New York Times Investigation Spotlights NYPD Practice of ‘Testilying’ – It’s Called “Perjury” or “Filing a False Report”, a Crime! – kra
I have written many articles about perjury by police, a real epidemic. “You take the truth and stretch it out a little bit.” Bullshit! That is perjury. Besides the obvious most awful consequence of having innocent people convicted, this article points out the other more subtle but terrible consequences to the system and society.
READ Rush to Sentence: http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/rush-to-sentence-a-major-awful-consequence-of-our-war-on-drugs/
Excerpts from the Article:
An extensive New York Times investigation of the New York Police Department has uncovered that “at least 25 instances were found where judges or prosecutors reportedly determined that a cop’s testimony was likely untrue or embellished” since January 2015. It’s what observers commonly refer to as “testilying.” According to NYPD Officer Pedro Serrano: “You take the truth and stretch it out a little bit.”
Officers take advantage of the fact that such a high percentage of criminal cases, especially with indigent defendants, generally end with a negotiated plea rather than a trial. As a result, many of the exaggerations and false statements are never subject to cross-examination and exposure, and the conduct carries over into the next case. However, the practice consists of more than just stretching the truth—it often crosses over into the more insidious practice of planting evidence, manufacturing testimony, and falsifying lineups.
The deceptive practices are taking place in an era when a majority of people have cellphone cameras, and few arrests or police encounters are not subject to some form of video recording. The widespread use of surveillance video on private and public premises, not to mention dashcam video and bodycams, also complicates the concealment of police misconduct.
Nonetheless, one Brooklyn officer told the Times, “There’s no fear of being caught. You’re not going to go to trial and nobody is going to be cross-examined.” Lawrence Byrne, a legal spokesman for the NYPD, maintains that, “it’s harder for a cop to lie today. There is virtually no enforcement encounter where there isn’t immediate video of what the officers are doing,” he said, saying that it’s a product of a “bygone era.” Or is it?
Despite the assertions of Byrne that, “Our goal is always, always zero,” of the “testilying” instances, it appears to still happen on an all-too-regular basis. The Times uncovered numerous instances where police officers embellished testimony or planted drugs or weapons on innocent individuals, and then lied about it.
In most instances where police are caught engaging in misconduct, prosecutors dismiss the charges and seek to seal the case. The Times reports that these summary dispositions of tainted cases make the tracking of police misconduct almost impossible, but the result of this misconduct is substantial. Ethics-challenged cops leave in their wake dozens of innocent individuals whose lives have been turned upside-down by the expense and life disruptions caused by defending themselves in court.
These instances of misconduct have other unfortunate effects on the criminal justice system. According to the Times, “Police lying raises the likelihood that the innocent end up in jail—and that as juries and judges come to regard the police as less credible, or as cases are dismissed when the lies are discovered, the guilty will go free. Police falsehoods also impede judges’ efforts to enforce constitutional limits on police searches and seizures.”
The Times found that officers lied not only to attempt to “tip the scales of justice” toward guilt, but also to defeat the “exclusionary rule” that mandates that illegally seized evidence be excluded from consideration in a criminal case. Recently, however, there have been cases in which NYPD officers have paid a price for their falsehoods.
According to the Times, “Earlier this month, two veteran NYPD detectives were indicted on charges of official misconduct and filing false paperwork for lying about a drug deal that went down in Queens.” A Brooklyn detective also was indicted on federal perjury charges, accused of attempting to “conceal the fact that he had falsified documentation” related to the photo lineups.
Another Brooklyn officer, speaking anonymously, said: “You’re either a ‘lie guy’ or you’re not” and that he had been pressed to embellish the facts of drug arrests and manufacturing “probable cause” to avoid the arrests being dismissed in a suppression hearing.
The question we should all ask ourselves is whether the misconduct of NYPD officers is unique to that city, or whether it is, in fact, engrained in the DNA of police departments in other cities and jurisdictions as well. It is certainly a question that deserves to be answered.
Progress is slow, but it is coming. ADDICTS NEED TREATMENT, NOT PRISON! Sheeeeit, I have been saying that for 6 years now, and people finally are listening.
READ Crime Prevention Bill , which I sent to all Delaware lawmakers, and others, six years ago!
Excerpts from the Article:
For the many Delawareans who have become all too familiar with the state’s substance abuse and mental health resources over the past few years, it’s not news the state could do more. Officials have expanded treatment and begun viewing addiction as a disease rather than a crime, but the state still has too few spots in detox facilities, gaps in care between different sources and many people with drug addiction or mental health issues locked up behind bars.
A new report from a state-created group looking at ways to combat the opioid epidemic that claimed the lives of 345 people in Delaware last year offers a three-year plan, based off feedback from more than 600 people and opinions of experts.
