One on One with LAPD Chief-Designate Charlie Beck

Incoming and outgoing LAPD Chiefs, Charlie Beck and Bill Bratton (Photo/Nick Ut)

Beck has some big shoes to fill, no doubt, but after meeting and speaking one-on-one with him, I think the LAPD is going to be okay. I wasn’t that sure beforehand, but I can tell you that Beck is, if nothing else, a sincere and humble guy with big ideas, who has a passion for a job in a city that at times is one heartbeat away from a full on race riot.

800,000 Americans Busted Annually for Pot

Smokes

The drug war has also unleashed a torrent of racism in the form of unjust sentencing, which confines crack-cocaine users who are mostly black to prison for longer terms than powder snorters, who are mostly white.

Solicitor General Appeals HSPD-12 Case to Supreme Court

elena kagan

The Solicitor General has opened a Pandora’s Box, permitting the Supreme Court to possibly erase all protections that citizens might have against government snooping into the most intimate details of their private lives. The government could engage in a wholesale invasion of privacy.

The Rape of Hope

Crime

Are there, in fact, thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of young people who face the future with a brooding face and a heavy heart, uncertain whether any portion of the American dream will ever collide with what currently passes for their lives?

Prisons: Two Opposing Views

prison-alcoholic

Suppose, hypothetically, you had to be in the same room for a couple of hours with a politician who can’t use the word “liberal” without combining it with character-assassination-style insults or a guy who stole a pair of socks worth $2.50. With whom would you feel safer?

Troy Anthony Davis Update

Troy Anthony Davis continues to fight for justice. He has been on death row since 1991. During his time there, Davis has received three stays of execution.  In August 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Troy Davis the chance to present crucial evidence in court that may prove his innocence. This video which was produced [...]

The Republican Empathy for Corruption

sotomayor

Senator Jeff Sessions was once nominated to be a judge. He expressed his own brand of empathy tempered by toughness when he said that although he liked the Ku Klux Klan, he turned against any Klansman who smoked marijuana.

Sotomayor IS a Wise Latina, and Our Court Needs Her

Sotomayor

Exposure to a wide range of life experiences and education are the keys to progress. Judge Sotomayor has had both the benefits of that exposure and the formal as well as practical education necessary to make her a wise Latina justice of the Supreme Court.

LaVena Johnson (In Memorial) Where Is The Justice?

LaVena Johnson Grad

A Poem in Memorial to LaVena Johnson by Luke Easter Just when you think you’ve heard it all, Another name is slammed into a brick wall, LaVena Johnson an Army Private First Class, Is she the first? Certainly this PFC isn’t the last. Is it any wonder Osama Bin Laden can’t be found? With a [...]

Blending Empathy and Justice

Sotomayor2

President Obama praised Sonia Sotomayor’s “empathy” when he nominated her for the Supreme Court. Some have argued that empathy has no place in jurisprudence, but legal scholar Joel K. Goldstein finds historical precedents to the contrary.

School to Prison Pipeline

School to Prison Pipeline

Public forum: Is There a School to Prison Pipeline at the Pasadena Unified School District? Soaring dropout rates, rising suspensions and expulsions, police on campus, overly harsh one-size-fits-all discipline policies, high poverty rates, court involvement and juvenile detention all suggest the pipeline to prison is present at the Pasadena Unified School District. Join us to [...]

Top Torture Lawyers Still in Government

John A. Rizzo

We’ve heard of John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales , and maybe even Jay Bybee. Some of us recall John Ashcroft , Michael Mukasey , and even David Addington. Michael Haynes, Stephen Bradbury, and Douglas Feith occasionally make the news. If I had any say about it all 40 of these facilitators of torture would be [...]

CIA Crucified Captive in Abu Ghraib Prison

abu graib

The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine. “A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs,” the magazine’s [...]

Empathy, the Truth Behind the Hypocrisy

Ron Kovic

The Republicans are searching through Judge Sotomayor’s old speeches and party conversations to find trash to dump on her in their talk radio slime sessions. For honest people, it is more important to look at and consider what she actually said in legal decisions she wrote while she’s been a judge, deciding cases. When it [...]

Health and Human Rights in South Los Angeles

homeless

While the LA Times was writing about gang violence in South LA, more than 700 people gathered on June 5th for the first South Los Angeles Health and Human Rights Conference to consider the institutional violence visited on the people who live there. At the California Science Center, health care professionals, community organizers and advocates [...]

Should Catholic Justices Recuse Themselves on Certain Cases?

abortion

If Sonia Sotomayer, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, joins the court she will turn its five Catholic members into a two-thirds majority. She will in fact be replacing one of the two Protestants who remained on the court. This dramatic change in the composition of the Supreme Court can be traced to the [...]

Plea Bargains in the Criminal McJustice System

Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham

In Philadelphia, it is time for a new district attorney. The current D.A. Lynne Abraham is retiring, and none too soon – after 18 years in the position, she has been called “America’s deadliest D.A.” for her exceptionally voracious appetite in seeking the death penalty. Without question, most of the people sentenced to death were [...]

Prisoners’ Rights: An Oxymoron?

prison

More than 100 people of all races and all ages traveled to Watts from several California counties on Saturday May 30, sharing a single desire: Bring our loved ones homes. They weren’t talking about family members serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. These are the families torn apart when someone is sent to prison with an [...]

Sonia Sotomayor – A “Safe” or Visionary Pick

sotomayor_warren

President Barack Obama has made his imprint on the history of the federal judiciary with the nomination of the first Latina to the United States Supreme Court. Federal Appeals Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, was at the top of the President’s “short list” from the time Associate Justice David Souter announced his retirement. There had been [...]

Stop Wasting Money on Executions

ramona-ripston

Capital Punishment is Too Expensive California remains on track to spend over $1 billion on the death penalty in the next five years, in the midst of the worst financial crisis in nearly a century. Incredibly, even as state officials announce that they must fill a deficit of $21.3 billion this year, and contemplate drastic [...]

Save $1 Billion in Five Years—End the Death Penalty in California

prison

In the market for a prime piece of real estate? Governor Schwarzenegger has the deal for you! Facing a $21.3 Billion budget deficit in California, Schwarzenegger has offered to sell state-owned property to make up the difference. The crown jewel of the proposed fire sale is San Quentin State Prison, home to California’s death row [...]

Troy Anthony Davis – Executing the Innocent

Video thumbnail for youtube video Troy Anthony Davis - Executing the Innocent

Troy Anthony Davis – Executing the Innocent I’ve posted several pieces on the tragic case of Troy Anthony Davis. I can’t let this story go. The more I study the law, the more I’m convinced there are times when the administration of the law can be far removed from questions of guilt or innocence. A [...]

Color of Law: Please Don’t Feed the Prison Monster

justice-maze

At its worst, America’s criminal justice system represents the place where racism, greed and corruption intersect. At its best, it is inherently flawed, unjust, and unreliable, and little better than its worst. The engine that drives this injustice system is known as the prison industrial complex. It is the theater in which the nation’s foremost [...]

Prosecute George W. Bush for Illegal Acts

us-torture

The Obama administration is reluctant to turn over too many rocks in the Bush administration’s conduct in the War on Terror. Obama has pledged to reach a post-partisan nirvana, and Republicans could condemn any investigation of Bush administration abuse of the republic as a partisan witch-hunt. Also, the Obama administration has a conflict of interest [...]

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