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.
"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 inThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution.