Judge Gibson W. Lee, shown the night he and lawyers visited the scene of the attack. (Christine Cotter / LAT)
All emphasis in following quotations is mine.
More from Long Beach:
Unlike the San Francisco case, which has not yet led to criminal charges, the Long Beach case dating from last Halloween is over. Of the 10 juvenile defendants, all of whom were held in jail awaiting trial, 9 were convicted of assault motivated by race hate. One 12 year old was sent home. The others now face sentencing.
About the only thing these two assaults have in common is that they happened in solidly comfortable neighborhoods.
Somehow San Francisco's privileged white boys allegedly beating up on Yale's privileged chorus just doesn't look like a case that local law enforcement thinks it can win. Lawyers on every side are getting big bucks to argue their points in the media. Early accounts suggested there was a gay bashing angle to this one, but all parties now seem to be minimizing that aspect (if it exists).
Meanwhile, in Long Beach, 10 children sat in jail for 2 months, were represented by $325 flat fee public defenders in an eight week trial, were subjected to a juvenile proceeding where ordinary rules of evidence don't seem to have applied, and now stand convicted of a black-on-white hate crime.
Those kids in Long Beach may be guilty as hell. But side by side comparison newspaper accounts of these two cases makes it very hard to label whatever we have as a "justice system."
UPDATE: 2/7/07: Judge Lee has sentenced all of the convicted young people in Long Beach to community service, house arrest, and probation. That is, after affirming the seriousness of their conduct under a hate crimes rubric, he has given them the lowest sentence possible. The women who were assaulted are outraged by the relatively mild sentences. Again, what kind of "justice system" is operating here?