Archive for the 'prison' Category

My Theory

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Scott Crowdershared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

If you take the time to read this, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

It’s a post I made a few days back, explaining what came to mind after a night of thinking and researching. I have a lot of respect for your page, and feel this may be a realistic hypothesis.

I’ve been throwing some ideas around in my head, taking in what I have learned about the police, and our jail system, and just about America in general. I think I have come up with a pretty good look at it. Police send child narcs into schools, and these people are trained to find ‘weak’ or ‘socially awkward kids’ and convince them to either buy, or sell small time drugs such as weed. The sting happens, and all the teens involved are arrested. These teens are then looked down upon by other teens, and just about every adult in the area. When these people are older, over 18, the negative treatment they received will cause them to act out, and usually end up arrested, and put into prison.

Prison in America is worse than the gulags of Russia. Here, the small time offenders are placed with hard criminals, and people who have gone through this whole cycle I am describing. Due to how the guards treat prisoners, which is like animals, the small time offenders are doomed to befriend the hard criminals, and, after 5-10 years of living with these criminals, then have the mindset of one themselves. After being released, these people will usually attempt to find a job and get out of the system, only to find that their criminal record is preventing that. Employers know that people coming out of prison have the mindset of criminals, so one cant blame them for not hiring. Now that this person has no job, no money, no life, and a criminal mind, there are really only a few options left, and the one usually picked is, well, crime. These actual crimes get the person sent to prison again, for a much longer sentence.

Now, let’s talk about why this happens. America has the largest prison population in human history. It is greater than Russia during the cold war, greater than Germany in ww2, and greater than China. This didn’t happen by accident. There are things called private prisons, or, for-profit prisons. They make money off of taking in inmates. These inmates are given the option of serving their full sentence, or having it reduced greatly in exchange for free hard labor. The prison makes a lot of money off this labor. These for-profit prisons spend a great deal of money lobbying local governments, and police stations in order for more arrests to happen. Many cities have adopted laws such as making it illegal to live in your car, or making it illegal to live on the streets. These prisons are paying cops to make more drug busts, and are lobbying congress to make sure the war on drugs doesn’t stop. They are paying governments to make laws that make sure anyone with a criminal record is closely watched, so they can get them for that second offense. This needs to stop.

Scott Crowder

My Theory is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Groundbreaking N.Y. Legislation: Eliminate Extreme Isolation Beyond 15 Days, Create Humane Alternatives

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

LAWMAKERS, ADVOCATES, AND SURVIVORS OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT BACK SWEEPING REFORMS TO USE OF ISOLATION IN NEW YORK’S PRISONS AND JAILS

Supporters Converge from Across the State to Lobby for the “HALT Solitary Confinement Act”

Groundbreaking Legislation Would Eliminate Extreme Isolation Beyond 15 Days, Create Safe and Humane Alternatives

Albany, May 5, 2014 — At a mid-morning press conference in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, leading legislators joined advocates, people who had experienced solitary confinement, and family members of those currently in solitary to promote the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (A08588A / S06466A).

At the same time, more than 120 individuals from across the state, many of them directly affected by the widespread use of solitary confinement in New York, gathered for an inaugural lobby day at the State Capitol, meeting with more than 50 legislators.

After years of activism by human rights and civil liberties groups, faith communities, currently and formerly incarcerated people, and other concerned citizens, solitary confinement is currently exploding as an issue, both in the media and on public policy agendas.

Supporters are hailing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act as the most comprehensive and progressive legislative response to date to the nationwide problem of solitary confinement in prisons and jails. As written, it would virtually eliminate a practice that has been increasingly denounced as both dangerous and torturous, while protecting the safety of incarcerated individuals and corrections officers.

According to Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, who is sponsoring the bill in the Assembly, “New York State was a leader for the country in passing the 2008 SHU Exclusion Law, which keeps people with the most severe mental health needs out of solitary confinement. Now we must show the way forward again, ensuring that we provide safe, humane and effective alternatives to solitary for all people.”

“Solitary confinement makes people suffer without making our prisons safer. It is counter-productive as well as cruel,” said Senator Bill Perkins, the bill’s Senate sponsor. “Solitary harms not only those who endure it, but families, communities, and corrections staff as well.”

Additional sponsors of the bill include Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Brad Hoylman, Velmanette Montgomery, N. Nick Perry, and John L. Sampson.

On any given day, about 3,800 people are in Special Housing Units, or SHUs, with many more in other forms of isolated confinement in New York’s State prisons. They are held for 23 to 24 hours in cells smaller than the average parking space, alone or with one other person. More than 800 are in solitary confinement in New York City jails, along with hundreds more in local jails across the state.

New York isolates imprisoned people at levels well above the national average, and uses solitary to punish minor disciplinary violations. Five out of six sentences that result in placement in New York State’s SHUs are for non-violent conduct. Individuals are sent to the SHU on the word of prison staff, and may remain there for months, years, or even decades.

The HALT Solitary Confinement Act bans extreme isolation beyond 15 days–the limit advocated by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez, among others. Méndez, who is the United Nations’ main torture investigator, has found that solitary confinement as it is practiced in New York violates the U.S.’s international obligations with regard to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.

The Special Rapporteur contributed a statement which was read aloud at the press conference, concluding, “The HALT Solitary Confinement Act reflects both safe and effective prison policy and respect for human rights. It should become law in New York State and a model for change across the United States.”

The HALT Solitary Confinement Act goes well beyond the agreement that was recently reached between the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and the New York Civil Liberties Union to limit the use of isolation on youth, pregnant women, and people with developmental disabilities. HALT completely bars these and other vulnerable populations from being placed in solitary at all.

