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Prison–industrial complex

 

Prison–industrial complex - Wikipedia

The term "prison–industrial 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.[2] The term is derived from the "military–industrial complex" of the 1950s.[3]

Such groups include corporations that contract prison labor, construction companies, surveillance technology vendors, companies that operate prison food services and medical facilities,[4] private probation companies,[4] 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.[5]

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[6] and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),[7] believe that the desire for monetary gain has led to the growth of the prison industry and the number of incarcerated individuals.
 


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Old News ;-)

[Jul 19, 2021] Capitol 'Rioter' Sentenced To 8 Months, Not Accused Of Assaulting Anyone Or Damaging Property

Jul 19, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

This is no longer fight club 5 hours ago

And yet Hunter still walks free. No questions asked.

Dis-obey 5 hours ago

He paid the 10% to the big man so he was covered.

snatchpounder PREMIUM 5 hours ago

And an agent of the state executes an unarmed woman and he'll never be prosecuted for it.

Poppavein 5 hours ago

That's because we didn't burn down cities in protest.

[Jun 24, 2021] States now have quotas to meet for how many Americans go to jail. Increasing numbers of states have contracted to keep their prisons at 90% to 100% capacity

Jun 24, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."

- Frédéric Bastiat, French economist

If there is an absolute maxim by which the American government seems to operate, it is that the taxpayer always gets ripped off.

... ... ...

In the prisons : States now have quotas to meet for how many Americans go to jail. Increasing numbers of states have contracted to keep their prisons at 90% to 100% capacity . This profit-driven form of mass punishment has, in turn, given rise to a $70 billion private prison industry that relies on the complicity of state governments to keep the money flowing and their privately run prisons full , " regardless of whether crime was rising or falling ." As Mother Jones reports, "private prison companies have supported and helped write laws that drive up prison populations .

Their livelihoods depend on towns, cities, and states sending more people to prison and keeping them there." Private prisons are also doling out harsher punishments for infractions by inmates in order to keep them locked up longer in order to "boost profits" at taxpayer expense .

All the while, prisoners are being forced to provide cheap labor for private corporations . No wonder the United States has the largest prison population in the world .

... ... ...

[Jun 16, 2021] Information that well worth a minute of your time

Jun 16, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Jim in MN 7 hours ago remove link

WELL WORTH a minute of your time.

https://www.roberthjackson.org/speech-and-writing/the-federal-prosecutor/

The Federal Prosecutor, 1940

If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted.

With the law books filled with a great assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone. In such a case, it is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it, it is a question of picking the man and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him. It is in this realm-in which the prosecutor picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense, that the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies.

It is here that law enforcement becomes personal, and the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group, being attached to the wrong political views, or being personally obnoxious to or in the way of the prosecutor himself.

[May 28, 2021] Justice and woke bolsheviks by Gerard Baker

Apr 19, 2021 | www.wsj.com

The Chauvin Trial and the Chelsea Handler Standard of Justice - WSJ

Rep. Maxine Waters of California, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, joined demonstrations this weekend in Minnesota. She told supporters that if the Chauvin trial verdict goes the wrong way, "we've got to not only stay in the street but we've got to fight for justice."

You may recall a president got pilloried a while ago for urging his supporters to "fight" for their desired outcome. It was noted then that the term is a well-worn rhetorical phrase that doesn't necessarily amount to a literal incitement to violence. But there can't be much doubt about the import of what Ms. Waters said. She made her remarks in Brooklyn Center, a few miles from the barricaded Minneapolis courthouse where the Chauvin trial is taking place and the site of the killing last weekend of a black man by a police officer. The place has been aflame for the past week in an orgy of rioting.

The Handler standard, or the Maxine maxim "the idea that we don't really need a trial to know whether someone is guilty of a heinous crime" has always had its adherents. There have surely been miscarriages of justice "acquittals of guilty people and convictions of innocent ones" throughout history. The jury system is never perfect.

But what's frighteningly new about our current climate is that the rejection of apparently unwelcome trial outcomes is now part of the dominant progressive critique of our longstanding political and civic order. If U.S. institutions are the product of white-supremacist exploitation "as is essentially the consensus of the people who run the government, most corporations, and leading cultural institutions" then the judicial system itself is inherently and systemically unjust. If the principle of equality before the law is to be supplanted by the objective of "equity" in outcome, then only outcomes that serve the higher objective of collective racial justice can be considered legitimate.

So trials that produce the "wrong" verdict are not just miscarriages of justice. They are an indictment of the entire system.

The ascendancy of this new progressive radicalism adds a frightening element to the unease the nation feels this week as the jury deliberates in Minneapolis. By all accounts the trial of Mr. Chauvin has been rigorous, methodical and fair. The prosecution seemed to make a strong case that Mr. Floyd died at least in part as a result of the officer's actions. The defense may have sowed some doubts about whether Mr. Chavin's intent rose to the level of culpability required of the most serious charges.

But under our new rules, the jury's verdict will be tolerated only if it goes the "right" way.

This rejection of the legitimacy of the judicial process is rooted in the same neo-Marxist ideology""a race- and identity-based interpretation of structuralism""that holds sway over the minds of much of our ruling class.

To the old Marxists, the capitalists were the exploiters. In "The ABC of Communism," published in 1920, Bolshevik leaders Nikolai Bukharin and Yevgeni Preobrazhensky used language that sounds strikingly familiar today. They denounced the courts as instruments of "bourgeois justice," which was "carried on under the guidance of laws passed in the interests of the exploiting class," and recommended instead the establishment of "proletarian courts."

In one of the more savage ironies of history, some two decades later the authors themselves were tried by such courts under Josef Stalin and sentenced to death.

Yet even Stalin thought some kind of judicial proceeding was necessary. Our modern revolutionaries would dispense even with show trials.
E


Eli Hauser SUBSCRIBER 2 weeks ago (Edited)

Red Queen Rules. Sentence. Verdict. Accusation. Admission of Guilt.
Mark Robbins SUBSCRIBER 2 weeks ago
Liberals have no need for trials with an assumption of innocence. At all times, they KNOW what is right.
Chris Madison SUBSCRIBER 2 weeks ago
We are living through a "throw the baby out with the bath" moment. Extremists are labeling anything which doesn't go their way as "systemically racist." If there is no jurisprudence and due process, no system of laws addressing a variety of crimes, but only the cry for "justice now" without defining what justice looks like according to law, then anarchy has taken the place of justice. Ms. Handler is entitled to her opinion. I am glad she is not in a position of leadership. Congresswoman Maxine Waters likes to make statements which "stir the pot," potentially raising the "rage level" across our nation. She should know better, but doesn't. Our nation is on the cusp of a moment when we must intentionally decide who we are legally, morally, and Constitutionally. Emotions are insufficient for this moment.
Christopher Jones SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
This essay would have tremendous weight if there was not a video of the murder. Absent that it is stupefyingly ignorant. "The prosecution seemed to make a strong case that Mr. Floyd died at least in part as a result of the officer's actions." Really, sir? A video literally showing the officer kneeling on Mr. Floyd's neck until he passed out and later died. Are you suggesting that he would have died on his own had the officer not done this?

You are attempting to seem reasonable with your pleas for due process, but you just come across as obtuse. A video of a man murdering another man and your like, no I don't believe it. There has to be another explanation.

Tad Story SUBSCRIBER 2 weeks ago
So your saying Mr. Floyd's use of a Highly addictive and equally deadly narcotic on top of already severe heart condition to which your camera did not display played no role as to the outcome? Considering the use of Fentanyl is 900 times more deadly than crack-cocaine I feel it needed to be discussed and weighed, to which it was but the mob had their torches ready and that carried as much or even more weight, Maxine made sure of that..
beryl silver SUBSCRIBER 2 weeks ago (Edited)
The article failed to mention the words protesters need "to get more confrontational" Maxine Waters used.
Michael Lapolla SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
It has been obvious to us that the state of Minnesota offered Derek Chauvin as a sacrifice on the altar of expediency. Witness the immediate and joyous victory laps by the state AG. It just took a while and a show trial. It is obvious that the jury had no stomach for another outcome. This is what you vote for - this is what you get.

And we have a Capitol police person murdering an unarmed trespasser, but our DOJ sees and hears no evil and utters not a word.

What a national embarrassment. Go back to sleep Minnesota.

FRANK HERMAN SUBSCRIBER 2 weeks ago
He wasn't on his neck. Even the prosecution witness admitted, that when looked at from other angles, that the cop was on his shoulder blade.
Tim Taylor SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
Something to think about in the current culture of policing:

Most dangerous jobs in U.S. 1. Logging 2. Aircraft pilots/flight engineers 3. Derrick operators 4. Roofers 5. Garbage collectors 6. Iron workers. 7. Delivery drivers 8. Farmers. 9. Firefighting supervisors 10. Power linemen 11. Agricultural workers 12. Crossing guards 13. Crane operators 14. Construction helpers. 15. Landscaping supervisors 16. Highway maintenance workers. 17. Cement masons 18. Small engine mechanics. 19. Supervisors of mechanics 20. Heavy equipment mechanics. 21. Grounds maintenance workers 22. Police Officers.

Reference: https://www.ishn.com/articles/112748-top-25-most-dangerous-jobs-in-the-united-states

William Coburn SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
What Maxine does not seem to understand is that demonizing the police works against gun control efforts.

The more that the citizenry believes the police cannot be trusted to protect them, the more citizens will seek to protect themselves, including purchasing and carrying firearms.

Kenneth Gimbel SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
Whew. I guess Minneapolis won't be torched tonight. Or, maybe, just a little bit to satisfy the mob.
Verne Thibodeaux SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago (Edited)
There are a lot of "undocumented shoppers" who are very disappointed today.
Michael Havey SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
As I've been saying since the first day of the trial, only the dumbest, most gullible, least informed Americans believed that Derek Chauvin was innocent.
DK Brand SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago (Edited)
All that without due process being applied? See, you are the problem when the vast majority of people who saw the video were horrified and felt the officer was guilty of his death. But we have a system of laws and due process protects everyone, even the seemingly obviously guilty. There are people who are caught red handed every day who receive the same due process. So stop crowing about your imaginary opponents and accept that our system has worked as designed.
William Coburn SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago (Edited)
innocent

He did not need to be found innocent, just not guilty.

Nidge M SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago (Edited)
Talk about dark comedy ........

IF Chauvin is convicted the seemingly not very legally au fait Maxine Waters just handed his team perfect grounds to appeal against any conviction.

The whole situation is peturbing at a frightening number of levels 'though.

What will US cities do if 10%, 20% even 70% their Cops quit?
What will they do even if they don't quit but 'work to the letter of the rules' and slow all action to a crawl?

Its not too unthinkable given the record of violence the very large man Chauvin was kneeling on in the course of the arrest.

And add to that the somewhat inept but from the video plausible Police woman now incacerated for shooting instead of tasering another career criminal .......... Which from this distance appears to be a based on political rather than legal considerations.
Would you be a cop?

Meanwhile politicians from both main US parties appear to be giving their blessing to those who wish to userp the rule of law .......... That's viable is it?

Nidge M SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago (Edited)
No, Floyd was not resisting arrest actively & constantly for 9 minutes.
But
Floyd was a very large male with a record of extream violence, drug abuse and unpredictability.
Its hardly novel for an aprehended person to fake placidity, then when their restrainers relax to explode into extream violence.

I am not asserting what Chauvin did was right or wrong ........ But I do think its a reaction which anyone who has had to deal with violent offenders would regard as a pretty understandable reaction.

I also wonder might those who are so ready to jump on the bandwagon, grandstanding & howling in condemnation precipitate something far beyond their expectations.

I wonder too what would happen if the majority of those so quick to condemn were handed responsibility for doing the policing job people like Chauvin have to do.

How would you do it?

Lori Crossley SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
I don't think anyone wants policing like Chauvin did it. It led to the death of a man. There were a lot of potential outcomes to this arrest. I would not blame any officer for being overly cautious based on Floyd's arrest record - and yes, it does count.

But Chauvin was not alone in making this arrest. He had assistance which was not utilized. Do people fake injury to get away from police officers? I am sure they do.

But there were 9 long minutes when that was not happening. There are thousands of police officers who leave their homes each day to walk into potentially violent situations. And they do their job and go home at night (with little thanks) and did not make the same choice Chauvin did. His trial was fair and the verdict is in. The process worked for Chauvin - not so much for Floyd.

Mark Allen SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
I grew up on the block where the police station is located, in an apartment often captured in the footage of the rioting. And while it did make the local papers, the national news has failed to report that the folks living in those apartments cannot sleep (due to the rioters) and have to put wet towels over their windows to keep out the teargas (due to the police). And the irony in this is that the overwhelming majority of those apartment dwellers are working-poor, persons of color.

Let that sink in.

Scott Mote SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
For the regressives and BLMers, those apartment dwellers are just collateral damage. Maybe BLM will move them into a BLM mansion.
John Smith SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
Great insights Mr. Baker.

Strange how video evidence clearly convicts the subject in the minds of leftists. They appear to be able to assign motive and punishment based on their emotional appraisal. We have a sitting California Congresswoman stating this on video tape.

Well, we are not to believe every video tape. Remember Jussie Smollett? They did the same to the unnamed racists, who assaulted Mr. Smollett - according to his version of events. All muscular non black males were guilty, until individually cleared. The usual leftists in politics, media, and entertainment joined Jussie.

Unfortunately, Jussie's version of events was false. He hired two black men to "assault" him, then put together his soap opera version of the script. Since both stories could not be true, no one went to jail. This is what politicians with law degrees have contributed to our Republic.

Yes, he still faces felony charges. But it is more than two years hence. Speedy trial?

Paul Stroud SUBSCRIBER 3 weeks ago
For all of most of our lives we've been able to rely on a civil society that recognized its' faults, if even after a period of time, and took hard steps to correct them. This is now at risk as acceptable "civil disobedience" becomes "violent disobedience". We can no longer look at other parts of the world that are continually wrenched apart by violent, factional conflict and destruction and think, "oh, at least it can't happen here". It is happening here, and it is escalating. I hope I am wrong, but I fear for our children and grandchildren.

[May 09, 2021] Undisclosed Bias - Even WaPo Questions Impartiality Of BLM-Shirt-Wearing Juror In Chauvin Case

May 09, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

JRobby 11 hours ago

One of 4 reasons for mistrial/appeal

1. at the start of jury selection in the Chauvin case, Floyd's "family" were awarded $27 million civil verdict against Minneapolis in a highly publicized MSM "event". THEY didn't try to keep it quiet. THEY promoted it.

2. Maxine Waters

3. Doxxing of jury members

4. This BLM guy, subject of this article

Yancey Ward 9 hours ago remove link

I think the real key with this particular issue will be this- did the judge deny the defense a dismissal for cause on this juror. There is no way this juror should have been on the jury in a just trial, and I think the evidence is strong that he flat out lied during the voir dire.

Yancey Ward 9 hours ago

I think the real key with this particular issue will be this- did the judge deny the defense a dismissal for cause on this juror. There is no way this juror should have been on the jury in a just trial, and I think the evidence is strong that he flat out lied during the voir dire.

Hello Kitty 7 hours ago

The trial never should have been held in MN. Why couldn't it be held somewhere else? Rigged.

Nona Yobiznes 12 hours ago (Edited)

Yes, you're right. I'd even say it was impossible for him to have a fair trial. This situation resulted in billions of dollars in property damage, dozens of murders, and thousands of injuries. The terrorists who committed these acts were on standby during the trial. Everyone knew what would happen if acquitted.

The situation was not framed as an unfortunate incident between police and a civilian, it was widely taken to be symbolic of white supremacist institutional power oppressing a helpless black man. Even if you as a juror believed in his innocence, you would be putting the lives of your family, yourself, and your community at risk by following through. You'd be sending a message that you're a racist, that you believe in the genocide of blacks by cops, you'd be doxxed, and probably killed. Chauvin was never, ever going to get fairness.

Even if he did contribute to Floyd's death, the murder charges are overkill.

pfmonte1 12 hours ago

He is guilty, perhaps, of negligent homicide. Truth is though that he probably is NOT.

ZHakespeare 12 hours ago

He has a history of violent acts. Chauvin is a predator with no blue license to commit crimes anymore.

Fiscal.Enema 11 hours ago (Edited)

This has nothing to do with HIS guilt or innocence but the SANCTITY of the jury system. There is no way this conviction stands.

There is no hope of a fair trial for him anywhere. It will be too expensive for another trial. When the verdict is overturned. The CHIMPS will riot and loot

chinese.sniffles 13 hours ago

The man was sacrificed. Guilty or not, did not get a fair trial.

GunnerySgtHartman 13 hours ago (Edited) remove link

This is shaping up to be another Lance Ito/OJ Simpson situation, the only difference being that OJ was found not guilty at trial.

TBT or not TBT 12 hours ago

Not. The 140lb Chauvin didn't kill this 220lb man with a knee to his shoulder blade. Even the prosecution wouldn't say it was his neck, because body cams showed it wasn't. The evidence shows a drug overdose and health complications.

nsurf9 13 hours ago (Edited) remove link

Its called "Reasonable Doubt."

Unknown to the officers, Floyd, literally had the #1 Overdose Drug in the USA - dissolving in his mouth - the entire time he resisted being lawfully arrested.

Never mind that the pills tested-out to be the "#1 Overdose Drug in the USA" with Floyd's saliva and DNA on them. Never mind that Floyd literally spat-out two pills onto the floorboard of the police SUV, precisely when he uttered "I ate too much drugs." And, never mind that - unknown to the officers - those #1 Overdose pills were dissolving and sublingually going straight into felony-fentanyl Floyd's bloodstream - the whole time he was handcuffed (and likely even before he passed the $20 bill in the store and while he was about to drive a motor vehicle) and the whole time he relentlessly resisting arrest until he died of them - with a combined 16.6 ngs of fentenyl/norfentyl total found in his blood - which is several-fold times more than enough to overdose and kill.

No one asked George, if he was doing drugs while in the back of the police SUV, when he uttered "I ate too much drugs." But, that was precisely the moment when he spat-out the two remaining remnants of the fentenyl/amphetamine pills/hits and he likely began overdosing.

No officer hit Floyd - not even once. And, Chauvin's knee . . . did nothing and the Autopsy proves it did nothing to injure Floyd. And, further, the officers had called for an ambulance - twice - during the arrest

If Officer Chauvin doesn't get a fair trial . . . none of us will be assured to ever get one, because the judicial system, itself, will have already failed !!!

Dumpster Elite 13 hours ago

"...whether Mitchell "lied about, or failed to provide complete answers on whether he has engaged in public activism, or whether he has any affiliations with BLM that go beyond the mere wearing of the shirt."

Let's say I'm on a jury. I vote to convict a black guy of murdering a white man.

Then a few weeks later, there's a photo of me with some pals. We're all wearing "Proud Boys" T-shirts and hats, and we are photographed at a "Get out the Republican Vote" get-together.

Do you THINK that ANYONE is gonna believe that I was impartial??? "...whether he has any affiliations with BLM that go beyond the mere wearing of the shirt." Gee, I don't know??? The mere WEARING of a ph ucking BLM shirt??? How much more does he have to do??? If you think this guy was in ANY way impartial, you've got a screw loose.

Chauvin will get at LEAST a re-trial, if not a complete mistrial.

Osmium 12 hours ago

He separately told the Star Tribune that attending the August event was an "opportunity to be around thousands and thousands of black people" and "to be a part of something."

If he wanted to be around thousands and thousands of black people, he could visit a prison.

chubbar 11 hours ago

Or South Chicago.

joshrandall 11 hours ago remove link

George Floyd resisted arrest throughout the process. In the police vehicle and on the ground. There is video evidence of this.

If you don't want police using force against arrest resisters, change the law.

When criminals and police are seen equally under the law, the police will lose simply by attrition. Add no bail laws and your place of living is truly screwed.

Savyindallas 9 hours ago remove link

The juror should be prosecuted. Chauvin should be granted a new trial in a venue that is fair- BTW-My disclaimers: I was a prosecutor in 2 major cities for 9 years. I also despise most cops. They are poorly trained by politician police chiefs. They don't do their job right -- they should be trained with the unquestionable goals and beliefs of "serve and protect", rather than fear and intimidate.

Too many abuse and disrespect white people as well as Brown and black people, but liberals and BLM types do not care about this. Officers who do not understand their proper role need to be reformed, retrained and replaced by men of honor, courage and who are instilled with a proper sense of civic duty.

All being said, Derek Chauvin is a human being -- an individual who should be judged fairly on the facts and merits of his case--not some insane political agenda of Marxists who have brought fear and intimidation into this circus of a trial and effectively and unfairly swayed this timid jury IMHO.

fudge punch 5 hours ago remove link

Who was murdered? Floyd died of a heart condition exacerbated by opioid intoxication. I would think a crucial element of a murder conviction would be a murder victim. This case is conspicuously absent one of those.

Foe Jaws 11 hours ago

First it was the White cops, next it was White Boeing and Coke employees. White Americans better wake up fast. The USA is a viciously anti-White Stalinist Corporate Oligarchy.

the6thBook PREMIUM 9 hours ago

I doubt it. Sounds like Jurors lied and cheated to get on the Jury with the purpose of convicting. They had one that wasn't a BLM activist, that is why it took 10 hours instead of two. Hell maybe that was even fake to try to make it more believable. This probably wasn't the only question he lied about and not the only juror that was bent on getting "justice".

thezone 12 hours ago

Easy appeal. He clearly lied about his tremendous bias.

Chauvin likely gets convicted either way. But this guy definitely is on the hook for creating the perfect appeal.

Texman 12 hours ago

This guy should be prosecuted for lying on the jury questionnaire which is a court document. However, never going to happen.

[Apr 14, 2021] Inmate abuse in the United States

Apr 14, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paco , Apr 10 2021 18:32 utc | 38

On March 20, at the Washington, D.C. Central Detention Centre, inmate Ryan Samsel, who was taken into custody as a suspect and handcuffed, was severely beaten by two prison guards. They smashed his face, broke his nose, knocked out his jaw, injured his eye and brought the man to a state of mental disorder. He spent the night following the beating in a cell unconscious, without medical help.

A little reminder of Montecristo Navalny's pains in the dungeon

[Apr 01, 2021] When Halfway Houses Pose Full-Time Problems - Prison Legal News

Apr 01, 2021 | www.prisonlegalnews.org

Loaded on JAN. 10, 2015 by Derek Gilna published in Prison Legal News January, 2015 , page 1 Filed under: Classification , Work Release , Staff-Prisoner Assault , Prisoner-Prisoner Assault , Community Education Centers , Contractor Misconduct , Prison Rebellion , Escapes , Failure to Protect (General) , Rehabilitation/Recidivism , Alternative Sentencing . Locations: Colorado , District of Columbia , Florida , Iowa , Kentucky , New Jersey , New Mexico , Oklahoma , Pennsylvania , Texas , Washington . Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on G+ Share with email

When Halfway Houses Pose Full-Time Problems

by Derek Gilna

A recent interest among government officials in reducing prison populations as a way to cut costs, stemming from the 2008 Great Recession that resulted in significant budget deficits, has placed renewed emphasis on the importance of halfway houses. As more prisoners are released there is a corresponding need for more post-release housing – including reentry facilities.

Loosely defined as a "halfway" point for prisoners between incarceration and freedom, halfway houses have experienced a number of problems that indicate the industry is in need of systemic improvements. If states continue the trend of reducing their prison populations and more federal prisoners are released due to sentencing reforms [see, e.g., PLN, Aug. 2014, p.26], then halfway houses – also known as Community Corrections Centers (CCCs) and Residential Reentry Centers (RRCs) – will have to increase their capacity as well as the quantity and quality of the transitional services they provide.

An Industry Plagued with Problems

Although some halfway houses are adequately managed and staffed with competent professionals, others are operated more for profit than an interest in helping offenders successfully return to society. Too many incidents involving poorly-supervised halfway house residents and indifferent, or even criminal, behavior by employees have occurred in almost every state as well as the federal prison system.

A well-managed halfway house provides a safe environment for soon-to-be released prisoners; some may have been in jail for relatively short periods of time while others might have been locked up for years or even decades. A halfway house's principal goal of providing a smooth transition back to society provides the first line of defense against recidivism. Halfway house residents often have few current ties to the community to which they are released, and even if they do, may not have family or friends to assist them. They need viable reentry services, including job placement and housing assistance, and often require substance abuse programs. Too often, though, halfway houses are viewed by their owners and operators as little more than a revenue source.

However poor a halfway house might be in providing effectual services and programs, many times it is the only available option. For some state prisoners nearing release, placement in halfway houses is mandatory; other states require no time spent at a reentry facility. According to the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts, prisoners in eight states are allowed to "max out" their sentences with no reentry programs to smooth their return to the community. In those states, about 40% of prisoners are released with no transitional services.

"Now, policymakers on both sides of the aisle are starting to realize that if you're serious about public safety, you need more effective strategies," observed Adam Gelb, director of Pew's Public Safety Performance Project.

According to an April 2014 recidivism report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 49.7% of offenders return to prison within three years after release and 55.1% return within five years. Clearly, most state and federal correctional facilities do a poor job of "correcting" prisoners and preparing them for release, which puts an even greater burden on halfway houses to supply reentry services.

If the promise of the recent flurry of prison population reductions and sentencing reforms across the nation is to be realized, halfway houses must adapt to new challenges and increased responsibilities. Such reforms will be rendered meaningless if a large percentage of newly-released prisoners re-offend and are re-incarcerated.

Despite this potential crisis, there is little sign that either state corrections officials or the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is addressing shortcomings in the current halfway house system. Many reentry facilities are poorly-managed and monitored, with violence, drug use and escapes that are aggravated by widespread indifference and misconduct by staff members.

Further, halfway house programs sometimes reflect a corrupt system that awards contracts on the basis of political favoritism or cronyism rather than the ability to reduce recidivism; halfway house contracts are sometimes seen as way for government officials to reward political backers and campaign contributors.

In any other business or industry, the level of failure and corruption present at some halfway houses would result in wholesale employee terminations and changes in management, but as in many correctional facilities, there is little accountability.

Some companies and organizations that operate halfway houses try to do their best to provide the services that soon-to-be-released prisoners need. Dismas Charities, for example, which runs reentry facilities nationwide, has a good reputation in the industry. While even Dismas has had its share of problems, it seems to genuinely care about the quality of its transitional services.

According to Dismas, "Our history has taught us that, to be effective in the process of reintegration, we need to focus on three critical areas that have proven to deliver the best results: Education, Employment, and Support. Each program employs evidence-based practices, and the use of validated risk/needs assessments to reduce recidivism." Additionally, "A critical component of all our work is a focus on helping our residents obtain meaningful employment. Through employment, our residents repay their debts to society and become responsible, independent citizens, taxpayers, parents, and contributors to the community."

Unfortunately, not all halfway houses are focused on reentry services and programs. States that have faced significant problems with halfway houses include New Jersey, Florida and Pennsylvania. The federal prison system's use of contract halfway houses has also not been exempt from criticism.

CEC in New Jersey

New Jersey has embarked on a grand experiment, shifting thousands of prisoners from expensive-to-run state prisons into less costly, privately-operated halfway houses. The state's prison system has under 25,000 beds while approximately 3,500 offenders and parolees are housed in around two dozen halfway houses. But the system is not without its problems; about 5,100 residents have absconded from halfway houses since 2005, and former employees and residents report that drug and alcohol use, crime and violence are rampant at some facilities.

The state's largest player in the private halfway house industry is Community Education Centers (CEC), a New Jersey-based for-profit company that manages jails, prisons and transitional centers throughout the United States. The firm operates six large halfway house facilities in New Jersey that contain 1,900 of the state's reentry beds. CEC also runs the 900-bed Albert M. "Bo" Robinson Assessment and Treatment Center (Robinson Center), which functions as both a halfway house and intake center for state prisoners transitioning into the halfway house system. Prisoners deemed low risk by CEC are transferred from the Robinson Center to other halfway houses, including those operated by other companies.

CEC is deeply enmeshed in New Jersey politics. The state's Governor, Chris Christie, was registered as a lobbyist for the company in 2000 and 2001. He later maintained close ties with CEC, visiting and praising the company's facilities while serving as a U.S. Attorney – a position that has little to do with state corrections.

Further, William J. Palatucci, a senior vice president at CEC, was Christie's close friend, political advisor and former law partner. Palatucci served as co-chair of Christie's 2010 inaugural committee. After Christie became governor in 2010, he hired the son-in-law of John J. Clancy, CEC's founder and CEO, to work as an assistant in the governor's office.

Such is CEC's political clout that, in the 1990s, state regulators allowed the company to set up a nonprofit organization called Education and Health Centers of America (EHCA) to skirt the state's requirement that only nonprofit agencies receive contracts to operate halfway houses. EHCA, which has a mere ten employees, contracts with New Jersey to provide halfway houses, which are then managed by CEC. Clancy receives a $351,346 annual salary from EHCA, which is required to disclose its financial reports, in addition to the salary he receives from CEC.

The primary purpose of EHCA appears to be to funnel the millions of dollars it gets from state and county agencies to CEC as its sole "subcontractor" to operate halfway houses. Therefore, the vast majority of the $71 million CEC received from the state and various New Jersey counties in fiscal year 2011 came through EHCA. In 2011, New Jersey's Comptroller criticized the state's contracts with halfway houses and singled out EHCA, citing its close connections to CEC. [See: PLN, July 2012, p.24].

The total state and county budget for private halfway houses in New Jersey was $105 million in FY 2011. With so much money at stake, there are concerns whether reentry facilities are providing competent and cost effective services. One persistent problem has been a high number of escapes by halfway house residents.

An Epidemic of Escapes

"The system is a mess," declared Thaddeus B. Caldwell, a senior state corrections investigator who spent years tracking escapees from halfway houses. "No matter how many escaped, no matter how many were caught, no matter how many committed heinous acts while they were on the run, they still kept releasing more guys to halfway houses, and it kept happening over and over again."

The number of escapes from halfway houses astonished even people involved in the corrections system – 46 escapes in September 2011, 39 in October, 40 in November and 38 in December. After he instituted reforms, Governor Christie bragged that "only" 181 residents absconded from halfway houses in the first five months of 2012.

About 10,000 New Jersey state prisoners and parolees pass through halfway houses each year. CEC officials have used that number to claim the escape rate from their facilities is "staggeringly low." However, that argument holds little water when one compares the escape rate to that of the state prison system or considers there are only about 3,500 offenders in reentry facilities at any given time.

