This is how bad it is. Prison “law libraries” are a total joke, do more harm than good. READ Prison “law libraries”: They are a disaster! DISASTER
Praying for my friends at PLN. They do a tremendous job. With the ever increasing litigation due to prison abuse, and more attention finally being paid to the rampant abuses in our prisons, prison officials are desperate to protect their lying abusing asses! READ Culture of Cover Up – Prison Abuse
The reasoning of the 11th Circuit in this case is real bullshit. Courts often defer to prison officials’ claims of “security interest” because 1) they are clueless about the serious daily abuses, or 2) they don’t want to tackle the problem. It is an “easy out” to avoid discussions about our out of control prison. I sure hope the U S Supreme Court takes this case. And if PLN does not win, it is another example of how royally fucked up our criminal justice system is!
The courts reason that prison officials know best about security, and they are the ones charges with “the orderly administration of our prisons”. This assumes that they care about “the orderly administration of our prisons”, which is dead wrong. They care only about protecting their asses regarding all of the abuse!
Excerpts from the Article:
Prison Legal News, a long-running and indispensable legal resource for inmates across the country, filed a petition to the Supreme Court Friday asking it to review the Florida Department of Corrections’ total ban on the magazine. Florida prisons have impounded every issue of Prison Legal News since 2009. In May the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the policy, overturning a lower court’s decision in favor of the magazine. The 11th Circuit found that the Florida’s DOC’s justification for the ban—advertisements for several services not allowed in the prisons, such as pen pals and three-way calling—was legitimately related to security.
Prison Legal News argues that the ban is a solution in search of a problem, that it violates the First Amendment rights of inmates as well as those of the publication, and that it paves the way for broad censorship in other prison systems, all while never demonstrating any actual rise in security threats during the many years the magazine was distributed among Florida inmates.
The magazine has a notable voice in its corner: former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has argued more than 90 cases before the Supreme Court and is a co-counsel on the petition.
In that petition, Prison Legal News calls the 11th Circuit decision “an outlier ruling upholding an outlier policy.” As it notes, Florida is alone in its position. Although the publication has battled censorship in 29 states, making it perhaps the most frequently banned magazine in the country, neither the federal prison system or any other state prison systems bans the magazine in its entirety.
The petition continues:
By ratcheting up the deference owed to prison officials and ratcheting down the quantum of evidence those officials must supply to justify wholesale censorship of core free speech rights, the Eleventh Circuit’s decision is grossly out of step with this Court’s precedents. And it is flatly inconsistent with the rulings of other circuits that have faithfully applied this Court’s decisions to reject censorship of the “core protected speech” that Prison Legal News offers in its magazines.
Although the censorship of PLN has been limited to Florida, the threat to First Amendment rights if the decision is left standing certainly does not end there. The Eleventh Circuit’s decision provides both an invitation and a roadmap to silence PLN and any other publication that seeks to inform prisoners of their rights or to expose unlawful conduct by prison officials. There is little doubt that the ruling below will prompt other prison systems to follow Florida’s lead. Rather than let that trend blossom into further censorship, this Court should step in now to vindicate the First Amendment.
The petition notes that the ban blocks inmates from reading about civil rights abuses and new legal developments in the very prisons they’re housed in. Such bans are not unusual on an issue-by-issue basis. Reason Magazine, for instance, frequently has issues impounded by prison censors, including in Florida, for presenting threats “to the security, good order, or discipline of the correctional system.”
Numerous First Amendment groups are expected to file amicus briefs in support of Prison Legal News.
I have won scores of trials, on both sides, where the only evidence was “he said”. When judges allow sufficient time for a trial to beconducted properly, many people can and do win on just such evidence.
If he did it, or if he lies some more to the Senate, Brett Kavanaugh has no business on the Bench.
Excerpts from the Article:
Soon after Christine Blasey Ford was revealed as the author of a letter alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her decades ago, the responses ran along predictable lines. While some argued that she should be heard, others questioned how much of her memory can be trusted.
Amid a spate of speculation, The Washington Post published an exclusive account of the assault on Sunday, identifying Ford. Kavanaugh issued a statement denying the accusations, but after heated pushback from politicians and the public, Kavanaugh agreed to questioning by the Senate panel Monday. A second hearing, where Kavanaugh and Ford will both testify publicly, is scheduled for next week. The results threaten to thwart his confirmation.!
Sex crimes prosecutors across the country forge ahead on “he-said-she-said” cases regularly.
