Jailed Journalist Update: Media Respond Timidly; Judge Fights Civil Rights Firm; Rights Anniversaries Loom
Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on February 25, 2014
The nation’s journalists have compiled an erratic and ineffective record of supporting jailed journalist Roger Shuler, an Alabama blogger who has spent more than five months behind bars. His crime? Failing to spike his stories before a libel trial in a case largely determined via secret court proceedings.
Meanwhile, the presiding judge Claud [sic] Neilson, shown in a file photo, is also a private attorney fighting one of the Deep South’s best-known civil rights firms. According to an Associated Press story, the firm Sanders and Sanders has been devastated by the costs of a major civil rights litigation victory on behalf of black farmers hurt by many years of discrimination in federal funding programs.
Separately, a founding partner of the firm is assembling with her team next month an impressive edition of the annual civil rights reform effort in spirit of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma for voting rights. In the name of law and order during the segregationist era, 150 police officers used clubs, bullwhips, tear gas and horses in a surprise attack against peaceful marchers in Selma. The police brutality captured on video excerpts below shocked the nation. President Johnson and Congress approved the historic Voting Rights Act that summer.