So you tell me, how is our “war on drugs” going? Withe record overdose deaths each year, the answer is clear: It is the disaster it always has been. READ How the War on Drugs has Destroyed Justice
These doctors should be prosecuted vigorously and incarcerated if convicted!
Excerpts from the Article:
Dozens of medical professionals in five states were charged Wednesday with participating in the illegal prescribing of more than 32 million pain pills, including doctors who prosecutors said traded sex for prescriptions and a dentist who unnecessarily pulled teeth from patients to justify giving them opioids.
The 60 people indicted include 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners and seven other licensed medical professionals. The charges involve more than 350,000 illegal prescriptions written in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia, according to indictments unsealed in federal court in Cincinnati.
The charges include unlawful distribution or dispensing of controlled substances by a medical professional and health-care fraud. Each count carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence, and many of the defendants face multiple counts. At least one doctor is charged in connection with a death caused by the opioids, officials said.
The indictments are part of a broader effort by the Justice Department to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic, which claimed the lives of 47,600 people in 2017 alone, the latest year that federal overdose data is available.
Over the past two years, Justice Department officials said they have targeted doctors, health-care companies and drug manufacturers and distributors for their roles in the epidemic. Last year, the department charged 162 defendants, including 76 doctors, for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics.
Once they had the data indicating suspicious prescriptions, investigators used confidential informants and undercover agents to infiltrate medical offices across the region. Cameras and tape recorders were rolling as they documented how medical professionals used their licenses to peddle highly addictive opioids in exchange for cash and sex, officials said.
In a number of cases, according to the indictments, doctors across the region traded prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone for sexual favors. Some physicians instructed their patients to fill multiple prescriptions at different pharmacies. Prosecutors also documented how patients traveled to multiple states to see different doctors so they could collect and then fill numerous prescriptions.
The opioid indictments come as more than 1,500 cities, counties, Native American tribes and unions are suing drug companies in one of the largest and most complicated civil cases in American history. A federal judge in Cleveland is overseeing the cases, which accuse some of the biggest names in the industry of fueling the opioid epidemic. The companies have blamed the epidemic on corrupt doctors and pain management clinics and say the epidemic is too complicated to attribute to their actions.
Death and the Shadow Docket The Supreme Court’s efforts to shift procedures in death penalty litigation.
Here we see more muddled and non transparent procedures used by the Supreme Court in handling death penalty cases. They should admit that the death penalty is racist, arbitrary, useless, and unconstitutional! READ what I wrote in 2013: Death Penalty Letter to the Editor
Excerpts from the Article:
A couple months ago, the Supreme Court lifted a stay of execution in Dunn v. Ray, allowing Alabama to execute a man despite the prison’s refusal to let his imam attend to him in the execution chamber. While much of the controversy about the case was about the religious discrimination angle, the Court’s opinion stressed an issue of timing—the Court claimed that he had raised the issue too late in the day, and that this was an independent reason to deny his claim for relief. Four Justices joined a very powerful dissent written by Justice Kagan. (I wrote about this here.)
Then in late March, the Supreme Court granted a stay of execution in Murphy v. Collier, a similar case out of Texas (this one involving a Buddhist). Two Justices, Thomas and Gorsuch, announced their dissent. Justice Kavanaugh, who had necessarily joined the majority in Dunn v. Ray, wrote an opinion explaining why he ruled in favor of the prisoner on the religious discrimination issue. He also included a footnote announcing that the case was different from Dunn v. Ray on the timing issue because “Murphy made his request to the state in a sufficiently timely manner, one month before his scheduled execution.”
Many observers were not convinced that the timing was that different, since Ray had made his request to the state two weeks before his execution, and the difference between two weeks and a month seems somewhat arbitrary. Indeed, Ray actually filed his lawsuit sooner than Dunn. Ray sued ten days before his execution; Murphy sued in state court eight days before his execution and in federal court two days before his execution. But Ray died and Murphy lived.
