This little witch just took an oath of office which she is sure to violate! Does anyone really think she will uphold gay rights?!
Excerpts from the Article:
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett served for nearly three years on the board of private Christian schools that effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom.
The policies that discriminated against LGBTQ people and their children were in place for years at Trinity Schools Inc., both before Barrett joined the board in 2015 and during the time she served.
The three schools, in Indiana, Minnesota and Virginia, are affiliated with People of Praise, an insular community rooted in its own interpretation of the Bible, of which Barrett and her husband have been longtime members. At least three of the couple’s seven children have attended the Trinity School at Greenlawn, in South Bend, Indiana.
The AP spoke with more than two dozen people who attended or worked at Trinity Schools, or former members of People of Praise. They said the community’s teachings have been consistent for decades: Homosexuality is an abomination against God, sex should occur only within marriage and marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
Interviewees told the AP that Trinity’s leadership communicated anti-LGBTQ policies and positions in meetings, one-on-one conversations, enrollment agreements, employment agreements, handbooks and written policies — including those in place when Barrett was an active member of the board. Trinity Schools Inc. is a tax-exempt non-profit organization that receives some financial support from government-funded tuition voucher programs, according to its federal tax returns.
“Trinity Schools does not unlawfully discriminate with respect to race, color, gender, national origin, age, disability, or other legally protected classifications under applicable law, with respect to the administration of its programs,” said Jon Balsbaugh, president of Trinity Schools Inc., which runs the three campuses, in an email.
The actions are probably legal, experts said. Scholars said the school’s and organization’s teachings on homosexuality and treatment of LGBTQ people are harsher than those of the mainstream Catholic church. In a documentary released Wednesday, Pope Francis endorsed civil unions for the first time as pope, and said in an interview for the film that, “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God.”
Barrett’s views on whether LGBTQ people should have the same constitutional rights as other Americans became a focus last week in her Senate confirmation hearing. But her longtime membership in People of Praise and her leadership position at Trinity Schools were not discussed, even though most of the people the AP spoke with said her deep and decades-long involvement in the community signals she would be hostile to gay rights if confirmed.
Suzanne B. Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies sexuality and gender law, said private schools have wide legal latitude to set admissions criteria. And, she said, Trinity probably isn’t covered by recent Supreme Court rulings outlawing employment discrimination against LGBTQ people because of its affiliation with a religious community. But, she added, cases addressing those questions are likely to come before the high court in the near future, and Barrett’s past oversight of Trinity’s discriminatory policies raises concerns.
“When any member of the judiciary affiliates themselves with an institution that is committed to discrimination on any ground, it is important to look more closely at how that affects the individual’s ability to give all cases a fair hearing,” Goldberg said.
The AP sent detailed questions for Barrett to the White House press office. Rather than providing direct answers, White House spokesman Judd Deere instead accused AP of attacking the nominee.
“Because Democrats and the media are unable to attack Judge Barrett’s sterling qualifications, they have instead turned to pathetic personal attacks on her children’s Christian school, even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that religious schools are protected by the First Amendment,” Deere said in an email.
Nearly all the people interviewed for this story are gay or said they have gay family members. They used words such as “terrified,” “petrified” and “frightening” to describe the prospect of Barrett on the high court. Some of them know Barrett, have mutual friends with her or even have been in her home dozens of times. They describe her as “nice” or “a kind person,” but told the AP they feared others would suffer if Barrett tries to implement People of Praise’s views on homosexuality on the Supreme Court.
About half of the people asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation against themselves or their families from other members of People of Praise, or because they had not come out to everyone in their lives. Among those interviewed were people who attended all three of its schools and who had been active in several of its 22 branches. Their experiences stretched back as far as the 1970s, and as recently as 2020.
Tom Henry was a senior at Trinity School in Eagan, Minnesota, serving as a student ambassador, providing tours to prospective families, when Barrett was an active member of the board. In early 2017, a lesbian parent asked him whether Trinity was open to gay people and expressed concern about how her child would be treated. Henry, who is gay, said he didn’t know what to say. He had been instructed not to answer questions about People of Praise or Trinity’s “politics.”
The next day, Henry recalled, he asked the school’s then-headmaster, Jon Balsbaugh, how he should have answered. Henry said Balsbaugh pulled a document out of his desk drawer that condemned gay marriage, and explained it was a new policy from People of Praise that was going into the handbook.
