This issue arises often for inmates. The question is: When is a court filing accepted by the Court? When it is mailed, or when it is received? The answer can mean the difference as to whether it will be considered. There are (unfair) stringent time limits on when inmates can file certain pleadings.
On July 24, 2018, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court held the state’s constitution requires adoption of a modified version of the “prisoner mailbox rule” when filing petitions for judicial review of prison disciplinary orders.
Maine prisoner Charles M. Martin was found guilty of a disciplinary infraction on April 25, 2016. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. § 11002, he filed a petition for judicial review of that order by submitting it to prison authorities for mailing to the Superior Court on May 18, 2016. However, the court clerk did not receive the petition until May 26 – one day beyond the 30-day filing deadline imposed by § 11002(3).
The state moved to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over the case because it was filed outside the 30-day deadline. Martin opposed the motion, urging the court to apply the prisoner mailbox rule established in Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988). Under that rule, Martin’s petition would have been deemed filed when he gave it to prison officials for mailing on May 18, 2016, rather than when it was received by the court clerk. Concluding that § 11002(3) is “jurisdictional and mandatory,” and that “Maine has not yet adopted the so-called federal mailbox rule,” the Superior Court dismissed the action.
The Supreme Judicial Court reversed. Although Houston is not binding on the states because it involved the interpretation of a federal rule and did not invoke the U.S. Constitution, the Court observed that 24 states have adopted variations of the prisoner mailbox rule.
Finding that it could not consider the case on the same grounds as Houston, the Supreme Judicial Court followed the lead of Florida and Oklahoma in concluding “that the Supreme Court’s rationale in Houston rings of fundamental fairness required by both the open courts provision and due process clause of the Maine Constitution.”
Notably, the Court observed that Maine’s open courts clause derived from the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 and had roots in the Magna Carta. Similarly, Maine’s due process clause “is identical to that contained in the United States Constitution.” This supported an argument that the prisoner mailbox rule is also mandated by the fundamental fairness provision of the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Nevertheless, “it is not unconstitutionally unreasonable to require that the petition be delivered to prison authorities at least three days prior to the thirty-day filing deadline,” the Supreme Judicial Court concluded. “A pro se prisoner’s constitutional rights are only violated where – as in this case – he or she completes the prison’s procedures for depositing the petition with the prison for mailing at least three days before the last day on which the petition may be timely filed, and the petition does not reach the clerk of court until after that deadline has passed.”
Accordingly, the Superior Court’s order was vacated and the case remanded for further proceedings. See: Martin v. Department of Corrections, 2018 ME 103, 190 A.3d 237 (ME 2018).
The Whole Story
ICE Let Sexual Assault Reports Slide At Migrant Detention Centers Run By Contractors: Inspector General
I have been posting about this situation for 5 years now, and under tRump the abuses only worsen. Here I am seen speaking about the horrors – abuses – of ICE “detention centers” about 4 years ago:
Excerpts from the Article:
Federal immigration officials are not adequately policing contractors running immigrant detention centers where serious problems are often going unreported, according to a report the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security released last week. In some cases, contractors ― including both private businesses and public operations, such as county jails ― failed to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement of sexual assaults and employee misconduct, the IG report said.
“Instead of holding facilities accountable through financial penalties, ICE issued waivers to facilities with deficient conditions,” the report said.
The report said one facility, for example, was granted a waiver that allowed detainees with serious criminal histories to be held near those with nonviolent offenses. Another facility was granted a waiver to use tear gas instead of pepper spray, which is less toxic, according to the IG report.
ICE issued only two fines to contractors between October 2015 and June 2018, despite finding more than 14,000 deficiencies in that time period, the IG reported. One facility was fined for repeated deficiencies in health care; another for failing to pay proper wages. The fines amounted to $3.9 million — or 0.13 percent of the more than $3 billion ICE paid to contractors during that period, the report noted.
ICE approved 65 waivers allowing facilities to ignore contract requirements — most for indefinite time periods ― between September 2016 and July 2018.
The investigation examined 106 detention facilities run by contractors that hold about 25,000 detainees daily. ICE has about 45,670 immigrants in detention each day.
In the last two years, the DHS inspector general also found that ICE hasn’t followed its own contract procurement guidelines for the detention centers, and has not fully examined actual conditions at centers. ICE said it would do better.
Quite sobering, and quite disgraceful. The government should be championing and protecting civil rights, in keeping with the Constitution and our long heritage.
This article is quite long, accurate, and compelling. I leave below mostly the topic headlines, which tell the story of situations many of us know all too well. For details, read The Whole Story. See there the FACTS! … And you wonder why I say that tRump has been a disaster for America?!
Excerpts from the Article:
When Donald Trump stood on a stage in Cleveland to accept the Republican nomination for the presidency in July 2016, he declared he would be the voice of the American people, the sole champion for the vulnerable and forgotten. “I have no patience for injustice, no tolerance for government incompetence, no sympathy for leaders who fail their citizens,” he said, before adding, “I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”
After entering the Oval Office, however, the president didn’t embark on what could have been the greatest construction project of his life: Building a more just America for everyone. Instead, he launched a government-wide assault on the very policies and programs that protect those who “cannot defend themselves.”
