mandatory sentencing

California is home to the most murderous police force by raw numbers (LAPD) and per-capita (Bakersfield PD), has one of the largest jail populations in the world (incl. private immigration detention centers), started the modern anti-immigration movement, started the antitrans bathroom bill nonsense, is largely responsible for the nationwide wave of three strikes laws and mandatory minimum sentences, on and on and on

California is just America sped up and with better marketing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions to double down on prosecuting drug crimes

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to announce plans to double down on harsh prosecutions for low-level drug offenders, U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter told the New York Times.
  • The directive would be a reversal of policy changes enacted during the Obama administration that instructed prosecutors to avoid handing down harsh mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug crimes.
  • According to the Washington Post, Sessions — who became the nation’s top law enforcement officer amid promises to take a “tough on crime” approach — has long foreshadowed a crackdown in federal charging policies. Read more (5/10/17)

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Jeffrey Dahmer Timeline

May 21st 1960- Birth

June 18th 1978- Murdered Steven Mark Hicks (remains found in a crawlspace under his home and his bones found in woodland behind Jeffrey’s home)

January 1979- Jeffrey enlisted in the U.S. Army

March 1981- Formally discharged from the Army due to his alcohol abuse

August 7th 1982 – Jeffrey exposed himself to a crowd of 25 women and children at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

August 1986 – Arrested for masturbating in front of two 12-year-old boys

March 10th 1987- The charge was changed to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to one year’s probation.

November 20th- Murdered Steven Tuomi in a rented room at the Ambassador Hotel (remains never located)

January 16th 1988- Murdered James Doxtator (remains never located)

March 24th- Murdered Richard Guerrero (remains never located)

March 25th 1989- Murdered Anthony Sears (His preserved skull and genitals found in a filing cabinet at 924 North 25th Street)

May 20th 1990- Murdered Raymond Smith *The first victim to be murdered at Jeffrey’s North 25th Street apartment* (Bones were around his apartment as ornaments and his sjull was painted grey and placed in his fridge)

June 14th – Murdered Edward Smith (remains never located)

September 2nd – Murdered Ernest Miller (His entire skeleton was found in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet)

September 24th – Murdered David Thomas (remains never located)

February 18th 1991- Murdered Curtis Straughter (Skull was found in his apartment)

April 7th– Murdered Errol Lindsey (Skull found in his apartment)

May 24th – Murdered Tony Hughes (Skull found in his apartment)

May 27th – Murdered Konerak Sinthasomphone (Skull located in the freezer)

June 30th- Murdered Matt Turner (Head and internal organs found in the freezer and his torso was in a 57-gallon drum)

July 5th – Murdered Jeremiah Weinberger (Torso located in the 57-gallon drum)

July 15th -Murdered Oliver Lacy (Skeleton was found in his apartment and his heart was in the fridge)

July 19thMurdered Joseph Bradehoft (Head was found in the refrigerator and torso found in the 57-gallon drum)

July 22nd – Persuaded Tracy Edwards to accompany him back his apartment. Tracy escaped his apartment and flagged down Milwaukee police. Jeffrey was then arrested.

July 25th- After admitting to the murders, Jeffrey was charged with four counts of murder.

August 22nd- Charged with a further 11 murders.

September 17th – Charged with the murder of Steven Hicks

January 13th 1992 – Jeffrey pleaded guilty but insane to 15 counts of murder at a preliminary hearing

January 30th– His trial began

February 15th – The verdict was made, on the first two counts, Dahmer was sentenced to life imprisonment plus ten years, with the remaining 13 counts carrying a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment plus 70 years.

May 1st Jeffrey was extradited to Ohio to be tried for the murder of Steven Hicks. He was sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment.

July 1994- While in prison, Jeffrey was attacked by Osvaldo Durruthy and his throat was attempted to be slashed with a razor embedded toothbrush. Jeffrey was not seriously hurt in this incident.

November 28th 1994- Jeffrey was attacked by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver while in the showers. He had been bludgeoned over his head and face by a metal bar. Jeffrey was later pronounced dead at hospital.

anonymous asked:

I think the higher incarceration rate may be because now we have more ways to track down criminals (cameras fingerprints) not because police are just throwing people into jail.

Noooope. But lets do some math to be sure. All the statistics I will be using are from here, here, and here.

