Prison secrecy is a widespread and outrageous problem. They refuse to disclose information not “for security reasons”, as the bastards always claim, but to cover up all their crimes and wrongdoing!
Excerpts from the Article:
As the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida seeks to address “over-incarceration” rates within the Florida Department of Corrections, the nonprofit organization filed a lawsuit seeking public records. In a lawsuit filed in Leon County last week, the ACLU requested state data on prison demographics, charged offenses, tentative release dates and information the Department of Corrections used to calculate the tentative release dates.
The group is seeking information to better understand the racial disparities within Florida prisons.
The organization previously filed a public records request with the Department of Corrections Sept. 30 that has gone unanswered.
“The ACLU of Fla. is concerned about the over-incarceration in our state as well as the racial disparity of those incarcerated. It hopes to propose an amendment [to Florida State Statute] to decrease the term a person with gain time must serve below the current ‘minimum of 85%’ of the sentence,” the group wrote in its request.
The goal is to reduce the overall percentage of incarcerated persons of color and reduce the more than $2 billion cost to Floridians to jail them.
The group is also asking for information about whether the term of incarceration of each current offense for which individuals are incarcerated runs concurrent or consecutive with another term for a different offense and whether inmates received any county jail or other credit for time served before being committed to the Department of Corrections.
Concurrent sentences are served at the same time while consecutive sentences are served individually. Convicted criminals serving concurrent sentences serve less time than those serving consecutive sentences.
The ACLU asked that the information it requested be provided free of charge, but said the group is willing to pay for “reasonable costs” associated with its request.
“The ACLU’s request does not require the creation of a new record. The FDOC’s databases already exist. The ACLU’s request does not require the reorganization of a record. FDOC’s databases have no inherent organization; a user must decide what and how the information is presented. The ACLU simply requests meaningful access to public information,” the lawsuit reads.
The Whole Story:
Yes, this is one huge, disastrous consequence of bad cops, bad prosecutors, and otherwise tainted evidence, and it is another reason for YOU to raise hell about it!
Excerpts from the Article:
Disastrous. That’s what one attorney is calling the rapidly growing evidence scandal that has swept the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and that threatens to alter the criminal justice landscape in one of California’s largest counties.
The ramifications are real: Orange County’s guilty could go free; the innocent wrongly jailed on convictions built on tainted evidence – or evidence that was never filed at all. Thousands of criminal cases in this Southern California megalopolis of more than 3.2 million people are now potentially tainted after a week of back-to-back bombshells: internal reports revealing that hundreds of sheriff’s deputies sat on evidence and dozens of others lied about filing it.
Now Orange County Sheriff’s officials are blasting assertions by the county’s assistant public defender, Scott Sanders, that deputies failed to book evidence in as many as 9,000 cases and are fielding terse demands from the county’s district attorney for more information in the wake of the audits that showed two years of nearly department-wide evidence mishandling.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department in 2018 undertook a pair of evidence audits. The first one looked at almost 99,000 police reports over a two-year period. It showed evidence in 30 percent of the reports was mishandled in some way, and the department did not retain evidence in nearly 72,000 cases.
The internal audit randomly sampled 450 reports out of the nearly 72,000 cases flagged in the first report. Of those, deputies filed 121 reports stating they collected and booked evidence. The auditor’s findings: no evidence was booked in nearly half of the sampled reports — 57 — in which deputies said they had, or about 13 percent of the 450 cases reviewed, according to the audit.
Sanders’ projection that 9,000 cases were mishandled over two years stems from the numbers in the second audit. The Sheriff’s Department argues Sanders is exaggerating.
“The department should forever be prohibited from using the word ‘disingenuous.’ Their exact figures are the figures to use. We’re looking at 450 cases out of 72,000. We’re going to stand by their numbers: it’s more likely to be 9,000 than 57,” Sanders said on Nov. 26. “We do the calibrations and they call us ‘disingenuous.’ That’s absurd.”
“We’ve been ripped off on thousands of cases. We had no idea,” Sanders said. “This is the sixth-largest county in the nation. There’s an enormous amount of cases they touch here.”
“As of yet, we still do not have the audit nor have we received a response to the (Nov. 21) letter we sent to the Sheriff’s Department requesting additional information about cases where evidence was not properly booked,” Orange County Chief Assistant District Attorney Shawn Nelson said in a Monday statement.
“This is not a dispute between departments. This is a sheriff’s issue,” Nelson’s statement began. “Now our office is fully apprised of the scope, we know what our duty is and it is unquestionable,” he said, calling the sheriff’s department’s failure to turn over or disclose the audits “mystifying.”
“The defense relied on these statements that were not true,” he said. “Under these circumstances, courts would reverse convictions. Some courts would have to see whether the evidence was material, but others might say it’s so outrageous, we have to deter others from doing it again. “Either way,” Feldman concluded, “anybody convicted by this would have a heck of a civil suit.”
More discussion set to determine fate of Hummers Parade – With Letter to the Editor! – kra PUBLISHED
Here is the Article: More discussion set to determine fate of Hummers Parade
And here is the important part of this post:
UPDATE – 12/5/19 THIS IS PUBLISHED IN THE DELAWARE STATE NEWS
Commentary or Letter to the Editor – Save the Hummers Parade! – 12/4/19
For years now, Middletown, De has demonstrated the fine American tradition of satire and comical irreverence toward authority. Their annual gala of the Hummers Parade, a take off from the Philadelphia Mummers Parade, has called attention to pertinent social issues. That some residents do not want to see the depiction of some unpleasant truths, such as caged immigrants, is no excuse for trampling on the most important right guaranteed by our Constitution: Free Speech!
Any unlawful restrictions concocted by the city are sure to face successful legal challenges, just wasting taxpayer money.
If you don’t want to see it, stay home. Let the marchers march, in the finest American spirit!
Ken Abraham, former prosecutor and founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH THOUSANDS OF READERS! The keys to getting your Letter published are:
1. Keep it to 250 words or fewer.
2. Do not make it about “poor little old me”. Describe the problem as one which not only affects the individual, but is a senseless or ineffective measure, policy, or law which also harms communities and society. For example, with reentry, the obstacles make it unnecessarily difficult for the individual, but also harm society by making it hard to become productive, spending money and paying taxes in the community, and they cause increased recidivism = increased crime.
3. Speak from your heart.
4. Google any facts you are not sure about.
5. Do not name-call.
Do what works: Write that Letter!
Letter to Editor – sign name, town, state, and your phone number (they often call to verify that you sent it), and “Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE” if you like – shows you are part of a large group.
Send the email to yourself, and put on the “bcc” bar the email addresses for Letters to the Editor for the top ten newspapers in your state and several national ones – The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, U S A Today (google the Letter to Editor email addresses). Any questions, CALL me at 302-423-4067!
GOOGLE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” FOR THE TOP TEN NEWSPAPERS IN YOUR STATE AND SAVE THAT INFORMATION FOR REPEATED USE – Some papers will print a letter from you every 2 ekke, some every 30 days, some every 90 days. They have varying policies. But if you really want to make a difference shoot them a new letter once a month! I send one out every 2 weeks.
Need a Letter on some criminal justice issue and not a great letter writer? NO EXCUSE! Email me a rough draft and call me and I’ll polish it up! firstname.lastname@example.org .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.
Indictments charge 25 corrections officers with using excessive force, intimidation to dominate Maryland jails
Great news for justice and the rule of law. Problem is, all across America, for every 25 charged there are at least 50 more who SHOULD be charged! I have seen first hand how out of control America’s prisons have become.
Excerpts from the Article:
More than two dozen Maryland corrections officers and staff were indicted on charges they used excessive force, intimidation, evidence tampering and other criminal measures to ensure their special tactical unit maintained “dominance of its operational territory” within state-run jails, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby said Tuesday.
The indictment of 25 members of the Baltimore Central Regional Tactical Unit on 236 criminal counts — including first-degree assault, participation in a criminal gang and misconduct in office — pushes to more than 200 the number of corrections officers, inmates and civilian accomplices who have been criminally charged in prison corruption cases in the state in the past four years.
Those indicted Tuesday include the tactical unit’s supervisor and about half its membership. The group is tasked with responding to incidents and maintaining order in state facilities. Mosby said the latest charges stemmed from an investigation state corrections officials launched last year, after “rumors and anecdotes” were relayed regarding abuses by the unit.
“While the investigation revealed a series of seemingly isolated incidents dating back to 2016, further examination divulged multiple examples of excessive force utilized against detainees at different facilities, which ultimately led to the discovery of a criminal enterprise functioning within the tactical unit,” Mosby said. Corrections officials then worked with prosecutors to build a case against the officers, many of whom were placed on administrative leave last year but only arrested Tuesday, officials said.
Those indicted included supervisors, officials said. Some of the officers charged face up to 150 years behind bars. Corrections officials said all would be suspended without pay pending trial.
At least 25 detainees have been identified as victims, with investigators gathering information from surveillance footage and interviews with corrections staff, officials said. The unit worked at the Metropolitan Transition Center, the Baltimore Pretrial Facility, the state Corrections Department’s Jail Industries Building and Baltimore City Booking and Intake Facility, officials said.
Among those charged was acting Capt. Kevin Hickson, 49, the tactical unit’s supervisor. The indictment accused Hickson of being the “organizer, supervisor, promoter and manager” of the criminal enterprise, and outlined 47 incidents in which they alleged he or other members of his team assaulted detainees.
Hickson and those under him used “illegal and excessive force through assaults of inmates, use of threats against inmates, and various retaliatory tactics to assure complete compliance with [the tactical team’s] authority, which bolsters [its] overall reputation within the territory and suppresses any dissension and discord among the overall prison population,” prosecutors wrote.
Robert Green, secretary of the state corrections department, called the allegations “disturbing” and noted the investigation is ongoing. He also credited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for the priority his administration has placed on confronting corruption in the corrections department. “This case represents our strong effort to root out people who don’t belong in the field of public safety and rehabilitation,” Green said. “This is a disturbing case, but it does not and should not cast a shadow on the commitment and integrity of the exceptional correctional professionals in this department.”
The union said the “vast majority” of officers it represents “perform their duties admirably and tirelessly each day,” and the “actions of any few officers should not be held against, or diminish the work, of those many who serve with honor.”
Mosby made the announcement in an administrative building on the massive Baltimore jail complex downtown. The jail became notorious in 2013 when federal prosecutors indicted 25 people, including corrections officers, in a smuggling scheme. Prosecutors said the Black Guerrilla Family had gained control behind bars and turned the jail into a gang stronghold.
In January 2018, 18 people — including two guards — were charged with smuggling heroin, cocaine and cellphones into the nearby maximum-security prison at Jessup. A yearlong wiretap investigation led authorities to that smuggling ring. The guards were sentenced to serve three years in prison.
Two months before that case, officials arrested and imprisoned a sergeant who worked at the prison and who they say ran the Crips street gang inside the walls. He pleaded guilty to state charges of participating in a criminal gang.
And in October 2016, federal agents indicted 80 people in the largest prison corruption case in Maryland history. Corrections officers and inmates were charged with smuggling heroin, cocaine, cellphones and pornography into the Eastern Correctional Institution in Somerset County on the Eastern Shore. Seventy-seven people were convicted, officials said, including 16 correctional officers who were sentenced to as much as six years in prison.
Green on Tuesday denied that the long line of prison corruption cases in the state indicated a failure on the part of state officials to get a handle on the problem with better training and vetting of hopeful officers. “I don’t see it as a failure. Evidence here today is that we investigated this case, we brought this forward,” Green said. “It is a committed effort to be excellent.”
See oodles of articles on this website about why private prisons are a DISASTER for inmates and for society! My friend, Alex Friedmann, is featured in this article.
Excerpts from the Article:
Alex Friedmann, 50, was transferred to a Tennessee public prison in 1998 after having spent the previous six years incarcerated in a private facility. Everything was different: There were more blankets, the toilet paper wasn’t as cheap, and correctional officers were everywhere. “First thing I noticed was there’s a heck of a lot more staff or boots on the ground in the public prisons,” he told Vox. “There was not such an emphasis on cutting costs.”
After being released in 1999, Friedmann — now the associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center — began fighting for the abolishment of private prisons, and has spent the past two decades doing so. The arguments against them, according to Friedmann, are clear: Their for-profit model encourages the business to cut corners, affecting inmates’ safety and quality of living.
Increasingly, these criticisms of private, for-profit facilities have been reflected in policy and spending. Fueled in part by opposition from their constituents, lawmakers of states like California and Nevada have banned private prisons from operating. Businesses are also increasingly cutting ties with the industry following pushback from their customers.
The number of inmates in these facilities are also seeing a downward trend: In comparison to its peak in 2012 of about 136,220 people, the private prison population has decreased about 12 percent in the past five years as more facilities are closing. Given private prisons rely on facilities being full to remain economically viable, there is concern among executives that these falling numbers could eventually drive these businesses to their demise.
Some in the industry have begun to accept that private prisons may not exist in the decades to come. CoreCivic, the nation’s largest and oldest private prison firm, said it has begun to plan for a federal private prison ban if a Democratic candidate wins the 2020 presidential election (current frontrunners like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren support its abolishment), according to Nashville Post. Rather than house inmates for the government, the company would simply lease real estate, CEO Damon Hininger said on a conference call last month.
In an attempt to avoid having to rely on these contingency plans, the for-profit prison industry has established an advocacy group called Day 1 Alliance (D1A). The group launched on October 25 and is backed by the largest companies in the industry: CoreCivic will provide initial funding while GEO Group and Management & Training Corporation — the second and third largest companies in the marketplace — will take on leadership roles, according to the Associated Press.
As a public information group, D1A will focus on changing public opinion that has soured on the industry. The group doesn’t plan on lobbying or advocating for issues, the group’s spokeswoman Alexandra Wilkes told Vox; instead it will focus on spreading its message by engaging with the media.
“We launched D1A because of the huge gap that has opened up between the false, distorted rhetoric that activists and some politicians use against this industry and the facts on the ground,” Wilkes said.
But activists argue that the advocacy group does not have the best interests of incarcerated people in mind, and are concerned it will try to downplay the poor living conditions in some facilities while reversing the victories activists have won in states like California and Nevada. “Don’t be fooled: This is an effort to defend a multi-billion dollar industry that regularly gouges American taxpayers and take attention away from the conditions in these jails,” said Families Belong Together Chairwoman Jess Morales Rocketto, who also wrote in a statement: “The private prison industry has a long and documented history of abusing people in their care.”
Private prisons first emerged in the 1980s in response to mass incarceration created by tough-on-crime policies. As state and federal prisons became overcrowded, private businesses seized the opportunity to build their own facilities and house the incarcerated. The world’s first modern for-profit prison company, Corrections Corporation of America (now known as CoreCivic), was established in 1983 by Thomas Beasley, Doctor R. Crants, and T. Don Hutto.
CoreCivic — and other for-profit prisons that followed — makes money from government contracts that set a cost per inmate that taxpayers pay the company. In return, the facilities agree to provide incarcerated people with a mandatory ration of food, clothing, health care, and other living needs.
It’s an attractive partnership for states because it gives them the opportunity to shift accountability away from themselves, said Louisiana State University political science professor Anna Gunderson, who is writing about the US’s adoption of these facilities.
“What’s driving a lot of the [private prison system] is not so much the need — although that’s certainly part of it — but also the desire to sort of make sure that if something bad happens within private facilities, the company is blamed and not necessarily the state government,” she said.
That’s exactly why they’re a problem, because these businesses — which like any other, are looking to make a profit — work to increase profit margins by cutting corners, activists argue. Friedmann said he found this particularly true in the quality of the staff. Not only were there fewer correctional officers, but they were also trained less than officers at public prisons, he said. Low pay rates led to frequent turnover, and a lack of experienced officers directly impact the inmates’ quality of life, he added.
“I do recall one incident where a prisoner set fire within his cell, smoke was billowing out of his cell, he was locked inside,” Friedmann said. “The guard, instead of letting the guy out or calling from help, just held the door shut so he couldn’t get out. And that might have been because she was the only staff member in the unit. And she was afraid if she’d let the guy out, he might overpower her or something. Basically just left him in there to burn.”
