Court and Judicial Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on court and judicial corruption
A federal judge in Newark has thrown out a lawsuit against the New York Police Department for spying on New Jersey Muslims, saying if anyone was at fault, it was the Associated Press for telling people about it. In his ruling ... U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini simultaneously demonstrated the willingness of the judiciary to give law enforcement alarming latitude in the name of fighting terror, greenlighted the targeting of Muslims based solely on their religious beliefs, and blamed the media for upsetting people by telling them what their government was doing. The NYPDs clandestine spying on daily life in Muslim communities in the region with no probable cause, and nothing to show for it was exposed in a Pulitzer-Prize winning series of stories by the AP. The stories described infiltration and surveillance of at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools, and two Muslim student associations in New Jersey alone. In a cursory, 10-page ruling issued before even hearing oral arguments, Martini essentially said that what the targets didnt know didnt hurt them: "None of the Plaintiffs injuries arose until after the Associated Press released unredacted, confidential NYPD documents and articles expressing its own interpretation of those documents. Nowhere in the Complaint do Plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the Associated Press. This confirms that Plaintiffs alleged injuries flow from the Associated Presss unauthorized disclosure of the documents. The harms are not fairly traceable to any act of surveillance."
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A secret court order that authorised a massive trawl by the National Security Agency of Americans' email and internet data was published for the first time on [November 18], among a trove of documents that also revealed a judge's concern that the NSA "continuously" and "systematically" violated the limits placed on the program. Another later court order found that what it called "systemic overcollection" had taken place. In a heavily redacted opinion Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the former presiding judge of the FISA court, placed legal weight on the methods of surveillance employed by the NSA, which had never before collected the internet data of an enormous volume of communications. The methods, known as pen registers and trap-and-trace devices, record the incoming and outgoing routing information of communications. Kollar-Kotelly ruled that acquiring the metadata, and not the content, of email and internet usage in bulk was harmonious with the purpose of Congress and prior court rulings even though no surveillance statute ever authorized it and top officials at the Justice Department and the FBI threatened to resign in 2004 over what they considered its dubious legality. The type of data collected under the program included information on the "to", "from" and "bcc" lines of an email rather than the content. Metadata, wrote Kollar-Kotelly, enjoyed no protection under the fourth amendment to the US constitution, a precedent established by the Supreme Court in 1979 in a single case on which the NSA relies currently.
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
[The] military criminal justice system ... frequently grants impunity to [sex] offenders and punishes victims -- the outcome of a fiercely guarded power of commanders who wield broad discretion over the handling of sex crimes in their ranks. From the accounts of sexual assault survivors in every branch of the military, a stark panorama emerges: Many victims were drugged or forced to drink and were raped, attacked as they slept, beaten unconscious and coerced into sex by their superiors. They were strongly discouraged from disclosing the crimes, or forced to report assaults to commanders who are closely connected to the accused. Few suspects face criminal punishment. Of 3,374 reports of sexual assault last year involving 2,900 accused offenders, only 302 went to courts-martial and 238 were convicted, the Defense Department says. Meanwhile, 286 offenders received nonjudicial or administrative punishment or discharges, allowing them to dodge a criminal mark on their record. In 70 cases, suspects slated for possible courts-martial were allowed to quit their jobs to avoid charges. Prison sentences are rare. Only 177 perpetrators were sentenced to confinement. But the most jarring statistic: about half of all convicted sex offenders were not automatically expelled from the armed services. For all the public outrage sparked by sexual abuses at the Navy Tailhook convention in 1991, the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1996 and the Air Force Academy in 2003, the military criminal justice system has failed to stem an epidemic of sexual assaults, reaching an estimated 26,000 last year.
