I walked into the courtroom and felt immediately out of
place.  An odd sensation, especially for
a public prosecutor, someone who has made his life’s work fighting for victims
within the walls of courthouses throughout Los Angeles County.  But those were my courtrooms.  This was

The Second Appellate Division for the California Court of Appeals
conducts its business in beautiful environs. 
Dark wood walls accent expensive-looking green marble.  A meticulously
crafted bench carved in a semi-circle provides a dignified stage for the appellate
justices who occupy its space.  Thick
carpet quiets the almost serene tone of the room.  But the elegance of the courtroom stands in
stark contrast to the horrors described within it. 

On April 12, those descriptions were of a beautiful woman being
shot to death through the mouth by an egocentric music producer whose persona
was marked by money, fame and violence.  The
case being heard that day was the appeal by Phil Spector of his conviction for
murdering Lana Clarkson.

It is ironic-yet befitting-that Lana’s case was scheduled
for oral argument during Nation Crime
Victims’ Rights Week
, when the nation is asked to reflect on the suffering
victims endure at the hands of criminals, as well as the courage they and their
families often exhibit in the aftermath of the atrocities.  No greater tableau of such suffering and
courage can be found than in Lana’s case. 

First, there is little question that Lana suffered mightily
in her last moments of life.  Shock,
disbelief and paralyzing terror must have been just a few of the myriad
emotions she felt.  But in addition to
Lana’s suffering and courage, there is another part of the story-that of her
family, the other victims. 

The unnamed victims who emerge in the wake of violent crime
are the family members of the fallen.  Like
so many families, following Lana’s murder her mother Donna Clarkson, her sister
Fawn, and her brother Jeff have endured the unthinkable.  Not only have they quietly marked Lana’s
birthday in silence year upon year, but each passing holiday has been
punctuated for them by a visit to a grave site, trying to put salve on a wound
that simply will never heal.  But the
Clarkson family has vowed to concentrate their energies on celebrating Lana’s
life rather than reliving her death.

During a time when our communities are urged to recognize
the strength that victims of violent crime exemplify, Lana’s family walked into
the courtroom as a signal to all involved that the flame of Lana’s memory
continues to burn brightly, even when the details of her death are retold.  Their fight, their internal struggle, is what
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is all about.  The Clarkson family-like thousands of
victims’ families across this nation-will not fade quietly into the obscurity of
self pity.  Rather, they have shown that
they will, in the words of Dr. King, "rise from the fatigue of despair to the
buoyancy of hope." 

It is that hope, that courage, and that strength that should
inspire us as a community to never forget the unnamed victims.

Jackson has been a prosecutor in the LA County District Attorney’s office for
over 16 years where he has tried nearly 60 felony cases, more than half of
which have been murder trials.  He spent
five years prosecuting hardcore gang cases in Compton, after which he moved to
the Major Crimes Division where he has led the prosecution in some of
California’s highest profile cases. Prior to becoming a Deputy DA, Jackson
served in the United States Air Force as a jet engine mechanic. Currently,
Jackson serves as the Assistant Head Deputy of the Major Crimes Division where
he oversees the office’s most complex and high-profile cases.

more information, please visit Alan Jackson’s campaign website at