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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Crime: The Trial of Reginald Potts

As we might have mentioned before, the D.A. is seeking the death penalty for Reginald Potts for the murder of Nailah Franklin. So said the assistant state's attorney Maria McCarthy, in her appearance before the current judge assigned to try the case, Judge Thomas Gainer.

This case is likely to be politically sensitive and to remain in the public eye throughout the trial, for various reasons. The defendant, Reginald Michael Potts, Jr., has a nontrivial criminal record, mostly involving violence against women. Various women of his acquaintance have sought restraining orders against Mr. Potts, and he has violated several of them.

Mr. Potts is what is known as a "jailhouse lawyer," that is, a criminal offender who has a pretty good understanding of the justice system and knows how to work it, and is intelligent enough to manoeuvre the system to suit his needs.

Then there's the victim in the case. Nailah O. Franklin was an attractive, intelligent, ambitious, and successful middle-class woman. Although, as a rule, the media prefers stories of murdered white women, in Franklin's case an exception has, clearly, been made, leading us to believe that the interest in victims is slightly more inclined to be a matter of class than race, these days. Many, many pretty young black women go missing every day. As do many pretty young Latinas, and Asian women, and white women. Violence against women, and crimes against women, are pretty much par for the course in our world today.

Yet it's the Lacey Petersons (she was Latina) and Natalee Holloways who get all the attention. We're not necessarily complaining that Nailah Franklin's murder is attracting so much attention. We would like to see her murderer pay for his crimes. However, we hope you will spare a thought for the girls and women who do not have Ms. Franklin's undeniable advantages.

The prosecution is using the Felony Murder Rule to justify the death penalty &mdash because the murder was committed during the commission of another felony, the intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm that is required for a finding of murder may be inferred from the intent to commit the associated felony.

We agree that Mr. Potts is a scumbag. He's a vile, mean, nasty little bully who apparently lied and cheated and weaseled his way into power over various women, and then used violence to intimidate them. But we're not sure that he deserves the death penalty. The state probably has a fairly clear-cut case and can meet its burden of proving that he committed the murder and other criminal acts associated therewith beyond a reasonable doubt. And he probably should be sequestered away from potential innocent victims until he can be rehabilitated. But does he deserve to die? To be killed? To lose his life?

What do you think?

This is one post in an ongoing series of coverage of this crime.

To find all posts about Nailah Franklin, type "Nailah Franklin" in the box at the top left corner of this page and hit RETURN. To find all posts about Reginald Potts, type "Reginald Potts" and do not include his middle initial or honorifics. Thanks.

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At 8:19 PM, Blogger BAC said...

I don't support the death penalty, but from the sound of this story I think this man deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. Without the chance for parole.

I think that would be much better punishment for such a violent person.


At 8:43 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Thanks, bac.

I do support the death penalty, but in very limited circumstances &mdash I support it for serial killers (but not mass murderers) whose primary motivation is enjoying the pain and suffering of their victims; and for those who abuse and kill children under the age of fourteen.

But thanks for sharing your perspective with me. I agree. Just keeping him away from potential victims would be sufficient.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger sgtg said...

I say death penalty. If he killed her then why does he deserve to live?

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Foxxx said...

I have been following this story for quite some time. And I have personally had a family member taken away from me violently. And it is very difficult and unexplainable situation. Despite popular belief, there is no closure. It hurts and even if you know why it happens it still doesnt help. It is my personal belief that ever people reaps what they sow. No matter the crime, I never feel that death is an option because, i don't feel that solves the issue. I dont feel some people can be rehabilitated, but I do feel that being in prison is equivalent to dying thousands of deaths every day without your freedom, especially an offender like potts who enjoyed the finer things in life.

Lastly I get so tired of the focus being on offenders when crimes are commited and the victim becomes second. I just feel that he will suffer worse all in Prison for life than to die. FOXXX

At 7:32 PM, Blogger sgtg said...

Thanks Foxxx. I like what you have to say. Especially the part about Potts really suffering in prison given that he's used to "the finer things in life". I'm just not so sure that prison, especially a death row sentence, is all that bad. I know that sounds weird, but I think scott peterson has got things pretty good there on death row. And it's going to take 20 years for his sentence to get carried out. I may be full of shit totally - but it doesn't seem to me like peterson is suffering that much - and goddamnit he should be. If I *am* full of shit, feel free to tell me.

