Monday, December 22, 2003

Playing the Race Card

According to this story, the former counsel to the New York State Assembly Speaker has plead guilty to sexual misconduct. For those of you outside of the NY State political orbit, Boxley had a rather bad reputation as a philanderer and had already been accused of rape on one other occasion. That had resulted in a slap on the wrist and an admonition not to go out deliever by Speaker Silver. There was also a rather strong rumor that the reason no criminal charges were ever filed in that instance was because the victim had been threatened with exposure of her relationship with the Assembly member for whom she worked.

This time he was not so lucky. He continued to go out to after receptions and eventually struck again. It is a serious black eye on the New York State Assembly, an institution that seems more capable of injuring itself than a 3 year old with scissors. Boxley's conduct is not unique. Stories abound of legislators and their Albany hook-ups. Whether all of the sexual relations between legislator and staff, legislator and lobbyist, etc. are consensual is a matter of debate that would take us into the issue of power in sexual relations, and thus too far afield.

But the real point here is the claim that Boxley's attorney made as to why his client accepted the plea bargain. He cited Boxley's race (black) and the difficulty he would have getting a fair trial in a predominantly white county such as Albany. But this is sheer nonsense and he knows it. Boxley would get a very fair trial, it's just that he would be convicted. And his conviction would be based on the testimony of the woman, the other victim, the drugs found in his apartment (date rape type drugs) and the forensic evidence.

It is sad that in a country where there are real race problems in the justice system, charlatans like Boxley and his attorney cry racism where none exists. It lessens the effect on people and dulls them to real instances of racism. And it is maddening that someone who was in the upper echelons of New York government would stoop so low and demean the victims of actual racism.

It really is a shame that Boxley will not go to jail where maybe he would learn what it feels like to be raped. If anything, he got off way too easily.


Post a Comment

<< Home