“He looked me right in the eye and said, the next time that happens, you tell them they would not be welcome here,” Henry recounted. “And he said to me that trans families, gay families, gay students, trans students would not feel welcome at Trinity Schools. And then he said, ‘Do we understand each other?’ And I said, yes. And I left. And then I quit the student ambassadors that day.”
Balsbaugh, who has since been promoted to president of Trinity Schools Inc., says his recollection of the conversation “differs considerably,” but declined to give details. He said it is likely he shared the school’s guidelines that at that time “had long been published in the parent handbook.”
Balsbaugh told the AP in an email that Barrett was not involved in the formulation or passage of any policies pertaining to homosexuality. He said Barrett served on the Trinity board from July 2015 to March 2017, and denied that the school’s leadership considered or formulated any new policy related to homosexuality during that time. He didn’t say whether the policy as described by Henry was ever adopted.
Multiple people who spoke with the AP detailed how Trinity’s leadership articulated and put in place policies that effectively barred gay families and employees.
A 2018-19 enrollment agreement obtained by the AP says “the only proper place for human sexual activity is marriage, where marriage is a legal and committed relationship between one man and one woman.” It goes on to say that activities such as “fornication, pornography, adultery and homosexual acts, and advocating or modeling any of these behaviors” are at odds with the school’s core beliefs.
In 2014, the year before Barrett joined the board, the school’s trustees voted to limit admissions to the children of legally married couples or single parents. At the time, gay marriage was not legal in Indiana or Virginia. The wording was softened slightly after the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, though it still explicitly opposes LBGTQ relationships.
In addition to the written policies, school administrators made clear verbally they did not want to admit children of gay families, multiple people told the AP.
“Amy Coney Barrett helped lead schools that taught children and educators to hate themselves in the name of religion,” said Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s executive director.
During her confirmation hearing last week, Barrett also framed sexuality as a “preference.” That wording is rejected by LGBTQ advocates because it suggests sexual orientation is a choice.
“I have no agenda, and I do want to be clear that I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not ever discriminate on the basis of sexual preference,” Barrett said during the Oct. 13 hearing.
After some Democratic senators seized on her use of the term, Barrett apologized, saying she “did not mean any offense or to make any statement by that.” Andrea Turpin-King transferred to the South Bend school in 1990, in the middle of her 7th grade year, after her father was struck and killed by a drunken driver after leaving a well-known gay bar. Her mother hoped she could get a fresh start after she was bullied at another school. The teachers at Trinity were told about what had happened, she said.
Turpin-King recalled that during 9th grade one of her teachers told the class that all gay people go to hell.
“When she said that, all I could picture was my dad’s face, and all I could think about was how much I missed his hugs,” Turpin-King told the AP. “And so, I said, I don’t think that’s true. And she said that I was going to go to hell, too.”
Many former members told the AP they struggled to reconcile People of Praise’s and Trinity Schools’ religious teachings with their sexual identity, and suffered fear, anxiety and trauma. Many felt they had to leave, even at the risk of being shunned by friends and family.
One 2015 Trinity graduate who grew up in People of Praise recalled members requesting that the community pray that their gay loved ones would “recover” from their homosexuality.
Another Trinity graduate, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because his parents are still in People of Praise and his sexuality remains a sensitive topic for them, was forced to undergo conversion therapy after Trinity administrators learned he was gay at age 16. He also recounted being counseled by a senior People of Praise leader that same-sex attraction was “changeable” with treatment and prayer. The widely discredited practice has been condemned by mental health organizations and LGBTQ advocacy groups as pseudoscientific, unethical and psychologically harmful.
Barrett’s position on gay rights is particularly crucial after two of the high court’s conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, this month wrote a dissenting opinion that appeared to call for the court to reconsider its 2015 same-sex marriage decision. Both Thomas and Alito were in the minority in that decision, as was deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, whose judicial philosophy Barrett has said mirrors her own.
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group that opposes Barrett’s confirmation, said his group fears “a far-right Supreme Court that could undermine the rights of marginalized communities and the LGBTQ community for decades.”
