tRump does not understand at all the need for criminal justice reform. Here we see that his ill-conceived budget cuts pose a real danger to B O P staff. While most inmates are not violent, there are plenty who will, and do, attack staff.
If it worked for Hollywood, federal prison workers hope it works for them. Prison union officials are adopting the theme of the Oscar-winning movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in an effort to call attention to dramatic cuts, warning that staffers could die if authorities proceed with a plan to eliminate more than 6,000 positions.
Set to appear as early as this week near the Bureau of Prisons’ largest complex outside Orlando, the three prison billboards are expected to depict the image of a coffin, along with the message: “Budget cuts lead to deaths in federal prisons.”
Not unlike the movie, in which a mother seeks to shame a local sheriff for his failure solve her daughter’s murder, union officials are trying to call attention to staffers’ plight inside the vast federal prison system. The Trump administration is in the midst of an estimated 14% staffing reduction systemwide to include about 1,800 officer positions. The prisons bureau has said most of the positions slated for elimination are vacant.
Last month, USA TODAY reported that hundreds of secretaries, teachers, counselors, cooks and medical staffers were tapped last year to fill guard posts across the system because of acute officer shortages and overtime limits. The moves were made despite repeated warnings that the assignments placed unprepared employees at risk. And the practice has continued for years even though the agency has been rebuked by Congress and federal labor arbitrators.
“We want the public to know that we’re trying to avoid the real possibility of loss of life here,” said Joe Rojas, president of the local union, who is leading the media campaign. “Yes, it’s a very strong message; it’s strong because we feel that strongly about it.”
Rojas said the union had identified three high-traffic locations near the prison complex to display its message. He said the union was paying $9,400 a month.
“We want as many people as possible to see this, because the situation is serious,” Rojas said.
The conduct of some judges is so bad, that there are movements underway to strip them of their immunity. If you don’t know, every judge in every state is protected by laws saying you cannot sue a judge. That is bad enough: that they cannot be held liable for their mistakes and abuses, but now we know from this CNN investigation and report how judges hide the sexual misconduct of their colleagues. I have long suspected that a couple of friends of mine who became judges used their position to have sex with their law clerks. I won’t print their names, because I cannot prove it, but CALL me and I shall tell you a major clue!
READ Where to File to Report Judicial Misconduct – And SHAME their Sorry Asses in the Press! Do It! With Step by Step Instructions by Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq. Tells you EXACTLY Where to Report Bad Judges! – DO IT!
Where to File to Report Judicial Misconduct – And SHAME their Sorry Asses in the Press! Do It! With Step by Step Instructions by Dr. Richard Cordero, Esq. Tells you EXACTLY Where to Report Bad Judges! – DO IT!
One morning in 1998, US District Court Judge Walter Smith called a deputy clerk into his chambers in the Waco, Texas, courthouse and closed the door behind her. “He basically came over to me and put his arms around me and kissed me, and I just froze. I couldn’t move,” the woman said in a deposition. “And he said, ‘Let me make love to you.’ And I just freaked out. … And then he pulled me to him again, and he kissed me again and stuck his tongue down my throat, and he pressed himself against me. … And then he started to try touch my breasts, and I kind of pushed away and said … ‘I need to go.'”
The next day, Smith sent her a dozen yellow roses. In recent months, powerful men in Hollywood, the media, Congress and other spheres have been accused of sexual harassment. A common theme has been men abusing their positions in settings where women feel they have no recourse.
The abuse women have suffered in the nation’s courthouses has been a largely untold story. And its system for complaints — where judges police fellow judges — is a world so closely controlled and cloaked in secrecy that it defies public scrutiny.
Rarely do sexual misconduct allegations against federal judges become public, even belatedly, as in the Waco episode or as they did in late 2017, with myriad complaints against California-based US Appeals Court Judge Alex Kozinski that drew national attention in the current #MeToo moment, forcing his resignation.
The federal judiciary occupies a distinct place in American life that makes what happens there potentially more striking than in other spheres. The nearly 900 federal judges who sit on trial and appellate courts are appointed for life. They have the authority to interpret the law on sex-based offenses. Their attitudes about harassment could reverberate in legal disputes that arise in other realms.
But the judiciary itself is hiding the depth of the problem of misconduct by judges.
CNN compiled and reviewed nearly 5,000 judicial orders related to misconduct complaints and available online over the past 10 years. The documents, covering an array of misbehavior beyond sexual misconduct, are remarkably short on details.
The CNN analysis found that:
Very few cases against judges are deeply investigated, and very few judges are disciplined in any way. In many years, not a single judge is sanctioned.
None of the actual complaints (more than 1,000 are filed annually) are made public. In the public judicial orders, claims are sparingly summarized, and accused judges’ names rarely appear. Some orders refer to “corrective action” by a judge without saying what happened.
