12345...10...


Ex-pharmacist who admitted to diluting cancer drugs will not get out of prison early – KMBC Kansas City

A former pharmacist who diluted drugs for thousands of cancer patients will not be released from prison early, pending a review from the U.S. Department of Justice.Robert Courtney, 67, was scheduled to be transferred to a halfway house Thursday and then serve his remaining sentence under house arrest, but Sen. Josh Hawley and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II said those plans have changed.The Department of Justice informed me this morning that they will not release Courtney from imprisonment, Hawley said. Cleaver said the Justice Department told him the release is still under review.Robert Courtney is a man who took advantage of public trust to commit abhorrent crimes that led to pain and suffering of hundreds, if not thousands, of Kansas Citians," Cleaver said. There are those in prison who have committed victimless crimes and are at high-risk of COVID-19 complications that, understandably, should be released for home confinement. However, Mr. Courtney is not one of these individuals. His crimes should disqualify him from early release, and Im hopeful as the Justice Department undergoes further review of this case they will come to the same conclusion.Hawley, Cleaver and other politicians called for Courtney to remain in prison when the news of his potential release from prison broke earlier this week.Thats the right call, Hawley said. COVID-19 should not be an opportunity at jailbreak for violent offenders.The original decision to release Courtney sparked outrage from the families that were impacted by his crimes."We lost a lot. He was a really great person," said Kathleen Duncan, daughter of Harry Duncan.Doctors told Harry Duncan that he had great odds of surviving his cancer. One year after he died, his family learned his pharmacist was Courtney."This man is a monster. I'm sorry. He's a murderer, and I don't know why he wasn't given longer than 30 years," Kathleen Duncan said.In 2002, Courtney was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty. He admitted to diluting the prescription medications of 4,200 patients from 400 doctors. Some people received 1% of the dose they were prescribed."I'll never understand why they're letting him out 10 years early to be with his family," Duncan said."His ripple effect, I mean, just his victim pace is thousands of people," said Debra Allen.Allen's mother, Joyce Provance, died of ovarian cancer."He made all of his money. He cheated people based on health care and now, here we are in the biggest health care crisis of my lifetime, and it's getting him out of jail," Allen said.Attorney General William Barr originally directed the order for Courtney to be released because of the pandemic, but the Justice Department reversed course on Thursday.Missouri Gov. Mike Parson wrote Barr a letter on Wednesday requesting that he put a stop to Courtneys scheduled release.It is impossible to express the heartache and devastation brought about by his intentional criminal acts, and he should remain in prison until his sentence is complete, Parson said. I know these are troubling times and you are attempting to balance various needs. But this is a unique case and I urge your office to take a serious look at the release of Mr. Courtney.Elected officials Sen. Roy Blunt, Rep. Sam Graves, Hawley and Cleaver also sent letters to ask Barr to block the release.Courtneys crimes are heinous, the letter said. He inflicted a steep physical and emotional toll upon his victims for personal financial gain. He acted without consideration for the theft of his victims health and quality of life, and his actions can be described as no less than purposefully evil. Courtney should serve the entirety of his sentence as penance for his crimes both against his victims and against the public trust in medical care.The decision to release this individual fails to fully consider the public safety ramifications of his release and the impact that the release will have on his victims.After leaving the halfway house, Courtney had plans to live with family in Trimble, Missouri, which is north of Kansas City. Courtney had applied for compassionate release, which means his sentence could end early.

A former pharmacist who diluted drugs for thousands of cancer patients will not be released from prison early, pending a review from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Robert Courtney, 67, was scheduled to be transferred to a halfway house Thursday and then serve his remaining sentence under house arrest, but Sen. Josh Hawley and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II said those plans have changed.

The Department of Justice informed me this morning that they will not release Courtney from imprisonment, Hawley said.

Cleaver said the Justice Department told him the release is still under review.

Robert Courtney is a man who took advantage of public trust to commit abhorrent crimes that led to pain and suffering of hundreds, if not thousands, of Kansas Citians," Cleaver said.

There are those in prison who have committed victimless crimes and are at high-risk of COVID-19 complications that, understandably, should be released for home confinement. However, Mr. Courtney is not one of these individuals. His crimes should disqualify him from early release, and Im hopeful as the Justice Department undergoes further review of this case they will come to the same conclusion.

Hawley, Cleaver and other politicians called for Courtney to remain in prison when the news of his potential release from prison broke earlier this week.

Thats the right call, Hawley said. COVID-19 should not be an opportunity at jailbreak for violent offenders.

The original decision to release Courtney sparked outrage from the families that were impacted by his crimes.

"We lost a lot. He was a really great person," said Kathleen Duncan, daughter of Harry Duncan.

Doctors told Harry Duncan that he had great odds of surviving his cancer. One year after he died, his family learned his pharmacist was Courtney.

"This man is a monster. I'm sorry. He's a murderer, and I don't know why he wasn't given longer than 30 years," Kathleen Duncan said.

In 2002, Courtney was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty. He admitted to diluting the prescription medications of 4,200 patients from 400 doctors. Some people received 1% of the dose they were prescribed.

"I'll never understand why they're letting him out 10 years early to be with his family," Duncan said.

"His ripple effect, I mean, just his victim pace is thousands of people," said Debra Allen.

Allen's mother, Joyce Provance, died of ovarian cancer.

"He made all of his money. He cheated people based on health care and now, here we are in the biggest health care crisis of my lifetime, and it's getting him out of jail," Allen said.

Attorney General William Barr originally directed the order for Courtney to be released because of the pandemic, but the Justice Department reversed course on Thursday.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson wrote Barr a letter on Wednesday requesting that he put a stop to Courtneys scheduled release.

It is impossible to express the heartache and devastation brought about by his intentional criminal acts, and he should remain in prison until his sentence is complete, Parson said. I know these are troubling times and you are attempting to balance various needs. But this is a unique case and I urge your office to take a serious look at the release of Mr. Courtney.

Elected officials Sen. Roy Blunt, Rep. Sam Graves, Hawley and Cleaver also sent letters to ask Barr to block the release.

Courtneys crimes are heinous, the letter said. He inflicted a steep physical and emotional toll upon his victims for personal financial gain. He acted without consideration for the theft of his victims health and quality of life, and his actions can be described as no less than purposefully evil. Courtney should serve the entirety of his sentence as penance for his crimes both against his victims and against the public trust in medical care.

The decision to release this individual fails to fully consider the public safety ramifications of his release and the impact that the release will have on his victims.

After leaving the halfway house, Courtney had plans to live with family in Trimble, Missouri, which is north of Kansas City. Courtney had applied for compassionate release, which means his sentence could end early.

Continue reading here:

Ex-pharmacist who admitted to diluting cancer drugs will not get out of prison early - KMBC Kansas City

Weakley Co. man sentenced to 23 years in federal prison for distributing meth – The Jackson Sun

Lasherica Thornton, Jackson Sun Published 6:55 a.m. CT July 17, 2020 | Updated 5:26 a.m. CT July 19, 2020

File photo.(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A WeakleyCo. man was sentenced to more than 20 years for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine following a 2018 investigation, according to a Thursday press release.

Keith Norris, 32 of Dresden, Tennessee, will spend 23 years in a federal prison for the charge, followed by five years of supervised release for the distribution of more than 296 oz. or 4.5 kilograms of meth.

Its the second sentencing in a case of conspiracy to distribute meth. The defendants Norris, Robert Thomas, Charles Settles, Justin Tyler Bynum and Solomon Clay face charges; Thomas was sentenced to nine years in federal prison, followed by five years supervised release for his role in the conspiracy.

"Drug distribution conspiracies are not victimless crimes, U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant said. Methamphetamine causes significant human pain, loss, and destruction in countless ways, including addiction, injuries, and deaths.

Individuals who distribute harmful drugs into our rural communities can no longer hide, and those who choose to engage in such lawlessness will pay the price with a long prison sentence.

The Weakley County Sheriffs Department started an investigation into Norris for allegedly leading a drug trafficking organization. The investigation included search warrants, traffic stops, phone records and statements from people cooperating.

Norris was allegedly distributing meth to the five co-defendants. Investigators executed two searches at Norris house.

An April 2018 search recovered meth and more than $1,300. At a June 2018 search, investigators found Norris trying to destroy drug evidence. Police still recovered 4.5 ounces of meth, the release said.

When arrested, Norris claimed ownership of the drugs and let agents search his cell phone.

Based on his statement, Norris was held accountable for distributing 296 ounces of actual methamphetamine, which equates to over 4.5 kilograms of actual methamphetamine, the release said.