Trump has, in fact, spent its first year promoting the alt-right’s policy agenda by systematically dismantling hard-won civil rights protections and reversing numerous initiatives of President Barack Obama – all while continuing to use his megaphone to sow racial and ethnic divisions.
This assault on civil rights – and the American values that underpin them – is far-reaching and dangerous.
Here are 10 ways that he, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other administration officials have undermined protections for the most vulnerable people in America.
Promoting a white nationalist agenda
Slashing civil rights enforcement
Revving up the deportation machine
Attacking voting rights
Shredding LGBT protections
Encouraging police abuses
Reviving debtors’ prisons
Undermining public education
Eroding the rights of students with disabilities
PROMOTING A WHITE NATIONALIST AGENDA
I certainly will be interested to see what the internal affairs report discloses. Of the major figures quoted here, Mr. Steve Hampton is the only credible person! Mr. Klopp, head of the guards’ union, lies repeatedly to cover up the many crimes committed by D O C personnel, including the many abuses which were the real cause of the riot. Mr. Phelps was the warden when I was in, and he too did nothing about the innumerable complaints of abuse by staff.
READ Culture of Cover UP! If I had not seen it, I may never have believed it myself; the scale of the deceit is mind-boggling!
Excerpts from the Article:
Friday marked the second year anniversary of the deadly James T. Vaughn Correctional Center riot.On the morning of Feb. 1 2017, a masked group of inmates took control of C Building in the compound, held its inhabitants hostage and barricaded the entries. About 19 hours later the building was retaken by force, but during the riot, correctional officer Lt. Steven Floyd was murdered and other hostages badly beaten or otherwise traumatized.
In the wake of the incident, three separate investigations were initiated to find out why it happened and who was responsible: The Delaware State Police criminal investigation, an Independent Review ordered by Gov. John Carney, and the Department of Corrections internal affairs investigation.
The governor’s independent review wrapped up the following September and provided a long list of proposed prison reforms.
The criminal investigation resulted in charges against 18 inmates for perpetrating the riot but much less was heard about the internal affairs investigation. Though no official announcement was made about its completion, DOC Commissioner Perry Phelps said in an interview last November that it was completed. When asked if there were any plans to share it with the governor or legislators, he said: “It’s been shared with me.”
However, it appears both the House and Senate committees responsible for overseeing the DOC will request a report on the investigation.
“Both as the chair of the committee and as a citizen, I want the opportunity to talk to the corrections officials and administrators to be briefed on the results of that audit so we can hopefully gain a fuller understanding of what happened,” Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, D-New Castle, the new chairperson of the House Corrections Committee, said on Thursday. “We need to make sure that Feb. 1, 2017 never, ever, happens again,” she said.
Her counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Bruce Ennis (D), noted that the Senate Corrections & Public Safety committee has an interest in reviewing the investigation results for the same reason.
“We had a joint meeting last year and hit on that issue, but at the time they said they were working on the investigation and it wasn’t finished,” Sen. Ennis said. “I know the investigation was supposed to deal strictly with the issue of the death and the riot, so we’ll try to plan another joint meeting and see if we can get some answers.”
According to spokesman Jonathan Starkey, Gov. Carney has reviewed the investigation results.
“Gov. Carney read the report and has been in regular communication with Commissioner Phelps regarding its findings,” Mr. Starkey said. “Commissioner Phelps has continued to work with Claire DeMatteis (governor appointed special assistant to DOC) as needed to continue the Department’s focus on the recommendations of the Independent Review and to address the IA report. The Governor and the Commissioner speak regularly regarding the Department’s work in this area.”
“Throughout this process, the governor has believed that public accountability is important,” he said. “That’s why we engaged with the Independent Review team to report publicly on the challenges inside our correctional facilities and to report publicly on recommendations for addressing them.
Of the 18 inmates charged with perpetrating the riot, two pleaded guilty — one later killing himself in his cell after entering the plea last November. Three stood trial late last year, only one of whom picked up a murder conviction. One was convicted on lesser charges and the other was acquitted. Four more are currently standing trial in the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington and the remaining nine are scheduled for court dates up through May.
On the administrative side, the accountability is much less clear. Over the past two years stakeholders have raised substantial questions about the management of Vaughn prison in the lead up to, during and after the riot.
Clearly feeling there was fault, survivors of the riot, including Lt. Floyd’s family and estate, sued the state and several of its officials seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Filed in April 2017, the suit’s complaint rests on the state’s alleged failure to provide a safe working environment for its employees and long ignored staffing issues within the DOC. Defendants included former governors Ruth Ann Minner and Jack Markell, along with DOC Commissioner Perry Phelps and three former commissioners, and state budget director Michael Jackson and his predecessors. At least four of the defendants still work for the state. Among many accusations, the lawsuit alleged that the administrations of former Gov. Markell and Minner sought to not only dismiss mounting issues within the DOC, but willfully obfuscate and hide the extent to which the state’s prison system was ailing. The suit never went to trial and was settled out of court in December for $7.55 million — thought to be the largest state-paid settlement in Delaware’s history. Still, the defendants maintain that the plaintiffs’ claim “lacked legal merit.”
