A Houston, Texas, judge’s own words revealed he had been making racially-biased decisions in cases involving young black males.
The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is calling for an investigation of Judge Michael McSpadden — Houston’s longest-serving felony-court judge — after he shamelessly admitted in an interview with the Houston Chronicle that he denied bail to black defendants.
For many years, he denied personal bond to defendants awaiting trial because of the belief that they would be arrested again for different crimes. Additionally, the judge bashed Black Lives Matter in the interview, according to The Root.
“The young black men - and it’s primarily young black men rather than young black women - charged with felony offenses, they’re not getting good advice from their parents,” McSpadden told the Chronicle. “Who do they get advice from? Rag-tag organizations like Black Lives Matter, which tell you, ‘Resist police,’ which is the worst thing in the world you could tell a young black man ... They teach contempt for the police, for the whole justice system.”
He added: “Almost everybody we see here has been tainted in some way before we see them. They’re not good risks.”
The state's ACLU chapter issued a statement Tuesday, deeming McSpadden's unhinged remarks a display of “flagrant racism.”
“If there remained any doubt that the deck is stacked against people of color in our criminal justice system, Michael McSpadden just dispelled it,” Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said in the statement.
Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time McSpadden's questionable practices have been brought to the forefront.
Last July, he was accused by a local official of judicial oppression. Councilman Michael Kubosh, who is also a bail bondsman, exposed McSpadden for refusing to appoint lawyers to clients who were out on bail.
McSpadden would require many defendants out on bail to hire their own lawyer, using the skewed logic that if you can afford bail, you can afford a lawyer. If they failed to retain an attorney, he would order them to appear in court daily until they hired someone. Oftentimes, underprivileged clients’ requests for a court-appointed lawyer were denied.
“They do this to oppress the person to take a plea or give up and just make a deal. This is all about judicial oppression,” Kubosh said of McSpadden’s practices at the time.
It is no secret that the criminal justice system is riddled with racism; however, to have a long-time federal judge actually admit to it in the most unapologetic manner is particularly troubling. With judges like McSpadden at the bench, it's no wonder there are so many black and brown men behind bars.
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