Even with a law like this, it is highly unlikely that the truth will emerge about prison deaths. If you have not seen personally what goes on in prison, READ Culture of Cover UP!
Hold the horses! The BOC is overseeing the jails – that’s the fox guarding the henhouse! HERE is the only solution to prison abuse!
Excerpts from the Article:
As of May 2018, Virginia’s Board of Corrections (BOC) had counted 21 jail deaths in the state since the start of the year. But thanks to a new law passed in 2017, the BOC now has authority to review deaths in local and regional jails. The statute is a direct result of the lack of accountability in the 2015 death of 24-year-old prisoner Jamycheal Mitchell.
As previously reported in PLN, Mitchell suffered from mental illness and died of starvation at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail (HRRJ). He had been arrested for stealing $5 worth of junk food from a convenience store, and his death, following 101 days in custody, sparked a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. [See: PLN, Feb. 2017, p.24; Jan. 2017, p.44].
Mitchell’s death revealed problems at the jail that compelled lawmakers to act. “Nobody seemed to have responsibility or was willing to take responsibility for how this actually occurred,” then-Governor Terry McAuliffe said at a press conference, where he signed the new law on February 25, 2017.
The statute redefines qualifications for the nine-member BOC, requiring expertise in areas like mental health, medical care and correctional facility management. It also clarifies that the BOC has authority to investigate jail deaths at the state’s 60 local jails, which previously had no outside oversight unless a crime was committed.
While the law was ballyhooed as great progress for jail oversight, implementation has been slow. Following a delay in funding, investigator T. Stephen Goff reported for work in November 2017. Another staff member performs administrative tasks.
Within the first nine months after the law was passed, seven people died in Virginia jails; two of those deaths were at HRRJ. Jakim Funderburk, 20, was found hanging from a bed sheet on November 19, 2017. Prior to his transfer to HRRJ, he was found by a guard at the Chesapeake Jail “with a sheet around his neck hanging,” Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office spokesman Janelle Scott wrote in an email.
The devastation was most profound for Funderburk’s family, who blamed jail officials for his suicide.
“We knew he had problems. They knew he had problems. They should have known better,” said Gary Funderburk, Jakim’s uncle.
The second prisoner death at HRRJ was that of Davageah K. Jones, who was held on charges of marijuana possession and breaking and entering. Jones, 18, died on May 15, 2018 after suffering an unspecified medical emergency.
Two suicides occurred at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail Authority within a month. There were two deaths at the Riverside Regional Jail and another at the Henrico County Jail. Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade said Wayne Burnett Marshall, 45, apparently suffered a fatal stroke while watching TV. He was being held on a charge of sex trafficking.
Altogether, there were 54 jail deaths between the date the new law took effect on July 1, 2017 and Goff’s report to the BOC in May 2018, when he said 17 of the cases had been closed. Another 36 cases remained open and pending. Of those, Goff said 22 appeared to be the result of natural causes, while 11 were suicides, two were homicides and one was unknown.
One occurred at HRRJ in March 2016. William Otis Thrower, Sr., 69, had been constipated for five days and requested medical assistance both verbally and in writing. Linda Bryant, the jail’s assistant superintendent, said medical staff believed Thrower was fine. A wrongful death suit filed by his estate seeks almost $14 million in damages.
The other lawsuit arose from the July 2016 death of Kendra Nelson, 23, at the Portsmouth Jail. The defendants include the facility, then-sheriff Bill Watson, jail medical provider Correct Care Solutions and four staff members.
Lynda Johnston, Nelson’s mother, said the young woman suffered from untreated symptoms of heroin withdrawal as well as a heart condition. Kendra Nelson was arrested after illegally walking in a roadway and failing to produce ID when asked by police. She began frothing at the mouth and died within her first 24 hours at the jail. Her mother’s suit alleges that medical personnel dismissed Nelson’s symptoms as “dope sick[ness].”
“Any policies on this will be set by the board itself,” declared Michael Kelly, a spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office. “We will of course advise the board on its obligations, responsibilities and authorities under the law, but ultimately, it will be up to the board to decide how they want to handle these situation.
Given that so many prosecutors are so out of control, wrong thinking (they think their job is to convict people; it not, it is to do justice), and are locking up so many innocent people, that we all should pray that these reforms spread; they should make a difference.
Excerpts from the Article:
In his first year as district attorney in Philadelphia, Larry Krasner is making waves for his reform-minded approach to fixing some of the most fundamental problems in our justice system. Among other innovative strategies, he is requiring prosecutors in his office to justify the cost of a prison sentence before asking taxpayers to foot the bill.
