Criminal Injustice

Criminal Injustice (27)

Along with the state officials and law professors who are happy that the Supreme Court this week is reviewing the corruption conviction of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell, add inmate No. 24775-001 at the federal prison in Oakdale, La.

Over the course of 2015, President Barack Obama used the clemency powers of his office to free more than 100 federal prisoners, most of whom were nonviolent offenders who had been sentenced by overly harsh narcotics laws. The releases were, Obama said in late December, “another step forward in upholding our ideals of justice and fairness.” Those “men and women … had served their debt to society,” he said.

INDIANA, HARDLY a bastion of bleeding-heart liberalism, became on Wednesday the latest state to curb the use in prisons of solitary confinement, an extreme, hellish and overused punishment. It follows President Obama, who on Monday announced reforms to prisoner isolation practices in federal prisons, and it joins California and New York as one of the latest states to submit to a legal settlement requiring changes. Indiana’s move is another sign of progress in ending a national scandal: the routine overuse of a practice that is akin to torture. But it took a class-action lawsuit to prompt the decision, and even then it promises insufficient change.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed nearly 100 bills as the legislative session came to a close this January, but a measure to address the shackling of pregnant inmates wasn’t one of them.

US President Barack Obama has said he will ban solitary confinement as a form of punishment for juvenile and low-level offenders in federal prisons.

Rev. Edward Pinkney is a political prisoner in Michigan. He has been an outspoken, effective activist in Benton Harbor, MI for decades. The court has consistently tried to silence him. In 2012, he was even jailed for a time because he quoted Deuteronomy in a letter-to-the-editor!

Friday, 10 July 2015 00:00

An Alabama Death Row Story

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Before being sentenced to seven years in federal prison - for something 113 State Attorneys General and the New York Times said was never a crime in America - I had the honor of delivering a eulogy for my dear friend Colonel Stone Johnson. The story of our friendship is worth taking note of, because it ultimately demonstrates how unjust a judicial system can be.

U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller "will not qualify for either a judicial salary or be eligible for a judicial pension," according to a statement just released by the bi-partisan leaders of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. His resignation from the federal bench "in shame", as the statement describes Fuller's stated intention to step down as of August 1, will disqualify him from any further payment for his role on the federal judiciary.

The recent denial of my appeal underscores the need for us to keep fighting for change.

If the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals cannot uphold the law and dispense justice, it can at least provide consistency. That seems to be the lesson from the court's opinion yesterday that upheld convictions against former Alabama governor Don Siegelman by pointing to its earlier ruling against codefendant and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.

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