Coronavirus: A Nationwide Survey of the Push for Early Release as Pandemic Fears Grow – Comprehensive Authorities for Early Release – kra
READ THIS EXCELLENT AND COMPREHENSIVE ARTICLE TO LEARN OF AUTHORITIES TO CITE TO GET YOUR LOVED ONE OUT OF THE DEADLY PRISON ENVIRONMENT. Complete with breakdown STATE BY STATE. CLICK HERE TO OPEN IT.
Excerpts from the Article:
Between January and August of 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services played a game, a simulation of sorts. The exercise was called Crimson Contagion, and it was designed to help the U.S. prepare for a viral pandemic.
During the simulation, as reported by The New York Times, a group of 35 tourists from the United States, Australia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Thailand, Britain and Spain visited China. While there, they became infected with an unknown virus, flew home, and became their respective countries’ Patient Zeros. The World Health Organization declared a pandemic seven weeks later. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidelines for social distancing and state governments directed the workforce to stay home. Nonetheless, the simulation predicted, the pandemic would ultimately infect 110 million Americans and kill 586,000.
Coronavirus: The Origins
On December 31, 2019, the Chinese government acknowledged the treatment of citizens in Wuhan, China, for pneumonia. Within a few days, Chinese researchers identified a new virus that had sickened dozens of people in Asia.
On January 11, 2020, Chinese media reported the death of a 61-year-old man who frequented a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan. This was to become known as the first known death from what came to be known as COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
By January 23, 2020, the Chinese government cut off Wuhan, isolating a city of over 11 million people. By this point, “17 people had died, and more than 570 others had been infected,” reports The New York Times. A week later, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. And by March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national state of emergency.
Within a few short months, the worldwide death toll would rise to over 188,000. And the number is rising. As of April 23, 2020, the virus has infected close to 2.7 million people.
Prisons: “Amplifiers of Infectious Diseases”
As the nation reels in response to waves of infections and deaths and the public adopts a new way of living – 6 feet apart – one group is left to fend for themselves: America’s incarcerated class.
The CDC has promulgated guidelines for all Americans. These include social distancing (keeping 6 feet apart), remaining home as much as possible, washing hands often, and using face masks as a barrier to disease. The most important factor remains social distancing because if people can isolate themselves, and thereby not come into contact with others who are infected, they can remain safe.
On March 11, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom recommended the cancellation of gatherings of more than 250 people to slow the spread of the coronavirus. By March 15, the CDC recommended that gatherings of 50 or more be canceled. The following day, the White House recommended gatherings of more than 10 be canceled.
Even local and state governments have issued their own guidelines. As reported by the New York Times, by April 7, 2020, every state except for North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Utah had issued state-wide stay-at-home decrees, correctly viewing social distancing as the best manner of remaining safe.
But for those in American jails and prisons – people typically subjected to substandard nutrition, health care, and access to clean living environments – there is virtually no protection. Cramped in overcrowded dormitories with limited access to vital health-care information and care, many fear illness and death are inevitable.
As stated by Kelsey Kauffman in The Appeal, jails and prisons are “incubators and amplifiers of infectious diseases.” With nowhere to run, American prisoners can do little but hope and pray.
The State of COVID-19 in American Prisons
To combat the iron curtain of information in American jails and prisons, we at Prison Legal News have compiled an exhaustive accounting of the state of COVID-19 in every prison system across the country as we went to press. We are also reporting litigation over conditions of confinement and, where applicable, large-scale prison releases and guidelines to seek such release.
What follows is our analysis of the impact COVID-19 has had on every prison system and the movement to protect America’s incarcerated class through the mechanism of early release.
Federal Bureau of Prisons
On April 22, 2020, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported 566 prisoners and 342 staff members had tested positive for coronavirus. Additionally, 24 prisoners had died because of the coronavirus.
The hardest-hit prisons include USP Lompoc in California (69 inmate positives, 17 staff positives); FCI Butner Medium I in North Carolina (46 inmate positives, 27 staff positives, four inmate deaths); FCI Danbury in Connecticut (44 inmate positives, 39 staff positives); FCI Oakdale I in Louisiana (37 inmate positives, 26 staff positives, six inmate deaths); and FCI Elkton in Ohio (36 inmate positives, 26 staff positives, four inmate deaths).
On March 26, 2020, Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum directing the BOP to use the tool of home confinement as a mechanism for reducing the federal prison population. This memorandum presented several factors the BOP should use in determining which prisoners should be considered. These factors include:
• The age and vulnerability of the prisoner to COVID-19, in accordance with the CDC guidelines;
• The security level of the facility currently holding the prisoner, with priority given to prisoners residing in low- and minimum-security facilities;
• The inmate’s conduct in prison, with prisoners who have engaged in violent or gang-related activity or who have incurred a BOP violation within the last year not receiving priority treatment;
• The prisoner’s score under PATTERN, a risk assessment tool for people in BOP prisons, with those who have anything above a minimum score not receiving priority treatment;
• Whether the prisoner has a demonstrated and verifiable re-entry plan that will prevent recidivism and maximize public safety, including verification that the conditions under which the prisoner would be confined upon release would present a lower risk of contracting COVID-19 than the inmate would face in his or her BOP facility;
• The prisoner’s crime of conviction, and assessment of the danger posed by the prisoner to the community. Some offenses, such as sex offenses, render an inmate ineligible for home detention. Other serious offenses weigh more heavily against consideration for home detention.
On April 3, 2020, AG Barr issued a second memorandum, specifically directing the BOP to “immediately maximize appropriate transfers to home confinement of all appropriate inmates …[at] BOP facilities where COVID-19 is materially affecting operations.”
What follows is a compilation of federal cases, and then a state-by-state roundup, including information about how many prisoners have been released and due to what legal developments.
As of mid-April, the BOP had released 1,022 prisoners on home confinement because of these directives.
United States v. Michaels, 8:16-cr-76-JVS, (C.D. Cal. Mar. 26, 2020). The Court granted temporary release for 90 days, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142 (i), which authorizes discretionary temporary release when necessary for a person’s defense or another compelling reason. Judge James Selna held the defendant’s age and medical conditions, which place him in the population most susceptible to COVID-19, and in light of the pandemic, to constitute “another compelling reason” and granted his temporary release.
Another super sloppy search warrant by police. Thousands of criminals can thank cops for these each year.
Excerpts from the Article:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the suppression of evidence seized from a suspected drug dealer’s home as fruit of the poisonous tree.
Jamal Roman was alleged in a search warrant application submitted by DEA Special Agent Scott Smith to be “a known cocaine trafficker” who “oversaw distribution of narcotics” for Javier Gonzalez. That suspicion was the result of the cooperation of a confidential informant (“CI”) who in January 2014 was caught with three kilograms of cocaine. The CI subsequently agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, who then initiated surveillance of Roman and Gonzalez.
Two months later, Smith drafted an affidavit to support a search warrant application of seven locations. The search warrants were granted on March 21, 2014, and the searches conducted four days later. Roman was indicted on March 24, 2016, by a grand jury on one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin and a count of distribution and possession of cocaine.
He moved to suppress the fruits of the search of his person, residence, and business. The district court found the affidavit supporting the searches “contained material misrepresentations and omissions made with reckless disregard for the truth and without which a finding of probable cause would not have been made.” It granted suppression of evidence obtained from the business and home, which yielded $438,560, a firearm, and photographic identification documents.
The Government appealed as to the search of the home only, arguing there was a nexus between drug activity and the home. The First Circuit noted that the nexus element requires a showing that “enumerated evidence of the offense will be found at the place searched.” United States v. Dixon, 787 F.3d 55 (1st Cir. 2015).
The inquiry is not whether “the owner of the property is suspected of crime” but rather whether “there is reasonable cause to believe that the specific things to be searched for and being seized are located on the property to which entry is sought.” Zurcher v. Stanford Daily, 436 U.S. 547 (1978).
The First Circuit saw “no basis to conclude … that drug related evidence would be present at Roman’s home.” The Government failed to show he dealt drugs from the home, and it agreed the drug headquarters was among the other searched places. There was no showing in the affidavit that Roman had even been at the home in question, was his residence or that he had taken contraband there. The statement that he was a known drug dealer was conclusionary.
The affidavit also failed to offer corroboration that Roman was a close associate of Gonzalez or oversaw a narcotics operation. The statement that Roman was a known drug dealer was found to be conclusionary and unsupported by any facts. The affidavit was found to rely upon “speculative inferences piled upon inferences” that Roman’s home would yield evidence. As it failed to establish “a clear and substantial connection between the illegal activity and the place searched,” the district court properly suppressed the fruits of that search, the Court ruled.
Accordingly, the Court affirmed the district court’s grant of the motion to suppress evidence obtained from Roman’s residence. See: United States v. Roman, 942 F.3d 43 (1st Cir. 2019).
The real reason why this price gouging of inmates continues? Because the companies which profit donate millions to politicians!
Excerpts from the Article:
A proposal died in committee Tuesday to waive video visitation charges for McLean County Jail inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Video conferencing is the only way for inmates to see family and friends because in-person jail visitation has not been allowed since mid-March.
The Bloomington-Normal chapter of Black Lives Matter staged a car caravan outside the jail Friday calling for elimination of the video visitation fees, and release inmates who can’t afford to post bond so they’re less susceptible to contracting the virus.
The issue was split among party lines on the county board’s justice committee. Democrats George Gordon and Carlo Robustelli were in favor of at least studying the financial impact of waiving the fees.
However, the four Republican justice committee members disagreed.
Video visitation costs $7.50 per half hour, while phone calls 25 cents per minute. According to Gordon, the fees added a little more than $17,000 to the county government’s general fund in January and almost $18,500 in February.
“I’m not comfortable with us being several months or several weeks down the road, and having profited off of this group of people who are just trying to call their loved ones or their family,” Robustelli said. The county government should hang onto the money collected from video conferences, committee Republicans said.
Earlier, McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage, also a Republican, said the local jail far exceeds state standards requiring the county to grant inmates only a weekly five minute phone call.
The Whole Story:
I have written many articles on this. “This movement draws on earlier periods of reform, dating back to the late 1960s, in which states began to remove lifetime exclusions from the right to vote. Then as now, reformers called attention to the injustice of disenfranchising citizens who had already paid their debts to society by serving out prison terms. What they sought to end, then, was not so much felon disenfranchisement as ‘ex-felon’ disenfranchisement. ….But what, to borrow a phrase from W.E.B. Du Bois, is the meaning of such “progress” when the expansion of suffrage to hundreds of thousands of citizens leaves out the millions who are still incarcerated, such that “reform” is purchased at the cost of those who remain not just outside the democratic community, but also behind bars? “
Voting has nothing to do with crime! Disenfranchisement laws are intended to block minorities from voting. They are racist; make no mistake about it!
Excerpts from the Article:
In the United States, battlegrounds over the right to vote are de facto battlegrounds over white supremacy as a political system. And there is probably no more troubled time to talk about voting rights or white supremacy than during an election year. Yet it is in the months running up to electoral contests that we are also most likely to see legislators and governors take action, invoking the most powerful rhetoric they can muster in support of the franchise.
What they sought to end, then, was not so much felon disenfranchisement as ‘ex-felon’ disenfranchisement.
In some cases, they step directly into the political breach themselves, as Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe did in 2016, restoring voting rights to an estimated 200,000 individuals previously disenfranchised as felons. Just before that, in Maryland, the state assembly passed a sweeping reform bill re-enfranchising an estimated 40,000 citizens on probation and parole and then successfully defended the bill against a veto, making it law. And in Kentucky, which has long been infamous for some of the toughest and most racially disproportionate disenfranchisement laws in the nation, new legislation may make it possible – which is not to say easy – for some individuals with felony convictions to regain voting rights after a significant waiting period.
These actions put several Southern states (along with California, which re-enfranchised roughly 60,000 citizens as part of a broader court-ordered reduction of its prison population) at the heart of the contemporary felon disenfranchisement reform movement in the United States. This movement draws on earlier periods of reform, dating back to the late 1960s, in which states began to remove lifetime exclusions from the right to vote. Then as now, reformers called attention to the injustice of disenfranchising citizens who had already paid their debts to society by serving out prison terms. What they sought to end, then, was not so much felon disenfranchisement as ‘ex-felon’ disenfranchisement.
The states now at the front of this “reform” movement are those that link disenfranchisement to incarceration itself and provide automatic rights restoration once a carceral sentence is complete, instead of requiring burdensome applications or individual petitions. Thus, compared to the lifetime disenfranchisement that was widely practiced in the 19th century and most of the 20th century, a new “progressive” norm has been established: Persons serving carceral sentences for felony-status crimes typically lose their voting rights for the duration of their incarceration, but after that they may, depending on where they reside, regain the right to vote.
But what, to borrow a phrase from W.E.B. Du Bois, is the meaning of such “progress” when the expansion of suffrage to hundreds of thousands of citizens leaves out the millions who are still incarcerated, such that “reform” is purchased at the cost of those who remain not just outside the democratic community, but also behind bars?
It is no coincidence that the post-Civil Rights Movement-era saw both the 1) “democratization” and “reform” of voting rights and 2) the skyrocketing imprisonment rates that ushered in what is now called (even by presidential candidates) “mass incarceration.” (See note 1 below.) Today, one percent of the U.S. population is incarcerated, and roughly two percent of the voting-age population is barred from the ballot box. That percentage is statistically and substantively significant for the outcome of elections, and while it may seem small on its face, the intense geographic and demographic concentration of incarceration means that some communities and groups are overwhelmingly locked up and locked out of the voting booth. While it is largely young Black men who bear the brunt of “mass incarceration,” women make up the fastest growing population of persons incarcerated for criminal convictions in the United States, African-American and Latina women in particular.
Even the strongest critics of felon disenfranchisement (almost without exception) presume that the electoral exclusion of currently incarcerated persons is self-evident and needs no justification. But from where does the seeming self-evidence come? Why, at the heart of a reform movement, do progressives work to draw a clear line between individuals in prison, who are presumed unfit to vote, and those presumptively eligible voters who have come to be known by the strange neologism, “ex-felon”? What does it mean that the logic of disenfranchisement – that “some” people do deserve to lose a fundamental political right – is invoked and even affirmed by the very movement to reform it?
That felon disenfranchisement can be both “reformed” and strengthened at the same time should not be surprising if we consider what disenfranchisement actually does, rather than focusing on simply whether we should or shouldn’t continue it. If felon disenfranchisement is a form of punishment, it is a clear failure. It has no retributive value, it does not deter crime, and it undermines rehabilitation by preventing individuals from taking part in civic life. But felon disenfranchisement is a productive failure. It does identifiable social and political work for our society, even if that work is deeply anti-democratic.
Specifically, it performs two functions through which our society tells itself who ‘we’ are in contrast to whom ‘we’ are not. First, felon disenfranchisement conveys moral approbation by denying individuals an emblematic right of self-government. Second, it brings into being the very figure that seemingly justifies it as a legal practice: the “felon” as a racialized fallen citizen, imbued with infamy, turpitude, and deceit.
