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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Beanbag Girl Sets Bedroom On Fire

Posted by Matt Davis on Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Credit where it's due to WW reporter James Pitkin for this scoop: Beanbag girl was re-arrested last night after setting her bedroom on fire while watching TV footage of her sentencing yesterday afternoon.

You go, beanbag girl! Or at least, I understand why she did it. Listening to the trial proceedings yesterday I was struck repeatedly by how little chance this girl has of succeeding in life. Her mother was sentenced for delivery of cocaine in 2007, she was raped at the age of 7. At the end of the trial I was thinking, frankly, thank God I was born white and affluent. I've been spared a lot of bad luck in my life, I'm unlikely to be profiled by police, and there are a few socially acceptable outlets for my anger. What does this girl's future hold?

I also want to stress that I found the judge's decision to try the case herself, instead of proceed with a jury trial, abhorrent. We, as a community, were charging this girl with adult crimes—felonies that will stay on her record—and yet she's not entitled to a jury trial? While the judge wasn't swayed by any of the defense's arguments about the cops lying in their reports, breaking escalation procedures and essentially causing the outcome that they did, I feel certain that a jury would have been. It's not the judge's place to make rulings like this—it's a jury's. And if the judge was thinking that by finding the girl guilty, she could use the justice system to keep a closer eye on her, well, that's not true. From the girl's perspective, or at least from mine, the judge was just out to protect the rogue officers from justice.

It's enough to make me want to set something on fire, too.

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