Pubdate:  Thu, 11 Mar 2004
Source: Birmingham Post-Herald (AL)
Section: Other Views
Copyright: 2004 Birmingham Post Co.
Author: Anita Mayfield


I reside just outside of Tupelo, Miss., and have friends and relatives all 
over Alabama. Knowing both of these states quite well, I am fully aware of 
the history of the Southern court system and not so sure I agree that we 
have what is referred to as "The New South."

A few weeks ago I had the nasty displeasure of just one afternoon in an 
Alexander City courtroom. If it weren't for the fact that a person's life 
and future were in the hands of a disgrace of a judge, I would have been 
laughing hysterically and removed from the courtroom.

I witnessed testimonies from some of the most inept officers of the law 
that I've ever seen in my life (and that's saying a lot). To be such 
self-proclaimed "experts" in their fields, they certainly were mighty 
confused concerning what they saw and confiscated at a raid of Tallapoosa 
County resident Loretta Nall.

Each witness not only contradicted the witness preceding the other, but 
they also repeatedly contradicted themselves. To me they were indeed a 
defense attorney's dream come true. All of this controversy was over what 
may or may not have been a few seeds, a stem and some leafy substances 
thought to be marijuana, all the while, weighing less than a gram.

Tallapoosa County District Judge Kim Taylor was blatantly biased, extremely 
bored to the point of repeated yawning and displayed such acts of 
despicable abuse of power that it made me want to bolt from the courtroom. 
I saw him flirt repeatedly with his two court assistants, and I was quite 
sure I saw him napping at one point during some testimony.

In a moment when the defense attorney turned his back to confer with his 
client, I saw Taylor mouthing special instructions to the prosecutor. What 
he said to him was illegal and quite easy to make out since I was on the 
front row. I just could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. I wanted 
to scream out, "Watch him, Ref !"

Besides the anger that had now swelled up in me, all I could feel was 
sorrow for all the people expecting their right to a fair trial and are 
made to walk into this "Kangaroo Court." Taylor had his mind made up before 
the proceedings even started. This man should be investigated, impeached 
and made to do community service for at least a year or two. He is riding a 
gravy train and must bear in mind he was elected by the same people about 
whom he cares absolutely nothing while ruining their lives.

I returned to Mississippi feeling sick to my stomach after enduring just 
one afternoon that I will never forget. All of this is paid for with your 
hard-earned-taxed-to-death money. I encourage anyone who is able to visit 
their county courtrooms every chance you get just to get an idea of who you 
are voting for in the next election.

Each one of us deserve and should demand the justice we are promised in our 
Bill of Rights. It belongs to all of us.

Rev. Anita T. Mayfield

Nettleton, MS 38858
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