And you're right about the victim not getting focus. I think it's because we're just so upset and horrified that we (this is the generic human species we) can't deal with the fate of the victim so instead we focus on the fucking offender.

At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Death Penalty is certainly deserving in this case. This man is a selfish, violent, ignorant career criminal whose past actions dictate that he believes he's above the law. Time after time he has displayed a propensity for violence. His premeditated murder of this beautiful young woman, for nothing more than her bruising his ego, shows the evil in his soul. Why leave him breathing with all the pain he's caused. I would hate to think that my tax dollars will go to keeping this fool fed, clothed, and housed for the rest of his life. He is soooo undeserving! But, one must also look at his complete disdain for authority. Keeping him in prison for the rest of his life may certainly be capital punishment for him. However, I'm more for fryin' his azz...Better yet, a firing squad!!!

At 10:33 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Thanks for your comment, professor3270. It's true he's a career criminal, but so far his crimes have mostly been petty property crimes &mdash and I think it's a bad precedent to kill people for crimes against property. His crimes against people have been minor &mdash unpleasant, but minor.

But thanks for checking in and letting us know!

At 7:28 AM, Blogger chinawhite_2 said...

"His crimes against people have been minor".

Uh, hello - he's killed someone. That's not a minor crime. The problem in America is that we are too light on crime and I personally believe that everyone that kills someone, without probable cause, should automatically receive the death penalty. Oh and it should be QUICK. Not ten years later. Maybe about two years later. Maybe then and only then, will they think twice before they take a life.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Hi, chinawhite_2,

I was implying that, up until he murdered Nailah Franklin, his crimes were mostly property crimes with a small sprinkling of minor crimes of violence against women with whom the asshole was involved.

See, the way the law looks at it, if you beat up a man, or a woman who's a stranger, you're in trouble. But if you beat up a woman you've slept with, they're very reluctant to do anything about it. It goes back to the whole notion of women as property.

As far as killing people to teach them not to kill, it doesn't really work unless you also have a bunch of other stuff in place, like a strong police system so that such people are caught immediately; a homogenous society that works together; a society where individual liberty is less important than community interest and State power; and so forth.

And then there's the crimes. Crimes of passion are not deterred by the death penalty. When someone hits your last nerve and you snap, your mind is not concerned with consequences till later. In such cases, killing the killer doesn't do anything except kill two people instead of one. These people are usually not a danger to the community and they do experience guilt and are capable of redemption. If we would try to rehabilitate them instead of throwing them in prison and treating them like animals, society as a whole would benefit. Society benefits when every member contributes to its well-being.

People with poor impulse control, mentally defective people, and people who are certifiably insane also cannot be deterred by the death penalty. And it's wrong to give the State the power to kill the terminally stupid or disabled or those too defective to know what's right or wrong.

Psychopaths and sociopaths and emotionally defective people who lack empathy are really the only people who deserve the death penalty, because they do not kill because of loss of control. They kill because they enjoy it, thus they are always a danger to society. Reginald Potts appears to have the mark of a classic sociopath.

Thank you for your comment.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Lenore said...

Psychopaths, sociopaths and just plain emotionally defective people are all around us. They work with us, live next door to us, and unfortunately for a few they sleep with them. Can you tell them right away.. you bet you can. Maybe not for the first few encounters, but that behavior seeps through very soon. Raised in a restricted family, and not being exposed to this type of behavior does do harm to a child, but who in their right mind wants to expose children to those type of behavior characteristics. There is something about behavior, that in my opinion that cannot ever be altered. This type of behavior usually has to be caught and dealt with by the time a person reaches 12 years of age. Reginald Potts is a done deal in my estimation. He has children who are at extreme risk for inheriting his characteristics. And if he eventually is let go, he knows no other way of life, than what led him down this path in the first place. Put the money on helping those children, not for his defective behind using tax dollars for this purpose. An eye for an eye.. let him be put to sleep........ if he is convicted!!

At 9:48 AM, Blogger DJ Black Adam said...

I am not for the death peantly, only because you can't make a law that administers it when we KNOW a person is guilty, so I believe an innocent person will eventually (if not already) be executed.

HOWEVER, it is available under the current law, and Mr. Pott's is a great candidate for such a punishment...