Nevertheless, Geoff Klopp, president of the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware (COAD), claims prison leadership was well aware of the dangers lurking over C Building and did not act soon enough to protect staff. Also, when it came time to hold leadership accountable for its failures, he agrees that issues were purposely obfuscated. “It was known by many supervisors at Vaughn that something was going to happen up to four month prior to Lt. Floyd being murdered — there’s documentation in the form of emails, reports and memos going all the way back to September 2016 that sounded the warning,” Mr. Klopp said. “What the COAD doesn’t understand is how so many supervisors could have been aware of the situation, but only a single person — Jeff Carrothers — took the blame and was disciplined.”
Mr. Carrothers, Vaughn’s security superintendent at the time of the riot, was fired from the DOC in October 2017. According to him, he was first reassigned to work in the DOC’s Dover headquarters a few weeks after the Feb. 1 incident. He noted that he felt targeted because he was never interviewed about the incident.
Mr. Carrothers said he’s suspicious about his termination because, to his knowledge, he was the only employee ever fired in connection with the Feb. 1 incident — despite having several superiors responsible for security. Also, several subordinates, even more closely responsible for security at C Building were subsequently promoted, he claimed. At least in one notable case, Mr. Carrothers has been proven correct. Lt. Charles Sennett, a supervising officer directly responsible for the security of C Building appears to have been promoted to Staff Lieutenant since the riot and still severs in the same role at the prison. This was made clear during his testimony in the ongoing inmate criminal trials when prosecutors asked what his occupation was on the day of the riot versus his current occupation. Further, Lt. Sennett admitted to being on the receiving end of an email sent by Lt. Floyd before the riot.
As for senior leadership in the prison, both Vaughn Warden David Pierce and Bureau of Prisons chief Christopher Klein were reassigned after the incident.
Mr. Pierce, retaining the merit title of Warden V at a salary of $109,595.64, was reassigned to the Bureau of Community Corrections 20 days after the riot.
The Independent Review team was also critical about Mr. Pierce’s performance in the lead-up to the riot. The report noted that some Vaughn staff members believed Mr. Pierce’s policies put officers at risk and restricted their ability to effectively do their job. Specifically, a memo released by the warden briefing staff on the implementation of new rules was cited. At the time the memo was circulated, the prison was adopting the terms of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Community Legal Aid Society (CLASI) in late 2016, the review team said. The warden’s memo noted that certain inmate privileges could not be revoked and that, during recreation, inmates could not be told to “lock in” because they violated a rule. The review team believed Mr. Pierce wanted the new policies to fail. “The impression of the Independent Review team is that the memo was a passive aggressive attempt to force the implementation of the CLASI agreement to fail,” the report states.
Additionally, the lawsuit brought against the state by survivors alleged that Gov. Carney violated DOC policy during the siege by restricting Mr. Pierce from making a rescue attempt sooner.
The DOC policy manual states that the warden of a given prison is to become the “ultimate commander” in the event of a major emergency and remains in charge until the situation is resolved.
The now-settled complaint claimed that Mr. Pierce had approved a prison emergency response team to retake C Building and rescue the hostages within an hour of the uprising’s start. However, he was allegedly overruled by Gov. Carney who halted the rescue attempt “for presently unknown reasons.” This “enraged” the warden, the complaint said.
In mid-May of 2017, Mr. Klein, chief of the Bureau of Prisons, accepted a new job as deputy principal assistant at the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security — led by Robert Coupe, his former boss at the DOC. As bureau chief under both Mr. Coupe and current DOC commissioner Perry Phelps, Mr. Klein oversaw Delaware’s four prisons, including James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
Because “personnel information is private” the DOC refuses to discuss circumstances around terminations and reassignments.
Mr. Klopp says the questions about what actually happened procedurally before and during the riot are too big to be left unanswered.
“At the end of the day, this all looks like an effort to cover things up and silence the people who actually know what really happened so the public and correctional officers themselves never find out the truth,” he said.
“Even more is coming to light in the ongoing inmate trials — we now know from Lt. Floyd’s autopsy that he would probably have lived if the building had been retaken sooner. The COAD still has questions about policy being broken during the riot response.
Also in line to review the internal affairs investigation is Stephen Hampton, a Dover attorney representing the more than 100 inmates housed in C Building during the riot. An 80-page complaint he filed late last year alleges “inhumane conditions” at Vaughn, and states that for many years prior to the riot prison personnel “illegally abused, mistreated and tortured inmates with virtually nothing being done by their JTVCC (Vaughn prison) or DOC supervisors, to stop them.”
If the inmates’ lawsuit goes ahead, he’ll have a chance to review the report, he says.
