Prisons, Police, Courts, Tasers etc.
- Solitary Watch -- News from a Nation in Lockdown
- Angola 3 News
- 2013/12/09: WSWS: Trial underway in police killing of homeless man in California
- 2013/12/05: ACLU: Federal Court Finds Public Defense System Violates Constitutional Rights of Indigent Defendants
[...] U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik found that the system is broken to such an extent that "the individual defendant is not represented in any meaningful way, and actual innocence could conceivably go unnoticed and unchampioned."
- 2013/11/22: UGothenburg: One percent of the population is responsible for 63 percent of violent crime convictions
The majority of all violent crime in Sweden is committed by a small number of people. They are almost all male (92%) who early in life develops violent criminality, substance abuse problems, often diagnosed with personality disorders and commit large number non-violent crimes. These are the findings of researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy who have examined 2.5 million people in Swedish criminal and population registers.
In this study, the Gothenburg researchers matched all convictions for violent crime in Sweden between 1973 and 2004 with nation-wide population register for those born between 1958 to 1980 (2.5 million).
- 2013/12/05: CBC: RCMP head Bob Paulson supports DNA collection on arrest
- 2013/12/05: RT: Unarmed man charged with wounding bystanders shot by NYPD officers
- 2013/12/03: WSWS: New report documents "a living death" in US prisons
The American Civil Liberties Union has issued a massive report that meticulously documents the unconstitutional practice of life imprisonment without parole in federal and state prisons in the US.
The 237-page report, entitled “A Living Death,” details the conditions of 3,278 individual prisoners who have absolutely no prospect of release from prison, even though many of them have been jailed for offenses such as shoplifting three belts, breaking into a car and stealing a bagged lunch, or minor drug charges.
- 2013/11/29: RT: Texas boy tasered by officer after breaking up school fight, remains in a coma
A high school student suffered a brain injury and remains in a medically-induced coma after a Texas sheriff’s deputy tasered him without cause following a skirmish in a school hallway, the boy’s mother claims in court.
Maria Acosta has sued Bastrop County, its school district and Randy McMillan, a Bastrop County sheriff’s officer and school resource officer, according to Courthouse News.
Noe Nino de Rivera, Acosta’s son, suffered a “severe brain hemorrhage” when McMillan Tasered him after the boy, known as N.N., had intervened to halt a fight between two females at Cedar Creek High School on Wednesday, November 20, Acosta claims in a federal lawsuit.
- 2013/11/26: CBC: Canada’s prison population at all-time high -- Number of visible minority inmates increased by 75% in past decade
New figures show the number of visible minorities in Canadian prisons has increased by 75 per cent in the past decade, while the number and proportion of inmates who are Caucasian has declined significantly.
As well, Canada’s prison population is now at its highest level ever, even though the crime rate has been decreasing over the past two decades. Ten years ago, the number of inmates in federal prisons was close to 12,000. It’s now more than 15,000.
- 2013/11/21: CBC: Requests for pardons drop in wake of changes
Higher application fees, longer waiting periods blamed for growing backlog
- 2013/11/20: ABC(Au): Police use of stun guns under renewed scrutiny after CCTV shows injured teenager being tasered
- 2013/11/14: CBC: Prison beatings caught on video at Ontario and Quebec jails
- 2013/11/13: ACLU: More Than 3,200 Serving Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses, Finds ACLU
- 2013/11/12: CBC: Minimum gun sentence ruled unconstitutional
Ontario Appeal Court strikes down plank of the federal Conservatives' 2008 omnibus bill
- 2013/11/12: CPW: Ontario Court Rules Harper’s Mandatory Minimum Sentences Unconstitutional
- 2013/10/30: WSWS: Thousands protest police shooting of 13-year-old boy in California
- 2013/10/29: CBC: Doctor-assisted suicide ban to be appealed in B.C.