Mother of Decapitated Prisoner Sues California Prison Officials for Housing Her Son with Prisoner Who Tried to Murder Previous Cellmate
She is sure to win a huge settlement or verdict, costing TAXPAYERS millions of dollars. Besides that, learn why our massive indifference to this shit is a massive mistake: READ Prison Abuse – Why Massive Indifference is a Massive Mistake
Excerpts from the Article:
On March 2, 2020, the mother of a man murdered at the California State Penitentiary, Corcoran filed a lawsuit against California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials, whom she alleged were responsible for the murder of her son. Her son was decapitated on March 9, 2019 by his cellmate, who had previously attempted to murder a cellmate and whose lengthy history of violence rendered him unsuitable for housing with another prisoner. He decapitated her son and made a body-parts necklace.
CDCR prisoner Luis Romero was transferred from another prison to Corcoran, which has a lengthy history of violence. According to a court document, instead of following the usual procedure of having a committee of prison administrators find appropriate housing for Romero, taking into consideration whether a potential cellmate was an appropriate fit, and having both prisoners sign forms agreeing to be housed with one another, they simply placed him in a cell with Jamie Osuna, a prisoner with a lengthy history of extreme violence.
While in jail, Osuna had attempted to murder his cellmate. His continuing violent misconduct had resulted in his being housed without a cellmate since his arrival at the CDCR seven years earlier. Further, the CDCR allegedly had documentation provided by Osuna’s own lawyers and medical team “warning CDCR of his propensity for extreme violence, insatiable desire to kill, and need to be held in a psychiatric ward, not in a prison with other inmates.” Osuna was serving a no-parole sentence for the torture-murder of a woman. He also was known to collect “trophies” of his violent acts.
That night, guards allegedly failed to perform safety checks on Osuna’s cell even when a sheet was stretched across the bars, blocking their view.
During the night, Osuna tortured and decapitated Romero. He was found in the blood-covered cell wearing a necklace of Romero’s body parts. Romero’s body showed signs of extreme torture, all of which was done with a weapon Osuna made from a small razor blade and string.
With the assistance of Encino attorney Justin Sterling and Los Angeles attorney Erin Darling, Romero’s mother filed a federal civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of Romero’s federal civil rights as well as pendent state torts. The matter is pending before the court. See: Solares v. Diaz, USDC (E.D. Cal.), Case No. l:20-CV-00158.
Wisconsin Supreme Court: Officers Wrongly Inventoried Vehicle for Towing, Requiring Suppression of Evidence
Though it is not clear whether the officers here were trying to conduct a “sneaky” search – one they knew to be unlawful – this decision is correct, and because the search was not valid, the evidence had to be disregarded – suppressed.
Excerpts from the Article:
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin held that the Court of Appeals erred when it affirmed the denial of a suppression motion because officers were not acting in their role as “community caretakers” when they inventoried a defendant’s vehicle for towing following a traffic stop.
Alfonso Lorenzo Brooks was pulled over for driving no less than 15 mph over the speed limit late one summer night in 2014. He exited the freeway and legally parked in a mixed commercial and residential neighborhood where, during the stop, the sheriff’s deputies ascertained that his driver’s license had been suspended. As they were issuing him citations for speeding and driving on a suspended license, they informed him that they were required to have his vehicle towed because he could not legally drive.
Brooks protested, saying that the vehicle belonged to his girlfriend and that she would arrive shortly to obtain the vehicle. The deputies said they could not allow an additional non-official person at the scene of a traffic stop, and they began a tow inventory search on the vehicle. They discovered a firearm in the trunk area and then promptly arrested Brooks for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Brooks filed a motion to suppress the evidence recovered during the search of his vehicle on the grounds that the search violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because there was no legitimate reason to tow the vehicle. His motion was denied, after which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals held, in an unpublished opinion, that the officers were acting under the “community caretaker” exemption to the Fourth Amendment and upheld the circuit court’s denial of his suppression motion.
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin considered whether the “community caretaker doctrine authorizes law enforcement officers to seize a vehicle without a warrant when, subsequent to a traffic stop, they discover the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle does not have a valid driver’s license.”
Because the Fourth Amendment prevents “unreasonable” searches and seizures, “the warrant requirement is subject to certain exceptions.” Brigham City, Utah v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398 (2006). One of those exceptions involves law enforcement performing “community caretaking” functions. State v. Asboth, 898 N.W.2d 541 (Wis. 2017).
