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Court and Judicial Corruption Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Court and Judicial Corruption Media Articles in Major Media


Below are key excerpts of highly revealing court and judicial corruption articles reported in the major media. Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These court and judicial corruption articles are listed by article date. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Judicial errors take high toll on inmates, taxpayers, report says
2016-03-09, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Judicial-errors-take-high-toll-on-inmates...

692 felony convictions in California ... were thrown out between 1989 and 2012 based on errors or misconduct by police, prosecutors, defense lawyers or judges, according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania. The report ... didn’t include misdemeanor cases, which amount to about 80 percent of all prosecutions, or juvenile cases. And it also excluded the costs of jailing people who were later released without charges, which may amount to $70 million a year, the report said. The study examined only records from California and ... looked at cases in which felony convictions were overturned and the defendants were later cleared. More than half the cases involved prosecutors’ wrongful withholding of evidence. One example was that of former Black Panther Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt. Pratt was convicted in 1972 of murdering schoolteacher Carolyn Olson [in 1968] and was sentenced to life in prison, based in part on [witness] testimony. He was freed in 1999 after a judge found that prosecutors had withheld evidence that the witness was an informant for the FBI, which was then trying to discredit Pratt as part of its Cointelpro campaign. The authors questioned long-standing laws that shield prosecutors from lawsuits by criminal defendants. They said they knew of no other profession that received immunity for “intentional wrongdoing that gravely injures another.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison system.


Justice Scalia spent his last hours with members of this secretive society of elite hunters
2016-02-24, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/justice-scalia-spent-h...

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 12 days ago at a West Texas ranch, he was among high-ranking members of an exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an Austrian society that dates back to the 1600s. The names of the 35 other guests at the remote resort [remain] largely unknown. Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross. Some hold titles, such as Grand Master, Prior and Knight Grand Officer. Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter and C. Allen Foster, a prominent Washington lawyer who traveled to the ranch with Scalia by private plane, hold leadership positions within the Order. In 1695, Count Franz Anton von Sporck founded the society in Bohemia, which is in modern-day Czech Republic. The society’s U.S. chapter launched in 1966 at the famous Bohemian Club in San Francisco, which is associated with the all-male Bohemian Grove - one of the most well-known secret societies in the country. In 2010, Poindexter hosted a group of 53 members of the Houston chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus at the Cibolo Creek Ranch. In a statement after Scalia died, the U.S. Marshals Service said that Scalia had declined a security detail while at the ranch.

Note: Read more about Bohemian Grove and the other strange secret societies populated by the elite.


Chicago Law Department is sanctioned again for withholding police shooting records
2016-01-04, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-law-department-s...

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Law Department again has been sanctioned for withholding records involving a fatal police shooting, marking the eighth time in recent years a federal judge has formally punished the city [of Chicago] for failing to turn over potential evidence in a police misconduct lawsuit. U.S. District Court Judge Joan Gottschall on Tuesday ruled that the city acted in "bad faith" when it ignored a court order and made little effort to provide documents to the lawyer for the family of 20-year-old Divonte Young, who was shot and killed by an officer in 2012. In a sharply worded 24-page order, the judge criticized the city for its approach to discovery, the legal process that allows the two sides in a lawsuit to uncover relevant facts. "The City's cavalier attitude toward the discovery process ... warrant findings of willfulness, fault and bad faith," Gottschall wrote. In imposing her punishment, Gottschall ... stripped the city of legal protections that would have allowed its lawyers to withhold some documents from the Young family's lawyer. A Tribune investigation last year that analyzed nearly 450 cases alleging police misconduct since Emanuel took office found that a federal judge had to order the city to turn over potential evidence in nearly 1 of every 5 cases. The issue came to a head in January 2016, when a federal judge sanctioned one city lawyer for intentionally concealing evidence and ... took the rare step of tossing out a jury verdict in favor of the city and ordering a new trial.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Federal judge: Drinking tea, shopping at a gardening store is probable cause for a SWAT raid on your home
2015-12-28, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/12/28/federal-judge-dri...