Because both of these decisions were dealt with on the orders list (or the “shadow docket”) rather than the merits docket, the Court provided only very brief explanations of its decision. Justices Gorsuch and Thomas did not explain their dissent in the Murphy case. We also do not know how Justice Alito or Chief Justice Roberts voted in Murphy. Unlike with merits opinions, it is possible for a Justice to dissent from an order without publicly noting it, so the decision might have been 7-2, 6-3, or 5-4. And if those justices voted with the majority in Murphy, we don’t know whether they agreed with Justice Kavanaugh about how to distinguish Dunn. But the combination of the cases prompted various explanations, such as the possibility that different lawyering or different amicus participation made the difference, or that the Court had felt the blowback from its Dunn decision and was quietly beating a retreat.
Then the plot thickened. In Bucklew v. Precythe, a merits case about an Eighth Amendment challenge to an execution protocol, Justice Gorsuch’s opinion for the Court included a 2-page section at the end of the opinion raising general concerns about litigation that delayed the death penalty. The Court reiterated that “federal courts can and should protect settled state jugments from undue interference by invoking their equitable powers to dismiss or curtail suits that are pursued in a dilatory fashion or based on speculative theories.” And it doubled down on Dunn v. Ray, including a long footnote reiterating Ray’s claim had involved undue delay. So it doesn’t seem like there is a retreat.
Finally, last night in Dunn v. Price, the Supreme Court divided 5-4 over another request to lift a stay. The Court lifted a stay imposed by the Eleventh Circuit because Price’s complaint was too late—but he had challenged his April execution in February (though he had also “submitted additional evidence … a few hours before his scheduled execution time”) rather than electing that method of execution last June. Justice Breyer wrote a dissent joined by four Justices that began “Should anyone doubt that death sentences in the United States can be carried out in an arbitrary way, let that person review the following circumstances as they have been presented to our Court this evening.” He emphasized that he had just wanted to delay discussion until today, when the Justices could discuss the case in person, rather than dealing with it in the middle of the night. Ironically, the Court’s own decision that Price’s litigation came too late itself came too late. Apparently because the Court’s decision didn’t come out until after 1 am EDT, Alabama’s death warrant expired and will have to be renewed in a month.
It seems clear to me that the Court is attempting to signal a significant shift in how it handles death-penalty litigation, but it is struggling over how to carry it out, and also likely divided over whether that shift is a good idea in any event. This problem is significantly exacerbated by two procedural features of the death penalty shadow docket. One is that these decisions are made with a modest amount of briefing, no oral argument, and without the Justices meeting in person to talk about them. The other is that these issues come up on a tight time frame, often in the middle of the night. Both the majority and the dissent are trying to respond to these features, but in different ways that each presuppose the correctness of their proposed solutions.
I say this as somebody with a great deal of sympathy for the Court, who thinks that the death penalty is justifiable and constitutional, but: this is no way to run a railroad. If the Court wants to regularize its death penalty procedures or stop the last-minute filings, it might be time to consider any of the following: promulgating a new Supreme Court rule setting out some deadlines or timeliness rules; adopting a general presumption of deference to the lower court in last-minute filings; adopting a general presumption of deference to the district court in last-minute filings; granting certiorari and oral argument in one of these shadow-docket cases so that some specific timeliness principles could be discussed, adjudicated, and adhered to; keeping all of the Justices in the building on execution night so that they can discuss controversial orders in the conference room. I’m sure somebody else can think of better ideas.
But I fear that muddling through these cases on the shadow docket will not produce the procedural regularity or early filing that the majority claims to want, and if it goes on much longer, it may also give Justice Breyer’s accusations of arbitrariness the unfortunate appearance of truth.
I have read scores of articles about these deaths caused by prisons failing to treat addicts in withdrawal, and in many of them, the cover up is as criminal as the medical neglect.
There is NO reason this 18-year-old girl should have died!
