Jail Lockup Tied to Early Death in U.S. Counties A new analysis suggests jail incarceration rates may help drive causes of death like infectious disease and suicide among county residents.
This should surprise nobody. Given that one’s physical health is tied to one’s mental health it stands to reason that those who see and experience all of the abuse, despair, and horrible health care in our jails, will be more ill and even commit suicide. By the way, there is NO effective mental health treatment in America’s jails or prisons, and this is part of that story. The despair and the contagion do not vanish when men and women walk out of the jail, as millions of Americans do each year… they infest the communities.
Barriers to reentry no doubt also play a role in the despondency leading to suicide. There are more than 25,000 such barriers in our states! Ex offenders face scores of barriers to housing, employment, and education, in every state.
Excerpts from the Article:
INCREASES IN A COUNTY’S jail incarceration rate are associated with upticks in premature deaths caused by issues like infectious disease, substance use and suicide among a county’s broader population, according to a new study.
The study, published Tuesday by The Lancet Public Health, comes as prison reform advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union have called on states to release inmates in order to protect them from COVID-19 and ward off spread of the novel coronavirus that causes it. Amid the ongoing pandemic, researchers say their findings “highlight the immediate need to account for jails as drivers of infectious disease spread in the community.”
“These findings suggest that interventions to reduce incarceration might result in broader community mortality benefits,” according to the study, conducted by researchers from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Wayne State University.
For their long-term analysis, researchers examined jail incarceration rates from 1987 to 2017 across 1,094 mostly larger, non-rural counties, pairing that data with rates of certain causes of death across three decades for county residents younger than 75. The median increase in incarceration rate during the study period was 1.9 per 1,000 population, although some counties saw an increase of more than 20 per 1,000 population.
The study estimates that a 1 per 1,000 population increase in a county’s jail incarceration rate was associated with an increased death rate for a number of conditions in the county population aged 75 and younger after one year, including a 6.5% increase in the rate of death from infectious diseases and a 4.9% increase in the rate of death from chronic lower respiratory disease. The study also found a 2.6% increase in substance use mortality and a 2.5% increase in the rate of death by suicide, as well as smaller increases in county death rates tied to heart disease, unintentional injury, cancer and diabetes.
In their analysis, researchers accounted for the effects of county-level factors such as crime, poverty, racial demographics and unemployment. Over time, researchers said, the associations between incarceration and causes of death weakened. Infectious disease and suicide mortality in counties declined by 5% and 2.5%, respectively, over 10 years, for example. Declines were less pronounced for causes of death such as heart disease and cancer.
Researchers said they conducted the study amid the “growing body of evidence concerning the public health consequences of mass incarceration,” and that their findings offer evidence suggesting that curbing incarceration could improve public health.
“With U.S. correctional facilities reporting some of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the nation, the pandemic highlights the immediate need for decarceral strategies to massively reduce the number of people held in our nation’s jails and prisons to protect the lives of incarcerated people and control infectious disease spread in the community,” researcher and study co-author Sandhya Kajeepta said in a statement.
In the study, researchers also say jail incarceration in the U.S. is “an institutional product of structural racism that disproportionately affects Black Americans,” and that high incarceration rates may compound existing racial health disparities in communities. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and Black people are nearly four times more likely to be incarcerated in local jails than white people, the study says.
“Responses to the most pressing public health challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid epidemic, require public health to reckon with mass criminalisation and mass incarceration,” study co-author Dr. Seth J. Prins said in a statement.
I have read at least 100 similar reports from jails and prisons nationwide. She should have been in a maternity ward, and YOU should not tolerate such abuse.
READ Why only PROSECUTION and IMPRISONMENT Will Stop Prison Abuse and Police Abuse! Demand It!! How to Avoid the Deaths of More Prison Guards! NOTE: the great project with judge Posner, referenced here, never came to fruition, because he became senile.
An Indiana woman who gave birth alone in a Kentucky jail will receive $200,000 settlement after arguing that correction staffers were deliberately indifferent to her medical needs, according to a news report.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove approved the settlement amount earlier this week.
Kelsey Love, 32, had filed a lawsuit in 2018 alleging that Franklin County Regional Jail ignored her while she screamed in pain during her labor in May 2017. Love was eight months pregnant when officers arrested her in Kentucky for suspected impaired driving.
