Two-Tone Justice in the Cradle of American Liberty

Unusual sentence in racial attack (Boston Globe)

(In the manner and tune of Bob Dylan's "Hattie Carroll")

Josiah Spaulding the Third beat two women
With a metal baton that he carried on his person
They were young, they were black and he just didn't like them
So he and a gang of his friends went to taunt them
A rich white boy with the usual connections
The seed of one of the first families of Boston
What did he care, what did he have to fear
As he brought down the rod on Maureen Pontes' ear
And left Stephanie Gemma with blood in her hair
Both girls scarred, now living with nightmares
That some other skinhead will see them and hate them
And chase them and beat them and one day might kill them

But you who philosophize disgrace
And criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears

Josiah Spaulding the Third was a coward
He ran from his crime and flew over the border
Flew over the ocean to hide out in Holland
While high strings were pulled and soft voices murmured
In boardrooms and backrooms and dark clubby corners
As Maureen and Stephanie fought with their sorrow
And their fear that each day held a sadder tomorrow
At last it was fixed that Josiah would face them
In the courtroom of honor with a judge of distinction
Who heard out the case with a graveness of manner
How Josiah had beaten and battered the women
And even chased one till he ran up and caught her
And brought down the metal although she was begging
And the cops found his locker was crammed with hate papers
And his skin he had covered with Nazi regalia
And fled prosecution with his passport and money
Gravely the judge set forth to pass sentence
First threw out completely the civil rights charges
Then for the beatings found Josiah guilty
And gave him for punishment five years on probation

But you who philosophize disgrace
And criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears

Josiah Spaulding the Third was a victim
Of the venom that flows in the brains of all humans
So the judge ruled the young man should be spared of prison
And instead sent to places where he could learn wisdom
About the hatred of races and how we could stop it
Now Josiah must visit the Holocaust Museum
And the African Meeting House high up on Beacon
And spend many hours in charity service
And reflect on his crime and the pain of his victims
Which the D.A. himself called "a meaningful sentence"
That will help young Josiah confront his own demons
And it's probably true that mercy is better
At changing a sick mind than hard time in prison…

But what if Maureen had been the attacker
Or Stephanie had chased down Josiah and beat him
How mild would the judge be when he gave his verdict
Would he craft it and mold it to help the defendants
Address the root causes that turned them to violence
Or just see two more of the hopeless two million
Who've been slapped down and shackled and shunted to prison
Because they're not white or have no connections
And never broke bread with the first families of Boston
Two million in chains across the whole nation
Who had no kind judge to be helpful and thoughtful
About the human conditions that brew up our evil
But instead were marked down as unfit for redemption
And sent off to rot in a house of detention

But you who philosophize disgrace
And criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
Now is the time for your tears

More links and excerpts after the jump.

From the Boston Globe:

The scion of a prominent North Shore family avoided jail time yesterday for beating two black teenagers with a metal baton in 2002, but a judge imposed unusual consciousness-raising conditions on the young man for what prosecutors had called a racially motivated assault.

Josiah Spaulding III, whose father is president of the Wang Theater in Boston, must remove his tattoos with racist symbols, visit the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and do 200 hours of community service at the Pine Street Inn, a homeless shelter in the city, or at a veterans' shelter. He also faces five years of probation.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley had asked for 2 1/2 years in a house of correction, a term prosecutors said was appropriate for a ``vicious, unprovoked attack." He later said the sentence, including the probation conditions, was ``wise and thoughtful."

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Charles Spurlock, who acquitted Spaulding of associated civil rights charges last month but convicted him of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, did warn Spaulding that if he reoffends, he will be sent to state prison, not a county jail.

Before Spaulding was sentenced, one victim, Stephanie Gemma, now in her early 20s, told Spurlock the beating had transformed her and her best friend, Maureen Pontes, from social, outgoing teenagers into more withdrawn, wary women.

``I have frequent nightmares," said Gemma, who was 17 at the time of the attack. Gemma said Pontes has seen a therapist. ``We're hoping these feelings go away, but they've been there for three years," Gemma said...

On Nov. 22, 2002, Spaulding, then 23, was with several other white people at the concourse of the Park Street MBTA station when they confronted three young women, including Gemma and Pontes. They began shouting racial slurs at the teens. Spaulding, who was wielding a collapsible metal baton, struck Gemma in the head. Then he ran after Pontes as she tried to flee. He caught up with her and, as she crouched, struck her on the head, said Assistant District Attorney David Fredette.

Pontes still has a scar from the attack, Fredette said. After the attack, Spaulding fled to Amsterdam, but returned to the United States in 2003...

In a telephone interview yesterday, Conley said he believed Spurlock made a wise decision. ``You could tell that Judge Spurlock spent some time thinking about this," Conley said. ``It appears to be a very meaningful sentence. My hope, the judge's hope is that by visiting places like the Holocaust Museum, visiting the African Meeting House, maybe Spaulding will reconsider his actions."

From CBS 4 Boston:
Police later found racist literature in a storage locker rented by Spaulding and described him as a "skinhead" during the trial. The 26-year-old was acquitted of civil rights violations in connection with the attack.

From Boston Magazine: The Fifty Families.
Here are the fifty families that run this town...

23. The Spauldings
At an age by which most people have long since retired, Academy of Distinguished Bostonians inductee Helen Bowdoin Spaulding--a direct descendant of James Bowdoin, the second governor of Massachusetts and founder of Bowdoin College--remains a vibrant figure in Boston’s social and cultural circles. Her husband, Josiah Spaulding, was one of Massachusetts’ leading Republicans (he ran against Ted Kennedy in 1970), but after his death in 1983 she became a Democrat and took to philanthropy, chairing the Boston Foundation and doing work for the New England Aquarium, Massachusetts General Hospital, and other educational and social institutions. Among the boards on which she still serves are those of the Smithsonian and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, which is named for her late husband. Her son Josiah “Joe” Jr. runs the Wang Center for the Performing Arts, and while he has sparked controversy over the size of his salary and his decision to evict the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker , Spaulding’s Wang Center remains one of the city’s most important cultural venues--even in the face of the assault of national megamonopoly Clear Channel. His brother, Alexander “Sandy” Spaulding, former finance chief of the state Republican Party, is president of Hinckley Yachts and a partner in the controversial plan to build a resort village at Mount Greylock in western Massachusetts. (Not all the Spauldings may be a chip off the old block: Joe Spaulding’s son, Josiah A. Spaulding III, has pleaded not guilty to charges on two counts each of civil rights violations, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and other charges in connection with an alleged attack with a metal baton on two black girls in the Downtown Crossing subway station.)