Posts tagged Civil Rights
Posts tagged Civil Rights
In Denver, Colo.? Rally for justice!
Adam Peck at ThinkProgress writes:
Thousands of Republicans from around the country will descend upon Tampa, Florida next week for the Republican National Convention, and if recent history is any guide, so too will hundreds of protesters.
To prepare, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee has ordered the Orient Road Jail, a 1,700 bed prison in Tampa, emptied, relocating some inmates to another nearby prison and releasing others on bond. The entire facility has been transformed into a one-stop booking, detention, and bond-issuance center capable of handling large numbers of arrests, which begs the question: will Tampa police keep demonstrators on a short leash?
Will they? Yes.
Is that right? No.
As Peck and others have pointed out, excessive use of force is a persistent problem, particularly at the GOP convention in Minnesota in 2008 and New York in 2004. As an attendee of the GOP convention, it will be bizarre to be on the other side of the “free speech zone” — which, by its very existence, demonstrates the almost Orwellian Newspeak surrounding security measures.
Truthfully, I’m more worried about Hurricane Isaac than any potential violence inflicted by demonstrators. But I fear violence may be inflicted upon them. I encourage demonstrators to download the ACLU Police Tape app, encourage them to write the numbers for ACLU and National Lawyers Guild on their person in Sharpie, and to know their rights as demonstrators and when dealing with law enforcement.
Yes, the GOP has the right to have a convention — no one will dispute that. But protesters have the right to be free of police harassment, intrusive surveillance, and brutality. I hope the mistakes of Minnesota and New York will not be repeated.
Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty Tuesday to going on a shooting rampage at a political gathering, killing six people and wounding his intended target, then-Congresswoman Gabriele Giffords, and 12 others.
Loughner’s plea spares him the death penalty and came soon after a federal judge found that months of forcibly medicating him to treat his schizophrenia had made the 23-year-old college dropout competent to understand the gravity of the charges and assist in his defense.
Under the plea, he will be sentenced to life in federal prison without the possibility of parole.
The outcome was welcomed by some victims, including Giffords herself, as a way to avoid a lengthy, possibly traumatic trial and years of legal wrangling over a death sentence.
"The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan. 8, 2011, are incalculable," Giffords said in a joint statement with her husband, Mark Kelly. "Avoiding a trial will allow us — and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community — to continue with our recovery."
Experts had concluded that Loughner suffers from schizophrenia, and officials at a federal prison have forcibly medicated him with psychotropic drugs for more than a year.
Wow. We forcibly make him competent in order to incarcerate him for life — just like how we forcibly make people competent in order to execute them. Will the treatment continue in prison? It’s likely, but not guaranteed.
While I’m glad he is being sentenced to life without parole, and I’m also happy victims are receiving closure, I still have serious issues with the forcible drugging of people who commit crimes in order to render them competent for trial or plea agreements. To me, that just speaks to the fact that the court is tacitly admitting the person was incompetent at the time of the offense, but since we can maybe restore competency long enough, meh
That’s just my thoughts. Again, I don’t think he WASN’T guilty, but I’m a little skeptical about forcibly medicating people.
U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa L. Bryant today held in a federal case in Connecticut that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act — the federal definition of marriage — is unconstitutional… Federal judges in Massachusetts, California and New York also have found DOMA’s provision defining “marriage” and “spouse” as only being unions of one man and one woman in all federal laws unconstitutional.
Bryant — appointed to the bench by President George W, Bush on April 2, 2007 — found that laws that classify people based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny by courts — as the Department of Justice and plaintiffs argued in the case — but found the provision of the 1996 law unconstitutional “even under the most deferential level of judicial scrutiny.”
In her decision in the case, Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, Bryant found:
In sum, having considered the purported rational bases proffered by both BLAG and Congress and concluded that such objectives bear no rational relationship to Section 3 of DOMA as a legislative scheme, the Court finds that no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision. The provision therefore violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
This is a big deal, y’all. With several pressing cases in different Federal Court Districts, the chances of the Supreme Court reviewing DOMA goes up — the only hitch is that there hasn’t been much conflicts in the circuits, except regarding levels of scrutiny. Here’s why that’s important.
Read the petition at the link above. We’ll know by early October if the Supreme Court chooses to hear the case.
This could get very interesting.
The best app, hands down. It has tips on what to do when confronted by law enforcement in various situations, and the ability to discretely record audio and video.
If you’ve ever had an encounter with the police that you wish you could record, here’s your ticket.
A word of caution: Some states and municipalities prohibit recording police and/or recording third parties. Know the law in your state and your city. However, and this is my non-legal opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry when encountering possible police hostility/brutality.
Shep Smith and Judge Robert Napolitano discuss the arrests of Chicago NATO protesters, including the five men accused of possessing explosives:
Napolitano: “But the Chicago folks want to make a case out of it, because they want to make an example out of these kids to deter other people from expressing their political opinions in the streets.”
Smith: “You’ve got to be kidding me. How do we have stories like this, two or three times a week, and no one in the nation seems to care?”
Napolitano: “Because the American public has been deluded into thinking that when the government finds a dope and persuades the dope to say bad things and think he’s assembling a bomb and then he eventually pleads guilty, somehow we are kept safe by that happening.”
Smith: “That’s a load of it! Somehow we are made to feel like maybe they’re doing something for us, and what they’re really doing is trampling on our liberty.”
Bless you, Shep Smith. This same shit happened in Minnesota in 2004 with the RNC convention, and in NYC and Denver at the RNC and DNC conventions. How much you want to bet it’ll happen in Tampa at the 2012 RNC convention?
As a progressive activist, I swear — I’m worried about giving details of any upcoming protest actions to people I don’t know. Not because I plan acts of violence or support acts of violence, but because I don’t want to be a target of a midnight raid as an example. And let’s be real, I’m pretty boring out here Wyoming…
However, an injury to one is an injury to all.