AlterNet.org: Nicole Flatow http://orums.alternet.org/authors/nicole-flatow-0 en Oops! Maryland Police Chief Cites Fake News Story While Testifying Against Pot Legalization http://orums.alternet.org/drugs/oops-maryland-police-chief-cites-fake-news-story-while-testifying-against-pot-legalization <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '963207'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=963207" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">And he still stands by it!</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/pot_3.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Testifying against bills that would legalize or decriminalize marijuana, the police chief for Annapolis, Md., <a href="http://www.capitalgazette.com/blogs/under_the_dome/annapolis-police-chief-cites-hoax-story-in-opposition-to-marijuana/article_97c304e5-b485-5981-9197-9b5f9f5f97e7.html">cited a fake news story</a> that reported 37 people died on the first day Colorado’s recreational marijuana law went into effect.</p><p>“The first day of legalization, that’s when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana,” Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop said Tuesday at a committee hearing, according to the Capital Gazette. “I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths.”</p><p>Maryland Sen. Jamie Raskin (D) immediately corrected Pristoop and pointed out that he seemed to be citing a <a href="http://dailycurrant.com/2014/01/02/marijuana-overdoses-kill-37-in-colorado-on-first-day-of-legalization/">fake story</a> by the satirical news site, The Daily Currant, the Gazette reported.</p><p>“Unless you have some other source for this, I’m afraid I’ve got to spoil the party here,” Raskin said.</p><p>But Pristoop wasn’t ready to back down, saying, “If it was a misquote, then I’ll stand behind the mistake. But I’m holding on to information I was provided.”</p><p>He later conceded to the Gazette that he had made a mistake, saying, “I’m guilty of being a human being. I tried really hard to present verified facts.” He nonetheless stood by his position that <a href="http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/02/25/light-or-legal-md-lawmakers-move-forward-on-marijuana-bills/">kids aren’t fully informed</a> about how dangerous marijuana is, and it should therefore remain illegal.</p><p>Not only was The Daily Currant story a hoax; it is virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana (<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/03/marijuana-deaths_n_3860418.html">unless you consume</a> 20,000 times as much THC as there is in a joint) and there are no known cases. That the police chief of Maryland’s capital city doesn’t know that “underscores why we should not be treating drug issues with a law enforcement approach,” said Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell.</p><p>The bills pending before the Maryland legislature <a href="http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/02/25/light-or-legal-md-lawmakers-move-forward-on-marijuana-bills/">take two approaches</a> to reducing marijuana penalties. One “light” bill — a decriminalization measure — makes possession of less than 10 grams a civil offense subject only to a citation and a fine. Another <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/15/maryland-marijuana-bill-proposal_n_4603971.html">legalization bill</a> would create a tax and regulate system similar to those in Colorado and Washington.</p><div> </div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '963207'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=963207" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 06:57:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, Think Progress 963207 at http://orums.alternet.org Drugs Drugs Media News & Politics marijuana legalization the Daily Currant Annapolis Police Chief reefer madness Jordan Davis’ Mother Says Killing Of Her Unarmed Teen Son Was Racial http://orums.alternet.org/jordan-davis-mother-says-killing-her-unarmed-teen-son-was-racial <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '962111'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=962111" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Since the death of her son, Lucia McBath has become a national spokesperson for Mothers Demand Action For Gun Sense In America.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/jordan_davis.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The mother of the unarmed teen shot and killed by Michael Dunn after a dispute over loud music responded to the public comments of two jurors this week that race did not play a factor in their deliberations, saying the role of race “cannot be denied.”</p><p>In an interview on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry Sunday, Lucia McBath said, “We know that race is an element of our case.”</p><p>The jury could not come to a consensus last week on the question of whether Dunn was guilty of first degree murder for shooting and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis in a Jacksonville convenience store parking lot, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/02/15/3286451/make-sense-dunn-verdict/">leading to a mistrial</a> on that charge. They did, however, convict Dunn of attempted second degree murder of several of Davis’s friends, who were in the vehicle with Davis as Dunn fired ten rounds at the sport utility vehicle.</p><p>Two jurors who discussed the jury deadlock on national television this week conceded that what split the panel was the question of whether Dunn’s actions were protected by Florida’s self-defense law. <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/02/20/3312751/juror-panel-believed-michael-dunn-justified-shooting-jordan-davis/">Juror #4</a>, identified as Valerie, pointed to a section of the jury instructions that includes the state’s notorious Stand Your Ground law as being central to their deliberations. She added, however, that race was not a factor in their deliberations.</p><p>Asked to react to the jurors’ comments, McBath said that while she “can’t personally speak for those jurors,” it is her “belief that at some point in time, there had to be some thought of race.” Davis’ father went even further in an interview with CNN earlier this week, saying he <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/20/jordan-davis-parents-rip-juror-8-she-wasnt-paying-attention-to-the-trial/">did not think Juror #8 was being genuine</a> when she said she did not consider race. “For her as an African-American female to go into this case, with this type of evidence, with this type of rage, with [Dunn] saying, ‘Thug music’? How can you as a juror not think that this was about race?”</p><p>The jury did hear evidence from Dunn’s fiancée that Dunn said “I hate this thug music” shortly before shooting at the boys after a dispute in which he asked them to turn their music down. Dunn says he believed Davis was armed. But no gun was found at the scene.</p><p>What the jury didn’t hear was significant other evidence of Dunn’s animus toward African Americans, released during the trial by the State Attorney’s Office. In <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/02/04/3242661/florida-man-shot-black-teen-loud-music-dispute-faces-murder-charge-week/">letters Dunn wrote from jail</a>, he said, “The more time I am exposed to these people, the more prejudiced against them I become.” And in <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/02/18/3300561/michael-dunn-compares-rape-victim-newly-released-calls-prison/">audio of phone calls</a> released days later, he described himself as in a room with three black guys and commented, “I guess it would be better than being in a room with them animals.” He also called himself both the “victim” and the “victor” and analogized himself to a rape victim. McBath said she believes that evidence will be introduced when Dunn is tried again on the murder charge this summer.</p><p>Watch the interview with McBath:</p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.alternet.org/files/styles/large/public/media-youtube/pYvrQhOejRM.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><p>Studies have shown that white defendants with black victims are <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/28/2541231/ways-criminal-justice-civil-rights-crisis-time/">far more likely</a> to have their killings deem “justified” in states with the Stand Your Ground laws. And the U.S. Civil Rights Commission <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/03/2088491/civil-rights-commission-approves-rare-investigation-to-probe-stand-your-grounds-racial-bias/">approved its first full-blown investigation</a> in decades to assess the role race plays in Stand Your Ground laws.</p><p>Since the death of her son, McBath has become a national spokesperson for Mothers Demand Action For Gun Sense In America. She gave impassioned testimony to the Florida legislature last year, urging passage of a bill to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. But rather than approve the repeal bill, that House committee <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/08/2915351/florida-house-panel-rejects-stand-ground-repeal-expand/">advanced another bill</a> that would instead expand the Stand Your Ground statute. After <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/02/11/3273881/shooter-stands-trial-jacksonville-teens-shooting-death-nra-lobbying-expand-florida-stand-ground/">NRA lobbying</a> during the Dunn trial that failed to mention the bill’s Stand Your Ground expansion, <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/florida-lawmakers-vote-to-expand--stand-your-ground--law-200940342.html">another House committee</a> approved the bill this week.