Category Archives: Criminal Injustice

Waiting To Exhale In Baltimore

Crime, Criminal Injustice, Critique, Race

After waiting on the signal from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, finally called up the National Guard, late Monday, to deal with the “Black Lives Matter” riot that is “convulsing” the city. This time, on account of the murder of Freddie Gray, earlier this month.

Had he failed to wait that period of grace for an OK from the black mayor, the white governor would have probably been called a rrrrrrrrrracist.

Officials like the governor continue to renounce the connection between the ubiquitous gangs—on this occasion, the Black Gorilla Family, Bloods and Crips—and rioters who put the finishing touches to each “Black Lives Matter” protest. The protest is 95 percent peaceful, promised the governor of Maryland, today. The looting, arson, rock-lobbing, robberies and assaults are executed by an element separate from the peace lovers.

Whatever you say, Gov.

Yawn.

One suggestion to liven things up a bit more: When addressing the media, Baltimore officials should consider hiring the sign-language guy who rocked Nelson Mandela’s funeral, instead of the stuffy woman who currently gesticulates for them. The South African was the coolest, most creative and original act at the funeral. All the more so considering he didn’t even know sign-language.


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Freddie Gray’s Arrest Conjures Carol Anne Gotbaum’s

Crime, Criminal Injustice, Justice, The State

Freddie Gray, whose fatal injury in police custody led to his death, was clearly manhandled by the officers. Three to 4 oafs likely dug their knees into the spinal column of this slim man. Something bad happened to the vertebrae. The arresting oafs failed to immobilize Gray’s neck in the patrol wagon, even though he was already limp and listless. The affected vertebrae could have further snapped or moved by the van’s motion, resulting in the injury that killed Gray.

The reports on Gray’s injury conjure Carol Anne Gotbaum’s trauma. The petite 45-year-old who weighed 105 pounds was scrummed by meaty policemen in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor, tackled to the ground, and a knee jabbed into her skinny spine. She was then thrown in a holding cell, where she was shackled and chained to a bench. Minutes later Carol Anne Gotbaum was dead.

What a shame that nobody marched for Mrs. Gotbaum, too.


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Cameron Todd Willingham & The Witchdoctors Who Killed Him

Crime, Criminal Injustice, Law, Pseudoscience

As it has been practiced for decades, arson investigations were more voodoo than science, and “arson sleuths” were often dabblers; “old-timers” who lay claim to a “a body of wisdom,” passed down from one old timer to the next arson investigator. The problem? An innocent individual, Cameron Todd Willingham, was “executed for the arson murder of his three young daughters,” in Texas, in 2004, based on this hocus-pocus.

Many arson investigators, it turned out, had only a high-school education. In most states, in order to be certified, investigators had to take a forty-hour course on fire investigation, and pass a written exam. Often, the bulk of an investigator’s training came on the job, learning from “old-timers” in the field, who passed down a body of wisdom about the telltale signs of arson, even though a study in 1977 warned that there was nothing in “the scientific literature to substantiate their validity.”

In 1992, the National Fire Protection Association, which promotes fire prevention and safety, published its first scientifically based guidelines to arson investigation. Still, many arson investigators believed that what they did was more an art than a science—a blend of experience and intuition. In 1997, the International Association of Arson Investigators filed a legal brief arguing that arson sleuths should not be bound by a 1993 Supreme Court decision requiring experts who testified at trials to adhere to the scientific method. What arson sleuths did, the brief claimed, was “less scientific.” By 2000, after the courts had rejected such claims, arson investigators increasingly recognized the scientific method, but there remained great variance in the field, with many practitioners still relying on the unverified techniques that had been used for generations. “People investigated fire largely with a flat-earth approach,” Hurst told me. “It looks like arson—therefore, it’s arson.” He went on, “My view is you have to have a scientific basis. Otherwise, it’s no different than witch-hunting.”

On September 7, 2009, the New Yorker’s David Grann wrote a lengthy expose, “Trial by Fire,” in which he asked, “Did Texas execute an innocent man?”

On March 9, this year, Maurice Possley, of The Marshall Project, all but confirmed that yes, Texas executed an innocent man.