The Court first decided that two separate “seizures” had occurred. The first was when Brooks was pulled over and received two citations. This seizure ended when he was informed he could merely be ticketed and released. The second began when officers performed the tow inventory. As the first seizure was ending, it could not justify the second. And “[b]ecause there is a presumption against warrantless seizures, the State bears the burden of proving the community caretaker doctrine justified seizure of the vehicle Brooks was driving.” See State v. Payano-Roman, 714 N.W.2d 548 (Wis. 2006).
In the community caretaking role, officers may act “[t]o permit the uninterrupted flow of traffic and in some circumstances to preserve evidence, disabled or damaged vehicles will often be removed from the highways or streets at the behest of police engaged solely in caretaking and traffic-control activities.” South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364 (1976).
The State claimed officers needed to tow the vehicle, so it was not “unattended for an unanticipated amount of time” and thus subject to vandalism. The Court rejected this because, as Brooks was initially not under arrest, he could have protected the vehicle until its owner, his girlfriend, arrived. The State claimed it was required to tow the vehicle under a duty to “reunite the car with its registered owner.” The Court also rejected this claim as “nothing about the situation suggested [Brooks] might not be in lawful possession of the vehicle” or that he could not return it after he finished borrowing it.
Accordingly, the Court concluded that the State failed to prove the tow inventory search was executed as part of law enforcement’s community caretaking function, vacated Brooks’ conviction, and remanded to the circuit court to grant his motion to suppress the firearm as the fruit of an illegal search. See: State v. Brooks, 944 N.W.2d 832 (Wis. 2020).
This is just more of tRymp’s vindictive nonsense, costing taxpayers millions of dollars for his efforts to defend such a dumb move in court. His lawyers had to know before even filing that they will lose these cases – it’s a clear abuse of power!
Excerpts from the Article:
When the U.S. Department of Justice declared New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon “anarchist jurisdictions” last month and threatened to withhold federal funding, many progressive residents of the cities—especially New Yorkers—responded with derisive humor. But to leaders in the three Democratic-run cities, the designation is no laughing matter, and on Thursday they sued the DOJ in a bid to thwart the Trump administration’s effort to hold back what could amount to billions of federal dollars.
The cities’ federal lawsuit (pdf), in fact, calls the prospect of the administration’s withholding of critical funding during the coronavirus pandemic “deadly serious,” as well as “offensive to both the Constitution and common sense” and “an oxymoronic designation without precedent in U.S. history.”
Leaders of the targeted cities condemned the administration’s efforts to punish their residents as the nation enters what one leading epidemiologist called the “darkest days” of the pandemic.
“The Trump administration’s political threats against Seattle and other Democratic cities are unlawful and an abuse of federal power,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a press release announcing the suit. “It’s immoral, unconstitutional, and shameful that we are forced to expend any resources on this political theater.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was even more blunt. “The only anarchy in this country is coming from the White House,” he told reporters Thursday.
The “anarchist jurisdiction” designation could cost New York City alone some $12 billion, the New York Times reports, public money that is desperately needed to fund life-saving city services during the surging pandemic and critical transportation and other infrastructure. That’s why city leaders—who were initially inclined to shrug off the defunding threat as just the latest inanity from President Donald Trump—decided to take action. When the Federal Transit Administration earlier this month cited the “anarchist” designation when casting doubt on New York’s eligibility for a $10 million transit grant to fight the spread of Covid-19, leaders in the three cities began preparing to sue.
On September 2, Trump issued a memorandum accusing Democratic state and local leaders of contributing to “violence and destruction in their jurisdictions by failing to enforce the law, disempowering and significantly defunding their police departments, and refusing to accept offers of federal law enforcement assistance” to police racial justice protests in the wake of officer killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black and Latinx people.
In the memo Trump vows to “not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones.” The DOJ designation followed on September 21.
Critics say Trump’s attempt to paint some of America’s most progressive cities as crime-ridden “socialist hellholes” belies the political motivation of his actions, with some observers noting that numerous Republican-run cities have much higher homicide and other violent crime rates than any of the municipalities targeted by the administration.