For those who present a serious threat to prison safety and need to be separated from the general population for longer periods of time, the legislation creates new Residential Rehabilitation Units (RRUs)–separate, secure units with substantial out-of-cell time, and programs and treatment aimed at addressing the underlying causes of behavioral problems.

“Isolation does not promote positive change in people; it only damages them,” said Megan Crowe-Rothstein of the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project. “By requiring treatment and programs for people who are separated from the prison population for serious misconduct, the legislation requires Corrections to emphasize rehabilitation over punishment and degradation.”

The widespread use of long-term solitary confinement has been under fire in recent years, in the face of increasing evidence that sensory deprivation, lack of normal human interaction, and extreme idleness can lead to severe psychological damage. Supporters of the bill also say that isolated confinement fails to address the underlying causes of problematic behavior, and often exacerbates that behavior as people deteriorate psychologically, physically, and socially.

Rev. Ron Stief of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture said, “The diverse faith traditions represented by NRCAT hold in common a belief in the dignity of each human person. We share a conviction that the use of isolated confinement in U.S. prisons and jails violates basic religious values of community and restorative justice. The HALT Solitary Confinement Act provides New York with a critical opportunity to lead the way nationally in increasing access to rehabilitation and ending the torture of isolated confinement.”

Solitary confinement has never been shown to reduce prison violence. In fact, several state prisons systems, including Maine, Mississippi, and Colorado, have significantly reduced the number of people they hold in solitary confinement, and have seen prison violence decrease as well. In addition, individuals released from solitary confinement have higher recidivism rates. In New York each year, nearly 2,000 people are released directly from extreme isolation to the streets.

“The damage done by solitary confinement is deep and permanent,” said solitary survivor Five Mualimm-ak of the Incarcerated Nation Campaign. Mualimm-ak spent five years in isolated confinement despite never having committed a violent act in prison. “Having humane alternatives will spare thousands of people the pain and suffering that extreme isolation causes–and the scars that they carry with them back into our communities.”

Also speaking at the press conference was hip-hop artist Mysonne, who spent time in solitary in New York, and Jessica Casanova, aunt of a young man currently in solitary.

Many of those represented at the press conference are members of the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC), which was instrumental in drafting the bill. CAIC unites advocates, concerned community members, lawyers, and individuals in the human rights, health, and faith communities throughout New York State with formerly incarcerated people and family members of currently incarcerated people.

On May 5, CAIC members from all corners of New York State were gathering at the State Capitol to lobby legislators to support the HALT Solitary Confinement Act.

“CAIC recognizes that we need a fundamental transformation of how our public institutions address people’s needs and behaviors, both in our prisons and in our communities,” said Scott Paltrowitz of the Correctional Association of New York. “Rather than inhumane and ineffective punishment, deprivation, and isolation, the HALT Act would provide people with greater support, programs, and treatment to help them thrive, and in turn make our prisons and our communities safer.”

PRESS CONFERENCE DETAILS:
Date/Time/ Location: Monday, May 5, 10:00 – 11:00 am
LCA Press Room, Legislative Office Building, First Floor198 State Street, Albany

Speakers:

Assembly Member Jeffrion L. Aubry (D, 35th District, Queens),

Assembly sponsor Senator Bill Perkins (D, 30th District, Harlem), Senate sponsor

Five Mualimm-ak, survivor of solitary confinement in New York, Incarcerated Nation Campaign, Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC)

Mysonne, survivor of solitary confinement in New York, hip-hop artist

Jessica Casanova, aunt of individual currently in solitary, CAIC

Scott Paltrowitz, Correctional Association of New York, CAIC

Claire Deroche, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, CAIC

All speakers will be available for interview along with additional family members of    individuals in solitary confinement, advocates, and members of the clergy, including Rev. Dr. Paul S. Johnson, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock

PRESS KIT INCLUDES:

Press Release

Summary of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT)

Solitary Confinement Act

Full Text of HALT Act (A08588A / S06466A)

Fact Sheet on Solitary Confinement in New York State

New York Voices from Solitary Confinement

Congressional Testimony Provided by the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement

Articles and commentaries on solitary confinement in New York

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Megan Crowe-Rothstein, 860-214-2348, megan@urbanjustice.org

Jean Casella, 917-974-0529, casellaj4@gmail.com

www.nycaic.org

#  #  #


Groundbreaking N.Y. Legislation: Eliminate Extreme Isolation Beyond 15 Days, Create Humane Alternatives

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

LAWMAKERS, ADVOCATES, AND SURVIVORS OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT BACK SWEEPING REFORMS TO USE OF ISOLATION IN NEW YORK’S PRISONS AND JAILS

Supporters Converge from Across the State to Lobby for the “HALT Solitary Confinement Act”

Groundbreaking Legislation Would Eliminate Extreme Isolation Beyond 15 Days, Create Safe and Humane Alternatives

Albany, May 5, 2014 — At a mid-morning press conference in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, leading legislators joined advocates, people who had experienced solitary confinement, and family members of those currently in solitary to promote the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (A08588A / S06466A).

At the same time, more than 120 individuals from across the state, many of them directly affected by the widespread use of solitary confinement in New York, gathered for an inaugural lobby day at the State Capitol, meeting with more than 50 legislators.

After years of activism by human rights and civil liberties groups, faith communities, currently and formerly incarcerated people, and other concerned citizens, solitary confinement is currently exploding as an issue, both in the media and on public policy agendas.

Supporters are hailing the HALT Solitary Confinement Act as the most comprehensive and progressive legislative response to date to the nationwide problem of solitary confinement in prisons and jails. As written, it would virtually eliminate a practice that has been increasingly denounced as both dangerous and torturous, while protecting the safety of incarcerated individuals and corrections officers.

