This could be huge! Huge, huge, huge! 🙂
I am thrilled to say that a new law firm is being formed to represent people who cannot afford an attorney. Pro Bono/Pro Se Law Group is the tentative name, and it will be headquartered in Chicago. Dick Posner will begin working on it in earnest tomorrow. Hundreds of “primo” attorneys (I expect thousands) all across America will work part-time for the new firm, representing those who cannot afford counsel, in a broad array of areas of the law.
Ever since I tracked down retired Judge Richard Posner,*we have been emailing each other and we talk at least every other day, exchanging ideas about the new firm. Finally, after 5 years of “doing what I do”, I have stumbled into the right person! Richard Posner is known, respected, and admired by all familiar with the law.
I am delighted to say that they will be hiring me as a consultant, and that I have gotten Dick interested in Prison Abuse and the outrages committed by CPS workers, and these are just two of the issues to be tackled by the firm.
We make a pretty good team: He, a lifelong intellectual, scholar, law professor, economist and judge, and yours truly, who has “been in the trenches”, worked with, lived with, played with, committed crimes with (when on drugs), mentored, and otherwise associated with a wide variety of folks, from homeless addicts to Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of Delaware. I bring some new perspectives to the issues.
He will be emailing me any time now the new book he is just finishing, in which he graciously has mentioned me and referred people to me and to this website.
Below is one of my most recent emails to Mr. Posner, written in response to one he sent me:
I suggest “Pro Bono/Pro Se Law Group”, simply to make it clear at a glance for the uneducated that it is a law firm.
I don’t think I have the time nor the expertise to travel and teach as much as you indicate here. I am, however, a phone call away. My hope and expectation is that you will attract lawyers with some experience in prison related cases, and the caliber of attorneys who readily can learn what they need to know, if they are new to these issues, with some guidance from me. It’s not “rocket science”. I suggest you suggest that my article Culture of Cover Up be required reading for any attorney new to prison issues!
You might say I do hope to educate other lawyers on a very valuable tool, and often the ONLY likelihood, of getting out of prison those who should not be there: Clemency/Commutation Applications for cases with merit … the actually innocent and many who have been hammered with “this makes no sense” unfairly long sentences! And Pardons for those who need one to progress in life. I certainly am willing to travel to do that once or twice a year. I am thinking perhaps free for members of the firm, and charge a fee – to go to Pro Bono/Pro Se Law Group – for other participants!
Please DO take out “and can travel anywhere”. And instead of the line about symposiums just say that I will consult by phone and email as needed.
Call any time to discuss.
I’ll keep you posted.
If Iesha Sekoou was one of those people who thought, “oh, I can’t make a difference”, many more would be DEAD! Get off your ass and make a difference!
Just read this! From 346 shootings to about 211 in just two years, and NONE in their engagement area!
And yes, I’ll say it: Our dumb ass politicians should get all over this and make it happen NATIONWIDE!
When Iesha Sekou can’t remember the last time someone got shot in the neighborhood, she simply yells out of her office door, “How many days we got?” to no one in particular. “Three hundred and thirty four,” someone recently yelled back. That number, which has since gone up to 346, shows the level of effectiveness of Sekou’s nonprofit, Street Corner Resources, in reducing gun violence. Two years ago, when Street Corner Resources signed a city contract as part of a $12.8 million citywide program called Cure Violence, their job was to tackle gun violence in an eight-block area known for shootings, from 137th to 145th streets between Lenox and Seventh avenues.
Things got off to a rocky start. “We walked into maybe seven or eight shootings when we got the contract,” she said. “That first year was a little rough. A lot rough.”
Street Corner Resources tries to prevent shootings before they happen by addressing everything that leads up to one. The nonprofit offers young men in the neighborhood free job-placement programs, adult-education classes, and connects their families with legal aid and affordable housing services.
Street Corner Resources hires a small crew of men who grew up in Harlem, many of whom experienced violence themselves, to establish credibility while connecting with the youth. Still, it took them over a year to win over skeptical Harlemites.
Now, people who once sold drugs for $50 or $60 a day are interested in getting a job that pays $100 a day, said Rob Moore, a social worker for Street Corner Resources. “They ask, ‘What’s going on, is there a chance to get money?’” Moore said. “It’s an opportunity to get paid and get paid a decent amount that competes with their drug sales.”
There’s a growing sense that people have more options available now, Moore added.