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '962111'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=962111" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 07:00:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, ThinkProgress 962111 at http://orums.alternet.org Activism Human Rights News & Politics Jordan Davis stand your ground Michael Dunn Florida Man Hops Fence to Shoot and Kill 21-year-old in a Hoodie — Then Claims Self Defense http://orums.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/florida-man-hops-fence-shoot-and-kill-21-year-old-hoodie-then-claims-self-defense <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '950049'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=950049" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Does &#039;stand your ground&#039; include chasing someone?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/gun_1.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>On Thursday, an Orlando man shot and killed a 21-year-old who was fleeing his yard. He didn’t appear to be stealing anything, according to witness accounts. He didn’t appear to be threatening anybody. But Claudius Smith said he feared he was a burglar, followed him over the fence to a neighboring apartment complex, where he shot him after he said he felt threatened, according to a confession documented in an Orlando Police Department report. Smith even said he feared victim Ricardo Sanes was armed “because his pants were falling down” and his hands were in his hoodie pockets, according to a report <a href="http://staugustine.com/news/florida-news/2014-01-21/another-stand-your-ground-case-florida-shooting-suspect-claims-he-was#.Ut7IMmQo7C9">obtained by the Orlando Sentinel</a>.</p><p>Now, <a href="http://staugustine.com/news/florida-news/2014-01-21/another-stand-your-ground-case-florida-shooting-suspect-claims-he-was#.Ut7IMmQo7C9">questions are emerging</a> about whether Smith will also invoke the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which gained notoriety over the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shot in a Florida residential development while wearing a hoodie. Law enforcement officials don’t seem to believe Stand Your Ground applies. Smith has already been charged with second-degree murder. But that <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/01/06/3122411/florida-appeals-court-grants-immunity-shooter-bar-brawl/">doesn’t stop a judge</a> from granting Stand Your Ground immunity later. In one of the most recent Florida court decisions on Stand Your Ground, an appeals court <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/01/06/3122411/florida-appeals-court-grants-immunity-shooter-bar-brawl/">granted Stand Your Ground immunity</a> to a man who went to his car to get a gun before the fatal incident.</p><p>According to statements by Smith’s girlfriend, Angela Kemraj, to police, the incident started when she saw a man in the yard on surveillance cameras and reported it to Smith. She said they saw the individual in dark clothes and a hoodie leaving their yard without anything in his hands, and climbing over the fence to a neighboring apartment complex. Smith then left the apartment and climbed over the fence. Two minutes later, Kemraj said she heard gunshots. Soon after, Smith came back to the apartment and said Sanes tried to rob him, without mentioning the shooting. During initial police questioning, Smith later denied knowledge about the shooting, and only later confessed, claiming he shot in self-defense.</p><div> </div><p><input id="mac_address" type="hidden" value="" /></p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><br /><p><input id="mac_address" type="hidden" value="" /></p> </div></div></div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '950049'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=950049" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 22 Jan 2014 07:15:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, Think Progress 950049 at http://orums.alternet.org News & Politics Human Rights News & Politics florida stand your ground self defense gun violence vigilanteism New Hampshire House Becomes First Legislative Body to Pass Bill Legalizing Recreational Pot http://orums.alternet.org/drugs/new-hampshire-house-becomes-first-legislative-body-pass-bill-legalizing-recreational-pot <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '947917'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=947917" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">It was a close vote and Gov. Maggie Hassan vows to veto it, but legalization marches on.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/pot_1.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The New Hampshire House became the first legislative body Wednesday to <a href="http://www.boston.com/news/local/new-hampshire/2014/01/15/house-voting-decriminalizing-marijuana/MxjLXfOv74HX1kCY4f3I5J/story.html">pass a bill</a>legalizing recreational marijuana. The bill is modeled on the laws passed by ballot initiative in Washington and Colorado, and would legalize up to an ounce of possession, tax and regulate distribution, and allow individuals to grow up to six plants.</p><p>The bill passed Wednesday only after it failed just an hour earlier. On a first vote, lawmakers voted to kill the bill by a margin of two. They then moved to reconsider the bill and voted 170-162 on favor.</p><p>While the vote was hailed by the Marijuana Policy Project as the first in a legislative chamber to support treating marijuana like alcohol, the bill has little chance of becoming law. The Senate has rejected even less aggressive decriminalization measures in the past, and Gov. Maggie Hassan vowed to veto the bill. In July, Hassan signed a medical marijuana bill.</p><p>Advocates are nonetheless hopeful that polling might change some lawmakers’ minds. A recent University of New Hampshire poll found that <a href="http://cola.unh.edu/sites/cola.unh.edu/files/research_publications/gsp2013_fall_gastaxpot102513.pdf">60 percent of state residents</a> support legalizing marijuana for recreational use.</p><p>Richard Van Wickler, Superintendent of Corrections in New Hampshire’s Cheshire County, said the house vote “has proven the legalization of marijuana is a politically viable, mainstream issue with the potential to improve public safety and benefit the community in numerous ways.” “This state now has an opportunity to modernize its views and recalibrate its moral compass in a way that provides an example of leadership the rest of the country will soon follow,” he added, in a statement issued by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition after the vote.</p><p>A number of states are now eyeing bills to reform their marijuana laws. Medical marijuana bills are moving into southern states, including <a href="http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/582167/Marijuana-bill-may-be-added-to-legislative-session.html?nav=5061">South Carolina</a> and Florida. In Florida, support for medical marijuana is viewed as a <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-14/florida-pot-vote-seen-helping-democrat-become-governor.html">potentially decisive issue</a> in the governor’s race. A decriminalization measure is <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/01/15/3167731/washington-poised-remove-criminal-penalties-marijuana/">poised to pass</a> in Washington, D.C. And states eyeing legalization ballot initiatives include <a href="http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/01/13/advocates-marijuana-legalization-turn-attention-massachusetts/MrAdSmnUclODSIk2BrmuQK/story.html">Massachusetts</a>, <a href="http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/01/10/marijuana-legalization-may-win-the-west-and-dc-in-2014">California, Alaska</a>, <a href="http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20140102arizona-marijuana-initiative.html">Arizona</a>, and even<a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=legalization+ballot+initiatives&amp;rlz=1C1CHMO_enUS565US566&amp;oq=legalization+ballot+initiatives&amp;aqs=chrome..69i57j0.2749j0j4&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;espv=210&amp;es_sm=93&amp;ie=UTF-8">Wyoming</a>. Advocates are <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/09/09/will-these-10-states-be-next-to-legalize-pot/">aiming for legislative legalization</a> in several other states, including Rhode Island and Hawaii.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '947917'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=947917" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 09:51:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, ThinkProgress 947917 at http://orums.alternet.org Drugs Drugs News & Politics marijuana legalization of marijuana. New Hampshire recreational pot colorado DOJ To Schools: Stop Sending Kids To Jail For Breaking Discipline Rules http://orums.alternet.org/education/doj-schools-stop-sending-kids-jail-breaking-discipline-rules <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '945219'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=945219" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Here&#039;s why the Justice Department needed to intervene in student discipline.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_138967847.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The Department of Justice <a href="http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/January/14-ag-0014.html">issued new guidance Wednesday</a> aimed at curbing harsh, discriminatory over-punishment of school discipline violations. The materials disseminated with the Department of Education aim to increase legal compliance after DOJ filed several lawsuits against cities that dole out criminal punishment to students for violations as minor as <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/27/1239111/mississippi-county-jails-kids-for-school-dress-code-violations-tardiness-doj-alleges/">dress code violations</a>.