This past week there have been two stories that highlight how America’s failing legal system is affecting us here in Delaware County.
The latest outrage making waves on Twitter has seen two people, ages 16 and 18, charged with first degree murder in the shooting of Fanta Billy. There’s a story from the Inquirer here, and another from the DelCo Times here. The thing is, neither of the two charged shot the 8 year old child that was killed. According to the stories out there, the police did. Yet these two youth are being charged with intentional murder while the police officers involved refuse to be interviewed by the district attorney and there are as yet no charges against them. While DelCo DA Jack Stollsteimer has acted on a number of issues like environmental crimes and marijuana decriminalization, his decisions involving the Ridley Black Lives Matter protest and the Media “we’ll destroy you” officer are becoming a pattern of questionable judgement when it comes to law enforcement oversight.
The other story this week is that the lawsuit against the state over insufficient education funding, filed by the NAACP and other groups, is finally going to trial. A problem (among many) is that this lawsuit was filed 7 years ago. The children that were starting school at the time of its filing are now in middle school, and likely by the time its resolved (and certainly before any changes are made to education funding) they will already have graduated from the broken system the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit will have done nothing to help the children it was filed to protect because the legal system is unable to resolve issues in a time that’s meaningful to the people affected.
In Delaware County the judicial retention votes were closer than usual this year – almost twice as many people voted against retention for judges as in 2019 or any year in the previous decade despite no coordinated campaign to oppose them. With stories like this and the ones in the national news, that’s likely to be a continuing trend.