Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Long, Long Time, Ago

The Dallas Morning News reports on the case of 30 year old Charles Ray Sempe who was busted for a pocket full of marijuana and jailed in the Dallas County jail because he didn't have the $200 bail.  Shoved into an overcrowded holding cell, he changed the channel on the television set and was killed by a blow from behind by an enraged cellmate.  Dallas County had turned its jails into profit centers, housing every miscreant they could lay their hands on from neighboring jurisdictions to derive revenue for the county.

Sempe's family sued (Chris Sempe holds a picture of his father in the accompanying image.)  Twenty years later, after every conceivable antic, er, delay pulled by the County's outside private (billable hour attorneys)--the wrongful death action is scheduled for trial in February. 

There is so much that is outrageous embedded in this story.  When a civil lawsuit is filed and languishes as this case did, and is carelessly and wrongly dismissed then reinstated and then delayed and delyaed--the law is made to look like an ass.  That defense attorneys involved in this matter have obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars from the citizens and ultimately may have nothing to show for it other than a perversion of justice--is outrageous. 

The Sempe case is literary, a man jailed for a minor misdemeanor killed for changing a television channel in an overcrowded jail cell, the sheer grinding of the jusitice system, children now adults seeking justice.  Good luck.