“Internal affairs reports do not normally get reported to anyone else outside the DOC,” Mr. Hampton said last week. “The only way I have gotten to see them in the past is in discovery after I’ve filed suit in a case. If they exist for the revolt and correctional officer actions after it, I expect to get a copy of them in discovery.”
Mr. Hampton also believes DOC policy was broken during the riot.
“My observation has been that the wardens of the various Delaware prisons are considered the highest authority in each prison, and the commissioners generally liked having the warden handle the problems in their prison,” he said.
“The majority of warden decisions are never reviewed by the commissioner, giving the commissioner deniability if a decision turns out bad. Thus it was against DOC practice and protocol when Warden Pierce was overruled at the beginning of the revolt, and not permitted to put a quick end to it.
“That decision turned out bad, and I expect to find out who made the decision during discovery.”
Both the DOC and the Governor’s Office have refused to comment on Mr. Hampton’s accusations because they’re part of ongoing litigation.
Russia Is Attacking the U.S. System From Within A new filing by Special Counsel Robert Mueller shows how Russia uses the federal courts to go after its adversaries. Very Scary! – kra
The Russians – corrupt lawyers and court officials – are, in a very sophisticated way, gathering and stealing information, filing false documents, filing forged documents, and making bogus claims and misleading statements, in an effort to undermine our very court system. They are saboteurs, sabotaging our judicial system, which is ill prepared for these attacks!
This is super serious and super scary.
The article also hints at what I have said for years; tRump may be indicted on money laundering charges.
Today’s “bombs” are computer keyboards!
Excerpts from the Article:
A new court filing submitted on Wednesday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed that a Russian troll farm currently locked in a legal battle over its alleged interference in the 2016 election appeared to wage yet another disinformation campaign late last year—this time targeting Mueller himself.
According to the filing, the special counsel’s office turned over 1 million pages of evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting as part of the discovery process. The firm is accused of funding the troll farm, known as the Internet Research Agency. But someone connected to Concord allegedly manipulated the documents and leaked them to reporters, hoping the documents would make people think that Mueller’s evidence against the troll farm and its owners was flimsy. The tactic didn’t seem to convince anyone, but it appeared to mark yet another example of Russia exploiting the U.S. justice system to undercut its rivals abroad.
Last year, I detailed how Russia has figured out how to use the U.S. immigration courts and so-called red notices issued by Interpol to harass and even detain its enemies. But it doesn’t end there. Experts say Kremlin proxies have targeted their rivals and other disfavored individuals by exploiting U.S. courts to pursue bogus claims via “superficially legitimate lawsuits,” Anders Aslund, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said in a recent report. He worked as an economic adviser to the Russian government from 1991 to 1994. The Kremlin proxies have done so not only to perpetuate global harassment campaigns against their perceived enemies, Aslund argued, but also to “enrich themselves through bad faith claims made possible by the Russian state’s abuse of disfavored individuals and their businesses.”
When Mueller indicted Concord in February 2018, along with two other corporate entities and 13 Russian nationals allegedly connected to the Internet Research Agency, it seemed highly unlikely that the indictment would result in a trial, because Russians cannot be extradited to the United States. But Concord unexpectedly hired the well-connected American law firm Reed Smith to fight Mueller, arguing that the charges should be dropped because the special counsel was illegally appointed. The judge in the case, Dabney Friedrich, has twice refused to dismiss the case and recently lambasted Concord’s American lawyers for submitting “unprofessional, inappropriate and ineffective” court filings, and the legal battle has raged on.
Now, according to the Mueller filing this week, unidentified actors working out of Russia appear to have weaponized the U.S. discovery process to Concord’s benefit. More than 1,000 files on the website that hosted the leaked documents “match those produced in discovery,” the special counsel said. The documents were published from a computer with a Russian IP address, according to Mueller, and whoever released them clearly “had access to at least some of the non-sensitive discovery produced by the government.” But forged documents were mixed into the trove, too, apparently in an attempt to accuse Mueller of characterizing American websites and Facebook pages such as Occupy Democrats as Russian disinformation operations. The website also inserted irrelevant documents into the unique folder names—known only to those with access to the discovery materials—and characterized them as the sum total of Mueller’s evidence “in an apparent effort to discredit the investigation,” the special counsel said.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Reed Smith denied responsibility for the breach, claiming that the data at issue were hosted by a third-party vendor working for Concord and were never stored on Reed Smith’s internal computer systems. “Reed Smith and its lawyers have at all times complied with the protective order in this case,” the firm said. A Reed Smith attorney representing Concord didn’t return a request for comment.
In October, legal and national-security experts expressed concern to ABC News that, in the Concord case specifically, the Russian government may be trying to use the discovery process in a “graymail” strategy designed to make Mueller drop the case in order to prevent sensitive U.S. national-security information from being made public. Mark Zaid, an attorney based in Washington, D.C., who focuses on national-security law, said he viewed the latest incident involving Concord and the hoax website “as part of a consistent strategy by the Russians to hinder, obstruct, and derail” Mueller’s probe. “One wonders whether pursuing the criminal charges against the Russians was worth the difficulty and these current problems,” Zaid said, “particularly given the odds of ever gaining custody of any individual is unlikely.”
