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May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells
Prisonindustrial complex - Wikipedia
The term "prisonindustrial complex" (PIC) is used to attribute the rapid expansion of the US inmate population to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies. The term is derived from the "militaryindustrial complex" of the 1950s.
Such groups include corporations that contract prison labor, construction companies, surveillance
technology vendors, companies that operate prison food services and medical facilities, private probation
companies, lawyers, and lobby groups that represent them. Activist groups such as the National Organization
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) have argued that the prison-industrial complex is perpetuating
a flawed belief that imprisonment is an effective solution to social problems such as homelessness,
unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy.
The term 'prison industrial complex' has been used to describe a similar issue in other countries' prisons of expanding populations.
The promotion of prison-building as a job creator and the use of inmate labor are also cited as elements of the prison-industrial complex. The term often implies a network of participants who are motivated by financial profit rather than solely the goal of punishing or rehabilitating criminals or reducing crime rates. Proponents of this view, including civil rights organizations such as the Rutherford Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), believe that the desire for monetary gain has led to the growth of the prison industry and the number of incarcerated individuals.
Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Apr 17, 2019 3:38:05 PM | link
AOC invokes the Class Card , something many here thought she'd never do:
"Our country has a 'justice' system that criminalizes poverty + disproportionately targets race, yet routinely pardons large-scale crimes of wealth and privilege.
"Moments like these tell us it's less a justice system, and more a class enforcement system ." [My Emphasis]
Look for her and allies to resurrect FDR's mantra from 1944 as they work to enact Medicare For All and Green New Deal: "individual freedom cannot exist without economic security." Indeed, there're numerous slogans from the FDR era that ought to be employed as many still aren't fulfilled.
vk , Apr 17, 2019 3:44:00 PM | linkHalf of England is owned by less than 1% of the populationkarlof1 , Apr 17, 2019 3:51:57 PM | link
That's the Haynes being debunked in the twitter exchange I posted above your comment. Ducks were involved in the initial tale/yarn/fabrication, but they weren't dead.
Tweet reply by b about Zionistan escalating situation now that elections are over:
"That feeling [invasion of Lebanon by Zionistan] isn't unreasonable. All parties in Lebanon rejected U.S. demand to go against Hizbullah. Trump may now well give green light to Netanyahoo and support an Israeli invasion. High possbility of extension into Syria and beyond."
I don't think Nutty is that nutty.
Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com
Daniel Rich , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:38 pm GMT@annamaria
Once one realizes 'justice' [under neoliberalism] is a monetized commodity, lawlessness becomes a viable [and justifiable] option.
Apr 06, 2019 | www.wsws.org
Rapes, murders, beatings, stabbings, mutilations and arson are rampant. Pleas for help, scrawled in blood, stain the walls from prisoners held in solitary confinement. Fifteen suicides have been recorded in the last 15 months.
This is not the description of a torture chamber in el-Sisi's Egypt or Bin Salman's Saudi Arabia. Nor is it about the abuse of detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay or a CIA black site.
These are the nightmare conditions in the Alabama state-run prison system, described in a Justice Department report released this week. They constitute a gross violation of the US Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
More than 2,000 photos of abuse in one Alabama prison given to the media by the Southern Poverty Law Center in advance of the report's release depict the gruesome reality of the conditions detailed in hundreds of interviews with prisoners and their families conducted by federal investigators over more than two years.
While particularly horrific, such conditions are by no means unique. They are repeated in different forms in the prisons of every state, county and city across the United States. More than 2.3 million people are packed like cattle into America's overflowing system of state and federal prisons, local jails and immigration detention camps. Including those on probation or parole, nearly seven million Americans are caught up in what is absurdly called the "criminal justice system."
The US accounts for more than one-quarter of the world's incarcerated population. For every 100,000 residents, there are 698 people in detention. More than 540,000 of those held in jail on any given day have not been convicted of any crime. Many are kept in detention simply because they are too poor pay to pay the median bail of $10,000. Another half a million, one in five inmates, are serving long prison sentences for nonviolent drug convictions.
Researchers estimate that 61,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement on any given day, a form of incarceration that the UN has declared to be tantamount to torture. At least 4,000 of those held in complete isolation from the outside world suffer from severe mental illness. Confinement to these living coffins is known to drive prisoners to suicide.
While debtors' prisons are officially outlawed, poor workers are routinely held for their debts. A mother in Indiana was detained for three days in February in a squalid jail alongside convicts because of an unpaid ambulance bill, which she had never received in the mail. Such stories are common.
Under the Trump administration, extending the policies developed by Obama, the federal government is waging a war on immigrants, holding thousands of men, women and children in degrading conditions. Some 77,000 people were detained in February for seeking to cross the southern border. Immigrant workers are being hunted down and arrested in their homes and at their work places.
The cruelty of the American government was on full display this week when 280 undocumented workers were detained by federal agents in Allen, Texas. It was the largest such raid in more than a decade.
Then there is the unending wave of police killings, with more than 1,000 people shot, tased or beaten to death every year on the streets of American cities. Criminal charges for police killings are rare and convictions almost unheard of. Cops are given a green light to kill, maim and brutalize with impunity.
With boundless hypocrisy, Democrats and Republicans proclaim their outrage over alleged human rights violations in whatever country the American ruling class is targeting for regime change or invasion. They proclaim one of the most cruel and unequal societies in the world, where the three richest Americans control more wealth than the bottom half of the population, to be a beacon of democracy to the world.
If the conditions that exist in US prisons were exposed in Russia or China, there would be a hue and cry in the press and the halls of Congress for economic sanctions and "humanitarian" military intervention that would resound in the media.
Fifty years ago, a report such as that exposing the conditions in Alabama prisons would have been met, even within sections of the political and media establishment, with shock and demands for action, but today it passes with barely a murmur.
The Democratic Party is silent because it is complicit in the vast retrogression in conditions in US prisons. President Bill Clinton signed the legislation that paved the way for a historic increase in the prison population. The Democrats oversee a prison system in California that was found by the Supreme Court in 2011 to be "cruel and unusual" and in violation of the Constitution.
The upper-middle class, self-obsessed layers in and around the Democratic Party are disinterested. The promoters of the #MeToo campaign in the media and academia have nothing to say about sexual violence in American prisons, nor about the violence inflicted on immigrants fleeing to the United States.
The media has made as little as possible of the report, with no coverage on the major nightly news programs. As with the photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib and the Senate report on CIA torture, there has been an effort to suppress information of what is happening in Alabama. The New York Times and other media outlets have chosen not to publish most of the photos documenting abuse and death.
In the end, this is their state . The conditions of American prisons, and the overall apparatus of violence, is a noxious expression of the reality of American "democracy." The state apparatus will be utilized in the suppression of social and political opposition to the demands of finance capital. It is the real face of American capitalism.
alphonsozorro • 5 hours ago"If the conditions that exist in US prisons were exposed in Russia or China, there would be a hue and cry in the press and the halls of Congress for economic sanctions and "humanitarian" military intervention that would resound in the media"denis ross Michelle S • 3 hours ago
Military intervention by the US against a powerful state like Russia is impossible. Only the Germans were foolhardy enough to invade Russia, and lost. All post-WWII US agressions, under whatever pretext, targeted Third-World countries only, unable to strike back.Prisons, whether run by the capitalists or the proletariat, whomever is on top, are essentially a working class institution. There are not too many bureaucrats or members of the ruling class locked away in prisons, anywhere...perhaps unfortunately.TheCushite • 2 days agoCapitalism, anything goes for the wealthy to build greater wealth.Carolyn Zaremba • 2 days ago"The Democratic Party is silent because it is complicit in the vast retrogression in conditions in US prisons. President Bill Clinton signed the legislation that paved the way for a historic increase in the prison population. The Democrats oversee a prison system in California that was found by the Supreme Court in 2011 to be "cruel and unusual" and in violation of the Constitution."Ed Bergonzi • 2 days ago
Kamala Harris was a supporter of the horrendous "three strikes" law in California. So much for women in government being "kinder and gentler". Then again, we learned of the perfidy of women in government from Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton.This article is an important and devastating exposure of a rotten social system. Decades ago we published a series entitled "The Brutal Society" in the pages of the "Bulletin". Earlier still, I believe, we documented the maiming and deaths of workers in the "industrial slaughterhouse". Everything we have documented is not only true, but has intensified in the intervening years, with the additive of the Nazi-like treatment of immigrants and their families. These outrages reveal in all their nakedness the social relations of capitalism. Essence is appearing. Despite the confusion wrought by Democrat's promotion of identity politics, #MeToo and the like, millions of people are re-evaluating previous conceptions. Increasingly, capitalism is becoming a dirty word, and socialism, the hope for the future.Charles Ed Bergonzi • 2 days agoYes it is devastating. This is a brilliant perspective. I want everyone to read it.Charlotte Ruse • 2 days agoPrisons are an industry which profits from the misery of the indigent and the mentally ill.Sebouh80 • 2 days ago
"The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself," the prison industry is "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."
In other words, US prisons are profitable concentration camps warehousing two million Americans sans the gas chambers. And like the Nazis, the victims are carefully selected among the most marginalized by society: minorities, the indigent, the mentally ill, the refugees, the drug addicted, etc...
In addition, statistics cite that 20% of those incarcerated are seriously mentally ill. However, I bet that percentage is considerably greater. Prisons, have morphed into mental asylums for the poor. "In 44 states, a jail or prison holds more mentally ill individuals than the largest remaining state psychiatric hospital; in every county in the United States with both a county jail and a county psychiatric facility, more seriously mentally ill individuals are incarcerated than hospitalized."
In a hyper-predatory society indigence is viewed as a crime. Being POOR renders one judicially defenseless. "If you want to stay out of prison choose rich parents. Boys from the poorest families are 20 times likelier to end up in prison than boys from the richest families."
Only a fascist government would allow CEO's to profit from endless wars and genocide, and permit lucrative concentration camps to warehouse its own citizenry.
https://www.treatmentadvoca...The ruling class parties and the mainstream media networks that speak on their behalf are silent because they are all accomplice in creating this barbaric justice system that normally targets the poor and working class people. So this is the outcome of a society that has become deeply polarized in every respect.imaduwa • 2 days agoThis article by comrade Niles Niemuth on WSWS is a vindication of the fact that the US working class and its international counterpart and youth and students in the US and across the planet need their own media organ based on Trotskysm, the Marxism today. No other media in human world (capitalist or initiated by the pseudo left that commensurate with ISO, DSA in the US and WRP in the UK) would be so lucid in revealing the barbarity of the capitalism/imperialism, in this case depicted by the US prison system. One can logically conclude that in the US one has to find the planet's cruellest prison system with the knodding approval of its judiciary due to the fact that the Material foundation of the society where the three richest men claim a wealth that is eqivalent to the wealth of the bottom half of the population of the country. Such a disparity embeded in the material foundation of the country in fact has to be safeguarded through a horrific anti-human legal system.Terry Lawrence • 2 days ago
Readers of the WSWS, in my view can be proud of Niles Niemuth who contested vice presidency in the last election. Comrade Niemuth you always live upto the expectation of the US and international working class and youth and students in the US and across the planet.
This norm observed by you and all the revolutionaries of the ICFI is fundamental to our endeavor in dismantling capitalism/imperialism and restructuring human society on the socialist foundation.
I know Trump is mad about the rise of socialism in the US and globally. US capitalist/imperialist establisment has to be treated no1 enemy of the international working class and the international youth and students. Down with US capitalism/imperialism. Victory to the revolutionary triumvirate. Thank you comrade Niles Niemuth."what is absurdly called the "criminal justice system." Actually, it could hardly be more appropriately named.denis ross Carolyn Zaremba • 3 hours agoThe USA like Australia has "the best system of Justice money can buy".лидия • 2 days agoIn 60th a Soviet children poet Mikhalkov had published a poem about the oppression of civil right movement in USA, calling Alabama "a feral state" for jailing children. Now 50+ years since no much had changed.rictus • 2 days agoI live in Alabama and this is an excellent analysis of conditions in the prison system here. Incarceration and police intervention are the defacto mental health care since mental health services have long been gutted at the same time the state offers millions upon millions in subsidies to lure already wealthy companies such as Toyota and Mercedes Benz. As this article rightly points out, there is little difference between these conditions and those in Russian and Chinese prisons.Brandon the Top-Hatted Commie • 2 days agoFrederick Douglass gave an excellent speech in 1852 called "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?", where he ruthlessly criticizes the hypocrisy of the U.S. to proclaim its commitment to equality and freedom while simultaneously encouraging the continued enslavement of millions of black people. If Douglass were alive today to compose the speech much of it would be the same, though it would probably be named "What to the Prisoner is the Fourth of July" instead.Pietro • 2 days agoAnd there is an economic interest in maintaining such bonded labour, withthe incarcerated "earning' somewhere between 9 cents/hour to about 70c per hour, depending on the state. It is a form of slavery, branded as the criminal justice system.Elliott Vernon Pietro • a day agoThere's also plenty of money to be made by price-gouging prisoners when they make phone calls. Not much of the wondrous benefits of free-market competition happening there, when you're literally a captive audience.
Mar 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
The Justice Department and Hillary Clinton's legal team "negotiated" an agreement that blocked the FBI from accessing emails on Clinton's homebrew server related to the Clinton Foundation, according to a transcript of recently released testimony from last summer by former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.
Mar 13, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
The Paul Manafort sentence and the notorious and diabolical federal sentencing guidelines
By Robert Willmann
Crime is a legal definition. This means that to commit big crime you make it legal. Or, you can try to enhance your commercial business or money making organization by getting conduct made into a crime that is competition to your activity, like is found in copyright law, and is done by state governments that make gambling illegal but have state-run lotteries in which the odds of winning are so remote they make the negative percentage in Las Vegas casino games look like a paragon of virtue. This also means that the concept of a crime is created by a government, even though it is commonly thought to be bad behavior (or a failure to act), as described by social relations, culture, religion, and human biology (with murder opposed by the instinctive act of self defense). Conduct that is said to be bad enough is defined as a crime and involves the government using force directly against the actor at least in the form initially of an arrest, possible imprisonment, or later if an order from a criminal court case is not followed.
The ongoing jabbering in the mass media -- starting in November 2016 when Donald Trump was elected president -- declared that all sorts of conduct was illegal, as a civil or criminal case, or should be the subject of charges for impeachment. A lot of that talk can be described as horse manure, but it has had a real effect on the public, which effect has been and is the intent. It reached a fever pitch last week when Judge T.S. Ellis III, an American hero, in a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, sentenced Paul Manafort in one of his two criminal cases to 47 months in prison, which was noticeably below the "sentencing guidelines range" of 235 to 293 months--
Television talkers expressed shock and dismay that Manafort received such a "low" sentence below the guidelines and they look forward with glee to his second sentencing on 13 March, beginning at 9:30 a.m., eastern time, in federal court in Washington DC, with Judge Amy Berman Jackson presiding. Her rulings can be described as statistically matching to a degree those requested by government prosecutors in cases brought by "special counsel" Robert Mueller, who was tasked to investigate "interference" in the 2016 presidential election by the Russian government, with attention to "collusion" by the Trump campaign, but mysteriously not involving possible collusion with Russia by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Just as important as the definition of a crime are the rules of procedure and evidence that govern a criminal justice system from start to finish, such as: detaining and arresting a person, questioning a suspect, confinement or release before a trial (if any), pretrial court hearings, a trial itself by a jury or otherwise, any appeal of a trial's verdict, ordering a sentence of punishment or a consequence to the finding of guilt, suspending a sentence through probation, operating a prison, the power of a president or governor to pardon a person's conviction or commute the sentence, and so forth.
This brings us to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, a deceptive name if there ever was one. They are part of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 (CCCA), disguised inside House Joint Resolution 648, "A joint resolution making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 1985, and for other purposes", which became Public Law 98-473 and which president Ronald Reagan signed on 12 October 1984. That legislation shifted the existing federal criminal law so extensively that it can accurately be described as a radical change. Whether becoming a law in 1984 was a coincidence or an arrogant expression by implementing some of the meaning in George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-four" (published in 1949) is not known.
The so-called guidelines came from the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy (Dem. Massachusetts), and they became part of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which in turn was Title 2 of the continuing appropriations bill, Public Law 98-473. In the legislation, Congress created the United States Sentencing Commission, and it would write the new sentencing rules, and federal judges would have to sentence someone within the "guideline range" set by the commission. This smaller "guideline range" was within the regular "range of punishment" set by Congress as a possible minimum to maximum sentence for each particular crime Congress defined. Before the CCCA, if a defendant was found guilty, the federal judge had the power and discretion to sentence the person to anything within the regular range of punishment established by Congress, and order probation if allowed in that instance. But the sentencing guidelines took that discretion away from the federal judge, and required the sentence to be within the guideline range. The self-righteous language that supposedly allowed a judge to "depart" from the guideline range in a certain way was laughable as a practical matter.
When the sentencing guidelines became law, the sentencing commission magically was said to become part of the judicial branch of government, where it resides today .
When the sentencing guidelines kicked in and became operational, a court challenge followed. The case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, as United States v. Mistretta, 488 U.S. 361 (1989), and even though at that time "liberals" such as Judges William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, and John Paul Stevens were on the court, the decision was 8 to 1 that the guidelines were constitutional, with the lone dissenter being none other than Antonin Scalia . Sometimes Judge Scalia would pull back covering language about an issue and shine a light on what was really going on. He did so at the start of his dissent--
"While the products of the Sentencing Commission's labors have been given the modest name 'Guidelines,' see 28 U.S.C. 994(a)(1) (1982 ed., Supp. IV); United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual (June 15, 1988), they have the force and effect of laws, prescribing the sentences criminal defendants are to receive. A judge who disregards them will be reversed, 18 U.S.C. 3742 (1982 ed., Supp. IV). I dissent from today's decision because I can find no place within our constitutional system for an agency created by Congress to exercise no governmental power other than the making of laws."
As some sort of smiling rationale is always given for a new law or governmental action, the sentencing guidelines were promoted as providing certainty and fairness in sentencing and avoiding unwarranted disparities among defendants with similar records found guilty of similar offenses. Never mind that the differences between individual human beings, their backgrounds, and behavior are basically unlimited and disparate in reality. The existence of reality was not part of the new game, and "disparity" was claimed to be a bad thing. Asserted to be just as bad was the difference between federal judges and the sentences they imposed. Surprisingly, one of the original members of the sentencing commission, Paul Robinson, objected to what was created as a final product, and Judge Scalia quoted him--
" ' Under the guidelines, the judge could give the same sentence for abusive sexual contact that puts the child in fear as for unlawfully entering or remaining in the United States. Similarly, the guidelines permit equivalent sentences for the following pairs of offenses: drug trafficking and a violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act; arson with a destructive device and failure to surrender a cancelled naturalization certificate; operation of a common carrier under the influence of drugs that causes injury and alteration of one motor vehicle identification number; illegal trafficking in explosives and trespass; interference with a flight attendant and unlawful conduct relating to contraband cigarettes; aggravated assault and smuggling $11,000 worth of fish.' Dissenting View of Commissioner Paul H. Robinson on the Promulgation of the Sentencing Guidelines by the United States Sentencing Commission 6-7 (May 1, 1987) (citations omitted)".
The point was and is that laws are to be made by Congress, and not from scratch by delegating the power to a type of commission, which Judge Scalia called "a sort of junior-varsity Congress". This context also raises thoughts about the separation of powers in the structure of the federal government.
Sentencing in federal court became a process of assigning a certain number of points to certain factors, and adding them up and subtracting some to reach a numerical score, and after that looking at a grid and finding the pigeon hole telling you, and the handcuffed judge, what the sentence within the new, smaller range of punishment could be. If you think that such a process is surreal, it is. The sentencing scheme with its new commission became a sprawling monster, not only in its text and procedures, but also in its expenditure of time and money and court litigation, which continues to this day. Here is the current version of the sentencing guidelines manual, in excess of 500 pages, which you can read if your stomach can stand it--
After the guidelines became effective in 1987 and the Mistretta opinion was handed down in 1989, the problems generated by the new system became more and more obvious and acute. Despite dissatisfaction expressed in the legal community, Congress did nothing, and it took 15 years until 2004 for another case with some substance to be accepted by the Supreme Court for review, called United States vs. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005). It produced an unusual decision consisting of two separate majority opinions, with each one made up of a different group of five judges, and several dissenting opinions .
One opinion ruled that two sections of the Sentencing Reform Act that made the guidelines mandatory had to be severed and excised from that law because a conflict existed between facts that might be found by a jury through a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, and what could be done under the mandatory aspects of the sentencing guidelines. Invalidating the two sections made the guidelines effectively advisory , but the "[federal] district courts, while not bound to apply the Guidelines, must consult those Guidelines and take them into account when sentencing", and the "courts of appeals review sentencing decisions for unreasonableness" (see pages 246-267, pdf pages 448-469). The supreme court did not have the intestinal fortitude to strike down the entire sentencing guidelines regime, and instead wrote around the problems, split hairs, and kept the system mostly in place, requiring the trial judge to still consider the "numerous factors that guide sentencing", and a court of appeals can review the judge's sentence and decide whether it is "unreasonable".
Judge Stephen Breyer is the author of that particular majority opinion in the Booker case that kept the guidelines mostly in place; Supreme Court Judge John Paul Stevens wrote the other majority opinion. One of the original members of the U.S. Sentencing Commission from 1985-1989 was a judge on the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals named Stephen Breyer, who was on that court from 1980-1994. He was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by president Bill Clinton and took his seat on 3 August 1994.
The world is indeed small, for in the Booker case before the supreme court in 2004, two lawyers involved in writing the brief (the written argument) for the Justice Department to support the guidelines were Christopher Wray, now the FBI Director, and Michael Drebeen, who has been in the Solicitor General's office in the Justice Department and who has been working at least part time since 2017 for -- you guessed it -- special counsel Robert Mueller . In this New York Times newspaper story from 6 June 2017 about Christopher Wray being nominated to be FBI Director, at the beginning of the story is a photograph from February 2004 of three men standing together -- James Comey (the Deputy Attorney General), Robert Mueller (FBI Director), and Christopher Wray (Chief of the Criminal Division in the Justice Department) . To slightly modify the immortal words of comedian George Carlin, "It's a small club, and you're not in it".
The growing mutation of the sentencing system continues, with endless quibbling among lawyers in court, judges, and the sentencing commission through litigation over detailed bureaucratic parts of the guidelines attempting to identify and pull under control every conceivable variation of a person, the person's conduct, and different factors that might be considered in a sentence, and assign a number to it, ultimately producing your guideline and criminal history levels. The sentencing commission has published a selected annotation of 85 supreme court cases from the Mistretta decision in 1989 to one from 2018, with a brief discussion of each opinion .
You can now see and understand the real reason for the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the carefully crafted system of assigning numbers to points and designing strict categories to include and control every possible factor about ordering a sentence for a crime.
This system removes the sentencing power and discretion from the courts and judges in the judicial branch and gives them to the prosecuting attorneys in the executive branch, through the Department of Justice and the offices of U.S. Attorneys. It has been and is a clever and diabolical transfer to the prosecuting authority of one of the most important functions in a criminal justice system: the sentencing punishment or consequence given to a defendant.
I, the federal prosecutor, will decide what your sentence will be by the offenses I decide to charge you with. All I have to do is get a guilty verdict from a jury trial or from a trial to the judge if you agree to have a judge alone hear and decide the trial. Or obtain a guilty plea from you to a charge and on terms that I agree to, whether that guilty plea results from your objective decision about your conduct, or whether you are coerced into pleading guilty by the sheer number of charges with possible sentences I have filed against you, or you plead guilty because you have run out of money and cannot afford a trial, or I threaten to charge your wife or family members also if you do not plead guilty to what I agree you can plead to. The judge is so constrained and limited by the sentencing guideline scheme that I am not worried at all about the sentence you will get; I have no downside risk there.
The presentence investigation report (PSI) about Paul Manafort from the federal probation office was filed on 6 March and is not publicly available, as is standard practice. Manafort's sentencing hearing on 13 March is taking on the aura of a spectacle, boosted by the government's allegation that he violated the terms of his plea agreement, and after the courageous departure downward from the sentencing guidelines by Judge T.S. Ellis III last week. Whether Judge Ellis's sentence may be the subject of review by appeal is another dense issue.
Meanwhile, in the pending case of Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.), a status report by the lawyers was filed on 12 March. It requested that his sentencing hearing be rescheduled--
Politicians, the press, and candidates announcing a year before the presidential primaries begin are blathering on clownlike about who has verbally offended whom, which newly invented group should have new "rights", whether someone is cis-gender, whether the president had sexual contact with a floozy pornographic movie performer and whether a legal payment to her to keep it confidential violated campaign finance laws (it did not), and on and on.
All the while, they are blithely unaware that playing out right in front of their faces is a radical transformation of federal criminal law, consolidating the ultimate governmental power in the branch that executes the police power, while federal judges with a lifetime appointment and all office facilities and perks paid for by taxpayers, dither and refuse to honestly describe and resist what has been happening. All federal judges except for two. One, Antonin Scalia, left this world in 2016, but was the only one on the supreme court standing against the slick usurpation of the democratic process and sentencing discretion. The other one, T.S. Ellis III, is still with us, and he not only understands what the sentencing guidelines really are, but he also assessed a sentence as it used to be done, without the double meaning of 1984.
 The United States Sentencing Commission--
 The official version of a Supreme Court opinion is in a book called the United States Reports. The Supreme Court has a digital version of its opinions in the pdf computer format going back only to volume 509, and the Mistretta opinion is in volume 488. Other internet websites have reproduced the opinion.
 The supreme court opinion is in a bound volume on the court's website, but I do not have the software at hand to pull it out as a separate document. The full volume of 1,259 pages in the pdf computer format is 3.9 megabytes in size and can be viewed or downloaded. The Booker opinion is on pdf pages 422 to 536, and on book pages 220 to 334.
 Justice Department lawyers for the government in the Booker appeal--
Michael Drebeen in the Booker appeal is hired by Mueller in the Russia investigation--
blue peacock , 9 hours agoThank you Robert for the education. Most people, even educated ones don't grasp the scale, scope and intricacies of our governmental apparatus. I know the more I learn, the more I become convinced we have a leviathan that is manipulated, twisted, overly complex and one that is working only for the ruling elites. We have to cut this behemoth down to size. And follow Taleb's maxims of "Skin in the Game" and "Anti-fragile" meaning simplicity.Bill H , 10 hours ago"The point was and is that laws are to be made by Congress, and not from
scratch by delegating the power to a type of commission, which Judge
Scalia called 'a sort of junior-varsity Congress' ". Such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Mar 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Zachary Smith , Mar 10, 2019 9:11:43 PM | link
How do US courts value lives. It seems to depend on "who did it". In the case of Syria, the sum is a very large one.
U.S. Court Finds Syria Responsible for Killing American Journalist Marie ColvinA federal judge in Washington, D.C. has ordered the Syrian government to pay $302 million in damages for the murder of journalist Marie Colvin in a 2012 artillery strike. The decision, issued on Wednesday, marks the first time in the seven-year conflict that a court has declared Syrian forces loyal to the government of President Bashar al-Assad responsible for deliberately attacking civilians.
Then there is the case of Iran's destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001.
US judge: Iran must pay $6bn to victims of 9/11 attacksIran is ordered to pay "$12,500,000 per spouse, $8,500,000 per parent, $8,500,000 per child, and $4,250,000 per sibling" to the families and estates of the deceased, court filings say.
A 4.96 annual interest rate will also be applied to the amount, starting from September 11, 2001 to the date of the judgement.
I'm mentioning this because of a story I saw on a blog operated by the son of America's Most Famous Jewish Orthodox Author. The fellow was gloating about the apartheid Jewish state "...cutting terror salaries from Palestinian Authority taxes..."
The guy's smug satisfaction gave me an idea. What If the US of A chose a number somewhere between the "life value" of Marie Colvin and the values assigned to the 9/11 victims, and subtracted the money from the 'allowance" given to the apartheid Jewish state. Every time they murder a Palestinian, they lose XX million dollars. Naturally the same thing would apply to times Palestinians murder one of their occupiers.
Or is it "anti-semitic" to even compare God's Most Favorite Thieves and Murderers with the subhuman creatures they're trampling underfoot?
Feb 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Just one week ago, we warned that the government -- helped by Congress (which adopted legislation allowing police to collect and test DNA immediately following arrests), President Trump (who signed the Rapid DNA Act into law), the courts (which have ruled that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime), and local police agencies (which are chomping at the bit to acquire this new crime-fighting gadget) -- was embarking on a diabolical campaign to create a nation of suspects predicated on a massive national DNA database.
As it turns out we were right, but we forgot one key spoke of the government's campaign to collect genetic information from as many individuals as possible: "innocent", commercial companies, who not only collect DNA from willing clients, but are also paid for it.
FamilyTreeDNA, one of the pioneers of the growing market for "at home", consumer genetic testing, confirmed a report from BuzzFeed that it has quietly granted the Federal Bureau of Investigation access to its vast trove of nearly 2 million genetic profiles.
... ... ...
Worse, it did so secretly, without obtaining prior permission from its users.
The move is of significant concern to much more than just privacy-minded FamilyTreeDNA customers. As Bloomberg notes, one person sharing genetic information also exposes those to whom they are closely related. That's how police caught the alleged Golden State Killer. And here is a stunning statistics - according to a 2018 study, only 2% of the population needs to have done a DNA test for virtually everyone's genetic information to be represented in that data.
Jan 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Oh , , January 31, 2019 at 12:40 pm
Bushie used the term "rule of law" and fooled a lot of people.
Most people don't realize that the more money you have more you can exercise the "rule of law".
Jan 27, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
I have had to shut off all of the media. The media/establishment hatred of Trump and their desire to force him from office is palpable and on near continuous display on every cable channel, including Fox. These pundits remind me of the drowning passengers from the Titanic, flailing frantically while immersed in freezing water but going no where but down. They are keen on avoiding facts. Let's be clear what the facts are about Roger Stone.
Roger Stone had an extremely short tenure with the Trump campaign. He served in an undefined position as a "campaign advisor" and either quit or was fired on 8 August 2015. Politico's account of the incident attributed Stone's departure to Trump's comments regarding former Fox star, Megyn Kelly:
Regardless of who resigned or was fired first, the campaign shakeup was the first sign that Trump's election effort was seriously damaged from within after his Thursday night debate performance and his subsequent comments in which he attacked one of the Fox debate moderators, Megyn Kelly.
Stone was never a critical component or the Trump campaign. He was not an insider and he was not a "go to guy" for Trump's inner circle. The indictment smears Stone by an unsupported claim that Stone had regular, continuing contact with unnamed persons affiliated with the Trump campaign even after his August 2015 departure. Having conversations is not illegal. Moreover, Stone was never a go to guy for the campaign.
Roger Stone does have a history with Paul Manafort, who served a brief tenure as Trump's campaign manager. They formed a political consulting firm in 1980-- Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly --and became known as bare knuckle brawlers in the world of electoral politics. They worked for Reagan and for George H.W. Bush. Worth noting that Manafort's time with the Trump campaign started off in March 2016--seven months after Stone's departure--as an advisor on going after delegates. He was promoted to campaign manager on May 19, 2016 and resigned from the campaign on August 19, 2016 under the cloud of being cozy with Putin :
The Trump campaign provided no reason for Manafort's resignation. But in the days immediately leading up to the announcement, the New York Times reported investigators were looking into $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Manafort from former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, and the Associated Press reported he helped a pro-Russian party in Ukraine funnel money to lobbying firms in Washington, D.C.
There is a lot of speculation about who Stone was talking to. Person 1 in the indictment is Jerome Corsi. Person 2 is Randy Credico. None were involved in any substantive way with the Trump campaign. I would not be surprised if it was Manafort (or someone acting at his behest) that reached out to Stone to see if he could get any additional info about Wikileaks plans.
Roger Stone is a bullshitter and grand raconteur. He can tell you things that sound spot on but are not true. I have first hand experience with him on this point. I first met Roger in the spring of 1980. I was teaching in the Washington Semester Program at American University and he spoke to my class. I did not see Roger in person again until March of 2018--we were on the same flight from Fort Lauderdale enroute to Washington. I introduced myself and we got reacquainted. Subsequent to that meeting I watched the documentary on Roger Stone and was amused to see him "credited" (or blamed) for starting the Whitey rumor--i.e., the claim that there was a video tape of Michelle Obama using the phrase Whitey in a speech before a group linked to Louis Farrakhan. Why amused? I started that rumor at the direction of Sidney Blumenthal (I did not believe it was a rumor but I was gamed--but that is a story for another day).
I ran into Roger last August, again at the airport. This time it was Washington Reagan National. I walked up to him and told him that he was being blamed for something I did. I proceeded to tell the story and he laughed when he learned that this smear of Michelle came from the Clinton Campaign. Roger is a connoisseur of dirty tricks.
With this background, I want you to take a fresh look at Mueller's indictment of Stone. It really does tell a story that exonerates Trump of the Russian collusion narrative but also exposes the desperation of Mueller to create a crime where none exists. (BTW, kudos to Robert Willman for his excellent piece at Sic Semper).
Here's the Mueller narrative on Stone :
During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials (NOT FURTHER IDENTIFIED) about WIKILEAKS and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1.
By in or around early August 2016, STONE was claiming both publicly and privately to have communicated with WIKILEAKS. By in or around mid-August 2016, WIKILEAKS made a public statement denying direct communication with STONE. Thereafter, STONE said that his communication with WIKILEAKS had occurred through a person STONE described as a "mutual friend," "go-between," and "intermediary." STONE also continued to communicate with members of the Trump Campaign about WIKILEAKS and its intended future releases.
Here is what this really demonstrates. First, Stone was talking out of his ass. He was portraying himself to people in the Trump campaign (probably Manafort) as a guy with inside knowledge. Based on what I know about Stone, I am sure he was playing this angle in hopes of getting back into the good graces of the Trump campaign. Second, if the Trump organization was actively colluding with the Russians and Wikileaks, why were they asking Stone to find out what Wikileaks had and what it intended to do with such material.
This is the most critical revelation, in my view, from this indictment--the Trump campaign did not know what Wikileaks had or what it intended to do. They were reaching out to an outsider--a third party--who claimed to have contacts with Wikileaks. But Stone did not. In typical Roger Stone fashion, his story kept changing. Initially he insisted he was in direct contact with someone there. Not true. He then admitted that he was relying on the word of Randy Credico. That probably was the truth. But Credico's information was second hand. Randy Credico knew the wife of Julian Assange's deceased attorney--Margaret Ratner Kunstler, widow of William Kunstler. She did have contacts at Wikileaks and was in a position to tell Credico that more dirt on Clinton was coming. But Stone was parlaying third hand information to present himself as a guy with inside knowledge. That's not criminal. That is typical of Washington and the world of journalism.
What is being done to Roger Stone is wrong. He was playing politics and playing according to Washington rules. It may not be pretty and may not be ethical. But it is not criminal and certainly does not justify sending out a ninja clad SWAT team to take him into custody. I hope some wealthy benefactors step up and help fund Stone's defense fund. He will win this case. Mueller and his team are the ones who have crossed an ethical and moral line.
PeterVE , 11 hours agoThank you for that vital point that this indictment contradicts the Official Story that the Trump campaign was in cahoots with the Russians in regards to the Wikileaks DNC info.Stuart Wood , 6 hours ago
After Thursday's news that Trump had decided to recognize the coup government in Venezuela, I chose to subject myself to the Rachel Maddow Show to see the official reaction of the Resistance™. She spent the entire first section of the show rehashing a story about security clearances from a year ago. Obviously, the MSM is confused whether to be against it, because TRUMP BAD, or to be for it, because ST. OBAMA imposed sanctions on Venezuela.
Mueller relieved them of the need to make those hard decisions by sending a heavily armed swat team on a predawn raid of an extremely dangerous loudmouth old braggart. They could even ignore the news that Elliot Abrams had been dragged back out of obscurity to oversee the rest of the coup in Venezuela. How long before Secord and North are shipping weapons from Israel to the noble freedom fighters of Venezuela?RE: Roger Stone and his Pinocchio problems. To f***ing bad. As long as he has been around, if he isn't smart enough to know that he can get his ass in a jam by lying to Congress or the FBI, the dude isn't thinking too straight. This administration seems to have a problem with truth telling, all the way from Trump to the numerous administration/campaign officials indicted or plead guilty to lying to the FBI or Congress. Blaming Mueller for their dishonest utterances is putting the shoe on the wrong foot.Bill Herschel , 12 hours agoIs this "story" more important than the prospect of troops in Argentina? I think not.ex-PFC Chuck -> Bill Herschel , 7 hours agoActually it is because it pertains to what increasingly looks like a slo-mo coup in this country.Jack , 12 hours agoMr. Johnson,Valissa Rauhallinen -> Jack , 11 hours ago
Where is President Trump in all this? These are all actions taken by his DOJ and FBI appointees. Does he believe that his responsibility ends with a tweet? Why hasn't he hauled Whitaker, Rosenstein and Wray into his office and demanded equal application of the law with respect to Hillary, Clapper, Brennan and Comey lying to Congress? Why hasn't he declassified all the information around the role of Fusion GPS, Clinton campaign, FBI, DOJ, CIA with respect to interference in the presidential campaign?
Is he not POTUS? Or is he just a character in a VR game?
Eric Newhill's comment is spot on. Why would anyone want to work for Trump's campaign and be ruined financially and face legal jeopardy when all he does is tweet? His actions show weakness and his opponents know it.Jack, I'm assuming he is not doing those things because he is completely surrounded by the Deep State who is already going after him one every front. Every time he has tried to cut back on forever war he gets sabotaged by the Borg. The gov't is yuuuuge and Trump and his small crew are peanuts compared to that. It's very difficult to make progress on his agenda given the level of internal opposition he faces and how outnumbered he is.Fred S -> Jack , 12 hours ago
From what I have learned over the years the POTUS does not have much freedom. Obama talked about this too.Where is Nancy Pelosi in all this; better yet where is the ACLU? I think you already know the answer.Jack -> Fred S , 11 hours agoNeither Nancy Pelosi nor the ACLU run the FBI and DOJ. President Trump does.Fred S -> Jack , 9 hours agoSo Congress has no oversight responsibility like they say they have and the ACLU is not really concerned about abuses of police powers.blue peacock -> Fred S , 9 hours agoWhy should they care when the FBI & DOJ are going after their opponent Trump's minions? He is the one that should care that his guys are the ones being being targeted and not his opponents.Eric Newhill , 13 hours agoLarry,Walrus -> Eric Newhill , 9 hours ago
What you say sounds right enough to me - though I kind of have to take it on faith because I've never been anywhere near the world you describe.
However, I think, for what's it worth, that the whole point to Mueller and all the legal harassment and arrests of people associated, even to a small extent with the Trump campaign, is to scare people away from working with Trump on the 2020 campaign and leave the Donald high and dry. That and create an illusion of criminality around Trump. Again, that's an uninformed opinion; just an opinion derived from what I see. Curious to know if you think there's any truth to it. ThxEric, it's called "file stuffing " a bureaucratic name for assembling a mountainous pile of allegations - 99.9% of which are either trivial or false, that is too big and convoluted for any team of humans to refute in detail at one sitting.ex-PFC Chuck -> Walrus , 7 hours ago
This file is then served up to a judge (or the Republican National Convention) with the offered assumption that because the file is so voluminous, the allegations contained must be substantially true.
I would expect to hear Trump labelled as a "troubled President" because, you know, he and his campaign did all these illegal things, so he must be guilty of stuff, so he needs to be impeached and can't stand in 2020, meh or whatever..........Mueller is following the Department of Injustice practice of throwing multiple charges at people, even though they know many of them won't stick, so as to drive up the costs of discovery. Thus looms the prospect financial ruin for all but the wealthiest of defendants. This induces them to plead guilty to lesser charges in order to preserve their retirement savings and possibly long prison sentences.
DoJ career prosecutors are evaluated on their out-of-court settlement rates and this is how they achieve high ones.
So much for the de facto right of a fair trial. IIRC, when the press got to stone after the court appearance he stated that he'll take this to trial. He may have second thoughts as the legal bills pile up.
Jan 19, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com
The partial government shutdown has left local jails across the country scrambling to pay their bills because they rely on money they get from U.S. agencies to house federal inmates, and those checks have stopped flowing.
Dec 27, 2018 | www.unz.com
renfro , says: December 26, 2018 at 11:20 pm GMT@ChuckOrloski They are constantly, constantly stealing.
17 charged in massive Holocaust fraud case -- US news -- Crime
Nov 9, 2010 -- 17 charged in $42 million Holocaust fraud case. FBI: Employees at Jewish Claims Center had people pretend to be victims of Nazi persecution so they could collect money German funds over 6000 phony claims
Germany Seeks Compensation for $57M Holocaust Fraud -- The Forward
https://forward.com › News › World
Apr 17, 2015 -- Germany is for the first time seeking compensation for the $57 million lost to fraud at the Claims Conference. But the Holocaust agency says it
Dec 21, 2018 | www.wsws.org
On Wednesday, the United States Senate voted 87-12 in favor of watered-down legislation that will roll back a few of the most draconian provisions of the federal criminal justice system.
The "First Step Act," short for the "Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act," goes back to the House of Representatives, which passed a slightly stronger version last May by a vote of 360 to 59.
For his own opportunistic reasons, President Donald Trump pushed Senate Republicans to support the legislation, tweeting after the vote, "America is the greatest Country in the world and my job is to fight for ALL citizens, even those who have made mistakes."
When it comes to locking people up, the United States does indeed stand on top of the heap. By large margins, there are more people in state and federal penitentiaries, 2.3 million, and a larger percentage of its population incarcerated than any other nation. The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is the largest single prison system, incarcerating some 180,000 inmates, almost 25 percent beyond its designated capacity.
Mass incarceration is not just barbaric and cruel. It adds billions in expenses to government budgets and deprives capitalists of a significant pool of potential workers to keep downward pressure on wages. Efforts to reform the federal system, which can encourage similar reforms on the state level, have been building for years.
In a second tweet, Trump added, "In addition to everything else, billions of dollars will be saved. I look forward to signing this into law!"
Federal courts, which handle crimes such as drug trafficking, bank robbery and a variety of so-called white-collar offenses, are governed by strict sentencing guidelines that compel lengthy sentences. Offenders entitled to maximum "good time" credits are nevertheless required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.
The legislation was sponsored by an unusual coalition that included the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Conservative Union, the right-wing Koch brothers and the liberal Center for American Progress. All 12 votes against the measure were cast by Senate Republicans.
Trump made a point of marshaling celebrity support, including a much ballyhooed meeting last September with the renowned nobody Kim Kardashian, CNN commentator Van Jones and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who lobbied for passage.
The legislation funds job training and other programs for "low-risk" inmates, who can earn time credits that reduce their sentence, and there are new provisions for "prerelease custody" such as "halfway houses" and "home confinement." Certain categories of "violent offenders" and some drug traffickers are excluded, however. The bill removes restrictions on contracting with faith-based contractors, and in that manner contributes to the ongoing repudiation of the First Amendment's prohibition against government sponsorship of religion.
The legislation places limits on shackling pregnant inmates and solitary confinement for children, two provisions that should never have been necessary. Another section directs the Bureau of Prisons to incarcerate inmates in facilities close to their families when feasible.
There are three prospective changes to sentencing laws. First, mandatory minimums for some nonviolent drug offenses are reduced. The "three strikes" penalty is lowered from life in prison to 25 years, a small comfort for affected inmates and their families. Second, federal district judges will have slightly more access to "safety valves" to avoid imposing mandatory minimum sentences. Third, "stacking" firearm possession on a sentence for another crime, like a drug offense, is limited to offenders with prior convictions.
Generally, these provisions are not retroactive and are of no use to people now in custody. A fourth sentencing provision, however, allows inmates sentenced before the 2010 reduction in the disparity between crack and powder cocaine to petition for re-sentencing. Those people have already served eight years under provisions of law recognized as discriminatory.
The changes are, as a whole, relatively minor, but that did not stop Democrats such as Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator, from calling the bill "sweeping," "the biggest breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation," and the like. CNN commentator Van Jones called the Senate vote a "Christmas miracle." All of these forces heaped praise on Trump for his support.
Dec 13, 2018 | www.felonsfortrump.org
We Proudy Support A Long Overdue Military Parade Prison Reform
Central to the arguments to promote prison reforms is a human rights argument - the premise on which many UN standards and norms have been developed.Criminal Justice Reform
Criminal justice reform may wind up being the most significant conservative policy change in Washington this year.Prison Reform Movement
How the Reform Movement Changed America - Created new mental institutions called asylums. - More mentally ill admitted. - Increase in funding for asylums. - Reduced cruel treatment in asylums. - Improved conditions for poor mentally ill.Prison Litigation Reform Act
(don't support)The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) makes it harder for prisoners to file lawsuits in federal court.Prison And Asylum Reform
Prison reform has had a long history in the United States, beginning with the construction of the nation's first prisons. From the time of the earliest prisons in the United States, reformers have struggled with the problem of how to punish criminals while also preserving their humanity.Criminal Justice Reform Organizations
Although many people believe that representing clients and fighting criminal justice falls on the public defenders office, nonprofit organizations play a vital role.What Is Prison Reform
Prison reform is the attempt to improve conditions inside prisons, establish a more effective penal system, or implement alternatives to incarceration.Prison Reform Definition
The reforms are targeted to address the core behavioral issues that result in criminality, with the goal of reducing the likelihood that inmates re-offend either while incarcerated or after their release.Criminal Justice Reform Bill
The House Judiciary Committee is working on a bipartisan basis on several bills to improve the criminal justice system.Prison Reform 2017
THE URGENCY of criminal-justice reform in 2017 has become a rare matter of bipartisan consensus in Washington.Prison Reform 2018
Overcrowding, medical inadequacies, sexual assault, solitary confinement and other threats to the health and safety of both prisoners and guards proliferate in U.S. prisons and jails in 2018.Criminal Justice System Reform
Some pilots have been successfully launched in several states. Others will be rolled out at two prisons in early 2017.What Is Criminal Justice Reform
The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population but almost 25 percent of the total prison population.Prison Reform Organizations
In 1980, there were about 500,000 people in prison in the U.S. Today there are 2.3 million, and according to the 2008 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics there's a total of over 7 million people on parole or probation or locked up.Prison Reform In America
Just as conservatives once led the way toward the tougher sentencing rules and other policies that increased imprisonment rates, they should lead the way in sensibly shrinking the prison population.Criminal Justice Reform 2017
Reduce the number of absurdly long prison sentences in America.Criminal Justice Reform 2018
Central to the arguments to promote prison reforms is a human rights argument - the premise on which many UN standards and norms have been developed.Criminal Justice Reform Act
The Council passed legislation in May 2016 to create more proportional penalties for certain low‑level, non‑violent offense.sCriminal Justice Reform Definition
Criminal justice reform in the United States is a type of reform aimed at fixing perceived errors in the criminal justice system.Prison And Mental Health Reform
Asylum and Prison reforms, still topics of importance today, have changed drastically from the era of Dorothea Dix's reforms.Prison Reform Articles
Research has considered the quality of health care provided in USA's prisons, and has analyzed the impact of correctional education on employment.US Prison Reform
The West Wing push for prison reform is at odds with Jeff Sessions's jail-happy Justice Department.