Under the Obama administration, narratives like these became cause for alarm. An 2016 memo ordered the Justice Department to reduce the use of private prisons after a DOJ report revealed they had higher rates of contraband, violence, and use of force than public prisons. This directive, coupled with declining incarceration numbers, led many who are opposed to private prisons to believe that economic realities would lead to the facilities going out of business. But that optimism faded in 2017, when then Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded that memo “to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.” The Trump administration went on to embrace the use of private detention facilities in order to realize its family separation policy. The Homestead center, a private shelter near Miami operated by the for-profit company Caliburn, was criticized in June for detaining migrant children for long periods in poor conditions. It attracted a flock of presidential candidates, who denounced the facility while standing on its grounds; the facility effectively shut down on November 30.
“For a lot of people it is a lot easier to be upset about private prisons when the people that are incarcerated within them are children or families,” Gunderson said. “I think that caught a lot of people’s attention and it made them realize, ‘If the federal government is privatizing immigration what is my state doing?’”
Despite public outcry over private detention facilities — in particular the shelters — the Trump administration shows no sign of reversing its policies. In response to the federal government’s embrace of for-profit incarceration, states and businesses have begun to take their own action against the industry.
In total, 22 states — under both Democratic and Republican control — do not house incarcerated people in for-profit prisons. And in recent months, three states have passed legislation addressing these facilities. Nevada banned private prisons in May, and the following month, Illinois, which banned for-profit correctional centers in the 1990s, expanded that law to include privately-run immigration detention centers.
California passed a bill in October that effectively bans for-profit prisons. The state will close three private prisons that house 1,400 inmates in the next four years, while four private detention facilities that hold about 4,000 people will also stop operating in the next year, according to Reuters.
“By ending the use of for-profit, private prisons and detention facilities, we are sending a powerful message that we vehemently oppose the practice of profiteering off the backs of Californians in custody, that we will stand up for the health, safety and welfare of our people, and that we are committed to humane treatment for all,” Assemblymember Rob Bonta, chief author of the bill, said in a statement following the passage of the bill.
But significant loopholes still exist in California’s law that are of concern to those who advocate for the total abolition of private prisons: facilities that provide “educational, vocational, medical or other ancillary services” will be exempted, according to Kara Gotsch, director of strategic initiatives for the Sentencing Project. “I don’t necessarily think that the passage of that legislation will mean the end of the end of private prisons in that state,” she said. “It just seems that there’s a lot of loopholes which means that the private prison industry is going to continue. So I don’t look necessarily at California as a model.”
For Gotsch, states like Nevada — which effectively abolished private prisons with few exemptions in May — should serve as an ideal example of how states should scrap the facilities because that state’s ban is absolute: Nevada cannot have contracts with any private facilities that provide services like housing and custody after July 1, 2022, with no exemptions.
More states are planning to take similar measures to ride this wave of banning private prisons. Last month, Colorado’s Democratic lawmakers proposed a bill that would close most of the state’s for-profit facilities — which hold about 19 percent of Colorado’s incarcerated population — by 2025. Two Minnesota state representatives also plan to introduce a bill during the 2020 session that would ban for-profit immigration detention centers.
While the continued existence of private prisons is increasingly being called into question, the reality is that closing private prisons will change little about the criminal justice system as a whole. Only 121,718 inmates, or about 8.2 percent of the US prison population, are incarcerated in private prisons, according to the Sentencing Project. More than a million Americans would remain imprisoned even if those held at private prisons were released, and many state and federal facilities suffer from the same poor conditions for-profit prisons are said to have.
Ultimately, Friedmann said the root of the private prison problem — and the root of many other criminal justice issues — is mass incarceration, “If you didn’t have so many people locked up, we wouldn’t need the extra beds the private prisons provide,” he said. His solution: rolling back tough-on-crime legislation and removing profit incentives from the justice system. Doing both things, he said, would not only hasten the demise of private prisons, but would also begin to address larger issues with incarceration in the US.
Just a matter of time until all states do the right thing!
Excerpts from the Article:
James Daly is eager to make marijuana history on Sunday, when he plans to open the doors to Arbors Wellness, beckon the lengthy line outside and legally start selling recreational pot for the first time in the Midwest.
“We’ve worked very hard to be prepared,” said Daly, who owns the medical dispensary that, for now, is among just six shops in Michigan — mostly in Ann Arbor — also approved to start selling for adult use in December. The business is doubling staff and has fielded calls from potential customers across the state along with neighboring Ohio and Indiana.
“The end of prohibition is historic,” he said. “We wanted to rip the Band-Aid off.”
Both Michigan and Illinois, which allows sales starting on Jan. 1, are officially joining nine other states that broadly allow marijuana sales. Companies are rushing to complete renovations at dispensaries, expand their growing facilities, and get staff hired and trained.
The Midwestern states’ launch into the potentially lucrative recreational market comes at a turbulent time for the industry, which has been rocked by layoffs, the vaping health scare and investor disappointment with Canada’s marijuana program.
In both states, a limited number of businesses have received state licenses letting them sell recreational products initially. But those same retailers must keep enough product on hand to supply people certified as patients under medical marijuana laws. The conditions are “almost a guarantee” that Illinois and Michigan customers will experience long lines, product shortages and potentially high prices in the early stages, said Adam Orens, co-founder of the Marijuana Policy Group.
“They’ve got to get through the growing pains to get a system implemented,” he said. Taking marijuana from a small cutting to dried flower ready to be sold or transformed into edible gummies or oils takes months.