Judicial orders are dumped onto circuit court websites as a series of numbered files with no indication of the allegations, person complaining or outcome. The practice makes it even more difficult to identify the most serious misconduct cases hidden among the opaque lists of documents because each order must be opened and individually read to gain even minimal information about the nature of the complaint.
In the 12-month period that ended September 30, 2016, there were 1,303 complaints filed. Of those, only four were referred to a special committee for the most serious level of investigation, according to the Administrative Office of the US Courts. In 2015, of the 1,214 complaints, four went to a special committee.
Going back to 2006, fewer than 10 cases annually were deeply investigated and even fewer resulted in disciplinary action. In six of the past 11 years, not a single judge was reprimanded, suspended or otherwise sanctioned for misconduct. In some cases, judges simply retire — and receive their full pension.
Overall, the data compiled by CNN and separately collected from court officials could suggest that if people have valid complaints about judges, they are not using the system or not getting through it.
“It’s very difficult for someone from outside to know what’s happening, and it’s not always easy for insiders to know what was happening,” US Court of Appeals Judge Theodore McKee of the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit told CNN. “The public does have an interest in knowing when there are complaints that are meritorious.”
After Kozinski’s resignation in December from the 9th Circuit, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts announced a new panel to examine the problem in the courts. “Events in recent months have illuminated the depth of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace,” Roberts wrote, “and events in the past few weeks have made clear that the judicial branch is not immune.”
The head of the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability, US Appeals Court Judge Anthony Scirica, declined repeated requests for an interview. James Duff, director of the Administrative Office of the US Courts, also declined.
CNN sent a written request to Roberts asking if he would address questions about the overall system for resolving complaints and whether he had been aware of problems before the Kozinski matter became public. Roberts declined the request.
The federal judiciary is an independent branch of government, and judges have long asserted that they can keep their own house in order. Judges have vigorously fought efforts from Congress to install an inspector general to oversee potential judicial wrongdoing, based on the constitutional separation of powers and the view that they can root out wrongdoers on their own.
A judge can be forcibly removed from office only through impeachment and conviction. But that process, which is controlled by the House and Senate and is the same one used for removing a president, has occurred only three times in the last 30 years, for issues related to bribery and perjury.
A committee led by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in 2006 noted the potential dangers of a system in which judges are judging judges.
“A system that relies for investigation solely upon judges themselves risks a kind of undue ‘guild favoritism’ through inappropriate sympathy with the judge’s point of view or de-emphasis of the misconduct problem,” the committee wrote.
CNN compiled and reviewed nearly 5,000 discipline orders posted on US appeals court websites, from roughly 2006-2017. There are 13 circuit courts of appeals, and the circuits vary on how many years’ worth of orders they post and the accessibility of the documents. Some sites include records back only until September 2015, when federal law required the on-line posting. The documents rarely include the name of the judge who was the subject of the complaint or the specifics of the grievance asserted. The vast majority of the orders issued were only one or two pages and comprised of boilerplate procedural language.
Of the 4,823 orders reviewed, more than a third of them — 1,719 — were only a single page in length. Another 1,552 were only two pages long. So more than two-thirds of all orders arising from misconduct complaints — 68% — clocked in at just two pages or less. Of the rest, 26% were between 3-5 pages, and another 6% between 6-9 pages. Less than 1% of the documents examined from the roughly 10 years (39 total) contained orders that were 10 pages or more in length.
If there were patterns to detect, for example in judges who were repeat offenders, the system does not make it easy. Many of the documents are posted as non-searchable, scanned documents — meaning that they cannot be searched for names, keywords or any content at all that a public citizen may seek to find.
To try to assess the complaints and look for patterns, CNN used software designed to recognize the text images and converted the documents to searchable versions for analysis.
One indicator of a more serious complaint is referral to a “special committee.” These investigative committees can interview witnesses, review documents and take other steps to get to the bottom of the facts of a complaint. Of the nearly 5,000 documents examined, less than 1% noted the appointment of a special committee.
“The judiciary is most responsive, and perhaps only responsive, when there’s some kind of media attention,” Leong said.
The federal judiciary’s general statistics that are made public reinforce that view of scant remedial action. In its public reports going back to 2006, in fact, no censures, reprimands, suspensions or other “remedial action” occurred in most years (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2006). In the rest, there were no more than three instances of suspension, reprimand or other remedial action in any given year.
The process begins when a complaint is filed in one of the 13 federal circuit courts. Circuit chief judges dismiss the overwhelming majority out of hand because they target a court ruling, rather than a judge’s conduct. Of the rest, the most common complaint is personal bias against a litigant or attorney (320 complaints in 2016). Other major categories cover conflicts of interest (144 complaints in 2016) or racial, religious or ethnic bias (128 complaints in 2016), according to figures provided by the courts’ administrative office.