“I stand to believe there’s no such thing as a ‘he-said-she-said’ case,” Linda Fairstein, former chief of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Sex Crimes Bureau, told The Post. “As a prosecutor, it’s your job to break down every minute of the encounter so that details on one side pushes the facts over the edge.”
Prosecutors do that regularly, in large part by parsing what’s reasonable and what’s believable through corroboration, details that have the ring of truth and inconvenient facts that are subtle signs of credibility. Ford’s account is credible, even though she can’t remember several details.
There’s no criminal trial, but Kavanaugh still has the presumption of innocence, said attorney Douglas Wigdor, a former prosecutor who now represents victims in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases against high-profile men.
“The reason we have statutes of limitations is because its difficult to defend yourself when someone makes an accusation against you from years ago. It’s difficult to have witnesses or forensics,” he said. But, according to Fairstein, it was completely normal that Ford “didn’t remember” several details.
“If she testifies, I would expect her to say ‘I don’t remember’ scores of times,” Fairstein said, for two reasons: the passage of time and trauma. “She found this experience so upsetting that she felt her life was in danger. There might be 220 things she doesn’t know and then a very specific sentence about what happened that was so traumatic.”
Ford has alleged that Kavanaugh pinned her down and clumsily groped her during a prep school party when Ford, 15, was a sophomore and Kavanaugh, 17, a junior. Now 51, Ford, a research psychologist, told The Post, “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.”
According to psychologist Anne Meltzer, it may be challenging to recall peripheral details of an assault years later — such as who spread word of the party, who was the designated driver — but that should not detract from a victim’s veracity “if she can clearly and consistently articulate central details of what happened, such as the who, what and where,” she told The Post.
Meltzer, who has not reviewed the details of this case, has testified as an expert witness hundreds of times in child sexual abuse cases, with victims up to 17 years old. Are the details Ford did mention more telling? Perhaps more striking are the details Ford did mention. Fairstein said sexual assault rarely happens with witnesses present. Yet Ford puts two people in the room — Kavanaugh and his prep school classmate, Mark Judge, whom she called “an essential witness.”
“To me, it’s compelling that [Ford] puts someone else there, and that the person who happens to be in the room has a blackout drinking problem,” said Fairstein. Judge, now a filmmaker and author, described himself similarly in his book “Wasted: Tales of a Gen-X Drunk.” “That’s sort of the intoxicated behavior she described that night,” she added.
“Ford mentioned details — like the pool party, the narrow staircase, that the house was in Montgomery County. There are enough facts for someone to remember it was their party and their house,” said Fairstein.
Wigdor echoed Fairstein, saying: “She put a third person in the room. If you were making something up, why would you do that?”
Wigdor also mentioned that Ford voluntarily took and passed a lie-detector test. “While not admissible in court, they’re used by various governmental agencies, and many people believe in their abilities,” he said.
Often, Meltzer said, victims disclose abuse so that they can begin to cope with, and heal from, the trauma.
“Disclosure is a process. It’s possible that at some point a victim is unable to deal with the emotional burden of the abuse,” which frequently has long-lasting effects into adulthood.
Ford had long debated whether to come forward, feeling a civic duty to share her story, according to The Post. In the end, her cost-benefit analysis weighed against speaking on the record. Instead, she wrote a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), expecting it to be kept confidential.
Ford disclosed the assault long before Kavanaugh was nominated to the high court by President Trump, telling her husband and marriage counselor in 2012. The therapist’s notes, which were reviewed by The Post, confirmed this.
“I think it helps [Ford] that there was an outcry to the counselor long before this nomination occurred. We always look for that to support an accusation wasn’t a newly formed complaint,” Fairstein said. Ford didn’t come forward to prosecute Kavanaugh but with a piece of information that, she believed, was relevant to his character before this became a very public issue, Fairstein said.
My friend Gordon is now living on the beach in Florida, and is the manager of a medical marijuana store. I met him while he was here in Delaware and helped him avoid prosecution on just such a false claim. What he says is true, and I know from the many people I help that this is an ongoing, serious problem. The reasons for it I explain in other postings on this website. His Letter is PUBLISHED today, 9/18/18 on p A 4 of The Delaware State News.
Here it is:
October is officially recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In the 24 years since the Violence Against Women Act was passed by Congress, great strides have been taken toward in both the prevention of and the enhancement to laws against domestic violence.
It is safe to say, at this point, that we as a country are more than aware of domestic violence, and the federal government has, via the states, implemented much more aggressive policies against domestic violence.
Unfortunately, as with many federal government initiatives, it has often become subject to exploitation and fraud.
