The Ethics Meltdown Of Elie Mystal Continues

Surprise! This isn't MY head exploding. It's Elie Mystal's!

Surprise! This isn’t MY head exploding. It’s Elie Mystal’s!

“Above the Law”‘s Elie Mystal has crossed over from being a provocative, if often emotion-driven and unprofessional, legal news analyst to being an Angry Black Man for whom law and justice is tangential. As Ethics Alarms covered here, Mystal already has proclaimed that the existence of a single intransigent juror who hung the jury in the Michael Slager trial proves that whites are incapable of race-blind justice. In his latest stage of racist fury, Mistal now wants black jurors to sabotage the justice system.

“Black people lucky enough to get on a jury could use that power to acquit any person charged with a crime against white men and white male institutions. It’s not about the race of the defendant, but if the alleged victim is a white guy, or his bank, or his position, or his authority: we could acquit. Assault? Acquit. Burglary? Acquit. Insider trading? Acquit.Murder? … what the hell do you think is happening to black people out here? What the hell do you think we’re complaining about when your cops shoot us or choke us? Acquit. Don’t throw “murder” at me like it’s some kind of moral fault line where the risk of letting one go is too great. Black people ARE BEING MURDERED, and the system isn’t doing a damn thing to hold their killers accountable. Sorry I’m not sorry if this protest idea would put the shoe on the other foot for a change.”

You can read the rest; it’s all like this. Mystal is bonkers. There’s no reasoning or fairness in his screed. He’s just fulminating, growling and slobbering like a rabid dog. It’s sad. Nobody can take anyone who expresses this kind of irrational hate as a response to frustration seriously. He’s not accurate, he’s not truthful, he’s not responsible. He has left law and logic so far behind he may never work his way back to them.

I’ll touch on just a few splashes of Mystal’s projectile hate-vomit:

African-Americans live in a world where the police can murder us and get away with it. Walter Scott proved that, for anybody who still had a lingering doubt. There is no justice for black people.

One juror, whose motives Mystal cannot know, hung a jury. That’s proves to Ellie that there is no justice for black people. No wonder this guy just writes for a legal dish site. He couldn’t practice law if this is an example of his reasoning.

 White juries regularly refuse to convict or indict cops for murder. White juries refuse to convict vigilantes who murder black children.

Guess what he’s referring to? Trayvon Martin! This is a pundit who accepts false narratives and employs them as authority! Later, he says,

“White people aren’t willing to indict a cop for choking a black man to death in broad daylight.”

Eric Garner? Who wasn’t “choked to death,” where the officers involved definitely didn’t want to kill him, where he wasn’t just a black man but a morbidly obese black man in terrible health, and where the city has already paid millions in damages to his family, which society regards as a large measure of justice when there is gross negligence but not malice.

My issue is with the purported “victim.” Minorities are victims of police brutality in this country, and there aren’t enough white citizens willing to do a damn thing. I no longer see why minorities should be expected to help white victims achieve the justice they so regularly deny people of color.

Exit ethics. This is an endorsement of Rationalization#2 A. Sicilian Ethics, or “They had it coming, ” the law of chaos. It is also, of course, a vile racist insult that in its color-reversed form would get any writer canned from any publication not run by “Chimpmania.”

This is something that intellectual black people with legal training talk about. Honestly, what the hell do you expect us to do? How do white people think we’re supposed to react when we watch cops murder us and get away with it, over and over and over again? We’re just supposed to take it? Wait for America to produce nicer white people? The options for black America in the face of this state-sponsored injustice seem pretty limited.

This is about all I can take. I would say that I expect Elie to grow up, but I don’t. He’s child throwing a fit, he’s incoherent, and if I were working in an office with him, I’d be watching him closely, with an eye on the nearest exit, or blunt object. His characterization of the justice system is demonstrably false, based on sensational and high visibility cases only, and so soaked with his own racial bias and hate that it defies orderly rebuttal.

The only possible reason Above the Law would keep him on is for click-bait. Maybe when he calls for African-Americans to slaughter whites in their beds, the site will decide he’s gone too far.

Meanwhile, he’s a hateful racist and an incompetent, irresponsible journalist. I was asked if he could be disbarred for this rant. No, lawyers still have freedom of speech. But Harvard Law School must want to legally change its name to have graduated a lawyer with this little comprehension of, ethics, law, society, race…this is how Donald Trump reasons. To think that at the college he graduated with the same major I did. So much for THAT credential. Time for a correspondence course.