Nov 24, 2018 | www.bradford-delong.com
Dan Davies on financial fraud is certainly the most entertaining book on Economics I have read this year. Highly recommend itcold Chris Dillow : Review of Dan Davies: Lying for Money : "Squalid crude affairs committed mostly by inadequates. This is a message of Dan Davies' history of fraud, Lying For Money .... Most frauds fall into a few simple types.... Setting up a fake company... pyramid schemes... control frauds, whereby someone abuses a position of trust... plain counterfeiters. My favourite was Alves dos Reis, who persuaded the printers of legitimate Portuguese banknotes to print even more of them.... All this is done with the wit and clarity of exposition for which we have long admired Dan. His footnotes are an especial delight, reminding me of William Donaldson. Dan has also a theory of fraud. 'The optimal level of fraud is unlikely to be zero' he says. If we were to take so many precautions to stop it, we would also strangle legitimate economic activity...
Nov 19, 2018 | www.unz.com
The Israelis were extradited to the U.S., where the prosecutor described them as "a predatory group that targeted elderly people in the U.S., conning them into believing they were lottery winners. Preying on their victims' dreams of financial comfort, [they] bilked them out of substantial portions of their life savings." According to the U.S. Attorney's office :"The defendants operated multiple boiler rooms that used the names of various sham law firms purportedly located in New York, including law firms named 'Abrahams Kline,' 'Bernstein Schwartz,' 'Steiner, Van Allen, and Colt,' 'Bloomberg and Associates," and 'Meyer Stevens.'The ringleaders, Avi Ayache and Yaron Bar, were eventually convicted, and the U.S. prosecutor announced that they would "spend a substantial portion of their lives in prison." Ayache was sentenced in 2014 to 13 years in prison and Bar to 12. Yet, prison records indicate the two were released the next year. Other members of the ring also appear to have been released after extraordinarily little time. If these men did serve only a tiny portion of their U.S. sentences, as public records and phone calls and emails to the Bureau of Prisons indicate, this may be due to the fact that Israelis are allowed to be imprisoned in Israel instead of in the U.S. Their sentences then are determined by Israel and, as we will see below, are often far shorter than they would be in the U.S. Gery Shalon hundreds of millions of dollars
The defendants further used various aliases and call forwarding telephone numbers to mask the fact that the defendants were located in Israel. The defendants also possessed bank accounts in Israel, Cyprus, and Uganda, to which illegal proceeds were wired."
In 2015 Gery Shalon and two other Israelis were charged with utilizing hacked data for 100 million people to spam them with "pump and dump" penny stocks, netting hundreds of millions of dollars.
The money was then laundered through an illegal bitcoin exchange allegedly owned by Shalon (more on bitcoin below). Shalon was considered the ringleader of what U.S. prosecutors called a " sprawling criminal enterprise. " He faced decades behind bars.
However, he was instead given a plea deal in which he escaped any prison sentence whatsoever. Worth $2 billion, Shalon was to pay a $403 million fine.
republic , says: November 19, 2018 at 6:05 pm GMT...The ringleaders, Avi Ayache and Yaron Bar, were eventually convicted, and the U.S. prosecutor announced that they would "spend a substantial portion of their lives in prison." Ayache was sentenced in 2014 to 13 years in prison and Bar to 12. Yet, prison records indicate the two were released the next year. Other members of the ring also appear to have been released after extraordinarily little time.
So if the US government is secretly releasing Federal prisoners, and if that is the case then American justice is on par with the Mexican penal system, where such occurrences are routine.
Can anyone here verify if those two are in prison in Israel or free?
Nov 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Criminal justice reform is a complicated subject, but it's based on some simple ideas. The vast majority of prisoners will get out one day and return to their communities. It makes sense, therefore, to offer them treatment for problems such as drug addiction and mental illness, while also helping them with job skills and training. That way, they have a chance to make a go of life on the outside, rather than committing new crimes and returning to prison. To do otherwise is not just ineffective policy but counterproductive, because it means more crimes will be committed.
This philosophy is a rebuke, in other words, to the "tough on crime" policies that dominated discussion during the 1980s and 1990s. Back then, when murder rates were rising fast and the crack cocaine epidemic was rotting cities from within, politicians shied far from the idea that it was worth trying to rehabilitate prisoners. All they wanted to show criminals was a concrete cell and maybe a hammer they could use to bust up rocks. Providing any sort of helping hand to convicts came to be viewed as misguided mercy. Congress and the states adopted policies such as mandatory minimum sentencing laws that may have cut back on crime but certainly caused prison populations to soar.
As a candidate, Trump sounded like he came out of that more punitive tradition. He had long advocated for aggressive police tactics such as stop-and-frisk, in which New York cops patted down individuals for drugs and weapons on pretenses the courts ultimately considered dubious. In his 2000 book The America We Deserve , he said that "tough crime policies are the most important form of national defense," making it essential that government "tranquiliz[e] the criminal element as much as possible." He vowed in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 2016 to "liberate our citizens" from "the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation"; blamed President Barack Obama throughout the campaign for releasing violent criminals; and argued on Fox News that police could solve problems in cities like Chicago by "being very much tougher than they are right now." He tweeted that "inner-city crime is reaching record levels" and pledged to "stop the slaughter going on."
(Editor's Note: President Trump threw his support behind a bipartisan bill to reform federal sentencing guidelines Wednesday, the details and politics of which we describe below)
Trump seemed ready to put his law and order campaign rhetoric into practice by installing Jeff Sessions as his attorney general. They've had their differences, but Sessions remains an active voice when it comes to criminal justice. As a senator, he presented one of the most significant roadblocks against a criminal justice reform bill that enjoyed broad bipartisan support but ended up dying toward the end of the Obama administration. Sessions warned that the bill "would release thousands of violent felons and endanger millions of Americans whose safety is increasingly threatened by rising crime rates." As attorney general, Sessions has continued to take a hard line on crime and drug issues. Blaming Trump and Sessions for backward-looking policies, The New York Times editorialized that their approach represented "the undoing of justice reform."
Not so fast. Despite all of this, Trump has instead emerged as an unlikely or at least surprising champion for criminal justice reform. "Many people made a big mistake assuming what Trump administration policies were going to be," says Vikrant Reddy, a senior fellow at the Charles Koch Institute focusing on criminal justice reform and policing reform.Law-and-Order Texas Takes on Criminal Justice Reform The Dickensian Return of Debtors' Prisons
Trump may be instinctively anti-crime -- he frequently cites his concerns about illegal immigration and gangs -- but it turns out he has been open to new and less reactionary ways of fighting it. And that includes the system taking a more proactive role in prisoner rehabilitation. The real payoff is for society as a whole, which should expect higher percentages of ex-convicts to find employment and housing and become productive members of their communities -- if they're properly equipped -- rather than just coming out "hardened" and destined to fall back on their worst proclivities.
A number of conservative groups have been preaching this gospel for years, including the Heritage Foundation, the American Conservative Union Foundation, FreedomWorks, Right on Crime, and R Street Institute, all of which have been quietly building a criminal justice coalition within the Republican Party. They helped convince the White House that it was time to pursue this course at the federal level, getting a direct channel with Trump.
The reform agenda has been shepherded by Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior advisor. Charles Kushner, Jared's father, was sentenced to two years in federal prison on charges of witness tampering, tax evasion, and illegal campaign donations, which helps explains his son's political sensitivity on the incarceration issue, making it a personal priority in Trump's first term.
Kushner has worked closely not just with conservative advocates, but with Democrats who are otherwise ideological enemies. He's reached out personally to convicts and family members whose stories were publicized in the media. "Like many of the other leaders who are supporting this legislation, he was deeply impacted by his [family's] experience," says Jessica Jackson Sloan, national director of #cut50, a progressive criminal justice advocacy group. "It redefined what he thought of people who go to prison."
Sloan co-founded #cut50 with Van Jones, a liberal commentator on CNN who worked for the Obama White House on green jobs, but has collaborated with Kushner and other Republicans such as Newt Gingrich on criminal justice reform. There's mutual interest on this issue: liberals such as New York Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries, have decided to work with the administration on criminal justice reform at a time when it's almost political suicide for them to be caught working with any Republicans at all, this president in particular.
But it's Trump's embrace of the issue that has helped quiet conservative critics who helped sink criminal justice reform proposals during the last Congress. Trump hosted a prison reform summit at the White House in May, offering the most flattering platform possible for advocates of the "smart on crime" approach. "Prison reform is an issue that unites people from across the political spectrum," Trump said at the event. "It's an amazing thing. Our whole nation benefits if former inmates are able to reenter society as productive, law-abiding citizens." He promised, in his usual humble way, that America's criminal justice system would emerge as "the best of its kind anywhere in the world."
Four days later, the House overwhelmingly approved, 360-59, a prison reform bill. Among other things, the bill would authorize $50 million annually over the next five years for the Bureau of Prisons to spend on education, job training, and drug treatment programs. "While we recognize criminal behavior needs to be punished and criminals need to be incarcerated, we must also acknowledge that our prison population needs to be rehabilitated to the greatest extent practicable," said Virginia Democratic Representative Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "The bill establishes a risk and needs assessment as the basis of both an effective recidivism reduction program and an efficient and effective federal prison system."
A grand total of two House Republicans voted against the bill. Most of the opposition came from liberal Democrats who complained the bill did not go far enough. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and dozens of allied groups warned it did nothing to reform sentencing requirements or guidelines. "Meaningful reform," they argued, requires both elements. "To reform America's prisons, we must change the laws that send people to them in the first place," former Attorney General Eric Holder argued in The Washington Post . "Anything less represents a failure of leadership."
If the only critics of the House bill were Obama administration holdovers, a few liberal lawmakers, and groups on the left, their complaints wouldn't matter much in today's Washington. But some Republican advocates, too, believe that changes in prison practices must be coupled with amendments to sentencing laws.
Among their number is Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa. "We need a more strategic approach to drug sentencing that focuses law enforcement resources on violent career criminals and drug kingpins instead of non-violent, lower level offenders," he wrote in April. Working with Democrats such as Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the Senate minority whip, Grassley has emerged as a key voice on criminal justice reform on Capitol Hill and his support is considered necessary, if not necessarily sufficient, to see any prison bill through the upper chamber.
While Grassley is a powerful advocate for sentencing reform, there are Republicans critics, not to mention Sessions and conceivably the president himself who could pose the most difficult roadblocks to legislation. "Frankly, sentencing reform would cause a lot of trouble in the House, especially with Republicans," says Republican Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the House bill's lead sponsor. "But it also has problems with the president."
Still, it's possible that the easiest path forward for the bill on the Senate side would be to add a limited set of sentencing provisions, in order to get Democrats on board and satisfy Grassley, who in February helped to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, along with New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah. That bill would reduce some mandatory minimum sentences, allow judges more discretion in certain cases, and reduce three-strike penalties for some offenders from life imprisonment to 25 years.
"If you add a couple of modest sentencing pieces, this thing gets across the finish line," says Jason Pye, vice president of legislative affairs for FreedomWorks, of a possible compromise bill with the House. "That's probably the only way this gets done."
Since the summer, the White House has been negotiating with members of Congress to come up with a compromise that would be voted on following the midterm elections. It would incorporate some changes in sentencing law to satisfy Grassley and Senate Democrats, but without going so far as to drive away too many other Republicans. It's a narrow path that has taken months to navigate, but advocates realize the odds look brighter for passage in a lame-duck session than they would in the new year, when the liberal position will likely be strengthened by expected Democratic gains in the House, throwing off the issue's delicate bipartisan balance. "We believe they really want to get this done," a House aide told . "The hope is everybody gets to yes, because everyone knows it will be harder in the next Congress."
In Congress, it's always easier to kill than to pass something. There's a very low price to pay in Washington for doing nothing. But an idea that has support from across the political spectrum -- and one that has become a domestic priority, at least in general terms, for the president -- can't be written off entirely. The fact that most of the complaints are about what's not in the legislation, rather than what's in it, is actually promising.
The percentage of adults supervised by some sort of correctional system in the U.S. (incarceration, probation, or parole) has dropped for nine straight years. In 2016, it was lower than it had been since 1993. The violent crime rate has fallen by just under half over that same period. Out of 1.5 million incarcerated individuals, about 190,000 are in federal custody. With states responsible for most prisoners and a majority of them having enacted some type of criminal justice reform, some say that the outcome in Washington ultimately doesn't matter much. "The feds are way behind the states," says Rick Raemisch, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. "What they do is irrelevant to us."
But that isn't hindering momentum on Capitol Hill. Grassley has also joined with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah to address the issue of mens rea (Latin for "guilty mind"). In essence, they are worried about people who have been convicted of crimes they had no intent to commit. Their legislation would identify criminal statutes that lack a mens rea standard, giving agencies six years to issue rules clarifying when -- and how much -- intent is needed for enforcement. "There are more than 4,500 criminal laws on the books and more regulatory crimes than the Congressional Research Service was able to count," Hatch and Grassley wrote in a Washington Examiner op-ed. "And when many of these crimes are drafted without clear criminal intent requirements, it becomes increasingly easy for unsuspecting Americans to be sent to jail for conduct they had no idea was against the law."
Another idea being talked about on Capitol Hill is modifying section 851 of the criminal code, which allows prosecutors to double the mandatory minimum sentences sought for repeat offenders, or even increase the penalty to life. It was meant to be a tool used against hardened criminals, but prosecutors have often used it as a bludgeon to force plea deals from defendants who insist on their right to trial (a practice Holder clamped down on as attorney general). Another section being looked at is 924(c), which currently calls for adding jail time to sentences when a criminal carries or uses a firearm in connection with federal crimes such as drug trafficking. Prosecutors are sometimes required to "stack" charges under the code that add years to sentences against criminals who are not truly violent.
In one notorious case, Weldon Angelos was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling marijuana, after a confidential informant said he had firearms in his possession and at his home. Even the judge who sentenced him called his punishment "unjust, cruel, and even irrational," given that far shorter sentences are meted out to child rapists and hijackers. "Our provisions dealing with 924(c) are actually tougher on crime moving forward," Senator Lee said at a Judiciary hearing. "This expands the application of 924(c) moving forward so it applies to violent offenders and not just drug offenders who are recidivists."
The risk is that modifying sentencing enhancements, or digging deeper into the criminal code, could cost these bills as much support as would be gained. Some liberals are convinced, after a long drought, that this legislative effort is likely to be the last of its kind for a very long time, so they want to demand as much as they possibly can. Others recognize that any bill that can reach Trump's desk is bound to be a compromise. "You don't start cutting with the thickest part of the axe," says Jessica Jackson Sloan of #cut50.
The House-passed bill's formal title is an ungainly mouthful: the Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act. It's one of those convoluted titles meant to spell out an acronym, which in this case is the FIRST STEP Act. Backers say it's just that -- a first swing at this issue. Its passage, they say, wouldn't be the final word on criminal justice reform, but rather offer proof of concept that Congress can actually pass something that addresses it.
"It doesn't scratch every itch, even just in a prison reform context, but it's a significant piece of legislation that moves the ball forward," says Derek Cohen, director of Right on Crime.
In addition to increasing funding for vocational and rehab programs -- which have long waitlists -- the bill would help prisoners get ID or other documentation they'll need to find jobs and housing on the outside. It would also direct the Bureau of Prisons to incarcerate convicts within 500 miles of their primary residence, since studies indicate that keeping prisoners within reasonable range of their families cuts down on recidivism. The bill would allow prisoners -- those not convicted of sex offenses, terrorism, or some other serious crimes -- to earn 10 days of time credits for every 30 days of educational, job training, or other risk reduction programming they complete, with bonuses if they're repeatedly assessed at low risk levels for recidivism. The credited time could be served in home confinement, halfway houses, or under community supervision.
The bill would also increase the amount of "good time credits" inmates who avoid disciplinary problems can earn per year, from 47 days to 54 days. This provision would apply retroactively, meaning some prisoners could be released as soon as the bill goes into effect. That cost the bill the support of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which initially embraced the FIRST STEP Act. "Probation officers now are almost overwhelmed with the volume of outgoing prisoners," says Patrick O'Carroll, the association's executive director. "If a large amount of prisoners were released in bulk, the probation system would be overwhelmed."
Will some version of the FIRST STEP Act make it through the Senate and into law? The answer to that question depends on who you ask, and on which day. Concerns about crime remain a near-constant in American politics, no matter what data may say about its decline or the effectiveness of "evidence-based" reentry programs. "I think the instinct is still there to punish groups harshly," says Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
Some conservative senators are pushing for changes to the bill to make it seem less "soft." Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has praised the goals of the House bill but argues strongly against cutting sentences or giving judges more discretion. "That foolish approach is not criminal-justice reform -- it's a jailbreak," he wrote in The Wall Street Journal in August.
Such opposition is why it's been tough to craft a compromise that adds sentencing changes to the House bill without endangering its passage in both the House and Senate. The final product is expected to be less ambitious than the Senate bill that failed under Obama. "Some of the legislation in play in that period was more aggressive," says Cohen, the Right on Crime director. "Also, it sends a very strong signal that the president has put so much political capital behind this."
Trump isn't waiting for Congress to act. In March, he launched the Federal Interagency Council on Crime Prevention and Improving Reentry, directing a dozen cabinet departments and agencies to come up with strategies to address problems such as poverty, drug addiction and lack of educational and job opportunities, by way of improving the prospects for ex-cons. "To further improve public safety, we should aim not only to prevent crime in the first place, but also to provide those who have engaged in criminal activity with greater opportunities to lead productive lives," Trump wrote in his executive order.
A week after the House passed its bill, Trump met in the Oval Office with Kim Kardashian West, the reality TV star. Commentators on the Left had a collective meltdown over the encounter, with The New Yorker calling it "a nightmare we can't wake up from." It turned out that Kardashian wasn't there to discuss ratings or chat about her husband Kanye West's pro-Trump tweets a month earlier.
She instead asked the president to grant clemency to Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old great-grandmother who'd been serving a life sentence since 1996 on a nonviolent drug offense. A few days later, Trump commuted Johnson's sentence. In a statement, the White House said that Johnson "has been a model prisoner" over the past two decades, had worked hard to rehabilitate herself, and acted as a mentor to other inmates.
"I thought Kim Kardashian was great because she brought Alice to my attention," Trump said. "We are looking at literally thousands of names of people that have come to our attention that have been treated unfairly or where their sentence is far too long."
After pledging so often to put people away, Trump has come to recognize that under the right circumstances, it's better to let some people out.
Alan Greenblatt, former reporter for Congressional Quarterly and NPR, writes about politics and policy for Governing magazine. This article was supported by a grant from the R Street Institute.
May 25, 2006 | www.forbes.comTwo disgraced Enron executives, founder Kenneth Lay and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling , were found guilty on all six counts and 19 of 28 counts, respectively. Both face lengthy prison terms.
Where they will serve their time can be almost as important as how much time they'll do, says Alan Ellis, a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Ellis now specializes in the defense of white-collar offenders.
Although criminals don't get to choose their prisons, they can make requests. And assuming their desired location matches their security classification, as defined by the Bureau of Prisons--minimum, low, medium or high--and has space available, requests are often honored.
Click here for a slide show of the 12 best places to go to prison.
Often, but not always. Take the case of Samuel Waksal , the former
ImClone Systems CEO, who requested to serve his seven-year sentence at Eglin Federal Prison Camp in Florida. (Eglin was once considered so cushy that the term "Club Fed" was actually coined to describe it. It was recently closed.) Instead, Waksal was shipped off to the Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institute in Minersville, Pa., which did not make our list.
And the fates of crooked corporate titans like former
Tyco Chief Executive Dennis Kozlowski and Adelphia founder John Rigas can hardly be encouraging either. Kozlowski will serve up to 25 years of hard time in a New York state prison, while Rigas, who is free pending an appeal, was sentenced to 15 years in the can.
The days of "Club Fed"--think golf courses and lobster bakes--are long gone. But minimum security facilities, known as federal prison camps, are the best suited for disgraced CEOs and other white-collar criminals. In theory, inmates in these camps show no risk of violence or escape. Both shoe-mogul Steven Madden and Martha Stewart are FPC alums.
Why are prison camps the way to go, if you must go at all? Among other perks, federal prison camps have a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, dormitory-style accommodations and little to no fencing. In fact, inmates could walk away from these camps. Few do, however, because recaptured inmates face severe consequences.
While some of the minimum security facilities still stand on their own, it is increasingly common to have camps lie adjacent to larger and more secure institutions, particularly low-security federal correctional institutions.
"It used to be that those freestanding facilities were considered to be more relaxed," says David Novak, a former
Microsoftconsultant who served time in a federal prison camp for mail fraud. "The differences now really come down to convenience for family, weather and things of that nature."
Ellis says the quality of life among staff members also can make one prison more pleasant than another. "Happier staff makes for happier inmates," he says.
To determine which prisons are the best places to serve time, we turned to the man who wrote the guidebook, literally. Ellis has written several editions of the Federal Prison Guidebook , which profiles each of the nation's 178 federal prisons.
Mar 20, 2012 | www.youtube.com
Regent University School of Law Published on Mar 20, 2012
Regent Law Professor James Duane gives viewers startling reasons why they should always exercise their 5th Amendment rights when questioned by government officials. Download his article on the topic at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf... .
Former CIA Officer Will Teach You How to Spot a Lie l Digiday - YouTube
10 Police Interrogation Techniques That You Need To Know About How Do Police Extract Confessions - YouTube
Talking to Police - YouTube
Oct 14, 2018 | www.theverge.com
... ... ..
Browder sped up the making of DoNotPay by creating a bot builder for himself to quickly drag and drop documents and automate bot creation. Then, he recruited volunteer and part-time lawyers to help him with the legal aspect of the tool. To deal with the differences between state laws, he had to work with lawyers and charities to make locality-specific bots and detect the user's location to show only relevant local bots.
You can type in questions like "I got an unfair parking ticket," or requests for legal compensation from an airline or reporting discrimination, for a total of 1,000 different categories, although results only pop up for certain keywords. If the chatbot successfully directs you to the appropriate issue, it can then generate an appeal letter for you that you can sign and print.
The letters include language like "I believe that the court should exercise fairness in cancelling a ticket that...is perfectly justified to be cancelled," and "I feel that the issue of a ticket is an unlawful action inconsistent with precedent." But if you stump the bot, it triggers a prompt: "Need extra help?" It then provides a rather unhelpful link back to Google.
Jul 12, 2017 | slashdot.org
(theverge.com) 79 BeauHD on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @05:30PM from the free-strongly-worded-letters dept.
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge:
A chatbot that provides free legal counsel using AI is now available in all 50 states starting today. This is following its success in New York, Seattle, and the UK, where it was invented by British entrepreneur Joshua Browder. Browder, who calls his invention "the world's first robot lawyer," estimates the bot has helped defeat 375,000 parking tickets in a span of two years. Browder, a junior at Stanford University, tells The Verge via Twitter that his chatbot could potentially experience legal repercussions from the government, but he is more concerned with competing with lawyers.
"The legal industry is more than a 200 billion dollar industry, but I am excited to make the law free," says Browder. "Some of the biggest law firms can't be happy!" Browder believes that his chatbot could also save government officials time and money. "Everybody can win," he says, "I think governments waste a huge amount of money employing people to read parking ticket appeals. DoNotPay sends it to them in a clear and easy to read format."
Oct 11, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Ted Cruz's Long Sellout on Criminal Justice Reform Once an innovator on this issue, he's descended into authoritarian fearmongering. By Jack Hunter • October 10, 2018
https://apis.google.com/se/0/_/+1/fastbutton?usegapi=1&size=medium&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%2Farticles%2Fted-cruzs-long-sellout-on-criminal-justice-reform%2F&gsrc=3p&ic=1&jsh=m%3B%2F_%2Fscs%2Fapps-static%2F_%2Fjs%2Fk%3Doz.gapi.en_US.-3Q5REx5LtQ.O%2Fam%3DwQ%2Frt%3Dj%2Fd%3D1%2Frs%3DAGLTcCOaEhBP76PUvj_-0NwHeJUk1xWfYw%2Fm%3D__features__#_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe%2C_renderstart%2Concircled%2Cdrefresh%2Cerefresh&id=I0_1539235930800&_gfid=I0_1539235930800&parent=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&pfname=&rpctoken=6869965Gage Skidmore/Flickr When Ted Cruz invoked the name of Alton Sterling -- the black man shot by police in Baton Rouge in 2016 -- before the Republican National Convention two years ago, I wrote an entire column thanking the Texas senator.
I commended Cruz for joining a growing chorus of conservatives who were beginning to see how heavy-handed law enforcement and a penal system that disproportionately punishes minorities was a big government problem that deserved more attention.
For a number of years now, high-profile figures on the right -- like Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee , former Texas governor Rick Perry , tax activist Grover Norquist , Newt Gingrich , and others -- have taken up the mantle of criminal justice reform , including a focus on how African Americans have uniquely suffered .
Yet today, Cruz has taken the opposite approach -- to a degree that is shameful .
When Cruz's competitive Democratic opponent, Congressman Beto O'Rourke, spoke to a historic black church last month in Dallas, he said, "How can it be, in this day and age, in this very year, in this community, that a young man, African American, in his own apartment, is shot and killed by a police officer?"
O'Rourke continued, "And when we all want justice and the facts and the information to make an informed decision, what's released to the public? That he had a small amount of marijuana in his kitchen."
O'Rourke was referring to Botham Shem Jean , a black Dallas man who was shot in his own apartment by a police officer who thought she had entered her own residence. The shooting happened a mere week prior to O'Rourke's church speech. The circumstances of the killing, along with police thinking it was somehow necessary for the public to know that Jean had a small amount of pot in his home, captivated the country across ideological lines.
"How can that be just in this country?" O'Rourke asked. "How can we continue to lose the lives of unarmed black men in the United States of America at the hands of white police officers?" He continued, "That is not justice. That is not us. That can and must change."Ted Cruz Can Breathe Easy Where the Right Went Wrong on Criminal Justice Reform
Again, many Republicans, especially libertarian-leaning ones, are with O'Rourke on this. There is significant space on the right for this stance today .
But Ted Cruz is apparently no longer on board. Cruz instead tweeted a video of O'Rourke's speech, adding, "In O'Rourke's own words," seeming to condemn his language.
What is remotely wrong with O'Rourke's "own words" there? They were spot-on, and the questions he asked the church audience were par for the course for anyone, right or left, who advocates for criminal justice reform and against police brutality.
What Cruz meant in his tweet can perhaps be gleaned from his reaction to O'Rourke's call for the officer who shot Jean to be fired. "I wish Beto O'Rourke and Democrats weren't so quick to always blame the police officer," Cruz said .
Cruz is right. No one accused of wrongdoing should ever be condemned outright before we have all the facts. Yet so many victims of police brutality are almost immediately denounced , their reputations tarnished , as the Dallas police department appeared to be doing over Jean's possession of marijuana. (Jean could have had an entire meth lab in his apartment and it would not have justified a police officer walking into his own home and allegedly gunning him down where he stood .)
Perhaps most important, if there was ever a justified national WTF moment regarding police brutality, the Botham Shem Jean shooting was it .
O'Rourke was right to call for the officer's firing . How many times have conservative Republicans called for government bureaucrats to be fired for basic incompetence? (And they should!) A government agent who happens to wear a badge unquestionably deserves due process but not special treatment.
This shift by Cruz hasn't gone unnoticed.
" Bipartisan criminal justice reform casualty of Cruz campaign " read the headline in a Thursday editorial of the Houston Chronicle . "All candidates have to make sacrifices on the path to Election Day," said the staff editorial. "U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has decided to sacrifice criminal justice reform, and that's a real shame."
While they may address the issues from different perspectives, Democrats and Republicans have worked together in fighting mass incarceration and refocusing efforts toward rehabilitation. Part of this cooperation included an unspoken detente on scaremongering and race-baiting campaigns. Without the fear of cheap attacks, politicians and policymakers have been free to discuss the failings of our criminal justice system in stark, earnest terms . In his campaign for re-election, Cruz has shattered that truce. He has targeted otherwise bipartisan rhetoric about criminal justice reform as the subject for convenient campaign season attacks.
Unfortunately, this was but the latest example of Cruz turning away from the criminal justice reform positions he once advocated.
" Ted Cruz abandons criminal justice reform on his way to the White House ," observed Forbes ' Jacob Sullum in 2016, when Cruz was running for president:
A year ago, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley condemned a sentencing reform bill backed by Ted Cruz as "lenient" and "dangerous." Eight months later, it was Cruz's turn. Explaining his opposition to a sentencing reform bill backed by Grassley, Cruz described it as dangerously lenient.
When the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Grassley's bill by a 3-to-1 margin in October, Cruz joined four other Republicans in voting no. The Texas senator -- once a leading Republican critic of excessively harsh criminal penalties, especially for nonviolent drug offenders -- had effectively traded places with Grassley, a law-and-order Iowa Republican who has long resisted efforts to reduce those penalties.
"It is hard to escape the impression that Cruz, who is running second to Donald Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and has a good shot at winning the Iowa caucus on Monday, decided to abandon a cause that might alienate conservative primary voters," Sullum concluded.
Obviously this political calculation did not pan out well for Cruz in the 2016 presidential primaries.
Though the increasingly popular O'Rourke is a talented politician, conservatives should hope that Republicans keep control of the Senate in the midterms and a Cruz victory next month would likely play a role in that outcome.
But part of what has made Beto O'Rourke formidable against Cruz in deep red Texas, or at least more competitive than anyone would have expected, is that the liberal Democrat comes across as authentic . He sticks to his progressive guns under pressure.
Before the rise of Donald Trump , Cruz was viewed by much of the GOP base as one of the most authentic conservative champions in the Republican party. It was a brand that once included, however significant or insignificant, his more libertarian than authoritarian stance on criminal justice reform.
By flip-flopping on what is still mostly an under-the-radar issue with general voters, the Texas senator is unlikely to pick up any more votes from law-and-order Republicans than he would have otherwise.
But among those who do care about criminal justice reform and combatting police brutality -- libertarians , young people , most Americans , and an encouraging number of Texas conservatives -- the opportunistic Ted Cruz will continue to come across as less authentic than he used to be.
Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.
Sep 21, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
This Man's Incredible Story Proves Why Due Process Matters In The Kavanaugh Case
by Tyler Durden Fri, 09/21/2018 - 21:05 3 SHARES
Submitted by James Miller of The Political Insider
Somewhere between the creation of the Magna Carta and now, leftists have forgotten why due process matters; and in some cases, such as that of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, they choose to outright ignore the judicial and civil rights put in place by the U.S. Constitution.
In this age of social media justice mobs, the accused are often convicted in the court of public opinion long before any substantial evidence emerges to warrant an investigation or trial. This is certainly true for Kavanaugh. His accuser, Christine Blasey Ford , cannot recall the date of the alleged assault and has no supporting witnesses, yet law professors are ready to ruin his entire life and career. Not because they genuinely believe he's guilty, but because he's a pro-life Trump nominee for the Supreme Court.
It goes without saying: to "sink Kavanaugh even if" Ford's allegation is untrue is unethical, unconstitutional, and undemocratic. He has a right to due process, and before liberals sharpen their pitchforks any further they would do well to remember what happened to Brian Banks.
In the summer of 2002, Banks was a highly recruited 16-year-old linebacker at Polytechnic High School in California with plans to play football on a full scholarship to the University of Southern California. However, those plans were destroyed when Banks's classmate, Wanetta Gibson, claimed that Banks had dragged her into a stairway at their high school and raped her.
Gibson's claim was false, but it was Banks's word against hers. Banks had two options: go to trial and risk spending 41 years-to-life in prison, or take a plea deal that included five years in prison, five years probation, and registering as a sex offender. Banks accepted the plea deal under the counsel of his lawyer, who told him that he stood no chance at trial because the all-white jury would "automatically assume" he was guilty because he was a "big, black teenager."
Gibson and her mother subsequently sued the Long Beach Unified School District and won a $1.5 million settlement. It wasn't until nearly a decade later, long after Banks's promising football career had already been tanked, that Gibson admitted she'd fabricated the entire story.
Following Gibson's confession, Banks was exonerated with the help of the California Innocence Project . Hopeful to get his life back on track, he played for Las Vegas Locomotives of the now-defunct United Football League in 2012, and signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2013. But while Banks finally received justice, he will never get back the years or the prospective pro football career that Gibson selfishly stole from him.
Banks's story is timely, and it serves as a powerful warning to anyone too eager to condemn those accused of sexual assault. In fact, a film about Banks's ordeal, Brian Banks , is set to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival next week.
Perhaps all the #MeToo Hollywood elites and their liberal friends should attend the screening - and keep Kavanaugh in their minds as they watch.
Reaper , 2 minutes ago
False charges were condemned by Moses 3200 years ago. We need his solution: the false accusser suffers the penalty they desired on ther falsely accused.
Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
Patient Observer September 14, 2018 at 9:16 amIf not always fair or flexible, it seems efficient – no attorneys collecting large fees in a justice system designed to enrich attorneys. A shyster attorney that I had the unfortunate experience in working with, did tell the truth once when he said that there is no such thing as a justice system but there is a legal industry.
Sep 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Trump's former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in jail, the first campaign official to be sentenced as part of Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference. Papadopoulos was sentenced to one year of supervised release, 200 hours of community service and a $9,500 fine.Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russia nationals and efforts to arrange a meeting with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
During the sentencing, Papadopoulos' lawyer told the judge that he was motivated to lie in part by Trump characterizing investigation as "Fake news."
Imxploring ,haruspicio ,
First rule in dealing with the FBI or law enforcement.... Say NOTHING! When they come calling to talk to you they are trying to lock you up.... and if they want to "talk"... they don't have enough to do so.... don't give it to them!Golden Phoenix ,
I have just been through this is another country. Just give a no comment interview and make sure you have a lawyer by your side before even opening your mouth to answer a question from a cop.Justapleb ,
This is why you should never say anything to police or other investigators. They'll entrap you, twist your words, and suddenly an otherwise innocent person is convicted of a purely procedural crime.Davidduke2000 ,
This carried the flag for Russian Collusion a year ago, how Papadopoulus had been "flipped" and was "cooperating" with the Mueller investigation.
What happens after they "flip" former Trump people and they start "cooperating"? Nothing. Because there is no crime even coherently stated pertaining to Russia. "Colluding" is not a crime.
God what convoluted potempkin show trials.pparalegal ,
hillary lied and lied and lied and lied to the FBI, CIA, NSA and everybody in the intelligence and law enforcement agencies and got zero days in jail.RICKYBIRD ,
Not hard when your co-conspirators are all given pre-immunity and you are given the questions beforehand. And because the loudest, smartest woman in the world always says "I don't recall".bh2 ,
Let's not forget that an FBI contract "lure" met George in Europe and hired George to do some work for him. Gave George $10,000 in marked bills. The object was to dirty George up, maybe even claim he was paid by a Russian agent. When shortly thereafter George arrived in the US, before he could go to Customs the FBI stopped him. They thought they'd catch him with the bills. They didn't. George had left them behind in Europe. Tough luck, FBI.
The lesson this teaches is the one every defense attorney advises to his clients: "never speak to the police".
All these brain-dead prosecutions accomplish is to confirm those defense attorneys are correct.
Aug 29, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org
In the wake of the federal criminal conviction of former Trump official Paul Manafort and the guilty plea in federal court of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the mainstream press is singing the praises of special prosecutor (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller and the Justice Department.
In the process, Trump's critics are condemning his denunciation of "flipping," the process by which federal prosecutors offer a sweet deal to criminal defendants in return for testifying against a "higher-up" who the feds are also prosecuting. The press and the anti-Trumpsters say that such a practice is part of the "rule of law" and essential to the proper administration of justice.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever else might be said about Trump, he is absolutely right on this point. The process of offering sweetheart deals to people in return for their "cooperation" to get someone else convicted has long been one of the most corrupt aspects of the federal criminal-justice system, especially as part of the federal government's much-vaunted (and much-failed) war on drugs.
Suppose a federal criminal defendant contacts a prospective witness in a case and offers him $50,000 in return for his "cooperation" in his upcoming trial. The money will be paid as soon as the trial is over. The defendant makes it clear that he wants the witness to "tell the truth" but that his "cooperation" when he testifies at trial would be greatly appreciated.
What would happen if federal officials learned about that communication and offer? They would go ballistic. They would immediately secure an indictment for bribery and witness tampering.
What if the defendant says, "Oh, no, I wasn't tampering with the witness. I specifically told him that I wanted him to tell the truth when he took the witness stand. I was just seeking his friendly 'cooperation' with my $50,000 offer to him."?
It wouldn't make a difference. Federal prosecutors would go after him with a vengeance on bribery and witness-tampering charges. And it is a virtual certainty that they would get a conviction.
There is good reason for that. The law recognizes that the money could serve as an inducement for the witness to lie. Even though the defendant tells him to "tell the truth," the witness knows that the fifty grand is being paid to him to help the defendant get acquitted, especially since it is payable after the trial is over. The temptation to lie, in return for the money, becomes strong, which is why the law prohibits criminal defendants from engaging in this type of practice.
Suppose a federal prosecutor says to a witness, "You are facing life in prison on the charges we have brought against you. But if you 'cooperate' with us to get John Doe, we will adjust the charges so that the most the judge can do is send you to jail for only 5 years at most. If you are really 'cooperative,' we will recommend that the judge give you the lowest possible sentence, perhaps even probation. Oh, one more thing, we want to make it clear that we do want you to tell the truth."
Do you see the problem? The temptation to please the prosecutor with "cooperation" becomes tremendous. If the witness can help secure a conviction of Doe, he stands to get a much lighter sentence for his successful "cooperation." The inducement to commit perjury oftentimes takes over, notwithstanding the prosecutor's admonition to the witness to "tell the truth."
Defenders of this corrupt process say that without it, prosecutors could never get convictions. That's pure nonsense. For one thing, prosecutors can secure a conviction against the witness and then force him to testify once his case is over. That's because a person whose case is over is unable to rely on the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the case against John Doe.
Moreover, the prosecutor can give what is called "use immunity" to the witness, which then forces him to testify in the case against Doe. Use immunity is not full immunity from prosecution. It simply means that the prosecutor cannot use the witness's testimony against Doe to convict the witness at his trial. The prosecutor must convict him with other evidence.
But even if it means that the prosecutor is unable to secure some convictions, the question has to be asked: Do we want prosecutors securing convictions in this way? After all, there is a related question that must be asked: How many innocent people are convicted by perjured testimony from a witness who is doing his best to "cooperate" with the prosecution in the hope of getting a lighter sentence?
Given all the accolades being accorded Mueller, it is a shame that he has chosen to go down the same corrupt road that all other federal prosecutors have traveled. He didn't have to do that. He could have led the way out of this immoral morass by taking a firm and public stand against this corrupt procedure. The fact that he has chosen instead to participate in it is a shame, to say the least.
Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation .
Aug 17, 2018 | consortiumnews.com
Ed August 14, 2018 at 6:27 amTom Welsh , August 14, 2018 at 9:00 am
"In a real rule of law world Jeff Sessions would take all this evidence the VIPS have produced and present it into the Mueller Investigation as just that evidence, or proof of lack there of. "
In a real rule of law world Jeff Sessions would probably been fired for prosecutorial misconduct early on in his career and would never have been elected senator. As it stands in the US, such venal people as Sessions are rewarded for their misconduct as prosecutors with elected office. In Sessions' case, he was further rewarded with appointment to the position of Attorney General, when he shouldn't be an attorney at all. Reply
The USA is said to be a "rule of law" nation. Of course that is an outrageous lie. The USA is a "rule of money" nation. Money trumps everything, including law.
Aug 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
On Monday, 13 August 2018, the prosecutors from "special counsel" Robert Mueller's group rested the government's criminal case against Paul Manafort . At this point in the procedural context of the trial, the defendant can make a "motion for a judgment of acquittal" . The word "motion" in a civil or criminal case means a request to the judge for some action or relief. By its name, this motion asks the judge to order an acquittal -- the equivalent of a finding of "not guilty" -- because the government has not put on evidence that proves each "element" of each crime that is charged against Manafort. The charges are set forth in the document filed in court by the prosecuting authority at the start of the case called an "indictment". That paper can be amended or changed as the case moves along before trial by what is usually called a "superseding indictment", which takes the place of the one filed before it.
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29. Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal. In part--
"(a) Before Submission to the Jury. After the government closes its evidence or after the close of all the evidence, the court on the defendant's motion must enter a judgment of acquittal of any offense for which the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction. The court may on its own consider whether the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction. If the court denies a motion for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the government's evidence, the defendant may offer evidence without having reserved the right to do so.
"(b) Reserving Decision. The court may reserve decision on the motion, proceed with the trial (where the motion is made before the close of all the evidence), submit the case to the jury, and decide the motion either before the jury returns a verdict or after it returns a verdict of guilty or is discharged without having returned a verdict. If the court reserves decision, it must decide the motion on the basis of the evidence at the time the ruling was reserved."
The indictment against Manafort is 37 pages long, but for purposes of a motion for judgment of acquittal, what matters are pages 27-35, which are supposed to state the wording of each criminal law that has allegedly been violated . By tradition in federal court, usually an indictment will have the citations to each criminal offense alleged listed at the beginning, and that is done here on pages 1-2. When it was filed in February 2018, it made allegations against both Manafort and Richard W. Gates III, but as is known, Gates made a plea bargain that same month and has testified against Manafort in this trial . In order to analyze a criminal case before and during a trial, you take each crime charged as a "count" of the indictment, and check it against the citation of the crime as defined by Congress in the federal criminal law. Then, you break it up into "elements", which are separate phrases and sentences that you can see will stand alone as items that must be proven by the government (or State), which when put back together track the language of each offense. You make up your own outline or chart or grid that separates out the language of each crime into the elements, and then you can keep track of the evidence that is introduced during the trial to see if enough has been presented to prove each element of each individual charge. The government will also have to prove that enough of the indictment took place in the geographical area where it is filed, called a "federal district". That issue is called "venue". Furthermore, proof has to be presented of calendar dates that show that the indictment was filed within the time period allowed after the alleged crime took place, which is the "statute of limitations". Most crimes include a time period in which charges must be filed after the offense happened, or else the person cannot be charged at all. A crime can also have no time limit in which a charge has to be filed, the usual example being murder, which normally has no statute of limitations.
Judge T.S. Ellis III and his law clerks will have been watching and checking to see if the government has presented proper evidence for each element of each offense charged. If proof was not presented for just one element of one offense, that entire charge will fall and a judgment of acquittal can be issued by the judge as to that specific count of the indictment. It has been obvious from media reports about the trial that Judge Ellis has been keeping his eye on whether some evidence has been presented for each element of each charge, especially when the crime includes an element of "willfulness". He is also a judge who has the guts to grant a judgment of acquittal if he thinks it is warranted.
A motion for judgment of acquittal is rarely granted, and so if the request by Manafort is denied, it will not be surprising. Most judges take the easy way out, deny the motion, and let the jury decide. If all or part of the indictment survives the motion for judgment of acquittal, the trial will proceed, and Manafort and his lawyers will decide whether to put on evidence, or whether they will "rest" without presenting any testimony or other evidence at all.
If there is time to put a motion for judgment of acquittal in writing, it can be done as to part or all of the request. Whatever is not in writing can be orally stated in open court and recorded by the court reporter. In this instance, Manafort's lawyer made an oral motion for a judgment of acquittal after the prosecution rested, and has filed a supplement and memorandum in support of the motion relating to counts 29-32 of the indictment--
 The court's docket sheet entry of 13 August 2018 noting that the government has rested--
-  Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29--
-  The superseding indictment against Manafort and Gates, filed in February 2018--
-  The charges Gates pled guilty to, his plea agreement, and his "statement of the offense"--
Jack , 11 hours agoIf I were a juror, I would completely discount Gates testimony. He doesn't have any credibility in my eyes. I would keep questioning his motivations in light of knowing that he lied, falsified, embezzled and committed other financial crimes. I would keep coming back to, do I know with certainty that his testimony is truthful and accurate. Of course I would also question the motivation of the prosecutor. Why these charges now after a decade when the crimes are alleged to have occurred.Wally Courie , an hour ago
Bottom line: The "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold is a high bar for me.Of course, he will be found guilty. The purchase of those NY Yankees seats by Paulus directly from his offshore accounts nailed the case. But, the case would never have been brought and the mighty power of the state thrown at him but for his Trump association. Maybe a "fruit of the poison tree" appeal will be successful or an ultimate pardon in the future awaits him.pretzelattack -> Pat Lang , 2 hours ago
But a little known quirk of this case is that Judge Ellis is only the trial judge. The other judge who has treated him so unfairly is the sentencing judge. She will throw the book at him.what are the implications of the defense resting? it seems they are confident manafort won't be convicted, right?Pat Lang Mod -> pretzelattack , an hour agoIMO they expect that either Ellis will dismiss the case on some basis or that Ellis will instruct the jury in a way favorable to Manafort.
