Thursday, September 13, 2012

No Justice For Carmen-The Chambers Trial Foreman Speaks

Got an interesting comment today from Dennis Heffernan, the creator of the Cretaceous Comments blog

He was the jury foreman on the Alrashim Chambers trial.  Chambers as you know from reading my posts during that period was acquitted in the killing of Victoria Carmen White back in May. 

He reached out to me and wanted to share a blog post of his entitled 'No Justice For Carmen' that recounts what happened during the trial.

Here's an excerpt from it.:.

I will not claim I even pretend to understand the loss, grief and outrage Carmen’s friends and relatives must be feeling.  Likewise for the LGBT community, which has had to once again bear an injustice gone unpunished against one of its own.  In circumstances like these it’s natural to look for someone to blame.  It would be nice to be able to tell you not to blame us, the jury that acquitted Alrashim Chambers, to say that we had no choice.  But as I said I’m a student of philosophy and I can’t say that we had no choice unless there was in fact nothing else we could have done. 

We did have a choice.  In fact we did have to choose.  We had to choose who would be the victim of injustice: either Victoria Carmen White, whose murder would go unpunished, or Alrashim Chambers, who would be convicted despite the lack of sufficient evidence to overcome reasonable doubt.  We chose to keep our oaths as jurors and acquitted the defendant, thus visiting injustice upon Carmen.  If you’re going to be angry at us for doing so that is your prerogative.  All I ask is that you blame us for what we did, not for what we didn’t do.  We weren’t too stupid to understand the case.  We didn’t treat it frivolously.  We weren’t biased against Carmen.  We heard the case, deliberated it and in the end did our duty as specified in the oath we took.  If that makes us the bad guys…I can live with it.

Thanks for writing the post and shedding light on what happed from a juror's point of view.  But I too have served on a jury (an attempted capital murder trial) and understand what can happen in a jury room. 

You can live with that verdict Dennis, but we Black trans women in Essex County and around the country have to deal with the consequences of that verdict and the unspoken 'it's open season on Black trans women' message it sent.   

I'm just sayin'.

1 comment:

Venture said...

Thanks for the reply. I have nothing more to add...I've said my piece here.