A good decision. The requirement of due process exists to safeguard everyone’s rights, including the criminally accused!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Supreme Court of Arizona held on September 1, 2020, that a statute increasing a misdemeanor charge to a felony for merely being part of a gang is unconstitutional on its face as a violation of substantive due process, affirming a trial court’s dismissal of the charges.
In two separate incidents, Christopher Arevalo allegedly verbally threatened someone and was charged with two counts of threatening or intimidating someone under A.R.S. § 13-1202(B)(2). Normally, such a charge would be a misdemeanor under Arizona law, but it was further alleged that Arevalo was a gang member. As such, the charges were automatically bumped up to felonies.
Arevalo moved in the trial court to dismiss the charges or to at least reduce them to misdemeanors, arguing that the gang-association enhancement under the statute making them felonies is unconstitutional. The court agreed and dismissed the charges, holding that § 13-1202(B)(2) violates due process by punishing someone for associating with a gang.
The State appealed and won. The court of appeals held that § 13-1202(B)(2) “does not penalize mere membership in a criminal street gang — it penalizes the added menace inflicted when a criminal street gang member is engaged in criminal conduct.” The Arizona Supreme Court granted review to answer whether the gang-association provision is unconstitutional, characterizing it as “a recurring issue of statewide importance.”
Under § 13-1202(B)(2), threatening or intimidating someone “is a class 1 misdemeanor, except that it is a class 6 felony if … the person is a criminal street gang member.” The question was whether mere association with a gang violates the Due Process Clause of the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions, which both state that no person shall be deprived of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
In this “facial” constitutional challenge to the statute, Arevalo was required to show that “no set of circumstances exists under which the act would be valid,” the Court explained, quoting United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739 (1987). Reviewing a statute for constitutionality, the Court was required to “presume” it is constitutional and then to follow one of three levels of review. First, under strict scrutiny, a statute is constitutional “if it is necessary to promote a compelling state interest and the statutory restriction is narrowly tailored.” The next level is intermediate scrutiny, which the statute survives if the state’s interests are “reasonable, not arbitrary, and have a fair relation to those goals.” Under the lowest level, the rational basis standard, a statute survives if it “has any conceivable rational basis to further a legitimate governmental interest.”
“We conclude that § 13-1202(B)(2) fails even rational basis review,” the Court said, “because it does not require a nexus between threatening or intimidating and gang membership.” The Court pointed to Scales v. United States, 367 U.S. 203 (1961), in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “the punishment on a status or on conduct can only be justified by reference to the relationship of that status or conduct to other concededly criminal activity.” And that link (or nexus) between the status and the criminal activity “must be sufficiently substantial” to satisfy the Due Process Clause, the Scales Court explained.
The Court here found that § 13-1202(B)(2) does not require a nexus between gang association and criminal conduct. “Indeed, it permits sentencing enhancement based on gang status even if the crime is wholly unrelated to a defendant’s gang membership,” the Court observed.
The Court also found that the court of appeals erred by adding an “added menace” criterion to the statute, rewriting the statute to make it constitutional. “We cannot, and will not, rewrite the statute to save it,” the Court said and “disavowed” prior cases that had included such a criterion to save the statute such as State v. Meeds, 421 P.3d 653 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2018).
Noting that other courts in Tennessee and Florida, for example, have similarly held gang membership penalties unconstitutional for lack of nexus, the Court concluded that § 13-1202(B)(2) is facially unconstitutional in all respects.
Accordingly, the Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Arevalo’s charges and remanded to the trial court. See: State v. Arevalo, 470 P.3d 644 (Ariz. 2020).
One more tale of horrid “health care” in our prisons. Along with the guilty, thousands of INNOCENT Americans languish in our prisons, being injured and killed by this problem of neglect and incompetence!
Excerpts from the Article:
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz has issued a report itemizing the multitude of mistakes and mismanagement that aggravated the troubled agency’s response to the COVID-19 hotspot at the Lompoc, California, federal prison complex.
The 36-page, July 23, 2020 report found that continuing medical staff shortages and failure to follow BOP national guidelines for detection and treatment of COVID-19 put the Lompoc prison complex in a state of crisis, which had been beginning to abate in summer.
