Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Incarceration of Aboriginal people in adult correctional services

Published by Statistics Canada

In 2007/2008, Aboriginal adults accounted for 22% of admissions to sentenced custody, while representing 3% of the Canadian population.

Age, level of education, and employment status can only partially explain the representation of Aboriginal adults incarcerated in Canadian prisons, according to a new study that used data from the Integrated Correctional Service Survey and the 2006 Census to analyze factors that could be contributing to the representation of Aboriginal adults in custody.

Read on...

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Police-reported crime statistics

Published by Statistics Canada

Police-reported crime in Canada continued to decline in 2008. Both the traditional crime rate and the new Crime Severity Index fell 5%, meaning that both the volume of police-reported crime and its severity decreased. Violent crime also dropped, but to a lesser extent.

Read on...

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Friday, July 17, 2009

DNA Evidence Is No Panacea for Solving Crimes: Huge Backlogs, Inept Testing and Corruption Stand in the Way

By Liliana Segura, AlterNet. Posted July 16, 2009.


Laws expanding DNA collection from people accused of crimes are passing in states across the country. But it doesn't mean that justice will be done.

In late summer 2003, 22-year-old Katie Sepich, a business student at New Mexico State University, was savagely raped, strangled, her body set on fire and then abandoned in a city dump site.

Katie's grief-stricken parents, Jayann and David Sepich, devoted themselves to seeking justice for their daughter. In September 2003, they published a heartrending plea in the NMSU newspaper, asking students and members of the community to come forward with any possible information that might lead police to her killer.

"The events that night have created a black hole in the souls and hearts of our family and those who knew and loved Katie," they wrote. "… Now is the time to come forward and help us keep this person(s) from hurting anyone else."

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sins and Admission: Getting Into the Top Prisons

The federal judge overseeing the trial of Bernard Madoff said he would recommend the man who pulled off the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history serve out his sentence in the Northeast. Instead, Mr. Madoff landed in a prison nearly 500 miles away from his New York home, in North Carolina.

How Mr. Madoff ended up in a medium-security facility at Butner Federal Correctional Center could remain a mystery. The Bureau of Prisons won't discuss the placement of specific inmates, and even veteran attorneys are often left to scratch their heads at why their clients wind up in particular facilities.

But the bureau has created guidelines. Criminal defense attorneys and prison consultants who have made careers of trying to perfect the art of swaying placement also shed some light on what factors federal officials may have used to send Mr. Madoff to Butner.

Life in Prison

See where prominent white-collar criminals are serving time.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Los Angeles Accused of Criminalizing Homelessness

by Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES - Two major advocacy groups for the homeless on Tuesday ranked Los Angeles as the "meanest" city in the United States, citing a Skid Row police crackdown they say has criminalized poverty and homelessness there.

[A homeless activist visits "tent city", a terminus for the homeless in Ontario, a suburb outside Los Angeles, California December 19, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson]A homeless activist visits "tent city", a terminus for the homeless in Ontario, a suburb outside Los Angeles, California December 19, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

L.A.'s so-called Safer City Initiative was singled out in the groups' report as the most egregious example of policies and practices nationwide that essentially punish people for failing to have a roof over their heads.

Others include making it illegal to sleep, sit or store personal belongings on sidewalks and other public spaces; prohibitions against panhandling or begging; and selective enforcement of petty offenses like jaywalking and loitering.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

NM Police Chief Tasers 14 Yr Old Girl With Epilepsy In The Head



14yroldtasered2jpg_05697.jpg
(photo courtesy of KOAT)

C&L has chronicled many instances of law enforcement officers misusing tasers in the past (some with deadly consequences) and this latest incident is as bad as most any I've seen yet.

A 14-year-old Tucumcari girl is recovering at an Albuquerque hospital after being shot in the head with a Taser dart by Tucucmari Police Chief Roger Hatcher.

Now, her parents say they want the police department to review its policies for using the Taser.

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I have to confess I was unaware that a taser dart could cause this type of injury. Sorry for the graphic picture. Tom

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Prisoners Freed From Sentences Based on Torture-Induced Confession

By TChris, Section Innocence Cases
Posted on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 07:16:00 AM EST

Torture extorts false confessions, a fact that was apparently irrelevant to interrogators who tortured detainees suspected of terrorism. The unreliability of torture-induced confessions was equally irrelevant to former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge. In a series of posts dating back to 2003, TalkLeft followed the developing evidence of Burge's aggressive interrogation practices to this conclusion:

Burge and the detectives under his command found unchecked power to torture suspects, primarily black, on the south side of Chicago.

After the evidence of Burge's reliance on torture became too overwhelming to ignore, more than twenty cases that hinged on confessions given to Burge or his detectives were reviewed by the state attorney general's office. Yesterday, as a result of that review, Ronald Kitchen and Marvin Reeves were freed from prison after serving 21 years for multiple murders. The strongest evidence against them was Kitchen's torture-induced confession. [more ...]

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You don't have to go to Guantanamo to get tortured. Only as far as the south side of Chicago. Tom

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When Pat Buchanan Isn't Racist Enough

Every once in a while the mask slips. Big time:

That's the host of Fox & Friends, Brian Kilmeade, saying:
We keep marrying other species and other ethnics...The problem is the Swedes have pure genes. They marry other Swedes, that's the rule. Finns marry other Finns; they have a pure society. In America we marry everybody. We will marry Italians and Irish.

