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So now it's ok to kill someone as long as they aren't a citizen?

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AZBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:43 PM
Original message
So now it's ok to kill someone as long as they aren't a citizen?
Some are calling it proof that the justice system works, others, a travesty of justice that sends an "extremely dangerous" message that you can beat an undocumented immigrant to death and get away with it.

Two Pennsylvania teens were acquitted Friday of the most serious charges in the death of Luis Ramirez, who died of blunt force injuries to the head after a physical encounter with the teens turned fatal.

The 25-year-old Mexican immigrant had settled in Shenandoah a year before his death with his wife, a lifelong resident of the faltering mining town, and their young children.

He was walking down a residential street with a friend the night of July 12 when he encountered the group of high school football players.

Prosecutors alleged that Brandon Piekarsky, 17, and Derrick Donchak, 19, baited the Ramirez into a fight with racial epithets, provoking an exchange of punches and kicks that ended with Ramirez convulsing in the street, foaming from the mouth. He died two days later in a hospital.


http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/02/pa.immigrant.beatin...

They got off with assault!
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AllentownJake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. PA is a very odd state
We have this area in the center that is truly scary.

The Prosecution did a really shitty job from what I understand as well.

I'm pretty sure of this though, with the same Jury, if the story was 3 non-white kids killing a white kid all 3 kids would get convicted of the most serious charges and face the toughest sentences.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. Bucking to become the new Texas from what I can tell
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Chovexani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. Welcome to America
Edited on Sat May-02-09 10:50 PM by Chovexani
Where being someone other than a white hetero Christian male means it is open season on you and the law does not give a shit.

This immigration stuff is just the latest excuse. Does not surprise me at all, but I lived in the Phoenix area for almost 3 years and saw the mentality, it's not just in PA. These were the same folk lynching blacks in the 60s (and some of them haven't stopped). A country where somebody like Joe Arpaio not only is not in jail but has a badge and authority is a country where shit like this happens with impunity.

This country is not nearly as enlightened as it pretends to be, and I hope people wake up to that fact.
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
18. The stats don't support your opinion
The largest number of racial hate crimes involved Latino suspects against black victims, followed by black suspects against Latino victims.

Latinos also made up the largest number of suspects in hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Whites were the leading suspects in religion-based incidents.


http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/25/local/me-hatecr...
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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
3. You make it sound like that's something new.
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thunder rising Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
4. Wow...
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Stellabella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
5. That is a really disgusting verdict.
I hope those on the jury are haunted by this decision for the rest of their lives.
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DatManFromNawlins Donating Member (640 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. How do you know?
Did you sit through the trial? Do you know all the facts of the case?

I'm betting both of those answers are no, but here you are, judging the actions of jurors you know nothing about.

Apparently you have no problem whatsoever living with your own personal lack of justice.
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Stellabella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Someone who was beaten up died.
The people who beat him up got off scot free.

If you think that is okay, you are the one who has 'no problem whatsoever living with your own personal lack of justice.'

Go fly a kite.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. No, that poster is right -
You're making assumptions, employing the worst kind of stereotypical thinking, and you obviously don't know the facts.

I grew up in the borough (there is only one "town" in Pennsylvania - Bloomsburg - the term used in the Commonwealth's Charter is "boroughs"), and I followed this case from the beginning.

The prosecutor put on a lousy case, for whatever reasons, and the defense had little to do except to point out - quite rightly - that the prosecutor had never been able to establish, in any way, who delivered the fatal blow. That is the heart of any homicide or manslaughter prosecution, and it was not done.

Given that failing, the jury had no way of doing anything except delivering the verdict they did.

The Feds, I am certain, will intervene, and bring them in on Federal charges. Since the District Court for Easter Pennsylvania is headquartered in Philadelphia, and since Federal charges are much clearly written, and since the jury pool is much different than in Schuylkill County, I would think that the trial or trials would be very interesting ...............................................
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. What would the charges be so that double jeopardy is not invoked?
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Here's one way to understand the concept
of Double Jeopardy:

You can offend two different sovereigns, and, consequently, face two different punishments.