Lasherica Thornton is The Jackson Sun's education reporter. Reach her at 731-343-9133or by email at lthornton@jacksonsun.com. Follow her on Twitter: @LashericaT

Read or Share this story: https://www.jacksonsun.com/story/news/local/2020/07/17/weakly-co-man-gets-23-years-federal-prison-distributing-meth/5457058002/

Read more:

Weakley Co. man sentenced to 23 years in federal prison for distributing meth - The Jackson Sun

Crackdown on Shoplifting in Normanton and Featherstone – West Yorkshire Police

Thursday 16 July 2020

Wakefield North East and Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team have targeted offenders shoplifting in Normanton and Featherstone.

In the last two months, 14 people have been arrested for shoplifting, they include:

Inspector Sohail Mohammed of Wakefield North East and Rural NPT said:

Shoplifting is a blight on retailers and we have been keen to assist them by reducing offences and taking action against thieves.

Shoplifting is not a victimless crime, it is a crime that affects retailer and the general public. Shoplifting represents a huge cost to retailers, and inevitably, to society as a whole.

We will continue to tackle these types of crime, and work effectively with businesses and partners to combat them. That includes dealing robustly with any abuse or violence offered to employees. Retailers have kept the country going and provided a valuable service to us all during unprecedented times

Im glad to see that the hard work of the neighbourhood policing team has paid off, and we have caught and prosecuted these offenders for these crimes.

Suspects for shoplifting are regularly uploaded to our Caught on Camera website and I would encourage anyone who recognises persons on there to contact the force on the contact details provided.

Read the original here:

Crackdown on Shoplifting in Normanton and Featherstone - West Yorkshire Police

Blackpool paedophile had collection of teething rings, clothes and baby magazines as well as vile indecent images of children being abused – Blackpool…

Matthew Matthiason, 34, who was staying at a property on Gorton Street, had a collection of indecent images, baby magazines, clothing, teething rings, anime books, a Japanese baby clothing catalogue and drawings depicting the sexual abuse of children.

Matthiason, who has a string of previous similar offences, admitted three counts of possessing indecent images, possessing prohibited images and breaching his order and has been jailed for 28 months.

He was handed an indefinite order and placed on the Sex Offender's Register for life in 2014 after repeatedly flouting court orders intended to prevent him from viewing indecent images of children.

Judge Simon Newell said: "The materials don't in themselves constitute an offence but are indicative of what has been admitted - a substantial, long standing, deeply embedded sexual interest in children

"It does appear you are not deterred by what may be seen as deterrent sentences.

"What that shows is that first of all this is long standing. It also indicates attempts by the courts whether by community sentences or suspended sentences or hospital treatment hasn't resolved the inclination you have, and the criminality that results in."

"These are not victimless crimes.

"Somewhere in the world possibly 2,000 children have been abused here so that those images can be put on the internet and so somebody has been sexually abusing those children - some babies and infants.

"That's an appalling thing to happen to any child and if it wasn't for the fact people like you were watching it, the bulk of this wouldn't happen."

Prosecuting, Kimberley Obrusik said officers carried out an unannounced visit at the hostel on April 18 but found no devices except a Playstation and phone on display.

Four days later they received intelligence he had downloaded indecent images and returned to arrest him, finding the books, clothes, drawings and material in his room, along with a black USB stick in his clothing.

Preston Crown Court was told his devices contained 434 category A images - 54 of them moving videos, 146 category B images including 19 videos, 1,454 category C images, including seven videos, and 345 prohibited images involving the drawings and other material.

Defending, Julie Taylor said he was "realistic" and knew it must be a custodial sentence.

She said: "He realised at 14 that he was attracted to children. He's refreshingly honest.

"He accepts he has a problem, he accepts he's a paedophile.

"He knows it's wrong and makes a valid point that while he understands image cases mean a child somewhere in the world has been abused to make that image, he himself has never tried to touch or harm a child himself."

She added he had lived in nine different hostels and had suffered constant threats to his life.

Read the original:

Blackpool paedophile had collection of teething rings, clothes and baby magazines as well as vile indecent images of children being abused - Blackpool...

Column: The real issues of the 2020 election | Opinions and Editorials | aikenstandard.com – Aiken Standard

After the 2020 campaign is finished, the next president will have to face huge, real problems in order to get the American ship of state back on course. It won't be easy. Hopefully, the winning candidate will have the wisdom, skill, ideas and advisers to do what needs to be done.

Honest people have to admit that our country is in a mess. Usually, the first year of a new administration is crucial; this time, it probably will take the first two years to get the most important things done. If we are going to get America moving again, these in my view are some of the real issues the next president and Congress must resolve.

First and foremost we have to get rid of the coronavirus which is plaguing our country and the world. America needs more testing and individuals need to take proper precautions to help prevent the spread of the disease. Next, we need a vaccine that is safe, effective and taken by everyone. Then, we need leaders who tell us the truth based on science and the facts. After that, we need affordable, comprehensive health insurance for all people, which is what every other developed nation has.

Second, we have to get our nation's children back to school. Returning kids to their schools requires a lot of new safety measures which cost money. We won't have the funds to do that if we keep cutting taxes on the rich and big corporations. We won't have the money for schools if we spend more on the military. President Trump pressured the European nations into spending more on their defense; but, Trump's budgets still increases U.S. military spending. Public education is one of the keys to our nation's strength. Every child in America, no matter their race, ethnicity, religion or where they live, deserves a quality education. A college education should also be available and affordable to all who want it. If we believe in equality of opportunity, education is the most important factor.

Third, we need to deal with economic and social inequality. America is becoming a have and have-not nation, with incomes and wealth moving upward to the top 10% of our population. If most of the economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy families and big corporations they will also have most of the political power. America is becoming an oligarchy or a plutocracy a government of, by and for the wealthy few not a democracy. Economic inequality can be alleviated by government action on taxes, the minimum wage and benefits, Social Security, etc., and also action on tax and antitrust laws to control the giant corporations. This is necessary to promote competition and prevent monopoly power.

Fourth, we need a better criminal justice system, one that works for everybody and enables the police to truly protect and serve. We can't have one system of justice for the rich and powerful and another system of justice for everybody else. Today, America has about 2.3 million people in jails and prisons; we have 5% of the world's population and 20% of the world's prisoners. How many of these people are in jail for victimless crimes? We should create alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders. Since most people who are sent to prison eventually are released, how many of them are being rehabilitated and able to find useful work? Private, for-profit prisons are not the answer. The more people sent to prison, the more money these companies make.

Fifth, we need to rebuild our nation's crumbling infrastructure our roads, bridges, dams, tunnels, reservoirs, sewer and waste treatment facilities, public transportation and so forth. President Trump promised to do it, but he failed to deliver on his promise. Rebuilding our infrastructure will provide thousands of new, good-paying jobs for American workers.

Sixth, Congress must enact political reforms to get unlimited, secret, special-interest money out of politics. Two terrible Supreme Court decisions holding that money is speech and a corporation is a person must be overturned. These reforms are necessary to keep America democratic and free.

Other important things need to be done to restore America as that shining city on a hill for other countries to emulate. We need to cooperate with other nations in combating global warming/climate change, which is having disastrous effects worldwide: droughts, flooding in coastal areas and on islands, as well as the rapid melting of the polar ice caps.

Last, but not least, we need to keep our country out of unnecessary foreign wars. President Obama did and, so far, President Trump has, too. Will the next president be the leader we need? Will we insist on action to deal with these problems?

See original here:

Column: The real issues of the 2020 election | Opinions and Editorials | aikenstandard.com - Aiken Standard

Dean Blandino interview: What its really like to be an NFL official – prideofdetroit.com

When you think of the NFL and football, what do you think about? You probably think about a highly-intense, hard-hitting and overall fun game. Maybe you also think about giant contracts, endorsements, and all the flashy things. Thats what I do, too. Generally, our thoughts are positive, right? Besides the heartache you might feel when your team loses on Sunday or a player you like gets hurt, youre having a good time during the season.

Now think about what you know about NFL officials. Its probably all negative, right? These are the guys that wont just let the players play. These are guys that make the NFL the No Fun League. These are the guys that cost your team a regular season game or, even worse, a playoff loss. How much of the game do you spend yelling at the official on your TV? I would imagine its a lot.

But what do we really know about these guys? For most, its next to nothing. I get it. Its not the flashiest job in the world. We never seem to even talk about these guys unless were analyzing a really bad call or using them as the scapegoat after our teams loss.

This just wasnt good enough for me. I set out a few years ago to tell the human stories about the NFL. Ive spent all this time talking to players and completely ignoring everyone else whos on the field. Today we stop looking at the players, and we take a deep look into what its like to be an NFL official.