But the Concord case is just one example of this phenomenon—and it “helps expose the deliberate efforts of the Russians to continually attack our democratic systems,” he added.
In 2017, the Russian state-owned Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) filed two applications for judicial assistance from the federal courts in New York and Massachusetts to obtain discovery on two former shareholders of the privately owned Probusinessbank, Sergey Leontiev and Alexander Zheleznyak. Leontiev and Zheleznyak had fled to the United States by that point, but that didn’t stop the DIA from pursuing them through the U.S. courts. Leontiev had run afoul of Vladimir Putin when one of the bank’s subsidiaries attempted to launch the “Navalny card”—a debit card that would donate a percentage of transactions to an anti-corruption organization led by the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny. The Central Bank of Russia revoked Probusinessbank’s operating license shortly thereafter and forced the company into bankruptcy, despite having deemed the bank financially sound just two months before it was seized. The DIA immediately began dividing up Probusinessbank’s assets to Kremlin-friendly institutions such as B&N Bank after being appointed its temporary administrator and liquidator in 2015.
When Leontiev moved to quash a federal-court subpoena against him in 2017—arguing that it had been orchestrated by two Russian agents sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act, Andrey Pavlov and Victor Grin—the court denied his motion. The court wrote that it was “not blind to Leontiev’s claims that the discovery sought here is intended for other proceedings or impermissible purposes” and had its own concerns “about the legitimacy of these requests,” which were “heightened by the involvement of two sanctioned individuals.” Despite all of those reservations, the court ruled against Leontiev on the narrow grounds that it was only helping provide discovery in “underlying litigation … before a foreign tribunal.” When Leontiev’s lawyers asked that the discovery documents not be provided to any entity that Pavlov was associated with, the DIA’s lawyers refused. “The same cast of Russian operatives sanctioned by the U.S. government for their participation in the Magnitsky Affair now attempt to exploit Western institutions, including the U.S. judicial system and Interpol, to further their corrupt pursuit of Mr. Leontiev and others using the cover of legitimate courts and institutions,” Bob Weigel, Leontiev’s lead outside counsel in the case, said in a statement.
Michelle Estlund, a criminal-defense attorney who focuses on international criminal prosecutions and politically motivated prosecutions, told me last year that the problem is that while the U.S. courts operate in good faith to assist Russian authorities, the Russian courts frequently do not. “Our courts act like, and think that, they are operating on the same type of playing field as the Russians,” Estlund said. “But they’re not. The system there is completely different from here. And when the courts are properly responding to what appears to be a legally authorized request for assistance with discovery, often what they’re doing is assisting with an extremely corrupt court proceeding.” Another lawyer who follows this phenomenon closely and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press echoed Estlund’s assessment. “The Russians have figured out how to weaponize this,” he said. “We have this tremendous system of justice here, which isn’t equipped to address nonjudicial questions like ‘Is this litigant seeking to abuse our entire judicial system?’ ”
The issue arose again just last month, when the Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment against the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. According to prosecutors, Veselnitskaya had tried to obstruct an investigation into her client Prevezon, a company founded by a Kremlin ally that was accused of laundering millions of stolen Russian taxpayer dollars through Manhattan real estate. Veselnitskaya had secretly worked with the Russian government to draft a document purporting to be an independent assessment made by Russian prosecutors saying that Prevezon was innocent of laundering funds, the indictment said. That document was then filed in federal court in an attempt “to affect the outcome” of a lawsuit filed against Prevezon by federal prosecutors, according to Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. The scheme threatened “the ability of our courts and our government to ensure that justice is done,” he said. And it worked: The court decided to deny the U.S. government’s motion for summary judgment against Prevezon based on the fraudulent document, according to the indictment.
Mueller, for his part, appears to have foreseen how the Russians connected to Concord (it is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is often referred to as “Putin’s chef”) might try to exploit the legal process: In June 2018, he asked Friedrich, the judge, for a protective order that would prevent Concord’s lawyers from sharing any discovery documents with the Russians named in the troll-farm indictment, as well as with other foreigners, such as lawyers outside the United States. If the data were to be distributed outside of American law firms, Mueller said, “foreign individuals may try to use that avenue as a way to obtain sensitive materials as part of an intelligence collection effort.” The hoax website aimed at discrediting his investigation largely failed, but seemed to prove Mueller’s prescience, beyond any doubt.
‘Harrowing’ Video Shows Brooklyn Inmates In Freezing Jail Cells Begging For Help – The Lawsuit filed on 2/4/19
Our friend, Steve Hampton, Esq. sent me this article. You will see here that prison officials, so accustomed to lying like hell, deny both the cause and the effect of the power outage, even though the electric company contradicts them and public officials have seen the effect!
It is an outrage that so many lawsuits have to be filed concerning prison officials willfully violating the law. It costs YOU billions of dollars annually.
Excerpts from the Article:
Inmates at a federal lockup in New York have been banging on the walls and windows of their cells to get attention from people on the street as they suffer below-freezing temperatures in their cells. New York City Councilman Justin Brannan filmed the scene on Friday at the waterfront Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where more than 1,600 inmates are imprisoned.