So, since the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania cannot try these kids again on any meaningful charge related to this incident, the Federal government - the other sovereign - is free to treat the matter as a case of first impression.

They can start all over and bring them up on a whole bunch of charges. I'm not a criminal lawyer, but I do know that, while there is no Federal law against murder (unless the victim is a law officer), you can be charged with depriving someone (the victim) os his civil rights, and those penalties are as severe as the penalties for murder in most states.

That's why double jeopardy doesn't attach. They offended the Commonwealth, were tried, and were convicted only of assault.

Now, the Federal government gets its shot at them.

The second sovereign. No double jeopardy.
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:54 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. The usual approach is some sort of civil rights violation...
and call it a hate crime of sorts.

Treasonous the Jailhouse Lawyer





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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. Read my reply - right above yours -
and you'll understand what "double jeopardy" is.

It's not about the charges.

Now you know why you're in the jailhouse, hmmmmm?

:hi:
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:29 AM
Response to Reply #21
27. Yeah, I saw that after I posted, but while I bow to...
your knowledge and the two sovereigns principle, there's Blockberger-- which held that two prosecutions for two statutory offenses arising from the same offense was OK. There's a few more citations, as recent as 1992, but I'll stop there since I'm not a lawyer and don't want to read the entire decisions anyway.

Point is, and we both agree, the Feds can slam dunk these kids if they want to.

Treasonous the Pontificator




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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. I am of mixed minds here as well.
If I aggregate what is out there, it looks like a fight with racial overtones vice a gang jumping a lone individual. The fight was over but after a few more epithets one guy came back for another round and died for it. Not sure that is murder, but then again, its hard to know what the truth is about what happened. I also have to wonder what would have been the verdict if the races had been reversed. The racial epithets are so common from all groups these days that I am seriously wondering if that counts as hate anymore. I'm still disgusted at what happened in the street and in the court, just not sure whom to be disgusted with.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:52 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. I'm disgusted with the prosecution.........
They put on a thin, shabby, shoddy case, and left it wide open for the defense to invoke the reality that "reasonable doubt" as to who delivered the fatal blow (or kick), so the jury's instructions were thus fashioned, and the jury had no choice but to deliver the verdict they did.

Really, really bad prosecution.

The Feds, and I'm betting they'll go after this one, will do a better job....................
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:46 AM
Response to Reply #17
29. Here I have problem-- in Texas, the Law of Parties...
allows pretty much anyone involved in a homicide to be charged with Murder 1 and often it's the last guy on the list with nothing left to trade who gets stuck with the needle. That's bad, and I know some Texans pushing to change that part of the law. Georgia and a few others have similar laws and I remember cases where the shooter got off with a light sentence but some other poor slob gets the noose.

But, just what do you do when you don't know who issued the fatal kick, but they all had their licks in. What does PA law say to do-- they all have some responsibility for the death, but does the law allow them all to share the blame or insist only one can be the murdered, and the rest are accomplices. Could they all be tried on lower charges, like manslaughter?

When building a case, a prosecutor always has a number of options, and I wonder how one would present a case like this.





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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. Murder 1???
That's a very hard charge to stick, premeditated murder. You've got to prove an awful lot. Did you maybe mean just "murder"?

When you don't know who delivered the fatal kick, you adjust your charges. In this case, a manslaughter charge might have been more appropriate, but, even with that, it would still have been incumbent upon the prosecution to bring forth testimony, either direct or circumstantial, of who did what. Without that, your case - on a murder charge - collapses.

You're talking about felony murder, but there was no condition precedent felony taking place. That's what's required for a felony murder charge - where only one does the actual act of killing, but all are charged as if they each did it. That concept doesn't hold in this case.

They can't be tried for manslaughter or any lesser offense in Pennsylvania, not ever again. Jeopardy attached. It's over on the Commonwealth level...............................
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:08 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. Whatever gets you death in those states...
sometimes it could be a lesser charge-- they like to execute people in Texas, and it doesn't take all that much. I've heard it called the "Heiniousness Rule" where a crime is so bad SOMEONE has to fry for it, and they are not particular who it is.