From creating sober-living centers to working with religious groups, the 117 recommendations included in the Behavioral Health Consortium’s findings seek to put a significant dent in what many have called a crisis. Created in July, the 25-member group held its first meeting in October and hosted community forums in all three counties in February to help craft a plan for stopping the scourge that is addiction.
The report, Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long said, is similar to one developed by the Delaware Cancer Consortium in the early 2000s. That consortium proposed a four-year plan that helped lower the state’s incidence and mortality rates, and officials are hoping this one has a similar impact.
“It really is a road map, it’s a launchpad, and I’m really hoping as all eyes around our country are watching Delaware to become a national leader in this area to address it,” Lt. Gov. Hall-Long, a nurse and the consortium’s chairwoman, said at a news conference Tuesday.
Some are narrowly focused and relatively easy to accomplish: expanding the state’s needle exchange program, making a medication that can counteract the effects of overdoses more readily available and training correctional officers how to better deal with inmates with addiction or mental health issues.
Others, such better coordinating different treatment services, working with religious organizations to help connect individuals in need to resources and finding employment opportunities for individuals in recovery, are more nebulous.
Currently, the state’s largest behavioral health provider is the Department of Correction — an illustration of a model advocates say needs to change. Instead of imprisoning people battling addiction or mental health disorders, the state should ensure they receive care, the report notes.
It also urges policymakers to help erase the stigma around mental health issues and create new education programs centering on addiction and mental health. Delaware has seen its overdose rate climb, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifying a 40 percent increase in fatal overdoses from 2015 to 2016. Only seven states had a worse age-adjusted overdose rate in 2016, per the CDC.
According to the state, the number of fatal overdoses has grown in at least each of the past five years, with the largest jump from 2015 to 2016.
With the General Assembly expected to have nearly $100 million in unanticipated revenue to work with, now appears to be a good time for many of the items called for by the Behavioral Health Consortium. Gov. Carney noted the report’s release comes as legislators begin meeting to craft the budget, with the Joint Committee on Capital Improvement convening this week and the Joint Finance Committee gathering the next two weeks.
The governor’s proposed budget contains more than $20 million for treatment services, which he said lawmakers should build on. As for how legislators will determine which items they can afford to fund and which may have to get pushed to the side for the time being, Gov. Carney stressed the importance of prioritizing the 117 recommendations.
Treating addiction and mental health needs may be pricey, but it’s worth the investment, speakers said Tuesday.
“There’s no price that you can put on the loss of a loved one,” the governor noted.
I’m telllin’ you, this is THE source for Marijuana news: Business developments, Criminal Justice, Politics, Health and Science, Culture, and more!
I simply do not have the time to highlight here more than one article (below), but YOU should subscribe to WeedWeek and/or look through the whole newsletter for what interests YOU most! There are scores of very interesting and informative articles!
The benefits and harms of medical marijuana can be debated, but more states are legalizing pot, even for recreational use. A new evaluation of marijuana’s risks is overdue. Last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering released a comprehensive report on cannabis use. At almost 400 pages long, it reviewed both potential benefits and harms. Let’s focus on the harms. The greatest concern with tobacco smoking is cancer, so it’s reasonable to start there with pot smoking. A 2005 systematic review in the International Journal of Cancer pooled the results of six case-control studies. No association was found between smoking marijuana and lung cancer. Another 2015 systematic review pooled nine case-control studies and could find no link to head and neck cancers.
Another meta-analysis of three case-control studies of testicular cancer found a statistically significant link between heavier pot smoking and one type of testicular cancer. But this evidence was judged to be “limited” because of limitations in the research (all of which was from the 1990s).
There’s no evidence, or not enough to say, of a link between pot use and esophageal cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, penile cancer or bladder cancer. There’s also no evidence, or not enough to say, that pot has any effect on sperm or eggs that could increase the risk of cancer in any children of pot smokers. (Using marijuana while pregnant does pose other risks, as discussed below.)
Another major risk with cigarettes, heart disease, isn’t clearly seen with pot smoking. Only two studies quantified the risk between marijuana use and heart attacks. One found no relationship at all, and the other found that pot smoking may be a trigger for a heart attack in the hour after smoking. But this finding was based on nine patients, and may not be generalizable.
It also makes sense to think about the risk of respiratory disease. In the short term after smoking pot, a 2007 systematic review found, lung function actually improved. But these benefits were completely overtaken by evidence that lung function may degrade with chronic use. Lung function, however, is a laboratory measure and not necessarily a clinical outcome, and what we really care about is lung disease. Once you control for tobacco use, the links between marijuana and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease appear minimal. Almost no evidence is available to link pot use to asthma.
