About a year ago Amber Guyger shot Botham Jean in his own home, which set off the Black Lives Matter movement. But the injustice that occurred that day united every reasonable person that this needed to be treated as an intentional homicide. Now former officer Amber Guyger has been found guilty of murder.
Legal experts said that the verdict was dependent on whether the jury believed that Guyger’s defense was reasonable. On Monday much fuss from the Black Lives Matter camp arose when the judge, who is black, allowed the deliberating jury to consider castle doctrine. But this subsided when enough reasonable people informed the masses that denying the jury the ability to review statutes involving the defense’s arguments was grounds for overturn in appeals.
Guyger’s guilty verdict of murder carries a sentence from 5 years to 99 years. The prosecution sought 28 years, Jean’s age. Today the jury sentence Amber Guyger to only 10 years.
Black Lives Matter has made this about a white and black justice system:
Botham Jean's sister is in tears as the woman who shot and killed her brother, Amber Guyger, is sentenced to only 10 years in prison for his death. #BlackLivesMatter #BothamJean pic.twitter.com/C56KHArhY9
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 2, 2019
But racial bias isn’t at play in this trail. On October first, right after the guilty verdict, Slate, the leftist news site published a column praising this verdict as the work of having a diverse jury. Diverse in this case meant non-white:
In this particular case, reports indicated that there were five black jurors, five Hispanic or Asian jurors, and two white jurors, with two black and two white alternates. Having a majority-minority jury creates a different perspective on the value of decedent in this case, Mr. Jean. Part of closing argument from the defense was the fact that Mr. Jean had marijuana in his system when he was shot. Too often we have seen cases where there are attempts to justify the killing based on alleged bad characteristics of the decedent.
In cases in which police officers have not been convicted of killing an unarmed person, there is sometimes a lot of sympathy and empathy for the police officer. A non-diverse jury may have more sympathy for law enforcement than they do the actual decedent; it may believe that the decedent is not worthy of sympathy but police officers are.
Here, because it was more representative of the community, the jury may have had a different sense of empathy—empathy for Mr. Jean. The jury may not have been swayed by any kind of perceived negativity that could be associated with Mr. Jean as it related to marijuana use.
As Slate points out, the jury was half black and a supermajority non-white. The prosecutor asked them for a sentence more than nearly thrice as stringent. This diverse jury under-delivered. White people, so-called systemic racism, cannot be blamed for a non-white jury not throwing the book at someone found guilty for murdering an unarmed black man in his home. The judge was also black. So race really is out of play in Monday morning quarterbacking this light sentence.
Sexism is at play in this case. Guyger after the verdict was visibly sobbing in court. She subsequently received a light sentence. This is a general trend in the criminal justice system. Women receive much more noticeably lenient sentences than their male counterparts. A University of Michigan Law School study found that when various factors and decision making points are taken into account, sentences for men are on average 63 percent longer than sentences for women.
It finds large unexplained gaps favoring women throughout the sentence length distribution, conditional on arrest offense, criminal history, and other pre-charge observables. Decompositions show that most of the unexplained disparity appears to emerge during charging, plea-bargaining, and sentencing fact-finding. The approach provides an important complement to prior disparity studies, which have focused on sentencing and have not incorporated disparities arising from those earlier stages.
The stereotype about white men being let off easy by the justice system is untrue as women of almost every race are let off easy compared to white men according to data from the US Sentencing Commission.
Instead of looking at race, the much more obvious factor at play is sex. Amber Guyger cried in front of the jury, and so the jury rendered a lenient sentence for murder. Black Lives Matter will continue chasing this false narrative because intersectionality blinds them from the true reason behind the disparate sentence in the Amber Guyger sentence.
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