In April 2012, a Kansas SWAT team raided the home of Robert and Addie Harte, their 7-year-old daughter and their 13-year-old son. The couple, both former CIA analysts, awoke to pounding at the door. The family was then held at gunpoint for more than two hours while the police searched their home. They found no evidence of any criminal activity. The investigation leading to the raid began ... when Robert Harte and his son went to a gardening store to purchase supplies to grow hydroponic tomatoes. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department began [sending] deputies out to sort through the family’s garbage. The deputies repeatedly found “saturated plant material” that they thought could possibly be marijuana. On two occasions, a drug testing field kit inexplicably indicated the presence of THC, the active drug in marijuana. Lab tests would later reveal that the “saturated plant material” was actually loose-leaf tea. Why did the field tests come up positive for pot? These tests come up positive whenever the police need them to. The tests [can] be manipulated to generate positive results. The Hartes wanted to know what happened. They spent more than $25,000 in legal fees just to learn why the sheriff had sent a SWAT team into their home. Once they finally had that information, the Hartes filed a lawsuit. U.S. District Court Judge John W. Lungstrum dismissed every one of the Hartes’s claims, [and] ruled that the police were under no obligation to know that drug testing field kits are inaccurate.

Note: A detailed report by forensics expert John Kelly and former FBI chief scientist Dr. Frederick Whitehurst reveals "a drug testing regime of fraudulent forensics used by police, prosecutors, and judges." And recently the FBI was found to have faked an entire branch of forensic science. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice
2015-10-31, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/business/dealbook/arbitration-everywhere-st...

On Page 5 of a credit card contract used by American Express ... is a clause that most customers probably miss. If cardholders have a problem with their account, American Express explains, the company “may elect to resolve any claim by individual arbitration.” Those nine words are at the center of a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations. By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices. It has become increasingly difficult to apply for a credit card, use a cellphone, get cable or Internet service, or shop online without agreeing to private arbitration. The same applies to getting a job, renting a car or placing a relative in a nursing home. By banning class actions, companies have essentially disabled consumer challenges to ... predatory lending, wage theft and discrimination. “This is among the most profound shifts in our legal history,” William G. Young, a federal judge ... said in an interview. “Ominously, business has a good chance of opting out of the legal system altogether and misbehaving without reproach.” Thousands of cases brought by single plaintiffs over fraud, wrongful death and rape are now being decided behind closed doors. And the rules of arbitration largely favor companies.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in financial industry and throughout the corporate world.


Pope Francis’s Philadelphia prison visit highlights crisis in US justice system
2015-09-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/21/pope-francis-philadelphia-pris...

Pope Francis will meet more than 100 men and women from a dangerously overcrowded prison population. Some 80% of those inmates at that prison, [Philadelphia's] Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF), have not yet been convicted of the crime with which they were charged. Most of them are behind bars because they have not paid or cannot afford to pay bail while awaiting trial. Francis has visited prisons in multiple countries. This particular prison ... presents an extreme microcosm of two of the most pressing national prison problems: pretrial detention and overcrowding. The prison system – particularly in holding those who cannot afford to pay bail – targets the very people Pope Francis has shown the most concern for: the poor. With 2.2 million people incarcerated mostly in state prisons and jails like Philadelphia’s, the US now ... spends about $80bn on prisons. At any given time, between 400,000 to 500,000 of those people [are] held in pretrial or midtrial detention, sometimes for weeks, months and even years, usually because they cannot afford to pay bail. The Justice Department estimates that two-thirds of those inmates are non-dangerous defendants.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about income inequality and systemic prison industry corruption.


Justice Dept. watchdog blasts his own agency for blocking access to wiretaps, grand jury cases and says his job is undermined
2015-07-24, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/07/24/justice-dept-wa...

The Obama administration has ruled that inspectors general have to get permission from the agency they’re monitoring for access to wiretaps, grand jury and credit information, a decision that immediately was denounced by watchdogs and lawmakers. The Justice Department’s inspector general said the 58-page ruling ... will undermine his ability to do his job rooting out fraud and corruption. “Without such access, our office’s ability to conduct its work will be significantly impaired,” Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in a statement. His disapproval was followed by a bipartisan condemnation from four congressional leaders whose committees have oversight over DOJ. [In] 2010 ... the FBI started restricting the DOJ inspector general’s access to documents whose confidentiality is protected by law, including grand jury testimony and wiretaps. The IG’s review of the controversial Fast and Furious case, the failed sting operation that lost track of more than 1,000 government-issued guns, one of which was used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent, was delayed. Other investigations have lagged, Horowitz testified before Congress last February, complaining that the FBI has failed to turn over key records in several whistleblower cases. “Imagine if we had a DOJ (inspector general) during Watergate looking at the FBI’s conduct and the Attorney General had this opinion to deny or delay access to this kind of information,” said Brian Miller, the former inspector general at the General Services Administration.