Under the settlement, the Franklin County jail and the jail employees named in the legal challenge did not admit fault. The county maintains that there was no evidence to suggest Love was in labor.
According to court records, Love began screaming for help two days after being placed in the jail. A female deputy jailer checked in on Love, who was naked and on the floor holding her stomach, who then contacted the jail’s on-call nurse. Court records say the nurse said she would observe Love and eventually check on her later. When the nurse arrived at Love’s cell roughly three hours later, they found a large amount of blood on the floor.
Love’s attorney, Aaron J. Bentley, says she gave birth, ripped open her mattress and crawled inside it with the baby. Bentley says Love chewed off the umbilical cord.
“You can imagine it was pretty traumatic,” Bentley said. Bentley added that Love still has nightmares surrounding her labor, but has been sober for two years after completing drug treatment. She’s currently working to gain custody of her children.
We cannot ignore the biggest crime story of the week, of the month, of the year … and ongoing!
tRump should be on trial for crimes against humanity, for his ignorance/cruelty/incompetence is the cause of this tragedy!
Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET
“To heal we must remember. It’s hard, sometimes, to remember.”
That’s how then-President-elect Joe Biden began brief remarks on Jan. 19 at a short, simple ceremony at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial honoring the 400,000 Americans who had died from COVID-19.
A month and three days later, another 100,000 Americans have died from the pandemic. Once again, Biden, Vice President Harris, and their spouses will gather at sundown to mark a grim milestone.
Monday night, they are remembering the pandemic’s dead from the White House’s South Portico.
The ceremony began at 6 p.m. ET.
Remarkably, Biden’s inauguration-eve ceremony was the country’s first national collective moment of mourning for a pandemic that has upended life around the world, thrown the economy into a recession, and, at this moment, has now killed a half-million people in the U.S.
Remembering, Biden said in his remarks that day, is “how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation.”
By holding another ceremony honoring the dead, Biden is making another attempt to urge the country to pause and gather collectively, at least in spirit, to take stock of the ongoing tragedy. He is also ordering flags on federal property to be flown at half-staff for five days.
Biden’s first wife and daughter were killed in a car crash weeks before he was sworn in as a U.S. senator. When he was vice president, his son Beau, whom Biden had often talked about as the person who would take up the family’s mantle of political leadership, died from brain cancer. Throughout his career, Biden has called on those experiences to empathize with people suffering personal loss.
“I think I know what you’re feeling. You feel like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest,” Biden said during a video message in May, when the U.S. crossed the then-unfathomable milestone of 100,000 COVID deaths. “It’s suffocating. Your heart is broken. There’s nothing but a feeling of emptiness right now.”
As grim as the latest milestone of a half million dead is, it comes at a time of comparative hope: new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all declining. The vaccination of millions of Americans — and the federal government’s purchase of hundreds of millions of additional doses — has pointed to an end-point that could come sooner, rather than later. But experts caution the progress is fragile.
Still, the equivalent of a large American city’s population has now died from a pandemic lasting a bit more than a year. And no matter how quickly the U.S. achieves herd immunity through vaccination and people who have recovered from COVID-19, there is no doubt that many thousands more will die.
Supreme Court again rejects Trump’s bid to shield tax returns, other financial records from Manhattan prosecutor
Grrrrrrrreat! As I predicted years ago, he will be indicted, convicted, and soon will be TOAST!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected former president Donald Trump’s last-chance effort to keep his private financial records from the Manhattan district attorney, ending a long and drawn-out legal battle.
After a four-month delay, the court denied Trump’s motion in a one-sentence order with no recorded dissents.
District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has won every stage of the legal fight — including the first round at the Supreme Court — but has yet to receive the records he says are necessary for a grand jury investigation into whether the president’s companies violated state law.
Vance responded to the court decision with a three-word tweet: “The work continues.”
“No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority in that 7 to 2 decision.
But the justices said Trump could challenge the specific subpoena, as every citizen may, for being overbroad or issued in bad faith.
A district judge and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York found neither was the case.
Trump’s complaints “amount to generic objections that the subpoena is wide-ranging in nature,” the unanimous 2nd Circuit panel wrote. “Again, even if the subpoena is broad, the complaint does not adequately allege that it is overbroad. Complex financial and corporate investigations are broad by default.”
