[sixties-l] Jamil's trial in Montgomery (fwd)

From: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu
Date: Mon Nov 18 2002 - 18:28:57 EST

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    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 14:29:56 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Jamil's trial in Montgomery

    From: "Linda Dehnad" <lindadehnad@hotmail.com>
    Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2002
    Subject: [SNCC] Jamil's trial in Montgomery

    On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Jamil was arraigned on new charges in Montgomery
    Alabama, and Scott B. and I were among the fifteen or so visitors in the

            Althought I felt greatly relieved as I sat in the Montgomery
    courtroom, watched Jamil's demeanor and felt the warmth of the spectators,
    I held a serious skepticism in my heart, realizing that the government's
    struggle to take Jamil off the streets and put him in jail, to have him
    under their thumb, was decades-long. They mean business, I reminded myself,
    that all the courtroom smiles couldn't mask.

             There were about fifteen of us who came to see him, and we all
    were smiling. I felt relief mainly because I was glad to see Jamil enter
    the courtroom looking calm and sure of himself, albeit shackled and cuffed.
    He smiled as he acknowledged each of us. We were sitting in two rows behind
    him, almost within arm's reach. His smile and alert eyes alleviated my
    anxiety. The judge who was jovial and friendly, and respectful of Jamil and
    the lawyers, reinforced the soothing light-heartedness in the courtroom.
    The D.A., a younger Black man, bent over backwards to show us his own
    seeming support for Jamil. My innate skepticism caused alarm bells to ring,
    reminding me that this is an adversarial process, not a meeting of folks
    trying to reach consensus. "Be alert," I reminded myself.

             Jamil is facing 1) a weapons charge, and 2) the charge of firing
    at a Federal officer. He is alleged to have had a weapon that was classed
    as illegal because of its caliber, model and make. He is alleged to have
    fired on Federal officers in pursuit of their duties. The maximum sentence
    stipulated for these crimes is ten years in jail and a fine of $250,000.00.
    Two lawyers are representing him: Mr. Martin, from Atlanta, and J.L.
    Chestnutt, a locally respected Black lawyer from Selma. I'm told he's very
    accessible and I'll try to talk with him to see how we can make ourselves

            I've heard two explanations for this trial, one less rosy than the
    other. The first is based on the premise that the appeal in Atlanta is
    almost certain to successfully overturn the murder conviction, freeing
    Jamil from his life sentence. The government, therefore, is bringing these
    new charges against him because they want to keep him in prison. They don't
    want to lose him when the appeal succeeds in freeing him. The other is a
    more sober interpretation: that the government wants to be doubly sure
    they'll have him on something, SHOULD the previous conviction be overturned
    on appeal. Much less certainty about the success of the appeal.

            Jamil's wife acknowledged that he's been doing very well under the
    circumstances, in twenty-four hour lockdown in the Federal Prison in
    Atlanta, given only an hour-a-day's relief to walk around in an enclosed
    courtyard, during which time he remains shackled and cuffed. Shackled, too,
    in the shower. His wife, Karima, says he's very adaptable, and the peaceful
    look on his face in court Tuesday reflects a calm soul.

            Scott B's words, which follow, fill in more details and add another

    There was an aura of self, and self-confidence, that was sensed by all
    those present in the small courtroom, number 4-B, when Jamil looked up and
    held eye contact with those who greeted him with nods, whispered words, and
    gestures of encouragement. Jamil was very calm, but gave warmth through his
    smile and nod of his head. We all felt we were having a private
    conversation with him. His manner of greeting was more than a gesture; it
    was a salute. During the swearing-in portion of the hearing, his stance and
    manner were remarkable. The marshal who guarded him seemed relaxed, and
    visibly moved by his bearing.

    All of us, being unaware of the "no visitors except family, lawyers and
    clergy" policy about to be imposed, looked forward to visiting him while he
    is here in Alabama, awaiting the December trial, knowing the visits would
    be more than merely exchanging words, but instead, collecting wisdom.
    Scott B.

    I'll write more later,

    Linda (Moses Dehnad) Smith

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