“Inmates are banging on S-O-S on windows to get our attention. This is surreal,” Brannan tweeted. Later, he added: “One of the most harrowing sounds I’ve ever known.”
The administrative detention center had a partial power outage last Saturday as temperatures dropped as low as 2 degrees this week, causing several inmates to call federal defender offices, according to The New York Times. Without limited power at the jail, defense lawyers claim, inmates have been complaining of freezing cells, no hot water and no lights.
“In the past hour, I have gotten 11 calls,” paralegal Rachel Bass of Federal Defenders in Brooklyn told the Times on Thursday. “People are frantic. They’re really, really scared. They don’t have extra blankets. They don’t have access to the commissary to buy an extra sweatshirt.”
The Metropolitan Detention Center has suspended visits to the facility until further notice, according to a message on its website.
Dierdre con Dornum, the lead federal defender in Brooklyn, told The Associated Press on Friday that the inmates were currently on lockdown with no access to the computers they use to contact family and attorneys and to request prescription medications.
“My understanding is they’re fully locked down in their dark cells,” Dornum said.
Herman Quay, a spokeswoman for the jail’s warden, confirmed to the Times that there was a partial power outage but denied that the inmates housed there were affected, according to the Times. The Bureau of Prisons, which also denied that cells were lacking heat and hot water, told the Times that the electrical failure was due to emergencies with Con Edison, though the utility denied any issues. “It’s an internal problem, and their electricians will have to fix it,” Robert McGee, a Con Edison spokesman, told the paper.
In response to the Times’ story, Rep. Nydia Velazquez of New York said Friday that she was “alarmed by reports that inmates at the MDC are enduring these conditions, especially given the freezing weather this week.”
Later Friday, after a visit to the jail, the congresswoman said that some of the heat and hot water was restored but that it was not at full capacity. “Still cold & dark,” she tweeted. “As we weren’t allowed to speak with inmates, unclear if blankets are being distributed.”
I’m alarmed by reports that inmates at the MDC are enduring these conditions, especially given the freezing weather this week. I am going to visit the facility to try and ascertain firsthand what is happening. Inmates maintain they have been locked in their cells with limited heat and electricity for more than a week, defense lawyers say. The warden’s office denies the claim.
On Thursday, federal defenders filed an emergency motion to remove Dino Sanchez, an inmate from Brooklyn who was suffering from asthma in the severe cold, according to the Times. “The population was kept in their cells for 23 hours,” Benjamin Yaster, a federal defender representing Sanchez, told the paper. “He’s stuck in these cold conditions in a short-sleeved jumpsuit and a short-sleeved undershirt.” Yaster added: “He feels short of breath and is wheezing and coughing more than he normally would.”
Councilman Brannan demanded answers from jail officials after Velazquez’s visit.
“These conditions are dangerous & inhumane for workers & inmates,” he tweeted. “Families on outside especially need answers.”
Unfortunately, this happens every day in America. See the article: What you can DO About Out of Control Police. Here. they “messed with the wrong Marine”!
Excerpts from the Article:
A former Marine has sued the LaSalle County Sheriff’s office, saying deputies “humiliated, degraded and dehumanized” her when they dragged her into a cell and forcibly stripped her naked after she was arrested on suspicion of DUI two years ago.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court, Zandrea Askew’s attorneys said she was sitting in her parked car when two LaSalle County sheriff’s deputies questioned her, and ordered her to undergo field sobriety tests, even though she had not committed any traffic violations, or been involved in an accident.
Askew’s lawsuit accuses LaSalle County Sheriff Thomas Templeton and several deputies of false arrest, unlawful detention, excessive force, malicious prosecution, and violation of due process.
The lawsuit claims Askew, 28, passed all of the field sobriety tests, and showed no signs of being drunk, or under the influence of drugs, but was still arrested for DUI.
Deputies reported finding Askew “very disoriented and confused” in her car. However, attorney Terry Ekl said Askew had pulled her car over because she was ill, and was on prescription medications.
According to the lawsuit, after her arrest, three female deputies dragged the former Marine sergeant, and forcibly removed all of her clothing. Askew’s attorneys said she cooperated with police the entire time, and was “thoroughly searched” on the side of the road, so there was no legitimate reason to strip her.
“Throughout her detention at the Jail, Plaintiff was not acting aggressively or engaging in any conduct that would cause an officer to be in reasonable apprehension of receiving bodily harm, or that justified the use of force against her,” they wrote. “The only objective of the officers was to punish, harass, humiliate, degrade, and inflict physical and psychological pain.”
Surveillance video from inside the cell shows deputies wrestling Askew to the ground during the strip search. Her attorney said video from moments earlier, during her interrogation, shows her calmly answering questions.
Five years ago, LaSalle County paid out $355,000 to settle lawsuits filed by five other women who were strip searched. The department also promised better training.
