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Showing posts from January, 2011

US Child Appeals Against Being Tried for Murder as an Adult

Jordan Brown, who was 11 when he allegedly killed his father's pregnant fiancee, could face life sentence with no parole
by Ed Pilkington in New YorkLawyers for a child in Pennsylvania who was 11 when he allegedly shot and killed his father's pregnant fiancee attempted today to persuade an appeals court not to try him as an adult under America's harsh system of juvenile justice.Judges are to rule on whether Jordan Brown, who has been charged with homicide, should be tried as an adult. (Photograph: Ho/AFP/Getty Images) Unless the lawyers for Jordan Brown who is now aged 13, can convince the judges to change tack, he will be tried in adult court and if convicted will serve an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole. He would become the youngest child in US history to be sentenced to be incarcerated forever.The US is the only country where juveniles are serving life imprisonment without parole under the so-called "life means life" policy. Only the…

Thousands of Egyptian protesters clash with police

Protesters take to the streets of Cairo to demonstrate against political repression and unemployment under President Hosni Mubarak. It is unclear if the protests in Egypt will mimic those in Tunisia, leading to revolt against the government. Egyptian protesters rush police and battle tear gas in demonstrations against the political repression and unemployment that have defined three decades of rule by President Hosni Mubarak. (Mohammed Abed, AFP/Getty Images / January 25, 2011)Reporting from Cairo — Thousands of Egyptian protesters inspired by the revolt in Tunisia rushed police and battled tear gas Tuesday in demonstrations against the political repression and unemployment that have defined three decades of rule by President Hosni Mubarak.

Groups of protesters marched through downtown Cairo, crossing bridges and o…

Medical parole bill signed by governor

September 30, 2010|By Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Sacramento - — California taxpayers will save an estimated $40 million this year in prison costs after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that allows the state to parole ill and incapacitated inmates. SB1399 by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, aims to reduce the hundreds of millions the deficit-plagued state spends each year to care for a small group of sick inmates. It was sponsored by the federal receiver in charge of the state's prison health care system.The measure allows the medical directors of state prison facilities to recommend an inmate for medical parole if they determine that the prisoner is "permanently medically incapacitated" and requires 24-hour-a-day care. The state Board of Parole Hearings will decide whether parole is granted and set the conditions of that parole. No one sentenced to death or life without parole will be eligible, and any inmates granted release unde…

Justice Scalia’s Speech to Closed-Door Tea Party Caucus Session Is Inappropriate Political Activity

Appearance could provide grounds for recusal in upcoming cases; disqualification statute needs an upgrade
WASHINGTON - January 24 - Common Cause today criticized Justice Antonin Scalia's decision to address a closed-door session of the House Tea Party caucus as political activity that undermines public confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court."The American people expect impartial justice from the Supreme Court," said Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause, a non-partisan watchdog group. "The last thing we need in these divisive times is Supreme Court justices appearing to be allied with a political faction.""Justice Scalia's acceptance of Rep. Bachmann's invitation shows poor judgment and could lay the ground for his recusal in future cases, such as court challenges to President Obama's health care reform law," Edgar said.The Judicial Code of Conduct bars federal judges from engaging in political activity, including "ma…

Activism Is Not a Crime: Why I Will Not Testify Before This Federal Grand Jury

by Maureen Murphy I have been summoned to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago on January 25. But I will not testify, even at the risk of being put in jail for contempt of court, because I believe that our most fundamental rights as citizens are at stake.

I am one of 23 anti-war, labor and solidarity activists in Chicago and throughout the Midwest who are facing a grand jury as part of an investigation into "material support for foreign terrorist organizations." No crime has been identified. No arrests have been made. And when it raided several prominent organizers' homes and offices on Sept. 24, the FBI acknowledged that there is no immediate threat to the American public. So what is this investigation really about?

