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Criminal Justice System

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Reason magazine

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts that the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause requires forensic experts whose reports are admitted into evidence to be made available for cross-examination. You might have already thought that you had the right to challenge a witness who offers powerful evidence of your guilt. But until six weeks ago, that wasn't the case in many states.

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Chicago Tribune

Judge Daniel Rozak, who according to court records has in the past typically accepted an apology before releasing people jailed on contempt charges, instead delivered a short lecture to Clifton Williams, 33, who stood before the bench in shackles.

"I just first of all want to make it clear: You were never in custody for yawning, you never were," Rozak said. "It was a sound ... that was offensive to the court."

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Make sure you get plenty of sleep before going to court.

Clifton Williams didn't and he's been sentenced to six months in jail for yawning.

"I was flabbergasted because I didn't realize a judge could do that," Williams' father, Clifton Williams Sr., told the Chicago Tribune. "It seems to me like a yawn is an involuntary action."


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Jailed Activist Info

Sentenced to 6 days in jail after being found guilty of disorderly conduct stemming from his refusal to abide by Officer Rivera’s order to leave the lobby of the Keene District Court after Sam Dodson was arrested for refusing to turn off his camera. The jail time is in lieu of a fine which Mr. Krouse said he would refuse to pay or perform community service.

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Drugs, Police & the Law

Jurors have the ability to acquit a defendant if the jurors have no sympathy for the government’s position in a particular case.  Jurors may acquit even if they believe that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged.  The jury “nullifies” a law it thinks is immoral or wrongly applied to a particular defendant.

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by Will Grigg (Pro Liberate)

Under the rule of District Attorney Ed Jagels, Kern County, California became ground zero for the child abuse hysteria that raged across America for most of the 1980s. Utterly ruthless in pursuing convictions and entirely indifferent to the truth, Jagels recruited and developed a disciplined cadre of persecutors -- assistant DAs, police investigators, social workers, and "expert" witnesses -- who refined the art of railroading defendants into an exact science.

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Washington Post

The maximum-security facility would be jointly run by the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, with each assuming responsibility for different sets of inmates. Officials said such a facility could also house prisoners held in indefinite detention and those cleared for release but who have no country willing to accept them. Those convicted in federal court or military commissions could serve their terms there.

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FFF / Jacob Hornberger

If the president had chosen to treat the Lackawanna Six as enemy combatants in the global war on terrorism, then he would have had the authority to send the army to attack their position, kill them, take the survivors into military custody, whisk them away to a military dungeon, and keep them incarcerated until the end of the war. That’s the way war works!

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The Arizona Court of Appeals has thrown out the conviction of Harold Fish and chastised the judge who tried the case. Mr. Fish has been released from custody into his family's joyfully waiting arms, while he awaits final resolution of his case.   Fish was the retired school teacher who shot a man who charged at him swinging his arms and yelling threats in a forest outside of Payson. Fish was convicted of second degree murder in 2006, in a trial many thought was grossly unfair, and has spent the intervening three years in an Arizona state prison. He had no prior criminal record of any kind. The Appeals Court ruled, among other things, that Fish should have been allowed to introduce evidence of his homeless attacker's violent past and the vicious histories of the man's dogs which triggered the event.   The case was tried under an old abusive standard, quietly slipped into law without review in 1996 by state prosecutors. This forced a self-defense c

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Pro Liberate

The haunted eyes of an innocent man: John Stoll, wrongfully convicted of molesting several children, including his only son, near the beginning of a 40-year prison term. The state managed to steal twenty years of his life before his conviction was overturned in 2004, on his 61st birthday. 

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 Imagine getting a great photograph of your hunting partner shooting at a pheasant, then finding out it’s illegal to possess that photo.

Imagine going to the video store to rent a copy of your favorite hunting show, only to find the shelves bare. When you ask the clerk where they are, he tells you that the films are now illegal and that you can’t buy or rent them anymore. 

This may sound like something out of 1984, but in United States v. Robert J. Stevens, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this fall if photos like the one above, or video that shows hunters shooting at game, violate a 1999 federal law (18 USC  § 48) that bans depictions of animal cruelty.

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In just 2 short months, a little-noticed case involving a former detainee’s lawsuit against 2 Bush administration officials may have become what one attorney called “the most significant Supreme Court decision in a decade” affecting U.S. civil litigation.

Decided in May, Ashcroft v. Iqbal has already been cited over 500 times by lower courts, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.


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High Court has examined every aspect of self defense Entire nation falsely believes the issue has never come up Sotomayer Misses All 14 Self Defense Cases
In Congressional testimony, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayer claimed she couldn't think of a self-defense case having come before the Supreme Court, adding, "I could be wrong, but I can't think of one." Independent research shows that fourteen separate Supreme Court cases, from 1895 to 1985, addressed every basic aspect of personal self defense. All of them held that self defense is a valid, justifiable and long-standing tenet of American law. The Bloomfield Press book "Supreme Court Gun Cases" (Kopel, Halbrook, Korwin), released in 2003 and in the Supreme Court's library, covers the 92 High Court gun cases in existence at that time. Four additional gun cases (plus the original 92) are included in the followup, "The Heller Case: Gun Rights Affirmed," released in

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Citizens for Change

The service was fast, the judgments even hastier. Never did Jacqueline Mercado imagine that 4 rolls of film dropped off at an Eckerd Drugs one-hour photo lab near her home would turn her life inside out, threaten to send her to jail and prompt the state to take away her kids.

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The secret CIA program allegedly aimed at assassinating suspected terrorists abroad has raised the eyebrows of at least one former senior Bush Administration official who hints that the program may have actually gone into effect, despite the denials of the agency and congressional staff who have been briefed.

The aide, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, was chief of staff to Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell. He says he heard “echoes” of the program from US ambassadors abroad, who informed him that clandestine military teams were being dispatched to their countries.


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The United States is classifying the writings and testimony of an alleged terrorist whom interrogators waterboarded dozens of times, possibly in an effort to keep nettlesome CIA secrets under wraps, his attorneys say.

Lawyers for Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein — known more widely by the name Abu Zubaida — say the Pentagon has capriciously classified their client’s writings and statements to investigators, raising questions of why the government has sought to keep Zubaida’s assertions private. They argue, plausibly, that the US’ penchant for secrecy in Zubaida’s case may be linked to efforts to keep controversial intelligence activities out of the public eye.


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