Ekl said he has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the sheriff’s office regarding strip-searches. “Why do you need to take someone’s clothes off if they’re not cooperating with you?” Ekl said. “This was not a strip-search where they were looking for contraband. This was a form of punishment.”
Ms. Yacob obviously is on the right path. EVERY country should follow her lead, and I shall post this article on our website and in our newsletter, where I constantly bemoan the fact that America’s prisons, where they get NO help for their health problems, is where so many – millions – of our mentally ill end up! Much thanks to our LinkedIn friend, Sheng En, who sent me this article.
I bet you did not know that in the U S, our neglect of the mentally ill costs YOU – the consumers and taxpayers – about $444 BILLION every year!
Excerpts from the Article:
When fishmonger Li Hee Meng closed down his business, handed down from his parents, 10 years ago because it was not doing well, he sank into depression and remained unemployed for about eight years. In 2016, he was admitted to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and was treated as an inpatient for the next two years for schizophrenia. In October 2018, Mr Li was referred to the Singapore Anglican Community Services (SACS), where he was trained for two months in the cafeteria on food preparation, dishwashing and cleaning. Thereafter, the centre secured him a part-time position as a kitchen helper at IMH’s canteen and he worked there for six weeks.
The 52-year-old started full-time work as a store assistant at Prime supermarket two weeks ago and said he was satisfied with his new job. He said in Mandarin: “I do shelving and stock-taking. After Chinese New Year, they will teach me how to order stocks from the suppliers.”
Mr Li is one of the 50 or so people with mental health issues who have benefited from SACS’s Transitional Employment and Work Integration Programme (TEWIP). The programme seeks to provide them with on-the-job training opportunities within the centre’s internal units and social enterprises, so that they can be ready to re-enter the workforce.
TEWIP is one of the 11 programmes supported under the Empowering for Life Fund (ELF) this year. The programmes are aimed at aiding those at a disadvantage including people with disabilities, children with special needs and disadvantaged women.
Former fishmonger Li Hee Meng is one of the 50 or so people with mental health issues who have benefited from the Singapore Anglican Community Services’ Transitional Employment and Work Integration Programme. TEWIP was highlighted by President Halimah Yacob in her address at the launch of the President’s Challenge 2019 at Expo on Wednesday (Jan 30). The launch was held in conjunction with the opening of the fifth edition of the Singapore Mental Health Conference (SMHC), jointly organised by IMH, the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), Agency for Integrated Care and Health Promotion Board (HPB).
President Halimah, who was the guest of honour at the two-day event, said that ELF programmes support vulnerable groups by equipping them with the necessary skills and resources to proactively solve problems, develop resilience in overcoming life’s challenges and contribute meaningfully to society.
President Halimah Yacob and Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef removing the “stigma” to unveil the logo of the Global Alliance for Mental Health Advocates at the first Global Summit for Mental Health Advocates on Oct 4, 2018.
The ELF was first set up under the President’s Challenge in February last year to support programmes that empower vulnerable individuals through skills upgrading, capacity building and employment.
Madam Halimah said that the ELF will fund each approved project for up to three years from 2019, instead of the initial one year. She expressed the hope that the certainty of funding over a longer period of time will encourage volunteer welfare organisations to be open to trying out new approaches to support the vulnerable among us.
The 2016 Singapore Mental Health Study showed that one in seven adults had experienced a mood, anxiety or alcohol use disorder at some point in their lifetime and about three-quarters of these people did not seek help.
“This year, by spotlighting on mental health, I hope that we as a community are more aware of the needs of persons with mental health conditions and can better support them in their journey of recovery and reintegration. I hope that President’s Challenge 2019 can bring about new programmes and approaches to help this group of individuals as well as their caregivers,” said President Halimah.
President’s Challenge 2019, which focuses on mental health, will be raising funds for 67 organisations spanning a wide range of service sectors.
I first encountered this problem about a year ago when someone called me for help, wondering how in the world she could be punished for calling the police. I was able to get the city to drop the fine in that case. But these ordinances are increasingly becoming a problem, and it seems to me they plainly are unfair.
Excerpts from the Article:
Over the last few decades in towns and cities across America, local authorities have passed laws that punish people for calling 911 with steep fines and eviction, even when they are seeking police protection. Known as nuisance ordinances, these laws present victims of crime with an impossible choice. As a domestic violence survivor in St. Louis put it: “If I can’t protect myself, [and] you’re not protecting me, what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to just . . . let him beat me or let him kill me?”
Our client, Rosetta Watson, faced this reality when she was evicted from her home and banished from the city of Maplewood, Missouri, simply because she called the police four times. Her ex-boyfriend kicked down her door and assaulted her. Maplewood’s ordinance defined a “nuisance” as more than two calls to police related to domestic violence within 180 days. As a result, the city revoked Ms. Watson’s occupancy permit for six months and forced her to leave Maplewood, despite the city’s own records revealing that she was a victim of domestic violence. In response, the ACLU brought a federal lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Watson in 2017, challenging Maplewood’s ordinance under federal and state law. In a victory for her and other Maplewood residents, the city agreed in 2018 to a major overhaul of the ordinance and will no longer enforce it against victims of crime or penalize residents based on calls for police or emergency services.