Krasner’s method, released as part of a much-lauded memo outlining several progressive new practices, forces those imposing the punishment to confront and explain the costs of it — monetary and otherwise. Sending someone to prison in Pennsylvania costs around $42,000 a year by conservative estimates. So if a prosecutor is requesting a five-year sentence, they would have to justify not only an approximate $210,000 cost to taxpayers but also the decision to interrupt the convicted person’s connection to family, employment, and access to public benefits. Publicly stating the costs of incarceration, goes the thinking, will incentivize prosecutors to push for shorter sentences or even find alternatives to time behind bars.
Americans pay tens of billions of dollars each year in taxes to run and maintain state prisons, which currently incarcerate more than 1.3 million men, women, and children. Though the state government foots the bill, it is often county prosecutors who have the most power to send people to prison. This blank check on admissions creates a tragic paradox: It is easier and cheaper for the county if a prosecutor sends someone to state prison rather than diverts them into community-based alternatives to incarceration. Combined with office cultures that reward convictions and long sentences, prosecutors are routinely incentivized to perpetuate mass incarceration.
Krasner’s policy is an innovative effort to begin shifting those perverse incentives. States can also implement even bolder strategies. The Brennan Center released a criminal justice agenda earlier this year that offers options for reforming local prosecutor incentives. It recommends providing bonus funding to prosecutor offices that reduce both crime and incarceration. Rewarding these goals, in contrast to traditional measures of success (e.g. conviction rates and sentence lengths), will encourage prosecutors to opt for lower charges or alternatives to incarceration.
The agenda also suggests charging counties for the number of people they send to prison, which some states have already started doing. In January 2018, Ohio launched Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison (T-CAP). Counties that participate in the program agree to pay a penalty for every person they send to prison for certain low-level felonies. This cost shifting makes prosecutors directly accountable for their charging decisions, encouraging them to reprioritize who they lock up. Participating counties receive funding to develop community-based solutions in lieu of prison, giving prosecutors more effective and humane options that focus on rehabilitation. The program is new, but policymakers should pay attention to whether T-CAP will serve as a model for other states to follow.
In 2009, Illinois implemented Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI), which uses both fines and grant funding to incentivize counties to send fewer people convicted of nonviolent offenses to state prison. The program awards grants to counties to develop alternatives to incarceration, including problem-solving courts, enhanced probation, and other evidence-based interventions. Counties receiving funding agree to reduce prison admissions by 25 percent for a defined target population (e.g. those with mental illness or suffering from drug addiction). If they fail to hit that target, the county must pay a fine to the state, financially incentivizing buy-in from prosecutors and judges. By awarding $25 million in grants from 2011 to 2017, ARI kept 3,000 people out of prison and in their communities, while saving the state $108 million.
Even stronger incentive-shifting solutions have been proposed. Law professor W. David Ball proposed that state governments allot major grants to counties pegged to their respective levels of violent crime. Counties could use the money however they saw fit, but would have to pay for every person they sent to state prison. Faced with these costs, prosecutors would likely prioritize more serious crimes and send fewer people to prison.
Still, Ball’s plan is likely to face pushback from local stakeholders resistant to drastic change (e.g. prosecutors and police unions). And it’s unclear what backstop will ensure that costs imposed on counties are not simply passed on to defendants through additional fees and fines.
These programs are not a silver bullet for ending mass incarceration or the complex funding structures that perpetuate it. But they can reduce the number of people behind bars by making prosecutors accountable for the punishments they seek. Elected officials and policymakers who support a more equitable justice system should implement similar strategies in their own states.
The incredibly greedy people running The GEO Group, Corizon, CoreCivic and other private profiteers of mass incarceration are already making millions of dollars at the cost of inmates’ lives; now there is a plethora of litigation over their forcing inmates to work for $1 a day.
In case you do not know it, it is well documented that these “detention facilities” with contracts from ICE are hotbeds of assault by inmates on inmates, staff on inmates, rapes of men, women, and children, and the health care is virtually non existent. tRump’s immigration policies are rewarding extreme cruelty; these are the worst prisons in America, one reason why they use the euphemism: detention centers.
Excerpts from the Article:
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit in superior court against The GEO Group in September 2017, alleging the private prison contractor had violated the state’s minimum wage laws by paying immigrant detainees $1 per day to perform work at the company’s Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma.
NWDC houses up to 1,575 immigrant detainees until the resolution of their deportation cases; GEO has operated the facility under a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since 2005. The lawsuit demands that GEO pay the state minimum wage to detainee workers and divest any ill-gotten gains.
According to Ferguson’s suit, the company uses a “voluntary” work program at the facility that “rewards” detainee for their labor at a rate of $1 per day. In some cases, snacks and food are provided in exchange for work. ICE’s most recent National Detention Standards, released in 2011, require that detainees be paid at least $1 per day if they perform work at detention facilities. Ferguson argues that GEO Group must pay such workers the state’s minimum wage, which is currently $11 per hour.
