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DOJ Newest Civil Rights Strategy – Locking Up Bad Judges

By now it should be obvious to everyone that the problems in Law Enforcement extend to the Judiciary. Further – conservative “No-Tax” freaks on the right have created a system wherein any semblance to a fair an equitable tax system is replaced by a predatory Judicial and draconian laws shifting the tax burden onto the poor. The Ferguson Report was a watershed in exposing such criminal schemes, often which target minorities under The New Jim Crow.

It has been a long time coming, but the DOJ is finally preparing to hold corrupt and predatory Judges at the local level…Accountable.

TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

What is interesting about this law, is it goes far beyond just the issue of Debtors, and suggests that even local legislators may be held accountable for willfully creating local laws which violate Civil Rights as defined under the Constitution. Which doesn’t mean that a local law challenged before a higher court and ruled unconstitutional makes local legislators liable – but does mean those legislatures which (as in North Carolina) have ruled the Federal Constitution null and void can be tried and jailed for passing laws violating Civil Rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

I gotta believe that Tea Baggers in jail are going to have a harder time than Jared the child molester.

 

How Locking Up Judges Could End Debtors’ Prisons

Civil rights lawyers want the DOJ to give judges who break the law a taste of their own medicine.

Justice Department officials warned U.S. judges and court administrators this week that practices like incarcerating poor people without determining whether they could afford outstanding fines are illegal and unconstitutional.

But civil rights advocates with clients who’ve had their lives torn apart after being accused of petty crimes, receiving traffic tickets or charged with municipal code violations say the feds have a much more effective method of fixing the widespread problem: locking up judges.

In a nine-page letter sent to all state chief justices and state court administrators on Monday, the DOJ’s Vanita Gupta, who heads the Civil Rights Division, and Lisa Foster, the director of the Office of Access to Justice, urged local officials to “review court rules and procedures within your jurisdiction to ensure that they comply with due process, equal protection, and sound public policy.”

Judges who incarcerate poor people because they missed a payment are breaking the law, the letter said. What many courts consider a “routine administrative matter” of forcing defendants to pre-pay a “bond” or “bail” before they’re allowed to schedule a court date is actually unconstitutional, Gupta and Foster wrote. Locking people in cages for long periods of time solely because they can’t afford to buy their freedom is a violation of the country’s supreme law, the U.S. Constitution.

Civil rights advocates praised the Justice Department for sending the letter. However, they say there’s a much more powerful tool available if the feds really want to deter judicial crime: Federal prosecutors can hold judges accountable for their unlawful conduct by charging them with a federal crime.

Section 242 of Title 18 of the U.S. code — the so-called “color of law” statute — is the same federal civil rights legislation that Justice Department prosecutors use against police officers and prison guards who use excessive force and make false arrests. The law applies to prosecutors and judges, too. But the feds don’t use it against them often.

Hub Harrington, a former circuit judge in Shelby County, Alabama, who in 2012called Harpersville Municipal Court a “debtors prison” and a “judicially sanctioned extortion racket,” suggested prosecuting judges who break the law at a December meeting at the White House. He said he approached the Justice Department and the Alabama Attorney General about the issues in Harpersville and was frustrated that former Municipal Court Judge Larry Ward wasn’t charged over his conduct.

“We’ve been talking about the victims,” Harrington said at the time. “What about the perpetrators? We got the laws in place. We already have the law you can’t put indigent people in jail without a hearing. We don’t need more laws. We need to enforce the ones we’ve got.”

Alec Karakatsanis from Equal Justice Under Law, an organization that has been suing cities engaged in widespread unconstitutional practices, said the DOJ letter was a good start and could help “eradicate any notion that any judge can be ignorant of basic principles of constitutional law.” But he hoped bad judges would be indicted.

“For a long time, our courts have become places where impoverished people and people of colors’ rights are violated with virtual impunity every day as a matter of daily practice,” Karakatsanis said. “You’d like to think that the people who are tasked with applying the law are held to the same standards as everyone else, and when people are blatantly violating the law, there should be consequences for them.”

It would be “a hard argument for any judge to make that they thought it was OK for them to be throwing people in jail for not being able to make payments without making any type of inquiry into their ability to pay,” he added. But the problem is so widespread and commonplace that prosecution could be less likely.