The government’s criteria is not necessarily the effectiveness of a program, but conversely, its in showing a continual need for such program(s).
This is best accomplished by diluting the very definition of domestic violence, i.e. hurt feelings, and defining the mere allegation as a probable cause. In adopting this de facto policy one is virtually assured of the “higher numbers”
Since 1994, states have continually sought to show an ever-increasing need for perpetual federal funding for its various agencies by showing the numbers of those who are alleged perpetrators and alleged victims.
This has created what is best described as a False Allegations Industry, an industry that conceptualizes a symbiotic relationship between the government, that needs the (false) victims for numbers and the (false) victims who see the opportunity for upper hand in custody, divorce proceedings, revenge in a relationship gone bad, free legal representation, rental assistance or just plain sociopathic tendencies. This cottage industry is dependent on a model of bygone days in which the male was the defined primary aggressor.
Statistically, this idea is falling by the way side — at least one out of four males are the victims of domestic violence, with that ratio lessening every year. Our headlines are reflecting this paradigm shift as well with the growing numbers of women who are arrested for making false allegations, adult women having sex with children, or violent attacks upon the male.
We are confronted with the fact that gender violence is not mutually exclusive to males. In a recent nationwide survey, one in six persons said they knew someone who had been falsely accused of abuse, and one in 10 said they had been falsely accused themselves.
Also, according to the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC), 2 million false allegations of domestic violence are made each year. The ACFC also reports that two-thirds of all reports of domestic violence are found to be unnecessary or false. Furthermore, 11 percent of all Americans surveyed reported being victims of false allegations of sexual assault, child abuse or domestic violence.
In truth, our states face an epidemic of false claims, false accusations, and false allegations — all of which are a clear misuse of our legal system.
America’s legal system has become awash in false allegations of abuse, including false accusations of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. False allegations are harmful because they:
• Take away scarce protections and services from real victims
• Can be devastating to the falsely accused
• Undermine due process and cause misuse of our legal system
• Force children into single-parent households, placing them at higher risk of social pathologies
I survived, overcame, and have successfully moved beyond the Kafkaesque experience from my encounter with the state of Delaware. I went full circle with the state paying to have each of the 21 charges forever expunged from my record and the governor’s legal counsel writing an official letter of exoneration for me. Yes, I experienced true redemption, sadly, most victim of the false allegations industry never do.
Port Orange, Fla., formerly of Felton
He Worked Undercover in a For-Profit Prison and It Got Ugly When Shane Bauer went to work for a private, for-profit prison in Louisiana, he expected to find bad conditions, but he was utterly unprepared for just how awful it was.
That’s right. It is hard to believe unless you have seen it. My fervent prayer: “Dear Lord, please bestow upon me $5 for every article I have read about prison abuse, and for each person who has called me about it.” I’m going to be wealthy!
Excerpts from the Article:
Here is the most mind-boggling revelation in Shane Bauer’s new book American Prison: In the 19th century, when leasing Southern convicts to outside businesses was a normal practice, the death rate for these prisoners was greater than the death rate in the Soviet gulag.
“And even more than the death rate during slavery,” says Bauer, whose book is a history of how prisoners have for centuries been used as slave labor, intertwined with the story of Bauer’s time as a guard in a for-profit Louisiana prison. “There are states that had a 25 percent death rate among prisoners. Under slavery, a slave was property, something you had to take care of. Under leasing, they were just a number. If a prisoner died, there was no penalty; they’d just get another prisoner.”
Same as it ever was. Even though convict leasing no longer exists, the profit motive is still a major factor in the American penal system. A recent prisoner strike that ended just weeks ago was an attempt to draw attention to horrendous conditions in the nation’s penitentiaries, including lack of recreation and educational facilities, poor medical care, nearly inedible food, and prisoner pay for work performed that is so low—as little as 1 cent per hour—it might as well be slave labor.
“When you hear prisoners make connections between prison and slavery, we need to dig into this and understand this is not an off-the-cuff remark,” says Bauer. “The situation of prison labor today grew out of the slave system. Forcing prisoners to work, mostly for free, the nature of that reality hasn’t really changed.”
American Prison describes how slavery helped create enormous wealth in the South, since it was “the most productive system of non-mechanized cotton production the world had ever known.” And even though the 13th Amendment abolished the practice, it left a huge loophole that Southern states took full advantage of. The amendment stated that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude” were legal, “except as punishment for crime.”