</p><p>“A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder <a href="http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/ag/speeches/2013/ag-speech-131221.html">said Wednesday</a>.</p><p>These policies have trapped students in what is known as the school-to-prison pipeline, which funnels students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. This pipeline has had a dramatic disproportionate impact on black students with disabilities. Fueling this trend are “zero tolerance” policies that impose harsh punishment for minor violations, and oftentimes remove school officials’ discretion. In some states such as Michigan, zero tolerance is mandated by a state law. The DOJ’s announcement is supported by reports and research that paint a picture of perverse, counter-productive school disciplinary policy:</p><p><strong>Kids are arrested for wearing the wrong color socks and starting food fights.</strong> In Meridian, Miss., it was school officials – not police – who determined who should be arrested. Schools seeking to discipline students called the police, and police policy was to <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/27/1239111/mississippi-county-jails-kids-for-school-dress-code-violations-tardiness-doj-alleges/">arrest all children referred to the agency</a>, according to a Department of Justice lawsuit that was <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/03/25/1764821/mississippi-school-district-agrees-stop-suspending-kids-for-dress-code-violations/">settled last March</a>. The lawsuit called the the city’s police department a de facto “taxi service” shuttling students from school to juvenile detention centers. In Texas, another DOJ lawsuit highlighted one county’s policy of filing <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/14/2156481/texas-county-uses-electronic-system-to-file-automatic-criminal-charges-for-student-truancy-complaint-alleges/">automatic criminal charges against students</a> for truancy. And in Florida, Broward County agreed in November reform its policy after a spate of arrests for rule violations as minor as <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/05/2889831/florida-school-prison-pipeline-reform/">starting a food fight</a>.</p><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/education/black-students-face-more-harsh-discipline-data-shows.html?_r=0"><strong>One in five black boys</strong></a><strong>have received an out-of-school suspension</strong>, according to 2012 Department of Education data. And black students with disabilities are three times more likely to be expelled, a punishment that sets kids in zero-tolerance systems up for later criminal punishment. Other regional statistics tell a similar story. In Chicago, for example, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/04/2096701/three-out-of-four-kids-in-chicagos-school-to-prison-pipeline-are-black/">three-fourths of kids</a> arrested in public school were black. This disparate impact perpetuates a cycle of criminal justice over-exposure that <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/28/2541231/ways-criminal-justice-civil-rights-crisis-time/">follows many African Americans throughout their lives</a> and yields astronomical incarceration rates.</p><p><strong>Research suggests almost half of all black males are arrested by age 23.</strong> Years of zero tolerance and over-policing policies have manifest themselves in data: an estimated <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/01/07/3130401/study-half-black-males-arrested-age-23/">49 percent of all young black males</a> now enter the job market with an arrest record, as well as 44 percent of Hispanic males. These arrests not only impose obstacles to a lifetime of success; they also clog the criminal justice system. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year, a juvenile county chief judge in Georgia lamented that one-third of cases before him were students arrested not because they posed a threat, but because they “<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/13/1329481/juvenile-judge-my-court-was-inundated-with-non-dangerous-kids-arrested-because-they-make-adults-mad/">make adults mad</a>.”</p><p><strong>Those who have police contact early in life are more likely to commit crimes later.</strong> Several recent studies have confirmed that locking kids up not only diverts kids away from education; it also makes them more likely to commit more crimes later. In one study, students in gang-prevention programs in seven cities were followed over the course of seven years. Some students were subject to random stops by police, even when they hadn’t done anything wrong, while others were not. Those who had police contact early on <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/01/2391991/study-youths-stopped-by-police-more-likely-to-commit-crimes-later/">committed five more delinquent acts</a> on average, and were more likely to rationalize their behavior. Another study in Chicago found that those locked up as youths were <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/17/2166481/study-throwing-kids-in-jail-makes-crime-worse-ruins-lives/">more likely to commit crimes later</a>, even as compared to other youths who had committed similar offenses but were not incarcerated.</p><p><strong>More than half of youths are detained for offenses that do not threaten public safety.</strong> Data collected this summer by the National Juvenile Justice Network and Texas Public Policy Foundation <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/19/2180791/youth-incarceration-dropped-40-percent-but-most-still-detained-for-minor-offenses/">found that</a>, as of 2010, “almost 60 percent of confined youth in the U.S. (41,877) were still detained and imprisoned for offenses that do not pose substantial threats to public safety. These include misdemeanors, drug use, non-criminal or status offenses (e.g., curfew violations, truancy, running away), failure to show up for parole meetings, and breaking school rules.” The study also found that the rate of juvenile detentions had dropped significantly from an all-time high in 2000, but that policies of over-criminalizing student discipline continue to prevail.</p><p>Justice Department intervention in several notorious jurisdictions has already <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/03/1958531/georgia-to-lock-up-fewer-people-and-cut-costs-after-passing-sweeping-prison-reform/">prompted some reform</a>. But zero-tolerance policies remain popular. In Michigan, a student was recently arrested, expelled for 180 days, and placed on house arrest over allegations that he started a physical altercation with his teacher by grabbing a confiscated note from her hand. Months later, <a href="http://www.mlive.com/education/index.ssf/2014/01/a_tussle_over_a_note_in_class.html?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+michigan-news+%28Michigan+News%2C+Updates%2C+Photos%2C+Videos+and+Opinions+-+MLive.com%29">a judge agreed to wipe his record clean</a>, but the district superintended <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/27/student-expelled-kill-list_n_3996650.html">lamented</a> that she lacked the power to do anything in the interim, saying, “It is up to state policy makers to revise these zero tolerance laws, and until that happens, we will continue to follow our legal mandates as they are.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '945219'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=945219" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 08:39:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, ThinkProgress 945219 at http://orums.alternet.org Education Education education zero tolerance policies k-12 school to prison pipeline eric holder obama administration incarcerated youth racism students with disabilities 6 Things You Should Know About Buying Pot In Colorado http://orums.alternet.org/6-things-you-should-know-about-buying-pot-colorado <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '942321'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=942321" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Here are some key facts about the historic roll-out of legal marijuana. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2014-01-01_at_5.57.45_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>January 1 marked a high point for Colorado’s Amendment 64 — the first day recreational marijuana businesses can legally operate in the state. A little more than a year after Colorado passed its ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, individuals can for the first time sell, produce, and purchase marijuana legally, even without a doctor’s prescription. But to both those eager to light up and those fearful of the consequences, it is worth remembering that there remain more restrictions on the marijuana industry than there are allowances, which proponents hope will better control the health and safety of the industry. With Colorado’s law, federal law, and local law all affecting regulation, here are some key facts about Wednesday’s roll-out:</p><h4>In-state residents can only buy an ounce at a time. Out-of-staters are limited to 1/4 ounce.</h4><p><br />You can’t smoke in public, especially not on federal property.As with alcohol, you must be 21 or older to buy marijuana in Colorado. And if you’re a Coloradan, you can’t buy more than an ounce in a single transaction — the <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=H2csrHXr">equivalent of about 60 joint</a>s. Out-of-state residents, however, can only buy a quarter of an ounce. This is because the state wants to give those individuals only enough to use while they’re visiting, and deter them from taking pot back to their state, where marijuana is almost certainly more restricted. There’s<a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=H2csrHXr">nothing explicit in the law, however, preventing consumers</a>from making two purchases in a day, aside from the fact that it limits possession to one ounce, and the cost. A full ounce costs from $150 to $300 in the medical marijuana market. Recreational prices could be even higher, particularly once sellers add on the <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/06/2898651/cities-voted-remove-penalties-marijuana-possession/">25 percent tax</a> approved by Colorado voters.