Excerpts from the Article:
The death of a teenager is a sad event. But when it was entirely preventable, it becomes tragic.
The death of Victoria Jeanette Herr, 18, just four days after being booked into Pennsylvania’s Lebanon County Correctional Facility (LCCF), is yet another example of poor healthcare and deliberate indifference to prisoners’ medical needs.
Herr had recently graduated from high school and was described as a successful student and “an exceptionally talented artist.” Like many teens, she suffered from anxiety and turned to experimenting with drugs. Like many trapped in the current opioid epidemic, she tried prescription medications and became addicted; she then turned to a cheaper and more readily available drug: heroin.
Herr was taken into custody on March 27, 2015 when police went to the apartment she shared with her boyfriend to serve an outstanding arrest warrant against the boyfriend. The officers observed drug paraphernalia and heroin, which resulted in Herr’s arrest on controlled substance charges.
Upon her arrival at LCCC, Herr informed guard Michael Gerstner that she was addicted to heroin and using up to 10 doses daily. He ordered her placed on 30-minute “withdrawal” cell checks. By the next day, Herr was experiencing repeated bouts of vomiting and near-constant diarrhea, which resulted in guards forcing her to wear adult diapers. She reported that she was experiencing hallucinations, and exhibited symptoms of dehydration. Yet nurses who saw her failed to conduct an examination or render care.
During a phone call to her mother on March 30, Herr said she was thirsty and felt like she was dying. Her parents visited the jail but were not allowed to see their daughter; guards and a nurse informed them that she was “fine.” By the next afternoon, however, Herr was “barely conscious.” A nurse gave her Ensure and a glass of water, and sent her back to her cell.
Later in the evening of March 31, 2015, Herr could barely stand and fell in the medical unit. Guards insisted she was faking. After being ordered back to her cell by the nursing staff, Herr fell unconscious and quit breathing. Guards did not render CPR; Herr was revived in an ambulance but never recovered consciousness. She died on April 5, 2015.
A cover-up was already in process. Nurse Heather Phipps entered a note into Herr’s medical file on April 1, saying Herr was able to take pills and drink Ensure without difficulty, which was not possible given her condition at the time. A mortality review was not conducted, and guards and medical staff refused to respond to an inquiry by a coroner’s investigative team. During a deposition a nurse said she took Herr’s vital signs, but a guard refuted that claim.
As PLN has chronicled, many people die in jails due to not receiving treatment for drug and alcohol withdrawal. [See: PLN, Jan. 2018, p.38]. It is well-known that without proper medical care, withdrawal symptoms can be fatal. While LCCC denied culpability, it agreed in October 2018 to pay $4.75 million to settle a wrongful death suit filed by Herr’s family.
“It’s certainly one of the largest settlements in at least the last ten years involving the death of a prisoner in civil rights litigation,” said Jonathan Feinberg, one of the attorneys who represented Herr’s estate.
More settlements of this size may cause corrections officials to reconsider how they treat prisoners suffering from withdrawal, and to provide them the medical care they need. See: Moyer v. Lebanon County, U.S.D.C. (M.D. Penn.), Case No. 3:16-cv-01424-RDM.
I’ll keep an eye on this case. For decades I have realized that our most important right is freedom of speech. It is our guarantee of a free press, it allows me to call tRump all sorts of appropriate, though insulting, names, and it keeps democracy alive through wide-ranging discourse.
I think the Patent Office will lose on this one, but nothing our current Supreme Court does will surprise me.
Excerpts from the Article:
Erik Brunetti’s four-letter fashion brand starts with an “F″ and rhymes with “duct.” The federal government calls it “scandalous” and “immoral” and has refused to register the trademark. Brunetti has a different word for his brand and designs: “thought-provoking.”
“We wanted the viewer to question it: Like, is that pronounced the way I think it’s pronounced?” he said of his streetwear brand “FUCT,” which began selling clothing in 1991.