After two guards apparently introduced the virus into the prisons in February or March of 2020, it spread rapidly, and at one point over 75% of the prisoners at the FCI were found to be infected. According to a previous story in Prison Legal News [PLN, June 2020, p.32], “Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Lompoc, located in Santa Barbara County, holds 1,162 low-security prisoners, of whom 911 had tested positive for the novel Coronavirus that causes the disease … the highest number of cases in any BOP prison.”As of mid-July, more than 1,000 inmates had tested positive and four had died.
All of this came after March 2020 when Attorney General William Barr directed the BOP to make liberal use of home confinement, but this did not happen at Lompoc, the report said. “Despite this admonition, the data does not reflect that the BOP took immediate action at Lompoc,” it said. In mid-May, only 34 prisoners had been moved out of the complex, a fact that the acting warden blamed on a lack of halfway house space, although he did not explain why vulnerable prisoners had not been transferred to home confinement instead.
The report further noted that, “Based on the available data, the (OIG) estimated that, as of April 12, approximately 957 of the 1,775 prisoners in Lompoc’s low and minimum security facilities were potentially eligible for home confinement under existing authorities and BOP guidance.
By comparison, as detailed above, the BOP Central Office included 509 prisoners in the nine rosters it provided to FCC Lompoc for home confinement consideration between April 4 and May 15, illustrating the BOP failed to follow its own guidelines.
Even when the staff at Lompoc belatedly began to follow BOP guidelines on March 16, 2020, the report said, “its initial screening process was not fully effective.” Staffers identified minimal direction from senior management and a lack of adequate personal protective equipment as a factor in the rapid spread of the virus. The high number of infected individuals only became known when health officials in Santa Barbara County, concerned about a spread of the virus from the prisons into their communities, offered to test all prisoners and staff, as the BOP maintains a policy of only testing prisoners and staff if they show obvious signs of infection.
This is bullshit. Members of the family owning the company, the Sackler family, should be prosecuted and jailed! JAILED, if convicted. The company is in bankruptcy, and those in charge knew damn well what was going on. One main purpose of incorporating is to protect individuals from personal liability, but in this case there is good reason to “pierce the corporate veil” and hold the Sacklers criminally liable!
Bottom line: what they did killed hundreds of thousands of people!
Excerpts from the Article:
Purdue Pharma LP will plead guilty to three felonies and pay $8.3 billion to settle federal probes of how it marketed OxyContin, the highly addictive painkiller blamed for helping spark the U.S. opioid epidemic.
The agreement calls for Purdue’s owners, members of the billionaire Sackler family, to make an immediate $225 million payment to the government and for the company to pay $250 million after its bankruptcy is concluded, the U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday. The remaining amount owed by Purdue will be counted toward the company’s payout to its creditors, court records show.
The deal is likely to boost Purdue’s effort to move past claims it helped spark a public-health crisis over opioids with its marketing of OxyContin. Yet the company still faces thousands of civil claims by local and state officials, for which Purdue has previously proposed a $10 billion settlement in bankruptcy court. Governments are seeking reimbursement from Purdue and others for tax dollars spent coping with the crisis, which has led to more than 200,000 U.S. overdose deaths and chronic addiction.
To cope with the tidal wave of claims, Purdue last year filed for Chapter 11 protection in bankruptcy court in New York. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in White Plains, New York, must approve the settlement with the Department of Justice for it to become final.
Sackler family members who served on Purdue’s board “acted ethically and lawfully” in overseeing the company’s operations, and they reached the government deal “to facilitate a global resolution that directs substantial funding to communities in need, rather than to years of legal proceedings,” a family representative said in an emailed statement.
Read More: How the Sacklers Shifted $10.8 Billion of Their Opioid Fortune
As for the criminal charges, “no member of the Sackler family was involved in that conduct or served in a management role at Purdue” during the period under federal investigation, according to the statement. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, during a press conference Wednesday, said the settlement with members of the Sackler family resolved their individual civil liability for OxyContin’s wrongful market, but doesn’t bar future criminal prosecution.
The government settlements with Purdue and members of the Sackler family involved sizable amounts of money and “gave no one a pass,” said Christina Nolan, the U.S. Attorney for Vermont who was involved in the investigation of the company’s payments to a medical-software provider.
Federal prosecutors and state and local governments say Purdue fueled the opioid epidemic with illegal OxyContin marketing. The company will plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and two counts of conspiracy to violate a federal anti-kickback law. The plea will come at a later date.