I won’t be visiting “Above the Law” again until it does the responsible thing and fires Elie Mystal. Whatever he had, he’s lost it. When you resort to full-force destructive hate and incitement, lying as you do it, declaring, as a lawyer, that the legal system needs to be destroyed, you have no business writing legal commentary. You have officially become part of the problem you’re shouting about. These issues require thoughtful, objective analysis. Elie Mystal’s analysis has deteriorated into a declaration of war on peace, law, and society.

36 Comments

Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Race

36 responses to “The Ethics Meltdown Of Elie Mystal Continues

  1. Other Bill

    A side point:

    From the Washington Post: A letter sent by a juror last week during deliberations suggested that there may have been a lone holdout separating Michael Slager, the white officer, from a guilty verdict. But Dorsey Montgomery, the jury’s foreman, said that nearly half the jurors were essentially undecided at that point about whether Slager should be convicted of killing Walter Scott, a black motorist, after a traffic stop last year.

    “We had one individual who was just deadlocked that he wasn’t changing,” Montgomery said during an interview Thursday morning on the “Today” show. “But yet we had five other individuals who were undecided.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/12/08/several-jurors-in-walter-scott-shooting-case-were-undecided-on-verdict-foreman-says/?utm_term=.f66fe155cc0a

    I believe the jury foreman is a black man, but I’m not sure.

    • He’s the only black man. Undecided mean you keep deliberating. Nothing wrong with that, though in this case…well, who knows. A single juror who swears he isn’t changing makes it a hung jury.

      • Other Bill

        A wild guess. The retrial will result in a manslaughter conviction.

        • Other Bill

          Just guessing but there must have been something in the pre-video portion of the encounter that gave a, or some, juror(s) pause.

          • zoebrain

            And your evidence for this is….? Do we have a transcript?

            We know what the unedited video shows. We know the suspect’s written report bears no relation to the facts, it’s a tissue of obvious lies.

            There may be something the video doesn’t show, and that the suspect’s report doesn’t contain, and that the eyewitnesses didn’t see. But that is conjecture, whose only justification appears to be that that is what would be required for the suspect to be not guilty. Unless of course Elie Mystal’s more likely but still not even remotely proven conjecture is correct.

            We’ll see after the next few mistrials.

          • There is nothing short of Scott proving that he could shoot a death ray out of his ass that would justify shooting him while he was fleeing.

            • zoebrain

              That’s your opinion, Jack. Obviously others disagree. There are those who believe the police can do no wrong ( okay, probably at least as many who believe they can do no right). There are those who believe that if a suspect is black, then he must be guilty, of something anyway, or will be guilty of something in the future, so deserves whatever he gets.

              There are also those who believe that no police shooting of a black american is ever justifiable.

              The point is, that there are enough fanatic law’n’order types, and not to be too blunt, enough nigger hating racists in society generally that the system is in grave danger of buckling, if it hasn’t already in certain locales.

              Now onto the really dangerous stuff:

              For the price of, what, 50 – 100 extra “guilty” people walking free (in all of NEW YORK CITY), you could change the calculus around the dispensation of justice in New York City.

              It wouldn’t stop there though, even if such a thing was deemed acceptable “for the greater good”. After 50, or 100, or 150, or 150,000, why should this policy be discontinued? It was fostered in an atmosphere of distrust and hatred, and the distrust and hatred will still be there, and very likely increased not decreased. The social contract once torn up is not easy to renew.

              It’s Samson pulling the Temple down, that’s the best case. In such a case of Anarchy, those who thrive are the warlords and thugs, the ones with both guns, ammunition, and a complete lack of conscience and empathy.

              Restoring civilisation after its been wrecked like that isn’t easy, and may not be possible.

              There’s also the matter that this policy is wrong. Not just foolish, and not considering anything but short term consequences, but morally wrong, if the word “morality” is to have any meaning.

              Those who fight monsters must beware they don’t become monsters thereby. Yet again… I hope that I never fall into that abyss, as Elie Mystal has. As many have.

              • “The point is, that there are enough fanatic law’n’order types, and not to be too blunt, enough nigger hating racists in society generally that the system is in grave danger of buckling”

                It certainly is not. This is also “fake news.” The facts just don’t support that narrative. The same day Mistal’s vile rant was issued, students at Ohio State protested that a student with a knife, who had already stabbed many, shouldn’t have been shot by a police officer. That position is exactly as justified and rational as Mystal. It’s terrible that such a disproportionate number of African Americans put themselves in the way of law enforcement, and that police officers are put in the position that they have to make such decisions. It’s terrible that black parents teach their children to be afraid of the police, and terrible that police face having their lives ruined if they make a mistake on the job.

