Louisiana Officials "are flirting with genocide" per new Position Statement on COVID-19 & Louisiana's Incarceration of Blacks
U.S. federal law, including international human rights treaties, have a lot of fancy ways of saying "the punishment should fit the crime." A new Position Statement on COVID-19 and Louisiana's incarceration of African Americans suggests Louisiana officials talking public safety outside that parameter – outside of keeping crime and punishment in proportion . . . are flirting with genocide.
SLIDELL, La. - April 27, 2020 - PRLog -- The proverbial ink is still wet on the U.S. Supreme Court, Ramos v. Louisiana decision, declaring unconstitutional Louisiana's recently changed, but longstanding practice of allowing convictions for serious crimes based on nonanimous jury verdicts. However, Louisiana United International, Inc. (LUI) and its CEO, Belinda Parker-Brown, are already spearheading another major challenge of Louisiana's criminal justice system. Today, it issued a Position Statement on the matter titled, "They've Determined It's Better We Die" with the subtitle, "The crime of proposing public safety concerns warrant exposing Louisiana's vast population of incarcerated African Americans to avoidable risks of COVID-19 infection."
LUI's referenced Position Statement explains its quick shift in focus:
LUI is a grassroots civil, constitutional, and human rights organization. While it was eventually pushed from the forefront of related reform efforts, LUI evoked the public outcry precipitating a 2018 change of Louisiana's Constitution to require unanimous jury verdicts to convict criminal defendants of serious crimes. And when the amendment was not made retroactive, LUI initiated its 'Unanimous Is Not Enough Campaign', demanding retroactive relief for all affected inmates and prisoners. So, the Ramos decision substantially vindicates LUI and its constituents, especially those directly impacted by Louisiana's criminal justice system. Of course, overshadowing that great victory for Louisiana inmates and prisoners convicted pre-2018 by less than a unanimous jury is the COVID-19 pandemic of 2019-2020 which has no clear end in sight.
LUI asserts that U.S. federal law requires "prospects of death unique to being incarcerated during a pandemic account only for risks proportional to past or otherwise confirmed acts prompting, and circumstances of that detention." At a related webinar, LUI's Assistant Chief of Operations Zena D. Crenshaw-Logal, a Doctor of Jurisprudence and published legal scholar, explained that "Louisiana officials talking public safety outside that parameter – outside of keeping crime and punishment in proportion . . . are flirting with genocide."