A Judge Who Did Justice

'You Have Committed a Despicable Act,' Said Sentencing Judge Pickering

In one of the four cases, the defendant, a first-time offender, had been on drugs since he was eight. Pickering gave him a sentence light enough to let him get rehabilitation services in prison. The black defendant's lawyer said "this may have been a positive life-changing experience" for his client.

Now that you know the facts in the cross-burning case, I hope you remember Charles Schumer's vigilante comment about Pickering (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 9, 2003):

"Why anyone would go the whole nine yards, and then some, to get a lighter sentence for a convicted cross burner is beyond me . . . in a state with Mississippi's sad history of race relations. It's simply mind-boggling."

Says Reuben Anderson, the first black Supreme Court justice in Mississippi, formerly with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund: "I have known Pickering for at least a quarter of a century. [He is] extremely fair and impartial to all the parties." Any apology to Pickering from Schumer? Look for pie in the sky.

Next week: It all comes out in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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