Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Racial profiling in the Courtroom, the classroom, Lsuc and other legal spaces

By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Pieters Law Office
Created February 15, 2017

Stereotypical Identification of Black Men as accused Person is Typical in our System of criminal (in)justice. Those who disagree has not walked in my shoes so cannot persuade me otherwise. Here is an encounter at Old City Hall for which I had to educate the Crown lawyer.....

I am a Black male who is a Barrister & Solicitor. I write with respect to your conduct this afternoon in courtroom 111 at Old City Hall... I had signed in on the Counsel sheet representing an accused person (Male, White, 32, blue eyes, brown hair). I then sat in the counsel area directly behind you waiting for the case to be heard. This was a matter that was screened for diversion as it was a theft under from LCBO $12.95 bottle of Liquor.

When you stated to the Justice of the Peace that there were no more counsel matters, without me hearing you call the matter for which I was providing representation, I stepped forward from counsel area to alert you to the fact that there was indeed one more counsel matter. Instead of listening to me, you pointed to where the unrepresented accused persons were and directed me to go and join the line. I had to remind you that I am a lawyer. You did not even apologize. I have been in courtroom 111 where you were crown on numerous occasions and I was very shocked, surprised, embarrassed and in some way humiliated by your behavior. All you had to do if you were not sure whether or not I was a lawyer is ask the question, not assume I am an accused person who should join the back of the line.

You may or may not know that Black male lawyers are fed up being treated as though they are accused person when practising before the courts......

I believe there is a need to record today's incident because it reinforces certain stereotypical attitudes and notions that indeed results in racial profiling.

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