Monday, December 14, 2009

Knowingly Lethal

by digby

Another person dies of "excited delirium," the disease that only hits people in police custody. This time it was a man booked on suspicion of using methamphetamines who got into s struggle at the police station.

Interestingly, this happened in a police department which seems to be fairly sensitive to the potential lethality of taser shock:


Officers have used Tasers on other suspects, and the department tracks those incidents, Doane said. Statistics weren't immediately available.

Doane said officers are careful to monitor anyone they shock with a Taser for possible medical problems. After a strenuous fight, there's a lot of adrenaline shooting through the body, he said. Officers are trained to look for changes in breathing or any type of distress. Anyone who has been shot with a Taser must be medically cleared after the incident, he added.

Read on...

Jailing juveniles

Sensible fixes to youth crime and delinquency policies

Monday, December 14, 2009

THE SENATE Judiciary Committee should embrace a bill scheduled for debate on Thursday that institutes needed reforms in how the nation deals with youth who run afoul of the law.

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act does not impose federal strictures on state and local entities, but it provides funds for those that choose to comply with the legislation's guidelines. In this way, the Justice Department, which administers the act, can provide incentives to states to comply with what it considers best practices.

Read on...

This is an editorial from today's Washington Post. Tom

Pregnant, in Prison and Denied Care

By Rachel Roth

Over the past year, incarcerated women and their allies have achieved a remarkable string of victories against inhumane treatment. First, they persuaded the Bureau of Prisons to issue a new policy in October 2008 limiting the use of restraints on women who are in labor, giving birth or recovering after childbirth; the Marshals Service, which transports people in federal custody, followed suit. Next, they won legislation in the spring and summer of 2009 restricting the use of restraints on pregnant women in New Mexico, Texas and New York. Finally, they successfully petitioned the US Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit for a rehearing of the full court in a case from Arkansas, which resulted in a ruling in October that shackling women in labor is unconstitutional.

These developments send a strong signal to the rest of the country to stop subjecting women to this dangerous and degrading practice. But what happens to pregnant women in prison before they wind up in chains at a hospital?

When women are brought to a hospital in shackles, the pain and humiliation they endure likely caps months of difficulty from being pregnant behind bars, months without adequate prenatal care or nutrition, or even basics like a bed to sleep on or clothes to accommodate their changing shape.

Read on...

25 Days In Federal Prison For Littering? Border Patrol Cracking Down on Human Rights Activists

By Jessica Weisberg, AlterNet. Posted December 14, 2009.

Walt Staton was dropping off water jugs for people who attempt the often deadly trek into Arizona from Mexico when the Feds ticketed him for "knowingly littering."

On Friday December 4th, an Arizona District Court judge told Walt Staton, a 28 year-old seminary student, that he might be facing 25 days in a federal prison. His crime was "knowingly littering" along the U.S.-Mexico border.

One day last December, Staton and a friend named Victor Ceballos, loaded 70 plastic water jugs into the back of a truck and drove from Tucson to outer stretches of Sonora desert. Temperatures in the desert are extreme, reaching 120 degrees during summer months and dropping below 30 degrees in the winter. Many people who attempt the four-day trek between the Mexico border and Phoenix do not survive; this year, a human rights group found the remains of 206 people. The main causes of death, the group believes, are heat overexposure or hypothermia, but corpses decompose so quickly in the desert that it is often impossible to tell.

Read on...

There Is No ‘Humane’ Execution

Published: December 13, 2009

This is what passes for progress in the application of the death penalty: Kenneth Biros, a convicted murderer, was put to death in Ohio last week with one drug, instead of the more common three-drug cocktail. It took executioners 30 minutes to find a vein for the needle, compared with the two hours spent hunting for a vein on the last prisoner Ohio tried to kill, Romell Broom. Technicians tried about 18 times to get the needle into Mr. Broom’s arms and legs before they gave up trying to kill him. Mr. Biros was jabbed only a few times in each arm.

Ohio adopted the single-drug formula after the botched execution. It may well be an improvement over the three-drug cocktail, or may not. (Death penalty advocates who hailed it as less painful have no way, obviously, of knowing that.) But the execution only reinforced that any form of capital punishment is legally suspect and morally wrong.

Read on...

A New York Times editorial. Tom

New York Finds Extreme Crisis in Youth Prisons

Published: December 13, 2009

Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Family Court judges have been urged to send only dangerous youths to the juvenile prisons.