- 2013/10/28: CBC: VPD officer cleared in 2007 shooting death of Paul Boyd -- Const. Lee Chipperfield shot mentally ill man 8 times
- 2013/10/25: WSWS: Massachusetts 14-year-old to be tried as adult in slaying of teacher
- 2013/10/23: RT: Boy, 13, holding toy rifle shot dead by police
Two sheriff’s deputies in Northern California shot and killed 13-year-old boy who they thought was carrying an assault rifle, only to find out that the gun the teen was holding was a toy, police and family members have said.
- 2013/10/19: WSWS: UK’s "Plebgate" scandal: Police go unpunished for set-up of Conservative MP
- 2013/10/15: CBC: Taser, other stun gun deaths 'extremely rare' -- But Canadian study says more evidence needed on link between weapons and health effects
- 2013/10/10: DawgsBlawg: Just disband it -- The Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU), that is
- 2013/10/09: TStar: SIU clears Peel Police officer in use of Taser on 80-year-old woman
- 2013/10/07: BBC: [UK] National Crime Agency to 'relentlessly pursue' organised crime
A new body to tackle some of the UK's most serious crimes has been launched.
Labelled the "British FBI", the National Crime Agency (NCA) will "relentlessly pursue" organised criminals, the home secretary said.
Theresa May told the BBC it would be at the centre of a new strategy to combat serious and organised crime.
It will replace a number of existing bodies but will have significantly less funding. Labour has called the move a "rebranding exercise".
It is the third time since 1998 that an organised crime body has been set up.
The National Crime Squad was set up 15 years ago, only to be replaced eight years later by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) - which is now being scrapped.
- 2013/10/06: CBC: Secret Supreme Court hearing focuses on security certificate -- Case of Mohamed Harkat will be examined
The Supreme Court of Canada has a well-earned reputation for being an open, public and transparent court.
Its hearings are televised and its rulings often reinforce the notion that courts function best when they are transparent. It once famously warned of "the mischief that flows from a presumption of secrecy."
So it is somewhat ironic that the Supreme Court will be holding a secret, in camera hearing later this week. It's a hearing so secret that the court will not even confirm where it is being held because of national security concerns.
At the centre of the hearing is a little-used immigration tool called a security certificate, which allows suspects to be detained for years without charge on national security grounds. The certificates have been issued against six people in the past 15 years.
"To find a precedent for this, you have to go back to early days of the Cold War, when you’re looking at allegations around the Gouzenko affair and spy rings operating in Ottawa," says Mike Larsen, a criminology instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C.
- 2013/10/05: CCurrents: "I Am Free. I Am Free." "Angola 3" Prisoner Herman Wallace Dies Just Days After Release
- 2013/10/05: CCurrents: The Lady And The Police Chase
- 2013/10/05: RT: Capitol Hill tragedy shows worrying trend in crumbling US society
- 2013/10/03: AlterNet: New Hampshire Grandmother Shot to Death by State Troopers After Routine Traffic Stop
- 2013/10/01: Nation: With 2.3 Million People Incarcerated in the US, Prisons Are Big Business
- 2013/10/01: BBC: Herman Wallace released after 40 years in solitary
A judge in the US state of Louisiana has overturned the murder conviction of a terminally-ill prisoner who has spent 40 years in solitary confinement.
Judge Brian Jackson ruled Herman Wallace's 1974 conviction was unconstitutional and ordered him freed.
Wallace, 71, was diagnosed with liver cancer this year and has weeks to live.
He is one of three men convicted of the 1972 murder of a prison guard. Known as the Angola Three, they have maintained their innocence.
- 2013/09/30: CBC: Former Edmonton cop Derek Huff blows whistle on brutality, corruption
Explosive allegations of Edmonton brutality and code of silence
A former cop with an exemplary record is going public about what he calls corruption in Edmonton police ranks, after he tried internally to expose what he believes is organized brutality, but got no results.
"I stood up for what's right, and I just got run out of the police service," said Derek Huff, 37. "I still can’t even really believe it."
Huff is a 10-year-veteran who resigned in February, three years after he said he and his partner watched -- stunned -- as three plainclothes officers viciously beat a handcuffed man while he was down.