If the facts of a complaint are “reasonably in dispute” after an initial inquiry, the chief judge is required to send the complaint to a special committee to investigate. That action is rarely taken. Of the nearly 5,000 complaints filed between the 2006 and 2016 fiscal years, 33 went to a special committee, CNN found. In those situations when a complaint was investigated deeply, a party may appeal to the Judicial Conference Conduct Committee. Since 1993, that committee has issued reports in only 15 cases.
The woman, according to the judicial council report, further alleged that “Nottingham asked her to lie to federal investigators about the nature of their relationship and not disclose that she was a prostitute whom he paid in exchange for sex.” As the investigation was being completed, Nottingham resigned. The 10th Circuit judicial council, which repeated the salacious allegations in its report, dismissed the complaint the next day but said his resignation was “in the interest of justice and the judiciary.”
Nottingham, Kozinski or any other life-tenured judge who resigns in the middle of a complaint and is of retirement age is entitled to full pension of roughly $200,000 annually (the amount differs for district court and appeals court judges based on their annual salary). Leave the bench, and all investigations stop.
… many lawyers would not dare challenge a judge for fear of some retaliation. ”
Clevenger had also filed a complaint against Hudspeth, saying he failed to fulfill his responsibilities by not referring the deputy clerk’s complaint to authorities. Hudspeth told CNN he believed it was the woman’s responsibility to file a formal complaint. Fifth Circuit judicial officials said in 2016 that they were waiting to pursue that complaint against Hudspeth until after the situation with Smith was resolved.
But once Smith resigned, Hudspeth, too, had retired at age 80, so the complaint against him was dismissed.
No further inquiry was made.
Update of 3/18/18: The judge has ruled that five more Cosby victims can testify at his retrial! READ https://www.law.com/thelegalintelligencer/2018/03/15/five-additional-cosby-accusers-may-testify-at-retrial/?kw=Five%20Additional%20Cosby%20Accusers%20May%20Testify%20at%20Retrial&et=editorial&bu=The%20Legal%20Intelligencer&cn=20180316&src=EMC-Email&pt=AM%20Legal%20Alert
It is permissible to bring in testimony from other victims, if it show a method of the crime (modus operandi). I thought it was a mistake to exclude it from Cosby’s trial last time, and I hope it is permitted this time, because I believe he is guilty as hell!
Letting jurors hear from Bill Cosby’s dozens of accusers would strengthen prosecutors’ he-said-she-said case by showing the one criminal case against him fits an alleged five-decade pattern of sexual misconduct, legal experts said Tuesday. Prosecutors are eager to widen the scope of Cosby’s April 2 retrial as they attempt to portray the once-beloved entertainment icon as a serial predator who made a sadistic habit of drugging and molesting women. At Cosby’s first trial last year, which ended in a hung jury, Judge Steven O’Neill barred prosecutors from mentioning Cosby’s past and allowed just one other accuser to testify.
O’Neill did not rule Tuesday on arguments made over two days by prosecutors and defense lawyers on how many, if any, of Cosby’s other accusers will be allowed to take the stand. He’s also yet to rule on whether the defense can mention details of a financial settlement Cosby paid in 2006 to the accuser in his criminal case, Andrea Constand.
Cosby’s lawyers said jurors should only get to hear testimony about the alleged 2004 assault that led to the criminal charges against Cosby, not “ancient allegations” that would confuse, distract and prejudice the jury against the 80-year-old comedian.
Prosecutors want as many as 19 women, including model Janice Dickinson, to testify about allegations dating as far back as 1965 and as recently as 1990 or 1996. That’s at least eight years before Constand says he assaulted her at his suburban Philadelphia home.
For prosecutors, having several accusers tell similar stories about Cosby would give them a chance to smooth over issues with Constand’s credibility and insulate her from attacks from his lawyers, who are keen to portray her as a money-grubbing liar.
Dave Zuckerman, a former prosecutor who practices criminal defense in the Pittsburgh area, said that “might help put the case over the edge in favor of the prosecution.” “Now it becomes more than just one accuser against Bill Cosby,” he said. “Now you have a pattern of multiple women.”
Constand sued Cosby after prosecutors in 2005 declined to press charges. Cosby testified over a decade ago as part of that lawsuit, eventually settling for an undisclosed sum. His deposition was sealed for years until a judge released parts in 2015 at the request of The Associated Press, prompting a new set of prosecutors to take a fresh look at the case and charge him.