To get answers, we enlisted former NFL VP of Officiating and current Fox Sports analyst Dean Blandino. Detroit Lions fans might remember Blandino from their nightmares and possibly the worst moment of their fandom. Oh, you dont remember? Let me refresh your memories.

No, Blandino wasnt responsible for that call, but at the time, he was overseeing all NFL officials. He would later apologize to Detroit, and in recent years hes become something of a friend to Lions fans. Always willing to go on a podcast or even do an interview with Pride Of Detroit.

What Dean told us about the job was not at all what I was expecting. Heres a real look at what its like to be an NFL official.

Right off the bat it has to be known that you cant just submit your resume via Monster.com or something and become an NFL official. According to Blandino, its a very long vetting system that includes much more than just your performance on the field.

I dont know if many people really understand what goes into it when the NFL, when theyre considering hiring officials, Blandino said. This official has been scouted for years throughout their college career there. Theres Regional Scouts that are around the country that go and watch officials work games, and they create reports, and then you kind of monitor those officials and their progress.

Once an official gets to the highest level, theyll become a part of the officiating development program. And so thats a program that maybe 25-30 officials are there. They come to the NFL officiating Clinic they might work a preseason game and theyll get to spend time with NFL officiating crews, go to mini camps, OTAs and training camps to get kind of that feel for the NFL.

Thats just part of vetting process. At this point, prospective officials only have half their foot in the door. Once theyve completed and been approved from the development program, they have to go through a full background check that not only includes a criminal history check, but a look into their financial background, too. Theres also a full psychological exam and and a medical exam.

Pass all of that, and you have a chance to make it in the NFL. According to Blandino, even after you do all this and everything checks out fine, youre still not actually hired yet. All told, the process takes a few months.

Needless to say, the NFL is hiring who they deem to be the best of the best. While NFL fans may think the officials are incompetent at times, these guys were the guys that made it through a very difficult system.

After youve been hired, youre added to a team of officials. Each team has nine officials: Seven on the field and two in replay. The NFL does not just throw you on any team that needs a guy, though. Theres more to it than that.

That relationship when youre putting a crew together, youre not just looking at how they perform on the field, Blandino said. Youre thinking about personalities, how they interact with each other and communicate, because youre [together] for four preseason weeks and then 17 regular season weeks, then potentially postseason. Youre together a lot of times Friday, Saturday, Sunday and could be a Thursday night game. Youre together during the week, communicating during the week. And so those relationships, the more positive it is, the better your performance will be on the field. You deal with people you know in all of our professions. If we dont have positive relationships that can impact our performance.

Officials are given their assignments four weeks out. The officials are then in charge of setting up their travel arrangements. The league is partnered with American Express and they help the officials work out those plans. This includes hotels as well. The NFL has contracts with hotels in every NFL city.

The NFL also provides a per diem to officials for food, car rental, parking at the airport and parking at stadiums or city streets. All of this is set up in the leagues collective bargaining agreement. So in terms of finances and arrangements, NFL officials are set up pretty well.

But while the officials are not full time, they might as well be. A typical week for an official is a seven-day-a-week thing. Officials will usually arrive in their games city on Friday and wont leave till Sunday night or Monday morning depending on what time the game is at. Then they spend the rest of the week on conference calls, going through their video of the previous game, and then studying up on their next game. Its a very involved job. According to Blandino, some officials have other jobs, but spend way more time doing this than that.

With all the hard work and the constant traveling, it can be hard on an officials home life.

Its really hard, Blandino said. You talk to a lot of officials on the things that they miss out on. So many family events, whether its [the] biggest things, like birth of a child potentially to little league and graduations. All of these things that people in other professions may get to experience, officials sometimes lose out on because football season youre dealing withyou dont get to a lot of times celebrate Thanksgiving because you might be working or Christmas. Those fall and winter holidays are different than somebody else in another profession. So it is a major challenge to create that balance.

Weve all yelled at officialswhether it be from your couch or at the stadium. Covering high school and college sports I can tell you its definitely happening there too. Being the enemy is not fun and it can take a toll on you. With no satisfaction of victory, like the players, officials are just there to do a thankless job.

In officiating, you dont have those wins and losses, Blandino said. Youre more just trying to avoid mistakes, and its not an environment where youre getting a lot of positive reinforcement. And, for the most part, everything you do is critiqued and scrutinize to such a degree, and theres always going to be some group of people regardless of what the call is. And the call could be absolutely correct, and some people arent going to like it and theyre going to think its wrong.

These mistakes arent victimless crimes. Its not always about a win or loss. Sometimes an official making a mistake can cost someone else, whether it be a player or a coach, their job.

I know one official that was involved in a controversial call going back and missed the call, and it cost the team of game, Blandino said. Ultimately, the coaching staff got fired and and [the official] went into a depression and put it on himself, started drinking, just not taking care of himself.

Its hard to completely blame the officials. The system the crews use sometimes sets them up to fail. Its important to remember that these guys dont see what we see on TV.

The reality is that they get one look at it on the field in real time, Blandino said. Then we get the benefit of all these replays, and we get to scrutinize them based on information that they dont really even have. Thats the hard part. But its thats the nature of the business and everybody that goes into officiating understands that they dont go in thinking that theyre going to get a lot of pats on the back.

From a fan standpoint, the truth is that a lot of calls lead to anger. American sports fans are an incredibly passionate bunch of people. That passion has sadly led to some hideous things when it comes to officials. Whether it be cyber bullying, death threats or much worsefans finding out where officials live and throwing bricks through their windows or having their cars vandalized, two things Blandino said has happened to NFL officials.

Thankfully, the NFL has some protections in place. No official will ever work a game in the city they live in, protecting them from potentially livid fans in their own backyard. The league also has security set up for the officials to report things like death threats and fans throwing bricks through their windows. But all the security in the world doesnt protect you from being a human being with feelings.

Luckily for officials, Blandino says its tight knit group of people that look out for each other and help each other get through these types of situations. If youve long believed that these guys dont care, those beliefs are wrong. Nobody likes to make mistakes, especially mistakes that can hurt the job security of someone else or even make fans feel unhappy. This is a very stressful job.

The mistakes will likely never stop. According to Blandino, the game is too fast. The officials simply dont have the same view of the game that fans at home or the stadium do. They simply only have whats in their line of sight. Sure, they will go to the video on big things or refer to the New York office for even bigger things, but on simple calls like holding or hands to the face, there are always going to be missed calls or bad calls. You just cant see everything down there.

Dean says there are always things in the works to alleviate the bad or missed calls as well as the stress on officials. One thing thats being discussed is the addition of a sky judge. This would be an extra official in the box who has a full field view, as well as access to video replay. They can communicate with the officials on the field with what they saw and potentially change poor calls.

The NFL is also not just allowing officials who make plenty of mistakes to keep making those mistakes without being held accountable. Like any job, officials are being graded for their performance every week. As a matter of fact, theyre being graded on every single play. The performance is then evaluated by the NFL, and if the score is poor enough, officials could face what's called a downgrade.

The NFL places officials into three different tiers. That top tier means that you get to work the playoffs. Working the playoffs obviously means more money. If the review board believes youve made a bad call, you can be downgraded to the next tier. You can also be upgraded if you make a really tough, but correct call too. If you make enough bad calls youll be downgraded out of your job.

I hope that after you read this you come away with a different point of view on NFL officials or officials in general. This is not an easy job. Theres a lot of negativity there. Im not saying you shouldnt be emotional about the sport and your team. Im also not saying you shouldnt be emotional about the calls on the field. But maybe keep in mind that these are human beings that feel all the same ways you do but have way more eyes and a lot of pressure on them at all times. Maybe its time we all understand that this is not an easy job.

Read more:

Dean Blandino interview: What its really like to be an NFL official - prideofdetroit.com

Not publicizing black & brown mugshots is not fixing the racial problem with the justice system it’s hiding it – RT

News outlets and even police departments are ending the publication of jail booking photos, claiming they foster stereotypes because minorities are more often arrested. But hiding inequities in the system doesnt fix them.

The Sacramento Bee, the Orlando Sentinel, theHouston Chronicle and a number of other city papers across the US have curtailed the practice of publishing mugshot slideshows, image galleries showing booking photos of arrested individuals who havent yet been convicted of crimes.

With exceptions for celebrity mugshots, suspected serial killers, threats to public safety, and hate crime suspects, the move is intended to counter racial stereotypes about criminality.

The papers have a point about the galleries lack of context a wordless array of scowling black and brown faces may indeed give the false impression that this is what all criminals look like. Some of the most destructive and dangerous criminals, the ones stealing your (or your parents) retirement savings or bombing civilians in the Middle East are unlikely to ever appear in one of these rogues galleries (or, alas, to be arrested at all). And publishing a persons mugshot before theyre even tried for a crime does impinge on the prisoners constitutional right to the presumption of innocence.