</p><p><br />You can grow your own pot, but you can’t sell it if you’re not licensed by the state.While marijuana purchase and possession of up to an ounce are legalized, public display and consumption are not. You can’t smoke marijuana in the street, but you also can’t smoke it at any bars, clubs, or even <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=H2csrHXr">at a marijuana store</a>. While public smoking is prohibited, the state penalty is <a href="http://norml.org/laws/item/colorado-penalties">considered a petty offense</a> carrying a penalty of $100 fine or up to 15 days in jail. Federal prosecution could subject you to a much greater penalty, however, particularly for those smoking on public property. Possession of marijuana on federal land is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. After the Washington and Colorado ballot initiatives were passed, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/06/1293051/5-things-you-should-know-before-smoking-pot-in-washington-state/">issued a statement</a> reminding that “it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses.”</p><p><br />You can’t take marijuana out of the state.The major component of Colorado’s law that goes into effect January 1 is the licensing and oversight of the marijuana industry. Those wishing to sell or produce marijuana applied to the state for a license. In the first round, only those already operating as medical marijuana dispensaries were considered. And out of more than 500 medical dispensaries, only <a href="http://gazette.com/list-and-map-colorado-issues-136-licenses-for-recreational-marijuana-sales/article/1511511">136 are now also authorized</a> to sell recreational marijuana without a doctor’s recommendation — so long as they comply with the state’s <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/29/2070641/five-ways-colorado-will-regulate-marijuana-like-alcohol/">extensive testing and state oversight rules</a> to ensure the safety of the product. Those wishing to consume pot in the state can either grow their own — up to six plants — or they can buy it at a licensed dispensary. But if they want to share it with their friends, no money should change hands, since nobody without a license is permitted to sell pot, even through hand-to-hand transactions.</p><p>Recreational marijuana is only legal in Colorado and Washington. So once you leave the Colorado border, you are entering territory with another, more restrictive state marijuana law. Surrounding states including <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/ci_23744191/kansas-at-crossroads-marijuana-trafficking">Kansas</a> and<a href="http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20121116/NEWS01/311160043/Wyoming-Colorado-marijuana-laws-collide-border">Wyoming</a> have already seen increasing busts of marijuana near the borders after the passage of the ballot initiative last year legalized possession. And one of the <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/29/2551851/breaking-justice-department-wont-challenge-state-marijuana-laws-announces-major-shift-law-enforcement-policy/">major concerns of the federal government</a> that could change their hands-off approach to marijuana is the interstate transport of pot. So while the feds may steer clear of prosecuting state-compliant Colorado dispensaries for now, they may get more aggressive about prosecuting even small-time marijuana offenses at the state border.</p><h4>You may have to travel a long way to find a legal dispensary.</h4><p><br />Federal authorities are cracking down hard on the bad actors.Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved the marijuana legalization ballot initiative, but that doesn’t mean the localities want dispensaries in their own jurisdiction. As of September,<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/09/23/2663401/as-colorado-moves-toward-legal-pot-shops-more-than-100-localities-ban-or-delay-sales/">more than 100 localities</a> had banned dispensaries or imposed a moratorium, including most of the ten largest cities in Colorado. In fact, out of 136 dispensaries that received state licenses to sell recreational marijuana, 102 are <a href="http://gazette.com/list-and-map-colorado-issues-136-licenses-for-recreational-marijuana-sales/article/1511511">in Denver</a>. So while possession remains legal everywhere, finding a legal place for purchase will be a significant burden in some parts of the state, potentially increasing the likelihood that some will violate the state law.</p><p>Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And for years, to the dismay of the medical marijuana community, federal authorities continued to go after state dispensaries seemingly in compliance with state laws. But this past November, they conducted a raid that seemed aimed solely at those violating or exploiting the state’s medical marijuana law, and <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/altered_state/2013/12/colorado_marijuana_legalization_will_the_state_s_ambitious_plan_to_track.html">seemingly had the support</a> even of the medical marijuana community. In fact, as Sam Kamin and Joel Westword explained recently in Slate, the state is <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/altered_state/2013/12/colorado_marijuana_legalization_will_the_state_s_ambitious_plan_to_track.2.html">going to need all the help it can get</a> tracking the plant from seed to sale, and enforcing its own scheme of regulation. So while the feds may look the other way as those complying with Colorado law violate the Controlled Substances Act, those violating the new Colorado law may find themselves even more susceptible to punishment by state and federal authorities.</p><h4>Medical marijuana patients will have increased access.</h4><p><br />Colorado already has a medical marijuana law that allows those with a doctor’s approval to buy pot from state dispensaries. But the law doesn’t help everybody. Some medical conditions are not covered by the law, meaning a doctor can’t prescribe marijuana for those ailments. And some may not have taken advantage simply because they are embarrassed to ask their doctor for a recommendation. Under the new law, all of these folks have access. In fact, the<a href="http://www.mpp.org/media/press-releases/first-legal-marijuana-sales-1.html"> first official patient</a> scheduled to purchase marijuana Wednesday morning was an Iraq War veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that is <a href="http://www.mpp.org/media/press-releases/first-legal-marijuana-sales-1.html">not covered</a> by the state’s medical marijuana law<br />.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '942321'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=942321" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 01 Jan 2014 14:51:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, Think Progress 942321 at http://orums.alternet.org pot 10 Most Appalling Failures of the American Justice System This Year http://orums.alternet.org/10-most-appalling-failures-american-justice-system-year <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '940665'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=940665" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The American criminal justice system is grossly unfair. Here are the worst stories of the year. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2013-12-25_at_2.04.06_pm.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> </p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">Every year, stories emerge that serve as a reminder that the American system of justice means injustice for too many, with some receiving little or no punishment for egregious offenses, while others receive harsh or faulty punishment for much less. Here are some of the worst injustices of 2013:</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">1. An Alabama blogger is still sitting in a jail cell for exercising his First Amendment rights</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">Blogger Roger Shuler drew the ire of the powers that be when he continued to write about the alleged extramarital affair of a prominent lawyer rumored to be running for Congress. The lawyer and son of former Alabama governor Bob Riley, Robert Riley, Jr., won a temporary restraining order that <a href="http://www.rcfp.org/sites/default/files/docs/20131025_182328_riley_petition.pdf" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">prohibited</a> Shuler from writing anything about Riley’s alleged extramarital affair and other related stories. The order itself was almost certainly a violation of First Amendment law. But Alabama officials took the dispute a step further when they pursued him for a traffic stop and <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/10/30/2859291/alabama-blogger-arrested-jailed-writing-governors-son/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">arrested him for contempt</a>. In spite of advocacy from the ACLU and others, Shuler has now been in a<a href="http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); "> jail cell for two months</a> for his journalism.