- 2013/09/27: POGGE: Doesn't this mean the terrorists are winning?
- 2013/09/27: WSWS: Videos showing abuse in California prisons allowed in court
- 2013/09/25: PaiD: Police Surveillance
- 2013/09/20: BBC: Marikana: South Africa police 'lied over mine shootings'
South African police lied about the Marikana shootings last year, in which 34 striking miners were killed, a commission of inquiry has said.
Police falsified or withheld documents, and gave false accounts of events, it said.
- 2013/09/19: CCurrents: Show Love For Lynne Stewart & All Political Prisoners Act Now!
- 2013/09/17: ACLU: Homeland Security Inspector General Releases Report on Border Patrol Use of Force
- 2013/09/17: ACLU: ACLU Report Documents FBI Abuse Since 9/11 -- ACLU Offers Congress and the Attorney General 15 Recommendations for FBI Reform
- 2013/09/17: WSWS: New York City police wound two bystanders in Times Square shooting incident
- 2013/09/16: WpgFP: RCMP hid $1M cost estimate of gun registry data destruction, documents show
- 2013/09/13: CBC: Vancouver officer charged with assaulting cyclist -- Constable's punch to the head of cyclist caught on video
- 2013/09/12: CBC: Acquittal in Dziekanski Taser perjury case appealed
RCMP Const. Bill Bentley was acquitted of perjury in Dziekanski case
- 2013/09/12: CBC: G20 officer guilty of assaulting protester with weapon
Victim Adam Nobody 'elated' by verdict, but police union disagrees with judge.
Toronto police Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani has been found guilty of assault with a weapon in the G20 arrest of protester Adam Nobody three years ago.
Nobody was singled out for arrest at a demonstration on June 26, 2010, at the Ontario legislature during the economic summit of world leaders. He was tackled as he ran from police and struck repeatedly with a baton.
"A police officer is not entitled to use unlimited force to effect an arrest," Judge Louise Botham said in her ruling.
- 2013/09/07: Global: RCMP stops responding to people using access to information laws: information commissioner
- 2013/09/07: Vice: The RCMP Has Stopped Responding to Information Requests
- 2013/09/09: WSWS: Inmates end California’s largest hunger strike
After nearly two months of protesting inhumane solitary confinement practices, inmates in California’s vast prison system have ended their hunger strike. The hunger strike, which began on July 8, attracted as many as 30,000 inmates at its peak, making it the largest mass hunger strike in state history.
The hunger strike comes to an end as California State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) and State Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) have agreed to hold joint public hearings on solitary confinement and whether it constitutes a human rights violation.
- 2013/09/08: CBC: Solitary confinement a growing issue in Canadian, U.S. prisons
- 2013/09/07: CBC: 2 charged after video of officer punching man surfaces
- 2013/09/07: PaiD: (cartoon - Corrigan) The Power Of Pictures
- 2013/09/05: ACLU: New Directive Issued on Use of Solitary Confinement in Immigration Detention
- 2013/09/05: CBC: Anti-Olympic activist tailed by Mounties, police notes show -- Notebook revelations 'troubling,' criminologist says
- 2013/09/04: CCurrents: Day 59 Of California Prison Hunger Strike: “Their Spirits Are High, Their Bodies Are Weak"
- 2013/09/03: WpgFP: Ontario woman, 80, suffers fractured hip after being struck with police Taser
- 2013/09/03: CBC: Taser used on 80-year-old woman in Mississauga
Police watchdog probing incident that occurred last week
- 2013/09/03: MSimon: 80-year-old Woman Tasered in Ontario
- 2013/09/02: PaiD: The Problem With The Police Starts At The Top
- 2013/08/27: WSWS: Britain: Police justification for Taser killing in Manchester unravels
- 2013/08/24: CBC: B.C. Mountie says RCMP seeking to dismiss her
Cpl. Catherine Galliford says she faced constant sexual advances from several senior officers
A Mountie whose harassment complaints against the RCMP prompted legislation to modernize so-called bad apples within the force says her employer is moving to dismiss her.