… —that the vast majority were black, “the labor was cheaper, didn’t strike, and it could be driven at a pace that free workers wouldn’t tolerate.”
“I wouldn’t have done [it] if I hadn’t been in prison myself,” he says. “There was this big hunger strike in California prisons happening not long after I got out, so I started digging into that, and then I wrote an expose on long term solitary confinement in the U.S. The American prison system generally is rotten. And the private prison system is just a portion of that (In 2016, private prisons held about 8 percent of the total state and federal prison population. I wanted to get inside private prisons because they are the least known part of the American prison system.”
So Bauer applied to become a guard with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which as of this year runs more than 90 for-profit prison and detention facilities. He was eventually assigned to the Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, La., a medium security prison (convicts live in dormitories, not individual cells) so underfunded and understaffed it makes infamous penitentiaries like Angola, Attica, and San Quentin seem like Club Meds.
In Winn, where guards made $9 an hour and were not provided with defensive devices like pepper spray or nightsticks, there were no work programs, most of the vocational programs had been eliminated, the hobby shops had been converted into storage units, and the access to the law library was limited. The prison was so understaffed that at meal time there could be 800 prisoners and only two guards. In a prison of 1,500 inmates, there was also no full-time psychiatrist and only one full-time social worker.
“I expected the company would be cutting corners, minimizing services,” says Bauer. “But I was surprised the ways we were being trained. A lot of it had to do with protecting our liability. For example, we were not supposed to intervene in fights.”
Not surprisingly, this cost cutting spawned tension and violence. And not just at Winn. American Prison cites a 2016 Department of Justice study that found that private prisons reported 28 percent more inmate-on-inmate assaults than public prisons, and inmates in private prisons had twice as many weapons. In one four month period, CCA reported finding nearly 200 weapons at Winn, 23 times more than Angola.
Following the release of this federal report, the Obama administration decided to phase out the use of private contractors to run federal prisons, but last year the Trump administration reversed that ruling. This kind of atmosphere also deeply affected how Bauer performed his guard duties. American Prison goes into detail about how poorly trained Winn’s correction officers were, and a good part of the book is given over to descriptions of Bauer’s interactions with the inmates, and how they changed over time.
“I thought I’d go in, be as human as possible, and it would be fine,” says Bauer, “but I quickly learned it was not that simple, that anyone in prison had to draw a line and defend it. When I tried to be good to prisoners, there were things I simply could not do, and I had to say no, and defend that position.”
Bauer eventually quit after four months on the job, burned out by the pressure. In this, he was not alone. “There was such a high turnover of prison guards” at Winn, he says. “A dynamic I saw a lot was guards when they came in, when they started the job they would be really insistent on having a good relationship with prisoners, which meant they would break a lot of rules. And I saw a lot of people leave because they couldn’t deal with locking people up every day.”
CCA, which has rebranded itself Core Civic, has now found a new source of revenue—it is running immigration detention centers. As of 2016, nearly 75 percent of the immigrant detainee population was held in facilities run by private prison companies. But CCA’s core business is still for-profit prisons, and at least at Winn, it seems they weren’t doing a very good job.
In American Prison, Bauer recounts a conversation he had with a former public jail warden who was visiting the facility. “I don’t know what’s going on down here, but it’s not good,” he told Bauer. “There’s something fucked up, I can tell you that.”
This warden then went on to recount how the prisons where he worked were better staffed, the guards were paid significantly more, they had a 90-day training period (at Winn it was 30 days) and received bonuses if they attended the police academy and passed fitness tests. “This is a joke,” he told Bauer. “This is a free jail to me. Too much shit going on down here. Not no consequences.” He then said that CCA should lose its contract.
In fact CCA, alleging they couldn’t run the prison at the rate the state was paying them, and probably realizing that Bauer’s undercover work would result in a magazine article that would be a public relations disaster (his story in Mother Jones was the basis for American Prison), terminated its contract in 2016. Winn is now run by LaSalle Corrections, yet another for-profit company.
And despite the fact that the private prison industry, which is controlled by a handful of companies, has been found to save states little or no money and is accused of numerous constitutional violations, the number of prisoners they house has grown faster than the general prison population. It’s about saving money, nothing more, nothing less.
Here are some knuckleheads who don’t get it. READ Letter to the Editor or Op Ed Submission – The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave- 9/8/18 – kra
Excerpts from the Article:
Mississippi’s public safety commissioner disclosed Saturday that state police will no longer buy Nike products, saying the athletic apparel maker is unpatriotic and fails to support those in uniform. “As commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, I will not support vendors who do not support law enforcement and our military,” Commissioner Marshall Fisher said in a statement Saturday to The Associated Press.It isn’t immediately clear how much gear the state police agency buys from Nike or if it purchases directly from the athletic apparel maker. Department spokesman Warren Strain said the department has bought shoes and shirts from the company, as well as tactical training uniforms.
