Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Judge Lynda Jones drops all appearances of judicial impartiality in Poor People's Campaign case.

Lynda Jones
Declaring, "the first amendment won today," General Session Judge Lynda Jones dismissed all charges against members of the Poor People's Campaign arrested last May here in Nashville. For several weeks last April and May protestors disrupted downtown, blocking numerous streets creating traffic havoc.  They also occupied the hall outside the door of the governors office and disrupted the state capitol.

It appeared from their actions that the protestors were trying to get arrested but for weeks the police would not oblige.  Instead the police accommodated the protestors who were blocking streets without demonstration permits. The police accompanied the protestors and stopped traffic when the protestors sit down in the streets. Finally, the police did make arrest.  Twenty-one people  were charged with obstruction of a passageway and one of the demonstrators was also charged with resisting arrest.

Most of the protestors were not Nashvillians.  Of those arrested only eight were from Nashville. Some were not even Tennesseans.  The Poor People's Campaign was a national movement and similar disruptive demonstrations were taking place in other cities.

Obviously I  support the first amendment.  However, people should not be allowed to walk into the street and sit down in intersections and block traffic with impunity.  Trespassing, vandalism and blocking streets should be punished. The next time Lynda Jones runs for reelection as General Sessions judge, I hope she has opposition. If she does I will be pulling for her opponent.  I will be voting against her even it she has no opposition.  Maybe it was not inappropriate that charges were dismissed. Those arrested had to pay court cost and were inconvenienced. I am less concerned with the fact that charges were dismissed against the protestors than I am that Judge Lynda Jones dropped all appearances of judicial impartiality by her comment that "the first amendment won." I expect more from a judge.

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