Cosby has pleaded not guilty to charges he assaulted Constand, a Temple University women’s basketball administrator, while he was a powerful alumnus and trustee. He has said the encounter was consensual. He remains free on bail.
Pennsylvania allows prosecutors to present evidence of alleged past misdeeds if they demonstrate the defendant engaged in a signature pattern of crime. Prosecutors argue Cosby used his power and appeal as a beloved entertainer to befriend younger women, then plied them with drugs or alcohol before assaulting them.
If additional accusers are allowed to testify, Zuckerman said, the jury would be instructed to consider the testimony only as possible evidence of Cosby’s pattern of behavior — not conduct that they should punish him for. But, he said, all that testimony is sure to carry an emotional wallop that could push jurors to convict.
At the last pretrial conference, I told them they could drop it or, if the really wanted to waste the time and end up losing anyway, (oh, yes I did), we can go to trial.
I just called the AG’s office to check, and, as I suspected, the trespassing charge against me has been dropped. They had no case, and I am mildly disappointed in that I was looking forward to “kicking the prosecutor’s ass all over the courtroom one last time.” It really was tons of fun to do that. Live as a prosecutor was too easy; too easy to win. Much more fun as defense counsel, beating the state, with all their resources. Now no need to waste the time.
I urge you to support the ministry of my friend, Jeff Grant, if you can. He does a great job, and he has fully recovered from his disaster. There is much more about Jeff here, and I hope you will read it.
He’d filled out the paperwork demonstrating that his law firm, Jeffrey D. Grant & Associates, had suffered economic hardship in the wake of 9/11, embellishing only a little to buttress his claim. In Grant’s own mind, he had done nothing wrong. What did it matter that his firm was not in the shadow of the Towers, not in Manhattan at all, but way out in Mamaroneck? The ads on the radio said Westchester County businesses also were eligible for disaster relief loans. And when he called the people down at the Small Business Administration office, they confirmed his eligibility. Next came the application: He wrote down the correct and proper Mamaroneck address required of him — then he added, for good measure, a not-so-correct and proper Wall Street address. “I was desperate,” Grant recalls. “I needed that money. There was no question in my mind that my motive was to say anything I had to say — and so I described an office situation in New York that just wasn’t true.”
It wasn’t entirely false, either. Grant had an agreement with a firm at 40 Wall Street to use its conference space for the convenience of his Manhattan clients. “But I don’t think I had ever actually used the space,” Grant says. “And losing it would have had zero economic impact on my firm.”
At sixty-one, Grant is a powerful-looking man with a broad, expressive face and curly gray hair swept back from his temples. He reflects on his old self frankly, almost brutally, without excuses. Who was that man and how did he get that way? If you’d met him socially, you probably would have liked him. He coached his daughters’ softball team. He sat on the school board. He owned a restaurant. “I was this fun-loving, backslapping guy,” he says. “People may have been talking about me behind my back, saying I was out of my mind, I don’t know. But they would have seen this huge guy who put his arm around everyone, hugged everyone, kissed everyone.” He pauses, then adds this curious detail: “I had tons of people who probably considered me their friend — but I didn’t necessarily consider any of them my friend.”
If you’d met him professionally, you might have disliked him intensely. In 1991 he moved his family out of Manhattan, to Rye, and opened the Mamaroneck office. “That’s when things started flying,” he says. “I was a big fish in a small pond” specializing in real estate law and serving as general counsel to a company that owned hundreds of buildings. “I became increasingly arrogant and grandiose. I wasn’t a nice guy. I viewed my job as winner take all—I was like a paid assassin.” Underlying his aggressive style were the addictions—chiefly the opioid addiction. (He originally kicked Demerol in 1986 but relapsed in 1992, after rupturing his achilles tendon playing basketball.) And underlying the drugs was an undiagnosed bipolar disorder. The disease’s “up” phase seemed to endow him with special powers of perception. “I would have these moments of real clarity. Some bipolar people talk about it — it’s almost a genius. You see connections that other people can’t see.”
His success begat more success. If the firm was running low on cases, he would go for a walk and come back with ten new ones. “Everyone wants to be near successful people,” he explains. “They want to rub the arm of the person who has the golden goose.” Meanwhile, he had fashioned a lavish lifestyle for himself and his family. “I did everything to the extreme. I was flaunting this nouveau riche lifestyle, flaunting it. There was no humility. I’d go down and lease the biggest BMW you could get. I had a house in the best section of town. We would go on shopping trips — I mean big vacations, just to shop, and we would come back with massive amounts of clothes. I didn’t even know that other families were looking at us like, ‘What’s going on?’”