Note: Last year, President Obama invoked executive privilege in an attempt to cover up the Fast and Furious scandal. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Child sex abuse: Judges, MPs, media entertainers, actors, police and clergy implicated in Met Police corruption probe
2015-03-29, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/child-sex-abuse-judges-mps-media-e...

The Metropolitan Police is being investigated over further allegations of corruption in relation to child sex offences dating back to the 1970s, including the claim that evidence gathered against MPs, judges, media entertainers, police, clergy and actors was dropped due to police intervention. The fresh allegations are in addition to the 14 cases being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), revealed earlier this month, dating from the 1970s to the 2000s. The three new investigations relate to allegations about police suppressing evidence, hindering or halting investigations, and covering up offences due to the involvement of members of parliament and police officers. One case addressed the allegation that a child abuse investigation in central London, which gathered evidence against MPs, judges, media entertainers, police, actors, clergy, and others, was dropped. It has been claimed that two months after the file had been submitted to start proceedings against those identified, an officer was called in by a senior Met officer and told to drop the case. The two further allegations relate to a child abuse investigation conducted in the 1980s, with one relating directly to police actions in the case. The IPCC said it was also assessing a further six referrals it had received from the Met relating to similar matters.

Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals and government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Court Accepts DOJ’s ‘State Secrets’ Claim to Protect Shadowy Neocons: a New Low
2015-03-26, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/03/26/new-low-obama-doj-federal-court...

An anti-Iranian group calling itself “United Against Nuclear Iran” (UANI) ... is very likely a front for some combination of the Israeli and U.S. intelligence services. When launched, NBC described its mission as waging “economic and psychological warfare” against Iran. The group was founded and is run and guided by a roster of ... neocon extremists such as Joe Lieberman, former Bush Homeland Security adviser (and current CNN “analyst”) Fran Townsend, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and former Mossad Director Meir Dagan. In May 2013, UANI launched a “name and shame” campaign designed to publicly identify — and malign — any individuals or entities enabling trade with Iran. One of the accused was the shipping company of Greek billionaire Victor Restis, who ... sued UANI for defamation in a New York federal court. Then something quite extraordinary happened: In September of last year, the U.S. government, which was not a party, formally intervened in the lawsuit, and demanded that the court ... dismiss the lawsuit against UANI before it could even start, on the ground that allowing the case to proceed would damage national security. Why would such a group like this even possess “state secrets”? It would be illegal to give them such material. The U.S. government provide no clue as to what the supposedly endangered “state secrets” are. As a result of the DOJ’s protection, UANI cannot be sued. This group of neocon extremists now has a license to defame anyone they want.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


Prince Andrew sex allegations: Jeffrey Epstein's butler Alfredo Rodriguez, who stole tell-all 'black book', dies age 60
2015-01-07, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/prince-andrew-sex-allegations-jeffr...

Alfredo Rodriguez, the butler of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has died, and with him the location of a ‘black book’, which allegedly details “the full scope and the extent of Epstein’s involvement with underage girls”, and contact details of the businessman’s celebrity friends. Rodriguez died at the age of 60 after suffering from mesothelioma last week, his widow Patricia Dunn [said]. Dunn alleges that her late husband “knew all about Prince Andrew,” who has been named in the current sex scandal centering on Epstein. Allegations leveled at the Prince are that he was supplied with a teenage girl who was used by Epstein as a “sex slave”. The ‘black book’ that Rodriguez had in his possession [was a] journal in which Epstein is understood to have detailed the girls which attended his properties for “massages” for him and his friends, and details of his celebrity friends and associates who had no connection with alleged offences, including Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Rodriguez, who stole the book, claimed he needed it as insurance against the businessman to protect his own life. The butler failed to tell prosecutors he possessed the book and later refused to hand it over. He was jailed for 18 months for attempting to sell it for $50,000. In 2011 it emerged that the journal “detailed the full scope and the extent of Epstein’s involvement with underage girls,” according to prosecuting lawyers, who referred to it as “The Holy Grail”.