Halfway house officials complain that residents who return late from work release assignments or who surrender after a few days of being absent are harmless, yet are often considered escapees. They also point out that their employees are unarmed and without authority to stop an escape, and that they depend on educating halfway house residents as the best option to prevent them from absconding.

Those points may have some validity, but ignore the fact that many of the escapes have occurred at "locked-down" halfway houses – those with no work-release program – and few escapees are prosecuted once caught. For example, the prosecution rate for residents who abscond in Essex County has been around 10% since 2009.

Sometimes the low prosecution rate reflects a lack of interest by local prosecutors in pursuing a relatively minor infraction that can be handled through the prison system's disciplinary process. Yet law enforcement officials often don't even know a halfway house resident has escaped until they commit another crime – and sometimes not even then.

Rafael Miranda absconded from a halfway house in December 2009 and was on the run for four months until he fatally shot a man in Newark. In 2010, David Goodell, imprisoned for assaulting his ex-girlfriend, escaped from Logan Hall, a halfway house with one of the highest escape rates, and murdered a woman who had broken off her relationship with him. Valeria Parziale escaped from a Trenton halfway house in 2009; nine days later she used a knife to cut off a man's ear in a liquor store. She was charged with assault but not escape, because prosecutors were unaware she was an escapee.

More recently, Jahmel Glanton, 19, walked away from the Robinson Center in December 2013, just three days after he arrived at the facility; he was captured more than three weeks later on January 11, 2014 and charged with possession of crack cocaine and obstructing the administration of law.

Halfway houses run by the nonprofit Kintock Group have accounted for almost half the escapes in New Jersey in recent years. CEC has used that fact to deflect criticism that there is something wrong with the company's management of its halfway houses, but the Kintock Group pointed out that all of the prisoners sent to its facilities first go through the CEC-run Robinson Assessment and Treatment Center for evaluation. Only those deemed low-risk by CEC are transferred to Kintock halfway houses.

From 2009 through 2011, 16% of escapees absconded from CEC-operated facilities but another 43% had first been evaluated as low-risk by CEC before fleeing from other halfway houses. Therefore, it appears that improper evaluation by CEC was a contributing factor in at least some of the escapes.

Another explanation is the growth in the percentage of prisoners convicted of violent crimes being sent to halfway houses. That figure increased from 12% in 2006 to 21% in 2012, and coincided with a budget-savings-driven expansion in the use of halfway houses. It costs between $125 and $150 a day to house a prisoner in a state prison, but only $60 to $75 to put the same prisoner in a reentry facility.

Some former halfway house residents and workers have provided a different explanation for the high number of escapes, saying reentry facilities are often violent, dangerous and gang-infested, rampant with drugs and other contraband, and residents are not closely monitored.

"This industry just infuriates me," stated Nancy Wolff, director of the Center for Behavioral Health Services and Criminal Justice Research at Rutgers University. "If you want to go there and sit in peer-run groups – or hang out and smoke and play cards and have access to drugs – it's a great place."

According to Vanessa Falcone, 32, there is a much darker side to halfway houses. Falcone was assigned to a cleaning crew at the Robinson Center in 2009 when an employee ordered her into a closet and forced her to perform oral sex.

"He took his pants off and grabbed my hair and pushed me down," she said. "That started a few weeks of basically hell." After another staff member learned what was happening, Falcone was moved to a different facility and the employee was fired but not prosecuted.

In a similar incident, a woman who escaped from the Robinson Center told police after being caught that she was trying to get away from a counselor, Joseph A. Chase, who had repeatedly raped her. When police searched Chase's car they found drugs; they then arrested him on charges of sexual assault and drug possession. CEC officials said it was an isolated incident.

Mass Escape from Logan Hall

Hurricane Sandy and a lack of preparation or training for unusual weather allowed residents at one New Jersey halfway house to run rampant, resulting in the escape of fifteen prisoners.

Although designated a halfway house, Logan Hall, operated by CEC, is designed and run more like a jail. Residents are locked into small rooms, the facility is surrounded by fences topped with razor wire, and the doors and gates are electronically-controlled. When the power failed as a result of Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, all of the doors unlocked.

The opened doors allowed dozens of male residents at Logan Hall to get into the hallways. Once there they destroyed furniture and vending machines, tore signs with messages such as "Stop Lying" and "Admit When You Are Wrong" off the walls, and threatened employees and female residents.

The CEC workers were unable to organize an effective response to the mayhem. Poorly paid, trained and equipped, none of them knew how to start the backup generator; they didn't even have a flashlight.

One supervisor confronted a group of male residents wearing improvised face masks who were headed toward the rear of the building where the women were housed. While the supervisor kept the men at bay, other staff members moved the female residents to a reception area that could be manually locked. They stayed there until the police arrived.

Thwarted in their efforts, the masked men grabbed chairs and blankets to scale the perimeter fence and left Logan Hall through the unlocked front door. They quickly discovered that the front gate was open, too.

Of the 15 residents who escaped, six were recaptured within three days, another six were caught between three and six days later, two eluded authorities for about a week and only one remained free after two weeks.

Governor Christie was strangely silent about the events at Logan Hall during Hurricane Sandy. Assemblyman Charles Mainor, chairman of the Law and Public Safety Committee, was troubled by the administration's failure to disclose the incident.

"I did not know. Of course, they would not want me to know," said Mainor, referring to Christie's strong support for CEC and his close friend, CEC vice president William J. Palatucci, who left the company in November 2012 after extensive news coverage about problems at CEC-run halfway houses.

Fifty officers from four law enforcement agencies, including the Essex County Sheriff's Department, Essex County Correctional Department, Newark Police Department and New Jersey Parole Board, responded to the incident at Logan Hall. Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker said it was "obviously a serious event." Joe Amato, president of the Essex County guards union and an opponent of privately-operated halfway houses, took it a step further.

"The place was turned upside down," he said. "The inmates basically rioted."

Amato's take may be an exaggeration since no one was injured at Logan Hall. But it is probably not an exaggeration to agree with one of the responding law enforcement officers who, on the condition of anonymity, said there were moments when the situation at the facility could have spiraled out of control.

None of the state or county-run jails and prisons in New Jersey experienced disturbances or escapes during Hurricane Sandy.

Violence, Drugs and Gangs

Both prisoners and former employees have described the Robinson Center as dangerous – especially at night. Residents are housed in barracks-style rooms with only one or two staff members to oversee each 170-bed unit. Some employees are so afraid they refuse to patrol the halls. Thus, at night, the rules of the jungle prevail – with robberies, sexual assaults and the weak being preyed upon by the strong. Employees have said many prisoners ask to be returned to the state prison system because they feel safer there.

"They definitely told me, 'I want to go back to prison,'" said former Robinson Center GED teacher Assenka Okiloff. "They would tell me that all the time."

"It's not a safe environment, not safe for inmates or for staff," agreed Robert Brumbaugh, former deputy director of security at the Robinson Center and a 25-year veteran of the corrections system. "It was horrendous."

The purpose of the Robinson Center and other halfway houses is to provide resources and programs to help prisoners succeed following their release. How could it be, then, that when Mercer County conducted a surprise drug test of 75 county prisoners held at the Robinson Center in August 2009, 55 (73%) tested positive?

The facility is "like the projects," stated Matthew Leibe, who was housed at the Robinson Center in 2011. "I'm walking down the hallway from mess and I'm getting approached by everybody selling everything – 'I've got batteries, T-shirts, weed, heroin, coke.'"

One explanation given by former employees for the prevalence of drugs at the halfway house was rampant falsification of prisoner records. The records reported drug treatment and other classes as well as drug tests, all of which never occurred. And when classes were provided, they were given in a haphazard manner or by untrained employees who merely read the program materials to a group of residents.

Denette Pasqualini, 40, was hired as a counselor at the Robinson Center in June 2011. She had what she thought was relevant experience working security at Six Flags, but soon found things were very wrong at the facility. Supervisors drank whiskey hidden in soda bottles, counselors were having sex with residents and when she tried to intervene after one resident stabbed another with a pen, other prisoners held her back. She also observed counselors warning residents of upcoming drug tests, allowing them to take urine cups into the bathroom without supervision and simply doctoring test results so they showed prisoners passing drug tests who had not been tested.

"The staff is from the Trenton area and know the inmates from the streets," said Pasqualini. "They say: 'I'm not going to give her a drug test. I know her. I'll let it go.'"

Cynthia Taylor, 55, another former Robinson Center counselor, falsified records and saw others falsify them after she was hired despite having no previous counseling experience. She was told to give lectures on drug treatment and parenting.

"We all understood it was a numbers game," she said. "[CEC] made money not on how many people were rehabilitated. 'How many bodies can we get in here and keep here for a certain amount of time?' That's what they were interested in."

When these kinds of problems are brought to the state's attention they are often ignored, according to Bronislaw Szulc, formerly a senior state official in charge of investigating halfway houses. Szulc said he submitted extensive documentation concerning drugs, violence, escapes and poor security at the Robinson Center and other halfway houses before retiring in 2010. But state officials rarely held the operators of the facilities accountable, instead demanding that he soften the criticism in his reports.

"I was told to stand down and ease up – not to go after things so hard," he said.

The influence of gangs explains some of the prevalence of violence and drugs at halfway houses. "Beyond outright threats and shakedowns, even time on a facility's pay phone was found to be controlled and sold by gang members," said Lee C. Seglem, assistant director of the State Commission of Investigation, which reviewed the influence of gangs in New Jersey's corrections system in 2009. The commission found that gangs were a much greater problem in halfway houses than prisons.

Some reentry facilities have a form of work release, which might account for the presence of drugs and other contraband. The Robinson Center is not one of them; rather, it's a locked-down facility. Despite its locked-down status there have been at least nine escapes since 2009, and drug use is rampant.

CEC's hiring standards may also contribute to contraband problems in its halfway houses. Dana Vetrano, who was hired as a counselor at the Robinson Center, had done time for robbery – and wasn't the only ex-con employed by the company.

"They were from the streets," she said of other staff members with criminal records. "They needed a job, they came in from the street, they were hired – that was it. They had no qualifications, nothing."

So what is Governor Christie's administration doing to reign in the anarchy and escapes at the state's halfway houses? According to David W. Thomas, executive director of New Jersey's parole board, his agency conducted an inquiry. But Thomas refused to provide any details of the inquiry and, when asked for a copy of the findings, said "There is no actual document."

In July 2012, the New Jersey legislature held two days of hearings into gang activity, violence and drug use at halfway houses. The hearings were prompted by a New York Times exposé that revealed problems at reentry facilities, based on a ten-month investigation by the paper. Afterwards, lawmakers vowed to introduce bills to increase oversight of halfway houses and improve contracting procedures.

In August 2012, $45,000 in fines was levied for nine escapes from six halfway houses, two of which were operated by CEC. That was the largest sanction imposed on privately-run halfway houses; the only other fines amounted to $30,000 in April 2012 for six escapes (including four at CEC facilities).

At the same time the state was imposing fines for repeated escapes, the Christie administration was working to reduce halfway house oversight. In June 2012, Governor Christie issued a line-item veto to curtail new disclosure requirements and, two months later, significantly weakened a requirement for audits of halfway house contracts.

In July 2012, Christie signed a bill to expand the state's drug court program by making it mandatory for non-violent offenders, which was expected to vastly increase the number of people entering drug treatment. As such programs are provided at halfway houses, the legislation will likely increase the state's halfway house population, benefiting CEC and other reentry facility contractors.

"You'll see an expansion of halfway houses, an expansion of opportunities in the state when they know there'll be more people who are available to enter these programs," Governor Christie said. "So I think you'll see an expansion of them beyond where they are now."

Litigation Over Halfway Houses

Lawsuits have further highlighted problems with halfway houses in New Jersey. The union that represents Essex County guards filed suit in state Superior Court in August 2012, alleging that the largest halfway house in the state, the l,200-bed CEC-run Delaney Hall in Newark, has been operating for more than a decade without legal authority.

The suit, filed by the Policemen's Benevolent Association, claims that EHCA is "a sham nonprofit corporation engaged solely in activities designed to generate income" for CEC. In addition to the funding it receives for housing state prisoners and parolees, CEC also received a $130 million contract in December 2011 to house Essex County prisoners at Delaney Hall. The county, in turn, rents its jail beds to federal authorities to house federal prisoners and immigration detainees, at a substantial profit.

"We need to get a judge's opinion on whether or not it's illegal," said union local president Joe Amato, a named plaintiff in the lawsuit. "When you incorporate profits into corrections, that's when corners are cut, because everyone is worried about the bottom line instead of safety."

Further, former CEC chief financial officer David N.T. Watson filed suit against the company in 2011. Watson claimed that CEC's founder and CEO, John J. Clancy, lied about the company's financial condition when recruiting him; he also alleged he was improperly fired. Documents in the lawsuit revealed that CEC was in crisis as early as 2009. The records showed the firm had defaulted on its debts in January 2010 and contemplated bankruptcy that same year.

CEC's fiscal problems began when it expanded in states like Alabama and Texas; the company borrowed heavily for the expansion but was reportedly unable to make its payments. To avoid a debt crisis and have enough money to pay its employees, CEC laid off staff. More than 15 former workers told The New York Times that the lower staffing levels resulted in reduced reentry services for halfway house residents.

In December 2010, CEC obtained $235 million in financing with an interest rate of 15.25%, which served as a temporary band-aid for the company's debt crisis. The following year the firm received $71 million from state and local governments and had expenditures that exceeded $105 million. To forestall bankruptcy, CEC gave "investors without substantial experience in corrections a role in running the company," according to the Times.

LLR Partners, a Philadelphia-based private equity firm, and other investors contributed $53 million to CEC, largely due to then-vice president William Palatucci's close relationship with Governor Christie. The company has evidently weathered the financial storm, as it remains in business and hasn't filed for bankruptcy protection.

Watson's lawsuit against CEC was resolved in October 2012 under undisclosed terms. See: Watson v. CEC, U.S.D.C. (D. NJ), Case No. 2:11-cv-04855-WJM-MF.

... ... ...

Conclusion

...It is clear that too many halfway houses are run more with an eye on profit than on the services and programs that prisoners need to ensure a successful transition back into society – a process that should begin when offenders first enter the prison system, not just a short time before they get out. Other than Pennsylvania's recent efforts to tie halfway house contracts to reductions in recidivism rates, there has been little interest in ensuring that reentry facilities meet the many challenges faced by soon-to-be-released prisoners.

Politics has also played a damaging role in the halfway house industry, as contracts are sometimes influenced by political connections and lobbying rather than outcomes or performance measures. Government officials appear to be more interested in reducing expenses by placing offenders in halfway houses rather than investing in the resources necessary to ensure stable post-release housing and employment.

Note: The author was assigned to a federally-contracted halfway house following his release from the Bureau of Prisons in 2013. PLN writers Matt Clarke and Paresh Patel contributed to this article.

Sources: www.dismas.com, www.tampabay.com, www.wfla.com, www.nj.com, www.northjersey.com, The New York Times, http://lancasteronline.com, Palm Beach Post, www.citizensvoice.com, www.corrrectionsone.com, www.prnewswire.com, www.cor.state.pa.us, www.texasprisonbidness.org, Houston Chronicle, www1.koaa.com, http://qctimes.com, www.newsok.com, www.leoweekly.com, Washington Post, Texas Tribune, www.seattlepi.com, http://ohsonline.com, www.wvgazette.com, www.wptv.com, www.auditor.ky.gov, www.pageonekentucky.com, www.patch.com, Oklahoma Watch, www.myfoxhouston.com, http://usnews.nbcnews.com, Denver Post, www.coloradoan.com, www.statesman.com, http://standardspeaker.com

[Mar 28, 2021] New York City finances are usually separate from NY state and might be starting another financial crisis. Cities in financial crisis are cities with high crime rate

Mar 28, 2021 | www.unz.com

Thomas , says: March 25, 2021 at 2:39 pm GMT • 3.1 days ago

While others reach for easy solutions and simplistic slogans, Sharkey embraces complexity and uncertainty.

Always refreshing to see a supposed scientist say "Occam, Shmoccam."

Their public spaces have not been maintained. Their schools are underfunded.

People lost connections to institutions of community life, which include school, summer jobs programs, pools, and libraries.

The need to not mention the obvious about crime had been pushing liberals into cargo cult thinking recently, basically that if they just try to copy nice things that people have elsewhere in the ghetto, it'll rub off and make the people nice too. I shared AOC's gem from last year that defunding the police leaves you with a suburb like the one she grew up in. WaPo had some splashy, graphics-heavy section last week or so on crime in which the sole discernable new idea seemed to be using vacant land for parks.

George , says: March 25, 2021 at 2:50 pm GMT • 3.1 days ago

"But crime rates mostly seem to go up and down depending up what Important People want. E.g., from the early 1990s onward, Important People were sick of all the murders in New York City, so New York eventually became the least homicidal big city in America."

The financial crisis of the 70s onward had mostly subsided by the 1990s, those long term bonds being refinanced at lower interest rates or paid off. The freed up money allowed NYC more leeway, and at the state level the money paid for Cuomo I's jail building spree. Toss in mass immigration of high class immigrants for extra taxing power. Check out Illinois and New Jersey (and maybe CT KY) to see where problems might show up again. New York City finances are usually separate from NY state and might be starting another financial crisis.

Hateful Hornytoad , says: March 25, 2021 at 2:51 pm GMT • 3.1 days ago

From a pure cost-benefit perspective, taking emotion and morality out of it, are blacks shooting blacks in large number better or worse for society? Given the criminality of young black men particularly might it be a net positive?

Abelard Lindsey , says: March 25, 2021 at 3:05 pm GMT • 3.0 days ago

The Atlantic discounts Lead exposure as a cause of violent crime. It is even easier to discount economic private as a cause as well. 9/11 and the tech crash as well as the general financial crash had no impact on crime at all.

It is also worth noting that white crime peeked around 1977 and has slowly declined even since. The late 80's to early 90's, the gangsta rap crime wave, was all black and was mainly connected to disputes over the distribution of crack cocaine in black neighborhoods. Call it distributor wars.

[Mar 10, 2021] JOHN KIRIAKOU- Poison in Prison Consortiumnews

Mar 10, 2021 | consortiumnews.com

A private food service company "accidentally" sold dog food to feed prisoners mis-marked as "ground beef for tacos." There was no punishment for the company or its executives.

A federal prison in Littleton, Colorado, 2011. (Vetatur Fumare, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

A friend recently forwarded to me an article from The New York Times which talked about a group of Maine state prisoners who have taken to raising their own fruits and vegetables in the prison yard because there was literally no healthy or nourishing food provided to them by prison authorities. One prisoner likened the daily meal to "a ground up gym mat with spices." The article said:

"Of the seemingly endless tally of injustices of mass incarceration, one of the worst humiliations gets little attention from outside: the food. This shadow issue -- the 3,000 bologna sandwiches, mystery meats slathered on white bread, soy filler masquerading as chicken and other culinary indignities consumed during a prison sentence -- permeates life behind bars and instills a nearly universal sense of disgust."

Prison food is high on refined carbohydrates, sodium and sugar and low on nutrients -- diets the rest of us have been told to avoid. Like everything about prisons, it disproportionately affects people of color, and it has grown worse during the pandemic. With most states spending $3 or less per person a day for meals, penitentiaries have become hidden food deserts, paralleling the neighborhoods from which many inmates have come."

I can tell you definitively that this is true. My first full day in prison after blowing the whistle on the CIA's torture program was a Friday "fish day." One of the members of the "Italian contingent" warned me on my way to the cafeteria. "Don't eat the fish. We call it sewer trout. We're not even sure if it's fish." When I got to the cafeteria and got in line, I saw cases stacked up behind the servers. They were in plain view and were clearly marked, "Alaskan Cod–Product of China–Not for Human Consumption–Feed Use Only." I threw lunch away.

Mid-Week 'Tacos'

Pet food aisle in New York, 2007. (Jeffrey O. Gustafson, CC-BY-SA-2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Wednesdays in all federal prisons are "Mexican food days" and dinner is always what authorities call "tacos." They're unlike any tacos I've ever seen. I realized why when I read an article in Prison Legal News magazine , a publication of the Human Rights Defense Center. It said that, "a private food service company, John Soules Foods Inc., 'accidentally' sold dog food to prisons to be fed to prisoners mismarked as 'ground beef' for tacos." There was no punishment for the company or its executives, other than a $392,000 fine, the cost of the investigation, paid to the U.S. Treasury.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1368951410377826305&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fconsortiumnews.com%2F2021%2F03%2F10%2Fjohn-kiriakou-poison-in-prison%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px

Prisoners got nothing. Not even an apology. And the shame of the story is that nobody could even tell that it was dog food. It tasted the same as everything else prisoners are served.

In the two years I was in prison, for example, I never saw the crown of a stalk of broccoli. Prisoners only get stems and only fruits and vegetables that are so damaged and ugly that they can't possibly be sold in a grocery store. "Special meals," like those on Thanksgiving and Christmas, called for a "selection of holiday pies," according to the prisoner handbook. Well, the selection of holiday pies was a chocolate "Cliff Bar" that had expired a year earlier.

"Nobody could even tell that it was dog food. It tasted the same as everything else prisoners are served."

Once we got bagels. But they were all dyed green from the previous year's St. Patrick's Day, they hadn't sold, and they had been frozen for a year.

Things got so bad that one Iraqi prisoner and I once scoured the prison yard for dandelions, with which we made a salad with stolen olive oil from the cafeteria and salt and pepper. It was the only salad I had in two years. And I had to eat it secretly, lest I be sent to solitary.

The Warden in Maine

With that said, there's a relatively easy fix to all this. The New York Times article that I cited above introduces us to the warden of a Maine state prison, Randall Liberty. Liberty is the son of a former prisoner who grew up on public assistance and who became a master certified gardener and beekeeper.

When he became a warden, the article says, he was "horrified" to learn that leftover food was being thrown away every day. He introduced a class to teach prisoners how to compost, and he immediately instituted a mandatory composting policy. This resulted in a fertile two-and-a-half acre garden that now produces much of the prison's food, including 77,000 pounds of apples annually.

Many are consumed in-house, and all the excess is sent to neighboring prisons. The program saves millions of dollars a year and it keep prisoners healthy, busy, and learning how to farm. There's literally no downside. So why isn't every prison doing this?

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act -- a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


J Joon , March 10, 2021 at 15:32

No one is surprised, are they? This is how America, as controlled by gangster-capitalist neoliberal fascist capitalists, is operated. They will sacrifice all of you, and then remunerate and reward themselves massively. Ever notice? No matter how incompetently, criminally, stupidly, that neoliberal fascists run things, no matter if they bankrupt and ruin companies and institutions, they will pay themselves more than you and everyone you know will ever have. They never suffer, and never pay for anything in any way. I think there is a slow genocide underway. All they have to do is call themselves "job creators". They certainly have created a bunch of "Jobs".

Ron Linker , March 10, 2021 at 12:28

the cheapest foods, cabbage, carrots and beans are served every day sometimes for all 3 meals. When the beans tray gets low they just add water. cream of wheat was called "grits". Another item was "Texas Hash" but there was never any hash. I think it was there way of renaming cabbage.

Vera Gottlieb , March 10, 2021 at 11:02

Is there no end to the shamelessness of American businesses??? Is there ever an end to all the cheating? People with no integrity, no moral compass? But honestly what is to be expected of a mentality that believes "cheating is OK, just don't get caught".

John Rowland , March 10, 2021 at 09:50

In the 1950's in my Canadian City, our local prison was producing all of its own food, and actually selling into the local market at a profit. The local food growers association got into the act, and lobbied the local (Provincial) government to have the prison farm shut down, so they did not have to compete.

More recently, the Harper Government (Federal) shut down all the prison farms in Canada.

The irony is that now, there are no prison farms, and most of our fresh food is imported from Mexico or California. (A small amount does come in from another province – BC)

dfnslblty , March 10, 2021 at 09:38

A good look at the inhuman result of vulture capitalism.
None should be treated in this manner.
$$$ and avarice motivate privatization by govt – prosecute legislators who persecute We, The People.

Keep writing.

MIchael Lewis Kahn , March 10, 2021 at 09:26

Do you really think that saving money, or to correct criminals are motivations for the legal system? Don't be naive. The legal system is the enforcer for the status quo:go to college, be indoctrinated, get married, buy a house and a new car, put yourself in debt, work for rich bossman making him richer, be obedient in every way, or you lose it all and end up in prison. The alternative is to join the military and be a murderer for hire, or to work minimum wage slave labor. We are a free country, and you must agree or go to prison. Prison is in no way corrective, is not a deterrent for crime, and is mostly filled with drug-related offenders. Many pleaded guilty to prevent worse sentences, and of them, many were innocent. You were a common criminal, and so was I. Where I was the food was somewhat better, but being that I have done research on the legal system, and have the courage to tell the guards what I know, and to admonish them and ask them how they can live with themselves, I was diagnosed with a mental illness, and forced to take chemicals which removed my appetite and willingness to exercise. After all, us criminals must be controlled. My crime was to write a book EXPOSING THE MONEY MACHINE which exposed who the powers really are, and which promoted socialism, debunked the medical and psychiatric fields, and exposed some repugnant policies of the US rulers.

Patricia Tursi, Ph.D. , March 10, 2021 at 09:15

People in prison may be guilty of a crime or not. Either way, they are humans who deserve a healthy meal. All private prisons should be banned. Prison industries should not be free of taxes, or the pay from the industries totally confiscated for prison charges. "The Maine State Prison Showroom, still located on Route 1 in Thomaston, Maine (207-354-9237), is the largest retailer of over 600 crafted products, but there are also over 60 private vendors approved to resell prison-made goods throughout the State of Maine." This is a good shelter for some industries who have a captive work force. It is wrong how it is handled, but working and learning a trade is a positive. It's all in how it is handled.

Vera Gottlieb , March 10, 2021 at 11:03

The American mentality is: make a buck, not matter how.

Dwight , March 10, 2021 at 15:43

I agree. Growing healthy food would also be a positive. Artisanal organic sauerkraut, for example, looking at an item in my frig I'm blessed to be able to buy. Let prisoners grow and sell healthy foods to stores in their communities, and eat the same food. Feed their bodies and souls. The punishment is incarceration, it shouldn't be malnutrition and other physical torments.

[Feb 28, 2021] American Gulag

Actually at lest some private prisons are run better and feed prisoners better than federal prisons. So as for "Privatization of prisons has made things worse" it depends. But some private institution engaged in "re-entry" programs are a real hell. With abusive guards and pretty draconian control of each move of inmates.
Feb 28, 2021 | www.counterpunch.org

Privatization of prisons has made things worse. Of federal prisoners, 19.1 percent are in private prisons, as are 6.8 percent of those in state prisons. These privately run hellholes turn a profit by jacking up fees for inmates from everything from phone calls to mail to video-conferencing with a lawyer. They also make money by skimping on decent food and proper medicines and have lots of other ingenious ways to squeeze dollars out of their captives. Politically, private prisons are a reactionary force, promoting, naturally, tougher crime laws and longer sentences. Because that's how they make money – for them, the more prisoners, the better. Private prisons contributed to the 408 percent increase in the U.S. prison population from 1978 to 2014.

... "In 2017, there were 219,000 women in U.S. prisons and jails, most of them poor and of color," Kaba writes, observing that the incarceration rate for black women is double that for white women. She argues that abuse survivors are systematically punished "for trying to protect themselves and their children," that it is "hurt people who hurt other people," and that prison simply should not figure in the equation.

This book recounts terrible stories of women punished for defending themselves, but one, from Florida, presents a very bitter irony: Marissa Alexander fired a warning shot into the air to force her violent husband to back off. For this, she faced 60 years in prison. She would have seemed a likely candidate for Florida's infamous "stand your ground law" – right? But the judge said no, because she had not demonstrated fear. She was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison. (After three years in prison and two under house arrest, she was released, thanks to a national campaign to free her and to some very effective lawyers.)

Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Birdbrain . She can be reached at her website .

[Feb 05, 2021] Unemployment- Ex-con job seekers among many struggling to find work

Feb 05, 2021 | www.usatoday.com

Back in 2015, Bill Livolsi Jr. had no trouble finding work even though he'd been convicted of wire fraud and was upfront with potential employers about his crime.

But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am applying to jobs left, right and sideways, " says Livolsi, who has been looking for work since April when he was released from federal prison after serving a 13-month sentence for the crime. "It is extremely difficult ... They're picking the cream of the crop when there are opportunities.''

Almost 1 in 3 adults in the United States has a criminal record, and finding a job when you have a past arrest or conviction has never been easy. But it's become even more difficult in the midst of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 health crisis that has left millions of Americans unemployed and significantly increased the competition for jobs, public policy experts say.

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"Because of COVID-19 ... everybody is having a harder time, and that would be exacerbated for people who are being released from prison,'' says Kristen Broady, policy director for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, which focuses on economic policy.

Low-wage positions, a lifeline for those with limited prospects, are in high demand and short supply. Restaurants and other industries that offer lower-paying jobs have struggled amid shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. And with a national unemployment rate of 6.7%, employers who have their pick of applicants may be less inclined to hire someone with a record, Broady and others say.

The hiring dip threatens to slow the progress led by a growing number of states and municipalities to restore the rights of ex-offenders. They are passing laws that wipe criminal records clean, allow some who've committed felonies to vote, and bar employers from asking about criminal histories early in the hiring process.

Most urgently, the hiring slowdown may make it harder for the 620,000 men and women released from prison each year to get a fresh start and contribute to their communities, advocates and ex-offenders say.

"Meaningful employment is crucial,'' says Livolsi, 61, who lives in Owasso, Oklahoma. "It's crucial to rebuild your self-esteem, to rebuild your ties with your family, and just to be able to put food on the table.''

COVID-19 makes hiring harder

The jobless rate for those who've been incarcerated has typically been much higher than the general population. A Brookings report published in March 2018 found that 45% of those released from prison did not have any reported pay in the first calendar year after they returned home.

Economy shrinks: Economy grew 4% in the fourth quarter as COVID-19 raged, consumers curtailed spending, and shrank 3.5% in 2020

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The current jobless rate for those who've been incarcerated is unclear, but placement services that work with ex-offenders believe it's risen during a pandemic that has caused unemployment to soar across the board.

The Center for Employment Opportunities, which provides transitional employment, coaching and job placement for those released from prison, made 368 placements in April 2019. But in April 2020, near the start of the COVID-19 health crisis, only 140 of its applicants were able to find work.

Similarly, for the period between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2019, the center found jobs for 1,793 of its applicants, but placements dropped by half, to 900, during that same period last year.

"We already know that in hiring, people with convictions face tremendous hurdles and I think COVID has just exacerbated those situations,'' says Chris Watler, the center's chief external affairs officer.

70 Million Jobs, an employment agency for those with criminal records, says it was particularly successful in finding former offenders jobs in shipping, warehouses and food processing plants. But as the pandemic took hold, "business dropped almost overnight, by 90%,'' says its founder Richard Bronson.

"We were doing very well and then we were virtually out of business," says Bronson, a former financial services executive who started the agency after he served time in prison.

Will they commit more crimes?

Job seekers who are ex-offenders have to overcome stigma and suspicions that they can't be trusted and may be prone to commit another crime, Bronson says. But historically low unemployment rates before the pandemic, which left tens of thousands of jobs unfilled, made employers more receptive to applicants who'd been incarcerated.

The need for workers also boosted efforts by organizations like the Society for Human Resource Management to get employers to commit to giving qualified applicants with a criminal record an equal chance to be hired.

But barriers to employment have remained steep. A majority of employers still check to see if job applicants have past convictions, and a host of laws prohibit people convicted of a felony from getting licenses necessary to work in various higher-paying fields such as health care or cosmetology.

Those obstacles have ramifications for not only the individuals who struggle to find work but the economy as a whole, social justice experts say.

"There is a public safety angle if people can't find jobs when released from prison,'' says Ames Grawert, senior counsel for the Justice Program at New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice. "It's more likely they'll return to crime which no one wants. And there's research that homelessness is more likely and deep poverty... Even those who do find jobs earn shockingly less than their peers."

The economy suffers

The broader labor market suffers as well. When those with felony convictions or who've been incarcerated struggle to find jobs, the economy loses out on roughly 1.7 to 1.9 million workers, and between $78 billion and $87 billion in gross domestic product, according to a paper by the Center for Economic and Policy Research), released in June 2016, that examined 2014 data.

Having a job can help reduce the chance ex-offenders will commit new crimes, though the quality of the position and the ability to earn higher wages is key to success as well, research shows.

Getting Out And Staying Out, a New York area reentry program, says that recidivism rates for its participants who've gone to school, undergone training, received mentorship, or gotten jobs in the previous 90 days are 15% or lower, compared with 67% for young men in a similar age group nationwide. The recidivism rates for its participants dropped as low as 10% early on in the pandemic, says Sonya Shields, Getting Out And Staying Out's chief operating officer.

Eager to use new skills in jobs

Chauncey Floyd, who returned home last year after serving nearly 16 years in prison, says that like him, many former offenders just want to move on from their pasts and provide for themselves and their families.

Floyd says he was eager to find a job using the computer programming skills he learned while incarcerated. But conversations with potential employers usually end when he tells them he has a record.

"I was ... trying to find a career, not necessarily trying to grab a job just to have one,'' says Floyd, 46, who is living with family members in South Carolina.

He's now looking for more manual positions and hopes to eventually start his own business. "You just want to basically have a chance,'' Floyd says. "Me, going to prison, I don't want to pay for it for the rest of my life Some people actually just want to do better.''

Don't ask about criminal records in job interviews

While hiring has slowed, larger efforts to give ex-offenders more opportunities continue, advocates and public policy experts say.

Twenty-six states and Washington, D.C., have passed legislation that bar employers in the public or private sectors from asking early in the hiring process if an applicant has a criminal record, says Michael Hartman of the National Conference of State Legislature's Civil & Criminal Justice Program.

And several states, including Pennsylvania, California, North Carolina, and Utah, have passed or are considering "clean slate'' laws that automatically clear the records of some offenders after a certain amount of time, according to a compilation of research on reentry hurdles and initiatives by the Center for American Progress, National Employment Law Project and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.

On the federal level, U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced the "Clean Slate Act'' in December which would automatically seal the federal records of those arrested for simple drug possession. Those convicted of such offenses would have their records sealed after they finish their sentence. And the legislation would also create a framework for ex-offenders to request the sealing of records for other nonviolent crimes.

"That was a real breakthrough,'' Grawert said of the bipartisan bill, which if passed will make it easier for people who've been arrested or convicted to find work without answering questions about their past.

Promises after George Floyd death

Promises by many businesses to address systemic racism in the wake of the protests that followed the killings of George Floyd and other African Americans could also open up opportunities for the formerly incarcerated, who are disproportionately Black and Latino, advocates say.

"I'm hopeful because I see in the job seekers that I work with a real passion to work, to contribute, to grow,'' says Watler. "And increasingly, I'm seeing employers ... waking up to the fact that their practices have to evolve.''

Follow Charisse Jones on Twitter @charissejones

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[Aug 05, 2020] What's wrong with "cancel culture" - they cancel wrong people: If housing prices are so high that ordinary workers cannot afford the rent, then millionaires will complain that they can no longer afford to keep a third home.

Notable quotes:
"... This is the lens through which I see so-called cancel culture: there is a real problem, for ordinary people, of having your life severely damaged by a trivial offense, or by no offense at all. And of course, predictably, elite whiners want to hijack this real concern in order to maintain their impunity. ..."
"... But the elites are a parasitical epiphenomenon: they are attempting to take advantage of a pre-existing problem that hurts other people far more than it hurts them. And our justifiable contempt for the elites should not blind us to the existence of a real social problem that affects non-elites. ..."
"... So, shed no tears for Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens. They do not need protecting -- they are already coddled far too much. When the OP focuses on their plights as examples of "cancel culture," then cancel culture, so-described, looks like a well-deserved comeuppance, a refreshing chink in the armor of elite impunity. ..."
"... So, elite suffering is a side-show here (as it so often is). Focus on the lives of the non-elite. Their suffering should control our responses to the situation. Focus on the contingent academics fired from their jobs for speaking their minds. On the worker falsely accused of a white-power sign. ..."
Aug 05, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

oldster 08.05.20 at 1:59 pm (no link)

Whenever there is a real social problem that affects many people, then rich, entitled elites will attempt to commandeer it in order to consolidate their privilege.

If the sentencing guidelines are draconian and cruel, sending poor people to prison for their lives, then white-collar criminals will complain that their 6-month sentence is a gross injustice that proves they should be let out on bail.

If housing prices are so high that ordinary workers cannot afford the rent, then millionaires will complain that they can no longer afford to keep a third home.

It's a predictable phenomenon. Elites will pretend that their minor inconveniences are epic agonies, in order to be spared even minor inconveniences. We know this.

But we also know that the mere fact of elite whinging is no evidence that there is not a real problem for non-elites.

In fact, the sentencing guidelines are unconscionably harsh: a man in Louisiana has been sent to jail for life, for stealing a pair of secateurs, and the Louisiana supreme court has declined to intervene.
In fact, housing is too expensive, and ordinary people are suffering on a massive scale from artificial scarcity designed to entrench real-estate wealth. The rent is too damned high.

This is the lens through which I see so-called cancel culture: there is a real problem, for ordinary people, of having your life severely damaged by a trivial offense, or by no offense at all. And of course, predictably, elite whiners want to hijack this real concern in order to maintain their impunity.

But the elites are a parasitical epiphenomenon: they are attempting to take advantage of a pre-existing problem that hurts other people far more than it hurts them. And our justifiable contempt for the elites should not blind us to the existence of a real social problem that affects non-elites.

The pre-existing problems are those that Natalie Wynn enumerates: assumptions of guilt, essentializing moves from a single bad act to a wicked character, guilt by association, impossibility of forgiveness, and so on. These patterns pre-exist the internet, and are probably to be found in even small-scale societies. They are pathologies that are closely related to healthy and functional mechanisms of social cohesion, as tumor-growth is related to tissue-growth.

So, shed no tears for Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens. They do not need protecting -- they are already coddled far too much. When the OP focuses on their plights as examples of "cancel culture," then cancel culture, so-described, looks like a well-deserved comeuppance, a refreshing chink in the armor of elite impunity.

Fine: I agree with all of that. I also agree that I would love to see white-collar criminals go to jail for 20-50 years, and I'd love to see millionaires unable to afford a third house.

But it would be crazy to move from that stance to saying, "and I'd love to see petty thieves sent to jail for life, and I'd love to see minimum wage workers evicted from their homes because they cannot make the rent."

So, elite suffering is a side-show here (as it so often is). Focus on the lives of the non-elite. Their suffering should control our responses to the situation. Focus on the contingent academics fired from their jobs for speaking their minds. On the worker falsely accused of a white-power sign.

And what should be done after we focus on these things? Not what the right-wing zealots say, under the false flag of "free speech": not bringing back a regime in which the powerful can use slurs to subjugate the powerless.

No: if someone repeatedly uses the n-word in order to inflict pain and humiliation on others, then they should suffer real consequences. I totally agree with that. If someone repeatedly addresses a co-worker with the pronouns that offend them, and does so knowing that it will offend them, then they should suffer real consequences.

But I reject zero-tolerance regimes. A black school-guard asking students not to use the n-word should not be punished at all for mentioning the n-word. A well-meaning and supportive co-worker who mistakenly uses the wrong pronoun on one occasion should not be punished at all for that faux pas.

And along with zero-tolerance regimes, we should also get rid of the parade of abuses that Natalie Wynn lists: assumptions of guilt without evidence, guilt by association, refusal of forgiveness, and so on.

That's a practical agenda that allows for us to make fun of elite opinion makers as much as we like, allows us to hurl twitter tomatoes at J.K Rowling all day long, and in no way interferes with any notion of free speech worth defending.

[Jun 03, 2020] Justice under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Once one realizes 'justice' [under neoliberalism] is a monetized commodity, lawlessness becomes a viable [and justifiable] option. ..."
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.

[May 30, 2020] Five classes of Federal prisoners

May 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , May 30 2020 2:27 utc | 148

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 30 2020 0:46 utc | 133 Whites who run into trouble with the law usually occur more often in rural areas where whites live in poverty.

Having been in Federal prison, I can tell you that there are five classes of Federal prisoners:

1) Urban blacks.
2) Urban Latinos.
3) White Urban Thugs.
4) White Rural Rednecks.
5) White Middle- and Upper-Class Professionals.

And a smattering of Asians, Native Americans, and foreigners, and perhaps some other statistically insignificant sorts.

Class 5 are a very small minority. By far 95% of the prisoners in Federal custody are in the first four classes. Their common characteristics are poor, badly educated, stupid, and malicious. Probably 75-85% are in for drugs - either using or selling. 75% of bank robber are robbing banks to either buy drugs or get money to buy drugs to sell them. I was an exception - I was robbing banks to get money to buy weapons and other resources to bury the people who run this country. If it wasn't for the "War on Drugs", most of these guys would be stealing hubcaps and robbing liquor stores. They aren't smart enough to do anything else.

That's it. That's American crime on the Federal level. On the state level, you can add in your rapists, your burglars, your muggers, your armed robbers who stick up liquor stores, etc. All of whom, I guarantee you, are in the same classes and do crime for the same reasons (although maybe more rapists are middle-class since sex crosses demographic lines, I don't know.)

"Rural areas are often much less densely populated and, as a result, I posit that instances of police brutality go often unrecorded."

No one wants to offend the local sheriff in small towns. Rural redneck sheriffs in this country are a standing joke in the movies because they're real.

"I posit that blacks being in densely populated urban areas have a much greater chance of having their interaction recorded by bystanders than whites in rural areas who are having trouble with the police."

Keep in mind that ghetto blacks *do* have serious behavioral problems, both in terms of tendency to commit crimes and tendency to be unable to interact with white authority figures or any authority figures for that matter. This is the result of generations of racism. On an individual level, ghetto blacks can be hostile, impatient, massively ignorant of what constitutes "acceptable behavior", and a variety of other personality issues. Again, this is the result of generations of racism.

I have interacted with ghetto blacks on a daily basis for at least the last thirty years. I have lived in areas and buildings where a significant proportion of the residents were black, and I was in prison for nine years with them. Trust me when I say that many, if not most (and certainly not all), of these people have serious social interaction problems as a result of the same characteristics as the prisoners I described above. I've gotten along with some, but I expend effort to avoid most, because my daily observations have proven to me that many (again, not necessarily most - I am not a statistician - or all) have extremely bad outcomes in interactions with each other, let alone white people.

That, of course, does not justify using excessive police force against someone who merely bad-mouths them. Cops are supposed to be "professionals" (not that they ever have been in history in any country that I'm aware of - even including Japan whose prisons I have read are extremely bad). But the US population has been conditioned from school years to "trust Officer Friendly" - along with stupid cop shows like "Adam-12" and others which either show cops violating people's rights with impunity - to condition people to accept that as "normal" because "they're only criminals" - or show cops as "nice guys". Then there's the old "a few bad apples" schtick - which was disproven in New York back in the Seventies when it was proven that *every* cop in New York was on the take, plus the vast string of thuggish behavior recorded over the past thirty years. And again, the over-militarization of police forces everywhere (even some small town I read about got an armored military vehicle from the Feds.)

I occasionally read articles in Police Magazine - one of the main publications for cops. They *always* take the side of the cops in these matters. There is a "cop mentality" which is an "us vs them" mentality - and "we is us", to paraphrase the comic strips.

I'm always careful to read reports of police misuse of force carefully, because as having some knowledge of police procedures, some knowledge of combat firearms use, and the like, and what is reasonable use of force in terms of self-defense whether one is a cop or not, a lot of times people don't get the view of the cop who views himself as under threat or to what degree the cop might actually have been under threat. They assume, for example, that if a cop shoots a guy with a knife who is thirty feet away it's a clear case of over-reaction (it's not, a knife-wielder is a threat at least out to 21 feet, as has been proven in tests by cops and martial artists.)

But that didn't apply in the Rodney King case, and from what I'm seeing in the Floyd case, it doesn't apply here. Hopefully the facts will come out in court and the cop will go to jail. Except he'll probably be put in isolation, so no one can shank him. Sucks for him to be isolated, but he deserves worse.

Of course, the problem then is that the remaining cops will take it out on blacks on the street even more than they do now.

Because it's the *system*, not just one cop. And the *system* is not just so-called "law enforcement" or even the economic "system" (which is what cops *really* "enforce"). It's the whole society-state system (which is also what cops *really* enforce). And in the end, as I've said before, that deconstructs down to the "human system." Which, unfortunately, is no "system" at all - just a mass of emotional brain biochemistry distorted by delusions and fear.

Richard Steven Hack , May 30 2020 2:45 utc | 152

Posted by: Nemesiscalling | May 30 2020 1:05 utc | 134 I witness poverty daily

As do I - especially since I am poor. Not as poor as some people in my building - I do get some retirement income - but poor nonetheless.

"Part of me finds their situation detestable and self-caused."

Some of it is. But as I said above, that was caused from generations of racism. There's a limit to "free will", if you're hammered from infancy.

"But dealing with urban blacks is no cakewalk and probably the hardest beat in policing bar none."

True, as I indicated above.

"Anyone been to Baltimore lately or south-side Chicago. Didn't think so."

I've been to similar places in San Francisco - or rather, I avoid those places, like Hunter's Point. But I live in the Tenderloin, often considered the worst neighborhood - but the most residents here are Vietnamese since the Vietnam war ended, not blacks or Latinos - but the percentage is growing.

"Bring these cops to justice, that is fine. But their faces...pure evil? I think not."

OTOH, consider the cops involved in that New York case where they sodomized a black guy with a broomstick inside the police station. I saw a video of those guys. Those guys were straight-out white Italian thugs. They could have been members of the Mafia.

As many people have noted in the past, the difference between a criminal and a cop is that cops wear badges and are legally allowed to carry guns. I really don't think that most people who become cops do so because they want to "protect and serve." Maybe some do at the beginning, but after being in the "system" for a while they become jaded and corrupted - or they leave. I think most people who become cops do so because they have an inferiority complex or a fear that they can't compete in "the real world" - so they join a militarized organization where they have authority and get to carry a gun with more or less impunity. Everyone has probably run across a security guard with the same authoritarian attitude at some point - it's the same mentality.

I saw a lot of different correctional officers while in Federal prison. Some made an effort to be professional and fair in their dealings with inmates, a lot were complete assholes who enjoyed pushing inmates around and making things worse for inmates. And some were simply brutal thugs who were capable of killing an inmate who got in their faces - as has happened. A lot of them were "down-sized military" - ex-military who were down-sized in the '80's and '90's because they were too dumb to ever be promoted in the military.

A lot of cops are ex-military, too. I watch a lot of Youtube videos from preppers and firearms people who are ex-military or ex-police, and they almost all have the same authoritarian attitude and political views. They may have good information, but their personal political philosophies are anathema to me.

Again, it's the "system" that produces "evil" cops. But anyone who joins an "evil" system is either woefully uninformed - or they prefer such a system, consciously or subconciously.

[May 27, 2020] JOHN KIRIAKOU Michael Flynn the FBI Setup Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... 25th Anniversary Spring Fund Drive ..."
"... The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News. ..."
May 27, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

M uch has been made in recent weeks of whether or not former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn should or should not have been prosecuted for making a false statement to the FBI in 2017.

Flynn allegedly lied to two FBI agents about what he had said in a conversation with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak. But we know now that the FBI agents set him up, emailing each other in the days before they interviewed Flynn and asking whether their goal should be to trick him into lying so that they could prosecute him or "get him fired."

The Flynn case is, in a nutshell, exactly what is wrong with our criminal justice system. Former Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson warned us in 1940 that cases like Flynn's would become the norm:

Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson. (Harris & Ewing, U.S. Library of Congress, Wikimedia Commons)

"The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation that any other person in America. His discretion is tremendous. He can have citizens investigated and, if he is that kind of person, he can have this done to the tune of public statements and veiled or unveiled intimations. Or the prosecutor may choose a more subtle course and simply have a citizen's friends interviewed. The prosecutor can order arrests, present cases to the grand jury in secret session, and on the basis of his one-sided presentation of the facts, can cause the citizen to be indicted and held for trial. He may dismiss the case before trial, in which case the defense never has a chance to be heard. Or he may go on with a public trial. If he obtains a conviction, the prosecutor can still make recommendations as to sentence, as to whether the prisoner should get probation or a suspended sentence, and after he is put away, as to whether he is a fit subject for parole. While the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst."

The problem has become largely a bureaucratic one. Do you think prosecutors get promoted or reelected by not prosecuting people? Do you think they get promoted or reelected by not seeking the longest possible sentences for those they convict? Of course not. Just imagine the trophy that Michael Flynn, a retired star lieutenant general and national security adviser, would have been in a prosecutor's career.

Please Contribute to Consortium News' 25th Anniversary Spring Fund Drive

A 2012 study by ProPublica found that the Justice Department wins 98.2 percent of its cases, almost all as a result of a plea deal. So, what strategies do prosecutors use to ensure a conviction? There are two common ones: charge stacking and venue shopping .

Charge Stacking

Charge stacking is just what it sounds like. Let's say a defendant appears to have committed a crime; let's say mortgage fraud. The prosecutor doesn't charge him with just mortgage fraud. He'll add a couple of conspiracy charges and maybe a charge each of wire fraud and mail fraud. The defendant is now facing 50 years in prison, rather than five. So, what does the magnanimous prosecutor do? He offers to drop all the other charges if the defendant pleads guilty to the original charge of mortgage fraud. It's no wonder there are so many innocent people in prison. Most people wouldn't risk 50 years in prison if they can accept a plea, get a sentence of two years, and make the whole thing go away.

Venue Shopping

Jeffrey Sterling in 2016. (Eleivy, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Venue shopping is another nice trick. Prosecutors will seek to charge a defendant in the federal district where he or she is most likely to be convicted. CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling is a great example of venue shopping. Jeffrey blew the whistle on racial discrimination at the CIA, as well as an illegal program targeting the Iranian nuclear program. He was accused of passing classified information to then- New York Times reporter James Risen, who then used the information in a book. Risen lived in Maryland and worked in Washington, D.C., at the time. Sterling lived and worked in St. Louis. But he was prosecuted in the Eastern District of Virginia, known as the "espionage court" because no national security defendant has ever won a case there.

Prosecutors knew that Sterling couldn't win there, so they had a secretary buy Risen's book at a Barnes & Noble in Arlington, Virginia. Bingo. They had a "crime" committed in the Eastern District. (The feds argued that because Risen's book contained classified information, its very existence was a crime. The secretary's purchase of the book, by this logic, caught Sterling in the act of passing the information to the secretary through the book in Virginia and committing espionage, the charge against him.)

Sterling insisted on his innocence and he decided to go to trial. He was convicted of nine felonies, including seven counts of espionage. He is finally out of prison and still maintains his innocence. But the prosecutors got their scalp.

The system is broken and there's no easy fix. Ours is an adversarial legal system. The French and others have a magistrate system where the courts investigate crimes and work with the defendant's attorneys to get the truth. If the person is guilty, the two sides work together to come up with the fairest and most just solution. But in an adversarial system, one side wins and one side loses. That's why Robert Jackson's words are so important. Remember the power and authority of the prosecutor. And until we see real, systemic changes in our justice system, we can only keep our fingers crossed.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act -- a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

[May 11, 2020] We Could All Be General Michael Flynn Tomorrow by Scott Ritter

Notable quotes:
"... "[Plea bargaining] is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system; it is the criminal justice system." ..."
"... Federal prosecutors are equipped with a considerable range of legal weapons that can be used to compel confessions and discourage a jury trial, including charge-stacking (charging multiple criminal counts derived from a single act), mandatory-minimum sentences which eliminate discretion on the part of a sentencing judge, pretrial confinement, inordinately high bail, threats against friends and family, and the reality that any sentence handed down after trial will be substantially greater than one that could be reached via a plea bargain. ..."
"... The upside of such a process is a streamlined criminal justice system which places a premium on convictions and incarceration without the cost of a trial. The downside, however, is an unacceptably high rate of false confessions obtained by the plea deal process -- the National Registry of Exonerations estimates that as many as 20 percent of all plea deal-related confessions are false . ..."
"... The Obama national security team abused its power by unmasking Flynn's identity, then leaked Flynn's identity to the press, using this press reporting to justify the continuance of a baseless counterintelligence investigation in order to set a perjury trap intended to place Flynn in legal jeopardy. This is not how American justice is supposed to be dispensed, and the fact that Flynn had to undergo this ordeal should send a shiver down every American's spine, because if left unchecked, there but for the grace of God go us all. ..."
May 11, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The Department of Justice's case against retired Army Lieutenant General and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has exposed an ugly reality involving the abuse of power at the highest levels of the Executive Office all the way down the justice system this country ostensibly holds so dear.

Plea bargains are an unfortunate reality of an American system of justice which finds merit in coercing people to admit guilt for crimes they didn't commit in order to avoid the expense of a trial and to prevent friends and family from potential legal liability. If the purpose behind such procedural abuse of power is to fight actual crime, the American people have grown accustomed to turning a blind eye. But if the purpose is to exact political revenge on someone who has incurred the disfavor of those in power, then the plea bargain system is a direct assault on the Constitution that should insult every American, regardless where they stand on the respective merits of the case. General Flynn's case falls firmly in the latter category.

Mike Flynn isn't everyone's cup of tea. The controversial intelligence officer is perhaps best known for his short 24-day tenure as President Trump's National Security Advisor, relieved of his duties for allegedly lying about a conversation he had with then-Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak. The FBI claimed Flynn had lied about this conversation to its agents during a January 24, 2017 interview , a charge Flynn subsequently pled guilty to .

But in a surprising turn of events, the Department of Justice has dropped its case against Flynn on the eve of his being sentenced in a Federal Court. In their dismissal of the case, the Justice department concluded that the FBI's interview with Flynn was "conducted without any legitimate investigative basis" and that the questioning was "untethered to, and unjustified by, the F.B.I.'s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn."

Flynn's many critics have cried foul, claiming the dismissal is nothing short of a perversion of justice carried out at the behest of President Trump by an overly partisan Attorney General, William Barr. Flynn's supporters have praised this outcome as a clear case of exoneration in the face of corrupt FBI agents who abused the extraordinary powers they wield to engage in Constitutionally impermissible conduct designed to frame the former General.

In 2018, the Department of Justice initiated approximately 80,000 federal prosecutions . Two percent of these cases went to trial, with an 83 percent conviction rate. Of the remaining 98 percent of the cases, some 90 percent ended with the defendant pleading guilty; the remaining 8 percent were dismissed. The plea process is so prevalent and pervasive in the U.S. Court system that in the Supreme Court's 2012 decision in Missouri v. Frye , Justice Steven Kennedy, writing for the majority, quoted a prominent law review article which concluded that "[Plea bargaining] is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system; it is the criminal justice system."

Federal prosecutors are equipped with a considerable range of legal weapons that can be used to compel confessions and discourage a jury trial, including charge-stacking (charging multiple criminal counts derived from a single act), mandatory-minimum sentences which eliminate discretion on the part of a sentencing judge, pretrial confinement, inordinately high bail, threats against friends and family, and the reality that any sentence handed down after trial will be substantially greater than one that could be reached via a plea bargain.

The upside of such a process is a streamlined criminal justice system which places a premium on convictions and incarceration without the cost of a trial. The downside, however, is an unacceptably high rate of false confessions obtained by the plea deal process -- the National Registry of Exonerations estimates that as many as 20 percent of all plea deal-related confessions are false .

The reason for such a high rate of occurrence rests in the coercive reality attached to the tools used by the prosecutor to leverage a plea in the first place. For someone who is guilty of a crime, a plea deal that reduces a potential 20-year sentence to five is very attractive. For an innocent person, however, the prospect of not being able to afford competent legal representation (an all-too reality, especially in one is subjected to pre-trial confinement and as such unable to earn a living), combined with potential threats made to prosecute family and friends, make pleading guilty to a crime not committed a viable option.

The plea bargain process also facilitates prosecutorial misconduct. By pleading guilty, a defendant cedes control of the processes of justice to the prosecution; issues related to discovery -- the requirement on the part of the prosecution to turn over all evidence relating to the charged conduct, even if exculpatory in nature -- are often brushed aside, since guilt is admitted and no challenge to the charges will be mounted. Prosecutors more often than not bully their way into a coerced plea agreement, even when they know that their case would not withstand scrutiny, because simple statistics have proven that more often than not they can get away with it.

♦♦♦

The prosecution of General Flynn is a text-book example of clear prosecutorial abuse designed to obtain a guilty plea. The FBI initiated a counterintelligence-scope investigation against General Flynn not because he was accused of committing a crime, but rather because he had incurred the wrath of the Obama administration.

When the FBI opened its Crossfire Hurricane investigation was opened on July 31, 2016, its scope was limited to allegations that a Trump campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos, was in contact with persons working on behalf of the Russian government who were involved in the alleged theft of documents from the Democratic National Committee server. Flynn had no connection whatsoever to this issue. However, the FBI used the Crossfire Hurricane investigation as cover to open a separate investigation , known as Crossfire Razor, against Flynn based upon contacts he had with Russia Today, a state-sponsored media outlet.

William Barr has since determined that Crossfire Razor was not a bona fide counterintelligence investigation in so far as it lacked proper predication and Flynn's Russian connections were not materially relevant.

In January 2017 the FBI was preparing to shut down Crossfire Razor when FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok argued that it remain open so that he could conduct an interview with Flynn about his telephone call with Ambassador Kislyak in December 2016. This is where the Flynn case loses touch with its foundation of legality. The Flynn-Kislyak phone call was monitored by the U.S. intelligence community. Normally the identity of any U.S. citizen so monitored is "masked," or hidden, from any consumer of the intelligence. On certain occasions, select senior officials may request that an identity be "unmasked" to allow for a greater understanding of the context of the conversation. Flynn's identity was "unmasked" using this procedure, most likely on the orders of then-FBI Director James Comey. According to Comey , he then briefed Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who in turn briefed President Obama.

There was bad blood between Flynn, Clapper and Obama. On November 10, 2016, when Obama met with President-elect Trump in the White House, he warned Trump not to hire Flynn as his National Security Advisor, ostensibly because of his behavior while serving as the Director of DIA; Trump ignored this advice, naming Flynn as the incoming NSA on November 18. Clapper was the man who fired Flynn at the DIA in 2014.

On January 12, David Ignatius published an article in The Washington Post which detailed Flynn's December conversation with Kislyak; Sydney Powell, Flynn's laywer, has filed documents with the Federal Court asserting that Ignatius had received this highly classified information in violation of the law, and furthermore that is was Clapper who cleared Ignatius to "take the kill shot on Flynn" by publishing the details of the Flynn-Kislyak conversation.

If the potential for collusion between the FBI Director (Comey), the Director of National Intelligence (Clapper) and the President of the United States (Obama) to undermine Flynn wasn't disturbing enough, the fact that Ignatius' article enabled the FBI to conduct an interview on January 24 with Flynn that has been described by William Barr as "a perjury trap" should seal the deal.

Flynn was subsequently fired as the NSA, charged with lying to the FBI, bankrupted in the process of trying to defend himself, and threatened with the prosecution of his son if he opted to take the matter to trial. Like many before him, Flynn pled guilty to a crime he never should have been charged with in the first place. Only the diligence of Flynn's current legal team in forcing disclosure of exculpatory information, combined with William Barr's efforts to expose wrongdoing by the FBI and the Intelligence Community in investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, made the dismissal of Flynn's case possible.

It doesn't matter where one stands on the issue of Mike Flynn, the man. I for one am personally disturbed by his overly partisan approach toward national security, and the liberty he takes with facts when making an argument. I don't believe he was the right person to serve as Trump's National Security Advisor. Apparently neither did President Obama and his national security team. But we don't have a vote in this matter; the National Security Advisor is President Trump's responsibility to select. Elections have consequences.

The Obama national security team abused its power by unmasking Flynn's identity, then leaked Flynn's identity to the press, using this press reporting to justify the continuance of a baseless counterintelligence investigation in order to set a perjury trap intended to place Flynn in legal jeopardy. This is not how American justice is supposed to be dispensed, and the fact that Flynn had to undergo this ordeal should send a shiver down every American's spine, because if left unchecked, there but for the grace of God go us all.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, including his forthcoming, Scorpion King: America's Embrace of Nuclear Weapons From FDR to Trump (2020).