We’ll look at race first. The united states has 693 people in prison per 100,000. However if we quickly glance at the Incarceration in the United States page, we can see the incarceration rate broken down by race. While white people are incarcerated at a rate of  450 per 100,000, Hispanic people are incarcerated at almost double the rate ( 831 per 100,000) and black people at an astoundingly high rate of  2,306 per 100,000. So lets consider a hypothetical prison system that doesn’t  discriminate by race, we assume that the default incarceration rate for everyone is an equal 450 per 100,000. By doing that alone the United States falls from first place to 11th.

We can also look at the breakdown by crime committed. Around 22% of prisoners are in state and federal prison for non-violent drug related crimes. 22% of 450 is 99. So if drug usage was legalized, this further reduces the rate of incarceration to 351. The united states would then be in 24th place.

Even with these reductions, the incarceration rate is more than triple that of other equally developed countries, like France, the Uk, and Germany. Its more than 5 times that of Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark. All of these countries have comparable law enforcement technology to the united states.

These are just some quick estimates that take into account some readily available and easy to work with information. We haven’t even considered things like private prison profit incentives, private prison quotas, and public policy. Quoting from wikipedia, “ Violent crime was not responsible for the quadrupling of the incarcerated population in the United States from 1980 to 2003. Violent crime rates had been relatively constant or declining over those decades. The prison population was increased primarily by public policy changes causing more prison sentences and lengthening time served, e.g. through mandatory minimum sentencing, “three strikes” laws, and reductions in the availability of parole or early release. 49 percent of sentenced state inmates were held for violent offenses. Perhaps the single greatest force behind the growth of the prison population has been the national “War on Drugs.” ”

So no, more technology being available hasn’t resulted in the United State’s insane incarceration rates. Institutional racism, a bullshit “war on drugs”, and vindictive laws that line the pockets of private prisons are. Don’t let ideology fool you, the United States is objectively one of the least free countries.

Black Lives Matter, civil rights groups give DOJ’s drug memo a resounding ‘no’

  • Black Lives Matter movement activists and national civil rights organizations have major criticisms of Jeff Sessionsnew memo reinstating federal drug sentencing policies that have played a heavy role in mass incarceration. 
  • On Tuesday, representatives of several criminal justice reform groups plan to rally outside of the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C., to call for Sessions to abandon what they call a “return to the War on Drugs.”
  • In searing statements, the NAACP, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights and voices from within the Movement for Black Lives, among others, cried foul after Sessions announced Friday his instruction to U.S. attorneys that they throw the book at drug offenders. 
  • The directive ignores state-level sentencing reform trends, and will mean harsher punishments for nonviolent defendants, as well as mandatory minimum sentences that have been disproportionately leveled at African-American and Latino communities, civil rights leaders said. Read more (5/16/17)

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Jeff Sessions wants stricter enforcement of drug crimes. People of color will suffer.

  • In a memo released to the public on Friday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on federal prosecutors to pursue harsher sentences for low-level drug crimes — a stark reversal from the more lenient policies of the Obama administration.
  • The memo, obtained in full by NPR, calls for the stricter penalties to be doled out as part of an effort to achieve more “just and consistent results in federal cases.”
  • “It is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense,” Sessions wrote. “By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”
  • But mandatory minimum sentencing is nothing new — the policies outlined by Sessions hearken back to the “tough-on-crime” era of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • In other words, we’ve been down this road before, and we already know where it leads: to people of color being disproportionately incarcerated at alarming rates at the hands of the federal government. Read more (5/12/17)

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Yesterday Holder responded to Session’s racist announcement to enforce the racist mandatory minimum sentencing policy for non-violent drug offenses.

I find the part at the end as the most important: this is an act that can be reversed by congress.

The Holder memo, issued in August 2013, instructed his prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with drug offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences. Defendants who met a set of criteria such as not belonging to a large-scale drug trafficking organization, gang or cartel, qualified for lesser charges — and in turn less prison time — under Holder’s policy.

But Sessions’s new charging policy, outlined in a two-page memo and sent to more than 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys across the country and all assistant attorneys general in Washington, orders prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” and rescinds Holder’s policy immediately.

The Sessions memo marks the first significant criminal justice effort by the Trump administration to bring back the toughest practices of the drug war, which had fallen out of favor in recent years with a bipartisan movement to undo the damaging effects of mass incarceration.

Goro : “I hope I didn’t worry anyone too much. After everything that’s happened in the last few months, I never thought I’d get to, well, to live with him…

Oh, and Mona’s here, too.”

[Here are a few out-of-character important notes. We gave the context some thought. The events depicted on this blog are set post-canon. This much is known to the public so far:

Keep reading

Thanks ladies for the supportive comments. It really means a lot to me. I don’t often delve into that phase of my life here, I think I feel like because my family court experience ended with me getting my kid back and our life getting better, I feel awkward trying to verbalize what bio moms you might be in a foster care relationship with could be feeling.

@bujnik thank you for the very thoughtful question. These are some things I wished the person taking care of my child had/n’t done:

-I wish she had deferred to my opinion on things that seemed little to her but were important to me. Clothing, for example. She felt like when I complained about clothes, I was being ungrateful for the effort she’d put into scrambling to get baby clothes. But to me how she dressed M represented something larger. I felt like she was dressing M the way she’d dressed me and my siblings, which made me feel like M was to her the other child she’d long tried to have. New moms buy tiny clothes with their first baby. Seasoned parents know how fast babies grow and buy big. But I was a new mom and I really wanted the teeny tiny onesies. That was the fourth baby she was taking care of, but my first baby, and maybe the only baby I’ll ever have.

-I wish she hadn’t done things that to me felt like she was making M grow up faster. Stroller selection, for example. I thought a newborn should be in a snap & go. She doesn’t like clunky strollers and didn’t know how to fold it so she got an umbrella stroller. It reclined all the way, it wasn’t unsafe. But I felt like that was a stroller for a 1-year-old, not a 1-month-old. I already felt like I was losing so much time with M, and anything that made M seem older made me feel like time was moving too fast for me to ever catch up.

-I wish she hadn’t shown me pictures of/ told me about all the random people spending time with M. She was trying to be nice and wanted me to know M was adored by an entire community. But to me it felt like how come your third cousin can take her for a walk, and I can’t; how come my brother’s roommate got to rock her to sleep, and I can’t.

-I was happy that my mom always answered when I called. On the rare time that she didn’t, my mind started swirling thinking something horrible had happened to M and I couldn’t focus on anything until I knew she was okay. I hated it when my mom would complain to me about being tired. I know taking care of a newborn is exhausting. But I would’ve traded anything to get to be exhausted from taking care of M.

-After rehab, there were 2 (3?) months when I could be at their house all day but had to sleep somewhere else at night. Then for another bit of time I could live with them but couldn’t be alone with M. She’d throw around her “supervising” power whenever she was irritated at me about anything. Right or wrong, I felt like she’s the one who needed to be supervised, not me. I wish she’d never taken advantage of the power she held over me.

-I wish she had listened to me about things like feeding schedules and sleep training. Or even put one percent of effort into trying. Maybe the way I wanted her to do things was not the way she’d done things in the past. But this wasn’t the same as how things had been for her in the past, i.e. this was not her child. When me and M moved out and I could finally start doing things my way, it was challenging to change some of the habits my mom had instilled.

-She said I was a great mom, but I felt like she took on an air of righteousness, like she thought she was the pinnacle of parenting because she was handed my baby. I wish she’d understood that the line between good and bad parenting can be very blurry. It’s easy to deem addicts unfit because drugs are simple to test for. Other things, like emotional abuse, are more subjective and not simple to test for. I wish she hadn’t interpreted her role in the situation as validation of parenting style, caregiving choices, and of herself as a superior human being.

In terms of maintaining the relationship with an incarcerated parent, these are some things I do for M’s dad:

-every year for her birthday I order her one of those personalized books and in the inscription say it’s from both of us. I color xerox the pages and send them to him so when we visit he can talk to her about the adventures she’s having in the book

-sometimes on a random weekend day I’ll take a photo of everything she’s doing like a pic of her eating breakfast, a pic of her in her car seat, a pic of her on the swings, a pic of her having a tantrum, a pic of her sleeping, etc then send them to him in order, so he can vicariously experience the little details of a day in her daily life which allows him to know her better and see what her life is like other than the usual generic smiling pictures I often send

-when she was younger I’d print out articles on child development and send them to him. I used to babysit so I have experience with kids but he doesn’t, and this would teach him what to expect at visits, let him know how she was progressing, etc. Now I send copies of the written portion from her parent teacher conferences.

-M is safe, happy, and healthy because of what happened. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a huge hole in her life from his absence. I think of some of the positive things he would be doing with her if he were here, things I wouldn’t be inclined to do on my own, and make an effort to do them with her. Gardening is one of them. That was his hobby and something I wasn’t interested in but I’ve started doing with M until he’s here to do it with her himself.

-as she’s gotten older there are personality traits I’ve noticed that she inherited from him. It’s hard for me to really understand her perfectionism for example, because I’m not like that, but he is. I asked him how he wished someone had helped him with that when we was a kid, and at a visit he talked to M about it, better than I could have, in ways she related to.