But Mississippi’s Republican establishment is jumping to support the cause, with Gov. Phil Bryant lauding his appointee’s decision.
“I support the commissioner’s decision,” Bryant said in a statement. The governor said the commissioner has the right to choose vendors his department does business with “and it’s not going to be a company that pays an individual who has slandered our fine men and women in law enforcement.”
“These are the people that are representing all Mississippians,” the ACLU chapter said in a statement posted Saturday on Twitter. “These are the people that are creating policy that impact all of our lives. These are the people that took an oath to uphold the Constitution. Yet they refuse to understand what equality, justice, and accountability means. This petty decision is just another show of racism, discrimination, stupidity, inequity, and divisive politics.”
Earlier this week, the mayor of a New Orleans suburb rescinded an order saying Nike products couldn’t be bought for city recreation facilities or even by booster clubs using the facilities. Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn said Wednesday he was rescinding the order, saying it “divided our city and placed Kenner in a false and unflattering light on the national stage.” The order prompted a protest Monday that include three members of the New Orleans Saints football team and hundreds of others.
Mississippi’s Department of Public Safety includes the state Highway Patrol, Bureau of Narcotics, Bureau of Investigation, Office of Homeland Security, Crime Lab and Medical Examiner.
This author has a valid point. Black women continue to be the fastest growing segment of our prison population.
Read some of the related articles under “race” and “bad prosecutors”.
Excerpts from the Article:
Responses to the U.S. Open women’s final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka quickly bifurcated into two angry camps: One claimed that Williams “broke the rules” and therefore deserved the consequences imposed by umpire Carlos Ramos that contributed to Osaka’s impressive victory; the other viewed the punishment as evidence of lingering sexism and racism in a sport that has a long history of both.
This disagreement is about more than tennis, or even sports. It connects with a much deeper American divide about policing and criminal justice, with strong undertones connecting to race and racism.
Those in the “rules” camp grimace and lash out at the suggestion that gender or race play a role in their thought process. They point out that the rules are clearly stated and apply to all players and that umpires in tennis or any sport do their best to enforce them fairly.
To them, Williams clearly violated the rules three times (receiving coaching, smashing her racket and verbally abusing the umpire, whom she called a “thief”). Ramos then applied the code of conduct, which calls for a warning first, followed by a point penalty and then a game penalty. In short, Williams simply lost her cool and has only herself to blame for the outcome.
Many have also piled on with examples from her history of previous explosions at umpires, presenting Williams as a “repeat offender” who has violated the rules before and is thus even more deserving of punishment.
In contrast, the pro-Williams side calls foul, insisting that she has been unfairly targeted because of her physical and moral strength as a player who openly and proudly represents women and will not stay silent or be intimidated by men. For years, she has endured racial slights — from baseless accusations of match-fixing with her sister Venus to occasional racist epithets and near-constant body-shaming — even if she is a public sensation who is revered in her new role as mother.
They also invoke previous bad calls from umpires against Williams, particularly the most egregious and inexplicable overrule in tennis history, which directly led to the camera-based challenge system on line calls. And they claim that it is surely no coincidence that Williams is reportedly the subject of “random” drug testing more than twice as frequently as any other player.
But both sides are missing a crucial dimension — one that ultimately bends in the direction of the pro-Williams camp. Just like the criminal-justice system, tennis and many other sports depend on the subjective discretion of neutral arbiters to apply a set of supposedly objective “rules.”
Ramos did indeed follow the code, and each of the three sanctions had some justification, thus satisfying the “rules” camp. But for two of the three violations (the racket smashing was unambiguous), he used his discretion to punish Williams for acts — coaching and heated exchanges with an umpire — that occur routinely in tennis but are seldom punished.
Within the criminal-justice system, the same principle of discretion also applies, with much more severe and damaging consequences on human lives than the outcome of a tennis match.
At every stage, criminal-justice officials regularly justify individual decisions based on their discretionary interpretation of a rule. When a police officer makes a “routine traffic stop” for a car that changed lanes without signaling, or decides to arrest someone found with recreational drugs, technically the decision is warranted — even if numerous other people commit the same “infractions” without any consequences. Prosecutors have tremendous discretion to decide, for example, whether to charge a child as an adult, add additional enhancements to press for a plea bargain or seek the death penalty. Judges often make discretionary sentencing decisions (recall the Stanford University swimmer case). And prison officials have almost full discretion in issuing disciplinary infractions and sending inmates to solitary confinement.