Disenfranchisement is able do this productive work not because voting is itself an effective practice of self-government (it arguably is not), nor because the franchise creates a more representative government (it arguably does not), nor because it ensures that policy reflects the needs of all who live and die within a given political community (it demonstrably does not). Rather, the right to vote marks its holder as an equal member in a political community and defines what sort of “equality” the community recognizes. This insight, developed succinctly by the late political theorist Judith Shklar, highlights how the right to vote sets boundaries and limits to equality insofar as it held only by those individuals who have been granted equal public standing on the decisions put up for a vote.
This is the dark side of democratic equality in the United States: it is produced through policies that identify and mark those whose known lower status can secure one’s own inclusion in the demos.
Throughout U.S. history, the claim to full and equal citizenship has always been shaped by, and granted at the expense of, those less-than-citizens who are marked as unequal. And no figure has done more literal or figurative work to shore up equal standing among citizens than that of the “slave.”
To fight for the right to vote is to fight to exit this degraded political position while pushing for public standing as an equal among the non-slaves, the citizens. As the historian and theorist Saidiya Hartman argues, “The slave is the object or the ground that makes possible the existence of the bourgeois subject and, by negation or contradistinction, defines liberty, citizenship, and the enclosures of the social body.” (See note 2 below.) That is to say, “American” liberty, “American” citizenship, and “America” itself have each found their meaning through racial slavery and its white supremacist afterlives. (See note 3 below.)
But the key is to recognize that the right to vote can only designate one as a political equal when the sphere of equality is bounded by exclusions that the included recognize and know, even if they disavow those exclusions. In the end, what underwrites the status of the full and equal citizen is the hypocrisy of claiming to be a nation with “universal” suffrage in the face of very real suffrage restrictions. This is the dark side of democratic equality in the United States: it is produced through policies that identify and mark those whose known lower status can secure one’s own inclusion in the demos.
When arguments are made (if they are even made at all) to justify the exclusion of someone from voting in a nominally democratic community, these arguments hinge on disqualification from equal public standing, explicitly or implicitly suggesting that those who lack that standing are inferior to the community of equals who possess it. In the U.S., all of the major struggles to be considered a “qualified” voter – struggles by White workingmen in the antebellum period, by non-White men at the end of the Civil War, by (White) women in the early 20th century, and again by non-White men and women during the Civil Rights Movement – have reshaped the community of equals in relation to some continued set of disqualifications.
Hence it is that today, all children, all unnaturalized foreigners, persons under guardianship for mental incompetence (in 39 states), and persons convicted of felonies (in every state except Maine and Vermont, two of the Whitest states in the US) are all marked by the franchise as unequal.
Maryland, it turns out, is an exemplary case for showing how the expansion of democratic suffrage is accomplished by quietly shoring up barriers at the margins of the franchise. This makes it a revealing bellwether of “progressive” voting rights reform more generally.
By the close of the Civil War, all adult men in Maryland could vote, regardless of race, unless they were under guardianship for mental incapacity or convicted of an “infamous crime.” But at the same moment that this expansion of the franchise was enshrined in state law and the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, new state voting rules leveraged an exception in the 14th Amendment to entrench wide-sweeping criminal disenfranchisement policies.
As in most states that instituted these restrictions in the 19th century, lawmakers sought to secure the authority of a patriarchal White vote and to defend the political position afforded by Whiteness itself. Of course, this was most visible in “Black Codes” and the formation of Jim Crow. But what criminal disenfranchisement could do, perhaps uniquely, was ensure that the work of white supremacy could continue through an officially “color-blind” criminal justice system.
This previous attempt to hide white supremacy beneath moral judgement can help us understand how felon disenfranchisement reform and mass incarceration became intertwined in the post-Civil Rights era.
To strip a convicted criminal of the right to vote, according to 19th century legislators, was an appropriate punishment because of the individual’s deficient moral character. To be a criminal was to be marked with “infamy,” imbued with deceit and deception, and therefore no longer a rights-bearing member of the polity. Without having to mention or consider racial difference openly, the categories of infamy, moral turpitude, and deceit were directly linked with Blackness. (See note 4 below.)
At the Maryland constitutional conventions in 1851 and 1864, delegates did not invoke race expressly when debating criminal disenfranchisement, yet the same delegates were panicking that Maryland might soon be flooded with “free negro labor.” And even the most strident slavery abolitionists were concerned that “free negros” were sure to steal livestock and supplies from innocent farmers in the western part of the state, that they would “steal” jobs from White laborers in the cities, and that they would “steal” the political rights of White manhood suffrage.
“Free negroes” were, in the minds and rhetoric of convention delegates, persons always already characterized by turpitude and infamy. It is thus not surprising that the crime of “larceny” was specifically included in the 1851 and 1864 disenfranchisement provisions as a paradigmatic “infamous” crime. The “free negro” embodied larceny itself; the theft of property and work could only lead, delegates insisted, to the theft of political rights and authority of from the White rulers of the state.