[May 07, 2020] America's Design Causes It To Fail The COVID-19 Challenge by Eric Zuesse

This is a weak article. Indignation as for excesses of neoliberal social system that exists in the USA is a good thing only if there is a plan to change the system. Eric Zuesse has none. Also for top 10% the US healthcare is very efficient; it is probably the best on the planet.
OK neoliberalism is bad. But what is the alternative? Return to the New Deal capitalism is impossible as management now is allied with the capital owners and that destroyed fragile coalition of trade unions and apart of professional management that existed during the new deal as a countervailing force for political power of the capital. Such coalition could exist if financial oligarchy is suppressed and if taxes of millionaires income (especially income from stocks) were around 80%. As soon as JFK lowered the taxed that was a writing on the wall: the New Deal is doomed. Financial oligarchy was suppressed and it did not like it. So in 20180 they staged coup d'état and the New Deal was over.
The question is: what political coalition can take on financial oligarchy. There is no such coalition yet.
Notable quotes:
"... Americans generally are desperate to go to work even if they might be spreading the coronavirus-19. They need the pay and the insurance coverage in order to be able to buy medical care. If they don't pay for it they won't get it. So: whomever does show up for work might reasonably be especially inclined to fear likely to catch the disease from a co-worker there. This is one of the many reasons why socializing the healthcare function is vastly more efficient than leaving it to market forces . ..."
"... Furthermore, prisons are among the institutions that especially increase the spread of an epidemic such as Covid-19. And the United States has a higher percentage of its residents in prison than does any other country in the world . In fact, almost all of the Americans who are in prison are poor (since 100% of the poor cannot afford a lawyer), and the poorer a person is, the likelier that the individual is to get coronavirus-19. ..."
"... America has 655 per 100,000, or 4.5 prisoners for every 1.0 prisoner in the entire world), America has vastly more production of coronavirus-19 that's generated by its being a police-state than any other country does -- and this isn't even taking into consideration the rotten, overburdened, health-care system, and the billionaire-propagandized public contempt for the poor, that characterize America's culture, and that make those prisons, perhaps, the worst amongst industrialized nations. ..."
"... Furthermore, in America, "Approximately 95 percent of criminal cases are plea-bargained, in part because public defenders are too overwhelmed to take them to trial. 'That means the state never even has to prove you did anything. They hold all the cards.'" So, the Constitutional protections, such as trial-by-jury and all of the other on-paper protections, don't even apply, in reality, to at least 95% of criminal defendants. And, in many U.S. states, convicts -- and even ex -convicts -- aren't allowed to vote. America's billionaires also use many other ways to keep down the percentage of the poor who vote. ..."
"... In addition, prior to the coronavirus challenge, both America and UK have been reducing, instead of increasing, their social protections; and, therefore, they were the only industrialized nations where life-expectancies were declining even before the coronavirus-19 hit. The recognition and concern about this decline started in UK, but has now started to be published even in the U.S. ..."
"... In other words: coronavirus hit UK at a time when the Government was already moving away from socializing and into privatizing health care; and, as a consequence, the death-rates had already started increasing in 2015. Coronavirus kills mainly people who already have bad health; and, so, their population were maximally vulnerable to it at the time when this epidemic struck. ..."
"... Even prior to 2015, the U.S. was wasting around half of its entire public-and-private spending for health care -- it was the most inefficient healthcare system on the planet -- and therefore had significantly lower life-expectancies than all other industrialized countries did. But, now, those remarkably low life-spans are actually getting even lower. ..."
"... This is the reason why America is designed so as to fail the coronavirus-19 challenge. The power of big-money (concentrated wealth) is destroying this country. It controls both Parties and their respective media, so the public don't know (and certainly cannot understand) the types of realities that are being reported (and linked-to) here. ..."
"... The fact [the existence of ] corporate prisons exist is pretty much an open declaration that we're a kleptocracy, run by the uniparty. ..."
"... We give an EQUAL vote to children, imbeciles, hostiles, and those who don't even speak the language ..."
"... Democracy is not about efficiency but to keep a check on those in power. It preventing the concentration of powers. It all about checks and balances to preserve the citizens freedoms. ..."
May 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

America isn't the only country which is so corrupt as to stand at or near the top of the global coronavirus-infection rankings , but, as the June 2020 issue of The Atlantic headlines, "We Are Living in a Failed State: The coronavirus didn't break America. It revealed what was already broken." Why did this happen?

Virtually all other industrialized countries have social-welfare systems in place, such as health-insurance covering 100% of the population; and, consequently, the residents there don't lose their health insurance if they lose their job -- they therefore aren't desperate to show up for work even when they are sick or can spread an epidemic.

Americans generally are desperate to go to work even if they might be spreading the coronavirus-19. They need the pay and the insurance coverage in order to be able to buy medical care. If they don't pay for it they won't get it. So: whomever does show up for work might reasonably be especially inclined to fear likely to catch the disease from a co-worker there. This is one of the many reasons why socializing the healthcare function is vastly more efficient than leaving it to market forces .

On April 23rd, Reuters reported that, "U.S. workers who refuse to return to their jobs because they are worried about catching the coronavirus should not count on getting unemployment benefits, state officials and labor law experts say."

In such states, the unemployment-benefits system is being used as a cudgel so as to force employees back to work, and therefore to increase the percentage of the population who will become infected by the coronavirus-19.

Furthermore, prisons are among the institutions that especially increase the spread of an epidemic such as Covid-19. And the United States has a higher percentage of its residents in prison than does any other country in the world . In fact, almost all of the Americans who are in prison are poor (since 100% of the poor cannot afford a lawyer), and the poorer a person is, the likelier that the individual is to get coronavirus-19.

This is yet another reason why prisons are a prime place for the spread of the disease. And on April 26th, the New York Times headlined "As Coronavirus Strikes Prisons, Hundreds of Thousands Are Released: The virus has spread rapidly in overcrowded prisons across the world, leading governments to release inmates en masse." Since America has more of its population in prison than any other country does (lots more: whereas "The world prison population rate, based on United Nations estimates of national population levels, is 145 per 100,000" , America has 655 per 100,000, or 4.5 prisoners for every 1.0 prisoner in the entire world), America has vastly more production of coronavirus-19 that's generated by its being a police-state than any other country does -- and this isn't even taking into consideration the rotten, overburdened, health-care system, and the billionaire-propagandized public contempt for the poor, that characterize America's culture, and that make those prisons, perhaps, the worst amongst industrialized nations.

Furthermore, in America, "Approximately 95 percent of criminal cases are plea-bargained, in part because public defenders are too overwhelmed to take them to trial. 'That means the state never even has to prove you did anything. They hold all the cards.'" So, the Constitutional protections, such as trial-by-jury and all of the other on-paper protections, don't even apply, in reality, to at least 95% of criminal defendants. And, in many U.S. states, convicts -- and even ex -convicts -- aren't allowed to vote. America's billionaires also use many other ways to keep down the percentage of the poor who vote.

Taken all together (and to list the other details would fill a book), America's systematized intense discrimination against the poor constitutes virtually an invitation to this country's having exceptional vulnerability to any epidemic. The fact that America now has 33.3% of the world's coronavirus-19 cases , though only 4.2% of the world's population, is actually systemic, and not merely particular to this moment in this country, and in the entire world. Donald Trump, and the current U.S. Congress, are part of a system of oppression, not really exceptions to it (such as the billionaires' media pretend -- with Democratic billionaires blaming "the Republicans," and Republican billionaires blaming "the Democrats"). The way this Government performs is actually somewhat normal for this country since at least 1980 .

In addition, prior to the coronavirus challenge, both America and UK have been reducing, instead of increasing, their social protections; and, therefore, they were the only industrialized nations where life-expectancies were declining even before the coronavirus-19 hit. The recognition and concern about this decline started in UK, but has now started to be published even in the U.S.

British healthcare scholar Danny Dorling headlined at his "Political Insight" blog on 16 July 2016, "Austerity, Rapidly Worsening Public Health across the UK" and reported that "the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its latest annual mortality figures – on schedule. An unprecedented rise in mortality was reported which was revealed to have risen across all the countries of the UK." Then, on 8 July 2018, London's Daily Express bannered "Britain is the ONLY European country with a declining life expectancy – inquiry launched" . Then, on 8 March 2019, the blog of the British Medical Journal headlined "The deepening health crisis in the UK requires society wide, political intervention" and reported that UK's life-expectancy had been plunging since 2014. The BMJ then issued an article on 27 March 2020, "Things Fall Apart: the British Health Crisis 2010–2020" .

In other words: coronavirus hit UK at a time when the Government was already moving away from socializing and into privatizing health care; and, as a consequence, the death-rates had already started increasing in 2015. Coronavirus kills mainly people who already have bad health; and, so, their population were maximally vulnerable to it at the time when this epidemic struck.

Meanwhile, the same shortening of life-spans was also occurring in the U.S. On 29 November 2018, London's Daily Mail bannered "American life expectancy DROPS as suicides and drug overdoses soar and progress against heart disease grinds to a halt, CDC data reveal" . A year later, the JAMA Network headlined on 26 November 2019, "Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017" and reported that "Between 1959 and 2016, US life expectancy increased from 69.9 years to 78.9 years but declined for 3 consecutive years after 2014." So: both UK and U.S. life-spans peaked in 2014. Unlike virtually all other nations, these two were declining in health.

Even prior to 2015, the U.S. was wasting around half of its entire public-and-private spending for health care -- it was the most inefficient healthcare system on the planet -- and therefore had significantly lower life-expectancies than all other industrialized countries did. But, now, those remarkably low life-spans are actually getting even lower.

Political-science studies that are based upon decades of reliably reported data have established that ever since around 1980, the United States has been a dictatorship: what the public wants (and even needs ) is basically ignored, but what the super-rich (the country's actual dictators) simply want becomes reflected in governmental policies. That's the very definition of a "dictatorship." The U.S. national Government is responsive to the wants of its billionaires, not to the needs of the public (such as protecting their health, education, and welfare, even when the billionaires don't want it to).The findings in one of these studies are summarized well in a six-minute video, here .

Although the billionaires who fund America's liberal Party, the Democratic Party, oppose the billionaires who fund the Republican Party (the conservative Party -- the one that's overtly in favor of the existing wealth-inequality), this is purely for PR purposes. Whenever the issue becomes their own wealth versus improving the wealth and economic opportunity for the poor, they all go for expanding their own empire (sometimes by funding a tax-exempt 'charity' that will increase, even more, their personal control over the total empire -- by using that tax-exemption to leverage the operation, which will be controlled by themselves instead of by the public tax-funded government). Such 'charities' are mainly tax-dodges.

However, in all countries, the people who are the most vulnerable to epidemics are the poor. This also means that the infection-rates and spreading of the disease are the highest amongst the poorest. And, in this epidemic, the interests of the super-rich are opposite to the interests of everybody else . And, since the U.S. Government has, for decades now, been serving predominantly the super-rich, instead of the public , the people who are the most at risk are also the most ignored.

This is even proud policy ('fiscal responsibility', etc.) in the Republican Party. Bailing-out investors is 'necessary', but bailing out employees and consumers is 'fiscally irresponsible'. For example, on April 27th, the Democrat David Sirota headlined "Red States Owe Workers More Than $500 Billion -- The GOP Is Trying to Steal The Money: Trump is boosting a McConnell plan to help states renege on promised retirement and health benefits to millions of workers and retirees." And he is correct.

However, his Party is going to be compromising with that (instead of adamantly refuse to accept it and then go on the political hustings shaming the Republican President and Congress-members so as to break them on their blatantly scandalous whoring to the entire billionaire-class, who want their investments to be bailed out before the public is -- which might turn out to be never). It's a "good cop, bad cop," routine, to protect the super-rich. It accepts holding the public hostage to what the big political donors want, instead of focuses against that as being the central political issue of the moment, and of at least post-1980 America.

This is 'democracy'-as-political-scam. For example: some of the Democratic billionaires, who fund anti-Trump ads, pretend to be Republicans , in order to be able to peel off some of Trump's Republican voters, and so are blaming Trump alone for America's catastrophically bad performance in the coronavirus-crisis .

They're just trying to deceive their suckers into voting for Joe Biden, or else not voting at all; and, so, their ad doesn't even so much as just mention Biden. It's a Biden ad that makes no mention of Biden. It hides its true motive. That's typical.

This is the reason why America is designed so as to fail the coronavirus-19 challenge. The power of big-money (concentrated wealth) is destroying this country. It controls both Parties and their respective media, so the public don't know (and certainly cannot understand) the types of realities that are being reported (and linked-to) here.

It's also the reason why Joe Biden's "plan" for dealing with the coronavirus epidemic is just as bad a joke on the voters as Trump's is. This is a failing country, which is failing in a bipartisan (both Republican and Democratic Party) way.

A "good cop, bad cop" government is, in reality, all bad cop.

(I therefore proposed an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in order to rectify some of the reasons behind this structural failure of the U.S. Government. Perhaps the only alternative to that would be violent revolution, but it would probably make things even worse, not better.)


desertboy , 23 minutes ago

The fact [the existence of ] corporate prisons exist is pretty much an open declaration that we're a kleptocracy, run by the uniparty.

Reign in Fact, 28 minutes ago

" The power of big-money (concentrated wealth) is destroying this country... This is 'democracy'-as-political-scam... "

No the scam is democracy itself. We give an EQUAL vote to children, imbeciles, hostiles, and those who don't even speak the language, while allowing wholesale vote-buying bribery of public unions.

No such system has ever thrived anywhere in the animal kingdom - equality without merit, or rule by will of the laziest, weakest and dumbest - no matter how small the "society", team, family, gang, union, band, corporation, religion or nation.

It can't and won't end well.

youshallnotkill , 15 minutes ago

Democracy is not about efficiency but to keep a check on those in power. It preventing the concentration of powers. It all about checks and balances to preserve the citizens freedoms.

The fact that you don't understand these where basics of why we have a republic is testament to our failed school system.

Deep In Vocal Euphoria , 30 minutes ago

Demoracy...usa was a constitutional republic..........

AVmaster , 30 minutes ago

This hasn't been the american "design" since 23DEC1913......

Dragonlord , 1 minute ago

America's design to disable the freedom of state secession has ruined it. As a result, we are facing the possibility of another civil war.

[Feb 27, 2020] It s Not Anti-Law-and-Order to Back Prosecutorial Reform by Lars Trautman

Feb 27, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

If conservatives really want to fix the system, they will have to change the way criminal cases file through it.

If there is an invisible hand to the justice system, then it belongs to a prosecutor. Prosecutors stand at many of the most momentous points in the criminal justice process, wielding the power to transform someone from a defendant and free person into a prisoner. Yet as conservatives in state after state work to reshape the justice system, prosecutorial reform is conspicuously absent from the agenda. Why?

The answer is surely not that prosecutors are unable to advance new criminal justice priorities. While the political right is largely asleep on the potential of prosecutors, the left awoke to it a few years ago and embraced a vision of "progressive prosecutors." Since then, a growing number of progressives have been elected in urban centers and other liberal enclaves on promises to reduce mass incarceration and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities. Many have made remarkable strides, and their successes ought to be celebrated.

But "progressive" is hardly synonymous with fair, just, or effective prosecution. Plenty of prosecutors interested in all of those things have no desire whatsoever to wear the "progressive" label or see the world through that lens. This is what makes the lack of prosecutorial reform on the right so glaring.

Part of the problem may well be the quintessential conservative belief that Policy with a capital "P" is exclusively for the legislature to decide. In this view, prosecutors are little more than administrators and should not attempt to alter in any way the broader course of the justice system. The law is the law; prosecutors are there simply to enforce it.

Except that's not how things actually work. The legislature cannot possibly outline which cases to prioritize, which charges to file, or which plea bargains to offer -- only a prosecutor can do that. Prosecutorial discretion and the Policy it sets are inevitable. And the system, frankly, is better for it, because discretion leads to more local control, with each prosecutor asserting the needs and preferences of their town or city.

So perhaps the responsibility for prosecutorial reform's failure to launch on the right lies with the natural inclination of most conservatives to support members of law enforcement. They recognize that the great majority of prosecutors are hardworking, justice-minded individuals, and that the word "reform" implies there is a problem that needs fixing.

But if that's the case, it misconstrues the nature of prosecutorial reform and does no service to the prosecutors they are aiming to support . It is possible to be pro-prosecutor and pro-reform; indeed, the best reforms are those that will improve the lot of prosecutors and those with whom they interact . For example, prosecutorial annual caseloads can reach over a thousand cases in some places. Rallying behind reforms like charging policies that can lower these staggering numbers is very much a defense of, not an assault on, prosecutors.

Whatever the reason for their reticence, conservatives stand only to benefit by seizing the mantle of prosecutorial reform. A prosecutor willing to reimagine the status quo can simultaneously advance the four priorities that have guided conservative criminal justice reform: improved public safety, greater fiscal responsibility, stronger due process protections, and respect for life and the value of family. In many instances, they may be able to do a better job than the legislatures upon which conservatives have thus far concentrated their efforts.

After all, while legislators can write all the criminal laws they want, it is up to prosecutors to determine how they are actually going to play out in practice. It is possible, for instance, to try to rein in the size of the justice system legislatively by scaling back the criminal code or sentencing ranges. Yet doing so would require dozens or even hundreds of legislators working in concert on multiple bills. Possible, sure. Simple or straightforward? Hardly.

Consider, on the other hand, what a single elected prosecutor can do for a jurisdiction. Charging and plea-bargaining alone mean that prosecutors effectively determine who enters the system and how roughly 95 percent will exit it. With a stroke of her pen, a single district attorney can sign a new policy that immediately reshapes the flow of criminal cases. At the end of the day, the legislature may wield greater power, but it is hard to compete with a prosecutor's precision and speed.

Just look at the justice system transformation that has taken place under new district attorneys in Boston and San Francisco. In Boston, prosecutors now presumptively divert or dismiss fifteen low-level misdemeanors, allowing prosecutors to focus on more serious offenses, while in San Francisco they unilaterally ended the use of cash bail so that pretrial release decisions reflect risk rather than wealth. In both instances, these changes affected more people than reside in either North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, or Wyoming. This is the force for change that conservatives have been neglecting.

All this speaks to why prosecutorial reform should be placed squarely at the forefront of the conservative criminal justice agenda. If not the old tough-on-crime status quo or the new progressive prosecutor movement, what should conservatives expect from a prosecutor?

To be, in a word, productive. Rather than promoting mere illusions of success like conviction rates or sentence lengths, conservatives should consider the actual outcomes that prosecutorial decisions produce. Do they increase safety, aid defendant rehabilitation, and help keep families whole? In short, are prosecutors doing everything in their power to improve community wellbeing?

The rewards for embracing and advocating on behalf of a new vision of prosecution could prove great. Polling suggests that voters of all stripes are eager for the types of reforms that prosecutors could help deliver on issues ranging from pretrial detention to sentencing outcomes. Early successes by Republican chief prosecutors like Melissa Nelson in Florida and David Leavitt in Utah show that a renewed conservative commitment to being smarter and more evenhanded than one's predecessor can be a winning strategy.

The history of the criminal justice reform movement shows that when conservatives prioritize an issue, they are able to achieve remarkable success. This track record makes their general neglect of prosecutorial offices both perplexing and galling. If conservatives truly want to reshape the justice system, then it is long past time for them to put the invisible hand of the prosecutor to use.

Lars Trautman is a senior fellow of criminal justice and civil liberties policy at the R Street Institute and a former assistant district attorney.


stephen pickard a day ago

The theme of this article is long over due. I was a law student in the late 60's. While my law school was progressive for its time, very few of us were encouraged to consider becoming a prosecutor. This was at a time of the civil rights, equal employment, criticism of the Vietnam war, voter's right and the like. I obtained a job at the Department of Justice and then in the local US Attorney's office. It wasn't long before I figured out that I could have a greater impact on the fair administration of justice as a prosecutor than I could ever have as a defense attorney. I became one of the more active prosecutors in our office to look more deeply into the concept of using our unique position to more fairly and equitably mete our justice. When I became a defense attorney I found that it was more difficult to insure that the proper result was given. Usually I found myself acting more as an insurance policy to make sure that what should happen did happen. My prosecutorial experience brought greater credibility to the task. Even so some 50 years later we are still trying to convince conservatives that prison is not the default answer to crime in America.
Captain Queenan stephen pickard a day ago
Even so some 50 years later we are still trying to convince conservatives that prison is not the default answer to crime in America.

No, home monitoring is the default answer to crime in America. LOL

Doom Incarnate a day ago
Yes it is. Trump and Bill Barr said so. So there.
john a day ago
Conservatives despite proclaiming that they are the party of personal liberty seem awfully OK with depriving people of their "precious liberty". When you have 1 out of 50 in jail it might be time to consider what should and shouldn't be illegal and how illegal. Some folks definitely need to be locked up, but when it costs society 70000 a year per prisoner we should exercise a little more judgement in when we decide to spend that money.

[Jan 30, 2020] Rand Paul Reads Eric Ciaramella Question After Getting Snubbed By Chief Justice

Notable quotes:
"... Update (4:55 p.m.): ..."
"... Update (1:45 p.m.): ..."
"... Via Jonathan Turley ..."
"... (emphasis ours) ..."
"... So we are to know nothing about an accuser, his history, his motives, his loyalties? It seems that servants of the deep state are to be believed and protected without question... ..."
"... Let's be clear ~ Whistleblower/CIA who started this plan in January 2016... probably mentored by Brennan. ..."
"... This whole impeachment is sham much like the Russian investigation, it is clear just from the actions that we all have witnessed that the US intelligence agencies are guilty of attempting to overthrow the elected government. ..."
Jan 30, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Update (4:55 p.m.): After getting snubbed by Chief Justice Roberts, Rand Paul read his question aloud.

Sen. @RandPaul : "My question made no reference to any whistleblower "

He then reads the question.

"I think this is an important question. One that deserves to be asked." pic.twitter.com/D2iafDrv4X

-- CSPAN (@cspan) January 30, 2020

Update (1:45 p.m.): Paul was once again denied a question about whistleblower Eric Ciaramella by Chief Justice Roberts during Thursday's round of impeachment questions in the Senate.

He refused to read the question @RandPaul : "My question today is about whether or not individuals who were holdovers from the Obama NSC and Democrat partisans conspired with Schiff staffers to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings." pic.twitter.com/8FIcu47PBl

-- ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) January 30, 2020

Paul then took to Twitter - writing "My question today is about whether or not individuals who were holdovers from the Obama National Security Council and Democrat partisans conspired with Schiff staffers to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings."

My question today is about whether or not individuals who were holdovers from the Obama National Security Council and Democrat partisans conspired with Schiff staffers to plot impeaching the President before there were formal House impeachment proceedings.

-- Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 30, 2020

Here was Paul's exact question :

" Are you aware that House intelligence committee staffer Shawn Misko had a close relationship with Eric Ciaramella while at the National Security Council together and are you aware and how do you respond to reports that Ciaramella and Misko may have worked together to plot impeaching the President before there were formal house impeachment proceedings. "

***

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was spitting mad Wednesday night after Chief Justice John Roberts blocked his question concerning the CIA whistleblower at the heart of the impeachment of President Trump.

According to both Politico and The Hill , Roberts told Senators that he wouldn't read Paul's question, or any other question which would require him to publicly say the whistleblower's name or otherwise reveal his identity - which has been widely reported as CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, who worked for the National Security Council under the Obama and Trump administrations - and who consulted with Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-CA) staff prior to filing the complaint.

Stunning that Adam Schiff lies to millions of Americans when he says he doesn't know the identity of the whistleblower.

He absolutely knows the identity of the whistleblower b/c he coordinated with the individual before the whistleblower's complaint! His staff helped write it!

-- Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) January 29, 2020

A frustrated Paul was overheard expressing his frustration on the Senate floor during a break in Wednesday's proceedings - telling a Republican staffer " If I have to fight for recognition, I will. "

Roberts signaled to GOP senators on Tuesday that he wouldn't allow the whistleblower's name to be mentioned during the question-and-answer session that started the next day, the sources. Roberts was allowed to screen senators' questions before they were submitted for reading on the Senate floor, the sources noted.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other top Republicans are also discouraging disclosure of the whistleblower's identity as well . Paul has submitted at least one question with the name of a person believed to be the whistleblower, although it was rejected. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) composed and asked a question regarding the whistleblower earlier Wednesday that tiptoed around identifying the source who essentially sparked the House impeachment drive. - Politico

"We've got members who, as you have already determined I think, have an interest in questions related to the whistleblower," said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD), adding "But I suspect that won't happen. I don't think that happens. And I guess I would hope it doesn't."

That said, Paul says he's not giving up - telling reporters "It's still an ongoing process, it may happen tomorrow."

Does Ciaramella deserve 'anonymity'?

Of note, Roberts did not offer any legal argument for hiding the whistleblower's identity - which leads to an interesting argument from Constitutional law expert and impeachment witness Johnathan Turley concerning whistleblower anonymity.

Via Jonathan Turley (emphasis ours)

Federal law does not guarantee anonymity of such whistleblowers in Congress -- only protection from retaliation . Conversely, the presiding officer rarely stands in the path of senators seeking clarification or information from the legal teams. Paul could name the whistleblower on the floor without violation federal law. Moreover, the Justice Department offered a compelling analysis that the whistleblower complaint was not in fact covered by the intelligence law (the reason for the delay in reporting the matter to Congress). The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel found that the complaint did not meet the legal definition of "urgent" because it treated the call between Trump and a head of state was if the president were an employee of the intelligence community. The OLC found that the call "does not relate to 'the funding administration, or operation of an intelligence activity' under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence . . . As a result, the statute does not require the Director to transmit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees. " The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and EfficiencyCouncil strongly disagree with that reading.

Regardless of the merits of this dispute, Roberts felt that his position allows him to curtail such questions and answers as a matter of general decorum and conduct. It is certainly true that all judges are given some leeway in maintaining basic rules concerning the conduct and comments of participants in such "courts."

This could lead to a confrontation over the right of senators to seek answers to lawful questions and the authority of the presiding office to maintain basic rules of fairness and decorum . It is not clear what the basis of the Chief Justice's ruling would be in barring references to the name of the whistleblower if his status as a whistleblower is contested and federal law does not protect his name. Yet, there are many things that are not prohibited by law but still proscribed by courts. This issue however goes to the fact-finding interests of a senator who must cast a vote on impeachment. Unless Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can defuse the situation, this afternoon could force Roberts into a formal decision with considerable importance for this and future trials.


MartinG , 13 minutes ago link

Technically he's not a Whistleblower, he's an Informant. To be a whistleblower Ciaramella would have to inform on the CIA. Because that's who he worked for.

Walter Melon , 10 minutes ago link

So far you're the only one who gets this.

Forest43 , 4 minutes ago link

If the Senate is truly the Chief Justices Court the Chief Justice can modify the rules case by case. In this case he made the wrong decision and Senator Paul is concerned I agree with Senator Paul.

DEDA CVETKO , 17 minutes ago link

Funny that the guy who ruled in favor of mandatory Obamacare (Roberts) would be caught carrying water for the deep state. How so shocking!

moonmac , 17 minutes ago link

Rand is taking it on the chin by leftist MSM.

God Bless Dr. Paul's bravery!

Yog Soggoth , 15 minutes ago link

Already has some broken ribs for mowing his lawn.

GoldRulesPaperDrools , 6 minutes ago link

I'd have double-tapped that ****** and pissed in his face while he bled to death. And I'd have been a little bit "slow" to dial 911 after I'd dialed 9MM.

winston84 , 5 minutes ago link

The attack on Rand, is a good example of why we should always be packing protection. Too many crazies among us now, to be caught off guard.

JLee2027 , 21 minutes ago link

John Roberts, apparently, is in Epsteins flight logs, according to people on Twitter.

winston84 , 18 minutes ago link

Nothing is surprising anymore

Boris Badenov , 4 minutes ago link

Interesting how Trump does not need to make any more appointments to SCOTUS. I figure RBG is not long for the court, but Roberts might beat her to it. Either way, the majority strengthens by subtraction.

PN7 , 28 minutes ago link

Calling witnesses can backfire. Ya gotta be careful. You might call Hunter Biden, and he might begin answering questions in Ukranian.

arthgallo , 25 minutes ago link

he doesn't know Ukranian!

CIARAMELLA probably does though.............................and he's boinking Schiff's daughter

Boris Badenov , 49 seconds ago link

Poor lad. Total lack of judgment.

Gringo Viejo , 34 minutes ago link

Roberts has show again and again that he's nothing but a deep state bought and paid for shill.

The only thing he's worthy of judging would be a wet T shirt contest.

MrAToZ , 36 minutes ago link

So we are to know nothing about an accuser, his history, his motives, his loyalties? It seems that servants of the deep state are to be believed and protected without question...

ChickaBoom , 45 minutes ago link

Let's be clear ~ Whistleblower/CIA who started this plan in January 2016... probably mentored by Brennan.

Death2Fiat , 46 minutes ago link

The Deep State agents must be protected at all costs, including obstruction of justice and failing to allow relevant information to be submitted without reference to a whistleblower.

The chief justice will not allow CIA agents who conspire and plan a coup to overthrow the president to be revealed for it would destroy any sliver of credibility they have left.

MCLoweDallas , 42 minutes ago link

I think it's hilarious that they actually believe they can remove a President based on nothing but hidden "evidence" and that we will all just accept that! These people are the Alpha and Omega of stupid!

Summers Eve , 50 minutes ago link

I do believe Roberts just violated his oath!

AnMonist275 , 19 minutes ago link

The problem is, there seems to be no court to try him. Actually SCOTUS would be that court, but it's questionable, if the Conservative bench at SCOTUS would dare to take that case, even though they would be in majority, since „Chief Judge" Roberts would - as party in the case - not be allowed to vote in that matter

Anderson Coopers Gerbil , 51 minutes ago link

The way Roberts bent over backwards for O care is all you need to know about his ethics.

realitybiter , 52 minutes ago link

The problem with all these compromised a-holes, like Roberts is they are slaves to the state. Their oath to office needs to be rewritten, with hand placed on an enormous money vault.

GoldHermit , 52 minutes ago link

I had little respect for Roberts leading up to this, now I have none.

John Hansen , 46 minutes ago link

Why call someone clearly guilty of sedition a whistle blower?

This whole impeachment is sham much like the Russian investigation, it is clear just from the actions that we all have witnessed that the US intelligence agencies are guilty of attempting to overthrow the elected government.