Somewhere along the line, his lawyerly aggression turned to recklessness. Grant has no memory of a hard tipping point. But his risky decisions ceased paying off, as any gambler’s will. “I kind of knew that I was betting the house on every hand. I knew that. But I was powerless to stop it.” For example, he took big positions in dot-com startups, certain that just one hit would set him up for life. He had these positions written on Post-it notes and affixed to his computer. One day his assistant casually said, “What if none of them hit?” “And I said, ‘No, that can’t happen.’ But of course in 2000, when the dot-com bubble burst, it was all gone.”
Around this time, a friend who knew of Grant’s Demerol habit visited his office — he opened his hand and let a pile of OxyContin spill onto Grant’s broad, wood burl desk. “That was a whole new level, just crazy,” he said of the drug that would fuel the current opioid epidemic. “I couldn’t work at all. I couldn’t do anything. I would just go over to his house in the middle of the afternoon and sit in his den and watch The Golf Channel with him while my firm was disintegrating.”
Then came the raiding of the escrow accounts. And then 9/11. He nursed the tiny hope that the disaster relief loan, which he applied for in December 2001, could save his firm — but in embroidering the application Grant had released the hellhounds, as it were, and it was only a matter of time before they ran him down. In 2002 a former business partner who’d learned of the investigation into the escrow debacle — now in its second year — wrote a letter to the grievance committee detailing Grant’s other sins. “He talked not just about my character, but about my drug use, about all the horrible things I’d done to him,” Grant remembers. “I think he was fundamentally right, but at the time I was appalled. A copy of the letter was sent to me by my ethics lawyer. I asked him, ‘How devastating is this to my case?’ And he said, ‘Devastating — it’s devastating.” On July 28, 2002, Grant resigned his law license, conceding his unethical borrowing. (Soon after, the state ordered his disbarment.) Next he called a physician friend who once again wrote out a forty-tablet prescription for Demerol. Grant picked it up at the pharmacy — this time with a sense of doom. “My life was over,” he says. “I knew I was going to try to kill myself.”
Let us take stock of the totality of Grant’s collapse. He was no longer a lawyer. He no longer had a job of any kind, or even the prospect of one. The cocksure, larger-than-life provider was gone, replaced by a man who was a stranger to himself, down and out, disgraced. “At that point we were pariahs,” Grant recalls. “I’d had hundreds and hundreds of people in my circle. I was a big shot in Mamaroneck and Rye. And nobody came to visit us—maybe like two people. We were untouchables. We were damaged. Nobody was going to come near us.”
After the Grants sold the house in Rye, they moved to an apartment in Greenwich. Grant began attending recovery meetings three or four times a day at a local church (in keeping with the recovery code, he prefers to withhold specifics about program and venue). He would wake very early, as was his habit, and wait outside the church on a bench or in his car as the sun rolled up. Nobody would have guessed at his lost wealth and position, for instead of decking himself out in the finery of that life, he wore baggy shorts, T-shirts and a baseball cap—a uniform of self-effacement, of anonymity.
Soon he started helping a man set up the chairs before the morning meeting. Eventually the man asked if Grant would like to take on the responsibility himself—to be “the chair person.” A ray of light had found him. “It was the first time anybody had trusted me with anything,” he says of the period after his fall. “They gave me the keys—the keys to the church. And I would go into the church at 5 a.m., and I would set up the chairs, and I would do it so methodically. “
And so his became the story of a man who sensed a divine hand steering the beat-up little skiff of his life. A man who, having sweated out every ounce of arrogance through prayer and good works, won the affection of his tribe of mending souls, and embarked on a life of service. But the hellhounds did not tire; all the while they’d been gaining ground. In 2004 they caught him, and eventually ran him right into the New York media crucible, where the gentle, kindly Jeff Grant mutated into a particularly odious criminal: “9/11 Scammer Gets 18 Months for Loan Fraud.”
He left the house with two duffel bags and his clock radio. Essentially homeless, he spent the next couple of years living in people’s guest rooms and sleeping on their sofas. “I made sure my family was taken care of,” he says, “but I lived without a home until I went to prison.”
In January 2006 Grant was sentenced to eighteen months at Allenwood Low Federal Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania. (A U.S. Supreme Court case about sentencing guidelines accounted for the two-year wait; in the interim, he had repaid the loan.) “I’m sorry and I’m ashamed,” Grant told the judge. “I offer no excuse for what I did.” Only now did the papers get wind of his crime. Though his old self might have wished the news reports had teased out the nuances of the story, his new self accepted the wave of infamy with surprising calm. And anyway, the more immediate worry was prison itself.
