I Shouldn't Have Done It

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Ricky Walters, better known to hip-hop fans as the eye-patch wearing rapper Slick Rick, received a full pardon today from New York Gov. David A. Paterson. In the early 1990s, Walters was sent up the river for weapons possession and the attempted murder of his cousin. Since then, the feds have been trying to deport him to his native England. Here's what Gov. Paterson has to say:

Mr. Walters has fully served the sentence imposed upon him for his convictions, had an exemplary disciplinary record while in prison and on parole, and has been living without incident in the community for more than 10 years. In that time, he has volunteered at youth outreach programs to counsel youth against violence, and has become a symbol of rehabilitation for many young people. Given these demonstrated rehabilitative efforts, I urge federal immigration officials to once again grant Mr. Walters relief from deportation, so that he is not separated from his many family members who are United States citizens, including his two teenage children.

Whole statement here.

I'm curious what reason readers think. Does this humble immigrant deserve a second chance? Or should we send him and other lawless foreigners back to their native lands?

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  1. Deport him for his crimes against music and taste.

    But seriously, I would be 100% for the pardon if he was convicted solely on weapons charges or drug charges. But attempted murder?

  2. Yes, me must keep him. Our transplanted British MCs are our most precious (natural?) resource. Besides, that song he did with Outkast, “Street Talkin'”, was hot. And everybody knows “Children’s Story”.

  3. “Gov. Paterson”? The governor of New Yourk is named Paterson? When did that happen?

  4. Joanie,

    He was Spitzer’s Lt. Gov, so now he’s the Gov.

    I can’t abide this practice of deporting adults to a “native land” that they left before the could walk.

  5. I think a lieutenant governor inadvertently sucked into the Governor’s Mansion due to a post-scandal resignation should remember that his proper role is to serve as a “do as little as possible” placeholder until the next gubernatorial election.

  6. But seriously, I would be 100% for the pardon if he was convicted solely on weapons charges or drug charges. But attempted murder?

    Can folks rehabilitate themselves? I think so.
    Does this guy deserve this break? The NY Governor thinks so.
    For me, giving officials discretion is a desired component of the justice system. I’m a flaming liberal that way.

    Mistakes will be made but we lose more as a society if “paid for his crime” completely loses meaning.

  7. Well, at least the FLDS raid has one good thing coming out of it; it’s allowing Joanie to get on the internet for the first time. 🙂

  8. OK, deport him — but only if we deport all descendants of all criminals, rehabilitated or not, who have ever immigrated to this great land.

    Or, we could try being reasonable.

    No hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  9. The fact that he has lived free for 10 years since serving his sentence has too much emotional significance. If they were gonna deport him, it should have been done as a condition of his release in the first place. At this point, I have no problem with the pardon.

  10. Does this humble immigrant deserve a second chance?

    I don’t know. If what the Gov says is true, it sounds good enough to me. But what I want to know is; how many people without hit records did the Gov pardon?

  11. I personally don’t find this objectionable.

    The guy seems to have actually been rehabilitated.

    I’ve seen quite a few pardons done for nothing more than political favors with the perpetrator’s only regret is that he or she got caught.

    The real question, to me, is:
    Will this pardon make any difference to Immigration officials and allow him to stay? Or is the pardon irrelevant to them?

  12. OK, deport him — but only if we deport all descendants of all criminals, rehabilitated or not, who have ever immigrated to this great land.

    Non sequitur. He’s not a descendent of a criminal, he IS a criminal. This ain’t no property crime either, it’s attempted murder.

  13. I can’t abide this practice of deporting adults to a “native land” that they left before the could walk.

    Which is not an accurate description of Slick Rick.

    Born to Jamaican parents in South Wimbledon, London, on January 14, 1965, Ricky Walters was blinded by broken glass as an infant and took to wearing an eyepatch from an early age. He emigrated with his family to the Bronx in the late ’70s”

    But still, I’m not cinvinced that this pardon is an unjust thing. We elect politicians to do this stuff.

  14. I tend to think that if an immigrant has a family here including children who are citizens, then the bar should be pretty high for deportation. Even if he fucked up, his children still are citizens and ought to be able to have their father around.

  15. Point taken, Chris, but what public purpose is served by deporting him now?

    Public safety? He’s been a good boy for a decade, and by all reports, poses no threat to the public. Plus, he’s raising two daughters. The public is better of if they grow up with a single mom?

