Price Corruption Probe: You're All Black. Go to Jail?

Do black politicos get harsher treatment in the courts? Let's talk about it.

"I'm fixin' to die, and he wants to make a deal," said Richards, then 68. "I consider that pretty low-life."

But that's not what I found looking back through the court record. In 1999, before Richards was sentenced, the U.S. attorney filed a motion with the court arguing Richards should get a lighter sentence than called for in federal guidelines because he had "testified at defendant Lipscomb's trial."

That document tells us some important things. Before the trial, during the investigation of Lipscomb, Richards helped the FBI put the case together. And it was his idea! He went to the feds before they came to him.

That's just how it is. The more you fight it, the more those years in the pen stack up if you lose the fight. And if you are the elected official in the case, you are considered to carry a higher duty to the public than the guy who owns the cab company, so you are the bigger villain to begin with.

It's a double standard. Most of us would agree it's a good double standard, but it's also an example of how there's more to the law than the law.

Johnson and I talked about a play produced earlier this year in New Orleans based on the true story of Oliver Thomas, a popular black New Orleans city councilman recently released from federal prison, where he'd been sent for taking bribes. In the play, the part of Thomas was played by Thomas himself.

In the first act of the play Thomas warns people to take his story as a cautionary tale rather than evidence of a conspiracy against black officials. "The record is straight," he says. "I did something wrong and went to prison. You can't get a straighter record than that."

Johnson suggested I might be able to get a better bead on that story by calling his little brother, Judge Calvin Johnson, who retired in 2008 after 17 years on the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court bench.

Judge Johnson, who knows Thomas, said to me, "You have a group of individuals who are bad in and of themselves, criminals at their core. That group needs to be dealt with accordingly. But then in the instance of Oliver Thomas, I think he represents a group who really made a mistake."

Where race intervenes, he said, is in our basic appraisal of a defendant's character and our feelings of harshness or mercy based on that character.

"There is difficulty," he said, "in making a distinction between a person who is truly a criminal and a person who has made a mistake, and there is a racial edge to it sometimes."

See. I think we can talk about selective prosecution, disagree all to hell and still not turn the city to ash. How about you?

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32 comments
catbird
catbird

The most interesting thing to me is that the FBI works for Eric Holder (a Black guy) who works for Barack Obama (a Black Guy) which means that JWP (a Black guy) pissed off someone who has their ear(s) (maybe Edie Bernice Johnson) and they are allowing the investigation go forward.

Selective enforcement is clearly going on since the same two Black guys decided to let the New Black Panthers skate for the voter intimidation they clearly did in 2008.

JWP is clearly getting the crap end of the stick here....just my opinion though. What the heck do I know?

Rob Lew
Rob Lew

Still waiting for a YouTube video to show up called "Shit JWP says...."

Steve
Steve

the true test will be to see if any of the white business people (read Ross Perot Jr.) who have lined Price's pockets all these years get indicted too...my guess is they will get a walk and Price will go down...no pun intended...

charliemoney3
charliemoney3

Wow, seems the Clock is running backwards-in-time, in Dallas ; now, even the Orientals are discriminateing against blacks in Dallas. What's the deal, with that " Don't Stop, Don't Shop "? Appears there is corruption in high-places and low-places in Dallas. But what can anyone expect.....it's Dallas and it's Dallas Prices !

IMHO
IMHO

I say get his ass (Price) outta here if he has indeed been operating within any parameters of corruption- especially if it has been at the expense of the city, the district(s) he represents, and/or the overall justice system.

Personally I believe that he is and has been in someone's (or, some agenda's) way for way too long, and has only been able to do so because of community ignorance and short-sightedness. He positioned himself to be too difficult to be voted out, so the big guns got called in to do the heavy work. If he's innocent, then technically he deserves to stay in position, but I have a creeping suspicion that, innocent or not, he's part of a fundamental impediment to the overall growth and development of the city of Dallas.

Sharon Boyd
Sharon Boyd

If someone truly believes that Richards corrupted Old Al, they are leaving in fantasy land. No one mentions that Paul Fielding went to prison for suggesting Old Al let Paul create a front "minority" company for Old Al. The company was never set up. Fielding's conversation was caught on tape because Old Al was already under surveilance.

Old Al was a convicted drug dealer in California. He pimped women in Downtown Dallas as a sideline of his waiter job in a fancy restaurant in a fancy Downtown Hotel.

