Lula Smart acquitted on all counts: Quitman 10 vindicated

Lula Smart cleared by a jury in third trial. Third strike by the prosecutors: they’re out! Will they stop wasting our taxpayer dollars now?

Katheryn Hayes Tucker, Daily Report, 17 September 2014, Acquittal in Trial Over Absentee Ballots,

Lula Mary Smart was acquitted on 19 felony charges of voting irregularities Wednesday following a month-long trial in Brooks County Superior Court in South Georgia.

The crimes for which she was tried involved putting sealed absentee ballots in the mail for friends and relatives, according to defense attorneys Chevene King Jr. of Albany and Tiffany Simmons of Atlanta.

Um, that’s charges. She was just acquitted. That means she did not commit any crimes.

Smart is one of the defendants known as the Quitman 12 who have been prosecuted since a 2010 election created for the first time an African-American majority on the Brooks County Board of Education. Smart’s sister was elected to the school board in that election, as were several other defendants, according to the defense attorneys. All the defendants are African-American. All the incumbents who were defeated are white.

And all the defendants who were elected in that election have been elected twice more in elections since.

Smart’s case is the first to be tried. King and Simmons expressed hope that her acquittal will lead the state to drop the other cases. “It would be a waste of taxpayers’ money to continue to prosecute people for laws that are clearly weighted in favor of the way we interpreted them in court instead of the rather strained construction of the prosecution,” King said.

Lula Smart has been tried not just once but twice before, both mistrials. WTXL in its story today did mention that:

This is the third time Smart’s case has gone to trial.

As I wrote before this third trial started:

Will three strikes against the prosecution make it give up on trying to convict the Quitman 10+2?

I ask again:

Dear prosecutor, when is enough enough?

Oh, right, Tucker wrote:

Brooks County District Attorney David Miller didn’t participate; one of his assistant district attorneys is a member of the school board. Both are white. Miller couldn’t be reached immediately on Wednesday.

With the local DA recused, the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia took over the case. Director Lalaine Briones was lead prosecutor for the state.

OK, all you prosecutors: will you stop wasting our taxpayer money now?

Three strikes and you’re out.