Saturday, March 6, 2021

Presiding Judge in Botham Jean Murder Trial Showed Clear Deference and Sympathy For Defendant, Experts

*When convicted murderer Amber Guyger, who is white, had her hair stroked by a bailiff, who is African-American, during the hearing, it was lambasted on social media.

When Botham Jean’s family took the path of forgiveness, it was lambasted as being indicative of slavery-based psychological conditioning passed down through the ages. Indeed, a great matter of discussion has sprung forward because of those images.

However, when Judge Tammy Kemp hugged and prayed with Guyger following her being found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison, it then became a matter of historic precedent for another reason.

See, even legal experts are saying Kemp, who is also African-American, exhibited “poor judgment and inappropriate behavior” when she left the bench to embrace Guyger and give her what amounted to a gift, Kemp’s personal Bible.

The Washington Post quoted an expert as saying it was “not only rare but inappropriate.”

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Judge Tammy Kemp
Judge Tammy Kemp

Kenneth Williams, a professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, told The Post: “[Kemp] has indicated an affinity or sympathy for the defendant.”

President and Director-Counsel of LDF (NAACP Legal Defense and Educational) Sherrilyn Ifill tweeted that a judge should remain impartial and unbiased in a court of law.

“A judge is not an average citizen. She is not the victim… She must, especially in a case that arouses passion and conflict like this one, stand for impartial justice. She may speak words from the bench. This is too much.”

Kemp also came under fire for allowing the defense to use the Castle Doctrine defense, which is reserved for homeowners to stand their ground when an intruder enters an occupied home. Kemp also instructed the jury to consider a so-called “sudden passion” defense in the punishment phase. This is said to have reduced the sentencing from 2 to 20 years.

Her behavior certainly begs the question, “Just whose side is she really on?”

EurWebWriter
Ricardo A. Hazell began his career in journalism in 1996 as a Research Intern for the prestigious Editor & Publisher Co. His byline has appeared in The Root, Washington Post, Black Enterprise and he helped define culture within the African Diaspora as Senior Cultural Contributor at The Shadow League. Currently working on the semi-autobiographical novel "Remorse".

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