    Punishment? He served his time and got a pardon.

  16. And I think that a pardon of someone who has served his time and apparently been rehabilitated is reasonable and OK. A lot of people convicted of felonies when they are young should get such pardons so that they can get on with living a productive life without the “felon” label always attached to them.

  17. Not only should he get a full pardon, he should receive the Presidential Medal of Honor simply for being the MC on La Di Da Di.

    And and he says on that hallowed record:

    We don’t cause trouble
    We don’t hurt nobody

    Libertarian to the fullest.

  18. Wow, I completely failed at math there, J sub.

    Thx.

  19. Ultimately I respect neither the power of the government nor the existence of borders and so would leave it up to Slick Rick where he wants to reside.

  20. Banishment of all serious violent offenders is more humane and cost effective than imprisonment or death.

  21. Attempted murder? The guys partially blind, how the heck was he going to shoot his cousin? “Stand still while I fire wildly in your general direction.” It’s like arresting Stevie Wonder for the Kennedy assassination (although I’m sure they would have loved to blame it on a black guy). And now they want to send him to one of the few western countries with a more authoritarian government then our own. Good job, New York. Thankfully the current Governor seems to actually have some semblance of an intellect (isn’t he also blind?), and knows how bad it would make the state look to kick out a now upstanding citizen/hip-hop legend. Word.

  22. I’m against deportation as a policy in general. As you might expect, I’m also for open boarders and believe citizenship should be abolished. Then again, I’m also opposed to this pardon. Save those pardons for people who might actually be innocent or who shouldn’t have been prosecuted. Then again, I’m also for full restoration of rights (voting, guns, sex offender registrys) once the terms of someone’s probation have been fulfilled.

  23. The purpose of government’s authority to refuse entry to felons — or to later deport felon noncitizens — is the protection of society from reasonably determined threats of harm. If we are to accept the governor’s assessment of this guy’s recent life, he clearly is not a threat to society. He should not be deported.

  24. OK, if they were going to deport him, they should have done it immediately after his sentence was complete. I agree.

    But joe is still totally wrong about Dunston Checks In being the best ape movie of all time.

  25. Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five put it best on “It’s Nasty”:

    Slick Rick, Slick Rick, Slick Rick, Slick Rick
    Slick Rick, Slick Rick (ha ha hah hah hah), hooooooo-ho!!
    Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

  26. I saw MC Ricky D rock Charlotteville back in April ’07. I can’t lie, he killed it. Dude was tight.

    If you read about his travails, it’s classic government Kafka-esque harrassment. He’s been in the US since he was 10–he’s over 40 now–and he’s paid his damn dues.

    They just want to fuck with a guy b/c he’s a rapper. Unfortunately, he gave them an excuse to do it.

  27. But joe is still totally wrong about Dunston Checks In being the best ape movie of all time.

    Any Which Way But Loose! (Dunno if it was mentioned in a previous thread, but it’s so good it deserves another mention)

  28. Also, at his Charlottesville show, he explained how his not-exactly-feminist anthem “Treat ’em like a Prostitute” comported with the Biblical Values he holds today. I, for one, was convinced.

  29. ChicagoTom,

    I’m partial to Project X.

  30. I don’t care that much but I’m just wondering if anybody else in a similar circumstance in New York got a got dam pardon.

    As far as deportation? Nah. He did his time.

  31. So, if Spitzer hadn’t paid for a little hey-hey, would Slick ever have gotten his pardon? I guess Rick has a prostitute to whom he should send a thank-you card. He could even make it rhyme. I mean, anyone who rhymes subtle with butthole clearly has skills.

  32. The pardon was probably a good idea, but I’m not sure about this comment:

    “They just want to fuck with a guy b/c he’s a rapper. Unfortunately, he gave them an excuse to do it.”

    Can’t you just see The Man (TM) in his secret country-club lair, plotting and scheming how to get those rappers. Then an assitant comes in and says, “Mr. Man, Slick Rick just tried to kill his cousin.”

    “Excellent!” Replies The Man. “Just the excuse I need to put him in prison.”

    I mean, if he wasn’t a rapper, they’d just let that sort of thing slide?

