I’m coming to this post a little late (it was posted April 23rd) but I think it’s important to recognize and talk about. Entitled “Why the Jury Had No Trouble Convicting Angie Zapata’s Murderer,” the post asserts that many are worried that Allen Andrade, the man convicted of murderering trans Latina, Angie Zapata, might have his conviction over turned on appeal. The author then goes through a step-by-step legal analysis of why that won’t happen :
The Weld County District Attorney’s Office charged Andrade with first degree murder and a bias-motivated (i.e., “hate”) crime for bludgeoning Angie to death with a fire extinguisher that he found in her apartment. Before the trial began, however, his attorneys asked the judge to tell the jurors that they had the option of convicting Andrade of second degree murder, manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide, instead of first degree murder. Much to my surprise, the judge agreed and instructed the jury on all four types of homicide as “lesser included offenses.” (A “lesser included offense” is a crime that contains some, but not all, of the elements of the greater charge, such that it’s impossible to commit the greater offense without also committing the lesser. As long as the evidence supports a conviction on the lesser offense, the Constitution requires that the jury be given the option to consider both the greater and the lesser offenses.)
It’s a good read, one that I recommend. I do have one problem with the essay however. The essay could’ve been much shorter–it could’ve boiled down to one word, actually.
Allen Andrade was Latino.
Now, before I go on, I have two things to say:
1. Andrade has no sympathy from me.
2. Two white men who kicked and beat a Latino man to death recently were cleared of all charges, even though they too, admitted to the crime.
So what do you get when there is no value of Latino life AND there is an active systematic structure of inequality and racism controlling the lives of Latinos?
You get a justice system that congratulates itself for imprisoning a Latino for a hate crime for killing a Latino while letting white men off for killing Latinos.
Nothing complicated about it, no need to go into detailed explanations about the legal system. Every day experiences leave us all knowing that there could be no other result. Not now, at least.
Which leaves those of us looking for meaningful change, radical change, asking what on earth can we do with this Catch 22 of irony we live in? And how on earth do we rejoice in “justice” when we know the racism that went into creating that “justice?”
Like I said, Andrade gets no sympathy from me. I hope he rots in hell. But I can not rest on the naive belief that the reason Andrade is going to rot in hell is because the case against him was so iron clad. There is a reason he is spending the rest of his life in prison and the men who killed Luis Ramierez aren’t.
And we can’t rest until that reason is resolved.