Rutherford County, Tennessee Juvenile Court Judge Donna Scott Davenport has faced criticisms following joint reports from Nashville Public Radio and ProPublica revealing that, she has been using fake laws to jail black children illegally.
The state is said to have jailed black children ten times higher and sometimes, there were cases where no crimes were even committed. Judge Donna Scott was reported to have set up a policy where children who are charged with a criminal offense are processed at the detention center.
An example was a case that happened in 2016 where about 11 black children who were between the ages of 8 and 9 were detained for not stopping a fight after it was captured in a camera. According to the reports, 10 out of those 11 black children were charged for what she termed, “criminal responsibility for conduct of another.”
Explaining the system, Frank Ross Brazil the attorney who represented several of the children said “if you and I are in a car, and there’s something illegal in the car and I’m arrested for possessing it, you could be also found guilty of possessing that substance by the theory of criminal responsibility for another; so, that being applied as a charge in and of itself is unlawful.”
In recent development, a Tennessee lawmaker, Vincent Dixie who suspects a “gross misuse of power” has called for an investigation into the allegations.
“This problem went unchecked for so long it shows me that there’s a failure in the system somewhere that we have not detected, and we need to fix that,” Dixie said.