According to Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, who is sponsoring the bill in the Assembly, “New York State was a leader for the country in passing the 2008 SHU Exclusion Law, which keeps people with the most severe mental health needs out of solitary confinement. Now we must show the way forward again, ensuring that we provide safe, humane and effective alternatives to solitary for all people.”

“Solitary confinement makes people suffer without making our prisons safer. It is counter-productive as well as cruel,” said Senator Bill Perkins, the bill’s Senate sponsor. “Solitary harms not only those who endure it, but families, communities, and corrections staff as well.”

Additional sponsors of the bill include Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Brad Hoylman, Velmanette Montgomery, N. Nick Perry, and John L. Sampson.

On any given day, about 3,800 people are in Special Housing Units, or SHUs, with many more in other forms of isolated confinement in New York’s State prisons. They are held for 23 to 24 hours in cells smaller than the average parking space, alone or with one other person. More than 800 are in solitary confinement in New York City jails, along with hundreds more in local jails across the state.

New York isolates imprisoned people at levels well above the national average, and uses solitary to punish minor disciplinary violations. Five out of six sentences that result in placement in New York State’s SHUs are for non-violent conduct. Individuals are sent to the SHU on the word of prison staff, and may remain there for months, years, or even decades.

The HALT Solitary Confinement Act bans extreme isolation beyond 15 days–the limit advocated by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez, among others. Méndez, who is the United Nations’ main torture investigator, has found that solitary confinement as it is practiced in New York violates the U.S.’s international obligations with regard to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.

The Special Rapporteur contributed a statement which was read aloud at the press conference, concluding, “The HALT Solitary Confinement Act reflects both safe and effective prison policy and respect for human rights. It should become law in New York State and a model for change across the United States.”

The HALT Solitary Confinement Act goes well beyond the agreement that was recently reached between the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and the New York Civil Liberties Union to limit the use of isolation on youth, pregnant women, and people with developmental disabilities. HALT completely bars these and other vulnerable populations from being placed in solitary at all.

For those who present a serious threat to prison safety and need to be separated from the general population for longer periods of time, the legislation creates new Residential Rehabilitation Units (RRUs)–separate, secure units with substantial out-of-cell time, and programs and treatment aimed at addressing the underlying causes of behavioral problems.

“Isolation does not promote positive change in people; it only damages them,” said Megan Crowe-Rothstein of the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project. “By requiring treatment and programs for people who are separated from the prison population for serious misconduct, the legislation requires Corrections to emphasize rehabilitation over punishment and degradation.”

The widespread use of long-term solitary confinement has been under fire in recent years, in the face of increasing evidence that sensory deprivation, lack of normal human interaction, and extreme idleness can lead to severe psychological damage. Supporters of the bill also say that isolated confinement fails to address the underlying causes of problematic behavior, and often exacerbates that behavior as people deteriorate psychologically, physically, and socially.

Rev. Ron Stief of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture said, “The diverse faith traditions represented by NRCAT hold in common a belief in the dignity of each human person. We share a conviction that the use of isolated confinement in U.S. prisons and jails violates basic religious values of community and restorative justice. The HALT Solitary Confinement Act provides New York with a critical opportunity to lead the way nationally in increasing access to rehabilitation and ending the torture of isolated confinement.”

Solitary confinement has never been shown to reduce prison violence. In fact, several state prisons systems, including Maine, Mississippi, and Colorado, have significantly reduced the number of people they hold in solitary confinement, and have seen prison violence decrease as well. In addition, individuals released from solitary confinement have higher recidivism rates. In New York each year, nearly 2,000 people are released directly from extreme isolation to the streets.

“The damage done by solitary confinement is deep and permanent,” said solitary survivor Five Mualimm-ak of the Incarcerated Nation Campaign. Mualimm-ak spent five years in isolated confinement despite never having committed a violent act in prison. “Having humane alternatives will spare thousands of people the pain and suffering that extreme isolation causes–and the scars that they carry with them back into our communities.”

Also speaking at the press conference was hip-hop artist Mysonne, who spent time in solitary in New York, and Jessica Casanova, aunt of a young man currently in solitary.

Many of those represented at the press conference are members of the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC), which was instrumental in drafting the bill. CAIC unites advocates, concerned community members, lawyers, and individuals in the human rights, health, and faith communities throughout New York State with formerly incarcerated people and family members of currently incarcerated people.

On May 5, CAIC members from all corners of New York State were gathering at the State Capitol to lobby legislators to support the HALT Solitary Confinement Act.

“CAIC recognizes that we need a fundamental transformation of how our public institutions address people’s needs and behaviors, both in our prisons and in our communities,” said Scott Paltrowitz of the Correctional Association of New York. “Rather than inhumane and ineffective punishment, deprivation, and isolation, the HALT Act would provide people with greater support, programs, and treatment to help them thrive, and in turn make our prisons and our communities safer.”

PRESS CONFERENCE DETAILS:
Date/Time/ Location: Monday, May 5, 10:00 – 11:00 am
LCA Press Room, Legislative Office Building, First Floor198 State Street, Albany

Speakers:

Assembly Member Jeffrion L. Aubry (D, 35th District, Queens),

Assembly sponsor Senator Bill Perkins (D, 30th District, Harlem), Senate sponsor

Five Mualimm-ak, survivor of solitary confinement in New York, Incarcerated Nation Campaign, Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC)

Mysonne, survivor of solitary confinement in New York, hip-hop artist

Jessica Casanova, aunt of individual currently in solitary, CAIC

Scott Paltrowitz, Correctional Association of New York, CAIC

Claire Deroche, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, CAIC

All speakers will be available for interview along with additional family members of    individuals in solitary confinement, advocates, and members of the clergy, including Rev. Dr. Paul S. Johnson, Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock

PRESS KIT INCLUDES:

Press Release

Summary of the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT)

Solitary Confinement Act

Full Text of HALT Act (A08588A / S06466A)

Fact Sheet on Solitary Confinement in New York State

New York Voices from Solitary Confinement

Congressional Testimony Provided by the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement

Articles and commentaries on solitary confinement in New York

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Megan Crowe-Rothstein, 860-214-2348, megan@urbanjustice.org

Jean Casella, 917-974-0529, casellaj4@gmail.com

www.nycaic.org

#  #  #


Know Your Rights When Interacting With Law Enforcement – A Must Have Chart

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Doc Liberty shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

You have the right to stay out of prison. It is just that simple. You must know your rights because law enforcement [be it the local ticket writers or one of the alphabet agencies] will lie, cheat and manipulate to get you into custody. Once you enter into Legal Land, you stay on the plantation, even if you are merely arrested and never prosecuted. Every time you are pulled over and your ID is checked, that arrest is now shared with the officer you are in contact with and he/she knows you were arrested previously for something, thus making them prejudicial in this interaction and causing them to treat you as if you are a suspect, whether you are or not. You must take control of your freedom.

Know where you stand and what to do. This chart is a must for everyone: http://www.online-paralegal-programs.com/legal-rights/

If you fail to learn it, love it & live it, when you are on the prison plantation, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Doc Liberty

Know Your Rights When Interacting With Law Enforcement – A Must Have Chart is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Private Prisons Rebrand Themselves As Real Estate Investment Trusts To Avoid Taxes

Friday, July 5th, 2013

This post, Private Prisons Rebrand Themselves As Real Estate Investment Trusts To Avoid Taxes, by Shannon Argueta at AddictingInfo.org, makes clear the subpar conditions many now caged are subjected to, yet she seems to miss the point in how to rectify the situation. The practices Argueta rightly vilifies will continue whether done by GEO Group, Corrections Corporation of America, or another outfit, until the current top-down, coercive “criminal justice system” is no more.

It is the allowance of a double-standard that brings-about the massively distorted “justice” now “provided” by the so-claimed “authorities.” Today, “the State” claims to be the victim in situations where no victim exists. Today, purported “protectors” that harm others claim immunity. Today, a group of people claim that others must obey their dictates (legislation conflated to be law) or else.

Might things be better were we to transition to a reality where those things aren’t the norm?

MORE: http://CopBlock.org/Library

______________________________

prison-industrial-complex-copblock-2The prison industrial complex has the perfect love affair with the U.S. government. They are like the mistress that gets a diamond ring and the prisoners in their “care” are the spouse that is presented with a vacuum cleaner. This love affair is precisely what led to the United States claiming the title of the world’s number one jailer. The people, whose interests the government are supposed to have in mind, are bombarded with laws that are meant to incarcerate them so that the prison industry can profit. And profit they do. The prison industry makes billions of dollars annually off the destruction of American lives. Not only has the American public been abused by the prison industry’s lobbying for tougher laws that in some cases take away their lives for many years for minor offenses, but now the industry has come up with a new way to avoid paying income taxes.  One private prison company, GEO Group, is bragging about their success to their investors and promising that the beds will stay full.

geo-group-investments-prison-industrial-complex-copblock

GEO Group seeks investors to profit from the warehousing of humans.

GEO Group is one of the largest private prison corporations operating in the United States. It is also one of the most controversial corporations whose reputation is tarnished by poor living conditions, prisoner deaths, and inmate abuses. Despite its bad reputation and the plethora of problems it has, the corporation is boasting about a 56% spike in profits to its investors this year. How did it manage such a dramatic increase in profits? Oh, that’s easy, by getting the Internal Revenue Service on board with their effort to restyle themselves as not just a corporation, but a special trust that is typically exempt from paying taxes. The group successfully argued that they should be considered a real estate investment trust or REIT.

GEO along with Corrections Corporation of America claim that they should be eligible for the exemption because they are essentially renting out their property to prisoners that the government is paying for. What in the actual hell? Renters? Really? While this scheme is sure to piss off Americans it is sure to please investors; REITS are required by law to distribute at least 90% of their taxable income back to their investors. Corrections Corporation of America says that they expect to save as much as 70 million dollars in taxes this year under their new status. GEO Group reported that a revision to their taxes made them plummet from $8.5 million in the first quarter of 2012 to $881,000 in the first quarter of 2013.

johnhurley-geo-corrections-copblock

John Hurley

In a call to investors the Vice President of GEO Group, John Hurley, also assured their investors that they are optimistic about future profits because the offender population continues to grow.

We have a longstanding partnership with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshal Service and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE. … We continue to see meaningful opportunities for us to partner with all three of these federal agencies, notwithstanding the various issues with the federal budget, which we believe will have no material negative impact on our business. The federal bureau of prisons continues to face capacity constraints coupled with a growing offender population.

I’m sure that they American public will be thrilled to discover just how this industry is profiting off the rest of us. This is indeed a sweet deal for them. Not only does the prison industrial complex have their hand in most of the “tough on crime” legislation that is passed but now they are receiving huge tax breaks by using some slimy loophole. I find it disturbing in a time when so much emphasis is put on how much the poor people of this country are bleeding it dry with their need for food and healthcare and all of the totally unnecessary stuff they need to survive, the government continues to support corporate welfare. Make no mistake this is corporate welfare. The private prison industry makes billions and billions of dollars annually they no more need a tax break than I need a hole in my head, yet they are getting one. It’s funny isn’t it? And by funny I mean completely and utterly confusing and frustrating and pretty sickening. Like I said, it’s the perfect love affair and the big, happy government mistress just got a shiny Maserati at your expense. How do you feel about that?