Our fight against nuisance ordinances, however, is far from over. Many cities across the country continue to enforce similar nuisance ordinances, including in the St. Louis region. Today, the ACLU, the ACLU of Missouri, and the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council called on six Missouri cities to repeal their nuisance ordinances—including Breckenridge Hills, Cool Valley, Florissant, Lakeshire, St. John, and University City. These ordinances are similar to Maplewood’s, permitting penalties against residents who seek police or emergency assistance, and therefore raise the same serious legal issues.
Courts have found that local nuisance ordinances violate residents’ rights under the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because they punish people for reaching out to their governments, often without notice or an opportunity to challenge whether they should be considered a “nuisance.” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also has pointed out the serious Fair Housing Act problems with these ordinances because they threaten the rights of domestic violence and other crime victims.
Research by Professor Gretchen Arnold reveals the devastating impact of nuisance ordinances on housing stability for low-income women. About half of the women in her St. Louis study had been forced to move due to nuisance ordinances, including many who were evicted because of too many 911 calls. Moreover, prior nuisance violations and evictions continued to follow these women as they sought to rent new apartments.
As one study participant explained: “[W]hen I tried to get an apartment, [landlords] told me, ‘We see that there are some things in here about you calling the police.’ And they didn’t want to rent to me.” Prior nuisance violations also jeopardized some women’s eligibility for low-income housing or Section 8 certification, further compromising their ability to secure safe and stable housing.
Beyond the harmful impact of nuisance ordinances on crime victims, such ordinances also disproportionately impact communities of color. A 2013 Milwaukee-based study found that properties in predominately Black neighborhoods were three times more likely to receive a nuisance citation compared to properties in white neighborhoods that had also violated the ordinance. A recent report published by the ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union showed that in the New York towns of Rochester and Troy nuisance points were assigned more often in neighborhoods with higher percentages of people of color.
Moreover, research has demonstrated that nuisance ordinances often endanger housing security for persons with disabilities, who may need to access emergency assistance repeatedly. An Ohio-based study, for example, revealed that landlords have pursued eviction against residents due to calls for help for mental health crises and that several cities have threatened or even fined group homes for people with disabilities after staff sought assistance in response to their residents’ medical emergencies.
Our cities and towns must prioritize protecting victims of crime as well as preserving housing opportunities for communities of color and persons with disabilities. We urge Missouri towns to repeal their nuisance ordinances, as Maplewood and other cities across the U.S. have done.
THIS is what our “war on drugs” gets us. Did this help make anyone safe? Hell NO! Did this reduce the flow of drugs on the streets? Hell NO!
Alcohol did not create Al Capone, prohibition did!
Pray for the injured cops to heal and for politicians to get some wisdom!
Excerpts from the Article:
Veteran narcotics officers broke down the door of a suspected drug den in southeast Houston Monday afternoon, armed with a warrant and hoping to arrest heroin dealers operating out of the Pecan Park home. They were met by a hail of gunfire, instead, as one of the suspects inside unleashed a barrage of bullets that wounded four officers, two critically.
“This is never one of the calls you want to get as a chief,” Police Chief Art Acevedo said outside Memorial Hermann Hospital hours later, while flanked by top police brass, Mayor Sylvester Turner and a host of other city officials. Two suspected drug dealers were killed in the incident by return fire from officers, Acevedo said, explaining a tip from a concerned neighbor led to the raid. The two killed by police were not identified.
A fifth officer injured his knee in the operation.
Late Monday, two of the officers remained in critical condition but stable while undergoing surgery . One is the 54-year-old case agent leading the investigation, the police chief said. Two others were in good condition, while the last officer — shot in the shoulder — had already been released from the hospital.
The chaos on the tree-lined Harding Street began about 5 p.m., Acevedo said, when a dozen narcotics officers backed by a squad of uniformed patrol officers descended on the Pecan Park home to serve the search warrant. Narcotics officers had developed a case against the dealers— suspected of selling black tar heroin after making several undercover buys, according to law enforcement sources.
As officers rammed through the door to serve the warrant, their colleagues in marked patrol cars sounded their sirens and turned on their lights. They were immediately shot at by at least one gunman inside, the chief said, detailing the firefight. “We have an officer down,” she yelled into her radio. “We need more ambulances, more ambulances.”
As news of the shooting spread, scores of police officers rushed to the neighborhood, to cordon off the area. A SWAT team also responded and used two robots to search the small wood-frame building.
The most senior of the narcotics squad — the case agent — has been shot twice previously in the line of duty since joining HPD in 1984, once in 1992 and again in 1997. During the 1992 incident, he took a bullet to the cheek.
“The thoughts and prayers of countless Texans are with the officers, their families, and the Houston Police Department,” he said. “May this tragic event serve as a reminder of the courage with which law enforcement officials serve each day.”
“We are sick and tired of dirt bags trying to take our lives when all we’re trying to do is protect this community and our families,” he said. “Enough is enough.”