</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">2. A teen spent three years in jail without a conviction or trial</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old sophomore in high school walking home from a party in the Bronx when he was arrested on a tip that he robbed someone three weeks earlier. He was hauled off to Rikers Island, a prison known for punishing conditions and overuse of force, and was held because he couldn’t pay the $10,000 bail. Browder went to court on several occasions, but he was never scheduled for trial. After <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/25/2987871/teen-jailed-rikers-3-years-conviction-trial/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">33 months in jail</a>, Browder said a judge offered freedom in exchange for a guilty plea, threatening that he could face 15 years in jail if convicted. He refused. Then one day, he was released with no explanation. While Browder was behind bars, he missed years of his childhood, and is now aiming to attain his GED. Browder spent a particularly long time behind bars before his trial, but the practice of holding those charged but not convicted who cannot afford bail for months is <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/04/09/1836961/how-new-jersey-defendants-receive-a-ten-month-sentence-for-being-poor/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">all-too-common</a>. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the appeal last term of a Louisiana man who <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/04/29/1935291/supreme-court-rejects-remedy-for-man-who-waited-7-years-behind-bars-before-trial/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">waited seven years behind bars</a> without a trial because the state stalled in appointing him a lawyer.</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">3. A man who killed an escort for refusing sex was acquitted by a jury</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">On Christmas Eve, Ezekiel Gilbert hired escort Lenora Ivie Frago and gave her $150 as what he believed was a payment for sex. But when she didn’t deliver that, Gilbert shot her in the neck and she died several months later from critical injuries. A jury<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/06/2117161/jury-acquits-texas-man-for-murder-of-escort-who-refused-sex/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); "> acquitted Gilbert</a> after his lawyer argued that he was authorized to use deadly force under a Texas provision that goes even farther than Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in authorizing the use of deadly force to “retrieve stolen property at night.” As in any jury trial, we’ll <a href="http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/06/08/no-texas-law-does-not-say-you-can-shoot-an-escort-who-refuses-to-have-sex/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">never know</a> if that’s the reasoning the jury accepted when it acquitted Gilbert. Regardless, he will not face any criminal penalty for the shooting.</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">4. A wealthy teen used the ‘Affluenza’ defense to skirt jail time for four deaths</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">After 16-year-old Ethan Couch took an intoxicated ride around town with his friends that ended with four deaths and several others critically injured, Couch pleaded guilty to intoxication homicide. But when his lawyer argued at trial that he was not capable of taking responsible for his own actions because of a condition known as “affluenza” that afflicts the very wealthy, the judge <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/12/12/3053821/teen-killed-sentenced-probation-testimony-suffers-affluenza/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">sentenced him to ten years’ probation</a> in a plush Southern California rehabilitation facility, for which his parents would cover the $450,000 per year bill.</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">The travesty here is not that Couch was sentenced so lightly. He was a juvenile who, there is reason to believe, did not have good parental supervision and may be receptive to rehabilitation. What is alarming is that Couch was able to use his wealth to secure a lighter punishment for a crime that would have seen other Texas juveniles go to jail. Other juveniles sentenced by the same judge who presided over Couch’s case saw sentences of ten years for a <a href="http://www.dallasblack.com/communityChannel/dpunch" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">single punch that killed a stranger</a> and <a href="http://www.tdcaa.com/issues/teen-gets-10-years-attack-robbery-halloween-party" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">robberies at a Halloween party</a> that led to one injury. And around the state, others sentenced for intoxicated manslaughter have seen sentences of <a href="http://lubbockonline.com/editorials/2012-12-05/our-view-sentence-manslaughter-case-should-send-powerful-message#.Uqnd5BBn1vU" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">15 years</a> and<a href="http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/courier/news/judge-sentences-woman-to-five-years-in-intoxication-manslaughter/article_982c56f9-8bd5-5523-89c5-c04573850c9b.html?mode=image" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); "> five years</a> in prison.</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">5. A man whose testimony was beaten out of him spent 30 years in prison before he was released last month</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">More than a decade ago, a special prosecutor undertook an investigation that revealed a longtime Chicago Police Department detective and commander had routinely tortured black men to coerce them into confessions or false testimony. Some of the convictions were reversed. A few others were pardoned by then-Governor Ryan. And Jon Graham Burge was convicted on related perjury charges and sent to jail.</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">But Burge’s misconduct is still taking its toll on many of the 148 people who claimed abuse<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/12/13/3061181/30-years-prison-judge-releases-inmate-testimony-beaten/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">Just last month</a>, a man who spent more than 30 years in jail <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/11/chicago-police-torture-stanley-wrice/3991469/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">was released</a> after Judge Richard Walsh found that officers had lied about beating Stanley Wrice with a flashlight and a 20-inch piece of rubber, and about imposing similar treatment on a witness in Wrice’s case to elicit false testimony against him. Even as the emergence of DNA evidence has exposed the frequency of wrongful convictions, justice comes slowly or not at all for those who have already been convicted, including those who <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/23/2516721/grave-miscarriage-justice-court-tosses-conviction-man-spent-21-years-death-row/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">sat on death row</a>.</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">6. Top Enron fraudster will spend less time in prison than a father who sold his own pain pills</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">John Horner had no record of drug-dealing when he was <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/04/10/1847371/top-enron-fraudster-will-spend-less-time-in-prison-than-a-father-who-sold-his-own-pain-pills/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">sentenced to a 25-year mandatory minimum prison term</a> for selling some of his own pain pills to an undercover informant who befriended him and told him he could not afford both his rent and his prescription medication. Horner, a fast-food restaurant worker and a father, had been prescribed the pain medication because of an injury in which he lost an eye, according to a BBC report. If, as expected, he serves all 25 years, Horner will be 72 when he is released, and he will have spent more time in prison than the former Enron CEO who was convicted in one of the largest corporate fraud schemes in modern history. While Jeffrey Skilling used his expensive legal claims as leverage to <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/10/1996331/using-expensive-legal-claims-as-leverage-top-enron-fraudster-reaches-deal-to-slash-sentence/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">reach a deal</a> to serve as little 14 years, Horner is one of thousands of drug offenders serving draconian mandatory minimum sentences that far exceed this. There are now <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/13/2931171/possession-crack-pipe-small-crimes-earned-prisoners-life-parole/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">more than 3,000 inmates</a> serving life without parole sentences for nonviolent offenses, mostly drugs.</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">7. College quarterback escapes any charges in rape case</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">In November 2012, a female student at Florida State University accused FSU quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault. Instead of taking the case seriously, however, Tallahasee police conducted a flawed and mismanaged investigation, even <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2013/11/20/2975441/accuser-cops-covered-sexual-assault-investigation-florida-state-quarterback/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">warning the victim’s attorney</a>that “that Tallahassee was a big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against (Winston).” The state attorney’s office then conducted an investigation that centered more on the victim than on the suspect, according to the victim’s attorney, resulting in a “<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2013/12/13/3061621/accusers-attorney-slams-jamies-winston-sexual-assault-investigation-complete-failure/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">complete failure of a rape investigation</a>.” The state ultimately <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2013/12/05/3026731/jameis-winston/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">decided not to bring charges</a> against Winston, and we’ll never know for sure whether he’s innocent or guilty because no one took the case seriously enough to find out.