In Michigan, where voters legalized recreational pot just over a year ago, regulators who began accepting license applications Nov. 1 are aiding the transition by letting medical growers, processors and dispensaries transfer up to half their products to the recreational side under certain conditions.
But marijuana is unlikely to be more broadly available until more businesses become licensed and additional communities authorize sales.
More than 1,400 of Michigan’s nearly 1,800 cities, townships and villages are not allowing recreational businesses. Even Detroit, home to the most medical dispensaries in the state, has delayed recreational sales until at least Jan. 31.
“This is brand new for a lot of municipalities. I think it’s important that they are doing their due diligence and taking an approach that honors the will of their people,” said Andrew Brisbo, executive director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, which has awarded 18 licenses and approved 78 pre-qualification applications.
In Illinois, seven months will have separated Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signing of legislation permitting people 21 and older to buy and possess marijuana and the start of sales in January. The first round of applications is limited to existing medical marijuana retailers, and about 30 are newly licensed to sell recreational products. More could be approved before January.
Most of the state’s licensed cultivation companies are expanding their space to meet higher demand for marijuana products. But that work takes time, too. Mark de Souza, CEO of the state’s largest marijuana producer Revolution Global, said he has heard from dispensary operators “panicked” that they could have empty shelves within months of adult sales beginning. But he believes the overall structure Illinois’ law created will become the industry’s “gold standard.”
“You’re going to ensure everything from compliance to truth in labeling to taxes to consumer safety,” he said. “We don’t think any short-term supply issues are going to be harmful.”
Still, retailers are considering appointment-based systems rather than lining up customers in winter weather. Others have retrofitted their dispensaries to let medical patients in one door and recreational customers in another, hoping to limit confusion if their product supplies run low.
Chief Corrigan certainly is on the right track with his outreach programs and his chaplain program. Getting the community on board, rather than terrorizing them with the “stop and frisks” of the past, will reduce crime.
Excerpts from the Article:
After more than two years without local police presence the town of Frankford has a new chief of police. Laurence “Larry” Corrigan was officially sworn in Friday, Nov. 22, filling the police chief void created with the resignation of Mark Hudson in July 2017.
Chief Corrigan’s first full day on the job was Monday. He said he is excited about his new role and the outreach and programs that are planned. I have been given a great deal of assistance from not just the council but all of the residents I have met thus far,” said Chief Corrigan, who on day one took a ride through town and spoke with adults and children getting off their school buses. “Everybody is very enthusiastic about the Frankford Police Department starting back up again. That being said, there is a lot of work ahead.”
Mr. Corrigan was one of two applicants who interviewed for the chief’s position; council approved his hiring unanimously. “That was my goal when we did the budget for this year, that we were going to create our police department again. And we did,” said JoanneBacon, town council president. “We were very lucky in order to do that.”
Chief Corrigan has extensive experience in law enforcement and administration. His resume includes 22 years with Delaware State Police, work with the Maryland state attorney general’s office, Salisbury University and several local police agencies. He comes to Frankford from the Fenwick Island Police Department, where he worked the past two years. Prior to that he was with Selbyville Police Department, serving as a school resource officer and major crimes investigator.
With Frankford police, Chief Corrigan’s outreach initiatives include:
• Partnership with the Frankford Public Library, including interactive reading sessions with children;
• Programs in the making for internet crime training for parents to protect their children and elderly-related programs to protect them from fraudulent activities;
• Possible mental health professional intervention to address needs of that nature, particularly with children in the community;
• Traffic education
• Coffee with a Cop programs at Frankford Diner, once or twice monthly — with free coffee and pastries — to address citizen needs;
• After-school programs
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us as a community,” Chief Corrigan said. “I am a big fan of a group thing, a collaborative effort for the betterment of the community. I’d like the police department to be the catalyst of that.”
Chief Corrigan said he plans to specifically reach out to the “minority communities here, because we do have a rather diverse population for our town.”
In addition, he is instituting a chaplain’s program. “We’ve already got one on board and I am going to be addressing local clergy,” said Chief Corrigan, who resides in Selbyville.
Chief Corrigan said, “Until I get a second or maybe even a third person hired, the onus of it is going to be firmly on me. But I do feel a great deal of assistance from the community, and the council as a whole. I’m going to do the best I can to work pretty much around the clock. If I am off and there is something in town, I am asking the state police to call, and I’ll come in and handle that until we get some additional help here. But there will never be a time that the town is not covered.”
Chief Corrigan, who has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and a master’s from Wilmington University, is taking on additional administrative tasks with the town.
For the past two-plus years Frankford has relied on coverage from Delaware State Police.
The Whole Story:
Jail inmates sue over North Carolina county’s bail system – Massive Reform is needed NATIONWIDE! – kra
My friend, Tom Foley, Esq., heads the Delaware effort at bail reform, but here and in every state, the changes are too little and too slowly! NOBODY should be in jail for lack of $100 to make bail! And laws should change, like REQUIRING that non violent charges are without bail! Pretrial confinement can jeopardize people’s employment, child care and housing.
Excerpts from the Article:
A group of North Carolina jail inmates filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a county’s cash bail requirements, saying the system unfairly jails the poor while letting people with money go home. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in federal court on behalf of three Alamance County jail inmates who say they can’t afford cash bail amounts of more than $1,000. Two of the inmates are only facing misdemeanor charges. The ACLU is seeking class-action status.
ACLU lawyers argue the county violates the inmates’ constitutional rights because they are presumed innocent while awaiting trial, yet remain confined because they can’t afford bail.
“A person’s freedom should never depend on how much money they have,” ACLU attorney Leah Kang said in a news release. “But right now in Alamance County, people who are presumed innocent are sitting in jail for one simple reason: because they do not have enough money to pay the bail that would allow them to go home to their jobs and families while they wait for their day in court.”
Two judges and several magistrates named as defendants declined comment through staff members. Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson, also a defendant, said in an email the lawsuit shouldn’t target him because his job is enforcing the law, not setting bonds.
The lawsuit cited research by the University of North Carolina School of Government that found Alamance County’s judicial system required secured bond in approximately 85% of misdemeanor cases in 2018, giving it one of the highest rates in the state.
As of early November, more than three-quarters of the 350 jail inmates were awaiting trial, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit argues that the county’s bail system violates due process and equal protection constitutional rights because inmates’ freedom is unfairly tied to their monetary means. It also argues that the system violates inmates’ rights to counsel because poor defendants typically lack attorneys to represent them while bail is being set.
The lawsuit seeks an overhaul of the county’s bail procedures. Pretrial confinement can jeopardize people’s employment, child care and housing, among other issues, according to the lawsuit.
Among the plaintiffs is 36-year-old Antonio Harrell, who’s jailed on misdemeanor larceny and trespassing charges. The lawsuit says he lives in a group home and gets by on proceeds from his mother’s social security check, as well as a job busing tables at a barbecue restaurant. His lawyers say he can’t afford to pay a $1,500 secured bail to be released from jail. His first appearance in court is Dec. 6, several weeks after his Nov. 9 arrest. “He is extremely worried that if he remains in jail because he cannot make the payment required for his release, he could lose his room at the group home, as well as his job and possibly his social security check,” the lawsuit says.
Opioid crisis leaves Americans seeking alternative options for pain relief – and how doctors were prosecuted! – kra
This is an interesting reminder of the abject failure of our War on Drugs … opioids everywhere. But this article discusses the fast growing alternatives to pain pills, holistic medicine, with treatments like message and meditation, acupuncture hypnotism, and more.
There has been an interesting and awful consequence of this, and I am now helping some physicians who were doing just this – practicing holistic medicine. I won’t name names here, or even the state in which they were practicing, but here is what happened: they were so successful that word spread in their community, and before long they were “stealing” patients from other doctors and hospitals – the “powers that be” in their area of the state. Upset by the loss of revenue, these doctors and corporations had connections with the federal prosecutor in their district, and they got him to charge several doctors with trumped up charges, crimes! Several went to prison …. innocent doctors!
Well, Dr. L, one of the targeted doctors, found me, told me the story, and I now have both sleeves rolled up to help Dr. L get a Pardon and to address issues for some of the other doctors, and get them out of prison. The whole tale is a tragedy of “follow the money”, and when I get further into it, you’d better believe I shall try to get that federal prosecutor disbarred, and arrested if possible!
Excerpts from the Article:
After more than 700,000 overdose deaths in 20 years, Americans are sadly familiar with our nation’s opioid epidemic.
In looking to the source of the problem, experts have blamed aggressive marketing by manufacturers and over-prescribing by doctors. But according to Dr. Alexis LaPietra, chief of pain management and addiction medicine at St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson, there is another cause: forgetfulness. As a country, she says, we’ve been here before. “During the Civil War, we weren’t doing a good job of treating pain, but there was a lot of morphine, so everyone got a lot of it,” she says. “It started with soldiers, then housewives, and then the man with a headache got it. Doctors forgot the catastrophe that comes from liberal opioid prescribing.”
While opioids — narcotics such morphine and oxycodone — play an important role in treating acute, uncontrolled pain, LaPietra says, “They should be the last line of intervention in pain management. We should entertain everything else first.”
The search for a better way to treat chronic pain has led many people to turn to holistic medicine for relief. Defined by the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine as “the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person,” holistic pain management involves treating the body and mind together.
Holistic practitioners believe that while patients are free to see their regular doctors, integrating physical therapy, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture and other procedures achieves best results in a majority of cases. It’s a conclusion patients are coming to, as well; according to the National Institutes of Health, a third of Americans seek help for their health in a place that’s outside their doctor’s office, and the trend seems to be on the rise.
To diagnose and treat pain, Evan Chait, owner of Kinetic PT in Ramsey, Park Ridge and Paramus, believes in an all-of-the-above approach. A physical therapist, acupuncturist, nutritionist and herbalists, he asks clients a series of questions and puts them through simple tests looking for clues to find the source of their pain. In one, he has patients stand with their feet together and eyes closed. “The side they move to is the deficient side,” he says. “If one part of the body is out of position, the whole body is.” he says.
He also looks for poor positioning of the jaw, pelvis, shoulders and other parts of the body. “You can have pain, but the source isn’t necessarily what you think,” he says. “You might have an injury to your left shoulder, and over time, the nerve becomes sensitized, the pain grows and it travels up to your neck and down to your elbow.”
What clients put into their bodies is also important. “Arthritis doesn’t have to be painful, but if you inflame it by eating gluten, it can be,” he says.
And because one problem area often creates another, an inflamed gut might lead to a misalignment of the diaphragm.
Stress has long been recognized as a source of physical ailments including headaches, chest pains and upset stomachs. “Our bodies undergo several powerful internal changes when we are under stress,” says Dr. Sally Nazari, a psychotherapist and holistic health practitioner based in Closter. “Adrenaline pours into our bloodstream, preparing us to fight off the potential danger of the stressor, and muscles throughout the body tense in anticipation of the challenge… We generate more muscle tension than we need in most situations.”