Once a handful of people joined, they told their friends, and Street Corner Resources grew. They now have a sound studio and host a monthly open-mic, called “Peace Café,” where anyone can perform.
Data shows that shootings are down 39 percent in the 32nd Precinct. All of the shootings have happened outside Street Corner Resources’ engagement area.
Part of the decreased is linked to more gun arrests in the Drew Hamilton Houses and Polo Ground Towers, according to Steve Davis, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Public Information. Officers made 75 gun arrests in the 32nd Precinct between January and October, compared to 42 arrests during the same period last year, the spokesman said. “The 32 Precinct Commander continues to work with Street Corner Resources as a community partner,” Davis added in an email.
Citywide, the Cure Violence program is getting more attention. Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito praised its success during a town hall in East Harlem last month. On Oct. 2, the Research & Evaluation Center at John Jay Criminal Justice, published a report saying the program helped gun violence rates decline in two neighborhoods they studied. Last week, State Senator Marisol Alcantara, gave $35,000 to Street Corner Resources.
While she’s proud of 346 days without a shooting, Sekou is aware of the fact that the streak could end any time.
Over the last year, she’s experienced some close calls including a couple of calls reporting shots fired and one shooting just one block across the street from her area.
“There’s a focus on the number of days with no one shot but I try not to obsess on that because if you just focus on that, you don’t focus on taking care of the problem,” she said.
See other articles here to realize that the percentage of solved murders and rapes is way down from years gone by because the cops are busy doing this shit! 🙂 It is insane.
Arrest = criminal record = life ruined.
Sep 26, 2017 A, arrests, Crime in the United States, FBI, Forbes, Tom Angell, UCR, Uniform Crime Report
On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released their annual Crime in the United States (CIUS) report, and the stats are concerning. Marijuana possession busts comprised 37.36% of all reported drug arrests in the U.S. in 2016, and cannabis sales and manufacturing arrests accounted for another 4.18% of the total.
Added together, marijuana arrests made up 41.54% of the 1,572,579 drug busts in the country last year.
That means, based on an extrapolation, that police arrested people for cannabis 653,249 times in the U.S. in 2016.
That averages out to about one marijuana arrest every 48 seconds. According to the same calculation, there were 643,121 U.S. cannabis arrests in 2015.
So arrests for marijuana are on the rise, even as more states legalize it.
Arresting and citing more than 650,000 people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty. Despite a steady shift in public opinion away from marijuana prohibition, and the growing number of states that are regulating marijuana like alcohol, marijuana consumers continue to be treated like criminals throughout the country. This is a shameful waste of resources and can create lifelong consequences for the people arrested. Regulating marijuana for adults creates jobs, generates tax revenue, protects consumers, and takes money away from criminals. It is time for the federal government and the rest of the states to stop ruining peoples’ lives and enact sensible marijuana policies.
Subscribe to it, for it is THE source for all the latest Pot news: Politics, Health and Science, Culture, Criminal Justice, Business, Products …. they cover it ALL. 🙂
My time is so limited, I highlight only one article here, though I read many of them. This is very frustrating because there are many VERY informative articles.
LA Considers First Ever City-Owned Public Bank In US – A great idea, due to the absurd federal laws on pot, causing marijuana businesses innumerable problems. kra
Would a city-owned public bank address some of Los Angeles’ pressing issues — such as affordable housing, small business growth and financing for municipal projects — while also freeing the city from the influence of private banks who put shareholder interests over those of the public good? That’s what L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson believes. In July, Wesson issued a challenge to the council to create the nation’s first ever city-owned bank.
The city currently does the majority of its banking with Wells Fargo through roughly 800 different accounts, but the City Council is exploring cutting ties with Wells Fargo following the scandal in which bank employees created more than 3.4 million unauthorized accounts as a way to meet aggressive sales goals set by management. L.A. settled a lawsuit with Wells Fargo in September 2016 for $185 million.
Wesson’s motion cites the only current publicly-owned bank in the nation, the Bank of North Dakota, as a successful model for L.A. The Bank of North Dakota “was created in 1919 in a populist wave when farmers there were unhappy with decisions being made by major banks heavily influenced by railroads and out-of-state agricultural interests,” Wesson wrote in his motion.
BND, which in 2016 reported 12 straight years of record profits, does not have ATMS or debit and credit cards. It has only one location. Among its services, BND offers low-interest student and school construction loans.