“A multi-billion dollar corporation is trying to get away with paying its workers $1 per day,” Ferguson stated in a press release. “That shouldn’t happen in America, and I will not tolerate it happening in Washington. For-profit companies cannot exploit Washington workers.”
Washington’s prison system does not pay minimum wage for work performed by prisoners in state facilities. But it is within its rights to require private prisons to do so, argued Assistant Attorney General Marsha Chien, since labor costs saved in state prisons accrue to the benefit of taxpayers, while savings at a for-profit prison directly benefit the company.
Less than a week after Ferguson’s lawsuit, another complaint was filed in federal court by former NWDC detainee Chao Chen. Chen also accuses GEO Group of violating the law by paying detainees $1 per day for their labor. His is one of several cases against GEO over its detainee payment program, which Chen seeks to consolidate by granting class-action status to his claim demanding back pay for all NWDC detainees who have worked for GEO since 2014. See: Chen v. The GEO Group, Inc., U.S.D.C. (W.D. Wash.), Case No. 3:17-cv-05769-RJB.
Similar litigation was filed last year by detainees at a GEO Group-operated detention facility in Aurora, Colorado. That suit claimed the work program amounted to forced labor; in response, GEO officials expressed concern over their potential liability.
But according to a Seattle Times op-ed, Attorney General Ferguson’s lawsuit is based on the “very agreement the federal government has with the GEO Group” – which requires the company to operate NWDC in a manner that complies with local and state laws.
In December 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan ruled against GEO’s motion to dismiss the case, which argued that paying NWDC detainees minimum wage would subject the firm to federal sanctions for employing undocumented immigrants. “Even if, as Defendant argues, the provisions of the Washington Minimum Wage Act are construed as ‘sanctions,’ they would not be imposed on account of [GEO] hiring unauthorized aliens, but rather because of the failure to pay the prevailing minimum wage,” Bryan wrote.
He also ruled against another GEO motion claiming that Washington officials lacked authority over the wages paid to immigrant detainees at NWDC.
Judge Bryan said he was unable to rule on two other motions to exempt GEO from the state’s minimum wage – one claiming that detainees were not forced to work, and another arguing that paying minimum wage would overburden the federal government. See: State of Washington v. The GEO Group, Inc., Superior Court for Pierce County (WA), Case No. 17-2-11422-2.
On February 9, 2018, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the certification of two classes of immigration detainees who were forced by GEO to labor without pay or to “volunteer” to work for $1 per day in the Aurora, Colorado case.
Nine immigrant detainees held at the GEO-operated Aurora Detention Facility filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging they were forced to clean common areas without pay in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1589, and were paid $1 per day for “voluntary” labor in other areas of the facility in violation of Colorado’s unjust enrichment law, a common law equitable theory of recovery. The two classes certified by the district court totaled about 67,000 people, and GEO filed an interlocutory appeal.
Under the sanitation policy, detainees were required to clean the common areas of their housing units on a rotating basis without compensation. Refusal to perform cleaning assignments could result in a range of disciplinary sanctions, including solitary confinement for up to 72 hours, loss of commissary, loss of job, restriction to the housing unit or a reprimand or warning.
Detainees who participated in the VWP performed such jobs as food services, painting, laundry services, cutting hair, and stripping and waxing floors. They worked from two to eight hours a day and were paid $1 per day.
“This ruling shifts the power from a huge corporation to vulnerable detainees,” stated Washington, D.C. attorney David Lopez, who represented the class members. “With that power, detainees will be able to challenge long-standing practices that have allowed GEO to exploit detainee labor while pocketing taxpayer dollars.” See: Menocal v. The GEO Group, Inc., 882 F.3d 905 (10th Cir. 2018).
In 2017, the City of Tacoma, Washington adopted new zoning regulations which would prohibit NWDC from operating as a private detention center. GEO Group filed suit to block the zoning ordinance from taking effect in March 2018, accusing the city of “animosity toward current federal immigration policy.”
GEO’s current contract with ICE to operate NWDC expires in September 2018, though it provides for as many as seven one-year extensions. Similar lawsuits over low wages paid to immigrant detainees also have been filed against private prison operator CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America).
Both GEO and CoreCivic are profiting handsomely from ICE contracts to house immigrant detainees, and have spent millions in lobbying and campaign contributions on the federal level to secure and retain those contracts. [See: PLN, June 2016, p.56].
Many P Ds are lazy and/or incompetent. All are grossly overworked. This particular S O B P D should be in prison for theft and extortion.
Excerpts from the Article:
As the public defender for Glynn County, Georgia, Reid Zeh is entrusted with advocating for the most vulnerable members of his community when they come up against the criminal justice system. Rather than do his job, however, Zeh routinely ignores his clients or worse — extorts them to enrich himself.
That’s what happened when Robert Cox and his 75-year-old mother, Barbara ‘s Hamilton, came to Zeh for legal assistance after Cox was charged with a misdemeanor. Instead of looking out for his client’s interests, Zeh took advantage of the family by charging them $2,500 for public defense services that should have been free-of-charge.
Zeh is paid a flat fee by Glynn County to represent people who can’t otherwise afford legal representation in their criminal cases. Hamilton and her son didn’t know that Zeh could not legally or ethically require payment for his public defense services. Nor did they know that the county was already paying Zeh to provide these services.
Pushing Cox and his family to pay fees they didn’t need to was effectively the last time Zeh took an interest in Cox’s cases. In the last two years, Cox spent over 170 days in jail because he could not afford bail on various misdemeanor charges such as trespassing and misdemeanor theft and not once did Zeh visit him or help him request a bail amount he could afford. Zeh only met with Cox to process a guilty plea, but he was a ghost during Cox’s long periods of pretrial incarceration and first appearance in court.
That’s why this week we’re seeking permission from the court to add Cox and Hamilton to our lawsuit against Zeh for his role in perpetuating Glynn County’s wealth-based incarceration system and for failing to provide legal assistance to his clients who cannot afford a private attorney.
Zeh’s behavior towards Cox and his mother is consistent with the experiences of the original two clients in our lawsuit, Margery Mock and Eric Ogden. Mock and Ogden were held in the Glynn County jail in March on misdemeanor criminal trespassing charges because they could not afford to pay bail amounts that were automatically set over their freedom.
Like Cox before them, both Mock and Ogden required representation by Zeh because they can’t afford a private criminal defense attorney. Zeh did not meet with either of them or seek modifications to their bail that might have allowed them to walk free pending trial. It was not until the ACLU sued Zeh, Glynn County, and other officials on Mock and Ogden’s behalf that they were released from their wealth-based incarceration.
On March 5, 2018, for example, Zeh was arrested on a charge of assault. Instead of languishing in a jail cell, though, he was able to afford bail and hire a lawyer. Then, just last week, Zeh was stopped by police after reports of property damage from a drunk driver. The police indicate that they found him driving under the influence after he allegedly ran into a woman’s front porch.
Rather than arresting him, the police issued him a citation and told him to not drive anymore that night. But he was later arrested when, later that same night, the police reported seeing him driving erratically after an apparent altercation with a woman. His bail was set at $1,690 on both charges, which he immediately paid.
While Zeh was able to buy his freedom immediately, our clients sat in jail for days, worrying about their families, financial stability, and personal security. Unlike Zeh, our clients suffered this fate because they did not have money to pay bail or hire a private attorney to help them.
Everyone accused of a crime, including Zeh, should be presumed innocent and have a fair chance to be heard in court. But in Glynn County, you only get a chance to have your story heard if you have the money to pay bail and hire a private lawyer. If not, you’re out of luck, because your public defender is more interested in taking your money than he is in advocating for you. We’re suing to hold people like Zeh and other local officials accountable, so everyone gets a fair chance to have their day in court.
If you’ve had a similar experience with the misdemeanor public defense system in Glynn County and would like to share more of your story, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t know that you can believe nothing said by prison officials, then you don’t know what goes on in our prisons! READ Culture of Cover Up
I have seen solitary destroy many adult men; it is especially harsh for children.
Excerpts from the Article:
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, responding to a civil rights lawsuit, defended his agency’s policy of placing some juveniles charged as adults in solitary confinement, saying they are hardened young criminals who are well-cared for and whose constitutional rights are respected. The statement released Wednesday by Bradshaw’s office said the juveniles are placed in “segregated housing cells” for the safety of themselves and others. It said there is no other location in the jail to separate these juveniles. The sheriff’s office also said these teenage inmates can maintain contact with friends and family — a position refuted by lawyers who filed the suit on behalf of the juveniles.
The department said it is in compliance with Florida Model Jail Standards and refuted allegations in the lawsuit that the teenagers in solitary confinement are not receiving medical care or an education.
The two-page statement came after the June 21 federal lawsuit claimed widespread constitutional violations for placing juveniles in a 6-by-12-foot cell for 22 to 23 hours a day. The lawsuit said one teenage inmate spent 16 consecutive weeks in solitary confinement.
The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County and Human Rights Defense Center in Lake Worth, which filed the lawsuit, said solitary confinement for juveniles constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
“Obviously, we dispute the veracity of the statement based upon the experiences detailed by many of the children who have come in and out of the jail and held in solitary confinement,” said attorney Sabarish Neelakanta, general counsel and litigation director for the Human Rights Defense Center.
For instance, it didn’t dispute the lawsuit’s claim that certain deputies taunted young inmates, refused at times to give them fresh water, and knocked the front teeth out of one teenage inmate.
Also, the statement did not address the lawsuit’s claim that the sheriff’s office would send juveniles in solitary confinement to the mental health ward if they complained about their conditions. Once in the mental health ward, they would be stripped naked, given a paper gown to wear and placed in a frigid cell, the suit contends.
Aside from Bradshaw, the lawsuit names key managers at the jail and the Palm Beach County School Board, which is involved in the inmates’ education.
Melissa Duncan, the supervising attorney for the Legal Aid Society’s Educational Advocacy Project, took offense at the sheriff’s use of “segregated housing” as a euphemism for solitary confinement.
“The children in PBSO custody are subject to a systemic social isolation and deprivation of educational access,” Duncan said. “PBSO is using the charges against the children in an attempt to evade the drastic effects of solitary confinement.”
The Legal Aid Society and the Human Rights Defense Center are attempting to get class certification for the lawsuit and have filed for a preliminary injunction to halt all placement of juveniles charged as adults in solitary confinement until the lawsuit runs its course.
The sheriff office also noted it is in full compliance with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, among other accredited programs. Duncan, though, noted that the NCCHC’s 2016 position denounced solitary confinement policies involving juveniles.
The sheriff’s office said it doesn’t interfere with the schooling of the inmates in solitary confinement as alleged in the lawsuit. The school district issued a statement previously saying it was at the mercy of jail policies regarding juveniles.
I have had calls from too many Moms whose sons were killed by Tasers! My significant experience has taught me that Tasers seldom are used appropriately. Indeed, in many cases the target already is cuffed or otherwise restrained and there is no use for a Taser at all. Read “the whole story” for many specific examples of this abuse.
This is more needless violence by law enforcement which is costing YOU, the taxpayer, millions of dollars in litigation costs, verdicts, and settlements.
Excerpts from the Article:
Tasers have become a popular addition on the utility belts of U.S. law enforcement officers. The devices, which fire small darts connected by wires to a stun gun, deliver a jolt of electricity that causes a paralyzing neuromuscular response – basically, they hurt a lot and immobilize the target for a short period of time. According to a spokesman for Axon Enterprises, Inc., which produces and sells Tasers, they can “make correctional environments significantly safer for all parties.”
They can also kill. [See: PLN, Oct. 2006, p.1].
According to a December 2017 investigative report by Reuters news service, Tasers have been linked to over 1,000 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers since 1993. About 10 percent of those deaths occurred behind bars, and most of the 104 prisoners who died in Taser-related incidents have been killed since 2000. In the majority of cases, the detainee was either already in handcuffs or otherwise restrained when subjected to the fatal Taser shocks.
In May 2016, for example, Cody Franklin was pinned face-down in an Ozark, Arkansas jail cell, his hands cuffed behind his back, when police sergeant Joseph Griffith shocked him three times with a Taser. When officers got off of Franklin, 20, he was unconscious and motionless. He died at a hospital a short time later. Sgt. Griffith had not been re-certified in Taser training for over four years at the time of the incident. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, brought on by a “perfect storm” of non-lethal methamphetamine intoxication, stress from fighting with other prisoners and guards, and multiple Taser shocks. But local prosecutors refused to file charges, citing “insufficient evidence” that guards had caused Franklin’s death. Cody’s father disagreed.
“They say this is an in-custody death; this is an in-custody murder,” said Clayton Franklin, who has since filed a lawsuit over his son’s death. See: Franklin v. Franklin County, Arkansas, U.S.D.C. (W.D. Ark.), Case No. 2:17-cv-02016-PKH.
According to Sheriff’s Department policy, Tasers were not approved for use on prisoners in handcuffs, leg irons or a restraint chair, or on pregnant women. Smith was one of nine victims of improper Taser use at the jail who sued and won a total of $102,250 from Franklin County in 2011. Smith received $27,500 of that amount.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened in the case because the county had “engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful use of Tasers against detainees and inmates in their custody.” But county prosecutor Ron O’Brien said he did not bring criminal charges because none were sought by the DOJ or by Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), which represented the prisoners in the civil suit.
However, the DOJ does not recommend cases for prosecution by state officials. And DRO advocacy director Kerstin Sioberg-Witt added her organization doesn’t either, because it “is not an enforcement agency.”