Driving while impaired is a major cause of injury and death in the United States. Six systematic reviews were considered of fair or good quality by the national academies, and the most recent one pooled three of the others. It contained evidence from 21 studies in 13 countries representing almost 240,000 participants. For people who reported marijuana use, or had THC detected through testing, their odds of being involved in a motor vehicle accident increased by 20 to 30 percent, the study found. This is, of course, a relative increase, and shouldn’t be confused with the overall percentage chance of getting in an accident, which is much smaller.
Regardless, driving while impaired is a terrible idea. Although we have good tests to determine if people are under the influence of alcohol, no such tests are currently available for marijuana, making enforcement more difficult.
Babies born to women who smoke pot during pregnancy are more likely to be underweight, delivered premature and admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit, according to a 2016 systematic review. But there were no links seen for changes in birth length, head circumference or congenital malformations. There’s limited evidence for pregnancy complications for mothers, and there’s not enough evidence to comment on much else about babies and their outcomes.
There’s moderate evidence, from many studies, that learning, memory and attention can be impaired in the 24 hours after marijuana use. There’s limited evidence, however, that this translates into worse outcomes in academic achievement, employment, income or social functioning, or that these effects linger after the pot has “worn off.”
The possible relationship between marijuana use and mental health is complicated. The most recent meta-analysis found that there’s a significant connection between heavy marijuana use and a diagnosis of psychosis, specifically schizophrenia. This mirrored the findings of previous reviews that sought to cover only high-quality studies. Another systematic review highlighted a potentially small but statistically significant link between marijuana use and the development of bipolar disorder. Heavy users of pot are also more likely to say they have suicidal thoughts.
What makes this complicated is that it’s hard to establish the arrow of causality. Are people who smoke pot more likely to develop mental health problems? Or are people with mental health problems more likely to smoke pot?
There’s a similar issue when talking about the relationship between using pot and other substances. Some see marijuana as a “gateway” drug, leading to other substance use or abuse. Others see this as only a correlation in which people who are likely to use or abuse substances are more likely to use pot as well.
As states legalize the drug for general use, more cannabis users feel freed from secrecy. They smoke more in public, raising worries about secondhand smoke. A two-year-old study made news recently by arguing that one minute of exposure to pot smoke impaired how vessels responded to blood flow for at least 90 minutes, a greater impairment than from tobacco. This was a study in rats, though, not of humans out in the world. As for risk of a “contact high,” the amount of THC detectable in secondhand smoke is negligible.
Almost all agree that children should not use pot, but concerns are legitimately raised about whether children might have increased exposure or access after legalization. Although this issue has not been studied widely, it’s possible that pot — the THC and the metabolites from smoke — could have an effect on the developing brains of children. These concerns are more applicable to adolescents who use pot regularly, however, not the accidental ingestion reported in the news once in a while.
Almost all the harms the medical literature focuses on involve smoked cannabis. We know little to nothing about edibles and other means of administration. Nor do we have any consistent manner of measuring the level of exposure.
Many of the harms we’ve discussed are statistically significant, and yet they are of questionable significance. Almost all the increased risks are relative risks. The absolute, or overall, risks are often quite low.
We haven’t focused on the potential medical benefits here. But many people use pot — even rationally — for benefits they perceive to be greater than the harms we’ve listed.
We unquestionably need more research, and more evidence of harms may emerge. But it’s important to note that the harms we know about now are practically nil compared with that of many other drugs, and that marijuana’s effects are clearly less harmful than those associated with tobacco or alcohol abuse.
People who choose to use marijuana — now that it’s easier to do legally — will need to weigh the pros and cons for themselves
If I had lots of staff and a boatload of money, I’d assign a few people to do this (I am a “one man band)! Most women inmates are moms, and, in a way, when they are incarcerated, the whole family is imprisoned. The effect on the families and on society, as I have written, is awful.
This article is too long to post much of it here, but you can be a big help if you want to get involved; just open the “whole story”. I list here just the titles of the nine ways it is easy to help. YOU, with little effort and little expense, can make a huge difference for an imprisoned Mom!
Excerpts from the Article:
The United States has the largest prison population and highest incarceration rate in the world, and women are the fastest growing demographic of America’s prison populace. There were 219,000 women in U.S. prisons as of October 2017, and most of them are mothers. While it’s safe to say not all of these moms are serving time for cannabis, it’s also true that America’s prisons are full of moms who were caught using or selling small amounts of cannabis illegally.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 52 percent of all drug arrests in 2010 were for cannabis—and we learned in 2016 that cannabis arrests in the U.S. outnumber those of violent crimes.
However, as time continues to favor legalization, we’ll start to see more and more cannabis convictions expunged. In the meantime, here are just a few ways you can help cannabis prisoners with kids this Mother’s Day.
1. Help Kids of Incarcerated Moms
One way to show support for moms who are serving time for cannabis is by helping their kids. Parents for Pot provides support to parents and kids who have been affected by anti-cannabis legislation, and they also conduct an annual holiday drive where they try to fulfill the holiday wish lists of kids whose parents are serving time for cannabis.