But sweeping these racial disparities under the rug doesnt solve the underlying problem of black and brown peoples overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. Indeed, its quite telling that police departments are now climbing aboard the no-mugshots bandwagon, suggesting a big fat ulterior motive lurking beneath the virtuous surface. San Francisco police announced earlier this month they will no longer release mugshots to the public unless the individual poses a threat to the community, again as part of an effort to reduce racial stereotyping.

The department thus acknowledges black and brown people are disproportionately arrested for victimless crimes (i.e. those that dont pose a threat to the community) a relatively uncontroversial reality that has been public knowledge for years, though still something one doesnt expect to hear police admit.

Black people are more than two and a half times more likely to be arrested and six times more likely to be imprisoned on drug charges than whites, for example, even though blacks and whites use and even sell drugs at approximately the same rate. These arent hard drug users either there were more arrests for marijuana in 2018 than for real crimes like aggravated assault, arson, burglary, or sex crimes, despite over a dozen states having legalized the drug, and black people are even more disproportionately likely 3.7 times to be arrested for that drug.

But making a surface show of addressing stereotypes does not translate to actually dismantling racial and economic inequities in policing. Especially given the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests threatening their jobs, police who announce the end of published mugshots as a civil rights victory are more likely to be covering their arses than addressing systemic racism.

Like the mega-corporations who publicly grovel at BLMs feet (sometimes literally) in order to avoid being held to account for selling products or condoning labor practices that disproportionately harm poor and minority communities, police departments that stop publishing mugshots are seeking an easy way out of their PR problem.

Actually retraining officers to not immediately see a young black man standing on a corner in a poor neighborhood (that he happens to live in) as a drug dealer takes time and money, while merely not publishing that mans mugshot in the Sunday paper creates the same impression, as long as the police department takes care to notify the community about why it is no longer releasing arrest photos.

Unfortunately, that move does nothing to stop biased police practices, which can be shockingly difficult to dislodge. It took the intervention of a federal judge to convince New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg to curtail the NYPDs stop and frisk tactic, which at its height saw police harassing largely non-white (87 percent) New Yorkers, most of whom (88 percent) were innocent of any crime.

Given that its stated purpose was not to nab low-level drug offenders, but to get illegal guns off the street something achieved in just 0.1 percent of stops it was a profoundly ineffective policy.

Retraining police isnt easy, but it must be done if the US is to truly become a more racially equitable society. While corporate Democrat fronts like BLM are apparently content with cosmetic reforms and paying lip-service to social justice, black communities are devastated by the justice system, which often serves up anything but for those without the funds to buy it.

As for the newspapers, merely failing to report news that doesnt fit the narrative falls so short of real social justice as to be laughable. Is it any wonder journalism is a dying industry?

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Continued here:

Not publicizing black & brown mugshots is not fixing the racial problem with the justice system it's hiding it - RT

LETTERS: Readers’ thoughts on victimless crimes, parks and voting by mail – Waco Tribune-Herald

We taxpayers work too hard for our money to see it misused and to not have a say in where it goes.

Parks are precious

Throughout the pandemic, doctors have been touting the benefits of the outdoors. As cities across Texas closed parks for the Fourth, it became painfully clear that we need our parks now more than ever.

Parks are undeniably the safest places to escape the monotony of a quarantine spent indoors. The CDC even recommends visiting parks close to your home because of the positive impact they can have on your health, both physically and emotionally.

Parks have been described as the key to reducing the burden on our health-care system. However, they are notoriously underfunded, which leads to their deterioration and decreased use.

Luckily, theres an easy solution. The Great American Outdoors Act is entering the House and would provide increased funding to better maintain our parks and make up for decades of underfunding. Congress needs to pass this act so Americans can continue reaping the benefits our parks provide.

Voting by mail

For those who believe vote-by-mail is the way to go, you might consider this: New York had an election nearly three weeks ago and theyre still counting ballots.

More:

LETTERS: Readers' thoughts on victimless crimes, parks and voting by mail - Waco Tribune-Herald

Reduce spending on police by limiting what they must enforce – OCRegister

Across the country, demonstrators have marched against police violence and misconduct, and public support for the Black Lives Matter movement is at an all-time high. Politicians, corporations, and sports teams are calling for reform, and police departments nationwide are facing unprecedented scrutiny.

A prominent reform proposal is reduced funding for police. We agree that such expenditures, and criminal justice spending more broadly, should be much smaller than currently. But calls for reduced funding, by themselves, are potentially unconvincing because they do not specify what police expenditure or activity should be cut.

The ideal approach is to first eliminate laws that never made sense in the first place: those that limit freedom rather than protecting it.

Such laws roughly, those against victimless crimes include drug prohibition, laws against prostitution, criminal charges for nuisance crimes like loitering or vagrancy, and pretextual traffic stops, amongst others. Such laws also generate policies that infringe civil liberties and exacerbate racial tension by giving police an excuse to engage in overly aggressive tactics (no-knock warrants) or target minorities (stop-and-frisk).

In contrast, laws against murder, rape, assault, and theft aim to protect lives and property of genuine victims. And while enforcement of these laws is also open to abuse, the scope for misconduct is far smaller. Police officers trying to solve a murder must have at least some evidence that a crime has occurred and that an alleged perpetrator might have been involved. Police officers who want to harass Black teenagers can simply assert that a particular individual looked suspicious or acted like a drug dealer.

Laws that limit freedom thus create an artificial need for police and generate wasteful expenditure. More importantly, they promote conflict between police and the citizenry, especially minorities, because police have so much discretion in enforcement.

Repealing freedom-limiting laws, and their associated enforcement practices, will dramatically reduce encounters and tension between the police and the public, thus diminishing the possibility of violence or other harassment. And these laws were unwarranted limitations on individual liberty in the first place.

Without these laws, moreover, police could focus on preventing or solving serious crimes, not arresting people for selling loose cigarettes (as in the case of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by police), conducting invasive searches justified by the odor of marijuana (long permitted, albeit challenged in many states, including New York), treating Black gun owners as threats for legally carrying weapons (or killing them, in the case of Philando Castile), harassing people experiencing homelessness, or executing illegal no knock warrants like the one that led to the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Improving the low closure rates for violent crimes will do far more to improve public safety than arresting people for victimless crimes.

And so long as infringing basic liberties is a key part of policing, that occupation will attract the wrong type of person for the job. Under the status quo, warrior cop mentality, officers who are aggressive, reactive, and violent will thrive. Reorienting law enforcement towards stopping real crime, and helping people, will attract officers who care more about public safety than the adrenaline rush of breaking down doors.

And without these ill-advised laws, reduced police expenditures makes perfect sense. More than twenty percent of arrests in the United States in 2018 were for drugs, alcohol, prostitution, or vagrancy offenses. Eliminating these arrests will also reduce the burden on courts and prisons. Ending the prosecution of drug-related offenses alone would reduce state and federal expenditures by $47 billion.

Misguided laws are not, to be sure, the only cause of police misconduct. Other factors include limited accountability due to union rules and qualified immunity, which shield officers form the consequences of misconduct. The militarization of state and local police via federal grants for surplus military equipment also creates the wrong atmosphere, giving suburban police departments weapons and vehicles designed for war zones.

But aligning societys laws with appropriate objectives is a crucial condition for other reforms to have a major impact. Why? Because a system that is fundamentally misfocused in trying to limit freedom, rather than protect it will have a hard time keeping police accountable. So the starting point for reform must be eliminating those laws that create the wrong framework for the police, accompanied by the implied reductions in funding.

Jeffrey Miron is the director of economic studies at the Cato Institute and the director of undergraduate studies in the economics department at Harvard University. Erin Partin is a research assistant at the Cato Institute.

Continued here:

Reduce spending on police by limiting what they must enforce - OCRegister

Demonstrations Are Necessary: The Wire Creator David Simon On Policing In America – CBS Baltimore

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Former Baltimore journalist and The Wire creator David Simon spoke to CBS New York about policing in America and the war on drugs.

I think the demonstrations are necessary, Simon said, who was a reporter for 15 years at The Baltimore Sun.

I want to start here David with your take on whats going on right now in society, people in the streets, more police killings it seems by the week. What are you seeing? asked CBS2s Maurice DuBois.

The thing that has changed in a profound way and necessarily for the better is the power of the cell phone, of the smart phone, with its camera, with its video camera, said Simon. The fact that everyone has one. The city is awash in visual imagery, in an immediate agency.

Simon is best known for creating the hit HBO TV series The Wire, a drama about drugs plaguing Baltimores neighborhoods thats told from the perspectives of the cops and drug dealers. Simon believes the war on drugs is at the root of the problems were facing today and it leads police to arrest Black and brown men for petty crimes and minor offenses.

