The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is calling for a state felony court judge to resign after remarks he made about African-American defendants in the state’s criminal justice system. The ACLU is also calling for State District Judge Michael McSpadden to be recused from any cases involving African-American defendants after his comments to the Houston Chronicle were published last week.
McSpadden was asked about his no-bond policy for the lower-court magistrates he oversees, a policy he’s implemented since 2005. He was quoted as saying African-American defendants were “not good risks” for bond and many were “tainted in some way” before they appear in his courtroom.
“The young black men – and it’s primarily young black men rather than young black women – charged with felony offenses, they’re not getting good advice from their parents,” McSpadden told the newspaper.
“Who do they get advice from? Rag-tag organizations like Black Lives Matter, which tell you, ‘Resist police,’ which is the worst thing in the world you could tell a young black man … They teach contempt for the police, for the whole justice system.”
The ACLU is calling on the Texas Commission for Judicial Misconduct to launch an investigation into McSpadden’s record regarding cases involving African-American defendants based on his previous statements.
“If there remained any doubt that the deck is stacked against people of color in our criminal justice system, Michael McSpadden just dispelled it,” Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, told the newspaper.
“When a sitting judge feels comfortable enough to admit openly and on the record that he uses bail orders to jail black defendants on the assumption they can’t be trusted, it’s time to take action. This kind of flagrant racism has no place in our justice system.”