-I try to nurture their shared interests. He’s a great artist, so is she. She sends him unicorn drawings and he sends her drawings of her at a princess castle, etc.

-sometimes when I’m annoyed with him I have a tendency to write off his parenting ideas, like oh he has no clue about anything, I’m the real parent, I’m the one who’s here every day, etc. But it’s only luck that I’m here and he’s not. We were both arrested. He had a prior record so he got a seven year mandatory minimum sentence; I did not have a prior record so I got probation. I try to remember that I’m not better than he is; I’m just luckier. He wishes he could be here with her. One day he will be here with her. She’s just as much his child as she is mine.

purqatory  asked:

quick goodbye kiss for dramione :))))

“Granger, have you eaten?”

“Hm?” she asked, staring down at the unfinished draft of legislation. “Yeah.”

She didn’t look up as he strode into the room, sitting carelessly opposite her at the desk. “I heard they’re burning copies of Hogwarts, A History outside,” he commented.

“Mm,” she said. “Right.”

“I’ve been thinking,” he added, facetiously tapping his mouth. “Should we have fourteen babies, or will ten be sufficient?”

“Yeah,” she said, crossing out a line about mandatory minimum sentences. “I agree.”

“I was also thinking,” Draco continued loftily, “that we should quit our jobs and start a zoo. Oh, and I’ve illegally acquired two dozen house elves to paint the inside of our flat in Slytherin colors, and will hereby be changing my name to Fernando McBollocks. I expect you to take my name when we get married,” he added. “You can hyphenate if you want. Granger-McBollocks.”

“Sounds nice,” Hermione murmured, and he grinned, leaning over to kiss her.

“See you later,” he told her, pulling away, but she stopped him, hesitating.

“Did you say babies?” she asked, and he smiled.

“All in good time,” he assured her, striding briskly out of the room.

Send me a kiss and I’ll give you five lines 
(except this one was really long but you know, for you, anything)

Crime Viral article about sibling killers

8 Shocking Cases of Siblings Who Became Killers

These following siblings had more in common than just the same genes - they also had the same desire to kill… 

8. Delfina and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez 

Delfina and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez were two sisters from Guanajuato, a north-central Mexican state. Between the 1950s to the mid-1960s, they ran “Rancho El Angel” a large prostitution ring where at least ninety-one murders took place. 

Police had arrested a young woman named Josefina Gutierrez on suspicion of kidnapping young girls in the Guanajuato area. During her questioning, she mentioned the names of the Gonzalez sisters. She led them to a property in San Francisco Rincon and their search shockingly found the bodies of 80 women, eleven men, and many fetuses. 

It was later discovered that the sisters would place adverts for housemaids who were wanted in the local area. When young girls replied to the adverts, they were held hostage and forced to take either heroin or cocaine. Those who became too ill, pregnant, damaged through sexual activity or just stopped pleasing customers were killed. Replaced with more innocent victims. 

The customers were killed too - anyone who showed up with a lot of cash would be disposed of and their money would then belong to the sisters. When questioned about the bodies on the property one of the sisters reportedly put it down to food poisoning. 

In 1964, the Gonzalez sisters were sentenced to forty years in prison. Delfina died in prison and Marina vanished after her release never to be seen again. They have a Guinness World Record entry as the “most prolific murder partnership”. 

7. Robert and Michael Bever 

In 2015, five members of the Bever family were found murdered at their Broken Arrow, Oklahoma home. The bodies of parents, 52-year-old David and 44-year-old April, were discovered with 66 stab wounds between them, 12-year-old Daniel had been killed by nine stab wounds, 7-year-old Christopher died after suffering six stab wounds and 5-year-old Victoria had been killed by seven stab wounds. 13-year-old Crystal survived and she identified the two killers to be her 18-year-old brother Robert and 16-year-old brother Michael. 

There was a lack of motive behind the boys’ crimes. They had both been home educated and neighbors claimed the family kept themselves away from others - the children were rarely allowed to mingle with others. Other neighbors commented that they only come to know the names of the family members when the murders were printed in the press. 

The brothers admitted they had killed their family, they also revealed they had a desire to kill for quite awhile but their original idea was to stage a school shooting somewhere close by. The very next day after the killings, 3000 rounds of ammunition had been delivered to the house that is believed to have been ordered by the brothers. They were both charged with five counts of first-degree murder and one count of assault and battery with intent to kill. 