Similarly, the panel said, “we hold that none of the president’s allegations, taken together or separately, are sufficient to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued out of malice or an intent to harass.”
Vance is seeking eight years of the former president’s tax returns and related documents as part of his investigation into alleged hush-money payments made ahead of the 2016 election to two women who said they had affairs with Trump years before. Trump denies the claims.
Investigators want to determine whether efforts were made to conceal the payments on tax documents by labeling them as legal expenses.
But Vance says there are other aspects of the investigation that have not been publicly disclosed. Court filings by the prosecutors suggest the investigation is looking into other allegations of impropriety, perhaps involving tax and insurance fraud.
Vance and his lawyers have said the records are needed for a grand jury investigation, and pledged at the Supreme Court hearing that they would not be released publicly. Since those battles, the New York Times has published a number of stories about Trump’s tax payments and mounting debt based on records it says it has obtained.
“Similarly,” the ruling says, “the President’s allegations of bad faith fail to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued out of malice or an intent to harass.”
Vance is seeking the records from Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars. In his response to the Supreme Court in the current fight, Vance said that the “obvious explanation for the subpoena’s breadth … is that the investigation had extended beyond the Cohen payments.”
Vance said in his brief to the court that, since the subpoena was first issued more than a year ago, it was time to let the investigation run its course.
“Applicant has had multiple opportunities for review of his constitutional and state law claims, and at this juncture he provides no grounds for further delay,” Vance wrote. “His request for extraordinary relief should be denied, and the grand jury permitted to do its work.”
There are hundreds of reasons we should be thankful that the Con Man in Chief is gone. This is one of them.
I have spoken against the death penalty for many years. READ Death Penalty Letter – Worth Publishing again in 2019, with some now calling for more death penalty statutes! – kra
Excerpts from the Article:
Executioners who put 13 inmates to death in the last months of the Trump administration likened the process of dying by lethal injection to falling asleep and called gurneys “beds” and final breaths “snores.”
But those tranquil accounts are at odds with reports by The Associated Press and other media witnesses of how prisoners’ stomachs rolled, shook and shuddered as the pentobarbital took effect inside the U.S. penitentiary death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana. The AP witnessed every execution.
The sworn accounts by executioners, which government filings cited as evidence the lethal injections were going smoothly, raise questions about whether officials misled courts to ensure the executions scheduled from July to mid-January were done before death penalty opponent Joe Biden became president.
Secrecy surrounded all aspects of the executions. Courts relied on those carrying them out to volunteer information about glitches. None of the executioners mentioned any.
Questions about whether inmates’ midsections trembled as media witnesses described were a focus of litigation throughout the run of executions. Inmates’ lawyers argued it proved pentobarbital caused flash pulmonary edema, in which fluid rushes through quickly disintegrating membranes into lungs and airways, causing pain akin to being suffocated or drowned. The U.S. Constitution prohibits execution methods that are “cruel and unusual.”
The discrepancies could increase pressure on Biden to declare his administration won’t execute any of the roughly 50 federal inmates still on death row. Activists want him to go further by backing a bill abolishing the federal death penalty. Biden hasn’t spoken about any specific action.
During the Sept. 22 execution of William LeCroy, convicted of killing Georgia nurse Joann Lee Tiesler in 2001, the 50-year-old’s stomach area heaved uncontrollably immediately after the pentobarbital injection. It lasted about a minute, according to the AP and other reports.
Executioner Eric Williams stood next to LeCroy as he died. But Williams made only cursory reference to “the rise and fall” of LeCroy’s abdomen in his account. Shortly after serving in five of the recent executions, Williams was named the interim warden of the high-profile New York City lockup where Jeffrey Epstein died in 2019.
“During the entirety of the execution, LeCroy did not appear to be in any sort of distress, discomfort, or pain,” Williams wrote. “A short time after he took a deep breath and snored, it appeared to me that LeCroy was in a deep, comfortable sleep.”
The distinctive jerking and jolting was visible in at least half the executions, according to the AP and other media accounts. Among multiple executioner accounts, none described any such movements. All employed the same sleep metaphors.
