Archive for justice system

And now … the GOP War On Women Turns To Verified Rape Victims

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What would Maya Angelou say?

George Will coming out of the closet as a rape apologist should have been warning that the camo is coming off the old white male faces. Have a listen to his latest thoughts on sexual violence on college campuses, catch up at Raw Story.

Will asserts that making the leap from “forcible sexual penetration” to “nonconsensual touching” is too broad of a definition for sexual assault, and denigrates the “doctrine that the consent of a female who has been drinking might not protect a male from being found guilty of rape,” worrying about the costs of litigation for the universities and the reputations of college men accused of assault.

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Worse?!? The existence of a backlog of rape kits that should humiliate SCROTUS itself. The offensive, unjust, rapidly-accumulating numbers and the systemic devaluation of finding justice for one of the most heinous crimes man can commit are shocking.

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Anyone who has seen an episode of Law & Order S.V.U. knows how critical a rape kit is to a case.

And underneath that legal case is a woman, a rawly, recently broken woman, who knows that the precious shreds of DNA taken from her in painful, violating ways may be the only clues a jury will take seriously enough for her to find justice. And any hopes of knitting that shattered life back together.

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You're 24 years old and in Tennessee, far as can be from a Hollywood set and that much more embarrassing because you know everyone in that little town and they know you. Collecting leftover semen and skin scrapings from under your raw, torn fingernails all happened in a fog, but you were repeatedly told by someone like Detective Olivia (goddess forfend as kind and a female at all) that this was EVIDENCE.

Your body is a crime scene. That is a reality that has been experienced by far too many women to ponder without a rage response. Girls and women of all ages, brought in by police of family, or having somehow gathered the inner strength to commit to doing the ultimate Walk of Shame and report a sexual assault with the intent to prosecute.

With great relief you watch the technicians finish your rape kit, and are congratulated for having chosen to stand up and fight back.

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Then, crickets. The big cricket chorale of We Don't Care. The young Ronan Farrow of MSNBC afternoon earnestness, gave the absurd and disgusting rape kit backlog story a slot in his 'Call To Action' series this summer, a worthy cause.

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Prepare to be more outraged that usual, and there's more in a shocking second segment.

And he then he and guests tell us of The Hundreds Of Thousands, yes I said Hundreds Of Thousands of backlogged rape kits lying around in storage.

GOP: shock and rage would be the appropriate response. Not cutting, cutting cutting every service that might help anyone other than the 1%. Not making women invisible and their justice meaningless.

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LA D.A.'s Office - You Must Be Sex Crime Victim To Sit On Rape Trial Jury

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Jury Selection

Prosecuting an accused rapist can be very difficult, nearly impossible if you ask many of the victims. They oftentimes have the tables turned on them, becoming accused of causing the attack themselves-- they were coming on to the attacker, or dressing in a provocative way, or even "wanting it, asking for it, deserving it!" Humiliation by the system victimizes them all over again.

Yet when a rape victim does go to the police and files a complaint, she/he expects not only the police to act, but also the  justice system. At least they have a reasonable assumption that the authorities will act promptly and properly.

Not always so, according to a shocking HUFFPO report.

In May 2012, Tucker Reed sat in the office of Rouman Ebrahim, Los Angeles County deputy district attorney for the sex crimes division, listening to him explain why the man who had confessed to raping her would not face criminal charges.

Here's the twisted logic behind this case not going ahead. And it's a doozy. It has nothing to do with the accused or any tainted evidence. The accused man in this case had already confessed to raping Ms. Reed. This is what anyone with the slightest intelligence would call a slam dunk case. Open and shut.

Or so you'd think. But here's where logic and reasoning clash. And it's not really the justice system at fault here. It's the idiot, Rouman Ebrahim, the deputy D.A.

He explained that no one who had experienced a sex crime, or who had ever been accused of one, would end up sitting on the jury. So his job was to filter out cases in which 12 jurors, who "have no experience in any kind of sex crimes occurring in their life," would concur beyond a reasonable doubt that a rape had taken place.

Is he saying 12 reasonable adults couldn't understand a confession unless they had been victims of the same crime?

Evidently so. According to him, a juror who had "no experience in any kind of sex crimes" would be incapable of reaching a verdict. Is this D.A. crazy?

Take this one step further. Under that pocket rule of his, only a murder victim could sit on a murder trial jury. Ask yourself this, other than in the movie, The Devil And Daniel Webster, where are you going to find 12 dead men and women to serve on that panel? This is insane.

Is Deputy Asst. District Attorney Rouman Ebrahim crazy or is it me? I hope it's me or else there's no way to bring anyone to trial anymore unless they were victims of the same crime.