Apr 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com
mick on April 25, 2018Loyal to whom?Tucker Lieberman on April 18, 2018
James Comey is articulate and makes his case in an interesting and effective manner. He seems competent and well intentioned. Problem is he, like many, considers lying about a crime a greater crime than the crime. It is not the case. If someone commits murder, is lying about it worse than the murder?
He rightfully seems horrified that Trump demands loyalty, but Comey is more than willing on several occasions to make misguided decisions because of his uncompromising loyalty to the FBI. Loyalty to the FBI is ever bit as dangerous as loyalty to the president.A justification of the Clinton email server investigation and a nonpartisan critique of Trump's erosion of normsIrene on April 17, 2018
A skillfully written and affecting memoir. Comey shares formative experiences: suffering a random attack by a serial home invader as a teenager, being bullied and then bullying, losing an infant son. There's a lot of detail about his decision to announce the reopening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server right before the election. Given that situation as he described it, had I been in his shoes, I can't say for sure what I would have done. He means to reveal the ethical complexity and he does it well.
He speaks positively of working for President George W. Bush and then for President Obama, but he has no such appreciation for President Trump. Contradicting longstanding norms of U.S. government, Trump demanded loyalty from Comey in his nonpartisan, ten-year term as the FBI Director, and when Comey did not give it unconditionally and did not halt the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump fired him. "We had that thing, you know," Trump said to Comey, referring to the previous conversation in which he had asked for loyalty. Comey's knowledge of La Cosa Nostra ("that thing of ours," the Mafia's name for itself) adds a layer of meaning. Comey knows what Mafia guys are like, and he does not live like them; he is not swayed by appeals to loyalty. That's how he became FBI Director and that's also how he lost his job under Trump.
"I say this as someone who has worked in law enforcement for most of my life, and served presidents of both parties. What is happening now," he warns from his new position as a private citizen, "is not normal. It is not fake news. It is not okay." For those who support Trump's policy agenda because they believe it will benefit them personally somehow, Comey delivers a reminder that "the core of our nation is our commitment to a set of shared values that began with George Washington -- to restraint and integrity and balance and transparency and truth. If that slides away from us, only a fool would be consoled by a tax cut or a different immigration policy."A higher loyaltyOmar Gonzalez on April 21, 2018
I am not a fan of James Comey and to this day I have never seen an answer to why it would be ok for the FBI director to hold a press conference for what seemed to be injecting his own political thoughts and opinions far too close to an election to not have known it would have an effect.
If you watch the news at all or read the 1 star reviews by people who appear not to have read the book you will be led to believe this is a book about Trump, and bashing him, or outing him as unfit in some way.
Especially if you know that the RNC has gone out of their way to create a website just ahead of the book release for the sole purpose of Comey bashing. So let me bust that myth. This is not a book about Trump. There are no big jaw dropping Trump secrets here.
This is a book about James Comey, from his early childhood until the here and now. Comey touches on childhood memories, being bullied, later on participating or at least turning a blind eye to bullyng himself. He speaks on his experience being home alone with his brother when the "Ramsey Rapist" broke into his house. He tells you how and why he decided to pursue law as a career instead of becoming a doctor. There are humorous anecdotes about his first job in the grocery store and yes some about his final days as FBI director. You do not have to be a fan of Comey or any of his decisions to enjoy this book. You may or may not be satisfied with his explanation of why he decided to make such public announcements on Hilary's emails, but that is a small part of this book. Personally I was not satisfied and he does admit that others may have handled it differently. If you are only looking for bombshells this book is not for you. By the time it gets to the visit to alert Trump to the salacious allegations the book is 70% over, because as I said this is not a book about Trump.
Even if I do not agree with Comey's decisions to publicly give his opinion on one candidate while withholding the fact that there is an investigation surrounding the other even with the "classified info" that he says we still do not know about I was still able to enjoy this book. I agree with his assessment in the last televised interview he gave, that if Comey is an idiot he is at least an honest idiot.Just finished reading 100% of the book. James ComeyJWM on April 27, 2018
Just finished reading 100% of the book. James Comey starts with sharing an experience of a time his house was broken in by a robber while his parents were away and he was alone with Pete. James Comey recounts his investigations of the Mafia. James Comey talks about having Malaria and thanks his wife Patrice for taking him on the back of her motorcycle to the Hospital. He mentions his family life and his new born son Collin who passed away in the hospital after Doctors failed to give Collin treatment while Collin was already showing abnormal behavior.
Comey goes on to talk about his role as FBI director during the Obama Administration.
He talks about Micheal Brown and how fake news caused a big up roar and hatred on police by their distortion on what happened in Ferguson and thus caused great divisions.
Comey tries to justify the outcome of not prosecuting what clinton did with her private email server which had classified government data by saying that even if her actions were bad though a statute was broken and had lied to FBI officials about having classified information but she did so carelessly.
He says that the Clinton campaign was calling the criminal investigation surrounding Hillary Clinton a "matter" and he says that Attorney General Loretta Lynch was strangely telling him to do the same when confronting the media.
When Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton privately on a tarmac he saw it not as a big deal, though it was after this private meeting that the decision of not prosecuting Secretary Hillary Clinton was decided . So this shows that the Clinton campaign had influence on the outcome of the investigation concerning Clinton.
Comey goes on to say that "in mid June the Russian Government began dumping emails stolen from the institutions associated with the Democratic Party." Here he is implying that Wikileaks is the Russian Government without any evidence to back it up. Though Wikileaks has already said that it was not Russia but someone living in the United States who sent the emails to Wikileaks.
Is Comey saying Russia in order to protect Clinton?, its possible. Comey has said in his Book he has been investigating the Clintons since the Clinton administration. Each of those investigations he has let the Clintons walk free and has stop the investigations unexpectedly even when evidence appears to pile up, he does admit that Hillary Clinton destroyed evidence even after receiving a subpoena .Comey investigated a suicide in the clintons white house. Comey was behind an investigation of Bill clinton in January 2002.
Comey mentions the piss dossier as evidence "strongly suggesting that the Russian government was trying to interfere in the election in 3 ways." He later admits the suppose "evidence" as "unverifiable", this is the same "dossier" that was used to grant a FISA warrant to spy on Clinton opponent Donald Trump which was paid by Hillary Clinton and her campaign.
Comey tries to imply if you did not go along with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election and not supported her or made no positive comments about her as "associating or working with the Russians". I believe this mindset is very dangerous to suggest if you did not support Hillary Clinton for president as if working with the Russians. Again this is all based on the "unverifiable dossier" , even though the suggested "evidence" is unverifiable a tyrant Government can use this to justify in going after ANYONE who speaks against the corruption going within former director James Comey FBI.
He says that "Candidate Clinton herself was talking about the Russian effort to elect her opponent.", well we do know that she was who paid for the slanderous "dossier" which is why she knew about what was in the dossier before the "Dossier" was publish by Buzzfeed and CNN.
He says that his family were Hillary supporters and that they attended the "Woman's March" which was more of a rally in protest to President Trump presidency. Before the election Comey said he did his job as if Hillary was already President and as if working for Her even though the election was weeks to come. He says " I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next President"
Comey goes on to talk about Donald Trump inauguration and as FBI director fails to talk about the riots and protestors blocking the entrance to the inauguration where they set a limousine on fire, stores were broken in including a Starbucks. He compares Trump inauguration to Obama but Obama had no rioters.
Comey expected Trump to curse Russia based on what the suppose "evidence" or the DNC funded "dossier". We do know that the Clinton campaign was running the DNC before Hillary was nominated based on Donna Brazile latest book where she implies that Hillary Clinton cheated Bernie Sanders.
Yet Comey fails to mention that he signed a FISA warrant based on the "Dossier" paid by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. He said the Dossier was "salacious and unverified". The Dossier was politically crafted much of it has been proven to be false yet Comey use it to get a FISA warrant.
Finishing, Comey goes on to slander president Trump of undermining public confidence in law enforcement institutions when this enforcement institutions have been caught lying, protecting politicians like Hillary Clinton having a double standard when it comes to investigating certain politicians and letting them walk free before finishing an investigation.A better title would have been " An American's Highest Loyalty"
This memoir is an important piece in the analysis of turn of the century politics in the United States. It is unfortunate that the media hype for this book has been about the more recent turmoil in James Comey's service to his country. True, the Trump administration is different and in many ways dysfunctional. But it is only in the part of the book, that he deals with it's dysfunction.
If one reads carefully, President Trump is only a more obvious and verbal and transparent figure in his disdain for the judiciary and the justice department. Dick Cheney and others in the Bush 43 administration are portrayed as far more sinister in their actions to sublimate justice after 9/11.
His admiration for President Obama is evident and little discussed in the media.
Comey had his issues with the Justice Department, especially Loretta Lynch although he never says that she had sinister intent. His dealings with the Clinton email controversy is well outlined. His dilemma with his communication regarding his investigation and its reopening was inadequately described in the book and his naivety that its reopening would not influence the election is remarkable. He supposes that the average American voter understands how the investigative system and justice system works.
His demeaning comments about President Trump's physical flaws add nothing to the book. I can understand why he wrote them in as these kinds of notations sell books. They added nothing to the story he had to tell. He should have left them out.
I appreciate that he does not give loyalty to a person. What makes America great is that we are loyal to an idea. Even if we disagree on the interpretation of the Constitution, we can all be American. His loyalty seems to be to honesty and integrity which is admirable. However the highest loyalty should be to one's reading of the Constitution. I just wished he had said it.
Apr 22, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
Comey Claims Nobody Asked About Clinton Obstruction Before Today on Sun, 04/22/2018 - 9:27pm
From the ' you can't make this shit up ' files. Hillary had been involved in government long enough to know and understand the rules of what she needed to do with her emails after her tenure was over. As well as the rules for handling classified information with an email account. But I guess she thought that rules only applied to everyone else but her. And why wouldn't she think that she could do whatever she wanted to? Because she and Bill had been getting away with doing whatever they wanted their entire political careers with no repercussions.
Using a private email server that would be a way around the freedom of information act would have also allowed her to put her foundation's business on it so that Chelsea and others could have access to it even though it was tied into her state department business and the people who did didn't have the proper security clearances to read the emails. (Sydney Bluementhal) Tut, tut ..
Comey Claims Nobody Asked About Clinton Obstruction Before Today
When WTOP's Joan Jones asked former FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday if the "smashing of cellphones and destruction of thousands of emails" during the investigation into Hillary Clinton was "obstruction of justice," Comey said that he had never been asked that question before.
"You have raised the specter of obstruction of justice charges with the president of the United States," Jones said to Comey concerning his new book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership." The book was released earlier this week.
"Some are asking, though, 'Why wouldn't smashing of cellphones and destruction of thousands of emails during an investigation clearly be obstruction of justice ?'" Jones asked Comey.
Comey replied, "Now that's a great question. That's the first time I've been asked that."
Although mainstream media outlets, liberal pundits, and lawmakers have been obsessing over possible obstruction of justice charges and anticipating impeachment for Trump as a result, these same individuals showed a marked lack of interest in whether or not Clinton and her team obstructed justice.
There's that word intent again.
"And the answer is, it would depend upon what the intent of the people doing it was," Comey said. "It's the reason I can't say when people ask me, 'Did Donald Trump committee obstruction of justice?' My answer is, 'I don't know. It could be. It would depend upon, is there evidence to establish that he took actions with corrupt intent ?'"
"So if you smash a cellphone, lots of people smash their cellphones so they're not resold on the secondary market and your personal stuff ends up in somebody else's hands," Comey continued. "But if you smash your cellphone knowing that investigators want it and that they've got a subpoena for it, for example, that is a different thing and can be obstruction of justice."
What about deleting ones emails after being told to turn them over to congress after they found out that you didn't do it when your job was done. Is this considered obstruction of justice, James? I think that answer is yes. How about backing up your emails on someone else's computer when some of them were found to be classified?
Jones followed up, asking, "The law requires intent?"
"Yes. It requires not just intent , but the prosecutors demonstrate corrupt intent , which is a special kind of intent that you were taking actions with the intention of defeating and obstructing an investigation you knew was going on," Comey replied.
Did he just change the rules there? Now it's not just intent, but corrupt intent. This is exactly what Hillary did, James! She deliberately destroyed her emails after she was told to turn them over to congress, so if you didn't have the chance to see them l, then how do you know that the ones that she destroyed weren't classified? I would say that qualifies as intent. But we know that you had a job to protect her from being prosecuted. This is why when the wording was changed from " grossly negligent " to "extremely careless". you went with the new ones!
BTW, James. Why wasn't Hillary under oath when she was questioned by the other FBI agents? Why didn't you question her or look at her other computers and cell phones she had at her home? I'd think that they might have shown you something that she didn't want you to see? One more question, James. Did you ask the NSA to find the deleted emails that she destroyed because she said that they were just personal ones about Chelsea's wedding? Do you really think that it took 30,000 emails to plan a wedding? Okay, one more. Did you even think that those emails might have had something to do with her foundation that might have had some incriminating evidence of either classified information on them or even possible proof of her "pay to play" shenanigans that she was told not to do during her tenure as SOS? This thought never crossed your mind?
Last question I promise. Did you really do due diligence on investigating her use of her private email server or were you still covering for her like you have been since she started getting investigated?
This amazing comment came from a person on Common Dreams. It shows the history of
Comey, Mueller and Rosenstein for over two decades and their role in protecting the Clintons
Dismissed FBI agent changed Comey's language on Clinton emails to 'extremely careless'
One source told the news outlet that electronic records reveal that Strzok changed the language from " grossly negligent " to " extremely careless ," scrubbing a key word that could have had legal ramifications for Clinton. An individual who mishandled classified material could be prosecuted under federal law for "gross negligence."
What would have happened if Comey had found Hillary guilty of mishandling classified information on her private email server? She couldn't have become president of course because her security clearances would have been revoked. This makes it kinda hard to be one if she couldn't have access to top secret information, now wouldn't it?
Have you seen this statement by people who don't think that what Hillary did when she used her private email server was wrong and that's why some people didn't vote for her and Trump became president because of it?
Apr 02, 2018 | www.bbc.com
A spike in violent crime in London saw more murders committed in the city in February and March than there were in New York, figures show.
So far in 2018, 46 people in London have been fatally stabbed, shot or injured compared to 50 in the US city.
But, while New York's rate month-on-month has decreased since January, London's is on the rise.
Mar 31, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
Across the country, correctional facilities are struggling with the reality that they have become the nation's de facto mental healthcare providers, although they are hopelessly ill-equipped for the job. They are now contending with tens of thousands of people with mental illness who, by some counts, make up as much as half of their populations .
Little acknowledged in public debate, this situation is readily apparent in almost every correctional facility in the country. In Michigan, roughly half of all people in county jails have a mental illness, and nearly a quarter of people in state prisons do. In 2016, the state spent nearly $4m on psychiatric medication for state prisoners. In Iowa about a third of people in prison have a serious mental illness; another quarter have a chronic mental health diagnosis.
Meanwhile, nearly half of the people executed nationwide between 2000 and 2015 had been diagnosed with a mental illness and/or substance use disorder in their adult lives. When a legal settlement required California to build a psychiatric unit on its death row at San Quentin the 40 beds were filled immediately.
The mental health crisis is especially pronounced among women prisoners: one study by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 75% of women incarcerated in jails and prisons had a mental illness, as compared with just over 60% and 55% of men, respectively. A more recent study showed that 20% of women in jail and 30% in prison had experienced "serious psychological distress" in the month before the survey, compared with 14% and 26% of men, respectively.
Although the overall number of people behind bars in the US has decreased in recent years, the proportion of prisoners with mental illness has continued to go up. In 2010, about 30% of people at New York's Rikers Island jail had a mental illness; in 2014, the figure rose to 40% , and by 2017, it had gone up to 43%. Studies of the most frequently arrested people in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere have found that they are far more likely than others to have mental illness, to require antipsychotic medications while incarcerated and to have a substance use problem.
That there are so many people with mental illness locked in our jails and prisons is but one piece of the crisis. Along with race and poverty, mental illness has become a salient feature of mass incarceration, one that must be accounted for in any discussion about criminal justice reform.
Mental illness affects every aspect of the criminal justice system, from policing to the courts to prisons and beyond. Nor are the effects limited to the criminal justice system; many people with mental illness cycle back and forth between jail or prison and living in the community.
The racial inequity of the criminal justice system has been widely noted: it is estimated that one out of every three African American men and one of every six Hispanic men born in 2001 will be arrested in their lifetimes.
But for Americans with serious mental illness, it is estimated that as many as one in two will be arrested at some point in their lives. It's not just arrests. One in four of the nearly 1,000 fatal police shootings in 2016 involved a person with mental illness, according to a study by the Washington Post. The Post estimated that mental illness was a factor in a quarter of fatal police shootings in 2017, too.
People with mental illness are among the most disadvantaged members of our society, and when they end up in the criminal justice system, they tend to fare worse than others. People with mental illness are less likely to make bail and more likely to face longer sentences. They are more likely to end up in solitary confinement, less likely to make parole and more likely to commit suicide.
Yet jail and prison have become, for many people, their primary means of getting mental healthcare. Their experiences offer an especially eye-opening view of a criminal justice system that today houses more than two million people and costs us hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
Mar 23, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Robert Bridge, op-ed via RT.com,
Western society is flirting with a disturbing trend where people are being denied the time-honored 'presumption of innocence'. The same undemocratic method is even being used against nations in what is becoming a dangerous game.
Imagine the following scenario: You are a star football player at the local high school, with a number of college teams hoping to recruit you. There is even talk of a NFL career down the road. Then, overnight, your life takes an unexpected turn for the worse. The police show up at your house with a warrant for your arrest; the charges: kidnapping and rape. The only evidence is your word against the accuser's. After spending six years behind bars, the court decides you were wrongly accused.
That is the incredible story of Brian Banks, 26, who was released early from prison in 2012 after his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, admitted that she had fabricated injurious claims against the young man.
Many other innocent people, however, who have been falsely accused in the West for some crime they did not commit, are not as fortunate as Brian Banks. Just this week, for example, Ross Bullock was released from his private "hell" – and not due to an accuser with a guilty conscience, but by committing suicide.
"After a 'year of torment' Bullock hanged himself in the garage of the family home, leaving a note revealing he had 'hit rock bottom' and that with his death 'I'm free from this living hell,'" the Daily Mail reported .
There is a temptation to explain away such tragic cases as isolated anomalies in an otherwise sound-functioning legal system. After all, mistakes are going to happen regardless of the safeguards. At the same time, however, there is an irresistible urge among humans to believe those people who claim to have been victimized – even when the evidence suggests otherwise. Perhaps this is due to the powerful emotional element that works to galvanize the victim's story. Or it could be due to the belief that nobody would intentionally and unjustly condemn another human being. But who can really say what is inside another person's heart? Moreover, it can't be denied that every time we attempt to hunt down and punish another people, tribe, sex, religion, etc. for some alleged crimes against victims, there is a real tendency among Westerners to get carried away with moralistic zeal to the point of fanaticism.
A case in point is last year's scandal that rocked the entertainment industry as the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting numerous women over the span of a 30-year career. Eventually, over 80 females, emboldened by the courage displayed by their peers, drove Weinstein straight out of Hollywood and into the rogue's gallery of sexual predators. Few could deny this was a positive thing.
But then something strange began to happen that has been dubbed the 'Weinstein effect.' Powered by the social media #MeToo movement, women from all walks of life began to publicly accuse men for all sorts of sexual violations, some from decades ago. Certainly, many of the claims were legitimate. However, in many cases they were not. Yet the mainstream media, which has taken great delight in providing breathless details of every new accusation, has shown little interest in pursuing those stories of men who went on to suffer divorce, ruined reputations, and the loss of jobs without so much as a fair hearing in a court of law.
As far as the mainstream media is concerned, and to be fair they don't seem that concerned, the victim's story is the only story that matters. Indeed, it was almost as if the victim had become judge, jury and executioner. This is, in reality, just one step from mob rule, and woe to anyone who questions the motives of the movement, as French star Catherine Deneuve discovered.
The (female) writer, D.C. McAllister, described the poisonous "environment of suspicion" that has beset relations between men and women.
"While women's willingness to hold men accountable for criminal sexual behavior is to be applauded, the scorched-earth approach we are seeing today is destructive because it undermines trust," McAllister wrote in The Federalist.
"When anything from a naive touch during a photo shoot to an innocent attempt at a kiss is compared to rape and sexual abuse, we are not healing society but infecting relationships with the poison of distrust."
Mar 21, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
one of our recommended browsers . Report
Aquinasotic , 30 Mar 2014 04:27At present there is no way of disciplining a retired judge who trades on his former title of "Judge" and his rank of QC to give advice to lay people (without any up-to-date knowledge of law or professional indemnity insurance) and then speak on their behalf as a McKenzie Friend in Court.Cynical007 -> JohntheLith , 26 Mar 2014 16:32
I know of a case where this actually happened - a retired Chancery Circuit Judge intervened in a case involving a religious charity when he has no known connection to the faith in question. His intervention was distinctly unhelpful for the parties and impeded the proper administration of justice. But nothing could be done about his unprofessional and meddling behaviour.Journalists are not state officials, and do not have the power to imprison citizens. There is no right to be a judge (so state regulation of judges is legitimate) whereas there is a right to freedom of speech (so state regulation of journalism is not legitimate).Cynical007 -> HybridMoments , 26 Mar 2014 16:31profester , 26 Mar 2014 06:29
The move to a system of locally elected (ie, accountable) judges is long overdue.
A tribunal consisting of elected politicians is not a real court.Judges are lawyers: a rapacious breed drawn predominantly from and representing the "highest" stratum of society. They are expert at presenting one-sided arguments, whatever the facts and evidence. They provide "blue chip justice" favouring that social segment that can afford to hire lawyers and so keep the legal sector in work. They know how to wear down complainants (often of limited means) with unjustified decisions that have to be appealed at every stage of proceedings. They are assisted by absurb laws which deem them virtually infallible in jurisdictions such as the Employment Tribunal, where it is, in practice, not an "error of law" to find something impossible to be true or to make a finding contrary to the weight of evidence, or without evidential basis (and invariably favouring the employer). Even when an indefatigable complainant succeeds in an appeal against a rotten judgement, they often find their case "remitted" for a rehearing before the same biased tribunal or another made up of the friends and colleagues of the first, and likewise of the employer. Many contributors here, and all employment lawyers, know this to be true, yet this unjust system persists. What criticisms of it there are focus on ultimately minor issues such as whether one should have to pay fees to lodge complaints, rather than the more important issue of its institutional racialism and the virtual impossibility of Black people being successful in complaints against members of the establishment within it.pictish22 , 25 Mar 2014 21:59You also need to remember that judges work within a system which is controlled by politics, press start complaining about high number of car thefts, car thieves suddenly start getting jailed while house breakers do not.newthought -> profester , 25 Mar 2014 20:03
There are also other parts of the system for instance social work reports, often made about people who know the systems inside out, know exactly what to say and when to say it. Lawyers who are simply there to lie, on both sides of the case with full knowledge they are doing it. Police who are more concerned about getting results than actually justice. And finally the judges themselves who all appear to have totally different interpretations of the law, I have seen grown men break down when they find out they are getting 1 judge over another and that was just the lawyers.Judicial lies are far from confined to racism-motivated instances. The whole system of "justice" is the biggest scam on the planet. That's why they don't allow recording of your own hearing.newthought -> HybridMoments , 25 Mar 2014 19:56The judiciary regularly get away with complete and utter cheap lies in their judgments. They are unaccountable as it only takes two more judges to refuse permission to challenge the lies and that's the end of the matter. In one of my cases I asked to audio-record (my own case). Both the judge and government barrister insisted I would not be alllowed to record. The reason for this refusal of recording is so that there is no record of the filthy lies judges deploy in the smaller civil court rooms where there are no reporters. One important subset of lies is about the limitation act. Supposedly fact means possibility, knowledge means suspicion, and was means might be - well that's what high court judges say these words mean, and the fact that loads of dictionaries say otherwise is of no power against them.Ministryoftruth -> HybridMoments , 25 Mar 2014 19:51
We need every litigant to have the right to record their own cases.Americans have elected judges. This has not stopped Judicial malfeasance there, it can actually create new forms of it.Ursultana , 25 Mar 2014 18:34And perhaps that needs review. After all, they are all members of same brotherhood or society, and all operate from under Londons Bar .So is no independence at all.Violator -> HybridMoments , 25 Mar 2014 17:21JohntheLith -> Hywelliau , 25 Mar 2014 17:20
The move to a system of locally elected (ie, accountable) judges is long overdue.
Good grief! What an appalling idea.Ok, but... The Press "often" have more influence on Society than the Judiciary. Ergo, who needs to watched more?arvindkc77 , 25 Mar 2014 16:45My recent experience of JCIO is not entirely sanguine. I represented myself in a child custody case in Birmingham. The Cafcass favored my child to stay with me. The Circuit Judge presiding over the case, lied in his judgment three times in order to favor my ex. When I took the matter to the appeal in High Court, the Law Lord presiding practically said that because the Circuit Judge is experienced, he is entitled to lie. I was quite gobsmacked. JCIO were completely unmoved by my protestations. It is apparent that truth is diminished if you are a layman fighting the excesses of establishment.whitecross , 25 Mar 2014 14:44Corruption is the word and has been for some time.Vizier , 25 Mar 2014 13:56I have to say I think that most magistrates are firmly in the pockets of the police. So really most of them are corrupt.Vizier -> theacademic , 25 Mar 2014 13:53"When normal people face such baseless allegations, the case is struck out, or a responsible prosecutor stops it"JaniceP , 25 Mar 2014 13:15
Or rather the ordinary person is found guilty and spends years in prison.The internet is awash with people who have been unfairly treated by the Justice system. Court observers have commented on the familiarity between Judges and business men in employment tribunal cases, and the employee losing, and also losing an appeal. Has anybody ever tried to get an employment judge's notes from the case? Impossible. Ultimately when the judge says the notes are not to be released under any circumstances (why not if they have nothing to hide) and the Trbunal President when asked under a data protection request, tells you that the data controller, is, yes the original judge who won't release them under any circumstances, is it any wonder that people have no faith in the British Justice system, or should we rename it Old Boys Network system?gogogob , 25 Mar 2014 12:54It is reassuring to learn that judges get fair hearing. At least somebody does!Gordon Bell , 25 Mar 2014 12:21The corrupt protecting the corrupt!ripteam , 25 Mar 2014 12:16
I refer to the Porton Down cover-up that involved the killing of 39 Porton Down veterans who died as a result of being injected with a bacteria derived from salmonella - abortus equi - in an altered state. (source FOI) Upper Tribunal Judge Edward Jacobs (unlike Judge Brian Kennedy QC) who ordered details of the deaths to be made public) did purposely support the MoD by allowing them to keep secret ALL facts related to the killings. Judge Edward Jacobs also ignored a 3.72 million pounds fraudulent payment (stolen from public funds) awarded to Martyn Day Senior Partner with the London law firm Leigh Day & Co. It was Martyn Day who supposedly represented 39 family members of deceased veterans. In effect Jacobs by his very silence and by allowing crimes of this nature to be kept under wraps did himself become party to the crime.Was the judge who handed down six months to a student for stealing a water bottle ever investigated for serious misconduct?theacademic -> Robthablob , 25 Mar 2014 11:56
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/poll/2011/aug/12/riots-water-theft-punishmentyes, though that was a later comment.Robthablob -> theacademic , 25 Mar 2014 11:44"The comments in this section so far could hardly be more wrong" I don't know, I though Patrick Logicman was spot on with his "But then you couldn't tell them from janitors" remark above.Hywelliau -> JohntheLith , 25 Mar 2014 11:30Yes but in the midst of the usual press anarchy, a few wise words from Joshua are surely not out of order?ID7776906 -> profester , 25 Mar 2014 11:28
The predilection of cheap jack town magistrates describing themselves as Judges, takes some beating. The powers of local authorities to press their own non-criminal "charges" can be rather unpleasant, and quite happy to present fictitious evidence in abundance, backed up by such "judges".If you review most Laws in Britain,USA Canada,etc they were enacted worded and favored the very rich and property owners when passed. Judge`s hands are really tied to the laws of the land and it is the rich bias and regulations that keep the poor in their place that Judges are restricted by when looking to dispense justice [as far as the law allows].theacademic -> Ozymandius , 25 Mar 2014 11:27
Same applies to the Police they didn`t make the laws.The Justice system and the Police have been deliberately kept apart from society so they identify more with conservatism and the status quo and even identify with it as elitists.The difference is that the father needs to be suspended in case the allegations prove to be true, because something important is alleged. Here the allegations against the judges seem to be about nothing - nothing obviously wrong has happened even if the facts are true.DigitalAsian , 25 Mar 2014 11:19In my experience of the judiciary in criminal trials is that they do have a tendency to protect the Police and even on the odd occasion pervert the course of justice to protect them. You cannot assume that any judge will be impartial in any case or inquiry especially if police corruption is being investigated or has been alleged. In my view you trust a judge to be independent and impartial at your own risk.Ozymandius , 25 Mar 2014 10:56Suspending a judge from duty pending investigation is rather like a judge confining a separated father to a supervised contact centre while his ex's phony allegations are looked into. All rather unnecessary but what do you do?profester , 25 Mar 2014 10:45My experience of the judiciary convinces me that it functions principally to protect the establishment. This is perhaps seen most blatantly in the employment tribunal, where judges make virtually unchallengeable findings of "fact" that contradict incontrovertible evidence that they simply ignore in order to exculpate defendants in race and religous discrimination cases. Sometimes they collude with defendants to pervert the course of justice by accepting fabricated documents as genuine, despite the existence of the genuine documents showing their inauthenticity (which they do not mention as they are irreconcilable with the documents that they wish to represent as genuine). Sometimes, they make important findings based on key documents that they have never seen, which the claimant dispute ever existed and the defendants claim they have lost. At other times, the judges just simply lie about the evidence if that is required to discredit the complainant. Such phenomena are well-documented (e.g., http://www.irr.org.uk/news/culture-of-disbelief-why-race-discrimination-claims-fail-in-the-employment-tribunal/). However, maybe because sex, drugs and death are not involved - and it only affects Blacks, after all - no-one seems at all interested, no programmes get made about this or articles get written in the mainstream media even when prominent journalists have the evidence of its occurrence.PatrickLogicman , 25 Mar 2014 10:21It is a tradition in this country that, freedom of speech notwithstanding, judges do not respond to attacks on them in the media. This means that we often hear the attack, but not the defence. Let me illustrate this with an example from history which shows that judges can be right, even when non-lawyers think they are obviously wrong.PatrickLogicman -> photonal , 25 Mar 2014 09:42
If the media and some members of Parliament had got their own way, Mr. Justice Grantham would have been sacked after instructing a jury in strong terms that a prison warder charged with manslaughter, against whom the evidence of guilt was overwhelming, was nevertheless not guilty. It transpired about two years later that the single prosecution witness had lied: the "victim" was dead before the warder entered the room. I understand that the warder was named Mitchell and, despite being acquitted, did not get his job back.
Had Mr. Justice Grantham been sacked he could not have investigated the Adolph Beck case, the true facts might never have come out and we might still not have a criminal appeals process.
"The credit for resolving this miscarriage of justice lay firstly with the 1904 trial judge, Mr Justice Grantham, who had lingering doubts about Beck's guilt and had delayed concluding the case despite apparently strong prosecution evidence and procedures. It was in this period of delay, before being sentenced, that the crucial arrest of the real offender took place."
Source - historybytheyard.co.uk"The whole judicial system needs an overall."theacademic , 25 Mar 2014 09:38
Each? But then you couldn't tell a judge from a janitor. They tried that in China. It didn't work. Call me old-fashioned, but I rather like the wigs and gowns.
;-)The comments in this section so far could hardly be more wrong. Perhaps self-regulation does not work for most professions, but in the case of judges it seems to "over-work" and the desire to ensure that judges are seen as people of integrity seems to take over at times. On the basis of JR's article, there seems very clearly to be no substance in the allegations against either Fulford or Thornton. When normal people face such baseless allegations, the case is struck out, or a responsible prosecutor stops it. So the impression here is that the regulator is afraid to be thought to sweeping things under the carpet and so the process continues - and absurdity is piled onto absurdity when the judges are even suspended from work in the meantime.worksforcommunityorg , 25 Mar 2014 09:23
Turenne and Shetreet's book, referred to in the text, notes instances when judges not only face complaints but actually receive criticism for doing things which others can do and might even be expected to do. For example, it seems that judges should plead guilty to minor traffic offences if they are guilty, and should not seek technical ways that might exist to defeat the charges (ie ways that are not based on the merits of the case). This may be a good idea, of course, but it further ridicules any notion that the regulator is soft.I have for many decades thought that most judges are daft old fools, out of touch with reality. My opinion has been confirmed by many examples.photonal , 25 Mar 2014 09:11
I'm not up enough with the law to be able to suggest a better alternative, those who know what they are talking about should do that. However, I was pleased to see the web site linked to in the article , which seems to be a small step in the right direction.The whole judicial system needs an overall.anusplatt , 25 Mar 2014 08:41
Justice and access to it should be a cornerstone of our society - except that in its current form, it is reduced to a cleverly disguised commodity - whereby the 'truth' / 'justice' can be purchased by paying for expensive lawyers.This age old practice of letting "professionals" regulate themselves is thankfully in decline but not quickly enough. They didn't regulate themselves, they protected each other like brothers in crime. Lawyers, police, bankers, religious institutions, doctors banded together to give themselves maximum benefit. And the pompous indignation when Joe Public dared to question them. I have always felt that these groups pulled the wool over our eyes. I laugh at the term "professional" often they are far from it.JohntheLith , 25 Mar 2014 08:01sonofblake , 25 Mar 2014 07:57
Who is judging the judges?
We know a lot more about judicial complaints than we used to but it remains the case that judges themselves judge judges
I find it amusing that a journalist in a National Newspaper is writing an article about a group of self interested people being able to judge themselves.
Who handles complaints about newspapers? I'll give you a clue with a quote fro the Press Complaints Commission's website:
The Press Complaints Commission is currently in a phase of transition; and it will soon be replaced by a new structure of independent self-regulation for the newspaper and magazine industries.
Self-regulation. Sounds a bit like what the judges do.
I smell hypocrisy.One of the key elements of the English judiciary is that it is NOT elected. The executive and legislature are the elected bits and thus the judiciary must defer to them in terms of law-making and keep to their own province of interpreting the law - true it can be a fuzzy line at times but it is a hugely important part of the functioning of the rule of law. Elected judges would be a disaster for many reasons.HybridMoments , 25 Mar 2014 07:30What the UK judiciary gets away with is utterly horrifying. That they palm it off as 'isolated cases' is bad enough, but hiding behind the pretence that people 'don't know the facts' is even worse.
The move to a system of locally elected (ie, accountable) judges is long overdue.
Mar 12, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
tempestteacup , March 10, 2018 at 7:10 am
It's an unfortunate irony of the times in which we live that politicians are happy to bask in the glory of Law & Order when it comes to intensifying punishments for the general public yet simultaneously nowhere to be found when it comes to prosecuting those who commit crimes involving corruption, fraud or abuse of power. When ratcheting up the incarceration rate among minorities, the poor and those living in the nation's crumbling urban ghettos, they dutifully repeat the same weary, disproved bromides about deterrence while stuffing their campaign coffers with contributions from one of neoliberalism's most amoral sectors: the for-profit carceral state.
Generally, then, I would reject such arguments – higher sentences, mandatory minimums, decreasing the independence of the judiciary to decide on punishments are all failed policies that have, under the aegis of the War on Drugs, left a trail of destruction, generational poverty, and heartbreak. When it comes to white-collar crimes, political corruption and abuse of power, though, I suspect that hefty sentences actually would serve as a deterrent. If the architects of the Global Financial Crisis were currently sitting alongside Bernie Madoff in Butner (or ADX Florence), you suspect it might cause some of their successors to think twice about indulging in the same wanton speculation.
If the ghouls of the DoD, Pentagon and intelligence community had found themselves where they belonged, in the dock, for their gross abuses of power and war crimes following 9/11, one wonders whether the near-equal ghouls of the Sainted Obama's Administration would have drawn up their illegal kill lists or celebrated the flouting of international law with quite such levity.
All of which, of course, means that we won't ever see it happen – but it does make me think that in some cases it is entirely justified to pursue and forcefully punish those who break the law. It's just unfortunate that the ones whose punishment would be most effective in deterring others are the ones who invariably get off scott free.
Sep 24, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com
The man who popped into the North Carolina widow's life through Facebook introduced himself as David Watson.
His profile photo, showing a man with dark hair, olive skin and brown eyes, intrigued her enough to accept his friend request. They got to know each other over some weeks via Messenger and phone, eventually sharing romantic correspondence.
Then Watson asked a favor. Some Chinese business people had an oil-rigging job that could net millions for his engineering business, but he needed money for the initial investment. Could she lend him some cash?
Eager to help her new love interest, the widow wrote checks for tens of thousands of dollars.
"She was going to be paid back, she was told," Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom said. "She was not."
Watson never repaid her because he never existed. The fraudulent profile was part of an elaborate scheme bilking the elderly, divorcées, widows and other vulnerable people out of millions of dollars by posing as romantic interests, federal prosecutors said.
Victim after victim, many in tears, testified through various trials over recent months at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md. They said they lost their life savings, cashed out their retirements, went bankrupt and were scorned by their families after discovering how "foolish" and "gullible" they had been.
Last week, two more people charged in the extravagant hoax were sentenced for their roles in the scam. Olusola Olla, 50, who was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and structuring financial transactions, must serve four years in prison. Adeyinka Olubunmi Awolaja, 34, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, was sentenced to three years probation with two years under home monitoring.
Olla, Awolaja and seven others have been convicted or pleaded guilty in connection with the wide-reaching scam that prosecutors say victimized dozens of people across 20 states between 2011 and 2015.
In one extreme case, an elderly man in the last years of his life ate less, stopped going to medical appointments and took out a line of credit on his house to send his love, "Mary Blake," nearly $800,000.
"Mary" kept asking for money to support her construction company.
"My dearest Mary, above all else, I want you to succeed," the man wrote. "When I sent you the $30,000, it cleaned me out."
Judge Paul Grimm called the case a "terrible conspiracy" involving unscrupulous people plucking at lonely victims' heartstrings to get them to send "jaw- droppingly large amounts of money."
"Some of the victims who put money into your account were manipulated by the most cruel means," Grimm said during Olla's sentencing.
The pattern to prey on women -- and in a few cases men -- was typically the same. Someone reached out to divorced, widowed or other single people on social media or dating sites to "catfish" the person on the other end by using a fake name and photo identity.
After a few weeks of chatting, emails professing their love and some telephone calls, the scammer would ask to borrow money under the guise of some type of short-term financial pinch: They were abroad and couldn't access their American bank accounts; had an emergency befall their business and needed quick cash to finish a contract to be paid; or they needed cash to pay travel expenses for a supposed romantic rendezvous with the person being scammed.
Victims would then deposit cash into various accounts, including one for Olla's used-car dealership and a DJ business tied to Awolaja. The money would be transferred to other accounts after being laundered, eventually enriching many in the scheme.
Olla's attorney, Eugene Gorokhov, said his client did not know he was part of a plot cheating vulnerable people. Instead, Olla, who ran an auto sales and shipping business, thought he was receiving cash deposits for work his clients had asked him to do, Gorokhov said.
"Mr. Olla never knew of any fraud scheme," Gorokhov said. "He received the money and all the time he believed he was part of this business where he shipped cars to Nigeria."
Awolaja had gotten involved in the case when he wanted to help a childhood friend from Nigeria who had asked to use his bank account. At his sentencing, Awolaja said he was ashamed someone he considered to be a brother took advantage of him.
"It was never my intent to cause any financial hardship or emotional pain," Awolaja said in court.
But the pain was devastating for those who were desperately lonely and lured by the promise of love and companionship.
"We're going to be together," one of the scammers vowed to the widow he met on senior.com.
Mar 08, 2018 | www.washingtonpost.com
Former DOJ lawyer's theft of secret lawsuits was more extensive than previously known, new court details show. - The Washington Post By Spencer S. Hsu By Spencer S. Hsu Email the author Public Safety March 8 at 11:46 AM Email the author
A former corporate-fraud prosecutor carried out the "most serious" example of public corruption by a U.S. Department of Justice attorney in years by stealing more than 40 whistleblower fraud cases in 2016 and trying to sell the secret information to companies under federal investigation, prosecutors said.
The scheme was an attempt to woo potential clients and increase his earnings and standing in his new role as a defense lawyer for one of Washington's most influential law firms, according to prosecutors and admissions by Jeffrey Wertkin at his sentencing Wednesday.
After his arrest for one shakedown attempt, Wertkin embarked on an "obstruction binge" at his private law office to destroy additional evidence of his year-long plot and also tried to frame a former colleague at the Justice Department for the records theft, court files show.
Wertkin's sentencing hearing revealed a more extensive and calculating crime than previously was made public, showing he stole and copied dozens of files -- taking some at night from his boss's desk at main Justice, copying them and returning them re-stapled -- and then reached out to targeted companies in four states to try to drum up business for himself.
An attorney for a California company tipped off the FBI in January 2017 to an approach by Wertkin who had offered to sell a sealed federal lawsuit for $310,000 to the Silicon Valley technology company. "My life is over," Wertkin told an undercover FBI agent after he was arrested wearing a wig and fake mustache at an intended cash drop at a Cupertino, Calif., hotel.
In a court filing seeking leniency, Wertkin said he committed his crimes while on "a terrible path" of abusing alcohol and marijuana during what his defense called "a period of heightened anxiety and depression, a sense of impending failure at work and a deteriorating marriage."
"I believe I somehow viewed selling the complaints as a way to escape my problems,'' Wertkin said in a statement excerpted in a court filing.
Wertkin had joined Akin Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld as a $450,000-a-year partner in Washington in April 2016, the same month in which he left a nearly-six year career in the fraud section of Justice's Civil Division. For more than a month before he moved to private practice, he began copying the federal cases including dozens that were not assigned to him, court files show.
"I thought if I could quickly earn a substantial sum of money, I could provide the material benefits I promised my family upon moving to Akin Gump -- a new house in a better neighborhood and private school'' for his two young children, wrote Wertkin, who court files show lived near Dupont Circle.
Prosecutors said there was no reason to believe Wertkin's troubles were "anything more than narcissism and greed."
He was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison on two counts of obstructing justice and one count of interstate transport of stolen property in a hearing late Wednesday before by U.S. District Judge Maxine M. Chesney of San Francisco. Wertkin's attorney had asked for a sentence of a year and a day.
Assistant United States Attorney Robin L. Harris of the Northern District of California told the court Wertkin's crime "was breathtaking in its scope and is the most serious and egregious example of public corruption by a DOJ attorney in recent memory."
[ Lawyer at major D.C. firm accused of scheme to sell sealed lawsuit to suit's target ]
His sentence "hopefully restores the confidence in public servants who take an oath to serve their government and demonstrates that no one is above the law," said the district's Acting U.S. attorney Alex Tse.
A Justice Department spokeswoman did not respond to a request for additional comment on what damage Wertkin may have caused to cases and whether the internal breach triggered disciplinary actions or corrective measures.
Wertkin worked from December 2010 to April 2016 in the department section responsible for recovering $4.7 billion in misspent tax dollars in 2016 alone. Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers can receive part of recovered funds for tipping off fraud in government services and contracts by filing what are known as qui tam lawsuits under seal to protect their identities while the United States investigates.
Wertkin "took grotesque advantage" of his government position by "shaking down companies" and revealing confidential information and "jeopardized the integrity of the civil justice system and unfairly cast a shadow over the work of the civil fraud section," Harris said.
Wertkin, who specialized in health care fraud, also threatened the recruitment of future whistleblowers, "knowing full well" that the section's success depends on such individuals "coming forward with the prospect of secrecy," she wrote.
[ Ex-Justice Dept. lawyer offered to sell secret U.S. whistleblower lawsuits to targets of the complaints ]
Once at Akin Gump and until he was fired in February 2017, he attempted to court potential clients by dangling the stolen information, even hinting to one unwitting partner he knew one company "might have a problem coming up," prosecutors said.
When that tactic proved ineffective, Wertkin stepped up his crime, admitting that in addition to his pitch to the Sunnyvale-based technology security provider, he tried to peddle sealed lawsuits to a targeted Alabama company for $50,000, to a New York company for a price to be determined, and to a company headquartered in Oregon where he mailed a redacted copy of the cover sheet in the federal case as a lure.
Wertkin also admitted he managed to convince one firm "to retain my services as an attorney to represent it in its lawsuit."
The company that hired him and the companies he solicited were not named in his case.
"Mr. Wertkin's secret criminal life was not known to anyone at the firm. We were shocked when he was arrested and outraged when his bizarre, treacherous crimes were revealed," Akin Gump spokesman Benjamin J. Harris said in a statement Thursday.
In a letter to the court before Wertkin's sentencing, the firm said it was a victim of his crime and defended its corporate culture.
The theft and misuse of government documents was a "reprehensible betrayal of Mr. Wertkin's duties as a government lawyer" and of his ethical duties at Akin Gump, and were "harmful to the firm," partner and general counsel Douglass B. Maynard wrote.
"Whatever drove Mr. Wertkin to his hidden criminal activity, it was not the culture of [sic] firm where he worked for nine months," Maynard said. "The people he worked with at the firm saw him as a talented, well-liked young partner who appeared well on his way to a bright future."
Wertkin, a Haverford College and Georgetown Law School graduate, was seen as a "straight-arrow" and promising young prosecutor at the department, where his "intensity and talent" placed him "at the top of the list for the Fraud Section's most difficult case assignments," defense attorney Cristina C. "Cris" Arguedas said, citing performance reviews in a court filing.
