Maybe I just don’t understand how it works. That’s quite possible. I’ve been a lawyer for a little more than thirty years now, mostly on the civil litigation side of things, and so whatever they’re doing over in the criminal division, well, that’s foreign territory.

Plus, I’m thinking about Oakland. Even when I was doing criminal defense, it was mostly court-appointed in Marin. Oakland, different ball park, evidently.

The article in the Chronicle is a follow-up to a couple I’d seen earlier, troubling stories from the tenor of remarks attributed to defense lawyers. It’s even more troubling now that the case is apparently over.

Couple of years ago, a father and son went into downtown Oakland. They were headed for a jewelry store to shop for coins. The father, Tian Sheng Yu, dropped off his son on Telegraph Avenue near the Fox Theater and looked for a place to park. When he returned, he found two younger men attacking Jim Cheng Yu. He tried to intervene, asking them why they were doing that.

The attackers, Lavonte Drummer, 20, and Dominic Davis, 19, did not answer. Instead, they began beating the older man. Tian Sheng Yu, 59, was beaten to death.

Now the Alameda County District Attorney has cut a deal with the defendants. Drummer and Davis, for murdering Yu, will serve 11 years for ‘voluntary manslaughter.’ With reduced time, they’ll both be on the street again before they turn 30.

I want to know how the fuck this happens. I want to know what the District Attorney is thinking. I want to know why these two creeps are not doing life in prison for murdering a man in cold blood. I doubt I’ll get an answer. According to the Chronicle article by Henry K. Lee, the Deputy D.A. Tim Wellman “declined to discuss what factors led to the plea deal.” I'm not surprised.

Well, maybe it was that the defendants “never intended to kill anyone,” according to defense attorney Adanté Pointer, who probably can sleep at night, though has no moral right to. “My client and his family are happy to put this behind them and hope that the gentleman’s family has closure.”

Isn’t that nice? My client beat your father and husband and friend to death and now we’d just like to ‘put it behind us.’ I’ll just bet.

And the reason for the assault? Drummer told investigators that “he had anger and frustration over his life and planned on hitting someone,” according to the police report. Prosecutors said that the men confessed to being “upset about their lives, drinking rum and looking for someone to punch shortly before they attacked the Yus.”

And that’s it: couple of punks pissed off about their miserable lives, drinking and deciding to punch somebody, anybody, whoever was unlucky enough to wander into their path. They killed a total stranger, a blameless man on an errand with his son.

I am so tired of this shit. Eleven years for homicide. How many people do you have to murder to become eligible for a life sentence? Or is it that you just have to kill someone who’s white?