“It’s not just a ‘few bad apples,’ we have a legal system that has lost it’s way, become desensitized towards caging people,” Karakatsanis said. “One of the really difficult and sad things about our legal system is that the more common something is, the more difficult it is to prosecute because there’s this sense that ‘Well, everyone is doing it, so it would break the system.’” …Read The Rest Here

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Posted by on March 19, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Republican in Mississippi Lets Racist Cat Out of the Bag

Yep…Dem ebil black folks is going to steal you hard workin’ white folks money…

Busted: Watch Mississippi lawmaker openly race-baiting at GOP rally to oppose black school funding

Video shot by a local radio broadcaster caught Republican Mississippi state Rep. Bubba Carpenter using racial language to suggest to fellow Republicans that a ballot initiative to improve education was actually a plot to fund black schools at a cost to white schools.

The Clarion-Ledger reported that Carpenter was filmed by WMRG while speaking to the Tishomingo County Midway Republican Rally about the danger of Initiative 42, which would give a Hinds County judge control of school funding if the Mississippi legislature failed to lift the state from its last place national ranking on education.

According to the Clarion-Ledger, Republicans in the state had been using the phrase “Hinds County judge” as a racial dog whistle because the county is predominately black and has two female black judges.

But Carpenter dropped the coded language in a plea to defeat the initiative.

“If 42 passes in its form, a judge in Hinds County, Mississippi, predominantly black — it’s going to be a black judge — they’re going to tell us where the state education money goes,” the lawmaker warned. “So what’s he going to do? ‘[Predominately white] Tishomingo County, you’ve got a little bit of extra money, we’re going to take a little bit of that — I can see the happening, it may not, but I can see it — we’re going to help [schools in predominately black] Rolling Fork because they don’t have as good a tax base as you guys do, so we’re going take a little bit of that money and we’re going to to transition it to Rolling Fork.’”

Carpenter promised the crowd that Gov. Phil Bryant and other top Republicans would “tell you the same thing.”

“There it is, folks,” the Clarion-Ledger‘s Sam Hall wrote. “Let’s all thank Bubba Carpenter for saying what he means and illustrating to the world the filthy rhetoric that still passes for political discourse by some here.”

 

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A Fair Trial?

Do you really believe that, if you are a Minority you could get a fair trial out of a Rethugly judge?

Sort of like this one…

Richard Cebull, Federal Judge Who Sent Racist Obama Email, Retires

U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, the federal judge in Montana who sent an email last year suggesting that President Barack Obama’s mother had sex with a dog, has retired following an investigation into his conduct.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit announced Tuesday that Cebull had submitted his retirement letter, effective May 3. A special committee had conducted a “thorough and extensive investigation” and submitted their report to the circuit’s Judicial Council, which issued a confidential order and memorandum on March 15, according to the court.

In the email forwarded by Cebull, a young Obama asks his mother why he’s black and she is white. “Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!” his mother replies. Cebull told recipients of his email that he hoped it “touches your heart like it did mine.”

Cebull, nominated by President George W. Bush, stepped down as chief U.S. district judge in October and took a reduced caseload. He apologized for sending the letter back in the spring.

This is pretty emblematic of what the Bushit filled the courts with.

 

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Requiem for Boxing… Pacquio-Mayweather Derailed By Bad Decision

Probably the biggest, largest purse fight in the last 10 years was derailed last night with a controversial split decision resulting in a Manny Pacquio loss.

To say that the split decision was controversial is an understatement – many of those who watched the fight were shocked at the outcome which was greeted by loud boos from the crowd.

This one didn’t help Boxing – and further besmirched the reputation of a sport which has had plenty of controversy through the years.

The only “winner” in this is probably MMA – whose popularity is shooting through the roof…

While Boxing is going the way of Baseball.

Pacquiao-Bradley

A hard fought battle, Pacquiao and Bradley traded shots, with Pacquiao landing more – although neither fighter scored a knockdown

Pacquiao deserved better than unjust ending against Bradley

Injustices like the split decision that gave Timothy Bradley a controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao are not unheard of in boxing.

Yet that doesn’t make the stunning outcome of Saturday’s welterweight title fight — one of the most dumbfounding decisions in recent history — any easier to make peace with.

Pacquiao connected on 253 of 751 punches (34 percent), compared to 159 of 839 (19 percent) for Bradley, and outlanded the challenger in 10 of the 12 rounds. The Filipino absorbed Bradley’s best shots in the early rounds and, undeterred by his opponent’s rapidly diminishing offense, relied on his speed and power to entice Bradley into toe-to-toe exchanges and batter him into retreat.