A lot of people are saying you know what, people of color and poor people are being over-policed, said Simon.

To the people who say look, drugs are destroying African-American and Latino communities across the country, youre almost saying its a victimless crime. What do you mean by that? asked DuBois.

It absolutely is a victimless crime. Its a medical condition, said Simon. The drug war is effectively a war on the poor. Its a means of using social control on people of color and people in poverty by the ruling class. Thats all it has ever been. Im not here to defend drugs. Drugs do an inordinate amount of damage.

Read more of Simons interview on CBS New York.

Follow this link:

Demonstrations Are Necessary: The Wire Creator David Simon On Policing In America - CBS Baltimore

Sunday Goods Announces Ongoing Donation Campaign and Official Partnership with Last Prisoner Project – PRNewswire

PHOENIX, July 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Cannabis brand Sunday Goodshas announced their new donation campaign over the weekend. Each Sunday, the brand will donate 5% of Sunday proceeds from their newly opened Phoenix, Arizona dispensary to a cannabis focused non-profit, rotating quarterly. In Q3 2020 they have partnered with the Last Prisoner Project, a non-profit organization that focuses on criminal justice reform initiatives related to cannabis crimes.

Michael Wang, Sunday Goods CEO, says that the brand is "excited to be taking their first steps towards justice and equality, and are committed to making a change within the cannabis community" referencing the racial injustice that is still prevalent within the cannabis industry.

ABOUT SUNDAY GOODSSunday Goods believes that everyone should have the opportunity to experience cannabis in the way that is right for them. We're here to make people feel good, with a cannabis experience that's just right for each person, each time. Enjoy all-natural, top-quality cannabis that produces specific effects through high-integrity growing. Visit http://www.sundaygoods.comto learn more or Leaflyto shop.

ABOUT LAST PRISONER PROJECTThe Last Prisoner Project (LPP) is a coalition of cannabis industry leaders, executives and artists dedicated to bringing restorative justice to the cannabis industry. LPP is dedicated to releasing cannabis prisoners and helping them rebuild their lives. As the United States moves away from the criminalization of cannabis, giving rise to a major new industry, there remains the fundamental injustice inflicted upon those who have suffered criminal convictions and the consequences of those convictions. Through intervention, advocacy and awareness campaigns, the forces behind the Last Prisoner Project will work to redress the past and continuing harms of these unjust laws and policies and are dedicated to making sure that every last victimless cannabis prisoner walks free. Visitwww.LastPrisonerProject.org or text FREEDOM to 24365 to donate and learn more.

SOURCE Sunday Goods

http://www.sundaygoods.com

Link:

Sunday Goods Announces Ongoing Donation Campaign and Official Partnership with Last Prisoner Project - PRNewswire

ELECTION 2020: State Attorney’s race features opposing views | News | beacononlinenews.com – The West Volusia Beacon

R.J. Larizza, the incumbent state attorney for the judicial circuit covering Volusia and three other counties, said he wants to continue reducing crime and offering services to help people with mental health or drug-abuse issues.

His challenger, longtime defense attorney Don Dempsey, on the other hand, said there are a number of problems with how Larizzas goals are implemented.

Chiefly, Dempsey said, he thinks the resources of the State Attorneys Office should be reallocated, with less energy devoted to getting people long sentences for victimless crimes.

The two will square off in the general election Tuesday, Nov. 3, with the winner holding the office for the next four years. All registered voters in Volusia County can vote in this race.

In separate interviews with The West Volusia Beacon, the candidates outlined their platforms and explained why they are running.

The State Attorneys Office is responsible for all criminal prosecution in the 7th Circuit. The state attorney administers and manages the agency, including supervising more than 200 employees.

Larizza said during his stint as state attorney, crime has gone down every year throughout the 7th Judicial Circuit, which includes Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties in addition to Volusia.

We have been very successful in my 12 years as state attorney in terms of the crime-reduction rate, Larizza said. I want to continue that trend.

But Dempsey sees the need for reform in the criminal-justice system. For instance, he said, Larizzas office is too quick to seek lengthy sentences, especially for first offenders and those convicted of minor or victimless crimes, such as drug possession.

A lot of people are getting lengthy prison sentences, Dempsey said. My complaint isnt with law enforcement, but once a case gets to the State Attorneys Office.

Dempsey said prosecutors are pressured to ask for longer sentences because it enhances the State Attorneys Offices conviction rate. Prosecutors, also, are encouraged not to drop cases, such as the cases of people who go through Veterans Court, a diversionary program to help veterans accused of relatively minor crimes.

More people should be cut a break so their lives are not destroyed, especially first-time offenders, Dempsey said. But prosecutors wont do it unless they get approval from their supervisor, and that goes against their stats on conviction rates.

Because judges are often bound by minimum-mandatory-sentencing laws, Dempsey said, change is up to the State Attorneys Office.

Prosecutors, basically, have sole discretion, Dempsey said.

Dempsey would like to see resources allocated differently; for example, to an economic-crimes bureau to investigate cases where the victims are elderly or where business people rip off their partners.

But Larizza said there is a fraud unit working economic crimes, and he intends to keep it. He also said his agency is training local police departments and works with them to deal with those kinds of crimes.

Larizza made no bones about being tough on hardened criminals, but he does believe in being compassionate when its appropriate, he said.

Sometimes good people make bad decisions, and sometimes the criminal-justice system lets them down, he said.

Dempsey, though, argues that the State Attorneys Office could do more to reduce the sentences of some people who have been convicted, especially older inmates who have been locked up for far longer than they should have been.

The State Attorneys Office needs some kind of Second Look system to review cases to see if some sentences can be lowered, Dempsey said.

Another of Larizzas focuses is on combating domestic violence.

One out of four murders in the circuit are domestic-related, and they are some of the most difficult cases to prosecute, he said. We are working with domestic-abuse councils in every county, and I have been funneling funding out of my budget to help them. Im trying to get more funding from the state for them.

Larizza said specific prosecutors are working with the councils to try to reduce incidents of domestic violence, with the ultimate goal of eventually reducing the number of homicides.

Dempsey didnt address domestic violence in his interview. Rather, he focused on ways to reform the system and be more compassionate, especially with first offenders and those serving lengthy prison sentences.

Its not being soft on crime; its reprioritizing, Dempsey said. Instead of spending resources on victimless crimes such as minor drug offenses, for example, why not spend more time and money on white-collar crimes against business owners and exploitation of the elderly crimes where there are real victims.

R.J. Larizza, 62, was first elected state attorney in 2008. Before that, he was in private practice in St. Augustine for six years, after spending six-and-a-half years as a prosecutor in Daytona Beach and St. Augustine.

He was a probation-and-parole officer for 13 years before becoming a prosecutor.

Larizza lives in St. Johns County with his wife and two children, and has five grandchildren.

Donald B. Dempsey Jr., 54, was a prosecutor for three years before opening a private law practice in DeLand 27 years ago, specializing in criminal defense.

He is married to County Judge Angela Dempsey, who has been transferred to hear civil cases so there is no conflict with his candidacy. (She will stay on the civil bench if he wins the election, Don Dempsey said.)

Don and Angela Dempsey have a 7-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter, and he has a 30-year-old son from a previous relationship. The Dempseys live near DeLand.

According to Florida law, heres what the Office of State Attorney is supposed to do: "The State Attorney or designee, shall appear in the circuit and county courts within the Seventh Judicial Circuit, and prosecute or defend, on behalf of the State, all suits, applications, or motions, civil or criminal, in which the State is a party, unless otherwise provided by law. We shall seek justice by fairly and diligently representing the interests of the people of the Seventh Judicial Circuit and the State of Florida."

The state attorney currently supervises 205 employees, including 78 attorneys, who work to accomplish this mission in the four counties of the 7th Judicial Circuit: Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns.

Non-attorney employees of the office include support staff, investigators and victim advocates, for example. The number of employees varies; currently, the State Attorneys Office is operating under a hiring freeze, due to the unknown budgetary effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state attorneys annual salary is $169,554, plus a state benefits package, and the term of office is four years.

The race is a partisan one. Both R.J. Larizza and Don Dempsey are registered Republicans; however, Dempsey has opted to run with no party affiliation, or NPA.

I think criminal justice should be nonpartisan, Dempsey said. I dont think it should be a partisan issue. Nobody likes crime.

Had both men chosen to run as Republicans, the election would have been in a partisan primary, open to all voters, on Tuesday, Aug. 18. However, because they are running with different party affiliations, that pushes the vote to the general election Tuesday, Nov. 3.

All of Volusia County is within the 7th Circuit, so all registered voters in Volusia County may cast ballots in the race.

