“Food for Thought”
Most prosecutors and all the right-wing extremist on the bench, calling themselves judges, justices and a bunch of our legislators that was elected to congress, continue the rhetoric that life without the possibility of parole and the death penalty are reserved for the worst crimes. That sounds real good and the average Joe citizen actually believes it, but in all reality these sentences are routinely given to the poor, uneducated people that are struggling to survive in our society. Yes, the indigent that can’t afford to hire their own attorney and are at the mercy of the state to provide counsel by the court. Indigent defendants must accept whomever the court appoints to represent them and often those appointed are ineffective, incompetent, inept, etc. etc. Often, oh so often, the poor and voiceless don’t get any resemblance of a fair proceeding. In this so-called best judicial system in the world, it’s sad, that it conditions a defendants right to a fair jtrial, on the ability to pay for it. There certainly isn’t any fair and equal justice where the kind of trial a person gets depends on how deep his or her pockets are!! Although the constitution forbids this and morally condemns it, it still jumps-off on a regular basis…. It’s a Joke how Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan get busted with cocaine, violate probation, drive while intoxicated and on and on and only go to jail for a few hours or days, get rehab or another kind of slap on the wrist, while people of lower incomes are filling up our jails and prisons, often for the same exact crimes. Now that really is some “Food for Thought”!!! getting back to show the average Joe and the indigent are represented, if a lawyer passes the bar and has hung around a few courtrooms, he’s basically qualified, although recently a few states have required a little higher standard for capital cases, finally. This should be a standard applied across the board in all D.P cases in every state.that continues to used the D.P all too often…Much too often inept layers represent the indigent, making the process a farce, sham and mockery of justice… Often in capital cases, what the trial attorney did, or should have done, doesn’t reach the level of ineffective assistance of counsel by a legal standard, but counsel’s actions caused the defendant the opportunity to use that issue in a later proceeding. Issues are routinely lost for federal review due to what jumped-off in the lower (state) courts due to counsels lack of knowledge, understanding or out right ineffectiveness and the appellant court still rubber stamp the convictions and sentences anyway, saying, it didn’t reach the level of harm required, Thats crazy!!! Now in a capital case how can that be accepted. Saying that the error or omission wasn’t sufficient enough??? Many times because of the inadequacy of counsel, exculpatory evidence is lost and should be an automatic constitutional violation, but appellant courts are reluctant to overturn a conviction and order a new trial. Often an indigent defendant’s counsel is hindered by the trial court, because the court appointed attorney depends upon the trial judge for compensation, so the lawyer tends to try and stay on the good side of the judge during the proceedings, not wanting the judge to be slow on signing the compensation forms, so h e can get paid and also for future assignments the judge has the power to give out. The constitutional rights of the accused maybe be destroyed if counsel’s selections of tactical problems are supervised by a judge The defendant is entitled to decisions and judgements of his counsel, not tactical opinions and decisions of a judge. Due process of law completely go out of the window, if counsel allows himself to be persuaded by the judge on procedure. The poor and indigent that fill up our prisons and death row across the country, always face many obstacles in our judicial system, however the constitution should at least require adequate representation, even if the accused is penniless!!!
To be continued ….Intensify the Struggle!!!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A couple of months ago (Aug 2010) a Catholic Scottish Cardinal (Keith O’Brien) defended his 2009 decision to free the man convicted and imprisoned for the 1988 “Lockerbie bombing”. He told U.S politicians that they need to stay out of the domestic affairs of his country. It’s about time people from other countries show a little backbone and tell these chumps where to go, to put it nicely. He cited the steady rate of executions jumping off in the U.S. And suggested that our lawmakers direct their gaze inwards, rather than concerning themselves with the Scottish justice system. It’s rare, but good to hear officials or leaders from other countries take a stand and remind these chumps of their arrogance. Just recently, the U.S congress has been having hearings relating to the release of the person responsible for that bombing of the Pan Am flight 103. Now, anyone with common sense agrees or should agree that it was a despicable, inhumane and barbaric act, but where does the U.S get-off trying to dictate how another country conducts it’s affairs, it’s the arrogance of the U.S that bothers me, and should be questioned. These chumps in the U.S Senate actually tried to get top Scottish officials and United Kingdom Home secretary Jack straw to a hearing in Washington D.C and then sent U.S members to the U.K to question British witnesses about the release. Don,t nobody from another country got to get permission from these chumps before they make a move on something!!! The man, Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi that was convicted and in prison before being released because of health reasons is supposed to be dying, Anyway its about time somebody stood up to these clowns over here that try to dictate how ever other country in the world conducts its business… The U.S. Has a pattern of these strong armed bullying tactics, recently there were riots in Iran, soon after their president Ahmadinejad won that last election, that was challenged by his opponent and many others over that way. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Ahmadinejad, nor will I defend him or the crazy, stupid stuff he does on a regular basis, but I will give him credit for not being scared to stand up to the U.S and speak his mind without fear etc. I understand why the U.S doesn’t want Iran, with leaders like him to get a nuclear weapon, but at the same time, some of these right-wing extremist over here should scare people also and Netanyahhu and chumps like him over in Israel aren’t that stable either. All of those clowns are nuts, so we should’nt be so selective in saying who should or should not have access to nuclear weapons. Anyway, while the internal riots jumped-off in Iran during that time right after the election, the U.S not only criticized Ahmadinejad, but actually tried to insight, inspire and edge on people over there to raise up and fight, which would have gotten a lot of people killed, which may also have caused an international disaster. Anyway these chumps continue to play an international chess game, trying to dictate everyone else’s affairs, when they should be correcting their own faults and weaknesses. How can they tell Iran how to respect human and civil rights when the U.S has a history of these same violations!!! Back in the 50’s and 60’s the U.S didn’t listen to anyone around the world during the civil rights movement, when police were allowing dogs to bite protesters, beating them down with clubs and blackjacks, mowing protesters down in the stress with fire hoses, etc etc. All of this jumped off because of peaceful protests of blacks, women and other minorities, including Jews that marched along with us. They knew what it’s like to be treated in this matter. These chumps have a lot of nerve trying to tell other countries anything about Civil or human rights!!!
Now some may say, why am I bringing up all this stuff from the past. The civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties doesn’t have anything to do with now, but many in this country actually hate the so called progress that has been made and want to go back to the good old days when discrimination flourished and was wide open. There is an element in this new “Tea Party” MOVEMENT THAT GO TO THEIR RALLIES WITH SIGNS & posters of Pres, Obama dressed like an African warrior, which a bone in his nose, looking likes he’s playing in an old Tarzan movie. The republicans nominee for congress for Kentucky, Rand Paul, backed and supported by the “Tea Party” believes and has stated publicly that private businesses can discriminate against blacks, disabled and other minorities. He also criticized and said he would vote against the 1964 civil rights act. There are also news reports that he said he believes in separate lunch counters for blacks and whites. Where are these people coming from and more importantly why are the people in this country continuing to put them in office, especially in congress, where they have so much power, making laws that affect all Americans, not just a selective few.
TO BE CONTINUED….. power to the struggled.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
In the October Issue of the “Prison legal news”, a monthly newsletter, dedicated to protecting human rights, there is a series of articles in regard to the crisis in the crime labs in this country. They point out how shoddy forensics are used to secure convictions in this country on a regular basis. This should shock the conscience. There have been recent reports from the “National Academy of Science” (NAS) the most prestigious scientific organizations in the U.S that has been overlooking our scientific community since 1863 reported that the stuff jumping off in the scientific labs across the country is outrageous, to put it nicely. There are doubts about the generally accepted forensic methods that have been used for years, getting tons of convictions all across the country, many of which are capital cases. How many innocent people have been executed, are on death row or are rotting away in prisons across the nation because of these faulty practices and more importantly, why isn’t there any outrage!!! One of the most widely accepted forensic techniques is “finperprint comparison” If the average Joe citizen hears that they found your finger prints at the scene of a crime, they automatically figure, you’re done pal, that’s it, they got you. Finger print analysis has been used for over a 100 years, but the large error rate is rarely mentioned in the courtrooms across the country. Some of the big problems with this finger print comparison crap is these labs that usually conduct these exams are normally by police departments that usually take the prints from a crime scene and check them with a suspect. The only problem with that is you can’t get around the bias that jumps off. There was a study published in “Forensic Science International” in 2005 that basically said 80% error rate can be induced when examiners are informed in advance of the desired outcome!!! I mean if the police and the courts know all of this from the get-go, why do they continue to do this and more importantly, allow it to be accepted in our courtrooms to convict and send people to prison??? Is winning a criminal case more important than convicting the right person??? This is really “Food for Thought”.