2. Send Cards, Postcards, Letters, and Photos
A note might not seem like much but receiving mail could seriously brighten someone’s day. If you know a person in prison for cannabis, but you’re not sure where they’re being held, you can look her up by name through the BOP Inmate Locator website.
3. Send Books or Magazines
Reading might be the healthiest form of escapism there is, and it’s one of the few prison-approved hobbies that can help incarcerated women combat anxiety, depression, and boredom.
4. Support the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act
Sponsored by Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Dick Durbin, the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act seeks to improve the lives of incarcerated women, whose gender-specific needs—like free and easy access to menstrual hygiene products—are often overlooked or intentionally ignored. Perhaps more importantly, the bill hopes to change the way pregnant women are treated in American prisons. Shackling pregnant inmates during pregnancy, recovery, and childbirth is currently legal in half the country.
5. Support Incarcerated Mothers’ Right to Breastfeed
Breastfeeding is a mother’s right. But when incarcerated women give birth during their sentence, their babies are typically taken away within 24 to 48 hours after birth. And although the Federal Bureau of Prisons says breastfeeding is allowed in visitation rooms, breastfeeding often takes more time than inmates are allowed to spare.
6. Send a Care Package
Unfortunately, prisons typically won’t allow you to send your own personalized care package to prisoners. To prevent unregulated weapons and illegal substances from entering prisons, most correctional facilities require that care packages be sent through private vendors. It won’t be cheap, but if you do decide to go the care package route, check out Pigeonly, iCare, or Access Securepak.
7. Put Money in a Commissary Account
If you can afford it, depositing funds directly into a commissary account is just about the most helpful thing you can do. In most prisons, incarcerated women have to pay for everything that isn’t considered completely necessary—from phone calls to toothpaste to tampons. And although federal prisons recently made menstrual products free to women prisoners, most state prisons and local jails haven’t followed suit. In fact, women in Arizona state prisons would have to work 27 hours just to afford one box of tampons.
8. Support Arts & Crafts in Prisons
Countless studies suggest that prison arts and crafts programs can help decrease violence, improve interracial tensions, and bolster self-esteem among incarcerated individuals. On top of that, activities like painting and journaling can decrease anxiety and provide a mood boost.
9. Write a Clemency Support Letter
Writing a letter in support of a cannabis prisoner’s clemency petition is a great way to show that you care, and all it will cost you is your time. Each clemency support letter is logged and recorded, and the more times a cannabis prisoner’s name comes up in a positive way, the better. If you need help getting started, here’s a guide.
I just sent this to 250+ media outlets and select others:
PUBLISHED! 🙂 P A5 Delaware State News, 5/16/18
Letter to the Editor – Good for the City 5/12/18
To be sure, the recent initiative to improve our city will help … marginally. [Nine properties set for revitalization in downtown Dover – https://delawarestatenews.net/news/nine-properties-set-for-for-revitalization-in-downtown-dover/ ]
All of the officials involved in making this happen should be applauded: they are well-intentioned. However, they are not well-informed about crime, the causes for crime, and the solutions to the problem of so much crime in our streets. The statement: “It’s going to cut down on crime and all the other things that have been going on in these neighborhoods because people have their vested interest here …” will prove to be more of a desire than an actual result.
Until we end the “war on drugs” as we know it, (Prohibition did not create Al Capone, prohibition did!) and until police-community relations are greatly improved (they have been destroyed nationwide due to too many crimes by police officers and due to lack of vigorous prosecutions of many such crimes), there will be no major reduction in crime. Look back in three or five years and tell me whether this is correct.
There are seven neighborhoods in Dover which are known to be “drug markets” (there are more than 175 in Philadelphia, and they are in every town). This is one. Until other reforms are made, the crime will simply shift to other properties and neighborhoods.
Thank you all for your efforts to improve my home town. I only hope that soon we see political leadership with the courage to take the bold moves which will actually help much more.
Ken Abraham, Dover, DE, Deputy Attorney General 1974-1979, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, 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! email@example.com .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.
A typical 2 A M email. Probation and Sex Offenders … You CAN get probation shortened. kra Practical Tip
If I awake in the middle of the night, I check my emails.
Here is a recent exchange, with the sender’s name omitted for her privacy:
If a guy, a SO, has been sentenced to three years in prison and ten years probation, is there any way to have probation shortened? I received a letter from this poor guy in the Georgetown facility who was arrested for ‘dealing’ chid pornography. They consider it ‘dealing’ if you send a friend a photo from the website. It’s just another way to heap on charges and nail your balls to the wall. Bastards!
