Drug-inspired racism: it’s not just a cartoon

Oh, here comes Maine Governor Paul LePage, the gloriously unfiltered hambone, with his typically offensive comedy stylings. This time, he’s explaining the causes of Maine’s drug epidemic:

“These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty… these types of guys… they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

Hahaha, what a clown. Can’t believe the voters of Maine have chosen that schmuck as their chief executive — not once, but twice!

Good thing we don’t have any of that ignorant nonsense in Vermont, right?

Right?

Well, actually, it reminded me of something I read a few months ago in Seven Days.

It was about the case of Shamel Alexander, a young black man from Brooklyn, New York, who was arrested in Bennington in 2013 after a possibly race-inspired traffic stop, when the cops found he was carrying a half-ounce of heroin.

Alexander, who had no criminal record, could have been in line for a minimal sentence; but Judge Nancy Corsones threw the book at him, handing down a 10-year sentence with no possibility of early release. Why?

During a sentencing hearing, the judge repeatedly warned of the dangers of drug dealers from “Brooklyn and Bed-Stuy,” rhetoric that Vermont Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Skoglund described as potential racial “dog-whistle code words.”

Corsones also spoke of the need to deter “out-of-state drug dealers.”

Now I ask you, which is worse: Paul LePage or Nancy Corsones?

Before you answer, I remind you that LePage was speaking at a town hall event while Corsones was acting in her official role, speaking from the bench. While sentencing a defendant.

To me, LePage was more noxious, but the immediate effect of Corsones’ rhetoric was much worse.

Alexander, now 27, is being held in a privately run prison in Baldwin, Mich., where the Vermont Department of Corrections houses 350 long-term inmates.

His mental state, [Deputy Defender General Anna] Saxman said, is “not good.” He fears that, by the time he is released, much of his life will have passed him by.

The Vermont Supreme Court is considering an appeal of Alexander’s conviction and sentencing, so the guy may still get a measure of justice. (Lest you think I’m being too soft, federal sentencing guidelines for people like Alexander call for roughly one year in prison, which ain’t beanbag. But ten years for a first offense is too much.)

Here’s my question. Has Judge Corsones shown a pattern of extreme sentences for reputed drug dealers “from Bed-Stuy”? Was this the only time she’s employed dog-whistle rhetoric from the bench?

If so, then isn’t it time for a thorough review of her performance? Shouldn’t the judge be called on the carpet and possibly face some kind of sanction?

Because apparently we need to reinforce the message that covert racism in public officials is not acceptable.

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One thought on “Drug-inspired racism: it’s not just a cartoon

  1. Sue grenier

    Nancy , is the worst possible judge ever. Very biased, I appeard in front of her many times. But the first was a cusidy case. And I was representing myself. AND would you believe that Nancy from rutland vt court would NOT take my evidence packet,because she told me it was to late she had to go to lunch. SHE never asked me to hand it in in the beginning of the hearing, so we were getting done. AND I said oh my evidence I need to hand this in to you. Oh sorry it’s too late you should have given to me at the beginning of the hearing! !! Now keep in mind this was going to be a life changing thing for my daughter, her father is a correction officer and he was trying to get cusidy of her. Because I was in recovery and on the past had some drug issues but had been clean for 4 years at that point. BUT Nancy corsones-would not take my evidence! !!!!!! AND then took my daughter from me. MY daughter hates it there. I only see her 6 days a month and now have been sober 8 years. And recently went back and once again denied by Nancy! !!!!! THIS Jude is very very very biased! !!!
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