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The burden of survival

Rwanda: 20 years later
posted by infini on Mar 30, 2014 - 13 comments

 

Little Guantánamos

Inside the Kafkaesque World of the US’s "Little Guantánamos" We sat together on her couch, her small, eight-year-old hands clutching a photo of her father, Yassin Aref. “My daddy only held me twice before I was five,” Dilnia told me. For the first five years of her life, she only knew him as the man on the other side of a plexiglass window in a communication management unit in an Indiana federal penitentiary. Prisoners describe the communication management units, or CMUs, as “Little Guantánamos.” In 2006, the Bureau of Prisons created two of these units to isolate and segregate specific prisoners, the majority of them convicted of crimes related to terrorism. The bureau secretly opened these units without informing the public and without allowing anyone an opportunity to comment on their creation, as required by law.
posted by jaduncan on Mar 24, 2014 - 16 comments

Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli dies in captivity

Cao Shunli died while incarcerated recently for advocating the right of ordinary Chinese citizens to have input into China's entry in the UN's Universal Periodic Review, a new set of human rights reports for every UN member state. She died because she was denied medical care. Her family has not been allowed to see the body. [more inside]
posted by Jacob Knitig on Mar 19, 2014 - 8 comments

"they cry because they are not allowed to be children at all"

"Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent." [more inside]
posted by joannemerriam on Mar 12, 2014 - 41 comments

The Box

Twilight in the Box. "The suicide statistics, the squalor and the recidivism haven’t ended solitary confinement. Maybe the brain studies will." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 28, 2014 - 24 comments

Privatization of Justice: Probation for Profit

"Every year, US courts sentence several hundred thousand misdemeanor offenders to probation overseen by private companies that charge their fees directly to the probationers. Often, the poorest people wind up paying the most in fees over time, in what amounts to a discriminatory penalty. And when they can’t pay, companies can and do secure their arrest."

The Human Rights Watch releases a report on the for-profit probation industry in the US. The Atlantic weighs in.
posted by stinkfoot on Feb 6, 2014 - 23 comments

Vera Scroggins; Vera who?

Googling Vera Scroggins on News doesn't return much except a Guardian story and and a brief Wilkes Barre Times-Leader leader.
It turns out she has been barred from her local hospital and supermarkets for upsetting Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation.
A spokesman appointed by Cabot states "I believe she is a public menace because what she does is she essentially trespasses not so much on property – though she does do that – but she trespasses on the soul of the community."
None of that activity by Scroggins or other activists was illegal, or presented a public danger, according to Jason Legg, the district attorney for Susquehana County.
posted by adamvasco on Jan 29, 2014 - 36 comments

I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside the Justice System

"From Brownsville to downtown Manhattan, I would estimate that I passed more than 200 police officers, some from a distance, some close enough to touch. Though I was conspicuously casing high-profile public targets while holding graffiti instruments, not one of them stopped, frisked, searched, detained, summonsed, or arrested me. I would have to go further."
posted by katemonster on Dec 17, 2013 - 147 comments

He was only a fighter in the ring

"Assault In The Ring" (originally called "Cornered: A Life in the Ring") is a film about a boxing match that took place between undefeated prospect Billy Collins Jr and Luis Resto. What began as a match turned into a life altering moment for both participants - Collins' career dreams ended and Resto and his trainer Panama Lewis landed in prison for their illegal actions. The subsequent investigation and trial have led many to declare this bout the darkest day in boxing history. But the film-maker doesn't stop there. He tracked down the surviving principals and arranged meetings among some of them, trying to see if the documentary can be an occasion for reconciliation or justice. Watch the film in its entirety on Youtube here.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 16, 2013 - 8 comments

“Our goal isn’t to look for blame. Our goal is to correct injustice.”

The teenagers’ experience demonstrates how poor work by detectives at the initial stages can start a sequence of events that snowballs through the system, seemingly unstoppably, until two possibly innocent men have spent decades in prison. The detective in the case was Louis Scarcella. The Brooklyn DA's Conviction Integrity Unit will reopen every murder case that resulted in a guilty verdict after being investigated by Detective Louis Scarcella, a flashy officer who handled some of Brooklyn’s most notorious crimes during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.
posted by sio42 on Dec 2, 2013 - 82 comments

“He looks young,” the judge said.

Life Times Six: How Travion Blount got 118 years and six life sentences for a robbery. In 2006, 15 year old Travion Blount, along with two 18 year olds, robbed a group of teenagers at a party at gunpoint. No shots were fired. The two older boys accepted sentences of 10 and 13 years in exchange for a guilty plea. Blount plead guilty but refused to accept a sentence of 18 years. He went to trial, was found guilty, and received a mandatory 118 years in prison, without parole. On top of that, he received six life sentences. His only chance to exit prison alive is through geriatric release at age 60. He will most likely die behind bars. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 24, 2013 - 144 comments

"That’s cruel and unusual punishment to me.” -Angola Warden

A LIVING DEATH: Sentenced to die behind bars for what?
For 3,278 people, it was nonviolent offenses like stealing a $159 jacket or serving as a middleman in the sale of $10 of marijuana. An estimated 65% of them are Black. Many of them were struggling with mental illness, drug dependency or financial desperation when they committed their crimes. None of them will ever come home to their parents and children. And taxpayers are spending billions to keep them behind bars.

A LIVING DEATH: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses (PDF)
posted by andoatnp on Nov 13, 2013 - 32 comments

Captain Justice

Stop calling the DA "the Government!" it hurts her feelings or something. The defense responds..'Should this Court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designations and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions....defense counsel does not wish to be referred to as a "lawyer," or a "defense attorney." Those terms are substantially more prejudicial than probative. See Tenn. R. Evid. 403. Rather, counsel for the Citizen Accused should be referred to primarily as the "Defender of the Innocent." This title seems particularly appropriate, because every Citizen Accused is presumed innocent. Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation "Guardian of the Realm."'
posted by caddis on Nov 3, 2013 - 24 comments

Don't antagonize the dog.

Carpark is a cute little animation which reveals the dangers of teasing a dog locked in a car. [slyt | via]
posted by quin on Oct 14, 2013 - 8 comments

McCutcheon v. FEC

Supreme Court to consider lifting campaign contribution limits. Reversing McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission would allow unlimited individual campaign contributions.
posted by kliuless on Oct 7, 2013 - 101 comments

"I have never been custodian of my legacy."

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 6, 2013 - 89 comments

No, this is not an Admiralty Court.

Canadian self-described "Freemen" in Alberta have recently attracted a great deal of public attention to themselves. The justice system generally takes a very dim view of their shenanigans, as laid out in one of the most comprehensively researched and bizarre judgment issued in recent memory. Here's a general overview and debunking of the arguments they use. [more inside]
posted by thewalrus on Sep 23, 2013 - 142 comments

Only Real Journalists Allowed

Who's a 'journalist'? People who can afford to be- and absolutely not Julian Assange. A US Senate panel has approved legislation to protect journalists from having to reveal their confidential sources. The proposed law defines 'journalism' by profession, and not by practice- shutting out citizen journalists while protecting corporate media.
posted by anemone of the state on Sep 17, 2013 - 93 comments

How Two Newspaper Reporters Helped Free an Innocent Man

I had never been so confident of a convicted defendant’s innocence. And I never imagined nearly 12 years would pass before Cook County prosecutors would admit the truth and dismiss his conviction. But it finally happened. On June 28, 2013, Daniel, who was arrested at age 17, was released at age 38, having spent more than 20 years behind bars. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Sep 3, 2013 - 33 comments

Bradley Manning Sentenced

Whistleblower Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years for releasing documents to Wikileaks. Amnesty International, the ACLU, and other rights groups have decried the verdict.
posted by anemone of the state on Aug 21, 2013 - 397 comments

Trolls For FREEDOM

Early this morning (midday in the Middle East), al-Qaeda launched a hashtag on Twitter to solicit advice on "suggestions for the development of jihadi media". JM Berger, writer of the national security/terrorism blog IntelWire, noticed this, and decided that they could use some help. The good word was spread across the national security and terrorism Twitterspace, and they successfully hijacked the hashtag from al-Qaeda. [more inside]
posted by Punkey on Aug 13, 2013 - 32 comments

Domestic spying now (secretly) used by law enforcement

The NSA is handing the Justice Department information, derived from its secret electronic eavesdropping programs, about suspected criminal activity unrelated to terrorism; meanwhile the DEA is using information from NSA programs to launch criminal investigations, and then 'recreating' the trail of investigation in order to hide where the information originated.
posted by anemone of the state on Aug 5, 2013 - 168 comments

Rebuilding the American Jury

Twelve Absent Men: Rebuilding the American Jury. "Juries hear only 4 percent of criminal trials in America. Their decline has fostered radical punitiveness, but reforms and novel institutions are breathing new life into the jury and civic participation more broadly."
posted by homunculus on Jul 28, 2013 - 54 comments

There is a paradox in our distaste for "an eye for an eye."

The Case For Revenge [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 13, 2013 - 53 comments

Ain't No Prison Like The One I Got

On The Tamms Poetry Committee: "One of the artists' initiatives was "photo requests from solitary." Prisoners on solitary would request photos and professional photographers would then shoot the request and send the photo back. The gallery of prisoners requests is surprising and poignant."
posted by artof.mulata on Jun 2, 2013 - 27 comments

Hollywood icon John McTiernan is 1 month into a 12 month prison sentence

A very sad tale of one of the most respected action movie directors in cinema history.
posted by shimmerbug on May 28, 2013 - 108 comments

Faced with such high stakes, it's no wonder that so many defendants cave

Bail is Busted - How Jail Really Works
posted by lalochezia on May 21, 2013 - 22 comments

RTF Print

Small Print, Big Problem (part I)
Imagine you’ve clicked on your computer screen to accept a contract to purchase a good or service—a contract, you only realize later, that’s straight out of Kafka. The widget you’ve bought turns out to be a nightmare. You take to Yelp.com to complain about your experience—but lo, according to the contract you have given up your free speech rights to criticize the product. Let’s also say, in a fit of responsibility, (a bit fantastic, I know) you happened to have printed out this contract before you “signed” it, though you certainly hadn’t read through the thing, which is written, literally, on a “twenty-seventh grade” reading level. Well, you read it now (perhaps with the help of a friend who’s completed the twenty-seventh grade). And you see that there was nothing in the contract limiting your right to free speech at the moment you signed it. That part was added later. Your friend with the twenty-seventh-grade education points to the clause in the contract in which you’ve granted this vendor-from-hell the right to modify the terms of the contract, unilaterally, at any time into the vast limitless future.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 1, 2013 - 36 comments

If she weighs the same as a duck... she's made of wood!

Trials by Ordeal were a method of determining guilt or innocence by putting the accused through various torturous experiences. Today these approaches are frequently-mocked and banned almost everywhere, though Sassywood remains common in Liberia. However, economist Peter Leeson argues that trial by ordeal may have been a very effective way of dispensing justice, especially when courts and juries were expensive or broken. According to the paper [PDF], a superstitious belief in iudicium Dei, or the justice of God, may have discouraged the guilty from ordeals, while tilting the scales in favor of the innocent - echoes of the practice persist today in swearing on a Bible. Even Sassywood [pdf] may be better than Liberia's broken justice system.
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 30, 2013 - 11 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!

Richmond City Jail hosts a father-daughter dance, bringing fathers and daughters together beyond the visitors booth (photos). “I just gotta break this cycle I’m in. I’m just tired of it,” Andre Morman says, adding that he can’t wait to see his youngest daughter. “I haven’t been able to pick her up in nine months.” [more inside]
posted by postel's law on Mar 21, 2013 - 71 comments

The Atlantic - Benj Edwards

The Copyright Rule We Need to Repeal If We Want to Preserve Our Cultural Heritage
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 15, 2013 - 34 comments

James Holmes and the Insanity Defense

Today, Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester ordered psychiatric analysis of Dark Knight Rises mass-shooting suspect James Holmes. Holmes will enter a plea tomorrow and is expected to plea Not Guilty by reason of Insanity. Judge Sylvester's court order could involve use of both narco analysis (read: truth serum) and a polygraph test. [more inside]
posted by Navelgazer on Mar 12, 2013 - 65 comments

Recording of Bradley Manning's Speech Leaked

Despite a court prohibition on such recordings, an audio recording of Bradley Manning's speech to the military court in Fort Meade has been leaked in full. In his own words, Bradley Manning explains his reaction to the Collateral Murder video and the process that led him to leak it to the world. [more inside]
posted by dunkadunc on Mar 12, 2013 - 84 comments

The myth of universal love

"All people are not equally entitled to my time, affection, resources or moral duties." In his book "Against Fairness," (trailer) Stephen T. Asma argues in defense of favoritism and against universal love. "Whence then do we find morality and justice in an unfair world?" [more inside]
posted by mrgrimm on Feb 22, 2013 - 86 comments

Words of wisdom from the not-so-distant past

17 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes You Never Hear
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 20, 2013 - 32 comments

Totenberg on Sotomayor on NPR

In conjunction with the publication of her autobiography, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor sat down with NPR's Nina Totenberg for an extended interview. 1: Sotomayor reflects on her upbringing, her family, and the formative years of her life. 2: Exploring her educational background and her motivations toward excellence. 3: Her post-education career and the path toward her being appointed to the Supreme Court. Audio links and transcripts available for all links. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jan 19, 2013 - 9 comments

"This was not a complex killing"

On Monday, a 12-year-old California boy was convicted of the second-degree murder of his father, regional Neo-Nazi leader Jeff Hall. [more inside]
posted by Benjy on Jan 15, 2013 - 114 comments