No one but Old Al corrupted Al Lipscomb. To think otherwise, you have to believe he was a simple old man who had led an upstanding life prior to being "assisted" by Curtis Richards.

Royce Williams
Royce Williams

No one can deny that racism still exists, and it will persist as long as the proverbial chip on the shoulder is passed from one generation to the next. The irrational belief that there is some type of conspiracy or strategy by Federal Prosecutors and Federal Judges to target black criminals while excusing white criminals is a bigoted belief by racist in denial. Here's a double standard for you, if any white politician even hinted that all decisions by DA Craig Watkins on whether to investigate or prosecute are influenced by race, they would be instantly labeled racist by the Dallas black political machine controlled by John Wiley Price, and the Dallas Morning News would dutifully publish propaganda in editorials and Gromer Jeffers Jr articles. The reason the corrupt politicians and hustlers of Dallas are preemptively playing the race card for the looming Federal prosecutions is because they cannot control and fix Federal justice system as they have controlled and fixed the justice system in Dallas County.

Scm3593
Scm3593

Stories like this stir up racism. First off Lipscomb should have received a harsher sentence because he was an elected official. Elected officials are the one that make and enforce the laws the rest of society must abide by, therefore they have a greater duty of obedience than the rest of us. It is the elected officials that know or should know of the consequences of violating the law. Whether they are black or white ALL elected officials should serve the harshest sentence available when the violated the law.

Luckyladylenz
Luckyladylenz

I am 40+ and black. Do not assume that all people think because they are black they deserve special treatment. They don't. To me, people are individuals first, but I also understand why some of my people feel as they do. Does racism and discrimination still exist? Yes, they do. I am a light-skinned female and I don't get the racism that darker skinned blacks get. I know this because I've witnessed it first hand. In addition, some whites that are good and decent think because they are good and decent and don't see the racism that it's not as bad as blacks make it out to be. Well, it is bad and you will never know how bad because you will never be a black person. You will never know the pain and struggles and the reason it's not easy to "get over" the past as most of you want us to do. No, the present generation has never known slavery, but we know the history and what our people went through...so "unfairness" tends to go a little deeper with us at times. The following link is just a little insight for those that think it's not as bad as it use to be. Thank goodness there are good people out there of all races...because without them, this story might not have made it to forefront. http://www.hrcompliance.ceridi...

CapGuy
CapGuy

Why doesn't anyone remember Paul Fielding? White, Jewish, Dallas city councilman. The FIRST to go to jail!!!!!!!!

VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

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Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

I believe there is a racial edge in the justice system that is harsher on the poor and minorities. With that said, since black folk know this, why in the heck would one become a thief and a broker of taxpayer money. Its like smoking weed on a job that is known to randomly conduct drug test. No one can make you become corrupt as Johnson said. There is no such word or meaning for corrupt-ee. There is corruption, the corrupted, and just plain corrupt.

There are more good black politician than there are bad one. I am soooo tired of these "blast from the past" Silver Rights ghetto leaders that give hard working minority politicians a bad rap. Look at politician like Bing in Detroit, Patrick in Mass, Rodney Ellis, Michael Williams in Arlington, etc....You may not like their party affiliation or ideologies, but hell, at least they ain't stealing. To me, Dallas is in the same category as New Orlean, a city that was managed by black politicians for decades and the level of poverty became apparent when the water came gushing in.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Driver should be in the slammer. No ifs ands or buts.

The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

Corrupt-ER and Corrupt-EE?

No, I don't think so. Those are weasle worded attempts to try to quantify corruption. Both of those mentioned in that particular situation are corrupt.

I won't deny that there is a racial aspect to the vigor with which one is pursued or the extent that someone prosecuted, but if Lipscomb (or any politician) was an honest man, he wouldn't have had to worry about these things at all. I also agree that as a public official, he should be held to a higher standard of conduct than the average citizen. That goes for all public officials regardless of the hue of their skin.

Montemalone
Montemalone

I just wanna see Perot the Lesser get his due, too.

kaiso
kaiso

This is excellent writing with a nose for how Big D actually works. I appreciate how you see both sides of the street. Keep it going!

