"Police officers carry out random
acts of legalized murder against poor people of color not because they are racist,
although they may be, or even because they are rogue cops, but because
impoverished urban communities have evolved into miniature police
"...the wealthy few invest heavily in shaping laws that strive to place
unlimited private property and corporate expansion above and beyond all else,
including the lives of people, the health of communities,
protection of what we own in common, the capacity of
society to function as a democracy, and the stability of the
living biosphere itself." Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power p42.
"... the United States has become a nation that does
not apply the rule of law to its elite class,
which is another way of saying that the United States does not apply
the rule of law." Glenn Greenwald: With Liberty and Justice for Some p15
The truth is that, as a nation, we face nothing short
of a justice “crisis.” It is a crisis both acute and chronic, affecting
not just the poor but the middle class. The situation we face is unconscionable. Lawrence Tribe
Since full implementation of the federal sentencing
guidelines in 1989 disparity in sentencing between African Americans and whites has increased.
∙ African American drug offenders have a 20% greater chance of being
sentenced to prison than white drug offenders, and Hispanics a 40% greater chance.
∙ African Americans receive longer prison terms for drug offenses than
whites. In 2002, the average prison term of 105 months for African Americans was 69% longer
than the average of 62 months for whites.
Big Business Buys State Courts (10/31/2014)
Robinson Meyer writes in The Atlantic that first of all,
police shouldn't ask. "As a basic principle, we can't tell you to stop
recording," says Delroy Burton, a 21-year veteran of DC's police force.
"If you're standing across the street videotaping, and I'm in a public
place, carrying out my public functions, [then] I'm subject to
recording, and there's
nothing legally the police officer can do to stop you from recording."
What you don't have a right to do is interfere with an officer's work.
""Police officers may legitimately order citizens to cease
activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement
operations," according to Jay Stanley who wrote the ACLU's "Know
Your Rights" guide for photographers, which lays out in plain language
the legal protections that are assured people filming in public. Police
officers may not confiscate or demand to view your digital photographs
or video without a warrant and police may not delete your
photographs or video under any circumstances.
What if an officer says you are interfering with legitimate
law enforcement operations and you disagree with the officer? "If it were
me, and an officer came up and said, 'You need to turn that camera off,
sir,' I would strive to calmly and politely yet firmly remind the
officer of my rights while continuing to record the interaction, and
not turn the camera off," says Stanley. The ACLU guide also supplies
the one question those stopped for taking photos or video may ask an
officer: "The right question to ask
is, 'am I free to go?' If the officer says no, then you are being
detained, something that under the law an officer cannot do without
reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or
are in the process of doing so. Until you ask to leave, your being
stopped is considered voluntary under the law and is legal."
Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful
Ted Talk: Bryan Stevenson
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron
in America: John Hurwitz (click for his BookTV talk on CSPAN)
Big To Jail: Brandon L. Garrett
Liberty and Justice for Some: Glenn Greenwald
Taking Back the
Courts: Norman Pattis
The American Inquisition, Justice and Injustice in the Cold War:
Stanley I. Kutler