Read the horror story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who “insisted upon his innocence in the deaths of his children and refused an offer to plead guilty in return for a life sentence.”

And the update.


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Free Ross Ulbricht, Proprietor Of Silk Road

Criminal Injustice, Drug War, Justice, Law, Private Property

He operated through “the ‘Dark Web,’ a network of computer servers around the world accessed only through The Onion Router or TOR” (USA Today). He facilitated voluntary, victimless trade in drugs, online. He is “Ross Ulbricht, the operator of Silk Road, a sprawling underground Internet drug bazaar.”

Enter the criminal syndicate known as Uncle Sam. It had outlawed the commerce Mr. Ulbricht had facilitated between consenting adults. In order to catch Ulbricht, Uncle Sam put to work its vast resources, culled from robbing us, its subjects. Now, federal agents are auctioning off Ulbricht’s private property, which is tantamount to legalized theft.

Federal agents shut down the Silk Road site in October 2013 and seized 29,655 bitcoins, now worth about $7.2 million, from the Silk Road server where buyers and sellers stored the currency. The government also seized 144,336 bitcoins, now worth $35 million, from Ulbricht’s computers. A judge in January ordered the sale of Ulbricht’s bitcoins.

The March 5 sale is the federal government’s third bitcoin auction stemming from its Silk Road prosecution. The federal agency will accept e-mail bids from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 5. Bidders must pre-register by March 2 (USA Today).

Not content with stealing a young man’s life and property, the federal government has subjected Ross Ulbricht to a Stalinist show trial, during which due process was practically denied. Via Target Liberty:

The following statement has been issued by the family of Ross Ulbricht, who was recently convicted of being the mastermind of Silk Road:

Ross’ trial is now over.

We were shocked — horrified really — at how unfair it was. Day four saw a reversal from when we last wrote you. Before that we expected evidence favorable to Ross would continue to be presented, and the complete story told.

Instead, the government’s own exculpatory evidence was suppressed; defense witnesses were blocked from testifying; and Ross’ attorney was hamstrung, unable to effectively cross examine government witnesses. It was a one-sided presentation that suppressed facts essential to Ross’ defense.

This is a good overview from Forbes, read here. You can also read about the trial here, and about Ross during the trial here. We will continue to post more.

Ross’ attorney said he will appeal. This is not over! We believe it’s essential for everyone to have a fair trial. When a trial isn’t fair, it is a threat to us all.

Meanwhile, this is a very hard time for Ross and our family. Thanks to everyone who has reached out to us. Your love and support mean so much.

Please send Ross a note. It’s easy to feel cut off and despairing in prison. We know it will help him to hear from you. His address is below.

ROSS ULBRICHT
#18870-111
MCC NEW YORK
METROPOLITAN CORRECTIONAL CENTER
150 PARK ROW
NEW YORK, NY 10007

As always, this is an expensive fight. We are facing a mountain of debt from the trial and need funds to pursue the appeal. Please spread the word, and donate if you can.

Thank you,

The Ulbricht family

NICE SITE:

RELATED:
“Addicted To The Drug War.”


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Why So Many Cop Killings?

BAB's A List, Criminal Injustice, Fascism, GUNS, Justice, Law

BY WILLIAM B. SCOTT

In the wake of grand jury decisions to not indict two police officers, who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, persistent protests erupted across the United States. These led to senseless attacks against police officers, including two New York City cops, killed as they sat in their patrol car. Unfortunately, such reprehensible, inexcusable shootings were predictable—and will continue, unless timely, pragmatic action is taken.

Activists, media analysts and politicians have focused on myriad “causes” for the unrest—race-based unfairness, a perceived pro-police bias within the judiciary, mendacious cops, legal system deficiencies, and other issues—to explain the recent backlash against an epidemic of citizen fatalities at the hands of police officers.

Overshadowed by rightful outrage and angst that followed the insane execution of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in New York is an equally alarming fact: In 2014, police officers killed 1,100 people, an average of three every day of the year. (KilledByPolice.net) That figure contrasts with 126 law enforcement officers killed in 2014, according to an annual report released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Fifty officers were killed with guns, and 15 of those were via “ambush assaults,” matching a 2012 total. Attacks on cops have been increasing over the past few years, although police work is much safer today than it was in the 1970s.