On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear Brunetti’s challenge to a part of federal law that says officials should refuse to register trademarks that are “scandalous” or “immoral.” Brunetti says it should be struck down as an unconstitutional restriction on speech.
The government is defending the century-old provision. The Trump administration says in court papers that the law encourages trademarks that are appropriate for all audiences. It argues it isn’t restricting speech but rather declining to promote it.
Brunetti and others like him who are denied trademark registration under the “scandalous” provision can still use the words they wanted to register for their business, nonprofit or brand. They just don’t get the benefits that come with registering a trademark. For Brunetti, that would largely mean a better ability to go after counterfeiters who knock off his designs.
Brunetti would seem to have a strong argument. Two years ago, the justices unanimously invalidated a related provision of federal law that told officials not to register disparaging trademarks. In that case, an Asian-American rock band sued after the government refused to register its band name, “The Slants,” because it was seen as offensive to Asians.
In court, the justices had no trouble saying the band’s name, but Brunetti’s brand may be different. His lawyer, John R. Sommer, says he plans to say the individual letters of the name, “F-U-C-T,” which Brunetti sometimes does too. Another possible workaround: explaining the brand is something of an acronym for “Friends U Can’t Trust.”
Part of Sommer’s argument is what he sees as the arbitrary nature of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s decisions about what gets tagged as scandalous or immoral. A lawyer working for the office who is from the South might find something “not nice” that wouldn’t faze a lawyer from the Bronx, Sommer said. That means “you can register profanity if you’re lucky” and you get assigned a lawyer who allows it, Sommer said.
Two New York University professors gave that argument substantial support in a brief they filed in the case. They showed that the office routinely refuses to register trademarks both by saying something is scandalous and, ironically, too confusingly similar to something that is already registered. For example, the office refused to register “FUK!T” for being scandalous and immoral but also confusingly similar to the already-registered “PHUKIT.” ″MIDDLEFINGER” was denied after “JONNY MIDDLEFINGER” was registered, and “Ko Kane” was rejected after “Kokanee” was registered. And those are just some printable examples.
Brunetti said the trademark office has registered trademarks “far more offensive than my mark.” If Brunetti wins, the public is unlikely to notice a whole lot of change, his lawyer said. Retailers will decide what products are appropriate for their customers, and Target and Walmart aren’t going to carry Brunetti’s brand, Sommer said.
Brunetti hopes a victory at the high court will help him pursue counterfeiters. In the nearly 30 years since he began his company from his bedroom in Venice, California, he’s produced thousands of clothing designs. Some of the best known are parodies involving the Ford logo and “Planet of the Apes.”
These days, he directs a staff of four from a downtown Los Angeles office. They release new clothing on their website about once a month. Some items have sold out in less than a minute, and new collections are always sold out in under three days, Brunetti said. Because of the items’ scarcity, some are resold on eBay for a profit, with a T-shirt that cost $40 sometimes fetching more than $100.
Brunetti said he’s never met anyone truly offended by his brand. “Most people find it clever,” he said.
Congressional Report Finds Misconduct by BOP Administrators Often Ignored – No Surprise to Me – FED ABUSE – kra
This concerns federal prisons, which, generally speaking, are run better than state prisons. That’s not saying a whole lot because too many state prisons are simply state agencies which are wildly out of control!
Excerpts from the Article:
A memorandum from the House Subcommittee on National Security, released on January 2, 2019, concluded that misconduct by senior leadership in the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) “appears to be largely tolerated or ignored altogether.”
The committee reviewed thousands of pages of case files and “was able to substantiate many of the allegations of misconduct and retaliation on behalf of agency senior leadership. The Bureau’s Office of Internal Affairs also reviewed, investigated, and even substantiated many of these claims of misconduct through the agency’s internal complaint process.”
However, an investigation into the status of BOP officials who committed misconduct showed that some were “shuffled around, commended, awarded, promoted, or even allowed to retire with a clean record and full benefits before any disciplinary action could apply. Documents and testimony also showed disciplinary action was delayed in some cases to allow senior leaders to retire unscathed.” Such lenient treatment was in marked contrast to the harsh punishments that rank-and-file prison employees often received for minor infractions.