Anyway, this guy was sentenced to three years in prison and ten years of probation. He paid his attorney $10,000. Meanwhile, his wife has emptied his accounts and taken off. He is left with nothing. He is worried about how he can survive on probation for such a long time. I thought to myself ‘probation is just the tip of the iceberg’. Hence my question.
He has a year left of hard time. Is there any chance of having his probation shortened? If so, I might be able to help him a little financially but my husband has retired so we are on a fixed income. I just can’t stand it, Ken. These guys are getting f**ked over so bad, it’s making me insane.
Thanks in advance for your ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. I don’t expect you to waste your time on a detailed response and typing, typing, typing.
Thanks a bunch,
Ken – Subject: Answers
1.Yes, I do that for guys at the shelter often. Helped with at least 200 Motions to shorten probation; had only two denied, and one of those is because the judge is a new judge and an idiot! Usually do not file any such motion until after the offender has been on probation for 6 months, but CALL me about this one. If you want to pursue it now, before his release, call me with pen and paper ready. He should call me to discuss it. Please do NOT have him write to me; I already cannot even open inmate letters I get from all over the country … no time! I know all about “dealing”, and you are correct. It is like it was with “reefer madness”: If you hand a friend a joint, that, legally, is “delivery”! Thousands of people got long sentences that way!
You should get him these articles about probation, about the “law library”, and the other one, if you can:
http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/dont-do-it-a-must-read-if-you-know-anyone-in-prison/ – Tell every inmate!
http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/tragic-prison-law-libraries/ – Prison “law libraries”: They are a disaster! DISASTER
http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/know-someone-on-probation-or-parole-read-this/ – Know Someone on Probation or Parole? READ THIS! Tell them this!
2. It’s making YOU insane?! I deal with ALL of the problems in the criminal justice system! Honestly, it is the injustice system.
Regards to Bill and Dee
MAKE it a great day! Ken Abraham
In 2014 police seized more assets than were stolen in all burglaries in America! Since then some states have wised up to this insane and unnecessary abuse called “asset forfeiture”.
Once the police seize your car or your cash … anything … it is damn near impossible to get it back.
Excerpts from the Article:
Last month, a Minnesota House committee passed a bill that would reform asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking property without a criminal conviction. It would also close a loophole that allows police to circumvent more strict state laws by passing cases off to the federal government. But the bill faces significant law enforcement opposition as it continues through the legislative process.
A bipartisan coalition of 15 representatives introduced House Bill 3725 (HF3725) on March 14. Grassroots activists on the ground in Minnesota say powerful law enforcement lobbying interests could jeopardize passage of HF3725.
Police opposition to this legislation in Minnesota is illustrative. The arguments being used by Minnesota police lobbyists feature the same twisted logic and duplicity we see across the country. Several law enforcement officers representing various lobbying groups testified during the House committee hearing on HF3725. They swore asset forfeiture wasn’t about the money, but virtually all of their reasons for opposing reform revolved around the money.
Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate testified representing the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. His argument against the bill principally focused on the potential loss of funding police departments would experience if the bill passes. Departments use these funds to enhance and deliver services in their communities—services drug dealers pay for, not the community.
Wright County Sheriff Joe Haggerty testified on behalf of the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association. He echoed a similar theme, ticking off important programs funded by asset forfeiture money. Then he swore it wasn’t about the money.
This has not been a money-grab. It’s not in the back of my brain, the front of my brain that I’m doing this for money. It doesn’t occur. Certainly not in Wright County. So, if it’s not about the money, what is it about according to the cops? Why, public safety, of course. Listening to these cops talk, you’d think that if this bill passes, police departments will just shut down and drug dealers will run Minnesota. It amounts to a scare tactic used to justify violating people’s rights.
But beyond that, law enforcement sets up a straw man. They argue as if reform would end forfeiture. But this legislation would not take away the ability of police to confiscate drug funds. It would merely require a criminal conviction first. Therein lies the duplicity in law enforcement arguments. They are misrepresenting the legislation to make it sound like they won’t be able to seize property used in a crime. In reality, it just means they will have to actually prove a crime was committed by the owner of the property first.
H3725 would direct forfeiture proceeds to victim advocacy programs and to the general fund instead of directly to law enforcement agencies. This would remove the “policing for profit” incentive inherent in the current system.
Jimmy Cosgrove is one example of people caught up in the tangled web of forfeiture. Jimmy and his lawyer both testified at the committee hearing. Jimmy served in Afghanistan and came back with PTSD. Like many vets, he self-medicated with alcohol. After his second DUI, police seized his car. The car was more than just a mode of transportation. He bought it and named it in honor of one of his buddies who was killed in Afghanistan. After that second arrest, he went into a treatment program. All he wanted was his car back. Once Jimmy was in treatment, his lawyer pleaded with the city attorney to return the car. The prosecutor came back and said the police department that made the arrest and seized the vehicle wouldn’t return it. They wouldn’t even sell the car back to Jimmy at its current market value.