The incident involving Smith was highlighted in the Reuters investigation, which revealed 80 uses of Tasers on prisoners at the Franklin County jail – 60 percent of whom were intoxicated or mentally ill – between 2008 and 2010. A total of 22 sheriff’s deputies were involved, but over two-thirds of the Taser incidents recorded in jail “use-of-force” reports were for Sgt. Mychal Turner and Sgt. Andrew Fing.
Turner used a Taser to deliver a total of 28 shocks. Fing used the device 26 times, including 14 times in a single encounter with Jibril Abdul-Muwwakil, a 23-year-old prisoner with mental health problems. An internal investigation determined that the Taser use was “justified,” though experts in a lawsuit filed partly on behalf of Abdul-Muwwakil called it an “excessive” violation of Taser product-safety warnings. (For example, Taser issued a warning in March 2013 that said people should not be shot in the chest with its devices, as that could lead to cardiac arrest. [See: PLN, April 2014, p.34].)
Turner’s 2009 Taserings also included Ralston Distin, 47, a “mentally disabled” prisoner who was shocked while in leg restraints, and Kevin Carey, 25, who had been arrested for drunk driving and was Tasered in the chest for failing to remove a nipple ring. Patrick Amburgey, 21, an arrestee who had passed out from intoxication, received five shocks at the jail for failing to sit on a bench. He also was reportedly pistol-whipped with a Taser.
“It was absolutely abuse,” said his brother, Logan Amburgey.
Sgt. Fing has since been promoted to lieutenant in the Internal Affairs Department. Turner, now a major, heads one of the county’s detention centers. Calling for an investigation after the Reuters report included video of Distin’s Tasering, Ohio state Senator Charleta Tavares said: “Any time a stun gun is used inappropriately – particularly in the video, where it looks as though it is just used over and over and it’s more like a prod that people would use on animals – that is criminal in my opinion.”
The county paid $2.8 million in 2017 to settle a series of lawsuits over the sadistic use of Tasers by jail guards.
John Hanson, a plaintiff in one of those cases, said he was subjected to “surprise attacks” from guards up to five times a day while he was held at the jail. The guards regularly used Tasers to shock prisoners in their genitals and were “truly enjoying the control and affliction of pain,” Hanson stated. Seven deputies were fired and others were retrained.
Tasers are most commonly found in local jails, though they are also used in 27 state prison systems to varying degrees. The devices are not used in federal prisons nor in those contracted to the two largest private prison operators, CoreCivic (formerly CCA) and the GEO Group, Inc. That’s because Tasers have “high potential for abuse” behind bars, said DOJ consultant Martin.
Of the 104 prisoners whose deaths resulted from Taser use, as reported by Reuters, over 80 percent were already restrained or under the control of law enforcement officers at the time they were shocked. Lawsuits were filed in 68 percent of those cases, and of those, 93 percent resulted in a damages award or settlement.
Despite Axon’s claim that only 24 deaths can be attributed to Taser use, damages totaling $172 million have been paid as a result of Taser-related deaths nationwide – which include cases involving police officers and other law enforcement agencies.
Martin, who has inspected more than 500 correctional facilities in the United States, said that in his experience, Tasers are not being used properly in carceral settings. “Of the hundreds and hundreds of Taser incidents I’ve reviewed over the years in jails and prisons,” he stated, “I can count on one hand when it was used appropriately.”
This is the kind of “run of the mill” headline we see in papers every day, all across America.
End the war on drugs! READ How the War on Drugs has Destroyed Justice
Is this going to stem the flow of drugs into our communities? Hell no!
What will this accomplish, besides wasting more police, court, prison and other resources, and costing YOU more money!?
Alcohol did not create Al Capone; prohibition created Al Capone!
Excerpts from the Article:
Delaware State Police has concluded a month-long drug investigation that led to multiple suspects being charged with several drug and other related offenses. During June, Troop 7 patrol units and detectives from the Rehoboth Beach Police Department developed information regarding drug sales occurring in the 17000 block of Callaway Drive, Fairway Village, state police said in a release.
Investigators were able to determine that the residence was occupied by 34-year-old Chelsea Coffin and 41-year-old Aaron Jones.
The property was frequented by Talim Muhammad-Hunt, 17, of Philadelphia, and Demetrius Greene, 50, of Lewes.
On Thursday at approximately 2:20 p.m., troopers observed Hunt and Green exiting the residence and walking to the Midway Movie Theater where they made contact with Felicia N. League, 26, of Rehoboth Beach, by telephone, police said. A traffic stop was conducted and contact was made with the driver, a 47-year-old male from Salisbury, who was not named by Delaware State Police, and League.A search was conducted and revealed a gray lock box, over $300 in cash and drug paraphernalia. The driver was also found to be in possession of 9.5 pills containing approximately 7.5 milligrams of Hydrocodone. Both the driver and League were taken into custody without incident.