Wertkin's troubles spiraled, she suggested, after a federal judge in Alabama threw out a 2016 jury verdict in a trial for a hospice provider accused of fraudulently billing Medicare for patients who were not terminally ill.
Wertkin was the lead lawyer for the government and the loss in the $200 million case, left him "devastated" and "a shell of a man," his wife, Erin Erlenborn, said in court filings.
Wertkin grew "increasingly irrational," Arguedas said, and his bizarre "cold-call" to the general counsel of the California firm calling himself "Dan" and offering to sell a lawsuit revealed a man who "truly believed he was at the end of his rope."
Wertkin "couldn't stop" even when he knew he would be caught, Arguedas said: Just before he got into an Uber to go to the drop meeting in a hotel lobby, he got a call from a person at the Department of Justice in Alabama investigating "Dan's" attempt to sell a case there.
Upon returning to Washington, he destroyed evidence in his Akin Gump office before telling the firm he had been arrested and placed paper copies of two complaints that he had stolen into an envelope that previously had been mailed to him by a former Justice Department colleague to falsely implicate the colleague as the thief.
His colleague had mailed Wertkin a picture of the department emblem signed by his colleagues as a farewell gift, Harris said. Former DOJ lawyer's theft of secret lawsuits was more extensive than previously known, new court details show. - The Washington Post Wertkin's attorney called his actions truly aberrant in an otherwise "careful, diligent and unblemished life" and said it was "a testament to his previous standing in the legal community that so many attorneys and former government officials, including former DOJ attorneys" wrote letters to the sentencing judge on his behalf.
Wertkin, the son of a surgeon and a registered nurse in the affluent New York City suburbs, has resigned from the bar.
"I hope someday I will be able to understand how I could have abandoned my principles and my honor," Wertkin said as part of statement before sentencing. "I often lay awake at night and think about these actions, and I weep at the tragedy that I have brought on myself."
Feb 28, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
So here's what Mueller has: evidence of unrelated-to-Trump financial crimes by Paul Manafort and others, based mostly from FISA surveillance on Manafort dating back to 2014 . The FBI's earlier investigation was dropped for lack of evidence, and it appears Mueller revived it now in part so the information could be repurposed to press Manafort to testify. The role pervasive surveillance has played in setting perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others has been grossly underreported. We'll see more of it, unfortunately, a new tool of justice in a surveillance state.
Flynn and Papadopoulos are currently charged with relatively minor offenses whose connections to Russiagate are tenuous. Flynn's contact with the Russian ambassador can be seen as a lot of uncomplimentary things, but it does not appear to have been a crime. With Papadopoulos there may be a conspiracy charge in there with some shady lawyering, but little more. Further offstage, Carter Page, a key actor in the Steele dossier and the subject of FISA warrants, has not been charged with anything.
Here's what Mueller is missing. The full force of the U.S. intelligence community has been looking for evidence of Russian government (not just "some Russians") interference in the election for 18 months (the recently released Schiff memo reveals five Trump campaign officials were under investigation as of September 2016, including Flynn), with the aim of finding proof of Trump's collusion with Russia in the same caper for about a year.
It is reasonable to conclude they do not have definitive intelligence, no tape of a Team Trump official cutting a deal with a Russian spy. The same goes for the Steele dossier and its salacious accusations . If a tape existed or if there was proof the dossier was true, we'd watching impeachment hearings.
What's left is the battle cry of Trump's opponents since Election Day: "Just you wait." They exhibit a scary, gleeful certainty that Trump worked with the Russians, because how else could he have won?
But so far the booked charges against Flynn and Papadopoulos and the guilty pleas of others point towards relatively minor sentences to bargain over -- assuming they have game-changing information to share in the first place. These are process crimes, not ones of turpitude. Manafort says he'll go to court and defend himself, lips sealed.
It's not enough. Mueller is charged with nothing less than proving the president knowingly worked with a foreign government, receiving help in the election in return for some quid pro quo, an act that can be demonstrated so clearly to the American people as to overturn an election probably a full two years after it was decided.
Given the stakes -- a Kremlin-controlled man in the Oval Office -- you'd think every person in government would be on this 24/7 to save the nation, not a relatively small staff of prosecutors leisurely filing indictments that so far have little to do with their core charge in the hope that someone will join their felony hunt and testify to crimes that may not have been committed.
A limping-to-the-finish line conclusion to Mueller's work just ahead of the midterms alleging Trump technically obstructed justice, or a "conspiracy to commit something" charge without a finding of an underlying crime, will risk tearing the nation apart. Mueller holds a lot in his hands, and he needs soon to produce the conclusive report to Congress he was charged to write. Until then, absent evidence, skepticism remains a healthy stance.
Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He Tweets @WeMeantWell.
Feb 27, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com
EggsX1 , February 25, 2018 at 1:37 pmThe Obama spying is politically terrible but when I consider what is laid out I am not seeing very many crimes that would put people in prison.phoenixRising , February 25, 2018 at 1:43 pm
- Having contractors use FISA 702 search queries not a crime?
- The president disseminating his PDB not a crime
- Unmasking people not a crime
- Submitting fraudulent info to a FISA court probably a crime (10 yrs?), but tough to prove because submitters can just say they believed the dossier
- Using someone else's name to unmask probably a crime (but good luck finding out who did it
- Leaking FISA 702s to a british spy probably a crime
- Leaking the unmasked intel from president's PDBs a crime (but leak crimes are tough to catch and won't end up punished that severely.)
Consipracy/Racketeering a crime, but a tough case to prove and even put together. That is why tax fraud is the litigator's preferred indictment, there are just so many moving parts with a conspiracy.
This is most likely why this is taking such a long time and I worry that most if not all conspirators will skate. They will probably be fired and collect their retirement pensions but that may be the end of it.
Though with the next democrat president, they will make sure that all those lose ends that got them caught this time will be perfectly legal. We have only witnessed the beginning of our own homegrown StaziYou seem to be attempting to lay out a case for the defense a fraudulently constructed one at thatEggsX1 , February 25, 2018 at 2:00 pm
I suggest you take your "probably not a crime" mantras where less intelligent people congregate
Like Liked by 2 peopleWe have already seen some of their defense through the dem memo. I am outraged at the spying scheme, but you have to recognize that all these people involved are lawyers. They will have made sure to have possible exits when the shtf. There are still plenty of black hats in all our gov bureaus and there will be a constant tit for tat throughout the process. The facts are there but I see this as an incredibly difficult case to prosecute.phoenixRising , February 25, 2018 at 2:06 pm
Like Likethen try reading the above article and previous ones and there are many cases not simply one again, do your homework.EggsX1 , February 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm
Like Liked by 2 peopleSundance has summarized the scheme quite nicely. Even so, blog posts are very different than an actual indictment. I suppose there must be more substantial crimes if they have been able to get people to flip crimes we have not been told (I hope).David A , February 25, 2018 at 3:12 pm
You say there are many other cases but fail to name any other crimes that have come to light. You could have enlightened me rather than just make accusations against me and told me to 'do my homework'.
I am simply saying they have created a scheme where it is nebulously legal. They could have just leaked the 702 queries but they laundered it through the PDB. This is all done to make it technically legal.
So far I am only seeing leaking, FISA fraud, and conspiracy/racketeering (which is next to impossible to prove). If there are only indictments along leaking, that would easily be seen as political prosecution (dems live under a different rule book than Trump/GoP being hounded by corrupt prosecutors ala Mueller). The Dem memo is trying to politicize the FISA fraud because they recognize that that is the next closest to an open and shut case.You are forgetting 50 percent of the evidence; not the again Trump evidence, but the for HRC whitewash, or " obstruction of justice".
Feb 26, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
jonst -> Boronx... , 26 February 2018 at 09:35 AMMy, street sense, and experience as a lawyer tells me that -- "tips, confessions.." from informants is true Steve. But the bar for going after a drug dealer, or fence, or kiddie porn type, is supposed -- one assumes -- to be a hell of a lot lower than going after the nominee for President of a major political party.Green Zone Café , 26 February 2018 at 11:11 AMWelcome to the criminal defense world. Everyday, hundreds of warrants based on the statements of criminals, paid informers, bitter ex-girlfriends, lying cops, and even non-existent "confidential informants" are issued. With all but the most blatant provably false affidavits, questionable searches are upheld by judges.outthere , 26 February 2018 at 04:30 PM
At this point I'm just waiting for Mueller's final indictments and the report. The facts will be there, or they won't.
If they are, try arguing a Motion to Suppress Evidence in the impeachment trial. That'll get you far . . .Some commentators here seem not to know this simple fact: prosecutors in USA have enormous power. They can make mountains of molehills. And their most powerful weapon is the law of conspiracy. Here is an explanation by an experienced attorney:
Feb 25, 2018 | www.theglobalist.com
. The United States is home to about 25% of the world's total prison population – over 5.5 times its share of the overall world population.
2. The United States incarcerates about 2.3 million people annually, as of 2016.
3. Many millions more pass through the system briefly for minor arrests or dismissed charges, and so on – often having to gather costly cash bail or face jail, even if they are innocent.
4. There are more than 1,700 state prisons, more than 100 federal prisons, more than 900 juvenile facilities and more than 3,100 local jails.
5. There are also a range of specialized short- and long-term holding centers, like military or indigenous prisons and immigrant detention centers.
6. These facilities – whether public or privately-operated – are a major economic hub, especially for jobs, in thousands of communities across the country.
7. That makes it politically difficult to promote detention and sentencing reform policies that would reduce the need for them.
8. Even in public prisons, staff jobs and contracts for food and laundry services become a local revenue stream that discourages reducing incarcerated populations.
9. Beyond the 2.3 million behind bars, there are also 3.7 million Americans on probation outside of jail, with various conditions, and 840,000 on parole.
Sources: Washington Post, Prison Policy Initiative, The Globalist Research Center
Feb 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com
Most lawyers, consultants and others who write books have never been to prison or either focus on one small area of the federal system. Michael Bye has walked the path before you so he can guide you through it with first hand knowledge and 10 years of experience in all levels of security. No other book is COMPLETELY Comprehensive. Over 450 detailed and easy to read pages of priceless information. Michael Bye served nearly a decade in the FBOP. He served time in all levels of security, from maximum security to minimum-security camps. Michael's extensive research of the federal system provided him with the knowledge to create this manuscript. Throughout his term of incarceration Michael became known as the "Jail House" Litigator.
Helping inmates file appeals, time reductions, medical needs as well as religious rights. This helping hand derived from Michael realizing that most individuals in the Federal System were not evil, scary people.
They were everyday people who lacked education, made a stupid mistake or had plain old bad luck. After years of compiling data, going through hand written notes and interviews Michael created the Practical Guide to Federal Incarceration.
Which will give you the complete knowledge to be able to safely navigate through the system, from Day 1 until the Day you are released, without incident. He also shows the families of men and women entering the Federal System the numerous aspects of the FBOP, as well as coping methods and understanding.
By reading this manual you will develop the tools needed to navigate through your term of Incarceration, create your own destiny and have a smooth transition back into the Free World. Read excerpts...
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
bob , , February 16, 2018 at 12:05 pmbob , , February 16, 2018 at 12:16 pm
One story I think is very relevant that it not getting nearly enough press is the Cuomo aide corruption trial.
It is hard to follow. The corruption is so deep and systemic that it's producing its own gravity and realities.
I'm also having a hard time not feeling somewhat sorry for Howe, who is the star witness. He was arrested, again, during the trial. He's been accused of any number of pejoratives, by everyone involved. He also seems to be the only one who has really lost anything -- lots of money and a career.
The rest of the filth are just fine. They were all more than fine to start with, and most of that fine is in no jeopardy of ever being taken away, stolen fine included.
They stole over 100 million dollars. Howe lied about one night at a hotel. Howe gets a jumpsuit. Cuomo is still in his office. The COR execs are still being represented by very high priced lawyers, paid for with millions that were stolen. The press gets lots of clickbait about 'ziti' and the 'fat man', that never, ever really gets anywhere near the people who should most be in jail. They have lawyers, you understand.Left in Wisconsin , , February 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm
Let's go ahead and take a look at where the past winners of NY corruption trials have ended up-
Convicted. Hasn't spent ONE DAY in Jail.
Convicted, hasn't spent ONE DAY in jail.
Both are still very wealthy, also. As if that were ever going to change.
I grew up in NYS and I still know one of the reporters following the trial. Even for me, the scale of the sleaziness is mindboggling. And the evidence seems quite compelling to me. I mean, the wife had a no-show job, nobody even disputes that! Will be interesting to see if guilty verdicts, if there are any, taint Cuomo. Or change anything.
Feb 17, 2018 | www.bostonglobe.com
May 09, 2014
Is America's lawyer bubble getting ready to pop?
Critics have long bewailed our national glut of lawyers, to little effect. Chief Justice Warren Burger predicted 35 years ago that America was turning into "a society overrun by hordes of lawyers, hungry as locusts." At the time, the population of attorneys in the United States had surpassed 450,000, and law schools were graduating 34,000 new ones each year. By 2011, the annual production of law degrees was up to 44,000, and at 1.22 million, the number of lawyers in the country -- which included me -- had nearly tripled. Over the same period, the population of the United States had risen just 40 percent .
But the wind has changed. In 2011, the number of students entering law school dropped by 7 percent, an unprecedented fall. In 2012, the drop accelerated: Enrollment of first-year law students sank another 8.6 percent. It plunged still further in 2013 . According to the American Bar Association, 39,675 new law students matriculated last fall -- an 11 percent decrease from 2012, to a low-water mark not seen since early in the Carter administration.
Much of the flight from law school reflects the brutal reality of the employment market for lawyers. The National Association for Law Placement reports that fewer than half of lawyers graduating in 2011 eventually landed jobs in a law firm. Only 65 percent found positions requiring passage of the bar exam. At a time when many law school graduates are shouldering student-loan debts of $125,000 or more, compensation has declined painfully -- the median starting salary for new lawyers in 2012 was just $61,000 . And quite a few can't find any work at all : Nine months after receiving their law degrees, 11.2 percent of the class of 2013 was unemployed.But the wind has changed. In 2011, the number of students entering law school dropped by 7 percent, an unprecedented fall. In 2012, the drop accelerated: Enrollment of first-year law students sank another 8.6 percent. It plunged still further in 2013 . According to the American Bar Association, 39,675 new law students matriculated last fall -- an 11 percent decrease from 2012, to a low-water mark not seen since early in the Carter administration.
Much of the flight from law school reflects the brutal reality of the employment market for lawyers. The National Association for Law Placement reports that fewer than half of lawyers graduating in 2011 eventually landed jobs in a law firm. Only 65 percent found positions requiring passage of the bar exam. At a time when many law school graduates are shouldering student-loan debts of $125,000 or more, compensation has declined painfully -- the median starting salary for new lawyers in 2012 was just $61,000 . And quite a few can't find any work at all : Nine months after receiving their law degrees, 11.2 percent of the class of 2013 was unemployed.
Only some of this is cyclical. The legal profession, like so many others, has been permanently disrupted by the Internet and globalization in ways few could have anticipated 10 or 15 years ago. Online legal guidance is widely accessible. Commercial services like LegalZoom make it easy to create documents without paying attorneys' fees. Search engines for legal professionals reduce the need for paralegals and junior lawyers. Maurice Allen, a senior partner at Ropes & Gray, is blunt : "There are too many lawyers and too many law firms," he said in a published interview last week. That means less work for new law school grads, and therefore less reason to go to law school.
And who, except perhaps for law school admissions deans, would be sorry to see America's lawyer bubble finally burst?
With almost 1.3 million lawyers -- more by far than any other country, and more as a percentage of the national population than almost all others -- the United States is choking on litigation, regulation, and disputation. Everything is grist for the lawyers' mills. Anyone can be sued for anything, no matter how absurd or egregious. And everyone knows how expensive and overwhelming a legal assault can be. The rule of law is essential to a free and orderly society, but too much law and lawyering makes democratic self-rule impossible, and common sense legally precarious.
Scarcely a day goes by without a fresh example of the damage caused by a legal system that so often puts the innocent at the mercy of the spiteful. To avoid legal liability, companies and institutions must comply with brain-numbing regulations and restrictions that destroy initiative, smother good ideas, and force grotesque results that benefit no one.
Because it is so overlawyered, "American culture is corroding before our eyes," writes Philip K. Howard, a big-firm lawyer and well-known reform advocate, in " The Rule of Nobody ," his new book. "It would have been inconceivable, a few years ago, for a teacher to be scared to put an arm around a crying child, or for a fireman to stand on the beach for an hour and watch a man drown because he had not been recertified for land-based rescue. Creeping legalisms are eating away at America's social capital."
From environmental rules so inflexible that fixing a bridge can take years to licensing rules so onerous that kids' lemonade stands get shut down, all of us are paying for those "hordes of lawyers, hungry as locusts," that Warren Burger warned of long ago. Students by the thousands are shunning law school? That's the best trend I've seen in ages.Jeff Jacoby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @jeff_jacoby . Show 48 Comments 48 Comments
- OETKB 05/12/14 04:44 AM Thomas Paine noted that government exists because of our "wickedness." If Mr. Jacoby wants to accelerate a trend towards less lawyers, then our fellow citizens will have to learn to become less "wicked." Until then laws and a legal system that at times over and under regulates will continue, probably ad infinitum.
- dkbabson 05/12/14 08:03 AM Oetkb, without lawyers there is more communicating, working our societal problems more reasonably, not just "lawyering" up and battling in court and board rooms
- Ronin555 05/12/14 08:11 AM There is less communication because people are frightened of each other, and because the system -- as constructed by lawyers and judges responding to the public -- discourage or prohibit communication. The district courts are full of people seeking restraining orders. In the criminal cases, the accused is often ordered not to speak with other defendants, witnesses, or anyone else involved in the case (other than his own lawyer). The result is fewer and fewer people able to work it out among themselves.
- MNMoore 05/12/14 05:40 AM The big question is: With such an oversupply of lawyers, why doesn't the cost of a lawyer come down?
- no-name- 05/12/14 08:01 AM because the free market, another of jake's mythical beasts, doesn't exist.
- Ronin555 05/12/14 08:15 AM The fees charged by lawyers has, mostly, leveled off and in some areas is actually going down. A lawyer I work with, for example, charges $250/hr. -- which was the rate charged by most lawyers 15 yrs ago. I haven't raised my hourly rate in, perhaps, 10 yrs. and I'm charging the same fixed fee rates I did 15 yrs ago.
- cabinetmaker1954 05/12/14 06:18 AM Oh, yeah; definitely need less legal regulation. Don't want to impede BP's deep water drilling. Wouldn't want to slow down those sub-prime mortgages. And we sure as heck don't need to worry about GM selling faulty automobiles. As per usual, Jacoby, you've got your head firmly planted up your rear end.
- myron1958 05/12/14 07:17 AM Nope, we need more lawyers so little girls can sue their parents for being too strict...
- LennyMirra 05/12/14 02:03 PM More lawyers doesn't help those issues cabinetmaker...as Jacoby writes we have a record number of lawyers in the US and yet all those problems you list still occurred. More lawyers are not the answer.
- geolovely 05/12/14 06:34 AM JJ claims the problem is too many lawyers, when of course his real goal is just weakened environmental protections, with a reference to a kid's lemonade stand tossed in as a smoke screen. The problem isn't the number of lawyers per se, it's the ethics, objectives, and methods of those lawyers.
- compromiser 09/16/16 02:40 PM Crazy wacko liberals will never get it.
And you keep electing the same lawyers, both parties, whose prime goal is more law and regulations which require more lawyers.
You're sooooo gullible... You've allow MA to become so over legislated and regulated that you have a new mother, the state! But you don't even know it!
- LR27 07/25/17 04:15 PM compromiser:
"Crazy wacko liberals" will not vote for Republicans.
Personally, I'd rather live in Massachusetts than a lot of other states. I appreciated living in Massachusetts when my landlord went bankrupt and Bank of America took over the house, refusing to communicate. In some other states, they could have swooped in and evicted me on short notice, but I didn't have to worry about that here. I also appreciated living in Massachusetts when I had to buy individual health insurance, though it was expensive. I've lived long enough to have a few pre-existing conditions.
- galwaycity 05/12/14 06:53 AM Nothing about corporate abuses of the legal system or what they get when they rent politicians
Show more replies (1)
- compromiser 09/16/16 02:41 PM Corps are not exempt from laws, pols are.
- LR27 07/25/17 04:01 PM compromiser:
Do you also believe in the tooth fairy? Read the news a bit more thoroughly.
- Giermund 05/12/14 06:59 AM I thought JJ was going to tell is all about how upset he is that (even with all of the lawyers around us) the poor and middle class still don't have access to our civil courts..
- Omj66 05/12/14 07:00 AM Notice how you don't criticize corporations using hordes of lawyers.
- mean_willie 05/12/14 07:22 AM I was wondering where Mr Jacoby was going with his latest (he worked so hard on this piece that he missed his usual Sunday column deadline?) effort. But then the real "point":
"From environmental rules so inflexible that fixing a bridge can take years to licensing rules so onerous that kids' lemonade stands get shut down, all of us are paying for those "hordes of lawyers, hungry as locusts," that Warren Burger warned of long ago." lawyers = regulation = bad. He NEVER disappoints.
- Targus 05/12/14 07:36 AM JJ is a lawyer? Then it's obvious why he wrote this piece. With his failure to be an effective columnist largely due to misplaced facts and the influence of his corporate interests JJ has finally realized his real calling and wants back into the one profession he truly feels comfortable with, prevarication without the embarrassment of Globe reader commentary. With fewer lawyers, as he's now championing, his own wallet will increase with larger fees because of potential lawyer shortages. Shows you how he thinks. JJ is true to form, bucks over brains.
- PJIslander 05/12/14 08:18 AM Remember, it was a mad man who said "first kill the lawyers."
- almartin98 05/12/14 08:47 AM "brain-numbing regulations and restrictions" are mainly the result of past bad behavior by companies and institutions. The recent massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas that wiped out an entire town will doubtless lead to more regulations and restrictions for Jeff to complain about.
- geolovely 05/12/14 11:10 AM "...will doubtless lead to more regulations and restrictions ..."
- - - - Not in Texas dammit! It's God's country, since he's the only one who protects the poor and working class from the 'benefits' of unfettered enterprise.
- Potlemac 05/12/14 08:51 AM My God Jeff, have you no decency? when you stated "Scarcely a day goes by without a fresh example of the damage caused by a legal system that so often puts the innocent at the mercy of the spiteful" I thought, at last Jacoby is going to talk about the Innocence Project or wrongly convicted citizens who spent decades in prison, but no he talks about corporations being saddled by regulations (you know, like keeping arsenic and carcinogens out of our drinking water)! Please Jeff, keep your antiquated opinions within the borders of the old testament and the House Unamerican Activities Committee where you and they belong.
- Oilcansman 05/12/14 09:37 AM Really, Jeff? Can you give one example of a great idea that was quashed by lawyers? Didn't think so. It appears the free market is dealing with the glut of lawyers fairly efficiently. Don't change a thing.
- NER_MCFC 05/12/14 09:38 AM The inherent tendency of the legal profession to create work for itself is problematic, but I see I'm far from the first to notice that the scope of Mr. Jacoby's complaint is oddly limited. He doesn't seem to have a problem with armies of corporate lawyers making millions by (for example) keeping Wall Street executives far away from the prison sentences they so richly deserve.
- hamhack 05/12/14 09:39 AM Too many lawyers is a symptom of a larger problem. Ever time Congress rolls out a bill like Dodd-Frank, it creates new bureaucracies and regulatory programs that corporations (and individuals) need lawyers to figure out. Look how many CEOs at banks and other large corporations have JDs - that is no accident, the ability to understand and comply with an ever grorwing sea of state and federal regulations is a material part of the job description for CEOs at large corporations today.
I spend my days helping clients figure out the vast body of local, state and federal environmental regulations. On Cape Cod, work in or near wetlands can require up to four separate regulatory approvals, with permitting and consulting (and perhaps legal) fees required for each. In MA alone, the environmental regulations approach 10,000 pages, plus thousands of additional pages of guidance, not to mention thousands of administrative law and judicial opinions interpreting all of those regulations. And many of these programs are simply analogs of federal programs (MA has its own versions of Superfund, Clean Water Act, Clean Act, Section 404 wetlands permits, NEPA environmental impact review, and RCRA hazardous waste management - and of course they are not always consistent the federal statutes, in fact they can and do conflict).
That regulatory burden is real - just ask Cape Wind, or any inland wind developer or try to take a train to New Bedford some time.
- 6x6x6x 05/12/14 10:32 AM Exactly, Hamhack. Whether you are representing an injured worker, an abused child, or a captain of industry, the complexities of expanding and overlapping statutes, regulations and case decisions make the task daunting, even for a trained and experienced lawyer. The issue really is not which "side" you are on politically; good lawyers guide the client through the maze created by the Congress, state legislatures, administrative agencies, courts and private code-promulgating bodies. Mr. Jacoby's comments are simplistic and miss the target. We live in an increasingly complex world; the complexities require organized thinking; and lawyers are trained to think in an organized manner. The reasons behind the drop in enrollments and employment are less sinister than the writer suggests: there is a revolution occurring in legal services. Ten years ago, I sat in an expensive downtown office, using a secretary, two paralegals and two associates to handle litigation for my business clients. My rates climbed every two years or so to reflect increased costs, with no real concern for a "ceiling". My firm accomplished its work as it had for 75 years. Change was incremental and slow. Today, I sit in a home office, connected to my partners and clients by cloud computing, a cell phone and Internet based research. Technology changes every day, and I must adapt. I serve primarily the same clients with no secretary, one shared associate and one shared paralegal. I produce just as much work, but at a greatly decreased cost and at lower rates. For this practice, the bottom line is that I need fewer hands to accomplish the same work, and I can share the resulting savings with clients. The reduced need for young lawyers is reducing the available jobs, dropping salaries, and reducing the attraction of a costly legal education. It's the market, and we have not yet seen the bottom.
- LR27 07/25/17 04:06 PM hamhack:
I seem to recall a correlation between deregulation of banking and financial disasters. Dodd-Frank is weaker than previous regulations, but it's better than nothing. Or did you enjoy 2007-2008???
- DaleOrlando 05/12/14 10:40 AM Well, Jeff. What happens when the town is all built and the trees are all felled? They close down the mill.
No such luck with the legal profession which has elected offices so in the bag between candidates and lobbyists that the legal mills, ugh, institutions of higher learning conferring a legal degree, will keep on churning them out as fast as they apply to keep up with the changes in the laws-federal, state, local.
It's one of those self perpetuating, constant motion thingamajigies, but don't worry about work for all of the new, bright legal minds burdened with school debt-they can simply scare someone into giving them a job even if it means bumping down someone qualified.
Oh wait, now that women are advancing in this field...well, no wonder the bugle boys are being dispatched to sound the alarms and scare them off from spending that much money on school. After all, since women really work at work, the more there are, the less work there will be. See how that goes? Truly a professional tragedy. :))
- fordfalcon 05/12/14 10:53 AM Excellent article. Very informative which touches both the left and the right.
- Bendogger 05/12/14 11:26 AM I wish there weren't so many lawyers in Congress. As NER_MCFC pointed out, "there's an inherent tendency of the legal profession to create work for itself." Look at our tax code, as an example. It's needlessly complex. It's only tax lawyers, and those who can afford them, that benefit from its complexity. It would be ideal to have a Congress that consisted of those who have diverse backgrounds and skills and could bring more to the table than having been trained as an attorney.
- carlida 05/12/14 11:44 AM From the comments, it looks like the lawyers have come out of the woodwork on this one. The only hope for weeding out the bad apples is Tort Reform. Unfortunately, most of those
who would have to vote on it are lawyers themselves.
- Ronin555 05/12/14 02:38 PM Tort reform is mostly nonsense and designed to protect corporate America. Few, if any, lawyers are going to spend precious time, and money, on frivolous lawsuits that they can't win or make enough or any money on. For every personal injury/tort case I accept, I probably turn down 10.
- Inquirer0 05/12/14 12:18 PM The secret to curing the "legal bubble," as Jacoby puts it is to simplify our laws. We live with an ever expanding legal jumble to the extent that it is impossible to read legislative bills without a lawyer, much less make the new laws actually do the job for which they are intended. I totally disagree with Jacoby that we don't need well-targeted regulation to manage markets and protect health and the environment. However, our problem really is in how we have to keep track of precedent in order to write additional laws, rather than create simple laws that stand on their own for the good for which they are intended. Perhaps some enterprising computer scientist can come up with an algorithm that can automatically simplify all previous law and formulate how to most efficiently create new laws with a minimum of fuss. Otherwise, rule of law, which is one of the founding principles of modern human civilization (going back at least to Hammurabi), will fast become an albatross that will strangle our civilization to death.
- tamorosomd 12/19/17 01:27 PM Good thought, and I share it to an extent. Unfortunately, we live in an ever more complex world; this requires laws which are comlples, and interpretation by courts to fill in the blanks laws inevitably leave. I would agree we may have tilted a bit too far in the direction of precedent, and away from equity as a legal precept, but simple laws will not handle complex issues.
- Lynn1066 10/15/15 09:47 AM Good article, Mr Jacoby! How true!
- 38Dodge 09/16/17 10:01 AM Reminded me of a class at Harvard Business School. The topic was mergers. The advice was "Keep the lawyers out of the negotiations!" (If they don't object to every detail, they feel they are not doing their job.)
Feb 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Don Bacon | Feb 16, 2018 6:03:33 PM | 45
There is a problem with Grand Juries:>Though the grand jury has existed in the United States since the colonial period, and the FIFTH AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution requires its use in federal criminal proceedings, it has come under increasing attack. Critics charge that it no longer serves the functions the Framers intended, and therefore should be abolished. Defenders admit there may be some problems with it today, but contend that these can be remedied.Probably in this case the jurors were given the "trust us, we know and have decided" treatment that has worked so well on many other people who should know better, and probably do, but they have been corrupted too. Without a trial, we'll never get the truth, but that's nothing new.
>In reviewing evidence of criminal wrongdoing, a grand jury is supposed to act as a shield against ill-conceived or malicious prosecutions. Yet critics charge that grand juries typically rubber-stamp the prosecution's moves, indicting anyone the prosecutor cares to bring before it.
>Those who favor ABOLITION of the grand jury argue that the domination of the prosecutor has led to a passivity that destroys the legitimacy of the grand jury concept. Most grand jurors have little background in law and must rely on the prosecutor to educate them about the applicable law and help them apply the law. In addition, at the federal level, there are very complex criminal laws, like the RACKETEER Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute. Even lawyers find many of these laws difficult to fathom, yet grand jurors are expected to understand them and apply them to intricate fact situations. Not surprisingly, charge the critics, the grand jury tends to follow the prosecution's advice.. . . here
Dec 28, 2017 | www.theatlantic.com
Prison Food Is Making U.S. Inmates Disproportionately Sick - The AtlanticThis won't surprise anyone: The food served in correctional institutions is generally not very good. Even though most Americans have never tasted a meal dished up in a correctional kitchen, occasional secondhand glimpses tend to reinforce a common belief that "prison food" is scant, joyless, and unsavory -- if not even worse. In August, the Detroit Free Press reported that a prison kitchen worker was fired for refusing to serve rotten potatoes. You can find nightmarish stories about maggots in national outlets like U.S.A. Today . Meanwhile, The Marshall Project's more thorough, pictorial anatomy of daily correctional fare across the country found that most offerings barely fill a cafeteria tray -- let alone a hungry belly. Reports like these reinforce the sense that criminal justice has a gastronomic dimension, that unrelentingly horrid food is a standard feature of the punishment prisoners receive behind bars.
But new evidence suggests that the situation is worse than previously thought, and not just because prison food isn't winning any James Beard awards. It's also making inmates sick.
According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), correctional inmates are 6.4 times more likely to suffer from a food-related illness than the general population. The report -- which looked at confirmed outbreaks across the country between 1998 and 2014, and is the first update to the data in 20 years -- underscores the fact that prison food is more than just a punch line, a flash point, or a gross-out gag on Orange Is the New Black . It's a hidden public-health crisis.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that inmates suffer from foodborne illness at a rate of 45 per 100,000 people annually, compared to only 7 per 100,000 in the general population. And 6 percent of all confirmed outbreak-related cases of foodborne illness in the United States took place in correctional institutions -- significant, considering that less than 1 percent of the country's population is incarcerated. At the same time, "desmoteric" outbreaks -- the kind that occur in correctional institutions -- were the country's largest outbreaks in four of the 17 years studied. (In six other years, correctional outbreaks ranked within the top five.) Thirty-seven states reported at least one desmoteric outbreak during the same span.
What's to blame for the dramatic rates of foodborne illness in jails and prisons? That's harder to say. In some ways, the CDC study is highly specific about what's making people sick: The agency determined that Clostridium perfringens and Salmonella were the most common disease-causing agents, for instance, and that tainted poultry products were the most common single culprit. But the data leave us with more questions than answers, since these raw numbers remain mostly uninterpreted. The study doesn't cover the more systemic factors causing outbreaks in the first place.
Mariel A. Marlow, one of the study's coauthors, was reluctant to speculate about the underlying cultural, operational, and institutional conditions leading to high rates of illness. "Oversight and regulation of correctional institutions can vary by state and institution, so just to pull out certain factors is a little difficult," she said. The correctional system is vast and highly variable: When it comes to food, a jail in Reno may be nothing like a federal prison outside New Orleans, and a private prison in Texas may look nothing like its counterpart one county over.
But an issue this widespread still signals the existence of underlying, systemic reasons inmates are six times more likely to be sickened by their food. As it turns out, the problems that arise in correctional food service tend to have mundane roots, even if the consequences can be dramatic. Institutions struggle to enforce basic food-safety standards: Though there are reports of corruption and negligence, the primary factor appears to be that many correctional facilities aren't equipped to execute the food-handling protocols observed in restaurants and corporate cafeterias. And when mistakes are made, there are inconsistent processes in place to ensure improvement.
* * *
Judging from news reports, you might think the main factor causing correctional outbreaks is the poor quality of the food itself. And certainly, a slew of well-publicized lawsuits have accused correctional facilities of buying and serving dodgy ingredients. In May, for instance, a class-action suit was filed against the Oregon Department of Corrections on behalf of current and former inmates, alleging that the state-run food service is so subpar it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. In recent years, there have been news reports of inmates served rotten chicken tacos , rancid beef , and cake that had been nibbled on by rodents . Meanwhile, earlier this year, a Michigan judge dismissed a suit brought by an inmate who said he'd been repeatedly served moldy bread and spoiled hamburger meat. (According to U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist, the complaint was without merit: In his view, the Eighth Amendment does not entitle prisoners to "tasty or aesthetically pleasing" food, only to a diet that allows them to "maintain normal health.")
Examples like these are unfortunately common, said Sara Totonchi of the Southern Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of prisoners. Her organization commonly receives letters from inmates complaining about food quality, she explained by email, including being served rotten food.
But food-service providers don't necessarily skimp on ingredients out of a malicious intention to punish prisoners. Instead, there are often systems of perverse incentives in play: The more cheaply prisoners can be fed, the more money can often be made by the people charged with their care.
Many state correctional systems outsource their kitchen operations to private food-service companies, which are usually paid a flat rate per meal to provide a full range of services -- from raw ingredients to kitchen equipment and staff. (Two of the biggest players are Trinity and Aramark, which, together, serve hundreds of millions of correctional meals per year.) This arrangement can greatly simplify things for correctional operators without the bandwidth to handle meal service -- but it can result in a raw deal for inmates, since companies paid by the meal can keep more money when they skimp on food.
To get a sense of why these arrangements can be problematic, look to an ongoing fracas in Michigan. After the Detroit Free Press reported in 2015 on a range of issues, from maggot-ridden potatoes to employee drug smuggling, the state prematurely terminated its $145 million contract with Aramark . The arrangement had been a "nightmare," according to Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, a "completely irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars ... [that] jeopardized the health and safety of inmates and prison employees alike."
For its part, Aramark denies any wrongdoing. In an emailed statement, Karen Cutler, Aramark's vice president of communications, wrote that Aramark hires registered dietitians to design meals that provide 2,500 to 3,000 calories a day, and suggested the company had been the target of a negative PR campaign by "opponents of outsourcing and special-interest groups."
After Michigan hired Aramark's main competitor, Trinity, as a replacement in 2015, the problems seem to have continued. Early this year, the state imposed a $2 million fine on Trinity, including $905,750 for "unauthorized meal substitutions," $357,000 for delays serving meals, and $294,500 for sanitation violations. According to the Free Press , the poor quality and quantity of food served by Trinity was one factor that led to a riot that caused $900,000 in damage at a prison in Kinross, Michigan. Trinity did not respond to a request for comment.
In this case, the solution is simple: Eliminate arrangements that motivate people to underspend on food, and meals are likely to improve. But though stories about rotten potatoes can excite one's darker curiosities, the conclusions of the CDC report point to a far more mundane culprit: Inside a correctional facility's walls, even basic food-safety standards can fall by the wayside.
* * *
During the 23 years he oversaw food operations at the Graham Correctional Facility in Hillsboro, Illinois, Joseph Montgomery says he never saw a major outbreak of foodborne illness from food served out of the prison kitchen. When inmates did get sick, he says, they were kitchen workers who'd smuggled inventory back to their cells.
"We have a population who will steal food from the general kitchen in various ways you probably wouldn't want to try printing," he says. "They will steal that product from the kitchen and take it back to their cell house. Their only way to have a refrigerator is if they put it in a container with a little bit of ice, but nine times out of 10 they don't have ice. In the summertime, it's going to sit on a windowsill or in a drawer so nobody sees it for two, four, six, eight hours."
The temptation for correctional kitchen staff to take food back to their cells can be profound, especially in situations where they're being routinely underfed. But since harmful bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature, the resultant standing time can be enough make people sick. Montgomery says he's seen anywhere from two to 15 people sickened in a single incident from contraband food. And, according to the CDC report, this really does pose a significant safety issue. Of the 200 outbreaks reported since 1998, the food in question was only identified 41 percent of the time. But of those 82 outbreaks, 16 incidents -- almost 20 percent -- involved "illicitly obtained or prepared food."
The most dangerous culprit is one you've probably heard about: pruno. A prison wine that can be made by fermenting stolen cafeteria supplies -- cut fruit, sugar cubes, and ketchup -- pruno is the rare correctional food-safety hazard that's cracked the popular consciousness. Tongue-in-cheek pruno recipes have been featured in Food & Wine and the Los Angeles Times , a faux ad for "Pruno Creek Gourmet Prison Wine" ran on Conan O'Brien's show, and fans suggest it's what Poussey was swilling on Orange Is the New Black. According to the CDC, pruno was implicated in four out of 16 -- 25 percent -- of outbreaks known to result from contraband food (that's about 2 percent of the total outbreaks studied).
It's easy to see why pruno poisonings have made headlines in the likes of CNN , NPR , and The Atlantic , in recent years. It's dangerous stuff, made under abysmal food-safety conditions -- illicit, ad-hoc distilleries run in secret without proper supplies or oversight, by inmates willing to take risks for a brief reprieve from the monotony of prison life -- conditions that can breed botulism, a virulent bacteria capable of causing paralysis and death. Montgomery says he's known inmates to drink a version so strong that it ate through the sole of the rubber boot it was brewed in.
But while it's true that underground food preparation tends to be lacking from a food-safety perspective, and makes for more sensational news reports, the food preparation happening under direct supervision can be just as inadequate -- and appears to be a much more significant problem.
* * *
Correctional facilities aren't just giant housing complexes: They tend to be understaffed, oversubscribed cafeterias, ones that can be responsible for feeding thousands of people three meals a day. Food service on that scale can be a challenge even for experienced teams of culinary professionals, but sources say correctional kitchens are often forced to get by with undertrained staff, shoddy equipment, and poor oversight.
Many state prisons choose to save money by using inmate labor in the kitchen, an arrangement with potential benefits. According to John Cornyn, a food-service consultant who's spent a portion of his 40-year career working on correctional projects in institutions from California to New York, inmates tend to like the role. "One, you're filling up your day with work, and two, the likelihood is that you're going to eat well," he says. The trouble is that most inmates don't actually have experience working in kitchens, and some lack even the most basic commercial food-handling and safety-training skills.
Ernest Rich says he served 19 years of a 24-year drug-related sentence in the California state correctional system, and most of the time he worked in food.
"I can tell you one thing ... Nobody has food-safety training," he says. "You've got people coming in there all the time who know nothing about cooking. They're learning as they go. They don't know nothing about what you should do, what you should not do."
In Rich's experience, that lack of training means mistakes are common. "They don't label things. They don't rotate the stock the way it's supposed to be. Those kitchens aren't ran like ordinary kitchens should be ran," he says.
That, according to Rich, means people get sick "a lot."
"You may hear about people, 15 or 20 people get sick on one yard," he says. "That's stuff that you hear about all the time."
According to the CDC report, outbreaks are most commonly caused by the kinds of unwitting, everyday infractions Rich describes. "Contributing factors" -- additional conditions that enabled or amplified a food-safety hazard -- were only identified in 38 percent of cases. But in those cases, the ones we know about, two of the most common food-safety-hazard-related outbreaks were easily preventable: 26 percent involved food handled by an infected person, while 24 percent involved "inadequate cleaning of processing or preparation equipment or utensils."
Mistakes are made even more frequently in the absence of proper oversight, a scenario that seems to be all too common. In Illinois, Montgomery remembers there being 40 inmates on duty during the day shift, with three supervisors, at least one of whom, by law, was required to have professional food-safety training. That's a ratio of about 13 inmates for every supervisor inside a 1,500-square-foot kitchen -- about as good as it gets, he says. But both Montgomery and Cornyn said the ratio is more commonly 15, even 20 inmates per supervisor. That's not ideal, especially because food safety is not always top of mind for overburdened supervisors.
"Security is your number-one priority, even in the kitchen. Food comes in second," Montgomery says. "That's what makes a food supervisor in corrections a really hard job. They have to be security-minded 100 percent of the time and put out a safe, quality product."
The most dangerous culprit may also be the most mundane. According to the CDC report, 37 percent of outbreaks with a known contributing factor began simply because food was left out at room temperature for longer than is safe -- the most common cause identified.
"I've seen [inmates] leave food out too long," Montgomery said. "Kitchens are warm and they leave food on the counter as they're prepping it."
To an extent, this issue could be addressed through better training. But more systemic factors contribute, too. Most jails and prisons simply weren't built to accommodate efficient food service, and Cornyn says that even in newly constructed facilities, the kitchens are designed almost as an afterthought -- "the cheapest way possible." That can be a huge mistake, he says, because prison kitchens typically need to be even larger than their commercial counterparts. In situations where "sharps" -- knives attached to wire cables -- are in use, inmate workers must be placed many feet apart. And many facilities don't take advantage of space- and labor-saving machinery that speed up prep times in civilian restaurants -- the whole point is to provide opportunities for manual labor. All these make larger kitchens necessary, and in cramped confines the work takes much longer than it should -- setting the stage for potential food-safety hazards.
But the trouble continues once the food leaves the kitchen for the mess hall. For security and logistical reasons, many facilities can't feed their entire populations all at once -- they feed prisoners in waves instead, so that the dining hall is never overfull. This takes time, and often means food is left out, shift after shift.
"We don't have the luxury in corrections to make partial batches a lot of the time. Most of the time you have to make the entire thing all at once," Montgomery says. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, meat can only sit out for two hours above 40 degrees Fahrenheit before safety becomes an issue.
Rabbi Aryeh Blaut routinely witnessed warm food left out at a federal prison in Massachusetts, where he spent time as an inmate 14 years ago. (Today, Blaut is the executive director of Jewish Prisoner Services, a nonprofit advocating for incarcerated individuals with kosher diet needs.)
"There might be two or three food shifts, but they're not necessarily bringing in fresh food for each shift," he said. "Through that time, the hot food isn't being kept hot, and the cold food isn't being kept cold."
In overpopulated prisons, meal service can take so long that facilities are sending out food throughout the day. "I've been in situations where the meal finally is served, they clean up, and they start setting up for the next meal. It takes that long to get the food out," Cornyn says. "That's not ideal."
The dire combination of untrained workers and space limitations make the already-daunting task of correctional food service all the more challenging. And though simple improvements could do so much to keep inmates from getting sick, the reality is that -- unlike at public eateries -- no one is watching to make sure the situation improves.
* * *
A strict, uncompromising inspection system seems like an obvious solution to the prison system's outbreak woes. Regular inspections work well, for the most part, in restaurants and school cafeterias, after all. Why shouldn't that translate into the correctional setting?
Turns out, pretty much everything is different in a prison kitchen.
To start, state, local, and federal prisons across the country don't follow the same rulebook. Federal prisons follow the Bureau of Prisons' Food Service Manual (FSM), which is similar to the FDA's Food Code (FFC) -- the rule book used in restaurants. But the CDC points out a couple of key differences in its report. For instance, the manual lacks the FFC's clear language about when a kitchen worker can start working after being sick. It also doesn't explicitly say that federal food-service employees have to receive food-safety training.
Meanwhile, state and local facilities (which house about 10 times the number of inmates as federal facilities) can create their own guidelines. Sometimes that means adhering to the FDA's Food Code, and sometimes that means using the Bureau of Prisons' manual. But there's no universal rule for food safety in state and local facilities. In Michigan, the problems under Aramark's tenure prompted the state's congress to introduce bills that would classify prison cafeterias as "food establishments," meaning they'd have to act like restaurants and follow the FDA Food Code, requiring a food-safety manager to be present at all times. But those bills never passed the legislature. "Each state is different," Montgomery explains.
The inspection process is just as uneven. No uniform, nationwide rules govern how and when federal, state, and local prison kitchens are inspected. The process varies based on state and local jurisdiction -- Montgomery explains that state facilities get inspected by state inspectors, but county jails get inspected by the county health inspector. These inconsistencies can make it easy for violations to slip through the cracks. In federal facilities, meanwhile, enforcement is left to the discretion of the institution's Food Safety Administrator, who is given broad latitude. Weekly inspections are required but, according to the FSM, "procedures and reports for formal inspections ... are developed locally."