The rest of the story is epilogue. No, that’s not right. The rest of the story is Grant’s flowering into his new life. “When I show people my bio, every single thing, every accomplishment, is after prison,” he says. “They can’t believe it. I can’t believe it.” In 2012 he graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he focused on Christian social ethics. The same year, he and Lynn founded the Greenwich-based Progressive Prison Project, the first ministry in the United States to help white-collar and other nonviolent offenders deal with prison issues — earning Grant the sobriquet “minister to hedge funders,” though that only covers a piece of his mission. And they founded its sister ministry, the Innocent Spouse & Children Project, which helps the families of the accused and convicted navigate their harsh new realities. “The people at home are left dealing with the shame, the stigma,” Lynn says. “And there was a lot of it.”
“There’s not a lot of services there,” Jeff adds. “There’s not a lot of understanding. You’re pretty much in a vacuum, and the sense of isolation is huge.” The stigma he speaks of does not exist in Bridgeport. Grant often preached at the city’s First Baptist Church (and ran its prison ministry) in addition to his work at Family ReEntry, and the starkly different attitudes he witnessed vexed and fascinated him. “They have this embodied understanding of criminal justice and prison,” he observes. “It’s part of their culture, unfortunately. But they rally around one another, and they’re helpful to one another, and they’re not shunning and they are not stigmatizing.”
Read the Whole Story:
It is outrageous enough that we so much misconduct by prosecutors in their official duties; now we have all this “extra curricula” misconduct! Could it be because the are almost never held accountable for any wrongdoing? Of course!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Bronx District Attorney’s office is a cesspool of on-duty sex, swinging margarita-soaked parties and rampant prosecutorial misconduct, a veteran crime analyst with the office claimed Monday in papers filed with the city.
Crystal Rivera, an 11-year employee, said she has witnessed prosecutors cheat on their husbands and wives, boozed-up assistant district attorneys stumble to court after a few drinks and even the occasional brawl.
“It’s been something in the office that’s been going on for many years,” she said. “People are having sex in the office,” Rivera said. “We used to have parties called ‘the narcotics parties’ where ADAs (would) have sexual relationships with officers and prosecutors. We’ve had incidents where ADAs are having sex with each other and they’re married.”
When she worked in the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Unit, Rivera said, prosecutors would use the tough cases they were working on as excuses to get hammered nearly daily.
“We would have a party every week,” she said. “At first it was because, ‘Oh, we had a hard day. We had a hard week. We had a hard case.’ Then it just became routinely popular and our office in our floor was known for partiers.” Rivera, a mom of four, said some staffers stockpiled liquor and other alcoholic beverages in their offices.
“(The ADAs) would drink and we’d page them, ‘The court is calling,’ ” she said. “They would answer their pagers, go to court — physically and mentally intoxicated — do their job and come back.”
Rivera, who earned $45,000 in 2017, made the scathing remarks as she talked about a $15 million notice of claim she’s made to sue Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark for ordering her not to speak to the NYPD cop she was dating.
Rivera said the egregious misconduct she witnessed always made her uncomfortable, but she didn’t know who to report it to. “It’s just ridiculous that we have to sit and condone this just because we are staff members and they are prosecutors,” she said. “Who do we talk to when our superiors are the ones doing this?”
“What are they gonna do — tell her she can’t talk to her boyfriend?” said Rivera’s lawyer, Eric Sanders. “That’s her First Amendment right. … She didn’t violate a rule.”
Clark, however, asked the feds to assist in the investigation.
A spokeswoman for Clark declined comment and referred a query to the Corporation Counsel’s office, which said, “We will review the notice of claim.”
See the newsletter here: http://conta.cc/2FNQDhz More than 80 articles covering politics, business, health and science, criminal justice, and much more.
Time limits do not permit me to highlighting any articles, but you should peruse the whole newsletter to read what interests you!
Why are so many wrongly imprisoned? Read related articles, including How the War on Drugs Has Destroyed Justice
Inasmuch as this is the worst thing our government can do to someone, compensation should be generous!
This was two years ago; today you can bet it is over 4,500!
Excerpts from the Article:
October 2nd of each year marks the Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day. As of October 2, 2017, the third anniversary of the commemorative event, 351 people have been exonerated based on DNA analysis alone. Those 351 served an aggregate 4,788 years in prison prior to exoneration. DNA exonerations are just the tip of the iceberg; the United States is a world leader in convicting and imprisoning its citizens for crimes that they did not commit.
The Innocence Project tracks the data associated with wrongful convictions. To mark the 2017 Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day, researchers with the Innocence Project looked at how state governments compensate those who have been exonerated. The analysis revealed a patchwork of laws and processes that vary greatly from state-to-state and, in some cases, are absurdly unfair.
Initially, it’s worth noting that 18 states have no compensation laws at all. Of the 32 states that have some mechanism in place, compensation ranges from $5,000 per year of incarceration with a maximum of $25,000 total (Wisconsin) to $80,000 per year with no ceiling and an annuity set at the same amount (Texas). Shame on Wisconsin; that’s insulting.