Nuts, isn't' it? Oh, and BTW, this cretin Ebrahim is still serving in the District Attorney's office as of today, just in case you were curious.

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Alabama Chief Justice Moore Interprets Constitution According To Pharrell Williams' 'Happy'

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Pharrell Williams Happy

If Alabama didn't already have enough problems with poverty, racism, storms, oil spills and other disasters, they now face one on the bench of their highest court, the Supreme Court of Alabama. And the problem is with the leader of this highest court in the state, Chief Justice Roy Moore.

This week Justice Moore made known his interpretations of the US Constitution while speaking at the Pastor for Life Luncheon, which was sponsored by his neighboring Pro-Life Mississippi Organization. And the Chief Justice had some eye-opening remarks which might explain some pretty screwed up thinking about the South. It seems justice, like a fish, stinks from the top. And is this the kind of judge you'd like to see adjudicating any case you were part of?

Raw Story:

...declared that the First Amendment only applies to Christians because “Buddha didn't create us, Mohammed didn't create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures” who created us.

Holy Scriptures? Doesn't that include the Old Testament? That's the book the Jews and Gentiles both believe in, so why aren't Jews part of this first amendment coverage?

It  looks like Chief Justice Moore feels that the Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, who's beliefs predate the New Testament, were all wrong and therefore their beliefs aren't protected under our US Constitution, especially the bill of rights. Wow.

When looking for his answers, Moore relies on an obscure interpretation of law, from an Englishman who died in 1780.

Chief Justice Moore later defined “life” via Blackstone’s Law — a book that American lawyers have “sadly forgotten” — as beginning when “the baby kicks.” “Today,” he said, “our courts say it’s not alive ’til the head comes out.

But Justice Moore's ignorance doesn't stop there.

He later said that “you can’t be happy unless you follow God’s law, and if you follow God’s law, you can’t help but be happy.”

Now's it's all becoming clear to me. The Chief Justice is channeling Pharrell Williams and his "Happy" song for his rulings. After all, we know that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the only thing the Declaration of Independence (which led us to ultimately draw up our Constitution) is really about. Those lyrics appear to be the judicial tenets from the Moore bench in which laws are weighed and interpreted in Alabama. So let's all clap our hands and get happy.

I think the people of that southern state are in for a whole mess of troubles with a guy like Chief Justice Moore leading the way. But at least with him in the lead seat on the bench, we're all gonna be "happy."

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What Is The Purpose of Prison, Punishment Or Rehabilitation?

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Why do we send people to prison? One reason is punishment for committing a crime. Another is to rehabilitate those who committed the wrongdoing. What good is locking someone up if they're just going to come out and commit the same or worse crimes? And so, that leads me to this report from ABC News 10 San Diego:

The part that interests me is the rehabilitation part of incarceration. If someone does time and then gets out of the slammer and commits another crime, then their initial stay behind bars was a failure in my eyes. We paid to feed, clothe and house them. Then we send them out to re-commit those crimes or maybe worse, new crimes they learned about while behind bars. In that case, we got nothing in return but more crime. So we didn't do our job.

Now you take Judy Lynn Hayman. She was 23 years old when she escaped from a Midwestern prison 37 years ago. Yesterday she was captured in San Diego where she lived a crime free life for THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS.

Hayman pleaded guilty in June 1976 to a larceny charge in Wayne County, Mich., and was sentenced to serve between 16 months and two years in custody, according to prison officials there.

Ten months later, she escaped from the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility. She remained a fugitive until this week, using various aliases.

Let's consider whatever she did was wrong, non-violent, but wrong. She pleaded guilty and served 10 months time -- perhaps enough for her particular non-violent crime of larceny. Unfortunately, her sentence was for a minimum of 16 months, so her early departure wasn't condoned.

Prison was too barbaric and cruel to her. She felt she was ready to reintegrate into society as a law abiding citizen. She couldn't take it any longer and she took a huge chance and broke out. We may think she was free, but think again.

She lived not only the remainder of her sentence but the ensuing 35 or so years constantly looking over her shoulder, the fear of being discovered and re-apprehended for who she really was, an escaped con. That's a hefty weight to bear. Living in fear can be even more of a punishment than a physical prison.

During that time she gave birth to, raised and supported a son -- he's living crime free so obviously she was a good and strong influence on him and his character or he'd be doing time in a cell like his mom once did.