- 2013/08/22: WSWS: California judge authorizes force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike
- 2013/08/22: WSWS: Stop-and-frisk police program to come to Detroit
- 2013/08/20: CSM: California allowed to force-feed hunger-striking prisoners, judge rules
- 2013/08/20: CBC: Why James Forcillo was charged with murder in Yatim shooting
- 2013/08/19: BBC: California to force-feed hunger-striking prisoners
- 2013/08/18: CBC: Canada's top judge slams 'inaccessible justice'
Report calls for more federal funding for civil legal aid, among other reforms
Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin says the most pressing challenge facing the administration of justice in this country is ensuring that Canadians are able to access the system.
McLachlin made the comments at the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) annual meeting in Saskatoon this weekend.
- 2013/08/17: CCurrents: Torture By Design: Saying No To The Architecture Of Solitary Confinement And Cruelty
- 2013/08/16: CCurrents: Day 39 Of California Prison Hunger Strike: Governor Jerry Brown Remains Silent
- 2013/08/15: WSWS: Second rally against police killing of Toronto youth
- 2013/08/12: Guardian(UK): Eric Holder unveils new reforms aimed at curbing US prison population
- 2013/08/09: RT: Jury clears police of using excessive force against Occupy Portland protester
- 2013/08/10: WSWS: Miami teenager tased to death by police
- 2013/08/08: Guardian(UK): Report reveals 87% of young people in NSW prisons have mental health issues
- 2013/08/08: WSWS: Inquiry into police killing of Mark Duggan to report no evidence of police criminality
- 2013/08/07: Guardian(UK): Big data: police given access to British army's crime-fighting software
Developed to process data on abuse by British soldiers in Iraq, Ares is being used to tackle child abuse and cybercrime
- 2013/08/06: NakedCapitalism: How Police All Over the US Grab Cash, Cars, Even Homes from the Innocent
- 2013/08/04: CBC: RCMP shooting in Alberta leaves 1 dead, 1 injured
Impaired driving investigation led to shooting by officer at Pigeon Lake
- 2013/08/04: CBC: Man dies a day after RCMP use Taser on him in Leduc, Alta.
- 2013/08/01: CBC: Former RCMP spokesman sued for alleged sexual assault
- 2013/07/30: Atlantic: What Kind of 'Justice System' Refuses to Test DNA Evidence?
The real scandal in the case of Sharon Snyder, who was fired for helping to exonerate an innocent prisoner
- 2013/08/01: CBC: Top court to rule on pay for 'friends of the court'
- 2013/08/01: WSWS: Toronto police murder of teen Sammy Yatim provokes popular anger
- 2013/07/29: BBC: Jurors jailed for contempt of court over internet use
Two jurors have each been jailed for two months for contempt of court after one posted a comment on Facebook and the other researched a case online.
- 2013/07/30: TStar: U.S. wants exemption from Canadian law for cross-border officers, RCMP memo says
- 2013/07/28: KY3: Mo. judge fires 34-year court employee for providing document that helped free innocent man
Kansas City, Mo. - A longtime judge's assistant in Jackson County says she was fired for providing a public document that helped a wrongfully convicted inmate win his freedom.
But court officials say 70-year-old Sharon Snyder was sent packing four weeks ago because she violated court rules against inappropriately providing advice and discussing court matters with outsiders.
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Snyder says she gave Robert Nelson's sister a copy of a motion last year from a different case in which a defendant successfully requested DNA testing. Nelson, who was convicted in 1984 of raping a woman and robbing her, previously filed two motions for DNA tests that were denied because they didn't meet technical requirements.
Nelson was freed June 12 after DNA tests ruled him out as one of the rapists in the 1983 attack.
