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Johnson: The silent faith behind the decision not to prosecute Marshae Jones



Too many ebony jemisons, too.

Too many young people embroiled in circumstances and conditions that do not absolve, but contribute

Sometimes deadly decisions

Twenty-seven-year-old Jones and Jemison, 26, most of us know now, became embroiled in fisticuffs one afternoon last December in a senseless dispute over a man. A man who was a co-worker of the two women at a charcoal plant in west Jefferson County.

A man who was the father of the 5-month-old unborn child in Jones' womb.

Now that child's ashes sit inside on a shelf at the great grandmother's home. Her name is Marlaysia. Jemison in the midst of the dispute.

An Alabama law, allows for charges to be filed against anyone else if they are committing a crime crime.

In April, Jefferson County Bessemer Cuttoff's grand jury decided that Jones, who is a six-year-old daughter, should be charged with the manslaughter of her unborn child. She was indicted and arrested last month. If convicted, Jones could have been faced 20 years in prison.

Thankfully, common sense prevailed in a system where it is too often nowhere to be found, especially when it comes to the treatment of African-Americans-a justice

It stands, visibly but silently, behind Jefferson County Bessemer County District.

It stands proudly, but it is typically extinguished Attorney Lynniece Washington, the first-elected African-American DA in our state, on Wednesday afternoon.

They were: Pastor Dr. George Matthews of New Life Interfaith Ministries, Inc .: Pastor dr. Victor Harkins of Shady Grove Missionary Baptist: Pastor dr. Reginald Calvert of New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist: Pastor Dr. William H. Walker, New Bethlehem Baptist; and Pastor Alfonso January of Old St. Paul's Missionary Baptist.

On Sunday, Washington was a predominantly black audience at the Boutwell Auditorium. She was out of the country when she first learned of Jones indictment, returning to an epic firestorm of criticism, much of it directed at her office.

She was emphatic and unapologetic. "

" I am a black woman in black skin, "she declared," So, do not tell me how a woman and the rights of women. "

Three days later, amid the bowels of the Tenth Judicial Circuit-Bessemer Justice Center where her office is located, Washington, DC. What a subtle, but equally emphatic and still unapologetic.

They were there to gird her, to show without the role of faith plays in her life, in her decisions

In this decision.

Here is our full coverage of Marshae Jones

Washington did not stray from the law in a letter statement.

" The issue before us …

"… legally culpable …

" the facts of this case and the accompanying la w … "

Prosecution, she is finally said," is not in the best interest of justice. "

And the men did not utter a word.

They were not there.

They were there Marshae Joneses out, too many Ebony Jemisons.

Too many others in their communities making poor, fateful and, too often, deadly decisions.

They were there because they know it has to stop.

A voice for what's right and wrong in Birmingham, Alabama (and beyond), Roy's column appears in The Birmingham News and AL.com as well as in the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Register. Reach him at [email protected] and follow him at twitter.com/roysj


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