                Absent an irrational hatred of police, it is the Golden Rule, not racism, that makes juries so reluctant to convict cops, and the outrageously unbalanced and denial -fueled focus of African American blame on police rather than a persistent cultural malady that causes so many black men to breach the law and defy lawful authority is unproductive, dangerously divisive, counter factual and a dead end. Tell me, why were two of the few examples used my Mystal, a lawyer and an advocate, factually inappropriate and inaccurate to prove his point? In fact, only the Slager shooting clearly supports his argument, and not even that necessarily.

                • deery

                  To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.
                  James A. Baldwin

                  It sounds like Mystal has reached that point that eventually all black intellectuals who study race in America reach, which is, “burn the whole thing down, start fresh.” Essentially much like the Trump voters whose gumption and spirit you admire so much, he has decided that the whole system is corrupt, and there is no amount of correction around the margins that can overcome the institutional built-in weaknesses.

                  It’s terrible that such a disproportionate number of African Americans put themselves in the way of law enforcement, and that police officers are put in the position that they have to make such decisions.

                  We have discussed this before to the point where I think you have a wilfull blindness. African-Americans don’t “disproportionately put themselves in the way of law enforcement.” We actually see the opposite. Law enforcement put themselves in the way of African-Americans. We have documented evidence of officers being ordered by management to target and stop and frisk African-Americans, against the officers’ own inclinations, in NYC. We have evidence of the police targeting minority neighborhoods and arresting literally *everyone* who happens to be outside a the time, probable cause be damned, in Baltimore. We have evidence of officers arresting and planting evidence on minority suspects in Los Angeles. We have evidence of the police arresting and torturing minority suspects to extract false confessions in Chicago. Evidence of the state tampering with drug tests to obtain false convictions for cases in Massachusetts. Some of the biggest jurisdictions in America. But yet it is just terrible that African-Americans are throwing themselves wily-nily at law enforcement, for some strange reason no one can quite explain.
                  http://projects.heraldtribune.com/bias/sentencing/

                  It’s terrible that black parents teach their children to be afraid of the police, and terrible that police face having their lives ruined if they make a mistake on the job.

                  Just terrible indeed. Though of course, black children should be afraid of the police. The police are obviously unable to distinguish the difference between a 10 year old black child and an adult. Or a 12 year old and an adult. At that point, it becomes a “shoot first, and ask questions later” situation, everyone clucks about how the child “should have known better and taught by his parents to respect the police,” and then everyone goes home. Even the Massachusetts court has ruled that black people have a legitimate reason to fear and run from the police. Black people aren’t just making up the fear of the police, as you seem to think.

                  The police might make mistakes, and have their lives ruined because of it. It is a known risk of the job that they voluntarily signed up for. It is not a job for everyone. If the job is too much pressure for them to handle (completely understandable), they should choose another, lower-pressure career. That is preferable to killing someone.

                  • Other Bill

                    So what’s the solution, deery? What does “burn it down and start afresh” mean? I’m all ears.

                  • Verdict: Less deranged than what Mystal wrote, but equally counter factual and dishonest. With that kind of mindset, rational discussion is impossible. Anyone can pick and choose examples of equally wrongful police conduct that harmed whites, and more of them. Nobody argues that police departments set out to kill random innocent white people, because its ridiculous, and the claim regarding police and blacks is equally ridiculous. And you did the same thing Mystal did: you couldn’t even find real examples, so you characterized examples that are not as you represented them. Seriously, that is what you call a fair summary of what happened with Tamir Rice? “The police are obviously unable to distinguish the difference between… a 12 year old and an adult”? Really?

                    It’s insulting to your readers, and fatal to your credibility.

                    • deery

                      Anyone can pick and choose examples of equally wrongful police conduct that harmed whites, and more of them.

                      Hmm, so we have examples of police departments across the country deliberating targeting white people by group for stop and frisks, deliberating targeting whites for planting evidence, deliberating targeting whites for mass arrests? Citation please.

                      The police don’t have to “deliberately set out to kill random black people.” They just have to know that if they act on their conscious or unconscious biases, very little will happen to them, and that the system will back them up.