“I don’t remember if he hit me with one punch,” Pacquiao said afterward.

Yet ringside judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross both scored it 115-113 to Bradley, dissenting with Jerry Roth, who had it 115-113 to Pacquiao. (SI.com scored it 116-112 to Pacquiao, among the more charitable scores on press row.)

The decision was met with horror, then shock, then anger by the mostly pro-Pacquiao crowd of 14,206 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Said promoter Bob Arum: “I went over to Bradley before the decision and he said, ‘I tried hard but I couldn’t beat the guy.'”

It marked the end of a remarkable run for Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) that spanned more than seven years, 15 victories, and five championships in five weight classes — running his overall haul to a record-breaking eight.

But after everything he’s done for boxing, Manny Pacquiao is the last person who should have been cheated like this. He deserved better…

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/bryan_armen_graham/06/10/bradley.pacquiao/index.html#ixzz1xQ0jFfCx

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in General

 

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Scalia and Thomas Dine With Plaintiffs Before Hearing Their Case…

The most reliable in-the-pocket judges took some time out to have dinner with one of the parties appearing before their court later this month…

At the far right wing Federalist Society.

Scalia and Thomas dine with healthcare law challengers as court takes case

The day the Supreme Court gathered behind closed doors to consider the politically divisive question of whether it would hear a challenge to President Obama’s healthcare law, two of its justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, were feted at a dinner sponsored by the law firm that will argue the case before the high court.

The occasion was last Thursday, when all nine justices met for a conference to pore over the petitions for review. One of the cases at issue was a suit brought by 26 states challenging the sweeping healthcare overhaul passed by Congress last year, a law that has been a rallying cry for conservative activists nationwide.

The justices agreed to hear the suit; indeed, a landmark 5 1/2-hour argument is expected in March, and the outcome is likely to further roil the 2012 presidential race, which will be in full swing by the time the court’s decision is released.

The lawyer who will stand before the court and argue that the law should be thrown out is likely to be Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general during the George W. Bushadministration.

Clement’s law firm, Bancroft PLLC, was one of almost two dozen firms that helped sponsor the annual dinner of the Federalist Society, a longstanding group dedicated to advocating conservative legal principles. Another firm that sponsored the dinner, Jones Day, represents one of the trade associations that challenged the law, the National Federation of Independent Business.

Another sponsor was pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc, which has an enormous financial stake in the outcome of the litigation. The dinner was held at a Washington hotel hours after the court’s conference over the case. In attendance was, among others, Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican and an avowed opponent of the healthcare law.

The featured guests at the dinner? Scalia and Thomas.

It’s nothing new: The two justices have been attending Federalist Society events for years. And it’s nothing that runs afoul of ethics rules. In fact, justices are exempt from the Code of Conduct that governs the actions of lower federal judges.

If they were, they arguably fell under code’s Canon 4C, which states, “A judge may attend fund-raising events of law-related and other organizations although the judge may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on the program of such an event.“

Nevertheless, the sheer proximity of Scalia and Thomas to two of the law firms in the case, as well as to a company with a massive financial interest, was enough to alarm ethics-in-government activists.

“This stunning breach of ethics and indifference to the code belies claims by several justices that the court abides by the same rules that apply to all other federal judges,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause. “The justices were wining and dining at a black-tie fundraiser with attorneys who have pending cases before the court. Their appearance and assistance in fundraising for this event undercuts any claims of impartiality, and is unacceptable.”

Scalia and Thomas have shown little regard for critics who say they too readily mix the business of the court with agenda-driven groups such as the Federalist Society. And Thomas’ wife, Ginni, is a high-profile conservative activist.

 

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Obama and the Courts – Judicial Nominees

President Obama has nominated a much more diverse set of judges to the Federal Courts than any of his predecessors. Of course, that has resulted in Republicans fillebustering a higher percentage of his nominees and preventing the confirmation of qualified nominees. Obama has had fewer nominees confirmed than any recent President.

percent of all nominations confirmed

Percentage of Nominees Confirmed By President Since Carter

Now, Bush stacked the court with 322 far right wing sycophants, reactionary ideologues, and extremist right wing appointments, resulting in a Federal Judicial System and Supreme Court more hostile to minorities and Civil Rights than at any time since Dred Scott. Indeed, the financial association between Bush Supreme Court appointments and right wing financiers such as the Koch brothers have led many to believe the Supreme Court of the United States has been corrupted, by corrupt right wing judges. Of course an Obama Administration too cowardly to prosecute Dick Cheney’s war profiteers and torturers, isn’t likely to take on the job of prosecuting a corrupt Supreme Court judge – even if he is caught red-handed taking a $500,000 bribe through his wife.

