by Sam Hieb
I had a defense attorney friend once tell me about a case in which he secured a non guilty verdict on a robbery charge for a —shall we say—- less than reputable client. “The guy’s done some bad things,” my friend told me, “but he didn’t do this one bad thing.”
Fair enough–I believe in our justice system—innocent until proven guilty, case by case. With that in mind, we turn to the case of young Jose Charles, who had his day in court yesterday on charges of spitting blood on a police officer during an altercation on July 4. Charles’ mother asserts that police officers assaulted Charles, slamming him to the ground before arresting him, and that police cam video would bear that out. But North Carolina’s controversial law requires a court order to release police video to the public. Activists and the social justice media have taken up Charles’ cause, with protesters taking over a recent City Council meeting, in the process calling into question Mayor Nancy Vaughan’s leadership abilities—something voters should take into consideration come the November municipal election.
But during Charles’ day in court, there were some—as the N&R puts it— “unexpected revelations”:
The hearing also had some unexpected revelations. Prior to the July 4 incident, Charles had one pending juvenile petition from February and had received eight additional petitions after the altercation, three of those for breaking and entering.
Also revealed in court was that Charles is expecting a child in September, had been caught with marijuana and was a gang member.
Ordinarily, juvenile court cases are private. Prosecutors and judges don’t use a minor’s name and court officials seal those records in an attempt to make sure the alleged crimes don’t follow the child into adulthood.
This case has been different because Figueroa revealed her son’s identity, believing that police mistreated him.
….After admitting to breaking and entering, Charles asked the judge to be lenient with his sentence.
“I don’t want to continue my education in jail like my parents did,” Charles told Fox. “I don’t want to be like my father and hear my baby be born during a 15-minute phone call.”
Look I understand Charles’ other issues with the law are not necessarily related to the July 4 incident. And I also understand the bigger issue of police video serving its intended purpose– vindicating parties involved—whether they be the police or the citizen–when there is an altercation. Perhaps the activists who took over the City Council meeting were aware of the other charges pending against Charles. I suspect they were not. At any rate, perhaps had they known, they might have scaled back their vociferous defense of Jose Charles, a less than reputable young man. We can only hope this incident will serve to set him on the right course.