                      And I definitely found real examples. The NYC racialized stop and frisk was real. The Rampart Scandal was real. Annie Dookum was real. The Chicago Police black op sites were real. The fact that the police successfully used the excuse that Tamir Rice :looked like a grown man: to escape being charged for any crime was real.

                      As for solutions? How does one come up with ways to counter the 300 year entrenched bias embedded in our institutions? Can one? But I do know that people deserve better than the collective gaslighting that they have been getting from society at large.

                      http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/10/ava-duvernay-13th-netflix/503075/

                    • I’m not playing this game. I represented whites who were wrongly stopped and frisked by police in the District of Columbia…it is not just a black problem. No, there aren’t examples of police “deliberately targeting whites,” there are many examples of similar misconduct that affected everyone, and more whites than blacks. Blacks are profiled, officially or not, profiled because their statistical rate of being involved in criminal activity is high. The NY program was stop and frisk plus profiling, justified on utilitarian grounds. Profiling is unfair to individual members of groups profiled, but an efficient way of identifying likely criminals The stop and frisk policy was not just of blacks. It hit blacks disproportionately, and by the logically flawed “disparate impact” doctrine could be called racist—it also was apparently biased in execution. Yup, it needed to be curtailed. That doesn’t mean that police are racists.Ramparts wasn’t a race scandal, it was a crooked cop scandal. Annie Dookum? How is a pathological “woman of color” who fakes forensic testing a police race scandal? Tamir Rice was shot because 1) he was brandishing a toy gun that looked real and had no orange tip 2) the kid was adult-sized and in winter clothing 3) the officers were misinformd by the dispatcher 4) neither officer followed policy and 5) the shooter was an incompetent cop. There was no evidence that race had anything to do with the killing. With those factors, the same thing would have happened to a white kid.

                      You cited bad evidence, and even if they were closer to what you are claiming, individual episodes to not justify the blanket accusations and conclusions you and Mystal make. Police are indicted, and they are convicted. A different standard is used by juries, and correctly so.

                    • deery

                      I’m not playing this game. I represented whites who were wrongly stopped and frisked by police in the District of Columbia…it is not just a black problem. No, there aren’t examples of police “deliberately targeting whites,” there are many examples of similar misconduct that affected everyone, and more whites than blacks. Blacks are profiled, officially or not, profiled because their statistical rate of being involved in criminal activity is high.

                      So you acknowledge that contrary to your earlier words, there are no examples of police deliberately targeting whites? Thanks. The police in NYC were captured, on tape, specifically directing beat officers to stop black and Hispanic youth to increase their numbers. That was policy, not a mere mistake, misconduct, or a few rogue officers.

                      Blacks are profiled, officially or not, profiled because their statistical rate of being involved in criminal activity is high.

                      Circular reasoning, and excusing institutional racism in a nutshell. People are supposed to be stopped because of individual suspicious characteristics. Race, by itself, is not a suspicious characteristic. Using it that way is a very good example of racism. You seem to think that this practice is reasonable.

                    • No, I’m saying that since your examples don’t even stand for what you say they do, I’m not going to waste my time citing matching bad examples regarding whites.

                      You can’t maintain the argument fairly or honestly. How does what I said: “Anyone can pick and choose examples of equally wrongful police conduct that harmed whites, and more of them.” become “So you acknowledge that contrary to your earlier words, there are no examples of police deliberately targeting whites?” That’s what I mean about a game. You keep changing the question, and ignoring the issue.

                      “The police in NYC were captured, on tape, specifically directing beat officers to stop black and Hispanic youth to increase their numbers.”—that’s not “the police,” that’s individual police. That’s not “the police,” that’s NYC police, reacting to a bad quota.

                      Profiling: If it can be shown that young people 14-20 commit most crimes, it is not unreasonable to regard people in those age brackets as more likely to be involved in criminal activity. Young blacks may commit more crimes because they tend to be poor and born without married parents or active fathers—deciding that they are likely suspects isn’t racism.That’s not what racism is. I said, you will note, that because targeting them feels like racism to them, its not worth the price even if it works. It’s still not racism.

                    • deery

                      You can’t maintain the argument fairly or honestly. How does what I said: “Anyone can pick and choose examples of equally wrongful police conduct that harmed whites, and more of them.” become “So you acknowledge that contrary to your earlier words, there are no examples of police deliberately targeting whites?” That’s what I mean about a game. You keep changing the question, and ignoring the issue.