Note: If the above link fails, this article is available in the Internet Archive. Read a collection of major media reports on billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's child sex ring which directly implicate Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and other world leaders. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Prince Andrew Sex Scandal Lawsuit Has High Legal Stakes
2015-01-07, Time
http://time.com/3658851/prince-andrew-jeffrey-epstein/

A federal court filing accuses ... Prince Andrew of having sex in three countries with the self-described “sex slave” of an American financier, Jeffrey Epstein. The lawsuit that mentions these charges [targets] the U.S. Department of Justice. The case [started] in 2005, when Florida police began investigating claims that Epstein was paying underage girls for sex at his West Palm Beach home. Investigators uncovered evidence that more than a dozen girls may have been victimized by Epstein. The Justice Department agreed to a deal with Epstein that required him to plead guilty to two state charges, including a single count of solicitation of minors for prostitution, to register as a sex offender and to serve a short jail sentence. In exchange, the U.S. Attorney agreed to drop any further prosecution. The agreement also said that “the parties anticipate that this agreement will not be made part of any public record,” an unusual condition for such a criminal plea. The [deal] shocked several of the victims. The case has been now been ongoing for six years, with more than 280 filings. In legal filings, Edwards [a Florida trial lawyer] and Cassell [a victims' rights advocate and former federal judge] have questioned [the] pressure on the U.S. Attorney to keep the case from trial, either from Prince Andrew or former President Clinton, who travelled with Epstein on his private plane at the time but has not been accused of wrongdoing. “The elephant in the room is this: How does a guy who sexually abused 40 girls end up doing basically one year in a halfway house,” says Cassell.

Note: This is the second recent child sex scandal connected with UK royalty. Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Court Heaps Grief on Vaccine Victims, Makes Them Wait Years
2014-12-22, Associated Press
https://apnews.com/article/84b9d4be780c4972b8e77f53546188ad

A system intended to speed help to vaccine-injured Americans has instead heaped additional suffering on thousands of families. To investigate vaccine court in depth, the AP read hundreds of decisions, conducted more than 100 interviews, and analyzed a database of more than 14,500 cases. Among the AP's findings: * Prominent attorneys have enlisted expert witnesses whose own work has been widely discredited, including one who treated autism with a potent drug used to chemically castrate serial rapists. Some of the most prominent experts set up nonprofits questioning vaccine safety. Many doctors hired by the government to defend vaccine safety in court have ties to the pharmaceutical industry. * The government fights legitimate claims ... worried that if they concede a vaccine caused harm, the public will react by skipping shots. If government doctors had their way ... 1,600 families would not have gotten more than $1.1 billion in cash and future medical care between the court's opening in 1988 and then end of 2012. * Cases are supposed to be resolved within 240 days. Less than 7 percent of 7,876 claims not involving autism met the 240-day target. Most non-autism cases take at least two and a half years. Hundreds have surpassed the decade mark. Several people died before getting any money. "The system is not working," said Richard Topping, a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who handled vaccine injury claims but resigned after concluding his bosses had no desire to fix the major flaws he saw.

Note: Read the entire article to see how the vaccine court is deeply flawed in may ways. Then read an article showing how the government removed data from it's website which showed an increase in court victories by those claiming harm from vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine news articles from reliable major media sources. See also the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.


At America’s court of last resort, a handful of lawyers now dominates the docket
2014-12-08, Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/scotus/

The U.S. Supreme Court building proclaims a high ideal: “Equal Justice Under Law.” But inside, an elite cadre of lawyers has emerged [to give] their clients a disproportionate chance to influence the law. A Reuters examination of nine years of cases shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court ... were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others. About half [of these 66 lawyers] worked for justices past or present, and some socialize with them. Although they account for far less than 1 percent of lawyers who filed appeals to the Supreme Court, these attorneys were involved in 43 percent of the cases the high court chose to decide from 2004 through 2012. The Reuters examination of the Supreme Court’s docket, the most comprehensive ever, suggests ... a decided advantage for corporate America. Some legal experts contend that the reliance on a small cluster of specialists, most working on behalf of businesses, has turned the Supreme Court into an echo chamber – a place where an elite group of jurists embraces an elite group of lawyers who reinforce narrow views of how the law should be construed. Of the 66 most successful lawyers, 51 worked for law firms that primarily represented corporate interests. In cases pitting the interests of customers, employees or other individuals against those of companies, a leading attorney was three times more likely to launch an appeal for business than for an individual, Reuters found.

Note: How interesting that no major media seem to have picked up this revealing story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Eric Garner and the Legal Rules That Enable Police Violence
2014-12-05, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/06/opinion/eric-garner-and-the-legal-rules-tha...