With the system in place right now, it’s very clear to me, not really knowing anything about law, obviously, but it’s very clear to me that the police force had the incentive and they were running the show behind the scenes, which just clearly is—it’s just not right, if you ask me.
Read the Whole Story to see the idiocy of some police arguments!
REPORT: The 3,100 Companies That Are Invested in Mass Criminalization – Excellent on Private Prisons and all who Profit from our Screwed Up System – kra
This 103 page report is thorough indeed. There are enough horrendous facts and figures in it for thousands of Letters to the Editor about how bad the out-of-control mass incarceration system has become! When I say that for every 1 person arrested, 29 benefit financially [most of whom are helping nobody in a positive way!], now you can see how!
The study, done by The Corrections Accountability Project [(CAP) at the Urban Justice Center is a non-profit criminal justice advocacy organization committed to eliminating the influence of commercial interests on the criminal legal system and ending the exploitation of those it touches.] is a major eye-opener.
More than half of the more than $80 Billion spent annually is going to the private sector, for no good reason at all … just greed by the companies and the lawmakers they bribe and lobby and the campaigns and PACS they donate to [legal bribery!].
The Prison Industrial Complex: Mapping Private Sector Players
A new report from the Urban Justice Center’s Corrections Accountability Project identifies more than 3,100 companies that earn revenue via contracts with the prison industrial complex in the United States. The companies span 12 sectors, from construction to healthcare to telecom, and per the report, they all-knowingly or unknowingly-service a system that disproportionately incarcerates Black, Latinx and Native people.
“With this report we seek to convey the enormity of the prison industrial complex and shed light on its diverse corporate participants, taking our understanding of the commercialization of justice beyond just private prison giants, CoreCivic and The GEO Group. There are thousands of publicly-traded, private equity-owned, and privately-held companies that generate profits through the criminal legal system on the backs of those it targets: low-income and minority communities,” Corrections Accountability Project director Bianca Tylek said in an emailed statement. “Until today, these companies have operated largely behind closed doors, often intentionally masking their involvement. Yet given the reach of the criminal legal system today, still others, have found themselves unintentionally wrapped up in the prison industrial complex. Nevertheless, both present an engagement opportunity for advocates fighting to shut down the industry and shift the economy that have been built around mass incarceration.”
APRIL 2018 | FULL REPORT
This report exposes over 3,100 corporations across twelve sectors that profit from the devastating mass incarceration of our nation’s marginalized communities. It aggregates critical information about these corporations to help advocates, litigators, journalists, investors, and the public fight the commercialization of justice.
OPEN THE FULL REPORT AND READ WHAT YOU WANT. I JUST READ THE WHOLE FASCINATING STUDY!
Our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters … Americans are dying from overdoses at the rate of nearly 200 every day! Why have they not done what they are required by law to do? One big reason is that tRump is clueless on the issue, nor does he care about it. More talk and no action; he went on TV to say a few words and sound politically correct, but he cares no more about that than he does about dozens of other issues vital to America’s wellbeing.
There are many useless and harmful federal drug laws, but one of the worst is the idiotic law classifying marijuana as equally dangerous as heroin! That law inhibits the inevitably booming industry of legal Pot (banks cannot deal with those businesses), and even worse, prevents more research to determine further benefits of legal pot and understand better what harms may be caused by heavy pot use. Research hospitals and universities are scared to death that Session may come after them if they do or fund such programs.
Excerpts from the Article:
Six months after President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, the White House office charged with overseeing his administration’s response has failed to come up with a congressionally mandated strategy to address it. The Office of National Drug Control Policy, a 30-year-old division of the White House whose director is commonly known as the “drug czar,” is months late with a strategy report that is supposed to lay out a plan for curbing addiction and assess whether agencies are making progress toward that goal.
Trump declared a national health emergency in October and unveiled a plan in March that called for cutting nationwide opioid prescriptions by a third. “How many people read the national drug control strategy?” said John Walters with the Washington-based Hudson Institute, the nation’s drug czar under President George W. Bush. “What you really want is someone who’s working to get the agencies in the right direction.” The White House is required by law to submit the National Drug Control Strategy to Congress every year in February. The Trump administration did not produce the report last year and is three months behind this year’s deadline.
In a hearing last summer, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., noted the office “failed to produce a formal national drug control strategy.” The director of the office at the time told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that the White House had a draft and promised it would be released in early 2018.
The issue is likely to come up when James W. Carroll Jr., who has been serving as the acting director of the office, goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing this year. Trump nominated Carroll, an attorney and former White House deputy chief of staff, on Tuesday. His hearing has not been scheduled.