In all of these instances, one can always say, “Well, this person didn’t follow the rules,” and on an individual basis that may seem sufficient to justify the consequences. What gets lost, however, is that rules are rarely applied regularly, consistently or fairly.
Worse, in the criminal-justice area, these rules are without question applied unevenly, with overwhelming racial disparities at every stage. People of color are far more likely than their white peers to be arrested for the same behavior, charged for the same crime, sentenced to more time for the same conviction, sent to solitary confinement for the same activity and denied parole despite similar prison records.
Without diminishing Osaka’s level of play or achievement, and without excusing Williams’s behavior, the outcome of the U.S. Open may have been determined by an umpire’s discretionary decisions that were far outside the norm. Rather than fool ourselves about the universality of rules, we should question the vast and often unchallenged use of discretion in both sports and criminal justice.
Tennis isn’t the only place there’s a double standard.
This is a serious hindrance for prosecutors, and a much worse problem for defendants accused of crime.
Regarding this: ” … an officer’s word is sometimes key in criminal cases, especially when very few felony cases actually go to trial,” … READ Rush to Sentence – Another Major, Awful Consequence of our “War on Drugs”!
Excerpts from the Article:
Disciplinary records of New York Police Department officers who arrest people have been closely shielded. Even the district attorneys, who sometimes must decide whether to charge arrestees with crimes based on an officer’s word, have often been out of the loop.
But now a news organization has revealed the secretive disciplinary records of NYPD officers from 2011 to 2015. And the public can see that hundreds of employees committed eye-opening offenses.
The internal records obtained by BuzzFeed through an anonymous source and verified by its investigation revealed officers were disciplined for offenses ranging “from lying to grand juries to physically attacking innocent people.”
“Many of the officers lied, cheated, stole, or assaulted New York City residents. At least fifty employees lied on official reports, under oath, or during an internal affairs investigation,” said BuzzFeed. “Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, getting into a fight, or firing their gun unnecessarily. Fifty-seven were guilty of driving under the influence. Seventy-one were guilty of ticket-fixing. One officer, Jarrett Dill, threatened to kill someone. Another, Roberson Tunis, sexually harassed and inappropriately touched a fellow officer. Some were guilty of lesser offenses, like mouthing off to a supervisor.”
The department’s lack of transparency is now a subject of litigation, with BuzzFeed suing the NYPD in the New York Supreme Court for “restricting access to officer disciplinary trial transcripts and other information” despite court precedent. In the past, other organizations also have sued for this reason.
“The NYPD imposes a level of secrecy on disciplinary hearings that is unheard of in most government proceedings—including the military’s. It’s also unconstitutional,” BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal said in a statement.
Overall, the internal records posted on a searchable database at BuzzFeed.com reveal about 1,800 NYPD employees disciplined in the five-year span. Some of the offenses merited firing, but the officers remained on the force. Still, an officer’s word is sometimes key in criminal cases, especially when very few felony cases actually go to trial, BuzzFeed reported. Many of the accused pleaded guilty, at times for lesser penalties, in deals with prosecutors. Their decisions should be made with full disclosures in hand.
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office general counsel said in a May 18, 2018, letter to the NYPD that there’s been “little progress” in talks about “pre-trial disclosure obligations” and the need for better access, including outcomes of police officer disciplinary proceedings and access to preliminary investigation worksheets and all video surveillance feeds.
“These limitations frustrate our ability, not only to prepare for trial, but to make early assessments of witness credibility, explore weaknesses in a potential case, and exonerate individuals who may have been mistakenly accused,” wrote general counsel Carey Dunne.
In response, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Phil Walzak, said in a statement June 2, 2018, that the department responds promptly “to prosecutors’ requests for information about officers’ disciplinary histories” and that “relevant police documents and video” are shared.
The question, then, is why are the outcomes of misconduct hearings under wraps even though the trials themselves are open to the public? The answer appears to be Section 50-a of the New York Civil Rights Code that shields certain police personnel records. Currently, the police union is fighting the NYPD in court to prevent plans to release redacted opinions in NYPD disciplinary trials.
This is good news, but the two major operators, CoreCivic and GEO are no better! Those two run most ICE “detention facilities”, where rape by staff, beatings, verbal abuse, and horrid “medical care” abound! Read scores of articles under prison abuse on this website.
