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Jena 6 conviction overturned for Mychal Bell but crisis not over

I didn't believe the e-mail I read indicating the conviction of the Jena 6 had been overturned. I want to be excited because people around the world let their voices be heard via blogs, petitions and letters to the media and Louisiana governor, Kathleen Blanco.

I want to be excited but I celebrated when Genarlow Wilson's conviction was overturned. That celebration was short-lived because it was overruled and he remains in jail. Will the justice system change its mind again this time?

Well, it's likely there are far too many eyes on this situation for the Louisiana justice system not to let these young men go. Prayerfully protesters will continue their convergence on the small town until the Jena 6 are actually released and their records clear from any possibility of incarceration.


Appeals court overturns 'Jena 6' conviction

By Howard Witt | Tribune senior correspondent

8:35 PM CDT, September 14, 2007

HOUSTON - With the prospect of a major national civil rights protest looming next week in the central Louisiana town of Jena, a state appeals court on Friday abruptly vacated the felony conviction of a black teenager accused of beating a white student in a case fraught with racial tensions.

Louisiana's Third Circuit Court of Appeals, acting on an emergency defense appeal, reversed the aggravated second-degree battery conviction of Mychal Bell, 17, ruling that the youth had been tried improperly as an adult in a case that has raised allegations of unequal justice in the small, mostly white town.

Last week, the trial court judge who presided over Bell's trial in June, LaSalle Parish District Judge J.P. Mauffray, vacated a conspiracy conviction against the youth for the same reason, but inexplicably let the more serious battery conviction stand. Now the local district attorney, Reed Walters, must decide whether to refile the entire case in juvenile court.