Anyway, from my discussions with a few defense attorneys, both sides make their choices pretty much working the odds on what will work best for them-- almost like on TV. I have no idea what in PA law the choices could have been, but the DA seems to have made some bad ones. And the defense may have been a bit better than he was used to.













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TheMadMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #30
37. No, a shared manslaughter is not the way to go.
And even Murder 1 is on the table in this case since the killers' "side" forced the encounter. That's premeditation. And their actions had an appreciable chance of causing death, with them knowing that the chance such an outcome was appreciable. That takes care of murder. All involved parties could have been successfully prosecuted for Murder 1.


Who actually delivered the fatal blow should never come into question in cases like this, else this argument be made and worse, a gang gives a scientific kicking to a victim and when they judge him to be "within an inch of his life" all take a kick on the count of three and then challenges the court to prove which of them did it.

All gang/in company attacks should be treated as if they were committed by a single entity. What one member warrants as a result of his actions, all members warrant if they choose to join in. Even unto the point where simply being a cheerleader can earn a spot on death row.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #37
39. Well, I can't see premeditation being taken seriously
when you have drunk teenagers. No, that would never work. It's not an applicable charge in the instant circumstance.

And, the essence of the case was who delivered the fatal blow. Only one person could cause the death - it's not a thing done by committee, not according to American jurisprudence.

Your interpretation of the law is interesting, but wildly off the mark. Your last paragraph is trying to force the concept of felony murder onto this case, and, sorry, but it just doesn't fly ...............
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Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:05 PM
Response to Original message
7. It's a very good thing I don't live in Pennsylvania...
I would probably do something inordinately stupid.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. You'd be the only one ...............
My friend who still has family living in Shenandoah told me that there were no celebrations, no outpourings of any kind. The State Police were on alert, but nothing happened.

Would it surprise you to know that the majority of the borough's residents are sick and upset by this verdict? They are. A small group - just like anywhere else - of thugs and bigots do not define an entire community.

Good people live there. I know, because I grew up there, and my roots are still quite loving about the place............................
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TheMadMonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #12
38. So why the fuck are the thugs in charge?
And that question goes for all of the USA. "Not our thugs" just does not cut it when those thugs were permitted to steal at least two elections for what is arguably the single most powergful post in the world, outright and, as an absolute certainty, a hell of a lot of lesser races to boot.

The past eight years (at least) are bleak testimony to the fact that there are so many nutjobs in the USA primed and ready to hate that such thefts are at all possible.

AND that there are that many willfully ignorant, that such nutjobs fail to be even a blip on the threat radar to the average "American".


FOR FUCKS SAKE. Anything which migh serve to profit one American does not automagically translate into a profit to all Americans. Nor does putting an "unearned dollar" into the hands of a "welfare queen" auomatically translate into a loss for everyone. And yet with the right buzzwords to prod him, this is exactly how the "Average American Voter" will mark his ballot. Convince him of two things that "there but for the grace of "bog" goes I" and "He's not dipping into *MY* hip pocket" and the "Average America Voter" will cheerfull hold the razor to his own throat and draw it across.

I've just about had it up to here with the "That's not the real America(/n)" excuses. If those are the people who call the shots on how America behaves, then suck it up and fucking fix it. So long as that is what America does, that *IS* what the real fucking America is.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #38
40. While you're flipping out,
you might want to stop and take a deep breath and tell me that there's no crime in Australia.

None. No killings, no gangs, nothing bad every happens there.

How did Australia come into being, by the way? Oh, right. Does the phrase "penal colony" mean anything to you?

Before you bloviate your anti-American nonsense, you might stop and consider that you're doing over a phrase that no one used, no one expressed - "That's not the real America." You're manufacturing a reason for your pseudo-outrage.

Blow it out your ass until you know what you're talking about .......................
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
8. As long as you're white.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. The whole county is white .................
Check the demographics. Schuylkill County is 99% white. The 1% that is non-white is mostly comprised of transients who are not citizens, therefore not registered to vote, therefore not eligible for jury duty.

