March 11, 2015
Who can question whether President Barack Obama is a master when it comes to speeches? Such a quality literally put him on the map when he mesmerized a crowd at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He did it again in the Selma, Alabama’s 50th anniversary at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. His central message: No one can doubt things are better since Selma. No one. His speech, delivered with quiet passion, was a master work. And yet … and yet.
January 26, 2015
After winning their freedom in the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history, Blacks were in many cases and places denied basic human, civil and political rights, literally forcing New Afrikans back into slavery by denying them a right to life. Over the years the government declared and waged war on the New Afrikan communities – war on unemployed “vagrants,’ war on crime, war on drugs, war on gangs – culminating in mass incarceration.
January 7, 2015
A Ferguson grand juror who heard the case of Darren Wilson previewed potentially scathing criticism of St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch in a lawsuit alleging that McCulloch skewed the views of jurors when he delivered a lengthy public presentation to announce that the jury wouldn’t file any charges against Wilson for killing Michael Brown. The juror filed a federal lawsuit Monday anonymously to challenge a gag order.
November 26, 2014
On Tuesday, June 6, 2006, around 8 p.m., an SFPD officer fatally shot Brother Asa as he crouched in an attic’s two-and-a-half-foot crawl space, hiding because he’d recently spent a short time in jail and was afraid of going back. According to press reports, officers were responding to a neighbor’s complaint of possible trespassers, yet Asa and his friend were there with the tenants’ permission.
November 13, 2014
This letter, Re: Comments on CDCR’s Proposed Regulations: Obscene Material, from attorney Leila Knox of Bryan Cave LLP, one of the world’s largest law firms, was emailed and mailed on Nov. 7, 2014, to Regulation and Policy Management Chief Timothy M. Lockwood, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, Calif. 94283-0001. The comment period is now closed.
November 6, 2014
On Nov. 4, California voters passed criminal justice reform measure Proposition 47. Proposition 47 changes the lowest level drug possession and petty theft crimes from felonies to simple misdemeanors for some people. Although re-sentencing is not guaranteed, up to 10,000 people in California’s prisons and jails will be eligible for resentencing, and newly sentenced individuals who meet the requirements will be under county jurisdiction.
September 4, 2014
On Aug. 29, the California Assembly approved AB 885 by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, passing a milestone measure to limit trial misconduct by prosecutors. The bill would allow judges to inform a jury when a district attorney has been found to have intentionally withheld significant evidence. The bill’s next step is to go to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
July 31, 2014
In “Mass Incarceration on Trial,” Jonathan Simon writes, the decisions in Madrid v. Gomez, Coleman v. Wilson, Plata v. Davis, Coleman-Plata v. Schwarzenegger and Brown v. Plata “are legal precedents with ongoing relevance to prison lawyers and officials, but they are also a public sociology text, addressed to all of us, concerning the threat that mass incarceration poses to prisoners, prison officers, and any society with pretensions to decency.”
May 17, 2014
A child who kills vs. a child who was present but did not kill – what sentence does he deserve? A child of color vs. a Caucasian child – does the system treat them the same? How about the youthful offender vs. the adult offender? Personally, it has been my experience with the law that child killers and children who committed assaults are more likely than adults to be treated to the most cruel punishments.
March 8, 2014
On Wednesday, March 5, the full U.S. Senate failed on a procedural vote to support the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be the next assistant attorney general for civil rights. According to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Adegbile’s representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal when he headed the NAACP LDF is reason enough to derail his nomination.
January 23, 2014
A panel of three federal judges, frustrated with California’s failed five-year effort to sufficiently reduce prison overcrowding, said they will draw up their own solution within a month. U.S. District Judges Lawrence K. Karlton and Thelton E. Henderson and U.S. 9th Circuit Court Judge Stephen Reinhardt concluded Monday that months of talks between the state and lawyers representing prisoners were going nowhere.
December 28, 2013
Gov. Brown’s reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of his appeal was to announce that he would reduce the state prison overcrowding by 1) leasing county jail space in local areas, 2) obtain contracts with private prison operators and 3) send prisoners in California prisons to out-of-state facilities. These three approaches, he said, will allow the CDCR to avoid early release for the nearly 10,000 inmates.
October 28, 2013
California Senate Bill 260 by Sen. Loni Hancock requires the parole board to consider release of offenders who committed offenses prior to being 18 years of age. I was just 16 when I was sent off to prison some 32 years ago. I am hoping a lawyer who isn’t afraid to roll up his or her sleeves will adequately represent me at this youth offender hearing.
October 22, 2013
Solitary confinement does little or nothing to promote public safety or prison safety. It is not only harmful but unnecessary and incredibly costly. Violence levels plummeted by 70 percent of previous levels when the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections reduced the number of prisoners held in solitary confinement by 85 percent.
September 26, 2013
New information revealed at Omaha’s annual Black August Weekend, held at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, may engender a glint of hope for Nebraska political prisoners, Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter. The two await the answer to an age-old question: How long is life? We Langa and Poindexter, also known as the “Omaha Two,” have been imprisoned 43 years.
September 5, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown’s just-proposed plan to ease overcrowding in California prisons without releasing inmates early has drawn quick opposition from prison reform activists across the state and has spawned an alternative approach from a contingent of moderate and liberal Democrats in the state legislature, creating an unusual rift among senior Democrats in the age-old incarceration-rehabilitation divide.
August 29, 2013
“It is now time to return the control of our prison system to California,” says Gov. Brown. We say it’s time to return California’s criminal justice system to a sense of human dignity and social justice. We call upon the governor and Legislature to immediately sit down at the bargaining table with representatives of the current prison hunger strike and enter into meaningful negotiations before prisoners die or suffer irreparable damage to their health. Stop the political posturing and name-calling, and start negotiating before there is blood on your hands.
August 22, 2013
Secretary Beard’s public statements since coming to the job reflect a complete failure to acknowledge the gravity of the human rights abuses his agency is guilty of and an apparent commitment to defend the status quo at any cost. Now his public statements demonizing the hunger strikers and defending California’s indefensible SHUs make clear that all hope for change in this administration should be abandoned.
August 17, 2013
Unjustified imprisonment and torturous living conditions have prisoners hunger striking all over the world. Many people who read the Bay View on the regular are aware of the California prison hunger strike, which has been going on for over a month now and started with over 30,000 prisoners statewide participating. But many know nothing about another prison hunger strike that is going on simultaneously on a U.S. military base in Cuba.
August 15, 2013
Word from within is that California’s prison hunger strikers have been studying the Irish hunger strike of 1981 led by Bobby Sands, in which 10 Irish republicans died because of the stubborn refusal of Margaret Thatcher to recognize them as human. California Gov. Jerry Brown and California prison officials could learn from the Irish hunger strike as well.