  33. The guy was 11 when he came over, and the only reason that they were trying to deport him is that the board that decided he should be able to stay was convened 33 days past the 5 year deadline and retracted itself due to being late to the party. This will let them reconsider. Apparently the guy is helping youths, producing entertainment and living clean and lawful, raising his family. This should be a model case of when to pardon – the system screwed up in issuing the waiver of exportation late, and the pardon lets them correct it. Works for me

  34. Not that the pardon was wrong or anything, but I wonder whether he wrote this *before* or *after* his rehabilitation:

    . . . Misleadin’ a bit, although proceedin’ a hit
    I made ’em feel I’d never jeopardise my freedom for shit
    Played the empty headed part,
    Though the moment they dreaded start, neat
    Back of the head and took the credit card
    Seen properly decease,
    Made it look like an everyday robbery to police

    . . . Not insane, nor am I biased
    Though feels good to watch a [person I don’t like] die before
    my fly ass

    . . . I still clock the mil’ figures, cock back triggers
    Reason why your girlfriends dig us – cause I kill [persons of African descent]

    You are my shining star, my guiding light, my thug fantasy
    You are my shining star, my guiding light, my thug fantasy

    Well I had it up to here, that’s why a brother buckin’ trife
    And gettin’ way with murder, this the motherfucking life

    . . . Blood on the wall like, other brothers ball like they hit
    Seein’ shots split a [person I don’t like]’s skull like lettuce
    Run a [person of African descent] best bet is for another duck in gage
    I’m in a [very intense] rage . . .

    http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Kill-Niggaz-lyrics-Slick-Rick/253F4961A0734E1C482568AB0009BEBC

  35. Time to put my “Free Slick Rick!” t-shirt on eBay.

  36. what public purpose is served by deporting him now?

    1. A lesson to other immigrant criminals.

    2. One less rapper in the country. It’s a small step, but every bit counts.

  37. Nooo don’t deport him! I want him to tour Cleveland.

  38. Why not just send him to Mexico. Then he can come back; again, and again, and again…

  39. Given that Spitzer screwed up so early in his term, I don’t think the people of NY would be served by a “do nothing” governor for the remainder of the term. Gov. Patterson may not have the mandate of the people but he should engage the levers of power to push the state forward as he is able to within the constraints placed on him by our system of checks and balances.

  40. Ricky Walters was blinded by broken glass as an infant and took to wearing an eyepatch from an early age.

    The blind pardons the blind? 😉

    OK, if they were going to deport him, they should have done it immediately after his sentence was complete. I agree.

    early in 1990, Slick Rick was arrested after shooting at his cousin…
    Slick Rick was released on a work program in 1996…
    Although the organization (INS) had unsuccessfully been trying to deport Rick since 1991, they finally appealed enough times to get the Board of Immigration Appeals to make a ruling in favor of sending him back to England.

    This guy is here because he has powerful friends. Should he be deported? If not, why do we routinely deport thousands of people who have done nothing more illegal than come here to work?

    It ain’t what he’s done, it’s who he knows.

  41. 2. One less rapper in the country. It’s a small step, but every bit counts.

    I…see? A lot of “truths” are told in jest.

  42. One less rapper in the country. It’s a small step, but every bit counts.

    Cuz ya can’t spell CRAP without RAP.

  43. leterassier — the guy is blind in one eye. Which is exactly what most people are when they close one eye to aim a gun.

    And no, don’t deport after he serves his time. He should have been deported before his jail term so we didn’t have to pay for him.

  44. How much money and/or political pressure has Waters and associates put on Patterson for this gift?

    I think Gov. Patterson is wasting little time paying back the folks that have helped him get to the Governor’s mansion.

  45. he should engage the levers of power to push the state forward

    That might not be a good idea, considering the state is standing on a tenth-story ledge right now.

    I think Gov. Patterson is wasting little time paying back the folks that have helped him get to the Governor’s mansion.

    Wait, this Ricky Walters was a $5,000 a night prostitute?

  46. I don’t want to comment on the person per se, but the idea of pluralism, or that we can have several ethnic groups co-existing within the same space, is a terrible idea. Send the guy back, and send an white people back to europe from africa. No more racism and multicultural oppression!

  47. Does this humble immigrant deserve a second chance? Or should we send him and other lawless foreigners back to their native lands?

    Cut the services, keep the people.

  48. I’m all for not deporting people who have served their time and rehabilitated. However — it needs to be done across the board. It becomes a racist policy (or policy that discriminates against certain countries of origin) when *some* people are deported for petty crimes — even when they’ve been here since childhood — and others get to stay no matter the severity of their crime. I think that those from Latin America and the Middle East would find it harder to find such leniency in today’s political environment.

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