Purdue will admit that from May 2007 to March 2017, it conspired to defraud the U.S. by misleading Drug Enforcement Administration officials about the effectiveness of its opioid-monitoring systems, the Justice Department said. The drugmaker also will admit to conspiring to violate federal kickback statutes by paying sham speaker fees to doctors who ramped up OxyContin prescriptions, the government said. And Purdue will acknowledge illegally making payments to Practice Fusion, an electronic health-records company, in exchange for using the firm’s software to sway doctors into prescribing larger amounts of the opioid-based painkiller and other Purdue drugs, the government said. According to media reports earlier this year, those payments amounted to $1 million.
The $225 million civil settlement announced Wednesday resolved allegations that board members including Richard Sackler, David Sackler, Mortimer Sackler and other family members urged Purdue executives find a way to pump up OxyContin sales in 2012 when the legitimate market for opioids had contracted, the Department of Justice said.
Under a plan the family members approved, entitled “Evolve to Excellence,” Purdue sales reps stepped up their OxyContin marketing to high-volume prescribers, which resulted in the addictive pills being used in ways that were “unsafe, ineffective and medically unnecessary,” the government said.
As part of its 2019 bankruptcy case, Purdue is proposing a opioid-settlement deal worth more than $10 billion, calling for Sackler family members to hand over the company and all its assets to a trust controlled by the states, cities and counties suing it. As part of that proposal, members of the Sackler family would contribute $3 billion themselves.
Joe Rice, a lawyer for state and local governments suing Purdue, said the federal deal was a step in the right direction. “This should help us get the most value possible for Purdue’s assets and provide more funds to address this country’s opioid problems,” Rice said in an interview.
But numerous state attorneys general, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and New York Attorney General Letitia James, oppose the Sackler’s bankruptcy offer. They want the family to dig into their own pockets for additional billions, and they pledged to continue their own investigations.
“DOJ failed,” Healey said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. “Justice in this case requires exposing the truth and holding the perpetrators accountable, not rushing a settlement to beat an election. I am not done with Purdue and the Sacklers.”
A bankruptcy audit last year uncovered $10.4 billion in company transfers engineered by family members since 2008. Some of that money went to offshore trusts and holding companies controlled by the Sacklers. On the eve of the plea’s announcement, Justice Department lawyers urged Drain to limit creditors’ investigations into billions of dollars some members of the Sackler family took out of Purdue.
Prosecutors argued in an Oct. 19 letter that forcing family members to hand over to creditors files produced during the Justice Department’s OxyContin marketing probe would provide a disincentive in future cases for targets to cooperate with the government.
It’s not the first time Purdue agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over OxyContin. In 2007, the drugmaker and three of its top executives pleaded guilty to “misbranding” the painkiller, resulting in more than $630 million in civil and criminal penalties — one of the largest pharmaceutical settlements in U.S. history at the time.
As part of that accord, Purdue specifically acknowledged it trained its sales representatives to mislead physicians about OxyContin’s addiction risks. The executives were sentenced to community service and served no jail time.
The bankruptcy case is In RE: Purdue Pharma LP 19-23649, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (White Plains).
There has been a substantial increase in the prosecution of D O C personnel for smuggling contraband into prisons; not many, like this one, are addicted themselves.
Excerpts from the Article:
A jail deputy at the Erie County Holding Center faces a felony drug charge after a weeks-long investigation, according to a law enforcement source.
John Gugino, 44, was arrested and arraigned over the weekend, according to online records. He pleaded not guilty.
A source tells 2 On Your Side the Erie County Sheriff’s Office had been investigating Gugino for weeks following intelligence that suggested he was in possession of cocaine. According to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, Gugino was arraigned on Sunday for one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a class D felony; one count of driving while ability impaired by drugs, a class A misdemeanor; one count of unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree, and one count of operating a vehicle without inspection certification.
If convicted on all charges, Gugino faces up to seven years in prison. The sheriff’s office told 2 On Your Side Monday that they are working to remain as transparent as possible.
“That’s what we do. We’re not looking to hide it, other than sometimes we can’t release as much information due to circumstances of an investigation or the case as a whole,” said Erie County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Scott Zylka.
Gugino was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on the morning of December 3.