When an exoneree lives in a state without a compensation statute, he or she must pursue a lawsuit in order to obtain damages for wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Eddie Lowery, who lives in Kansas—a state that does not compensate—was profiled in the Innocence Project report, and his plight was covered by PLN in February 2016.
Lowery was convicted of a sex offense that he did not commit. He was exonerated in 2003 after spending 10 years in prison and an additional 11 years on the sex offender registry. Times were tough for Lowery in the immediate aftermath of his wrongful incarceration. “I couldn’t find a good paying job,” said Lowery. “I had to go on food stamps to take care of my son. And there were other needs too, such as health insurance.”
Because Kansas does not have a compensation statute, Lowery was forced to resort to civil litigation. During the many years that his lawsuit dragged on, Lowery remained subject to the stigma of a felonious sex offender. And he struggled to survive. “When a person is wrongfully convicted, they’re stripped of everything,” explained Lowery. “So, when they’re freed and exonerated, they have nothing. They have to rebuild their lives from scratch. But, without having a compensation statute, it can feel impossible to do.”
Several of the 32 states that do provide compensation award extraordinarily miserly sums. In Illinois, for example, where Jerry Miller spent 25 years in prison for crimes that he did not commit, compensation is limited to an arbitrary $199,150. That’s what the state gave Miller in exchange for a quarter century of his life, and it took a fight to get even that meager amount.
After Miller received his paltry compensation, he filed a civil lawsuit and prevailed. But according to the Innocence Project, only about one-third of all DNA-based exonerees file such a suit. To win such a suit, proof of official misconduct during the process that led to conviction must be shown.
There is one state among the 32 that should serve as a model for the country, and it may surprise some to learn that it is Texas. In the Lone Star State, there is no ceiling on compensation, and in addition to a lump sum of $80,000 per year of incarceration, exonerees receive an annuity of the same amount for life. Cornelius Dupree, who spent 26 years in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit, described the difference compensation made as he reestablished his life.
“It’s impossible to right the wrong of wrongfully incarcerating someone for a great deal of their life for a crime they didn’t commit,” said Dupree. “To me, money is just a band-aid; it doesn’t rectify the problem or the situation, but it certainly helps when starting a new life.”
FOLKS – this means YOU! If you know anyone with a criminal justice question, a legal question, tell them to CALL me!!! Not a bunch of type type type… CALL 302-423-4067. I hate to toot my own horn but the FACT is I am able to help most (over 95%) of those who call. Not because I am a friggin’ genius, but because there are few people on this planet (any??) with the experience I have*! Just tell them to CALL me!
Jeez!! I get too many calls from people who have called several idiot lawyers and/or all the wrong people! The right people? Someone who can actually SOLVE THE PROBLEM!
*And what is my experience? Highlights are: Law Clerk to Supreme Court of Delaware, Deputy Attorney General, Defense Counsel and General Law Practitioner, student of the criminal justice system for the past twelve years (think about that- all of law school is 3 years; I have been immersed in learning all about the criminal justice system problems/solutions for twelve years now!), Addict, Prisoner, Member of Rotary International, Entrepreneur (owned and built several very successful businesses), Pres. of Legal Aid, Founder and President of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Inc., Business Broker (Broker’s license in Florida), Teacher, homeless person, and counselor to thousands. NO charge to talk to me.
I have won more than 700 trials, gotten many people out of prison early, prevented many, many more from ever going to prison … I HATE to “toot my own horn”, but what the Hell are you waiting for?? CALL ME! Everything I do is free, unless it is a ton of work!
I am a professional who specializes in Applications for Pardons and for Clemency/Commutation. READ Know Anyone With an Innocence Project Team? Practical Tip: Tell them “Get them out First” kra
All of law school is three years; where we are taught contracts, wills and estates, torts, evidence, and about a dozen other subjects. I spent four years doing nothing but studying criminal justice issues for 18 hours a day, every day, from B4 the sun rose until after it set [the lights are on 24/7 in that isolation cell!] , and I have been IMMERESED in all such issues for nearly eleven years now! Think about it!!
Why am I so successful? READ Practical Tip – There is ONE way to win – Be Prepared!
Louisiana Man Exonerated By DNA Evidence After Serving Nearly 38 Years – So sad to say, we shall see these for years! kra
We have damaged the system sooooooo badly that we are sure to see many more of these situations in the years ahead, just as we have seen a flood of them over the past 20 years.
This case, like many others, confirms what I have said for years:
1) There are innumerable awful lawyers out there ruining lives because the “Bar Association” ignores so many valid complaints,
2) Nobody has time to do things right (thanks to the “war on drugs”); READ How the “War on Drugs” has Destroyed Justice!