                      So basically I give some examples where police departments were shown to be deliberately targeting the African-American population, because of their race. Your response is basically, “hey, bad things happen to white people too!” Yet I’m the one accused of moving the goalposts. Yes, bad things happen to white people, undeniable. Are white people targeted because of their race? No. Are there documented, straight from the horses mouth examples of police departments targeting black people because of their race? Yes. We have examples. Those examples you seem to want to simultaneously wave away as both reasonable policy and an isolated incident all at once.

                      Profiling: If it can be shown that young people 14-20 commit most crimes, it is not unreasonable to regard people in those age brackets as more likely to be involved in criminal activity. Young blacks may commit more crimes because they tend to be poor and born without married parents or active fathers—deciding that they are likely suspects isn’t racism.

                      Yes, it is textbook racism. If you are using having black skin as a shorthand for “criminal that should be stopped”, rather than looking at individual characteristics as a reason for a stop/arrest, than yes, you are a racist.

                    • So deery, how do you explain the words of California Attorney General and Senator-elect Kamala Harris, who said, ““Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”

                      http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_25243849/concealed-carry-gun-law-california-appealed-kamala-harris

                      She said that in her official capacity as attorney general. as such, it is ex cathedra. Disputing her about about law enforcement matters is like disputing quantum mechanics with a quantum physicist.

                  • Deery writes: “It sounds like Mystal has reached that point that eventually all black intellectuals who study race in America reach, which is, “burn the whole thing down, start fresh.” Essentially much like the Trump voters whose gumption and spirit you admire so much, he has decided that the whole system is corrupt, and there is no amount of correction around the margins that can overcome the institutional built-in weaknesses.

                    Leon Litwack, a somewhat extreme Liberal-Progressive, wrote ‘North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860’ which documents and explores the miserable treatment of Blacks anywhere and everywhere in the North. I do not think it unfair or exaggerated to say that the overall experience of Blacks in the United States could fairly be called miserable, horrifying and tragic. If you have a different opinion, I want to know what drugs you have access to.

                    The upside begins to come into view when, ‘liberated’ to a slim degree and incorporated to a slim degree into the white republic they began to be transformed into European Americans by social and educational pressure. Prior to that, in the ghettos and on the plantations, they existed in a ‘half’ space, a non-mand’s land, a zone of neither here-nor-there. I have read many many works by Black intellectuals and the summation is always the same: How in the heck can we define ourselves in this culture and this white world and still be true to the reality and the realness of our won experience?

                    I have concluded there are two routes, if you will, open to Blacks. Since our minds tend to deal in categories, I describe them as two poles:

                    One is to continue a rebellion against the system which caused them so many problems and did them so much direct harm over 300+ years. If that were the choice, it would involve subversion and reverse domination.

                    Two is to give up the struggle and give in. What I mean by that is no longer to be concerned about the history, the damage done, or anything else. I don’t know that this is possible but it is, in a sense, what stands on the opposite pole. You give in and lose yourself, or you seem to give in but never let go of your psychological and self-defining, self-asserting power-of-will. “OK, I’ll do this, but on my terms”.

                    But what interests me in what Deery has written is that it recognizes that it is not now and it will not ever be possible to solve this dilemma. Because by that definition no sane, strong, upright and self-actualized person (a Black) could ever be expected to make a home within the System which was the origin of his misfortune. It simply cannot be asked and it cannot be done.

                    I know that this definition is debated, and I know that some assert that it is possible that this happen, and they surely believe the System has made all sorts of adaptations and compromises in order to construct the Equal Society. But I think this is a false dream. Blacks are the source of a problem now and the root of this problem is that they cannot, in good conscience, simply assimilate into the white System. I think this is a psychological quandary that requires serious analysis. I don’t think anyone really will do it because the conclusions will become plain. And the conclusion is: in the best of all possible worlds Black need and require their own polity, their own republic, their own destiny (even if they completely fail). It is not that they need to ‘burn it all down and start over’ but they need to ‘start all over’ themselves. That is a psychological fact it seems to me.

                    Now, in our present, what we notice is the beginning of the Unraveling. Unity is a false-goal. The goal must be to recognize that the time to accept and understand unravelling has come.

                    In order to accomodate Blacks now, within this structure and System, Whites have to do things that whites have grown tired of doing. Whites are going to stop doing those things. They are going to, and they should, stop caring about the plight of Blacks. Blacks are an intolerable burden economically, culturally and psychologically and this is the next step that will be pursued within the American polity. That is, becoming untethered by white guilt to sensitivity to Black tragedy.

