Gut Reaction: Dumervil arrested in Miami

I'm not an attorney¹, and we obviously don't know the circumstances here, but this case appears to have the potential to be very tricky for the Miami police and State's Attorney's office.  Typically, when some black guy is involved in an altercation, the cops will throw him in jail, and the prosecutor will overcharge the case.

What I mean by that is for someone like me - as a middle-class white guy who can afford a competent attorney - the charge might be disorderly conduct from the start, I pay a little fine and take anger management, and the misdemeanor falls off my record.

But for an everyday black defendant, the reflexive behavior is to charge aggravated assault for the same incident, and then seek to plea bargain it down to simple felony assault.  That guy can't afford a lawyer, and he gets three minutes with an overburdened public defender who tells him to take the deal, since it's only probation, and if he loses at trial it'll be a mandatory three-year sentence.

Then he can't vote or live in public housing or collect food stamps ever again, and it'll be really difficult to get a decent job, because he's a felon.  He may not have been a "criminal" before, but his felon status is likely to force him to be one going forward.

Dumervil can't be messed with like that because he has money and a high-powered attorney, in Harvey Steinberg, who's going to crush the SA's office down there at trial, and they know it.  Their best move is to charge disorderly conduct, save a little face, and walk away without having had their asses kicked publicly.

The cops threw some unruly black guy in jail, and got to feel like they protected white women and decent society, but I highly doubt that the prosecutor (secretly the most powerful person in law enforcement, due to their charging discretion) is going to want to play - unless this is something egregious like the Rolando McClain case.

In criminal matters, it's wise not to bet against the rich guy.

¹ I recently read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West, and it's a hugely important book that explains how the legal process really plays out with black defendants in America today. I'd recommend it highly.

1.  I’m not in the arguing business, I’m in the saying what I think business.
2.  I get my information from my eyes.

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