In 2013, an Austin, Texas civil rights attorney and the then-executive director of the Texas Civil Rights Project Jim Harrington openly criticized Edith Jones, the former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit (handling death penalty cases) and a sitting judge of that court for racial bias and participated in filing a complaint against her for violation of judicial ethics.
Here is Edith Jones:
Jim Harrington's not only criticized Judge Jones' statements, but also signed a judicial misconduct complaint filed against Judge Jones by a broad coalition of civil rights organizations.
The statements that Judge Jones made in 2013 - and remained on the federal bench - are close, and some identical, to the statements that Donald Trump is lambasted for today, and correctly so.
Reportedly, Judge Edith Jones stated out of court, at a speech on Feb. 20, 2013, to lawyers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law (so Judge Jones was clearly subject to judicial discipline and impeachment for her statements):
- That certain “racial groups like African Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime,” are “'prone' to commit acts of violence,” and get involved in more violent and “heinous” crimes than people of other ethnicities.
- That Mexican nationals would prefer to be on death row in the United States rather than serving prison terms in Mexico, and it's an insult for the United States to look to the laws of other countries such as Mexico.
- That defendants' claims of racism, innocence, arbitrariness and violations of international law and treaties are really nothing more than “red herrings” used by opponents of capital punishment.
- That claims of “mental retardation” by capital defendants disgust her, and the fact such people were convicted of a capital crime is itself sufficient to prove they are not in fact “mentally retarded.”
- That the imposition of a death sentence provides a positive service to capital-case defendants because defendants are likely to make peace with God only in the moment before their imminent execution.
Moreover, "[i]n her speech, Jones discussed specific cases, including those of three inmates on Texas' death row: Ramiro Ibarra Rubi of Mexico; Elroy Chester, an African American man whose intellectual-disability defense Jones rejected and who is scheduled for execution June 12; and Larry Swearingen, whose claim of innocence has received widespread attention and support."
Additionally, #JudgeEdithJones reportedly stated in her speech "inmates freed from death sentences have been released not because they were innocent, but because of 'technicalities'—including cases where prosecutors hid evidence favorable to the defense—and offered an odd analogy, noting that 'there were just as many innocent people killed in drone strikes as innocent people executed for crimes,' according to several affidavits."
Which means that Judge Edith Jones, a judge presiding over death penalty cases, has a firmly held belief that ANYTHING THAT THE GOVERNMENT DOES IS RIGHT. ANYTHING. If the government ordered a drone strike, that means people killed by that strike are not innocent - according to Judge Jones. There goes the "checks and balances" doctrine, that the judicial branch will control and restrict the executive branch from illegal actions.
With such beliefs, Edith Jones should not be allowed anywhere near the federal bench to handle civil rights cases against the government, or criminal cases by the government against criminal defendants, and especially death row cases, and especially death row cases of Mexicans and African Americans, and especially death row cases where innocence, arbitrariness, mental retardation or violation of international treaties is asserted, because on those issues Judge Edith Jones has a pre-judgment ready in her mind no matter what the law and the record says.
Judge Edith Jones already made a determination based on the CLASS of cases, no matter what is presented to her in any specific case - that is a complete disqualification from judicial office.
Yet, there she still is, unpunished, and instead, people she talked about, 2 out of 3 death row inmates, were quickly killed off.
Ramiro Rubi Ibarra, a Mexican national, claimed mental retardation, violation of Geneva Conventions and ineffective assistance of counsel - all of those claims were rejected by Judge Jones.
Despite the fact that one of the judges who decided his federal appellate cases, Edith Jones, made racist remarks about him and remarks about her position as a matter of POLICY regarding international treaties, mental retardation and the defendant's race and national origin, which, according to the recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Williams v Pennsylvania, tainted the entire panel, Ramiro Rubi Ibarra's was executed in 2014.
Despite Judge Jones' out of court statements discussing Elroy Chester's case which should have led to remand and review of the case since it was decided by a racist judge, Elroy Chester, an African American who claimed intellectual disability (that Judge Jones did not accept as a matter of her own personal ILLEGAL policy, no matter what the facts of the case was), was executed on June 13, 2013, 4 months after #JudgeEdithJones made her statements.
Larry Swearingen is, as far as I could find out, alive at this time and is asserting his innocence - an unacceptable claim for Judge Jones. In 2015 the Texas Court of Criminal appeals reversed the district court's decision that woud have allowed Larry Swearingen to test DNA evidence from the murder that could have proven his innocence.