                    What this means is: the beginning of an accord to separate.

                    • “But what interests me in what Deery has written is that it recognizes that it is not now and it will not ever be possible to solve this dilemma. Because by that definition no sane, strong, upright and self-actualized person (a Black) could ever be expected to make a home within the System which was the origin of his misfortune. It simply cannot be asked and it cannot be done.”

                      Not if they can’t resist using that misfortune as an excuse for every future failure, consequence, loss, or disappointment, no. Then again, that’s not how sane, strong, upright and self-actualized people think, so your statement is oxymoronic.

                    • Other Bill

                      Baldwin spent nearly his entire adult life as in ex-patriot in France. Maybe leaving the country is the way to “start fresh.” I don’t see another way to “start fresh” beyond what’s been done in the U.S. since beginning in the 1960s (or maybe the 1860s) other than setting up a segregated, black nation state somewhere within the continental U.S.

  2. Neil Dorr

    Jack,

    Considering all the sources you’ve sworn to never again to read from, it’s a wonder you have anything to read at all.

    -Neil

    PS: Why is it okay for one person to boycott something but not a group of people? Put another way, if you stop reading “Above the Law” because you don’t like their contributors, what makes that more ethical than you not reading it because they endorsed Hilllary Clinton for president (I know they didn’t, that’s for example). Or is it only unethical if you ask others to do it? Or is it only unethical if you ask them to do it for “silly” reasons?

    I’m not being facetious, I just really don’t understand where the bright line is drawn in your mind.

    • You don’t understand the difference between making a principled decision not to patronize a restaurant because you don’t like the service, and trying to put the restaurant out of business by organizing a boycott?

      You don’t see the difference between trying to use coercion and economic harm to bend an organization to your will, and deciding that an entity no longer meets your minimum standards, and you will no longer waste your time with it?

      You don’t see the line between saying, “I’m not going to patronize Woody Allen/Roman Polansky/ Alec Baldwin movies, because I find the artists reprehensible,” and trying to organize others into doing so?

      You don’t see the distinction between expressing your own disapproval of conduct by refusing to endorse it, and trying to change the conduct by hurting them? Really?

      Wow.

      Above the Law is free to pay racists and have anti-white, anti-law juvenile jackasses write for them, that’s fine. They just won’t have me as a reader.

  3. James A. Preston

    Mr. Marshall,

    I read your article on Mr. Elie Mystal with great interest and relief. I am glad to see that I am not the only attorney shocked by Mr. Mystal’s comments.I say that in earnest as today’s legions of social justice warriors fervently believe that the end justifies the means and ethics, facts and history are irrelevant.

    Until I read Mr. Mystal’s article advocating nationwide race based jury nullification I had never heard of him. I apologize for my ignorance. I understand that Mr. Mystal went to Harvard, the best law school in the country. I can not compare with his academic credentials, I did not even attend a second rate school like Yale. Instead I chose a third rate school like Stanford (actually I preferred Palo Alto’s climate to that of New England). But I have an MBA, was an Air Force Officer prior to law school and was a reserve police officer while at Stanford and, after graduating 36 years ago, was one of 48 applicants out of 5,000 selected by the Central Intelligence Agency to be trained as a Foreign Intelligence Case Officer.

    I attended a Jesuit college as an undergraduate and was immersed in the required ethics and logic courses. I mention that because when I graduated from law school I decided that I was too honest to be a lawyer but just dishonest enough to be a spy. The Agency put all of use through a long selection process. I noticed in many of the written tests and interviews the evaluators were looking for a candidate who had a highly developed set of personal ethics that required him/her to support our Constitution and follow American laws while at the same time being willing to ignore foreign laws and be able to lie, cheat, deceive, steal and essentially due anything permitted under Federal law and Agency rules to protect, support and defend the Constitution and my fellow citizens. In essence, the end justified the means, as long as I did not break American laws and personal standards of conduct required of citizens within the geographical United States.

    I have taken four oaths in my life. First as an Air Force Officer, then as a police officer, then as an attorney and last as a Case Officer with the Agency. Three of those oaths were very similar. The one that was different was as an attorney. In addition to pledging loyalty to the Federal Constitution and my state’s constitution I pledged to conduct myself as an officer of the court and to follow the rules of court. Mr. Mystal took essentially the oath as I did as an attorney. I am just a former spy and retired dirt lawyer from a third rate school but I still have the utmost respect for the law and the position I hold to members of the public as an officer of the court. It is clear that Mr. Mystal, with all of his Harvard brilliance has little or no respect for the rule of law and our system of justice.