Read the original:

ELECTION 2020: State Attorney's race features opposing views | News | beacononlinenews.com - The West Volusia Beacon

Guest View: Tired of the other two parties? – The Register-Guard

"Exciting" and "exhilarating" were the words going through my head when I attended this past Libertarian National Convention.

The convention, in a normal setting, is worth looking forward to, but the recent events in the world made this one for the history books. The Libertarian Party was the very first party in history to nominate the presidential and vice presidential candidates via an online convention, using Zoom video conferencing.

I had the honor of presiding as the chair of the Oregon delegation, which consists of 14 other Oregon Libertarians. We connected in real time with over 1,000 other Libertarian delegates to the convention from across the country, and with the Oregon delegation by Slack, an online messaging tool. The convention is continuing in person next week in Orlando when we meet to ratify the nominations, elect party officers and edit and adopt our platform and bylaws.

While the mechanics of the convention were interesting enough, it was the result that was so exciting. The Libertarian Party is the third-largest party in the country and expects to be on the ballot in all 50 states again, as it has for the last three presidential elections. Our slogan is that we are the "Party of Principle" because we stand strongly on our principles, the primary one of which has been described as "Dont hurt people and dont take their stuff."

Libertarians strongly oppose any government interference into personal, family and business decisions. Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit if they do no harm to another.

This year, we nominated Jo Jorgensen as the partys presidential candidate. She is a senior lecturer in psychology at Clemson University and was the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee with Harry Browne in 1996. She wants to bring home our military and stop military aid to foreign governments, eliminate trade wars and tariffs, repeal arbitrary quotas on the number of people who can legally enter the U.S. to work, visit or reside, and slash federal spending, making government much smaller, and let you keep what you earn.

Her vice presidential running mate is Jeremy "Spike" Cohen. Cohen started a web design company in 1999 and retired from that three years ago to promote libertarian ideas full time. His aim is to make people more familiar with voluntary solutions and property rights.

Libertarians select their slate differently than the two major parties, in that the presidential nominee does not select her running mate: delegates do. We selected Cohen because he was the most articulate and had brought more new members to the party than the other candidates. He had been running with a satirical candidate so you may have seen him touting those goals online: a Waffle House on every corner and free cheesy bread. His candidacy is serious, though, and his positions include ending qualified immunity, demilitarizing the police, making officers pay for their own abuse settlements, reducing and eliminating sentencing for victimless crimes and ending the failed war on drugs.

If these ideas interest you, consider coming to the next meeting of the Lane County Libertarians. We meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Oregon Electric Station.

Carolyn Wade is the chair of the Lane County Libertarians and secretary of the Oregon Libertarian Party.

Visit link:

Guest View: Tired of the other two parties? - The Register-Guard

EUIPO Report Names Turkey as the Third Biggest Producer of Counterfeit Goods – Lexology

Two important reports regarding intellectual property crimes have been published: 2020 Status Report on IPR Infringement published by European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and IP Crime and its Link to Other Serious Crimes published by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (EUROPOL) and EUIPO.

2020 Status Report on IPR Infringement covers the economic value of intellectual property rights in the EU economy, the infringement mechanisms used to capture that value, and the actions being taken in response to these infringements. The report brings together findings of the research carried out through the European Observatory on the Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights and underlines the importance of IP rights to the EU economy and in terms of the COVID-19 crisis, which has dominated the first half of 2020 and threatens to have long-lasting effects. This report also presents organized crime groups (OCG) involvement in intellectual property crimes based on cases investigated by EUROPOL.

In order to identify the most prevalent provenance economies of counterfeit goods entering the EU, the research takes account of customs seizure percentages and trade flows and names Turkey as a provenance along with Benin, China, Gambia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Panama, the United Arab Emirates.

Moreover, with reference to the study conducted by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the EUIPO with the aim of distinguishing between provenance economies that are producers of counterfeits and those that act as trade routes, the report identifies Turkey as the third biggest producer of counterfeit goods; following China and India.

The report titled IP Crime and its Link to Other Serious Crimes presents case examples regarding intellectual property crimes link to other forms of criminality; including money laundering, document fraud, cybercrime, fraud, drug production, and trafficking and terrorism.

Under the title Bribery & Corruption, the report defines corruption as a threat to societies safety and underlines that it is one of the means used by criminal organizations, including intellectual property crimes, to achieve their unfair objectives. The details regarding Operation Monkey Box, which is connected with Turkey are also presented as a case example. In the context of this case, the Greek Financial Police Division disrupted two independent organized criminal groups that systematically imported and distributed large quantities of counterfeit products from Turkey to Greece and sold those products as genuine.

The investigation revealed that EUR 1,551,226 was transferred to Turkey illegally during 2016-2018, and OCGs illicit profits are estimated to exceed EUR 3,500,000. As a result of this investigation, 86 people were prosecuted and twenty people were arrested, including 4 public servants. Two police officers were implicated in the case, one of whom was arrested for facilitating the work of the OCG, while the other one was charged with a breach of duty.

Both reports explain the harm of intellectual property crime, which is often seen as a victimless crime, to the economy; its presence with other crimes conducted by OCGs, and argue that the fight against intellectual property right infringement needs to be strengthened.

Please see thislinkfor the full text of 2020 Status Report on IPR Infringement, and thislinkfor the full text of IP Crime and its Link to Other Serious Crimes.

Information first published in theMA | Gazette,a fortnightly legal update newsletter produced by Morolu Arseven.

View original post here:

EUIPO Report Names Turkey as the Third Biggest Producer of Counterfeit Goods - Lexology

Libertarian Solutions to Reforming Police State | Opinion | Northern Express – northernexpress.com

Guest Opinion By Donna Gundle-Krieg | July 4, 2020

Americans are finally seeing the need to reform the way our society enforces laws, as the issue of police force has been placed front and center before us.

The Libertarian Party has been ahead of the game for decades on the issues of reforming our criminal justice system.

Since the 1960s, we have advocated for getting rid of laws that create victimless crimes. We have long believed in holding police accountable. Last but not least, Libertarians believe that the job descriptions, policies, and procedures of the police departments need to be reformed.

In fact, back in 1969, Lanny Friedlander, founder of the leading Libertarian magazine, Reason, said, "The police of a free society, engaging in retaliatory force only, enforcing laws of a defensive nature only, would be bound by the same laws they enforced and would stand fully accountable for their actions.

Achieving this free society starts with getting rid of victimless crimes. In other words, we need to minimize the opportunity for the police to act against the public. This means fewer laws and less intrusive enforcement of the laws that we do have.

In 1971, the fledgling Libertarian Party called for the repeal of all 'crimes without victims,' such as the prohibitions on drug use that have driven so much of the escalation in aggressive police tactics.

Fifty years later, the Libertarian Party platform states: Government force must be limited to the protection of the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and property, and governments must never be permitted to violate these rights.

We favor the repeal of all laws creating crimes without victims, such as gambling, the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, and consensual transactions involving sexual services.

Voters in Michigan took a huge step toward repealing drug laws when they voted for recreational marijuana to be legal. According to Pew Research, in 2018, 40 percent of all arrests in the United States were for marijuana offenses. Making this drug legal certainly helps reduce the opportunity for the police to act against the public.

In addition to repealing victimless crimes, Libertarians favor holding government agencies and their employees accountable for their actions.

"We support full restitution for all loss suffered by persons arrested, indicted, tried, imprisoned, or otherwise injured in the course of criminal proceedings against them which do not result in their conviction," the Libertarian Party declared in 1979.

"Law enforcement agencies should be liable for this restitution unless malfeasance of the officials involved is proven, in which case they should be personally liable."

More recently, Grand Rapids Justin Amash, the only Libertarian in the U.S. Congress, introduced the first-ever tri-partisan bill, which would eliminate qualified immunity.

The Ending Qualified Immunity Act will restore Americans ability to obtain relief when police officers violate their constitutionally secured rights, stated Amash.

The brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is merely the latest in a long line of incidents of egregious police misconduct. This pattern continues because police are legally, politically, and culturally insulated from consequences for violating the rights of the people whom they have sworn to serve.

In addition to holding police officers accountable and eliminating victimless crimes, Libertarians believe that we must take back some of the tremendous power that society has given to police.

"Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units for routine police work," warned the Cato Institutes Radley Balko in his 2013 book,Rise of the Warrior Cop.

He explained that he was referring to Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT, teams. These types of teams perform no-knock raids, which so often end in tragedy when police kick in the wrong door, or when a suddenly awakened resident tries to defend against intruders.

This month, libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation to stop the use of no-knock warrants, an idea that Democrats are also pushing in their calls for police reform. The bill requires law enforcement officers to give notice of their authority and purpose before entering a home.