- 2013/07/29: CBC: Toronto police chief promises answers after streetcar killing
Shooting by police of Sammy Yatim, 18, jolts security expert who analyzed video
- 2013/07/29: CBC: Dziekanski-inquiry perjury verdict expected today -- RCMP constable's trial is 1st of 4 perjury cases against officers in airport fracas
- 2013/07/25: CBC: What's behind Canada's improving crime stats?
Latest drop likely not linked to government' 'tough-on-crime' policies, experts say
Statistics Canada figures released Thursday suggest the crime rate in Canada fell again last year, dropping three per cent between 2011 and 2012. But experts are warning Canadians not to read too much into the numbers.
Governments and police like to take credit when crime statistics improve, but more often than not, such numbers point to broad long-term trends rather than the effect of specific policies, says Anthony Doob, a professor of criminology at the University of Toronto.
The rates of most kinds of police-reported crime have been dropping steadily since about 1991, long before the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper began introducing its "tough-on-crime" polices, such as increased mandatory minimum sentences and restrictions on credit for time served.
The overall crime rate has dropped 26 per cent since 2002, and violent crime is down 17 per cent in that period.
- 2013/07/25: BBC: Prison ratings: 'Serious concern' over two private prisons
Two privately-run prisons are among three the government has expressed "serious concern" over, Ministry of Justice (MoJ) ratings have revealed.
HMP Oakwood, run by G4S, HMP Thameside, run by Serco, and the Prison Service's HMP Winchester in Hampshire, were given the lowest performance rating of one.
Oakwood and Thameside are among 14 privately-run prisons in England and Wales. There are a total of 134.
G4S and Serco said issues were being addressed.
The MoJ also said action was being taken but critics called on the government to "halt the privatisation of justice".
- 2013/07/25: CBC: Canada's crime rate lowest since 1972 -- The severity of crimes was also down by 3% in 2012, StatsCan says
- 2013/07/23: CDreams: Why US v Blewett is the Obama Justice Department's Greatest Shame
Explain the paradox that the US still jails thousands of African Americans on sentences it admits were unfair? It can't be done
The differential treatment of crack cocaine and powder cocaine by America's criminal "justice" system has been exposed as discriminatory and admitted to be unfair. Yet, the secret nightmare continues...
Last month, President Obama quietly did something that should shake every American to the core. Seeking to enforce federal crack cocaine laws that have since been repealed, the Obama administration asked a federal appeals court to ensure that thousands of human beings, mostly poor and mostly black, remain locked in prison – even though everyone agrees that there is no justification for them to be there.
- 2013/07/19: Guardian(UK): California prison guards retaliating against hunger-strikers, lawyers say
- 2013/07/19: CCurrents: Opening The Box: Sarah Shourd On Herman Wallace, California Hunger Strikers And The Horror Of Solitary Confinement
- 2013/07/19: WSWS: Inmates punished in California prison hunger strike
- 2013/07/15: WSWS: Britain to use secret evidence in court
The Justice and Security Act 2013 (JSA) came into force this month. The key provision contained within the legislation creates a new judicial procedure which will permit the use of secret evidence in any civil trial in the UK.
The move represents a severe attack on the right to a fair trial and will supplement the vast array of repressive powers already at the disposal of the state. Under conditions of deepening social inequality and with social tensions rising, Britain’s ruling elite are trampling on fundamental democratic rights like their counterparts in the United States and across Europe.
- 2013/07/13: CDreams: California Hunger Strikes: These Prisons Should Never Have Been Built
- 2013/07/13: CDreams: The Gitmo I Didn't See
- 2013/07/10: WiredSci: The Horrible Psychology of Solitary Confinement
- 2013/07/13: AntiWar: How We Got Warrior Cops -- An Interview with Radley Balko
- 2013/07/13: WSWS: California prison conditions behind largest hunger strike in state history
- 2013/07/12: WSWS: 50 female inmates in California coerced into illegal sterilization
- 2013/07/11: CBC: Top court to hear case involving cellphones, privacy rights
The Supreme Court of Canada is taking on the question of whether police can access information on a cellphone that isn't protected by a password.
