Patterico's Pontifications

5/15/2014

Songhai “Sunny” Armstead: Vote for Me to Be A Judge . . . Because I’m Black

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:00 am

If you want to see something truly remarkable, watch this video of a candidate for judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court telling the congregation of a black church to vote for her . . . because she is black. Skip ahead to 4:00:

UPDATE: If you have trouble seeing that video, watch at 4:00 on this version:

The candidate, Songhai “Sunny” Armstead, tells the congregation that she is “the only African-American” running and then says:

Why is that significant? You heard about realignment. You heard about the injustice that happens in our court system already. And you guys have seen who — I’m sure we all know who’s in our jails and who comes before our judges in court, right? It’s people who look a lot like the people in this room. People who look a lot like me.

I’ve been a prosecuting attorney and I’ve seen how things do not work in our system. I see how people who are disenfranchised, do not have appropriate education, or who come from underrepresented communities do not get access to fair justice. And part of the problem is that our judges don’t have the same life experiences that we have. They don’t have the same empathy. They don’t have the same understanding. They cannot relate. They have very narrow experiences. And so when they see a person come before them, they think everyone that comes before them is a horrible gang member or a violent criminal. You know?

Our jails are full of nonviolent people who are either have substance abuse problems, mental health issues, lack of education, or who are foster kids. Those people don’t need to be in jail. [Applause]

You have the power to change that. There are 15 open seats right now. I am the only African American running. There’s only one Chicana running. Can you guess who else is running? Are there people who care about the people in this room? Probably not. I can’t speak before them, but probably not.

You catch that? “Can you guess who else is running?” It appears that she is making a reference to white people. And do they care about black people such as the people in that church? Probably not.

That is Armstead’s attitude, and it is repulsive.

It gets worse. She encourages the black congregation to register to vote, saying: “I’m a judge for you.” She adds: “We have black legislators, we have a black president. We don’t have black judges.”

To show this is not a one-off, listen to Armstead making a similar pitch here:

I walk around in an environment that’s mostly white males and they’re looking for me to fall every single day. And I have to prove myself every single day. . . So that you guys understand when a judge is on the bench it’s almost impossible to get them off. OK? There has not been an African-American elected to the bench in over 14 years. We used to be able to vote for the judges in our community. That doesn’t happen any more. In 2000 the vote went county-wide. I have to get votes in Lancaster and Palmdale. I have to get those votes in Palos Verdes. I gotta get votes in Malibu and Long Beach and Carson and Compton and everything in between. I can’t do it without your help. I need you guys to register to vote. I know that we can because we have a black president, we have black [unintelligible], we need black people in every single part, diverse population, every single part of the government. We can put legislation in order but there has to be somebody there to execute it. And it can’t happen without your help.

I am absolutely disgusted by this blatant racial sales pitch. The job of a judge is to be fair and impartial. The job of a judge is to enforce the law — and to do so evenhandedly, regardless of skin color. Jurors in a criminal trial are specifically told not to be influenced by the “race or ethnicity” of a defendant, victim, or witness. If you watched the videos, you just heard Songhai “Sunny” Armstead make a mockery of that instruction. You just heard Songhai “Sunny” Armstead tell crowds of people that she would take race into account in making judicial decisions. You just heard Songhai “Sunny” Armstead tell a crowd of people: “I’m a judge for you.” Not for everyone. For them.

The Met News, which generally does a remarkably good job of evaluating the candidates, had this to say about Armstead:

How would you regard the following statement?

“You should vote against Songhai ‘Sunny’ Armstead for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 97 because she’s an African American.”

Any such statement would, of course, be blatantly and despicably racist.

Racist also is Armstead’s plea for votes because she’s an African American.

We view as disgusting any reference by a judicial candidate to his or her to race, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, other than in the context of listing affiliations or recounting discrimination the candidate has personally endured or has witnessed and how this life experience would be beneficial in providing insights in carrying out judicial duties.

Armstead has amply demonstrated in the course of the campaign that she is not suited for a judgeship. . . . Speaking before a black congregation at a church in Gardena, Armstead asserted that non-black judges now on the Superior Court have no understanding of African Americans, and can’t empathize with them. Virtually pledging preferential treatment of blacks in her courtroom, she said: “I’m a judge for you.”