ALBANY — New York’s system of juvenile prisons is broken, with young people battling mental illness or addiction held alongside violent offenders in abysmal facilities where they receive little counseling, can be physically abused and rarely get even a basic education, according to a report by a state panel.

The problems are so acute that the state agency overseeing the prisons has asked New York’s Family Court judges not to send youths to any of them unless they are a significant risk to public safety, recommending alternatives, like therapeutic foster care.

“New York State’s current approach fails the young people who are drawn into the system, the public whose safety it is intended to protect, and the principles of good governance that demand effective use of scarce state resources,” said the confidential draft report, which was obtained by The New York Times.

Read on...


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lawyers Fight to Halt Ohio Execution Condemned as Human Experimentation

Lethal injection involves anaesthetic used on pets • Change of method follows previous failures in state

by Ed Pilkington

[The death chamber in Lucasville, Ohio. The state opted for the new procedure after a botched attempted execution in September. (Photograph: Kiichiro Sato/AP)]The death chamber in Lucasville, Ohio. The state opted for the new procedure after a botched attempted execution in September. (Photograph: Kiichiro Sato/AP)

Lawyers acting for a prisoner on death row in Ohio were scrambling to delay his scheduled execution tomorrow morning using a new method of lethal injection that is widely used to put down pets. The procedure has never been tried out on humans and is tantamount, critics say, to human experimentation.

Barring last-minute appeals and stays of execution, Kenneth Biros, 51, will be put to death using a massive overdose of an anaesthetic. It would be the first time that a single-drug lethal injection had been administered, in contrast to the triple-drug cocktail that has become the norm in the 37 American states that have death row prisoners.

Read on...

Notice this story is coming from the Guardian/UK. I'll check to see if the U.S. media is covering it. Tom

Update: Ohio inmate becomes 1st to die under 1-drug method.

StatsCan: Imprisonment rate up 1% in 2008-09

By THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — Canada’s incarceration rate increased 1% in 2008-09, driven largely by a continued increase in the number of adults held in provincial and territorial jails while awaiting trial or sentencing.

Statistics Canada reports that on any given day, an average of 37,425 adults and 1,898 youth aged 12 to 17 were in custody in Canada, for a total of 39,323 inmates.

Read on...

Here is the link to the Stats Can Document. Tom

Public Enemy

by digby

They would have had to shoot him:

An "out of control" 10-year-old foster child was shocked with a Taser and arrested by sheriff's deputies Monday in Pueblo West.

Capt. Jeff Teschner, head of patrol at the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department, said Wednesday that the deputies involved were justified in their use of force.

[...]

Mondragon said that when deputies arrived, the boy ran away from them holding a 2-foot-long pipe.

"This lad, we have a long history of (him) running away. I don't know what his entire psychological profile is, but obviously he has emotional distress," Teschner said.

Read on...

The police seem to be getting more and more comfortable using Tasers for more and more reasons. Tom

Gun Control Issue Reveals a Changing Canada

Published: December 6, 2009

Christinne Muschi/Reuters

Women in Ottawa observed the 20th anniversary on Sunday of a shooting spree that left 14 women dead at a college in Montreal. Parliament's response to the crime was a long-gun registry, which requires the registration of rifles and shotguns.

OTTAWA — Like public health care, Canada’s tight gun-control laws help distinguish the country from its powerful neighbor to the south. But as Canadians commemorated the 20th anniversary of one of the country’s most notorious shooting sprees on Sunday, their Parliament was on course to eliminate one of its most significant gun-control measures.

A long-gun registry, which requires the registration of rifles and shotguns, emerged largely from public revulsion over the massacre in 1989.

A decade before the Columbine high school shootings set off a national debate on gun violence in the United States, an angry, unemployed 25-year-old armed with a semiautomatic hunting rifle stormed the École Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montreal. Shouting “I hate feminists,” the gunman separated the female students from the men and killed 14 women before killing himself.

Read on...

A Dec. 6 opinion piece from the New York Times. Tom


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

10 Ways to Spot an E-Mail Scam

by Chris Morris


The increasing flood of e-mail hitting your inbox can lower the guard of even the most cautious person. In the rush to keep up with important notes, it's easier than ever to fall prey to the scam artists and identity thieves who lurk online.

E-mail scams and phishing attempts evolve constantly, hoping to take advantage of the latest trends and current events. Although the e-mails change, the people behind them inadvertently send up the same warning signs again and again. We dug through mountains of spam to find the most prevailing trends. We've collected some actual scam e-mails and highlighted the warning signs to help you spot a hustle the next time one lands in your inbox.

Read on...

Might be a good idea to read through this article. Tom

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Supreme Court Sends ACLU Torture Photos Case Back to Appeals Court

ACLU Will Continue to Press for Photos' Release

WASHINGTON - November 30 - The U.S. Supreme Court today sent back to an appeals court a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union for the release of photos depicting the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in 2008 that the photos must be released to the public, but Congress recently enacted legislation that permits the Secretary of Defense to exempt the photos from FOIA. Defense Secretary Gates invoked that legislation earlier this month. The Supreme Court has now vacated the Second Circuit's original decision and ordered that it reconsider the case in light of the new legislation and Secretary Gates' certification.

"We continue to believe that the photos should be released, and we intend to press that case in the lower court," said Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the ACLU. "No democracy has ever been made stronger by suppressing evidence of its own misconduct."

Read on...

Goldman Staff Packing Pistols to Defend Against Peasants

http://z.about.com/d/civilliberty/1/0/G/1/-/-/beheading500.jpg

French Revolution

As Jim Chanos, who pointed out this Bloomberg piece “Arming Goldman With Pistols Against Public,” remarked, “Well, it appears that Goldman’s Best and Brightest may be hedging their goodwill built up by doing ‘God’s work’.”

I’ve heard the expression, “Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel,” but I can’t recall an exhortation that links faith with carrying firearms (although I suppose that gap in my knowledge may reflect a cloistered upbringing). The only heavily armed observant types I can think of in the US are the Branch Davidians, and we know how that movie turned out. Goldman has always been a cult, but one has to wonder what models they are now channeling.

In all seriousness, having grown up in a parts of the country where hunting season (deer and turkey) were a big deal, I get nervous when people who have little or no history of using firearms start toting them. There are rules most people who use guns routinely are taught, and my experience is that those individuals are far more careful than newbies who have seen way more movie and TV gunplay than real world use.

If you are worried about self defense, programs like this one (I’m not endorsing it , just using it as an example) are a safer and more effective solution to the real problem (what good is your pistol if you are jumped from behind?)

Read on...

Do Goldman Sachs employees know something about coming social unrest that we don't know? Tom

Civil cases against judges involve emotional suffering

Former Judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. (front, from left), who face trial on criminal charges in the "kids-for-cash" kickback scheme, also are defendants in civil suits.
MARK MORAN / Citizens' Voice
Former Judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. (front, from left), who face trial on criminal charges in the "kids-for-cash" kickback scheme, also are defendants in civil suits.

WILKES-BARRE - There's the 16-year-old boy charged with driving without a license and presenting false identification to police in 2007. He was jailed for eight months, and during that time the court garnisheed a $598 Social Security survivor's check he had been receiving since his father's death.

There's the 14-year-old boy who stole loose change from unlocked cars and was sent away in 2007 for a year; when he was released, he was so anxious and depressed he had to drop out of school and now receives homebound instruction.

There's the 14-year-old girl who was jailed for more than a year in 2005 for punching another girl in school; she was emotionally distraught by the incarceration and today has permanent scars from self-mutilation.

Read on...

Tiger's Best Reason To Lie

If he admits she hit him, she could end up in jail, whether he likes it or not.

Tiger Woods and his wife Elin. Click image to expand.In his defensive half-apology yesterday, Tiger Woods went out of his way to turn his wife, Elin Nordegren, into the heroine of his latest adventure. The "rumors" that she scratched up his face and smashed the rear window of his Escalade were "malicious" and "false," he said. In fact, she "acted courageously when she saw I was hurt." Should we believe him?

News reports have mentioned the big, obvious reason why Woods would want to erase the image of his wife in a jealous rage wielding a golf club. His endorsement deals, reportedly worth billions, depend on his reputation as a "boring" guy, as he likes to call himself, a family man with a wife and two kids and no bouncy, boozy mistress or other tabloid bait in his life. But there is another less obvious reason for Woods to lie (if that's what he's doing): Because of Florida's domestic-violence laws, admitting to the police that Nordegren in any way harmed him would virtually guarantee that the glamorous Elin would be led out of their mansion in handcuffs, even if he protested it.

Read on...

Does anyone know? Is Tiger obligated to speak to the police? Does he have the right to remain silent? Tom