“For high-ranking officers, bad behavior is ignored or covered up on a regular basis, and certain officials who should be investigated can avoid discipline,” House investigators concluded in the nine-page memorandum, which noted that a dozen misconduct investigations involving five BOP wardens were opened and closed the same day. Those investigations included allegations of assaulting a prisoner, falsifying records, embezzlement and harassment. The complaining staff members were not informed of the outcome.
The memo contained specifics for two cases. In the first, a senior warden sexually harassed a prison psychologist so much that she felt “creeped out” and eventually reported his behavior to a captain. The captain then reported the harassment to the BOP regional director, and in retaliation was relieved of his duties. Concerned about his job, the captain again contacted the regional director, who flew him to her office. There, she made an astonishing statement. “Do not bullshit me!” she reportedly said. “I know everything. I see everything! … [I am] aware that [the senior warden] has allegations of sexual harassment at all of the other institutions that he has been to, and he is still sitting in the Warden’s chair! People need to realize that and get over it!”
The regional director convinced the captain to apologize to the warden in order to save his job. That didn’t stop the retaliation, and the captain eventually transferred to another facility with a demotion to lieutenant.
In the second case, an associate warden protected a lieutenant from sexual harassment allegations. The associate warden even went so far as to accuse the complaining employee of “disruptive behavior” when she reported the lieutenant’s continued sexual harassment, and ordered her to stop filing complaints.
The memorandum recommended that the BOP’s employee disciplinary process be amended to ensure the independence of investigations. Currently, local investigators are mostly lieutenants who are subordinate to numerous other officials at the prison. Further, wardens are informed about who is filing complaints and the nature of the complaints as soon as they are made, creating opportunities to influence the investigation or engage in retaliation.
In addition to keeping the prison’s administrative hierarchy out of investigations, the memo recommended that the Office of General Counsel, rather than the warden, be the ultimate deciding authority for disciplinary actions and that the outcome of investigations be shared with the complainants.
The memorandum did not address the impact of misconduct by BOP officials on federal prisoners, who also often face retaliation for reporting misbehavior. “Overall, people often fear retribution for reporting waste, fraud and abuse,” said one BOP prisoner’s family member who did not want to be identified. “The difference is incarcerated people do not have whistleblower protections like federal employees.”
He is sure to be convicted here concerning his release of classified information.
I love this line, from the government that assassinates opponents at home and abroad: “The Kremlin said it hoped his rights would not be violated.”
Excerpts from the Article:
British police dragged Julian Assange out of Ecuadorean embassy in London on Thursday after Ecuador abruptly revoked his seven-year asylum, paving the way for his extradition to the United States for involvement in one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information.
The frail-looking WikiLeaks founder, with white hair and a long beard, was carried head first out of the Ecuadorean embassy shortly after 0900 GMT by at least seven men to a waiting police van, after shouting “This is unlawful, I’m not leaving.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May greeted the news in parliament. “The whole House will welcome the news this morning that the Metropolitan Police have arrested Julian Assange, arrested for breach of bail after nearly seven years in the Ecuadorean embassy,” May said to cheers and cries of “Hear, hear!” from lawmakers.
Appearing before a London court, Assange said he was not guilty of failing to surrender to court in 2012, but his lawyer said Assange would not give evidence. Minutes later the judge convicted him of skipping bail. He will be sentenced at a later date.
Police said they had arrested Assange, 47, after being invited into the embassy following the Ecuadorean government’s withdrawal of asylum. Assange was carried out of the building carrying a copy of Gore Vidal’s “History of The National Security State”.
Just hours later, U.S. prosecutors said they had charged Assange with conspiracy in trying to access a classified U.S. government computer with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010.