Eric Garner was not the first American to be choked by the police, and he will not be the last, thanks to legal rules that prevent victims of police violence from asking federal courts to help stop deadly practices. The 1983 case City of Los Angeles v. Lyons vividly illustrates the problem. That case also involved an African-American man choked by the police without provocation. Unlike Mr. Garner, Adolph Lyons survived. He then filed a federal lawsuit, asking the city to compensate him for his injuries. He also asked the court to prevent the Los Angeles Police Department from using chokeholds in the future. The trial court ordered the L.A.P.D. to stop using chokeholds. The Supreme Court overturned this order. The court explained that Mr. Lyons would have needed to prove that he personally was likely to be choked again in order for his lawsuit to be a vehicle for systemic reform. This is the legal standard when a plaintiff asks a federal court for an injunction — or a forward-looking legal order. When the stakes are this deadly, federal courts should step in. If police departments still failed to comply, federal judges could impose penalties. How do we know? Consider school segregation. Local officials had promised change but failed to ensure it. It took decades of close supervision by federal courts to make a dent in the problem. As the courts started to leave this field in more recent years, de facto segregation returned.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about civil liberties and government corruption from reliable major media sources.


How Police Unions and Arbitrators Keep Abusive Cops on the Street
2014-12-02, The Atlantic
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/12/how-police-unions-keep-ab...

When Frank Serpico, the most famous police whistleblower of his generation, reflected on years of law-enforcement corruption in the New York Police Department, he assigned substantial blame to a commissioner who failed to hold rank-and-file cops accountable. That's the classic template for police abuse: misbehaving cops are spared punishment by colleagues and bosses who cover for them. There are, of course, police officers who are fired for egregious misbehavior. Yet all over the U.S., police unions help many of those cops to get their jobs back, often via secretive appeals geared to protect labor rights rather than public safety. In practice, too many cops who needlessly kill people, use excessive force, or otherwise abuse their authority are getting reprieves from termination. In Oakland, California ... the San Jose Mercury News reports that "of the last 15 arbitration cases in which officers have appealed punishments, those punishments have been revoked in seven cases and reduced in five others." "In Philadelphia, an inquiry was recently completed on 26 cases where police officers were fired from charges ranging from domestic violence, to retail theft, to excessive force, to on duty intoxication," Adam Ozimek writes in a Forbes article on reforms to policing. "Shockingly, the Police Advisory Committee undertaking the investigation found that so far 19 of these fired officers have been reinstated.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


'Vaccine court' keeps claimants waiting
2014-11-17, Bloomberg/Associated Press
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-11-17/ap-impact-vaccine-court-keeps-claim...

A system Congress established to speed help to Americans harmed by vaccines has instead heaped additional suffering on thousands of families. The system is not working as intended. The AP read hundreds of decisions, conducted more than 100 interviews, and analyzed a database of more than 14,500 cases filed in a special vaccine court. Among the findings: Private attorneys have been paid tens of millions of taxpayer dollars even as they clog the court. The court offers a financial incentive to over-file — unlike typical civil court cases. Prominent attorneys have enlisted expert witnesses whose own work has been widely discredited, including one who treated autism with a potent drug used to chemically castrate serial rapists. Many doctors hired by the government to defend vaccine safety in court have ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Cases are supposed to be resolved within 240 days, with options for another 150 days of extensions. Less than 7 percent of 7,876 claims not involving autism met the 240-day target. Add in autism claims, which were postponed so the court could hear all of them at once, and just 4.5 percent took fewer than 240 days. Hundreds have surpassed the decade mark. Several people died before getting any money.

Note: The secret court that shields big pharma from legal liability for selling harmful vaccines is described in this 2009 Wall Street Journal news article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources showing huge corruption and deception.


Three Ways Courts Screw the Innocent Into Pleading Guilty
2014-11-07, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/11/07/how-the-innocent-get-screwed

