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Feb 6, 2011
Aaron try's to get an inside look at his local Jail in Eugene Oregon Lane County.  Visit his website here

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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 11:49am
Feb 6, 2011
The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-220) was an Act of Congress signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama on August 3, 2010. Similar bills were introduced in several U.S. Congresses before its passage in 2010. The law reduced the disparity between United States federal criminal penalties for crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses from a 100:1 ratio to an 18:1 ratio (based on the number of grams of cocaine in possession) and eliminated the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine, among other provisions.Courts had also acted to reduce the sentencing disparity prior to the bill's passage.
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 implemented the initial disparity, reflecting Congress's view that crack cocaine was a more dangerous and harmful drug than powder cocaine. In the decades since, extensive research by the United States Sentencing Commission and other experts has suggested that the differences between the effects of the two drugs is exaggerated and that the sentencing disparity is unwarranted. Additional controversy surrounding the 100:1 ratio was a result of its description by some as being racially biased and contributing to a disproportionate number of African Americans being sentenced for crack cocaine offenses. Legislation to reduce the disparity had been introduced since the mid-1990s, culminating in the signing of the Fair Sentencing Act.
The Act has been described as improving the fairness of the justice system in the United States, and prominent politicians and non-profit organizations have called for further reforms. These include making the law retroactive and a complete elimination of the disparity with a 1:1 sentencing ratio
Although the 100:1 federal sentencing ratio remained unchanged from 1986 to 2010, two U.S. Supreme Court cases provided lower courts with discretion in determining penalties for cocaine sentences. Kimbrough v. United States (2007) and Spears v. United States gave lower courts the option to set penalties and allowed judges who disagreed with the Sentencing Guidelines to depart from the statutory ratio based on policy concerns. In 2009, the U.S. District Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Western District of Virginia and District of Columbia used these cases to create one-to-one sentencing ratios of crack cocaine to powder cocaine.United States v. Booker (2005) and Blakely v. Washington (2004) also weakened the Sentencing Guidelines as a whole by making them advisory.
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Proposed legislation

The U.S. Sentencing Commission first called for reform of the 100:1 sentencing disparity in 1994 after a year-long study on the differing penalties for powder and crack cocaine required by the Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The Commission found that the sentencing disparity was unjustified due to the small differences between the two forms of cocaine, and advised Congress to equalize the quantity ratio that would trigger mandatory sentences. Congress rejected the Commission's recommendations for the first time in the Commission's history.
In April 1997, the Commission again recommended a reduction in the disparity, providing Congress with a range from 2:1 to 15:1 to choose from. This recommendation would have raised the quantity of crack and lowered the quantity of powder cocaine required to trigger a mandatory minimum sentence. Congress did not act on this recommendation. In 2002, the Commission again called for reducing sentencing disparities in its Report to Congress based on extensive research and testimony by medical and scientific professionals, federal and local law enforcement officials, criminal justice practitioners, academics, and civil rights organizations
Congress first proposed bipartisan legislation to reform crack cocaine sentencing in 2001, when Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) introduced the Drug Sentencing Reform Act. This proposal would have raised the amount of crack cocaine necessary for a five-year mandatory minimum from 5 grams to 20 grams and would have lowered the amount of powder cocaine necessary for the same sentence from 500 grams to 400 grams, a 20:1 ratio
During the 110th United States Congress, seven crack cocaine sentencing reform bills were introduced that would have reduced the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses without increasing mandatory sentences
In the Senate, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sponsored the Fairness in Drug Sentencing Act of 2007 (S. 1685) that would have created a 20:1 ratio by increasing the five-year quantity trigger for mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine to 25 grams and leaving the powder cocaine level at 500 grams
Former senator and current Vice President of the United States Joe Biden sponsored the Drug Sentencing Reform and Cocaine Kingpin Trafficking Act of 2007 (S. 1711), which would have completely eliminated the disparity by increasing the amount of crack cocaine required for the imposition of mandatory minimum prison terms to those of powder cocaine.
Both of these bills would have eliminated the five-year mandatory minimum prison term for first-time possession of crack cocaine
 In the House of Representatives, Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) sponsored the Drug Sentencing Reform and Cocaine Kingpin Trafficking Act of 2007 (H.R. 4545), the companion to Biden's proposed bill
Charles Rangel sponsored the Crack-Cocaine Equitable Sentencing Act of 2007 (H.R. 460), a bill he had been introducing since the mid-1990s that would have equalized cocaine sentencing and eliminated specified mandatory minimum penalties relating to the trafficking in, and possession, importation, or distribution of, crack cocaine.


