Siplin’s Pastor: Judicial System Unfair To Black Men

Sarah Lundy, Orlando Sentinel, August 17, 2006

State Sen. Gary Siplin’s pastor held a news conference Wednesday to say Siplin’s trial “was a huge miscarriage of justice.”

Earlier this week, a jury found Siplin, D-Orlando, guilty of stealing thousands in taxpayer money when he made three state-paid workers help on his 2004 re-election campaign. His sentencing is set for Sept. 27.

Siplin, who hasn’t spoken publicly since the trial began, was a no-show on “advice of counsel,” the Rev. Randolph Bracy Jr. said.

“There is a reason to question whether the judicial system is unjust and unfair to black men who speak for the downtrodden, disinherited and dispossessed,” Bracy said on the Orange County Courthouse steps.

“What I witnessed with my own eyes Monday cries for further investigation and review,” he said.

A jury of three women and three men—including one who was black—took more than two hours Monday to find Siplin guilty of felony grand theft and using state workers to further his campaign, which is a misdemeanor.

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Bracy, chairman of the Social Justice Commission for the African American Council of Clergy in Orlando, did not answer any questions from the media after reading a statement.

More than a dozen area ministers and members of the Florida Civil Rights Association turned out to support Siplin.

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