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America at Large

Judges Get "Judged" by Defendants: A Bad Year for the Gavel
By Ricky Allen
Mar 16, 2005 - 8:06:00 AM

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A judge presiding over a rape trial was shot to death Friday along with two other people at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta. A fourth person was wounded and a search is under way for the suspect, which was the defendant in the trial. This comes on the heels of another case the nation was following where the husband and elderly mother of a federal judge in Chicago were shot to death in her home.

The real question now is do we crack down on the protection of citizens? Even in the courtroom?

I've done my share of court stories to know that many aren't brought in handcuffs for reasons that juries tend to immediatly take a mental snapshot of that, which could in return taint a verdict.

However, after the latest news, you have to ask yourself, what protection does anyone have in the court of law when a person can grab a gun and get off four shots, making three of those fatal shots? And will the past month change what is done in courtrooms across the country?

America, when we can't even pass judgement without a shooting occuring, we have problems. Justice is blind, but maybe we should have at least one eye open in the courtroom. I have to ask myself though, How did that guy get a hold of a deputy's gun? Was he that fast of a person?

Should he have been wearing handcuffs? We'll never know now. The damage is done.

End result? I think we need to crack down on the rights of our "defendants" in court. We have to do a better job in how they are secured when they enter the courtroom. We owe that to our judges, we owe to victim's families that come to court to see justice served, and we owe it to citizens who are summoned for jury duty. Somehow there has to be a way that these guys and gals know that you won't get away with this in court.

And with that we'll go to the Email Bin:

*I have receieved a world of email in regards to the Fantasia article I wrote weeks ago, and with that in mind, responses have been consolidated to make sure I can respond to everyone.

Ms. Venable writes:

"I have my own opinion about "Baby Mamas," but I would like an answer to something I've wondered about. When someone claims to be a single parent, do they mean they are widowed, divorced or never bothered to get married?

Would appreciate an answer to this, if possible."

My reply: Well Ms. Venable, the search continues for a good definition of a "Baby' s Mama." I have a lot of "intellectuals" who have emailed me on the subject and they're all different definitions. I guess it's up to the person to figure out what he or she thinks the term means. Thank you for your input.

Towanda Harris writes:

"Being a baby mama doesn't necessarily mean a child being without a father, it means in my opinion, a mother taking care of her child emotionaly, mentally, physically, and financially. I am a single mom and I have my child's father in her life but like the song says, "You get that support check in the mail, you open it and it's like, what the hell, you say this ain't even half of daycare, saying to yourself this s*** ain't fair." If you lived in North Carolin like me and Fantasia then you would know that child support is about 18 dollars a week and that's just about enough for pampers and baby wipes. We all have our opinions about this song but I can relate to it and I am glad that somebody acknowledges that we are here and I will continue to wear the name baby mama as a badge of honor. Thank God for Fantasia.

My reply: Well, you answered what Ms. Venable asked earlier. Good definition, and I'm sure that the American people will agree. Thanks for your input.

Elnora Bowden writes:

"I read your article late last night about 4 a.m. Every so often I check out Fantasia wed on Is it just me, or has the world gone to hell in a "Nut Basket?" It a song; yes, a song about HER life. Yet, and still, just a song. First and foremost, it is our job as parents to raise our children, not Fantasia's. She just has the one to raise. and she was surrounded by a mother who's a preacher, a grandmother who is a preacher, and still she made her mistakes. Yea, I know what a good family SHE came up in; her grandma is married to my mother-in-law's brother. I love that song, and again I say, "It is like a badge of honor to be a Baby Mama."

My reply: Good points, I don't have no contest to none of those.  I don't comment on the whole "family connection" input because I've had at least 50 letter of people stating they know the singer so I leave that to the people.  Thanks for your input.

Now, in regards to the column I wrote called, "Former Hostage's Confused Conspiracy Theory"

Fred Beisser of Parker, Colorado writes:


"Thanks for taking a thoughtful approach to the Sgrena story. For sure there was no conspiracy by the US military. I tend to think the Italians (car was driven by a major in the Carinieri I read somewhere) and I also thought they had an Iraqi with them, at least to exchange the ransom for Sgrena. In any event, assuming there actually was a roadblock, the Sgrena statement does not ring true to me. Her total agenda is anti-USA anyway as she works for Il Manifesto, the Communist newspaper in Italy. I am still interested in learning the entire story about her capture as well as the events at the roadblock."

My reply: I agree, I would love to get more details on the subject and I'll be sure to do that.  Thanks for your input. I'm sure America shares your opinion.

And now, more Fantasia thoughts:

Lisa Collins writes:

"It is a "BADGE OF HONORr" to be a Baby Mama, everybody need to wake up this is the 21st century and things are not the way they were way back when."

My reply: True statement. Thanks for input.

Imani writes:

"Many women know exactly what Fantasia is singing about. For those who have not had to live it you are truly blessed. Please try not to judge the rest of us to harshly."

My reply: Whoa there, no judgement passed here, just giving another thought to the song. And I'm not harsh, but thanks for your interest and input. I'm sure many women connect to the song. This is the world we live in.

Vanessa Walker writes:

"I disagree that it sends a bad message to kids. I am married, but I feel there are more single mothers out there than single fathers. These Ladies need a pick me up. The song doesn't tell you to go out and become a single mother; it is just giving them props for handling their business. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of single mothers that deserve a swift kick in the you know what. They don't work, kids look like crap, and get their hair and nails done every week. This song uplifts the single mothers that are trying to make their mistakes turn out to be something beautiful as God meant it to be."

My reply: Yet another excellent reply and it gives both sides of the spectrum. Thanks for your input.

B Mama in Baltimore writes:

"I read your recent article on Fantasia's Baby Mama song, and I thought I'd take you up on your suggestion for comments. Not long ago, Fantasia appeared on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and said that she "caught hell" for the song by some people who incorrectly interpret the meaning. She suggested that ALL of the words be listened to. I respectfully suggest you listen again, very carefully."

My reply: Maybe an attention to detail is what the opposition needs ... could be the issue here I agree.

Sally writes:

"I think many of you need to understand the "hip-hop" dialect before trying to analyze songs sung with slang. There is absolutely nothing wrong with stating that its an honor to be a "baby's mother" particularly since there are so many women who are unable to have children and then all of the precious children who have been abandoned."

My reply: Why Sally, I thank you for noting my hiphop miscalculation and I will look back in my book of ebonics to make sure I don't get it wrong again, ha ha....No I'm joking, that is a great way to look at it because it's another angle people should consider. Thanks for your input.

M Snow writes:

"Someone please break this down so I may understand. What is it about the song Baby Mama that hits you so deep in your soul that you have to write about it daily? Why is a Baby Mama deplorable but smoking weed, selling drugs, and sex with anybody acceptable. Is it the message or the messenger?"

My reply: Ok, no comment here, because If the article was read, YOU would see that I mentioned that yes, there is worse out there.  Let's do the homework before coming to "America At Large" with a sermon.

Teresa Moses writes:

"I wish that song would have come out with my mother, because she definitely deserves a day for herself."

My reply: True. All mothers need a day for themself.

Hazel Daniel writes:

"I don't disagree with your statements. I certainly don't want to glorify unmarried single motherhood. Hollywood does that enough without help. But yet, I understand that it is important that we recognize the importance of raising children."

My reply: Thanks for your inputs, and yes, we're all happy for her success.

I am not bitter, are you interested? Email me your thoughts at  and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as I can in upcoming columns.

Ricky Allen is the also the author of "Richard Kaylen: Murder Online" at

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