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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 11:20am
Feb 6, 2011
Imperfections in the criminal justice system have long intrigued the general public and worried scholars and legal practitioners. In Wrongful Conviction, criminologists C. Ronald Huff and Martin Killias present an important collection of essays that analyzes cases of injustice across an array of legal systems, with contributors from North America, Europe and Israel. Using this cross-national perspective, the volume offers detailed discussions of specific legal systems while also considering issues that transcend national boundaries. Differences in court procedures are explained as contributors ask what role the respective criminal justice systems play in preventing or generating wrongful convictions. Most importantly, this collection includes a number of well-developed public-policy recommendations intended to reduce the instances of courts punishing innocents. It also offers suggestions for compensating more fairly those who are wrongfully convicted


International Perspectives on Miscarriages of Justice


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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 3:04am
Feb 6, 2011
Some legal systems have employed de jure presumptions of guilt, such as at an order to show cause criminal proceeding. Otherwise, accusations of presumption of guilt generally do not imply an actual legal presumption of guilt, but rather denounce some failures to ensure that suspects are treated well and are offered good defence conditions. Typical infringements include:


In some systems, suspects may be detained for long periods while inquiries proceed. Such long imprisonment constitutes, in practice, a hardship and a punishment for the suspect, even though they have not been sentenced. (See speedy trial)
Courts may prefer the testimonies of persons of certain class, status, ethnicity, sex, or economic or political standing over those of others, regardless of actual circumstances.
In Europe and the New World, until the early 18th century, it was common for the justice system to have suspects tortured to extract confessions from them, since circumstantial evidence was rarely analyzed or admitted in those times. Although this practice became no longer allowed, except during 20th-century fascist and Soviet governments, there have been attempts to introduce evidence obtained from suspects tortured elsewhere (so-called extraordinary rendition).
Some public universities punish members of athletic teams accused of felonies after they are indicted, even if they have not been convicted. In some cases this may entail expulsion from the team and/or loss of the athletic scholarship.
In the United Kingdom under the previous Government important recent inroads have been made against the principle. Defendants' previous convictions may in certain circumstances be revealed to juries. Although the suspect is not yet compelled to answer questions after formal arrest, failure to give information may now be prejudicial. Statute law was introduced which provides for criminal penalties for failing to decrypt data on request from the Police. If the suspect is unwilling (or even unable) to do so, it is an offence.[20] Citizens can therefore be convicted and imprisoned without any evidence that the encrypted material was unlawful. Further, the onus is on the defendant to decrypt the data, and having lost the key or the password is not considered reasonable excuse.
Scottish law provides for a third finding: "not proven".
In practice, a ruling of innocence will only be returned if the defense is able to provide proof of innocence that is superior to the prosecution's proof of guilt. The prosecution's proof of guilt, however flimsy, is expected to be rebutted with proof of innocence by a legal defense, before a ruling on guilt or innocence is given. The rebuttals of an innocent defense are likely to be produced from a position of poor knowledge about the alleged crime, which can allow the prosecution to easily discredit the defense's rebuttals. In essence, the defense is expected to concoct a story of events that explains the facts of the case without implicating the defendant. The defense rebuttal may solve the crime by identifying the true perpetrator, it may implicate another innocent defendant, or it may be discredited as an implausible fabrication.
State funded defenses rarely match the quality of State funded prosecutions, so innocent defendants usually must fund a private defense to be able to match the power of the prosecution. The burden of funding a prosecution is collectively borne by the State. The burden of funding a private defense is individually borne by the accused. Individual defense resources in finances, information, equipment, expertise, research, and personnel, can never match the resources of a government, especially if the defendant is imprisoned. The accused is expected to pay the costs of a private defense, and also taxes that fund the prosecution.
Guaranteeing the presumption of innocence extends beyond the judicial system. For instance, in many countries journalistic codes of ethics state that journalists should refrain from referring to suspects as though their guilt is certain. For example, they use "suspect" or "defendant" when referring to the suspect, and use "alleged" when referring to the criminal activity that the suspect is accused of.


More subtly, publishing of the prosecution's case without proper defence argumentation may in practice constitute presumption of guilt. Publishing a roster of arrested suspects may constitute undeserved punishment as well, since in practice it damages the reputation of innocent suspects. Private groups fighting certain abuses may also apply similar tactics, such as publishing the real name, address, and phone number of suspects, or even contacting the suspects' employer, friends and neighbors.


Modern practices aimed at curing social ills may run against presumption of innocence. Some civil rights activists feel that pre-employment drug testing, while legal, violates this principle, as potential employees are presumed to be users of illegal drugs, and must prove themselves innocent through the test. Similarly, critics argue that some dispositions of laws against sexual harassment or racial discrimination show a presumption of guilt. These dispositions were meant to ease the burden of proof on the victim, since in practice harassment or discrimination practices are hard to prove.


Civil rights activists note that the well-meaning practices so adopted may have a deleterious effect on justice being served. An example is the use in some sexual assault cases of a screen, which is set up to prevent the complainant from being distressed at the sight of the accused. Where a victim was in fact victimized by the accused, this may be argued to serve the principles of therapeutic justice.[21] However, where an accused is innocent, this may inadvertently tell the jury that the court accepts that a crime was committed. This shifts the burden of proof traditionally on the prosecution to the defense, and risks putting the court in the role of judging guilt rather than the jury. Not only this but also even more importantly, such a shield may also send a message that the complainant is upset by the sight of the accused, once again because guilt is seen to have been assumed by the court in so shielding the complainant. The psychological effects of such a screen have not yet been well researched, but the tension between the two views is a problem for therapeutic justice, which must weigh protection of genuine victims from genuine offenders against the potential for an unjust conviction that such protection may create
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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 3:02am
Feb 6, 2011
Because the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a defendant asserting actual innocence need only raise a reasonable doubt as to whether they were the person who committed a particular crime, or whether the acts that they committed amount to the commission of a crime. In point of fact, the defendant is not obliged to present a defense at all.


Examples of an actual innocence defense include:


Alibi - the defendant will present evidence of having been in a different location, thereby making it impossible for the defendant to have committed the crime.
Mistaken identity - although the prosecution bears the burden of proving that a defendant has been properly identified, the defendant may still need to call into question the memory and/or credibility of witnesses claiming to have seen the commission of the crime.
Frameup - the defendant will assert that the falsification of evidence has resulted in the creation of a meritless case against him, usually by the police or similar persons of authority with access to the crime scene, or by private parties hoping to profit from the defendant's misfortune. If the prosecution is relying on the defendant's confession, the defendant may assert that a false confession was extracted through coercive means.
Many celebrated criminal cases have rested solely on the defense that the defendant did not commit the crime - for example, O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, and Michael Jackson all claimed that they simply had not committed the acts charged. By contrast, defendants such as Jeffrey Dahmer, Susan Smith, and Lorena Bobbitt conceded that they committed the criminal act, but raised defenses such as insanity or diminished capacity.