6. Linda and Charlotte Mulhall 

Dublin-born sisters Linda and Charlotte Mulhall, killed and dismembered Kenyan immigrant Farah Swaleh Noor in 2005. Noor was killed as he was struck with a hammer swung by Linda and then stabbed with a Stanley Knife by Charlotte. They killed him after an argument over him dating their mother, Kathleen Mulhall. They also sliced off his head and penis then dumped his dismembered corpse in the Royal Canal, Dublin. 

Ten days later, his leg had been found floating in the river and the body was still wearing a sock. Neither the head and penis of Noor were never recovered - the girls later admitted they had disposed of these body parts in rubbish bins around Dublin. 

The sisters were arrested and they both admitted to their involvement in the murder. The media attention landed them the name “Scissor Sisters”. Their mother fled to England and their father, John Mulhall, hung himself in Phoenix Park, shortly after they were both charged. The judge labeled the killings: “The most grotesque killing that has occurred in my professional lifetime”. Charlotte Mulhall was given the mandatory life sentence and Linda Mulhall was given a 15-year sentence for manslaughter, they were both sent to Mountjoy Women’s prison in Dublin. 

5. Dan and Ron Lafferty 

On July 24th, 1984, brothers Dan and Ron Lafferty targeted their sister-in-law Brenda Lafferty, who was married to their brother Allen, and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica. Both brother’s had become extremists and members of the School of Prophets, founded and led by Robert Crossfield, where they believed God was sending them revelations. The brother’s said God wanted them to kill Brenda and her infant daughter as a “removal revelation.” 

Brenda was different from other women they had met before. She was a former beauty queen and a college graduate, she spoke up and told the brothers that she didn’t believe they were prophets. They also believed she was the reason Ron’s wife had left him. 

On that night in July, they beat their victims until they were unconscious and then slit their throats. Their friend Chip Carnes, who drove the getaway car, claimed that Ron thanked his brother Dan for “doing the baby.” After the murders, police found writings of the “revelation.” 

The brothers are now both on death row and still show no remorse for the killings. Dan told in 2004, “It’s never haunted me, it’s never bothered me. I don’t blame anyone for not understanding it. But if you had done it, it wouldn’t haunt you either. It was a strange phenomenon.” He added, “I held Brenda’s hair and did it pretty much the way they did it in the scriptures. Then I walked in Erica’s room. I talked to her for a minute, I said, ‘I’m not sure why I’m supposed to do this, but I guess God wants you home.’”

4. Alex and Derek King 

In 2001, in Pensacola, Florida, brothers 12-year-old Alex and 13-year-old Derek King, murdered their father, 40-year-old Terry King, after bludgeoning him to death with a baseball bat. Convicted child molester, 41-year-old Ricky Chavis, was also sentenced to a maximum of 30-years in prison after helping the young boys cover up the murder. 

After the boys had killed their father, they set their home on fire, called Chavis who came to pick them up, then washed their clothes and hid from the police at his house. His lawyer called his sentence “disproportionate” when compared to the maximum eight-year sentence the King brothers received for the murder. The boys, who were on trial separately, both pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and served their sentences in separate juvenile facilities. 

3. Erik and Lyle Menendez 

The case of the Menendez brothers shocked and gripped America in equal measure in the Nineties. The brothers murdered their rich parents in August 1989, when Lyle was 21-years-old and Erik was 18-years-old, planning the whole thing to make it look like some kind of ultra-violent Mafia hit. They had - according to their own defense - suffered years of abuse at the hands of their mega rich parents, so after it became too much, they banded together to defend themselves in a fatal way. 

However, as was revealed during their highly televised trial in 1993, the truth of the matter was somewhat different. They shot their father Jose and mother Mary in cold blood one evening in the family’s home in Beverly Hills, and then went out to the movies with their friends so that they’d have an alibi. For a while, this story worked out for them, regardless of the suspiciously lavish spending that ensued in the months following the parricide. However, soon enough, Erik confessed the crimes to his psychologist, L. Jerome Oziel. After being threatened by Lyle, Oziel talked about the murder to his girlfriend, who went on to report it to the police. The cops then moved in for the arrest, with the brothers facing trial in 1993, live on the newly launched Court TV. 

Before millions of mesmerized viewers, Lyle stated that he would miss his dog as much as his parents and Erik revealed that he “felt love for his mother when he placed the shotgun in her cheek.” Despite such shocking admissions, the two juries in the first trial ended up being deadlocked, requiring a second trial to be held. This time, with less media attention, they were found guilty and sentenced to life without parole. Yet perhaps more startling than the lateness of this decision or the crime itself is the news that behind bars, both brothers have now apparently found love, marrying pen pals and enjoying the kind of intimacy they didn’t quite have with their parents. 

