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Criminal Justice

No Need To Wait For Pandemics: The Public Health Case For Criminal Justice Reform

The United States incarcerates a greater share of its population than any other nation in the world, so it is urgent that policymakers think about how a viral pandemic would impact people in prisons, in jails, on probation, and on parole, and to take seriously the public health case for criminal justice reform.

Michiganians Demand Earned Credits For Prisoners At Criminal Justice Reform Town Hall

Like many states across the country, Michigan has reached a critical point in the status of its Corrections Department and citizens are fed up. The Department’s failures expand across the spectrum of corrections from financially and operatively to their regularly inadequate programming and continually degrading prison conditions. These mounting issues incite the need for deep reforms along with increasingly long average sentence lengths, from 2-4yrs, contributing to massive overcrowding.

Julian Assange ‘Blocked From Seeing Evidence’ Over Extradition To US

Julian Assange has been blocked from seeing evidence in his extradition case as he battles against being sent to the US, a court has heard. Lawyers representing the WikiLeaks founder told a hearing they were not being given sufficient access to their client in prison. Mr Assange appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court via a video link on Friday for the hearing, which was about extending his custody at HMP Belmarsh. Defence lawyer Gareth Peirce said Mr Assange's legal team was struggling to prepare documents for the case because their client had no access to the evidence.

Catalan Separatist Leaders Get Up To 15 Years In Jail

Madrid - Spain’s Supreme Court plans to convict and sentence Catalan separatist leaders to a maximum of 15 years in prison over a 2017 bid for independence, a judicial source said on Saturday.  The most prominent of the 12 Catalan leaders on trial would be found guilty of charges of sedition and misuse of public funds but none would be convicted and sentenced for the more severe charge of rebellion, the source told Reuters. The decision was taken unanimously by the seven members of the top court, the source added. The verdict is expected to be signed by the judges and made public next week, most likely on Monday, the source said. The trial’s top judge, Manuel Marchena, declined to comment on the media leaks. However, he added that “everything is open (because) a ruling will not be completed until it is signed by every single judge.”

Lula Avoids Prosecutor’s Trap

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has refused any relaxation in the nature of his imprisonment until his innocence is recognized. He declared this in a handwritten letter in response to a petition by Operation Car Wash prosecutors to ease the conditions of his incarceration from enclosed to semi-free. The letter was given by Lula to his lawyers on September 30. According to Lula, the only thing acceptable is that he is declared innocent. He is not interested in anything else. Reiterating what he has been saying since he was sentenced, in a clearly manipulated process, Lula wrote to the Brazilian people that he is not going to swap his dignity for his freedom. “All the Car Wash Prosecutors should really do is to apologize to the Brazilian people, to the millions of unemployed people, and my family, for the harm they have done to democracy, to justice, and the country,” he said...

Advocates Protest For Julian Assange Outside Belmarsh Prison

A large crowd rallied outside Belmarsh Prison in London on Saturday as jailed WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange received the Gavin MacFadyen Award 2019—the only journalism prize given by whistle-blowers. Assange’s father John Shipton accepted the award on his son’s behalf. Saturday’s rally was the first outside Belmarsh Prison since District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled September 13 that Assange would not be released despite the end of his sentence on a trumped-up bail infringement. He is now being held in remand over a US extradition request and faces Espionage Act charges carrying a 175-year prison term. Emmy Butlin from the Julian Assange Defence Committee opened Saturday’s award ceremony just metres from the prison’s maximum-security walls and razor-wire fences.

Politicians Agree: ‘Any White Cop Can Kill A Black Man’

In 2017 my article, “Any White Cop Can Kill a Black Man at Any Time,” told how St. Louis cop Jason Stockley killed a 24-year-old black man, Anthony Lamar Smith.  Though Stockley claimed he had fired in self defense when Smith pulled a gun on him, evidence showed that he had planted the gun after the killing.  When Stockley was found “not guilty” protests by thousands in St. Louis lasted for months, just as in 2014 when another white cop Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in neighboring Ferguson. Crises of cops indiscriminately killing black men keep intensifying throughout the area.  In 2018, Stockley sued the City of St. Louis for putting him on trial in a case that could have created a precedent for cops being able to kill without ever being held accountable. 

Lula Is Innocent. Free Him Now.

The revelations uncovered about the case against former Brazilian president Lula da Silva, jailed in April last year, vindicate a year of campaigning for his freedom. But this isn’t just about Lula, the consequences of this miscarriage of justice are huge. This last week the Intercept published a range of documents that show Lula’s conviction was politically motivated and aimed at stopping him running in the 2018 presidential election. With front-runner Lula out of the race (he was polling over double of his election rivals at the time of his arrest) far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro went on to win the election. Lula’s prosecuting Judge Sergio Moro was then appointed Minister of Justice.

Brazilian Lawyers Demand Investigation Into Judge’s Behavior And The Release Of Lula

The story released last Sunday by The Intercept Brazil about the Operation Lava Jato (or Car Wash) resulted in collateral effects at different levels in Brazil, including the legal field. Four members of the National Council of the Public Prosecution requested the National Corregidor of that organ to open an investigation about the facts disclosed by the reports. The case denounced by the website deals with the existence of an alliance between current Justice Minister Sergio Moro and the Lava Jato coordinator, Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, for a legal-political action against ex-president Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva prior his arrest, when Mr. Moro was a federal judge and was involved in prosecutions related to the operation.

Groups Challenge New Felony Protest Law

Louisiana - Environmentalists and activists arrested for protesting around the Bayou Bridge pipeline have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law passed last year that allows law enforcement to charge protesters as felons. The new law, which changed the definition of "critical infrastructure," is intended to protect sensitive areas such as power plants, petrochemical facilities and water treatment sites. Pipelines and pipeline construction sites were added to the critical infrastructure list, making it a felony to trespass at the pipeline as of last August.

Extinction Rebellion ‘Must Address Safety And Security Concerns’

Legal advice group Green and Black Cross (GBC) has taken the unprecedented step of making a public statement raising a series of legal and security concerns around Extinction Rebellion (XR). The statement was published just days after the organisation, which provides legal support and solidarity to those involved in protest activity, entered a three month recuperation period. The main take-away is that GBC have said that they are no longer willing to continue the work of supporting XR. They had done this through help, advice and training; legal observing; and back office support.

Mueller Report Takes ‘Russian Meddling’ For Granted

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen. The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it. However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

Another African Convicted In Another Racist, Chauvinist Western Court

Last week a jury in Boston Federal Court convicted Rwandan asylum seeker Jean Leonard Teganya of fraud and perjury for lying on his immigration papers about his involvement in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. In other words, yet another racist, chauvinist, Western court convicted yet another African of participating in mass violence that the US and its Western allies engineeredin order to expand their imperial influence in East and Central Africa at the expense of France. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.  In July 1994, Teganya crossed from Rwanda into Congo with millions of other Rwandans, mostly Hutus, who were fleeing the advancing Tutsi army led by General Paul Kagame.

ICC Refuses To Investigate Crimes In Afghanistan, U.S. Torture

April 12, 2019, Paris, The Hague, New York – In what human rights groups call an appalling decision, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II decided not to grant the Prosecutor’s request to open an investigation into alleged crimes committed in Afghanistan and on the territory of other States Parties implicated in the U.S. torture program. Tens of thousands of victims in Afghanistan, along with victims of U.S. torture, had urged the ICC to authorize the investigation. Despite finding that requirements were met as regards both jurisdiction and admissibility, the Pre-Trial judges decided that authorizing an investigation would not serve “the interests of justice”...

Taken: Police Departments Make Millions By Seizing Property

When a man barged into Isiah Kinloch’s apartment and broke a bottle over his head, the North Charleston resident called 911. After cops arrived on that day in 2015, they searched the injured man’s home and found an ounce of marijuana. So they took $1,800 in cash from his apartment and kept it. When Eamon Cools-Lartigue was driving on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County, deputies stopped him for speeding. The Atlanta businessman wasn’t criminally charged in the April 2016 incident. Deputies discovered $29,000 in his car, though, and decided to take it.
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