by Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
Once upon a time, there had to be a corpus delecti before anyone could be charged with a homicide. This rule is now honored in its breach. There was also a rule that the testimony of an informant had to be corroborated with other evidence. This rule is now also honored in its breach.
These evidentiary rules were honored during slavery. They were designed to protect the property interests of “slaveholders”. Today, the appropriate term is “slavemaster”. Similarly, the appropriate term during slavery was “enslaved Africans”. Today, there are millions of “slaves” in the tri-state area and throughout the United States.
Against this backdrop, New Jersey, in 2008, decided to resurrect a cold case file. Five young Black boys from Newark went missing in 1978. Compare the “Atlanta Child Murders”. Wayne Williams was wrongfully convicted. Atlanta City Hall was involved in the cover-up. The boys in Atlanta have never been seen again but boys in Atlanta continue to be missing.
In 2008, the Essex County prosecutor’s office decided to prosecute Lee Evans and his cousin, Philander Hampton, for the five boys’ deaths. The incriminating evidence was non-existent. It also appears that Mayor Corey Booker intended to ride Evans’ wrongful conviction to Newark City Hall for another four years.
Hampton had a criminal record for two robberies but law enforcement had no DNA, no body, no fingerprints in the cold case file. Hampton, a former drug dealer and heroin addict, pointed out a venue for the five bodies but cadaver-sniffing dogs were unable to corroborate his testimony. Hampton’s plea deal has now put him behind bars until at least 2012.
Blacks are still unable to believe that, 240 years after the “Boston Massacre” which was by Crispus Attucks, they still have no right to legal and political representation. The American Revolution was fought for the benefit of whites. No people have ever secured real rights without war. We are the only people who have died for the rights of others. See Malcolm X.
Any Black person who has been convicted of a felony should sue not only his or her lawyer but also the law school and the licensing authority. No law school in the United States has ever been designed to teach a lawyer how to represent a Black person. This miseducation is a violation of the Sixth Amendment.
When law schools like Harvard Law School and William and Mary Law School developed a methodology for the representation of defendants, Blacks were still in chains. Law schools stopped teaching slave jurisprudence after the Thirteenth Amendment. Interestingly, the Thirteenth Amendment created the prison-industrial complex.
Before the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, you did not need all of your fingers and toes to count the number of Black lawyers in the United States. None of them had attended a law school. For better of worse, they were taught by white lawyers and judges. Black lawyers, in general, still depend on white paternalism. I had no “rabbi” nor a “priest”. This was a legal problem for me.
When I was illegally disbarred from the practice of law, “badges” of slave jurisprudence were still in effect. The complainants, in my case, were white members of the New York Legislature. This smacks of an unconstitutional bill of attainder. I had failed to honor the master-servant relationship. New York ordered me to give up the dirt on my client, Al Sharpton, during his trial, on an indictment containing 67-counts.
The attorney-client relationship is of no moment when a Black attorney elevates his or her client over his or her “master”. The Black codes, which supplanted the slave codes, after the Civil War, still require Blacks to be obedient. Plea-bargaining is a sham. Slave masters refuse to bargain in good faith with slaves or their attorneys.
Black defendants would have a better shot of securing an acquittal if the jury’s instructions were based on slave jurisprudence which embodies the concept of private property. American jurisprudence gives great deference to natural law. The Constitution protects economic interests. Blacks, standing alone, and without reparations, have no economic interests in this country.
In Georgia v. Brailsford, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1792 that a jury had the duty to set aside erroneous instructions from a judge. This ruling benefitted enslaved Africans and their slaveholders in slave courts. A jury, on its own, could decide the law and the facts.
After the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled in Sparf & Hansen v. United States that jurors were under a duty to follow erroneous instructions and, therefore, convict innocent defendants. This was a detriment to slaves. The Thirteenth Amendment had ended any economic relationship between slaveholders and enslaved Africans.
For example, an erroneous, jury instruction led to the wrongful conviction of John White for killing a white man in self-defense. The judge wrongfully instructed the jury that White had an obligation to call 911 instead of defending himself and his family against a white intruder. Under Article 35 of the New York Penal Law, White would have had a right to kill the white intruder.
On appeal, the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department affirmed the conviction despite the 2005 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Castle Rock v. Gonzalez that a police department had no right nor obligation to respond to a 911 call. Accordingly, no Black homeowner has any right to kill a white intruder.
If I had not been wrongfully disbarred for insisting that Black defendants were entitled to Sixth Amendment rights, I would have represented John White pro bono because his case would have impact on all Blacks. Instead, my lips had been sealed because all commercial radio and television stations had barred me from the public airwaves and New York had decided that I was a threat to the public interest.
I had to ask Gov. David Paterson to pardon John White because the judicial system had failed him. This is a legitimate reason for a pardon. Instead of doing the right thing, Gov. Paterson decided to split the baby in half. He only commuted White’s sentence. The ball is now in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s court for a pardon.
After his arrest, Evans was attracted to UAM’s weekly forums. Black defendants today view defense lawyers as junior prosecutors. Many defendants and inmates still view me as the only person who would confront the white power structure without blinking an eye. I always elevated justice over an order of contempt. This made me armed and dangerous.
I was unable to recommend a defense lawyer to Lee Evans. My suggestion has always been for a criminal defendant to represent himself or herself. It is better than a gift to a junior prosecutor. My lips are sealed and I am civilly dead. No activist will approach me with a ten-foot pole. I was unable to personally help Evans.
Very seldom will a criminal defendant sell-out himself or herself in a pro se representation. The privilege to practice law is a meal ticket. It is a potential printing press. In the end, it is about self-preservation being the first law of nature. Evans appeared pro se. He was acquitted of five murders this past Wednesday.
Despite my disbarment and censorship, I have always sought to get out my message, at my expense, through the New York Amsterdam News until the death of Wilburt Tatum. I have also held weekly forums, mostly at my expense and the Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls. A “Fifth Column” has made it impractical to hold weekly forums. Good people remain silent while evil people return us back to chattel slavery.
“The American Lawyer” is a prestigious trade journal. It published an article acknowledging the role of junior prosecutors in the criminal justice system. Stated differently, the criminal justice system is one-sided. With respect to Black defendants, the rule is universal and it is unconscionable. If the defendant offers a different message to support the truth, the system will blame the messenger for the credible message.
Too honest for the White Press and too black for much of today’s Black Press; bullet columnist Alton Maddox upsets the same people and status quo as he did as an uncompromising Defense Attorney. He is also a founding member of the Freedom Party. Please sign his Petition to save “Like It Is.” Contact him at c/o UAM P.O. BOX 35 BRONX, NY 10471