MICHIGAN — Lillian Diallo has been a lawyer for more than two decades. She said in all her cases over the years, and with all the clients she’s represented, she’s never experienced anything like this now she’s lawyered up herself to fight this kind of behavior.
“I am a private person. But this is outrageous. And every now and again, right?” Said Lilian Diallo, Principal Attorney at Legal Warriors. “You have to stand for something or you fall for anything. And that's why we have this madness going on right now.”
Diallo is not holding back when addressing her concerns.
The long-time Detroit-based principal attorney — calling out the 20th circuit court in Ottawa County for racial discrimination.
“I am not a lawyer that sits up and cries racism. I don't want anybody to ever tell me about a race card.” Diallo explained. “Racism is what racism is. And when you call it for what it is and what I felt, don't ever say it's a card.”
Diallo’s problems date back to December.
She was representing a young Pontiac man who faced multiple charges after a march incident in Allendale Township — he was allegedly caught with fake i-d’s and someone else’s credit card and gift card.
A plea hearing was scheduled for December sixth — Diallo requested that be virtual.
It’s an option sometimes provided by the court.
Diallo’s also a cancer survivor and felt sick from her ongoing treatment.
Judge Karen Miedema denied that request — but that wasn’t the issue.
Diallo says she drove three hours across the state only to see another, white lawyer, with a medical excuse, attending over Zoom.
“I don’t care about anything other than you just be fair, right? I don't care past that. Because I'm not a child. Children care if they’re liked or disliked. I do not.” Diallo explained.
The court told FOX17 it prefers all parties in criminal cases to appear in person.
The only reason that other attorney could appear virtually was because he disclosed how his medical condition prevented him from attending the hearings in person.
“…previously disclosed how his medical condition prevented him from attending the hearings in person.”
Which the court said Diallo did not do but she called that a bold-faced lie.
“I told them of what my condition was exactly what type and what I was being treated for. So that's an L I E.” Diallo said.
The sentencing was its own issue.
Diallo said Judge Miedema tried to schedule it for Martin Luther King Junior Day, which she believed was a subtle jab in itself.
But they agreed upon January 10 Diallo again requesting to attend virtually, and again, she was denied.
“I believe the death of America is our failure to deal with race honestly. And we ain't dealing with it honestly if we're gonna let this go under the rug.” Said Todd Russell Perkins, Diallo’s attorney.
“To add insult to injury I went up there and got COVID, because nobody had a mask on courtroom is packed full of people I'm sitting back there in the gallery.” Said Diallo.
“The Judge offered her water, the option of adjourning the hearing, and the option of holding the hearing at a different time.” The court claimed. “Ms. Diallo accepted the water and refused the adjournment or re-scheduling of the hearing.”
The court ultimately denying any claims of racial discrimination but Diallo and her attorney are putting together a case as we speak.
Diallo and her attorney also feel the discrimination extended to her client -- saying he received a harsher sentencing than was necessary.
The 20th Circuit Court denied that claim as well.