[Dec 22, 2019] Buying a pardon. Or, in terms of Citizens United a politician showing gratitude

Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

D. Fuller , December 21, 2019 at 9:57 am

Oh boy, Kentucky. Which also has the worst pension system in the nation in terms of funding.

Kentucky governor pardons convicted killer whose brother hosted campaign fundraiser for him
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/12/13/kentucky-governor-matt-bevin-pardons-killer-ties-fundraiser/2635847001/

Buying a pardon. Or, in terms of Citizens United a politician showing gratitude.

[Sep 08, 2019] Sidney Powell's book "Licensed to Lie" reveals the strong-arm, illegal, and unethical tactics used by headline-grabbing federal prosecutors in their narcissistic pursuit of power to the highest halls of our government.

Sep 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

SKYISTHELIMIT , 4 hours ago link

A MUST READ! Sidney Powell's book "Licensed to Lie" reveals the strong-arm, illegal, and unethical tactics used by headline-grabbing federal prosecutors in their narcissistic pursuit of power to the highest halls of our government. It's terrifying–because it's true. It should be required reading for every law student, lawyer, judge, politician, and concerned taxpayer.

Sidney Powell has written a book like no other lawyer has ever dared – and she's pulled back the royal blue curtain of the Department of Justice.

https://licensedtolie.com/

[Sep 04, 2019] Standard procedure was not following in case of Epstein: the fact the Maxwell was not arrested tells a lot

Notable quotes:
"... Absolutely standard procedure in this case where the conduct took place openly over years would include: a. informants wearing wires; b. securing the crime scenes, including all the properties and the planes; c. simultaneous arrests of 20-50 co-defendants/conspirators ranging from Maxwell and Wexner at the top to most all staff at the properties where the crimes occurred, the pilots, etc. None of this happened. ..."
"... The Bureau of Prisons has two main operations: prisons for convicted offenders and "federal jails". They are completely separate lines of business. The purpose of the "jails" in the federal system, where each District has its own, is to obtain convictions from the detainees. The BOP staff in the jails are members of the prosecution team for all practical purposes. All mail in and out is read and copied. All calls are monitored and recorded. Detainees are placed in units after consultations among the BOP, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Attorneys for the District. ..."
"... Cooperating codefendants may all be placed on the same unit, for example, so that they get their stories straight, while those fighting cases are elsewhere. ..."
"... Snitching is rampant and good information is rewarded by downgrading of charges, lenient sentencing and assignment to sweet spots in the prison system. Berman and his team were involved in formulating and were continuously aware of the most minute details of the conditions of Epstein's confinement. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

skeptic23 says: September 3, 2019 at 1:00 am GMT 400 Words Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy , because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. I do trust Attorney-General Barr, however, from what I've heard of him and because he instantly and publicly said he would have not just the FBI but the Justice Dept. Inspector-General investigate Epstein's death, and he quickly fired the federal prison head honcho.

The above statement re: Berman is exactly wrong. He is a Trump Appointee and transition team member.

1. There was no real Epstein indictment/investigation , just a piece of paper sufficient to take him into custody and institute a criminal proceeding.

Absolutely standard procedure in this case where the conduct took place openly over years would include: a. informants wearing wires; b. securing the crime scenes, including all the properties and the planes; c. simultaneous arrests of 20-50 co-defendants/conspirators ranging from Maxwell and Wexner at the top to most all staff at the properties where the crimes occurred, the pilots, etc. None of this happened.

They took computers and records from NY and visited Little St. James for a few hours 30 days after the arrest. see Rusty Shackleford videos. The way they always build a case like this is to get the little guys to talk and then move up the food chain to the big boys (and girls).

2. The Bureau of Prisons has two main operations: prisons for convicted offenders and "federal jails". They are completely separate lines of business. The purpose of the "jails" in the federal system, where each District has its own, is to obtain convictions from the detainees. The BOP staff in the jails are members of the prosecution team for all practical purposes. All mail in and out is read and copied. All calls are monitored and recorded. Detainees are placed in units after consultations among the BOP, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Attorneys for the District.

Cooperating codefendants may all be placed on the same unit, for example, so that they get their stories straight, while those fighting cases are elsewhere.

Snitching is rampant and good information is rewarded by downgrading of charges, lenient sentencing and assignment to sweet spots in the prison system. Berman and his team were involved in formulating and were continuously aware of the most minute details of the conditions of Epstein's confinement.

Berman was at the center of whatever it was that happened.

[Sep 02, 2019] Questions Nobody Is Asking About Jeffrey Epstein by Eric Rasmusen

Highly recommended!
While details on Epstein death are not interesting (he ended like a regular pimp) the corruption of high level officials his case revealed in more troubling.
Notable quotes:
"... Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. ..."
"... What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath. ..."
"... What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney. ..."
"... Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. ..."
"... Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man. ..."
"... Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite. ..."
"... Statutory rape is not a federal crime ..."
"... At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large. ..."
"... Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations? ..."
"... Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail. ..."
"... In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days. ..."
"... Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. ..."
"... Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task. ..."
"... Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. ..."
"... "It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried. ..."
"... President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up. ..."
"... he sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper. ..."
"... Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner? ..."
"... Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them. ..."
"... What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this? ..."
"... Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them. ..."
"... "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure." ..."
"... James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them? ..."
"... There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this? ..."
"... The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was? ..."
"... Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation ..."
"... As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less. ..."
"... We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. ..."
"... One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/ ..."
"... ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

The Jeffrey Epstein case is notable for the ups and downs in media coverage it's gotten over the years. Everybody, it seems, in New York society knew by 2000 that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were corrupting teenage girls, but the press wouldn't cover it. Articles by New York in 2002 and Vanity Fair in 2003 alluded to it gently, while probing Epstein's finances more closely. In 2005, the Palm Beach police investigated. The county prosecutor, Democrat Barry Krischer, wouldn't prosecute for more than prostitution, so they went to the federal prosecutor, Republican Alexander Acosta, and got the FBI involved. Acosta's office prepared an indictment, but before it was filed, he made a deal: Epstein agreed to plead guilty to a state law felony and receive a prison term of 18 months. In exchange, the federal interstate sex trafficking charges would not be prosecuted by Acosta's office. Epstein was officially at the county jail for 13 months, where the county officials under Democratic Sheriff Ric Bradshaw gave him scandalously easy treatment , letting him spend his days outside, and letting him serve a year of probation in place of the last 5 months of his sentence. Acosta's office complained, but it was a county jail, not a federal jail, so he was powerless.

Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. Two books were written about the affair, and fell flat. The FBI became interested again around 2011 ( a little known fact ) and maybe things were happening behind the scenes, but the next big event was in 2018 when the Miami Herald published a series of investigative articles rehashing what had happened.

In 2019 federal prosecutors indicted Epstein, he was put in jail, and he mysteriously died. Now, after much complaining in the press about how awful jails are and how many people commit suicide, things are quiet again, at least until the Justice Department and the State of Florida finish their investigation a few years from now. (For details and more links, see " Investigation: Jeffrey Epstein "at Medium.com and " Jeffrey Epstein " at Wikipedia .)

I'm an expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking. What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath.

That's what Epstein would do. What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney.

Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. The reason people call such talk "conspiracy theories" when it comes to Epstein is that his friends are WASPs and Jews, not Italians and Mexicans. But WASPs and Jews are human too. They want to protect themselves. Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man.

In light of this, it would be very surprising if someone with a spare $50 million to spend to solve the Epstein problem didn't give it a try. A lot of people can be bribed for $50 million. Thus, we should have expected to see bribery attempts. If none were detected, it must have been because prison workers are not reporting they'd been approached.

Some people say that government incompetence is always a better explanation than government malfeasance. That's obviously wrong -- when an undeserving business gets a contract, it's not always because the government official in charge was just not paying attention. I can well believe that prisons often take prisoners off of suicide watch too soon, have guards who go to sleep and falsify records, remove cellmates from prisoners at risk of suicide or murder, let the TV cameras watching their most important prisoners go on the blink, and so forth. But that cuts both ways.

Remember, in the case of Epstein, we'd expect a murder attempt whether the warden of the most important federal jail in the country is competent or not. If the warden is incompetent, we should expect that murder attempt to succeed. Murder becomes all the more more plausible. Instead of spending $50 million to bribe 20 guards and the warden, you just pay some thug $30,000 to walk in past the snoring guards, open the cell door, and strangle the sleeping prisoner, no fancy James Bond necessary. Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite.

Now to my questions.

Why is nobody blaming the Florida and New York state prosecutors for not prosecuting Epstein and others for statutory rape?

Statutory rape is not a federal crime, so it is not something the Justice Dept. is supposed to investigate or prosecute. They are going after things like interstate sex trafficking. Interstate sex trafficking is generally much harder to prove than statutory rape, which is very easy if the victims will testify.

At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large.

Note that if even if the evidence is just the girl's word against Ghislaine Maxwell's or Prince Andrew's, it's still quite possible to get a jury to convict. After all, who would you believe, in a choice between Maxwell, Andrew, and Anyone Else in the World? For an example of what can be done if the government is eager to convict, instead of eager to protect important people, see the 2019 Cardinal Pell case in Australia. He was convicted by the secret testimony of a former choirboy, the only complainant, who claimed Pell had committed indecent acts during a chance encounter after Mass before Pell had even unrobed. Naturally, the only cardinal to be convicted of anything in the Catholic Church scandals is also the one who's done the most to fight corruption. Where there's a will, there's a way to prosecute. It's even easier to convict someone if he's actually guilty.

Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations?

Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail.

In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days.

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

Not easy, I should think. It wouldn't be enough to prove that Epstein debauched teenagers. Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. The 2019 indictment is weak on this. The "interstate commerce" looks like it's limited to Epstein making phone calls between Florida and New York. This is why I am not completely skeptical when former U.S. Attorney Acosta says that the 2008 nonprosecution deal was reasonable. He had strong evidence the Epstein violated Florida state law -- but that wasn't relevant. He had to prove violations of federal law.

Why didn't Epstein ask the Court, or the Justice Dept., for permission to have an unarmed guard share his cell with him?

Epstein had no chance at bail without bribing the judge, but this request would have been reasonable. That he didn't request a guard is, I think, the strongest evidence that he wanted to die. If he didn't commit suicide himself, he was sure making it easy for someone else to kill him.

Could Epstein have used the safeguard of leaving a trove of photos with a friend or lawyer to be published if he died an unnatural death?

Well, think about it -- Epstein's lawyer was Alan Dershowitz. If he left photos with someone like Dershowitz, that someone could earn a lot more by using the photos for blackmail himself than by dutifully carrying out his perverted customer's instructions. The evidence is just too valuable, and Epstein was someone whose friends weren't the kind of people he could trust. Probably not even his brother.

Who is in danger of dying next?

Prison workers from guard to warden should be told that if they took bribes, their lives are now in danger. Prison guards may not be bright enough to realize this. Anybody who knows anything important about Epstein should be advised to publicize their information immediately. That is the best way to stay alive.

This is not like a typical case where witnesses get killed so they won't testify. It's not like with gangsters. Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task.

What happened to Epstein's body?

The Justice Dept. had better not have let Epstein's body be cremated. And they'd better give us convincing evidence that it's his body. If I had $100 million to get out of jail with, acquiring a corpse and bribing a few people to switch fingerprints and DNA wouldn't be hard. I find it worrying that the government has not released proof that Epstein is dead or a copy of the autopsy.

Was Epstein's jail really full of mice?

The New York Times says,

"Beyond its isolation, the wing is infested with rodents and cockroaches, and inmates often have to navigate standing water -- as well as urine and fecal matter -- that spills from faulty plumbing, accounts from former inmates and lawyers said. One lawyer said mice often eat his clients' papers."

" Often have to navigate standing water"? "Mice often eat his clients' papers?" Really? I'm skeptical. What do the vermin eat -- do inmates leave Snickers bars open in their cells? Has anyone checked on what the prison conditions really like?

Is it just a coincidence that Epstein made a new will two days before he died?

I can answer this one. Yes, it is coincidence, though it's not a coincidence that he rewrote the will shortly after being denied bail. The will leaves everything to a trust, and it is the trust document (which is confidential), not the will (which is public), that determines who gets the money. Probably the only thing that Epstein changed in his will was the listing of assets, and he probably changed that because he'd just updated his list of assets for the bail hearing anyway, so it was a convenient time to update the will.

Did Epstein's veiled threat against DOJ officials in his bail filing backfire?

Epstein's lawyers wrote in his bail request,

"If the government is correct that the NPA does not, and never did, preclude a prosecution in this district, then the government will likely have to explain why it purposefully delayed a prosecution of someone like Mr. Epstein, who registered as a sex offender 10 years ago and was certainly no stranger to law enforcement. There is no legitimate explanation for the delay."

I see this as a veiled threat. The threat is that Epstein would subpoena people and documents from the Justice Department relevant to the question of why there was a ten-year delay before prosecution, to expose the illegitimate explanation for the delay. Somebody is to blame for that delay, and court-ordered disclosure is a bigger threat than an internal federal investigation.

Who can we trust?

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. I do trust Attorney-General Barr, however, from what I've heard of him and because he instantly and publicly said he would have not just the FBI but the Justice Dept. Inspector-General investigate Epstein's death, and he quickly fired the federal prison head honcho. The FBI is untrustworthy, but Inspector-Generals are often honorable.

Someone else who may be a hero in this is Senator Ben Sasse. Vicki Ward writes in the Daily Beast :

"It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried.

Given the political sentiment, it's unsurprising that the FBI should feel newly emboldened to investigate Epstein -- basing some of their work on Brown's excellent reporting."

Will President Trump Cover Up Epstein's Death in Exchange for Political Leverage?

President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up.

Why did Judge Sweet order Epstein documents sealed in 2017. Did he die naturally in 2019?

Judge Robert Sweet in 2017 ordered all documents in an Epstein-related case sealed. He died in May 2019 at age 96, at home in Idaho. The sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper.

Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner?

Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them.

What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this?

Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them.

Acosta said that Washington Bush Administration people told him to go easy on Epstein because he was an intelligence source. That is plausible. Epstein had info and blackmailing ability with people like Ehud Barak, leader of Israel's Labor Party. But "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure."

Why did nobody pay attention to the two 2016 books on Epstein?

James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them?

Which newspapers reported Epstein's death as "suicide" and which as "apparent suicide"?

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug? There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this?

How much did Epstein corrupt the media from 2008 to 2019?

Even outlets that generally publish good articles must be suspected of corruption. Epstein made an effort to get good publicity. The New York Times wrote,

"The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost .

All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times .

The National Review piece, from the same year, called him "a smart businessman" with a "passion for cutting-edge science."

Ms. Galbraith was also a publicist for Mr. Epstein, according to several news releases promoting Mr. Epstein's foundations In the article that appeared on the National Review site, she described him as having "given thoughtfully to countless organizations that help educate underprivileged children."

"We took down the piece, and regret publishing it," Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review since 1997, said in an email. He added that the publication had "had a process in place for a while now to weed out such commercially self-interested pieces from lobbyists and PR flacks.""

The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was?

Eric Rasmusen is an economist who has held an endowed chair at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and visiting positions at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the Harvard Economics Department, Chicago's Booth School of Business, Nuffield College/Oxford, and the University of Tokyo Economics Department. He is best known for his book Games and Information. He has published extensively in law and economics, including recent articles on the burakumin outcastes in Japan, the use of game theory in jurisprudence, and quasi-concave functions. The views expressed here are his personal views and are not intended to represent the views of the Kelley School of Business or Indiana University. His vitae is at http://www.rasmusen.org/vita.htm .


Paul.Martin , says: September 2, 2019 at 3:54 am GMT

Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation

Apparently, there will always be many players on the field, and many ways to do damage control.

utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

It would be very easy for a motivated prosecutor.

Mann Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mann_Act The Mann Act was successfully used to prosecute several Christian preachers in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

So the problem was finding a motivated prosecutor in case of Jewish predator with very likely links to intelligence services of several countries. The motivation was obviously lacking.

Your "expertise" in game theory would be greatly improved if you let yourself consider the Jewish factor.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 4:44 am GMT
As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less.
utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug?

Not the National Enquirer:

Jeffrey Epstein Murder Cover-up Exposed!
Death Scene Staged to Look Like Suicide
Billionaire's Screams Ignored by Guards!
Fatal Attack Caught on Jail Cameras!
Autopsy is Hiding the Truth!

National Enquirer, Sept 2. 2019
https://reader.magzter.com/preview/7l5c5vd5t28thcmigloxel3670370/367037

Mark James , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
I don't hold AG Barr in the high regard this piece does. While I'm not suggesting he had anything to do with Epstein's death I do think he's corrupt. I doubt he will do anything that leads to the truth. As for him relieving the warden of his duties, I would hope that was to be expected, wasn't it? I mean he only had two attempts on Epstein's life with the second being a success. Apparently the first didn't jolt the warden into some kind of action as it appears he was guilty of a number of sins including 'Sloth.'

As for the publications that don't like conspiracy theories –like the National Review -- they are a hoot. We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. There was no camera specifically in the cell with Epstein.
In the end I think Epstein probably was allowed to kill himself but I'm not confident in that scenario at all. And yes the media should pressure Barr to hav e a look in the cell and see exactly how a suicide attempt might have succeeded or if it was a long-shot at best, given the materiel and conditions.

SafeNow , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
19. Why is the non-prosecution agreement ambiguous ("globally" binding), when it was written by the best lawyers in the country for a very wealthy client? Was the ambiguity bargained-for? If so, what are the implications?

20. With "globally" still being unresolved (to the bail judge's first-paragraph astonishment), why commit suicide now?

21. The "it was malfeasance" components are specified. For mere malfeasance to have been the cause, all of the components would have to be true; it would be a multiplicative function of the several components. Is no one sufficiently quantitative to estimate the magnitude?

22. What is the best single takeaway phrase that emerges from all of this? My nomination is: "In your face." The brazen, shameless, unprecedented, turning-point, in-your-faceness of it.

sally , says: September 2, 2019 at 7:32 am GMT
ER the answer is easy to you list of questions .. there is no law in the world when violations are not prosecuted and fair open for all to see trials are not held and judges do not deliver the appropriate penalties upon convictions. .. in cases involving the CIA prosecution it is unheard of that a open for all to see trial takes place.

This is why we the governed masses need a parallel government..

such an oversight government would allow to pick out the negligent or wilful misconduct of persons in functional government and prosecute such persons in the independent people's court.. Without a second government to oversee the first government there is no democracy; democracy cannot stand and the governed masses will never see the light of a fair day .. unless the masses have oversight authority on what is to be made into law, and are given without prejudice to their standing in America the right to charge those associated to government with negligent or wilful misconduct.

mypoint

Anonymous [425] Disclaimer , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fMG8SVrqstg?feature=oembed

Brabantian , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:31 am GMT
There are big questions this article is not asking either

The words 'Mossad' seems not to appear above, and just a brief mention of 'Israel' with Ehud Barak

One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this
https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/

Was escape to freedom & Israe,l the ultimate payoff for Epstein's decades of work for Mossad, grooming and abusing young teens, filmed in flagrante delicto with prominent people for political blackmail?

Is it not likely this was a Mossad jailbreak covered by fake 'suicide', with Epstein alive now, with US gov now also in possession of the assumed Epstein sexual blackmail video tapes?

We have the Epstein 'death in jail' under the US Attorney General Bill Barr, a former CIA officer 1973-77, the CIA supporting him thru night law school, Bill Barr's later law firm Kirkland Ellis representing Epstein

Whose Jewish-born ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens

So would a crypto-Jewish 'former' CIA officer who is now USA Attorney General, possibly help a Mossad political blackmailer escape to Israel after a fake 'jail suicide'?

An intriguing 4chan post a few hours after Epstein's 'body was discovered', says Epstein was put in a wheelchair and driven out of the jail in a van, accompanied by a man in a green military uniform – timestamp is USA Pacific on the screencap apparently, so about 10:44 NYC time Sat.10 Aug

FWIW, drone video of Epstein's Little St James island from Friday 30 August, shows a man who could be Epstein himself, on the left by one vehicle, talking to a black man sitting on a quad all-terrain unit

Close up of Epstein-like man between vehicles, from video note 'pale finger' match-up to archive photo Epstein

Anon [261] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
The thing that sticks out for me is that Epstein was caught, charged, and went to jail previously, but he didn't die . The second time, it appears he was murdered. I strongly suspect that the person who murdered Epstein was someone who only met Epstein after 2008, or was someone Epstein only procured for after 2008. Otherwise, this person would have killed Epstein back when Epstein was charged by the cops the first time.

Either that, or the killer is someone who is an opponent of Trump, and this person was genuinely terrified that Trump would pressure the Feds to avoid any deals and to squeeze all the important names out of Epstein and prosecute them, too.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:37 am GMT
The author professes himself "expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking," but he doesn't say how his 18 questions were arrived at to the exclusion of hundreds of others. Instead, the column includes several casual assumptions and speculation. For example:

As to this last, isn't "quickly [firing] the federal prison head honcho" consistent with a failure-to-prevent-suicide deflection strategy? And has Mr. Rasmusen not "heard" of the hiring of Mr. Epstein by Mr. Barr's father? Or of the father's own Establishment background?

I hope to be wrong, but my own hunch is that these investigations, like the parallel investigations of the RussiaGate hoax, will leave the elite unscathed. I also hope that in the meantime we see more rigorous columns here than this one.

Miro23 , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

...Also, subsequently, it should have been a top priority to arrest Ghislaine Maxwell but the government, justice and media lack interest . Apparently, they don't know where she is, and they're not making any special efforts to find out.

Sick of Orcs , says: September 2, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT
Epstein had no "dead man's switch" which would release what he knew to media? C'mon! This is basic Villainy 101.

[Aug 20, 2019] What Really Went Wrong at Jeffrey Epstein s Jail by Jeffrey E. Keller

Notable quotes:
"... It's very hard to commit suicide while on suicide watch as described. In fact, most successful suicides in jails do not happen among inmates on suicide watch ..."
"... For this reason, patients coming off of active suicide watch should always have at least one roommate, more if possible. And even more important than being a suicide "alarm" is the psychological benefits of roommates. Depressed patients need social interaction and someone to talk to. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | www.medpagetoday.com

It wasn't just the guards' failure, suggests jail doctor Jeffrey Keller

Jeffrey Epstein's apparent suicide while in custody at a Manhattan detention facility has focused intense media scrutiny into jail suicide prevention procedures. Suicide is the biggest cause of death in jails in the U.S. -- by far. Because of this, all jails (including the facility where Epstein was housed) have a suicide prevention policy. Since the process was an epic failure at that Manhattan facility, it might be useful to discuss how a jail suicide prevention program is supposed to work.

Suicide prevention efforts begin when inmates initially arrive at the jail. The booking process includes several questions and observations designed to estimate suicide risk. Inmates are asked point blank if they are suicidal or are thinking of hurting themselves. Inmates who have attempted suicide or harmed themselves in the past, those who have been using heroin or other drugs and are facing withdrawal, and those who have been off of their normal psychiatric medications all have an increased risk of suicide. Especially important are inmates who face public shaming because of their charges (think child porn). These have an especially high suicide risk.

Once all of these questions (and others) have been asked, a yes-no decision must be made as to whether the inmate will be placed on suicide watch. This is often a difficult judgment call. On the one hand, you don't want to miss any truly suicidal patients. On the other hand, suicide precautions can be harsh, even by jail standards. In Jeffrey Epstein's case, he was indeed initially placed on suicide precautions.

The process

Let's consider a male patient charged with child abuse who says at booking, "My life is over, so I'm going to kill myself. There is nothing you can do to stop me." This patient would, of course, be placed on maximum suicide precautions. There are two main goals of jail suicide precautions. The first and most important is to not allow the patient to kill himself! The second goal is to get the patient mental health counseling and treatment.

To accomplish the first goal, our suicidal patient would be placed in a cell especially designed to have nothing that could be used for self-harm. Much care has gone into the design of these cells. The light fixtures must be recessed and inaccessible. There can be no sharp edges or bits of metal. (I once had an inmate who peeled off a small piece of metal from a poorly designed door and sliced open his brachial artery. He did not die, thank goodness.) Even the pegs to hang clothes on are designed so they cannot support a person's weight.

Since regular clothes, blankets, and sheets can be torn and braided to make a noose, our patient would be issued a special suicide garment and blanket. These are designed to be impossible (or nearly so) to be used to hang oneself. These are too tough to be ripped into anything that could be used as a noose. The garment has Velcro stays not strong enough to support a person's weight. However, suicide garments are certainly not comfortable. Some patients think they are demeaning, refuse to wear them, and walk around naked.

Since some suicidal patients can still find ways to harm themselves despite the special cell and special garments, suicidal patients are usually placed under observation as well. Suicide cells typically have large plexiglass windows to allow easy observation. How observation works varies from jail to jail. Some jails use "sitters" to observe suicidal patients. These are people whose only job is to sit by the plexiglass window and watch, 24/7. If the patient is on the toilet, the sitter is watching. Other jails have more informal observation of suicidal patients, usually by correctional officers who have other tasks to do besides watching the inmate. Almost always, though, the officer must document a visual check of suicidal patients on a log every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day.

The second goal of suicide observation is to get the patient mental health treatment. Mental health professionals will typically see a patient on suicide watch at least every day. Psychiatrists or other medical practitioners will also see these patients and prescribe appropriate psychiatric medications. Patients who are actively a danger to themselves (think repeatedly running headfirst into the wall) may need physical restraint, perhaps with a specially designed chair or involuntary sedation pending commitment procedures.

Most suicidal patients stabilize over time thanks to counselling, medications, and self-reflection. After three days of suicide precautions, our patient might say, "I'm not suicidal any more. I won't hurt myself." Usually, suicide precautions are phased out in a step-wise fashion. Our patient might be given back his regular clothes but kept under observation for one more day, then sent to regular housing.

It's very hard to commit suicide while on suicide watch as described. In fact, most successful suicides in jails do not happen among inmates on suicide watch. Jeffrey Epstein is a prime example. He had been released from active suicide watch. The correctional officers were still supposed to do checks on him every 30 minutes (which they evidently did not do) but this was because he was in a special housing cell rather than an open dorm.

Special housing cells tend to be small, typically two beds, and have small windows or observation ports on the door. The only way to see inside is to walk up and look inside. Correctional officers are supposed to do this with all special housing cells every 30 minutes.

Of course, if you really want to commit suicide, 30 minutes is plenty of time. If the officers are not doing the checks, well, that gives you even more leeway. However, in Jeffrey Epstein's case, the critical factor was not that the checks were not being done, it was that he did not have a roommate! It is much harder to commit suicide with a roommate who will sound the alarm. It is even harder when you are in a dorm with 40 others, any of whom can intercede.

For this reason, patients coming off of active suicide watch should always have at least one roommate, more if possible. And even more important than being a suicide "alarm" is the psychological benefits of roommates. Depressed patients need social interaction and someone to talk to. Isolation is psychologically hard, which you do not want to inflict on a patient who was recently suicidal. According to news reports, Epstein's roommate was released and he was left isolated. This was perhaps the biggest mistake in his case, even more than the 30-minute special housing checks not being done.

Jail suicide prevention programs absolutely work to reduce suicides when functioning properly. In Epstein's case, there were evidently multiple failures.

Jeffrey E. Keller, MD, FACEP, is a board-certified emergency physician with 25 years of experience before moving full time into his "true calling" of correctional medicine. He now works exclusively in jails and prisons, and blogs about correctional medicine at JailMedicine.com .

1969-12-31T19:00:00-0500

last updated 08.16.2019

[Aug 19, 2019] Barr took a hard swing at prosecutors who don't embrace the same tough-on-crime stance

Aug 19, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Kelli , 18 August 2019 at 04:57 PM

Let's talk for a minute about the increasingly open hostilities between "get soft on crime" prosectors from Deep Blue cities and states and an alliance of Red State and county prosecutors with the backing of Bill Barr's DOJ.

Barr addressed the issue about a week ago in New Orleans:

"Barr took a hard swing at prosecutors who don't embrace the same tough-on-crime stance. He said appointing such progressive district attorneys is "demoralizing to law enforcement and dangerous to public safety" because they "spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law.""
https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-nw-william-barr-death-penalty-20190812-smzw52vgyrh7haypr3dq327ydm-story.html

And, like clockwork, a cause celebre erupts in North suburban Chicago, as a gang of street thugs uses car stolen in the city to travel to Lake County on a nighttime spree. But as luck would have it, a 75 year old man with a legally registered gun shot one of the gang bangers (a 14 year old carrying a large Bowie knife) and killed him. The 18 year old accomplices took off, and now the County Attorney is bringing charges of Felony Murder against the rest of the criminal squad. Well, the Chicago media is outraged by this, and the pressure is building on the prosecutor to go light on the poor dears, most of whom have a rap sheet a mile long.

In about 5 seconds, I expect Kim Foxx (of Jussie Smollett fame) to get on a very high horse and start race baiting Lake County (largely white) in an effort to intimidate our elected officials into adopting her "leave no criminal behind" strategy for cleaning up Chicago's streets. I guess the strategy is to send them outside the city on raiding runs.

I'd be interested in stories from other parts of the country. Is anyone else experiencing something similar? How do we fight this trend? What does it portend for the future?