This previous attempt to hide white supremacy beneath moral judgement can help us understand how felon disenfranchisement reform and mass incarceration became intertwined in the post-Civil Rights era. In Maryland again, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, legislators criticized 19th century lawmaker’s reliance on the language of “infamy” and “turpitude” to link together punishment and citizenship. Their solution in 1972 was to preserve the spirit of criminal disenfranchisement laws but shift the language to “felonies and other serious crimes.” And again in 2007, reformers removed the terms “serious crimes” from the statute, leaving only the language of “felony” in the election code.
The criminal justice system—with its clearly racialized impact—becomes the primary mechanism for determining whether a citizen is morally fit for political life.
These reforms were defended as introducing a more specific and neutral categorization of criminal offenses and removing the “archaic” notions of moral approbation implied by “infamy” and “turpitude.” But even a cursory glance at the 19th century debates shows that the term “felony” was readily used alongside “infamy” to identify the same deficient moral character as a threat to the purity of the ballot box.
If current usage of the term appears to be less archaic or more technical, this is arguably because of the widespread standardization of criminal codes across the U.S. during 1960s and 70s, and consensus that felony-status crimes are those which are tied to imprisonment of longer than one year. But the logic of moral differentiation and political inequality remains. And in 2016, the new reforms follow in the same mode: slowly bringing into the democratic community individuals newly deemed worthy while relying on the continued exclusion of individuals (currently incarcerated persons, in this case) whose known lower public standing affirms the equality of the newly eligible voters.
And yet, in this November Maryland and Virginia (where nearly 70% of currently incarcerated persons are African-American), and in every other state save Vermont and Maine, “eligible” voters will go to the ballot box in full knowledge that we have “arrived” in an era of universal adult suffrage. And we will know this in part because 200,000 citizens in Virginia and 40,000 in Maryland can finally rejoin the body politic as full members (even if the stigma of criminal convictions still limits their ability to find work, apply for credit, maintain custody of their children, access government benefits, receive professional licensure, etc.).
And we will know ourselves as full and equal citizens of a worthy regime precisely because we know the history of struggles for the vote, and because we can look around and see other equal citizens casting their ballots, persons who are no longer categorically denied that right.
This is progress indeed, but it is progress whose price is paid by others. The political exclusion of those others underwrites not only our own inclusion in the democratic community, but also the pride with which we celebrate the historical expansion of that community. What would it mean, in this electoral season, to acknowledge this price, instead of disavowing it? What would it mean to center, rather than marginalize, those held behind bars within our stories of American citizenship – to admit that their convictions do not merely disqualify them from voting, but also qualify each and every eligible voter as an ostensibly full and equal citizen, so that in casting our ballots we perform the covert work of reproducing and maintaining white supremacy, no matter whom we vote for?
One thing it would mean – one deep and difficult thing – is that the franchise we are so ready to celebrate cannot be separated from the mechanisms of mass incarceration that we are so ready to criticize. If we want to free the institutions of democracy from the institutions of racialized punishment, to become free of our pernicious past, the end of ‘ex-felon’ disenfranchisement will not be enough.
The Whole Story:
I get at least a dozen articles about prison abuse EVERY month!
I remind you that this $33,000 is on top of hundreds of thousands of YOUR dollars wasted on preventable litigation. YOU should be raising hell about these injustices, and here is why: READ Prison Abuse – Why Massive Indifference is a Massive Mistake – kra
Excerpts from the Article:
In October 2019, Arizona settled for $33,000 a pro se federal lawsuit brought by a state prisoner who alleged he was assaulted by an Arizona Department of Corrections (DOC) guard while handcuffed behind his back.
According to court documents, DOC prisoner Shawn Michael Folta was incarcerated at the ASPC-Eyman Complex/SMU 1 Unit when guard Dustin Burke delivered a food tray to his cell that was missing its broccoli portion. Folta requested another tray, Burke refused and a heated verbal altercation ensued in which Burke allegedly threatened to “fuck him up.”
Folta asked to see a sergeant and Burke later returned to his cell, allegedly to escort him to the sergeant. After handcuffing Folta behind his back, Burke led him to a blind spot not covered by surveillance cameras where he allegedly attacked Folta from behind, kneed him in the face when Folta was on his knees while asking, “Who’s the punk now?” He slammed Folta’s head into a steel dinner cart, and punched him while he was on the ground.
Burke wrote Folta a disciplinary report for assaulting him. Folta complained that he did not assault Burke but rather was assaulted by the guard. A report of a staff assault investigation by the DOC’s Office of Inspector General listed Folta as the suspect and Burke as the victim before summarizing that Folta assaulted Burke and stating that no one witnessed the assault, and no one except other prisoners witnessed the heated verbal altercation between them (despite at least three other guards being nearby in the housing area). When interviewed, the other guards denied any knowledge of what took place. The investigator did note that there was no discoloration on Burke’s jaw where Folta had allegedly head butted him, which allegedly required medical attention at a hospital two days earlier.
Folta filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit in federal court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment when Burke assaulted him. He also alleged injuries, including permanent scarring, a bruised right kidney, a right eyebrow cut requiring stitches, a bruised left side of the face, bruised and scraped knees and bruised wrists. He submitted photographs and a hospital report to support his claims. He also alleged that guard Richard Basso and Sergeant Russell Contreras failed to stop the assault.
This really is quite astonishing. I see no problem with collecting information. The problem comes when people use it for the wrong or illegal purposes.
Excerpts from the Article:
According to a report by sciencefriday.com, one in every two American adults is in a law enforcement facial recognition network. Most adults have unwittingly consented to the release of their photos that they have uploaded to social media, including dating sites.
While it’s impossible to determine the exact number of people in a facial recognition database, the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology reported that over 117 million people are in law enforcement facial recognition networks.
In addition, the Government Accountability Office found that in a four-year period the FBI conducted over 118,000 face recognition searches on its database.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has mined the Department of Motor Vehicles databases of states that grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. And numerous police departments scan the faces of passersby using hand-held surveillance cameras.
But the accuracy of facial recognition technology is questionable. While Chinese authorities managed to locate and arrest a man in a crowd of 60,000 at a concert using recognition technology, Amazon’s software “Rekognition” misidentified 28 members of Congress and matched them with criminal mugshots. The rate of ID mismatch is far worse for women and people of color. Facial recognition can be thought of as a “faceprint.”
A computer analyzes each person’s unique facial structure, such as the distance between both eyes and the distance from the nose to the lips. It then maps those key features onto an existing image, or compares them against a database of existing images.
Apparently, these measurements are subject to change with varying facial expressions, which might account for some of the mismatches. Additional misidentification factors include jewelry, clothing, hairstyles and lighting.
Trump contradicts US intel community by claiming he’s seen evidence coronavirus originated in Chinese lab
Why is this on a criminal justice site? It’s a reminder that this lying idiot, tRump is as ignorant and dangerous on justice issues as he is on global issues!
This is so typical of our lying Douche Bag in Chief: I’d bet my life it is a lie!
“Yes, I have,” Trump said when asked whether he’s seen evidence that would suggest the virus originated in the lab. Later, asked why he was confident in that assessment, Trump demurred.
“I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,” he said.
If you value sanity over chaos, Justice over injustice, truth over bullshit lies, you must vote blue in November!
Ain’t this the truth!?
Excerpts from the Article:
President Donald Trump contradicted a rare on-the-record statement from his own intelligence community by claiming Thursday that he has seen evidence that gives him a “high degree of confidence” the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, but declined to provide details to back up his assertion.
The comments undercut a public statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued just hours earlier which stated no such assessment has been made and continues to “rigorously examine” whether the outbreak “began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
“Yes, I have,” Trump said when asked whether he’s seen evidence that would suggest the virus originated in the lab. Later, asked why he was confident in that assessment, Trump demurred.
“I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,” he said.
Trump officials have been pushing the US intelligence community to determine the exact origins of the coronavirus outbreak in pursuit of an unproven theory that the pandemic started because of a laboratory accident in China, multiple sources told CNN.
In acknowledgment of that effort, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued an unprecedented public statement Thursday prior to Trump’s comments making clear the intelligence community is currently exploring two possibilities but cannot yet assess if the outbreak “was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan” or began “through contact with infected animals.” It is unusual for the intelligence community to comment publicly on its work before a formal assessment is made. Thursday’s statement appears to have come in response to growing questions over the origins of the virus as Trump administration officials have spent weeks repeatedly floating the theory that the virus originated inside a Chinese lab.
The New York Times was the first to report Thursday that a number of top officials in the Trump administration have pushed US intelligence agencies looking into the origin of the novel coronavirus to “hunt for evidence” linking the virus to a Chinese laboratory.
“The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan,” the statement issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on behalf of the entire community said.
Trump was asked about the statement for the first time shortly after it was released but responded by defending his handling of the situation and pushing back on reports that warnings about an emerging outbreak were included in his daily briefs dating back to January and February. “Well I haven’t seen the report yet, but I will tell you, if you speak to the head of intelligence right now, you speak to the head, they did say that I was given a briefing when I said I was given it, not before and they also said that it wasn’t specific and it was not a panicked briefing,” Trump said, appearing to refer to acting DNI Richard Grenell despite the fact he wasn’t tapped for the job until February.
Trump’s tenuous relationship with the intelligence community dates back to the earliest days of his presidency as he has routinely questioned their assessments, particularly their conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
The pressure on the intelligence agencies to provide evidence related to the pandemic’s origins stems, in part, from Trump’s handling of intelligence more broadly, the former senior administration official said.
But the lack of evidence to back up claims that the outbreak began in a Chinese lab has not stopped top administration officials, including Pompeo, and some Republican allies of the President from raising the possibility in public comments. “We still haven’t gained access, the world hasn’t gained access to the WIV (Wuhan Institute of Virology) there. We don’t know precisely where this virus originated from,” Pompeo said Wednesday.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is among those who have spoken regularly with White House officials throughout the lockdown about the origins of the virus, including personal calls with NSC and member briefings, according to a senior staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss sensitive matters.
“No one’s able to stay one way or the other,” the official said, highlighting — as American officials have — the lack of an independent team on the ground. “We just don’t know enough,” the official added.
Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that Trump has directed a full investigation into the nature and origination of coronavirus in China as well as China’s conduct once the US gets through the ongoing epidemic. “I fully expect that the President will consider a range of options to ensure that those who were not forthcoming with the American people, be that in China or in the World Health Organization, are held to account.”
However, Trump has praised China on numerous occasions, as recently as this month.
Very interesting issues … does privacy triumph, or is public safety/justice paramount? I say the need for justice should prevail … with a warrant.
Excerpts from the Article:
New advances in DNA technology over recent years have enabled people to discover genetic predispositions, reconstruct family trees, and track down lost relatives. Nearly 30 million users have uploaded their profiles to DNA sites in hopes of reconnecting with their past or catching a glimpse of future health issues. For law enforcement, however, these databases hold another potential — that of solving untold numbers of cold cases virtually at the touch of a button.
Individuals who have submitted their genetic information to the sites generally have done so under a presumption of privacy. Ancestry.com and 23andMe, the largest sites with a combined 25 million users, operate under the promise that they will not share their customers’ personal records. Even sites that offer free services tend to shield their users’ data from being accessed for ulterior purposes. GEDmatch, for instance, instituted a policy in May 2019 that allowed law enforcement to search only users who had agreed to it. As of November of last year, less than 15 percent of the site’s users had.
Before GEDmatch offered the privacy option, a detective in Orlando, Michael Fields, had used the service to find a suspect from a DNA sample in a 17-year-old murder case. Undeterred by the site’s subsequent policy shift, Fields requested a warrant in July 2019 that would give him access to the company’s entire database of over a million profiles. Judge Patricia Strowbridge of Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit Court granted the warrant, and the next day, the site opened its records to the detective.
Civil rights advocates are concerned that the warrant set a dangerous precedent. “The company made a decision to keep law enforcement out, and that’s been overridden by a court. It’s a signal that no genetic information can be safe,” remarked Erin Murphy, a professor at New York University School of Law. “I have no question in my mind that if the public isn’t outraged by this, they will go to the motherlode: the 15-million-person Ancestry database.”
Fields told an audience of the International Association of Chiefs of Police last October how he obtained the warrant. Several officers spanning the wide array of law enforcement in attendance asked for a copy of the document.
The precise nature of DNA makes it likely that any person can be identified through relatives on any of the major sites. Unless the public demands its privacy be protected, critics warn that future warrants could soon turn genealogy sites into police databases.
Thus far, 23andMe has refused to release customer data to law enforcement. Out of 10 “valid law enforcement requests” that Ancestry.com received in 2018, seven were granted, but they were all related to “credit card misuse, fraud and identity theft.”
No genetic data was released. How, or if, these companies will be able to withstand warrants for that type of information is a legal battle soon to be tested.
Kansas coronavirus update: Higher education grapples with academic, financial uncertainties; KDOC cans prison medical provider
This article about Kansas reminds us that prisons are a disaster for those with health issues … including coronavirus, and other important issues.
Excerpts from the Article:
Washburn University president Jerry Farley approaches planning for fall semester classes with optimism about possible return to some form of academic normalcy and with trepidation as financial costs of the coronavirus disruption sink in.
This feeling of excitement and angst is shared by administrators at universities large and small, as well as community and technical colleges across the state serving more than 125,000 students. Campus buildings have been shut down since mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and learning from kindergarten through college in Kansas was hastily moved mostly online.
Farley, who presides over a Topeka university serving 6,000 students, said levers exist to adjust operating expenditures in a crisis. He has less influence over fixed-cost obligations boiled into the financial spreadsheet, including debt on student housing.
“Without any revenue coming in, it’s going to be a really tough job to work our way through that. I think that is probably the most difficult task, at least that we face at Washburn,” he said.
Complexities of transitioning from the online-only approach adopted for spring and summer classes to more traditional face-to-face instruction involves hundreds of decisions about public safety, teaching methods, staff duties and external business relationships.
Financial considerations range from student dormitory and meal rebates, to hiring freezes, salary reductions or layoffs, to adjusting course offerings or modifying tuition and fees, to operating sports programs. Federal and state government appropriations are expected to soften the impact on Kansas higher education.
Steve Scott, president at Pittsburg State University, said a crisis created by COVID-19 had an amazing power to reveal character. He said he recently received an email from a nontraditional student compelled to study for PSU classes from her car in a campus parking lot, because she had no internet service at home.
He said it was important in the months ahead to retain backing of the Kansas Board of Regents, which has oversight of 32 public universities and colleges statewide, as campus officials made “some of the most difficult decisions that we’re probably ever going to face.” One of the great unknowns is how many new and returning students will show up in the fall. It’s not just fate of international and out-of-state students. There is not clarity about how Kansans feel about attending college after experiencing a pandemic with such lethal consequences.
Blake Flanders, president and chief executive officer of the state Board of Regents, said it was difficult to imagine international travel returning to normal by resumption of classes in August.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do think we could potentially see contracting enrollments in the fall,” he said.
Flanders said colleges and universities provided underappreciated leadership as reality of the pandemic started to seep in. The decision to not bring students back for in-person classes after spring break reduced spread of the virus, he said.
