Weekly ReCAP in Criminal Justice: October 26, 2012

Where there is great love, there are always miracles. – Willa Cather


ACLU Files Amicus Brief on Attorney-Client Confidentiality: CCA Prison Guards Listen to Prisoners’ Privileged Conversations, ACLU-Hawai‘i, Oct. 23, 2012
“The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i Foundation (“ACLU”) has filed an amicus curiae brief (also known as a “friend of the court” brief) in United States District Court supporting the Constitutional rights of attorneys and their clients to speak privately, without monitoring and eavesdropping by prison personnel. The Corrections Corporation of America (“CCA”) is a for-profit company that has a Hawaii government contract worth roughly $60 million a year to house approximately 1,600 Hawaii prisoners on the mainland. CCA maintains a practice of having a guard stand right next to a prisoner when he speaks on the phone with his attorney(s) – a practice which violates the prison industry’s own standards.”

County Council considering giving $31K to Teen Court, Garden Island, Oct. 26, 2012
“After learning last week that the contract between the county and Hale ‘Opio’s Teen Court had expired, Kaua‘i County Council Chair Jay Furfaro introduced Wednesday a bill to appropriate $31,000 to fund the long-standing youth diversionary program. The council unanimously approved Bill 2456 at first reading. It is now referred to the council’s Committee of the Whole and scheduled to public hearing on Nov. 28”

Man who skipped sentencing ends up facing prison time, Maui News, Oct. 25, 2012

Why So Many Hawaiian, Samoan And Filipino Youth In Justice System?, Civil Beat, Oct. 24, 2012

What’s The PLDC?, Honolulu Civil Beat

The Middle Class Voter Guide


How Mandatory Minimums Forced Me to Send More Than 1,000 Nonviolent Drug Offenders to Federal Prison, The Nation
“Growing up in blue collar Circle Pines, Minnesota, in the 1950s, raised by parents from the “Greatest Generation,” I dreamed only of becoming a civil rights lawyer. My passion for justice was hard-wired into my DNA. Never could I have imagined that by the end of my 50s, after nineteen years as one of 678 federal district court judges in the nation, I would have sent 1,092 of my fellow citizens to federal prison for mandatory minimum sentences ranging from sixty months to life without the possibility of release. The majority of these women, men and young adults are nonviolent drug addicts. Methamphetamine is their drug of choice. Crack cocaine is a distant second. Drug kingpins? Oh yes, I’ve sentenced them, too. But I can count them on one hand. While I’m extremely proud of my father’s service in World War II, I am greatly conflicted about my role in the “war on drugs.”

When Bad Science Produces Bad Evidence, The Crime Report, Oct. 25, 2012

Gupta Gets 2-Year Prison Term Over Inside Trade Scheme, New York Law Journal, Oct. 25, 2012

California to start regaining control of prison healthcare, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 25, 2012

NACDL Launches Publicly Available Restoration of Rights Database, Oct. 24, 2012
“The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is pleased to offer as both a resource for its members and as a service to the general public, a collection of individual downloadable documents that profile the law and practice in each U.S. jurisdiction relating to relief from the numerous civil rights and other consequences of criminal conviction…It promises to be an indispensable guide for defense lawyers as well as members of the public affected by the collateral consequences of a conviction and those re-entering society or the workforce after a conviction.”
Available at:http://www.nacdl.org/rightsrestoration/

An odd conservative split on Propositions 34 and 36, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 24, 2012
“A fascinating dichotomy has emerged between the two criminal justice initiatives on the Nov. 6 California ballot. Both are aimed at reducing harsh sentences and thus saving the state money, yet one has attracted support from conservatives and is expected to win handily, while the other is opposed widely by conservatives and trailing in the polls. Why?”

U.S. sues Mississippi officials over student arrests, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 24, 2012
“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department sued Mississippi state and local officials on Wednesday over what it called a “school-to-prison pipeline” that violates the rights of children, especially black and disabled youths. The suit alleges that police officers in Meridian, Mississippi, routinely arrested students who were suspended from school, even when they had no probable cause to believe the students had committed a crime.”