Excerpts from the Article:
Louisiana-based Emerald Correctional Management, also known as Emerald Corrections, was once among the major movers and shakers in the private prison industry. Today it’s a figment of the past.
Emerald was notorious for atrocious conditions in its detention facilities, as documented in a recent investigative piece co-published by Newsweek and the California-based publication Capital and Main. Incidents at the company’s prisons and jails included the medical-related deaths of immigrant detainees Igor Zyazin at the San Luis Regional Detention Facility in Arizona and Olubunmi Joshua at the Rolling Plains Detention Center in Texas; the “2016 suicide of a 77-year-old county inmate, Kennie Moore, who hanged himself using his boxer shorts as a noose” at Rolling Plains; and a lawsuit filed by Emerald employees who were “forced to work off the clock and weren’t paid for overtime.” The suit was settled out of court.
In 2016, as one of Emerald’s last acts during the two decades it was in business, the company opened the $60 million Prairieland Detention Center. Located in Alvarado, Texas, the 700-bed facility houses detainees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), though technically the five-year contract is with the City of Alvarado. The center was designated to hold transgender prisoners, isolating them from the general immigrant detainee population.
“Like all Intergovernmental Service Agreements, the deal was made without the transparency that federal contracting rules dictate,” explained Robin Urevich in the June 28, 2018 Newsweek / Capital and Main story. “ICE signed the agreement with Alvarado city officials, but city officials have no role in operating Prairieland.”
At its West Texas Detention Center in Sierra Blanca, which contracted with the U.S. Marshals Service, Emerald faced complaints by detainees that included the use of plastic bags as toilets. The bags were required because, as reported by radio station KJZZ, the toilets were filled with human waste and the facility did not have proper plumbing systems. Other detainees reported “live rattlesnakes in their sleeping quarters,” according to KJZZ.
Both the West Texas and Prairieland facilities are now run by LaSalle Corrections [see: PLN, Feb. 2013, p.1], which faced its own complaints for abusive conditions earlier in 2018, including “verbal insults [such as] racial slurs; dangerous and unsanitary conditions of confinement; and denial of medical and mental health care.”
Best known for operating ICE detention centers, Emerald also formerly ran the Two Rivers Detention Facility in Hardin, Montana, which has struggled to find prisoners to house since it opened in 2007. Under the management of various companies, including Emerald, Two Rivers has largely sat vacant. [See: PLN, June 2017, p.20; Dec. 2009, p.1]. Emerald also previously operated a county jail in Lincoln County, New Mexico – the Lincoln County Detention Center – which is now run by LaSalle Corrections.
Who do you think is paying for the mountain of litigation, the costs, the monetary awards, and the settlements due to horrendous prison medical care? YOU are! If prison health care were done properly, every state in the country would find it had millions (some, billions) of more dollars for its budget!
Excerpts from the Article:
The family of the man slain by former Connecticut prison inmate Wayne L. World has filed a lawsuit seeking all or part of a $1.3 million settlement reached after World sued the state over deficient medical care. World was convicted of manslaughter in the 2006 stabbing death of Omari Lawrence during a fight on Hartford’s Sargent Street.
In prison, World’s subcutaneous lymphoma was misdiagnosed for as long as three years, according to a lawsuit filed on World’s behalf by lawyers Kenneth Krayeske and DeVaughn Ward. The state agreed to the settlement in August.
At the time of Lawrence’s death, his “family was unable to recover anything for their losses, said attorney Paul Iannaccone of Hartford.
He said the family is seeking the proceeds of the settlement as compensation.
“The family knows that nothing will bring their father, brother, or nephew back to them. However, they do hope that this action will bring about the justice and some final closure that have been delayed for so long,” Iannaccone said in a statement.
Krayeske said he and Ward will not be representing World in the Lawrence family’s action. He said they are focused on representing other inmates in medical malpractice cases.
This surely spells more bad news for tRump. If anyone knows whether any Americans colluded with Russians to meddle in our elections, it is Manafort. He may also know about financial crimes by tRump.
Excerpts from the Article:
President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty Friday to two criminal charges under terms of a plea deal that includes his cooperation as a potential witness for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. The decision by Manafort to provide evidence in hopes of leniency on sentencing is a stunning development in the long-running probe into whether any Trump associates may have conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
“I plead guilty,” Manafort told U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson, who accepted his plea.