In addition to qualified immunity and ending no-knock warrants, there are many other reforms that need to happen. Nearly all Americans favor at least some level of change to the nations criminal justice system, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which concluded that Americans overwhelmingly want clear standards on when police officers may use force and consequences for officers who do so excessively.

Thankfully, Americans are finally agreeing with Libertarians and implementing many of the reforms and policy changes that we have been fighting for decades.

The Libertarian party might have the deck stacked against it during elections. However, we have always been the first and often the only party to fight the battle against abusive government power.

Donna Gundle-Krieg is a Real Estate Broker in Mancelona. She is the Political Director of Northwest Michigan Libertarians, and will be on the ballot in November as a Libertarian candidate running for Mancelona Township Trustee. Contact her at dokrieg@gmail.com, or see http://www.nwmichiganlibertarians.org.

Read the original:

Libertarian Solutions to Reforming Police State | Opinion | Northern Express - northernexpress.com

The five reasons why Kiwis should vote yes in the cannabis referendum – Stuff.co.nz

AP

"At present, our archaic cannabis prohibition laws have created a massive black market that serves as the primary funding source for criminal gangs."

OPINION: As a retired psychiatrist with 32 years clinical experience with alcohol abuse and drug addiction, I wholeheartedly support a yes vote in the cannabis referendum for the following five reasons:

1.It will shift funding from law enforcement to drug abuse treatment for Kiwis who need it

Due to pernicious funding shortfalls over the last decade or so, there are now only a handful of publicly-funded facilities offering residential rehabilitation to Kiwis with drug problems.

Moreover there is no longer any doubt that locking drug users up has been totally ineffective in reducing cannabis use. It makes far more sense to follow the example of Portugal, Uruguay, Canada, and various US states who have shifted funding from law enforcement to treatment on demand.

READ MORE:* Cannabis policing 'worst waste of taxpayer money', former PM Helen Clark says* Cannabis referendum: Poll shows yes vote leading by 5 points * Scientific evidence behind legalising cannabis is uncertain, prime minister's chief scientist says

In Portugal especially, this approach has been extremely helpful in reducing cannabis use among young people.

2.It will help reduce New Zealand's prison population, which at present is the second highest per capita (after the US) in the industrialised world

Most Kiwis are locked up for non-violent victimless crimes, such as cannabis possession, at great expense to the taxpayer.

3.It will give the public (ie the Government) control of cannabis production and distribution, rather than a gang-controlled black market

At present, our archaic cannabis prohibition laws have created a massive black market that serves as the primary funding source for criminal gangs. Black market distribution of drugs also increases the risk of overdose and/or poisoning due to adulteration by unknown substances.

4.It will help make medicinal cannabis and hemp-based cannabidiolmore readily (and cheaply) available for patients with cancer, pain conditionsand autoimmune disorders, who, according to numerous international studies, can benefit from it

At present, there is no medicinal cannabis grown or processed in New Zealand. Although both medicinal cannabis and cannabidiol are available via prescription, the need to import them leads to astronomically high costs (minimum $300 a month) for both products.

5.It will remove the burdensome Ministry of Health restrictions on the cultivation of hemp (a totally separate plant from cannabis)

Hemp is a cheap, carbon neutral, biodegradable fibre with an enormous potential role in the transition away from fossil fuels. Not only can it replace petroleum-based plastic, synthetic fabrics, and home insulation, but hempcrete can replace concrete. The cement in concrete is one of the two largest sources of CO2 emissions in the world.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall is a member of theSocial Credit party.

The rest is here:

The five reasons why Kiwis should vote yes in the cannabis referendum - Stuff.co.nz

Trump Will Show America He Has Loyalty and Strong Sense of Justice by Pardoning Roger Stone – Artvoice

Whats Trump waiting for?

Roger Stone wrote to me and several of his other friends yesterday, July 4, 2020: In 11 days I have been ordered to surrender to a Georgia prison where the danger of Coronavirus infection is very real. We are praying for an act of Clemency by President Trump.

It is what he deserves: A pardon or commutation of his sentence by President Trump.

In 2019, inside what I would call a notoriously biased court, with a highly partisan judge, and an openly inimical jury, led by a forewoman, who virulently opposes Trump unsurprisingly, Stone was found guilty of witness tampering [which the witness himself denied to me personally], obstructing a congressional investigation [that was actually the investigation of a hoax], and lying to the U.S. government in connection with alleged meddling by Russia with Stone and the Trump campaign, [which, provably, never happened, and which was something that both Congress and the Mueller prosecution team knew full well].

In short, Stone was convicted of lying to people who were cynically lying to the public.

In time, perhaps the Stone trial will be known as an infamous example of an American kangaroo court, where the verdict was decided in advance and all the props were set to make it appear to be an actual due process and constitutional trial when, in fact, it was a farce, a surreal nightmarish frame-up, meant only for optics for his predetermined conviction.

Usually, white-collar criminals are allowed to turn themselves in. He wasnt a flight risk and was released on modest bail.

However, Judge Jackson put a gag order on Stone and perhaps more significantly,Judge Jackson said his defense lawyers were not allowedto bring up the fact that the government was never able to show proof the Russians were behind the stolen emails given to WikiLeaks at the heart of the entire case.

After his conviction, the highly-partisan prosecutors recommended an absurd, draconian sentence of ten years for Stone, for his victimless crimes.

President Trump tweeted that Stone was in a horrible and very unfair situation.

The Department of Justice, using common sense, and comparing penalties in similar cases, stepped in and recommended a more rational sentence for Stone, causing four biased, virulent anti-Trump DOJ prosecutors to remove themselves from Stones case.

Judge Berman sentenced Stone to 40 months. He was set to report to prison at the height of the pandemic. Stone is 67 and, with the coronavirus, incarceration in a prison known to be infected, it could be deadly. Stone petitioned the court to allow him to serve his time from home like others involved in non-violent crimes.

Naturally, some were hoping that on the 4th of July, Trump would pardon Stone.It did not happen.

But it is not too late. There are 10 more days before he has to report to prison, unless the judge grants him an extension in light of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the USA.

But it would be great if Trump were to act now, not at the last minute, thus ending the apprehension and fear of a faithful follower and longtime friend.

As Target Liberty wrote,Stone has been a loyal soldier to Trump. He has never once said a negative word though under enormous pressure from the anti-Trump establishment to do so. And it should not be forgotten by Trump that it is the establishment crowd, that is going after Trump, that is also going after Stone.

Stone could have easily gotten himself out of being prosecuted by simply testifying to whatever the anti-Trump prosecutors wanted him to say against Trump. The prosecutors would not have cared much if what Stone testified was true or not. Leading witnesses to say what prosecutors want to hear is a high art form at the Department of Justice.

Stone was on their hit list. Not only for supporting Trump but also for going after the ruling elite. His published books are full-frontal attacks on those who some might call the Deep States premier representatives.

At this point, Trump has an opportunity to show the world he is not finished. Many in the mainstream media have already ruled him out for a second term.

You can talk all you want. Trump can proclaim a grand message of patriotism and of standing up against the radical left, as he did at Mount Rushmore on July 4th and by pardoning Stone, he will also send a loud message:

He stood up for his friend. He took the chance that it might be politically unpopular to pardon his supporter that he admits was unjustly prosecuted.

Everyone will understand. Sure the mainstream media will howl. But everyone, even those on the fence, understands loyalty.

Everyone from God to a clump of grass understands loyalty and sticking up for a friend. Trump wont lose a vote. He might energize his supporters. He may make some on-the-fence folks hop to his side.

Even if you disagree with Trump or dislike Roger Stone, you will have to admit somewhere in your heart that this is what you would do for your own friend in need.

And if you wouldnt stand up for your friend, who stood up for you, and protect him, when you could, in his crucial hour of need, then you wouldnt have voted for Trump anyway. I am not even sure you could qualify to vote for anyone, not being a member of the human race.

It is clear to me that Trump must pardon Roger Stone and do it now, and end his needless suffering and to especially prevent him from contracting a potentially fatal disease.

If he fails to do that, in this moment of honor, and he allows Stone to go to prison during a pandemic, I will be the first to agree that Trump is everything his critics say of him.I will expect to see him and I will view him this way as walking about on all fours, reduced to a quadruped, on the day Roger Stone goes to prison.

Like Loading...

More:

Trump Will Show America He Has Loyalty and Strong Sense of Justice by Pardoning Roger Stone - Artvoice

Black Iowans have been denied right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness – The Gazette

The Declaration of Independence, signed 244 years ago this weekend, purports to be a model for people seeking to free themselves from tyranny.

But nearly two and a half centuries later, this is not yet a nation where all people enjoy the same unalienable rights life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ongoing protests against racism and police violence offer an important reminder the dream of freedom has not been realized for Black and brown Americans.