    I understand the philosophy of Mr. Mystal and his fellow radical left social justice warriors and racial zealots, it is simply that the end justifies the means. I understand that if we are fighting a foreign enemy but within the United States we must obey the law and follow the rules. Advocating race based nationwide jury nullification could have far reaching tragic consequences. When people lose faith in the courts they will take matters into their own hands. That may be what Mr. Mystal and his fellow radical leftists want but I have confidence that the vast majority of Americans, both black and white, will ignore his foolish call to tear apart our rule of law.

    If Mr. Mystal is still a member of a state bar I hope he will soon be called to explain why his advocacy to make a mockery of our justice system is not grounds for his disbarment. Let him put his Harvard brilliance to work answering that question.

    James Preston

    ________________________________

    • Pennagain

      Stanford is a third-rate law school? Who knew.

    • G R Mortenson

      Mr. Preston,

      Thank you for your commentary on Mr. Mystal’s latest hate speech disguised as “legal commentary.”

      I share many elements of your background, including a stint as an Air Force officer (during the Vietnam era) and graduation from a law school. In my case, the law school was in fact Harvard, and I have to say that hearing of Mr. Mystal and his rants, I am starting to wish that I also had attended a third-rate school (as you describe Stanford). My now-deceased father-in-law warned me about Harvard Law School before I accepted admission there by saying, “They’re kinda liberal up there.” What an understatement that was.

      I fully agree that Mr. Mystal should be up for disbarment in New York or wherever he may be licensed as a lawyer. And thank you for your service, in many capacities.

  4. I’ve been following this at The Conservative Treehouse, but here’s a more mainstream article out of the ‘horses mouth’, so to speak. So there were 5 undecideds and one determined holdout and the jurors were undecided on ‘manslaughter’ not murder.

    I suppose I can make the case as to why:
    A. There was a struggle over the officers taser. The officer claims to have ben tased and both mens DNA were found on it. Also expanded stills of some of the shots of the videos seem to show that while Scott is running there is a taser cord sticking out of Slagers leg.

    B. The law in the South Carolina allows officers to shoot fleeing suspects if they are believed to be armed and dangerous. Yes, tasers are considered ‘arms’ and there is good evidence that Slager thought that Scott still had this taser. When he initially goes to Scott’s body he appears (to me at least) to be looking for it. When he doesn’t find it he ‘plants’ it, apparently changes his mind, and takes it off the body again.
    C. The actual fight takes place over a few seconds and the officers has to decide whether to draw his gun in that time frame. Heck, if Scott even turned partway back to LOOK at Mr. Slager(so it might look to Slager like he was going to come back at him for an instant) when he was making that split second decision that might have been enough – in his panicked state- to cause him to make the decision to fire.

    D. Here’s a link to the original video:;

    E. Here’s a link to the cops dashcam vid of what PRECIPITATED the struggle:

    I can link people to the Conservative Treehouse research if you want. They were golden for both the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases. This was never the open and shut murder case that so many thought, indeed murder was an overcharge. But it was necessary to sitck Slager in jail and prevent riots, don’t you know. This is apparently how we do ‘justice’ in America these days.

    Article about the mistrial:
    http://www.today.com/news/walter-scott-shooting-jury-foreman-explains-how-michael-slager-case-t105742

    • This is certainly a more helpful and constructive commentary than what Mystal wrote.

      The jurors could reasonably decide that manslaughter was the better charge. The argument that the shooting was lawful is such a stretch that it should be reserved for the defense attorney only. Officers can always shoot a fleeing suspect who is armed and poses a threat to the public. That doesn’t apply to Scott, and the significance of the struggle is only that it appears to have robbed Slager of his cool and judgment. He’s guilty of homicide. A fool should be able to see it, and a racist should be able to admit it.

      You make a good point about the prevailing pressure on prosecutors to over-charge, which has the perverse effect of making a guilty verdict harder to get. Zimmerman could have been convicted of manslaughter; he was over-charged.

  5. Aletheia K

    My husband and I, who are both white, are pursuing legislation against a mortgage company that, to make a long story short, screwed us over badly, with the end result that we were evicted from my husband’s lifelong home with less than a week’s notice. If the case should go to trial, there’s going to be a part of my mind that wonders during jury selection if any of the black potential jurors are Elie Mystal readers who take one look at us and can’t wait to hurt us all over again. I don’t want to think that way, any more than I want the phrase “Nigger love a watermelon, ha ha ha” to pop into my head when I hear the ice cream truck play “Turkey in the Straw,” but all I can do at this point is refuse to cultivate the seeds the race-baiters keep planting in my head.