Kevin Downing, an attorney for Manafort, gave a brief statement outside the courthouse after the hearing. “He wanted to make sure his family remained safe and live a good life,” Downing said of Manafort. “He has accepted responsibility.”
When asked if the deal with Mueller’s team is a full cooperation agreement, Downing replied, “It is.” He did not respond to questions about whether Manafort has been interviewed by Mueller’s team or if Manafort’s defense team remains in a joint defense agreement with Trump’s attorneys.
Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said at the beginning of Friday’s plea hearing that Manafort has agreed to cooperate with investigators, saying the 17-page plea document included the terms of Manafort’s expected cooperation.
Jackson noted Manafort has agreed to cooperate “fully and truthfully” with the investigation conducted by the Office of Special Counsel, including participating in interviews and debriefings, producing any documents in his control, testifying and agreeing to delay sentencing until a time set by government. Manafort also waived his right to have counsel present for every debriefing or interview.
Under the terms of the deal, Manafort faces a possible maximum prison sentence of about 10 years, though that doesn’t include any likely sentence for his conviction last month in Virginia. His attorneys may seek a lower sentence, and prosecutors did not agree to recommend any sentence. The judge made no mention of any offer by prosecutors for a letter recommending leniency in case of substantial cooperation.
Before Manafort pleaded guilty, Weissmann gave a 40-minute description of the criminal conduct in the case.
“I believe it’s fair to say that’s probably the longest and most detailed summary that ever preceded this question, but is what the prosecutor said a true and accurate description of what you did in this case?” Jackson asked Manafort. “I did. It is,” Manafort, said, resting both hands on the lectern before him and flanked by his attorney, Richard Westling.
The deal will short-circuit Manafort’s trial scheduled for later this month. Manafort pleaded guilty to two charges — conspiring to defraud the United States and conspiring to obstruct justice.
The document is a laundry list of Manafort’s admitted criminal conduct, including funneling millions of dollars in payments into offshore accounts to conceal his income from the Internal Revenue Service. “Manafort cheated the United States out of over $15 million in taxes,” the document states.
The filing also offers new details about the various ways in which Manafort sought to surreptitiously lobby the U.S. government and influence American public opinion toward Ukraine. In 2012, Manafort set out to help his client, then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, by tarnishing the reputation of Yanukovych’s political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, according to the document. “Manafort stated that ‘[m]y goal is to plant some stink on Tymo’,” according to the document. At the time he made that statement, he was trying to get U.S. news outlets to print stories that Tymoshenko had paid for the murder of a Ukrainian official, according to the criminal information. The document also says Manafort “orchestrated a scheme to have, as he wrote in a contemporaneous communication, ‘[O]bama jews’ put pressure on the administration to disavow Tymoshenko and support Yanukovych,” the document said.
As part of his deal, the government plans to seize four properties, including a house worth nearly $2 million in Arlington, Va., that’s owned by one of Manafort’s daughters. The deal also calls for forfeiture of four financial accounts and a life insurance policy.
The guilty plea is another reversal for Manafort, who has fought vociferously — but unsuccessfully — against Mueller’s probe. The 69-year-old political consultant was convicted last month in Alexandria federal court on charges of bank and tax fraud.
Manafort’s cooperation with Mueller could provide investigators new evidence or leads to chase; the guilty plea, however, will prevent weeks’ worth of headlines about the trial in the month before congressional elections.
The longtime lobbyist resigned from his position as campaign chairman in August 2016 amid increasing scrutiny of his work in Ukraine.
He has yet to be sentenced in Virginia, where legal experts say he faces eight to 10 years in prison under federal guidelines on the eight of 18 counts on which he was convicted. A mistrial was declared on the remaining 10 charges after jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict.
It is unclear how the guilty plea might alter his ultimate sentence, and some lawyers have questioned whether he is focused on winning a reprieve elsewhere. Law enforcement officials have come to suspect that Manafort hoped to be pardoned by the president, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue.
Trump has sought advice from his attorneys on the possibility of pardoning Manafort and other aides accused of crimes, Giuliani previously told The Washington Post, and was counseled against pardoning anyone involved in the ongoing Mueller probe. The president agreed to wait at least until the investigation concludes, Giuliani has said.
Several defendants have cooperated or pleaded guilty in connection with the special counsel probe, including Manafort’s former right-hand man Rick Gates; former national security adviser Michael Flynn; Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who worked with Manafort; W. Samuel Patten, who admitted arranging for a Ukrainian businessman to illegally donate to Trump’s inauguration; and former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who was sentenced to 14 days in jail last week after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.