When governments fail to protect our fundamental rights, the Declaration prescribes, the people have the right to alter or abolish oppressive systems, pursuant to their safety and happiness. With inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement, Iowa has an opportunity to start correcting these historic injustices.

The coronavirus is disproportionately affecting communities of color. People who are Black and Latino are being infected and dying of the disease at a higher rate than their white counterparts. Some of the reasons behind this divide are racial discrimination in health care and that people of color are more likely to work as essential workers.

In Iowa, Gov. Reynolds refusal to close meat packing plants and issue a stay-at-home order has compounded this divide, needlessly sacrificing the lives of Iowans. Now as restrictions are lifted statewide, cases are surging. Iowa needs a more comprehensive and adequate response to the pandemic that addresses these disparities instead of profiting from them.

Its often been said that public education is a ticket to opportunity available to all Americans. But Black Americans looking across the education landscape see too many gaps and too much inequality.

In Iowa, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress and other assessments, achievement gaps persist and may be widening. In 2019, Iowas white fourth-graders topped their Black peers by 31 percentage points, compared to a 25-point gap in 1996.

The New Statewide Assessment of Student Progress showed continuing large achievement gaps in Cedar Rapids and other districts. The district has set a goal to reduce the gap by 20 percent by 2022.

In Iowa City, an investigative report by a high school journalist, Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos, found that Black students in the Iowa City district are more than twice as likely as whites to be suspended from school. These disciplinary discrepancies are found across Iowa and push too many Iowa students from the path to an education and into the criminal justice system.

In Iowa, Black women are six times more likely to die from childbirth than white women. The causes of this problem are manifold, from access to health care to racism among doctors and nurses.

But our state is only making a bad problem worse with policies that have hallowed out Medicaid reimbursement programs. According to the University of Iowa, Medicaid reimbursed its hospital about a third of what commercial insurance plans did for services like ultrasounds and deliveries last year.

In Iowa, a quarter of families live in a child care desert, and child care does not even come close to meeting the national definition of affordable. Because of this crisis, the Iowa economy loses more than $1 billion each year due to a lack of child care.

And now, as Iowans are returning to work without access to safe and affordable child care and school districts moving to a hybrid model, parents are being forced to choose between their livelihoods and their children. From better paid leave policies to well-funded schools, more needs to be done to support Iowa parents.

Government zoning regulations and bank lending policies last century conspired to racially segregate cities in Iowa.

When the New York Times last year published its 1619 Project examining lasting effects of the North American slave trade on modern America journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote about growing up in Waterloo, where a racist lending scheme known as redlining created stark white and Black neighborhoods.

While lending and housing discrimination are officially illegal, the racial lines between neighborhoods in Iowa cities havent withered much since the federal Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act were passed in the 1960s. Analysts say Waterloo still is one of the most racially segregated cities in America.

Achieving equitable housing will require robust economic empowerment programs for Black families, but also a thorough rethinking of zoning policy by local governments.

One motivation behind the American Revolution was No taxation without representation the idea that people should not be subject to rules they have no part in making. Yet, Iowa still practices a form of this injustice.

Because of Iowas badly outdated law, nearly 10 percent of Black Iowans are barred from voting, according to the Sentencing Project. Iowa is the only state in the nation that permanently disenfranchises felons after they have completed their sentences, and minorities are disproportionately subject to felony charges.

Released felons work, pay taxes and contribute to society in many other ways. Keeping them away from the ballot box only serves to further ostracize former prisoners, making them second-class citizens. Gov. Kim Reynolds should act swiftly on her promise to issue an executive order automatically restoring voting rights, and she should refrain from imposing extra conditions or barriers.

The criminal justice system is fraught with racial disparities, but jailing people for victimless drug crimes presents a uniquely disturbing affront to racial justice.

Iowa holds an embarrassing position as a leader in arresting Black people for marijuana charges. Black Iowans are 7 times more likely than white Iowans to be arrested for marijuana possession, according to an ACLU report this year, making Iowa the 5th-worst in the country.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

The drug war is part of a larger system that victimizes communities of color, which are over-policed and where officers often use drugs as a pretext to rack up other charges. To address these disparities, state and local governments should decriminalize drugs and radically reoriented police enforcement strategies to focus on community service.

(319) 398-8262; editorial@thegazette.com

Originally posted here:

Black Iowans have been denied right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness - The Gazette

Letter to the editor: Police must dismantle oppressive system for which they work – Summit Daily News

In the past few days, Im sure youve heard the phrase all cops are bad.

I understand why this term upsets people. But my uncle is a cop, you may say. My uncle isnt racist. Hes a good cop. Good cops hate bad cops.

And youre right: A tiny percentage of cops would brutalize someone because of their skin color. However, this does not render them innocent. The fact of the matter is, without willing employees, law enforcement as we know it could not exist. So, it follows that all cops not just those who murder, not just those who maim, not just those who fail to protect civilians support a broken system.

Our system incarcerates minorities for victimless crimes while billionaires who commit atrocities en masse roam free. Jeffrey Epstein, who systematically raped children and gave others the means to do so, was able to avoid consequences for years. While he was free, there were hundreds of thousands people incarcerated in the U.S. for nonviolent drug charges. If you are a cop, you are complicit in this injustice.

Support Local JournalismDonate

Our system undemocratically silences dissent. Videos have surfaced of police sniping marches from rooftops, starting fires, tear gassing children and saying they will beat the f out of protestors. If you are a cop, you are complicit in this injustice.

Our system murders citizens. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, Trayvon Martin and countless others. If you are a cop, you are complicit in this injustice.

If you are a cop, and you are not striking until our system is reformed, you are in the wrong. Its not enough to hate bad cops, its not enough to kneel with protestors, and its not enough to speak at marches. You must dismantle and rebuild the oppressive system for which you work.

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

Read more here:

Letter to the editor: Police must dismantle oppressive system for which they work - Summit Daily News

Is Defunding the Police Libertarian? Reason.com – Reason

I have become increasingly cognizant of a tendency of many libertarians to conflate "libertarian" with "antigovernment." There are a variety of groups and movements in the U.S. who hate "the government" for their own reasons, but aren't by any stretch of the imagination libertarian. If you hate the U.S. government because you think is it's controlled by "Zionists" who are trying to destroy European American culture by organizing an alliance of Third World immigrants and native African Americans, you will likely support dramatic cuts in government; but you are not libertarian, because if you thought "your people" were in control, you would happily have a massive, unlibertarian federal government.

Back when Ron Paul's presidential campaign was receiving support from various racist individuals and groups, his campaign's official position was that it welcomed support from *anyone* regardless of ideology, so long as they supported limiting the federal government. That's exactly the mentality I object to.

Libertarians hopping on the "defunding the police" bandwagon once again reminds me of the crucial but neglected distinction between being libertarian (or classical liberal) and being antigovernment. Protection of life, safety, and property is a legitimate function of government. Even Robert Nozick was fine with funding the "night watchman" of the night watchman state.

There are plenty of police reforms that could be enacted from a libertarian perspective that would improve matters. Qualified immunity reform is libertarian. Holding police accountable for misbehavior is libertarian. Reducing the power of police unions is libertarian. Getting rid of overtime and pension abuse is libertarian. Banning no-knock raids is libertarian. Reducing bloated police department bureaucracies is libertarian.

Broader reforms that would reduce the need for police and reduce police/civilian encounters are also libertarian. Getting rid of victimless crimes, especially the drug war, and certain categories of criminal business regulation that should be handled civilly is libertarian. Getting rid of taxes that lead to black markets that in turn lead to police/civilian encounters is libertarian. Abolishing laws that allow local governments to put people in jail for failure to pay civil fines is libertarian. Separating forensic science services from prosecutors' offices is libertarian. Holding prosecutors accountable for misconduct is libertarian. Finding alternatives to prison for certain categories of offenders is libertarian.

By contrast, "defunding the police," if that just means willy-nilly cuts, is not libertarian. This is true especially given that police departments will inevitably follow the "Washington Monument" strategy, in which bureaucracies respond to budget cuts by cutting what is most painful to the voting public. What is very likely to suffer is the legitimate function of the state in preserving people's lives, safety, and property from criminals, while not reforming the system at all nor doing anything about abusive police officers.

If defunding the police means getting rid of the police entirely, without any remote prospect of alternative means of protecting lives, safety, and property suddenly arising in its place (and in the current legal environment, the anarcho-capitalist dream of private protection services replacing police is impossible, even if it were somehow practical), is both crudely antigovernment and stupid.

Visit link:

Is Defunding the Police Libertarian? Reason.com - Reason



12345...10...