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November 15th, 2010
02:40 PM ET

Justice for Jimmie Lee Jackson

Former Alabama state trooper, James Bonard Fowler, 77, plead guilty to misdemeanor manslaughter Monday in a civil rights-era murder case. District Attorney Michael Jackson feels as if this case served as one of many catalysts for the 1965 Selma-Montgomery march. Fowler was being tried for the 1965 murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson during a voting-rights related protest in Marion, AL. Jackson was beaten as well as shot and according to documents, died a few days later.

President of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, AL, Richard Cohen, believes that, "The Jimmie Lee Jackson case is one of the most significant civil rights cold cases". Jackson's shooter remained unknown until 2005 when Fowler admitted to shooting Jackson in self-defense when he and other troopers had been called to the protest. Fowler has now been sentenced to six months in jail.

Although this case is not as well-known as other civil-rights cases, Jimmie Lee Jackson's death is often cited by groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. Don Cochran, a professor at the Cumberland School of Law says that, "In a lot of these cases, it would be difficult to try them even two weeks after they happened, especially in self-defense cases...your witnesses, a lot of them are just gone." Many feel as though it is still important for cases like these to be pursued, because these wounds should, "...still be healed".

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Joe

    What type of charge is misdemeanor manslaughter? This racist a–hole took a human life, how would this heal any wounds? just another way to waste taxpayers money.

    November 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  2. Joe

    Instead of justice for Jimmie Lee Jackson, it should read Injustice for Jimmie Lee Jackson ,how can you change murder to a misdemeanor?.

    November 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  3. Sherri

    There is indeed much healing to do. History must be set straight and the justice system is an effective tool in the process. May all Americans walk forward together into a better, brighter day. Rest in Peace Jimmie Lee Jackson.

    November 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  4. vagabond

    Misdemeanor manslaughter? Did they just make that up? Did someone just pull it out of thin air? i've never heard of misdemeanor manslaughter... how can manslaughter be a misdemeanor? In NY driving with a suspended license in some cases is a felony... But manslaughter is a misdemeanor? He's 77... give him 8-10 years for manslaughter and let the racist rot in a prison... He won't survive it... And he shouldn't...

    November 16, 2010 at 11:14 am |