Perry Moore
Perry Moore

Race is just about always germane to the discussion--as is ethnicity, and sex, and sexual orientation, and nationality, and religious persuasion, and economic status, and weight, and height, and hair color, and age, and anything else that distinguishes one person from another. I am not you, and as long as I am not you, you will view my actions in a different light from the same actions performed by you. Thank you for the reminder. Next question.

Royce Williams
Royce Williams

Steve, that is a lame apples and oranges test. Ross Perot Jr is not an elected official in Dallas County that solicits bribes, peddles influence, misappropriates government funds and property, extorts money with accusations of racism,,,,,,,,,,, and the list goes on and on and on. I don't know if Perot Jr is a crook and neither do you, but I do know that JWP is a corrupt elected official who convinced himself and others that his criminal enterprise was untouchable and would continue and grow with impunity. It's folks like you who would nullify a jury in Dallas County and that is exactly why Federal prosecution is the only way to bring John Wiley Price to justice. Get that chip off your shoulder and stop being a hater.

Schnoodle
Schnoodle

Orientals? Hmmm, haven't heard that in a while.

Royce Williams
Royce Williams

You speak the truth Sharon! Here's another interesting anecdote about Old Al, he was an informant for Dallas PD after he migrated to Dallas after doing time in California for selling heroin, turns out he was a really good snitch, good enough that he merited special look the other way treatment by the Police when it came to running his whores and his other two bit street hustling criminal enterprises. Al Lipscomb only realized his lifelong ambition to be a crook in the big leagues when his idiot constituency voted him into office. It will forever be a black mark on Dallas history that a racist criminal thug like Al Lipscomb hustled his way into the undeserved title of "civil rights leader".

ItchyJack
ItchyJack

Dallas is a city that was managed by black politicians for decades? And New Orleans? OK - I'm guessing you are white, and must not be from either city, and have no knowledge of history.

Why would one become a thief and a broker of taxpayer money? Ha - why don't you go ask Rick Perry, or any other long-term politician that has gained countless gifts, favors for family or millions due to inside information. If you don't get general human (black or white or other) frailties of 'I think I can get away with it'; 'I think can make money off of it; and, 'I think I can gain power over others', you probably never will.

At least you acknowledged that the justice system is harsher on the poor and the minorities. Given that prison population in the U.S. has doubled since 1985, that's magnanimous of you. But given that 50 years ago most white murderers of blacks were found innocent even with overwhelming evidence (different ball of wax from political payola schemes, I know), I guess there is some progress. Just not enough for me.

Hey - you've got a right to your opinion, and I typically don't reply to individuals, but you caught me at a weak moment.

BTW - what's the difference between the corrupted and corrupt-ee?

Max from the Sandspit
Max from the Sandspit

No shit, I've been following Jim since he was with the Herald and this is one of his best efforts. Shame they blew up the ol' Dallas Press Club cuz this has award stamped all over it.

Perry Moore
Perry Moore

A black political leader--I forget the name--used the phrase in a speech at one of Mr. Price's recent rescue rallies to describe the notion that black folks are still fighting for a piece of the economic pie.

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

It's okay to be weak sometimes. Yet, it's not okay to continue to remain in denial about the behavior of the black politician who are voted to lead various cities, sometimes for decades (10+). I don't have to be a particular race to call out corruption. It is what it is. Black communities cannot continue to absorb these type of corrupted behavior. Just look at the history of every inner city governed by black leadership since the 60's, then look at the economic development of these areas after 50+ years, look at the schools, look at the retail...enough said. There are only a few inner cities that have been transformed with the help of good black political leadership.

Soooo, now that we are in 2012 and black on black crime is very high in the hood, what do you say about that statistics; rather staying stuck in the past. The power is always in the people...no justice, no peace.... don't vote, no change.

BTW- read the article again and you should be able to understand corruptee

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

No, I really meant "Silver Rights".....but thanks anyway

ItchyJack
ItchyJack

Urban, Jim does mention the difference between those that are guilty and those that make a mistake (actually another makes that comment), and it seems to me that it pertains little to the Dallas 'story', as none in the article were identified as mistake makers. For the record, I will never defend a corrupt politician (e.g., Mr. Hill, or say Mr. Delay), and I'm certainly no fan of Mr. Price.

Sooo, what the heck does 'when these politician(s) get caught, they go down with the fire claiming their innocents' mean? You said that those that drop the bomb (admit their guilt) get off lightly. I hope you're with me in thinking the whole 'first, second and third person to talk gets a get out of jail free card' justice system we have needs to be revised.