Even when an inspector does find fault in the kitchen, penalties can be mild or nonexistent. Think of it this way: A state-run agency isn't likely to slap a hefty fine on another state-run agency, nor can inmates choose to take their business to an A-graded cafeteria over a B-graded mess hall. Even when private contractors are in charge (and can therefore be fined), penalizing slipshod safety practices is tricky -- no matter what happens during an inspection, inmates have to be fed two or three times every day. Inspectors don't usually have the last-ditch option of shutting down a prison cafeteria altogether.
Contracting with a third-party food-service provider can add another layer of complexity, as it's not always clear who's responsible for making sure the rules get followed. In Ohio, for example, Aramark and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction disagreed over " shared responsibility " for kitchen cleanliness. In a study that interviewed correctional officers about Aramark's tenure in Michigan, those same shared responsibilities were said to have caused tensions between correctional-facility officers and Aramark employees, who argued about whose job it was to purchase cleaning supplies. Problems can result from this unclear chain of command; according to the study's author, "there was universal agreement across the focus groups that the kitchen areas became less sanitary with privatization." As one officer quoted in the study put it: "Cleanliness is horrible. I don't know how it passes any kind of inspection." The trouble is that it can be unclear whose job it is to clean up the mess.
* * *
While systemic disadvantages continue to compromise safety, existing regulations have failed to address common problems. Ultimately, then, the solution may fall to inmates themselves. Which is probably why, if the CDC report has one overarching recommendation, it's that correctional facilities work harder to educate inmates on food safety. Even though high kitchen-staff turnover and low food-service budgets hinder progress, intensive food-safety training is one factor institutions can control.
It's a rare win-win: Programs that work to provide inmates with food-safety certification can help reduce incidences of foodborne illness and provide formerly incarcerated individuals with a career path once they return to civilian life.
Ernest Rich says when he was incarcerated, he started working for Cal Fire (part of the state's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) in a program where inmates set up outdoor mobile kitchens to serve firefighters as they battle blazes. Maybe it was because the meals weren't served inside a prison's walls, but Rich noticed that food safety was taken much more seriously.
"They have a health inspector come by there and make sure that the food is being served and make sure everybody's wearing gloves. They're going to make sure that all this is going on. They don't do that inside a prison," he says.
At Cal Fire, Rich picked up the knowledge that would ultimately land him a job in food service when he returned to civilian life. He says he got involved with a reentry organization called HealthRIGHT and eventually started working at L.A. Kitchen, a nonprofit dedicated to job training. "You take the food-handling test and you get your certification. You go from there and they give you a job and et cetera. It's a great, great program," he says.
There's been a small movement to bring these kinds of workforce training programs inside prison walls. Montgomery teaches a class in Illinois prisons where students can earn a State of Illinois food-handler certification, which offers a competitive advantage when they walk into an interview. And there's plenty of opportunity. Every single restaurant in the state is required to have at least one person on site at all times with the permit his class provides.
Private contractors offer food-safety education opportunities as well. Aramark's In2Work program, a curriculum based on the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe program, is a selling point when it bids for new contracts. The program currently operates in more than 75 facilities across the country.
Rich says that these types of initiatives, if implemented nationally, would benefit inmates during their sentences and after release. "If they tried to train you, they trained people properly, they could use these skills. But the way they're training people now in culinary, it's not going to do you no good when you get out of here," he says. "They're not training you in these prisons how to become a culinary cook. They're just using a body to serve the food."
That's a missed opportunity, according to Cornyn. "I think any prison food-service operator will tell you that they've come across some really great inmate workers," he says. "They just either have prior restaurant experience before they were incarcerated, or they simply found that they like that kind of work, and they do an outstanding job."
Released in February 2017, Rich now has a full-time job with benefits in a high-rise cafeteria in California, a job he got as the result of the culinary training program at L.A. Kitchen -- a program similar to the training the CDC report recommends for all inmates. Unlike so many formerly incarcerated people, who face huge uncertainty upon release, Rich has managed to answer some longer-term questions about his future.
"That's how I think of it," he says. "It's a career for me."
Dec 05, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com
Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:52 pmOnce upon a time I provided health services to inmates in a prison. Generally speaking I liked the inmates better than the guards, who for the most part were men who had wanted to become cops but were too stupid to pass selection. I met some real brewmasters (inmates) working that gig. Good luck with the brew.
Dec 04, 2017 | www.amazon.com
The Criminal Trial Handbook is a concise and practical treatise setting forth the nuts and bolts of what every lawyer needs to know to competently and effectively try a criminal case. It is designed for use by both prosecutors and defense attorneys, experienced and inexperienced. Compiled and written by a California Superior Court judge with nearly 30 years of courtroom experience, the handbook follows the natural progression of a jury trial from the first day counsel arrive at the courtroom through the closing argument. At each stage of a trial, the applicable rules of courtroom procedure and evidence are explained. It covers common evidentiary trial issues, such as hearsay and character evidence, and includes the verbatim text for some of the most commonly used California Evidence Code sections and selected case law authorities. Topics covered include:
• Pre-Trial Motions
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• Character Evidence
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In addition, the handbook describes basic trial tactics, such as how to effectively cross-examine a witness, how to present evidence in the courtroom, and how to make persuasive opening statements or closing arguments. It also contains "Trial tips," practical suggestions for the courtroom not ordinarily found in other legal treatises or law books. Although primarily geared towards criminal law, many of the trial procedures and tactics discussed are equally applicable in civil trials. The handbook is also a great resource for law students or anyone interested in learning the fundamentals of a criminal jury trial.
Oct 28, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Sam Peralta , 27 October 2017 at 03:29 PMCol. Langturcopolier , 27 October 2017 at 04:18 PM
Some years back I followed the court cases around the denial of mass surveillance. In every case the federal government invoked "state secrets" to prevent the cases from going forward in any meaningful way. As expected the courts ruled in favor of the government.
It seems that in most cases "state secrets" were invoked to protect government malfeasance and/or ineptitude.
Is there a reasonable standard were real national security secrets are protected but not malfeasance and ineptitude?Sam PLars , 27 October 2017 at 05:36 PM
You wrongly believe that the IC and DoJ are acting in good faith when they prosecute. lawyers think it just fine to make deals between the sides and including the judge that are based on administration desire to "nail" someone for political reasons involving control of society. The DoJ often withhold evidence from security cleared defense lawyers, evidence that should have been handed over in Discovery. I have caught them at it a few time by telling them what is in the material withheld, just a matter of logic. plWhat I would like to know, Col. Lang, is why you know this and why Congress is not even interested in knowing? The reality is that the judicial system, on all levels, is a huge scam and nobody is doing anything about it.turcopolier , 27 October 2017 at 05:51 PMLarsNYShooter , 27 October 2017 at 07:12 PM
I guess you missed the fact that I am considered to be a global level authority on these subjects as well as military affairs in general. Public and other defenders solicited my assistance. DoJ and the federal courts hired me, accredited me and DoJ cleared me to the Top Secret codeword level so that I could read all the government files offered in Discovery. Nobody did that for you? the courts also paid me extremely well but not was well as some of the experts favored by DoJ. HOW do I know the essential collusion and conspiracy present on the US justice system? I watched it up close. How about you? Congress is part of the swamp and filled with stupid and ignorant people. plCol. Lang, Sir:J , 27 October 2017 at 07:13 PM
As a new commenter, long time reader, I can't, adequately, express my appreciation and respect for your experience, and, the body of knowledge you bring to this forum. It is on that basis that I ask you for some additional illumination regarding your description of the attorneys provided to indigent defendants:
"These lawyers are fully funded and staffed and are every bit as good as the DoJ US Attorney's people and staff."
Certainly, my experience in such matters dwarfs yours, but, it is not non-existent. My experience with court appointed counsel (thankfully, not as a defendant) is far less laudatory than is your description. Too often, I've found judges succumbing to the same prejudices that many laypeople do. The mindset, "your most likely guilty," is way too common, and, obvious.
Even more unjust, the, all too often perfunctory denial of: 1. additional time for these overburdened Public Defenders to adequately study the case at hand, 2. Sufficient funds for outside investigators & lab/forensic work, and, 3. Enough time to properly/thoroughly examine witnesses, directly, and, in cross. They are always in a hurry to, "move it along." Thus, they are more likely to deny the indigent motions, and, lines of questioning that are standard for more affluent participants.
Granted, my experience is in State Courts; Is it that much different in Federal Courts?
Thank you.Money and Politics seems to be the main rules under which DOJ AND CIA AND CONGRESS (in caps) function.
Funding both unclassified and classified, and funding that isn't supposed to exist, along with politics where aspiring personnel and lawyers hoping to make their bones so-to-speak before their bosses would rather see their careers advanced over the right thing (and lawful depending).
If Justice could only peer out of her blindfold and take a peek at the jesters before her, what would she say?
Northern Star , September 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm
Oct 10, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Harsh punishment for financial crimes in Vietnam including the death penalty:
One could think that financial crimes would be treated with harsh punishment in a capitalist economy where the rules of fair competition would be the 11th commandment. However, and no need to cite references, the most egregious economic crimes (think 2008) go unpunished. Yet, microscopic economic crimes (e.g. shoplifting) often involve jail time in harsh facilities. I suspect that Vietnam is the exact opposite in that regard.
No great revelation here but the difference between the two countries is that the US has a class based system whereas Vietnam does not.
The combination of a communist party and capitalism could be a practical way to obtain the benefits of capitalism/competition with the party enforcing the law and guiding the overall direction of the economy. Perhaps that is a major reason for China's stunning economic growth. If China's success continues, that model could take root (under a different name and modified for local circumstances) in developing countries that do not have the baggage of the Western class system. Hope so.
"The combination of a communist party and capitalism could be a practical way to obtain the benefits of capitalism/competition with the party enforcing the law and guiding the overall direction of the economy."Patient Observer , September 30, 2017 at 4:01 pm
Ummm.. I thought that capitalism and communism are operationally fundamentally incompatible:
Some of the Quora comments are well thought out and instructive ..
For Stooge Quants or Logicians:
OTOH you can just cut to the chase and read this with plenty of Vodka
The communists (or people or wise and sage rulers or religious leadership) set the stage, the laws and enforce compliance. The capitalists act within the confines of those laws without opportunity to evade or subvert. No family accumulation of capital would be permitted (no dynasties) and corporation ownership would be distributed on a broad base. It would be a utopian world that may not be achievable but still possible. China has found a formula that seems to work and it could work for other countries with a similar cultural experience.Jen , October 1, 2017 at 5:06 am
Whether capitalism and Communism can co-exist or be made to co-exist would depend very much on how the society in question defines private property and private property ownership, and how its laws regulate and police ownership and transfers of ownership. Would individuals and companies be allowed to own land or only be able to lease it from governments or communities? If someone dies or if a company is liquidated or bought by another company, should any land that person or company was holding at the time be returned to the government or the community? Can any decision to return the land be challenged? These are some questions that would have to be addressed and resolved for the two ideologies to co-exist.Patient Observer , October 1, 2017 at 4:43 pm
By any realistic definition, China is ruled by the Communist party yet China has large numbers of billionaire and huge numbers of millionaires so one can say that communism, when it is in charge of the country , can tolerate a capitalistic element. I doubt that the reverse would be possible given the mandate of capitalism to endless expand, acquire and control.
Land can only be leased I believe. I do not know about inheritance laws but I would suppose creation of capitalistic dynasties would be frowned upon.
Oct 09, 2017 | dailycaller.com
Martin Shkreli doesn't sound like he's having a very bad time in prison.
"Pharma Bro" is fitting in well and educating his fellow inmates, according to the New York Post .
The Post reported in part:Of course Martin Shkreli is becoming the leader of the prison population. I wouldn't have expected anything else.
The 34-year-old is spending his time mentoring fellow inmates, reading, playing chess -- and learning to deal with sharing a small, cramped cell with a snoring roommate, pal Lisa Whisnant told The Post.
"Things are not THAT awful here," inmate 87850-053 wrote to Whisnant, underlining "THAT" three times. "There are some bright sides. I am teaching these prisoners some new things and hopefully some ways to change their lives."
"He seems to be handling it with typical Shkreli style," she said. "He brings people together and shares his knowledge. Martin was meant to be a teacher. He loves it. He's a natural."
The man is a natural born dealmaker and all-time schmoozer. I don't know Martin well at all. I've had a few beers with him on different occasions. He's an interesting guy. Not an evil guy by any measure, but he does seem to enjoy his online persona.
It's also not surprising to me because anybody who talks to him know he's very charismatic. I'm glad to see Martin is finding his lane in prison, and running the whole prison crew. Classic Shkreli move.
- Tyler Durden 2 hours ago Looks like Big Pharma has a new pool of potential CEOs! see more
- crow 2 hours ago better he's making deals there than in the public arena. see more
- dg robinson 3 hours ago you can rule anything with enough promises and money!! see more
- shhhhh 5 hours ago he is a cool guy... sad to see them rail road him like this... Hung out with him on election night and was nothing but fun... hopefully he gets back on his feet when the demo-rats let him out
Oct 04, 2017 | www.msn.com
Martha Stewart is opening up about her five month stint at West Virginia's Alderson Federal Prison Camp in 2004, calling the experience "horrifying."
"It was horrifying and no one, no one, should have to go through that kind of indignity really except for murderers, and there are a few other categories, but no one should have to go through that," she told Katie Couric in an exclusive clip for a new episode of Couric's self-titled podcast. "It's a very, very awful thing."
Since it's been 13 years since Stewart was sentenced for lying about the sale of a stock, Couric wondered whether the domestic guru felt it was a growth experience for her after all this time.
"[Did I feel] that 'you can make lemons out of lemonade' and 'what hurts you makes you stronger'? No. None of those adages fit at all," she said on the podcast, which has also hosted stars like Alec Baldwin, Ina Garten and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. "It's a horrible experience, nothing is good about it, nothing."
Stewart, now 76, was placed in minimum security prison, but assured Couric that it was no walk in the park. "There are lots and lots of disturbing things that go on in an incarceration like that," she said. "In minimum security you still couldn't walk out the gate or cross the river. There's still guards and it's still nasty."
The home cook also credited her negative experience to "being taken away from your family, being maligned, and being treated the way you were treated," she said. "It's horrible and especially when one does not feel one deserves such a thing."
But with her ever-expanding empire, like the release of her 89th cookbook, Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker, and the success of her show Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, Stewart refuses to let those unbearable five months define her.
"One thing I do not ever want is to be identified or I don't want that to be the major thing of my life," she said. "It's just not fair. It's not a good experience and it doesn't make you stronger. I was a strong person to start with and thank heavens I was and I can still hold my head up high and know that I'm fine."
The full interview with Stewart is available through the Katie Couric podcast on Thursday.
Sep 26, 2017 | crookedtimber.org
by Henry on September 14, 2017 This exit interview with Richard Posner, who is retiring as a judge, is interesting."About six months ago," Judge Posner said, "I awoke from a slumber of 35 years." He had suddenly realized, he said, that people without lawyers are mistreated by the legal system, and he wanted to do something about it. He had become concerned with the plight of litigants who represented themselves in civil cases, often filing handwritten appeals. Their grievances were real, he said, but the legal system was treating them impatiently, dismissing their cases over technical matters. "These were almost always people of poor education and often of quite low level of intelligence," he said. "I gradually began to realize that this wasn't right, what we were doing."
Judge Posner said he hoped to work with groups concerned with prisoners' rights, with a law school clinic and with law firms, to bring attention and aid to people too poor to afford lawyers.
In one of his final opinions, Judge Posner, writing for a three-judge panel, reinstated a lawsuit from a prisoner, Michael Davis, that had been dismissed on technical grounds. "Davis needs help ! needs it bad ! needs a lawyer desperately," he wrote.
On the phone, Judge Posner said that opinion was a rare victory. "The basic thing is that most judges regard these people as kind of trash not worth the time of a federal judge," he said
I don't want to be snarky – it is unqualifiedly great that someone of Posner's stature on the right is taking up this cause. I do want to point out though, that it can be interpreted as a partial completion of something that was incomplete before – Posner's commitment to pragmatism as an approach to understanding the law.
As the NYT piece notes in passing, Posner is famous for his argument that law should be interpreted pragmatically, as an exercise in problem solving. Yet as Jack Knight and Jim Johnson pointed out twenty years ago, in a response to Posner's major book on pragmatism, he left out all of the political arguments that were part of the web and woof of pragmatist thinking in the early twentieth century. John Dewey, for example, saw pragmatism as tied up with democracy, and democracy with a commitment to radical equality, in which 'publics' would be able to solve problems without interference from Old Corruption.
Knight and Johnson quote a bit from Posner's argument back then:Today's legal pragmatism is so dominated by persons of liberal or radical persuasion as to make the movement itself seem (not least in their eyes) a school of left-wing thought. Yet not only has pragmatism no inherent political valence, but those pragmatists who attack pieties of the right while exhibiting a wholly uncritical devotion to the pieties of the left (such as racial and sexual equality, the desirability of a more equal distribution of income and wealth, and the pervasiveness of oppression and injustice in modern Western society) are not genuine pragmatists; they are dogmatists in pragmatist clothing.
As Knight and Johnson point out, Posner's efforts to divorce pragmatist problem solving from considerations of power simply do not make sense.Posner rightly affirms the central importance of unforced inquiry to pragmatism. Dewey made this theme central to his conception of democratic politics. He also made it central to his writings on law.62 Thus Posner correctly recognizes that "from a pragmatist perspective the main concern is with the danger of premature closure of legal debate." But he then wavers considerably regarding the seemingly obvious political consequences of this statement. Unforced inquiry entails reasoned deliberation. If we are to avoid "premature closure," however, it also seemingly entails free and equal access for relevant actors to all relevant arenas of deliberation, debate, and decision. While Posner readily accepts the first of these implications, he remains very reluctant to accept the second. This is especially clear in his remarks both on the diversity of the legal establishment and on the barrier that economic inequality presents with respect to access to the courts."
More specifically:He concedes that asymmetries of wealth or political power distort free and open inquiry in the American legal system. The adversary system does not much resemble the concept of unforced inquiry that is the pragmatists' ideal and the scientists' ethic. Furthermore, the competitors in our privatized competitive system of justice often have markedly and irremediably unequal resources. Most criminal defendants lack the resources to hire counsel equal in skill and experience to the public prosecutor, and public subvention of the cost of counsel for indigent criminal defendants has not been sufficiently generous to close the gap. Having identified another serious barrier to free and equal access, however, Posner once again falters. He finds "troublesome" suggestions that the remedy for these distortions of unforced inquiry "may require redistributing wealth or continually intervening in the marketplace of ideas."
It would appear that in the intervening decades, Posner has changed his mind, and has done so in an eminently pragmatist fashion, as the result of practical experience. Again, I'm not looking to score points here – if someone like Posner picks up this cause, it is likely to resonate with people who would dismiss or ignore similar arguments from the left. Instead, I'm pleased that he's developing his commitment to pragmatism, in the ways that Knight and Johnson advocated, rather than leaving it in a stunted condition.
Matt 09.14.17 at 2:54 amIt's hard to know what to make of Posner's transformation over the years, other than, I suppose, to welcome it,(or if it makes up for the real damage he and those inspired by him did for a long time) but in fairness, his pragmatism was always more of the individualist sort inspired by Holmes (and in some ways James) than the more Hegelian sort found in Dewey. If you read Holmes's _The Path of Law_, you can see a lot of Posner's views set out there already. That's a consistent enough strand of pragmatism to warrant the name, I think.
TM 09.14.17 at 7:18 pmPosner: "These were almost always people of poor education and often of quite low level of intelligence,"
Mostly they are just poor. I'm glad Posner got around to the insight that people without lawyers shouldn't be treated with contempt by the legal system, but he didn't also have to insult their intelligence.
This legal system, its inaccessibility and unfairness, is America's eternal shame.
J-D 09.15.17 at 1:27 am
"The basic thing is that most judges regard these people as kind of trash not worth the time of a federal judge," he said
In other words, he's saying that his colleagues ! at least, most of them ! don't believe in equal protection of the laws, no matter what it says in the Fourteenth Amendment.
Is such frankness as unusual as it seems to me?
b9n10nt 09.15.17 at 3:09 amJ-D @10
The ideological rationalizations that provide cognitive consonance for judges (just like parents and professionals of all types who wield immediate social power) are likely rooted in the practice of more immediate and perplexing dilemnas that the judge is required to resolve.
Like perhaps she knows that her jurisdiction can't handle a certain volume of cases that are left at her doorstep and she either formally or tacitly must filter yadda yadda . I'm not saying it's that but typically there's some felt, situational pragmatism in beaurocratic cruelty.
And also, who can believe (in spirit, beyond the reach of rationalizing!) in equal protection in this society? She's a US federal judge circa 2020. She's have to see it, practice it, it would be expected of her. If she's a federal judge she believes in equal protection by practicing "recreational" politics off hours. Because if the polity really did allow judges to practice equal protection, wow this would be an amazing, perhaps self-propelling step toward actual egalitarianism.
J-D 09.15.17 at 8:29 am ( 12 )In the article I read:b9n10nt 09.17.17 at 2:36 am ( 19 )
He called his approach to judging pragmatic. His critics called it lawless. "I pay very little attention to legal rules, statutes, constitutional provisions," Judge Posner said. "A case is just a dispute. The first thing you do is ask yourself ! forget about the law ! what is a sensible resolution of this dispute?"
The next thing, he said, was to see if a recent Supreme Court precedent or some other legal obstacle stood in the way of ruling in favor of that sensible resolution. "And the answer is that's actually rarely the case," he said. "When you have a Supreme Court case or something similar, they're often extremely easy to get around."
In The Tyranny Of Words , by Stuart Chase, published in 1938, I read:
Chancellor Kent of New York State, a great legal authority, in a charming burst of frankness once wrote: 'I saw where justice lay, and the moral issue decided the court half the time. I then sat down to search the authorities. I might once in a while be embarrased by a technical rule, but I almost always found principles suited to my view of the case.' The learned judge used his best judgement, came to a decision, and then ransacked the fat books for authority to support him. He almost always found it. I would be willing to take his decision, if he were a good judge, without the ornament of citations. The decision constitutes the reality of legal machinery; the citations contribute to the magic.Bloix @19TM 09.18.17 at 11:25 am ( 20 )
The problem is not one of the federal courts or of the attitude of judges
Shouldn't we nevertheless assume that the attitude of judges will be warped by the cognitive dissonance between "I'm good at my job" and "I know the system is screwing the poor"? Shouldn't we expect attitudes like "they're trash anyway" to take root and inevitably make the fundamental problem worse?
I'm projecting what I know of educators and social workers onto the legal system
Alternatively, judges as a class are heroes of self-reflection and self-discipline.One reason why I'm skeptical of the legalistic line of justification – the judge just has to stick with the rules even if they feel the rules are unjust – is the fact that judges in reality often do not stick with the rules. For example the NY courts have basically redefined the concept of calendar time in order to practically ignore the constitutional "speedy trial" requirement ( http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/nyregion/justice-denied-bronx-court-system-mired-in-delays.html ).
But I agree it's a political problem as well as a legal one. A few years ago the NYT published a well researched series about the failures of the US legal system that I found just devastating, maybe someone can find the link? Also The Divide by Matt Taibbi should really be an eye-opener. An interesting observation of Taibbi's is that many public defenders share the system's resentment against their indigent clients. It's truly a class-based system of justice.
Sep 16, 2017 | www.nytimes.com
"If officials who take a careful look at the case decide that Harvard should move forward, then we think that the university should do everything in its power and ability to welcome Ms. Jones here and support her, and we are indeed happy to play a part in that effort," they continued. "We have stated our concerns as questions, and we hope they are treated as nothing more nor less than questions, not as an implicit or explicit judgment against a person and her candidacy"
Ms. Jones, in an interview, said that if anyone at Harvard wanted her to elaborate on the criminal case or her preparedness for the Ph.D. program, they should have asked. "I just didn't want my crime to be the lens through which everything I'd done, and hoped for, was seen," she said.
"I knew that I had come from this very dark place "" I was abhorrent to society," she continued. "But for 20 years, I've tried to do right, because I was still interested in the world, and because I didn't believe my past made me somehow cosmically un-educatable forever"The Toughest School
Yale University also rejected Ms. Jones, though it is unclear what role her crime may have played in its decision; officials would not discuss her application.
But she was courted by the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Michigan; the University of Kansas; and N.Y.U., which assigned graduate students to send Ms. Jones welcoming notes on JPay, a prison email app.
She arrived in Manhattan during the back-to-school season of fresh starts, having never used a smartphone. She wore prison-issue glasses and carried boxes full of jailhouse research notes.
If her new parole officer allows it, Ms. Jones hopes to teach in N.Y.U.'s prison education program , as a way to remember where she has been. She also hopes to take the train to Cambridge, Mass., every other week to sit in on a Harvard seminar on the history of crime and punishment in America.
"We're having her come up here for that partly out of a sense of pique," Mr. Johnson said.
At N.Y.U., Nikhil Singh, faculty director of the prison-education program, acknowledged that "Michelle will have a lot to prove"
"Our hope is that she is actually far, far more resourceful and driven than most college students," he added, "who take for granted they are supposed to be here."
On the Friday before classes started, in a lounge on the N.Y.U. campus, Ms. Jones said any presumption that she is not ready for a Ph.D. underestimates her own moxie and "sells prison short"
"People don't survive 20 years of incarceration with any kind of grace unless they have the discipline to do their reading and writing in the chaos of that place," Ms. Jones said. "Forget Harvard. I've already graduated from the toughest school there is"
Eli Hager is a staff writer for The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on criminal justice issues.
A version of this article appears in print on September 14, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Redemption and Rejection: From Prison to Ph.D. Order Reprints Today's Paper SubscribeContinue reading the main story
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Aug 15, 2017 | www.unz.com
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently ordered the Justice Department to increase the use of civil asset forfeiture, thus once again endorsing an unconstitutional, authoritarian, and increasingly unpopular policy.
Civil asset forfeiture, which should be called civil asset theft, is the practice of seizing property believed to be involved in a crime. The government keeps the property even if it never convicts, or even charges, the owner of the property.
Police can even use civil asset theft to steal from people whose property was used in criminal activity without the owners' knowledge. Some have even lost their homes because a renter or houseguest was dealing drugs on the premises behind the owners' backs.
Civil asset theft is a multi-billion dollar a year moneymaker for all levels of government. Police and prosecutors receive more than their "fair share" of the loot. According to a 2016 study by the Institute for Justice, 43 states allow police and prosecutors to keep at least half of the loot they got from civil asset theft.
Obviously, this gives police an incentive to aggressively use civil asset theft, even against those who are not even tangentially involved in a crime. For example, police in Tenaha, Texas literally engaged in highway robbery -- seizing cash and other items from innocent motorists -- while police in Detroit once seized every car in an art institute's parking lot. The official justification for that seizure was that the cars belonged to attendees at an event for which the institute had failed to get a liquor license.
The Tenaha police are not the only ones targeting those carrying large sums of cash. Anyone traveling with "too much" cash runs the risk of having it stolen by a police officer, since carrying large amounts of cash is treated as evidence of involvement in criminal activity .
Civil asset theft also provides an easy way for the IRS to squeeze more money from the American taxpayer. As the growing federal debt increases the pressure to increase tax collections without raising tax rates, the IRS will likely ramp up its use of civil asset forfeiture.
Growing opposition to the legalized theft called civil asset forfeiture has led 24 states to pass laws limiting its use. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is out of step with this growing consensus. After all, Sessions is a cheerleader for the drug war, and civil asset theft came into common usage as a tool in the drug war.
President Trump could do the American people a favor by naming a new attorney general who opposes police state policies like the drug war and police state tactics like civil asset theft.
exiled off mainstreet > , August 8, 2017 at 6:21 am GMTAnonymous > , • Disclaimer August 8, 2017 at 10:24 am GMT
The obvious corruption and the extra-legality of such programs is obvious. It is unfortunate that courts no longer seem to be able to hold the regime accountable in any meaningful way.dc.sunsets > , August 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm GMT
My brother was a prosecuting attorney for decades. His stories suggest our justice system is rotten to the core.
My brother confided that asset forfeiture filled in the budget deficits for his office and the local police department. He also related that defendants pled guilty in more than 90% of his cases because, as a practical matter, the justice system does not have the resources for trial-by-jury as guaranteed in the Constitution.
When he could, he used asset forfeiture to avoid trials and force guilty pleas. For example, a man is arrested on drug charges. He is offered a deal: Plead guilty or the prosecutor's office will seize the family house, throwing the defendant's family out on the street. Make a choice: a destitute family or a guilty plea.
These tactics did not bother my brother. He said he had a special gift the ability to know when someone was innocent or when he was guilty. He was once counseled by a judge for his overly aggressive prosecution style. Then, his career came to an end when he aggressively prosecuted a prominent fellow attorney on a drug charge. My brother knew he was guilty. The case fell apart when it was uncovered the drugs were planted by a police officer having an affair with the attorney's wife.Kyle McKenna > , August 13, 2017 at 8:58 am GMT
Civil Asset Forfeiture is the same as "gun crime."
Money, or a boat or other property (inanimate objects all) is presumed "guilty" of acting (to commit a crime.) This is sophistry of the worst, most childish or evil sort. Guns don't shoot people. Money doesn't buy drugs.
The state will get its pound of flesh. The ONLY questions of relevance are:
1. How much?
2. Who pays?
3. Who decides?
An honest system is funded via HONEST and open debate and resolution to these questions. Civil Asset Forfeiture is the epitome of Newspeak, torturing the very meaning of words in order to rationalize what the powerful desire. Civil Asset Forfeiture is nothing but turning the "law enforcement apparatus" into a highwayman robbing people simply because he can.
Ironically, this is perfectly expected. Social trust grew these past decades (if not centuries) to a pathological level. Nature is cyclical, and so trust must drain from society.
Turning cops into de facto muggers and politicians (and bureaucrats) into open looters is a perfect case of people VOLUNTEERING to destroy the very basis for their authority.
Trust is poised to evaporate. That means people will pull inward and the vast labyrinth of economic, social and political systems will collapse of its own accord.
This is both unfortunate and natural. Nirvana (Utopia) was never an option. I like(d) a lot of our present times. But disposing of the bad without harming the good was never an option. It's all linked. The future has much chaos already baked in.Kyle McKenna > , August 13, 2017 at 9:00 am GMT
@Anonymous Ahh Justice. Gotta love it, amirite?
"The State is the Enemy of the People"
(Nietzsche, paraphrased)GondwanaMan > , August 13, 2017 at 10:31 pm GMT
President Trump could do the American people a favor by naming a new attorney general who opposes police state policies like the drug war and police state tactics like civil asset theft.
Definitely dispiriting to know these things about Mr Sessions, and there are several more just as dismaying. But virtually anyone who replaces him will be 'careless' shall we say on the immigration issue, and if the immigration issue isn't managed, yesterday, nothing else–even this–matters. It's right down the sewer for all of us.jtgw > , August 14, 2017 at 1:36 pm GMT
Surprised Ron Paul is attacking Jeff Sessions like this. I guess it shows his principles to go after anyone if they're violating our liberties?Negrolphin Pool > , August 15, 2017 at 10:19 am GMT
@GondwanaMan Why are you surprised? I can't remember ever seeing RP say something favorable about Sessions.
@dc.sunsets Civil Asset Forfeiture is the same as "gun crime."
Money, or a boat or other property (inanimate objects all) is presumed "guilty" of acting (to commit a crime.) This is sophistry of the worst, most childish or evil sort. Guns don't shoot people. Money doesn't buy drugs.
The state will get its pound of flesh. The ONLY questions of relevance are:
1. How much?
2. Who pays?
3. Who decides?
An honest system is funded via HONEST and open debate and resolution to these questions. Civil Asset Forfeiture is the epitome of Newspeak, torturing the very meaning of words in order to rationalize what the powerful desire. Civil Asset Forfeiture is nothing but turning the "law enforcement apparatus" into a highwayman robbing people simply because he can.
Ironically, this is perfectly expected. Social trust grew these past decades (if not centuries) to a pathological level. Nature is cyclical, and so trust must drain from society.
Turning cops into de facto muggers and politicians (and bureaucrats) into open looters is a perfect case of people VOLUNTEERING to destroy the very basis for their authority.
Trust is poised to evaporate. That means people will pull inward and the vast labyrinth of economic, social and political systems will collapse of its own accord.
This is both unfortunate and natural. Nirvana (Utopia) was never an option. I like(d) a lot of our present times. But disposing of the bad without harming the good was never an option. It's all linked. The future has much chaos already baked in.I live in a shitty neighborhood with lots of welfare people and felons. That group's actually not so bad.
But I stopped saying hi to random neighbors a long time ago. It was leading to too many physical confrontations and near misses. This place would be the Superdome if Katrina even winked at it.
There's no social trust here
Jun 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.comBy Peter Temin, Elisha Gray II Professor Emeritus of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website
Mass incarceration in the United States has mushroomed to the point where we look more like the authoritarian regimes of Eastern Europe and the Middle East than the democracies of Western Europe. Yet it vanished from political discussions in campaigns in the 2016 election. In a new INET Working Paper , I describe in detail how the US arrived at this point. Drawing on a new model that synthesizes recent research, I demonstrate how the recent stability in the number of American prisoners indicates that we have settled into a new equilibrium of mass incarceration. I explain why it will hard to dislodge ourselves from this damaging and shameful status quo.
Mass incarceration started from Nixon's War on Drugs, in a process described vividly by John Ehrlichman, Nixon's domestic-policy adviser, in 1994:
The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
This was the origin of mass incarceration in the United States, which has been directed at African Americans from Nixon's time to today, when one third of black men go to prison (Bonczar, 2003; Baum, 2016; Alexander, 2010).
Federal laws were expanded in state laws that ranged from three-strike laws to harsh penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The laws also shifted the judicial process from judges to prosecutors, from the courtroom to offices where prosecutors pressure accused people to plea-bargain. The threat of harsh minimum sentences gives prosecutors the option of reducing the charge to a lesser one if the accused is reluctant to languish in jail awaiting trial-if he or she is unable to make bail-and then face the possibility of long years in prison. And the shift of power was eased by the pattern of financing. Prosecutors are paid by localities, while the costs of prisons are borne by states. The trip to the penitentiary does not cost prosecutor at all. "Instead of juries and trial judges deciding whether this or that defendant merits punishing, prosecutors decide who deserves a trip to the nearest penitentiary (Stuntz, 2011, 286; Pfaff, 2017, 127)."
In a recent book, Pfaff minimized the role of drug laws in mass incarceration on the grounds that most state prisoners were convicted of violent crimes; only federal prisoners were predominantly convicted of drug violations. But the importance of public prosecutors and plea bargains contaminates this inference because the listed crimes in state prisons were produced in plea bargains. Since drug laws contain so many minimum sentences, plea bargains were driven toward lesser charges that did not fall under the drug laws. The results of the plea bargains do not indicate why prisoners were originally arrested and charged (Pfaff, 2017).
Both political parties were engaged at different times in legislation that gave rise to mass incarceration. It would seem likely that they could get together to try to reduce the rate of incarceration, but the prospects are not good in our current political impasse. The reduction of incarceration always has some risks, and political figures are very risk averse. Some people want to reduce the cost of prisons to help fund other government programs, but they have not produced many proposals to accomplish this goal or how to allocate the gains.
As Todd Clear stated in his 2007 book, Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse :
Imprisonment in America is concentrated among young, poor-dominantly minority-men and (to a lesser extent) women who come from impoverished communities. The way these young people cycle through our system of prisons and jails, then back into the community, leaves considerable collateral damage in its wake. Families are disrupted, social networks and other forms of social support are weakened, health is endangered, labor markets are thinned, and-more important than anything else-children are put at risk of the depleted human and social capital that promotes delinquency. After a certain point, the collateral effects of these high rates of incarceration seem to contribute to more crime in these places. Crime fuels a public call for ever-tougher responses to crime. The increasing way in which the face of criminality is the face of person of color contributes to an unarticulated public sense that race and crime are closely linked. The politics of race and justice coexist malignantly, sustaining an ever-growing policy base that guarantees new supplies of penal subjects in a self-sustaining and self-justifying manner (Clear, 2007, 175).
We seem to be in a new equilibrium. It took forty years to get to this point, and it may take at least that long to get back to what we can consider a normal incarceration rate typical of advanced economies. We have not yet started down that road.
See original post for references
paul , June 23, 2017 at 7:01 amfunemployed , June 23, 2017 at 7:25 am
Anyone who thinks it will take 40 years to undo a stroke of the pen, which the war on drugs was, is pissing (in a humanitarian direction) into the wind.
Removing the prison population would give janet yelllen an enormous migraine.
Metrics!QuarterBack , June 23, 2017 at 7:40 am
I'd add that the distinction between violent crime and drug violations misses the mark in another way too. The massive scale of the US black market, the cruelty of life in US prisons, the massive distrust and animosity between law enforcement and many communities, the disruption caused to families and communities by mass incarceration, and our high rate of violent crimes are hardly unrelated phenomena.
I'd wager decriminalization of drugs would lead to a pretty large decrease in supposedly unrelated violent crimes.TheCatSaid , June 23, 2017 at 7:42 am
True enough, but I'm sure the Prison Industrial Complex loves the idea of long term studies on impact followed by long term debates on methodology and findings. IMO, it is the monopolistic profitability of corporations like UNICOR that split their profits and governance with the very same people who control the mass incarceration and competitive bidding laws and policies, that far outweigh any other factor. Without substantial changes to the monetization and conflict of interest laws at the top, all the findings in the world are just noise to the entrenched system.
Consider this 2003 Fortune article Business Behind Bars Former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese has a way to slow the exodus of jobs overseas: Put prisoners to work
Prominent conservatives have been encouraging prisons to put inmates to work for years. Led by Edwin Meese, the former U.S. Attorney General and head of the Heritage Foundation, and Morgan Reynolds, one of the first President Bush's economic advisors, they have lobbied for real prison employment by the private sectornot just make-work projects like stamping license plates or building courthouse furniture. The benefits are difficult to ignore: Businesses get cheap, reliable workers; inmates receive valuable job training and earn more than they would in traditional prison jobs; and the government offsets the cost of incarceration and keeps jobs and tax dollars in the U.S.
Who do you think legislators are going to take their guidance from? Former AGs (who just happened to build and grow the prison workforce), or scholarly studies?cnchal , June 23, 2017 at 8:04 am
Social engineering described in this post was also a continuation of corporate / elite commercial interes. Free laborwhat's not to like? Legal slavery, more profits from multiple directions of all kindslegit, corrupt and criminal. Plus serving as a method to keep the downtrodden unable to respond in a way to create change (COINTELPRO and its contemporary descendants). . .
No way out but through but what will that look like? Comes down to individual understanding and action, no single uniform "solution". I gradually become more conscious of what I create. It's not a process that can be urged on others. "Be the change . . ."David , June 23, 2017 at 9:39 am
. . . The politics of race and justice coexist malignantly, sustaining an ever-growing policy base that guarantees new supplies of penal subjects in a self-sustaining and self-justifying manner (Clear, 2007, 175).
I am pissed at Ford. What a golden opportunity missed. Instead of moving Ford Fusion production to China, it could move production to a few prisons and use homegrown slaves instead of Chinese ones.cnchal , June 23, 2017 at 9:50 am
"The increasing way in which the face of criminality is the face of person of color contributes to an unarticulated public sense that race and crime are closely linked."
so no drug laws means no black inmates?
even if drugs were legalized the same people would be in jail for something else.
There are no jobs 40%+ UE Rate for this demographic so what do you expect them to do?
Eric Gardner was selling cigarettes "for money" joke crime yet five cops descended on him.HotFlash , June 23, 2017 at 11:02 am
> so what do you expect them to do?
Globalization is a disaster wherever you care to look.kurtismayfield , June 23, 2017 at 11:38 am
even if drugs were legalized the same people would be in jail for something else.
I have read your comment 4 times, so far, and still cannot see how you can say this. Pls explain.Michael Fiorillo , June 23, 2017 at 12:26 pm
The reason why the people are getting arrested and jailed for drug crimes is poverty. These people lack the economic opportunity to bring them out of it, so they drift to illegal enterprises. Even if you made all drug use and distribution/sales legal, this does not change the economic realities that make people choose an illicit activity in the first place. So they would be arrested for something else that is illegal.Ptolemy Philopater , June 23, 2017 at 3:49 pm
If there's the political will and power to repeal abusive drug laws, why wouldn't it be (theoretically) possible to do the same with laws that target the poor?
When I was growing up in the "bad old days" of '70's NYC, police officers would have rightfully laughed in the face of of a superior or elected official who told them to go after people selling "loosies" (a la Eric Garner).
I'm not saying it will happen, but popular revolts could go a long way toward loosening the vise on poor communities.Disturbed Voter , June 23, 2017 at 12:22 pm
Recreational Cannabis is legal in Colorado. It is a state granted monopoly. Already Colorado is cracking down on home grown weed production. There is legalization, and there is state granted monopoly legalization. The outcome for poor people is the same. Cigarettes are legal, yet Eric Gardner was murdered for selling them. Go figure.
Minority Heroin dealers are given intolerable sentences, but Perdue Pharmaceuticals floods the market with opiates with an ever increasing death toll, yet Raymond and Mortimer Sackler are billionaires. Go figure.
We live in a mafia culture. It's called ethnic privilege. Drugs are already legalized for the ethnically privileged. Mass incarceration, Genocide by Other Means, for the ethnically unprivileged. Go figure!Allegorio , June 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm
Unfortunately it take an outbreak of Black Death to make labor more valuable ;-(Kevin Horlock , June 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm
Or a revolution. Talk is cheap, action is not.clarky90 , June 23, 2017 at 6:31 pm
Police and prison guards' unions = sweet spot of the Dem base (particularly in California)
"Law and order" and disproportional impact on minorities = sweet spot of the Rethuglican base.
To me, all analyses of this issue pretty well begins right there.
I believe that we, the 80% , are being classed as the present day, Neo-Peasants and Neo-Kulaks. (Hillbillies, working class, uneducated, not woke, Nazis, deplorables, reactionaries, homeless, right-wing, religious bigots, addicts, petty criminals, progressives, Bernie-bros, conspiracy nuts ..) by the Neo-Apparatchiks.
There is a Revolution going on! It is being waged against us .
"During 192050, the leaders of the Communist Party considered repression to be a tool that was to be used for securing the normal functioning of the Soviet state system, as well as for preserving and strengthening their positions within their social base, the (The 20%) Working Class. (The Bolshevik Leadership were not really "working class", but usually, "Intellectuals"!) ( peasants , who were NOT considered "working class", represented 80%!!!! of the USSR population then ).
The GULAG system was introduced in order to isolate and eliminate class-alien, socially dangerous, disruptive, suspicious, and other disloyal elements, whose deeds and thoughts were not contributing to the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Forced labor (was used) as a "method of reeducation" ."
Terrorism and Communism: A Reply to Karl Kautsky
"But terror can be very efficient against a reactionary class which does not want to leave the scene of operations. Intimidation is a powerful weapon of policy, both internationally and internally. War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will. The revolution works in the same way: it kills individuals, and intimidates thousands." Leon Trotsky, 1920
May 26, 2017 | www.legalmatch.com
- Right from the start, tell your lawyer all that you know. Remember, lawyers must maintain confidential relationships. Waiting until the last minute to communicate something with your lawyer wastes money.
- Brush up on matters related to your legal affairs. Ask good questions and establish intelligent communication. Keep copies of important documents in your own files.
- Be certain you've found the lawyer who's right for you . Changing lawyers after the legal process has started can be very expensive.
- Understand the fee agreement you and your lawyer agree upon, and question unclear charges before you pay them. Insist your lawyer honors thrift if out-of-pocket expenses are part of the fee agreement.
- Ask if there's anything you can do or gather to help the process. Be prepared and honor deadlines at all your meetings.
- Ask your lawyer about all alternatives to the dispute's resolution.
May 26, 2017 | litigation.findlaw.comThis article will highlight some of the best tips for working with a lawyer.
Although it may seem like a strained relationship right off the bat, if you can form a solid bond with your legal representative, it may have a big impact on the future success of your case. If you feel comfortable working with your lawyer, and, in turn, your attorney feels comfortable working with you, it can do wonders for your case, not to mention reduce the stress that you will likely be putting on yourself when at trial.
However, like any type of relationship, the relationship that you have when working with a lawyer is a two way street, meaning that your attorney will have to work at it just as much as you will. Lawyers can work on attorney-client relationships in many ways, but perhaps the best means is to keep lines of communication open. A good attorney will always update you with necessary information and also be able to answer questions for you in a timely fashion. In addition, good attorneys will also help you prepare for important moments in your case, like testifying in court or answering questions at a deposition.
As just mentioned, you too will also have a great impact on the working relationship that you have with a lawyer. There are plenty of steps that you can take that will better the workflow and ultimately save you time and money, and may even increase your chances of winning your case.
Pass on pertinent information . After you have gone through the process of selecting and hiring a lawyer to represent you in your case, you should round up every scrap of information that is relevant to your case and give it all to your attorney. Give as much information as possible, even if you think it may not be that pertinent. Lawyers are much like human sieves when it comes to information; they can sort out what will be needed in the lawsuit much better than you will be able to. The information that they find may be used to bolster certain parts of your case. In addition, some types of information can also be used to predict what kinds of arguments will be brought against your case.
Be sure to keep copies of all the information that you give your lawyer, though, in case something terrible happens like a fire at the law office.
Do what is asked . Not only should you do what your lawyer asks you to do, but you should also do it well. At the beginning of your legal representation, your attorney will most likely ask you to write down everything that has happened up until you hired your attorney. They do this for many reasons, but perhaps the most important is to make sure that they file your case on time. Often, if you do not complete this timeline, the lawyer may miss crucial deadlines that could stop your case before it starts.