2. Micajah and Wiley Harpe 

Macajah “Big” Harpe and Wiley “Little” Harpe, were serial killers and river pirates, who carried out their crimes in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Mississippi during the late 18th century. Many claim they were America’s first serial killers who were responsible for the murders of 39 people, or possibly more, as there were 50 other unsolved murders which could have been connected to them. 

In 1797, the Harpes brothers were living near Knoxville, Tennessee but they had been driven from the town after they were caught stealing hogs and horses. They were also accused of murdering a man named Johnson, whose body had been found in a river - the torso ripped open and weighted down with stones. This would soon be the “signature” of the Harpes brothers and how they often disposed of corpses. 

They soon became known as vicious killers who would butcher someone at the slightest provocation - even their own children. It has been said Big Harpe bashed his own daughter’s head against a tree because she cried too much. This was also the only crime he ever showed genuine remorse for. 

Eventually, they were caught and confessed to killing 39 people. Big Harpe was shot dead and Little Harpe was executed by hanging in 1804. 

1. Anthony, James and Linwood Briley 

The Briley Brothers were Anthony, James and Linwood Briley. They were known as good boys, raised in a loving home, who would often help neighbors fix their cars or with repairs. However, behind closed doors, the boys collected exotic pets such as tarantulas, piranhas, and boa constrictors that they would torture and kill. Their own father kept his bedroom door padlocked from the inside when he slept at night. 

In 1971, 16-year-old Linwood aimed a rifle from his bedroom window, then shot and killed an elderly neighbor as she was hanging out some laundry. The crime was almost never solved until a funeral director found a small bullet wound under her armpit. Police investigated that the only angle the bullet could have come from was where the Briley house stood. Linwood admitted to the crime and said, “I heard she had heart problems, she would have died soon anyway.” He was sent to reform school for one year. 

The in 1979, the brothers went on a seven-month killing rampage that terrified locals. On March 12th, they knocked on the door of a Henrico County couple claiming they had car trouble and needed to use their telephone before eventually forcing their way into the house. They tied the couple up at gunpoint, doused them in fuel and lit the house on them on. Luckily the husband managed to free his arms and they both survived the attack. Days later they shot dead a vending serviceman. Then the following month they followed a 76-year-old into her house before murdering her. Their next victim was a 17-year-old boy who they killed by dropping a cinderblock onto his skull. 

Months passed by and the brothers began looking for another victim. When they came across a DJ who was taking a break between his set, they assaulted him and put him in the trunk of his own car. They then drove the car to an abandoned paper mill and shot him before dumping his body in a river. Later when they were arrested, Linwood was wearing a ring belonging to the victim. 

The same month, the brothers beat a 62-year-old private nurse to death and just five days later and only two blocks from their own home, they bludgeoned a couple to death with a baseball bat, scissors, and a fork. When the bodies were discovered, the scissors and fork were sticking out of their victim’s back. Their last victims were a couple who lived in the neighborhood, the woman was five months pregnant at the time. After the attack, the police noticed the brothers running down the street and were arrested soon afterward. All three brothers were sentenced to death row. 


Laurel Highlands is a penitentiary for men, located 70 miles SE of Pittsburgh. It is the only prison in the state of Pennsylvania that is specifically for inmates who are elderly or infirm. Inmates within the Pennsylvania corrections system are sent to Laurel Highlands when they have been diagnosed with a condition that requires daily medical support, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, kidney or liver disease, or pulmonary diseases. The facility operates mostly as a medical hospital, and the staff consists of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants. Security staffing is minimal. The hospice unit is also staffed by a prisoner helper system, where other prison inmates assist the nursing staff by providing personal care such as cleaning, helping a sick inmate move from place to place, and providing company to the dying inmate. There are no bars on the windows, and security fencing is similar to those at a minimum security prison. Showers are outfitted with grab bars and shower seats. Due to the four decade long “war on drugs”, mandatory minimum sentencing and three strikes laws, the percentage of elderly inmates in prison has exploded, leaving the country’s correctional systems in the position of having to provide geriatric care, which costs approximately 30% more than the cost of housing a relatively healthy inmate. There are roughly 300 inmates at Laurel Highlands, with a very long waiting list.

The Right to Bear Arms?

Can anyone own a gun? The phrasing of the Second Amendment has led to different interpretations.

