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Friday, September 29, 2006

Getting a Farrakhan shake...

I am pleased to present the words of a guest blogger who only wishes to be identified as "Radar's Better Half." (identified henceforth as RBH.) I do have the option of inserting comments as I may be inspired. Here is her story:

"My date for jury duty had arrived, I had come prepared to sit and wait. I brought my crochet piece to work on. I was one of the last to arrive, a bit stressed because the road I was supposed to take was not marked so I missed it and had to turn around and got caught by a train..."

I would like to add that my directions were impeccable, however, the City of Hammond has not done a good job of marking streets. RBH was to have turned left at 165th street, which is a major intersection but it seems that if you don't live in Hammond you have a real good chance of being lost. Unless, of course, you can psychically determine street names by the power of your mind. In addition, there are train tracks that run through Hammond that are often the home of a sitting train for long periods of time. Why don't the trains sit in the railyards where they belong? No one knows and considering how much the local government has done to correct this behavior, no one in authority cares, either!

"...I rushed into a room full of people all sitting silently with an air of solemnity. I quickly found a seat, settled in and began to crochet trying to calm myself down. A young woman entered the room and went over the information we had on our hand-out sheets; about payment for our service and mileage and notice to employers and all that. Then she encouraged us to help ourselves to the coffee and doughnuts, and invited those who wanted to have a smoke to join her outside. People then began to move around and to speak. I found that I was sitting next to a woman who had recently moved into my neighborhood. If we both got chosen for this trial we could ride together..."

This is highly unusual, since we live in a new, small subdivision and it is at least seventeen miles from the Federal courthouse.

"...Soon a baldheaded man came in and told us to finish up our food and go to the washroom if we needed to because we would be sitting in the courtroom for about an hour. When everyone was ready he led us to the elevators and to the courtroom where we were seated on long wooden pews. The courtroom was just what I expected it to be like, like courtrooms I have seen in many TV shows. In front of the pews to my right the long table and chairs for the plaintiffs and their lawyers and to their right the defendant’s table back to the wall so that it was facing the jury chairs to my left.

The judge explained the case to us and we all took an oath to tell the truth, to tell the truth about any kind of bias or prejudice we may have about the people involved or the situation for the law suit.

The case was a civil case about an automobile accident. The defendant had already pled guilty in the criminal case for causing the accident and driving with a suspended license. But the plaintiffs were suing to recover the ongoing medical costs and pain and suffering caused by the accident.

The plaintiffs were a retired couple from Gary IN who were traveling east on the Indiana Toll way to spend Mother’s Day with their daughter and grandchildren. It was 7am on Mother’s Day. The traffic was light. The defendant was traveling from Chicago to a family gathering in New Buffalo. The plaintiffs said the defendant came up behind them with his big Hummer and hit them twice and drove them off the road causing them injuries and wrecking their Honda Accord. The defendant said that he fell asleep and doesn’t remember hitting them. That is all the information we were told about the case..."

So far I could see that I would have to make an effort to be fair about this case were it me on the panel. It sounds unlikely that one would fall asleep and snooze through TWO IMPACTS between motor vehicles. I have been the unhappy recipient of an automobile impact while in another automobile and I will say that it would be rather hard to ignore and certainly to sleep through...unless one was, say, 'dead' drunk at the time. But that's just me...

"...The defendant’s last name was Farrakhan. I thought maybe there might be some other Farrakhan family and he wasn’t related to cult leader Louis Farrakhan. Fourteen names were called to take their seat in the jury chairs. I and the woman from my neighborhood were not called. Each of those who were called was interviewed to see if they had any knowledge of this case or knew any of the participants or potential witnesses. One of the witnesses that might be called in to testify was indeed Louis Farrakhan, the defendant’s father.

Unbelievably, only three of the fourteen people in the jury chairs knew who Louis Farrakhan was, these people must have been living under a rock for the last fifteen years or they’re liars! They all said that they would have no problem judging the case fairly after they heard all the evidence; I thought to myself that I could too..."

Again, I believe RBH. If she says she could be impartial I am sure she could. Me, I cannot tolerate racists like David Dukes or Louis Farrakhan.

"...A few people were dismissed and more of us called up. My neighbor was called up and then they went into another room and the rest of us took a break. I was kind of hoping I would be called; it would be interesting to have to tell the truth in front of the whole court if they asked me what I thought about Louis Farrakhan.

What if I said; “I know of Louis Farrakhan, the defendant’s father. I know that he is the leader of the Nation of Islam cult. A cult that has led many people astray, filling them full of lies and hate; hatred of white people, hatred of Jewish people and the mixing of races together; yes, I have an opinion of the defendant’s father that is not positive.” I’m sure that if I said that I would have been dismissed from the jury.

They picked nine of the fourteen; my neighbor was not among them. I guess I'll just read about it in the papers..."

Well, we can all read about it in the papers now: Farrakhan's son ordered to pay Gary couple $814,399

The Associated Press

Published September 28, 2006, 10:38 AM CDT

HAMMOND, Ind. -- A federal jury has ordered the son of Minister Louis Farrakhan to pay a Gary couple $814,399 for causing a rear-end collision on the Indiana Toll Road three years ago that left a woman with chronic back and neck pain.

Nasir Farrakhan said he had accepted responsibility for causing the crash, but refused to pay the medical bills of Gladys Peterson because he contended her neck and back pain existed well before the crash.

The jury on Wednesday ordered Farrakhan to pay Gladys Peterson $448,838 in compensatory damages and her husband, Charles, $15,561, in compensatory damages. They also ordered $350,000 in punitive damages.

"The jury was not going to tolerate that kind of behavior, no matter who it is," said Michael Back, the attorney for the Petersons. "It was a loud and clear message."

The Associated Press left a message seeking comment for Farrakhan's attorney, Shelice R. Tolbert, at her Crown Point office.

Nasir Farrakhan did not take the stand during the trial and did not comment afterward.

Farrakhan had already pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal recklessness in criminal court two years ago and had served 15 days of community service and paid a fine of less than $200.

The Hummer that Nasir Farrakhan was driving was registered to his father. Nasir Farrakhan left the scene and was arrested a short time later on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. His driver's license had been revoked in 2001.

Although prescription drugs and drug paraphernalia were recovered from the Hummer, Nasir Farrakhan said he was just tired from a party in Chicago the night before.

Louis Farrakhan told followers in a letter earlier this month that he is seriously ill, and he asked the Nation of Islam's leaders to carry on in his absence.


The bold highlights are mine - There is plenty of corruption amongst Lake County, Indiana officials so it is no surprise that in criminal court young Mr. Farrakhan got a wrist-slap for things that for most of us would have meant a forcible change of address to a place with armed guards and iron bars. But it seems some measure of justice has been meted out in the end.

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