The arrests, after nearly seven years holed up in a few cramped rooms at the embassy, mark one of the most peculiar turns in a tumultuous life that has transformed the Australian programmer into a rebel wanted by the United States.
Supporters of Assange, who gave a thumbs up in handcuffs as he was taken from a police station to the court, said Ecuador had betrayed him at the behest of Washington, that the ending of his asylum was illegal and that it marked a dark moment for press freedom.
To some, Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech. But to others, he is a dangerous rebel who has undermined U.S. security.
WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.
Assange made international headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
It was not immediately clear what specifically prompted Ecuador to end Assange’s stay in the embassy, or the extent of the diplomacy that led to the arrest. The Kremlin said it hoped his rights would not be violated.
Assange’s indictment arose from a long-running criminal investigation dating back to the administration of former President Barack Obama.
He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted, the department said.
Britain said no man was above the law. “Julian Assange is no hero, he has hidden from the truth for years and years,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. “It’s not so much Julian Assange being held hostage in the Ecuadorean embassy, it’s actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorean embassy hostage in a situation that was absolutely intolerable for them.”
WikiLeaks said Ecuador had illegally terminated his political asylum in violation of international law. “Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom,” said Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who fled to Moscow after revealing massive U.S. intelligence gathering.
“The British government has confirmed it in writing,” Moreno said. “The asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”
He has done it before!
It is quite clear now, from two days of Attorney General Barr testifying before Congress, that he is a mere political lackey, trying to distort or cover up the Mueller Report to protect tRump.
History will not treat Mr. Barr kindly; he has done this before! In 1992, the very conservative columnist, William Safire, wrote a New York Times column about Barr’s cover up to protect president Bush concerning an Iraqi arms deal! He even called Barr “the Coverup General”! Here is that article!
Excerpts from that Article:
In the first week of October, the refusal to name an independent counsel in the Iraqgate scandal was becoming an issue in the Presidential campaign. To take off the heat, Attorney General William Barr asked former Federal Judge Harold Tyler if he would serve as a “special” — not independent — counsel.
The timing of the assignment was fishy. “He didn’t seem to be in that much of a hurry,” recalls Judge Tyler. Mr. Barr wanted a report delayed until after the election, well into December — when the act authorizing special prosecutors was to expire. Judge Tyler wisely ducked.
Jumping at the chance was Frederick Lacey, another former Federal judge. Yesterday, on Mr. Barr’s carefully chosen schedule, Mr. Lacey came through for the Coverup-General and his corrupt crew in a style that would make a Watergater blush.
At a press conference in the F.B.I. building, Mr. Lacey — seething at having been called a “patsy prosecutor” in this space — was at his patsiest. “All of this ‘stuff,’ ” he charged, spitting out the euphemism, was “arrant nonsense.” He called the prosecution of the botched case “pretty near perfect” and charges of cover-up “baseless.” They were caused by “unbridled attacks of a legislator” (he means you, Henry Gonzalez), and he further chastised the press: “You have been taken by them.” That’s one of the misprints — he meant “taken in” — from a slapped-together, grammatically befuddled diatribe handed out by Barr’s helper, Paul McNulty, before Lacey’s press conference.
Customarily, a lengthy written report such as Lacey submitted is given to reporters for study at least an hour in advance, facilitating informed questioning. Not this time; Barr wanted no detailed cross-examination of his defender.
When I rose, unrecognized, to ask that copies of the supposedly definitive document be distributed, the imperious former jurist denied responsibility, professing to think we already had it. I walked out in protest at being denied the basis for specific queries (thus missing his later aspersion at “distortions” from Justice whistleblowers that come to “people like Safire”). But the obfuscation performed by Barr’s spokesman did illustrate how easily Lacey was manipulated by the Justice Department he was supposed to investigate.
A second section of Lacey’s whitewash — dishonestly labeled as coming from “independent counsel” — is classified as secret. Between denunciations of the press and a shot at “Congressional pressure” that forced the helpless Agriculture Department to shut its eyes to wrongdoing, Barr’s dependent counsel admitted he had not sought to have anything stamped “secret” declassified.