Get requested information . You will often have better and easier access to certain types of records and information (such as medical histories and reports) than your attorney will. If your lawyer asks you to obtain any of these documents, you should do so as quickly as possible. Remember, the law typically establishes tight deadlines that have harsh consequences if not met.
Respond to your lawyer quickly . As just mentioned, there are numerous deadlines in any case that must be met by your attorney. If your lawyer asks you to do something or get a document, he or she probably has a very good reason for asking you to do so. If you cannot respond in a timely manner to your attorney (perhaps you are working out of town for work for two weeks), be sure to tell your attorney about your situation. It will look much better for your case if your attorney is able to ask for an extension of a deadline rather than just missing it with no explanation.
Know your schedule and tell your attorney. When working with a lawyer on your lawsuit, you will often need to be in attendance or participate in many parts of your case. For example, in a personal injury case, you may be called upon to answer questions at a deposition about the accident that injured you or about the extent of your injuries. These depositions and other procedures are often scheduled months in advance. If your work or personal schedule will call you away from town at a critical time, let your attorney know so that he or she has the opportunity to try to reschedule the procedure.
Be honest . The more open and honest you are with your attorney, the better your case will go. If you were perhaps a little bit tipsy when you were rear-ended by the truck that caused you have severe back pain, you must tell your attorney this. Even if the issue is never brought up during your case, the more that your attorney knows, the better he or she will be able to prepare for your case. It is better for you to be a little embarrassed about telling the truth than it is for your attorney to be blindsided by an argument he never considered before hearing it in court.
Ask for explanations . Sometimes lawyers get so caught up in the legal world that they forget that most people have not heard of words like " res ipsa loquitur, " "mandatory pre-trial arbitration," or " stare decisis. " If you are unfamiliar with what is going on in your case, ask for an explanation from your attorney. The more you understand about what is going on, the more you will be able to make important decisions about your case.
May 26, 2017 | www.womansdivorce.comWorking with your lawyer while going through a divorce can be aggravating at times. While you want to get everything over and done with as quickly as possible, it can seem like it is taking forever. Sometimes this is due to the legal process, and other times it may be due to an over-booked lawyer. So how do you know if your lawyer is really working for you or not? And what can you do if your lawyer isn't handling everything properly? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more.
- Do I need an attorney to get a divorce?
- Should we use the same attorney?
- Can I proceed with his lawyer if I can't afford my own?
- How do I find a good lawyer to handle my divorce?
- Can he use his brother to represent him?
- How can I find a lawyer that practices in another state?
- Can I hire another lawyer to be a co-council?
- Can I change lawyers once the divorce is started?
- Can we start over if I get a new lawyer?
- What if my lawyer was injured and can't continue?
- Is this a normal line of questioning for a prospective client?
Retainer Fees and Agreements
- Am I violating my retainer agreement if I get a lawyer in another state?
- Can I ask for a portion of my retainer to be refunded?
- Does a retainer for hourly and filing fees include serving the petition?
- How could my retainer be used up before the petition was served?
- Is my retainer agreement still good if I had to delay my divorce?
- What if my lawyer won't refund the balance of my retainer?
- My attorney dropped me after taking my retainer.
- Can I fire my lawyer and get a refund on the retainer?
- Do we have to pay more if the retainer agreement states differently?
- Can I ask that my husband pay my attorney fees?
- Why do I have to pay my lawyer if he's responsible for legal fees?
- Can my lawyer fine him $125/day until he submits financial papers?
- Can I get out of paying my lawyer's interest fees?
- Can my lawyer sue me for not paying the final bill?
- I'm afraid my lawyer will quit if I can't pay the full amount
- What if I can't afford the growing legal fees in my custody battle?
- How do I fire him and dispute his questionable billing?
- What if my lawyer threatened to sue me if I don't pay more?
- Will my lawyer's fees be taken out of the settlement escrow?
Communicating With Lawyers
- Can my lawyer talk with my husband if he isn't represented?
- Can I communicate directly with his lawyer if I represent myself?
- Can I ask his lawyer what's going on if mine won't respond?
- What if his attorney makes rude comments to me?
- What if my lawyer isn't advising me about my visitation case?
- Is it normal to not hear from your lawyer for two months?
- What can I do if my lawyer won't call back?
- My lawyer refuses to talk to me after I filed a grievance.
- What if the court is threatening to dismiss my case?
Delays and Dragging the Divorce Out
- Should I file a complaint because my divorce is taking so long?
- What could happen if I tell the judge I wasn't satisfied with my legal representation?
- What if his lawyer keeps delaying proceedings by not showing up?
- What if my lawyer is dragging my divorce out?
- Can he get a delay because he fired his first lawyer?
- What if my husband keeps changing lawyers to stall the divorce?
- Do I need to get a new lawyer to push my case along?
- How can I get my legal aid lawyer to finish the case?
Lawyer Withdrawing From Case
- Can my attorney drop me if I've been paying on time?
- What can I do if my attorney won't to represent me anymore?
- What options I do have if my free attorney dropped me?
- Is a court appearance needed if my lawyer withdraws from my case?
- Would a judge grant the withdrawal this close to the court hearing?
- Can my lawyer refuse to release my file after quitting?
- Why did my attorney seal the file that states why he quit?
Proceeding without a Lawyer
- Would she be better off representing herself or using a lawyer?
- Will my husband's relationship with the court clerk impact our case?
- Can I set a trial date to get the final decree without a lawyer?
- What should I do if I would like to proceed without a lawyer?
- Can I represent myself after I fired my lawyer?
Lawyer Conduct and Responsibility
- Can my lawyer reveal what is discussed to my in-laws?
- Isn't it my lawyer's responsibility to arrange visitation?
- Is it legal for her to use the lawyer she works for to do the papers?
- Should my lawyer ask me to write up my own papers for alimony?
- What if my lawyer isn't working on my case?
- Should I file a complaint if my lawyer is late for court and doesn't tend to matters in a timely manner?
- What if I don't trust my lawyer's advice?
- What recourse do I have if my lawyer didn't do a good job?
- What if my lawyer didn't remove untrue facts from the final papers?
- Can my lawyer suggest mediation to his lawyer without asking me?
- What if my lawyer finalized the decree without consulting me?
- Can my lawyer tell the judge that he disagrees with the settlement?
May 16, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.comWhen it comes to America's high incarceration rate-now about five times what it was in 1970-there's the Standard Story, and then there's the truth.
The Standard Story is the one that has been propagated for years in mainstream-media outlets and by activists. It holds that the War on Drugs is virtually the sole culprit-that incarceration rose merely because America decided to start imprisoning nonviolent, low-level drug offenders for absurd amounts of time. It posits the simple solution of reducing or eliminating the sentences for these victimless crimes.
The truth, by contrast, is that about half of prisoners were convicted of violent offenses, and that some of the others committed violence but pleaded guilty to lesser offenses. Even the fifth of prisoners who are locked up for drugs tend to be mid-level dealers, not users or low-level distributors. And, while decades-long sentences make the news, most prisoners who committed crimes not involving the most serious violence are out within a year or two. In other words, while incarceration has undoubtedly soared-even relative to crime , which has dropped substantially since the early 1990s-our propensity to throw people in prison has simply not reached the heights of ridiculousness that many assume.
There is still "low-hanging fruit" to be had by releasing some drug offenders or subtly redefining crimes (such as changing the dollar-value threshold separating misdemeanor from felony theft), but this will not get America anywhere near the incarceration rate it had decades ago or the rates that prevail elsewhere in the developed world. Bigger reductions would require speeding the release-or declining to imprison-people who committed crimes that left very real victims, which is not so obviously a desirable outcome.
Until recently, few were discussing this reality aside from a handful of conservative commentators such as the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald . These people typically argued that those in prison mostly deserve to be there, and that dramatic reductions to the incarceration rate run an intolerably high risk of increasing crime. But in the last several years a number of reform-minded scholars and pundits have tried to make a public case for such reductions even in full view of the facts.
The latest entry in this literature is John Pfaff's Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform . It is an excellent overview of where America stands in regard to its prisons, and Pfaff's proposed reforms deserve serious consideration across the political spectrum.
The role of the drug war isn't the only issue on which Pfaff departs from the Standard Story. He also disputes the idea that the typical prisoner is spending much more time behind bars than he used to. In Pfaff's view, the reason for our skyrocketing incarceration rate is that prosecutors have become more likely to file felony charges following an arrest, rather than that those convicted are being locked up for longer periods of time.
This is considerably more contentious among those who study imprisonment; unlike the percentage of prisoners serving time for drugs, it's not something one can simply look up in a Justice Department report. Pfaff is at odds with the prestigious National Academy of Sciences , for instance, when he all but dismisses the role of time served. The debate involves competing data sources and intricate mathematical simulations.
But if prosecutors might not be the sole driver of mass incarceration, no one denies that they are a big one. And Pfaff expertly lays out how this happened so that we can see if it's a process we can live with.
As is well-known, the crime explosion of the late 1960s through the early '90s inspired lawmakers to adopt a get-tough approach, and this entailed reining in judges, for instance through mandatory-minimum laws. The concept is not inherently flawed: there are unique factors at play in each case, but in general, people who commit the same crime should receive similar punishments. The punishment should depend on the law, not the judge's personal sense of justice or his like or dislike of the defendant. But there were two problems with these laws as they actually played out.
First, especially at the federal level, many minimums are so high that no one really thinks they're fair and people are rarely sentenced to them. Instead, prosecutors use them as a threat to get defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges or testify against fellow criminals. (About 95 percent of cases end in plea deals rather than trials today.) In other words, they operate as a roundabout way to gut defendants' constitutional rights: if you make the prosecution prove its case at trial and invoke your right to remain silent about criminal activities you participated in, you receive a patently unfair sentence . Incredibly, the federal prosecutors' lobby has defended the current mandatory minimums explicitly on these grounds .
Second, and relatedly, the minimums didn't eliminate discretion from the system: prosecutors still have plenty. A prosecutor often can decide how much time a defendant should serve and then put together a mix of charges that will require the judge to give a sentence in that ballpark. The law can offer an impressive buffet of overlapping statutes that cover the conduct a defendant is accused of.
And in addition to holding enormous discretion, prosecutors face a number of incentives that are far from ideal. District attorneys are typically elected and want to avoid going easy on a Willie Horton or a Brock Turner. The elections are county-wide, giving conservative suburban areas a lot of say as to how high crime in inner cities is handled, even though suburbanites bear little of the cost of crime or of incarceration. Prosecutors also face little resistance, because judges normally accept plea deals and most defendants rely on public defenders, which are underfunded. In 43 states defendants have to pay at least some of the costs associated with their "state-provided" lawyer.
Moreover, what we call "the justice system" is really a haphazard mashup of city, county, state, and federal agencies. Federal prisons receive a lot of attention but hold just 13 percent of prisoners. In the states, meanwhile, counties generally pay for probation and short jail stays while the state pays for the cost of imprisonment-creating an incentive for prosecutors to overuse the latter.
Reading Pfaff's characterization of who's serving how much time in prison these days-mainly violent offenders, mainly short sentences-one is tempted to wonder what the big deal is. Maybe we should just content ourselves with picking the "low-hanging fruit." Yet it's hard to accept our sky-high incarceration rate knowing it's produced by the dysfunctional system Pfaff describes. Realigning the incentives in that system would be a worthwhile endeavor whether it cut incarceration or not.
Conservatives intuitively understood the need to rein in judges' discretion decades ago; perhaps the same thing could be done for prosecutors today. Pfaff notes that New Jersey has given its prosecutors detailed guidelines as to the plea deals they are allowed to strike, with judges able to invalidate any deals that break the rules; they "look almost exactly like the guidelines that many states use to regulate judicial sentencing." This is a promising idea, though the guidelines would have to be written carefully to avoid unintended results. (The New Jersey guidelines initially made it hard for urban prosecutors to give lighter sentences in "school zone" cases, for example, which was a problem because 76 percent of Newark is considered a school zone.)
Other options: cut mandatory sentences to reduce the threats prosecutors can make to extract plea deals; require prosecutors to disclose the threats they made so that judges can review them; balance out the incentives facing county prosecutors by paying counties to keep people out of state prison; appoint prosecutors instead of electing them; let cities and suburbs choose their prosecutors separately; fund public defenders adequately. Each of these moves would align incentives in a sensible way rather than seeking to cut incarceration per se.
And on a deeper level Pfaff prompts us to consider more carefully the exact tradeoffs we're willing to make between incarceration and crime. One study, for instance, found that between 1978 and 1990, locking up an extra person for a year stopped 2.5 violent crimes and 11.4 property crimes. Thanks to diminishing marginal returns, those numbers fell to 0.3 and 2.7 respectively in the 19912004 period. Are the latter numbers worthwhile given the cost to taxpayers, and to offenders and their families? Is the payoff even lower today? And what if, for a given amount of money, you could reduce crime 20 percent more by hiring more cops than by incarcerating more offenders, as a different study contended?
For these reasons, Pfaff suggests we reject the assumption that reforms are worthwhile only if they don't increase crime at all. It's a point worth taking to heart as one considers some of Pfaff's other reforms, the ones more directly targeted at reducing incarceration.
Risk-assessment tools are one promising development. Modern statistics allow us to calculate the chances that a given prisoner will reoffend with a reasonable degree of accuracy, based on various characteristics. There are legitimate complaints about these tools (though Pfaff takes too seriously an allegation of racial bias by the journalism outfit ProPublica), but they hold out the promise of focusing incarceration on the people who really need to be locked up lest they continue to offend. They are a dramatic improvement over the older, cruder tools like "three strikes" laws.
In a somewhat similar vein, pilot programs could experiment with releasing offenders and closely monitoring them, like the Hawaii HOPE program does for drug offenders, giving them repeated drug tests and a "swift, certain, and fair" jail stay for minor lapses.
Not all of the ideas Pfaff explores are home runs; I have trouble imagining an American state in which there's a "cap-and-trade" system for prison capacity. But in general, these are far more serious and considered proposals for cutting incarceration than what we have seen from almost anyone else.
Pfaff's book is targeted primarily at reformers, not skeptics. He believes the reformers misunderstand the problem and hence cannot solve it. He notes, for example, that many efforts to cut sentences for low-level offenders are coupled with increased sentences for those who commit worse crimes-which would address the problem described in the Standard Story but not the reality we actually face.
And in debunking the myth of nonviolent drug offenders haphazardly locked away for long periods of time, of course, he runs the risk of inadvertently convincing his audience there really isn't much of a problem. He's to be commended for taking that risk.
But, by forthrightly explaining the true nature of incarceration in America before laying out his case for reform, Pfaff poses a serious challenge for the skeptics, too. Unlike so many activists and op-ed writers, Pfaff cannot be waved away with a handful of simple statistics demonstrating that, no, our high incarceration rate isn't the result of locking up first-time offenders caught smoking pot. He knows that, and still sees serious problems with the status quo. His ideas deserve a close look.Tim D., says: May 16, 2017 at 12:18 amKevin Drum (one of the few liberal authors I read) has made a very convincing case about the lead hypothesis, where exposure to lead notable increases in crime. I've always found it a convincing argument. Combined with other factors (e.g., massive job losses in various areas) caused the spike in crime. Apparently, this isn't the first time something like this has happened too. Crime apparently skyrocketed in the late 1800s too.Brian W , says: May 16, 2017 at 10:05 amHighest to Lowest Prison Population Total GloballyBrian W , says: May 16, 2017 at 10:25 am
Please use drop down menu 1 to choose the category of data you wish to view, and then wait for the page to reload. Once the page has reloaded please choose the continent/region from drop down menu 2 and then press apply.
Ranking Title Prison Population Total
1 United States of America 2 228 424
2 China 1 701 344
3 Russian Federation 672 100
4 Brazil 581 507
JAN. 24, 2014 This World Map Shows The Enormity Of America's Prison Problem
About 2.4 million people live behind bars in America - the highest number in the world. That's a little more than 0.7% of the population and more than 700 for every 100,000 people. The area of the U.S. is bigger than China, a country that dwarfs the U.S. general population by more than four times. Also note how tiny Canada looks next to the U.S.
http://www.businessinsider.com/world-map-of-incarceration-rates-2014-1October 25, 2016 Prison Food Contractors Funded Efforts To Combat Marijuana LegalizationMikeCLT , says: May 16, 2017 at 11:01 am
All of these organizations have a distinct interest in keeping nonviolent people in jail. So, it should come as no surprise a prison contractor is working to keep marijuana illegal.
https://www.mintpressnews.com/prison-food-contractors-funded-efforts-combat-marijuana-legalization/221750/"while incarceration has undoubtedly soared-even relative to crime, which has dropped substantially since the early 1990s"Daniel , says: May 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm
Do you think the two (higher rates of incarceration/lower crime) are unconnected?The problem is simple: Sin. The solution is simple: Jesus Christ.GregR , says: May 16, 2017 at 2:06 pmAs a former prosecutor we had a grotesquely unfair advantage It was policy to charge someone with the highest possible charge, knowing that we would plead to something much lower. It was even added to the jacket by screening DA's what was recommended to accept.Nelson, says: May 16, 2017 at 2:57 pm
So someone would be looking at a charge of 'simple possession x4' meaning life in prison without any chance of getting out. If they pled with in 2 months it would be dropped to X1 so 2-4 years. Then ever two months the minimum acceptable time served would basically double.
You had to be an absolute idiot to fail to plead. Which then kicks in multiple offender charges the next time.
Nothing like starting off your career as an attorney sending drug addicts to prison for life.I like this because it states the problem and makes reasonable suggestions about how to fix it without getting too political.Steven Sailer , says: May 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm
One thing that wasn't mentioned though was lobbying by private contractors that own or service prisons, thus creating a profit motive (and campaign contribution motive) for making more things imprisonable offences.
Beyond that, the few people I've known that have spent time in prison also had substance abuse issues (DUI, theft to support a habit, getting in a fight while drunk, etc ) and a general disposition to not care about the long term consequences of their actions. Perhaps providing counseling and mental health care services could help. Or perhaps not, but it is a question worth exploring.Up through the turn of the century, prosecutors were extremely stressed dealing with the huge volume of crime so they tried to plea bargain a lot of charges. With the lower crime rates in this century, prosecutors have more time on their hands to get tough.Mia, says: May 16, 2017 at 4:20 pmmrscracker , says: May 16, 2017 at 5:28 pm"Instead, prosecutors use them as a threat to get defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges or testify against fellow criminals. (About 95 percent of cases end in plea deals rather than trials today.)"
This post is typically clueless conservative garbage about the real issues in the justice system. There's a few other shills I'd love to call out for their dishonesty as "researchers" because they miraculously can't even find out the most basic facts or controversies on the subject, but it just takes too much energy. However, it just borders on journalistic malpractice, and it needs to stop.
About this quote I pulled here. What you are talking about is called "charge stacking," and prosecutors do it because they can strong arm everyone into a conviction, then they can build political careers on. Oftentimes, they go to run for AG offices based on their stellar records that the public is duped into thinking actually means something.
We have one out our way whose family is reportedly involved in a whole lot of shady business dealings, and he used his job to go after politicians who promised to clean house. I could go on forever about his unbelievably stupid press conferences about irrelevant stuff as if they were a papal announcement. He was pushing to do the AG promotion too. Then again, our former governor was said to be in the mob, so par for the course around here.
Don't even get me started on the judges in our state serving 30 year sentences for bribery where they threw thousands of kids in jail for nothing. I think they made millions in destroying these kids lives. I have heard crickets about that scandal and other even funnier ones on any conservative site. It's like coming to an alternate reality when I see articles like this.
Speaking of funny scandals, how about the kid who was charged with wiretapping who had just used his tablet to record bullies in class after no one in the school administration would do anything about them? Instead of addressing his concerns, they charged him with a felony! This seems rational and totally legal to you? Know what the sheriff or police authorities said when they go called out on that one in the media? No one had any idea how that got in the paperwork .You can't make this sh** up. If they had never made the papers, chances are the kid would have spent time in jail or been forced to plea bargain. Why do you defend things like this? Why is it okay that this and worse goes on and is justified as necessary? Would you feel it was necessary if they did it to you? Heather MacDonald et al needs to take off her rose-colored glasses and see what's really going down.
But anyway, what the prosecutors do (and did in my case) was withhold and/or ignore exculpatory evidence (or perhaps more accurately, reinterpret what evidence they had to come to the opposite conclusions than what the evidence said), then added manufactured evidence to create outrageous charges that the prosecutor even admitted to my lawyer was never meant to go to trial because he couldn't prove anything and everyone would have to even more formally perjure themselves. This would be things like people coming forward saying they knew me for years when they didn't know me at all, the kind of stuff that you see go on and wonder if it's even possible to get a fair trial no matter how innocent you are. But you're good with that, right? That seems like a reasonable thing for witnesses to do?
Better yet, he flipped the case so I ended up in a situation where the burden of proof was legally on me and I wasn't allowed to have any defending witnesses, while the actual law requires the prosecution to prove its case in a courtroom and call a reasonable defense. The one judge in my case was also reprimanded for taking bribes in a different case, and she went really cheap, only a couple of hundred dollars, to drop charges that the AG later reinstated.MikeCLT
"while incarceration has undoubtedly soared-even relative to crime, which has dropped substantially since the early 1990s"
Do you think the two (higher rates of incarceration/lower crime) are unconnected?"
Good point to ponder. I remember back when offenders would be released over & over again to commit the same crimes. They still do to some degree, but people got fed up. And we ended up with the "3 strikes & you're out laws."
Non violent offenders should make restitution &/or be put to work. That especially goes for white collar crime. Why in the world should taxpayers have fed & housed Martha Stewart? Seriously.
I had a family member who worked in a "medium security" prison with rapists, child molesters, organized crime members, etc. Trust me, those folks needed to stay locked up. They all had a story & excuses but deep down they knew they were guilty & were pretty much sociopaths. Very little conscience at work.
In the United States, the grand jury was at first seen as a means of resisting government intrusion and as an instrument of investigation into alleged offenses. These beliefs have given grand juries almost uncontrolled power. Such power became evident in the case of Hale v. Henkle. In that case, a witness was held in contempt for his refusal to answer questions by the grand jury, particularly because he asked to know the specific charges against the accused.17
Whereas trial juries, or "petit juries," may not hear evidence seized illegally, this is not true of grand juries. In fact, the grand jury has been given the right to use rumors, hearsay, or any means to obtain information. The reason the courts have given grand juries such powers is that the grand jury procedure is not an adversary trial seeking to determine guilt or innocence. Instead, the grand jury examines whether or not a crime has been committed. The grand jury cannot find guilt or innocence.18
A witness before a grand jury may not have a lawyer on the grounds that the grand jury procedure is not a trial and the witness is only being asked to help the grand jury, short of self-incrimination. The right against self-incrimination is protected by the Fifth Amendment and is valid even during a grand jury hearing unless the prosecutor offers the witness immunity from punishment. The trouble with such "immunity" is that prosecutors later argue that the immunity covers only a limited, narrow area of conduct. Such an interpretation allows prosecutors to indict a witness despite so-called immunity by simply inventing some other charge on which to indict the "immunized" witness.19
In Branzburg v. Hayes, the Supreme Court decided that newspaper reporters are not protected from inquiry by a grand jury concerning their confidential sources of information. The Court wrote, "Neither the First Amendment nor any other constitutional provision protects the average citizen from disclosing to a grand jury information that he has received in confidence."20 Based on that decision, the grand jury system has defeated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Approximate number of innocent Americans in prison
Considering that the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that over 2.2 million people, or more specifically, 2,236,871 convicts, are in our jails and prisons, it is evident that if only 0.5 percent of the prisoners are innocent, then 11,184 innocent people would be so victimized. If 1 percent of all prisoners are innocent, then the criminal justice system will have victimized 22,237 citizens; and if 2 percent of prisoners are innocent, then our (in)justice system is destroying the lives of 44,474 people. Given the large number of exonerations resulting from DNA testing, it is highly likely that at least 10 percent of incarcerated individuals are innocent, as estimated by the Rev. James McCloskey, the founder of Centurion Ministries, an organization devoted to freeing the innocent from American prisons.
... ... ...
The First Amendment begins by guaranteeing freedom of religion. Yet, this freedom is also under attack by the judiciary by both lower courts and the courts of appeal. Thus, religious workers have been forced to testify to grand juries even if such testimony violates their conscience and religious beliefs. In People v. Woodruff, the New York Appellate Court denied a claim of privilege by a member of a religious minority who told the court that the compulsion to testify would do violence to her religious principles.22
It is remarkable that those who seek to deprive the American people of the rights enshrined in the Constitution claim to act on behalf of "the people," whom they seek to deprive of these rights.THE PETIT JURY
While juries were easily assembled in earlier centuries, the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have seen a considerable decline in Americans' willingness to serve on juries. In fact, only 46 percent of people summoned to jury duty appear willingly, according to the National Center for State Courts. This situation has led judges to use advertisements and even threats of contempt proceedings to increase the potential jury pools needed to conduct trials. In Lee County, North Carolina, a judge sent deputy sheriffs to deliver jury summonses at random in parking lots because trials could not begin for lack of jurors. In Los Angeles, "no-shows"-that is, those who have received a summons for jury duty but fail to report-are visited by sheriff's deputies at home with orders to appear in court and explain their failure to report for jury duty. Even posters showing movie stars encouraging jury duty are used in some jurisdictions to encourage participation.23
Another means of creating greater willingness to serve on juries has been the development of the anonymous jury. Such a jury has been used in only a limited number of cases. Normally, the names,
May 03, 2017 | www.amazon.com
Prison guards, unionized and politically influential, are a major force in the growth of the American prison industry. Prison guard unions have grown immensely since 1980, when the membership was no more than abut 2, 000 guards. Since then, the prison guard union in California alone has reached 25, 000. American prison guards earn an average salary of $36, 000 a year, which is 34 percent below the median American income of $48, 000 in 2007. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 500, 000 "correctional officers" working in the United States in 2007. Of those, 18, 000 were federal employees; the others worked for state and county governments. Because of the constantly rising rates of incarceration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a growth for this occupation of 16 percent between 2007 and 2014. Of course, the downturn in the American economy as of 2009 may make such growth impossible, for economics has frequently determined results quite different from those expected. 21
In view of the large membership in the prison guards unions, the unions have considerable clout at election time. Because the relatives and friends of guards are also voters, state legislators can seldom risk antagonizing the prison guard unions if they seek reelection. Such election concerns are particularly true in California, where prison guard unions have been a major force in the growth of the prison industry. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association funnels money to politicians to ensure a "lock 'em up" policy in the state. The growth in political clout is best illustrated by the growth of the prison guard union, which collects about $15 million in union dues each year, leading to contributions to gubernatorial candidates of at least $1. 5 million. The union also finances a so- called Crime Victims Political Action Committee, which in turn supplies political candidates in California with money toward their campaigns. Prison guard unions also demand laws that lead to mandatory life sentences as well as longer sentences for all offenders. While California is one example of the influence of prison guard unions, these tactics are used in every state. Lawmakers who want to keep their jobs know that it is dangerous to oppose union demands. Therefore, prison guard unions are yet one more factor contributing to the huge incarceration rate experienced in the United States.
May 03, 2017 | www.questia.com
Gilchrist's fraud was discovered after DNA testing proved that she had sent Jeffrey Pierce to prison for 65 years for a rape that Pierce had nothing to do with. Then, it was found that Robert Lee Miller was innocent of a murder attributed to him by Gilchrist's science while the same Gilchrist had cleared the real killer. Gilchrist had been suspected of fraud for years, but the attorneys who accused her were ignored by the judges and the prosecutors and even the forensic scientists to whom the complaints were made. It has been estimated that many prisoners who confessed to crimes they did not commit did so in order to lessen sentences they would otherwise have received by reason of Gilchrist's manipulations. 23
In West Virginia, Fred Zane, a police forensic specialist, falsified DNA tests that he had never carried out. His false report led to the conviction of Glen Dale Woodall, who was convicted of two abduction rapes although he had nothing to do with the crimes. His lawyers succeeded in having the DNA test done over again by another laboratory; the test results showed that Woodall could not have committed these rapes. This led to the investigation of Zane's work, with the result that in 133 cases Zane had either never carried out any lab work or reported inconclusive results as certain results. 24
In January 2001, a lawsuit against the city of Chicago included a report revealing that a supervisor at the Illinois State Police crime lab had given false testimony in nine cases, including trials that resulted in wrongful rape convictions of three Chicago men. The supervisor of the crime lab, Pamela Fish, deliberately withheld evidence that would have served to establish the innocence of John Willis, falsely accused of numerous rapes. Willis was sentenced to 100 years in prison and labeled "the beauty shop rapist" by the media, always in a hurry to convict innocent people. When DNA tests proved seven years later that not Willis but another man had committed the rapes, Willis was paid $2.6 million in compensation and Fish was fired. Consequent examination of the Illinois crime lab work revealed widespread fraud promoted by that laboratory. The scientists who worked there regarded themselves as members of the prosecution and were eager to please the police and the district attorneys who employed them. Such bias is found in almost all states, since crime labs are usually not independent of the prosecutors. In fact, 90 percent of crime labs in the United States are affiliated with law enforcement agencies and therefore report
whatever prosecutors want to hear. Governor Ryan suspended the death penalty in Illinois after it was revealed that 13 of the 24 men on death row were innocent, as proved by DNA test results.25
Dr. Ralph Erdmann worked as a medical examiner in more than 40 rural counties in Texas from the early 1980s until September 1992, when he pleaded "no contest" to seven felony counts of falsifying autopsies in three Texas counties. He was sentenced to 10 years' probation and had to return $17,000 he received for examinations never performed. Erdmann repeatedly falsified toxicology reports to please prosecutors who sanctioned his deceit so they could win their cases, resulting in imprisonment and the death penalty for innocent people. Erdmann also testified falsely to release criminals who were friends of district attorneys.26
In 1993, Willie Simpson was charged with the murder of Phillip Mancini, a Vineland, New Jersey, high school teacher. Dr. Larry Mapow, the medical examiner in Cumberland County, New Jersey, concluded that Mancini had been killed by several blows to the head with a blunt instrument. When the Mancini family asked another pathologist to conduct another autopsy, the pathologist, Dr. Claus Speth, discovered that Mancini had died from two bullets and not from blows to the head. In another New Jersey case, Willie Simpson was charged with the murder of Robert Webb. The medical examiner claimed that Simpson had killed Webb with a gunshot to the head. Yet, Dr. Michael Baden, the foremost medical examiner in the country, concluded that Webb was killed by a brick and not a gunshot. Baden concluded that "there is not a shred of evidence that Webb was killed by means of a gun." It then turned out that another man, not Simpson, had killed Webb.27
Perhaps one of the most atrocious miscarriages of justice was inflicted on Barry Beach, a resident of Poplar, Montana. Beach was sentenced to 100 years in prison when a jury convicted him in 1984 of killing 17-year-old Kimberly Nees in 1979. That conviction was obtained by a prosecutor in the attorney general's office, Marc Racicot, who was guilty of "prosecutorial misconduct", a phrase meaning that he deliberately railroaded Beach into prison. Racicot later became governor of Montana.
The evidence is that Beach had nothing to do with the murder of Nees but that she was killed by a group of girls who had together murdered Nees and left their footprints and fingerprints all over the car in which they transported the dead body to a nearby river. In fact, the girls who murdered Nees confessed having done so to a number of Poplar residents. Still, the police and prosecutors did not want to hear that. Instead, Beach was tortured into confessing to the crime.
Apr 16, 2017 | www.cbsnews.comInside NOLA public defenders' decision to refuse felony cases
New Orleans' chief public defender tells Anderson Cooper that until he can ensure every client gets the defense they deserve, he'll continue to turn cases away
In the past year hundreds of people accused of crimes in New Orleans have been stuck in jail - defenseless - denied their constitutional right to a lawyer.
- 2017 Apr 16
- Correspondent Anderson Cooper
- Comments 15
- How do 50 lawyers handle 22,000 cases? They can't. New Orleans public defenders say the criminal justice system needs urgent reform.
- New Orleans public defenders admit they've not been able to adequately represent all their clients and innocent people have gone to jail.
- "A lawyer poorly resourced can cause irreparable harm to a client," says Chief NOLA Public Defender Derwyn Bunton.
It's happening because the city's public defenders, attorneys who are supposed to represent those who can't afford private lawyers, have been staging a kind of protest. They say they are so overworked and underfunded, they don't have the time or resources to defend their clients properly, so they have been refusing to represent people charged with some of the most serious crimes rapes, robberies, and murder.
The man who made this startling decision is the chief public defender Derwyn Bunton. He says he didn't have a choice because the criminal justice system in America is so broken, it's become just a criminal processing system.
Anderson Cooper: What does that mean, a processing system?
Derwyn Bunton: Think about "I Love Lucy." They have that, that famous scene where she and Ethel are trying to wrap chocolates. And their job is grab the chocolates, and wrap 'em, then get 'em back on the conveyor belt. Our criminal justice system has become something of a conveyor belt that starts with you arrested. And then there's hands that touch you on the way to prison. It is not about figuring out at any point your innocence. Should you even be on this conveyor belt, no matter what you did?""You do your best, but a lot of times you can't provide the kind of representation that the Constitution, our code of ethics and professional standards would have you provide." Derwyn Bunton
Anderson Cooper: That's a pretty frightening picture you paint. I mean, that's not a justice system. That's a system sending people to prison.
Derwyn Bunton: And that's what we're fighting to change.
Derwyn Bunton has been head of the New Orleans Public Defenders' office for the last eight years. The 52 lawyers on his staff are responsible for representing more than 20,000 people a year who are unable to afford a private attorney.
Anderson Cooper: How do 50 attorneys handle 22,000 cases?
Derwyn Bunton: You do your best, but a lot of times you can't provide the kind of representation that the Constitution, our code of ethics and professional standards would have you provide.
It was a year ago in January, that Bunton announced his public defenders would no longer take on any felony cases in which defendants were facing a possible life in prison. That left hundreds waiting in jail without lawyers.
Anderson Cooper: Isn't having a busy public defender better than languishing in jail without any kind of attorney?
Derwyn Bunton: No. No. A lawyer poorly resourced can cause irreparable harm to a client.
Play Video 60 Minutes: Segment Extras Ordinary injustice and mass incarceration
Danny Engleberg has worked as a public defender in New Orleans for nine years and says mass incarceration is today's Civil Rights battle.
We sat down with nine current and former New Orleans public defenders who all admit they simply do not have the time or the budget to adequately represent all their clients.
Anderson Cooper: How many of you believe that an innocent client went to jail because you didn't have enough time to spend on their case?
Anderson Cooper: All of you. You feel you've all had that experience?
Brandi: We simply don't have the time. We don't have the money. We don't have the attention to be able to give to every single person.
It's not for lack of skill. Sarah Chervinsky went to Yale and won an award for best young trial lawyer in the country.
Sarah Chervinsky: A lot of us went to law schools with good criminal defense you know clinics. We come into this job being told, like, "Here's what you do to investigate. Here's how often you visit your client." And as soon as you start working you realize the gap between what you should be doing and what you can do.
Stephen Hanlon: It's unethical, it's unconstitutional. The judges know it, the prosecutors know it, the bar association knows it and it has to come to an end.
Play Video 60 Minutes: Segment Extras Over a year in jail with no lawyer
Karen and Shawn Johnston were charged with drug possession. Their daughter Tara describes life at home while they waited in jail for an attorney.
Stephen Hanlon is general counsel for the National Association for Public Defense. He's just concluded a study in conjunction with the American Bar Association finding Louisiana public defenders are handling nearly five times as much work as they should.
Anderson Cooper: Each public defender is doing the work of what five public defenders
Stephen Hanlon: That's exactly...
Anderson Cooper: should be doing?
Stephen Hanlon: ...right.
Anderson Cooper: Would any other profession be asked to work this kind of a load?
Stephen Hanlon: If obstetricians had five times as much work as they could handle competently, if airline pilots had five times as much work as they could handle competently, terrible things would happen.
Anderson Cooper: It wouldn't be allowed. I'm mean there are strict regulations.
Stephen Hanlon: Of course it wouldn't be allowed.
Anderson Cooper: Public defenders have people's lives in their hands, just like airline pilots or doctors?
Stephen Hanlon: They have people's lives in their hands, they have people's liberty in their hands. They have their whole future in their hands.
Donald Gamble, left, and Anderson Cooper CBS News
Donald Gamble knows what it's like to have your future rest in the hands of a New Orleans public defender. In February 2015, he was out celebrating Mardi Gras in this neighborhood, when the police pulled up .
Donald Gamble: The detective he just jumped out and he was like, "Donald Gamble, you're under arrest, and "
Anderson Cooper: Did they tell you what you were under arrest for?
Donald Gamble: Yeah, he said, "you're under arrest for two counts of armed robbery."
A man with a gun stole two women's purses. The robber was recorded fleeing by security cameras and a witness identified 26-year-old Donald Gamble. His bail was set at $300,000. Unable to afford a private attorney, Gamble was assigned a public defender.
Booking photo of 26-year-old Donald Gamble in 2015.
Anderson Cooper: Did you have confidence in your public defender? Did you ever feel like, "OK, she's really investigating. They're really on it?"
Donald Gamble: I never once really felt that she was making progress. I could tell, every time I would interact with her she just seemed busy, rushed. She seemed overworked.
Gamble had some prior nonviolent offenses on his record, but now found himself facing possible life in prison. Even so, court records show that for more than 10 months his case went nowhere.
Gamble was locked up in a jail that was recently cited by the Department of Justice for its violence and inhumane conditions.
Anderson Cooper: Did you have problems in jail?
Donald Gamble: Yes.
Anderson Cooper: What happened?
Donald Gamble CBS News
Donald Gamble: As you can see, I've got my front teeth knocked out. And I've had stitches.
Anderson Cooper: So, you got attacked more than once?
Donald Gamble: Absolutely. Yeah.
To protect himself, he says, he got a homemade knife which was confiscated by authorities. Lindsay Samuel was Gamble's public defender. She told us she couldn't spend much time on his case because she was already struggling to represent nearly a hundred men facing life in prison. Nearly a year after Donald Gamble was arrested, Samuel quit her job.
Anderson Cooper: Why'd you leave?
Lindsay Samuel: You know feeling like you're always coming up short. Um, you know, the first 1,000 clients, you feel terrible. The second 1,000 clients, you feel awful. The third 1,000, 3,000 in, it doesn't feel so bad anymore. One morning I woke up and I just felt like, "I'm not even angry about this anymore." It's just everyday to me. Everyday my clients are going away for a decade. And I just move along to the next client.
Pamela Metzger, a constitutional scholar and Tulane law professor CBS News
Samuel left just as the public defender's office started refusing cases. That meant Donald Gamble, stuck in jail, had no one representing him. But surprisingly, that turned out to be a good thing. A judge appointed Pamela Metzger, a constitutional scholar and Tulane law professor, to advise him and six other men on their Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel. Metzger argued that if the state couldn't provide the men with effective representation, they should all be released immediately."The cost of not having a good public defender is not just to the defendant. It's to the victims and it's to all the future victims." Pamela Metzger
Anderson Cooper: Some of these men were charged with very serious crimes.
Pamela Metzger: Rape, murder, armed robbery.
Anderson Cooper: You live in New Orleans you have a family here.
Pamela Metzger: Yep.
Anderson Cooper: Do you want them back on the street?
Pamela Metzger: I want to live in a city where the Constitution matters. And I want to live in a city where everybody knows that if you get arrested, you're gonna have a lawyer and you're gonna have a lawyer who represents you properly.
When Metzger investigated Gamble's case, she examined security camera footage and realized Gamble didn't fit the robber's description. CBS News
Pamela Metzger's job wasn't to disprove the charges against Donald Gamble, but as soon as she started looking at the case file she says she realized the eyewitness who identified Gamble was unreliable. Then she took the time to examine those security camera recordings of the robber. When she studied them closely, she realized, Gamble didn't fit the description at all.
Pamela Metzger: I noticed the pants and there's a flat, wide cuff to the pant.
Anderson Cooper: Uh-huh.
Pamela Metzger: The pant cuffs are swinging as this person runs.
These are the pants police said Donald Gamble was wearing during the robbery.
Anderson Cooper: These are tight on the bottom?
Pamela Metzger: These are old-school sweatpants that are elasticized bottoms. See right there?
Anderson Cooper: Uh-huh.
Pamela Metzger: That straight line?
Anderson Cooper: Right.
Pamela Metzger: It's impossible for those pants to have made that.
Anderson Cooper: As soon as you saw that you knew?
Pamela Metzger: As soon as I saw that, I knew.
Anderson Cooper: How many hours did it take you to determine they had the wrong guy?
Pamela Metzger: They don't have four to five hours. They don't. They don't have four to five hours.
Days after reviewing the case, Pamela Metzger presented the evidence including the security camera videos to the judge.
Pamela Metzger: I got a call at home that night from the district attorney saying
we're dropping it. And the paperwork was filed the next day.
Last June, after 16 months in jail, Donald Gamble was freed. He left for Houston immediately to live with his grandmother.
Donald Gamble: Good to see you. You look so good.
Grandma: You do too baby.
Donald Gamble: You look so good. You looking young, girl.
Back at home there was relief and disbelief.
Donald Gamble: You see I got my teeth got knocked out?
Grandma: That's pathetic.
Donald Gamble: It'll be alright.
Grandma: It's time for you to have some good luck.
Anderson Cooper: To someone watching who says, look, it's unfortunate that some innocent people end up in jail but no system is perfect and it's the cost of doing business to keep people safe.
Pamela Metzger: We didn't keep people safe. We put Donald Gamble in jail. The wrong man. And let the actual robber out on the streets for 16 more months. Who knows how many other people he robbed? The cost of not having a good public defender is not just to the defendant. It's to the victims and it's to all the future victims.
Gamble, who was arrested again last month for disturbing the peace, had always insisted he was innocent of the robbery. But told us he was so scared in jail he considered pleading guilty.
Anderson Cooper: You were facing potentially life in prison?
Donald Gamble: Yes.
Anderson Cooper: If your attorney had been able to get a plea bargain, for say, five years. Would you have taken it?
Donald Gamble: Absolutely. If you ask yourself that same question, would you rather five years or 99 years.
Anderson Cooper: You would have pled guilty to something you didn't do?
Donald Gamble: Most definitely.
That doesn't surprise Derwyn Bunton, the city's chief public defender. He says their clients know they don't have the time and money to mount a rigorous defense at trial, so often decide to take plea deals -- even if they aren't guilty.
Derwyn Bunton: People are pleading guilty to crimes they didn't do.
Anderson Cooper: All the time?
Derwyn Bunton: All the time.
Anderson Cooper: This is not just an isolated thing here and there?
Derwyn Bunton: This is not isolated. This is a system that has grown so large without any counterbalance that it has produced the highest incarceration rate in the world.
Anderson Cooper: And you're supposed to be that counterbalance?
Derwyn Bunton: That's exactly right.
To illustrate his point, Bunton took us to this warehouse where the public defenders' cases from the past decade are stored.
Anderson Cooper: About how many cases are there here?
Derwyn Bunton: It's roughly about half a million.
Anderson Cooper: And how many pled guilty?
Derwyn Bunton: You're probably looking at somewhere between 90,95 percent.
Anderson Cooper: Ninety-five percent of these people were guilty?
Derwyn Bunton: Well, they pled guilty.
Anderson Cooper: I think people who haven't been in the system find the notion that somebody would plead guilty to something in a plea deal that they didn't actually do hard to imagine.
Derwyn Bunton: Say you're, you're picked up for something you didn't do and you're placed in jail. Jail is a terrible place to be. And you find out, through your public defender that if you plea to this, maybe it's this lesser thing, maybe it's guilty as charged, you'll get out today. People will take that plea because they want to get out of jail."Here, we have a criminal justice system, stories of innocence throughout and profound. And we still haven't had the urgency that I think we need to reform it so that we don't destroy lives. Because make no mistake, we're destroying lives." Derwyn Bunton
But plea deals, Bunton says, often lead to serious consequences when someone has a criminal record.
Play Video 60 Minutes: Segment Extras How to fix public defense
Stephen Hanlon, general counsel for the National Association for Public Defense, says giving adequate representation is about supply and demand.
Derwyn Bunton: Louisiana is a state that has a lot of misdemeanor multiples as we call them. That means if you get one misdemeanor is the misdemeanor. A second one turns it into a felony.
Anderson Cooper: So if you're arrested on a misdemeanor and then a couple months later it happens again that becomes a felony?
Derwyn Bunton: That's right. The second time it's a felony. And the penalties increase for each subsequent time that you're caught.
These public defenders say they see harsh sentences based on prior felonies and misdemeanors all the time.
Barksdale: I had a client who's doing 20 years for stealing a flat of soda that was worth less than a $100.
Kenneth: I have a client that was sentenced to 17 years for half an ounce of weed. No crimes of violence in his past.
In recent months the public defender's office here has gotten some relief. The state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans have come up with more money and Derwyn Bunton has hired nine additional attorneys. But he insists he'll continue to turn away cases until he can ensure every client gets the defense they deserve.
Derwyn Bunton: Here, we have a criminal justice system, stories of innocence throughout and profound. And we still haven't had the urgency that I think we need to reform it so that we don't destroy lives. Because make no mistake, we're destroying lives.
Anderson Cooper: And you don't want to be part of it anymore?
Derwyn Bunton: We're not gonna be complicit in that kind of injustice. No, we're not gonna do it anymore. © 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
- Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," has contributed to 60 Minutes since 2006. His exceptional reporting on big news events has earned Cooper a reputation as one of television's pre-eminent newsmen.
I applaud this man for finally highlighting what everyone has always known about public defenders. While they are a dedicated, professional group of people, the State robs them of the resources and personnel that they provide to the prosecution side (DA and police investigators). With little or no resources, facing the "big dog" in town, and with more cases than anyone could possibly handle, they are relegated to being "plea bargain experts" to get their clients, guilty or not, the least amount of jail time possible.My question is, when they refuse to take cases because of lack of resources, what happens to the defendants? If they request a court appointed attorney and none is available, I don't think they can even be arraigned without an attorney meaning no bail is ever set. So, do they just sit in jail, unconvicted, indefinitely?
Mar 22, 2017 | angrybearblog.comHere's a graph showing the number of attorneys as a share of the US population:
The increase seems pretty inexorable starting around 1970, doesn't it?
For grins and giggles, here's snide graph on which I will make no comment:
If you're wondering where the lawyers live, a quick google search turned up this post which shows attorneys by state. Needless to say, the share of attorneys as a percentage of the population is greater in the District of Columbia than any of the states, by far.
Data for ("resident active") attorneys used in these graphs comes are from the American Bar Association . The ABA's website seems insistent that anyone referencing their data should state it is "Reprinted by permission of the American Bar Association. All rights reserved." I am afraid to argue with them.
Data and estimates for the US population originates with the Census, but I'm using the set cleaned up by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission since its in an easy to use format. Real GDP per capita comes from NIPA Table 7.1 .
If you want my spreadsheet, drop me a line at my first name (mike) dot my last name (that's kimel with one m) at gmail with a dot com.
Mar 22, 2017 | www.rollingstone.com
America's incoming top cop on finance is literally married to industry
Clayton is already an unusual choice, given that he's slated to be a primary regulator of Wall Street while a chunk of his family income will continue to come from Goldman Sachs, where his wife Gretchen works . Although he will have to recuse himself from enforcement cases involving Goldman, he will not have to sit out of a broad range of other regulatory decisions that affect the company. This is already notable.
But Public Citizen has stumbled onto some other oddities about Clayton's personal holdings.
In Clayton's absurdly baroque Form 278 financial disclosure if you want to feel like your financial life is meager and uncomplicated, take a look at this staggeringly long list of income sources for the former Sullivan and Cromwell mainstay he lists, under "other assets and income," a series of entries involving a company called WMB Holdings.
WMB Holdings, he explains in a verbose and unhelpful endnote, is a Delaware-based entity that provides "business, financial, and representational services."
According to Clayton, WMB secures business licenses, files UCC forms, creates special purpose vehicles (you might remember these little financial Frankensteins from the Enron story), engages in "compliance support services," secures data storage and helps with "anti-counterfeiting services," among other things.
This sounds harmless enough. But WMB, and a company called CSC with which it appears to have a connection is a company of a very particular type, known well to white-collar investigators.
"It's a corporate formation company," says Jack Blum , an expert on white-collar crime and money laundering who is best known for his investigation of the BCCI scandal. "You call them up, and 20 minutes later you've got a Delaware corporation. I'm exaggerating, of course, but that's what they do."
These firms can be used to create chains of legal entities, sometimes ending in offshore accounts, that make tracing financial transactions difficult, if not impossible. "They can make the ownership of anything completely impenetrable," says Blum, speaking generally and not necessarily about Clayton's firm. "If you want to launder money, evade tax or hide assets from a spouse, you can do it."
Clayton's family seems to have a serious interest in this firm. He lists a series of family trusts containing WMB holdings, most producing high annual dividends.
If you add up each of the dividends some of which are listed as generating over $1 million a year, while others are listed at $100,000-$1,000,000, etc. the total annual value of these holdings comes out to over $4 million annually, at least.
The endnote claims Clayton has no beneficial interest or control in these holdings, but that his wife and/or children have a "beneficial interest."
Given that the company would appear to be subject to SEC oversight, it's worth asking the nature of his family's involvement with WMB, and moreover to learn more about what his attitude is toward such companies in general.
Clayton has pledged to divest from WMB when his wife has "directly held financial interests" in the company, but not where his wife or his children are "solely a beneficiary."
Public Citizen for a variety of reasons believes that WMB "may also be the parent of Corporation Service Co. (CSC)," another large business services firm with offices in "Delaware, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom."
Among other things, WMB was for some time listed as the parent of a company called CSC Trust Co., now called Delaware Trust Co.
CSC Global claims 2,500 employees as well as 180,000 corporate customers, while also representing 10,000 law firms. The company appears to do more or less the same things that Clayton says WMB does, dealing with creating legal business entities, management of licenses, upkeep of filings, dealing with service of process, etc.
Interestingly, and to Blum's point, Clayton's disclosure does not list any interest in CSC. So although he gives some information about what appears to be a holding company with little to no public profile, the company that boasts of its connections to 180,000 corporations is not mentioned in the disclosure form.
Neither CSC nor Clayton have responded to requests for comment.
The real issue with companies like these is the vast array of tools they can offer big companies and high-net-worth individuals to complicate their financial profiles. The worst-case scenario is a string of shell companies that end in an opaque offshore haven.
"That's when the trail becomes impossible to follow," says Blum. Investigators who try to follow money into offshore banking havens have almost no hope of getting answers there, he says.
"You need a formal mutual legal request that may or may not be honored in the lifetime of the investigator," says Blum.
Interestingly, when Public Citizen ran the names of WMB and CSC through the Panama Papers database, they found nothing. But when they ran the address common to both companies 2711 Centerville Rd., Wilmington through the database, they found it connected with numerous firms whose agent was the infamous Mossack Fonseca, many of them offshore companies.
In its letter to the Senate Banking Committee, Public Citizen asked the Senate to ask Clayton what this means. Did either WMB or CSC do business with Mossack Fonseca? Have either of those companies provided services to Mossack Fonseca clients?
Even if WMB and CSC are completely above-board, it's a strange sort of investment for the top cop on the financial beat. It will be interesting to see if he sheds some light on his holdings when he's questioned this week.
Mar 22, 2017 | www.shelf-awareness.com
Chris Hayes, author of Twilight of the Elites and host of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes , seeks to establish a new framework for understanding America's fractured society with his book A Colony in a Nation .
Hayes contends that the country has been divided into two halves that he labels the Colony and the Nation. The idea is adapted from Richard Nixon's 1968 speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he asserted that black Americans "don't want to be a colony in a nation." Hayes argues that almost a half-century later we have created just that:
...we have built a colony in a nation, not in the classic Marxist sense but in the deep sense we can appreciate as a former colony ourselves: A territory that isn't actually free. A place controlled from outside rather than within. A place where the mechanisms of representation don't work enough to give citizens a sense of ownership over their own government. A place where the law is a tool of control rather than a foundation for prosperity.
... ... ...
Hayes aims to show not just that the law is unequally applied, but that the Nation and the Colony have two entirely different justice systems. He points to colleges and universities as a key example: "All these schools and hundreds of others draw their student bodies disproportionately from upper echelons of society, and they are places where parents and administrators outright expect students to engage in illicit behaviors." Why aren't poorer neighborhoods extended the same "extremely liberal norms of tolerance"? In fact, under the widely celebrated "Broken Windows" theory of policing in the 1990s, New York "constructed an entire new judicial system around low-level offenses" where the goal was "not to figure out if the person in question committed a crime but to sort city residents according to their obedience and orderliness."
The benefits for the Nation were manifest and the practices were almost immediately exported to cities all over the country. Cleaned-up cities came at a cost, though, vacuuming huge numbers of poor, mentally ill and minority-status Americans into prisons and inflicting "widespread harassment and misery" on residents of the Colony.
Hayes does not propose solutions in A Colony in a Nation . Instead, he makes a powerful dichotomy visible to those who can't see it. His framework serves as a powerful lens through which to understand the last half-century of American history, as well as the immense challenges going forward. -- Hank Stephenson
Mar 22, 2017 | angrybearblog.comHere's a graph showing the number of attorneys as a share of the US population:
The increase seems pretty inexorable starting around 1970, doesn't it?
For grins and giggles, here's snide graph on which I will make no comment:
If you're wondering where the lawyers live, a quick google search turned up this post which shows attorneys by state. Needless to say, the share of attorneys as a percentage of the population is greater in the District of Columbia than any of the states, by far.
Data for ("resident active") attorneys used in these graphs comes are from the American Bar Association . The ABA's website seems insistent that anyone referencing their data should state it is "Reprinted by permission of the American Bar Association. All rights reserved." I am afraid to argue with them.
Data and estimates for the US population originates with the Census, but I'm using the set cleaned up by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission since its in an easy to use format. Real GDP per capita comes from NIPA Table 7.1 .
If you want my spreadsheet, drop me a line at my first name (mike) dot my last name (that's kimel with one m) at gmail with a dot com.
Mar 14, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.comNew Deal democrat : March 13, 2017 at 05:05 AM This is really, really good, and should be read by everybody.
Cam Hui on how the vast increase in incarceration might explain the secular decline in the Labor Force Participation rate:
Great charts, and the first attempt I've seen to actually quantify the effect.
I see one big problem: incarceration really exploded between 1980 and 2000, and yet that is exactly when the secular decline in the LFPR, relatively speaking, abated.
ken melvin -> New Deal democrat... , March 13, 2017 at 06:18 AMCause and effect.
Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com
Barack Obama was the first president to denounce mass incarceration and the first ever to visit a federal prison while in office. He is the first president to truly understand, on a policy, intellectual, and moral level, what has gone wrong.
Obama has commuted the sentences of more federal prisoners than his eleven predecessors combined and allowed state-level experiments in recreational marijuana legalization to move forward even though it has remained illegal under federal law - something his administration could have signaled that it wanted to fix, but hasn't, by rescheduling the drug.
There have been serious strides toward criminal justice reform under Obama, including at the Justice Department, which has aggressively moved to curb abusive charging practices in the courts and, through its Civil Rights Division, investigated, taken legal actions against, and foisted reforms upon abusive local police departments, courts, prisons, jails, officers, and guards.
But the United States still locks up its people at a rate far higher than most any nation on earth, and mass incarceration remains a humanitarian monstrosity. By that sobering measure, Obama has fallen short.
Though states, and not the federal government, incarcerate the vast majority of prisoners nationwide, Obama could have done much more to alleviate this problem than he has. In a recent Harvard Law Review article, Obama defended his criminal justice record and noted that on this and other matters, "better is good." That's true, especially given a Republican Congress that is unremittingly hostile to most all that is decent.
But it also rings hollow: on criminal justice reform, it's not just about the perfect being made the enemy of the good, but rather that President Obama has refused to embrace transformational change.
Instead, Obama has framed his commutations as a "second chance" rather than righting a major injustice. As a result, he has so far refused calls to issue more sweeping, across-the-board commutations that would decrease the federal prison population by larger numbers - meaning that Obama, in an area where he has extraordinary unilateral authority to act, has addressed what he clearly understands to be a systematic problem on an individual, case-by-case basis.
Meanwhile, US attorneys under his watch have continued to preside over a federal prosecutorial machinery that metes out draconian sentences for mostly nonviolent crimes. That includes a new push to charge drug dealers with crimes that can carry life sentences in overdose cases and a relentless campaign to charge immigrants with federal crimes merely for having crossed, or re-crossed, the border.
Crackdowns on adult sex workers and their customers, misleadingly lauded as strikes against child sex trafficking, continue. Despite encouraging reforms, federal prisons remain plagued by inhumane conditions, including forms of solitary confinement that amount to torture.
Under Obama, immigration enforcement became inextricably linked to the criminal justice system. A program called Secure Communities, renamed the Priority Enforcement Program, systematically transformed local jails and police into immigration agents. Under Obama, civil detention centers have admitted hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year for committing mere civil violations. Federal convictions for illegally reentering the country, a felony, have skyrocketed and people charged with immigration-related crimes now make up nearly 9 percent of the federal prison population.
Obama's criminal justice record is a mixed bag. Under President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it will likely be a basket of deplorables. The recent history of tepid liberal reform and right-wing reaction, however, both expose the country's leading political blocs as unwilling and perhaps unable to end mass incarceration. To do that, we need a new movement that can force the transformation of American punishment and the brutally unequal socioeconomic system that it protects.
Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.comPolice and prosecutors appear to be using their considerable discretion to maintain their felony caseloads in the face of falling crime rates and mounting pressure to end the war on drugs.
Rising prison admissions for violent, property, and public order offenses have offset the drop in prison admissions for drug crimes .
For all the talk about parole reform, huge numbers of people continue to be returned to prison for technical parole violations. Remove California from the numbers, and the rate of parole-related prison admissions actually increased significantly between 2000 and 2012.
The polarization in Congress and many state legislatures has been a convenient excuse to explain why so little progress has been made in slashing the country's incarceration rate and ameliorating the collateral consequences of the carceral state. It has been used to justify saddling up to Right on Crime and pursuing small-bore solutions like the 3 R's.
Claims of legislative gridlock direct attention away from many non-legislative means available to begin razing the carceral state. The carceral state was not built by punitive legislation alone. It also required, particularly in its formative years, a shift in sensibilities as police officers, parole and probation agents, corrections officials, judges, and prosecutors began to wield their discretion in a more punitive direction.
... ... ...
The late legal scholar William Stuntz once characterized prosecutors as the "real lawmakers" of the criminal justice system because the penal code grants them enormous leeway in charging decisions. As the violent crime rate plummeted in the 1990s, changes in prosecutorial behavior helped drive the continued escalation of the prison population. The number of violent and property offenses prosecuted rose, as did the time served by people convicted of violent offenses.
... ... ...
Prison-based groups and organizations of formerly incarcerated people have been coalescing to fight the carceral state despite the enormous obstacles to political action they face. It remains an open question, however, whether this upsurge will develop into a broader movement to challenge not only the carceral state but also other growing inequities in the US.
... ... ...
While the US incarceration rate of 400 per 100,000 for whites is low relative to the rates for African Americans (2,300 per 100,000) and Hispanics (1,000 per 100,000), it's extraordinarily high compared to those of other industrialized democracies. The United States is incarcerating whites at about two-and-a-half to seven times the rates of other advanced capitalist countries.
Framing the movement to dismantle the carceral state as primarily a case of racial disparities renders invisible how the deep penetration of neoliberalism into the social, economic, and political fabric of the United States is fostering wide-scale economic and political inequalities and eroding democratic institutions. It also thwarts the development of a broader political and social movement to challenge the underlying forces that sustain the carceral state and other gross injustices and inequalities in the US today.
Jan 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.comMtnLife , January 15, 2017 at 9:43 amPaid Minion , January 15, 2017 at 9:45 am
Bernie Madoff manipulated the market for hot cocoa mix at his prison
Grifters gotta grift.Corey , January 15, 2017 at 12:18 pm
Incurable disease.nechaev , January 15, 2017 at 1:36 pm
This makes a cute story, but I seriously doubt its accuracy. I did three years in Federal prison (1999-2002) and I recall that commissary purchases were regulated quite strictly. It would have been nearly impossible to buy up all of the hot chocolate mix, or anything else for that matter. Further, there were restrictions on the types and amounts of items that were permitted be kept in an inmate's cell or cube. It would have been impractical to purchase and store up a large quantity of an item, and attempting to corner a market in a popular product and exploit the consumers could very well prove ahem hazardous to one's well-being. The FCI commissary order list confirms my recollection. Inmate purchases of drink mixes are limited to 1 each:
FCI Commissary List
Cute story. Former billionaire financier now small-time hustler in prison. But almost certainly false.alex morfesis , January 15, 2017 at 3:09 pm
your comment interesting, esp. in light of reports in the past decade that canned mackerel had replaced cigarettes as barter currency within federal prisons: see, f. ex: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122290720439096481 .
How then are / were quantities accumulated if the limits on canned fish is 5 cans per inmate. Ditto cigs back in the day when smokes were allowed?
Madoff made off with all the cash with the help of a not so little firm named fiserv, which seemed to be the go to firm for corporate criminals as its software was "malleable" maybe his old friends at fiserv handle the BOP accounting system and magically the magic is back ??
Dec 27, 2016 | usnews.newsvine.com
Nearly one in 10 prisoners suffer sexual abuse while incarcerated in state prisons, local jails and post-release treatment facilities, according to a report published Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The report, based on the first National Former Prisoners Survey , includes data from 518,800 former prisoners who were on supervised parole in mid-2008.
An estimated 3.7 percent said they were forced or pressured to have nonconsensual sex with another inmate. About 5.3 percent reported an incident that involved facility staff.
The report's publication coincides with the Justice Department's release of landmark federal standards to protect inmates in all federal, state and local facilities, under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.
"For too long, incidents of sexual abuse against incarcerated persons have not been taken as seriously as sexual abuse outside prison walls," the Justice Department said in a statement on the standards. "In popular culture, prison rape is often the subject of jokes; in public discourse, it has been at times dismissed by some as an inevitable - or even deserved - consequence of criminality."
A quarter of those who reported they had suffered unwanted sexual contact at the hands of other inmates said they had been physically held down or restrained and a quarter had been physically harmed or injured. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) reported serious injuries, including anal/vaginal tearing (12 percent), chipped or lost teeth (12 percent), being knocked unconscious (8 percent), internal injuries (6 percent), knife/stab wounds (4 percent) or broken bones (4 percent), according to the survey of former prisoners.
Although any sexual contact between staff and inmates is legally nonconsensual, former prisoners said some incidents were unwilling and some were "willing." Most victims of staff sexual misconduct reported some type of coercion. Half said they had been offered favors or special privileges and a third said they had been talked into it. Nearly 7 in 8 in this category reported only perpetrators of the opposite sex. More than three-quarters of all reported staff sexual misconduct involved a male inmate with female staff.
The rate of victimization by other inmates was reported by homosexual (39 percent) and bisexual male inmates (34 percent) at rates about 10 times higher than those reported by heterosexual males (3.5 percent).
In other findings, the report said inmates of two or more races (11.3 percent) and black non-Hispanics (6.5 percent) suffered sexual victimization at rates higher than white non-Hispanic inmates (4.5 percent) and Hispanic inmates (4 percent).
The survey was part of the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Prison Rape Statistics Program, which has collected administrative records of reported sexual violence or allegations of sexual victimization directly from victims since 2004.
The new standards require an array of measures to prevent and handle sexual abuse involving prisoners, including additional staff training, grievance reporting systems, increased staff and video monitoring, prompt medical and psychological attention for victims, and disciplinary actions for staff or inmate perpetrators.
"The standards we establish today reflect the fact that sexual assault crimes committed within our correctional facilities can have devastating consequences - for individual victims and for communities far beyond our jails and prisons," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
The standards will go into effect for federal facilities in 60 days. States that do not comply or demonstrate that they are working toward complying with the standards face the loss of relevant federal funds.
In drafting the standards, the Justice Department was prohibited from placing an undue financial burden on the states. It collected public comment, and haggled with officials from states, a wide array of advocacy groups and other stakeholders, a department official said, explaining why the standards were instituted nine years after the law was passed.
"These standards are the result of a thoughtful and deliberative process - and represent a critical step forward in protecting the rights and safety of all Americans," Holder said.
Dec 27, 2016 | www.truth-out.orgFor the nearly 8,000 people locked up in Cook County jail, and the 2,400 on house arrest, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty effectively does not exist. Roughly 95 percent of those incarcerated have not faced trial or conviction of any kind, the vast majority of them ensnared simply because they are unable to afford bond. Those forced to languish in indefinite detention are disproportionately African American, and their pretrial punishments can permanently set their lives off-course, causing them to lose jobs, custody of their children, their housing, and even their lives.
Now, a group of formerly incarcerated people, movement lawyers and concerned community members in Chicago are seeking to intervene in this humanitarian crisis by pooling collective resources to free people from Cook County jail. Calling themselves the Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF), the all-volunteer group just announced it has freed 50 people from jail or house arrest, using a revolving fund.
But the organization is not just aiming to buy the liberty of those locked up -- a transaction they acknowledge is chilling. Members want to change the system by organizing to eradicate monetary bond altogether and address the harms that Cook County inflicts on its own residents. "You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but they treat everyone guilty until proven innocent," Tyler Smith, a 21-year-old Chicago resident bonded out by the CCBF in February, told AlterNet.
Amid mounting nationwide concern about mass incarceration, the CCBF is advancing a strategy of harm reduction and resistance that appears to be catching fire, with related projects established in Massachusetts , New York , California , North Carolina and beyond. In a country that remains, by far , the biggest jailer in the world, organizers hope that similar bond funds can comprise one prong in a broad strategy to end the injustices perpetrated by prison and jail systems across the United States.
"If we are really serious about the presumption of innocence, which is not a radical concept, then we need to take a critical look at cash bond and pretrial detention across the board," Max Suchan, a co-founder of CCBF, told AlterNet. "The solution is to end cash bond and eliminate pretrial detention."
"My Life Was Ruined"
While the monetary bond system remains, Smith said he is glad the CCBF exists. "It had a good impact," he said of the organization. "It brought me hope."
Smith has been working since he was 15, and said he comes from a "single-parent household, with a mother who has been working hard since I was born." He described himself as "head of household" since he was 19.
"My whole situation started on July 15, 2013, when I was accused of robbery," said Smith. Unable to pay $2,500 -- 10 percent of his $25,000 deposit bond -- he was forcibly subjected to electronic monitoring, a form of house arrest, in July 2016. Smith was working two jobs at the time, but lost both as a result of restrictions on his movement and invasive surveillance. He was living with his mother, who was unemployed, and says as a result of his incarceration the family was almost evicted from their home. "My life was ruined," said Smith. "There was nothing I could do."
After being referred by his public defender, Smith was bonded out by the CCBF in February and has since become a vocal organizer against the injustices he endured, testifying at a November public hearing on the use of money bond in Cook County. He said that through the CCBF, he has gained important community he describes as "friends and family." He added that "after the situation, it's like the stress has been lifted from my mom."
Yet Smith also said that his life has been unfairly derailed by what he has suffered so far. While his charges were dropped last Friday, Smith and his family have already faced staggering punishment, he notes. In light of this ordeal, he emphasized that it is important for those who have not experienced incarceration firsthand to "hear my voice and what I have to say."
"To make things better in the justice system, they have to eliminate bond and house arrest," said Smith.
For many, the harms inflicted during pretrial detention are irreversible. "Inability to pay bond results in higher rates of conviction, longer sentences, loss of housing and jobs, separation of families and lost custody of children," notes the CCBF in its first annual report .
It is far more difficult for individuals to fight their cases while incarcerated, and after sitting in indefinite detention, many experience pressure to plead guilty. In Cook County alone, people arrested on "nonviolent" felonies who were unable to post bail were four times as likely to receive convictions as their counterparts who were able to avoid pretrial detention, according to research included in a class action lawsuit.
Especially for those who already experience poverty or marginalization, even just a few days in jail can permanently disrupt jobs and family connections, a reality underscored by the Pretrial Justice Institute's " Three Days Count " campaign.
Diomar, who was formerly incarcerated in Cook County jail, says it was only because he was bonded out by CCBF that he was able to "be free to see the birth of my daughter and support my family."
"Bond is fundamentally unfair because it punishes poor people more -- and it's not just you that suffers, but also your entire family," he said in a press statement. "They lock you away from your kids, and that really sets the tone for the case and puts you at a disadvantage from the very beginning. You can't fight your case as well from a legal or emotional standpoint from the inside."
Some do not survive their ordeals. According to a report by the Huffington Post, 815 people "died in jails and police lockups in the year following Sandra Bland's death on July 13, 2015." Their data shows that many of those who lost their lives were incarcerated because they were unable to meet bond requirements. The tally is a dramatic undercount, as it does not include people who die following release due to incarcerated-related causes.
The long-term impacts of jailing are tragically illustrated by the case of Kalief Browder, who in 2010 was arrested at the age of 16 and spent more than 1,000 days locked up at Rikers Island waiting for a trial that never happened. He was forced to remain incarcerated because his family could not afford to post bail. During this time he endured roughly two years in solitary confinement, as well as a violent assault by an officer. Following his release, Browder committed suicide in 2015.
"He tried to lead a normal life but after being beaten, starved, being in solitary confinement for so long, that would take a toll on a grown man, let alone a child," Venida Browder, Kalief's mother, told the New York Daily News six months after her son's death. She died just over a year after her son took his life.
"No More Business-as-Usual"
Pretrial detention, like that which Browder was forced to endure, is a key driver of soaring jail populations across the United States. According to a report released in February 2015 by the Vera Institute, annual admissions to jails jumped from 6 million in 1983 to 11.7 million in 2013. Meanwhile, those incarcerated in jails are languishing longer, with the average stay climbing from 14 to 23 days over the past 30 years. People of color are disproportionately impacted by these trends. The Vera Institute finds that African Americans, who make up just 13 percent of the US population, are jailed at four times the rate of their white counterparts.
As in Cook County, the vast majority of people locked up in jails across the country have not been convicted of any crime and are ostensibly assumed innocent. The Department of Justice estimated in 2014 that, at any given time, roughly 450,000 people are incarcerated in jails awaiting trial, amounting to two-thirds of the jail population. A special report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, released in 2007, shows that five out of six of those locked up "had bail set with financial conditions required for release that were not met." According to the Vera report, three-fifths of all people locked up in jail are "awaiting trial or resolution of their cases through through plea negotiation, and simply too poor to post even low bail."
The spike in jail populations nationwide tracks directly with increased reliance on ever-more-expensive bail. In a 2012 report , the Justice Policy Institute notes that, "From 1992 to 2006, the use of financial release, primarily through commercial bonds, increased by 32 percent." Meanwhile, the report observes that average bail amounts have increased "by over $30,000 between 1992 and 2006."
Bail itself reflects the racism of the broader prison-industrial complex. According to figures released by the Pretrial Justice Institute last year, African American men face 35 percent higher bonds than white men nationwide. Meanwhile, monetary bail systems by definition discriminate against those members of society who are least able to pay, in a society with profound class disparities along race lines. The Pew Research Center determined in 2014 that the current wealth gap between white and black people in the United States is at its highest point since 1989, with white homes possessing 13 times the median wealth of their black counterparts in 2013.
Even the Department of Justice submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in August arguing that incarcerating people because they are unable to pay bail violates the US constitution. Yet despite the public airing of concerns, the system continues unabated, with rare exceptions. In contrast to most state and local jurisdictions in the United States, Washington DC releases roughly 90 percent of people held overnight, without requiring monetary bail.
Peter Goldberg, executive director of the Brooklyn Bail Fund, told AlterNet over the phone, "The goal of a bond fund is certainly not to prop up an unfair system with money, but to disrupt and change it. In addition to the obvious harm reduction that a fund can provide by getting people out of jail, we work in tandem with others in the movement to abolish cash bail. Funds must bring to light the experiences of individuals, allow them to have voice in what reform looks like. No more business-as-usual."
"There Hasn't Been a Change"
In light of these injustices, Chicago-area activists and lawyers are organizing a coordinated fightback. Currently and formerly incarcerated people filed a class-action lawsuit against Cook County officials in October, in partnership with the CCBF and lawyers' groups, including the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center.
"Every day, thousands of human beings in Cook County, each presumed innocent as a matter of law, remain in jail for the duration of their case simply because they cannot afford to pay a monetary amount set without relation to their ability to pay," states the complaint, which was emailed to AlterNet. "The large and disproportionate majority of these persons are African Americans."
According to 2011-2013 data from the Clerk of the Circuit Court of County, analyzed by the MacArthur Justice Center, these disparities are stark. For example, only 15.8 percent of African Americans charged with Class 4 felonies were released on bond before their trials, as compared to 32.4% of non-African American defendants.
Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, has stated publicly he believes the money bail system is unfair. Cara Smith, chief policy officer for Dart, told AlterNet that the sheriff "has been lobbying to eliminate cash bond in Illinois."
But campaigners say they are exasperated by the endless talk about the problems while the policies remain the same. "The reason Sheriff Dart is named in the lawsuit is because his office is incarcerating these people after the bond is set," Alexa Van Brunt of MacArthur Justice Center told AlterNet. "He is the custodian of the people who are being held based on these judicial bail orders, which we believe are unconstitutional. There has been a lot of discussion about the problem of cash bail in Cook County. It's an issue that has been on everyone's radar for some time. But there hasn't been a change."
Building a Movement
While the monetary system persists, people across the country are taking direct action to remove people from its clutches. "We're first and foremost interested in keeping clients out of jail," Brett Davidson, the director of the Connecticut Bail Fund, told AlterNet over the phone. "It's ridiculous that we're even able to buy people's freedom, that money is the thing standing between people and jail."
The CCBF, which combines harm reduction with social movement support, emerged from a call to address grave injustices committed by the Chicago Police Department. In August 2014, police killed two black men, one of whom was 17-year-old Desean Pittman. When Pittman's friends and family held a community vigil shortly following the killing, they were attacked by police who "ripped down memorial photos and tipped over candles," said Suchan. After the incident was over, five people were charged with felonies, including Pittman's mother, and four could not afford bond.
Just back from Ferguson, Suchan says he "made contact with family members who were doing their own fundraising. Ultimately we had to raise around $30,000 to get everyone out of jail. It took four months. We were doing fish fries and game nights, as well as crowdfunding online campaigns." That effort launched conversations about what it would look like to create a more sustainable fund.
"We decided to form this group so that we could reach out to those who couldn't help themselves, and we are very proud of what we're doing," co-founder Jeanette Wince said at a launch party in November 2015. Since the launch, the organization says it has posted "over $278,000 in bonds ranging from $500 to $50,000, spending the vast majority of this sum on felony bonds." Not a single bond has been forfeited, and many of those released have since become active with the organization.
To this day, CCBF martials resources to support individuals, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, with roughly a quarter of the people bonded out engaged in a political action at the time of their arrest. Support of people doing activist work "directly advances our mission of supporting movements seeking systemic change in Chicago," the group says in their annual report . "Bond funds are a really important, humanizing tool, but they are really only a way forward if they are connected and accountable to larger movements for justice and decarceration," Sharlyn Grace, CCBF co-founder, told AlterNet.
James Kilgore, author of the book Understanding Mass Incarceration , told AlterNet that bail funds "raise the issue of the injustice of bail and put the issue of abolishing cash bail onto the agenda. That is an important step in decarceration."
However, individuals don't have to have ties to such social movements to be deemed worthy of support. The CCBF has developed detailed criteria that weighs factors including "inability to pay," "risk of victimization in jail" and "special health needs."
"Many times, when there are public conversations about bail reform, they move forward by dividing people into categories of worthy and unworthy," Grace emphasized. "We're not a guilt or innocence-based organization. We think of everyone as being harmed in the jail. We are not going to say we are only bailing out people who face 'nonviolent' charges or drug charges. Fundamentally, keeping people in cages is not how we want to respond to harm in our communities." This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.
Dec 10, 2016 | www.pagepate.comAre federal criminal cases different than state criminal cases? Yes!
Federal criminal investigations and prosecutions are handled very differently than similar criminal cases in state courts. First of all, the law enforcement agencies that investigate federal crimes are generally well-funded and staffed by the most experienced agents and investigators. The federal prosecutors who conduct federal criminal trials and sentencing hearings are also usually very experienced, and have virtually unlimited resources at their disposal. The judges who preside in federal courts have lifetime appointments and their dockets are generally not as crowded as those of most state court judges who handle many different types of criminal offenses.
More importantly, federal crimes generally carry stiffer sentences than state crimes, especially in the areas of drug trafficking and conspiracy. Federal criminal penalties are also more severe in cases involving child pornography and other sexual offenses prosecuted in federal court.
Interestingly, white collar cases (like fraud, embezzlement and corruption) usually do not result in as steep a sentence as one might get if prosecuted for the same offense in state court.
For the most part, however, the mandatory minimum penalties and federal sentencing guidelines usually result in very lengthy sentences for people convicted of federal crimes. That's one of the main reasons it is so important to retain a lawyer with a record of success in federal court if the case is being prosecuted by the federal government.
Of course, not all crimes can be prosecuted in federal court. The federal government has limited jurisdiction over criminal offenses and can only prosecute those crimes that are specifically defined in the federal criminal code. In order to have jurisdiction over a crime, the alleged criminal activity must somehow involve the federal government or some instrumentality of interstate commerce. Federal courts have generally been very expansive in their definition of what constitutes interstate commerce. As a result, the federal government now prosecutes many crimes that were traditionally prosecuted only in state court. And this trend is likely to continue.
Given the severity and complexity of federal criminal investigations and prosecutions, anyone charged with a federal crime should retain a lawyer who has extensive experience in federal criminal defense. If you need a federal criminal defense attorney with decades of successful results, contact our firm and discuss your case with Page Pate in complete confidence. You will not find a law firm with more recent successful results, better credentials, or a deeper commitment to pursuing justice for people who need help in federal court.
Dec 10, 2016 | www.pravatinetworks.com1-844-454-4895 Mail Fraud Lawyers
Mail fraud refers to the use of the U.S. Postal Service or other mail carrier to commit a crime. Because of the proliferation of electronic communications, mail fraud has been expanded to include wire fraud-which is the use of wire communications (such as email) to commit crimes.
According to The Wall Street Journal , in 2013 there were 3,923 cases of wire fraud. For one to be convicted of mail or wire fraud, the court must establish that there is intent on the part of the accused to defraud a person or institution as part of a scheme that uses mail and wire communication. Convictions can also be made on the basis of intent alone. When found guilty, a defendant may face as long as 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.REPORTS ON EXONERATION The National Registry of Exoneration, a project of the University of Michigan, lists 18 wrongful convictions of mail fraud in the last 23 years-and this is only of the cases they've been able to examine.
Of the 18 wrongfully convicted persons, nine were exonerated in the last five years, having already served between three to five years of their sentences. Factors contributing to the wrongful convictions ranged from perjury, misleading forensic evidence, official misconduct and most importantly, lack of adequate legal services.
Last year, two people were exonerated. One of them was forty-year-old Leean Shantelle Thain from Berrien County, Michigan. Thain was accused of embezzling funds from her mother by diverting her mail. The National Registry of Exoneration lists inadequate legal services as a major factor contributing to her wrongful conviction. A court of appeal ruled that both the trial lawyer and defense lawyer erred by not conducting proper investigations into the matter, a factor that would have been avoided had the accused had good legal representation.Lawyer Referral For Mail Fraud Lawsuits
If you've been accused of mail or wire fraud, don't take chances on your legal representation. Work with Pravati Networks and you'll be matched to a mail fraud lawyer who has in-depth experience working with other cases just like yours. Our mail fraud lawyers can help you avoid wrongful conviction and overly harsh sentences. With just a small retainer, you can get started with your defense today.
Dec 10, 2016 | www.lawyershop.comMail Fraud Convictions
To be convicted of mail fraud, one must do all of the following:
Previous Mail Fraud Cases Case #1
- Purposefully create a plan to defraud an individual or institution
- Display intent to commit fraud
- Mail something-for the purpose of carrying out a fraudulent scheme-through the USPS or a private carrier
According to the USPS, prosecutors proved in 2002 that a Texas man sold roughly $6.5 million in fraudulent certificates of deposit (CDs) via the U.S. Mail to close to 80 investors - most of whom were senior citizens. The man, who never purchased the CDs, used portions of the money to pay earlier investors and used the rest for personal expenses. More than 45 investors are still owed a total of $3.5 million.Case #2
The USPS states that two employees of the company that publishes Business Week were charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud when they revealed confidential information about publicly held companies. The pair allegedly stockpiled thousands of dollars in kickbacks (through the U.S. Mail) after giving two co-defendants insider trading information from an issue of Business Week the day before the issue hit newsstands. Armed with their tips, the co-defendants bought various company stocks on a reported 43 occasions and sold it when the magazine was released-after which stock prices soared. The trades were valued at more than $2 million, while profits totaled $450,000.Case #3
An Arizona man was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to five years of supervised probation, nine months of home detention, and $1 million in victim restitution after executing the age-old envelope-stuffing scam. The man ran ads in national magazines, promising to send stuffing materials to everyone who mailed money for supply costs ($18 to $36) to his fictitious company. He mailed instructions on how to run an envelope-stuffing business but no actual materials.Possible Punishments for Mail Fraud Crimes
Mail fraud, a felony, carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000 when individuals are involved and up to 30 years in prison and/or $1,000,000 in fines when a financial institution is involved.
Dec 10, 2016 | www.federalwirefraud.com
Parkman & White LLCJust as the court exercises a large amount of discretion in determining whether the elements of the mail and wire fraud statutes have been satisfied, they are afforded substantial leeway in the area of sentencing. The mail, wire, and honest services fraud statutes are powerful prosecutorial weapons that have undoubtedly been used against unsuspecting individuals who never knew such prohibitions existed. Likewise, some of the most notorious criminals in American History have been convicted of mail and wire fraud. Sentences for mail and wire fraud convictions can vary greatly based on the conduct of the Defendant convicted, the jurisdiction in which the Defendant was convicted, and the creativity of the criminal attorney representing the Defendant. Continued reading about mail and wire fraud sentencing:
What Is Mail Fraud?
Sweepstakes and 'Free' Prizes
Government Look-Alike Mail
Solicitations Disguised as Invoices
Phony Inheritance Sc homos
Home Improvement and Home Repair Fraud
Fees Charged for Normally Free Services
Credit Rcpar and Credit Card Schemes
Distributorshp and Franchise Fraud
Phony Job Opportunities
Fake Chock Scams
How to Contact the Postal Inspection Service
Have you had difficulty obtaining a personal or business loan through normal sources? If so, you may become the target of
an advance-fee loan scheme, where a con artist offers you a "guaranteed' loan for a foo paid n advance.
The swindler dams to be able to obtain a loan for you with ease from a legitimate lending institution, such as a savings and loan association. However, the swindler has no ability to secure a loan for you. Instead, the swindler steals your fee and either disappears or remains n the area to lureother unsuspecting victims while stalling you with excuses as to why your loan has not been funded.
Dec 09, 2016 | radaronline.comWith Hillary Clinton 's White House run on the horizon, RadarOnline.com has learned that the skeletons in her husband, Bill 's closet are the least of her worries. Daughter Chelsea 's father-in-law, convicted felon Ed Mezvinsky , is under fire from his former fraud victims . According to the unlucky dupes, Mezvinsky stole more than $10 million - and has yet to pay it back!
Mezvinsky, the father of Chelsea's husband, Marc , served five years in federal prison after pilfering $10 million from investors. He was released in April 2008, but a special investigation by The National ENQUIRER uncovered the fact that he's currently accused of being in violation of his plea agreement - because he hasn't paid back his victims!
"It's a little irritating that he brags about his son's [$10.5 million] apartment when his son should loan him the money to pay back his debt!" one angry victim, Dr. Jason Theodosakis , told The ENQUIRER . "He could borrow [the restitution] from his son's in-law
Dec 09, 2016 | www.amazon.com
Everywhere 1 go, 1 just about always make a point to ask how many people in attendance have a parent who is a police officer or a prosecutor-and of those attendees, what their parents have advised them about the Fifth Amendment. In almost every group, there is at least one student who tells me that his father is a state trooper, or that her mother is a prosecu- tor. Every time this happens, without exception, the student in question has told me basically the same thing: "Years ago, my parents explained to me that if I were ever approached by a law enforcement officer, I was to call them immediately, and they made sure that I would never agree to talk to the police." (Most of these young people also volunteered that their parents in law enforcement advised them to never allow an officer to search their apartment or car, but that is the subject for another book.) Not once have I met the child of a member of law enforcement who had been told anything different. Everyone who is privileged enough to know how the criminal justice system operates in America would never advise their loved ones to waive the right to remain silent in the face of a criminal investigation. We routinely see people in power, such police officers and government officials, pleading the fifth (like Lois Lerner, the former director of the Internal Revenue vice's Exempt Organizations unit, who asserted her Fifth
Amendment privilege and refused to answer any questions when she was summoned before a congressional committee in 2013).' These are officials who have made a career out of talking people into waiving their right to remain silent, but when the questions are suddenly directed at them, they will not waive their own.
You need to pause for a moment and let that sink in. It doesn't matter whether you are a liberal or conservative. I do not even care whether you are heartless enough to remain unconcerned about the fact that our legal system routinely convicts innocent people. Nobody of sound mind can dispute that there is something fundamentally wrong, and intrinsically corrupt, about a legal system that encourages police officers and prosecutors to do everything in their power to persuade you and your children (no matter how young or old) to "do the right thing" and talk-when they tell their own children the exact opposite. I intend to bring to an end, once and for all, that obscene double standard in the American criminal justice system that allows only the citizens who are in the know to protect themselves from a legal system that is designed to prey upon
... ... ...
If a police officer encounters you in one of those moments, he or she has every right to ask you two simple questions. Memorize these two questions so you will not be tempted to answer any others:
Who are you?
What are you doing right here, right now?
If you are ever approached by a police officer with those two questions, and your God-given common sense tells you that the officer is being reasonable in asking for an explana- tion, don't be a jerk. Even if you are angry and frustrated about being locked out of your house, try to see this from the police's point of view. They are only looking out for your best interests. Would you want them to ask those same questions of any other individual caught breaking in through one of your windows, or watching your family? Of course you would. If you have an innocent explanation for your presence at that time and in that place, tell the police about it. Tell them that it is your own house. Or tell them that you are in an empty courthouse in the middle of the night because you work there, and show diem your identification. They will appreciate your cooperation, and that will be the end of it. If you unreasonably refuse to answer those two questions, they might put you under arrest, and I would not blame them.
... ... ... ...No, the advice contained in this book-the same advice that police officers give their own children-is not based on any assumptions or suspicions about the overall morality of police officers. It is based on two simple but unavoidable facts about every police officer, including the most noble and virtu- ous. The only two problems I have with die police (although they are very big problems) are these: The first problem with the police is that they are only human. They cannot know everything. For instance, when confronted with opposing accounts of the same situation, they cannot know who is really telling them the truth. And because they are only human, police officers, just like all of us, do not like to be embarrassed by admitting that they made some sort of a mistake, especially if it concerns a matter so serious that it might lead to diem being sued. They do not even like to admit it to themselves. That is why police officers, like all humans, are subject to a powerful phenomenon that psychologists call confirmation bias. This means that after they have come to a conclusion, especially if it is a conclusion that they have publicly announced (for example, by arresting someone and accusing him of a serious crime), it is very difficult for them to admit that perhaps they have made a terrible mistake. It is much easier and more comfortable for them to convince them- selves that they did not make a mistake, and that their initial accusations were correct. Their memories will gladly cooperate in that effort. Even if they are not aware of how it is hap- pening, they might recall nonexistent details to coincide with and corroborate the story they have already begun persuading themselves to believe.
Just like the rest of us, police are frustrated by important and difficult questions for which there are no discernable answers. And, just like us, they love the powerful psychological satisfaction that comes from convincing themselves that in fact the riddle lias been solved. When a terrible crime is committed, every human being with a heart desperately wants to believe that we can find the offender. And if there is only one suspect available to us, most of us are surprisingly good at convincing ourselves that maybe he or she really is the one to blame, and that perhaps the circumstantial evidence against him or her is fairly powerful after all.
But the fact that police officers are "only human" is only one of the two problems. The other problem is that they are working within a legal system that is highly imperfect. That is not their fault, because they did not design the system. But as this hook will demonstrate, it is a broken svstcm that relies deception when they are interviewing criminal suspects. They receive sophisticated training at the police academy in methods of interrogation that arc remarkably successful in getting guilty people to make confessions and incriminating statements.4 You cannot blame them for using such methods-after all, we all agree that guilty people (at least the dangerous ones) ought to be caught and put behind bars-but the problem is that these methods of calculated deception are too effective. They do not merely work on the guilty. At least some of these methods, it turns out, have proven to be just as effective in getting innocent people to make incriminating statements, and sometimes even outright confessions.
Do not think for a minute that you can trust a police officer who seems to be open minded and undecided about whether he will arrest you after you are finished with an "inter- view"-the police are trained to act that way, to get you to talk with them for many hours until you finally give up in exhaustion. "The most recent and comprehensive investigation, which took a careful look at 250 prisoners exonerated by DNA evidence, found that 16 percent of them made what's called a false confession: admitting their commission of a crime that they did not commit.5 Those are the cases in which the defendant actually confessed; in many more cases, the innocent suspect denied all guilt, sometimes for hours, but still gave the police a statement that was then used to help convict him.
Aaron C. Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE on September 20, 2016 Format: PaperbackShocking and persuasive, but light on practical advice
This is an excellent short book if you are interested in all the ways answering questions from the police can destroy your life. The author makes clear that the most innocuous questions have led to wrongful convictions and life sentences (there are no examples of people actually executed as a result, but that's most likely because once someone is dead there is less effort to exonerate them).
The book is loaded with stories of people convicted of murder and rape solely on the basis of innocent answers given in police questioning without a lawyer present, who were later proven innocent by DNA evidence or subsequent confession by the real perpetrator (no doubt this occurs with other crimes as well, but DNA evidence is less likely to overturn convictions in those cases). Some of these cases appear to involve police or prosecutor fraud, but most of them seem to be the operation of standard police training.
Our criminal justice system would fall apart unless most guilty people confessed, or at least gave police enough information to prove a case. For that reason, police are carefully trained in tricks and pressures to get convictions, and these techniques can work on innocent people as well as guilty.
Courts have given wide discretion to the police to lie and cheat, and to prosecutors to use assertions of Constitutional rights against defendants. Moreover people's natural instincts to help law enforcement, to be polite, to trust anyone acting friendly and to seek comfort in highly stressful situations are used against them. None of this is new, of course.
The classic Jimmy Steward noir film Call Northside 777 is based closely on a real 1932 case in which the police arrested a man fingered by organized crime, moved him from station house to station house every two hours to keep him from his lawyer, questioned him continuously for 36 hours without sleep, and convicted him mainly on the basis to two extremely minor inconsistencies in his answers that had nothing to do with the crime (he said he was shelling walnuts at the time when his wife said he was pitting dates, he said a friend dropped by because he'd had a fight with his father, the friend said there was no particular reason). The three witnesses failed to identify him in a line-up, so the police falsified the arrest record to show that he had been arrested a day later, pressured one of the witnesses to identify him, and claimed that was the first line-up.
Even with all these facts, the police, the mayor, the prosecutor and the governor of the state exerted enormous pressure on the reporters investigating twelve years later to drop the story. The system hates to admit it was wrong, even in the most obvious and egregious cases. Unfortunately, the book does little more than identify the issues and give the simple advice to say literally nothing except, "I want a lawyer."
In one paragraph the author acknowledges that it's okay to answer police questions about who you are (although he doesn't say this, this is a legal requirement in about half the states, so failing to answer can get you arrested) and what you are doing at the moment; but to demand a lawyer before answering any questions about the past or anything else. This is fine advice for most guilty people, or people who believe they are suspected of serious crimes, but it doesn't cover all cases. For example, suppose you are walking down the street and a police officer stops you to ask if you saw a car driving north at high speed a block or two back.
While it's possible that you're a suspect in a major crime and admitting you saw the car will be the crucial evidential link that convicts you, it's a lot more likely that the police are looking for a fleeing felon or a hit-and-run driver, and it's in the public interest, and your interest, to help them.
For a trickier example, consider the situation described in the book American Justice? You've swerved your car to avoid a child running in the road, and hit a parked car. When the police arrive, the child says you tried to hit him. At this point, the police officers have a problem. If they laugh it off and you go mow down a few other pedestrians, they're in big trouble.
But if they bring in an adult on a hard-to-believe charge on the basis of an accusation by a child, they can look pretty silly. The stakes are very high for you. If you are arrested, as the woman was in the real case, things will start stacking up against you, on top of the expense and humiliation of the arrest.
All the neighbors will hear is that you've been arrested for trying to kill a child, they will immediately remember all kinds of strange or threatening things about you--it's human nature.
The police will have to justify their decision, they will remember you "trembling with barely suppressed rage" and giving "evasive and inconsistent accounts." In the actual story, the child's father used the arrest as an excuse to institute civil commitment proceedings, and was successful in forcing a two-week confinement for evaluation; even though the doctors found nothing and criticized the judge for ordering the evaluation; a lot of damage was done. So what to do? If the child seems calm and credible, and you say nothing but "I want a lawyer," the police officers are likely to take it as an admission of guilt and start looking for ways to build the case against you.
If you say, "That's silly, officer, the child ran suddenly into the street and I swerved to avoid him," you have a much better chance of avoiding arrest.
But if you are arrested, that statement could prove problematic in your defense, and certainly cannot help you. I could also be misremembered as something like, "I can't be expected to avoid every silly child who runs into the street" (in this respect, body cams can be a great help to the innocent).
Moreover it's going to lead to questions like, "Why do you think the child would accuse you," and "Have you ever been in accidents before," that are more dangerous.
I think the author's perspective is distorted a bit by being a defense attorney. He only gets involved in these cases when someone is seriously suspected of a major crime or arrested.
If you know you're going to be arrested, the less you say the better. But if answering questions keeps you out of jail, or keeps the police focused on building cases against others, you win and you may never hire an attorney. So read this book for the cautionary tales. It's well-written and shocking.
If you plan to commit crimes, or if for some reason you expect to be suspected, the book has all the advice you need. But for most people it only tells you what not to do, it's not much help for deciding what to do.
Braden Lynch on October 24, 2016 Format: MP3 CD Verified PurchaseFantastic insights that will make your blood boilCharles B. Jessee on October 5, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One observation that cops and judges advise their own children to shut up and get a lawyer while expecting us citizens to do otherwise speaks volumes. The miscarriages of justice and the perversion of the justice system highlighted will make you never want to speak to a policeman ever again.
There is no upside to interactions with law enforcement is the well supported theme. I know my behavior and deteriorating attitude towards LEOs has been cemented. I appreciate and respect them; I just do not want to be the object of their suspicion and I am super-law-abiding.''I want a lawyer.
The summary conclusion, is that the only thing you need say to the police is "I want a lawyer." But yes, there is more to it than that. The 2008 Viral Video should be watched, as should the 2016 CATO Institute video promoting and discussing this book.
The times, they are a changing. How you say what you are not going to say, is as important as not saying anything. Does that have you wondering? It should. Honest people at the right place, wrong place, right time, wrong time.
What they say and don't say might mean the police just walk away with hardly a nod, or life in jail, if not death row. Got your attention yet?
Dec 07, 2016 | brutalist.pressJohn W. Whitehead by Otto Battista on October 6, 2016 at 7:52 AM
"Our carceral state banishes American citizens to a gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens When the doors finally close and one finds oneself facing banishment to the carceral state -the years, the walls, the rules, the guards, the inmates-reactions vary. Some experience an intense sickening feeling. Others, a strong desire to sleep. Visions of suicide. A deep shame. A rage directed toward guards and other inmates. Utter disbelief. The incarcerated attempt to hold on to family and old social ties through phone calls and visitations. At first, friends and family do their best to keep up. But phone calls to prison are expensive, and many prisons are located far from one's hometown As the visits and phone calls diminish, the incarcerated begins to adjust to the fact that he or she is, indeed, a prisoner. New social ties are cultivated. New rules must be understood."-Ta-Nehisi Coates, TheAtlantic
In a carceral state-a.k.a. a prison state or a police state-there is no Fourth Amendment to protect you from the overreaches, abuses, searches and probing eyes of government overlords.
In a carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite.
In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards.
With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious protocol employed by government agents, "we the people"-the prisoners of the American police state-are being pushed that much further into a corner, our backs against the prison wall.
This concept of a carceral state in which we possess no rights except for that which the government grants on an as-needed basis is the only way I can begin to comprehend, let alone articulate, the irrational, surreal, topsy-turvy, through-the-looking-glass state of affairs that is being imposed upon us in America today.
Indeed, we are experiencing much the same phenomenon that journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates ascribes to those who are banished to a " gray wasteland far beyond the promises and protections the government grants its other citizens " : a sickening feeling, a desire to sleep, hopelessness, shame, rage, disbelief, clinginess to the past and that which is familiar, and then eventually resignation and acceptance of our new "normal."
All that we are experiencing-the sense of dread at what is coming down the pike, the desperation, the apathy about government corruption, the deeply divided partisanship, the carnivalesque political spectacles, the public displays of violence, the nostalgia for the past-are part of the dying refrain of an America that is fading fast.
No longer must the government obey the law.
Likewise, "we the people" are no longer shielded by the rule of law.
While the First Amendment-which gives us a voice-is being muzzled, the Fourth Amendment-which protects us from being bullied, badgered, beaten, broken and spied on by government agents-is being disemboweled.
For instance, in a recent 5-3 ruling in Utah v. Strieff , the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for police to stop, arrest and search citizens without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, effectively giving police a green light to embark on a fishing expedition of one's person and property, rendering Americans completely vulnerable to the whims of any cop on the beat.
In a blistering dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor blasted the court for holding "that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer's violation of your Fourth Amendment rights ." Sotomayor continued :
This Court has allowed an officer to stop you for whatever reason he wants-so long as he can point to a pretextual justification after the fact. That justification must provide specific reasons why the officer suspected you were breaking the law, but it may factor in your ethnicity, where you live, what you were wearing, and how you behaved. The officer does not even need to know which law you might have broken so long as he can later point to any possible infraction-even one that is minor, unrelated, or ambiguous.
The indignity of the stop is not limited to an officer telling you that you look like a criminal. The officer may next ask for your "consent" to inspect your bag or purse without telling you that you can decline. Regardless of your answer, he may order you to stand "helpless, perhaps facing a wall with [your] hands raised." If the officer thinks you might be dangerous, he may then "frisk" you for weapons. This involves more than just a pat down. As onlookers pass by, the officer may "'feel with sensitive fingers every portion of [your] body. A thorough search [may] be made of [your] arms and armpits, waistline and back, the groin and area about the testicles, and entire surface of the legs down to the feet.'"
If you still can't read the writing on the wall, Sotomayor breaks it down further: "This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants- even if you are doing nothing wrong So long as the target is one of the many millions of people in this country with an outstanding arrest warrant, anything the officer finds in a search is fair game for use in a criminal prosecution. The officer's incentive to violate the Constitution thus increases "
Just consider some of the many other ways in which the Fourth Amendment-which ensures that the government can't harass you, let alone even investigate you, without probable cause-has been weakened and undermined by the courts, the legislatures and various government agencies and operatives.
Breath tests, blood draws : Americans have no protection against mandatory breathalyzer tests at a police checkpoint, although mandatory blood draws violate the Fourth Amendment ( Birchfield v. North Dakota ).
Ignorance of the law is defensible if you work for the government: Police officers who violate the law can be granted qualified immunity if they claim ignorance of the law ( Heien v. North Carolina ). That rationale was also applied to police who clearly used excessive force when they repeatedly tasered a pregnant woman during a routine traffic stop and were granted immunity from prosecution
Highspeed car chases: Police officers can use lethal force in car chases without fear of lawsuits ( Plumhoff v.Rickard ).
Noknock raids: Police can perform a "no-knock" as long as they have a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing their presence, under the particular circumstances, would be dangerous or futile or give occupants a chance to destroy evidence of a crime ( Richards v. Wisconsin ). Legal ownership of a firearm is also enough to justify a no-knock raid by police ( Quinn v. Texas ).
Warrantless searches by police : Police can carry out warrantless searches on our homes based on a "reasonable" concern by police that a suspect (or occupant) might be attempting to destroy evidence, fleeing or hurt, even if it's the wrong house ( Kentucky v. King ). Police can also, without a warrant, search anyone who has been lawfully arrested ( United States v. Robinson ) as well as their property post-arrest ( Colorado v. Bertine ) and their vehicle ( New Yorkv.Belton ), search a car they suspect might contain evidence of a crime ( Chambers v. Maroney ), and search a home when the arrest is made on its premises ( Maryland v. Buie ).
Forced DNA extractions: Police can forcibly take your DNA, whether or not you've been convicted of a crime. Innocent or not, your DNA will then be stored in the national FBI database ( Maryland v. King ).
Strip searches : Police can subject Americans to virtual strip searches, no matter the "offense" ( Florence v. BoardofChosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington ). This "license to probe" is now being extended to roadside stops, as police officers throughout the country have begun performing roadside strip searches-some involving anal and vaginal probes-without any evidence of wrongdoing and without a warrant.
Seizures : For all intents and purposes, you're "seized" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment from the moment an officer stops you ( Brendlin v. California ).
Search warrants on a leash : Police have free reign to use drug-sniffing dogs as "search warrants on leashes," justifying any and all police searches of vehicles stopped on the roadside ( Florida v. Harris ), but the use of a K-9 unit after a reasonable amount of time has passed during a stop does violate the Fourth Amendment ( Rodriguez v. UnitedStates ).
Police and DUI Checkpoints: Police can conduct sobriety and "information-seeking" checkpoints ( Illinois v. Lidster and Mich. Dep't of State Police v. Sitz ).
Interrogating public transit passengers : Police officers are free to board a bus, question passengers, and ask for consent to search without notifying them of their right to refuse ( U.S v. Drayton ).
Warrantless arrests for minor criminal offenses : Police can arrest you for minor criminal offenses, such as a misdemeanor seatbelt violation, punishable only by a fine ( Atwater v. City of Lago Vista ).
Stop and identify: Refusing to answer when a policeman asks "What's your name?" can rightfully be considered a crime. No longer do Americans, even those not charged with any crime, have the right to remain altogether silent when stopped and questioned by a police officer ( Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada ).
Traffic stops: As long as police have reasonable cause to believe that a traffic violation occurred, they may stop any vehicle ( Whren v. U.S. ). If probable cause justifies a vehicle search, then every part of the vehicle can be searched ( U.S. v. Ross ). A vehicle can be stopped even if the driver has not committed a traffic offense ( U.S. v. Cortez ).
Anonymous tips, careful driving, rigid posture and acne: Police officers can stop cars based only on "anonymous" tips ( Navarette v. California ). Police can also pull you over if you are driving too carefully, with a rigid posture, taking a scenic route, and have acne ( U.S. v. Westhoven ).
What many Americans fail to understand is the devastating amount of damage that can be done to one's freedoms long before a case ever makes its way to court by government agents who are violating the Fourth Amendment at every turn. This is how freedoms, long undermined, can give way to tyranny through constant erosion and become part of the fabric of the police state through constant use.
Phone and email surveillance, databases for dissidents, threat assessments, terror watch lists, militarized police, SWAT team raids, security checkpoints, lockdowns, roadside strip searches: there was a time when any one of these encroachments on our Fourth Amendment rights would have roused the public to outrage. Today, such violations are shrugged off matter-of-factly by Americans who have been assiduously groomed to accept the intrusions of the police state into their private lives.
So when you hear about the FBI hacking into Americans' computers without a warrant with the blessing of the courts, or states assembling and making public terror watch lists containing the names of those who are merely deemed suspicious, or the police knocking on the doors of activists in advance of political gatherings to ascertain their plans for future protests, or administrative government agencies (such as the FDA, Small Business Administration, Smithsonian, Social Security, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Mint, and Department of Education) spending millions on guns and ammunition , don't just matter-of-factly file it away in that part of your brain reserved for things you may not like but over which you have no control.
It's true that there may be little the average person can do to push back against the police state on a national level, but there remains some hope at the local level as long as we retain a speck of our independence and individuality-as long as we can resist the defeatist sense of double-consciousness (a phrase coined by W. E. B. Du Bois in which we view ourselves as inferior through the prism of our oppressors)-as long as we continue to cry out for justice for ourselves and those around us-as long as we refuse to be shackled and made prisoners-and as long as we continue to recognize that the only way the police state can truly acquire and retain power is if we relinquish it through our negligence, complacence and ignorance.
Unfortunately, we have been utterly brainwashed into believing the government's propaganda and lies. Americans actually celebrate with perfect sincerity the anniversary of our independence from Great Britain without ever owning up to the fact that we are as oppressed now-more so, perhaps, thanks to advances in technology-than we ever were when Redcoats stormed through doorways and subjected colonists to the vagaries of a police state.
You see, by gradually whittling away at our freedoms-free speech, assembly, due process, privacy, etc.-the government has, in effect, liberated itself from its contractual agreement to respect our constitutional rights while resetting the calendar back to a time when we had no Bill of Rights to protect us from the long arm of the government.
Aided and abetted by the legislatures, the courts and Corporate America, the government has been busily rewriting the contract (a.k.a. the Constitution) that establishes the citizenry as the masters and agents of the government as the servants. We are now only as good as we are useful, and our usefulness is calculated on an economic scale by how much we are worth-in terms of profit and resale value-to our "owners."
Under the new terms of this one-sided agreement, the government and its many operatives have all the privileges and rights and "we the prisoners" have none.
As Sotomayor concluded in her ringing dissent in Utah v. Strieff :
By legitimizing the conduct that produces this double consciousness, this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged . We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are "isolated." They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.
Dec 07, 2016 | www.globalresearch.caBy Vicky Pelaez Global Research, August 28, 2016 El Diario-La Prensa, New York and Global Research 10 March 2008 Region: USA Theme: Global Economy , Law and Justice , Police State & Civil Rights
This article was first published by Global Research in March 2008
Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million mostly Black and Hispanic are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don't have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.
There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens."
The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.
What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?
"The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself," says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."
The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. "This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors."
CRIME GOES DOWN, JAIL POPULATION GOES UP
According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:
. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years' imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years' imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.
. The passage in 13 states of the "three strikes" laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.
. Longer sentences.
. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.
. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.
. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.
HISTORY OF PRISON LABOR IN THE UNITED STATES
Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of "hiring out prisoners" was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else's land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery which were almost never proven and were then "hired out" for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of "hired-out" miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972.
During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. "Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex," comments the Left Business Observer.
Who is investing?
At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom's, Revlon, Macy's, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum.
And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call "highly skilled positions." At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.
Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.
[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that "there won't be any transportation costs; we're offering you competitive prison labor (here)."
The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in the 1990s under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton's program for cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates.
Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, "the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners." The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for "good behavior," but for any infraction, they get 30 days added which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost "good behavior time" at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.
IMPORTING AND EXPORTING INMATES
Profits are so good that now there is a new business: importing inmates with long sentences, meaning the worst criminals. When a federal judge ruled that overcrowding in Texas prisons was cruel and unusual punishment, the CCA signed contracts with sheriffs in poor counties to build and run new jails and share the profits. According to a December 1998 Atlantic Monthly magazine article, this program was backed by investors from Merrill-Lynch, Shearson-Lehman, American Express and Allstate, and the operation was scattered all over rural Texas. That state's governor, Ann Richards, followed the example of Mario Cuomo in New York and built so many state prisons that the market became flooded, cutting into private prison profits.
After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 ending court supervision and decisions caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering "rent-a-cell" services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.
Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country's 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness.The original source of this article is El Diario-La Prensa, New York and Global Research Copyright © Vicky Pelaez , El Diario-La Prensa, New York and Global Research, 2016
Dec 07, 2016 | www.zerohedge.comYog Soggoth ThirdWorldDude Dec 6, 2016 4:35 PM ,True Blue ThirdWorldDude Dec 6, 2016 7:02 PM ,
Both of you make good points, but so does Gross without getting into too much detail. Fact is that we have a serious prison problem that needs to be addressed, and it all comes down to the USD, borders, laws, ect. in any argument. Crime usually goes down when people are not desparate. Look at Detroit, it has always had the bad side, but it had it's roots in manufacturing. A citizen could get a job, no matter how unskilled, at one point in time. Right now is just a time to wait until results are in to decide how to proceed, for everyone included, otherwise the individual investor could end up on the wrong end of the stick.sgt_doom xavi1951 Dec 6, 2016 1:56 PM ,
You both, and Bill Gross too -missed a major point. The FED, the FED and also -the FED. Its not entirely your fault that you guys missed it, although I would hope a few on ZH would see it.
First -as 'inflation' eats into people's (in real terms declining) wages, something has to fill in for the loss in the earnings/costs equation -ie more crime. Secondly (but so closely related it isn't funny) 'inflation' also lowers the bar on what is or isn't a 'felony' or 'major' crime. Look -when the gov't arbitrarily decided that any crime resulting in loss greater than $400.00 was a felony you could buy a brand new car or two brand new Harley Davidson motorcycles for less than $400.00. $400.00 was 16 ounces of pure gold! The average laborer had to work an entire year to earn that much! That is why "grand theft auto" is a felony regardless of the vehicle's value. Today, $400.00 a week will barely cover the rent, and is (in today's fix) 1/3 of one ounce of gold; yet, the laws have never been adjusted for 'inflation' -which means, as more and more things become more and more expensive, more and more 'felonies' will be committed as the threshold drops lower and lower, until a day will (soon) come where the 'money' has been debased so much that a simple loaf of bread will be so 'expensive' that its theft will be a felony . Monetary debasement 'inflation' leads into prison inflation because the laws are never adjusted for the loss of value inherent in fiat 'money' (probably because that would bring too big a spotlight on the entire Fiat scam.)
The FED 'targets' a 2% yearly 'inflation' rate, which means (by definition) a 2% increase in the number of felonies -compounded annually. And look where we are today... compare a graph of monetary debasement (inflation) from 1913 to today, and compare it to the prison population over the same time. In this case, correlation is causation.
It. Is. Just. That. Simple.
edit (in case you were wondering, if felonies were to be 'inflation adjusted' -the cutoff should be around $38,800 instead of a paltry $400.00 -what do you suppose the prison population would look like in that case?)xavi1951 makes an extraordinarily brilliant point: just look at Chile for example. Under Pinochet their rate was even smaller --- of course he disappeared (murdered, and tortured to death) over 30,000 including hapless Americans in the vicinity at the time!
One could same something similar about a number of other countries on the chart!
Our readings of the presentence investigations of offenders with only one or two arrests on their rap sheets reinforce our
The first we call "crisis responders" because their crimes seem to be situational responses to real stress or crisis in their professional or personal lives. The second group we define as "opportunity takers, " since their criminality is linked strongly to some unusual or special set of opportunities that suddenly materialize for the offender.
In this context, a simple explanation for their criminality might be to argue that these are people who merely "strayed" beyond the ambiguous line that often separates legitimate and illegitimate activities. In this view it would be misleading to define such people as criminals at all. Rather, we might see them as individuals who unintentionally commit crimes, either through ignorance of the law or through some naiveté or attachment to competing religious or political norms.
All my business life and all my personal life, I don't believe I've ever set out or attempted to do one thing that would cheat anyone. I still believe this to this day that there is no way in my makeup that I could lead myself to believe that I was going to cheat anybody. I was forced by circumstances to make a decision as to whether or not to stay in business by obtaining funds improperly and I made the wrong decision.
Of course, such statements are self-serving in the context of a plea to a judge for mitigation of the defendant's sentence, and an alleged crisis may serve as a vehicle for the defendant to neutralize or rationalize the stigma of his conviction both for himself and others (see Sykes and Matza, 1957). Nonetheless, they have a certain credibility that is often reinforced by probation officers. The criminal acts appear anomalous within the offenders' social records, and the fact that most of these low-frequency offenders do not come to the attention of criminal justice agents (at least as indicated by arrests) in the ten years or more that follow this event reinforces their own accounts.
It is important to remember that the term white collar, as applied to occupation, refers to characteristics of a job, regardless of the pay, prestige, or educational achievement associated with it. Important in determining if a person is in a white-collar occupation is whether they are involved in the direct production of goods, whether the skills involved are manual or intellectual, and whether there is trust given to them.
A second broad group of low-frequency offenders can be termed "opportunity takers. " As with the crisis responders, the crimes of these offenders often appear inconsistent with their social records. However, it was not a perceived crisis that led them to participate in crime, but the desire to take advantage of some specific criminal opportunity.
One defendant, for example, was faced suddenly with a potential for the economic success that had eluded him his entire life. The defendant, a son of European immigrants, had worked for eighteen years as a transfer clerk at the U. S. Post Office when his location was closed. Although offered a transfer, he decided, instead, to begin working full time as a stock trader, a profession in which he had worked part time for the preceding two years. In his new profession he became involved in a number of violations of securities laws, although his conviction was for a tax offense involving his failure to report income he had earned in commissions from stock trading. The defendant explained:
Business on Wall Street was in one of the biggest booms ever. People were making money hand over fist. I had never in my life seen anything like it. It was like a dream or something that I had read about in fiction novels. People around me kept telling me to jump on the so-called band wagon how easy it was to make money quickly. "Buy new issues" they told me. "Trade in any name"; they said After working so many years and putting in 1620 hour days, six and seven days per week, and seeing how
people around me were making money so easily, I succumbed to their advice . All I knew was that for the first time in my whole life I was finally making money for my family .
The category of opportunity takers includes a number of offenders with two recorded arrests. One offender, for example, underreported his income for tax purposes. He initially described the incident this way: "I had a grocery store. [A large dairy company] gives rebates. I put this rebate money in my account and forgot to tell my accountant about it. " However, his final version of the events was revised to admit that he had engaged in more extensive mishandling and misreporting of funds. The probation officer summed up his view of the case: "After completing the sixth grade, defendant dropped out of school. In spite of his lack of formal education, he has been industrious and acquired the middle-class comforts for himself and his family. It is most likely this ambition which eventually turned to greed that led to the instant offense. " His prior offense had been a violation of the National Motor Vehicle Act in 1947 for which he received a sixmonth sentence.
In another case an offender had utilized a blue box to avoid paying phone bills and was convicted of mail and wire fraud. There was no evidence of any special crisis. He had read several articles about blue boxes and decided to try one. A self-employed businessman (he owned an electronics manufacturing company), he earned a B. A. on scholarship and had an intact marriage at the time of his white-collar crime. Beyond a dismissed assault charge when the defendant was sixteen, there is no other evidence of involvement with the criminal justice system.
A number of those we term opportunity takers were naturalized American citizens, many of them immigrants. For example, a Korean-born civic leader was convicted of offering a $600 bribe to an IRS agent. The defendant had a law degree and an honorary doctorate from a Bible college. The PSI notes that he had assets of $680,000 and that his sister was married to an American diplomat. He was active in civic activities and received a number of letters of support from public dignitaries. He explained his offense by noting:
Many of the opportunity takers were recruited into participation in the crime by others. In some cases the relationship between the co-offenders is one of equality in which the opportunity to commit the crime involves the coming together of conspirators. In other cases the co-offending comes about when an individual joins an ongoing offense either as a "customer, " as in some blue box cases, or to fill a particular role, such as an insider in the organization being victimized (see Waring, 1993). Often these are very specific and time-limited violations of the law. For example, in one case a jockey was recruited into a conspiracy to fix a single horse race.
Reflecting Sutherland's original interest in white-collar crime, some cases involving large co-offending conspiracies went on for decades and participants appeared to be socialized into a criminal conspiracy. Sutherland (1940, p. 10) suggested that whitecollar criminality, like criminality more generally, is "learned in direct association with those who already practice the behavior. " These cases appear to follow this model closely. Offenders who lead otherwise conventional lives take advantage of a set of specific opportunities despite their understanding that the behaviors involved are criminal.
The crimes are usually defined as part of the normal procedures at their families' businesses, or in their business networks. In a case that had its origins in the 1920s, one of the defendants, a company president and leader of the conspiracy, commented: "This offense arises out of family ties and relationships that predate me. "
The offender was very active in community organizations, and sat on the board of a local savings and loan for 25 years. In addition to the family relationships, the conspirators met regularly as part of a local professional association.
After a defendant has been investigated by law enforcement, indicted by grand jury, and found guilty at trial (or through a plea bargain), the trial judge must determine an appropriate punishment under the Guidelines. Depending on the crime of conviction and various factors related to the offender and the offense, a federal judge will typically sentence the convicted defendant to a term of imprisonment and possibly a criminal fine. Of course, the federal system is dwarfed by the combined criminal justice systems of the individual states, the primary crime fighters in American society. Of the nearly 2 million inmates in the United States, fewer than 10 percent are presently serving federal sentences.1
Nonetheless, the federal system remains influential in the national debate on crime and punishment, presenting a prominent model for other jurisdictions in their penological experimentation. For better or worse, federal law enforcement continues to dominate certain categories of crime-such as drug offenses, immigration violations, and white-collar crime-often to the point of occupying the field. This tendency, particularly for narcotics offenses,2 has only increased since the enactment of the Sentencing Guidelines, resulting in a federal prison population that has quadrupled in just a decade and a half.3 In 1999, for example, more than 50,000 offenders were
Some commentators have tried to distinguish the Guidelines from another federal sentencing phenomenon: mandatory minimum sentences.5 But both the Guidelines and statutory minimums are manifestations of the same trend-mandatory or "determinate" sentencing. It is almost Orwellian doublespeak to call the present regime guidelines, given that judges must follow these sentencing rules or face reversal by appellate courts. in fact, the commission has even made the "Freudian slip"6 of calling the Guidelines "mandatory."7 Both mandatory minimums and the Guidelines attempt to purge sentencing discretion in federal trial courts, all but precluding judges from departing from the strictures of determinate punishment. Far from being alternatives, these two schemes feed off each other in curbing judicial discretion. For that reason, both the Sentencing Guidelines and mandatory minimums will be collectively referred to in this chapter as the "Guidelines."
Although the Guidelines are frowned upon from all corners of the criminal justice system, the federal judiciary has been particularly adamant in its opposition to the current sentencing regime. Federal judges have described the Guidelines as "a dismal failure," "a farce," and "out of whack;"8 "a dark, sinister, and cynical crime management program" with "a certain Kafkaesque aura about it;"9 and "the greatest travesty of justice in our legal system in this century."10 In 1990, the Federal courts Study committee received testimony from 270 witnesses-including judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, and federal officials-and only four people expressed support for the Guidelines: the U.S. Attorney General and three members of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.11 Surveys of the judiciary have confirmed widespread disapproval of the Guidelines: A1997 survey concluded that more than two-thirds of federal judges view the Guidelines as unnecessary
in nature throughout much of the 20th century, allegedly pursuant to the rehabilitative ideal fostered by American prison reformers.13 Primary control over sentencing was vested in the district court. With few exceptions, Congress provided only maximum terms of incarceration for federal crimes, allowing trial judges unbounded discretion to sentence offenders short of the upper limit-including no prison time at all (probation). Federal trial judges played a role that was part social worker, part soothsayer-gauging the length of sentence on the basis of an unguided evaluation of the necessary conditions for rehabilitation and indoctrination of pro-social behavior. To be sure, this regime suffered from several serious defects. Sentencing judges were dictatorial in practice: The district court was not required to provide reasons for any particular punishment, and so long as the term was within the broad statutory boundaries, the sentence was not subject to review on appeal. As a result, the federal system lacked any mechanism that might ensure a degree of intercase equity in punishment.
Scholars and practitioners came to regard the system as fundamentally unfair and "lawless,"14 spurring a somewhat remarkable confluence of critics, each with his own set of grievances. Civil rights activists contended that sentence length was often correlated with disturbing classifications, such as race and socioeconomic status. In contrast, political conservatives condemned the prevailing system for allowing "bleeding heart" judges to dole out lenient punishment for hardened criminals.
Judge as Accountant: Sentencing under the Guidelines
Although a few scholars have questioned the existence of capricious variations among truly comparable criminals,17 the image and anecdotes of unequal punishment became widely accepted in the 1970s and early 1980s. Among others, Marvin Frankel was a particularly influential voice against the prevailing discretion in sentencing.
His 1973 book, Criminal Sentences: Law without Order, lambasted the federal system for its "unruliness, the absence of rational ordering, the unbridled power of the sentencers to be arbitrary and discriminatory,"18 all of which should be "terrifying and intolerable for a society that professes devotion to the rule of law."19 Judge Frankel's remedy was the establishment of an administrative agency-"a commission on sentencing"20-to develop rules that would provide direction for trial courts in determining appropriate punishment. The agency would be insulated from political pressures that distort rational decisionmaking, Frankel argued, and over time the administrators would develop a level of expertise beyond that of congressional generalists.
Behind Judge Frankel's proposal was an abiding conviction that the bureaucratic model of modern society could apply jot-for-jot to the practice of punishment. Sentencing could be pursuant to a "detailed profile or checklist of factors that would include, wherever possible, some form of numerical or other objective grading."21 The resulting "chart or calculus" would be used "by the sentencing judge in weighing the many elements that go into a sentence."22 Frankel even foresaw "the possibility of using computers as an aid toward orderly thought in sentencing."23 He dreamed of a scientific jurisprudence that limited the discretion of judges through a systematic and all-encompassing body of rules, mechanically applying the law to a set of facts and thereby generating a proper sentence without the vagaries of trial-judge decisionmaking.
In practice, however, Judge Frankel's vision has proved to be more fantasy than reality. The Sentencing commission has never been insulated from politics, and Frankel's mechanical sentencing regime subtracts precisely what is needed most in the human drama of punishment-moral judgment.
to lead the charge for a congressional overhaul of federal sentencing as it then existed. Although his initial bill was defeated, Senator Kennedy continued the campaign for sentencing reform, compromising here and there, and eventually garnering the support of an odd coalition of political luminaries including Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.).26 Yet even with modifications to suit the needs of disparate interest groups, the Sentencing Reform Act barely passed as a rider to a general crime control bill.27
In classic congressional style, the act presented an extravagant set of legislative objectives and statutory requirements. Among its goals were to create a system that (1) promoted respect for the law; (2) offered a clear statement of the purposes of punishment as well as the available kinds and lengths of sentences; (3) ensured that the offender, federal officials, and the public "are certain about the sentence and the reasons for it"; (4) met the sometimes conflicting demands of retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation; (5) provided trial judges with "a full range of sentencing options from which to select the most appropriate sentence in a particular case"; and (6) eliminated "unwarranted sentence disparities" between otherwise similarly situated criminals.28
The act ended indeterminate sentencing in the federal system, eliminating parole and requiring that judges set a specific term to be served in full (with a small allowance for good behavior) subject to appellate review. The act also established the U.S. Sentencing Commission-an "independent commission in the judicial branch"29-that was charged with promulgating guidelines that limited the punishment range to 25 percent of the maximum sentence.30 These guidelines were supposed to capture pertinent aspects of the offender and the offense, and toward that end, Congress instructed the commission to "consider" the relevance of various factors surrounding the crime and the characteristics of the criminal, such as age, education, vocational skills, mental and emotional problems, physical condition, previous employment record, and family ties and responsibilities.31
By statute, the commission included two ex officio members and seven voting members, the latter composed of three sitting federal judges and no more than four individuals from the same party.32 The enormous task facing the original commissioners was exacerbated by a deadline of a mere 18 months in which to formulate a whole new federal sentencing system. From the start, the original commission was mired in the confusing directives of the act and its legislative history, divided over the relevance and application of punishment philosophy, and dogged by critics who saw the entire enterprise as unconstitutional, unwise, or both. And, as will be discussed below, the eventual work product-the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines- showed all the scars of a political struggle within a poorly designed institutional process.
In theory, the Sentencing Guidelines delineate an appropriate sentence for each and every case through the application of detailed rules. Using these rules, the trial judge must first determine which of 43 categories governs the crime, thereby providing the "base offense level" for sentencing. The judge must next determine which of six "criminal history" categories applies to the defendant given his prior record of offending. With that information, the judge will then turn to the "Sentencing Table," a matrix of offense levels and criminal history scores that creates a 258-box grid of all potential punishment ranges for federal offenders. Grade the crime and the criminal record, find each on the grid, and where the axes meet, the applicable sentencing range will be found. The range might then be adjusted by aggravating circumstances, such as the defendant's brandishing of a weapon, or mitigating circumstances, such as the defendant's accepting responsibility for his criminal misconduct.
Mail fraud is the attempt to commit some type of fraud (deceit, concealment, or trickery) by using the United States Postal Service (USPS) or any private or commercial interstate mail carrier, such as Mailboxes, Etc. Mail fraud may be committed against and by both businesses and individuals.Mail Fraud Convictions
To be convicted of mail fraud, one must do all of the following:
Previous Mail Fraud Cases
- Purposefully create a plan to defraud an individual or institution
- Display intent to commit fraud
- Mail something-for the purpose of carrying out a fraudulent scheme-through the USPS or a private carrier
Possible Punishments for Mail Fraud Crimes
- Case #1 According to the USPS, prosecutors proved in 2002 that a Texas man sold roughly $6.5 million in fraudulent certificates of deposit (CDs) via the U.S. Mail to close to 80 investors -- most of whom were senior citizens. The man, who never purchased the CDs, used portions of the money to pay earlier investors and used the rest for personal expenses. More than 45 investors are still owed a total of $3.5 million.
- Case #2 The USPS states that two employees of the company that publishes Business Week were charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud when they revealed confidential information about publicly held companies. The pair allegedly stockpiled thousands of dollars in kickbacks (through the U.S. Mail) after giving two co-defendants insider trading information from an issue of Business Week the day before the issue hit newsstands. Armed with their tips, the co-defendants bought various company stocks on a reported 43 occasions and sold it when the magazine was released-after which stock prices soared. The trades were valued at more than $2 million, while profits totaled $450,000.
- Case #3 An Arizona man was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to five years of supervised probation, nine months of home detention, and $1 million in victim restitution after executing the age-old envelope-stuffing scam. The man ran ads in national magazines, promising to send stuffing materials to everyone who mailed money for supply costs ($18 to $36) to his fictitious company. He mailed instructions on how to run an envelope-stuffing business but no actual materials.
Mail fraud, a felony, carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000 when individuals are involved and up to 30 years in prison and/or $1,000,000 in fines when a financial institution is involved.
Dec 06, 2016 | theintercept.comPrivate immigration detention facilities may be bad - but they're probably not going anywhere.
That, in essence, was the conclusion of a much-anticipated review of the Department of Homeland Security's reliance on private companies to detain an immigrant detainee population that's reaching historic highs, which the president-elect is promising to escalate to even greater levels.
The report, produced by a panel of law enforcement, national security, and military experts, was commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security on the heels of a similar review by the Department of Justice in August. In that report, the DOJ found that private prisons "simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources," "do not save substantially on costs," and "do not maintain the same level of safety and security" as facilities operated by the Bureau of Prisons. The Justice Department said it would begin to gradually phase out its own private contracts - which make up a fraction of private prison companies' business when compared to federal immigration detention centers.
The DHS advisory committee report , released last week, raised similar criticisms of the billion-dollar private prison industry, but was more fatalistic in its conclusions.
"Much could be said for a fully government-owned and government-operated detention model, if one were starting a new detention system from scratch," said the report. "But of course we are not starting anew."
Dec 06, 2016 | www.whitecollarcrimeresources.com
Some of them are a little complicated - especially the definition of loss. If you aren't sure what the right way to read these is, the commentary can give you some guidance. You can find it here .
There are more specific fraud guidelines that apply in more specific cases.
§2B1.1. Larceny, Embezzlement, and Other Forms of Theft; Offenses Involving Stolen Property; Property Damage or Destruction; Fraud and Deceit; Forgery; Offenses Involving Altered or Counterfeit Instruments Other than Counterfeit Bearer Obligations of the United States(a) Base Offense Level:(1) 7 , if (A) the defendant was convicted of an offense referenced to this guideline; and (B) that offense of conviction has a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years or more; or(2) (Apply the greatest) If the offense
(2) 6 , otherwise. (b) Specific Offense Characteristics (1) If the loss exceeded $5,000, increase the offense level as follows:
Loss (Apply the Greatest) Increase in Level
(A) $5,000 or less no increase (B) More than $5,000 add 2 (C) More than $10,000 add 4 (D) More than $30,000 add 6 (E) More than $70,000 add 8 (F) More than $120,000 add 10 (G) More than $200,000 add 12 (H) More than $400,000 add 14 (I) More than $1,000,000 add 16 (J) More than $2,500,000 add 18 (K) More than $7,000,000 add 20 (L) More than $20,000,000 add 22 (M) More than $50,000,000 add 24 (N) More than $100,000,000 add 26 (O) More than $200,000,000 add 28 (P) More than $400,000,000 add 30 .(A) (i) involved 10 or more victims; or (ii) was committed through mass-marketing, increase by 2 levels;(c) Cross References
(B) involved 50 or more victims, increase by 4 levels; or
(C) involved 250 or more victims, increase by 6 levels. (3) If the offense involved a theft from the person of another, increase by 2 levels.
(4) If the offense involved receiving stolen property, and the defendant was a person in the business of receiving and selling stolen property, increase by 2 levels.
(5) If the offense involved misappropriation of a trade secret and the defendant knew or intended that the offense would benefit a foreign government, foreign instrumentality, or foreign agent, increase by 2 levels.
(6) If the offense involved theft of, damage to, destruction of, or trafficking in, property from a national cemetery or veterans' memorial, increase by 2 levels.
(7) If (A) the defendant was convicted of an offense under 18 U.S.C. § 1037; and (B) the offense involved obtaining electronic mail addresses through improper means, increase by 2 levels.
(8) If (A) the defendant was convicted of a Federal health care offense involving a Government health care program; and (B) the loss under subsection (b)(1) to the Government health care program was (i) more than $1,000,000, increase by 2 levels; (ii) more than $7,000,000, increase by 3 levels; or (iii) more than $20,000,000, increase by 4 levels.
(9) If the offense involved (A) a misrepresentation that the defendant was acting on behalf of a charitable, educational, religious, or political organization, or a government agency; (B) a misrepresentation or other fraudulent action during the course of a bankruptcy proceeding; (C) a violation of any prior, specific judicial or administrative order, injunction, decree, or process not addressed elsewhere in the guidelines; or (D) a misrepresentation to a consumer in connection with obtaining, providing, or furnishing financial assistance for an institution of higher education, increase by 2 levels. If the resulting offense level is less than level 10 , increase to level 10 .
(10) If (A) the defendant relocated, or participated in relocating, a fraudulent scheme to another jurisdiction to evade law enforcement or regulatory officials; (B) a substantial part of a fraudulent scheme was committed from outside the United States; or (C) the offense otherwise involved sophisticated means, increase by 2 levels. If the resulting offense level is less than level 12 , increase to level 12 .
(11) If the offense involved (A) the possession or use of any (i) device-making equipment, or (ii) authentication feature; (B) the production or trafficking of any (i) unauthorized access device or counterfeit access device, or (ii) authentication feature; or (C)(i) the unauthorized transfer or use of any means of identification unlawfully to produce or obtain any other means of identification, or (ii) the possession of 5 or more means of identification that unlawfully were produced from, or obtained by the use of, another means of identification, increase by 2 levels. If the resulting offense level is less than level 12 , increase to level 12 .
(12) If the offense involved conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 1040, increase by 2 levels. If the resulting offense level is less than level 12 , increase to level 12 .
(13) If the offense involved an organized scheme to steal or to receive stolen (A) vehicles or vehicle parts; or (B) goods or chattels that are part of a cargo shipment, increase by 2 levels. If the resulting offense level is less than level 14 , increase to level 14 .
(14) If the offense involved (A) the conscious or reckless risk of death or serious bodily injury; or (B) possession of a dangerous weapon (including a firearm) in connection with the offense, increase by 2 levels. If the resulting offense level is less than level 14 , increase to level 14 .
(15) (Apply the greater) If (A) the defendant derived more than $1,000,000 in gross receipts from one or more financial institutions as a result of the offense, increase by 2 levels; or
(B) the offense (i) substantially jeopardized the safety and soundness of a financial institution; (ii) substantially endangered the solvency or financial security of an organization that, at any time during the offense, (I) was a publicly traded company; or (II) had 1,000 or more employees; or (iii) substantially endangered the solvency or financial security of 100 or more victims, increase by 4 levels.
(C) The cumulative adjustments from application of both subsections (b)(2) and (b)(15)(B) shall not exceed 8 levels, except as provided in subdivision (D).
(D) If the resulting offense level determined under subdivision (A) or (B) is less than level 24 , increase to level 24 . (16) If (A) the defendant was convicted of an offense under 18 U.S.C. § 1030, and the offense involved an intent to obtain personal information, or (B) the offense involved the unauthorized public dissemination of personal information, increase by 2 levels.
(17) (A) (Apply the greatest) If the defendant was convicted of an offense under: (i) 18 U.S.C. § 1030, and the offense involved a computer system used to maintain or operate a critical infrastructure, or used by or for a government entity in furtherance of the administration of justice, national defense, or national security, increase by 2 levels.
(ii) 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A), increase by 4 levels.
(iii) 18 U.S.C. § 1030, and the offense caused a substantial disruption of a critical infrastructure, increase by 6 levels. (B) If subdivision (A)(iii) applies, and the offense level is less than level 24 , increase to level 24 . (18) If the offense involved (A) a violation of securities law and, at the time of the offense, the defendant was (i) an officer or a director of a publicly traded company; (ii) a registered broker or dealer, or a person associated with a broker or dealer; or (iii) an investment adviser, or a person associated with an investment adviser; or
(B) a violation of commodities law and, at the time of the offense, the defendant was (i) an officer or a director of a futures commission merchant or an introducing broker; (ii) a commodities trading advisor; or (iii) a commodity pool operator,
increase by 4 levels.
(1) If (A) a firearm, destructive device, explosive material, or controlled substance was taken, or the taking of any such item was an object of the offense; or (B) the stolen property received, transported, transferred, transmitted, or possessed was a firearm, destructive device, explosive material, or controlled substance, apply §2D1.1 (Unlawful Manufacturing, Importing, Exporting, or Trafficking (Including Possession with Intent to Commit These Offenses); Attempt or Conspiracy), §2D2.1 (Unlawful Possession; Attempt or Conspiracy), §2K1.3 (Unlawful Receipt, Possession, or Transportation of Explosive Materials; Prohibited Transactions Involving Explosive Materials), or §2K2.1 (Unlawful Receipt, Possession, or Transportation of Firearms or Ammunition; Prohibited Transactions Involving Firearms or Ammunition), as appropriate.
(2) If the offense involved arson, or property damage by use of explosives, apply §2K1.4 (Arson; Property Damage by Use of Explosives), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.
(3) If (A) neither subdivision (1) nor (2) of this subsection applies; (B) the defendant was convicted under a statute proscribing false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations generally ( e.g. , 18 U.S.C. § 1001, § 1341, § 1342, or § 1343); and (C) the conduct set forth in the count of conviction establishes an offense specifically covered by another guideline in Chapter Two (Offense Conduct), apply that other guideline.
(4) If the offense involved a cultural heritage resource or a paleontological resource, apply §2B1.5 (Theft of, Damage to, or Destruction of, Cultural Heritage Resources or Paleontological Resources; Unlawful Sale, Purchase, Exchange, Transportation, or Receipt of Cultural Heritage Resources or Paleontological Resources), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.
Dec 06, 2016 | www.federalwirefraud.com
In addition to the sentencing provisions contained within the Federal Wire and Mail Fraud statutes , the Court is required to calculate a range of punishment by using the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Only experienced federal criminal attorneys are capable of navigating the sentencing guidelines for wire and mail fraud charges. In short, the guidelines were prepared by the sentencing commission in an attempt to remedy perceived sentencing disparities across the country and particularly in relation to white collar defendants.
While these guidelines are no longer mandatory, it is a requirement of a federal sentencing that the guidelines be properly calculated and considered by the sentencing judge. The sentence range is calculated by considering many factors of the crime for which the defendant was convicted. The most common questions that must be answered to properly calculate the guideline range are:
- How many mail or wire fraud victims were there?
- What was the total monetary loss to the victims of the fraud?
- Are there any special characteristics of the victim? (i.e. Were they elderly)
- What was the degree of participation of the Defendant in the mail fraud?
- Did the Defendant recruit others to commit the wire fraud with him?
- Was the wire fraud committed using a sophisticated means?
- Has the Defendant ever been in trouble before?
Only after answering these basic questions (and more) can the sentencing court calculate the range of punishment recommended within these guidelines for a wire fraud or mail fraud defendant.
An experienced white collar criminal attorney is necessary to advocate on behalf of the defendant in convincing the Court why the guideline range should be as low as possible.
The guidelines themselves allow the defense attorney to argue for what is known as a "downward departure" in the event that special circumstances exist as contemplated by the guidelines requiring the guidelines to be adjusted downward in favor of the Defendant. Such departures can be rare, emphasizing the need to have someone with a working knowledge of the guidelines providing you representation.
The need for an experienced federal criminal lawyer is even more evident when you consider that the guidelines are now only advisory, giving the sentencing judge the authority to sentence a defendant either above or below the recommended guideline range, even in the event a downward departure is not warranted. This is referred to as a " variance ."
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