Mary wrote a new post, Quickies: The Broken Criminal Justice System, Catcalling, and Sexism in Hollywood, on the site Skepchick 5 years, 10 months ago
The Kalief Browder case is an outrage on many levels. As far as I can tell, it was never more than one person’s word against another’s. They never found the stolen property nor any other evidence. Why didn’t his attorney get the case thrown out? Why did prosecutors keep pursuing such a weak case? Why did the judges let the case proceed?
I suspect the answer:
Prosecutors know they almost always cave and take a plea deal eventually. Keep them in jail and they will give up.
Judges are cozy with prosecutors and will let them do whatever they want unless they absolutely cannot justify it.
Unless it is a first degree or capital felony (or the equivalent in New York), public defenders are expected to get plea deals out of prosecutors rather than vigorously advocate for their clients.
The system is corrupt to the core. The state of New York needs to pay enough for this that they are motivated to change. Force the city to collect a new tax to pay the damages and something might change.
Our justice system is openly hostile to innocent people. People wait months or even years to get a trial and after many of them have served most or all of their time they are asked if they want a trial. The additional punishment tacked on for asking for a trial is often much longer than the punishment for a crime. One of our most cherished rights, while not technically illegal, is a crime on par with armed robbery or second degree murder.
Of the innocent people that choose to go to trial many are convicted anyway. It’s not difficult for charities or volunteers to find innocent people in jail. The limiting factor is not the number of innocent convicts it is how many innocent convicts the charity can afford to free.
While they’re in prison, their families are gouged for every little bit of contact with them. This contact is crucial for keeping them from returning to a life of crime. For many families, they have a choice between maybe keeping their relative sane and having the ability to support them when they get out of prison.
When innocent people are freed, they are often uncompensated and denied access to the programs for ex-convicts. Many states don’t pay. Many do, but only $50,000, which is rarely even close to a fair amount. That pittance doesn’t come free; those individuals must first sign away their right to sue the state for more reasonable compensation.
Remember kids, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can ONLY be used against you. Anything you say to the police officer that might help your case is heresay. Ask for a lawyer, and before you give into the temptation to put just one sentence out there remember Martha Stewart. She wasn’t convicted of securities fraud. They dropped that charge. She was convicted of four felony charges of maintaining her innocence.
You have the right to remain silent, but doing so can also be used against you: http://www.npr.org/2014/10/05/353893046/you-have-the-right-to-remain-silent-or-do-you
A lawyer friend of mine explained rulings like this. In Wisconsin (and probably in other places), almost every judge in the state has experience as a prosecutor. Something like less than 10% have ever worked as a defense attorney. Still, attorneys sometimes take cases pro bono. Even with this, less than half have ever defended a single client as an occasional pro bono case. This bias of experience means judges will always rule for the prosecutor unless they absolutely cannot do so.
Why are judges all former prosecutors? Many judge positions are elected, and police unions campaign against public defenders running for a judge position (how is this ethical?). The legislature and governor listen to the attorney general, prosecutors and police attentively in making appointments. They listen to other judges and corrections officers a little. Defense attorneys and probation officers are treated like diseases. He told me how legislators denied to his face actions prosecutors were taking in there cases, even when he had court documents to prove it. They would refuse to look at the documents.
The system is corrupt to the core.
Interesting article on Hollywood, at first I thought the article was going to be about people in the business but its more about representation on screen. I am wondering if women in the movie business are actualy fighting on two fronts, genuine sexism and the business model i.e. ‘the movie narrative that makes money’.