Washington has struggled to respond to the overdose crisis, which claimed about 64,000 American lives last year. Lawmakers set aside $6 billion this year to address the opioid epidemic, and the Senate is advancing bipartisan legislation. A presidential commission led by former New Jersey governor Chris Christie released a 138-page document in November that made recommendations for confronting the crisis, many of which involved bolstering the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Drug control strategies released by past administrations set measurable goals for reducing drug use and tracked the progress agencies made toward those goals. Obama’s first strategy, which was also delayed, sought to emphasize prevention and treatment over law enforcement.
The document called for a 10% reduction in drug use among young adults, for instance — a goal that was not met by the end of Obama’s second term.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy has faced a series of setbacks during the Trump administration. The president’s first choice for drug czar, Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., withdrew his nomination in October after reports documented his support for legislation that would have made it harder for federal agencies to enforce opioid laws.
A 24-year-old former Trump campaign aide stepped down as a deputy chief of staff in the office this year after The Washington Post revealed inconsistencies in his résumé.
“Everything kind of flows from the federal government to the state to the local level,” Bradley said. “Those of us who are in the trenches need to understand the direction and what the strategies are so that we \can align ourselves with those policies,” she said.
This is THE most comprehensive newsletter for all issues concerning marijuana: Business, Politics, Criminal Justice, and much, much more! Because it is so jam-packed with great information, and yours truly is such a very busy “one man band”, I cannot highlight more than two articles for this newsletter, but I encourage you to open WeedWeek and look it all over for articles of interest to YOU! There are soooo many fascinating, interesting and important articles.
- Weed bank proposal passes first legislative hurdle in California – A much needed measure to increase the safety and efficiency of what is a huge industry!
California would license special banks to handle billions of dollars generated by the legal marijuana market under legislation buoyed by recent comments from the Trump administration and given initial approval by state lawmakers Wednesday. The measure gained momentum just days after President Trump indicated that his administration would not crack down on recreational marijuana in states that have voted to make it legal. Selling and growing marijuana for recreational use was legalized by California voters under a state licensing system that began Jan. 1.
Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), who introduced the bill, said the president’s policy shift makes it more likely that state-chartered banks would be used by the burgeoning cannabis market, which is projected to grow to $7 billion annually by 2020 in California.
The banking industry is federally regulated, and financial institutions have so far been reluctant to handle money from the sale of marijuana because it remains an illegal drug under federal law.
The bill, SB 930, which was recommended Wednesday by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, would create a new, limited-purpose state charter for privately financed banks under a program that would be overseen by the state Department of Business Oversight. The measure would allow cannabis firms to deposit money in state-licensed banks, which would issue checks to the businesses for use in paying rent and state and local taxes and fees, as well as for paying vendors for goods and services provided to their businesses. The pot firms could also buy state and local bonds.
State officials estimate they will collect $600 million in cannabis taxes in the upcoming year, raising a public safety issue, including the possibility of robberies, as business owners carry duffel bags stuffed with cash to state offices. The use of cash also makes it hard for the state to account for and audit transactions, Hertzberg said.
“The question becomes, ‘With that amount of cash, what do you do?’ — because you can’t deposit in a bank,” Hertzberg said during a legislative hearing Wednesday. “We are faced with a significant public safety challenge.” The measure was also backed by Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Assn. One member of Robinson’s group has an $800,000 tax bill due next month and plans to pay it in cash, she told lawmakers. “The threat of violence and theft is extremely real for our members,” Robinson said.
2. Most of the opposition to legalization comes from people and businesses just trying to protect their own wallets! They lie, lobby, and probably illegally bribe! Law enforcement organizations (many of their jobs are at stake) also weigh in in a very onerous way to oppose needed changes in the laws.
… Beck’s story is just one of many cases of individuals being cured of numerous ailments by using cannabis, and anecdotal evidence has been bolstered by academic research. Cannabis has been shown to assist in the treatment of childhood seizure disorders, some cancers, muscle spasms, nausea, eating disorders, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. This research, however, has been limited and obstructed by marijuana’s status as a federally illegal substance. Beck told the HPR that cannabis’ federal status has created tense, even dangerous conditions for researchers, explaining that, “If you release any information on the research you’re doing, you can get arrested.” Regardless of the potential legal repercussions, researchers appear to have made a convincing case, with 76 percent of doctors now favoring the use of medical cannabis.
Support for the healing capabilities of cannabis extends beyond the medical community. According to a 2017 Quinnipiac poll, the American public recognizes the benefits of marijuana, and 94 percent of voters favor medical marijuana legalization. Furthermore, 29 states legalized medical marijuana before the start of 2018. Public support has not, however, been sufficient in garnering legal approval, with medical marijuana remaining illegal at the federal level. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s interference and the Food and Drug Administration’s complicated approval system have contributed to the problem.