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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 3:00am
Feb 6, 2011
The criminal courts have the power to stop a prosecution from proceeding altogether where it would be inappropriate for it to continue. This power to stay proceedings which constitute an abuse of the process of the court has assumed great practical significance and is potentially applicable in many situations. There is at least one consideration of the abuse of process doctrine in virtually every major criminal trial today.
Abuse of Process and Judicial Stays of Criminal Proceedings (Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice


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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 2:59am
Feb 6, 2011
Institute for Legal Reform: Issues Resource Center: Trial Lawyer Fraud & Abuse

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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 2:58am
Feb 6, 2011


Before the Civil War African Americans were legally denied equal rights and freedoms pursuant to formally valid codes prescribing the relations between master and slave. Even though these codes were de jure fully suitable for application in legal practice, yet their enforcement by the then U.S. government de facto violated basic human rights of a significant part of the population.
Generally speaking, the occurrence of such „justly enacted unjust laws“ fully depends on the stance taken by the country's political leadership towards the rule of law principle.
In some countries, the political leaders assert that the rule of law is a totally void concept. Therefore, they argue that any government may strip its subjects of their fundamental freedoms or infringe their vital interests so long as this is done by way of a duly implemented legal mechanism. For example, at the Nuremberg trials, in an attempt to justify their abominable crimes against Jewish and Romany population of Europe during World War II, some of the former leaders of Nazi Germany argued that they had broken none of the laws effective when Hitler had been in power. And it is only by invoking the rule according to a higher law that the Allied prosecutors were able to legitimately overcome suchlike defenses.
In other countries, conversely, the political leaders assert that all written laws must be kept in line with the universal principles of morality, fairness, and justice. These leaders argue that, as a necessary corollary to the axiom that „no one is above the law,“ the rule of law requires the government to treat all persons equally under the law. However, the proclaimed right to equal treatment is susceptible to instantly becoming void each time the government denies a sufficient level of respect, dignity, and autonomy to a certain class of individuals. Therefore, the unwritten and universally self-explanatory principles of equality, autonomy, dignity, and respect are said to overrule conventional written laws enacted by the government. It is these principles that are often referred to as „natural law.“ They also constitute the basis of the „higher law theory.“

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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 2:57am
Feb 6, 2011
The Rechtsstaat doctrine (Legal state, State of right, Constitutional state, Constitutional government) was first introduced by the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) in his latest works completed after the U.S. and French constitutions had been adopted in the late 18th century. Kant’s approach is based on the supremacy of country’s written constitution created using principles of the Higher Law. This supremacy meant creating guarantees for the implementation of his central idea: a permanently peaceful life as a basic condition for the happiness and prosperity of the citizens. Kant was basing his doctrine exclusively on the idea of constitutionalism and constitutional government.


Kant had formulated the main problem of constitutionalism as an instrument for the practical implementation of the Higher Law as follows, “The constitution of a state is eventually based on the morals of its citizens, which, in its turn, is based on the goodness of this constitution.” This Kant’s idea has become the foundation for the constitutional theory of the 21st century. The Legal state concept is based on the ideas introduced by Immanuel Kant, for example, in his Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals: “The task of establishing a universal and permanent peaceful life is not only a part of theory of law within the framework of pure reason, but per se an absolute and ultimate goal. To achieve this goal, a state must become the community of a large number of people, living provided with legislative guarantees of their property rights secured by a common constitution. The supremacy of this constitution… must be derived a priori from the considerations for achievement of the absolute ideal in the most just and fair organization of people’s life under the aegis of public law


The Russian legal system, born in the 19th century as a result of the transformations initiated by the reforms of the Emperor Alexander II, was (and still is) based primarily upon the German legal tradition. It was from the latter that Russia had adopted the doctrine of Rechtsstaat, which literally translates as "Legal State." Its closest English analogue is "the rule of law."[3] The Russian Legal state concept adopts the written constitution as the country's supreme law (the rule of constitution). It is a fundamental but undefined principle that appears in the very first dispositive provision of Russia’s post-Communist constitution: “The Russian Federation – Russia – constitutes a democratic federative legal state with a republican form of governance.” Similarly, the very first dispositive provision of Ukraine’s Constitution declares that “Ukraine is a sovereign and independent, democratic, social, legal state.” Hence, the effort to invest meaning to the “Legal State” definition is anything but theoretical.


President of the Constitutional Court of Russia Valery Zorkin wrote in 2003, “Becoming a legal state has long been our ultimate goal, and we have certainly made serious progress in this direction over the past several years. However, no one can say now that we have reached this destination. Such a legal state simply cannot exist without a lawful and just society. Here, as in no other sphere of our life, the state reflects the level of maturity reached by the society


The Russian concept of Legal state has adopted many segments of constitutional economics which serves as a practical implementation of the higher law theory in economics.


The 1986 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and one of the founders of constitutional economics James M. Buchanan argues that, in the framework of constitutional government, any governmental intervention or regulation must be conditioned by the three following assumptions. First, every failure of the market economy to function smoothly and perfectly can be corrected by governmental intervention. Second, those holding political office and manning the bureaucracies are altruistic upholders of the public interest, unconcerned with their own personal economic well-being. And third, changing the government responsibilities towards more intervention and control will not profoundly and perversely affect the social and economic life.


Buchanan rejects “any organic conception of the state as superior in wisdom, to the individuals who are its members.” This philosophical position is, in fact, the very subject matter of constitutional economics. A constitutional economics approach allows for a combined economic and constitutional analysis, helping to avoid a one-dimensional understanding. Buchanan, together with Kant, believes that a constitution in its capacity as the Higher Law, intended for use by at least several generations of citizens, must be able to adjust itself for pragmatic economic decisions and to balance interests of the state and society against those of individuals and their constitutional rights to personal freedom and private happiness.


Buchanan also outlines importance of protection of the moral principles underlying constitutional norms. He writes that "the ethics of constitutional citizenship is not directly comparable to ethical behavior in interaction with other persons within the constraints imposed by the rules of an existing regime. An individual may be fully responsible, in the standard ethical sense, and yet fail to meet the ethical requirement of constitutional citizenship."




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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 2:57am
Feb 6, 2011

Innocence Commission for Arkansas PetitionsForChange.com


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Posted: Feb 6, 2011 2:55am

 

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by Dana H.
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\\nI do alot of research on HCV (hepatitis c) and the liver and diabetes. I came across a link one day addressed The American Committee for the Institute of science. It is at this link that I wrote the dedication to Dr. Richard Darling. An amazing man ...
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http://www.care2.com/news /member/616982338/3521603 Please stand with me in signing this very important petition for Rose a fellow care2 member. Thank You in advance.Dana ~.~
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A fellow care2 memeber is requesting the publics help in finding the owner of this dog. Please share this story and picture so that the owner and the dog can be reunited. Thanks. Danahttp://www.care2.com/ news/member/281283763/353 3168
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\\nhttp://www.usobserver. com/archive/feb-13/usobse rver-dhs-message.htmI received an email from a friend of mine Ed Snook who works and owns the US Observer in Oregon. This man has dedicated his life to helping others fight for Justice. He is now a...
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A fellow care 2 member Sophia P has asked that this information be circulated to help this poor animal in Lacaster, California.http://www.car e2.com/news/member/457515 986/3528508  
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A fellow care2 member Dianne Lynn Elko has put a petition out there for this poor animal that was supposed to be rescued by another animal orgainzation but because the abuse was so bad, poor miracle had to be put down. The vet said this was the worse ...
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A fellow care2 member has asked for others to please be aware of this charity and NOT donate ANY goats. The link can be found here:http://www.care2.com /news/member/378585762/35 22304
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http://imcnb10.tigblog.or g/post/8619797?content=up date&setlangcookie=tr ueA fellow care2 member name Tom Gale is asking for our help......PLease look at the link and pass it onto everyone so we can find this child. 
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\\n\\n\\\" Charity... any kind of action that relieves people\\\'s distress just a little bit without changing the system maintains the system.\\\"  &n bsp; -- Howard Zinn  in Psywar (2010)\\r\\n\\n\\\" Activism is my rent for living on the planet. \\...
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\\n           \\r\\n\\nIt was the end of the school year, and a kindergarten teacher was receiving gifts from her pupils. The florist\\\'s son handed her a gift. She shook it, held it overhead, and said, \\\"I bet I know what it ...