The Supreme Court usually isn't friendly toward questionable patents, but it came down overwhelmingly on the side of agribusiness giant Monsanto [on April 22] in a case that's bound to resonate throughout the biotechnology industry. The court ruled unanimously that an Indiana farmer violated Monsanto's patent on genetically modified soybeans when he culled some from a grain elevator and used them to replant his own crop in future years. "If simple copying were a protected use, a patent would plummet in value after the first sale of the first item containing the invention," Justice Elena Kagan ruled in a short 10-page opinion. Who it helps: Inventors and entrepreneurs who have patents on products that can be self-replicated, from computer software to cell lines. Who it hurts: Consumers paying high prices. The Center for Food Safety released a report in February that showed three corporations control much of the global commercial seed market. It found that from 1995-2011, the average cost to plant 1 acre of soybeans rose 325%. Center for Food Safety executive director Andrew Kimbrell called the ruling a setback for farmers. "The court chose to protect Monsanto over farmers," he said. "The court's ruling is contrary to logic and to agronomics, because it improperly attributes seeds' reproduction to farmers, rather than nature."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Even people used to the closeness of the US administration and food giants like Monsanto have been shocked by the latest demonstration of the GM industry's political muscle. Little-noticed in Europe or outside the US, President Barack Obama last week signed off what has become widely known as "the Monsanto Protection Act", technically the Farmer Assurance Provision rider in HR 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013. According to an array of food and consumer groups, organic farmers, civil liberty and trade unions and others, this hijacks the constitution, sets a legal precedent and puts Monsanto and other biotech companies above the federal courts. It means, they say, that not even the US government can now stop the sale, planting, harvest or distribution of any GM seed, even if it is linked to illness or environmental problems. The backlash has been furious. A Food Democracy Now petition has attracted 250,000 names. The only good news, say the opponents, is that because the "Monsanto Protection Act" was part of the much wider spending bill, it will formally expire in September. The bad news however is that the precedent has been set and it is unlikely that the world's largest seed company and the main driver of the divisive GM technology will ever agree to give up its new legal protection. The company, in effect, now rules.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the harm caused by GMOs, click here.
Should anyone, or any corporation, control a product of life? The journey of a 75-year-old Indiana farmer to the [Supreme Court] began rather uneventfully. Vernon Hugh Bowman purchased an undifferentiated mix of soybean seeds from a grain elevator, planted the seeds and then saved seed from the resulting harvest to replant another crop. Finding that Bowman's crops were largely the progeny of its genetically engineered proprietary soybean seed, Monsanto sued the farmer for patent infringement. The case [Bowman vs. Monsanto Co.] is a remarkable reflection on recent fundamental changes in farming. In the 200-plus years since the founding of this country, and for millenniums before that, seeds have been part of the public domain available for farmers to exchange, save, modify through plant breeding and replant. Through this process, farmers developed a diverse array of plants that could thrive in various geographies, soils, climates and ecosystems. But today this history of seeds is seemingly forgotten in light of a patent system that, since the mid-1980s, has allowed corporations to own products of life. Although Monsanto and other agrochemical companies assert that they need the current patent system to invent better seeds, the counterargument is that splicing an already existing gene or other DNA into a plant and thereby transferring a new trait to that plant is not a novel invention. A soybean, for example, has more than 46,000 genes. Properties of these genes are the product of centuries of plant breeding and should not, many argue, become the product of a corporation. Instead, these genes should remain in the public domain.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the destructive impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), click here.
A former judge has been sentenced to more than 26 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to gain power and control politics in an eastern Kentucky county. U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves said 67-year-old former Clay County Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle headed the conspiracy and therefore got the longest sentence so far. Maricle and seven others were convicted in March 2010 of multiple charges, including racketeering, money laundering and voter fraud. Prosecutors say more than 8,000 people were paid $50 each for their votes in one election and 150 votes were stolen by changing voting machines.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on electoral fraud, click here.
A federal appeals court ... dismissed a lawsuit [on September 8] accusing a Bay Area aviation-planning company of arranging CIA flights of [captives] to overseas dungeons. The ruling is a victory for both President George W. Bush's administration, which directed the rendition program and acknowledged its existence, and the Obama administration, which ... argued that it was too sensitive to be litigated in court. The American Civil Liberties Union said it would appeal to the Supreme Court. The high court has refused to review two rulings by other appeals courts dismissing suits against the government by men who said they were abducted by the CIA and flown to foreign torture chambers. "Not a single victim of the Bush administration's torture program has had his day in court," ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner said. Jeppesen, a Boeing Co. subsidiary, was described in a 2007 Council of Europe report as the CIA's aviation services provider. In a court declaration in the current suit, a company employee quoted a director as telling staff members in 2006 that Jeppesen handled the CIA's "torture flights." Dissenting Judge Michael Hawkins said the courts should decide legal disputes rather than "permitting the executive to police its own errors." He also said the court should have kept the case alive and required the government to show why specific evidence should remain secret.
Bush administration officials came up with all kinds of ridiculously offensive rationalizations for torturing prisoners. It’s not torture if you don’t mean it to be. It’s not torture if you don’t nearly kill the victim. It’s not torture if the president says it’s not torture. It was deeply distressing to watch the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sink to that standard in April when it dismissed a civil case brought by four former Guantánamo detainees never charged with any offense. The court said former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the senior military officers charged in the complaint could not be held responsible for violating the plaintiffs’ rights because at the time of their detention ... it was not “clearly established” that torture was illegal. The Supreme Court could have corrected that outlandish reading of the Constitution, legal precedent, and domestic and international statutes and treaties. Instead, last month, the justices abdicated their legal and moral duty and declined to review the case. The justices surely understood that their failure to accept the case would further undermine the rule of law. In effect, the Supreme Court has granted the government immunity for subjecting people in its custody to terrible mistreatment. It has deprived victims of a remedy and Americans of government accountability, while further damaging the country’s standing in the world.
Note: For many reliable reports on the torture used by governments pursuing the "war on terror", click here.
The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu, thousands filed claims contending they suffered side effects from the shots. This time, the government has already taken steps to head that off. Vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine, under a document signed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, government health officials said Friday. Since the 1980s, the government has protected vaccine makers against lawsuits over the use of childhood vaccines. The document signed by Sebelius last month grants immunity to those making a swine flu vaccine, under the provisions of a 2006 law for public health emergencies. It allows for a compensation fund, if needed. The government takes such steps to encourage drug companies to make vaccines, and it's worked. Federal officials have contracted with five manufacturers to make a swine flu vaccine. The last time the government faced a new swine flu virus was in 1976. Federal officials vaccinated 40 million Americans during a national campaign. A pandemic never materialized, but thousands who got the shots filed injury claims, saying they suffered a paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome or other side effects.
Note: Note for a powerfully revealing CBS report on blatant fear mongering and profiteering from the 1976 swine flue scare, click here. For many revealing reports on corruption in the medical/governmental complex, click here.
In issuing a deliberately narrow ruling yesterday in a controversial case involving whales and the U.S. Navy, the Supreme Court strongly indicated that it intends to defer to the military in future disputes pitting national security against environmental concerns. The justices voted 6 to 3 to lift restrictions on the Navy's use of sonar off the Southern California coast, backing the military in a longstanding battle over whether anti-submarine training harms marine mammals. Environmentalists say the exercises disrupt habitats and leave the mammals with permanent hearing loss and decompression sickness. But the Navy argued that the training missions are essential to detecting a new generation of "quiet" submarines deployed by China, North Korea and other potential adversaries. "We do not discount the importance of plaintiffs' ecological, scientific, and recreational interests in marine mammals," Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the first decision of the court's current term. "Those interests, however, are plainly outweighed by the Navy's need to conduct realistic training exercises to ensure that it is able to neutralize the threat posed by enemy submarines." Although the majority tailored its decision on narrow legal grounds and indicated that future environmental disputes will be decided on a case-by-case basis, the court made sweeping statements of deference to military judgments. Roberts unquestioningly accepted the assertion of top Navy officers that the exercises "are of utmost importance to the Navy and the Nation," writing that "the proper determination of where the public interest lies does not strike us as a close question."
A medical examiner must change her autopsy findings to delete any reference that stun guns contributed to the deaths of three people involved in confrontations with law enforcement officers, a judge ruled. [The] decision was a victory for Taser International Inc., which had challenged rulings by Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler, including a case in which five sheriff's deputies are charged in the death a jail inmate who was restrained by the wrists and ankles and hit with pepper spray and a stun gun. Kohler ruled that the 2006 death of Mark McCullaugh Jr., 28, was a homicide and that he died from asphyxiation due to the "combined effects of chemical, mechanical and electrical restraint." Visiting Judge Ted Schneiderman said in his ruling that there was no expert evidence to indicate that Taser devices impaired McCullaugh's respiration. "More likely, the death was due to a fatal cardiac arrhythmia brought on by severe heart disease," the judge wrote. Schneiderman ordered Kohler to rule McCullaugh's death undetermined and to delete any references to homicide. The judge also said references to stun guns contributing to the deaths of two other men must be deleted from autopsy findings. Steve Tuttle, vice president of communications for Taser International, said the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company is pleased with Schneiderman's ruling. John Manley, a Summit County prosecutor who represented Kohler, said the judge's order went too far. The county is considering an appeal, he said. "Taser is quite a force to be reckoned with and does everything to protect their golden egg, which is the Model X26," Manley said.
Note: This AP article was not picked up by any major or even local media other than this Phoenix, AZ talk radio station. Considering the lack of reporting on Taser International's stunning 69 victories before its first loss in the courts, do you think there might be some bias in the news coverage?
