I applaud Fulton County Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington for having the guts to lecture black defendants about their criminal behavior. What seemed controversial to many was that he asked all the whites to leave his courtroom while he gave his talk to only blacks. I remember seeing the occurrence on the local news on March 27th and thought to myself that as soon as the mainstream media got a hold of this, it would be blown out of proportions. Judge Arrington said that he was tired of dealing with the same black criminals all the time. He said that 99.9 percent of the defendants who come before him are black and oftentimes repeat offenders who he has seen before. This has been my position on the issue from the start. All too often the perpetrators of many of the crimes we hear about are blacks and sometimes they result in fatalities. What are these people, especially the young black males doing to themselves? You cannot tell me that society has forced them to a life of crime. There are many decent, law-abiding black men who continue to make a real difference in the world.
Who is Judge Marvin S. Arrington
According to his bio, after graduating from Atlanta’s Turner High School in 1959, he accepted a scholarship to Clark College, now Clark Atlanta University, from which he graduated in 1963. Marvin played football for legendary Coach L. S. Epps on both sides of the ball at linebacker and right guard. These years were also the height of the civil rights movement and Arrington’s most influential professors included the late C. Eric Lincoln. Marvin was initiated into Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in 1961 forming friendships that have continued throughout his professional life.He supplemented his college expenses by working as a waiter at the Piedmont Driving Club, on dining cars of the Union Pacific Railroad, and in North Carolina tobacco fields. Upon graduation from Clark, Marvin applied to and was accepted at Howard University, then he got into Emory University. He soon discovered that not only were they welcomed at Emory, but also the State of Georgia provided some scholarship assistance for Georgia law students who agreed not to apply to the University of Georgia School of Law. Both Marvin Arrington and Clarence Cooper transferred to Emory and graduated in 1967.
In 1973, Arrington joined the law firm of Kleiner and Herman and later joined with other partners of that firm to form Arrington, Winter, Krischer and Goger. In 1989 Arrington joined with famed civil rights attorney Donald Hollowell to form Arrington and Hollowell. The firm specialized in corporate bonds, labor relations, litigation and worker’s compensation. Several Fortune 500 companies were among its client list and Atlanta Magazine voted Arrington among Atlanta’s top 25 lawyers. Black Enterprise Magazine named Arrington and Hollowell as one of the nation’s “Top 10 black Law Firms”. Mr. Arrington’s professional affiliations have included memberships in the State Bar of Georgia, the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Atlanta Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, the Gate City Bar Association and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.Judge Arrington has received numerous awards and commendations in recognition of his many accomplishments within the legal profession and for his commitment to community service. He served has a special assistant to the president of the National Bar Association and headed the Association’s legal section. He was appointed by the president of the American Bar Association to serve on that Association’s Advisory Committee of the Special Committee on Election Law and Voter Participation, and he served the State Bar of Georgia as Chairman of the Correctional Facilities and Service Committee.
So for all the haters out there, give this man the credit that he is due. He has paid his dues and has shown what you can achieve as a black man in America, contrary to what those who turn to a life of crime aspire to. Arrington said in a statement to Atlanta radio station WSB, “I didn’t want to appear to be condescending, talking them down.” The judge, who has been on the bench for six years, noted that he grew up on inner-city streets in Atlanta. Arrington says he urged people in the courtroom to take a hard look at their lives. He says his message was “Get your life together, get in school, you can be a better you if you work hard.” Arrington says his message was essentially the same that comedian Bill Cosby has made. Let us not forget that many blacks ridiculed Cosby for his statements, which were grounded in blatant facts.
In retrospect, Arrington said that segregating the courtroom for those few minutes was a mistake and that when he lectures those in his courtroom this Thursday, he will invite everyone to listen. I applaud Judge Arrington for what he did. His heart was in the right place. For all those people who feel that somehow he was being racist, I beg to differ. Too many crimes are being committed in this country by black men and all too often people make excuses for the behavior.
For example, the two thugs that have been charged with the murder of Eve Carson, come to mind. I wrote a commentary on that sad event and many felt that I was taking sides and not giving the two young men the benefit of the doubt. My question is, how can I say that maybe they are innocent, when they have been regular guests of the North Carolina correctional facilities at such young ages? How can I possibly justify that maybe they are innocent when they were seen driving her SUV and attempting to use her ATM card? People, let’s call it what it is–a scourge in our communities that Judge Arrington and many others have recognized. This pattern of behavior is self-destructive and is clogging up our correctional facilities. I am not going to attribute the behavior all to the white man. On the contrary. Yes we had Jim Crow and rampant racism, and society has treated the black man wrong in many regards some have said, but the onus is still on us to do the right thing and not perpetuate the stereotypes we have been labelled with for so long. Just my thoughts, you be the judge…….