When Donald Trump’s Justice Department announced in 2019 it’d resume executions after a 17-year hiatus, it said it would use pentobarbital alone. Manufacturers were no longer willing to supply the combination of drugs used in three federal executions from 2001 to 2003, explaining they didn’t want drugs meant to save lives to be used for killing.
One point of contention during the litigation was whether, even if pulmonary edema did occur, inmates could feel it after they appeared to be knocked out. Experts for the prisoners said the drug paralyzes the body, masking the pain prisoners could feel as they died.
Full Coverage: Executions
None of those executed appeared to writhe in pain. But audio from the death chamber to the media viewing room was switched off just prior to the injections, so journalists couldn’t hear if inmates groaned or complained of pain.
William Breeden, a spiritual adviser in the chamber when 52-year-old Corey Johnson was executed on Jan. 14 after his 1992 conviction of killing seven people, said in a filing the next day that “Corey said his hands and mouth were burning” after the injection. Federal Bureau of Prisons attorney Rick Winter said in response that neither he nor anyone in a government witness room heard that.
Some pain doesn’t necessarily mean an execution method violates prohibitions against “cruel and unusual” punishment, the Supreme Court ruled in 2019. The Constitution, the 5-4 majority opinion said, “does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death — something that, of course, isn’t guaranteed to many people.”
Government lawyers, eager to carry on and avoid any potential delays, sought to discredit the journalists’ accounts.
Courts should not need to OK this. Every state should have laws requiring that such records are public information! Demand transparency.
Excerpts from the Article:
Many New York City police discipline records can be made public over the objections of unions, an appeals court ruled Tuesday in a decision praised by the city and civil rights lawyers as likely to improve the ability of the public to police its police department.
The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a decision last year by Judge Katherine Polk Failla.
Unions had opposed a new state transparency law on the grounds that it would unfairly taint the reputations of police officers, endangering them and affecting their future employment.
In a summary order, a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit agreed with the lower-court judge, finding no evidence that job prospects for officers were harmed in numerous other states where similar records are available publicly.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, had promised to post a database of misconduct complaints online.
In a statement, the mayor said the city looks forward to releasing the data and will seek clarity from the court regarding when the records can be unveiled. “For the past seven years, we’ve fundamentally changed how we police our city, strengthening the bonds between communities and the officers who serve them. Now, we can go even further to restore accountability and trust to the disciplinary process,” he said.
As to the law that blocked the release of the information previously, de Blasio said: “Good riddance.”
Molly Biklen, deputy legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, praised the ruling as “really tremendous,” particularly because “we’ve seen that the police department is unwilling or unable to police themselves and hold themselves accountable.”
She said the public will now be able to see what the police department does with complaints and how the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a watchdog agency, operates.
“New York historically has kept records incredibly secret and so I think the decision is a really important step for making things public,” Biklen said.
Attorney Tiffany Wright, who submitted arguments on behalf of Communities United for Police Reform, called the decision “a huge win for transparency and for the communities across New York who bear the brunt of police violence and misconduct. Those communities have a right to know the misconduct and disciplinary histories of those policing their streets.”
The controversy arose after New York lawmakers, reacting in part to protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other police misconduct, repealed a law last year that for decades blocked the public disclosure of disciplinary records for police officers, as well as firefighters and correctional officers.
World War lll is here, and it is cyberwar. We must ramp up our defenses in this area to prevent ongoing criminal activity by China, Russia, Iran, N Korea, and others!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Justice Department has charged three North Korean computer programmers in a broad range of global hacks, including a destructive attack targeting an American movie studio, and in the attempted theft and extortion of more than $1.3 billion from banks and companies, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The newly unsealed indictment builds off an earlier criminal case brought in 2018 and adds two additional North Korean defendants. Prosecutors identified all three as members of a North Korean military intelligence agency, accusing them of carrying out hacks at the behest of the government with a goal of using stolen funds for the benefit of the regime. Alarmingly to U.S. officials, the defendants worked at times from locations in Russia and China.
Law enforcement officials say the prosecution highlights the profit-driven motive behind North Korea’s criminal hacking, a contrast from other adversarial nations like Russia, China and Iran who are generally more interested in espionage, intellectual property theft or even disrupting democracy. As the U.S. announced its case against the North Koreans, the government was still grappling with hacks by Russia of federal agencies and private corporations that officials say was aimed at information-gathering.
