AFRICANGLOBE – It’s increasingly clear that the conservative (white supremacist) chief prosecutor in Louisville, Thomas Wine, despises Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens.
After Judge Stevens approved motions that two new juries be formed for Black defendants who received all-white juries, Wine called for the removal of Stevens from all criminal cases. It was upheld, and Stevens, shockingly, was removed from all criminal cases for weeks until the Kentucky Supreme Court and a team of mediators restored him back.
Never mind the reality that Stevens is actually seen as being tough on crime and that the new juries formed for the two Black defendants were still predominantly white. How dare a Black man in power actually use it for the cause of fairness in the justice system!
Black leader after leader in Louisville told me, on and off the record, that the sky is the limit for Black leaders there as long as they play by the rules that the white power structure sets. The minute a Black leader, even a judge, deviates a few degrees away from that rulebook, hellfire and brimstone comes for them.
After returning to the bench for a little more than a week, prosecutors Wine and Jeff Cooke have already filed a new motion to have him removed, yet again, from trying criminal cases.
This time, they claim they’re upset at what his wife is saying on social media? Really? You want a judge removed because his wife, a prominent physician in Louisville, is defending her husband on Facebook?
Wine, in his motion, has stated that Judge Stevens did not honor “the spirit or letter” of their mediated agreement. In a Facebook post thanking his supporters and explaining that he would continue to fight for fairness in the courtroom, Stevens did not mention Wine by name, but spoke his “opponents” who wanted to see him removed from the bench for striking the all-white juries.
What Wine fails to understand is that Judge Stevens now appears to have thousands of people, both publicly and anonymously, who are fighting to get him removed. If Stevens read that post, saw the word opponent, and thought of himself, then that’s a different issue altogether. The mediated agreement does not prohibit Stevens from speaking on broad issues or defending himself.
Judge Stevens, as a part of the official mediation process, agreed he would not speak about the mediation publicly and that he would not address problems with Wine on social media.
He has clearly abided by this agreement
However, it appears Wine wants to actually write and edit the Facebook posts of the Stevens family himself. Otherwise, he seems to have a problem with virtually anything they say.
As a judge, it is not only the right of Stevens to ensure each and every defendant receives a fair trial, it’s his primary obligation. Furthermore, as a judge, if he wants to occasionally share his thoughts about bigger legal issues that do not pertain to an ongoing case, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It actually demystifies the legal process for his wide audience.
What Wine and his office do not understand is that Stevens is attempting to help the Black community regain trust in the fairness of the justice system and that every single time they try to have him removed, it only confirms their suspicions that the entire system is rigged against them.
This is clearly and inappropriately personal for Wine. As hard as it is for him to accept that Louisville has a Black judge that can think for himself, he’s just going to have to do it.
By: Shaun King