The court has agreed to hear an appeal from Kevin Fearon, who was arrested after an armed robbery in Toronto in 2009.
Police obtained photos of a gun and cash, as well as a text message about jewelry, after taking a closer look at Fearon's phone, which was unlocked.
After he was convicted, Fearon appealed, arguing that police breached his rights when they examined the phone after his arrest.
- 2013/07/10: Guardian(UK): Brazilian journalist's jail sentence is 'judicial insanity'
- 2013/07/05: RT: Nevada cops sued over forced occupation of private homes
- 2013/07/03: Guardian(UK): Occupy Oakland protesters awarded $1m over police violence during arrests
- 2013/07/05: PostMedia: Secret protocol between RCMP and justice department is secret no more
After adamantly refusing for seven years, the federal government has reluctantly released a copy of a protocol between the RCMP and the Department of Justice it fought a tenacious legal battle to suppress.
The Federal Court of Appeal ordered the release of the three-page document in April, declaring that the government’s attempts to withhold it amounted to "secrecy for secrecy’s sake."
- 2013/07/01: CDreams: Bowl Phone Sex: The Unnoticed Rebellions of the Oppressed
- 2013/06/20: SaskBoy: Chemical Agents Of The State
- 2013/06/15: WaPo:B: Throwing children in prison turns out to be a really bad idea
- 2013/06/13: CBC: Brothels' legal status pondered by Supreme Court -- Ontario, federal governments argue against decriminalization
- 2013/06/12: CBC: Mounties group creates legal aid program for accused RCMP officers
New federal law will give RCMP complaints body greater power without oversight, says group
The association that represents Mounties says new federal legislation will give RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson the power to be "judge, jury and executioner" of officers accused of wrongdoing.
The Mounted Police Professional Association announced a legal aid program on Wednesday to cover the costs of legal advice and lawyers for accused officers.
- 2013/06/11: CBC: 282 join RCMP sexual harassment class-action lawsuit
121 of the plaintiffs, who are either current or former Mounties, are from B.C.
- 2013/06/10: CBC: Dziekanski officer pleads not guilty in perjury trial
Const. Bill Bentley among 4 officers who confronted Polish immigrant at Vancouver airport
A B.C. RCMP officer has pleaded not guilty at the start of his perjury trial, which relates to the death of a Polish immigrant at Vancouver International Airport six years ago.
Const. Bill Bentley was among four officers who confronted Robert Dziekanski in October 2007, stunning him multiple times with a Taser within seconds of arriving on the scene in response to reports of a man throwing furniture.
Dziekanski died on the airport floor. A coroner's report found Dziekanski suffered a fatal heart attack and deemed the death a homicide.
At the perjury trial in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, the Crown put forward a list of six occasions where Bentley is accused of lying while under oath and making false statements when questioned about apparent errors in his statements to homicide investigators.
- 2013/06/07: MoJo: Officials Can't Prove Holding 12,400 People in Solitary Makes Federal Prisons Safer
They're also ignorant about how long-term isolation is affecting prisoners, and what it costs, says a new GAO report.
- 2013/06/08: WSWS: Trial begins for Detroit police officer who killed seven-year-old
- 2013/06/06: NBF: Bureaucratic Oppression and Coercion in the United States
- 2013/06/06: CDreams: Mass Incarceration USA: How a Broken System Perpetuates Itself
- 2013/06/06: WpgFP: Man alleging police injured him during G20 arrest to be cross-examined
- 2013/06/04: CBC: Bill to boost RCMP commissioner's powers passes Senate -- Law would make it easier to fire 'bad apples' within police force
- 2013/06/04: CBC: Mountie told to return to work before testifying about harassment
Cpl. Roland Beaulieu says he was denied trip to Ottawa to speak to Senate committee
- 2013/06/03: CBC: RCMP chief [Paulson] hits back at 'outlandish' harassment claims
- 2013/06/04: RT: Exonerated Chicago man claims police tortured him into confession
Last modified December 11, 2013