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Vigilance in the Defense of Liberty and Freedom
Thursday, September 23, 2010
By:Elizabeth B. Wydra
Tuesday's hearing in Farrakhan demonstrated the depth of the problem of discriminatory felon disenfranchisement laws. As Ryan Haygood from the NAACP LDF, arguing for the plaintiffs, noted at the conclusion of the argument, African Americans make up 23% of Washington State's prison inmates (but just 3.4 percent of the State's population), with prosecutors asking for 50% tougher sentences for black defendants than they do for white defendants. This means that nearly one-quarter of African American men in Washington State do not have the right to vote because of a criminal justice system that Washington conceded is racially discriminatory.