“What we see emerging uniquely out of North Korea is trying to raise funds through illegal cyber activities,” including the theft of traditional currency and cryptocurrency, as well as cyber extortion schemes, said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the Justice Department’s top national security official.
None of the three defendants is in American custody, and though officials don’t expect them to travel to the U.S. anytime soon for prosecution, Justice Department officials in recent years have found value in indicting foreign government hackers — even in absentia — as a message that they are not anonymous and can be identified and implicated in crimes.
At the same time, prosecutors unsealed a plea deal with a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen who investigators say organized the sophisticated laundering of millions of dollars in stolen funds. Ghaleb Alaumary, 37, of Ontario, Canada,agreed to plead guilty in Los Angeles to organizing teams of co-conspirators in the U.S. and Canada to launder funds obtained through various schemes.
The indictment unsealed Wednesday charges Jon Chang Hyok, Kim Il and Park Jin Hyok with crimes including conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. Park was previously charged in 2018 in a criminal complaint linking him to the hacking team responsible for the hack of Sony Pictures and the WannaCry global ransomware attack, among other acts.
The indictment accuses the hackers of participating in a conspiracy that attempted to steal more than $1.3 billion of money and cryptocurrency from banks and businesses, unleashed a sweeping ransomware campaign and targeted Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 in retaliation for a Hollywood movie, “The Interview,” that the North Korean government didn’t like because it depicted a fictionalized assassination of leader Kim Jong Un.
“The scope of these crimes by the North Korean hackers is staggering,” said Tracy Wilkison, the acting U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California, where Sony Pictures is located and where the indictment was filed. “They are the crimes of a nation-state that has stopped at nothing to extract revenge and to obtain money to prop up its regime.”
Wilkison would not say how much money the hackers actually received. But the indictment does charge them in connection with a theft from Bangladesh’s central bank in 2016 involving wire transfers “totaling approximately $81 million to bank accounts in the Philippines and $20 million to a bank account in Sri Lanka,” and with multiple other multi-million-dollar ATM cashouts and cyber extortion schemes.
All told, the conspirators “attempted to steal or extort more than $1.3 billion,” according to the indictment.
To empty the cryptocurrency accounts of victims, the cyberthieves seeded malware posing as cryptocurrency-trading software on legitimate-seeming websites to trick victims, according to an alert published by the FBI and other U.S. agencies. Once infected, a victim’s computer could be entered and controlled by remote access. Later, hackers used other techniques including phishing and social engineering to infect victims’ computers.
Gov. Wolf wants people wrongly convicted paid $50k for every year spent in prison PENNSYLVANIA Pennsylvania is currently just one of 15 states that do not provide any financial justice to the victims of wrongful convictions
It’s only fair, although no amount of money can make up for years of lost freedom.
Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his 2021-2022 budget plan last week with many talking points. Tucked away in his plan is a proposal to pay $50,000 to those wrongly convicted of a crime for each year they spent behind bars.
Pennsylvania is currently just one of 15 states that do not provide any financial justice to the victims of wrongful convictions. Others provide at least $50,000 per year. A national average of nine years in prison before being proven innocent would equate to $450,000 in compensation. Societal punishment and trouble finding work are two factors in the need for these payments.
In the proposal, Wolf points out that Pennsylvania exonerees actually spend an average of 14 years in prison. Exonerees often have little access to money, housing, transportation, health services, or insurance, the budget reads.
According to a study by the National Registry of Exonerations, innocent African Americans are about seven times more like to be convicted than innocent white people.
The proposal is part of Wolf’s “Keeping Pennsylvanians Safe through Criminal Justice Reforms” that includes providing fair funding for police coverage, probation reform and the “Clean Slate” legislation among other items.
My good friend, Greg Williams, and I put this together, going out to more than 400 papers today:
Sent out again on 2/24
Op Ed Submission – Protect Your Right to Vote – 2/20/21
Every American, of whatever political persuasion, should be appalled by the brazen efforts of conservatives to curb, restrict, or block their right to vote!
Since the Florida 2000 presidential election debacle, the proposed 2019 “For the People Act” (HR 1) is the most robust collection of democracy voter protections in a generation.
