Guest Star: "G. Dep Is Seen Differently In The System Than The Young White Counterpart"

Tuesday, Mar 1, 2011 6:45PM

Written by SOHH for Attorney Muhammad Bashir

[With G. Dep's legal fate still unknown following a recent confession to an 18 year-old fatal shooting, Criminal Justice Attorney and Raw Law author Muhammad Bashir weighs in.]

Seven out of ten people who are convicted of crimes in America are convicted out of their own mouth. Now I know the bottom line is whenever you're in a position and you're charged with a crime, make the system do what the system does.

If the executive has an obligation to investigate, then let them investigate. The minute you open up your mouth to it, and begin to consent to stuff, you never know what it is that the evidence or what that evidence is going to lead to down the road.

Now imagine this. You confess to shooting someone. You don't know the person died. Now you're charged with murder because the person died. The gun happened to be stolen that you allegedly used. You thought you got it from your friend. Now you're charged with a stolen gun. Then you got consecutive time on top of the murder that you're facing as well. All right? Let's say that gun was used on a body someplace else. Now you're concession to a gun that was used on a body and so now they're going to try and tie you down to that one as well.

The bottom line is regardless of whatever it is that you do, you have to understand what the rules are. Whenever you walk into there, the police precinct, or you're in the company of the police, they're telling you you have a right to remain silent for a reason. You need to get counseled, you need to protect your rights because they have the duty of proving you're guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And the easiest way for them to do it is straight out of your mouth.

Now look, there are some people who say, "My conscience just can't stand it." If I had that same person and I was representing him, I would say make what happened between your conscience and you, your creator. Because he's the best to judge that. But the legal system is not in a position to where it can judge you rightfully.

First of all, you're young and black. You know you get looked at anyway. So it's going to be a whole different ballgame when you walk in there talking about you're confessing. The minute you do, everybody is going to say, "Oh yeah, he did the right thing. He stepped forward." Yes, but when they give you that 30 years and then you say, "Well, I confessed. The least you could do is cut it down." And then they say, "OK, well, we'll cut it down to 27."

Nobody wants to hear that after you've confessed. That's the kind of thing you have to come to a clear understanding about. And that's the part we just don't get. That's the thing about our community. Nobody speaks to us about how we should maneuver in this particular realm. That's why a book like Raw Law provides guidance so our communities begin to understand how to maneuver. This is how everybody maneuvers except us.

And G. Dep's confession was allegedly while he was under the influence of drugs. Do you think that's gonna matter? We recently just saw a boy shoot up half of Arizona. First thing out of his mouth was he was crazy. Young black boy, same sort of situation, and the first thing they would say is he was wildin'. He has a liking toward violence. Nobody would even consider whether or not he was crazy. And they're not gonna even consider whether G. Dep was under the influence. No matter how old or how cold the case is.

G Dep is seen differently in the system than the young white male counterpart. And that's not to diss young white males because they get put into enough of their own crimes alone, but nobody's talking to our communities. Our communities were told in the '60's and '70's that somehow they had made it. They arrived, they had moved up to the Eastside. But nobody spoke that. Hidden underneath America was still that same underpinning that they believe you're 3/5's of a human being. So if you're Black or Latin or Asian, they still don't see you as equal to the white counterpart. So when you walk into that courtroom, they're still seeing traces of their own personal privilege that is the country is white, the majority of people are white and "our" standards apply. And their standards have always been people of color are more violent than we are. They think our actions are because we're crazy and there's no reason for them to act the same way.

Muhammad Ibn Bashir is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New Jersey. He specializes in criminal and constitutional law and has been a sole practitioner for twenty-three years. During this time, he has also represented clients in Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Kentucky. He served as a Public Defender and co-counsel in the defense of the infamous "World Trade Center Bombing" trial. As a criminal trial attorney, he maintains a reputation of a relentless cross-examiner and tenacious advocate. Married, and a father of five children, he currently resides in Maryland.

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