Can't say I'm a fan of your parsing of the back room quid pro quo, but it is apt, because it's true. Please note, however, that the white politicians have a much longer history of doing such deals and have a much better system of keeping them in the dark. But then again, the FBI has a history of ignoring those deals, while picking low hanging fruit, to show they're still relevant, and keep the funds rolling in.

You've got to admit that the 'white' business community has a long history of exploiting individuals that are willing to toe the line of legality - to gain favor with a racial or political group. For a local, political, black example - just look at who Covisint brought to Dallas - former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, very shortly after his less than inspiring resignation from Detroit politics. But as you say, it's not illegal to ask someone to do an illegal act is it? As I recall Peter Graves hearing on one of my favorite shows each week...'if you or your team members are caught, you will be disavowed.'?

As for my one-sided analogies? Studies show again and again that blacks are targeted, prosecuted and incarcerated more than whites. In 2009, black non-Hispanic males were incarcerated at the rate of 4,749 inmates per 100,000. White males were incarcerated at the rate of 708 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents (United States Bureau of Justice Statistics). Huh, I guess that does seem kind of one-sided.

I am negative, and I don't believe that blacks don't have leverage. Also, I don't think for a minute that blacks, historically or currently, have nearly the leverage whites do. I too believe smart people can affect major developments in their communities. Some just have a lot more help than others. As for doing research, I think the data supports my narrative of the situation as compared to yours.

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

Jim S also pointed out "how there's more to law than the law" and he use Oliver T. as an example. He also pointed out that there is a distinction between truly criminal and one's who make mistakes, with a racial edge. When these politician get caught, they go down with the fire claiming their innocents. When you plead guilty, like most end up being, you get a lighter sentence. Don Hill is one who went down with the fire, grinning everyday as if he did nothing wrong. He could have gotten a lighter sentence, maybe even close to home.But he thought he was smarter than the feds by marrying a key witness. There were also people in that mess who simply made bad decisions and got lighter sentences. In most cases, especially federal cases, when you drop the bomb on the other accomplice, you get deals. Sometimes a group of people or person may operate with criminal intent, but within the law, and the other person or group member may loosely commit the act. This is how a lot of these bothers and sisters get caught up. They go into the political world with very little money and they are quick to take the bait, even if it's a free apartment in the hood. Some have very little education, maybe a PTA advocate or community activist. They are popular, yet ill equipped to protect or fight for their constituents interest. They have a hard time raising campaign money so they make deals that come back to haunt them.

Itchy, if you were a politican, let's say local politician, and I'm a big donor to your cause or donate to a cause you support. If I come back to you later and tell you what I would like to see happen somewhere even if it clearly crosses the legal line and your dumb ass do it, then your butt is going down, not me. Hell, all I said is what I would like to see happen (verbally), I didn't know it was illegal or a criminal.

Do your research on this. Look at the politician, then look at their district, black and white. Why does West Dallas get a huge development....leadership.

I'm not buying into your onesided analogies. You are negative to believe blacks don't have leverage. I truly believe smart minority politicans can affect major developments in their communities without corruption. Do your research, its happened and it continues to happen, just not in Oak Cliff and South Dallas. The power is in the people, not the politician.

Keep stealing and the feds will coming knocking rather your're at home or not.

ItchyJack
ItchyJack

Can't say I'm in denial; I fully recognize that there are many many examples of corrupt black politicians, many of whom prey on their own voting base and neighborhoods. But, the message of Jim S's piece was to point out that when the FBI comes to town, it's typically the individuals that are black that are called out and sent to prison. Whereas the whites that committed similar crimes are not, and the whites with the deep pockets and puppet strings go relatively unscathed.

If you really think that blacks have had any real governing power to affect major transportation or development projects, etc. in Dallas or New Orleans, I'd have to say that you are the one in denial, and weak - in the mind. Yes, in 2012 the power and money is shifting away from 'whites only', but don't fool yourself as to who still makes the major things happen.

Again - yes, there are numerous examples of black politicians, leaders, board members conducting illegal activities and reaping the benefits. However, there are just as many whites doing the same thing. It's a matter of justice.

You said it, 'no justice, no peace'; That was the theme of the article. At present, crimes committed by whites in general, and white collar crime in particular, are not prosecuted on the same level as similar crimes committed by blacks.

 
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