The Buffalo News reported Gugino’s defense attorney said he and his family “look forward to an opportunity to address (the allegations) at the appropriate time in the appropriate forum.”
As my good friend Charito points out, too few latinos and hispanics vote, and her organization and others are uniting to inform them of why they should and to get them out to VOTE!
By Charito Calvachi-Mateyko
As public policies are decided in the halls of the legislature, these become personal matters for Americans of Latino descent.
For them, national and local deliberations about immigration, Dreamers, equal rights, health care, education, jobs, housing and the economy are not just policy matters in Dover and Washington, D.C., they are everyday personal experiences. For this reason, civic engagement in elections is a fundamental responsibility and an opportunity to influence important policy decisions for every person in this country, including the diverse Latino community from the Caribbean and the many countries in Central and South America.
The Delaware Hispanic Commission is working to help Latinos become active and engaged in the election through a grassroots initiative it has spearheaded called “Votamos We Vote Coalition,” comprised of 12 organizations.
This effort is designed to educate residents in the immigrant community on the issues and help them to exercise their right to vote. For those who cannot vote, they can identify a loved one, a friend, a relative or a neighbor who is a U.S. citizen and ask them to register to vote and to vote. While undocumented Latinos do not have a voice in this democracy, in spite of their length of time in the country or the amount of taxes they pay to the government each year, they can identify and motivate others to vote and to be their voice.
The population of Latinos from Puerto Rico, who have been U.S. citizens since 1917, is a case to emulate as 95% of them participate in elections.
The Guatemalan people, highly represented in Sussex County, also have a story to tell. Eighteen years ago, Efrain Rios Montt, a former military dictator, now deceased, was running for president in Guatemala. At significant risk to their own lives, 80% of the population voted to make sure he would not be elected, among them many Mayan descendants. They succeeded.
According to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), 27 million Latino/Hispanic U.S. citizens are registered to vote, but 11 million did not vote in the last election. There are an estimated 12 million undocumented people in the U.S. If each undocumented person finds one of those U.S. citizens who did not vote in the last election, the Hispanic community nationwide could increase its participation and impact in elections Nov. 3.
By voting, we use our own voice, and we can also be the voice of the voiceless in this country.
Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, JD, MACT, is co-chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission and a restorative justice consultant and practitioner.
The Whole Story:
This is nothing, unless you are one of tens of millions of Americans with a loved one in prison! Here in DE, they still are just dumping men on the street at 3 or 4 am, with nothing, and DOC does not notify anyone. 🙁
Excerpts from the Article:
Independently obtained and analyzed data from April 2017 to April 2018 showed that 73 percent of all prisoners — more than 16,000 in total — were released after Philadelphia jail facilities’ cashier offices were closed, which left them without a phone, other possessions, identification, and cash for hours, or in some cases days, as those offices are closed on weekends.
The information was revealed in a series of stories in August 2020 by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Following publication, Prison Commissioner Blanche Carney said, “Anyone released after the close of their facility’s Cashier’s Office will now receive their property at their facility.”
Ann Jacobs, director of the Prisoner Reentry Institute at New York City’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said, “This is a good example of a system listening and responding in a way that looks like it will make a big difference.” Making sure that the changes are permanent will require “collaborative vigilance,” said Jacobs.
‘‘You can’t rest on your laurels. What we know about any kind of systems change is that it changes as long as it’s being observed and measured.”
Philly jails’ spokesperson Mallie Salerno stated that every person released from jail will receive their possessions at the facility in which they were incarcerated, regardless of time. And those who require cash will be driven to Philadelphia’s largest jail, Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, to retrieve their money from a prison staff member, regardless of the time of day.
In terms of releasing prisoners at reasonable hours when public transportation is available, things aren’t so straightforward. Shawn Hawes, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Prisons, said, ‘‘We cannot legally hold anyone beyond a court-ordered release.” The department has a policy of not releasing female prisoners after 1 a.m., but it was found that, according to the Inquirer, in a recent year 273 female prisoners were released between 1 and 5 a.m. when there were no city buses running.
‘‘We try to discourage it, but we can’t hold them,” said Hawes.
“These women by design are vulnerable,” Jacobs said. “They are going to be preyed upon at best for sex; at worst it puts their lives in jeopardy.”