Say the N-Word, Go to Legal Hell

by Edgar J. Steele

January 23, 2003

In a rare win for America's politically incorrect, Lonny Rae finally has been vindicated for hurling the N-word at a black man who mauled his wife.

Today, the Idaho Court of Appeals ruled that Lonny Rae is a free man.  The feds could retry him under civil rights statutes, I suppose, but we don't expect that to happen.

But, it could happen.  Remember, this is Idaho, "The Human Rights State," where those who think differently better keep it to themselves.  I know.  Lonny Rae wasn't the first free speech desperado I have defended here.

Remember Lonny Rae?   He's the fellow who faced five years in prison for slinging the N-word at the black guy who had just mauled his wife.  She was a reporter, on assignment for the local newspaper, who took a picture of one of the referees following a high school football game late in 2000.  Kenneth Manley, the referee who appears in the following picture, didn't like it and grabbed her around the neck as she walked away, in an attempt to take the camera from her.
     This is the snapshot
     of Kenneth Manley
     that started it all.


We sought and received a change in venue so that Lonny Rae didn't have to submit to the judgment of members of the small community in central Idaho (Council) where he was held in such low esteem for "gittin' the football team in trouble," as so eloquently put by the town ruffian that then proceeded to break Lonny's ankle in a fistfight one cold evening after the referees' association had placed the Council High School on probation for "fan harassment."

The harassment?  After Manley let go of Lonny's wife and disappeared into the red brick field house to shower and change clothes, Lonny got a good look at the injury to his wife's neck and went ballistic.  He turned and shouted into the building: "Tell that nigger to get out here, 'cuz I'm a gonna kick his butt."

The referee never was charged with assault and battery (and still never has been charged with anything), yet Lonny was booked for a violation of Idaho's Malicious Harassment statute (the hate crime law).  That was when the media from nearby Boise went into an orgy, covering the "racist" Lonny Rae both in print and on TV.  Lonny never again got work in the area.

Even the local newspaper got in on the act, eventually referring to Lonny's wife as "the antichrist."  Yes, that is the same newspaper that had assigned her to cover the football game in the first place.  And, yes, that is the same newspaper that let her go when advertisers threatened to pull their ads if she remained on staff. 

  "Welcome to Council," says

   the sign at the town outskirts,
  "The community that cares."


They claim it was just coincidental that Lonny got charged only a day or so after the referees' association placed the football program on probation. 

Following a quick two-day jury trial, Lonny Rae was acquitted of the hate crime charge (a five-year prison term could have resulted from a conviction).  However, just before jury deliberations, and over my strenuous objection (we already had rested Lonny's defense), the judge added assault and disturbing the peace as lesser-included offenses for the jury's consideration.  The jury convicted Lonny of assault.  A month later, the judge sentenced him to seven days in the county jail, suspended pending appeal.

Today, the Idaho Court of Appeals stated:  "Because we have concluded that assault is not a lesser included offense of malicious harassment in this case, Rae's judgment of conviction for assault is vacated."

See Attorney for the Damned, the article I wrote directly following the basic jury trial over a year ago, for a complete description of what happened in the courtroom before the jury got the case, as well as a better summary of the "lesser-included offense" problem as I then saw it ( .  

Today, the Court of Appeals seized upon the "does some act which creates a well-founded fear in the other person" language of Idaho's assault statute, in holding that assault is not a logical subset of the hate crime law.  Go figure.  Of course, on the stand, the black guy confessed that he was never afraid of Lonny Rae, so the distinction is valid in this case.  I simply figure there are better reasons for distinguishing the two statutes, but, then, nobody except Lonny Rae ever has cared what I think.

Go here for the full text of the judicial decision published today:  Idaho v. Rae, Docket No. 28229, 2004 Opinion No. 8 (

The trial judge did not require the jury to enter a finding on Disturbing the Peace if it convicted Lonny of Assault, which is why a judgment of acquittal on all charges must now be entered, despite the appellate court also ruling today that Disturbing the Peace is a lesser-included offense of the Idaho Hate Crime statute.

What I found most ironic about the decision issued today is the language quoted from another case by the judges, used to justify the trial judge's adding a lesser-included offense to the charges after the defense had rested and with no prior notice to either side:  "Our courts are not gambling halls but forums for the discovery of truth...neither the prosecution nor the defense should be allowed, based on their trial strategy, to preclude the jury from considering guilt of a lesser offense included in the crime charged." (State v. Watts, 131 Idaho 782, 784-785, Ct App, 1998)

Yes, the judge's conduct seems ironic in light of prosecutors never suffering any penalty for overloading their charge sheets so as to guarantee convictions and heavy penalties.  But, what I find most curious is that this "forum for the discovery of truth" didn't care about the fact that the only person who actually did commit assault, as well as battery, and physically injured another person, was never charged with anything!  Who?  Why, the black guy, of course.  Remember, he attacked and injured Lonny Rae's wife.  After all, that's what got Lonny Rae so mad in the first place.

    The red rash that Lonny's wife
    received when Manley held her
    while trying to take her camera.
    (Photo taken by investigating officer.)

If the courtroom is a "forum for the discovery of truth," then somebody please explain to me why the black guy sat there in front of the judge, walked away and, to this day, has never been charged with a thing.

Yet Lonny Rae and his wife both lost their jobs, he got his foot broken by the town ruffian, then they lost their home and many possessions when they ran out of money, then they had to move away.  Because he did the right thing and stood up for his wife's honor.  Because he objected to the brutalizing inflicted upon her by the black guy who was never charged with anything.

Already, we have seen that "the truth" is nothing but an accidental byproduct of our courts today.  Now, it should be clear to the most casual observer that justice, real justice, often is absent as well.

By the way, in case you were wondering, I handled this case, including the appeal, pro bono, because I thought the principles involved were so important to the rest of us.  The court didn't even award us costs for our successful appeal.  Your tax dollars paid for the considerable sum it took to bring Lonny Rae to trial, though.

New America.  An idea whose time has come.


"I didn't say it would be easy.  I just said it would be the truth."
            - Morpheus

Copyright 2004, Edgar J. Steele

Forward as you wish.  Permission is granted to circulate

among private individuals and groups, post on all Internet

sites and publish in full in all not-for-profit publications.

Contact author for all other rights, which are reserved.


On-Line link to this article in HTML format: 



Subscribe: Send email with "subscribe" in subject line to 

Unsubscribe: Send email with "unsubscribe" in subject line to