Posted Sept. 19, 2007 – The lawyer for the “Jena Six” teen who remains in jail, even though a judge threw out his conviction last week, says it’s time to let him go home or send him to a juvenile facility.
Bob Nobel, who represents 17-year-old Mychal Bell, the student convicted in the beating of a fellow White classmate at the racially charged Jena High School, says his client’s situation is inexcusable. He has been in jail for eight months because he couldn’t come up with the $90,000 bond.
At the very least, Nobel says, Bell should have been freed on Friday, after a state appeals court threw out Bell’s conviction of aggravated battery, saying that the case should have been tried in a juvenile court.
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Says Nobel: “It's my opinion that he should be out of jail now, but at the very least he should not be in an adult correctional facility.”
Reed Walters, the parish district attorney handling the case, says he plans to appeal the ruling of the state Third Circuit Court of Appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court. Nobel is also getting some help from civil rights leaders like the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Jackson, one of the thousands of protestors scheduled to descend upon the little Louisiana town on Thursday, said he wants the feds to get involved to get Bell released. He also promised to speak with the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to see if assistance is available.
“We need federal intervention on this,” Jackson said. “We needed federal intervention to get into school in Little Rock in 1950, and we need federal intervention now.”
Bell, who was 16 at the time of the beating, is one of five African-American students at Jena High who faced charges of second-degree attempted murder after allegedly attacking fellow student Justin Barker. The charges against all but one defendant were reduced to second-degree battery. The charges against another Black student were never disclosed to the public.
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