Private Prisons Rebrand Themselves As Real Estate Investment Trusts To Avoid Taxes is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Florida Teen Facing Criminal Charges For Relationship With Female Student

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

An 18-year-old Sebastian River High School senior is reportedly being charged with a felony and expelled from high school as a result of a consensual relationship with another female student. Kaitlyn Hunt started dating a 15-year-old student from her high school basketball team when she herself was 17. Kaitlyn’s father, Steven R. Hunt Jr., claims his daughter was kicked off the basketball team because the coach feared a same-sex relationship would bring unwanted drama. Steven Hunt explained, “The girl’s mother found out about the relationship, and, as the track coach and Criminal Justice teacher told me, the girl’s mother said that there’s no way her daughter could be gay. The mother then took reigns and is now attempting to place felony charges upon my own daughter.” According to her family, Kate’s girlfriend was a freshman student enrolled in courses with upperclassmen and a fellow player on the varsity basketball team with Kaitlyn. Although Kaitlyn was three years older than her girlfriend, they were friends in the same social circle.

After Kaitlyn’s 18th birthday, her girlfriend’s parents sent the police to the Hunt residence, where she was arrested. Kaitlyn’s mother told The Examiner, “They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she ‘made’ their daughter gay. They see being gay as wrong and they blame my daughter. Of course, I see it 100% differently. I don’t see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality — with mutual consent. And even if their daughter is gay, who cares? She is still their daughter.” Kaitlyn’s father wrote about the arrest, “My daughter was ripped out of her mother’s arms, hysterical. The police finally told us she was being arrested on probable cause.”

NYDaily News reports that Kaitlyn has been charged with two felony counts of, “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 – 16 years of age.” She has reportedly been offered a plea bargain of house arrest. Under these conditions, Hunt would be sentenced to two years house arrest and allowed to attend school or work only during that time. She would also endure one year of probation and attend sex offender counseling. Hunt’s mother, Kelley Smith, has until next Friday to accept what she calls the “outrageous plea offer” or take the case to trial.

If convicted, Hunt could face up to 15 years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

Kaitlyn’s family took her story public on May 17 on a “Free Kate” Facebook page. Her mother wrote this personal message:

“Anyone who knows me, even a little, knows what kind of person I am. Anyone who knows my daughter Kate, knows how wonderful she is. Kate is an 18 year old senior about to graduate from SRHS. She has an exemplary record at school and home. She has always been a wonderful student, respected and well liked. She has cheered on the varsity cheer team all throughout high school, shes sung in chorus and was voted most school spirited. She has never been in trouble, ever, she truly is the model student and child. At the beginning of this school year, she started dating a fellow student, who happened to be another female. This girl also played varsity sports, was in the IB program, so she was in classes with upperclassman. There was an age difference between my daughter and the other girl, of 3 years, my daughter was older, however you would have thought it was the opposite by just looking at the girls. My daughter is tiny, looks very young, and the other girl looks much older and is much taller, either way there was a 3 year age gap. They were both students in the same high school, it was a mutual consenting relationship on both parts. This was unusual for Kate, she has always dated boys, but being the kind of mother I am, I didn’t want to make it a big deal. I talked to her about it, and figured it was just a social thing, times have changed and a lot of kids are experimenting, so I didn’t make much of it.”

Their family’s “Free Kate” Facebook page has more than 19,000 members.
In addition to the Facebook page, her family has also launched a website to share Kate’s story.

In response to those claiming the Hunt family is expecting special treatment because Kaitlyn is in a same-sex relationship, the Facebook page stated:

“The law needs to change, not only to protect Kate, but to protect the millions of teenagers, boys and girls, straight and gay, whose lives are regularly ruined because parents disapprove of their children’s sexual choices. We want justice for all 18-year-old high school seniors who have undergone criminal prosecution for exercising poor judgement in their dating life. Such students are not predators. They’re just kids.”

Under Florida’s 2007 “Romeo and Juliet” Law, an “offender” can petition the court to remove the need to register as a sex offender if the “victim in the case” is between 14 and 17 years old, “a willing participant in the sexual activity and no more than four years younger than the offender.” This law does not make it legal to have sexual relations with minors, but prevents the accused from being held as a sex offender. Historically the law has never applied in cases dealing with same-sex relationships.

Florida Teen Facing Criminal Charges For Relationship With Female Student is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

What Is Jury Nullification?

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Submitted by Captain Six

From Station.6.Underground

What is Jury Nullification? You won’t find it defined in your dictionary or described in your encyclopedia. You weren’t taught about it in school, and indeed it is even considered a crime to tell other people about it in some circumstances. Imagine that for a moment – it is a crime to inform a citizen as to their right, even the scope of their duty while serving on a jury.

According to the Wikipedia entry:

Jury nullification is a constitutional doctrine which allows juries to acquit criminal defendants who are technically guilty, but who do not deserve punishment. It occurs in a trial when a jury reaches a verdict contrary to the judge’s instructions as to the law. 

A jury verdict contrary to the letter of the law pertains only to the particular case before it. If a pattern of acquittals develops, however, in response to repeated attempts to prosecute a statutory offence, this can have the de facto effect of invalidating the statute. A pattern of jury nullification may indicate public opposition to an unwanted legislative enactment…

Most Americans have never even heard of such a doctrine. Thanks to numerous TV shows and real-life judges telling us that the only function of the jury is to render a decision based strictly upon the facts of the case, a key tenet of the justice system envisioned by the Founding Fathers has been lost. You see, it is not only the job of the jury to weigh guilt or innocence against the letter of the law, but also to judge the just nature of the statutes themselves. In this way, The People ultimately retain power over the government, rather than the government dictating to The People what is and what is not justice. This tenet is instrumental in protecting ourselves, as The People, from tyrannical laws and cronyism. This is why we have a jury system in the first place, not simply to act as a cog in the wheel of the justice system, but to be the justice in the system.