</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">8. A black man remains on death row after testimony that blacks are more dangerous</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">Duane Buck is sitting on death row for a sentence that came after a psychologist testified that blacks are more likely to commit crimes. In 2000, when the psychologist’s comments were first reported, then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn <a href="http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/news/2013-06-04/judge-edith-jones-blacks-and-hispanics-more-violent/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">declared</a> that the state would not stand in the way of a new sentencing. But while Duane Buck has since <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/supreme-court-denies-appeal-on-race-tainted-death-penalty-case/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">averted execution</a>, Texas courts have denied several motions to reconsider his case, and an appeals court ruled once again in November that he <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/21/2976041/texas-court-wont-hear-appeal-inmate-sentenced-death-testimony-blacks-dangerous/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">could not be resentenced</a>.</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">9. George Zimmerman acquitted</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">Few injustices garnered as much attention and outrage as the public trial and acquittal of George Zimmerman for shooting to death 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. It was as much an outrage for the outcome as for the tragedy it represents: The shooting of a young black unarmed teen, and an American legal system and culture that supports it. While Zimmerman ultimately opted not to seek immunity from trial under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, it nonetheless<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/07/15/2301621/why-stand-your-ground-is-central-to-george-zimmermans-case-after-all/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); "> played a crucial role</a> at several stages of the case: First, in prosecutors’ decision to delay charging Zimmerman, and later, as a key element of the instructions jurors relied on in making their decisions. Several jurors who <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/07/15/2306631/zimmerman-juror-says-panel-considered-stand-your-ground-he-had-a-right-to-defend-himself/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">spoke about their deliberations</a> to the media described how <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/07/26/2363181/how-one-zimmerman-juror-went-from-second-degree-murder-to-acquittal/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">those jury instructions shaped their decision-making</a>.</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">Zimmerman has since been accused of domestic violence in several incidents involving guns. But each time, the victims later retracted their stories. And with no adjudication against him, there is<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/12/11/3052561/george-zimmerman-guns" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); "> nothing stopping Zimmerman</a> from carrying his guns.</p><h4 style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.5em 0px 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.15em; color: rgb(109, 57, 140); ">10. Shooters around the country granted immunity for causing death</h4><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">A South Carolina man <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/10/11/2769631/south-carolina-stand-ground/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">who shot and killed</a> an innocent 17-year-old sitting in his car across the street. An <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/30/2075961/with-stand-your-ground-laws-still-standing-two-alabama-shooters-escape-liability/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">Alabama woman</a> who shot her ex-boyfriend’s step-son as he walked up her driveway. A Florida man who <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/12/20/3096481/florida-man-shot-acquaintance-threatening-beat-wont-face-charges-judge-rules/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">killed an acquaintance</a> after he threatened to beat him up. Each of these defendants was granted immunity under the state Stand Your Ground laws that gained notoriety after the death of Trayvon Martin, while others like Marissa Alexander were serving 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot in self-defense (before a judge <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/12/02/3008751/florida-woman-jailed-warning-shot-released-thanksgiving/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">released her</a> pending a new trial.) Yet even in Florida, the legislature has continued to reject any moves to roll back the law, and is instead <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/12/20/3096481/florida-man-who-shot-acquaintance-for-threatening-to-beat-him-wont-face-charges-judge-rules/?preview=true" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">advancing a bill</a> to expand it.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '940665'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=940665" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 25 Dec 2013 10:49:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, Think Progress 940665 at http://orums.alternet.org criminal 5 People Obama Could Pardon in Addition to the Turkey http://orums.alternet.org/civil-liberties/5-people-obama-could-pardon-addition-turkey <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '929850'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=929850" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">There are plenty of human beings serving overly harsh sentences who deserve clemency.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/prison_5.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>A year ago this time, when President Obama issued presidential mercy to one lucky turkey, he <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/21/1229721/obamas-only-presidential-pardon-this-year-went-to-the-turkey/">hadn’t exercised this presidential pardon</a> a single time that year to spare a human being facing prison.</p><p>This year, his record was slightly improved. In 2013, President Obama pardoned 17 people. But those few pardons did <a href="http://www.propublica.org/article/clarence-aaron-still-waiting-for-clemency-months-after-report-found-pardon-">not change his record</a> of the lowest clemency rate in modern history. President Obama has the power under the U.S. Constitution to grant both pardons, which revoke an existing conviction, and commutations, which shorten an inmate’s sentence. Given the swell of recent data about overly draconian federal prison sentences, it is particularly remarkable that Obama has only commuted one sentence in his years as president. This is not for a lack of compelling cases. Clemency reform may very well be the<a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/will-obama-pardon-this-man-and-many-like-him-or-just-a-turkey-20131125">next criminal justice reform</a> item on the White House agenda, after recent moves to seek shorter sentences for some drug offenders and avert prosecutions of medical marijuana participants. With or without reform to the process for reviewing applications, here are five people Obama could grant clemency to today, each of whom represent an entire category of U.S. prisoners:</p><p>1. Fifty-five years in prison on a marijuana charge. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/09/18/2644051/rand-paul-injustice-mandatory-minimum-sentences-impossible-ignore/">spoke on his behalf</a> on the Senate floor. More than 100 prominent figures including former prosecutors and judges <a href="http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs104/1101561619973/archive/1115636568112.html">sent a letter to the White House</a> imploring his commutation. And a Change.org petition gathered tens of thousands of signatures. But Weldon Angelos <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/21/1229721/obamas-only-presidential-pardon-this-year-went-to-the-turkey/">still sits in jail</a> on a 55-year prison sentence for three small marijuana infractions and the possession of firearms that were not used or brandished. <a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/will-obama-pardon-this-man-and-many-like-him-or-just-a-turkey-20131125">He was</a> a young dad and aspiring music producer when he was sentenced in 2004. As in so many other cases, the judge who sentenced him called the mandatory minimum term “unjust, cruel, and even irrational,” and went on to point out that defendants have received shorter sentences for hijacking planes, rape, and murder. Drug offenders make up almost half of the bloated federal prison population, which has spiked 790 percent since 1980. And Weldon is among those sitting in jail for marijuana offenses, even as many states move to legalize the substance.