May 18, 2005
Seattle NAACP Still Hunting For Right Race-Baiting Lawyer

The King County Journal digs deeper and gets the real story today behind a U.S. District Court Judge's dismissal of a $50 million lawsuit on behalf of 15 students, a lawsuit that has been advanced at every stage by the Seattle NAACP against the Kent School District. The suit alleged use of excessive force, in what the district has described as the necessary, last resort, handcuffing of black students in serious and often violent school disciplinary incidents.

The first layer of reporting, in The Seattle Times, makes it sound as though the case, which will reportedly be refiled, was dismissed simply because plaintiffs' attorney Alfoster Garrett Jr. (also president of the Seattle NAACP) was late for a court hearing yesterday, and the judge was already irritated because he'd missed a previous hearing.

There's more to it, according to Garrett himself. Here's the King County Journal (1st link, above):

Garrett, as an attorney in the case, shouldered much of the blame himself for the dismissal. He's been a criminal defense attorney in state courts for 10 years, he said, but has no real experience in federal court cases.

He said the NAACP has been trying to find attorneys with experience in such claims in federal court to accept the case on a contingency basis. After the dismissal, Garrett said he now realizes that he should have filed the motions and documents sooner to meet the legal requirements. "I was waiting to get everything together, instead of filing what I had so far," Garrett said.

Tuesday's hearing was the third conference hearing before (U.S. District Court) Judge (John) Coughenhour. At such hearings, attorneys discuss issues and offer pre-trail motions and brief the judge on their preparations for trial so the judge can set trial schedules. Garrett said he got caught in traffic and realized he was late and that attorneys in other cases were waiting.

So Garrett essentially concedes he's been in over his head. A splashy press conference is easy, and there were several staged by the Seattle NAACP as the dispute with the Kent District unfolded. Lawyering is a bit more challenging, however. Why had the Seattle NAACP as of yesterday found no properly-experienced attorney who would take the case on a contingency basis? Gosh. Couldn't have anything to do with the merits of the evidence, could it? Ah well. Perhaps the news coverage will bring the right attorney forward to represent the plaintiffs. If so, let's hope that said barrister files court paperwork in a timely manner and leaves enough time for negotiating traffic jams on court dates.

Meanwhile, the Seattle NAACP is getting back in the groove today, announcing it will be holding a press conference on behalf of another black victim of whites in public schools. Sadly, this exemplifies the prevailing M.O. for an organization whose national unit and local affiliates around the country are still wallowing in the past. Perhaps another half-baked lawsuit will be in the offing.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at May 18, 2005 10:43 AM | Email This
Comments
1. Is the Pot calling the Kettle racist? I found William Raspberry's column yesterday particularly racist in nature.

Maybe I didn't get it, but if you don't appreciate being called the n-word, don't call someone else a redneck.

Overlooking the name calling- Bill Cosby has in fact made the most pointed statements that too many blacks today have found it hip and cool to undo the fruits of what generations have fought for- the result is what you see in the Kent school district.

Don't want to be treated like a criminal? Then stop acting like one.

Posted by: Andy on May 18, 2005 10:55 AM
2. How many kids are just trying to get attention or do something to provoke their parents? They're just finding out how far they can push authority. That's all.

But, I can only wonder how many kids are really smart enough to realize there could be money in bad behavior. Does the WASL have any question on this subject? So what if you get detention, you just might get pushed by a teacher frustrated with your constant disrespect. That could mean ... lawsuit!! Whoo-hoo, and you're in the newspapers, get special attention, counseling and maybe some money.

And does anyone think our of control behavior exhibited at some public schools would be accepted at private schools?

Remember though, these are just kids pushing authority. Not a single one of them would ever consider gaining from it. Right?

Posted by: Mike J on May 18, 2005 01:49 PM
3. Andy--
On point. Exactly.

Spend this much time/effort reading & tutoring, & your perceived 'victim status' evaporates. I don't see Asians howling. How about Eastern Indians? Nope. Too busy winning spelling bees & studying advanced calculus. Could it be the cultural value system?

Reading, writing, disclipline and "home training" have no color. We all are expected to tow the line and behave. The alternative is chaos.

Posted by: Jimmie-howya-doin on May 18, 2005 02:52 PM
4. One more reason for tort reform.