    And to think of the consequences if Mystal’s idea were actually to be embraced in “social justice” circles! Prosecutors and plaintiff lawyers would be remiss in their duty if they *didn’t* take this into account in jury selection in cases involving white male plaintiffs or victims. In essence, they would be forced into the effectively racist action of making race an issue where it shouldn’t, and normally wouldn’t, even have been a question. Meanwhile, the fact that most crime is intraracial means that Mystal (my autocorrect wants to call him “Mistake”) is not merely asking black jurors to deny justice to white male victims, he’s asking them to release (mostly) white criminals into the streets. Mystal goes on blithely writing articles about the statistical uptick in all-white juries because RACISM, and the disproportionate rates of incarceration of people of color because RACISM. And then one day a white guy who was never convicted of armed robbery or felony murder, because Mystal convinced a juror to sock it to the (already dead) white man, will rob another convenience store and shoot a BLACK clerk in the face this time, and suddenly Mystal will be nowhere in sight to remind us that #blacklivesmatter.

    (If this happens, and someone named U.N. Owen subsequently invites Elie Mystal to a private island for an elite conference on race relations, it definitely wasn’t me. Just sayin’.)

  6. Aletheia K

    Elie Mystal says: Minorities are victims of police brutality in this country, and there aren’t enough white citizens willing to do a damn thing. I no longer see why minorities should be expected to help white victims achieve the justice they so regularly deny people of color.

    Elie Mystal asks if he’s just supposed to wait around for America to start producing “nicer white people,” although he does invite white allies to join in the jury nullification scheme. After all, he does admit that “There might be some white allies who are ready to do more than post frowny emojis on Facebook.”

    In between, he quotes Paul Butler, who, whether you agree with him specifically or not, at least does seem to understand why jury nullification is legally a thing, and sometimes appropriately a thing (hint: it is NEVER, EVER about denying justice for the victim of a crime). And he quotes Butler as follows: “Jurors in the north, when slaves would be prosecuted for escaping or people who helped slaves escape were prosecuted — Northern jurors would say not guilty, even though technically those folks were guilty.”

    Hey Elie? What do you think those “northern jurors” looked like? Hint: white men. The same people you think it’s a courageous act to deny justice. Do you really think white Americans today are more racist than white northerners in 1850? Trust me, the most progressive white man ever to defy the Fugitive Slave Act from a jury box, if he could drop in for a visit to our century, wouldn’t have had so much as a single frowny emoji to spare for Michael Brown. I’m truly sorry to have to point out this last bit, but a lot of people with deep moral convictions against buying and selling human beings as property wouldn’t have hesitated to grab a rope, or at least start heating tar and gathering feathers, should some “uppity Negro” get it into his head to ask, “Imagine if black people weren’t willing to indict a citizen for punching a white guy in the mouth?” They would be WRONG to do so, let’s get that clear. But to cite them as heroic precedent for the use of jury nullification to accomplish a worthy goal, and then turn around and imply that modern whites are basically divided between active racists bent on denying justice to black crime victims and a few wishy-washy allies is the height of ignorance and/or deliberate doubletalk.

    Elie Mystal says: I see limited protest value, for instance, in letting rapists go free — it’s hard enough for women to get these assholes in court in the first place.

    Because only women are raped, obviously. As hard as it is for women to get justice when they’ve been raped by men, it’s even harder for men who have been raped by women, or for victims of homosexual rape. Actually, historically, the victims who have collectively had the *least* trouble getting their rapists into court have been white women raped by black men. I honestly wonder whether Mystal’s unwillingness to go there has to do with a deep-seated shred of decency clinging to the bones of his soul, or whether he simply doesn’t have the courage to carry his nasty idea to its logical fullest fruition because he knows the only group of people it’s culturally acceptable to hate that purely are white males.

  7. Aletheia K

    In all fairness to Elie Mystal, I would like to point out that last week, he felt sorry for a white man.

    http://abovethelaw.com/2016/12/city-attorney-spraying-anti-trump-graffiti-while-drinking-wine-is-all-we-have-left/

    (Read at your own risk. This article could turn you into a Donald Trump fan through the sheer power of cognitive dissonance.)

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