</p><p>2. Botched by the Pardon Attorney and still waiting. Perhaps no one better stands as a symbol of the broken clemency system than <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/08/1133571/under-president-obama-mercy-is-scarce-for-those-seeking-clemency/">Clarence Aaron</a>. Aaron was a nominal player in a drug deal who is serving a triple life sentence for introducing two dealers to one another in a cocaine deal. It was the amount of drugs and money involved in the overall deal that dictated his sentence, and because several other defendants snitched away their charges, Aaron was handed the highest sentence of all. Aaron’s sentence was the result of wheeling and dealing by more experienced players who made Aaron the scapegoat. But it also resulted from a “conspiracy amendment” to federal mandatory minimum law that allows the lowest person in a so-called drug conspiracy to receive the maximum sentence. Aaron has twice applied to have his federal sentence commuted. He was the subject of a<a href="http://www.propublica.org/article/pardon-attorney-torpedoes-plea-for-presidential-mercy">groundbreaking exposé</a> about racially disparate commutations in ProPublica. And an inspector general’s report even found that the U.S. Pardon Attorney <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/12/21/1365081/inmates-request-to-shorten-harsh-drug-sentence-was-mishandled-by-us-pardon-attorney-report-finds/">mishandled his application</a>. But still he waits.</p><p>3. Life without parole for a nonviolent drug offense. In the years after <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/13/2931171/possession-crack-pipe-small-crimes-earned-prisoners-life-parole/">Jesse Webster</a>dropped out of school in ninth grade to help his mother pay the bills in the south side of Chicago, he became involved in a cocaine deal that was aborted before drugs ever changed hands. After hearing he was wanted for questioning, he turned himself in, and was convicted of possession, conspiracy, and filing false tax returns, solely on the basis of testimony by his co-defendants. He declined to become an informant in exchange for a plea deal, worried that it would put his family members at risk. While his co-defendants received less than five years each for cooperating with the government, Webster, who had no criminal record, was sentenced to life without parole by a judge who said the punishment was too high, but whose hands were tied by a mandatory minimum sentence. Webster has since completed his GED, taught himself skills, and counseled other inmates. But no matter what he does, life without parole means no chance to ever see life outside of prison. The judge who sentenced Webster wrote a letter in support of his commutation, as did the prosecutor who charged him. Webster is one of <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/13/2931171/possession-crack-pipe-small-crimes-earned-prisoners-life-parole/">more than 3,200 people</a> serving life without parole sentences for nonviolent offenses, according to recent ACLU data. The number of individuals serving out the harshest U.S. sentence short of execution has<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/09/19/2645781/prisoners-serving-life-sentences/">quadrupled</a> since 1982.</p><p>4. The medical marijuana distributor complying with state law. Chris Williams’ dispensary was considered a <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/10/04/906271/meet-the-montana-lobbyist-convincted-of-a-federal-crime-for-working-to-make-medical-marijuana-safer/">model for compliance</a> with state law in Montana, and regularly provided tours to lawmakers and other officials. But in 2011, the dispensary was raided, and federal prosecutors lobbed charges against Williams and his co-owners that would have landed them in jail for life. So each of them took plea deals in exchange for a lower mandatory minimum sentence. Williams was the most committed to defending his case, and went all the way through trial before accepting a rare post-trial plea deal to<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/02/06/1547301/montana-medical-marijuana-grower-shaves-sentence-down-from-80-years-but-hell-still-spend-5-in-jail/">reduce his 85-year-or-higher</a> sentence to five years so he could see his son’s college graduation. Compliance with state law is no defense to a violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act, so that evidence was not even admissible at trial. Another of Williams’ partners, Richard Flor, died behind bars shackled to a bed from the very ailments that caused him to join the medical marijuana movement in the first place. Now that the Obama administration has announced that it will not prioritize medical marijuana distributors complying with state law, <a href="https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/grant-full-pardon-chris-williams-man-facing-80-years-prison-legally-growing-medical-marijuana/PgtWfvFg?utm_source=wh.gov&amp;utm_medium=shorturl&amp;utm_campaign=shorturl.">Williams</a> is <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/30/2557781/jailed-medical-marijuana-stories-dojs-pot-policy-matters/">one of many distributors</a> he could pardon.</p><p>5. Sentenced to life because of a racist disparity. <a href="https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/111813-lwop-complete-report.pdf#page=40">Kenneth George Harvey Jr.</a> was convicted of possession with intent to distribute, after a vial of crack cocaine was found strapped to his leg on his way out of an airport. Before the Fair Sentencing Act was passed in 2010, the sentence was 100 times more severe for offenses involving crack cocaine, more widely used among African Americans, than for those involving powder cocaine, associated with whites. So when Harvey went before a judge in 1990, he was sentenced to life without parole, even as U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs lamented, “I do not think it was fully understood or intended by Congress in cases of this nature…but there is no authority that I know of that would permit a different sentence by me.” Sachs even went so far as to recommend that same day that Harvey’s sentence be commuted after 15 years. Harvey has now served 23 years of his sentence, and no commutation has been granted. When Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, it recognized the racism that had pervaded the sentencing for too long. Thus far, most courts have not applied the law retroactively, but the federal appeals court that has called perpetuation of this disparity<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/18/2032401/federal-appeals-court-drug-sentencing-disparity-is-intentional-racial-subjucation/">intentional racial “subjugation.”</a> President Obama could honor the spirit of the law by pardoning or commuting the sentences of the <a href="http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412932-stemming-the-tide.pdf">thousands of inmates</a> who would have already been released had the Fair Sentencing Act been in place.</p><div> </div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '929850'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=929850" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 27 Nov 2013 07:37:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, Think Progress 929850 at http://orums.alternet.org Human Rights Human Rights News & Politics presidential pardons Mandatory drug sentences drug war obama Cop Admits He Ordered Mentally Ill Black Man To Sing, Make Animal Noises http://orums.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/cop-admits-he-ordered-mentally-ill-black-man-sing-make-animal-noises <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '929371'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=929371" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A journalist says he has more than a dozen videos shot by officers, but has not shared most of them because of their “humiliating nature.”</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/0245f9cc4a6acfabf5ca9c6f2f562ed2808a27db.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>A suburban Detroit police officer <a href="http://motorcitymuckraker.com/2013/11/22/grosse-pointe-officer-admits-taking-humiliating-videos-mentally-ill-man/">admitted</a> he asked a mentally ill black man to sing and dance and video recorded the incident.</p><p>Videos and and photos with degrading portrayals of black men were submitted earlier this month to the blog, Motor City Muckraker,<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/18/2961671/michigan-police-allegedly-disseminate-video-black-men-told-dance-like-chimp/">purportedly from officers</a> who disseminated them to friends and colleagues in the upper class, majority-white Michigan suburb of Grosse Pointe Park. One video portrayed a voice alleged to be an officer asking black men to do humiliating tasks, including “dance like a chimp.” In another incident, an officer allegedly texted a photo of a black man in the back of his trailer with the text, “Gotta love the coloreds.” The journalist, Steve Neavling, told the Huffington Post that he has more than a dozen videos shot by officers, but has not shared most of them because of their “humiliating nature.”</p><p>The unnamed officer has been taken off duty and is expected to face discipline, according to Neavling. But it is not clear whether that officer was the only one responsible for the photos and videos.</p><p>The incident is one of the most overt manifestations of recent minority mistreatment <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/28/2541231/ways-criminal-justice-civil-rights-crisis-time/">by law enforcement</a>, particularly <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/07/18/2321131/one-in-four-young-black-men-experience-unfair-treatment-by-police-gallup-finds/">young black men</a>. This week, an exposé in Florida <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/22/2986611/video-recording-captures-rampant-stop-frisk-abuse-miami-gardens/">revealed an aggressive police program</a> in minority-dominated Miami Gardens is stopping the same individuals hundreds of times on disingenuous allegations of trespassing and other minor offenses. And on Friday, a federal appeals court <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/22/2986611/video-recording-captures-rampant-stop-frisk-abuse-miami-gardens/">declined to reverse</a> a federal judge’s ruling that the New York Police Department engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling in its stop-and-frisk program.