The whole world peeped some of the problems in this finger print comparison operation not along ago, when it got international attention, when three F.B.I fingerprint experts identified with 100% certainty, an Oregon attorney, as a terrorism suspect in the 2004 train bombings, in Madrid, Spain. “The Journal of Forensic Sciences” did a study in 1995 and came up with, among other things, that 25% of U.S crime labs report false positives. I submit, that’s not a good average. A 2006 study by the university of Southampton, in the U.K, showed the false positive rate doubled when examiners were told about the case prior to comparing the fingerprints. Thats Crazy. The F.B.I and other law enforcement agencies still continue to parade these experts before the courts, obtaining convictions, often based on faulty evidence of finger print comparison to join, supplement and booster other evidence sometimes sealing the deal for a conviction.. Who knows how much weight the jury took into account with the faulty evidence?? How can we get into the minds of the jury to know what part that evidence played in their decision????
The lawyer Brandon Mayfield that was falsely identified in that 2004 train bombing case, later suited Federal officials for his arrest and detention and received a formal apology and a $2 million settlement in 2006, but there are still too many problems existing in regard to this faulty science used in our courtrooms on a daily basis in our criminal justice system.!! Finger print comparison is only one of the techniques used by the F.B.I and other law enforcement agencies that aren’t even remotely reliable. DNA testing appears to be the only forensic science testing that is reliable….Most of the others, which I hope to talk about later on down the line, can be compared to or equated to as junk or voodoo science, having an accuracy rate about the same as flipping a coin, quoting from one of the articles in the prison legal news. The F.B.I has discounted testing comparison Bullet lead analysis because of the misleading effect it had on the jury after it was proven to be out-right junk science, but not before too many were convicted, some still on death row, and are still rumbling to get their convictions and sentences overturned.
TO BE CONTINUED. Power to the Struggle!!!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
In the earlier “Food for Thought” article I talked about some of the shoddy forensics practices that are being used to get people convicted and sent to prison routinely in this country. I spent a lot of time on fingerprints and a little about “Comparative Bullet lead analysis (CBLA). Which are only two of several of the shoddy forensic practices. In 2004 the National Academy of Science (NAS) concluded a study that basically said that the CBLA was junk science and misleading to the jury, to make a long story short. This stuff has no reasonable degree of scientific certainty, what so ever!!! The F.B.I after reviewing their study and a whole lot of pressure from the “Innocence Project” stopped using this practice and parading these F.B.I agents before the courts, misleading the average Joe Citizen that make up these juries and sending people to the row or to prison in general. Prior to this if someone got shot or killed and they didn’t have the gun, the prosecutor would get the agent to testify in court that the bullet from the victim and a bullet found in the defendants possession, a friends house, or his aunt Lucy’s came from the same box. After elaborate testimony that the bullets were made from the same making the rounds, etc etc. This stuff sounds real convincing to the average Joe Citizen that normally doesn’t have any scientific knowledge, especially coming from a so called expert. The lawyers assigned to the case are routinely refused money to hire their own experts because it’s too costly, so the lawyers assigned to the case, that aren’t educated in science have to stand toe to toe with the prosecutors expert, trying to argue the best they can, AFTER LIMITED RESEARCH. The agents testifying even go as far saying the bullets are analytically indistinguishable from one another and came from the same box. This powerful testimony if it was accurate, but it isn’t!!!! Now after an agent has mislead the jury with testimony like this and it’s later found out this is junk science and misleads juries, how can an appeals court many years later, know how much weight the trial jury that convicted the defendant, put into their decision to convict???? Even if there was some other evidence, there is no way of knowing how that tainted evidence tipped the scale to convict. The other evidence, if any, may not have been the deciding factor. Most of the prosecutors fight tooth and nail to keep their convictions not caring anything about fairness or due process, etc etc.
One of the problems with this so called best judicial system in the world is, the people running the system are more crooked that the one’s they are trying to railroad. I read a true account, a real good non fiction book about 10 years ago, called “Dark Alliance” by Gary Webb (seven stories press, N.Y) and the forward was written by one of our congress Maxine Waters, who is still serving in the U.S house of representatives. This book tells the whole world about one of the worse official abuses in our nations history. It tells how then President Ronald Reagan, signed off on a deal that would allow tons of crack cocaine to be dumped in the L.A California area to support the Contra war in Nicaragua. The central intelligence agency (CIA) and the contras worked together on this. Now that should shock the conscience!!! We all should be outraged about crap like that, especially when these same chumps, running this country, play like they are fighting this war on drugs, etc etc. They continue to lock up the lower income bracket and continue to scare the average Joe Citizen into believing we need more prisons, tougher laws etc. but many of these same clowns are responsible for the crime they speak about.
TO BE CONTINUED …. Intensify the struggle.