Sunday, November 17, 2013

Justice League

Last night I was waiting for Bill Maher to start who had on the writer and book I have been wanting to read  and while I waited  I flipped on Al Jazeera.  They are doing a series on life sentences for basically misdemeanor crimes. Those are often drug sales or Prostitution or other minor offenses that while we might find distressing are largely the result of a society who does little to prevent crime by offering strong safety nets that allow those to find alternatives to crime. Many of them are minors who will like many of their adult contemporaries die in jail.

Now one wonders why we are paying for people to spend their eternity in jail for ostensibly not doing much but hurt themselves.  Gosh how much would that cost in comparison to actually having programs in place, education or job training that might circumvent that?  Hey who knows but interning people, removing their children and in turn paying for that seems negligible. But then add the costs related to the process - Police, Courts, Public Defenders (as if "these people" are going to hire legal help) Probation officers, Social Workers which now puts this process well into six figures for a six digit crime.

Well at least someone finds job security.

There are always exceptions. In Arizona they are trying a program to keep sex workers out of jail.

But we have a long road to ever really balancing the scales of justice. In Detroit rape victims will have to run their own tests if ever to find parity.

And we have bogus justice. Stop and frisk is basically search and destroy and of course results in nothing.

Then we have that Hacker behind bars.
Clearly he is a nemesis to society. Lock him up throw away the key and while in the slammer put him on work duty to fix Obamacare.

And then we have those dangerous candy stealers.  Shit those people are a danger to society. Or this dude. Bastard

I am amazed everyday at the utter danger we face in society, not from those we think but from those who are in charge of ensuring its existence. The Police who are becoming more and more fascist and dangerous in their pursuit of crime. I can't wait to read the book, The Police State by Radley Balko. 
He was on Bill Maher last night and there is no question we have a police force so highly charged and inflated with sense of power and in turn no concept of restraint they are more a danger than a peace. Again, living in Seattle there was another headline today with regards to how little the SPD has done in response to the Justice Department inquiry. To be frank I would actually consider gun ownership then rely upon the absolute corrupt and inept Seattle Police force. 

We have a Prosecutorial misconduct in more ways than one and Judicial  system unbelievably corrupt and inefficient,  tied by laws written by Legislators as dictated to them by Lobbyists and special interests whose agenda is law by profit. Take a look at who is behind much of what defines safety and security with regards to the legal issue du jour and the history of how laws were written in this country.  We the people means we the connected.

We are a nation that has never really faced the truth we are a penile nation.  And I didn't misspell it, this is a nation run by dicks.

End Mandatory Life Sentences

Published: September 16, 2013

Young people are different. The Supreme Court has delivered that message repeatedly over the last decade in limiting or flatly prohibiting the most severe criminal punishments for those under 18 at the time of their crime.

In 2005, the court banned the death penalty for juveniles. In 2010, it outlawed sentences of life without parole for juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicide. And, in a 2012 case, Miller v. Alabama, it said juveniles may never receive a mandatory sentence of life without parole, which prisoners refer to as “the other death penalty.”

Each ruling, relying on the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, has found that young people are “constitutionally different” from adults, and, therefore, must be punished differently.

In each case, the court was silent on the question of whether its ruling applied retroactively to inmates who had already been convicted. The just answer would surely be yes, and courts have largely agreed, making those first two juvenile justice rulings retroactive. But some states insist that the ban on mandatory life without parole does not apply to offenders who have already been sentenced.

In the Miller case, the court required lower courts to make “individualized sentencing decisions” for juvenile defendants because juveniles are not as morally culpable as adults, and they are more capable of changing over time. If the ban on mandatory life without parole is retroactive, more than 2,000 prisoners would be eligible for a new sentencing hearing. So far, whether these individuals can get a new hearing depends on where they live.

Courts in Michigan, Iowa and Mississippi have ruled that the ban applies to previously sentenced juveniles. The Department of Justice takes that position as well. Yet the Minnesota Supreme Court and one federal appeals court have taken the opposite view.

On Sept. 4, the Louisiana Supreme Court took on this question in the case of Darryl Tate, who was 17 when he held up two men and killed one of them in 1981. Mr. Tate’s lawyers argue that he is entitled to a new sentencing hearing under the Miller rule, because the United States Supreme Court allowed such a rehearing in another juvenile life-without-parole case decided at the same time as Miller.

Critics fear that allowing resentencing would increase violent crime. But courts may still impose life without parole, provided that the judge first gives proper consideration to the mitigating effects of youth. The Alabama Supreme Court set out guidelines last week that require a court to consider 14 factors, including a defendant’s age, emotional maturity, family environment and potential for rehabilitation before issuing such a sentence.

Ideally, life without parole would never be a sentencing option for juveniles. The Supreme Court’s own logic suggests this, even if it was not willing to go that far. After the Miller case, three states entirely eliminated juvenile life without parole, joining six other states that had already banned the sentence, and lawsuits on the retroactivity issue are pending in several states. As lawmakers and courts deal with this issue, they should remember — as the Supreme Court has declared — that adolescents are not adults, and that principle should apply regardless of the date of a conviction.

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