The complaint against Judge Edith Jones was DENIED FOR REVIEW.
NO DISCIPLINE was imposed upon Judge Edith Jones for her statements.
The reason for no discipline was that nobody recorded what Judge Jones said - and, apparently, testimony of witnesses as to what she said was not enough for judges judging a judge.
As I stated above, 2 out of 3 death row inmates she discussed - with disdain - in February of 2013 lecture - were quickly executed.
As Joseph Stalin, and countless mafia godfathers said - "no person, no problem".
Judge Jones got to, quite literally, bury her mistakes - and is allowed to continue to do so.
Judge Edith Jones still continues to remain on the bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit today.
Edith Jones is known not only for her racist remarks, but, according to Texas attorney Ty Clevenger, for a cover up of a sexual assault investigation against federal judge Samuel Kent.
I wrote about the criminal prosecution of Samuel Kent who Judge Edith Jones, the Chief Judge of the 5th Circuit, did not want to discipline.
So, a white judge, Judge Edith Jones, who was on the high horse as to Mexicans and African-Americans being allegedly more predisposed to crimes, reportedly helped cover up sex crimes by a white male fellow judge Samuel Kent, showing the world why racial statistics of crimes in the U.S. may be skewed - because crimes committed by high-ranking white males (and females) are simply hushed up.
Edith Jones was not disciplined - at all - for her racist remarks by her fellow judges.
Yet, as to the civil rights attorney who signed the complaint against Judge Edith Jones, in 2015, Jim Harrington, of Austin, Texas, retired from his position as the Executive Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project. I do not know whether the retirement was forced or not.
Yet, now, in 2016, 3 years after he signed the complaint against Judge Edith Jones because of her racist and pre-judging remarks discussing death penalty cases, Jim Harrington is reportedly himself fighting charges in federal court - FOR RACISM, asserted by Jim Harrington's long-time opponent who must know Jim Harrington's history of opposing racism.
So, if Jim Harrington, a civil rights attorney who fought racism all his life and - coincidentally - who filed a complaint against the racist Judge Edith Jones - is sanctioned for racism by a Texas federal district court, by a judge who is the subordinate of Judge Edith Jones' court, how coincidental that will be?
And, when this whole country was jumping up and down recently about Donald Trump asking a judge of Mexican origin to recuse from his University's federal case - I will run a separate blog, as I promised, indicating that Judge Curiel should have recused, and for more reasons than Trump has asserted - this whole country did not file petitions, and the media talking heads did not rise a campaign to impeach Judge Edith Jones.
And I wonder why.
EVERY ONE OF HER CASES is tainted, going back from the date of her February 2013 speech, and going forward.
EVERY SINGLE ONE.
Because Judge Edith Jones openly professed a firm personal belief that:
- criminal prosecutions may target people based on race;
- the government is always right, even when it kills people without prior judicial review;
- intellectual disability defense to the death penalty is - always - without merit, per se; and
- it is an insult to follow "international law", even if such international law is a treaty that is within the U.S. Constitution, Supremacy Clause - the Clause that Judge Jones have been sworn to uphold.
And, in view of the reasoning in the decision of her fellow judges that refused to punish her - isn't it then mandatory to allow recording of ALL court proceedings, of EVERYTHING what judges say, to any people present in court or in chambers for conferences - because otherwise the fellow judges will refuse to believe even affidavits of witnesses if they assert misconduct of a judge?
Why then federal courts have written announcements that telephones MUST be switched off?
So that judges cannot be caught in misconduct?
Let's remember - judges are public SERVANTS. OUR SERVANTS.
They cannot dictate to us that we cannot collect evidence of their misconduct.
So - allowing EVERYBODY to record in court proceedings, state and federal, is a MUST. It is a public right.
And, Judge Jones MUST BE IMPEACHED, since no discipline was or is likely to be imposed upon her.
When this country is bashing Donald Trump for raising the issue of "appearance of impropriety" that a judge with certain racial roots presides over his case - remember, that people with views like Donald Trump are already there, inside the court, firmly on the bench, and ruling on your cases.
Be afraid of those.
Be vigilant about those.
And be active in asserting to authorities that Judge Edith Jones, and judges like her, cannot be anywhere near the bench.