California Leads United States in Exonerations of Wrongfully Convicted, Science Daily, Oct. 24, 2012

U.S. Felons a Potentially Powerful Yet Shunned Voting Bloc, Reuters, Oct. 24, 2012
“Felons could account for up to 10 percent of the roughly 130 million Americans expected to vote in the November 6 election, more than enough to affect the razor-thin margins that could determine the outcome. But as in years past, neither Democrats nor Republicans are doing much to reach out to them.”

What Happens After Jurors Get It Wrong?, NPR, Oct. 22, 2012
“Experts say girls make up the fastest-growing segment of the juvenile justice system, with more than 300,000 arrests and criminal charges every year. A new report by the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy says the system isn’t doing enough to help those young girls. Most girls who wind up tangled in the justice system have family problems, trauma or a history of abuse, says Georgetown University professor Peter Edelman, who co-authored the report, “Improving the Juvenile Justice System for Girls.”

Oklahoma eyeing Medicaid funds for prison hospital costs, Grits for Breakfast, Oct. 22, 2012

Dream Defenders Will Address School-to-Prison Pipeline During the Last Presidential Debate, The Nation, Oct. 22, 2012
“Specifically, the group hopes to highlight the problems of the country’s rapidly growing prison population, institutional racism, and what organizers call the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

Children of inmates get a second chance, CBS News, Oct. 20, 2012
“According to federal statistics, children with a parent in prison are five times more likely to end up in prison themselves. New Hope believes it has broken the cycle. Over the past 10 years, none of the young people who came through its doors have spent a day behind bars.”

High Pay a Costly Legacy of Calif. Prison Receiver, ABC News, Oct. 19, 2012
“The receiver’s goal was to correct a prison medical system that was ruled unconstitutional for its substandard care and, at one point, contributed to an inmate death each week through negligence or malfeasance.”

Federal prison rape law challenges state to do better, Crosscut, Oct. 17, 2012
“During incarceration, appalling numbers of inmates are sexually assaulted. According to Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2007-2008, published by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2011, one in ten former state prison inmates was sexually abused by staff or other inmates while serving a sentence. In 2012 the Justice Department’s Review Panel on Prison Rape said that 13 percent of inmates in all types of confinement centers in America (prisons, jails, juvenile and community corrections facilities, police lockups) are sexually violated every year. More than 209,400 people experience sexual abuse within corrections facilities annually. Confined youth suffer, on average, the most violent, injurious assaults.”

Actors Perform Stories Written by Local Prisoners, The Arkansas Traveler, Oct. 17, 2012
“Prison Stories” is a writing project started in Memphis, Tenn., by actress Elaine Blanchard in 2009. The project offers a small group of imprisoned women an intensive writing course. They use writing to look into the lives of incarcerated women and then they transform their stories into a theatrical performance. Volunteers act in the theater adaptations to allow the inmates to “develop a deeper trust in themselves and the power of their stories,” Blanchard said.


Banned From the Voting Booth, The Crime Report, Oct. 22, 2012
“With voter suppression a hot-button issue of Election 2012, a coalition of civil rights advocates and prison reformers is stepping up its campaign to restore voting rights to almost 6 million ex-offenders.”

Our prison system was not designed for women, Ottawa Citizen, Oct. 20, 2012


Prescriptions for Ethical Blindness: Improving Advocacy for Indigent Defendants in Criminal Cases, Tigran Eldred, New England Law: Boston
The reasons criminal lawyers so often fail to provide adequate legal representation to indigent defendants are well-known: severe underfunding, excessive workloads and other disincentives for competent representation work together to encourage quick disposition of cases, with little regard for the quality of legal services that are provided. Yet, largely overlooked in this equation is whether defense lawyers who provide subpar representation are aware of their own shortcomings. To answer this question, this article focuses on the psychology of ethical decision-making. Relying on research that reveals the subtle ways that self-interest can cause people to overlook unethical behavior, it argues that defense lawyers will tend to be “ethically blind” to their own poor performance. Concluding that lawyers who suffer from ethical blindness cannot be expected to improve the quality of legal representation on their own, it recommends ways to reduce psychological barriers to competent representation that have proven successful in other contexts.


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