Let us imagine for a moment, that you live in a city where the Mayor makes soda-pop illegal. So illegal that he actually signs into law a criminal statute that makes it a jailable offense to dispense soda-pop. He makes a public campaign to warn about the evils of soda-pop, how detrimental it is to your health, while being crowned king of national doughnut day, and holding a vast amount stock in the city’s number-one importer of iced-tea.

Fascist Food and Nutrition Nazis

Now let us imagine that you are sitting on the jury for a criminal trial of a single-mom arrested for selling soda-pop to her neighbor, which had been “smuggled” in from outside of the city limits, and that the transaction was captured on an audio-video recording by police. You see that she is plainly guilty of violating the law, technically, but can’t in good-conscience send her off to jail for a year. You, and other jury members voice that dilemma to the judge, who then instructs you to render a verdict based strictly on the facts of the case, the evidence presented, and that all other considerations have no bearing on your duty to render a verdict. What do you do? It appears that you have no choice, and you find her guilty.

But if you had actually been a FULLY INFORMED JUROR, rather than just listening to the instructions of the judge who owed his career to the Mayor, you would have known that you did have an alternative. That it was not actually illegal for you to ignore the judge’s instructions, and that you could have rendered a verdict based on your conscience rather than a law in a book. You would have known that Jury Nullification not only gives you this right, but that it is your duty as a juror to render your verdict in such a manner. In this way, you see, not only have you protected the accused from overzealous and tyrannical prosecution, but you have also struck a blow against cronyism. Cronyism by the Mayor who stands to make a profit from the law he made, in relation to the company stocks he owns and the companies that own him. Cronyism by police and prosecutors who turn a profit on the backs of the taxpayers for every arrest and prosecution they make, maintaining their job security and giving the United States the largest prison population in the world in the process.

Imagine how many ridiculous laws would be suddenly rendered obsolete. Imagine how many frivolous prosecutions would be avoided. Imagine how many people would not be sitting in prison today for victimless crimes. Imagine how much lower your taxes would be if you didn’t have to pay for all this nonsense. Imagine how powerless the government would suddenly find itself, in the face of a population that was no longer going to take any of their shit.

Maybe that’s why the principle of Jury Nullification is the most taboo subject in our justice system today, and has been continually eroded in landmark decisions by the courts since 1895, as time has distanced us from the core principles of liberty on which this nation was founded.

In 1794, the case of Georgia v. Brailsford was being heard before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The court’s first Chief Justice, John Jay, established precedent that the Common Law practice of Jury Nullification was valid in the United States. He wrote, in part…

“It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old
rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on
questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must
be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable
distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon
yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy.
On this, and on every other occasion, however, we
have no doubt, you will pay that respect, which is due to the opinion of
the court: For, as on the one hand, it is presumed, that juries are the
best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumbable, that the
court are the best judges of the law. But still both objects are
lawfully, within your power of decision.”

That precedent held, unmolested, for 99 years. Prior to the Civil War, the Fugitive Slave Act made it a Federal Crime to help escaped slaves, but jury nullification was instrumental in undermining that law and bringing an end to slavery America. Jurors refused to render a guilty verdict against those who had helped escaped slaves. But in 1895, the Supreme Court of the United States struck it’s first blow against the Common Law principle of Jury Nullification. In Sparf v. United States, SCOTUS held in a 5-4 decision that federal judges were not required to inform jurors of their inherent right to judge the law in a case.

In the 1969, the Fourth Circuit upheld in the case of U.S. v. Moylan that a court could refuse to allow instruction to a jury regarding nullification, yet hypocritically upheld the jurors inherent right to nullify. In other words, they were denying the right of the juror to be informed of their right, while still maintaining the validity of Jury Nullification stating,

“If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of
the jury to acquit.”

In the 1972 case of United States v Dougherty  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit maintained that the courts could deny the defense a chance to instruct a jury on their right to nullify.

In 1988, in U.S. v. Krzyske, the jury asked the judge about jury nullification. The judge responded “There is no such thing as valid jury nullification.” The jury convicted the defendant, and the judge’s answer was upheld on appeal. Another judge did dissent however, and cited United States v. Wilson, 629 F. 2d 439 – Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit 1980, that the panel had unanimously decided “In criminal cases, a jury is entitled to acquit the defendant because it has no sympathy for the government’s position.”

In 1997, the Second Circuit ruled that jurors can be removed if there is evidence that they intend to nullify the law, under Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 23(b). There have even been instances of jurors being removed and mistrials declared after informed-jury activists distributed literature near courthouses.

Now here’s one final gut-check for the uninformed public. We often assume that it is the job of the defense attorney to defend their client to the best of their ability, with all of the knowledge at their disposal. This is not true, however. Attorneys, including defense attorneys, are an Officer of the Court. This means that their first duty is to the law, and not their client. With a sworn oath to uphold the law, they are forbidden from advocating jury nullification. Your lawyer works for the court, not you.

If you ever sit on a jury, remember one important fact. You do not work for the court.

Lawmall.com

A History of Jury Nullification

The Straight Dope
stationsixunderground@gmail.com
Yes

What Is Jury Nullification? is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Get Cops Out of Schools Before It’s Too Late

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

The following story caught my attention because I went to jail for highlighting something similar – police abuse (or interactions) with kids in school. This story comes from Akron, Ohio where it seems a Middle School Police Relations (funny, relations) Officer fractured the arm of a (then) 13 year old girl because she was swearing. According to Ohio.com:

A mother is challenging the school assignment of an Akron police officer accused of fracturing her daughter’s arm while physically restraining the eighth-grade girl.