The activists who have been ensnared in this fishing net work with different groups to end the US wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to end US military aid for Israel's occupation of Palestinian land and US military a…

Toronto police brutality trial ‘acid test’ for Special Investigations Unit

In the past two months, Ontario’s police watchdog has faced off with Toronto’s top cop over brutality allegations at the G20 summit, charged an officer in a shooting death for the first time in 13 years and garnered unprecedented attention.

On Monday, as court proceedings begin against the officer accused of roughing up a man at the G20 – a case certain to be one of the most closely watched in the Special Investigation Unit’s history – the agency will be called on to prove to the public that it is a robust watchdog and to police that it is a dispassionate, impartial investigator.

The SIU’s profile during the G20 was just the latest example of an organization that observers say has found renewed vigour since Ian Scott, a former Crown attorney, took over as director in the fall of 2008. The civilian oversight body had just been the subject of a scathing report by Ombudsman André Marin, himself a former director, who slammed the SIU for backing down in the face of police resistance to…

G20 - Toronto - Incident with cops - We don't live in Canada anymore

Americans Face Guantanamo-Like Torture Everyday in a Super-Max Prison Near You

To little public outcry, tens of thousands of citizens are being held in horrific conditions in super-harsh, super-maximum security, solitary-confinement prisons.
January 18, 2011 |

Editor's Note: Courageous WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning is reportedly suffering some of the same horrible experiences detailed in the article below, including 23 hours a day of solitary confinement, which has been labeled torture by numerous prison and psychological experts.

“They beat the shit out of you,” Mike James said, hunched near the smeared plexiglass separating us. He was talking about the cell “extractions” he’d endured at the hands of the supermax-unit guards at the Maine State Prison.

“They push you, knee you, poke you,” he said, his voice faint but ardent through the speaker. “They slam your head against the wall and drop you on the floor while you’re cuffed.” He lifted his manacled hands to a scar on his chin. “They split it wide open. They’re yelling ‘Stop resisting! Stop resist…

Nicholas Freudenberg: What works to keep young men from returning to jail?

From the Vera Institute of Justice

Life In America's Most Dangerous City About To Become "Living Hell" As Layoffs Of One Quarter Of Government Labor Force Begin

Life in Camden, NJ has never been fun. Frequently ranked as America's most dangerous city, whose only claim to fame are the corporate offices of Campbell's Soup, Camden is about to get even more dangerous as it is among the first to experience wholesale cuts to its government labor pool. Bloomberg reports that "as many as 383 workers, representing one-fourth of the local government's work force, are expected to lose their jobs, including about half the police force and one-third of the city's firefighters." It seems cuts have already commenced: "police officers are turning in their badges as part of deep municipal layoffs that began Tuesday." It's a good thing then that unlike the rest of the world, New Jersey does not (yet) have surging food inflation as otherwise one may be tempted to argue this could be a rather interesting hot spot in the future, especially with the local police force deciding to find better pastures even as it s…

Illinois and Capital Punishment

Eleven years after gross injustice compelled a moratorium on capital punishment in Illinois, the State Legislature has concluded that the only way to guard against execution of the innocent is to outlaw the death penalty. Gov. Pat Quinn, who has sent mixed signals in the past, should quickly sign the legislation into law.

Former Gov. George Ryan declared the moratorium in 2000 in the face of a running scandal of faulty trials that cost innocent inmates their lives. Three years later, Mr. Ryan stunned the nation by commuting 167 death row felons to life terms and calling for a hard look at the business of state-sanctioned death. (Mr. Ryan subsequently went to prison for statehouse corruption, but the flaws of capital punishment remained clear, as dramatically confirmed now by the Legislature.) Under prodding from outside investigators, the state has had to free 20 inmates from death row since 1987. It has also enacted some commendable reforms. These included mandato…

Harper Government Pushes Prison Expansion and Sounds Like a Broken Record

We know the Harper Government runs a tight ship and likes to keep everyone on message. But Crimbrary was astounded to come across the following quotes, from MP's right across the country.

"In the previous system, a violent criminal sentenced to nine years in prison could potentially be on our streets in as little as three years if he or she spent two years awaiting trial. This possibility is not acceptable to Canadians," said MP Glover.

"In the previous system, a violent criminal sentenced to nine years in prison could potentially be on our streets in as little as three years if he or she spent two years awaiting trial. This possibility is not acceptable to Canadians," said the Honourable Gordon O’Connor,

"In the previous system, a violent criminal sentenced to nine years in prison could potentially be on our streets in as little as three years if he or she spent two years awaiting trial. This possibility is not acceptable to Canadians," said …

More Guns, Less Crime? - A Debate

The Case for Arming YourselfUpdated January 12, 2011, 11:39 PMJohn R. Lott Jr. is the author of the recently revised third edition of “More Guns, Less Crime.” One can only hope that Saturday’s horrible attack in Tucson encourages more citizens to carry concealed handguns. Fortunately, one shopper in the Walgreen’s near Representative Giffords’ event was Joseph Zamudio. When he heard the shots he ran toward them because his legally carried 9 mm semiautomatic offered him protection. Joe helped tackle the killer before more harm occurred. Too bad someone like him wasn’t even closer to the crime.It Takes Laws to Control the Bad GuysJanuary 11, 2011John J. Donohue 3rd is the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith professor of law at Stanford University. In an ideal world, stable, cautious law-abiding citizens would have access to guns and others would not. Ideally, we would like wise regulation and prudent personal decisions about carrying and using guns. Deciding on th…

'Before They Tighten Up the State Laws, I'm Buying More Guns'

Guy Adams finds a brisk trade at the Tucson shop that apparently supplied Jared Loughner
Trade was roaring at the gun counter of the Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson on Sunday afternoon, where roughly 30 types of shotguns competed for shelf space with 100 pistols, 50 rifles and enough ammunition to fuel more than one decent shootout at the nearby the OK Corral.Whatever the motivation behind the shooting, it seems likely that Arizona's gun laws will now come under fresh scrutiny. The state boasts the most relaxed gun regulations the United States, which in turn has the fewest restrictions on firearm ownership in the developed world. (AFP/Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla) Just a day had passed since Jared Lee Loughner allegedly launched a deadly shooting spree using a gun purchased from the very same store, but patrons were undeterred. Richard Tucker and his eight-year-old daughter, Emily, spent the afternoon examining a Smith & Wesson revolver, the quintessential fi…

DiManno: As new allegations of G20 brutality surface, police raise their shields

By Rosie DiManno

Officer John Doe. Officer John Doe. Officer John Doe. Officer John Doe. Officer John Doe. Officer John Doe. Officer John Doe.In the absence of actual names, these John Does could be any from among Toronto’s 5,000-plus uniformed police.And that’s the unfortunate result of anonymity: A shadow of suspicion falling across everybody.Dorian Barton claims he was viciously attacked by a half dozen cops during the police-initiated melee at the Queen’s Park G20 protests last June. He’s launched a $250,000 civil suit against both the Toronto Police Services Board and the as-yet unnamed officers, referenced in court documents as officers John Doe 1 through 7.Officer Joe Doe 7 was not party to the alleged assault. This is the individual who later laid the charges — obstructing a peace officer and being involved in an unlawful protest — against Barton, although there appears to be no supporting paperwork. If such documentation existed, there would have to be a name for t…

Now Arizona Wants to Allow Concealed Guns on Campuses

Arizona's weak gun laws could reach a new low this spring. More infamously, Brewer also signed another bill last April that allows Arizonans to carry concealed guns without a permit. (photo by Flickr user krossbow) When the Arizona state legislature reconvenes today for the first day of the new session, two gun bills will be on the table for debate. One bill--H2001--will allow faculty members to carry concealed weapons on campus. The other bill--H2014--will prevent educational institutions from stopping a person from carrying a weapon with a valid permit.In the blazing summer of 2009, Gov. Jan Brewer passed a law that allows Arizona residents to carry concealed weapons into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.Last spring, Brewer took Arizona one step further when she signed the "Firearm Freedom Act" that permits certain weapons and ammunition manufactured in Arizona to be sold without following any federal registration or regulations.
Read on...They want t…

Assange extradition defence suggests Sweden might ship him to Guantanamo Bay

Julian Assange’s lawyers are worried that if their client is extradited to Sweden, he will be illegally sent to the United States, where “there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantanamo Bay.”Lawyers for Mr. Assange release the “skeleton” outline of their argument today after the 39-year-old WikLeaks founder made a 10-minute appearance at a London court. He will appear in court again on Feb. 7 and 8 for an extradition hearing. Swedish prosecutors want to question Mr. Assange about sexual assault allegations relating to two incidents in Stockholm in mid-August.Read on...I assume that Guantanamo Bay is not accepting any new guests. It is interesting that the U.S. is now viewed as the epicenter of extralegal activity. Tom

Before Shooting, A Campaign Season Rife With Gun Rhetoric

Sarah Palin's controversial map.

The person who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), a federal judge and 18 other people Saturday may or may not have had a coherent political philosophy or a rational motive. But his actions still come after a campaign season rife with gun imagery and borderline violent rhetoric. There is, of course, Sarah Palin's map in which targeted districts were marked by crosshairs (spun as "surveyor's symbols" by Palin aides), but there was much, much more over the 2010 campaign: Target Practice
Robert Lowry, a Republican challenger to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL), stopped by a local Republican event in October. The event was at a gun range, and Lowry shot at a human-shaped target that had Wasserman Schulz's initials written next to it. He later said it was a "mistake." Wasserman Schulz, who defeated Lowry, remembered that incident on Hardball Monday evening. "Those kinds of actions, words and statements …

What the Right Gains From Poisoning Our Political Discourse and Inspiring Violence

Gifford's shooting, and the death and wounding of so many who came to meet with her, are just the latest example of ideologically-motivated bloodshed.

Photo Credit: AFP The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov had a rule: if you show a gun in the first act, by the time the curtain falls, it has to go off. For weeks and months, that gun, the weapon of angry rhetoric and intemperate rabblerousing, has been cocked and loaded in plain view on the American stage; Saturday morning outside a shopping mall in Tucson, Arizona, it went off again and again and again.The target, Gabrielle Giffords, a member of the United States Congress, lays critically wounded, one of thirteen shot and still alive. Six others are dead, including a respected Federal judge who happened to be there but who previously had received death threats from anti-immigration extremists, a member of Congresswoman Giffords’ staff and a nine-year old girl, Christina-Taylor Green. Just elected to her scho…

Government faces hard sell for thousands of new jail cells

Thousands of new federal prisons cells will be created at a cost of more than $600-million to house a population that is expanding as a result of the Conservative government’s justice agenda. But, unlike the early years of the Conservative mandate when the words “soft on crime” effectively stifled criticism of policies heavily weighted toward punishment, a looming era of fiscal restraint is forcing the government to defend large investments in the corrections system.
With costs predicted to increase in both the short and long term, and as the political opposition grows louder, it may be more difficult for the government to get its crime legislation passed by Parliament – or to convince the public that the expense is justified. How many new cells will be created? A total of $150-million in new spending was announced Monday to add 634 beds in Quebec, the Prairies and Ontario. When combined with previous announcements, $601-million will be spent to create 2,552 additional be…

Cross-sex strip searches ruled unconstitutional

A female jail guard's strip search of a male inmate was a "humiliating event" that violated his rights, a divided federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Wednesday.Such searches of a prisoner by a guard of the opposite sex are unconstitutional except in an emergency, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 6-5 decision.The ruling, in a case from Arizona, sets standards for nine Western states, including California. Dissenting judges said the court was improperly second-guessing jail officials.The judges also disagreed on whether the guard - who checked the inmate's genitals and buttocks through virtually transparent underwear in an attempt to find drugs or weapons - had conducted a strip search. Dissenters said it was only a pat-down.Read on...

