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Criminal Justice and Prisons

Mumia: Unjustly Imprisoned For 40 Years

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - On July 3 people in Philadelphia and dozens of other cities across the U.S. and around the globe marked the 40th anniversary of the unlawful and unjust imprisonment of Pennsylvania political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, including 29 years on death row. Now imprisoned for life in the general population, Abu-Jamal is still fighting for exoneration. In Philadelphia activists gathered at the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall. Until June 2020, a hated statue of racist former Philadelphia Mayor and police chief Frank Rizzo stood on the plaza.

Julian Assange Appeals His Extradition To The United States

The Wikileaks founder met the deadline set to appeal the decision issued by the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel. Assange met the deadline to appeal the decision issued by the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, while. At the same time, the court in London communicated that it had formally received the notification of the accused. Assange's wife, Stella Assange, referred to the dire consequences of the case for journalism and human rights in general. "We will fight until justice is done," she said. The Australian journalist has been detained in Belmarsh high-security prison since April 2019, where he awaits the outcome of the legal process.

US Supreme Court May Take Aim At Whistleblower Protection Law

The False Claims Act in the United States allows individuals with evidence of fraud against government agencies to bring lawsuits as qui tam whistleblowers. They can bring a case even if the US Justice Department has no interest in fighting the alleged corruption. But on June 21, Courthouse News Reported that the US Supreme Court will determine whether the government has the authority to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act when the government has declined to intervene in the case. In other words, the Supreme Court could help corporations shut down independent whistleblower lawsuits that the Justice Department does not want to pursue.

How Maryland Is Preventing Prisoners From Getting College Degrees

Education is one of the few rehabilitative options available to incarcerated people, yet all across America prisoners are prevented from pursuing their education. “Atiba” Demetrius Brown, for instance, has been dedicated to improving himself and his post-incarceration prospects by taking correspondence courses while incarcerated in Maryland, but thanks to a draconian new decree by the Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services (DPSCS), Atiba can’t take his exams. In this installment of Rattling the Bars, Victor Wallis joins Mansa Musa to discuss the case of “Atiba” Demetrius Brown and the calculated cruelty of the prison-industrial complex. Victor Wallis is a professor in the Liberal Arts Department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Time Is Running Out For Julian Assange

As reported by The Canary, on 17 June, home secretary Priti Patel gave her approval to a court ruling to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US. He will face 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Assange’s lawyers are planning to appeal Patel’s approval of extradition and cross-appeal on other grounds – including a breach of client-lawyer confidentiality. But the High Court will have to approve those appeal requests. A judicial review of Patel’s decision is also possible. In addition, Assange may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). However, proposed UK legislation could make such an appeal problematic – and not just for Assange.

Stella Assange: ‘We Are Going To Fight This’

Julian Assange’s wife and one of his lawyers on Friday vowed to fight the decision of British Home Secretary Priti Patel to sign an extradition order earlier in the day sending imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States to face trial on espionage and computer intrusion charges. “This is the outcome that we have been concerned about for the last decade,” Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson told a London press conference. “This decision is a grave threat to freedom of speech, not just for Julian, but for every journalist, editor and media worker.” She said he faced up to 175 years in a U.S. prison for publishing material for which he has won numerous press awards as well as a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. “This should shock everyone,” she said.

UK Government Approves Request To Send Assange To US For Trial

United Kingdom Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States. Patel’s decision to hand over a journalist to the US government for prosecution was immediately condemned by human rights and press freedom organizations. The Assange legal team planned to submit an appeal in the High Court of Justice challenging the political nature of the case and how extradition law was interpreted. "The decision by the secretary of state was always predictable. It is nevertheless regrettable that she elected not to engage with serious issues of substance raised by Mr. Assange," Assange's lawyers at Birnberg Peirce declared. "He will appeal her decision."

No COINTELPRO In Washington DC

The DC government is deploying COINTELPRO like tactics against organizations and individuals fighting to protect and expand our rights. Of course, this is not news to those who have been engaged in political work here for any amount of time, but now, thanks to one local organizer, there is proof. Suspecting she was being surveilled by the Metro Police Department (MPD), April Goggans of Black Lives Matter DC (BLMDC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the documents the DC government had on her. After years of hiding, stalling and lying by MPD, April took the request to court. The most important hearing to date was scheduled for June 14, 2022 too determine if MPD is required to follow FOIA laws.

A Whistleblower’s Agony

A C.I.A. whistleblower languishes awaiting trial in a federal prison under inhumane conditions and almost nobody is paying attention. Joshua Schulte is a former C.I.A. hacker, one of those computer geniuses whose job it is to work his way into the computer systems of our country’s enemies in support of some of the most highly-classified operations the C.I.A. carries out. The government believes that Schulte was a malcontent who released to WikiLeaks in 2017 the equivalent of 2 billion pages of top secret C.I.A. data with code names like Brutal Kangaroo, AngerQuake and McNugget. These programs, collectively known as Vault 7, were custom-made techniques used to compromise Wifi networks, hack into Skype, defeat anti-virus software and even hack into smart TVs and the guidance systems in cars. 

Society Of Spectacle

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, whose first of six televised hearings began last Thursday, is spectacle replacing politics. There is nothing substantially new in the accusations. The committee lacks prosecutorial power. No charges have been filed by Attorney General Merrick Garland against former President Donald Trump and none are expected. The choreographed hearings, like the two impeachment trials of Trump, will have no effect on Trump voters, other than to make them feel persecuted, especially with more than 860 people already charged (including 306 guilty pleas) for their role in storming the Capitol. The committee echoes back to Trump opponents what they already believe.

Bolivian Court Sentences Jeanine Áñez To 10 Years In Prison

The First Anti-Corruption Sentencing Court of La Paz sentenced former de-facto Bolivian President Jeanine Áñez to 10 years in prison in the ‘Coup d’état II’ case on Friday, June 10. In the case, Áñez stood accused of crimes of acting against the constitution and illegally assuming the presidency of the country in November 2019, following a right-wing civic-military coup that overthrew democratically elected socialist President Evo Morales. The court found her guilty of “breach of duties” and “resolutions contrary to the Constitution and the Law” in her capacity as the former second Vice President of the Senate. In addition to Áñez, eight former police and military officials also faced charges in the trial. Over 70 pieces of evidence and around 20 witness statements were presented.

Julian Assange Extradition Rulings Could Be Annulled, Say Legal Sources

UK home office minister Priti Patel is expected to rule any day on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to the US to face espionage related charges. But legal sources now say that surveillance of Assange’s lawyers may see the extradition case thrown out. Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the UK government illegally spied on one of Assange’s lawyers. The Canary has previously listed a number of defence concerns that could be raised in court. These include Spain-based firm UC Global’s surveillance of Assange’s lawyers in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The Canary reported that meetings between Assange and some of his lawyers – including Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson, and Baltasar Garzón – were monitored. Surveillance also included the logging of visitors such as Gareth Peirce – another of Assange’s lawyers – as well as a seven-hour session between Assange and his legal team on 19 June 2016.

Fact Sheet: Incarcerated LGBTQ Adults And Youth

This fact sheet examines the criminalization and over-incarceration of LGBTQ+ adults and youth. The LGBTQ+ population is comprised of people with non-heterosexual identities—those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and others—and people with non-cisgender identities—those who are trans and gender non-conforming. LGBTQ+ adults are incarcerated at three times the rate of the total adult population. LGBTQ+ youth’s representation among the incarcerated population is double their share of the general population. Approximately 124,000 adults self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual in U.S. prisons and jails, and over 6,000 adults self-identify as trans in state and federal prisons. LGBTQ+ youth’s representation among the incarcerated population—at 7,300 youth—is double their share of the general population.

The Chris Hedges Report: The Long Road Home

In the conclusion of The Long Road Home, Chris Hedges looks at the numerous hurdles faced by prisoners released into society, the toll of reentry on their families, the importance of educational programs in restoring self-esteem and setting goals, and the difficult process of parole. Hedges begins by speaking with Russ Owen, who spent 32 years in prison, on the day of his release from East Jersey State Prison. Owen, who graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University and earned a doctorate in Pastoral Care in prison, began work recently as a community organizer with New Jersey Together. He says that although he is free, he struggles to cope with the deep loneliness that defined his life in prison.

But For The Failures Of His Attorneys, He Would Not Have Been Convicted

“Innocence is not enough” are words to chill your heart. That’s the language Arizona state prosecutors used as a reason not to revisit the conviction of Barry Lee Jones, after the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals determined that Jones had not received effective counsel, and that if he had, his jury would likely not have convicted him of the murder of his girlfriend’s four-year-old daughter. And the Supreme Court agreed this week. They voted six to three, in a case called Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez, that incarcerated people, including death row inmates like Jones, have no right to bring new evidence in their claims of ineffective lawyering in federal court, even if that evidence would show they’d committed no crime.
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