The Met News rejected Armstead and recommends a vote for Teresa Magno, who is a friend of mine. I have known Teresa for about ten years. I have worked with her, and have personally witnessed her dedication to justice. She spent years in the same gang unit that I work in, using extraordinary persistence and talent to prosecute gang members who commit murder. (As always, I speak in my private capacity and not on behalf of my office.) As the Met News says: “For 15 years, Magno has been a deputy DA and, aside from prosecuting misdemeanors, has handled 81 felony jury trials, including two in which a death sentence was sought. Impressively, every one of the 40 murder cases she has tried resulted in a conviction of at least one of the defendants.”

That is impressive indeed. What’s more, Teresa gets results like that with integrity — not by twisting the facts, but by working extra hard to gather the evidence necessary to prove her case.

Armstead looks out at a crowd of black people and tells them: “I’m a judge for you.” Teresa Magno will be a judge for everyone. I strongly urge my readers to vote for Teresa Magno on June 3. (Or earlier, if you’re one of these absentee voters.)

P.S. I have donated to Teresa, and you can too, here. But save some money for Amy Carter, my top recommendation in all these races, and one of my best friends in the world. A post on Amy is forthcoming.

P.P.S. Oh — and if you need any more motivation?

The Los Angeles Times endorses Armstead — with zero mention of her racial sales pitch. In addition to electing a great judge, you can take this opportunity to stick it to the L.A. Times.

Win-win.

43 Responses to “Songhai “Sunny” Armstead: Vote for Me to Be A Judge . . . Because I’m Black”

  1. Wow, the LAT is horrible.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. She is just following the Sotomayor script.

    JD (2d7b3f)

  3. With a self-described “wise Latina” on our highest court, who can be surprised at such blatant ethnic politics in a judge? I suspect this sort of campaign will get more common.

    David Pittelli (b77425)

  4. BTW, Jay and Bey are just bidness now going forward.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  5. I honestly can’t imagine appearing in front of this woman. She would already be prejudiced against me. She would assume that I am looking for her “to fall” and that I do not care about black people because I myself am white.

    She fundamentally does not understand what judges do.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  6. I honestly can’t imagine appearing in front of this woman. She would already be prejudiced against me. She would assume that I am looking for her “to fall” and that I do not care about black people because I myself am white.

    That’s what I was thinking. So what happens if she’s elected, and one of your cases is assigned to her? Can you ask for another judge, because her on-the-record statements show she’s biased against you? Could every non-black lawyer or litigant make the same request?

    Question: suppose a judge already on the bench were to make such a statement. In this post-Sterling world, would they be likely to be removed from the bench? If so, then surely making the same statement as a candidate ought to result in being removed from the ballot. Of course I don’t really expect such a logical situation; election laws and judicial conduct rules are separate bodies of law, made by different people, so they can’t really be expected to be in alignment.

    But now let’s suppose she’s elected. Now she’s under the discipline of the judicial conduct rules, and of whichever body enforces them. Can and should that body immediately discipline her for her pre-election statement? Alternatively, can and should it immediately summon her for a chat, and ask her whether she stands by or disavows her previous statement? If she won’t disavow it, surely that would be grounds for removing her. Am I going wrong somewhere?

    Milhouse (b95258)

  7. Elsewhere on my ballot: Sandra Fluke for the State Senate, District 26. Her profession? “Social Justice Attorney” There’s a Monty Python skit just begging to be written.

    Sadly, though, all my other choices are also Democrats.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  8. I bet Magno is the only Filipina running. Armstead must be anti-Filipino or something if she forgets to mention that.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  9. An odor of sulfur wafts on the unseasonal Santa Anas.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  10. If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive and heard this he’d never stop puking.

    CrustyB (69f730)

  11. Thanks to Obama and Holder’s anti-white racism, the anti-white racism cat is out of the bag and running free throughout our society. Obama promulgates it in both his books, his words and his actions. This disgraceful excuse of a woman is simply following his lead.

    On an aside, Clarence Thomas is probably amused to hear he doesn’t exist.

    SafeTea (f62b5c)

  12. I see how people who are disenfranchised, do not have appropriate education, or who come from underrepresented communities do not get access to fair justice.

    Yes. When crimes are committed against them, they don’t investigate, and they don’t prosecute the perpetrators vigorously.

    But that’s not what she means.

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  13. But she can’t be racist because she has no power… yet.

    What a screwball.

    Colonel Haiku (0f1c4b)

  14. Well it worked twice for Obama.

    DanielShays (549169)

  15. Comment by Colonel Haiku (0f1c4b) — 5/15/2014 @ 10:49 am

    What a screwball.

    What a cynical liar maybe.

    This is an argument that, if some epeople beleived it, it would be an advantage in her election campaign.

