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Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:25 PM PDT

Don Siegelman Update

by Karen Hedwig Backman

Reposted from Karen Hedwig Backman by Dave in Northridge
Oral Arguments for Siegelman Appeal Postponed
The Oral Argument to to made before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, tentatively scheduled for July 28, has been pushed back to October 13, 2014.

Dear Friend,

I have received an avalanche of prayers and well wishes for tomorrow's hearing! With this kind of support I can't see how we can lose! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

But my oral arguments, previously scheduled to be presented on July 28th, have been pushed back to October of this year. So hold on to those prayers and well-wishes for a little while longer.

Let me take this opportunity to review the two reasons that the Court of Appeals is willing to hear my arguments. As you know, the Eleventh Court of Appeals, while regarding my case as extraordinary, upheld the verdict in my trial. However, they did order the upcoming hearing - now postponed at least 2 1/2 months - on two claims.

Governor Siegelman has a request:
Please e-mail the U.S. Sentencing Commission at and ask the Commission to consider for its next priorities:

1. Acquitted Conduct: In today's federal court rooms across America, inmates such as Don Siegelman were given extra time in prison for matters for which the jury found him not guilty. The trial judges add years to a defendant's sentence for charges that were alleged, but for which the defendant was acquitted, found not guilty by the jury...they were found by the jury not to have done the they shouldn't be made BY A JUDGE to do the time. But trial judges CAN and DO add time for matters which the jury did not find the defendant guilty and for which the defendant did not plead guilty. It is simply not fair or just for a JUDGE to override a JURY and add years to a defendant's sentence for matters for which they were acquitted.

2. Gun Charge enhancements: Once again the trial judge can add years to a defendant's sentence if a gun is found...not on the defendant but at his home, on a nightstand by his bed for example. This happened to Stewart Gavin. Without any showing that the defendant ever possessed a gun to further his crime, say transporting money or drugs, years can be added. Even though the Second Amendment guarantees the Right to keep and bear arms, a FIRST TIME OFFENDER,  legally in possession of a legally purchased firearm, has years added to their sentence. This is so even though there is no mention of a gun charge in the indictment, at trial or in any plea agreement. No testimony saying the defendant ever was seen with a gun...It is violative of the defendant's Second Amendment Rights and Sixth Amendment Right not to have such a charge proven beyond a reasonable doubt BY A JURY. Judges should not be allowed to add such a gun charge. Juries should decide.

Please shoot an email to the Sentencing Commission at today! Thanks,

Don Siegelman

Reposted from I don't think you're ready for this jelly. by Dave in Northridge Editor's Note: Alabama AGAIN. -- Dave in Northridge

Yo! Whattup?

triv33 alrerted me to this the other day (thank you, honeybunches!), and I thought it was worthy of serious progressive attention. Some of you may remember RogerShuler? He was a dynamic and polarizing figure on Daily Kos while he was here (it seems he is bojo), and some of his articles on Don Siegelman remain the best thing since sliced bread. (I don't know what the hell that even means, but you get what I'm saying.) Roger has been an investigative reporter, focusing specifically on Alabama Republican cronyism, for many years.

Regardless of your personal feelings about Mr. Shuler, I think we can all agree that Roger is a dogged, relentless journalist with some serious skillz. When he uses his powers for good, Roger is straight-up awesome. No doubt about it.

So it pains me to say that Mr. Shuler is now in jail, and the specifics of his case are extremely ugly and very disturbing:

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- “In a case troubling to free speech advocates, an Alabama journalist who blogged about allegations of a sordid affair between a powerful Republican scion and a lobbyist has been arrested and now sits in jail on contempt charges.

A judge has taken the extraordinary steps of not only sealing the file in the case, but ordering that the blogger's posts be removed from the Internet.

I'm sorry. Wtf was that last part again?! I can't hear you over the sound of all the bullshit piling up.
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Reposted from JoanMar by Dave in Northridge
The Dream Defenders are in their 12th day of standing their ground in the offices of Gov. Rick Scott of Florida. They demand that he convenes a special session of the legislature to review the SYG law. Rick Scott has refused their demand and has taken himself off to parts unknown. They plan on occupying his office until their demand is met.

On Saturday the protesters were visited by civil rights leader, Harry Belafonte.

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Reposted from anninla by Dave in Northridge

Startling to open my Baton Rouge newspaper this morning and see that the police in that city are arresting gay men for agreeing to have sex with other men. In sting operations, if a gay man agreed to have CONSENSUAL sex with an undercover police officer at a PRIVATE residence, with NO mention of money exchanging hands, then the gay man was arrested. Clearly a violation of SCOTUS opinion invalidating sodomy laws. However, in Louisiana the anti-sodomy law is still on the books, so police department spox said they have to enforce it. And these sting operations and arrests have been going on for years!  I truly live in one of the most backward states in the nation, and this has to be persecution. I also can't understand why lawsuits haven't been filed....except the article states that the gay men were not "out." So, clearly "not-out" men were targeted, knowing they would not cause trouble? The article:

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Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:04 PM PDT

Judgment day

by Ian Reifowitz

Reposted from Ian Reifowitz by Dave in Northridge
Daily News (NY) cover, July 15, 2013
Today, about 36 hours after I heard that George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin, I was running -- not sprinting, it is 90 plus degrees here in New York -- to catch a bus. It was sitting at a stop, about half a block ahead of me. The last passenger had boarded, and the driver had closed the doors. By all rights, he could have pulled away from the stop and drove off. Being an experienced mass transit user, I decided to maximize my chances of making the bus by getting myself parallel to it, in the sightline of the driver's side view mirror, and loped toward the doors. I even gave a little wave, hoping to catch his attention. To my good fortune, I saw the doors open up. I clambered aboard and thanked him for waiting. On other similar occasions, I've watched drivers pull away, so I was pretty happy, especially given the heat.

The driver was a young black man. Early twenties, I'd say. He smiled and said, "At first I thought you were just out for a jog." I think he was playing a bit, but I'm not 100% sure. Either way, there was genuine warmth in his smile. "But when you waved, I figured you wanted a ride," he added. Then my Metrocard showed an error when I tried to pay, and he laughed and said, "Go on ahead and sit down."

As I did I was in a terrific mood, buoyed both by my success as a commuter and by the pleasant exchange with a generous stranger. Then I thought about Trayvon Martin. I thought about how the bus driver had cut me a break, had treated me like a human being, had not judged me, or thought me hostile to him because I'm white and he's black. That's how we are all supposed to treat each other. I'm supposed to treat you the same way, extend you the same courtesy, hold you to the same standards no matter your color or gender or whatever I can tell about you from your outward appearance. And that's how you are supposed to treat me.

But that's not how George Zimmerman treated Trayvon Martin, how he assessed Trayvon as he watched the young man from his car. Zimmerman simply prejudged him. We know what was going through Zimmerman's mind, what he thought of Trayvon Martin. "F------ punks. These a-------. They always get away."

What made Zimmerman prejudge Martin, what made him decide that Trayvon was suspicious? The fact is, there was absolutely nothing suspicious about what Trayvon Martin was doing that night as he walked home. Nothing. There was no legitimate reason for George Zimmerman to be suspicious of him. Nothing at all.

Other than one thing.

Zimmerman was suspicious because Trayvon Martin was a black teenager. Young, black, male. What else about his appearance was suspicious? That he was not wearing a suit and tie? Martin was doing nothing wrong, and had as much right to be there in that neighborhood as Zimmerman, its erstwhile "watchman." Zimmerman determined he was suspicious and followed him. Had that not happened, had Zimmerman stayed in his car -- which he almost certainly would have done had he seen a light-skinned, non-black kid walking instead of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin would be alive today.

This isn't about the verdict, or at least not just about it. As Ta-Nehisi Coates explained in his brilliant analysis, the verdict may well be the correct one based on the way the law is written, given the lack of eyewitnesses. But as Coates' essay makes clear, this case is above all about the fact that all too often in our country young black men, and black people in general, are prejudged by their fellow Americans in a way that leads to them suffering direct harm. Yes, it's about racism.

Yesterday was George Zimmerman's judgment day, at least as far as our criminal courts are concerned. He was acquitted by a jury of his peers. But Trayvon Martin's judgment day took place on February 26, 2012. On that night he was judged "suspicious" by a jury of one, and the evidence was as plain as the skin on his face.

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Reposted from JoanMar by Dave in Northridge


Live blog the verdict!

The jury has reached a verdict!

This is too much.
Sick to my stomach.
Spare a thought for Tracy and Sabrina tonight.
RIP Trayvon.
Gone but never forgotten.

Reposted from Daily Kos by Dave in Northridge
We have a verdict

That tweet is from Michelle Kennedy, Public Information Officer for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida.

The verdict will be announced shortly.

7:02 PM PT: Not guilty.

7:12 PM PT: This:

ALEC, guys. This is on ALEC.
Stand Your Ground, the travesty of a law that allowed this to happen, was created by ALEC.

Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 07:23 PM PDT

Dehumanized ?

by Elon James White

Reposted from This Week In Blackness by Denise Oliver Velez

Is this excessive force?

If you were a resident of this neighborhood would this make you feel protected or terrorized? This video filmed on May 13 in a Harlem subway station in New York. A man was tackled by the NYPD, then joined by several more police officers, then one more, and then a few more still until he is then surrounded by dozens of police officers. I've talked about the #BlackRule, but maybe the discussion we need to have here is not how to move in a way that appeases every impulse of police officers, but what kind of training are these officers receiving that lead to instances like this, Tremaine McMillian and countless others that have suffered violence at the hands of law enforcement. I think its safe to say that the fear Black people feel towards the police isn't over exaggerated.

Today on #TWiBRadio, we discuss the nature of "appropriate" police force, shady professors and their questionable "research" and the criminalization of marijuana.

Subscribe on iTunes | Subscribe On Stitcher | Direct Download | RSS

And this morning on #amTWiB, #TheMorningCrew discussed the fate of the Salvadoran woman who was denied a life saving abortion, Swiffer's use of a feminist icon to sell mops, and is social media keeping you unemployed?

Subscribe on iTunes | Subscribe On Stitcher | Direct Download| RSS

Reposted from One Pissed Off Liberal by Dave in Northridge

I'm from Alabama and I know Don Siegelman. I know this man. I know what his vision was for Alabama, from the time he was in high school. I was in it up to my neck with him in Montgomery in the late 70s. I was a prison reformer/anti-death penalty advocate, he was a candidate for Secretary of State, his first statewide elected office. Most people wouldn't listen to me about prison reform, but Don did. I did volunteer work on his campaign, I hung out with him and his friends. They were people like us. People who wanted to make things better.

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Reposted from the royal decree by Denise Oliver Velez

last night me and my lady were riveted by this documentary.

Watch The Central Park Five on PBS. See more from Central Park Five.

THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, a new film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. The film chronicles The Central Park Jogger case, for the first time from the perspective of these five teenagers whose lives were upended by this miscarriage of justice.
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Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 08:20 AM PDT

Debtors' Prisons. They're Back.

by jpmassar

Reposted from jpmassar by Dave in Northridge

Not content to already incarcerate a far higher percentage of their populations than anywhere else on the globe, many states of these United States are once again throwing people in jail for their inability to pay debts, fines and court costs.

More than 5,000 debt collection arrest warrants have been signed by judges in the U.S. since January 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal. In some states, debt collection arrest warrants can be issued if a borrower ignores court order to settle a debt or fails to attend a hearing...
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Reposted from Angola 3 News by Denise Oliver Velez

Below is a new statement, just released by Robert H. King urging people to support Amnesty International's newly-launched campaign supporting Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3. To accompany this is an earlier video by Amnesty International, featuring Robert King:

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