This comes from Lacey, a former judicial intelligence panelist who never met a wiretap he didn’t like. He thus perpetuates the wrongful use of national security as a device for preventing investigation into abuses of power. Then-Attorney General Dick Thornburgh claimed “national security” in seeking to hide embarrassments from the House Banking Chairman. Lacey’s report brushes away this blatant attempt to intimidate as “the unfortunate use of the words ‘national security.’ . . .” A whitewasher’s “unfortunate” is a hard-eyed prosecutor’s “unlawful.”
Barr’s dependent counsel invokes that secrecy in failing to tell the public about the Iraqgate diplomatic cable traffic. It shows how the F.B.I. and C.I.A. knew the truth about the use of Agriculture billions for Saddam’s armaments, as well as the involvement of the Italian and British Governments — while Justice prosecutors were claiming the opposite in court. Lacey’s see-no-evil conclusion: “We were unable to determine who at Justice saw what and when.”
Others will determine that. Iraqgate will not be squelched by Barr’s cover-up or his dependent counsel’s nonfeasance. The Senate majority leader, George Mitchell, expects to send up new legislation establishing an independent counsel; Bill Clinton will sign it and has assured me he would urge his Attorney General to trigger the Act in this case.
Meanwhile, in response to the display of power-abusive arrogance shown this day, the new Congress should set up a select joint committee with expert staff to plumb this scandal to its depths.
The Whole Story:
This is the character of the judges tRump is appointing. Downright appalling.
Excerpts from the Article:
Critics on Tuesday said the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in a case brought by a Missouri death row inmate fundamentally erodes protections against torture enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for the court’s right-wing majority in the 5-4 decision, ruling that Russell Bucklew can be executed by lethal injection despite his medical condition, cavernous hemangioma. The disease, warn his legal team and medical experts, will cause Bucklew to choke for several minutes on his own blood before dying as the tumors growing in his throat and elsewhere in his body rupture.
“The Eighth Amendment does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death,” wrote Gorsuch.
The decision was denounced as “atrocious,” “blood-thirsty” and “barbaric” by death penalty abolitionists and other critics, with some saying the high court’s approval of Bucklew’s execution is tantamount to nullifying the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment—the law banning cruel and unusual punishment.
I really cannot exaggerate how radical and how significant the opinion Gorsuch handed down today is. It completely rewrites the Court’s understanding of a provision of the Bill of Rights — and it portends similarly revolutionary opinions in the future.https://thinkprogress.org/gorsuch-supreme-court-cruel-death-penalty-opinion-eighth-amendment-8ddde34133ac/ …
Anyway, five justices of the Supreme Court authorized Missouri to torture a man to death today. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/17-8151_1qm2.pdf …
Gorsuch’s atrocious opinion in today’s death penalty case essentially convert’s Thomas’ extreme interpretation of the 8th Amendment—long considered a fringe view—into the law of the land. Just jaw-dropping. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/17-8151_1qm2.pdf … pic.twitter.com/iMIuoBEQhu
The Supreme Court’s 5–4 death penalty decision today is beyond appalling. It legalizes torture and effectively reverses 60 years of progressive precedent. It transforms a barbaric view of the 8th Amendment into the law of the land. It is horrific. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/04/supreme-court-neil-gorsuch-eighth-amendment-death-penalty-torture.html … @Slate
“There are higher values than ensuring that executions run on time,” Sotomayor wrote. “If a death sentence or the manner in which it is carried out violates the Constitution, that stain can never come out. Our jurisprudence must remain one of vigilance and care, not one of dismissiveness.”
In allowing Bucklew’s execution to proceed, instead of adhering to decades of interpretation of the Constitution, Ian Millhiser wrote at Think Progress, the majority opinion “literally tears out the heart of more than a half-century worth of Eighth Amendment precedents, and replaces it with a very different legal rule that, until recently, was rejected by all but the Supreme Court’s most hardline conservatives.”