    So she says it.

    She probably also got campaign contributions from criminal defense lawyers because she would say it.

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  16. she’ll probably get rewarded with a job somewhere, because she doesn’t talk like she has much chance of winning the election.

    We used to be able to vote for the judges in our community. That doesn’t happen any more. In 2000 the vote went county-wide. I have to get votes in Lancaster and Palmdale. I have to get those votes in Palos Verdes. I gotta get votes in Malibu and Long Beach and Carson and Compton and everything in between. I can’t do it without your help. I need you guys to register to vote

    It’s not going to happen.

    She won’t move the needle very much. (although she may help divide the electorate)

    This is an act of desperation.

    But she’s on a list of people for appointment when the opportunity arises, where she will do as she is told, and in the meantime, will get some job somewhere.

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  17. Yes. When crimes are committed against them, they don’t investigate, and they don’t prosecute the perpetrators vigorously.

    Sammy, I am pretty sure that they do all those things. Perhaps someone here knows more about that.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  18. They do investigate, and prosecute, but not vigorously.

    (This is from 1996, but this is endemic.)

    http://articles.latimes.com/1996-12-03/news/mn-6131_1_murder-case

    In Los Angeles County, certain murders are more likely to be solved and successfully prosecuted than others.

    Killers of whites are more likely to be punished than killers of blacks or Latinos.

    Slayings that get publicity are more likely to end in convictions.

    And outcomes vary significantly from police agency to police agency and from courthouse to courthouse…..

    ….* Victim’s race. Cases involving white victims were more likely to be solved by police. And suspects, once caught, were more likely to be charged with crimes carrying a potential death penalty.

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  19. Sammy needs to reread the parts of Freakonomics where correlations and causations are discussed.

    The single greatest obstacle faced by investigators is the lack of information from witnesses. A large number of the murders of black people happen in black neighborhoods (as one might imagine) and those neighborhoods are renowned for their “don’t snitch” programs. Cases go unsolved because, even though the name of the killer may be known, no one will provide the testimony to support prosecution.

    If this woman really wanted to see “justice” for the black victims of murder she would be attacking the “don’t snitch” mentality that makes the disparity in the prosecution rate. Of course, that may make for an uncomfortable reality: there would be even more black people in the system since elimination of the “don’t snitch” program would mean more of the murders of these folk being prosecuted, and if the stats hold up, black people are almost always killed by other black people.

    I do not know if the stats on white-on-white murders follow this trend.

    gramps, the original (4615a6)

  20. Cases involving white victims were more likely to be solved by police. And suspects, once caught, were more likely to be charged with crimes carrying a potential death penalty.

    Of course they had to characterize this as pro-white discrimination in the administration of justice, rather than anti-black discrimination.

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  21. 20/ Comment by gramps, the original (4615a6) — 5/15/2014 @ 12:39 pm

    Sammy needs to reread the parts of Freakonomics where correlations and causations are discussed

    I can’t find those words in the index.

    I did find this, on page 101:

    Black street gangs in particular flourished in Chicago..Part of the problem was that these criminals never seemed to get locked up.

    I think they actually did, eventually. But it didn’t happen until about the age of 25. (the law of averages caught up with them)

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  22. 20/ Comment by gramps, the original (4615a6) — 5/15/2014 @ 12:39 pm

    The single greatest obstacle faced by investigators is the lack of information from witnesses. A large number of the murders of black people happen in black neighborhoods (as one might imagine) and those neighborhoods are renowned for their “don’t snitch” programs.

    There are good reasons, but there are also bad reasons, like giving up when cases are hard.

    Or saying the jury won’t convict.

    Or saying the witnesses are not up to our standards.

    You have to try harder, not less.

    If this woman really wanted to see “justice” for the black victims of murder

    Ah, but she doesn’t. She pretends that people arebeing sent to jail for no good reason, which is probably not usually the case. What is usually the case is probably that people are let go for no good reason, and blacks far more often than whites.

    she would be attacking the “don’t snitch” mentality that makes the disparity in the prosecution rate. Of course, that may make for an uncomfortable reality: there would be even more black people in the system since elimination of the “don’t snitch” program would mean more of the murders of these folk being prosecuted, and if the stats hold up, black people are almost always killed by other black people.

    Of course, her (false) definition of justice is fewer blacks convicted. That’s the opposite of what she wants.

    She says:

    Our jails are full of nonviolent people who are either have substance abuse problems, mental health issues, lack of education, or who are foster kids.

    which I highly doubt.