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '929371'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=929371" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 09:18:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, Think Progress 929371 at http://orums.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics police detroit 16-Year-Old Jailed at Rikers for 3 Years Without Trial http://orums.alternet.org/16-year-old-jailed-rikers-3-years-without-trial <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '928805'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=928805" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">He says he spent more than 400 days in solitary confinement, was deprived of meals, and was assaulted and beaten both by officers and fellow inmates. Browder attempted suicide at least six times.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2013-11-25_at_11.04.13_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p> </p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">A teen who spent three years in a notorious New York jail without ever having been convicted or put on trial is coming forward after filing a lawsuit against New York City. In June, charges against Kalief Browder were mysteriously dropped and he was released, as first reported by <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?id=9317078" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">WABC-TV</a>.</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">Browder was a 16-year-old sophomore in high school walking home from a party in the Bronx when he was arrested on a tip that he robbed someone three weeks earlier. He was hauled off to Rikers Island, a prison known for punishing conditions and overuse of force, and was held because he couldn’t pay the $10,000 bail. Browder went to court on several occasions, but he was never scheduled for trial. After 33 months in jail, Browder said a judge offered freedom in exchange for a guilty plea, threatening that he could face 15 years in jail if convicted. He refused. Then one day, he was released with no explanation.</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">“They just dismissed the case and they think it’s all right. No apology, no nothing,” he told WABC-TV. Now at age 20 with his teen years behind him, Browder is first faced with finishing his GED and trying to make up for three years of his teen years lost.</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">Browder says he spent more than 400 days in solitary confinement, was deprived of meals, and was assaulted and beaten both by officers and fellow inmates. Browder attempted suicide at least six times. Last month he filed a lawsuit last month against the city and several agencies. The Bronx District Attorney’s office has declined to comment.</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">Browder’s story lays out a laundry list of some of the most prevalent problems with the criminal justice system. Browder was stopped in the Bronx, where the New York Police Department came under particular fire for its over-aggressive use of stops and<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/01/09/1422131/federal-court-halts-illegal-nypd-stop-and-frisks/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">unsubstantiated charges</a> of “trespassing.” He was purportedly jailed based solely on one report to police, reinforcing <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/08/28/2541231/ways-criminal-justice-civil-rights-crisis-time/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">race disparities</a> in the criminal justice system. He was held in jail pursuant to <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/04/09/1836961/how-new-jersey-defendants-receive-a-ten-month-sentence-for-being-poor/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">bail policies</a> that routinely punish the impoverished. And he was held in solitary confinement as a juvenile, even though the draconian punishment has <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/10/16/1010691/us-jails-hold-kids-as-young-as-13-in-solitary-confinement/" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">particularly detrimental long-term effects</a> on youths.</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0.4em 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; line-height: 1.6em; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Open Sans', Calibri, 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Sans', Arial, sans-serif; ">An internal review recently obtained by the Associated Press <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-review-faults-nyc-solitary-mentally-ill" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">finds a spike in use of</a> both solitary confinement and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/kalief-browder-rikers-teen-violent-new-york-prison_n_4302360.html" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); ">force by staff</a> at Rikers Island.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '928805'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=928805" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 25 Nov 2013 07:58:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, Think Progress 928805 at http://orums.alternet.org rikers prison Police Kill 19-Year-Old Iowan Who Drove Off In Parents’ Truck http://orums.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/police-kill-19-year-old-iowan-who-drove-parents-truck <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '921489'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=921489" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The boy and his father bickered over a pack of cigarettes. Now, after a shocking incident of police brutality, the teenager is dead.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_149159408.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;">Police <a href="http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20131106/NEWS/311060044/Exclusive-Interview-In-ISU-case-police-action-baffles-family?Frontpage&amp;gcheck=1&amp;nclick_check=1"><span style="color: rgb(50, 51, 51);">shot dead a 19-year-old</span></a> who drove off in his father’s truck Monday, after a dispute with his father over a pack of cigarettes.</p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;">According to audio dispatches, police knew it was the boy’s father who called the police after a minor argument.  But police pursued the moving vehicle onto the Iowa State University campus, and fired six shots into the vehicle after Tyler Comstock refused to turn the car off and revved his engine.</p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;">“It was over a damn pack of cigarettes. I wouldn’t buy him none,” Tyler’s father, James Comstock, told the DesMoines Register. “And I lose my son for that.”</p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;">The truck that Tyler took was a white and green lawn care vehicle with a trailer on the back. And the family questions why police did not stop the chase and look for the easily recognizable vehicle later. But when Tyler didn’t pull over for a stop, the incident <a href="http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_285579d4-468b-11e3-ac6b-0019bb2963f4.html"><span style="color: rgb(50, 51, 51);">devolved</span></a> into a police chase with six or seven cars involved — a violation of police department protocol, according to Iowa State Daily.</p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;">A dispatcher is heard saying, “We know the suspect, so we can probably back it off.” Someone suggested backing off a second time. But police kept going. <a href="http://www.kcci.com/news/central-iowa/dashcam-video-shows-ames-chase-shooting/-/9357080/22852990/-/3dg51cz/-/index.html"><span style="color: rgb(50, 51, 51);">Dashcam video</span></a> of the chase shows Comstock driving erratically, as police ram his vehicle, and he in turn later rams a police vehicle.</p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;">Comstock’s vehicle was stopped on the lawn of the university, where officers approached the car and asked Comstock to get out. When he didn’t, officers fired six shots into the vehicle. Comstock died of gunshot wounds to the head and chest.</p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;">Resident calls for help that end in fatal police shootings are all too common. Just last month, a Georgia resident <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/10/08/2748561/police-kill-man-after-ambulance-call/"><span style="color: rgb(50, 51, 51);">called 911 for medical assistance</span></a>, worried about whether her fiancé was acting erratically because he had overdosed on diabetes medication. But when police arrived, they say the 43-year-old man lunged at them, and killed him in front of his fiancé, and 8-year-old daughter.</p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;"> </p><p style="margin: 0px; font-family: Helvetica;">The <a href="http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-09-16/politics/42115744_1_fatal-shooting-police-officer-taser"><span style="color: rgb(50, 51, 51);">month before that</span></a>, an unarmed man was shot dead by police in North Carolina after he knocked on a resident’s door seeking help with a car accident. The residents called 911 as a precautionary measure, but police hit the 24-year-old with a Taser as he approached, and then shot him</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '921489'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=921489" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 08 Nov 2013 08:45:00 -0800 Nicole Flatow, Think Progress 921489 at http://orums.alternet.org News & Politics Human Rights Investigations News & Politics police brutality