Posted by: CLAM on May 18, 2005 02:56 PM
5. The Kent School District and Seattle school district incidents are nothing...King County Deputy Mel Miller has been going through hell for 3 years since he defended himself against an armed assailant who happened to be black. Where was the conservative outrage over Mel Miller's plight. I attended everyday of his inquest and Federal civil lawsuit. I listened to the outright lies and watched the perversion of so called justice by liberal judges. Mel Miller won both but I can't help but remember the lack of support from the conservatives in this area. Get your heads out of the holes their in...If you think of yourself as a "conservative" or just a clear thinking person you have to start standing up to all of these false racism claims. Ask questions.....Like why Mel Millers personnel file was leaked to the opposing attorney by King County?????? Why was all of Mel Millers past discipline allowed in the civil trial but the fact that the person he shot had been twice CONVICTED of shooting people, including another police officer and had a stolen gun when shot was not told to the jury???????
Mel Miller is a racist because he defended himself when someone tried to kill him.......The media says so...The NAACP says so...the same media and NAACP who rushed to assure the public that the Killings of Deputy Richard Herzog and Kristopher Kime by black men were not racial.....Like I said....get your head out of that hole....

Posted by: Leonidas on May 18, 2005 05:27 PM
6. CLAM,

This is exactly why we don't need tort-reform. This system usually works.

The case was dismissed remember?

Posted by: John on May 18, 2005 05:40 PM
7. Leonidas - I wasn't able to sit in on the court sessions, but I was proud to contribute to his legal defense (And I'd do it again in a heartbeat!).

When a racist calls you a racist, does it count? When a master racist like Carl Mack indiscriminately labels anyone who doesn't pee his pants when Mack barks his sh!t a racist, doesn't the word lose all meaning?

Mel is no racist, but Carl Mack certainly is!

Posted by: alphabet soup on May 18, 2005 07:19 PM
8. If my kids are ever harmed by a child of ANY color - because the district shied away from using *necessary* means of control when dealing with violent kids....due to this unwarranted and racist lawsuit..I will sue the NAACP and the school district...And my sentiments are shared by every other parent I've ever talked to about this!

Where are these kids parent's in all of this? I've seen these kids led around like show ponies by members of the black community.. I have yet to see or hear from the parents! I think the State should send someone to investigate the families of these kids. Find out why they are so violent! Maybe the kids are abused or neglected at home and should be taken away!

My kids go to school to get an education - NOT to get pummeled in the halls by some gansta wannabe with an attitude!

These kids might as well get used to the feel of handcuffs.....because in the real world - they won't be able to beat on their co-workers and bosses without jail time....and no *organization* is going to rally to their defense....

Posted by: Deborah on May 18, 2005 10:47 PM
9. Not to excuse anybody black or white from using race to play the system, but a significant amount of white kids have discovered the ruse of saying, "I feel threatened", when they want to get a minority kid in trouble or to just concoct an excuse to get out of class. Teachers who question these students on their behavior are often severely disciplined. We are teaching kids of all races to "play the system and be a victim."

Posted by: headless lucy on May 19, 2005 11:44 AM
10. "We are teaching kids of all races to "play the system and be a victim."

What's this "we" crap (You gotta mouse in yer pocket!?)

Liberals are "teaching kids of all races to "play the system and be a victim."

Keep your stupid liberal POS notions to yourself, please!

Posted by: alphabet soup on May 19, 2005 12:41 PM
11. Alfoster Garret, being president, is the worst move the NAACP can make. For an attorney to be late then concede that he was over his head shows a level of incompetency for a human being never mind an attoreny. Garret go back to Law School or just quit. You have no clue what you are doing

Posted by: anonymous on June 18, 2005 11:25 PM
12. I agree Alfoster Garrett Jr. is incompetent!

Posted by: JK on June 27, 2005 11:21 AM
13. And does anyone think our of control behavior exhibited at some public schools would be accepted at private schools?

Right, because the private schools don't have to tolerate it. They can admit on the basis of competitive examinations, for example (unless (1) you're an athlete or (2) you come from a rich family who can afford a bribe, erm, "endowment"). As a result, they need not, and usually don't, have expensive special ed programs, etc. The public schools, OTOH, have to take all comers. Now, if people like Jim Spady (who made his billions on the backs of kids working for minimum wage) had their way, the public schools would be effectively defunded by diverting money from them into the private schools which are already enclaves for the super rich.

Posted by: Critical Thinker on November 26, 2005 01:06 AM
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