The way to reverse this process, she says, is by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system — the “rest and digest” system that slows the heart rate and relaxes muscles. “We tend to notice our tension only when the pain level increases to the point where we can no longer ignore it,” says Nazari. “Relaxation is an essential skill.” To beef up that skill, she guides clients in mindfulness meditation, which trains them to empty thoughts and breathe deeply, and progressive muscle relaxation, which calls for consciously tightening and relaxing muscle groups. Other practices that slow the body down and encourage relaxation include guided imagery (focusing on a calming image) and yoga (combining breathing techniques and meditation with movement).
Caryn Bregman, a physical therapist who owns Renaissance Physical Therapy Arts + Wellness in Montclair, helps clients get moving again after injuries and long-term pain using ice for inflammation, massage, re-positioning and take-home exercises. But she keeps her eyes open for red flags signaling that more is needed, she says.
If clients say that their pain wakes them up in the middle of the night, if they experience sustained weight loss or they’ve just had an acute sports injury, she’ll send them to a doctor for an MRI. In most cases, though, she says, it isn’t necessary.
What’s needed, she says, is “more education for patients so they’re attuned to what’s happening in their bodies, and they don’t get dependent on pain medication. Painkillers are more like band aids.”
Arrested as teens, three men exonerated after 36 years behind bars for wrongful murder conviction Baltimore prosecutor’s Conviction Integrity Unit finds men are innocent in 1983 slaying of 14-year-old, shot in school hallway for his jacket
I free innocent people, but the cases do not make the news. Why? Because I focus on getting them OUT before they die in prison – Commutation/Clemency, which takes about 2 years, start to finish. AND I SUCCEED. Once out, THEN they can prove their innocence! 🙂
DO WHAT WORKS! Look at these three guys; they were filing legal shit for 36 years. 36 YEARS! This was another case of police misconduct, one of the leading causes of these injustices.
The conviction of innocent people is the most dramatic example of how fucked up the system is. Thousands of innocent people sit behind bars in America! The problem is so bad that many prosecutors have a Unit or Department to review claims of innocence. Philadelphia’s unit has exonerated 10 murder defendants since last year. That’s just one city! It’s outrageous.
Excerpts from the Article:
In the hallway of his Baltimore middle school one afternoon in November 1983, DeWitt Duckett, 14, was shot and killed for his Georgetown University jacket. The attack was shocking — the first killing in a Baltimore city school. And the pressure to solve the case was intense.
Early on Thanksgiving Day that year, police arrested three teenagers who were eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. On Monday, 36 years after they were incarcerated, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Charles J. Peters declared them innocent.
“On behalf of the criminal justice system, and I’m sure this means very little to you, I’m going to apologize,” Peters told them. “We’re adjourned.” The packed courtroom erupted in applause, and family members began crying and hugging.
The extraordinary exonerations were set in motion through the perseverance of one of the defendants, Alfred Chestnut, now 52, who never stopped pushing for a review of the case. This spring his claim was picked up by the Baltimore City state’s attorney’s office’s Conviction Integrity Unit, which uncovered a flawed case that prosecutors now say encouraged false witness testimony and ignored evidence of another assailant.
On Monday at 5:15 p.m., Chestnut and his childhood friends Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart walked out of the courthouse onto North Calvert Street as free men, into the arms of weeping mothers and sisters and fiancees who doubted they would see this day. “This is overwhelming,” said Chestnut, surrounded by cameras, lawyers and family. “I always dreamed of this. My mom, this is what she’s been holding on to forever. To see her son come home.”
The exonerations of Chestnut, Watkins and Stewart are the seventh, eighth and ninth enabled by Mosby’s Conviction Integrity Unit since she took office in 2015. Mosby visited each man in prison on Friday to give them the news she was asking for their freedom, a moment she called “surreal, incredibly powerful.” She said she told the men: “I’m sorry. The system failed them. They should have never had to see the inside of a jail cell. We will do everything in our power not only to release them, but to support them as they re-acclimate into society.”
Police reports produced soon after the killing revealed that numerous witnesses had told Baltimore investigators that Michael Willis, then 18, was the shooter, prosecutors now say. One student identified him immediately, one saw him run and discard a handgun as police pulled up to Harlem Park Junior High School, one heard him confess to the shooting, and one saw him wearing a Georgetown jacket that night.
Defense attorneys pressed for evidence that cast doubt on their clients’ guilt. In 1984, then-Assistant State’s Attorney Jonathan Shoup told the court the state had no such reports, despite the fact there were police documents showing that the trial witnesses had twice failed to identify the three defendants in photo lineups as well as statements implicating Willis. A judge sealed the reports. Then, when Chestnut made a public records request to the Maryland attorney general last year, the office turned them over.
Mosby said the case raised a number of problems she intends to address. The teen witnesses were repeatedly questioned without their parents present, she said, and they felt pressured to falsely identify Chestnut, Watkins and Stewart. Mosby is seeking laws to prohibit such questioning by police without a parent, guardian or lawyer.
Maryland also has no working system to compensate exonerees even though such payments are allowed by state law; the government for years has lagged behind other states in making such payments. After months of pressure from advocates and dozens of lawmakers, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and the Maryland Board of Public Works recently initiated a process to pay $9 million to five exonerees who collectively served more than 120 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. Mosby said she will lobby for a formalized compensation process for all exonerees. The three men in this case declined to comment on whether they would seek money for their wrongful convictions.