(senior federal district judge) Jed A. Rakoff’s essay in The New York Review of Books ... tries to explain why innocent people so often plead guilty. At least 20,000 people have pled guilty to and gone to jail for felonies they did not commit — if you very conservatively take criminologists’ lowest estimates, and cut them in half. Rakoff identifies three ways the criminal justice system obstructs its own “truth seeking mechanism,” a trial by jury: 1. By embracing the increasingly popular plea bargain. 97 percent of federal trials were resolved last year through plea bargain. Plea bargains ... are weighted largely in favor of the prosecutor. The notion that a plea bargain is a contractual mediation between two relatively equal parties, Rakoff argues, “is a total myth”. 2. Through mandatory minimum sentences. The combination of mandatory sentences and prosecutorial discretion forces the defendant [to] run the risk of losing the case and serve the maximum sentence or take a reduced charge, at a reduced sentence, even when innocent. 3. Via the unfettered rise of prosecutorial power. Prosecutors have far more power ... than any other party involved in the criminal justice system. The one mechanism that could check their power is the jury trial, which is becoming “virtually extinct” in federal court, Rakoff writes. One possible solution to all these problems — aside from repealing mandatory minimum sentences and generally reducing the severity of sentences — is greater judicial oversight.

Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption and civil liberties news articles from reliable sources.


Georgia parole board's secret votes forgive sex offenders
2014-09-13, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
https://www.myajc.com/news/georgia-parole-board-secret-votes-forgive-sex-offe...

Barry Davis stood before a judge and admitted to a horrific crime: aggravated sodomy of a 6-year-old girl. Davis served two years in prison and eight on probation, and his name was to live forever on an ignominious list: Georgia’s sex offender registry. But suddenly last year, all was forgiven. Georgia’s parole board granted Davis an unconditional pardon, recognizing his restored reputation and absolving ... him of his crime. The board did so without notifying Davis’ victim, her family, or the prosecutor and judge who sent him to prison. And now Davis, like at least one other pardoned child molester from Georgia, says he no longer has to comply with the state’s restrictions on sex offenders. Davis’ case underscores the near-absolute autonomy exercised by Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles, a government agency that is not accountable to legislators, judges, or even the governor who appoints its members. The board classifies almost all material in its files as “confidential state secrets.” The board does not meet in public to consider cases. It announces no justification for its decisions. Without oversight or transparency, the board quietly restored the firearms rights of more than 1,400 felons in six years. In Davis’ case, the board apparently relied only on information that Davis himself assembled. So the board didn’t hear about his victim’s years of psychological therapy. And it learned nothing about Davis’ efforts, as late as 2011, to persuade the victim to claim the crime never happened.

Note: Some progress has been made in years since this article was published, but there are still serious problems. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals and judicial system corruption.


Where’s the Justice at Justice?
2014-08-17, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-wheres-the-just...

Jim Risen is gruff. Attorney General Eric Holder wants to force Risen to testify and reveal the identity of his confidential source on a story he had in his 2006 book concerning a bungled C.I.A. operation during the Clinton administration in which agents might have inadvertently helped Iran develop its nuclear weapon program. The tale made the C.I.A. look silly, which may have been more of a sore point than a threat to national security. But Bush officials, no doubt still smarting from Risen’s revelation of their illegal wiretapping, zeroed in on a disillusioned former C.I.A. agent named Jeffrey Sterling as the source of the Iran story. The subpoena forcing Risen’s testimony expired in 2009, and to the surprise of just about everybody, the constitutional law professor’s administration renewed it — kicking off its strange and awful aggression against reporters and whistle-blowers. Why don’t they back off Risen? How can [Obama] use the Espionage Act to throw reporters and whistle-blowers in jail even as he defends the intelligence operatives who “tortured some folks,” and coddles his C.I.A. chief, John Brennan, who spied on the Senate and then lied to the senators he spied on about it? “It’s hypocritical,” Risen said. “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistle-blowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.” Risen points to recent stories about the administration pressing an unprecedented initiative known as the Insider Threat Program.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government secrecy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Leaders Get Immunity at New African Rights Court
2014-07-01, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/leaders-immunity-african-rights...

Leaders at an African summit have voted to give themselves and their allies immunity from prosecution for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide at a new African Court of Justice and Human Rights. The continent ... has two sitting presidents and one ousted president facing charges at the International Criminal Court. Amnesty International called it "a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights." The decision came [on June 27] at an African Union summit vote in Equatorial Guinea from which journalists were excluded, Amnesty International said. News of the vote was imparted obliquely in a statement [on June 30] about the summit outcomes. A paragraph listing legal instruments agreed at the meeting included the "Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights." That amendment bars the court from prosecuting sitting African leaders and vaguely identified "senior officials." Forty-two African and international civil society and rights groups had objected to the amendment, noting in an open letter before the summit that the impunity violates international and domestic laws as well as the constitution of the African Union.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war crimes news articles from reliable major media sources.


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