[Jul 29, 2019] Alex Acosta let the cat out of the bag the Justice Department knew all about the Jeffrey Epstein Florida plea deal by Robert Willmann

Notable quotes:
"... A secret plea bargain and non-prosecution agreement with the federal government is what happened. It shifted the public face to the Florida state court system with Epstein pleading to two state prostitution crimes, which implied, of course, that the complainants were prostitutes. The public is now aware that the result was Epstein sleeping at the county jail and then going to his office during the day, for 13 months. Registering as a sex offender has not curtailed his travel or daily activity. ..."
"... The whole nasty business disappeared from view and would have stayed hidden in its nicely wrapped package except that two civil lawsuits have pulled some of it into the light. ..."
"... With that background, we come to the recent fascinating events, in which Epstein was arrested, and the role of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in this whole rotten mess was revealed to some extent. He had been the U.S. Attorney for that part of Florida at that time ..."
"... There you have it: "... this case ... had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice." The cat was out of the bag. It was a sad sight: Alex Acosta, after achieving two significant positions in the federal government, took a dive to be the fall guy. ..."
"... The non-prosecution agreement has signature dates from 24 September to 7 December 2007, and page 3 of Robert Josefsberg's lawsuit against Epstein confirms this. The Department of Justice is a bureaucracy, and even though a U.S. Attorney has significant authority and some independence, the Justice Department in Washington D.C. -- sometimes called "Main Justice" -- ultimately controls things. In the organizational chart, the U.S. Attorneys are under the Deputy Attorney General, the number two person [6] ..."
"... The U.S. Attorney General from 3 February 2005 to 17 September 2007 was Alberto Gonzales. Michael Mukasey was nominated on 17 September and became Attorney General on 8 November 2007 until Eric Holder was sworn in on 3 February 2009. ..."
"... The FBI Director from 4 September 2001 to 4 September 2013 was Robert Mueller. ..."
"... And from July 2008 into this year, the Justice Department has resisted the CVRA lawsuit in Florida. ..."
"... This material is presented here for viewing or downloading so that you can think for yourself. Mass media has reported next to nothing about the 11-year course of the Crime Victims' Rights Act lawsuit and the detail in the first 22 pages of the trial court's opinion, other than that the court found the government violated the CVRA. I am not aware of one word reported about the 2010 lawsuit brought by Robert Josefsberg against Epstein for breaching the non-prosecution agreement. ..."
"... Jeffrey Epstein was being protected. The process and communications that accomplished it, and who did it, are not yet known. ..."
"... Why nobody is above the law! Not even a President! Oh! Wait! 23 flights! And a scion of the house of Windsor allegedly involved as well? ..."
"... "The federal non-prosecution agreement Epstein's legal team negotiated with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida immunized all named and unnamed "potential co-conspirators" in Epstein's child trafficking network, which includes those who allegedly procured minors for Epstein and also any powerbrokers who may have molested them." ..."
"... Who gets a plea deal in which "all named and unnamed potential co-conspirators" get immunity? https://gawker.com/flight-logs-put-clinton-dershowitz-on-pedophile-billio-1681039971 ..."
"... Epstein's NPA was limited to the Florida district of federal courts, hence another branch of the federal courts, the Southern District of New York, was free to re-open the issue..and did. ..."
"... Acosta says he acted in accordance with his superior's wishes at the DOJ. Plausible, but lets see some corroborating evidence. If he agreed to negotiate this NPA without getting his boss's orders in writing he is a remarkable fool. ..."
"... Arkancide? Epstein is linked with E Barak, and Nicole Junkermann, per flight logs. Presumably that is the intelligence link Acosta was babbling about. https://carbyne911.com/team/ ..."
"... Doubt if Bubba Bill was involved in any of Epstein's sexual shenanigans after being burnt by Lewinsky. Clinton always had the proverbial ability to "talk a dog off a gut wagon" and could most likely find an agreeable partner elsewhere. Might be wrong but doubt it. ..."
"... If I understand correctly, Epstein broke the agreement. Would it follow that the WTF!? immunity deal is now nixed? ..."
"... Crossing the Clinton cabal in any manner is seriously dangerous. The list of those who have and died mysteriously is very long. ..."
"... The sweetheart deal that Epstein received from Acosta and the DOJ seems rather unusual for the felony that is such a social taboo as you note. Not only did he get off extremely lightly but his co-conspirators were completely let off the hook. The way the children who were raped were also treated by the courts was also shameful. ..."
"... This case epitomizes the travesty of the current state of the rule of law. Sexual predators of children are typically thrown the book and quickly taken off the streets to serve a long sentence. Not only did that not happen but even worse he was allowed to continue his despicable behavior out in the open even when he was supposed to be serving his sentence. Clearly he had some powerful friends in the Bush administration, but even with these connections when such execrable behavior is shown repeatedly there were none with a conscience. A sad testament to the state of our justice system. ..."
"... The usual plea agreement requires the defendant to plead guilty to some federal criminal offense. The Epstein agreement did not require him to plead to a federal crime. It also did not require him to debrief or provide them with information. To the contrary, it required that the federal government do nothing to him or to other people who helped him or conspired with him to commit federal crimes! ..."
Jul 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

16 July 2019 Alex Acosta let the cat out of the bag: the Justice Department knew all about the Jeffrey Epstein Florida plea deal

A taboo in our culture that is also a crime is sexual contact with a child or young person -- usually less than 17 or 18 years old -- by an adult or older person. An exception is sexual experimentation during the struggle of adolescence, when the persons are no more than around two or three years apart in age, as long as there is consent. A greater age difference creates the crime often called "statutory rape", in which a statute (a law passed by a legislature) says that legal consent for sexual contact cannot be given by the underage person.

This taboo is a strong one, even more so than homicide, about which there are various levels and justifications, such as self-defense. All over the country on a regular basis, underage sex crime cases are tried to a jury, even without medical or forensic evidence. And with just one complainant and victim.

But then Jeffrey Epstein is named as a suspect in underage sex crimes in Palm Beach County, Florida, with not one complainant, but with at least 20.

What was the local State Attorney, Barry Krischer, going to do? Apparently, not very much. Attention shifted to the federal U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alexander Acosta, and the FBI. Was a federal prosecution pursued? No. Nothing.

A secret plea bargain and non-prosecution agreement with the federal government is what happened. It shifted the public face to the Florida state court system with Epstein pleading to two state prostitution crimes, which implied, of course, that the complainants were prostitutes. The public is now aware that the result was Epstein sleeping at the county jail and then going to his office during the day, for 13 months. Registering as a sex offender has not curtailed his travel or daily activity.

The whole nasty business disappeared from view and would have stayed hidden in its nicely wrapped package except that two civil lawsuits have pulled some of it into the light.

On 7 July 2008, a case under the federal Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA) was filed in the Southern District of Florida by lawyers Paul Cassell, Bradley Edwards, and two others against the federal government, with case number 08-cv-80736 [1]. Around ten and a half years later, on 21 February 2019, the trial court judge issued a 33-page opinion and order granting a request for partial summary judgment by two victims, ruling that there was no genuine issue of material fact about the assertion that the government violated the CVRA by failing properly to confer with the victims, and that therefore a contested trial on that issue is not necessary. The opinion is worth reading, and the first 22 pages are a detailed statement of facts about the non-prosecution agreement and the activity surrounding it by lawyers for the government and Epstein, giving an insight into what was going on. The beginning of the opinion references four startling factual assertions made by the complainants in their request for summary judgment and which the federal government admitted without qualification in its response [2]:

"1. Between about 1999 and 2007, Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused more than 30 minor girls, including Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, located in the Southern District of Florida, and elsewhere in the United States and overseas.

"2. Because Epstein and his co-conspirators knowingly traveled in interstate and international commerce to sexually abuse Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, and other similarly situated victims, they committed violations of not only Florida law (see, e,g., Fla. Stat. sections 794.05, 796.04, 796.045, 39.201 and 777.04), but also federal law, including repeated violations of 18 U.S.C. sections 1591, 2421, 2422, 2423, and 371).

"3. In addition to personally abusing his victims, Epstein also directed other persons to sexually abuse the girls. For example, Nadia Marcinkova sexually abused Jane Doe 1 and other victims at the direction of Epstein.

"8. More generally, the FBI established that Epstein used paid employees to repeatedly find and bring minor girls to him. Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minor girls not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others."

The opinion in the CVRA case is here https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/jeffreyepstein_cvra__court_opinion_20190221.pdf

The present court activity is to figure out a procedure to determine a remedy for the government's violation of the CVRA and to establish a remedy.

On 17 May 2010, a lawsuit revealing more of Epstein's degenerate attitude and mentality was filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, with case number 10-cv-21586. It was based on parts 7 and 8 of the plea bargain / non-prosecution agreement, that--

"7. The United Sates shall provide Epstein's attorneys with a list of individuals whom it has identified as victims, as defined in 18 U.S.C. section 2255, after Epstein has signed this agreement and been sentenced. Upon the execution of this agreement, the United States, in consultation with and subject to the good faith approval of Epstein's counsel, shall select an attorney representative for these persons, who shall be paid for by Epstein. Epstein's counsel may contact the indentified individuals through that representative.

"8. [In part] If any of the individuals referred to in paragraph (7), supra , elects to file suit pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 2255, Epstein will not contest the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida over his person and/or the subject matter, and Epstein waives his right to contest liability and also waives his right to contest damages up to an amount as agreed to between the identified individual and Epstein, so long as the identified individual elects to proceed exclusively under 18 U.S.C. section 2255, and agrees to waive any other claim for damages, whether pursuant to state, federal, or common law."

Title 18, U.S. Code, section 2255, creates the right for an underage person (a minor) to bring a civil lawsuit in federal court for money for personal injury suffered as a victim of certain federal crimes. The victim can seek money for the actual harm suffered, or the fixed amount of $150,000, plus attorney fees and litigation costs. [3].

The attorney representative selected to help the females who wanted to seek compensation by that route under the non-prosecution agreement (NPA) was Robert Josefsberg, of the Podhurst & Orseck law firm in Miami, Florida, known to have experience in litigation. Some number over 12 of the 34 females named by the U.S. Attorney's Office as complainants against Epstein sought compensation through the representative.

However, although Epstein agreed in the NPA to pay the attorney representative and to not contest liability in the claims the females made under 18 U.S.C. 2255, he not only breached the agreement by contesting liability in the cases, but also he paid only a small part of what was owed to Josefsberg, and tried to stiff the representative by not paying over $2 million dollars due for attorney fees and costs!

For over 20 months, Josefsberg tried unsuccessfully to get Epstein to pay him under the NPA, and finally sued Epstein for breach of contract and breach of the implied doctrine of good faith and fair dealing. Attached to the lawsuit document was a copy of the NPA. Here are the scandalous plea bargain / non-prosecution agreement and addendum, and the informative original petition brought by the representative for some of the victimized females:

This produced an amusing turn of events, shown by the court clerk's docket sheet. Epstein quickly settled with the attorney representative by 8 June 2010, only 22 days after the lawsuit was filed [4]. After all, he had breached the NPA and it could have been cancelled (and should have been) and a prosecution started in Florida.

Picking apart the NPA is in itself an interesting exercise, but looking at the agreement as a whole, you can see that it is designed to keep his sexually abusive conduct from being disclosed, both as to criminal charges -- he pled only to state prostitution offenses -- and as to civil cases involving females who decided to seek compensation through the NPA's representative and 18 U.S.C. section 2255. In those civil cases, Epstein agreed to not challenge his liability, so no stories would be told in court; the only issue would be the amount of money to be paid.

With that background, we come to the recent fascinating events, in which Epstein was arrested, and the role of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in this whole rotten mess was revealed to some extent. He had been the U.S. Attorney for that part of Florida at that time. The NPA on page 2 asserted that: "On the authority of R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, prosecution in this District for these offenses shall be deferred in favor of prosecution by the State of Florida, provided that Epstein abides by the following conditions and the requirements of this Agreement set forth below".

Well, not exactly. When publicity heated up, fingers were pointed at Acosta with the usual hollering by some that he should resign. This produced a pathetic press conference on Wednesday, 10 July, in which Acosta tried to justify what the materials presented above reveal [5]. On Friday, 12 July, when president Trump went outside the White House to talk to the press before leaving on a trip, Acosta went with him. At around 1 minute, 40 seconds into this short video excerpt, Acosta says:

"I have seen coverage of this case, that is over 12 years old, that had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice. And as I look forward, I do not think it is right and fair for this administration's labor department to have Epstein as the focus, rather than the incredible economy that we have today. And so I called the president this morning. I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside...."

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4806893/labor-secretary-acosta-resigns-jeffrey-epstein-plea-deal-controversy

There you have it: "... this case ... had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice." The cat was out of the bag. It was a sad sight: Alex Acosta, after achieving two significant positions in the federal government, took a dive to be the fall guy.

"Multiple levels" of "input" and "vetting" at the DOJ, you say? Who might that be?

The non-prosecution agreement has signature dates from 24 September to 7 December 2007, and page 3 of Robert Josefsberg's lawsuit against Epstein confirms this. The Department of Justice is a bureaucracy, and even though a U.S. Attorney has significant authority and some independence, the Justice Department in Washington D.C. -- sometimes called "Main Justice" -- ultimately controls things. In the organizational chart, the U.S. Attorneys are under the Deputy Attorney General, the number two person [6]

https://www.justice.gov/agencies/chart

The U.S. Attorney General from 3 February 2005 to 17 September 2007 was Alberto Gonzales. Michael Mukasey was nominated on 17 September and became Attorney General on 8 November 2007 until Eric Holder was sworn in on 3 February 2009.

The FBI Director from 4 September 2001 to 4 September 2013 was Robert Mueller.

More research is needed to identify persons in various positions in the Department of Justice from 2005 through at least 2010, when Epstein breached the NPA by contesting liability and failing to pay attorney fees and costs, and had to be sued by Robert Josefsberg and the Podhurst & Orseck law firm.

And from July 2008 into this year, the Justice Department has resisted the CVRA lawsuit in Florida.

The CVRA opinion on page 3 confirmed that by May 2007, the U.S. Attorney's Office had drafted a 53-page indictment and an 82-page prosecution memorandum about federal sex crimes committed by Epstein. The opinion on pages 5-6 quotes a letter to Epstein's counsel that the U.S. Attorney's office did not have the power to bind the Immigration service, but that they did not plan on bringing immigration charges against two of Epstein's female co-conspirators.

The CVRA opinion on page 7 tells us that--

"On September 21, 2007, Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer wrote the line prosecutor [Assistant U.S. Attorney] about the proposed agreement and added: 'Glad we could get this worked out for reasons I won't put in writing. After this is resolved I would love to buy you a cup at Starbucks and have a conversation'."

This material is presented here for viewing or downloading so that you can think for yourself. Mass media has reported next to nothing about the 11-year course of the Crime Victims' Rights Act lawsuit and the detail in the first 22 pages of the trial court's opinion, other than that the court found the government violated the CVRA. I am not aware of one word reported about the 2010 lawsuit brought by Robert Josefsberg against Epstein for breaching the non-prosecution agreement.

From this information, you can see the brazen lack of a basis for the extra protection put in the plea bargain / NPA on page 5, that--

"In consideration of Epstein's agreement to plead guilty and to provide compensation in the manner described above, if Epstein successfully fulfills all of the terms and conditions of this agreement, the United States also agrees that it will not institute any criminal charges against any potential co-conspirators of Epstein, including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova."

Jeffrey Epstein was being protected. The process and communications that accomplished it, and who did it, are not yet known.

[1] The Crime Victims' Rights Act, Title 18, United States Code, section 3771

http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title18/part2/chapter237&edition=prelim

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/3771

[2] The request (motion) for partial summary judgment by the victims (Jane Doe 1 and 2) contained a list of what they claimed were 157 undisputed material facts. The federal government filed a response which either admitted, or admitted with a qualification, or denied the asserted facts. The numbered facts 1, 2, 3, and 8 were admitted.

[3] Title 18, U.S. Code, section 2255

http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-prelim-title18-section2255&num=0&edition=prelim

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2255

[4] The court clerk's docket sheet for the Robert Josefsberg and Podhurst & Orseck lawsuit against Epstein

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/jeffreyepstein_docket_sheet_did_not_pay_lawsuit.pdf

[5] https://www.c-span.org/video/?462479-1/labor-secretary-defends-handling-epstein-plea-deal-amid-calls-resignation

[6] A text version of the Department of Justice organizational chart

https://www.justice.gov/agencies/organizational-chart-text-version

Posted at 08:30 PM in Administration , Current Affairs , government , Justice | Permalink


GeneO , 16 July 2019 at 11:50 PM

I had hoped we would learn from today's hearings more regarding Epstein's source of wealth - and exactly how much it was. Plus more info on his doctored passport. More about the money trail between him and various Florida officials.

Anyone new calling the tip line - especially from during his time as a teacher at that prep school in NY? And more about the Dershowitz and Starr involvement back 12 years ago.

Unfortunately the food fight between Trump and the four frosh sucked all the air out of the media.

Walrus , 17 July 2019 at 01:58 AM
Why nobody is above the law! Not even a President! Oh! Wait! 23 flights! And a scion of the house of Windsor allegedly involved as well?

Is it going to be possible to clean the stable? If it isn't, you have lost your Republic.

anon , 17 July 2019 at 07:58 AM
Came across this site with the court documents .The FBI travelled to Australia in 2011 and interviewed ms Roberts at the american consulate in Sydney.9 years ago then in 2015 she sued Epstein and maxwell. Only now in 2019 did Epstein fly back from Paris knowing he was going to be arrested.

Some of those girls were collecting info for him and getting paid. The whole thing stinks time to call in the plumbers.

John Minehan , 17 July 2019 at 10:33 AM
I saw this in a couple of places ( https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/i-was-told-epstein-belonged-to-intelligence-and-to-leave-it-alone; https://www.dailywire.com/news/49355/acosta-was-told-epstein-belonged-intelligence-ryan-saavedra; https://hotair.com/archives/allahpundit/2019/07/10/alex-acosta-mean-allegedly-said-epstein-belonged-intelligence/) and I'm not sure if it the report is accurate. (It's not showing up in the NY Times or The economist. But it doesn't seem impossible.

Many things are disposed of by plea Bargaining. With high profile crimes, it is always difficult to know if you did the right thing. Here, it is fairly obvious it wasn't. Acosta is a Harvard College/HLS, a very able and connected guy and his error here has damaged his life.

JamesT , 17 July 2019 at 11:17 AM
The part that I haven't seen being reported or discussed:

"The federal non-prosecution agreement Epstein's legal team negotiated with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida immunized all named and unnamed "potential co-conspirators" in Epstein's child trafficking network, which includes those who allegedly procured minors for Epstein and also any powerbrokers who may have molested them."

Who gets a plea deal in which "all named and unnamed potential co-conspirators" get immunity? https://gawker.com/flight-logs-put-clinton-dershowitz-on-pedophile-billio-1681039971

Barbara Ann , 17 July 2019 at 12:38 PM
Department of what now?

Thanks for the link to the NPA I didn't realize it was in the public domain, it is an astonishing read. I'm not familiar with NPA's (having never been party to one!) so forgive me if the following questions are uninformed:

To what extent are NPA's legally binding upon the USG, are there circumstances where a court can set one aside for reasons other than breach of contract?

The NPA appears to try and indemnify Epstein and both known and unknown co-conspirators (Ghislaine Maxwell?) in both the offenses prosecuted and any other offenses subject to the joint USAO/FBI investigation . In fact on page 5 the indemnity given uses the wording "the [US] also agrees it will not institute any criminal charges against any potential co-conspirators of Epstein included but not limited to.." (my emphasis) i.e. scope here appears to be unlimited. This cannot be legally enforceable surely?

I thought NPA's were used to go after people further up the food chain. This one seems to have given carte blanche immunity to all involved at every level. I'm astonished Acosta had the authority, merely with "consultation" within DOJ to do this. This is a travesty and is starting to make FISA abuse look like chicken feed.

Mark Logan said in reply to Barbara Ann... , 17 July 2019 at 08:57 PM
Barbara,

Epstein's NPA was limited to the Florida district of federal courts, hence another branch of the federal courts, the Southern District of New York, was free to re-open the issue..and did.

Acosta says he acted in accordance with his superior's wishes at the DOJ. Plausible, but lets see some corroborating evidence. If he agreed to negotiate this NPA without getting his boss's orders in writing he is a remarkable fool.

Walrus , 17 July 2019 at 12:56 PM

Was Acosta making an "error"? Looks to me he was a fully paid up member of the Swamp, doing what swampians do and he will no doubt settle back into a Swamp law firm or Professorship somewhere. Weep not for him.
Harry , 17 July 2019 at 01:24 PM
What a fantastic piece! Excellent work and I cannot poke a hole in the reasoning.
Walrus , 17 July 2019 at 03:24 PM
As previously observed, Epstein is going to be killed. Arkancide. The poor schmuck that does it won't realize that he is next.
Marc b. said in reply to Walrus ... , 17 July 2019 at 08:50 PM
Arkancide? Epstein is linked with E Barak, and Nicole Junkermann, per flight logs. Presumably that is the intelligence link Acosta was babbling about. https://carbyne911.com/team/
turcopolier , 17 July 2019 at 03:36 PM
walrus

yes. I con't see him living much longer. On Morning joe today, Joe and his imbecile consort went on at length about a party in 1992 at Mar A Lago for a bunch of NFL cheerleaders. Trump, Epstein and other me stood around ogling the ladies. So what! Not a word was said about the absent Bill Clinton.

srw said in reply to turcopolier ... , 17 July 2019 at 04:10 PM
Doubt if Bubba Bill was involved in any of Epstein's sexual shenanigans after being burnt by Lewinsky. Clinton always had the proverbial ability to "talk a dog off a gut wagon" and could most likely find an agreeable partner elsewhere. Might be wrong but doubt it.
The Twisted Genius -> turcopolier ... , 17 July 2019 at 07:56 PM
Ogling NFL cheerleaders, big deal. That seemed pretty normal to me. I'm waiting for more to come out about the 1992 private party at Mar a Lago with Trump, Epstein and 28 calendar girls. I get the feeling Trump is going tweet crazy right now primarily to change the subject. With Trump, Clinton, the DOJ enablers who protected Epstein and probably a host of others, Epstein is bound to be whacked as you and walrus said.
akaPatience -> turcopolier ... , 17 July 2019 at 09:04 PM
Yes, the MSM are predictably silent about Bill Clinton and other leftists who are/were buddies with Epstein. I guess with all of his money, he could murder someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and...

"imbecile consort". THANK you, you made my day!

Rhondda , 17 July 2019 at 04:17 PM
If I understand correctly, Epstein broke the agreement. Would it follow that the WTF!? immunity deal is now nixed?

What a rotten underbelly oozes out. This foul beast needs to be wrestled into the light. Where is the people's champion? There must be some good people in there somewhere.

John Minnerath , 17 July 2019 at 05:47 PM
Crossing the Clinton cabal in any manner is seriously dangerous. The list of those who have and died mysteriously is very long.
Jack , 17 July 2019 at 07:30 PM
Robert

Thanks for your excellent write-up.

The sweetheart deal that Epstein received from Acosta and the DOJ seems rather unusual for the felony that is such a social taboo as you note. Not only did he get off extremely lightly but his co-conspirators were completely let off the hook. The way the children who were raped were also treated by the courts was also shameful.

This case epitomizes the travesty of the current state of the rule of law. Sexual predators of children are typically thrown the book and quickly taken off the streets to serve a long sentence. Not only did that not happen but even worse he was allowed to continue his despicable behavior out in the open even when he was supposed to be serving his sentence. Clearly he had some powerful friends in the Bush administration, but even with these connections when such execrable behavior is shown repeatedly there were none with a conscience. A sad testament to the state of our justice system.

Do you think the current case will also just be another white wash or do you think the DOJ will pursue the investigation with vigor to get to the bottom of his finances and all the other sexual predators of children in his orbit?

robt willmann , 17 July 2019 at 09:38 PM
Barbara Ann,

You are perceptive about the Epstein plea bargain / non-prosecution agreement (NPA). The one for Epstein is the complete opposite of what happens in federal criminal cases. Yes, agreements between the Justice Department and defendants are often used "to go after people further up the food chain". There will be a plea bargain with a cooperation section in it. If cooperation is not part of the arrangement, that section is left out.

They have a standard form they use for plea bargains, and some sections may be in or out of it depending on the situation. Classic examples are those that were used by "special counsel" Robert Mueller when he went around putting the squeeze on people. Here is the agreement between the Mueller group and Richard Gates, who was around Paul Manafort during the Trump campaign--

https://www.justice.gov/file/1038801/download

The usual plea agreement requires the defendant to plead guilty to some federal criminal offense. The Epstein agreement did not require him to plead to a federal crime. It also did not require him to debrief or provide them with information. To the contrary, it required that the federal government do nothing to him or to other people who helped him or conspired with him to commit federal crimes!

John Minehan , 17 July 2019 at 09:38 PM
I'm not a Trump supporter, but you have to say this for Trump: he banned Jeffery Epstein from his properties and made him PNG when Trump had complaints about the man's conduct on site.

[Jul 19, 2019] The Epstein story discredits American justice, American media, reaches into the White House as well as represents the power of Israel over the governments of the US, Britain and Canada

Jul 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

curious man , Jul 19 2019 0:44 utc | 67

Epstein and the American Lie Machine
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2019/07/18/neo-epstein-and-the-american-lie-machine/

"The Epstein story touches everywhere, discredits American justice, American media, reaches into the White House, perhaps through numerous occupants and eventually settles in, a continuing mystery, still protected by a controlled media as it leads us to not one but 20 billionaires, a secret society tied to Epstein, that represents the power of Israel over the governments of the US, Britain and Canada."

"What is the real story? First of all, sex with children is nothing new in America. Child sex was the norm when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 and little changed other than it becoming a convenient tool to smear political opponents.

For two centuries, girls as young as 12 were regularly married off, sometimes forcibly, to men as old as 70 while others were sold into slavery to work in the mills or join the endless hordes serving in America's brothels."

[Jul 15, 2019] Jeffrey Epstein Is Exhibit A for Capitalism's Moral Bankruptcy

Highly recommended!
Jul 15, 2019 | truthout.org

By throwing millions of dollars at the legal system, Epstein successfully enlisted Alex Acosta, a sitting U.S. Attorney who just resigned as Trump's Labor Secretary, to grant the admitted sex offender a non-prosecution and an immunity agreement.

That deal, that a federal judge has since ruled illegal, helped conceal a vast child-sex trafficking operation that targeted vulnerable minors by offering them $300 and then employed a kind of pyramid scheme where victims were recruited to find new victims.

For decades now, as a general assignment reporter, I have had front row seats for a procession of these kinds of defendants. I have seen the likes of Epstein before.

Over my life as a journalist, as the whirlwind of wealth concentration stripped so many threadbare, these guys have prospered on an unprecedented scale. In our era of late-stage vulture-capitalism, it is these most ruthless predators that are elevated before their fall by our corporate media as living deities.

Rogues Rushmore

The elevation of Donald Trump to the Presidency marks the high-water mark for this underworld crew who masterfully play the compliant corporate media that's transfixed by great wealth and confer upon those that hold it all sorts of intellectual prowess so as to cultivate proximity to them.

As we saw in the Federal prosecution and conviction of Michael Cohen for his role in facilitating the payoff of Stormy Daniels, Trump knows everybody has a price.

These great white men are their own law. They see themselves as the smartest guys in the room. They have the cunning to know how to hollow out others so that they can own their souls. With the precision of an acupuncturist, they pinpoint that pressure point that's the nexus of desire, sexual pleasure or ambition.

These must be done with sleight of hand but even if you are caught red-handed, as long as you have high priced representation on retainer, you can outmaneuver prosecutors.

Weaponized Sex

Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, President Trump's senior advisor, is another case in point.

Kushner, the real estate mogul and major Democratic campaign donor, was appointed by Governor McGreevey to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2002 and was nominated by the Governor to be the chairman of the board of the sprawling bi-state multi-billion-dollar enterprise in 2003.

McGreevey had to withdraw that nomination and Kushner had to resign when allegations surfaced that the developer's massive donations to his campaign might have run afoul of campaign finance and conflict of interest laws.

The year before Kushner's appointment, while on a trip to Israel, McGreevey crossed paths with Golan Cipel, who was in his early 30s. Subsequent press reports boiled down the young Israeli's bio to his being a former member of the Israeli Navy and a published poet.

In 2002, it was Kushner who sponsored Cipel, for a hard to obtain work visa in the U.S. and gave him a $30,000-a-year job in his northern New Jersey office after Cipel had worked on the McGreevey campaign.

In the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, Cipel was nominated by McGreevey to a $110,000 job to lead the state's freshly minted Homeland Security office. Cipel's status as an Israeli citizen and his lack of executive-level counter-terrorism experience sent up multiple flares which McGreevey ignored.

The young Governor doubled down, as he blew through his very limited 'honeymoon' political capital trying to make the appointment stick. But the Governor's wild overstatement of Cipel's work experience doomed the pick and Cipel handed in his resignation in March of 2002. Yet, he was kept on at the same salary as a "policy counselor" a position he would resign from a few months later.

In August of 2004 McGreevey resigned from office disclosing that he was "a gay American", explaining he was compelled to make the bombshell disclosure because Cipel, with whom he had an affair, was threatening to sue him unless he was paid $5 million (McGreevey reportedly called the U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to report the alleged extortion).

But as Cipel tells it on his own website he was the victim of sexual harassment. "All those things that I rationalized to myself seemed very logical at the time, but the sad truth is that I was acting out of confusion and fear," Cipel writes. "Like many other victims of sexual harassment, I chose to deny what had happened."

The Art of the Deal

In August of 2004 the elder Kushner, a towering figure in both American and Israeli politics and philanthropy, pled guilty to a long list of corruption charges that could have sent him to jail for many years if he had been your run of the mill federal defendant of color in a drug conspiracy case.

Kushner admitted to hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, who was working with federal investigators against him, then videotaping that sexual rendezvous and sending it to his brother-in-law's spouse, who was Kushner's sister.

But Kushner and his lawyers would ultimately outmaneuver U.S. Attorney Chris Christie , whose major vulnerability was his own infinite ambition for power as we saw with Bridgegate. The night before Kushner was supposed to be in court to plead guilty, the U.S. Attorney leaked the still un-inked deal to reporters.

But as the media waited in Newark the next day for the official deal to be confirmed in the federal courtroom, the appointed time came and went. Behind the scenes, Kushner's lawyers and Christie's team were going back and forth over the terms and conditions of the deal.

By the end of the day, Kushner would enter a guilty plea as advertised, but he made no commitment to cooperate with the government or to offer up any potential co-conspirators. According to the Department of Justice's press release, Kushner pleaded guilty to 18 counts of filing false tax returns, one count of retaliating against a cooperating witness and one count of making false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

By the evening news cycle, the morning's news of a plea deal was finally true, and Christie could bask in the glory. "This is a great victory for the people of New Jersey," said the federal prosecutor who would soon run for governor. "No matter how rich and powerful any person may be, they will be held accountable for criminal conduct by this office."

Each of Kushner's 18 tax counts carried a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $100,000, according to the DOJ; the witness retaliation count carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000; and the false statement charge provided for a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of $250,000.

Scroll forward to March of 2005, though, and Kushner was sentenced to just two years -- which, The New York Times reported at the time, was the most he "could have received under a plea agreement reached last September," with Christie.