    I think it is fairly well established that a typical black convict has a longer rap sheet than a typical white convict. That means that a black criminal (in a black neighborhood, because this really varies by jurisdiction) gets away with more longer.

    That means the justice system treats him more leniently. Which is the opposiute of what she is saying.

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  23. Didn’t they just let the non-violent doctor, Conrad Murray, whose malpractice and incompetent experimination killed Michael Jackson, get out of jail very quickly? (well, after serving just under 2 years of a 4-year sentence.)

    http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00062688.html

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  24. Michael Jackson was a celebrity, so his case got prosecuted more vigorously than usual in Los Angeles.

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  25. “Sunny” misnomer
    she is deeply repellant
    just say “no!” people

    Colonel Haiku (5348bf)

  26. I don’t know how much blame should be attached to the doctor. If he hadn’t done what Michael Jackson wanted, he wouldn’t have been there.

    (Michael Jackson was so controlling that he wouldn’t let his underwear taken away to be laundered, for fear it would be sold instead.)

    But he tried weaning Michael Jackson off of the drug, and changed the routine and wasn’t taking enough precautions. Michael Jackson injected himself with what had now become a lethal dose of prophanol.

    Michael Jackson couldn’t sleep without a drug to put him to sleep. He used an anesthetic normally used only in hospitals.

    Sammy Finkelman (bcd7c8)

  27. Oh dear Allah, Sammah.

    JD (2d7b3f)

  28. Any person — whether aspiring to public office, or not — who, in an exercise of transparent self-promotion, crassly panders to certain groups by promoting his or her race, ethnicity or religious affiliation as an attribute which attests to his or her alleged superiority to another candidate, deserves nothing by scorn and contempt.

    This is what the country is turning into — a society in which racial and sexual classifications consistently trump merit, character and substantive accomplishment with respect to the vetting of candidates for political office, jobs and school admissions. It is a nauseating trend, and, its implications are profoundly dangerous.

    Guy Jones (df6cf0)

  29. They do investigate, and prosecute, but not vigorously.

    Wrong.

    Although it would be nice if more people would talk to police.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  30. I am not sanguine about LA’s prospects this Summer.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  31. Mebee the Chinese are on to something:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/trouble-top_791180.html

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  32. I discovered during the 08 election cycle that voting for a candidate because of their race was not only acceptable but could be historic.

    Every vote I make for the rest of my life will be based on the candidates race.

    Historic I tell ya, historic.

    highpockets (41856d)

  33. From a LIBERAL public defender…

    http://www.amren.com/features/2014/05/confessions-of-a-public-defender/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  34. Skip ahead to 4:00:

    If you want a youtube video to start at a certain time, you can use code to do so. An easy solution is http://youtubetime.com/.

    carlitos (e7c734)

  35. I have cringed whenever “the community” has been used in the past because it always means “the black community.” Somehow white people aren’t part of the community of a city or village or not a part that matters? It seems that the subtle language has been dropped in favor of all-out racial polarization. I guess that the heavily black federal administration, their goverrnment workers, now think they have enough power and media coverage to make their real agenda known. It was not about equal opportunity, it was about raw power and using the law for revenge.

    Never a bit of thanks for all the affirmative action and welfare benefits to “the black community” that have meant lost opportunities for white men for four+ decades — young men who never had the power to discriminate against anyone else and most of whom are hectored constantly about their Evilness.

    Margaret McCarthy (b5205a)

  36. 22.

    Gramps: Sammy needs to reread the parts of Freakonomics where correlations and causations are discussed

    SF> I can’t find those words in the index.

    It’s not in the index to Super Freakonomics, either.

    But Super Freakonomics has a whole chapter on global warming and various forms of geo-engineering (which of course is ruled out of order)

    Sammy Finkelman (18bea8)

  37. this is typical of how they campaign:

    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/05/16/did-oregon-senate-candidate-monica-wehby-stalk-her-old-boyfriend/

    war on women, ‘better check the cables’

    narciso (3fec35)

  38. african americans within law enforcement have never gone outside and confronted the lie that young african americans are jailed over insigificant drug offenses rather than telling the world that those are what they plead down to.
    So now they will get this knucklehead… and they will deserve her..

    steveg (794291)

  39. The uploader clipped the video. The bolded parts are missing.

    JWB (c1c08f)

  40. If you still have your copy saved, send it to me. You should also be able to view and download your copy off of youtube when you are signed into your account.

    JWB (c1c08f)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2398 secs.