Medical cannabis’ path to federal approval has been obstructed by bureaucratic opposition to research, stemming from the FDA’s failure to approve marijuana as medication. The FDA claims to have no issues with approving medical marijuana, so long as it is done using proper clinical research. The obstacles to marijuana legalization arise not from FDA attitudes towards the drug, but rather from the approval process itself.
… Because the FDA relies on outside research firms, cannabis research is at the mercy of state laws. Marijuana’s status as a federally illegal substance makes clinical trials extremely difficult, if not impossible to conduct, hence barring any possible FDA review and approval.
In the fight for marijuana legalization, the Drug Enforcement Agency poses an even greater barrier than the FDA, as it has routinely blocked research efforts. University of Massachusetts researchers have battled the DEA for over a decade to get a permit simply to build a cannabis research facility, let alone enter into the human clinical trial testing required for FDA approval.
This conflict arises primarily from marijuana’s classification by the DEA as a Schedule I substance. Schedule I substances, according to the DEA, have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” On the current scheduling system, marijuana is ranked as having a higher potential for abuse than cocaine, methamphetamines, and oxycodone, all Schedule II substances; It is even ranked as having a higher potential for abuse than cocaine, which is ranked as one of the top five most addictive drugs and the third most damaging drug.
The major hypocrisy of this scheduling is government held patent number 6630507, which recognizes that cannabis has medicinal properties. The legal US document states that cannabinoids, organic components of marijuana plants, have “particular applications” in preventing neurological damage after trauma, treating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and treating autoimmune diseases. This government patent acknowledges numerous health benefits derived from cannabis. The very same government that holds this patent classifies marijuana as a substance with “no currently accepted medical use,” showing DEA scheduling is not only prejudicial, but contradictory.
DEA obstruction is given validity through marijuana’s status as a federally illegal substance, which is supported by anti-marijuana lobbying. The pharmaceutical industry contributes more to lobbying activities than any other industry, spending 2.6 billion dollars on lobbying between 1998 and 2012. This massive effort has a clear motive behind it; recent estimates speculate that major pharmaceutical companies stand to lose 18.5 billion dollars in profits if medical marijuana becomes legal in all fifty states.
Much of this profit loss would be generated from opioids and prescription painkillers, as medical marijuana has been confirmed to relieve pain disorders. In states where medical marijuana is legal, there has been a 24.8 percent decrease in fatal opioid overdoses on average. Moreover, in states that have legalized medical cannabis, there has been an average decrease of 11 percent in general prescription drug usage. The potential for medical cannabis to treat pain may even assist in ending America’s opioid crisis.
Painkiller manufacturers have been quick to take notice of falling prescription rates and attempt to counteract them. Purdue Pharma and Abbott Laboratories, the companies that produce OxyContin and Vicodin, are two of the largest donors to the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, one of the largest anti-marijuana lobbies. Purdue Pharma also donates to Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, while Abbott Laboratories is the second largest pharmaceutical donor to congressional representatives.
Though Big Pharma stands as one of the most economically well equipped opponents of cannabis legalization, contrary to popular belief, law enforcement may bear an even stronger influence. Paul Armentano, the Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, revealed to the HPR that he believes the influence of law enforcement agencies to be even greater than that of pharmaceutical companies. Armentano remarked that if congressional representatives were being unduly influenced by any industry, it would be law enforcement, which has been “far more prolific and consistent in their public opposition to this issue than any other special interest group.”
Armentano noted that politicians “speak the language” of law enforcement groups and “trust the message that they’re going to be hearing” from law enforcement representatives. While law enforcement influence is about credibility, from a political standpoint, endorsements may matter more. “Most people seeking local or state political office seek the endorsements of the local sheriffs, of the local DAs, of the judges,” said Armentano, “They’re not going to tick off that constituency that they need for election by opposing them on drug policy reform.”
The power of the purse, however, has not been lost on the private prison industry. One in five inmates in the US prison system are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. Federal legalization of cannabis stands to cut into the rate of incarceration for drug crimes, cutting profits for private prisons by decreasing the supply of incarcerated persons. Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest private prison companies in America, now CoreCivic, collected 195 million dollars in profit in 2014; that same year, CCA spent over one million dollars on anti-marijuana lobbying alone. CCA even stated in a 2014 regulatory report that, “[A]ny changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.” Industry concerns over marijuana legalization is not for potential health risks, but rather a concern for potential profit loss.
Though congressional representatives may hear their constituents, the question is whether they will listen. Contrary to popular belief, medical marijuana legalization is not a partisan issue, and for the majority of Americans, is not a moral issue. It does, however, raise fundamental questions about the nature of a republic where representatives answer to the highest bidders rather than constituents. The question of cannabis legalization forces representatives to make a choice, testing where their loyalties lie. Only time can predict whether that loyalty will shift back into the hands of its rightful recipients: the American people.