Undeniably, the fact that President Obama has nominated more women and minorities is also difficult for Republicans to swallow, with the confirmation of minorities taking nearly twice as long as their white, male counterparts.

I think Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is fully justified in exercising “the Nuclear Option”, and should do so ASAP.

Obama increases number of female, minority judges

President Barack Obama is moving at a historic pace to try to diversify the nation’s federal judiciary: Nearly three of every four people he has gotten confirmed to the federal bench are women or minorities. He is the first president who hasn’t selected a majority of white males for lifetime judgeships.

More than 70 percent of Obama’s confirmed judicial nominees during his first two years were “non-traditional,” or nominees who were not white males. That far exceeds the percentages in the two-term administrations of Bill Clinton (48.1 percent) and George W. Bush (32.9 percent), according to Sheldon Goldman, author of the authoritative book “Picking Federal Judges.”

“It is an absolutely remarkable diversity achievement,” said Goldman, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who is only counting judges once, even if they fit more than one category.

The White House recently has been touting its efforts to diversify the federal bench during Obama’s tenure, now approaching three years in office.

The president won Senate confirmation of the first Latina to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. And with the confirmation of Justice Elena Kagan, he increased the number of women on the high court to three for the first time. The Obama administration also nominated and won confirmation of the first openly gay man to a federal judgeship: former Clinton administration official J. Paul Oetken, to an opening in New York City.

“All of us can be proud of President Obama for taking this critical step to break down another barrier and increase diversity in the federal judiciary,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said upon Oetken’s confirmation. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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“Cash and Carry” Supreme Court Sells America Down the Tubes

The most corrupt court in America, also happens to be it’s highest.  Whether performing judicial fellatio for the Koch Brothers, or a political hand job in the Citizens United case – the 5 conservative justices on the Supreme Court are sold to the highest bidder…

Starting with Tommie Clarence and of course, Antonin Scalia.

My biggest disillusionment with the Obama Administration and crop of Yellowback Democrats is, while they are willing to go after their own – such as Charlie Rangel and “Cash Jefferson”…

There has been an utter refusal to bring Republican miscreants to justice, whether it was the criminal underworld of the previous Bush Administration – or the current legislation for sale Republican Congress… Or the Supreme Court Justices who flaunt both the rules and the Law.

I often work in Third World countries. This sort of corruption is often an endemic problem. and one of the major roadblocks to progress. Conservatives make America as corrupt as one of those Tinpot Dictatorships – each and every day. Indeed, the United States is now 22nd on the World Corruption Index.

The Supreme Court closes the door to justice

Has the Supreme Court lost faith in the American court system? That is a strange question to ask about the justices who sit at the top of the country’s judicial hierarchy. But in case after case in the just-completed term, the court, usually in 5-4 decisions with the conservatives in the majority, denied access to the courts.

Consider just a few of the examples:

• The court ruled that patients who suffer devastating injuries from generic prescription drugs cannot sue the manufacturers for failing to provide adequate warnings even when drug companies making the non-generic versions of the same drugs can be sued on the same basis.

• The court held that standard clauses in consumer contracts calling for arbitration preclude consumers from joining class-action suits even when the effect almost surely would be that no individual lawsuits would be filed because the amount involved was too small.

• The court decided that employees who claim to be victims of sex discrimination cannot sue in class actions when the employer has a policy that prohibits discrimination.

• The court concluded that a man who spent 18 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit could not sue the prosecutors who hid key evidence.

• The court said that taxpayers cannot bring an action in federal court arguing that a state impermissibly established religion by giving tax credits that go almost entirely to religious schools.

• The court held that prisoners convicted in state court cannot obtain a hearing in federal court even when they have new evidence that calls into question their convictions — because of matters such as ineffective defense counsel or failure of prosecutors to turn over evidence — notwithstanding a federal statute that expressly authorizes such hearings.

 
 

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