Blood Loss

The Decline of the Serial Killer

By Christopher BeamPosted Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, at 6:32 PM ETJeffrey Dahmer
When it came to serial killing, Stephen Griffiths did everything by the book. He targeted prostitutes in the slums of Bradford, a city in Northern England. He chose a unique murder weapon: a crossbow. He claimed to have eaten parts of his victims—two of them cooked, one of them raw. "I'm misanthropic," he told police investigators when he was finally caught in 2010. "I don't have much time for the human race." When he appeared in court, he gave his name as the "crossbow cannibal." It was as if he'd studied up on the art of serial murder. (In fact, he had: Griffiths was a part-time Ph.D. student at Bradford University, where he was studying criminology.) And yet, for all his efforts, he got only one short blurb in the New York Times when he was sentenced last month.Serial killers just aren't the sensation they used to be…

Medical Neglect Stalks Georgia Prisons

by Bruce A. Dixon Arnold Porter was serious, and seriously worried. He was dizzy and short of breath, he told Dr. William Sightler, with a crushing, tightening sensation in his chest with pain shooting up once side of his neck. "Maybe I have a clogged artery. This is not my normal health," he told Dr. Sightler. "Please help. I need something fast done."Private prisons, as well as publicly-run prisons with privatized medical care have built-in reasons to skimp on diagnostic testing and all kinds of care. Medical care costs money, and they're in business to make it, not to spend it. Slow motion heart attacks, in which symptoms leading up to full cardiac arrest build and worsen gradually over weeks or months are quite common. Porter should have been a lucky man, being able to bring his heart attack symptoms into in a physician's office, except for one thing. Porter was a prisoner at Georgia's Wheeler Correctional facility, operated by the …

Police officers investigated in G20 brutality case face new allegations

Adrian MorrowTwo Toronto police officers investigated for allegedly roughing up Adam Nobody during last June’s G20 summit are at the centre of a brutality accusation in a separate case.What’s more, the Special Investigation Unit’s file on the pair, Detective Constable Todd Storey and Detective Constable Luke Watson, may be released in court.Mr. Nobody was taken to the ground and arrested by several officers at Queen’s Park on the afternoon of June 26. The SIU, the arm’s-length body that investigates – among other things – incidents of violent interaction with police, charged a uniformed officer allegedly involved with assault after witnesses produced videos of the incident.The 27-year-old alleged he was also beaten a second time by two plainclothes officers, Det. Constables Storey and Watson, behind a police van away from public view. The SIU investigated both men in that incident, but ruled there was no evidence to corroborate Mr. Nobody’s contention and that his injurie…

D.C. wants to teach juvenile delinquents Yoga, Tai-Chi

The District's troubled juvenile justice agency is looking for a yoga teacher, or maybe a tai-chi instructor, to work with some of the city's most dangerous youths. The idea for the new Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services programming comes from interim deputy director Barry Holman. Late last month, Holman e-mailed the agency's staff to see if they have "hidden talents that might be tapped to further our work with the young people in our care." In the e-mail obtained by The Washington Examiner, Holman said his primary interest was in finding among the staff an instructor certified in yoga, tai-chi, or another "mind-body connection discipline." The agency is coming off a controversial year during which more than a dozen of its wards were charged with murder and at least a half-dozen were killed. A heavy focus on rehabilitation programs for city youths was blamed by critics for the soaring violence. Under political pressure, former…

Scalia: Women Don't Have Constitutional Protection Against Discrimination

WASHINGTON -- The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.In a newly published interview in the legal magazine California Lawyer, Scalia said that while the Constitution does not disallow the passage of legislation outlawing such discrimination, it doesn't itself outlaw that behavior:In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?Read on...

Are We Going to Let the Biggest Financial Fraudsters Keep Their Money and Avoid Jail Time?

The FBI and the DOJ are unlikely to prosecute the elite bankers who ran the enormous fraud that drove the financial crisis.
The role of the criminal justice system with regard to financial fraud by elite bankers in 2011 is likely to reprise its role last decade — de facto decriminalization. The Galleon investigation of insider trading at hedge funds will take much of the FBI’s and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) focus.The state attorneys general investigations of foreclosure fraud do focus on the major players such as the Bank of America (BoA), but they are unlikely to lead to criminal liability for any senior bank officials. It is most likely that they will lead to financial settlements that include new funding for loan modifications.The FBI and the DOJ remain unlikely to prosecute the elite bank officers that ran the enormous “accounting control frauds” that drove the financial crisis. While over 1000 elites were convicted of felonies arising from the savings and loan (S&L) deb…

Infamous Police Commander Who Oversaw Torture of Over 100 Prisoners Awaits His Sentence

The depressing Jon Burge saga in Chicago reinforces the notion that racial bias is part of the institutional gene pool of the nation's police departments.
G. Flint Taylor should be basking in the glow of vindication as he awaits the January 20 sentencing of Jon Burge, the retired Chicago police commander convicted for lying about a ring of torturing cops he led.
A federal jury found Burge guilty on two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury last June. Taylor and the firm he co-founded, the Chicago-based Peoples Law Office, have represented several of the more than 100 black men victimized by Burge’s torture corps and have been trying to bring the rogue cop to justice for more than 20 years.Read on...

AlterNet's Top Ten Most Popular Stories of the Year

From the dumb things Americans believe to the weirdest things women do to their vaginas.
Below, we've assembled the 10 most popular stories of the year; the articles you read, emailed, and sent flying around the Internet. They cover topics ranging from the bizarre and scary to the hilarious — from the dumb things Americans believe to the weird things women do to their vaginas.
Read on...
I think Crimbrary posted a couple of these during the year. Tom

Bread and Circuses

by digby

I was struggling with a worthwhile year-end post about the year just past when my favorite correspondent Bill sent methis pieceby Will Bunch from last May. I couldn't have said it better myself (and Lord knows, I've tried):

People forget that the whole justification for police to get Tasers in the first place was to subdue potentially violent suspects in cases in the past in which they might have been tempted to use lethal force. But the notion that the cops would have pulled a gun and shot 17-year-old field jumper Steve Consalvi is absurd, which means the rationale for tasing him is...what? There's something oddly funny about zapping a fellow human for some reason, but Tasers are no joke to the loved ones of the estimated 50 people who died because of their use.Consalvi didn't have the risk factors of most of those killed or injured -- he is young, health, and wasn't drunk or on drugs. But he still -- while committing a misdemeanor, let's remember -- wa…

Get Angry: The Year’s 10 Best Political Docs

From Eliot Spitzer to Daniel Ellsberg , documentary filmmakers didn’t lack engrossing subjects this yearBy MICHAEL ATKINSON Thanks largely to personal technology and its discontents, we’re living through a renaissance of activist filmmaking—never before in the history of popular media have nonfiction films been so convenient to execute, so inexpensive to finance and so easy to distribute. Every year oodles and oodles of angry political essay-films come out now, in theaters and/or on DVD and streaming services, on every subject from war to Wall Street to industrial pollution, and no viewer can be blamed for feeling like a drowner in a sea of outrage. But you need see only 10—the best political docs of 2010. • Inside Job (Sony) As thorough and well-researched and absolutely enraging an explication of the financial meltdown as we’re likely to get (since that seeming obligatory tsunami of thousand-page Grand Jury indictments will never be written), Charles Ferguson’s film is one of several …