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Justice Articles from 2015

Obama’s Heroin Strategy: Treating Addiction or Arming the Drug War?

Obama’s Heroin Strategy: Treating Addiction or Arming the Drug War?
By Mike Ludwig
Posted August 30, 2015

war on drugsCritics say the Obama administration should put its money where its mouth is. The federal drug control budget has continued to grow since the war on drugs began 40 years ago and totaled roughly $25 billion in 2015, according to the DPA. A majority of the funding – about 55 percent – still goes to law enforcement efforts aimed at stopping the flow of drugs by cracking down on trafficking, while less than 45 percent is devoted to education, prevention and treatment.

The 2016 budget is not much different, and local and state governments spend an additional $25 billion on drug control every year.
Most police departments in the United States have not switched to treating drug users as patients instead of criminals. “We haven’t changed the reward mechanisms for any of our bureaucracies,” Tree said. “They should be measured on outcomes rather than a body count. How many people have you helped, how many drug overdoses have you stopped, not how many people you can round up and prosecute, which of course is the low-hanging fruit of low-level offenders.” More…

Denver Police Arrest “Jury Nullification” Activist for Passing Out Informational Pamphlets

Denver Police Arrest “Jury Nullification” Activist for Passing Out Informational Pamphlets
by Michael Krieger
Posted August 27, 2015

jury nulllification is your rightMost of you will be familiar with the concept of jury nullification. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans are not. This is precisely why Mark Iannicelli set up a “Jury Info” booth outside the Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. In a nutshell, jury nullification is the idea that jurors can “can ignore the law and follow their conscience when they believe the law would dictate a miscarriage of justice.” In other words, jurors have the right to judge the law as well as the facts. As you will see in the video at the end, this concept has centuries of precedence in these United States behind it.

When you recognize the vast power that such a concept holds, you recognize why it would be so hated by statists and authoritarians across the land. That is precisely why Mr. Iannicelli was arrested and charged with handing out information. More…

Why is Rev. Edward Pinkney in Prison? Another Case of Political Persecution

Why is Rev. Edward Pinkney in Prison? Another Case of Political Persecution
by Jackie Miller
Posted August 15, 2015

corrupt judiciaryWhy is Rev. Edward Pinkney in prison?

One answer comes to mind from my very first meeting with Pinkney in 2003. I drove from Lansing to Benton Harbor in southwest Michigan to witness a Berrien County Commissioners meeting soon after the Benton Harbor uprising. At that eye-opening introduction, white commissioners literally laughed at Black community members’ desperate appeals for justice for their young Black men, incarcerated or killed with impunity at a sickening rate. Standing outside City Hall, Pinkney said to me, “You know, they offered me a Cadillac. I said, no, thank you.” The power elite in the county tried to buy him off to shut him up. It didn’t work. This is one reason he sits in Lakeland state prison today.

He did not shut up then, and he has not shut up ever since. From prison, he puts pen to paper and writes pages of condemnation of the corrupt, racist corporate-political-media establishment destroying his home community, the same one forcing him to eat prison food unfit for humans. More…

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Implicated in Torture by State Prison Officials

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Implicated in Torture by State Prison Officials
By Eric London
Posted August 14, 2015

Cumo implicated in prisoner tortureAn investigation published Tuesday in the New York Times revealed that prison guards at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York systematically beat and tortured dozens of prisoners in June of this year. The Times report also notes that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo questioned a prisoner only hours before he was tortured. According to letters from prisoners obtained by the Times, guards rammed inmates’ heads against walls, hanged one from a pipe with a plastic bag, and threatened to waterboard and kill another.

Cuomo’s visit, his threats, and the beatings that followed point to his direct involvement in orchestrating the criminal violence. The fact that he would make such threats on video underscores the degree to which the forces of the American state—from police officers and prison guards up to the governor and the president—carry out the violent repression of the population brazenly and with self-assumed impunity. More…

11 People Dead in Police Custody This Month

11 People Dead in Police Custody This Month
by Andrew Emett
Posted July 30, 2015

deaths while in police custodyAt least eleven people have been killed or found dead while in police custody this month. According to autopsy reports, their deaths have been ruled homicides, suicides, and in some cases remain medically inconclusive. Several investigative agencies have launched probes to determine whether any officers will face criminal charges for these deaths.

Arrested on July 9 for failing to pay a traffic fine, Rexdale Henry, 53, was taken to the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Five days later, on the same day as Chapman’s death, guards found Henry dead in his cell around 10 a.m. on July 14. Henry’s family has called for an independent autopsy, while the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into the cause of his death.

While attending a rock concert in Southaven, Mississippi, Troy Goode, 30, allegedly took LSD before police arrested him for running in circles through a field on July 18. Video captured from a bystander shows Goode being hogtied with his face buried in the mattress of a stretcher and a strap over the back of his head to restrict movement. The officers ordered the witnesses to stop recording the incident and threatened to arrest Goode’s family if they attempted to visit him at the Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto where he died two hours later. More…

Obama Administration Finds New Way to Let Criminal Banks Avoid Consequences

Obama Administration Finds New Way to Let Criminal Banks Avoid Consequences
by David Dayden
Posted July 25, 2015

bank lives matterThree top Democrats are accusing the Department of Housing and Urban Development of quietly removing a key clause in its requirements for taxpayer-guaranteed mortgage insurance in order to spare two banks recently convicted of federal crimes from being frozen out of the lucrative market.

HUD’s action is the latest in a series of steps by federal agencies to eliminate real-world consequences for serial financial felons, even as the Obama administration has touted its efforts to hold banks accountable.

In this sense, the guilty plea has become as meaningless to banks as their other ways of resolving criminal charges: out-of-court settlements, or deferred prosecution agreements. “Too Big to Fail” has morphed into “Too Big to Jail” — and then again, into “Bank Lives Matter.” More…

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