“The majority’s willingness to cast aside one of the most firmly established assumptions of constitutional law so casually,” Millhiser added, “suggests that they will do it again. And again. And again.”
As further evidence of his criminal mentality, tRump blatantly ordered immigration officials to ignore the law, to violate the law. If that is not grounds for impeachment, along with attempted obstruction of justice and campaign finance crimes, I don’t know what is. This guy is dangerous to our nation! DANGEROUS!
Last Friday, the President visited Calexico, California, where he said, “We’re full, our system’s full, our country’s full — can’t come in! Our country is full, what can you do? We can’t handle any more, our country is full. Can’t come in, I’m sorry. It’s very simple.”
Behind the scenes, two sources told CNN, the President told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don’t have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, “Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.”
After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.
If Trump is telling rank and file CBP Agents to ignore the laws, then no doubt Mr Trump was telling Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to ignore the law. Her refusal to comply probably accounts for her removal as DHS Secretary.
Mr Trump took an oath to uphold the law. Telling members of his Administration to break the law would seem to be an impeachable offence.
Last week Trump remarked “to be honest with you, we have to get rid of judges.”. He seems to think he is an autocrat, much like his role model Putin.
Trump’s disregard for upholding the law should be ringing alarm bells on both sides of the isle.
California Justice Calls Death Penalty System Dysfunctional – Another Move in the Right Direction – kra
Doubtful that the current Supreme Court will do it, but it is loooong past time to declare the death penalty in America unconstitutional. It is demonstrably ineffective in deterring crime, fought with racism, and is applied capriciously.
Excepts from the Article:
The death penalty system in the nation’s most populous state is dysfunctional and expensive, and a ballot measure approved by voters to speed up executions will not make it workable, a California Supreme Court justice said Thursday in an unusual opinion that added to a renewed debate about capital punishment.
Associate Justice Goodwin Liu made the comments two weeks after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom placed a moratorium on executions and said he is advocating for the repeal of capital punishment in California.
Liu said he was not expressing any view on the morality or constitutionality of the death penalty and would continue to uphold capital sentences when required by law. He joined the rest of the justices to unanimously affirm the death sentence of Thomas Potts, who was convicted of killing an elderlycouple in 1997.
But in a separate opinion in that case, Liu expressed concerns about the death penalty system in California and Proposition 66, a 2016 ballot measure that aimed to remove regulatory hurdles to executions.
Voters narrowly approved the measure while rejecting a competing effort to ban the death penalty. The state Supreme Court upheld Proposition 66 in 2017, including Liu, who expressed some concerns in that decision but went further in his new opinion. The measure did not enact the “key reforms that leading authorities consider fundamental to a workable death penalty system,” Liu wrote in Thursday’s opinion, which Associate Justice Mariano Florentino-Cuellar joined.
Its promise that death penalty cases would be completely settled in the courts in five years was “more than the system can deliver,” he said. Without additional funding for the court system, the measure cannot reach its goals, Liu said.
He added that “the promise of justice in our death penalty system is a promise that California has been unable to keep” and a discussion on the effectiveness and cost of capital punishment was overdue.
California has the nation’s largest death row, with 737 inmates. Only 13 people have been executed since 1978 — the last in 2006. Condemned inmates are more likely to die of old age during decades of appeals.
Newsom praised Liu’s opinion in a statement Thursday. When he signed the moratorium this month, the governor said the death penalty is applied unevenly and that innocent people can find themselves on death row. He said he also may commute death sentences and is pushing to ban capital punishment. Fellow Democratic lawmakers introduced a ballot measure that would repeal the death penalty next year.
Critics, including President Donald Trump, accused Newsom of usurping voters’ will. Some said his decision could face legal challenges.
In a poll released Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California, just 38 percent of likely voters favored the death penalty when asked whether someone convicted of first-degree murder should get a death sentence or life in prison with no possibility of parole.
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