An elementary-school teacher who was dismissed after telling her class on the eve of the Iraq war that "I honk for peace" lost [her] U.S. Supreme Court appeal. The justices ... denied a hearing to Deborah Mayer, who had appealed lower-court decisions upholding an Indiana school district's refusal to renew her contract in June 2003. The most-recent ruling, by a federal appeals court in Chicago, said teachers in public schools have no constitutional right to express personal opinions in the classroom. A teacher's speech is "the commodity she sells to an employer in exchange for her salary," the [court] said in January. "The Constitution does not enable teachers to present personal views to captive audiences against the instructions of elected officials." The appellate ruling is ... one of a series of recent decisions taking a narrow view of free speech for teachers, other government employees and students. Mayer, who now teaches sixth grade in Florida, was distraught. "I don't know why anybody would want to be a teacher if you can be fired for saying four little words," she said Monday. "I'm supposed to teach the Constitution to my students. I'm supposed to tell them that the Constitution guarantees free speech. How am I going to justify that?" She said her class of fourth- through sixth-graders was discussing an article in the children's edition of Time magazine, part of the school-approved curriculum, on protests against U.S. preparations for an invasion of Iraq in January 2003. When a student asked her whether she took part in demonstrations, Mayer said, she replied that she blew her horn whenever she saw a "Honk for Peace" sign, and that peaceful solutions should be sought before going to war. After a parent complained, the principal ordered Mayer never to discuss the war or her political views in class.
Note: To read further reliable reports of threats to our civil liberties, click here.
If actions speak louder than words, then President Donald Trump's granting of pardons Tuesday was deafening. The list of 11 lucky Americans granted clemency read like a who's who of the rich and the famous former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Wall Street financier Michael Milken and former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik among them. Many of the offenders who received pardons or commutations of their sentences were convicted of crimes relating to fraud and corruption. The message Trump is sending seems loud and clear: Fraud and corruption are not serious crimes. And as such, these types of white-collar crimes can be ignored. Predators of all types from criminals who engage in fraud to those who commit sexual exploitation often groom their victims for action they want to take in the future. Trump may be using his pardon power in the same way. By inuring the public to the harm of fraud and corruption, the president can convince his base of supporters that these are not serious crimes. Clearly, Trump is using pardons to undermine public faith in the government and the criminal justice system. If, at some point, he does decide to pardon [Roger] Stone and other allies, such as former campaign chairman Paul Manafort or former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the outrage will have been defused.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
In a major legal setback for President Donald Trump on a high-profile consumer issue, a federal appeals court has ruled that his administration lacks the legal authority to force drug companies to disclose prices in their TV ads. Where most plans to overhaul the cost of drugs are complex, mandating that companies disclose prices is something any consumer can relate to. Separate from the court case, legislation that would lower drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries with high bills is stuck in Congress. There's also a separate bill that would mandate drug companies to disclose their prices in consumer advertising. On TV ads, the unanimous decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit did not address a core argument of the pharmaceutical industry, that forcing companies to disclose their prices in advertising violates their free speech rights. Instead the three-judge panel ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services overstepped its legal authority by requiring disclosure under the umbrella of its stewardship of Medicare and Medicaid. When the disclosure rule was announced last year, administration officials were confident that it would be in effect by now. Drug pricing details were expected to appear in text toward the end of commercials.
Donald Trumps administration is targeting Julian Assange as an enemy of the America who must be brought down and his very life could be at risk if he is sent to face trial in the US, the first day of the WikiLeaks founders extradition hearing has been told. Lawyers for Assange intend to call as a witness a former employee of a Spanish security company who says surveillance was carried out for the US on Assange while he was at Ecuadors London embassy and that conversations had turned to potentially kidnapping or poisoning him. Assange, 48, is wanted in the US to face 18 charges of attempted hacking and breaches of the Espionage Act. They relate to the publication a decade ago of hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and files covering areas including US activities in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Australian, who could face a 175-year prison sentence if found guilty, is accused of working with the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified documents. Key parts of the evidence related to the claim, which emerged last week, that a then US Republican congressman offered Assange a pardon if he denied Russian involvement in the leaking of US Democratic party emails during the 2016 US presidential contest. The court was told that Dana Rohrabacher, who claims to have made the proposal on his own initiative, had presented it as a win-win scenario that would allow Assange to leave the embassy and get on with his life.
