As I listened to Mr. Green’s passionate plea to do what’s “fair” for his dead child by exacting justice upon Miesha, I contemplated how its impossible to be fair and do justice under many circumstances — this being one of them.
Restorative justice, for example, doesn’t work because its fair, it works because its not fair.
....If I did what was fair in Jazzmin Green’s case, there could be no justice. I would be forced to ignore the individual characteristics of Miesha — a young lady with applications to college. Miesha was on the road to success and it was up to me to keep her on that road — not bump her off it.
Ironically, it was Mr. Green who opened the door to ignore what’s fair and do justice. He said to me, “Judge, who will remember my child?”
The moment of judgment came. I told Mr. Green that no one will remember your daughter if we lock up Miesha.
“Miesha can help this community remember Jazzmin, but only if she remains in the community to work at it,” I told him.
I placed Miesha on probation and ordered her to construct a memorial to Jazzmin to be placed in a public domain indefinitely.
On July 18, 2012, CBS Evening News filmed the Greens and Miesha together for the first time. Miesha presented them with the memorial quilt — they all cried sharing stories of Jazzmin. The Greens told Miesha they forgave her. Miesha needed that forgiveness — so did the Greens.
The quilt hangs prominently next to pictures of Jazzmin in the new juvenile justice center in Clayton County — a reminder that forgiveness and healing is the key to restoring lives — and a tribute to restorative justice.