These statistics should be a loud-and-clear wakeup call for every American. Unless leaders at the federal, state and local levels openly acknowledge that there’s a dark, disturbing correlation between the deaths of 1,100 citizens and a rash of intentional, random attacks on police officers, this nation will be condemned to thousands more heartbreaking funerals in 2015.

Indignant police union leaders’ demands that Congress label attacks on uniformed officers as “hate crimes” have yielded chilly, skeptical receptions. Equally irate American citizens are demanding practical, substantive changes in police policies, practices and training—realistic solutions that hold quick-to-shoot cops accountable, yet protect good, honorable officers, who daily live their oaths to protect and serve.

Worried public officials from the White House to local mayors’ offices and city councils are scrambling to appease angry, fed up, disaffected citizens and embattled police officers, before outright armed rebellion explodes into nationwide chaos. Most public officials fully understand that citizens are fed up with post-shooting patronization: “We’re conducting a thorough investigation to determine exactly what occurred.” “We’ll change policies, procedures and practices to make sure this never happens again.” And the tired granddaddy of all, “We’ll improve officer training.”

On the other side, upstanding, professional police officers are frustrated by protests and repercussions attributed to the misdeeds, questionable shootings, chokings and general abuse committed by their uniformed compatriots. Consequently, the chasm between disheartened cops and exasperated, infuriated citizens continues to widen.

Police officers and taxpayers of all races and creeds, from Los Angeles to New York, must face several inescapable truths: Unless drastic improvements are made, the only elements guaranteed to change will be cops’ annual body count and the number of attacks on police officers. And race isn’t the primary factor driving either police brutality or ambushes on cops. Despite what we’re told by the media, high-profile activists and police unions, many of today’s sworn officers are equal-opportunity abusers and killers. They shoot to kill, without regard for ethnicity or creed.

Something must be done to drastically curb police brutality and killing, as well as egregious attacks on police officers, then rebuild trust between citizens and the U.S. law enforcement community, before outrage ignites a shooting war.

*******
William B. Scott is a former bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, a Flight Test Engineer graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and author of The Permit, a thriller based on his eldest son’s death.


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Monkey See Monkey Do

Barack Obama, Crime, Criminal Injustice, Race, Racism

Two New York Police Department officers will not be joining their families for the Christmas festivities, next week. They were gunned down today, Saturday. The culprit was “a black man while the two police officers were Asian and Hispanic, police said” (BBC News.) More about cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, at Mediaite.

It’s fair to say that Brinsley had been incited by race agitators Al Sharpton and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who “have blood on their hands,” contended former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik.

Recall that “de Blasio announced that he had warned his 17-year-old, mixed-race son, Dante, to be careful around police officers, which caused The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch to claim de Blasio had thrown NYPD officers ‘under the bus.’ … New York City’s rank-and-file police union is urging cops to tell Mayor Bill de Blasio not to attend their funerals in the event that they are killed in the line of duty.”

(Fox News.)

Let us not neglect AG Eric Holder’s contribution to unrest among the perpetually restive. Holder had rushed to Ferguson, Missouri, to racialize the shooting of Michael Brown (but has said nothing about the murder of a string of white girls by, allegedly, one Jesse Matthew, a black man).

Another pimp in the pod was President Barack Obama, who has been mum about “cops and soldiers coming under attack,” but couldn’t put a sock in it when it came to his personal affinity for Trayvon Martin. Obama immediately and ridiculously saddled a “deeply rooted” racism plaguing the US for the mishaps between cops and the communities of color they police.

“This is something that is deeply rooted in our society, it’s deeply rooted in our history,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with BET, a portion of which was released Sunday, December 7. “When you’re dealing with something as deeply rooted as racism or bias … you’ve got to have vigilance but you have to recognize that it’s going to take some time, and you just have to be steady so you don’t give up when we don’t get all the way there.”

(Washington Times.)


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