Note: Read more about the strange prosecution of Assange. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Not all stops are created equal. Sometimes the police pull people over for traffic-safety reasons for speeding or running a red light, for example. More nefariously, recent reports ... have shown that police departments ... have used traffic enforcement to generate fines to fund local government. But [another] kind of stop an investigatory or pretext stop uses the traffic laws to uncover more serious crime. Such stops (and subsequent searches) exploded in popularity in the 1990s. Pretext stops are responsible for most of the racial disparity in traffic stops in the US. Political scientist Charles Epp found that when the police are actually enforcing traffic safety laws, they tend to do so without regard to race. But when they are carrying out investigatory or pretext stops, they are much more likely to stop black and other minority drivers: black people are about two-and-a-half times more likely to be pulled over for pretext stops. The damage from a pretext stop of a driver, a pedestrian, a loiterer doesnt end with the stop itself. The pretext-stop regime ... propels disparities in the rest of the criminal justice system. By ... 2000, we had been steadily, incrementally, building the punitive criminal justice system we still live with today. Most of the pieces the aggressive prosecutions and policing, longer sentences, prison-building, collateral consequences of convictions such as losing the right to vote or the chance to live in public housing had been put in place. The years since [have] been primarily dedicated to maintaining ... that basic architecture.
Pope Francis has changed Catholic Church teaching to fully reject the death penalty, the Vatican announced Thursday, saying it would work to abolish capital punishment worldwide. The revision to several sentences of the catechism, the compendium of Catholic beliefs, has the potential to recast debates around the world on how to handle those accused of the most heinous crimes. The churchs updated teaching describes capital punishment as inadmissible and an attack on the dignity of the person. Previously, the church allowed for the death penalty in very rare cases, only as a means of defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. Francis has for years been a vocal critic of the death penalty, calling it an inhuman measure. The Argentine pontiff has pointed to the churchs stance on the death penalty as evidence of how the Vatican can evolve: The church for centuries permitted executions, but in 1997, John Paul II dramatically narrowed the standards for when the punishment was permissible. Franciss latest move places the issue toward the forefront of his own efforts to overhaul and modernize the Roman Catholic Churchs approach to social justice. The full political significance of the new teaching stands to emerge slowly, as priests and bishops speak more clearly about the death penalty to planets 1.2 billion Catholics. Because the practice has already been abolished in most countries with large Catholic populations ... the United States is among the places where the shift could have the greatest consequence.
Note: In 2014, a major study found that about 300 wrongfully-convicted people had been executed in the US between 1973 and 2004. from reliable major media sources. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
As has happened before in Florida, "stand your ground" is being appropriately scrutinized in the aftermath of the shocking shooting death of Markeis McGlockton, an unarmed black man who was gunned down for trying to protect his family - including his young children - in a dispute over a handicapped parking space. The local sheriff concluded that shooter Michael Drejka pulled the trigger because he was in fear, and therefore stand your ground applied. According to this inexplicable interpretation of the law, Drejka needed to defend himself from a man who ... was backing away from the confrontation. Floridas stand your ground law emerged as an outgrowth of the traditional castle doctrine, which allowed individuals to defend their home (or castle) with whatever force was necessary. Somehow, that concept has been warped into a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card that is essentially a license to kill. Five members of Congress, including three U.S. senators, have called for the Department of Justice to investigate why stand-your-ground immunity was extended to a man carrying a concealed weapon who angrily approached a car ... and created a confrontation. Had McGlockton been the one to pull out a gun, there is no way stand your ground would have been extended to him, a man of color. The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported a significant increase in unlawful homicides since stand your ground was enacted in Florida in 2005.
Note: Watch the disturbing video of the incident at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
I was captured when I was in my 20s and brought to Guantanamo Bay in 2004, after more than two years in secret prisons. I have been imprisoned here without charges since then. I am now 43. Thirteen years ago, your country brought me here because of accusations about who I was. Confessions were beaten out of me in those secret prisons. I tried, but I am no longer trying to fight against those accusations from the past. What I am asking today is, how long is my punishment going to continue? Your president says there will be no more transfers from here. Am I going to die here? If I have committed crimes against the law, charge me. In 15 years, I have never been charged, and the worst things the government has said about me were extracted by force. The judge in my habeas case decided years ago that I had been subjected to physical and psychological abuse during my interrogations, and statements the government has wanted to use against me are not reliable. Even if I were cleared, it would not matter. There are men here who have been cleared for years who are sitting in prison next to me. Detainees here, all Muslim, have never had rights equal to other human beings. Even when we first won the right to challenge our detention, in the end, it became meaningless. It is hard for me to ... believe that laws will not be bent again to allow the government to win. But this week, I am joining a group of detainees here, all of us who have been held without charges for years, to try again to ask the courts for protection.
Note: The above was written by Sharqawi Al Hajj, a Yemeni citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay. For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
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