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This is 2009 and this commentary takes place in the U.S. mainstream media. And I think he still has his job. Tom

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Drug-fueled gang wars shake Vancouver

By Patrick Oppmann
CNN

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CNN) -- When Canadian cocaine smuggler Charles Lai was being sentenced in a Seattle federal courtroom last month, the judge sending him to prison for 13 years offered a small item of good news.

A suspected gang member in Vancouver is taken out of a bar in handcuffs.

A suspected gang member in Vancouver is taken out of a bar in handcuffs.

At least behind bars, Judge James Robart said, drug smuggler Lai would not become another fatality in Vancouver's gang wars.

Authorities in Vancouver, just 30 miles from the border, are struggling to deal with the boom in the drug trade between the United States and Canada, along with the violence that has come with it.

Cocaine from Mexico -- and many of the guns that fuel the violence -- come north via the United States. Canadian smugglers then bring south high-quality marijuana known as "BC Bud" and synthetic drugs like methamphetamine. A recent U.N. drug report named Canada as the "primary" supplier of Ecstasy to the United States.

Read on...

This won't help the Vancouver real estate market. Tom

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City crime rate plunges 30%

Police chief hails reduction in Toronto but as trend emerges across continent no one can pinpoint why
Jul 09, 2009 04:30 AM


Staff Reporter

Four years after the Summer of the Gun, Toronto police Chief Bill Blair is celebrating a nearly 30 per cent overall drop in crime.

"We have experienced crime reduction numbers in this city that are without precedence anywhere in North America," Blair said.

The only areas in which they haven't seen consistent "satisfactory" decreases are some types of violent crime, Blair added, particularly in the number of shootings and homicides.

But compared with this time last year, murder, sexual assault and assault are all down by more than 10 per cent. As of July 4, there were 672 sexual assaults, compared with 796 at the same time last year. There were 8,368 assaults so far this year but 9,412 in 2008.

Break and enters and auto thefts have also declined. The only spike in major crime – and it was a small one at 2 per cent – was in the number of robberies, from 2,142 last year to 2,190 this year.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Franken To Be Sworn In Tuesday, After Six Months Of Waiting

Sen.-elect Al Franken (D-MN) will be sworn into his new position on Tuesday, July 7, CNN reports.

Fun fact: This means Franken will be sworn in exactly six months plus one day after when he would have been sworn in along with all the other folks elected to the Senate in 2008, if not for the legal battle that kept his super-narrow election victory in limbo.

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Berserk

We have an update on this incident over the weekend in SD which was in equal parts bizarre, horrific and comic. A Sheriff's deputy got called to the home of two Democratic activists who were holding a fundraiser for congressional candidate Francine Busby. The complaint he was responding to was sd-deputy-702-dc.jpgwhat appears to have been a bogus noise complaint called in by a neighbor who simultaneously yelling anti-gay slurs from outside the event (a lesbian couple hosted the event).

So Deputy Marshall G. Abbott shows up at house and within a few moments he's literally going berserk, twisting the hosts' arms behind their back and throwing them to the floor and then pepper spraying multiple guests. (Reading the various accounts the whole thing sounds like some Saturday Night Live episode, though probably less so to the attendees who had pepper spray squirted into their eyes.) Apparently convinced he was in some sort of imminent danger from the group middle-aged, mainly female Democratic activists, Abbott proceeded to call in back up, which lead to eight more deputies, a helicopter and a canine unit being dispatched to the scene.

Read on...

How come this officer wasn't armed with a taser for this dangerous situation? Tom

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Safety Net

In case you were wondering where the axe is falling first:

People who get California IOUs:

Grants to aged, blind or disabled persons
People needing temporary assistance for basic family needs
People in drug prevention, treatment, and recovery services
Persons with developmental disabilities
People in mental health treatment
Small Business Vendors

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Nice to see the prison guards are still getting paid in cash. Tom

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Saving Troy Davis

By Benjamin Jealous

Benjamin Jealous: The president of the NAACP explains why he has joined a "strange bedfellows" coalition drawn together to fight for the reopening of Troy Davis's capital case.

July 1, 2009

In late May, I went to Georgia, where I met with Troy Anthony Davis on Death Row. He has been there for eighteen years, and I wanted to speak with him. I came away convinced that he represents the most compelling case of innocence in decades.

This week, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether to hear the request for a writ of habeas corpus in Davis's case in September hopefully signaling a more careful review of his motion. The reality, though, is that the last time the Justices granted such a motion was 1925 and should the Supreme Court decline the request, the countdown to Davis's execution will begin. It is even more imperative that the Chatham County District Attorney, Larry Chisolm, act now to do the right thing, and move to reopen the case.

Read on...

Troy Davis has missed an execution date since Crimbrary first posted about him last fall. Tom

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Why Does Our Government Still Spy On, Arrest and Persecute Dissidents?

By Emily Spence, Consortium News. Posted June 30, 2009.

One needn't return in time to the McCarthy Era to find many individuals who have been investigated and persecuted for holding vilified opinions.

Recently, an American Civil Liberties Union report pointed out, "Anti-terrorism training materials currently being used by the Department of Defense (DoD) teach its personnel that free expression in the form of public protests should be regarded as ‘low level terrorism’.”

Although DoD officials removed the offensive section at the urging of ACLU members, the DoD stance is still troubling since a longstanding practice to designate peaceful, law-abiding activists as dangerous and treasonable still exists in many government departments and agencies.

Indeed the participants of the first antiwar protest against the Vietnam incursion, put together in the mid-1960's using Gandhi's Salt March as a model for a nonviolent demonstration, faced government operatives filming them face by face from rooftops as they moved en masse down Broadway to the UN Plaza.

Read on...

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