Nothing Else Matters

Kathryn Bigelow's striking bin Laden manhunt thriller Zero Dark Thirty arrives in wide release tonight on the heels of a final artful trailer -- one with oddly familiar musical accompaniment. The funereal hymn, a cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" (lyrics), deftly recasts the 90s power ballad as a haunting dirge of quiet grief, shattered ideals, and a singleminded focus on revenge, a perfect distillation of the film's profoundly grim thesis. But while the song may be fitting, it wasn't composed for the project -- it's just the latest success story from Belgian women's choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers, whose mournful reinterpretations of classic and modern rock -- catapulted by their rendition of "Creep" in The Social Network -- have made them famous around the world, with star turns in the likes of Homeland ("Every Breath You Take") and Downton Abbey ("With or Without You"). Cover comparison site WhoSampled offers a list of YouTube comparisons between the covers and the originals; look inside for more of their work in movies and television. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jan 11, 2013 - 46 comments

“I thought that modern penology has abandoned that rehabilitation thing”

In Sentencing Criminals, Is Norway Too Soft? Or Are We Too Harsh?
It’s not very often the concept of restorative justice gets much play outside scholarly publications or reformist criminal justice circles, so first, some credit for Max Fisher at The Atlantic for giving it an earnest look last week. In seeking to explain Norway’s seemingly measly twenty-one-year sentence for remorseless, mass-murdering white supremacist Anders Breivik—a sentence that is certain to be extended to last the rest of his life—Fisher casts a critical eye on the underlying philosophy that animates that country’s sentencing practices, finding it to be “radically different” from what we’re used to in the United States.
The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Practices: A Meta-Analysis [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 12, 2012 - 87 comments

This time, I'm innocent.

Since the 80s Tony Galeota managed Porky's, a Hialeah dive notorious for drugs, prostitution, and violence, where he was part pimp, part bouncer, and completely untouchable. When he left to open a bona fide brothel in Panama, Galeota thought the country's lax prostitution laws (NSFW) would make him rich. Instead, he's trapped in a labyrinthine legal system, alone and unable to speak Spanish.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 7, 2012 - 58 comments

epistolary novel

Clay Shirky: How the Internet will (one day) transform government [1,2,3] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 26, 2012 - 46 comments

Obama/Romney respond regarding poverty.

There's been little discussion about the problem of poverty in the current Presidential election, the conventions pretty much ignored it. "The Circle of Protection, composed of Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum, released President Barack Obama's and GOP nominee Mitt Romney's video responses today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C." Both candidates responded.
posted by HuronBob on Sep 13, 2012 - 52 comments

"We need to get this SNAFU under control rapidly".

My fellow Oceanians, you know we've always been at war with Eurasia
(Or is it Eastasia?) Either way it's war and we need division to wage it
But now the proles are connecting online bypassing these illusory divisions
Of race, religion and nationality (Sounds grand to me?!) It's a catastrophe!

Rap News (previously) analyzes the ongoing struggle of civil liberties in the Internet Age.
Will it remain the one open frequency where humanity can bypass filters and barriers, or become the greatest spying machine ever imagined?

posted by dunkadunc on Sep 10, 2012 - 30 comments

Injury and the Ethics of Reading

Poetry Changed the World: Injury and the Ethics of Reading.
posted by homunculus on Sep 3, 2012 - 8 comments

Grape Apes: The Origins of Morality

Chimp Fights and Trolley Rides from Radiolab's morality episode: "try to answer tough moral quandaries. The questions--which force you to decide between homicidal scenarios--are the same ones being asked by Dr. Joshua Greene. He'll tell us about using modern brain scanning techniques to take snapshots of the brain as it struggles to resolve these moral conflicts. And he'll describe what he sees in these images: quite literally, a battle taking place in the brain. It's 'inner chimp' versus a calculator-wielding rationale."
posted by kliuless on Sep 2, 2012 - 36 comments

"a clear and written threat that they could storm our embassy."

Following claims that Ecuador would accept Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's asylum application, Britain has threatened to raid the Ecuadorian embassy if Assange is not handed over.
Vans are gathered outside the London embassy, reports suggest British police have been seen entering the building. Live stream here.
posted by dunkadunc on Aug 15, 2012 - 1649 comments

Buying a Kick in the Face

My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court: After a Baltimore car accident between an insured and an underinsured driver left the insured driver dead, Progressive Insurance took up the defense of the underinsured driver against their own policy-holder. [more inside]
posted by Ice Cream Socialist on Aug 14, 2012 - 251 comments

Goldman Sachs gets away with it

In April 2011, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PDF) release a report that Goldman Sachs knowingly sold mortgage-backed securities that they believed would fall in value, and then shorted them for billions in profit. The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York declined to press charges today.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College on Aug 10, 2012 - 94 comments

sowing seeds of love

Arno Michaels used to be the worst kind of asshole. Now he's working to help others not be that kind of asshole. [more inside]
posted by vrakatar on Aug 9, 2012 - 26 comments

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