A city-owned bank “may also provide the best financial solution to reducing the cost of the creation and rehabilitation of affordable and workforce housing in the City of Los Angeles, while at the same time providing low cost financial services for city residents and local governments,” Wesson said in his motion. Wesson isn’t alone in his thinking. In May, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Twitter proposed a state bank that would “build our infrastructure, construct new health care facilities, provide student loans, & build 3.5 million new housing units by 2025.”
Jack Humphreville with LA Watchdog argues that funding for such a bank would be a challenge for the cash-strapped city. He says that the city would need between $125 million and $250 million in equity to support a bank with up to $2 billion in assets.
Along with financing for local entrepreneurs and affordable housing, Wesson also argues that such a bank will allow the marijuana dispensary operators a place to access banking services. Due to the current discrepancy between federal and state laws on marijuana, many banks are wary to provide financial services to cannabis-related businesses.
“We cannot bury our heads in the sand on the issue of recreational and medical cannabis legalization. Instead we must strive to reasonably regulate the emerging industry while creating opportunities for Angelenos,” Wesson said back in July.
Cannabis, which has been legal for medical purposes for more than two decades in California, will become legal for recreational use in 2018. Legalized cannabis could bring the city up to $100 million in new tax revenues per year, and the City Council is currently working on multiple motions and ordinances to create a legalized industry in the city that can be taxed and regulated.
Did you know that about 15% of those exonerated had plead guilty?
Did you know that all but four of the 61 convictions for drug crimes were the result of guilty pleas?
One of our FB group members. Pam Rehmer, just sent this out to the Cape Cod Gazette! Good job, Pam!
Letter to the Editor – We Haven’t Learned Much! 10/7/17
If there was anything to feel at ease about in Trump’s campaign, it was his uncharacteristic sensibility on certain drug related issues. Unfortunately, his dishonesty is driving his actual actions. His campaign touted leaving marijuana laws up to the states, focusing on treatment for drug users and increasing access to overdose reversal medication. However, the executive orders made under the Obama administration in reversing some of the damage done by decades of failed policy is soon to be lost. Trump’s Attorney General is not implementing the needed changes in the drug laws. In fact, he is “turning back the clock” with “tough on crime “ policies which we have seen for 45 years now, do not work! How much clearer does it have to become that our criminal justice system is in chaos and needs immediate reform? Our country has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and most people imprisoned for drug crimes are non violent offenders, not to mention disproportionately minorities. Instead of reform, these executive orders only double down on issues like police force and harsh minimum sentencing.
Trump wants to see if building a wall or other ways of getting tough on the supply side of illegal drug trade will improve the drug problem in America. History has shown us that is not true. It has failed by every metric.. It’s a shame that zero learning has taken place no learning once again from past mistakes.
Pam Rehmer, city, state, phone number, Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE
I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. 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!
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.
They are starting to “get it”. Our justice system is so very F’d up that it has clobbered the poor, people of color, addicts, the mentally ill, and, perhaps worst of all, as I have said so often, undermined confidence in the system!
It took 45 years to screw up the system*, and it will take time to undo the mess. These are steps in the right direction except for the new mandatory minimum sentences proposed. They simply never are a good idea!
Excerpts from the Article:
It appears that some members of the Senate are still committed to addressing some of the flaws in the United States criminal justice system. Yesterday (October 4) Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced a bill aimed at changing the way nonviolent drug offenders are punished. The bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 is co-sponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Per a statement released by Grassley, the bill aims to “recalibrate prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, target violent and career criminals, and save taxpayer dollars.”
As The Washington Post reports, it seeks to do that by reducing the length of mandatory minimum sentences and discarding the three strikes rule that locks up repeat offenders for life. But it seeks to increase some other sentences, including adding a mandatory minimum for domestic abusers who cross state lines, people who export weapons to terrorists and blacklisted countries, and people who deal fentanyl laced with heroin.
The bill is an update of one Durbin and Grassley previously introduced. The Post notes that then-Senator Jeff Sessions—who now heads the Department of Justice—blocked the bill from a vote, despite it having 37 co-sponsors across party lines. He will likely use his current position to discourage support, as he issued a memo in May directing federal prosecutors to pursue charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences if they will result in extended prison stays.