The jurors had to obey the judge's instructions, and the prosecution was so weak, and they followed the jury instructions and found correctly, according to the rules.

Very bad prosecutor. Very, very bad.

The Feds will do a much better job. These kids are far from out of the woods, believe me, and the people of Shenandoah are pulling for the Feds..........................
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:57 PM
Response to Original message
20. Wait...4 defendants and 1 victim.
Edited on Sun May-03-09 12:25 AM by flvegan
Yeah, okay. Stay classy, Schuylkill County prosecution team.

Oh, and a fatal kick to the head when a man is down...sort of like shooting someone in the back.

Fuckers.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. You're talking about my home town -
If you're interested, check out my posts here in this thread.

You're making assumptions without information. That's not good .....................
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. Not my intent.
And I'll edit my post to reflect that.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:21 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. No, no, don't do that ............
It was an excellent example - and I do not mean this in any kind of disparaging way, honestly - of how we can get carried away with our preconceived - and often ill-informed - notions about a place about which we know nothing.

We have to watch ourselves with this - otherwise, we use stereotypes, and, if we do that, we're freepers in prettier dresses..............

And, thanks ..................
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #20
25. Actually,
and I'm laughing now, it's the "Schuylkill County prosecution team."

But who's counting?

:toast:
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:27 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. Second edit.
Jeez, can I just delete my entire post with a no-harm-no-foul message.

Honestly, my intent was towards those involved with this travesty of justice, not a particular municipality nor the citizens of same.

Shit, I live in Florida, so I should be better at this.
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:41 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. CNN just had a bit about the trial -
a phone interview with the woman representing Ramirez's family - she's with the group that was present through the investigation and the trial.

When the TV guy asked her about the community, she went out of her way to say how many wonderful and outraged people she'd met in Shenandoah were, how they had all been so kind and willing to help an outsider. I was awfully glad to hear that.

It's not the community - it's a horrible thing that happened, done by kids, high school football players - and, by the way, I compared the pictures of those boys when they were first arrested, back in September, and yesterday, and the two are considerably smaller, almost puny, so I suspect there were steroids at work there, and who knows what part "'roid rage" played in the attack? - who were obviously raised to hate.

It could happen anywhere, but thank you for listening. I just think it's an object lesson in leaping to conclusions, something that's deadly to all of us, since it blinds us to the facts, and that's never good.

Thanks...............
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:11 AM
Response to Original message
32. Two words, WHITE JURY
two more words if the Feds get involved, and I hope they do... jury nullification

This happened in the south until the feds got involved, REGULARLY
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #32
33. You are wrong -
You don't know the area, and you're leaping to a completely erroneous conclusion. Clearly, you didn't read about the trial, and have no knowledge of what went on.

I've posted a lot here about the trial, since the murder took place in the borough where I was born and grew up. I followed it on a daily basis.

Ill-informed conclusions and stereotypical thinking like yours is a fearsome thing. Before you make accusations, you really should know what you're talking about.

Perhaps if you read the posts here, you'd learn something and realize how foolish your post is.................
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:33 AM
Response to Original message
34. And apparently...
....you're automatically the innocent victim if you're not a citizen, or a Latino, or a black person if I'm reading most of the posts on this thread correctly.

I don't know who was more "right" or more "wrong" in this case, but I have a lot more faith in the collective judgement of the 12 American adults who actually listened to the evidence presented in this case and concluded that these teens had not been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt than in the knee-jerk conclusions of many here.
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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:51 AM
Response to Original message
35. The county district Attorney said it was a bad case - they lacked evidence.
The jury simply decided there was not enough evidence for certainty beyond a reasonable doubt especially regarding who delivered the fatal blow.

mark
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 06:43 AM
Response to Original message
36. some places in the usa it`s ok to kill american citizens and walk away
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 09:25 AM
Response to Original message
41. The US is quite a violent place given it is not a real war zone.
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d_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
42. There has to be another way to serve justice...


hmm...
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