Wednesday, October 10, 2018

After Five Years, Justin Carter Is Not an Accused Felon Anymore

Over five years ago, I wrote an open letter to then President Obama calling him out on his comments about the George Zimmerman case.  George Zimmerman, if you recall, was the neighborhood watch guy who killed a Black teen.  A jury later found Zimmerman not guilty of all charges.  President Obama held a press conference urging all Americans to do some "soul searching," a directive obviously meant only for White people.

In my letter, I challenged President Obama by exposing his racism.  Oddly, President Obama displayed the same sort of bigotry most people accuse Trump of on almost a daily basis.  President Obama tried and convicted Zimmerman, blamed the court system for systemic racism, and made sweeping generalizations about the racist tendencies of White people.  Not some White people; not some Black people; not some Hispanics.  Just White people.  Like Trump often does, President Obama stuck his nose in a state's business where it didn't belong.  Zimmerman and the tragic end of young Trayvon Martin's life was a state issue, not a federal one.

By the time the Zimmerman case made it to court, a teen in Texas faced federal charges of "terroristic threatening" for making an offhand joke to a fellow gamer about being crazy and shooting up a school.  The other gamer's Mom caught wind of the joke and filed a complaint with local Texas authorities.  Here's the clincher: the other gamer and his Mom are Canadian citizens.  Apparently, Canadians have a helicopter Mom problem, too.  And, apparently, citizens from another country can get an American arrested on nothing more than a phone call and a bad joke.

Unfortunately for the Texas teen, Justin Carter, he was from a poor family and is White.  He sat in jail for six months before an anonymous benefactor posted the bail Carter's family couldn't afford (half a million dollars).  And because we had a Black President who didn't give a muskrat's patootie about good ol' White boy teens in Texas, Carter was ordered to stay away from the Internet until his trial was settled and President Obama said nothing.  Carter faced $10,000 in fines and up to ten years in jail for his bad joke.

Five years later, Carter's case ended in a plea deal.  Even though he did nothing wrong back in 2013 except make a joke in bad taste, he had to plead guilty to a misdemeanor of filing a false report or alarm and sentenced to time served (no more jail time) in exchange for all felony charges being dropped.  Carter had to plead guilty to something otherwise the state of Texas could be held liable in civil damages.

For the five years the court had banned him from Internet use, Carter was unable to apply for most jobs.  In case the courts hadn't noticed, one can't get a job without applying online first.  One can't even go to school without applying online first.  Carter was unable to do much with his life for the last five years except sit at home and hope for the case to end quickly.  In government time, five years is honoring the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution for the right to a speedy trial.

The case closed in April of this year.  Carter has since moved to Colorado to play catch up with his dreams and a career.  He runs a Twitch TV channel on gaming and hopes to pursue a career as an entertainer or comedian.  He also wants to use his experience with the First Amendment to teach others about the "murky boundaries."  He might want to consider a lesson in the Sixth Amendment, too.  You would think our judges and lawyers are fully versed on the amendment, but apparently not if they think five years is a speedy trial.

To help him get on his feet, he started a GoFundMe drive.  He's hoping to raise a year's salary while he tries to play catch up with his life.  Perhaps those Canadians will do the right thing and contribute to his fund.

Please share this update.  Five years ago, the far right conservatives made a big deal of it.  They have long since forgotten about Carter, but I'm sure there are people out there who remember the story and would appreciate an update.

Posted by A Drunk Redneck

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