Jamarcus Glover, the ex-boyfriend of Breonna Taylor and the focus of the police raid that resulted in Taylor’s death, was reportedly offered a plea deal on July 13th by prosecutors from the Commonwealth’s Attorney office. The deal, according to a WDRB article, was contingent upon Glover acknowledging that he and seven co-defendants, including Taylor, were a part of an organized crime syndicate that was trafficking drugs into Louisville, Kentucky. Under the plea deal, Glover would see a possible 10-year prison sentence for gun charges, criminal syndication, and drug trafficking turn into only probation. In a phone interview with Louisville’s The Courier Journal, Glover made it clear that Taylor was not involved with drugs, and that if he had signed the plea deal, he would have falsely incriminated Taylor.
The plea deal that Glover was offered illustrates some of the issues with plea bargaining in the criminal justice system, especially those associated with racial disparities and prosecutors’ power in the process. According to The Marshall Project, studies have found racial disparities in the plea bargaining process, with Black people facing far more severe punishment than whites. In addition, prosecutors also yield a significant amount of power in the process; “power to take away freedoms, destroy livelihoods, and tear families apart.”
An attorney for Taylor’s family, Sam Aguiar, also publicly stated after obtaining the conditions of the plea deal that Taylor was not a co-defendant in Glover’s case and that prosecutors were “desperate” to justify the both the wrongful search of Taylor’s home, her death, and arrest of Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Commonwealth Attorney, Tom Wine, on the other hand, has stated that the plea deal was a draft and a part of the plea deal negotiation process. Glover, who was arrested on the night of Taylor’s murder, has since been arrested again for failure to pay bail. According to CNN, Glover has been booked on charges, which include: complicity possession of a controlled substance for cocaine and heroin, complicity trafficking in marijuana, complicity tampering with physical evidence, and complicity to trafficking cocaine. He is currently being held on a $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in September.
It has been almost 6 months since Breonna Taylor was killed in her apartment by Louisville police after a failed narcotics raid. An investigation is still underway into the actions of the police officers involved, despite the protestor’s call for their immediate arrest. On Saturday, September 7th, 2020, activists converged outside the 146th Kentucky Derby in Louisville to demand justice for Taylor. According to CNN, one of the groups organizing the protest, The Justice and Freedom Coalition, said it “aimed to shift attention from America’s most famous horse race to Taylor’s case.” Greg Fischer, Louisville Mayor, called for a “balance” of supporting First Amendment rights with the “essential duty to preserve public safety.” The protest drew hundreds of peaceful protestors. Two armed militia groups, a mostly Black group called the NFAC and a mostly white group calling themselves American Freedom Fighters, were also present. The protests did not turn violent or deadly, despite police having made three arrests.
Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom.
The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.
- Writing: Explain how the plea deal that Jamarcus Glover was offered highlights the issues with the plea bargaining process, especially for racial and ethnic minorities.
- Debate: Breonna Taylor’s name should have never been included as a co-defendant in the draft copy of Jamarcus Glover’s plea deal. (Agree or Disagree).
- Poll: The plea bargaining system is broken and needs to be replaced. (Agree or Disagree).
- Short Answer: Put yourself in the place of a defendant accused of a crime. Describe the costs and benefits of accepting a plea deal. Do you think the benefits outweigh the costs?
Cover Image: Jefferson County Courthouse in Downtown Louisville, Kentucky. ©iStockphoto.com/traveler1116