The incident was recorded on a security camera at Jennings middle school. The video shows Officer Jon Morgan rushing 13-year-old Tamika Williams at a doorway and forcing the student backward across a hall and against a locker.

The officer then grabs the girl’s left arm and spins her around, raising the arm up toward her right shoulder. At one point, the girl appears to be lifted by the officer several inches off the ground while other students mill through the hallway.

Morgan appears to speak into the girl’s ear before escorting her by the arm to an assistant principal’s office. There is no sound to the video.

The student, who has since turned 14, is not charged with resisting arrest or any other crime related to the Oct. 26 incident.

She has since transferred to another Akron middle school. Morgan remains assigned to Jennings while an investigation into the incident enters its third month.

Before I get to the actions of the officer and my rant about the utter silliness going on here. Take a look at the video again and this time watch the other children. What do you see them do? Nothing right? In fact, some stroll on by like nothing is going on. Wake up Parents! You’re raising your children to be obedient slaves who accept violence by some random government agent without question. Fathers, would you want the man (eventually/hopefully) dating your daughter to stand by, doing nothing, while some government agent breaks her arm? Please talk to your kids about doing what’s right, even if just filming the interaction for transparency and accountability.

Now that I got that off my chest let’s talk about having cops in schools! I know with the recent school shootings people are calling for more Cops in schools so let me clarify. I’m all for responsible people having firearms in schools and by responsible I also mean accountable. For example, Officer Morgan – the arm breaker – has continued to work at the Middle School with the internal investigation is completed. Meanwhile, the girl – who had her arm broke – has since transferred to another school. Are you freaking kidding me? This is how the public officials running the police and school departments decided to handle this? This is accountability? They can’t even put the officer on a desk job for a little while but have no problem shipping off the girl who swore.

Who’s a bigger threat, or more likely to use violence, towards the student body? The 13 year who swore or the grown adult who broke her arm for it? Give me a break people! Stand up and speak out. Get these people, who just so happen to be cops, away from your children. The Parents of Jennings Middle School should be pulling Officer Morgan out of the building by his shiny little badge. Maybe the parents would if they weren’t just as scared as their kids are in this video. End the fear, live in peace.

If you (dis)like this story, check out the Manchester Excessive Force post/videos that landed myself in jail for 90 days. Once again proving how backwards the system is. Neither I or this 13 year old girl ever laid our hands on anyone, yet, we were punished. While those who did  harm others walk freely amongst your children. Are you concerned yet?

Get Cops Out of Schools Before It’s Too Late is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Convicted Felon and Former Greece, NY Police Chief Merritt Rahn Released from Prison

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

By Davy V.

Convicted felon and former Greece, NY Police Chief Merritt Rahn was released from the Hudson, N.Y. Correctional facility Wednesday morning.

In 2010, Rahn was convicted of several felonies in connection with covering up for two of his officers, including former Greece, NY Police Sgt. Nick Joseph’s hit and run accident in which Joseph, high on cocaine and alcohol rear ended a stalled vehicle.

Inside that vehicle was Alexis Sharpe, who was pregnant.

The impact ruptured Sharpe’s placenta and she had to undergo emergency surgery, forcing her to deliver her daughter, Azaria, 14 weeks prematurely.

Azaria spent 93 days in the hospital and suffers ongoing medical problems.

Nick Joseph fled under the cover of darkness immediately after crashing into Sharpe’s vehicle.

Joseph was later convicted and sentenced to 3 to 7 years in State prison.

Rahn was found guilty of tampering with public records, hindering a prosecution, falsifying business records, falsely reporting an incident, and two counts of official misconduct in an attempt to cover up the Joseph incident.

He was also found guilty of offering a false instrument for filing in the case of former Greece Police officer Gary Pignato’s background check.

In 2009, Greece Police officer Gary Pignato, also a former Rochester, NY Police officer, who was fired from the RPD, was charged with bribery and coercion, stemming from several traffic stops of women, whom he would try to force into having sex with him in exchange for him letting them off traffic tickets and crimes.

In one case, Pignato responded to a domestic disturbance call where the boyfriend of a young woman had called police.

The woman had been drinking alcohol.

Once Pignato learned the woman was on probation, he bribed the woman by telling her that if she did not have sex with him he would arrest her and she would be in violation of her probation.

Pignato would routinely follow women to their homes and stalk them.

At his sentencing, Pignato told the Judge “I literally placed my life on the line” as an officer and that it’s “degrading and demoralizing to be in jail.”

Pignato was sentenced 2 to 6 years in New York State Prison.

Rahn served only 28 months of a five year sentence.

He will be on parole supervision until July 2015.

 

Follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/davyvara

Convicted Felon and Former Greece, NY Police Chief Merritt Rahn Released from Prison is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

19 Crazy Things That School Children Are Being Arrested For in America

Friday, October 19th, 2012

The American Dream

Waking People Up And Getting Them To Realize That The American Dream Is Quickly Becoming The American Nightmare

EndOfTheAmericanDream.com shared:

With each passing year, the difference between America’s prisons and America’s public schools becomes smaller and smaller.  As you read the rest of this article, you will be absolutely amazed at some of the crazy things that school children in America are being arrested for.  When I was growing up, I don’t remember a single police officer ever coming to my school.  Discipline was always handled by the teachers and by the principals.  But today, there are schools all over the country that have police officers permanently stationed in the halls.  Many other schools will call out police officers at the drop of a hat.  In the classrooms of America today, if you burp in class, if you spray yourself with perfume or if you doodle on your desk, there is a chance that you will be arrested by the police and hauled out of your school in handcuffs.  Unfortunately, we live in a country where paranoia has become standard operating procedure.  The American people have become convinced that the only way that we can all be “safe” is for this country to be run like a militarized totalitarian police state.  So our public schools are run like prisons and our public school students are treated like prisoners.  The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world by far, and our schools are preparing the next generation to either “do time” in the prison system or to live as good little slaves in the Big Brother prison grid that is being constructed all around us.  But what our schools are not doing is giving these children the critical thinking skills that they need to live as free citizens in a nation that used to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

Of course very few people would deny that the character of American schoolchildren has changed dramatically over the decades.  Back in the 1950s, some of the biggest school discipline problems were gum chewing and hair pulling.  Today, kids bring knives, guns and drugs with them to school.  Gang activity is rampant in many of our schools and in some schools kids are even having sex in the school bathrooms.