“Particularly those communities where the universities are housed,” he said. “That probably saved the strain of significant resources at health care facilities and, probably, put Kansas in a better position long term.”
The pivot to online instruction wasn’t easy for faculty and students, but emotional toll of postponing graduation ceremonies was a body blow.
“The seniors are going through a bit of a grieving process,” said Allison Garrett, president at Emporia State University. “The decision not to resume classes after spring break means senior students really didn’t have an opportunity to say goodbye in the way they had hoped.”
“It doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of stress out there,” Myers said. “There is a tremendous amount of stress.”
“We’re going to develop lots of alternatives,” Myers said.
Shane Bangerter, chairman of the Board of Regents and an attorney in Dodge City, attributed an outbreak of coronavirus in southeast Kansas to a person who traveled for vacation, contracted the virus, misled his employer and spread it to relatives, who then shed it to work colleagues.
“Take all necessary personal action to guard against the spread of this,” he said.
He said the state’s education system and economy had a better chance of a solid restart if people adhered to social distancing guidelines. The state needs to adopt widespread testing, track infected people and isolate the sick, he said.
“The only way we’re going to get back to a state of normalcy is if we can stop community spread in the state,” Bangerter said
In Kansas, state health officials Saturday confirmed 86 deaths and 1,790 infections related to COVID-19. Cases have been identified in 66 of the state’s 105 counties. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been tracking 35 clusters of infection in Kansas. The nine latest clusters to emerge have been at private companies.
The Kansas Department of Corrections is severing ties with the state prison system’s medical provider amid the pandemic responsible for a one-week doubling of the number of infected employees and inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility.
The decision to replace Corizon Health was anticipated, but executives of the Brentwood, Tenn., company rejected allegations by Jeff Zmuda, the state corrections secretary, that Corizon was unprepared for COVID-19. Zmuda’s letter complaining about Corizon’s response to the pandemic was dated April 9, the same day Lansing inmates rioted, in part, due to anxiety about adequacy of health care.
James Hyman, chief executive officer at Corizon, said Zmuda accused the company of failing to maintain an adequate stock of personal protective equipment for health staff and delaying until April 8 issuance of procedures for testing, isolating and treating coronavirus patients.
Zmuda also claimed care at Lansing was undermined by a nursing shortage.
Zmuda awarded a potential six-year contract to Centurion of Kansas, a company based in Vienna, Va., valued at $86 million in the first year and as much as $98 million in the final year.
The Department of Corrections reported Friday that 39 staff and 30 inmates at Lansing had tested positive for the virus, up from 16 staff and 12 inmates on April 10. The initial employee infection was confirmed March 31, while the first infection of a prisoner was disclosed April 4.
Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order on religious services limited congregational gatherings to no more than 10 people. Her order applied even if attendees respected advice on social distancing, including staying 6 feet apart.
The Legislative Coordinating Council, a Republican-led panel called to duty when the House and Senate couldn’t convene, voted to override the governor’s executive order on church attendance. The Kansas Supreme Court declared LCC lacked jurisdiction to overturn the governor.
That led the Alliance Defending Freedom of Scottsdale, Ariz., to filed a lawsuit against Kelly on behalf of Baptist churches in Junction City and Dodge City. It alleges violation of constitutional rights of religious freedom and the right to expression.
In this fight, Kelly found an unlikely ally in the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas. Nadine Johnson, executive director of the Kansas chapter of ACLU, has championed the right of people of all faiths to be free from government interference in their right to worship.
“No civil liberty is absolute, however, and circumstances arise where the government can justify temporary, tailored restrictions on the right to assemble and worship. The current global pandemic presents such a circumstance,” she said.
The COVID-19 crisis forced Kelly to balance the quest to save lives against an obligation to respect constitutionally protected liberties.
“While freedom of religious assembly is one of the most sacred rights protected by our state and federal laws, one we defend zealously, the temporary limitations created by these executive orders are justifiable in light of the current health crisis,” Johnson said.
Read this short article and learn of the major harm China is doing to Americans. This is the kind of shit tRump should be working on, instead of banning and/or deporting people because they are not white.
Get this Douche Bag OUT of our White House!
Excerpts from the Article:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Philadelphia says officers seized over a half a million dollars worth of counterfeit consumer electronics shipped from China to Wilmington.
Customs officers initially inspected the electronics on two shipments in mid-March in the Port of Philadelphia. The shipments contained more than 20,000 counterfeit electronics like video gaming systems, speakers and watches, officials said in a statement Tuesday.
The shipments’ destination was Wilmington and they were seized on April 14. The retail value of the electronics — if they weren’t counterfeit — was $519,510, officials said.
“Counterfeit electronics may include malicious coding that could steal your identity and financial security, and they are generally manufactured with substandard materials that could overheat and ignite,” Customs Director for the Port of Philadelphia Joseph Martella said in a statement. “CBP urges consumers to protect their families and their wallets by purchasing authentic goods from reputable vendors.”
Officials also seized counterfeit injectable dental gels with the shipments, officials said.
Customs and Homeland Security agents seized more than 27,000 shipments containing counterfeit goods in Fiscal Year 2019 with a manufacturer’s estimated value of over $1.5 billion.