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Jena 6: Mychal Bell's Sentencing Delayed
by Matt Olson Sunday, Jul. 29, 2007 at 11:46 PM

The July 31 sentencing of Mychal Bell, who was controversially convicted by an all-white jury of second-degree assault and conspiracy, has been delayed until September 20. The reasons are not especially clear, although Bell has taken on new counsel provided pro bono. Bell could be put in jail for a maximum of 22 years for a fistfight at school in which he says he is innocent.

Mychal Bell's sentencing on July 31 has been delayed until September 20. The reasons are not especially clear, although Bell has taken on new counsel provided pro bono by Louis Scott, a lawyer based in Monroe, La. This was taken as a relatively good sign by the families and their close allies. They now have time to build even more support for Bell.

There were plans for a rally and march on July 31 to coincide with Bell's sentencing, and since so many national allies and supporters committed to coming into Jena (by planes, buses, etc.), the families decided to have an event anyway--starting at the courthouse and then retiring for a get-to-know-each-other afternoon lunch at the local ballpark, one of the only places where blacks can publicly congregate in Jena.

Originally, the rally and march in front of the courthouse was also intended to be a demonstration against a new-found city ordinance, which made the freedom of assembly illegal during trials or hearings. This infringement on first amendment rights is being taken up by legal advocates close to the situation.

Today, the US Department of Justice Community Relations Services is convening a forum in Jena to be a "peacemaker" as tensions rise in the town with the cases going to trial. Many families voted not to attend the event, which they believed was also being hosted by the FBI, because it seemed to smell of information gathering. Some families may end up attending, like one mother states in the <em>Town Talk</em>'s article. Yet, everyone would rather see the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice get involved rather than the public relations branch.

Here is a brief timeline of events constructed from news and activist sources in Jena.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
You serious? Some Guy Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2007 at 12:34 AM
Right to assemble Jeremy Gwin Saturday, Sep. 01, 2007 at 1:25 AM
reduced bond denied matt olson Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007 at 5:40 PM

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