Politics in Memphis, as in most places, is pretty inbred. Even though power has been parceled out among the players along clear-cut jurisdictional and functional lines, the reality is that everyone is partying together and in bed with everyone else.
In the picture above, we see James Prindle’s judge Bobby Carter with his impartial arm around James Prindle’s prosecutor Jennifer Nichols at a fundraiser for Carter on May 28, 2010.
Last week I had a conversation with an aide of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell in which the aide asserted that there is nothing Luttrell can do to influence Judge Carter’s handling of James Prindle’s case—that Bobby Carter’s criminal court is outside Luttrell’s jurisdiction. True.
And yet here is a picture of Mayor Luttrell at the same Bobby Carter fundraiser (if you blow up this picture, you’ll see the lady is wearing a Bobby Carter for Judge sticker). Luttrell is apparently one of Carter’s supporters, and Luttrell is influential. I think we should ignore what Mayor Luttrell’s aide said and continue sending Mr. Luttrell e-mail messages as I suggested in my June 23 post. They talk.
It’s worth the effort. Your e-mails to Mayor Luttrell over the weekend had the desired effect. A conversation at the bench on Monday was overheard. Audible consternation was shared by Judge Carter, Prosecutor Nichols, and Defense Attorney Ferguson.
The whole world is watching, folks.
Mayor Luttrell’s aide told me that Luttrell is the chief executive of Shelby County, not the city (down here in Texas we call these people “judges”; in Tennessee they are called “mayors”.) He suggested that we should be contacting the Mayor of the City of Memphis, instead. After all, it is the poor work of the detectives on his city’s police force that failed to identify the real perpetrator of this crime of which James has been wrongfully accused and convicted.
This is a good idea. The name of the mayor of the city of Memphis is A C Wharton, Jr. His e-mail address is Mayor@memphistn.gov.
Mayor Wharton may be able to empathize with James’ predicament. In 2007 his son, A C Wharton III, then 34, was convicted of the statutory rape of a 13-year-old he met in an Internet chat room. Wharton III has recently been released from a Knox County jail and, as he pleaded guilty, he will now be a registered sex offender. Mayor Wharton is a lawyer. He knows the consequences for his son are serious and lifelong.
Perhaps Mayor Wharton will take an interest in helping spare an innocent boy a fate far worse than that which has befallen his own son. Wharton is said to be a good man and an extremely popular politician.
Write to him. Tell him what you think of what’s being done to James. Maybe he will listen. Maybe he will ask Judge Carter to reconsider his court’s politically self-destructive actions with regard to James. It cannot hurt. It might even help.
Judge Carter knows this trial has placed his court in a bad light. On Monday, he, Jennifer Nichols, and Claiborne Ferguson were overheard discussing how they could bury the transcripts from the previous Friday’s court session.
Believe me, all these politicos understand that crime is bad for business, both public and private. Memphis has been recently ranked as the #5 city in the US for high rates of crime. The way to turn this around is not to be putting innocent people, especially vulnerable juveniles, in jail or prison. It only fuels disrespect for the law, the police, and public officials.
Whether or not they are all friends, these politicians do not want the mud being stirred up in Carter’s courtroom to splash on them. The injustice being perpetrated against James in Carter’s court may be within Bobby Carter’s sole jurisdiction, but it’s everybody’s problem and it’s getting bigger, more visible, embarrassing, and—here is the crucial thing—more memorable.
I talked yesterday with a scriptwriter in Hollywood with one of the networks. He is developing a script based on James’ story. When this story airs in a year or more, the voters will be reminded of what is happening in Memphis today.
No matter how dismissively some politicians may regard voters in any given jurisdiction, most voters are not retarded. They may have short attention spans, but many have long memories. Long enough to be brought into the voting booth.
Groove of the Day