It was clear that Christie's office had been out-lawyered by the Kushner team. And the Christie-approved leak -- before he had closed the deal -- definitely hadn't helped. Before sentencing, the Department of Justice wrote a letter to the judge observing that, in the final analysis, Kushner showed a "failure to accept responsibility" for a long litany of criminal acts that could have landed him in federal prison for decades."

Without a truly thorough prosecution, the House of Kushner would endure and prosper and Kushner would see his son go on to greater things sitting in the star chamber of ultimate power deciding who the U.S. should bomb or sell weapons to.

Equal Justice Not

Our collective attention span is so short and the non-contextual way the news is reported assures we lose track of the narrative thread so when types like Epstein and Kushner cut their deals we miss it.

Without the candle power of the Miami Herald 's probe of the Epstein plea deal, we remain in the dark about how every day great wealth can insulate the guilty, no matter heinous their crime, from really being held accountable.

Meanwhile, those without means, who are innocent, are chewed up and spit out by a criminal justice system that is neither blind nor fair.

"We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent," said civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson in his TED Talk. "Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes. And yet, we seem to be very comfortable. The politics of fear and anger have made us believe that these are problems that are not our problems."

[Jun 02, 2019] It s All A Fraud -- Deceptive Edits Found In Mueller Report -

Notable quotes:
"... Mueller's deceptive edits beg the question; what else may have been manipulated by the special counsel to make Trump look guilty? ..."
"... When reached for comment by attorney 'Techno Fog' (@Techno_Fog), Dowd said of the edits: " It is unfair and despicable. It was a friendly privileged call between counsel - with NO conflict. I think Flynn got screwed." ..."
"... Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians and is currently awaiting sentencing. ..."
"... Time to lock up that big nosed sneaky ******* *** bastard Andrew Weissmann ..."
"... They were all hired under the supervision of another sneaky *** ****, "No" Rod Rosenstein...who was behind him pulling the strings, who's business was he really doing ? It sure was not the interests of Justice, nor the good of the US. ..."
"... Weissmann, Rosenstein and Mueller ..."
Jun 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Saturday called for the immediate release of "all backup and source information" for the Mueller report after internet sleuth @almostjingo (Rosie Memos) discovered that the special counsel's office deceptively edited content which was then cited as evidence of possible obstruction.

" It's all a fraud " tweeted Nunes, replying to a tweet by @JohnWHuber (Undercover Huber), who also posted a comparison between the Mueller report and a newly released transcript of a November 2017 voicemail message left by former Trump lawyer John Dowd, in which he asked former national security adviser Michael Flynn's attorney for a "heads up" if Flynn was planning on saying anything that might damage the president.

Mueller's team omitted key context suggesting that Dowd was trying to strongarm Flynn and possibly obstruct justice by shaping witness testimony, while the actual voicemail reveals that Dowd was careful not to tread into obstruction territory in what was a friendly and routine call between lawyers.

Devin Nunes ✔ @DevinNunes

This is why we need all backup and source documentation for the # muellerdossier released publicly. It's all a fraud...

Undercover Huber @JohnWHuber

Voicemail from John Dowd to @ GenFlynn 's Counsel

LEFT: Mueller report

RIGHT: Full transcript released today per court order

Mueller's hacks removed that Dowd wanted a heads up "not only for the president, but for the country" and wasn't asking for "any confidential information" 20.9K 10:12 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

12.7K people are talking about this

Dowd qualifies his request by saying " without you having to give up any...confidential information " in order to determine "If, on the other hand, we have, there's information that...implicates the President, then we've got a national security issue, or maybe a national security issue, I don't know ... some issue, we got to-we got to deal with, not only for the President but for the country ."

View image on Twitter
Rosie memos @almostjingo

Once again # MuellerReport edited messages to make them appear more damaging, full transcript of this phone call reveals Dowd's message was pretty typical for a lawyer and he clearly states he's not interested in any confidential info. What else did they manipulate

4,324 5:37 PM - May 31, 2019
3,710 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=4855

Mueller's deceptive edits beg the question; what else may have been manipulated by the special counsel to make Trump look guilty?

When reached for comment by attorney 'Techno Fog' (@Techno_Fog), Dowd said of the edits: " It is unfair and despicable. It was a friendly privileged call between counsel - with NO conflict. I think Flynn got screwed."

View image on Twitter
Techno Fog @Techno_Fog

EXCLUSIVE

We got a statement from former Trump lawyer John Dowd, responding to the Special Counsel's deceptive edits of his voicemail to Flynn's lawyer

"It is unfair and despicable. It was a friendly privileged call between counsel - with NO conflict. I think Flynn got screwed"

4,181 7:31 PM - May 31, 2019
2,938 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

Dowd told Fox News : "During the joint defense relationship, counsel for the president provided to Flynn's counsel documents, advice and encouragement to provide to SC [the special counsel] as part of his effort to cooperate with the SC," adding " SC never raised or questioned the president's counsel about these allegations despite numerous opportunities to do so. "

Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians and is currently awaiting sentencing.

DOJ stonewalls on Flynn evidence

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has resisted a court order to release the transcripts of Flynn's conversations with Russian officials , including former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

This raises at least two questions. First, did the DOJ give Flynn the transcripts? And second, did the DOJ violate a previous court order from Judge Emmett Sullivan to produce evidence during discovery?

Techno Fog @Techno_Fog · May 31, 2019 Replying to @Techno_Fog

Note - per competing Orders, still not certain if Judge Sullivan will require all audio recording transcripts be filed with court. DOJ seems to read the orders that he doesn't need them. https:// twitter.com/Techno_Fog/sta tus/1129416066382336000

Techno Fog @Techno_Fog

New entry from Judge Sullivan on the Flynn case.

Read closely at the dates and omissions - could be a change to his prior order that the gov't file "the transcripts of any other audio recordings of Mr. Flynn"

Techno Fog @Techno_Fog

Note that the 5/16 Order required the production of "the transcripts of any other audio recordings of Mr. Flynn, including, but not limited to, audio recordings of Mr. Flynn's conversations with Russian officials"

Compliance may be an issue. Awaiting Judge response...

428 4:39 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
232 people are talking about this
Techno Fog @Techno_Fog · 12 h

Re: Flynn

Based on the DOJ ignoring the Court order to file the Russian Ambassador call transcript - I'm assuming they didn't provide it to Flynn's team.

That could also be a violation of the Court's discovery order (linked below). https://www. scribd.com/document/41214 8680/Flynn-Judge-Sullivan-Standing-Order-Re-Discovery

Flynn - Judge Sullivan Standing Order Re Discovery

US v. Michael Flynn - Standing Discovery Order of Judge Sullivan; DE 20; filed 2/16/2018

scribd.com
Techno Fog @Techno_Fog

In particular, note these parts of Judge Sullivan's prior 2/2018 Order:

"Due process requires disclosure of "evidence [that] is material either to guilt or to punishment" upon request"

Provide any evidence . . . "material either to defendant's guilt or punishment" pic.twitter.com/zWTi3O5zNC

468 11:56 PM - Jun 1, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
240 people are talking about this

Could there be exculpatory evidence in the transcript that Flynn's team never received? Law Crime

GoldRulesPaperDrools , 4 minutes ago

Mueller was a dirty cop back from his days in Boston dealing with Whitey Bulger. Like most gubmint employees he can't be fired when he ***** up (especially if they're a minority or if they get high up in the management pyramid). He should have been fired from the FBI and probably indicted long before he left Boston.

Add to the fact that he's personal friends with Cankles Clinton's personal legal snowplow James Comey who got her off in the New Square Four issue up in NY and you have a dishonest and biased party. Trump was the only one who called these fucktards on their past. Even the rhinos were quiet and gave Mueller props. He and Comey should be looking at a date with a firing squad along with ex-president Smirking Chimp and several of his leftist cronies.

Pinefox , 8 minutes ago

Let's hope their are some brilliant technologically savvy patriotic citizens who can unearth the corrupt manipulation of evidence and display it to the American people.

Joebloinvestor , 9 minutes ago

Looks like Flynn got railroaded and he willingly took the trip.

pissed off american , 13 minutes ago

lisa barsoomian used to an ACTIVE undercover CIA agent/NWO lawyer and rod rosenstein wife

blindfaith , 14 minutes ago

Imagine my surprise. What else would 18 radical pro liberal Democrat lawyers do to?

Criminal behavior overdue for prosecution and prison terms, and forfeiture of assets. You know like happens to regular folks.

JD59 , 16 minutes ago

Of course it is "ALL A FRAUD" it is called a COUP, by the DEMOCRAT PARTY AND OBAMA!

It was treason and sedition. The good news is, they will never be held accountable because there is no unbiased justice system. Just controlled chaos. /sarc

Teamtc321 , 16 minutes ago

Mueller and Clan forged 302's to charge Mike Flynn with a process Crime, FACT. Period. End of Story.

Listen to this from Dan Bongino from December, follow the proof he speaks of that is coming out as fact now. This is the real Story and it's factual.

Ep. 865 Mike Flynn Was Set Up! The Dan Bongino Show 12/5/2018.

From < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbQXnTOSg9E&t=1890s

Long, but if you really want to understand how Flynn was set up in a perjury trap, how they did it and then charged him with a process crime.

It's right there and proven factual. Period.

Teamtc321 , 14 minutes ago

Mike Flynn needs to be exonerated, Now. That is a long podcast from Dan Bongino but it is Factual. Not bull ****.

Flynn was set up with Fake 302's, Period.

iSage , 10 minutes ago

Well, they asked him a question and he got the answer wrong in an interview, I say he committed no crime, except to misspeak in a FBI interview.

Hardly treason, or anything other than a memory lapse. Try remembering all your phone call details from 2 years ago?

Teamtc321 , 2 minutes ago

The written notes from the interview, the 302's were dated 6 months after the actual interview also. Bongino not only laid it out, had the doc's to show it.............

Flynn was not only set up, he got rail roaded with the full weight and force of the Mueller Investigation.

They basically broke Flynn trying to defend himself. He lost everything trying to finance the battle.

Non-Corporate Entity , 16 minutes ago

hahahha!!!! Mueller is used to having people in place to overlook his deceptions but now they've been replaced by Americans LOOKING for his deceptions.

St. TwinkleToes , 17 minutes ago

Note to Self:

The US Government, every local and state official, everyone working in academia, all public service employees, military command, and all 70 plus unions representing the entertainment industry and those they employ, are your enemy. Avoid these subhuman pos with all possible means. They are cancers of civilization, a curse upon mankind. Zombies, the walking dead.

Abaco , 20 minutes ago

The first question that should be asked is why the hell is anyone still working at DOJ who is stonewalling the courts and/or the Attorney General. Doing so is a fireable offense and any money spent walking these schmucks through the paperwork and out the door is well worth it. In the meantime they should be order to report to the DOJ branch office in Somalia.

Of course Mueller's team unlawfully withheld discovery evidence and of course they falsified evidence. That ******** Weissman has a track record of doing just that. The fact that the stupid prick still has a law license is evidence enough that the entire federal "justice" system is completely corrupt.

Robert of Ottawa , 18 minutes ago

Quite so Abaco, this is Mueller's modus operandum

johngaltfla , 24 minutes ago

Mueller is a partisan hack who is used as a hit man by the Beltway elites to attack and destroy innocent people. His track record is an abomination and this is just anther verification of how corrupt this son of a bitch really is.

artvandalai , 25 minutes ago

I suppose somebody could still say that there is no Deep State. But nobody nowhere can say that this kind of thing isn't what Deep Staters would do if they existed.

Harry Lightning , 27 minutes ago

Time to lock up that big nosed sneaky ******* *** bastard Andrew Weissmann. He looks like the kind of prick who will spill his guts once threatened with a prison sentence, because he and everyone on the planet knows he would not last one day in the joint.

Once they get him to squeal, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down on that treasonous ********** Mueller. Let's see how tough he really is when the heat is on him for a change. My bet is he wilts like a flower in the summer heat.

They were all hired under the supervision of another sneaky *** ****, "No" Rod Rosenstein...who was behind him pulling the strings, who's business was he really doing ? It sure was not the interests of Justice, nor the good of the US.

Only when this onion is peeled layer by l;ayer will the countrey find out who truly was responsible for this hit job on the President, and Trump should use every available means at his disposal as President to get to the bottom of this horseshit.

Abaco , 17 minutes ago

Weissmann, Rosenstein and Mueller, at the very least should each be hanging, todya, half from the Cabin John Bridge and half from the Woodrow Wilson bridge.

Teamtc321 , 21 minutes ago

Obama Spy Gate is unfolding...

btrp , 28 minutes ago

Mueller picked 16 democrat lawyers for his special counselors office. I'm sure those weasly wittle democrats didn't edit those transcripts.

turkey george palmer , 29 minutes ago

Seems like they want the country to go lawless. Who would.want.tge United States to go down like that.

Britain is the culprit ultimately. Well besides the little ticks with all the money

MalteseFalcon , 32 minutes ago

The FISA system invites abuse. Get rid of it. In fact jettison all post 9/11 security constructs.

iSage , 16 minutes ago

Get rid of Patriot and NDA Acts, as a start! There are plenty more to repeal too!

Teamtc321 , 34 minutes ago

Obama Spied..............

Seth Rich Died...........

While you ******* Crooked Libtards Screech Impeach.................

Teamtc321 , 35 minutes ago

The Rats are being rolled out as the Treasonous Scum they are. Obama Spy-Gate is showing it's face..........

Flynn was set up in a Perjury Trap to get a shitty process crime charge......... Mueller is a Dirty MFER................

Mike Flynn need to be Exonerated, NOW !!!!!!

========================

Former Deputy Assistant AG Toensing: There Is Evidence Obama Administration FISA Abuse Started As Early As 2012 (VIdeo)

On Friday night Sean Hannity invited several expert sources on the Deep State spying scandal to discuss the latest developments in the government spying on the Trump campaign, Trump Transition team and Trump administration.

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/06/former-deputy-assistant-ag-toensing-there-is-evidence-obama-administration-fisa-abuse-started-as-early-as-2012-video/

Pro_sanity , 37 minutes ago

With such overwhelming evidence of DOJ, FBI and IC / proprietorial fraud, if there are is no "real" investigation - which should be a mere formality - to confirm severe malfeasance, and worse, followed up by prosecution and punishment, then I'm staying the **** home next elections ... totally sick of this ******* two-tiered ****.

[May 15, 2019] Barr s Investigator John Durham Once Probed Mueller In A Shocking Case

Highly recommended!
So Strzok worked with Mueller in Boston. Really close circle of friends.
Notable quotes:
"... In December 2000, Durham revealed secret FBI documents that convinced a judge to vacate the 1968 murder convictions of "four other FBI informants because they'd been framed by Robert Mueller's FBI. ..."
"... "In 2007," to help protect Whitey Bulger (that's what all those people were held in jail for) "the documents helped Salvati, Limone, and the families of the two other men who had died in prison to win a US $101.7 million civil judgment against the government." ..."
"... Durham got the two surviving framed men released from prison. Robert Mueller was knee-deep in this scandal, along with Andrew Weissman and the agent sent to prison, but because Reno gave him very limited authority, Durham was not able to prosecute Mueller, who was not in the FBI at the time. ..."
"... Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, calling Mueller a "zealot," he reminded Mueller supporters about the former FBI director's role in protecting "notorious mass murderer" Whitey Bulger as an FBI informant. ..."
"... There is also the fact that Rod Rosenstein seems to think well of him. ..."
"... You can be sure there are a lot of people losing sleep knowing Durham is on the case. You might have noticed Rod Rosenstein, the former Deputy Attorney General, is out trashing Jim Comey. ..."
"... Strzok was in the Boston FBI office at the same time. ..."
"... Mueller was the perfect choice for special prosecutor because they have so much dirt on him he'll do whatever they tell him to do. Modus Operandi in DC for many many decades. ..."
May 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Barr's Investigator John Durham Once Probed Mueller In A Shocking Case

by Tyler Durden Wed, 05/15/2019 - 15:30 0 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print Authored by S.Noble via IndependentSentinel.com,

Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham was appointed to investigate the origins of the Russia-Trump probe. Apparently, he has been on the job for weeks.

Durham is the perfect investigator for the job by all accounts and he had experience with Robert Mueller in the Whitey Bulger case. He did not side with Mueller and Mueller's agents suffered the consequences of Mueller's, some would say, corrupt leadership.

THE WHITEY BULGER CASE

Back in the late 1990s, there were "allegations that FBI informants James 'Whitey' Bulger and Stephen 'The Rifleman' Flemmi had corrupted their handlers. So, in 1999, Janet Reno appointed John Durham as Special Prosecutor and charged him with investigating FBI corruption in Boston. As it turned out, FBI agents aided mass murderer, Whitey Bulger and hid his crimes. Bulger was a protected informant. Durham sent one agent involved to prison for 10 years.

Then-US Attorney, Robert Mueller is probably the one who should have landed in the pen. He allowed four innocent men to be sent to prison for a murder he knew they didn't commit. He did it to protect Bulger. One of the four men was in Florida at the time of the murder and could not have committed the murder.

When Durham went through the documents. He found that the four men, Enrico Tameleo , Joseph Salvati , Peter J. Limone , and Louis Greco, had actually been framed. Four people who were innocent were kept in jail for years in order to protect the status of Whitey Bulger as an FBI informant.

The Boston Globe wrote:

"[Mike] Albano [former Parole Board Member who was threatened by two F.B.I. agents for considering parole for the men imprisoned for a crime they did not commit] was appalled that, later that same year, Mueller was appointed FBI director, because it was Mueller, first as an assistant US attorney then as the acting U.S. attorney in Boston, who wrote letters to the parole and pardons board throughout the 1980s opposing clemency for the four men framed by FBI lies. Of course, Mueller was also in that position while Whitey Bulger was helping the FBI cart off his criminal competitors even as he buried bodies in shallow graves along the Neponset "

In December 2000, Durham revealed secret FBI documents that convinced a judge to vacate the 1968 murder convictions of "four other FBI informants because they'd been framed by Robert Mueller's FBI.

"In 2007," to help protect Whitey Bulger (that's what all those people were held in jail for) "the documents helped Salvati, Limone, and the families of the two other men who had died in prison to win a US $101.7 million civil judgment against the government."

Durham got the two surviving framed men released from prison. Robert Mueller was knee-deep in this scandal, along with Andrew Weissman and the agent sent to prison, but because Reno gave him very limited authority, Durham was not able to prosecute Mueller, who was not in the FBI at the time.

Mueller kept four innocent people in jail for years to protect the informant status of Whitey Bulger, a mass-murdering Boston mobster who ended up dying in California, and it ended up costing the government $100 million plus in civil judgments.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ CALLED MUELLER A "ZEALOT"

Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, calling Mueller a "zealot," he reminded Mueller supporters about the former FBI director's role in protecting "notorious mass murderer" Whitey Bulger as an FBI informant.

"I think Mueller is a zealot," Dershowitz told "The Cats Roundtable" on 970 AM-N.Y. ". . . I don't think he cares whether he hurts Democrats or Republicans, but he's a partisan and zealot.

"He's the guy who kept four innocent people in prison for many years in order to protect the cover of Whitey Bulger as an FBI informer. Those of us in Boston don't have such high regard for Mueller because we remember this story. The government had to pay out tens of millions of dollars because Whitey Bulger, a notorious mass murderer, became a government informer against the mafia . . .

"And that's regarded in Boston of one of the great scandals of modern judicial history . And Mueller was right at the center of it. So, he is not without criticism by people who know him in Boston."

HOW DID MUELLER BECOME THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR?

There were other cases in which Mueller behaved scandalously, here and here . Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Sydney Powell tells the same story. She calls them creeps on a mission and has a website of the same name detailing the offenses of Mueller and Weissman.

How did Robert Mueller end up as the Special Prosecutor? Thank a Democrat. The Democrats insisted he was a great man of inviolable character. They said he was the impeccable man and investigator.

There is also the fact that Rod Rosenstein seems to think well of him.

You can be sure there are a lot of people losing sleep knowing Durham is on the case. You might have noticed Rod Rosenstein, the former Deputy Attorney General, is out trashing Jim Comey.

For his part, Jim Comey hasn't written anything inspirational or anti-Trump on Twitter for four days. He has been giving a lot of public speeches lately. Maybe he should shut up.


DoctorFix , 7 minutes ago link

Weren't Comey and Mueller involved in other scandal with Comeys brother?

insanelysane , 1 hour ago link

Strzok was in the Boston FBI office at the same time. The entire FBI is crooked. They supposedly couldn't find Bulger for years. Then the case was going to be turned over to the US Marshal Service. And what do you know, someone in Greenland or Iceland called the FBI with a tip that Bulger was in California. And just like that the FBI goes and picks him up with less force than they used to pick up Roger Stone. The FBI is dirty. Every single one of them.

MrBoompi , 1 hour ago link

Mueller was the perfect choice for special prosecutor because they have so much dirt on him he'll do whatever they tell him to do. Modus Operandi in DC for many many decades.

MushroomCloud2020 , 1 hour ago link

John Durham Once Probed Mueller

Yeah, but did he do an investigation afterwards or did he just have a smoke and fall asleep?

Truthistheagenda , 2 hours ago link

The Rats can't abandon ship fast enough so they are starting to eat their own... more popcorn this movie is getting good.

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/05/comey-turns-on-brennan-fired-fbi-chief-claims-brennan-pushed-junk-dossier-in-ic-report-video/

jaxville , 2 hours ago link

What about the frame up of Edgar J Steele ? Another victim of a corrupt FBI investigation and a corrupt jewdiciary.

I used to find Edgar's "nickle rants" entertaining. What happened to him gave me the biggest red pill of my life.

"Whenever you find something foul, when you peel back the layers; more often than not you find the same maggots underneath it all." Please forgive my quote may not be precise as I don't have my copy of Song of the Reich handy. I think you get the point though.

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago link

Not for me. I simply assume government is corrupt beyond our wildest dreams. Remember the story of the Dutch banker who escaped the Illuminati and his story of laundering proceeds from Iranian oil sales when Iran was, once again, under sanctions in former years? That trucks and trucks pulled up to these German banks loaded with USD. His job was to make sure that money continued its journey...but not in a truck.

But I'm with Team. What the **** did I just read? This is like being in a small town and learning yet another tidbit in a scandelous affair. Soap opera-ville. Like, dude! What's goin' happen next?

misterlee , 2 hours ago link

Mueller appears to have been dirty for some time now. This speaks to the extent of the swamp more than anything else. Mueller is careful enough to not break criminal law so all he'll ever suffer is criticism for loading up his team with Trump haters. None of these people will go down for anything unless Weissman is tagged with withholding exculpatory evidence, again.

Zero Schmeero , 3 hours ago link

If convicted of sedition Mueller and Weissman can serve in the same prison they sent Bulger. Seems they have a lot of friends there.

TGDavis , 3 hours ago link

How do you cost your employer 100 million and still have a job? This is why I don't believe anything. If this true, then our country is really in bad shape. No American would do this.

LOL123 , 3 hours ago link

I tell you the Democrats are a cult not a representative party of ANY PEOPLE except the i(legal) mob.

Truthistheagenda , 2 hours ago link

Unfortunately it is not just Dems, it is the whole damn swamp except a few.

they want everyone divided because divided the people are weak, wake up and smell the Covfefe

lowscorewins , 3 hours ago link

Sadly Comey is not smart enough to shut up...

Sparehead , 3 hours ago link

There were so many "real dirty birds", but I'd add Hilliary, Holder, Lynch, and Clapper to round out the high-profile list. As an ex-President and the first "magic" one I expect Obama to get a pass.

LEEPERMAX , 3 hours ago link

CIA DESTROYS AMERICA FROM THE UK: https://aim4truth.org/2019/05/15/cia-destroys-america-from-the-uk/

The Herdsman , 3 hours ago link

Hey fellas, gee wiz. Turns out those guys we gave special rights, special power, specials guns, and special equipment too actually hurt people with them. Who'd'a thunk?

atlasRocked , 4 hours ago link

ERROR in the article? "... the United States Penitentiary, Hazelton , near Bruceton Mills , West Virginia . [22] Bulger, who was in a wheelchair, was found dead on October 30, 2018, at the age of 89. He was killed by inmates within hours of his arrival at Hazelton. "

Muddy1 , 4 hours ago link

"As it turned out, FBI agents aided mass murderer, Whitey Bulger and hid his crimes"

Over the past two years, I have heard Sean Hannity bad mouth the upper echelons of the FBI. He consistently goes on to grovel and talk about the thousands of agents in local offices who are hard working agents doing a great job. I always though his *** kissing was to good to be true. Now I read just how corrupt local agents are, willing to send innocent people to jail to protect some dirt bag.

I've come to the conclusion that the FBI is full of dirty agents from top to bottom. Time to abolish the FBI.

The Herdsman , 4 hours ago link

Every government agency is. Thats the nature of it. Power corrupts. You think you can create an agency of human beings, give them special powers, special rights, special guns, special equipment, turn them loose on society and think they are not going to dry **** everybody who gets in their way?

Koba the Dread , 3 hours ago link

The FBI (originally the BI) was first headed by Napoleon Bonaparte's grand nephew, a family not noted for republican sentiments. It was set up as a political police to persecute communists. Fair enough! But as Ward Churchill in his book by the same name calls the FBI, they are Agents of Repression . It could be communists one decade, conservatives the next, libertarians after that.

The FBI's reputation as an investigative body is very poor. Its crime lab has made hideous blunders. Its fingerprint section accused a man in Spain of finding his fingerprints on a bomb until other international fingerprint experts proved that the fingerprints definitely were not those of the man the FBI accused. Local and state police throughout the US universally loathe FBI interference with their cases because all the FBI does is interfere with their investigations and do it only so it (the FBI) can grandstand. It's investigation of the false flag 9-11event was a cover-up, as was its investigation of the false flag Boston Marathon "bombing". Two of the three "suspects" were shot to death by the FBI and the third is in prison for life for something he didn't even do.

shankster , 4 hours ago link

see the film 'Black Mass'

SRV , 4 hours ago link

The Bulger thing is peanuts... Mueller comes from a long line of Deep State criminals going back decades

shankster , 4 hours ago link

Don't forget that Mueller was also the 'clean-up' guy for Bush after 9II.

Joebloinvestor , 5 hours ago link

They are turning on each other. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7032973/Obamas-intel-chiefs-claim-told-Comey-NOT-use-golden-showers-dossier-warrant.html I can't wait till the "five eye" co-conspirators get it in their heads that Brennan or Clapper are going to rat them out.

Imagine That , 5 hours ago link

How much did Whitey Bulger give Mueller to earn protection? Therein lies the most critical issue of all. 'How much' could be how many mafia members the FBI brought down because of Bulger. It could also be how much Mueller benefited in other ways. Payoffs, anyone?

However, there may be another benefit. What did Bulger know about Mueller? To be black-mailable over many years, and to be truly effective, it must be devastating and run both ways--let's call it mutually assured blackmail.

It purports to be fiction, but DC, the Dark City is the inside story of how absolute power corrupts absolutely. It's a horror story and an eye-opener, politics viewed from inside the establishment.

insanelysane

The Bulger thing gets really interesting because Bulger's brother was the President of the Massachusetts Senate during the same time. Billy Bulger was a big time Democrat in Massachusetts, shocking of course. So you have 1 brother running the mob and the other brother, well, running a mob at the State House.

One story, link below, has an honest State Trooper try to search Whitey's bags at Logan Airport. Whitey throws a bag to a lackey and the lackey disappears. Trooper reports the incident and guess what happens. Trooper is reassigned to hell for interfering with the Brothers Bulger and the FBI.

https://www.southcoasttoday.com/article/19980929/news/309299966

[May 08, 2019] Roger Stone Mueller Can Indict a Ham Sandwich But I'm Not Interested in Being His Lunch

May 08, 2019 | www.infowars.com

Roger Stone: Mueller Can Indict a Ham Sandwich But I'm Not Interested in Being His Lunch

Image Credits: Joe Raedle/Getty Images .

Both The Hill and CNN are now reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is interrogating at least eight of my current and former associates and is asking questions about my personal life, my political activities, my pro-Trump activism, my book sales, my personal business and even my family relationships. Wait! I thought this was about Russian Collusion, WikiLeaks and the bogus claim that I had advance notice of the content, source and exact release date of the DNC emails which so rocked the 2016 Presidential race?

That the Special Counsel is now examining the minute details of my personal finances and taxes according to The Hill and CNN proves precisely my point; this is not about Russian Collusion or misdeeds in 2016, this is about fabricating any infraction in order to indict, silence and punish me for my support for Donald Trump.

This comes on the heels of a fake news assault in which the Wall Street Journal's Shelby Holliday took exculpatory e-mail I provided her that fell outside the precisely worded scope of the House Intelligence Committee document request which confirms my claim that I never dealt directly with WikiLeaks or Assange but had a back-channel. My September request that this source find out if WikiLeaks had any information on the murder of Qadaffi is a legitimate journalist inquiry that the WSJ tries to make seem improper in some way.

Adam Schiff's claim that I was obligated to turn this e-mail exchange over to the House Intel Committee and did not is false and if he could take a five-minute break from the television cameras he could read the wording of the Committee document request and would know this. This Shelby Holliday is the epitome of Fake News.

Having come up empty-handed in their attempt to find evidence or proof of Russian Collusion, trafficking in allegedly hacked emails with WikiLeaks or any advance notice of the publication of John Podesta's emails, the Special Counsel is now clearly engaged in an effort to conjure up some other offense perhaps even mischaracterizing independent efforts that I took to successfully elect Donald Trump, at the same time sifting through my financial records, bank accounts and personal and family life.

I am mindful of the Alan Dershowitz claim that the average American inadvertently commits at least three felonies a day and I am facing an ad hoc federal prosecutorial juggernaut, with an unlimited budget and apparently no effective limitations on anything it does nor any subject matter or area of inquiry that it has not been broadly-empowered to aggressively scrutinizing, picking and probing through every molecule of my personal and professional life, deploying federal agents to conduct fine tooth microscopic review of my political and personal activities. Including badgering at least eight of my current or former associates.

I recognized Mr. Mueller could indict a ham sandwich but I'm not interested in being his lunch.

I recognized that this partisan witch hunt is very much driven by this fake news media outlets like MSNBC, CNBC, Huff Po, Slate, Salon, Vice, The Daily Beast and the despicable Raw Story engaged in a constant drum beat of misinformation in a relentless attempt to contradict what Anderson Cooper called "total consistency" in my claims about WikiLeaks and the 2016 election. These people scream for my blood on a daily basis. Now I know how the Christians felt in the Roman Coliseum when the crowd called for them to be fed to the lions.