At 11:22 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Actually, Lenore, psychopaths and sociopaths can never be "fixed" because they lack the ability to empathize. Children usually learn empathy before they are five years old. Very young children can be extremely cruel because they don't possess empathy - they can't put themselves in the position of someone else on whom they inflict suffering. By the time they're around 5-7 years of age, they've learned that pulling wings off flies can cause pain to flies.

Also psychopathic and sociopathic behaviours might have some genetic quality, but such genetic markers have not yet been discovered. It's more likely, based on what we know presently that these behaviours occur because of failure of bonding. If either or both parents are remote and uncaring, or the child has medical trauma that keeps it from close physical contact with a loving figure during its critical early years, the child will not develop the faculty for empathy. So it's unlikely that Mr. Potts' children will have these traits, as the mothers, despite their apparent poor choice of partner, appear to be fulfilling their parental responsibility.

He probably will be convicted, and you're right, he doesn't know how to be anything but what he is. I hate to say it, but it actually costs more to put someone to death than to imprison them for life. I can't honestly say that Mr. Potts shouldn't get the death penalty, though. He killed this lovely young woman with extreme malice.

Thanks for your comment!

At 11:25 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Hi, DJ,

Yeah, Mr. Potts' favourables are not running too high. Pretty much everybody wants him offed. And it's becoming increasingly obvious that he had a pattern of lying, deceit, and manipulation of women, including emotional and physical violence towards them.

Probably the only people weeping when he bites the big one will be his immediate family. And I do feel sorry for them. Such is life, though.

At 12:40 PM, Blogger gigi said...

He is a psycho he deserve the death penalty.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger ReneeOdile said...

I wrote Orders of Protection against nutjobs like cowardly Potts. The only cure for him is death.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger ReneeOdile said...

I read that it costs more to keep him alive than to put him to death. I would bet you could get enough tax payers who don't mind having money pay for this no soul psychopath be put down like a ravid animal that he is.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger BleeksAngel said...

What is the status/outcome of this case?

At 11:02 PM, Blogger tanjayoung said...

The death penalty is too easy for Mr. Potts. Double life w/o possibility of parole is perfect for him. This will allow him to meet his prison sole mate (a male prisoner) that will not allow him to exhibit his normal bully behavior he has imposed upon women for his entire adult life. Who knows it may be in the plans for him to suffer with cancer until his demise, Let's not interfere with The Master's Plan!

At 11:04 PM, Blogger tanjayoung said...


At 7:58 PM, Blogger Ty Law said...

I am a mother of three: 1 son 35 yrs & 2 daughters 29 & 15 soon to be 16 in Dec. I'm trying to understand why Ms. Franklin didn't leave this fool alone at his request? Why was she constantly calling him when he wasn't returning her calls, and when he did, it was for a booty call? Why did she send his criminal history to all of her friends and let him know that she did it? I'm in no way suggesting that Mr. Idiot had a right to kill her for her behavior, but if she had left him alone, she would still be alive.

As I read the emails between the two of them, it seems she didn't take to his rejection. It seems the more he rejected her and treated her like a booty call, the more she wanted him. The fact that he started talking to one of her friends should certainly have been more than a clue that he was a loser. And for that matter, to the girlfriend as well. Oh well that's another story.

It seems this bright young lady didn't raise her standards as high as she should have. For some odd reason, she was attracted to his arrogance and disrespectful ways.

This dude was a time bomb waiting to explode and she pushed the wrong buttons when she sent him that last email.

I always tell my girls, we as women should never be the aggressor, that job is for the men. I tell them to look for men with the same qualities that they have. Always demand to be treated like the queen that they are. And all that glitters is not GOLD!

My deepest condolences to the Franklin and Potts families, there are no winners here!

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Alexa said...

If imposed the death penalty secures an appeal process that can take up to five years to commence. Mr. Potts will be apponited a public defender that specializes in death penalty cases. As the appeals process moves through the court system, the time frame is somewhere between six to ten years, and given Mr. Potts propensity for creating court delays, this may take even longer. All of this at the taxpayers expense. Death penalty ruling routinely cost the states millions of dollars in attorney and filing fees. Mr. Potts deserves the miminal amount allowed from taxpayers. He is a sociopath, he is cannot be rehabilitated, so let his useless criminally ass, rot in prison, where I'm sure his good looks will make him an ASSet.


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