Daily Adams

Crime

Transparency in Accountability

California will no longer use grand juries in cases involving police shootings of civilians after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill Tuesday banning the secret deliberations.SB 227, authored by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), makes California the first state to ban the use of grand juries to decide whether law enforcement should face criminal charges in use-of-force cases.

The ban, which will go into effect next year, comes after grand juries failed to indict police officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, last year, heightening scrutiny of the process. Mitchell argues that the grand jury process, during which evidence is presented to a panel of civilians in secret, fosters a lack of trust in the system.

Via California Bans Use Of Grand Juries In Police Shooting Cases @ Huffington Post.

How Responsible?

  “Anti-abortion people who have accused Black Lives Matter of inciting violence against cops (tragically a lot of overlap with these two groups because most people decide their politics based on partisanship, not principles) should consider how they feel being blamed for a murder because of the rhetoric they deploy about an issue they deeply…

Public University Mistreats Another Sex Assault Survivor

Second federal complaint against UW-Whitewater in eighteen months:

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Raechel Liska, aged 22.  Photo from Channel 3000.

“I got assaulted twice,” Liska said. “Once by my attacker, which was the traumatic, horrific part, but again by the school, which was the betrayal.”

Liska said UWW Dean of Students Mary Beth Mackin violated her civil rights by refusing to interview two witnesses and by not accepting either the police report or her medical records stemming from the incident. She also asserts Mackin did not issue a no-contact order against her alleged attacker, even as he retaliated and intimidated her after she spoke to authorities. Further, it was the Army that stepped in and removed her assailant from her classes three months after the incident in question, even after she’d asked the university to do the same multiple times, only to be rebuffed.

“The reason I filed my complaint is because something here needs to change,” she said. “I thought the dean of students would be protecting the students, protecting me. She’s the dean of students. I thought I’d be her priority, but I walked out feeling like protecting the school was her top priority.”

Via Sex assault survivor claims discrimination by university @ WISC-TV Madison, Channel 3000.

Informal, Worse Than Formal

Informal prior restraints—government pressure without formal sanction—are even more unconstitutional than formal ones, as the Supreme Court noted in Bantam Books v. Sullivan (1963). In that case, the Court forbade the Rhode Island Commission to Encourage Morality in Youth from sending threatening letters to book distributors in an attempt to nudge the distributors into not carrying “obscene” material.

But that strong precedent didn’t stop Cook County (Chicago) Sheriff Thomas Dart and his crusade against Backpage.com, an online commerce site similar to Craigslist. Rather than trying to get a formal prior restraint from a court, Dart used his office, letterhead, and title to send letters threatening investigation to Visa and MasterCard (Backpage’s primary financial transaction processors) to pressure them into dropping Backpage as a customer.

Via Chicago’s Sheriff Crusades against Online Ads | Cato@Liberty.

Violent Cop Charged, Resigns

In July, CopBlock Network Contributor Steven Thomas posted the dash cam video of Pocatello Idaho Detective Steven Westfall smashing his elbow into the head of a man, who was already handcuffed and being held by two out of the four other officers present. Det. Westfall was subsequently charged with “unnecessary assault by an officer,” a misdemeanor. Westfall has since resigned and is no longer with the Pocatello Police Department after nine years.

Via Update: Pocatello Detective Caught Assaulting Man on Video Has Resigned.

No One

No one should go to prison for drug possession. We don’t jail people for drinking alcohol, even if they become alcoholics. Further, no one should bear the lifelong consequences of a felony record for drug possession. Felony records erect unnecessary barriers to housing, education, and employment, which are all essentials for stability, and stability is essential to recovery. Home, school, and work all build community. And connection with community is the antidote to the isolation of addiction.

Via Smart Justice Is Fair Justice @ ACLU.

It’s Not a Crime to Criticize Local Officials

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Willian Barboza was 21 years old when he, in frustration, crossed out the name of the New York town “Liberty” and wrote “Tyranny” on a payment form for a speeding ticket he received there and scrawled on it the words, “Fuck your shitty town bitches”….

Yesterday the NYCLU, which represented Willian along with lead counsel Stephen Bergstein, announced that a federal judge vindicated Willian by ruling that the prosecutor violated his First Amendment right to harmlessly express his opinions about the government without fearing he will be punished or arrested. The court also ruled that the Village of Liberty must stand trial on claims that it had failed to adequately train its police officers about the First Amendment….

Via When the Government Criminalizes Cursing, It’s the Real Lawbreaker @ ACLU Speak Freely Blog.