3) Because these cases take so damn long to litigate, counsel should file an Application for Clemency/Commutation to get the person out and then prove innocence! The Innocence Project first took up Alexander’s case in 1996. 22 years in court?! “Give me a F$@#@$* berak!”
Excerpts from the Article:
Ineffective trial lawyer and flawed eyewitness identification procedure destroyed lives of Malcolm Alexander and his family.
After a reinvestigation by the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office, today a district court judge dismissed the indictment and ordered the release of Malcolm Alexander who wrongly served nearly 38 years for a rape that DNA evidence proves he didn’t commit. He was arrested for the 1979 crime based on a deeply flawed, unreliable identification procedure. His paid lawyer – who was subsequently disbarred after complaints of neglect and abandonment were filed against him in connection with dozens of other cases — failed in his most basic duties to present a defense. Alexander was released from the Jefferson Parish jail today.
“The stakes in this case couldn’t have been higher for Mr. Alexander who faced a mandatory sentence of life without parole, yet the attorney that he entrusted with his life did next to nothing to defend him,” said Vanessa Potkin, post-conviction litigation director at the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law. “It is simply unconscionable. Mr. Alexander was just 21 years old when he was convicted after a trial that began and ended all in the same day. We know there are many more innocent people in prison today because their lawyers did not provide effective representation, or did not have the resources to put on an adequate defense. Without effective defense counsel, our system is nothing more than a conviction mill.”
Alexander has always maintained his innocence of the November 8, 1979, rape of the owner of a new antique store on Whitney Avenue in Gretna, Louisiana. The victim, who was white, was grabbed from behind in the empty store by a black man and taken to a small, dark, private bathroom in the back of the store where she was raped from behind with a gun to her head.
In February 1980, Alexander, who is black, had a consensual encounter with a white woman who asked him for money and then later accused him of sexual assault. This encounter, which was uncorroborated and later dropped by the police, prompted police to place Alexander’s photo in a photo array that was shown to the victim over four months after she was attacked at gunpoint by a complete stranger. The assailant was behind the victim for the entirety of the crime, and her opportunity to view him was extremely limited. According to police reports, the victim “tentatively” selected Alexander’s photo. Research has shown that multiple identification procedures can contaminate a witness’s memory, causing a witness to become confused about whether he or she recognizes the person from the event or the earlier procedure while also making the witness more confident in his or her identification. Yet, police conducted a physical line-up three days later that included Alexander. Alexander was the only person from the photo array who was shown again to the victim in the physical line-up. The lead detective on the case was not available to conduct the line-up, so another detective conducted the procedure. According to the report of the lineup, the victim made a “possible” identification and the word “tentative” was written next to Alexander’s line-up number. However, when the original detective returned later that day and took a statement from the victim, the victim’s confidence was recorded as 98 percent sure that Alexander was the assailant, and by the time she got to trial she testified that she had no doubt that he was the assailant. Blood type testing of the rape kit was available at the time that could have either supported the victim’s identification or proven that Alexander wasn’t the perpetrator but was never sought.
A review of the trial record reveals that Alexander’s attorney failed to make court appearances and to file important pleadings, including a motion challenging the identification. A review of the one-day trial transcript reveals that the attorney, who was subsequently disbarred, failed to make an opening statement, did not call any witnesses for the defense, failed to adequately cross-examine the state’s witnesses about the identification and presented a closing argument that was a mere four pages of the 87-page transcript. Alexander received a life sentence for the guilty verdict. Although the attorney promised to file an appeal of the verdict, he never filed it.
The Innocence Project first took up Alexander’s case in 1996 but quickly learned that the rape kit and a semen-stained towel had been destroyed only four years after his conviction. Alexander never gave up and continued the fight to prove his innocence. In 2013, hair evidence recovered from the location where the rape took place was found at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab. The Innocence Project brought on Innocence Project New Orleans as local counsel, and the organizations sought DNA testing of the hair evidence. Three crime scene hairs had the same DNA profile that did not match to Alexander or the victim.
Based on this information and subsequent conversations with the victim, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office moved with the Innocence Project to vacate Alexander’s conviction and dismiss the indictment in court today.
“We are grateful to Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick for working with the Innocence Project and for the cooperation of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in correcting this grave injustice,” said Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project.
Emily Maw, director of Innocence Project New Orleans, added, “In the nearly four decades since Mr. Alexander was wrongly convicted, we have learned how to greatly reduce the possibility of misidentification through improved eyewitness identification procedures, but Louisiana has yet to adopt these best practices. We hope Mr. Alexander’s case will inspire lawmakers to take up this issue as soon as it goes back in session in March.”
Alexander was awaited by his son and grandson (both named Malcolm) as well as his mother and sister.