Booker spoke to the need to fix the criminal justice system in a quote included in Grassley’s statement:
America’s criminal justice system is broken. The mass incarceration explosion of the last 40 years has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, held back our economy, undermined public safety, disproportionately affected communities of color and the poor, and devalued the very idea of justice in America. The bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act is a critically important and urgently needed step forward to help right these wrongs.
The statement also details other the key points of the bill, including establishing recidivism reduction programs to help the formerly incarcerated re-enter society, sentence reductions for those who complete those programs and tougher penalties for offenders convicted of violent felonies.
Our Attorney General himself is a relic of the past, and this policy from the past did not succeed then and will not succeed now! We have seen clearly over the past 45 years that “tough on crime” (oh, the politicians love it because it sounds good!) DOES NOT WORK, due mainly to the “war on drugs”, which fuels 84% to 92% of ALL crime, depending which study one reads. End it, end most crime. Portugal has proven it!
Excerpts from the Article:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday he is reviving a Bush era crime-fighting strategy that emphasizes aggressive prosecution of gun and gang crimes. Similar efforts fizzled in recent years due to funding cuts and concerns that they focused too heavily on common street criminals as opposed to major players. But Justice Department officials insist they are drawing from lessons learned since Project Safe Neighborhoods was initially launched in 2001.
Part of the program’s focus is on sending certain gun crimes to federal court, where they carry longer sentences in far-away prisons. The department will station 40 additional federal prosecutors in districts that are struggling with spikes in crime.
It’s the latest move by the Trump administration as it enacts its tough-on-crime agenda and a cornerstone of Sessions’ promised crackdown on violence. Sessions told the nation’s federal prosecutors in a Thursday memo that they would be evaluated regularly based on their commitment to Project Safe Neighborhoods, which also emphasizes partnerships among local law enforcement and community groups.
“We cannot afford to be complacent in the face of violence that threatens too many of our communities,” Sessions wrote in the memo, lamenting recently released federal data showing violent crime rose in 2016 for the second straight year. “We can never cede a single neighborhood, block or street corner to violent criminals.”
The Justice Department has asked Congress for $70 million for the effort, but officials say it could be implemented without the money. The initiative will give local law enforcement faster access to technology that helps solve shootings and more quickly trace guns used in crimes. It also calls for U.S. attorneys to come up with a comprehensive plan for combatting violence in their districts that involves local police and prosecutors.
Read the Whole Story
Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish moves to video-only inmate visitation Citing security concerns, local sheriff eliminates in-person visits to 1,200-person prison
Another step backwards! All studies show that in-person visits reduce recidivism and improve inmate behavior! They always cite “security” for their bad policies, and here that is more nonsense from prison officials. This comment is downright laughable: “the agency expects that by eliminating in-person visitations, it will also eliminate the entry of contraband into the facility “almost completely.”” I bet my life that guards bring in more contraband than inmates ever did!
I know that when I got a visit – I got 2 in 5 years – I was so happy to see someone from the outside I felt like a kid at Christmas. Prison is such a ZOO! The animals are the ones in uniform! 🙂 You’ll see when my book on prison abuse hits the fan 🙂
Excerpts from the Article:
In a policy move first for the country’s most carceral State, the Sheriff of Jefferson Parish in Louisiana announced Wednesday that video conferencing will soon be the only way for inmates at Jefferson Parish Correctional Center (JPCC) to receive visitors. According to expectations laid out in the Sheriff Department’s press release, the agency expects that by eliminating in-person visitations, it will also eliminate the entry of contraband into the facility “almost completely.”
The use of prison video visitation has increased in recent years, as the technological barrier to entry has dropped and promotional efforts by major prison telecommunication companies, like Securus and Global Tel Link, have grown. By one estimate, well over half of prisons that begin utilizing video visitation equipment ultimately prohibit in-person visits altogether; at each of these facilities, the service provider often waives fees for the purchase, installation, and maintainance of equipment, instead offering the prison a cut of the costs charged to inmates and an incentive structure that threatens to emphasize profits over rehabilitative best practices.
For Jefferson Parish, these costs for inmates and their families will amount to about $13 for a 20-minute video call. Once a week, would-be visitors will have the option to use the video service free of charge from the department’s visitation center – which, like the correctional facility, is just 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans. All seven days a week, individuals will have the option of video visitation via computer and cell phone app for up to three visits a day. The policy is scheduled to go into effect October 10.