The point is not whether this woman was right in escaping, but what to do with her now? Should she be charged with unlawful escape and add that onto her prior sentence or should we look at what the purpose was in incarcerating her to start with? She was to be punished, granted. And she did serve 10 months, basically 2/3's of her minimum sentence. But hasn't she proved by her exemplary existence after her escape that she had learned her lesson? Aren't those 30 plus years living in fear worth some credit?

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I hope the Michigan justice system will take into consideration what for and why they sentence people to jail. I'd prefer a woman or man who's rehabilitated be back on the streets than someone who's served their term and reverts to recidivism. Prison isn't a good environment under any circumstances. Yet it does serve a purpose. But sometimes correctional institutions (notice the word correctional and not punishment) don't do their job. Maybe they did with Judy Lynn Hayman. She's proven she's learned the lesson of her bad ways. I'm hoping Michigan can see that and take it into consideration. We'll see.

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It's Yellow. That's Not Rain

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A speedy trial. An effective attorney. These are rights guaranteed us under the sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  It's no less or more powerful than any of the other amendments, but must be abided by with the same vigor as say, the first or second. So why is it that we're turning our backs on this law?

It's called the Sequester. Remember that one around the beginning of the year? We had been warned there would be fallout and instead of dealing with this issue -- as simple as a five minute vote repealing the bill  -- Congress let it ride. They rolled the dice and we came up 'snake-eyes.'

The public defenders office which represents criminal defendants with federal charges is going broke without additional funding and they're "underwater" trying to handle the case loads.

What's the result? More wrongful convictions. More incarcerations. Higher costs to house and retain these oftentimes innocent people who, unlike Wall Street offenders, don't have the money for high-priced private attorneys who make more a day than most of us make a year -- and that's to keep the rich out of jail who may be no less or no more guilty than a poor person. But the affluent can buy freedom.

Now with the sequestration cuts, there will also be a possibility of guilty going free. A delay in the ability to try a case will mean the prosecutors encharged with protecting us against the guilty will have to pick and chose their cases. A guilty person may not face trial because it could take too long.

So who's really bearing the weight of these cuts.  You and me. We're less safe and less protected. And why? Because the rich elected officials, of both parties, couldn't get together and just stop the madness. They had to have a pissing contest and guess who got wet?

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Grab a towel, folks, and lets clean up ourselves and those "pissers" on Capitol Hill.  Enough's enough. It's not too late to stop this madness. But it means you have to speak up or learn to enjoy "water sports!"

Wake up! That yellow rain's not stopping on it's own.

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VIDEO-- Rick Perry: “I think our justice system is color blind.” Really now.

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scales of injustice

Rick Perry was on CNN and as usual, made a complete ass of himself:

Rick Perry:

 “I think our justice system is color blind.”

Ummmm... no. See: Death penalty, Texas.

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Think Progress:

Perry’s claim that race plays no role in our justice system simply cannot be squared with the data from his own state. The most distinguishing aspect of Texas’ criminal justice system is its penchant for the death penalty. Over one third of all U.S. executions take place in Rick Perry’s state. Moreover, over 40 percent Texas’ death row inmates are black (121 out of 300 total inmates), despite the fact that only about 12 percent of Texans are African American. So a black Texan is more than three times more likely to be sentenced to die than their representation in Texas as a whole would suggest.

Nor is Texas an anomaly in this regard.

And check out this story at DKos: We don't have to ask "What If Zimmerman had been Black?" We know the Answer. It's like the Zimmerman case with the races reversed.

Color blind my ass.

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Court docs: Enron convict Jeffrey Skilling reaches deal to be released early from prison

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Jeffrey Skilling

Remember former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling (aka inmate #29296-179)? I wish I didn't. He was supposed to spend 24 years in prison for the Enron mess, but under a deal he's reached, that could be cut by ten years, according to court documents. He had 15 years left to serve. But apparently, not any more.

He was convicted in December 2006 for fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors in the largest corporate fraud in history.

CNN:

"The agreement brings certainty and finality to a long painful process," said Skilling lawyer Daniel Petrocelli of O'Melveny & Myers. "Although the recommended sentence for Jeff would still be more than double any other Enron defendant, all of whom have long been out of prison, Jeff would at least have the chance of getting back a meaningful part of his life."

What, his life wasn't meaningful when he committed those many crimes? What about all the people who were affected by his fraudulent acts and lies? Will they get a meaningful part of their lives back? Their jobs? Their life savings?

More than 4,000 Enron employees lost their jobs, and many also lost their life savings, when the Texas-based energy company declared bankruptcy in 2001. Investors lost billions of dollars.

Part of the deal is that Skilling has to drop any further legal challenges to his conviction.

How about dropping off the edge of a cliff instead?

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