In addition to badgering my associates about my finances they also seem focused on the most intimate aspects of my personal life, my business and personal relationships. Private detective services have confirmed that my cell phone and text messages are under surveillance and access to my email was obtained through an illegal FISA warrant that the New York Times reported I was subject to on January 20th of 2017. Surveillance without probable cause, hoping an offense can be confected.

The agenda of the Mueller inquisition is clear. It is to silence me as a critic of the partisan nature of their inquiry and the Gestapo tactics that they employ as well as their efforts to bankrupt me and punish me solely for the act of being for Donald Trump. It is also to issue a report that will serve for the basis for an impeachment drive in the increasingly unlikely event that the rabidly Democratic captures control of The House. The President must wake up to the true nature of the Mueller juggernaut which has been aided and abetted by the de facto Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The President's enemies' enmity towards him is rank and their resolve to remove him should not be underestimated.

Politico has introduced a new potential goal of the Mueller team, which is to threaten to indict me unless I flip and testify against the President who has been my friend and who I have wanted to run for President for nearly thirty years. Although the New York Times has reported that President Trump is "afraid" of me, he has nothing to fear as I am his most loyal and steadfast supporter.

[Apr 27, 2019] The solution to our two-tiered justice system More tiers! caucus99percent

Apr 27, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

The solution to our two-tiered justice system? More tiers!


span y gjohnsit on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 6:16pm Edward Snowden made an observation about the Mueller Report that virtually everyone else on Earth missed.

As Motherboard reported last week, the Department of Justice says that it isn't positive that Assange helped whistleblower Chelsea Manning crack a password hash in order to obtain cables related to the Iraq War, but that he's being charged with that crime anyway. Snowden juxtaposed his treatment with that of Trump's treatment in Robert Mueller's report.

"Mueller says it didn't actually result in obstruction because the people that Trump ordered to do this simply ignored him," Snowden said. "The DOJ's defense of not charging Trump is look he tried to commit a crime but he failed to actually do this. And at the same time they're charging Julian Assange under precisely the opposite theory. Where they say 'Look, Julian may not have actually cracked a password -- we don't have any evidence that he did, we're not even going to try to prove that he did, we're going to say that the agreement to try is enough."

"So this is a real question of a two-tiered system of justice. Where if you're the president and you try to commit a crime, you can skate," he added. "Why is it that journalists are being held to a higher standard of behavior than the president of the United States?"

Edward Snowden cut through all the crap and got to the heart of the matter, as is usual with him.

Only when it comes to the wealthy and/or powerful do motives matter.

A case can be made that there are already three tiers to our justice system.

The Untouchables
These are powerful people that can simply ignore the law. They don't even have to pretend that they hadn't broken the law.
Examples: torturers ("we tortured some folks"), murderers ("Turns out I'm really good at killing people"), and perjurers (in the name of national security)

The Great and the Good
These are generally wealthy people that have to acknowledge that there is a law, and that law theoretically applies to them...but not really. They often pay token fines for crimes that poor people would get lifetime sentences.
Examples: Too Big To Prosecute bankers, any large corporation

Apparently, robbing a bank is a criminal activity depending which side of the teller's window you are on and whether you are upper management or a $12-an-hour cashier.

The Great Unwashed
Here we have the roughly 90% of the population.
Unlike the two groups above, there are debtor prisons , legalized robbery by cops , murder by cops , and most of all, draconian sentences that would embarrass a third-world dictator.

So what is there to do about this?
Since none of this is by accident, there is nothing "to fix".
The justice system is working exactly as designed - to keep the workers in their place while robbing them.

Therefore, the way to "improve" the justice system is to create even more tiers.
Our justice system should be divided by race (even more than it already is), gender, and by subclass (for instance the middle class vs. the poor).
That way the workers will resent each other even more than now, instead of organizing against their oppressors.

span y Pricknick on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 8:03pm
Rob a bank.

Do hard time.
Own a bank and rob your clients, such as wells fartgo, golden parachute.

span y The Voice In th... on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 8:10pm
What happened to -

guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor has a reqasonable doubt, how can he/she bring the case before a jury which requires twelve people to not have a reasonable doubt.

And a public admission gives the defense attorney a bulldozer - "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecutor has expressed doubt, how can you not do the same?

span y The Liberal Moonbat on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 12:28am
Every American should know the following

@The Voice In the Wilderness
https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/opinion/jurors-can-say-no.html?_r=1

One thing worth learning from Mitch McConnell: If you know what's really on the books, there's all kind of shit you can do!

guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor has a reqasonable doubt, how can he/she bring the case before a jury which requires twelve people to not have a reasonable doubt.

And a public admission gives the defense attorney a bulldozer - "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecutor has expressed doubt, how can you not do the same?

span y leveymg on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 8:52pm
It isn't a justice system. It's merely an unjust system.

There is no distinction between criminals and the law enforcement within such a system of elaborately organized but senseless violence, and all law is merely politics, brute force and cruelty. We have come to the point in America in the early 21 Century where the Nihilists and Social Revolutionaries were under the last Czars.

Revolution finally makes as much sense as social order, and doing nothing seems to be a senseless waste of life, itself. As people of conscience, we have nothing but bad choices available to us. Same with those who rule us.

span y snoopydawg on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 10:03pm
Case in point

Joe posted about how lots of blacks in NYC were arrested for being in a gang. Not that they committed any crimes, but just because they were or might have been in a gang. Another unjustifiable system here in this land of the free is our bail system. Can't post bail? Tuff. You get to spend years in jail until your trial comes up.

span y The Aspie Corner on Fri, 04/26/2019 - 10:26pm
Our system works like this:

There's the 1%, the 9%, and everyone else. Unless you're part of the first 2, you basically don't exist.

[Apr 18, 2019] Moments like these tell us it's less a justice system, and more a class enforcement system.

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 | link

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population
karlof1 , Apr 17, 2019 3:51:57 PM | link
S.O. @14--

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 08, 2019] America the Barbaric

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
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.

Niles Niemuth


alphonsozorro5 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"

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.

denis ross Michelle S3 hours ago
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.
TheCushite2 days ago
Capitalism, anything goes for the wealthy to build greater wealth.
Carolyn Zaremba2 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."

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.

Ed Bergonzi2 days ago
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 Bergonzi2 days ago
Yes it is devastating. This is a brilliant perspective. I want everyone to read it.
Charlotte Ruse2 days ago
Prisons are an industry which profits from the misery of the indigent and the mentally ill.

"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.vox.com/identit...
https://www.globalresearch....
https://truthout.org/articl...
https://www.treatmentadvoca...

Sebouh802 days ago
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.
imaduwa2 days ago
This 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.

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.

Terry Lawrence2 days ago
"what is absurdly called the "criminal justice system." Actually, it could hardly be more appropriately named.
denis ross Carolyn Zaremba3 hours ago
The USA like Australia has "the best system of Justice money can buy".
лидия2 days ago
In 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.
rictus2 days ago
I 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 Commie2 days ago
Frederick 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.
Pietro2 days ago
And 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 Pietroa day ago
There'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] DOJ ... Department of Obstruction of Justice.

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] Sic Semper Tyrannis The Paul Manafort sentence and the notorious and diabolical federal sentencing guidelines

Mar 13, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Paul Manafort sentence and the notorious and diabolical federal sentencing guidelines Ussc_logo
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--

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/manafort_court_sentencing_minutes.pdf

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 [1].

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 [2]. 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--

https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/guidelines-manual/2018/GLMFull.pdf

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 [3].

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 [4]. 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) [5]. 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 [6].

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--

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/michaelflynn_status_report_20190312.pdf

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.

[1] The United States Sentencing Commission--

http://www.ussc.gov

[2] 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.

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/488/361.html

[3] 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.

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/boundvolumes/543bv.pdf

[4] Justice Department lawyers for the government in the Booker appeal--

https://www.justice.gov/osg/brief/united-states-v-booker-brief-merits

Michael Drebeen in the Booker appeal is hired by Mueller in the Russia investigation--

https://jonathanturley.org/2017/06/12/mueller-hires-justice-official-with-history-of-arguing-for-expansive-interpretation-of-obstruction-of-justice/

[5] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/us/politics/christopher-wray-bio.html

[6] https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/case-law-documents/2018-supreme-court-cases.pdf

blue peacock , 9 hours ago

Thank 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] How do US courts value lives. It seems to depend on "who did it".

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 Colvin

A 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 attacks

Iran 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 02, 2019] One Of The Biggest At-Home DNA Testing Companies Is Secretly Sharing Data With The FBI

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] Rule of law and money

Notable quotes:
"... Most people don't realize that the more money you have more you can exercise the "rule of law". ..."
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] Mueller's Desperate Roger Stone Gambit by Larry Johnson

Looks like the color revolution against Trump continues. What is interesting is that while Trump position becomes more and more shaky he does not want to fight. And he suppounded himself with people, which will sell him at the first opportunity. I means first of all this neocon warmonger Pompeo.
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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? ..."
"... 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. Thx ..."
"... Eric, 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. ..."
"... 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 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.

FACT ONE

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.

FACT TWO

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.

FACT THREE

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 ago

Thank 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.

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?

Stuart Wood , 6 hours ago
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 ago
Is this "story" more important than the prospect of troops in Argentina? I think not.
ex-PFC Chuck -> Bill Herschel , 7 hours ago
Actually it is because it pertains to what increasingly looks like a slo-mo coup in this country.
Jack , 12 hours ago
Mr. Johnson,

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.

Valissa Rauhallinen -> Jack , 11 hours ago
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.

From what I have learned over the years the POTUS does not have much freedom. Obama talked about this too.

Fred S -> Jack , 12 hours ago
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 ago
Neither Nancy Pelosi nor the ACLU run the FBI and DOJ. President Trump does.
Fred S -> Jack , 9 hours ago
So 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 ago
Why 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 ago
Larry,

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. Thx

Walrus -> Eric Newhill , 9 hours ago
Eric, 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.

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..........

ex-PFC Chuck -> Walrus , 7 hours ago
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] Government Shutdown Updates Local Jails Scramble to Pay Bills - Bloomberg

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] 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

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
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/40093058/ns/us /charged-million-holocaust-fraud-case/

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] US Senate passes bipartisan criminal justice bill by John Burton

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] Felons for President Trump - Prison Reform and Criminal Justic Reform - Prison Reform Movement

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.s

Criminal 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] Fairly Recently Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (November 20, 2018)

Notable quotes:
"... Review of Dan Davies: Lying for Money ..."
"... Lying For Money ..."
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] Is Israel turning a blind eye as Israeli scammers swindle victims in France, US, elsewhere by Alison Weir

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
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 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."

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

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] "Tough on Crime" Trump Comes Out for Sentencing Reform

Notable quotes:
"... (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) ..."
Nov 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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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.

[Nov 02, 2018] Best Places To Go To Prison by Lacey Rose

Notable quotes:
"... Federal Prison Guidebook ..."
May 25, 2006 | www.forbes.com
Two 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

Microsoft

consultant 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.

[Oct 28, 2018] Don't Talk to the Police

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] 'World's first robot lawyer' now available in all 50 states

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.

[Oct 14, 2018] 'World's First Robot Lawyer' Now Available In All 50 States

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] Ted Cruz's Long Sellout on Criminal Justice Reform

Notable quotes:
"... Houston Chronicle ..."
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

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Gage 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."

It continued:

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] This Man's Incredible Story Proves Why Due Process Matters In The Kavanaugh Case Zero Hedge

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.

me title=

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.

https://youtu.be/niioAq33v8s

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] 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 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer September 14, 2018 at 9:16 am

If 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] The Show must go on: Papadopoulos Sentenced To 14 Days In Prison For Lying To FBI In Mueller Probe

From comments: "In short, false inquiry into imaginary collusion hands down pseudo-indictments for quasi-obstruction of fraudulent justice based on fake news reported by mock journalists quoting fictitious sources leaking fabricated stories about made-up events about the false inquiry into imaginary collusion. " Papadopolous lied to hide the fact that the Trump tower meeting was intended as an entrapment to make Trump look like he was colluding - and even having TAKEN that meeting, it remains undisclosed to the public what information might have been considered 'dirt' that would be regarded as illegal for a political opponent to use or disclose
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 ,

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!

haruspicio ,

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.

Golden Phoenix ,

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.

Justapleb ,

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.

Davidduke2000 ,

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.

pparalegal ,

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".

RICKYBIRD ,

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.

bh2 ,

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] Trump is Right About 'Flipping'

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation . ..."
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] 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

Aug 17, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Ed August 14, 2018 at 6:27 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

Tom Welsh , August 14, 2018 at 9:00 am

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] Sic Semper Tyrannis The Paul Manafort Trial the government rests its case by Robert Willmann

Notable quotes:
"... If 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
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 [1]. At this point in the procedural context of the trial, the defendant can make a "motion for a judgment of acquittal" [2]. 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 [3]. 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 [4]. 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--

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/manafort_memo_motion_acquit_29_32.pdf

[1] The court's docket sheet entry of 13 August 2018 noting that the government has rested--

Jack , 11 hours ago

If 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.

Bottom line: The "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold is a high bar for me.

Wally Courie , an hour ago
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.

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.

pretzelattack -> Pat Lang , 2 hours ago
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 ago
IMO 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] A Higher Loyalty Truth, Lies, and Leadership

Comey career was damaged by his treatment of Hillary email scandal and derailing Sanders; clearly the political role the FBI assumed. So this is a memoir of a politician who happened to work in law enforcement, and should be treated as such.
An investigation of real Comey role in derailing Sanders and electing Trump still is a matter of the future.
Rosenstein memo pictures quite a different portrait Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's Memo Against James Comey, Annotated - The Atlantic
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 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. ..."
"... Comey had his issues with the Justice Department, especially Loretta Lynch although he never says that she had sinister intent. ..."
Apr 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com

mick on April 25, 2018

Loyal to whom?

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.

Tucker Lieberman on April 18, 2018
A justification of the Clinton email server investigation and a nonpartisan critique of Trump's erosion of norms

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."

Irene on April 17, 2018
A higher loyalty

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.

Omar Gonzalez on April 21, 2018
Just finished reading 100% of the book. James Comey

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.

JWM on April 27, 2018
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 24, 2018] Comey Claims Nobody Asked About Clinton Obstruction Before Today by snoopydawg

Notable quotes:
"... you can't make this shit up ..."
"... "Some are asking, though, 'Why wouldn't smashing of cellphones and destruction of thousands of emails during an investigation clearly be obstruction of justice ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... "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." ..."
"... Jones followed up, asking, "The law requires intent?" ..."
"... corrupt intent. ..."
"... grossly negligent ..."
"... extremely careless ..."
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] London murder rate overtakes New York's

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] In America, jails and prisons have become the nation's de facto mental healthcare providers and the results are chilling by Alisa Roth

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 25, 2018] The West's Guilty Until Proven Innocent Mantra Is Wrecking Lives International Relations by Robert Bridge

Highly recommended!
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] Who is judging the judges

Mar 21, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

one of our recommended browsers . Report


Aquinasotic , 30 Mar 2014 04:27

At 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.

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.

Cynical007 -> JohntheLith , 26 Mar 2014 16:32
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 16:31

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.

profester , 26 Mar 2014 06:29
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 21:59
You 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.

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.

newthought -> profester , 25 Mar 2014 20:03
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 19:56
The 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.
We need every litigant to have the right to record their own cases.
Ministryoftruth -> HybridMoments , 25 Mar 2014 19:51
Americans have elected judges. This has not stopped Judicial malfeasance there, it can actually create new forms of it.
Ursultana , 25 Mar 2014 18:34
And 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 17:21

The move to a system of locally elected (ie, accountable) judges is long overdue.

Good grief! What an appalling idea.

JohntheLith -> Hywelliau , 25 Mar 2014 17:20
Ok, but... The Press "often" have more influence on Society than the Judiciary. Ergo, who needs to watched more?
arvindkc77 , 25 Mar 2014 16:45
My 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 14:44
Corruption is the word and has been for some time.
Vizier , 25 Mar 2014 13:56
I 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"

Or rather the ordinary person is found guilty and spends years in prison.

JaniceP , 25 Mar 2014 13:15
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 12:54
It is reassuring to learn that judges get fair hearing. At least somebody does!
Gordon Bell , 25 Mar 2014 12:21
The corrupt protecting the corrupt!
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.
ripteam , 25 Mar 2014 12:16
Was the judge who handed down six months to a student for stealing a water bottle ever investigated for serious misconduct?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/poll/2011/aug/12/riots-water-theft-punishment

theacademic -> Robthablob , 25 Mar 2014 11:56
yes, 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 11:30
Yes but in the midst of the usual press anarchy, a few wise words from Joshua are surely not out of order?

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".

ID7776906 -> profester , 25 Mar 2014 11:28
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].

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.

theacademic -> Ozymandius , 25 Mar 2014 11:27
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 11:19
In 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 10:56
Suspending 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 10:45
My 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 10:21
It 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.

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

PatrickLogicman -> photonal , 25 Mar 2014 09:42
"The whole judicial system needs an overall."

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.

;-)

theacademic , 25 Mar 2014 09:38
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.

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.

worksforcommunityorg , 25 Mar 2014 09:23
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.

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.

photonal , 25 Mar 2014 09:11
The whole judicial system needs an overall.

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.

anusplatt , 25 Mar 2014 08:41
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 08:01

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.

sonofblake , 25 Mar 2014 07:57
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 07:30
What 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] Intensifying punishments for the general public yet simultaneously nowhere to be found when it comes to prosecuting those who commit crimes involving high level officials corruption and abuse of power, especially by the financial sector

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.

  1. JEHR

    What I don't understand is how Michael Shkreli, CEO, is found guilty of financial fraud against investors in 2018 but not one CEO of a bank–not Goldman Sachs's CEO, not Citigroup's CEO, not JP Morgan Chase's CEO, not Wells Fargo's CEO and not Lehman Brothers' CEO–was found guilty of committing Accounting Control Fraud and/or mortgage fraud after the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-8. Amazing! But there's not much satisfaction in such a small price to pay for fraud (7 years) that ruins other people's lives permanently. What is also amazing is that it is not illegal to price a drug out of the reach of most users just for the sake of making a huge profit!

    1. perpetualWAR

      Obama said "actions on Wall Street weren't illegal only immoral." And that set the tone. No one was going to be found guilty of unlawful actions ..even though what Wall Street conducted was a racketeering operation.

      Reply
      1. JBird

        It's not the legality, or even the morality, it's not being blatantly scoffed at.

        Shkreli is a slimy narcissitic toad that used, back stabbed, insulted, and annoyed everyone which is why he got the shiv; just think of the former head of Wells Fargo, Tim Sloan, who did the same and not only to his customers, and low level employees, but also to Congress.

        Who me robbing you? Really, no, I know nothing I see nothing really! Your eyes, they must be lying to you! And you're too stupid to see that!

        That is why they got nailed. People might not like being robbed, but they really don't like being insulted in the doing. Had they done the usual mea culpas, faux apologies, and even token restitution of some kind, one would not be in prison, and the other still CEO.

  1. Andrew Cockburn

    Surely, for the big banks the most significant part of this legislation is the provision allowing them to count municipal bonds as "liquid assets" thus boosting their capital ratio. In reality, of course, these are highly illiquid. Therefore, come the next crash, authorities will be faced with the prospect either of JPM, Citi, etc, attempting to dump said bonds thereby tanking the municipal finance system of the country – unacceptable – or yet again bailing out the banksters to the tune of $trillions. Will the guilty parties be called to account? Don't ask.

[Mar 09, 2018] He said he was in love. She sent him money. Then he disappeared by Lynh Bui

Notable quotes:
"... 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." ..."
"... 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. ..."
Sep 24, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

Public Safety

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] Former DOJ lawyer's theft of secret lawsuits was more extensive than previously known, new court details show. - The Washington

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] Perjury traps to manufacture indictments to pressure people to testify against others is a new tool of justice in a surveillance state

Highly recommended!
Looks like Mueller investigation was a part of color revolution to depose Trump, using consequentialism slogan widely attributed to Machiavelli's The Prince "the end justifies the means".
Mueller witch hunt is a part of neoliberalism counterattack on forces that are against neoliberal globalization, dropping standard of living of common people and offshoring of manufacturing. That means tiny greedy elite against the majority of the USA population. We read about such situations in history books, did not we?
Notable quotes:
"... 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? ..."
"... 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. ..."
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] What is a crime and what is not

Espionage would possibly be Steele's indictment. But nobody was 'formally' spying for another country. He was simply fed leaked info and he put it into a document and sent it back. Is that a crime?
Notable quotes:
"... The facts are there but I see this as an incredibly difficult case to prosecute. ..."
Feb 27, 2018 | theconservativetreehouse.com

EggsX1 , February 25, 2018 at 1:37 pm

The 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.

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 Stazi

phoenixRising , February 25, 2018 at 1:43 pm
You seem to be attempting to lay out a case for the defense a fraudulently constructed one at that

I suggest you take your "probably not a crime" mantras where less intelligent people congregate

Namaste

Like Liked by 2 people

EggsX1 , February 25, 2018 at 2:00 pm
We 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.

Like Like

phoenixRising , February 25, 2018 at 2:06 pm
then try reading the above article and previous ones and there are many cases not simply one again, do your homework.

Like Liked by 2 people

EggsX1 , February 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm
Sundance 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).

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.

David A , February 25, 2018 at 3:12 pm
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] All but the most blatant provably false affidavits, questionable searches are upheld by judges.

Feb 26, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

jonst -> Boronx... , 26 February 2018 at 09:35 AM

My, 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 AM
Welcome 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.

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 . . .

outthere , 26 February 2018 at 04:30 PM
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:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/26/thirteen-russians-a-defense-lawyer-decodes-the-mueller-indictments/

[Feb 25, 2018] The US Prison State - The Globalist

Notable quotes:
"... Sources: Washington Post, Prison Policy Initiative, The Globalist Research Center ..."
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] A Practical Guide to Federal Incarceration (Prison Manual) (A Practical Guide to Federal Incarcerati Michael Bye 978061525807

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] One story I think is very relevant that it not getting nearly enough press is the Cuomo aide corruption trial

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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.nakedcapitalism.com

bob , , February 16, 2018 at 12:05 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.

bob , , February 16, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Let's go ahead and take a look at where the past winners of NY corruption trials have ended up-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldon_Silver

Convicted. Hasn't spent ONE DAY in Jail.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bruno

Convicted, hasn't spent ONE DAY in jail.

Both are still very wealthy, also. As if that were ever going to change.

Left in Wisconsin , , February 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

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] The lawyer bubble pops -- not a moment too soon by Jeff Jacoby

Notable quotes:
"... Jeff Jacoby can be reached at jacoby@globe.com . Follow him on Twitter @jeff_jacoby . ..."
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 jacoby@globe.com . Follow him on Twitter @jeff_jacoby . Show 48 Comments 48 Comments

[Feb 16, 2018] There is a problem with Grand Jurie

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.

>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

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.

[Dec 28, 2017] Prison Food Is Making U.S. Inmates Disproportionately Sick - The Atlantic

Notable quotes:
"... Detroit Free Press ..."
"... Orange Is the New Black ..."
"... American Journal of Public Health, ..."
"... Clostridium perfringens ..."
"... Detroit Free Press ..."
"... Food & Wine ..."
"... Los Angeles Times ..."
"... Orange Is the New Black. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.theatlantic.com

javascript:void(0)

Prison Food Is Making U.S. Inmates Disproportionately Sick - The Atlantic This 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] Once 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.

Dec 05, 2017 | peakoilbarrel.com

Survivalist says: 12/02/2017 at 8:52 pm

Once 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] The Criminal Trial Handbook A Concise Guide to Courtroom Evidence, Procedure Tactics by Mark Curry

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
• Discovery
• Jury Selection
• Opening Statements and Closing Arguments
• Direct Examination
• Cross-Examination
• Expert Witnesses
• Hearsay
• Character Evidence
• Writings
• Foundational Requirements for Evidence
• Objections
• Deliberations

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] 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.

Notable quotes:
"... 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. pl ..."
"... 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? ..."
Oct 28, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Sam Peralta , 27 October 2017 at 03:29 PM

Col. Lang

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?

turcopolier , 27 October 2017 at 04:18 PM
Sam P
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. pl
Lars , 27 October 2017 at 05:36 PM
What 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 PM
Lars

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. pl

NYShooter , 27 October 2017 at 07:12 PM
Col. Lang, Sir:

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.

J , 27 October 2017 at 07:13 PM
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?

[Oct 10, 2017] September 30, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Oct 10, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Harsh punishment for financial crimes in Vietnam including the death penalty:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/vietnam-court-sentences-death-petrovietnam-ex-chairman-mass-062532598–finance.html

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.

Northern Star , September 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm
"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."

Ummm.. I thought that capitalism and communism are operationally fundamentally incompatible:
https://www.quora.com/Is-Communism-compatible-with-Capitalism
https://www.quora.com/Why-couldnt-capitalism-and-communism-coexist

Some of the Quora comments are well thought out and instructive ..

For Stooge Quants or Logicians:
https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_has_become_of_the_Axiomatic_method_of_economics
https://larspsyll.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/axiomatic-economics-total-horseshit/

OTOH you can just cut to the chase and read this with plenty of Vodka
http://www.angelfire.com/un/corosus/books/Asimov_the_foundation.pdf

Patient Observer , September 30, 2017 at 4:01 pm
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] Martin Shkreli Doing Fine In Prison The Daily Caller

Notable quotes:
"... 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." ..."
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:

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."

Of course Martin Shkreli is becoming the leader of the prison population. I wouldn't have expected anything else.

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.

[Oct 04, 2017] Martha Stewart Details Her 'Horrifying' Prison Experience 'No One Should Have to Go Through That'

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] Richard Posner has finally become a pragmatist

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.

20 comments

Matt 09.14.17 at 2:54 am

It'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 pm

Posner: "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 am

J-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:

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.

b9n10nt 09.17.17 at 2:36 am ( 19 )
Bloix @19

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.

TM 09.18.17 at 11:25 am ( 20 )
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] From Prison to Ph.D.: The Redemption and Rejection of Michelle Jones - The New York Times

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 Subscribe

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[Aug 15, 2017] Jeff Sessions Endorses Theft

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
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 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.

Anonymous > , • Disclaimer August 8, 2017 at 10:24 am 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.

dc.sunsets > , August 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm 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 8:58 am GMT

@Anonymous Ahh Justice. Gotta love it, amirite?

"The State is the Enemy of the People"

(Nietzsche, paraphrased)

Kyle McKenna > , August 13, 2017 at 9:00 am 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.

GondwanaMan > , August 13, 2017 at 10:31 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?

jtgw > , August 14, 2017 at 1:36 pm GMT

@GondwanaMan Why are you surprised? I can't remember ever seeing RP say something favorable about Sessions.

Negrolphin Pool > , August 15, 2017 at 10:19 am GMT

@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] Mass Incarceration s Dangerous New Equilibrium by Peter Temin

Notable quotes:
"... even if drugs were legalized – the same people would be in jail for something else. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... Police and prison guards' unions = sweet spot of the Dem base (particularly in California) ..."
"... "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 ..."
Jun 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By 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 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!

funemployed , June 23, 2017 at 7:25 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.

QuarterBack , June 23, 2017 at 7:40 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

archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2003/09/15/349159/index.htm?iid=sr-link1

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 sector–not 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?

TheCatSaid , June 23, 2017 at 7:42 am

Social engineering described in this post was also a continuation of corporate / elite commercial interes. Free labor–what's not to like? Legal slavery, more profits from multiple directions of all kinds–legit, 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 . . ."

cnchal , June 23, 2017 at 8:04 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.

David , June 23, 2017 at 9:39 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.

cnchal , June 23, 2017 at 9:50 am

> so what do you expect them to do?

Globalization is a disaster wherever you care to look.

HotFlash , June 23, 2017 at 11:02 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.

kurtismayfield , June 23, 2017 at 11:38 am

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.

Michael Fiorillo , June 23, 2017 at 12:26 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.

Ptolemy Philopater , June 23, 2017 at 3:49 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!

Disturbed Voter , June 23, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Unfortunately it take an outbreak of Black Death to make labor more valuable ;-(

Allegorio , June 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Or a revolution. Talk is cheap, action is not.

Kevin Horlock , June 23, 2017 at 12:40 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.

clarky90 , June 23, 2017 at 6:31 pm

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 .

Gulag
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulag

"During 1920–50, 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

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1920/terrcomm/ch04.htm

"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] Working with A Lawyer LegalMatch Legal Tips

May 26, 2017 | www.legalmatch.com

[May 26, 2017] Tips for Working with a Lawyer

Notable quotes:
"... res ipsa loquitur, ..."
May 26, 2017 | litigation.findlaw.com
This 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] Working With Your Lawyer During a Divorce

May 26, 2017 | www.womansdivorce.com
Working 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.

Obtaining Representation:

Retainer Fees and Agreements


Legal Fees


Communicating With Lawyers


Delays and Dragging the Divorce Out


Lawyer Withdrawing From Case


Proceeding without a Lawyer


Lawyer Conduct and Responsibility

[May 16, 2017] The Hidden Realities of U.S. Incarceration The American Conservative by By Robert VerBruggen

The review of: Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform , John Pfaff, Basic Books, 272 pages
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... As 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
May 16, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
When 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 1991–2004 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 am
Kevin 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 am
Highest to Lowest – Prison Population Total Globally

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

http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison-population-total?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All

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-2014-1

Brian W , says: May 16, 2017 at 10:25 am
October 25, 2016 Prison Food Contractors Funded Efforts To Combat Marijuana Legalization

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/

MikeCLT , says: May 16, 2017 at 11:01 am
"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?

Daniel , says: May 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm
The problem is simple: Sin. The solution is simple: Jesus Christ.
GregR , says: May 16, 2017 at 2:06 pm
As 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.

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.

Nelson, says: May 16, 2017 at 2:57 pm
I like this because it states the problem and makes reasonable suggestions about how to fix it without getting too political.

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.

Steven Sailer , says: May 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm
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 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.

mrscracker , says: May 16, 2017 at 5:28 pm
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.

[May 08, 2017] the grand jury was at first seen as a means of resisting government intrusion and as an instrument of investigation into alleged offenses.

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 woul