As Muhammad-Hunt exited the movie theater, he was contacted by police and found to be in possession of over $2,400 in cash, police said. Greene, who was located hiding in the bathroom of the movie theater, was found to be in possession of 20 small plastic vials containing crack cocaine and a quantity of marijuana.
All subjects were transported back to Troop 7. A search warrant was obtained for the residence as well as the gray lock box. When the search warrant was executed, the lock box was found to contain 651 bags of heroin, or approximately 4.557 grams, 3.01 grams of powder cocaine, 159 plastic vials containing 11.58 grams of crack cocaine and a small quantity of marijuana.
The search warrant was then executed at the Fairview Village residence, where Coffin and Jones were contacted and taken into custody, police said, with numerous items of drug paraphernalia located throughout the residence. As a result of the investigation, the following items were seized:
651 bags of heroin (approx. 4.557 grams)
3.01 grams of powder cocaine
12.88 grams of crack cocaine
1.34 grams of marijuana
9.5 Hydrocodone pills (7.5milligrams)
Over $2,700.00 in cash
Both Coffin and Jones were charged with maintaining a drug property and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both were arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released on $3,000 unsecured bond.
Muhammad-Hunt was charged with possession with intent to deliver Tier 4 quantity of heroin, possession of Tier 4 quantity of heroin, possession with intent to deliver Tier 2 quantity of crack cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of Tier 2 quantity of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, possession of marijuana under 18-years-old and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released on $34,000 unsecured bond.
Greene was charged with possession with intent to deliver Tier 4 quantity of heroin, possession of Tier 4 quantity of heroin, possession with intent to deliver Tier 2 quantity of crack cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of Tier 2 quantity of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Greene was arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court 2 and committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution on $34,400 secured bond.
League was charged with possession with intent to deliver Tier 3 quantity of heroin, possession of Tier 4 quantity of heroin, possession with intent to deliver Tier 2 quantity of crack cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of Tier 2 quantity of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released on $34,200 unsecured bond. The 47-year-old driver from Salisbury was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor. He was arraigned before the Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released on $200 unsecured bond.
Every state should institute fair, common sense bail reform! One problem is that the big insurance companies which underwrite the bail bondsmen are spending a fortune lobbying against needed changes!
Excerpts from the Article:
Public safety matters to each and every Texan, no matter our political party, race or religion. Every single one of us wants safe and secure communities where our children and families can thrive without fear of crime.
Bail reform done the right way — basing pretrial release decisions on risk rather than money — will ultimately lead to fewer crimes and safer communities. That’s why the Legislature should pass bail reform legislation next session to improve pretrial justice in Texas.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about what “bail reform” is. Fundamentally, bail reform means providing judges with better information about people who have been charged with crimes but who have not yet been convicted, including how likely a person is to commit another crime if released and how likely they are to fail to show up to court. This would lead to better informed judicial decision-making about who to release before trial.
Opponents of bail reform claim that bail reform will undermine public safety and cause crime victims to suffer, but in fact, the opposite is true. In our current cash bail system, dangerous people are released all the time. Judges set a cash bond, and anyone who can afford that bond amount — no matter how dangerous they are — can buy their release. Meanwhile, anyone who cannot afford that bond amount — no matter how low-risk — remains in jail.
Research has shown that more dangerous people are released in a cash bail system than in a risk-based bail system. Texas A&M’s Public Policy Research Institute compared two Texas jurisdictions: Tarrant County, which relies primarily on cash bail, like most Texas counties, and Travis County, which is one of a handful of Texas counties that has implemented a risk assessment tool to inform pretrial release decisions. The researchers’ findings alone should compel Texas to reform its bail system: 12 percent more violent crimes were committed by people released on bond in Tarrant County’s cash bail system than in Travis County’s risk-based system. In fact, there were 13 more homicides committed by people who had been released pretrial in Tarrant County over a 3 ½ year period.
Despite the fact that risk-based bail systems are safer, opponents of bail reform are misleading policymakers and the public by citing cases like that of Armando Juarez, who was released on bond when he tragically shot and killed a Dallas police officer and wounded another police officer and a loss prevention officer. In fact, the use of a risk assessment tool in Juarez’s case could have flagged that he was, in fact, high-risk, based on his previous failure to appear in court multiple times, his previous arrest while released on a cash bond and prior felony conviction and arrests, possibly leading to his detention.