And Mosby said there is no support system for those who walk out of prison after years or decades inside. She has created a Resurrection After Exoneration program to connect exonerees with mental and physical health services, education, housing and job opportunities. “I think it’s important and incumbent on us,” Mosby said, “as the system that has wronged them, to be able to take accountability. We’re excited to show that we’re going to support them.”
Mosby’s Conviction Integrity Unit worked closely with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, which Executive Director Shawn Armbrust said had acquired a federal grant allowing the prosecutors to hire a full-time investigator who helped track down witnesses in this case. She said actual-innocence cases where prosecutors work together with defense attorneys typically take about a year, and when the cases are contested they take more than seven years.
When Mosby’s office realized there was a possibility of actual innocence, they arranged for the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and other lawyers to represent the men. The Maryland Office of the Public Defender and the University of Baltimore Innocence Project Clinic represented Chestnut, the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and Christopher Nieto represented Watkins, and Booth Ripke and Rachel Wilson represented Stewart.
About 50 prosecutors across the country have launched Conviction Integrity Units to review old cases. Philadelphia’s unit has exonerated 10 murder defendants since last year. Armbrust said the teen defendants in this case “would never have gotten out without a Conviction Integrity Unit. Nobody could believe multiple witnesses would lie about the same event. You just have to wonder about how many cases there are in places where prosecutors aren’t willing to take a serious look at claims of innocence.”
The main players in the conviction of the three men are gone from the justice system. Kincaid, who was featured in the book “Homicide” by David Simon, retired from the Baltimore police in 1990. He said he did not coerce the witnesses to incriminate the three defendants. “No. Come on, no. Hell no,” Kincaid said.
All three defendants always maintained their innocence, and Watkins’s insistence that he was not involved in the killing was captured by Simon while Simon was trailing Kincaid at the Maryland Penitentiary in July 1988.
“You did it,” Kincaid shot back. “The hell I did,” Watkins told him. “You lied then and you lyin’ now.”
“At 16 years old, they threw me in a prison among a bunch of animals,” Watkins, now 52, said in a phone interview Sunday. “The things I had to go through, it was torture. There’s no other way to describe it.”
Stewart, now 53, said his arrest and conviction destroyed his life, and many of his family members died while he was in prison. But after two decades behind bars, he came to accept “the significance of faith and the value of God.” He has been teaching Bible class in prison, and said one day in class he realized, “If this is where God wants me to rest my head for the rest of my life, this is where I’m going to serve Jesus Christ for the rest of my life,” and he was resigned to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Chestnut, Watkins and Stewart had virtually no experience with the law on Nov. 18, 1983, and teachers who saw them in Harlem Park Junior High School that day described them “as silly and immature, not threatening,” said Lauren Lipscomb, the head of the Conviction Integrity Unit. The teens never denied being in the school and said they goofed around at their friends’ houses long into the afternoon after being kicked out of the school about 12:45 p.m.
Duckett was headed to lunch with two friends when someone came up and demanded his Georgetown Starter jacket at 1:15 p.m. His two friends ran. As Duckett was struggling to get the jacket off, he was shot. He ran to the cafeteria and collapsed, conscious but unable to speak, and died two hours later.
“Two individuals called in saying Michael Willis was the shooter,” Lipscomb said. One witness picked Willis out of a photo array as the shooter. Another student saw Willis run from the school and throw away a handgun. The reports on all of this were not given to the defense by the prosecutor Shoup. “You cannot make this up,” Lipscomb said. “It is just outrageous.”
Detective Kincaid showed photos of Chestnut, Watkins and Stewart to three witnesses. Twice, all three witnesses did not identify any of them, the newly released reports show. But the witnesses were repeatedly pulled from school over subsequent months and coached to identify the three teens, Lipscomb said. Kincaid flatly denied this. At trial, with the defense unaware they had not identified the teens initially, their testimony was devastating. All three have now recanted their testimony, Lipscomb said.
“The detective didn’t care,” Watkins said. “When we told the truth, he didn’t care.” When police arrived at each of the teen’s houses at 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day 1983, they had a search warrant for Chestnut and found a Georgetown Starter jacket in his closet. His mother had the receipt for the jacket and showed it to police, Chestnut said. No blood or physical evidence tied the coat to Duckett or the shooting. But Shoup told the jury the victim’s jacket was in the defendant’s closet, another powerful piece of evidence that prosecutors now say was false.
At sentencing, Stewart told the court: “You still didn’t get the person who did it. I’m saying we know we didn’t do it, and a lot of other people know we didn’t do it.”
The men became eligible for parole in recent years, but all three declined to accept responsibility for the slaying, and so even when parole commissioners recommended them for release, the Maryland governor refused.
“I broke down crying,” Stewart said. “I cried like a baby.” “I feel like all these years I’ve been saying the same thing,” Chestnut said. “Finally, somebody heard my cry. I give thanks to God and Marilyn Mosby. She’s been doing a lot of work for guys in my situation.”
On Monday, their final court appearance was over in less than half an hour. Lipscomb and the defense attorneys asked the judge to grant a writ of actual innocence, which he did, ordering a new trial. Lipscomb then listed all the evidence that was withheld from the men’s lawyers in 1984, to the judge’s apparent disbelief.
Lipscomb proceeded to dismiss all charges against all three men. “Happy Thanksgiving,” she added, and the audience cheered.
For 5 wrongly convicted men, years of effort yield millions in compensation
Here’s how wrongfully convicted Maryland prisoners were compensated in the past