A long-standing argument is that the “right to bear arms” is a collective right that prohibits the Federal Government from disarming state militia. The predominant argument says it is an individual right guaranteed to every citizen.  

This petitioner from Ohio opposed all laws limiting individual gun ownership, writing, “Dear Congressmen: I want to voice my strong apposition to all gun control laws and do support mandatory jail sentences for all criminals who use firearms. Sincerely, Charles Koch.“

Letter to Congress opposed to gun control laws

Learn more about the “Amending America” exhibit


Instead of treating drug addiction as a health issue, it has been normalized as a crime, one fitting of severe punishment. Rather than addressing the social and economic problems causing drug use and addiction, the easy solution, sadly, has been to punish those who fall victim to the social environment. Since Nixon’s first announcement of the “War on Drugs,” rigid sentencing guidelines were put in place that required longer sentences, mandatory minimums, reclassifying some drug offenses from misdemeanors to felonies, and the “Three Strikes You’re Out” laws were passed. These changes drastically influenced the lives of millions of people, especially those of color.

According to Earl Smith & Angela J. Hattery, “African American men are disproportionately likely to be incarcerated. Of the 2.3 million Americans who are incarcerated, 43%(or more than one million) are African American men. In fact, more than forty percent of all American prisoners, men and women, are African American men. Controlling for gender, African Americans comprise nearly two-thirds(62%) of the male prison population, yet they make up just 13% of the US male population.

“In terms of probability, 90 out of every 1000 men will be incarcerated in their lifetimes. When we break the data down by race only 44 out of every 1000 White men(4%) will be incarcerated but 285 out of every 1000 African American men(28.5%) will be incarcerated in their lifetimes. Put another way, nearly 1 in 3 African American men will be incarcerated during their lifetimes.

Quick story.

I spent most of last summer teaching at a medium-security prison. Many of my students had life sentences. All of them had committed horrific crimes. Murders, sexual assaults, battery, you name it. It was a composition course, and I specifically structured it in a way that allowed for personal expression. 

 Many of my students wrote about having been abused, growing up hungry with the electricity out, absent parents, cruel parents, wasted parents. Not one of them blamed their circumstances for their crimes or their imprisonment. The general tenor of their writing was far more “maybe if things had been different I would have been a different person, but this is the hand I was dealt, and I played it poorly." 

They also acknowledged their crimes and took responsibility for them. I remember one student, in one of the roundtable discussions we had, stating that so many men on the yard to this day deny that they ever committed their crimes, but "how do you move forward if you won’t own up to what you did that got you here?" 

These men ultimately fell very far because of their own actions, and not only did they acknowledge and accept that, but they were actively trying to better themselves and take a different path. That’s why they were in my class instead of out on the yard for rec. 

Now, there’s a lot more nuance to it than that, of course – mandatory minimums, drug sentencing, overextended public defenders, etc. – and we discussed a lot of those at length. 

But on the last day of the class, when my students and I just sat and talked, about the prison system, about justice and fairness, good and bad, the unofficial spokesman of the class, a bespectacled older man who took diligent notes in the front row, said, "What did you learn from being here with us, professor?" 

I thought a moment. ”…that people are worth much more than the worst thing they ever did.“ 

And I still believe that.

Apologists use Ethiopia as an example to prove how Muslims aren’t more likely to commit FGM anymore than anyone else and it simply isn’t the case.
It’s not just a North African thing. It goes all the way to Indonesia. Even Singapore isn’t able to stop it. Muslims are pretty much the only ones who stick with it when they move to the West.
And this doctor is an example of how fucking bad the problem is. She went through the demanding American system of medical school, got a degree, and risked it all to cut off the genitals of little girls? Why? She’ll go to jail for a minimum of 15 years and she will never be allowed to work in the medical field again, she’ll never pay off those student loans, she’ll have to register as a sex offender if she even survives prison. (No, women’s prisons in America are not Camp Cupcakes).
The parents will likewise have to go to prison, have their children removed from their care, and likely permanently. Because this made the news the court system isn’t going to show leniency because they don’t want to be embarrassed in the press. They can’t anyway, because of mandatory sentencing laws.
The parents and doctor alike all knew the risks but they figured cutting was just that damn important. But leftists claim that FGM is a xenophobic straw man.

firebolts  asked:

Nixon didn't begin the War on Drugs. Reagan did around 1983.

Reagan took it to a whole new level but Nixon actually started it. Here’s some more detail from the Drug Policy Alliance:

Nixon and the Generation Gap

In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy.

In June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants.

A top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted: “You want to know what this was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.