Risk-based bail keeps us safe in another way too: by keeping people who are not public safety threats out of jail. There are a lot of Texans who make mistakes resulting in arrest, but who are not dangerous — people arrested for things like shoplifting, failing to pay a cab fare or failing to pay a ticket. When these people are jailed, it often leads to them losing jobs, becoming disconnected from their families and support networks or being evicted from their homes. Jobs, families and homes naturally have a positive, stabilizing effect in people’s lives, and when we remove those fundamental resources by jailing people unnecessarily, they are more likely to be arrested again. Research has demonstrated that we are all safer when low-risk people are diverted from jail booking or released as quickly as possible after booking.
Read the Whole Story:
One Terrible Consequence of Presidential Elections = The Supreme Court. Here, secret campaign financing. kra
This is what we get with horrible Supreme Court rulings. The court long ago ruled that anonymous speech is protected; no problem with that. But the more recent idiotic ruling (5/4) in Citizens United, holding that corporations are “people” for free speech purposes, thus allowing unlimited corporate money to pour into our election system, has led to this: all manner of political ads – attack ads, lies, you name it – paid for by parties hiding their identity, and thus hiding their real interests!
Secret money funds more than 40 percent of outside congressional ads.
Official: Renewed Emmett Till probe prompted by 2017 book – Good! CAUTION, photo of boy’s mutilated corpse – kra
The torture and murder of little Emmett Till is one of the most disgraceful episodes of our racist history! Pray that those responsible are convicted.
Excerpts from the Article:
A 2017 book that revealed lies by a key figure in the Emmett Till case has prompted the U.S government to renew its investigation into the brutal 1955 slaying, a federal official said Thursday. The reopening of the case had stayed quiet until the contents of a federal report came to light earlier in the day. Till relatives and social justice activists welcomed a fresh look at the killing that shocked the country and stoked the civil rights movement, but acknowledged that the passage of time could hamper justice.
Hours after news broke about the renewed investigation, a federal official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that information in the 2017 book was what led federal investigators to re-examine the case. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
The book “The Blood of Emmett Till” by Timothy B. Tyson quotes a white woman, Carolyn Donham, as saying during a 2008 interview that she wasn’t truthful when she testified that the black teen grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a Mississippi store six decades ago.
63 years after the brutal murder of black teen Emmett Till, the federal government is reopening the case. Nathan Rousseau Smith has the story.
Tyson told reporters Thursday that he was contacted by the FBI weeks after his book was published in January 2017, and he furnished them interview recordings and other research materials. He doesn’t think his research alone would support new charges but said investigators may be able to link it to other material in their possession.
“It’s possible that the investigation will turn up something. But there’s nothing that I know of, and nothing in my research, that is actionable, I don’t think,” he said. “But I’m not an attorney or a detective.”
The reopening of the Till case was disclosed in a federal report sent to lawmakers in March that said the Justice Department had received unspecified “new information.” The report’s contents weren’t widely known until Thursday.
A potential witness with the 14-year-old Till in the store that day, cousin Wheeler Parker, said Thursday that he has talked with law enforcement about the case in recent months.
Conspiracy or murder charges could be filed if anyone still alive is shown to have been involved, he said, but too much time likely has passed to prosecute anyone for other crimes, such as lying to investigators or in court. The case was closed in 2007 with authorities saying the suspects were dead.
Two white men — Donham’s then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam — were charged with murder but acquitted in the slaying of Chicago teen Till, who had been staying with relatives in northern Mississippi at the time. The men later confessed to the crime in a magazine interview but weren’t retried. Both are now dead.
Donham, who turns 84 this month, lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. A man who came to the door at her residence declined to comment about the FBI reopening the investigation.
The government has investigated 115 cases involving 128 victims under the “cold case” law named for Till, the March federal report said. Only one resulted in in a federal conviction since the act became law.
Deborah Watts, co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, said it’s “wonderful” her cousin’s killing is getting another look but she didn’t want to discuss details.
“None of us wants to do anything that jeopardizes any investigation or impedes, but we are also very interested in justice being done,” she said.
Abducted from the home where he was staying, Till was beaten and shot, and his body was found weighted down with a cotton gin fan in a river. His mother, Mamie Till Mobley, had his casket left open. Images of his mutilated body gave witness to the depth of racial hatred in the Deep South and inspired civil rights campaigns.
Donham, then 21 and known as Carolyn Bryant, testified in 1955 as a prospective defense witness in the trial of Bryant and Milam. With jurors out of the courtroom, she said a “nigger man” she didn’t know took her by the arm in the store.
“He said, ‘How about a date, baby?'” she testified, according to a trial transcript released by the FBI a decade ago. Bryant said she pulled away, and moments later the young man “caught me at the cash register,” grasping her around the waist with both hands and pulling her toward him.
A judge ruled the testimony inadmissible. An all-white jury freed her husband and the other man even without it.
In the book, author Tyson wrote that Donham told him her testimony about Till accosting her wasn’t true.
“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” the book quotes her as saying.