August 8, 2014

Florida Judge DISBARRED over Improper Conduct During Murder Trial

What kind of lawyer becomes a judge, presides of a murder trial, and spends her time texting the prosecutor--her boyfriend? Well, we might say she is the dis-barred kind. Anna Gardiner, now married to the attorney who defended her at trial, partied with the prosecutor and talked trial trash. Finally the co-prosecutor was so fed u that he blew the whistle. Good grief. Of course I'm glad she was caught, this case does make me question the CLE programs in ethics offered everywhere--except maybe Broward County, Florida. Much of what goes on there is so bizarre that this story probably didn't make front page. I am so, so glad no one I know has to approach the bench there--especially for a serious reason. Seems to me that MURDER is enough of a reason to put the cell phone down and listen to both sides. Maybe now, a few more judges will sit up straight and do what's right. Hope so.
August 5, 2014

Junk Science Arson Plus Prosecutorial Coverup

It's bad enough when 'experts' chime in on an arson case with blah-blah antiquated opinions. But then to have the prosecutor promise (and deliver) a lighter sentence to a jail house informant--and through another man keep paying the false informer? fantastic? The stuff of movies? Unfortunately, it is the stuff of an execution, probably a botched job from the beginning. Texas Gov. Rick Perry continues to stand by the decision and his impression of the man's guilt. (Same R Perry who won't sign the federal PREA against prison rape because he is unsure of the details in it.)
July 20, 2014

New Orleans Jail Amazes Monitors–Again

Fool me once ... How can the New Orleans sheriff continue to hold his job? Monitors once again entered OPP local jail and found appalling conditions. Surprise--they were appalling for the last 20 years or so. Now there's state and federal monitoring, but it's still a hell-hole. Shouldn't a grown-up get involved? The sheriff is moving the mentally ill (but says New Orleans can't afford the new hospital's charges) and the women (read the accompanying story for gross details).
July 15, 2014

L.A.: GUILTY! Conspiracy and Obstruction by Jail Officials

L.A. jail chief says it's 'devastating' that four of his officers are guilty of hiding witnesses from the feds. Well, yes! How many failures and revelations of wrong-doing will it take to turn the L.A. jails around? Here we have a strange finger-pointing and lack of accountability. Let's hope that the prison terms speak to the chief's ear, and he undergoes the necessary city-wide investigations into jail corruption.
July 15, 2014

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May 24, 2014

Solitary Confinement Inmate Delivers Own Baby; Sues for Its Wrongful Death etc

Say you get arrested for drugs. Say you are pregnant. Now--say you go into labor and see the 'nurse' -- twice, even, but are put in the Cage for complaining too much. Now what? Well, you give birth in the cell, alone, and your child is born with a cord around her neck. All of a sudden, a guard appears and helps you both to the hospital, where the baby is declared dead. Now what? You learn that the nurse's license had expired... etc. So you sue. Won't bring your daughter back, no. But maybe, perhaps, the prison will be on notice that its health policies are wrong. Perhaps there will be some justice, here. Perhaps.
May 16, 2014

What if We Investigate Prosecutors?

New York legislature has 2 bills to consider that would establish a unit that looks into alleged misdeeds by prosecutors. Wow, what a thought! If they open the unit, wonder how many cases will go forward? Wonder how many will hit a headline? Wonder how many other states would be courageous enough to find their own answers. And finally, I wonder if they'll have the money and personnel to go back and look at cases where the inmates insist the prosecutors framed (etc) them? That might take all the money in the world, eh? But perhaps a few solid cases and convictions later, the abuse will end. Perhaps.
May 10, 2014

How To Lower Prison Populations? Help Neighborhoods, of Course!

Yet another report, yet another years-long study into Mass Incarceration. This one recommends starting back at the home front: help communities hardest hit with financial and family losses, and boost them up so they don't all wind up a part of the larger problem. Since that makes sense, probably no one will listen--but now you have! "Resources should go into community programs that keep people out of jail and prison, including public housing, substance abuse treatment, and mental health programs. Those programs, in the long run, will be more important than programs offered inside prisons and jails." James Kilgore, responding to the report from the highly-regarded National Research Council (an arm of the National Academy of Sciences).
May 7, 2014

Case from Dishonest NYC Detective Again Overturned–too late for one inmate

The retired detective isn't speaking to the press now. But he did plenty of times in his career. And he apparently sent innumerable innocent citizens to prison! "Mr. Scarcella, whose investigative work was blamed last year for a wrongful conviction that kept a man in prison for 23 years, was accused of fabricating confessions, coercing witnesses and failing to turn in exculpatory evidence. The most damning pattern in the detective’s cases — uncovered last year by The New York Times — was the use of Teresa Gomez, a crack addict who was a witness in six separate murder cases." The newest revelation comes rather late: three brothers, convicted on murder, are declared innocent--one died in prison, one got parole in 2007, and one is finally being released. There are still 57 Scarcella cases being investigated. Imagine?
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