up.

In St. Louis, the circuit attorney (city prosecuting attorney) Kim Gardner resigned effective June 1. I have no personal experience with the St. Louis criminal justice system (thank you), but I have long suspected she was being stonewalled by the St. Louis PD. The state Attorney General who has been trying to get her out is a MAGAt, and I fear he and the governor (aka the Über-Goober) are fixin’ to appoint some other white goober who primarily just wants to cater to gun owners. And I give Gardner credit for getting Lamar Johnson’s conviction overturned.

But it has also been obvious that the St. Louis prosecutor office has been a huge mess. Lately there have been several trials called off because no prosecutor showed up to try them. The attorneys in the office have been resigning wholesale. People who have been victims of terrible crimes can’t get their phone calls returned. Then it turns out that while all this has been going on Gardner has been taking classes at the St. Louis University school of nursing. She says she’s been doing this on her “own time,” and maybe so, but with the crisis her office has been in I can’t imagine she has any “own time.” So it’s a bit hard to defend her.

In other news: Eight false Trump electors have accepted immunity deals, lawyer says, in the Fulton County, Georgia, election interference investigation.

It’s Derby Day. And it’s been 50 years since Secretariat began his Triple Crown run. He still owns the record in all three races.