Jefferson Parish, like prisons in Texas and South Carolina that have also transitioned to a video-exclusive visitation option for inmates, cited as its primary motivator the benefits for the security and safe operations of the jail, which houses nearly 1,200 people and will no longer require as many guards to monitor visits and control illicit interactions.
The new policy has also been criticized by prison rights’ advocates for the harshness it imposes upon those under custody but not yet charged with a crime; a large percentage of JSCC’s inmate population is comprised of pre-trial detainees.
Public record requests for the details of the policy change are currently pending with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Join us this Saturday on The Green in Dover DE from 9 AM to 1 PM … come and speak your mind! Here is a newspaper article about the Rally, but since it was printed I got more great news:
Executive Director of NARSOL To Speak in Delaware! 🙂
I have just received confirmation that Ms. Brenda Jones, the Executive Director of a relatively new national organization, NARSOL – National Advocates for Rational Sex Offender Laws- will be one of the Featured Speakers at our Rally for JUSTICE on Saturday, the 7th. She is travelling from Washington D C to be here and will speak at 10:30. https://narsol.org/ See their website. She is most welcomed indeed! I have long seen that many of our sex offender laws and restrictions make NO sense whatsoever!
Come join us on The Green In Dover, from 9 A M to 1 P M to show your concern for the need for meaningful, positive, common sense criminal justice reform! 🙂
A Newspaper Article on the Rally: “Rally for Justice” Coming to Dover.
DOVER — Ken Abraham believes mental illness and/or drug addiction are the root causes of 90 percent of crimes committed in America.
“I know it and the cops know it,” said the former Delaware Deputy Attorney General and defense lawyer. “We focus on locking people with addiction and illness up instead of on treatment and rehabilitation.”
On that note, the Citizens for Criminal Justice nonprofit will hold its fifth annual Rally for Justice event on The Green Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The gathering is designed to bring attention to what organizers describe as a legal system needing significant repair.
In particular, Mr. Abraham believes those with mental health issues are “ignored” when involved in court and crime issues. “Prisons have become the new insane asylums,” he said.
There’s solace in the apparently growing national conversation regarding problems in the system, Mr. Abraham believes, but “things aren’t going to change overnight and we’ve got to keep the ball rolling.”
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own hand held signs to promote their organization or cause. The first rally in 2013 drew a crowd of 80 to 100, and Mr. Abraham hopes for up to 200 attendees this year if the weather allows. “This is not a political event, it’s an event about justice and fairness,” said Mr. Abraham, noting that mass incarceration currently plagues the criminal justice system, exacerbated by a need for bail reform, access to rehabilitation and treatment, sentencing reform and probation and parole oversight.
“Things being what they are today, never before has there been a more important time to address the severe problems that are plaguing the criminal justice system and affecting society as a whole,” Mr. Abraham said.
With Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn pushing for an addiction-related high school and treatment for addicts, Mr. Abraham believes the state is progressing toward issues affecting criminal justice. AG Denn recently announced he will not seek re-election.
“It’s a loss to Delaware that he’s leaving office, but I know he will continue to have a positive influence in the state’s criminal justice system no matter what he chooses to do next,” Mr. Abraham said. “Matt Denn has done a lot to improve the state of the criminal justice system in Delaware, but there’s much more to be addressed.”
City of Dover Mayor Robin R. Christiansen will offer opening remarks at 9 a.m., followed by a host of speakers. ACLU of Delaware Executive Director Kathleen MacRae has committed to either attend or send a representative, Mr. Abraham said.
Also scheduled to speak is Delaware Civil Rights Coalition Coordinator Charito Calvachi-Mateyko.
Canaan Baptist Church the Rev. Chris Bullock said the February death of Correctional Officer Lt. Steven Floyd Sr. during an inmate uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna spotlighted problems within the state’s incarceration network requiring immediate attention.
Though unable to attend Saturday’s rally, the Rev. Bullock will have his thoughts read aloud, including “God ultimately holds each one of us accountable. But … significant improvements can be made not only with broad and sweeping new laws, but by holding people accountable for their actions, one person at a time.
“Therefore, I join Mr. Abraham and many others in asking our government to recognize that we have serious problems of abuse in the prisons, and to take steps to address that issue. Doing so will avoid much possible chaos and mayhem, and will most certainly improve our communities and state.”
More information is available by calling 423-4067 or going online to www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net. The organization’s Facebook page has accumulated nearly 18,100 followers from across the nation, Mr. Abraham said.