So there is definitely a discipline problem in our schools.

But what is going on in many areas of the country is absolutely ridiculous.  For example, in 2010 alone police down in Texas issued an astounding 300,000 tickets to school children.

Yes, if a kid pulls a knife on someone the police should get involved, but teachers and administrators should be able to use some common sense and handle the vast majority of discipline problems that happen themselves.

What you are about to read is absolutely going to amaze you.  The following are 19 really crazy things that school children are being arrested for in America….

#1 At one public school down in Texas, a 12-year-old girl named Sarah Bustamantes was recently arrested for spraying herself with perfume.

#2 A 13-year-old student at a school in Albuquerque, New Mexico was recently arrested by police for burping in class.

#3 Another student down in Albuquerque was forced to strip down to his underwear while five adults watched because he had $200 in his pocket.  The student was never formally charged with doing anything wrong.

#4 A security guard at one school in California broke the arm of a 16-year-old girl because she left some crumbs on the floor after cleaning up some cake that she had spilled.

#5 One teenage couple down in Houston poured milk on each other during a squabble while they were breaking up.  Instead of being sent to see the principal, they were arrested and sent to court.

#6 In early 2010, a 12-year-old girl at a school in Forest Hills, New York was arrested by police and marched out of her school in handcuffsjust because she doodled on her desk. “I love my friends Abby and Faith” was what she reportedly scribbled on her desk.

#7 A 6-year-old girl down in Florida was handcuffed and sent to a mental facility after throwing temper tantrums at her elementary school.

#8 One student down in Texas was reportedly arrested by police for throwing paper airplanes in class.

#9 A 17-year-old honor student in North Carolina named Ashley Smithwick accidentally took her father’s lunch with her to school.  It contained a small paring knife which he would use to slice up apples.  So what happened to this standout student when the school discovered this?  The school suspended her for the rest of the year and the police charged her with a misdemeanor.

#10 In Allentown, Pennsylvania a 14-year-old girl was tasered in the groin area by a school security officer even though she had put up her hands in the air to surrender.

#11 Down in Florida, an 11-year-old student was arrested, thrown in jail and charged with a third-degree felony for bringing a plastic butter knife to school.

#12 Back in 2009, an 8-year-old boy in Massachusetts was sent home from school and was forced to undergo a psychological evaluation because he drew a picture of Jesus on the cross.

#13 A police officer in San Mateo, California blasted a 7-year-old special education student in the face with pepper spray because he would not quit climbing on the furniture.

#14 In America today, even 5-year-old children are treated brutally by police.  The following is from a recent article that described what happened to one very young student in Stockton, California a while back….

Earlier this year, a Stockton student was handcuffed with zip ties on his hands and feet, forced to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and was charged with battery on a police officer. That student was 5 years old.

#15 At one school in Connecticut, a 17-year-old boy was thrown to the floor and tasered five times because he was yelling at a cafeteria worker.

#16 A teenager in suburban Dallas was forced to take on a part-time job after being ticketed for using foul language in one high school classroom.  The original ticket was for $340, but additional fees have raised the total bill to $637.

#17 A few months ago, police were called out when a little girl kissed a little boy during a physical education class at an elementary school down in Florida.

#18 A 6-year-old boy was recently charged with sexual battery for some “inappropriate touching” during a game of tag at one elementary school in the San Francisco area.

#19 In Massachusetts, police were recently sent out to collect an overdue library book from a 5-year-old girl.

Unfortunately, what is going on in our schools is a reflection of the broader society as a whole.  Our schools are being turned into prisons because our entire society is being turned into a giant prison.

Our nation is rapidly heading down the toilet, and the children of this nation do not have a bright future to look forward to.

If the police really want to find some criminals, they should start investigating some of the sickos that are in charge of some of these classrooms.

It seems like almost every day now there is a news story about some public school teacher that is involved in some kind of really perverted stuff.

For example, just check out what police down in Los Angeles recently found that one teacher was hiding….

A former Los Angeles elementary school teacher has been arrested for felony molestation of nearly two dozen students, accused of gagging children and putting live cockroaches on some of their faces. Deputies say the crimes were committed on campus.

Sickos who do that kind of stuff to kids should be punished very severely.

America’s schools are changing, and not for the better.

Personally, I went to public schools all my life, but I would not recommend that anyone send their kids to public schools today.  There is just way too much crazy stuff that goes on.

And our kids are learning less than ever in these public schools.  As I have written about previously, many of them are coming out of the system as dumb as a rock.  Instead of teaching our kids how to think critically and examine all sides of an issue, these schools areindoctrinating our kids and pushing particular social and political agendas on them.

There are a few public schools out there that are still good, but the vast majority of them are horrible.  They are not producing the leaders of tomorrow and they are not preparing the next generation with the tools that they need to survive in a complex world.

So is there much hope that our schools can be turned around?  Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

Prison CopBlock 19 Crazy Things That School Children Are Being Arrested For in America

19 Crazy Things That School Children Are Being Arrested For in America is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights