From: Codling, Antonia
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1:40 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Proposal for tonight’s JC meeting
Sorry ya’ll — I was a little too hasty! Here it is again with the attachment.
Attached is a proposal addressing the matter previously discussed about Assistant District Attorney Justin Marrus. If you wish to be a signatory to this proposal, please let me know and I will add your name. Also, I will be making a motion requesting that the JC adopt the attached proposal at tonight’s meeting. If you want your delegate to support and vote for this proposal, please inform your delegate.
I assisted in the drafting of this proposal and wholeheartedly endorse it, and strongly encourage others to do the same!
The UAW, 1199 and ALAA were founded upon an enduring vision of social justice, and have a commitment to non-discrimination and speaking out on broader social ills.
For this reason, our unions, which represent staff at The Legal Aid Society, the only unionized public defender in New York City, demand that appropriate action be immediately taken against ADA Justin Marrus for posting photographs of a Confederate flag tattoo, black face and dreadlocks and prison rape simulation on Facebook
These pictures were posted for six years by ADA Marrus and could be viewed publicly until he was recently forced to take them down due to pressure placed on him by District Attorney Charles Hynes.
For the following reasons, ADA Marrus must be held accountable for this behavior:
ONE: The Confederate flag and black face are inherently racist, oppressive and offensive symbols of slavery and post-slavery era in this country. The waving of a Confederate flag, the wearing of blackface and the simulation of prison rape, on government property with state actors’ permission no less, should be considered a “badge and incident of slavery,” within the meaning of the 13th Amendment and its jurisprudence.
No other so-called civilized nation runs a Criminal Justice System like ours, which uses mass incarceration and the death penalty as instruments essentially of terror and social control. Why is that? Slavery. Although the tree of slavery was chopped down between 1861and 1865, its roots remain and are excruciatingly palpable in the Criminal Justice System. Our union is comprised predominantly of attorneys that work within the Criminal Justice System.
We are far from a state of grace, and ALAA and 1199 must bravely be known as a vehicle willing to “speak truth to power” and giving voice to the voiceless, lest we become complicit in the system against which we are fighting.
TWO: Excusing ADA’s Marrus’ posting of inherently racist, homophobic and misogynist photographs as a mistake of “youth,” because he was “only” 19 at the time of the postings rings hollow as the photographs remained until recently, on his Facebook page and during his tenure as an ADA. These pictures could be viewed publicly for six years, from age 19 to 25. ADA Marrus only removed these offensive pictures when he was forced to do so in order to keep his job.
This leads one to believe that but for the outing of these pictures, these pictures would have still remained on ADA Justin Marrus’ Facebook. It demonstrates that this is no indiscretion of youth, but that ADA Marrus still espouses these beliefs.
THREE: Neither ADA Marrus nor DA Charles Hynes made any apology for ADA Marrus’ egregious behavior to the People whom they were entrusted to serve. The lack of apology to the People underscores a context of institutional racism in the Criminal Justice System, including Stop and Frisk, police violence, the drug wars, mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow and we will not turn a blind eye to it. Indeed, our clients receive heavy penalties for minor offenses such as possessing marijuana, riding bicycles on sidewalks or jumping through turnstiles.
Yet, neither ADA Justin Marrus nor DA Hynes have been held accountable for their behavior which is far more egregious than many of the petty offenses for which our clients routinely receive harsh punishment. This apparent hypocrisy is due perhaps to the color of their skin, their position of power and their background of privilege.
FOUR: Ninety percent of those prosecuted are people of color, the very people who ADA Justin Marrus so blatantly showed he has no respect for. ADA Marrus should not be able to have any impact on the lives of people whom he has shown he has racist feelings towards.
ADA Marrus should be stripped of any power allowing him to make decisions on cases where defendants are of color, until he apologizes to the People, until DA Charles Hynes issues an apology to the People and until ADA Justin Marrus receives sensitivity training and/or other appropriate remedial action.
FIVE: It is troubling that the pictures simulating prisoner rape were taken in a jail cell. An inquiry must be made as to how ADA Justin Marrus received access into the jail cell, how he was able to take pictures in the jail cell, especially pictures simulating prisoner rape.
We, the following members of ALAA and 1199 demand action be taken.
Noha Momtaz Tahrir Arafa – Brooklyn CDD ALAA
Bahar Mirhossieni – Civil ALAA
Lisa Edwards – Civil – Harlem Community Office ALAA
Michael Letwin – Brooklyn CDD ALAA
Susan Morris – Brooklyn CDD ALAA
Azalia Torres – Brooklyn CDD ALAA
ManI Tafari – PRDU ALAA
Jeffrey Bloom – Bronx CDD ALAA
- Antonia Codling – Bronx CDD ALAA
Kristin Lew – Manhattan CDD 1199
Jessica Gusberg – Brooklyn JRD 1199
James Kampil – Manhattan JRD ALAA
Daniel Stern – Manhattan CDD ALAA
Steven Mechanic – Bronx CDD ALAA
Alison Burke – Bronx CDD ALAA
Daniel Hsiung – Civil Harlem Community Office ALAA
Emily Kitay – Brooklyn JRP ALAA
Laurie Dick – Brooklyn CDD ALAA
Gregory Clarke – Staten Island CDD ALAA
Mitchell Briskey – CAB ALAA
Mimi Rosenberg – Brooklyn Civil ALAA
Elizabeth Loebman – Brooklyn CDD 1199
Lauren Katzman – Brooklyn JRD ALAA
Keisha Godfrey – Queens CDD ALAA
Monica Dula – Bronx CDD ALAA
Rebecca Kurti – Brooklyn CDD ALAA
Claire Nicolay – Brooklyn CDD ALAA
Ashley Carter – Brooklyn CDD ALAA
Lucy Herschel – Queens CDD 1199
Naila Siddiqui – PRDU ALAA