According to a February 3, 2021 Brennan Center for Justice report: just since the violent January 6 Capitol insurrection, state legislatures already had proposed a colossal 165 bills to make voting more burdensome. As of February 23, the updated in real-time Voting Rights Lab’s State Voting Rights Tracker reveals that the number exceeds 240 bills. Each one intends to make voting trickier and more difficult, either by reducing vote-by-mail (VBM) or voter registration, imposing stricter voter-ID laws, or allowing voter-roll purging.
These laws are a direct responses to the baseless weaponized lies claiming that widespread voter fraud is real. Not one scrap of credible, empirical evidence shows that such fraud exists. Unsupported bits of isolated anecdotes are pointless.
We need to make voting easier and redistricting (i.e., gerrymandering) harder, and enacting federal safeguards is the only practical path.
Especially in communities of color and other historically disenfranchised populations, the “For the People Act” would reinforce voting rights. Other examples of those communities include college students, urbanites, people with disabilities, convicted felons, and older Americans.
One strategy for hoarding national power is to suppress the voting numbers, specifically those disenfranchised groups. A supporting factoid came from Trump himself. He told Fox & Friends that Democratic calls for the broader use of VBM would cause “levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
The good news is that other state lawmakers are taking advantage of an invigorated electorate and the patriotic fervor for democracy reform. As of February 3, 541 state legislators across the US had introduced, prefiled, or carried over bills to expand voting access.
The “For the People Act” would create strong “ethics” measures for elections and our government. It also would weaken political corruption, such as the influence of “big money” in politics.
All of us should voice our concerns about the pernicious forces trying to disenfranchise millions of Americans. Here’s how you can get these voter protections passed: Call (202) 224-3121 for the U.S. House switchboard operator and ask to be connected to your Representative (by name). Then urge them to at once pass the “For the People Act”!
67% of voters support bold democracy reforms!
Greg Williams, Ph.D., Fielding Research Fellow and Nonprofit Research Policy Analyst | Specializing in Democracy, Voter-Fraud Disinformation, and Voter Suppression
Washington, DC, 423-943-7622
Former prosecutor and founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE
40% of Wrongful Convictions Involve Police Investigative Misconduct Targeting Black Male Defendants. Police Chiefs Urged to Drop ‘Victim-Centered’ Program
My friend, Ed Bartlett, who runs the Center for Prosecutor Integrity (CPI) in D C, sent me this article.
WASHINGTON / February 19, 2021 – A review of recent wrongful convictions reveals 40.3% involved investigative misconduct by police officers that was directed against Black male defendants. The analysis is based on publicly available data compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations for the years 2018 to 2020 (1).
Following are the year-by-year numbers:
2018: 39.5% (2)
2019: 37.5% (3)
2020: 43.3% (4)
The wrongful convictions arose from five types of police investigative misconduct: concealment of evidence, fabrication of evidence, witness tampering, misconduct in interrogations, or making false statements at trial (5).
A recent article in the New York Times recounts how investigators used deceptive methods to coerce a false confession from Huwe Burton. After Burton’s mother had been fatally stabbed, the 16-year-old Black boy was subjected to a lengthy interrogation. “Two hours into the roughly six-hour interrogation, Detective Viggiano started to bluff the teenager, pretending there was evidence that he was the killer,” the NYT article reports (6). In 1991, Huwe Burton was convicted of murder and received a 15-year-to-life sentence. He was exonerated in 2019 (7).
Ethics codes admonish police officers to conduct investigations that are impartial, fair, and honest (8). In a recent New York appellate decision, Judge Molly Reynolds Fitzgerald issued a rebuke of guilt-presuming investigative methods: “An impartial investigation performed by bias-free investigators is the substantive foundation” of a legal proceeding (9).
The Center for Prosecutor Integrity is calling on the International Association of Chiefs of Police to suspend an upcoming program designed to promote “victim-centered” investigations (10). Such guilt-presuming “victim-centered” methods worsen the problem of wrongful convictions and have disparate effects on Black male defendants.
Interested persons should contact Vincent Talucci, Executive Director of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, at firstname.lastname@example.org , or telephone: 703-836-6767.
68 Black male exonerees harmed by police misconduct divided by 172 total exonerations = 39.5%
59 Black male exonerees harmed by police misconduct divided by 152 total exonerations = 38.8%
52 Black male exonerees harmed by police misconduct divided by 120 total exonerations = 43.3%