In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.

Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization. In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted. Proposals to decriminalize marijuana were abandoned as parents became increasingly concerned about high rates of teen marijuana use. Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.

The 1980s and 90s: Drug Hysteria and Skyrocketing Incarceration Rates

The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.

Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed “crack.” Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan “Just Say No.”

This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that “casual drug users should be taken out and shot,” founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.

In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population. In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation’s “number one problem” was just 2-6 percent. The figure grew through the remainder of the 1980s until, in September 1989, it reached a remarkable 64 percent – one of the most intense fixations by the American public on any issue in polling history. Within less than a year, however, the figure plummeted to less than 10 percent, as the media lost interest. The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration.

Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.

He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, Health Secretary Donna Shalala’s advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use “should be decriminalized.”

At the height of the drug war hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a movement emerged seeking a new approach to drug policy. In 1987, Arnold Trebach and Kevin Zeese founded the Drug Policy Foundation – describing it as the “loyal opposition to the war on drugs.” Prominent conservatives such as William Buckley and Milton Friedman had long advocated for ending drug prohibition, as had civil libertarians such as longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser. In the late 1980s they were joined by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Federal Judge Robert Sweet, Princeton professor Ethan Nadelmann, and other activists, scholars and policymakers.

In 1994, Nadelmann founded The Lindesmith Center as the first U.S. project of George Soros’ Open Society Institute. In 2000, the growing Center merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the Drug Policy Alliance.

Meet Rachel Brand, the Justice Department official who could inherit the Russia probe
Rod Rosenstein and Rachel Brand are sworn before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

WASHINGTON — At her March confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand was asked about privacy rights, mandatory minimum sentences, her commitment to enforcing the Voting Rights Act, and several other policy issues.

But she was not asked about the Russia probe.

That’s the very hot potato the former Bush administration lawyer will find herself holding if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is fired, resigns or recuses himself from the apparently expanding case. The Justice Department is investigating Kremlin efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Trump’s campaign was involved, but now the probe is reportedly looking into whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice by firing FBI Director James Comey.

During the March hearing, the senators asked Rosenstein again and again to affirm his commitment to the department’s independent investigation into Russia, and pressed him to commit to appoint a special counsel to lead the probe. None of them realized, apparently, that three months later the deputy attorney general’s position could look so precarious, and that Brand could find herself in charge.

For now, Rosenstein has the ultimate authority over special counsel Robert Mueller’s independent investigation because Attorney General Jeff Session recused himself from the probe after it was revealed he had undisclosed contacts with Russia’s ambassador.

But Rosenstein’s future now seems uncertain. Trump tweeted Friday that the Russia probe is a “witch hunt” and complained he is “being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!” That’s an apparent dig at Rosenstein, who wrote a memo criticizing Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe. After Trump abruptly fired Comey in May, the White House at first attributed the decision to Rosenstein’s recommendation. Later, Trump dismissed that explanation saying he fired Comey for being a “showboat.” Comey testified under oath that he believes Trump fired him because of the Russia investigation.

I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017

Trump’s tweet has sparked concerns on the Hill that the president may dismiss Rosenstein as a way to thwart Mueller’s Russia investigation, which now reportedly also includes a personal investigation of Trump for allegedly obstructing justice.

ABC News reported Friday that Rosenstein has acknowledged that he may need to recuse himself from the probe even if Trump does not fire him. He told Brand, the third in command at the Justice Department, that she would be responsible for Mueller’s probe if he recuses himself, according to ABC.

Brand, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, is a well-respected conservative lawyer who ran the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy under President George W. Bush. The Harvard-educated lawyer is the first woman to hold the No. 3 job at the Justice Department. After leaving the Bush Justice Department, she became the chief counsel for regulatory litigation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a role Democrats have criticized in the past as suggesting a pro-big business slant. She addressed those criticisms in her hearing.

“When I was at the Chamber of Commerce I had a client, the Chamber of Commerce and, as a litigator there, my job was to file lawsuits and file amicus briefs on behalf of that client,” she said. “If I’m confirmed to this position, of course, I’ll have a very different role, I’ll have a different client. My client will be the United States and my role will be to serve the public interest and the interest of justice, representing that client as best I can.”

During her hearing, Brand was also questioned on her views of the bulk collection of data by the NSA. In the past, she defended the program as a member of the non-partisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as potentially necessary to thwart terrorist attacks.

Brand, a native Iowan and descendant of Dutch dairy farmers, also spoke of her commitment to the Constitution’s principles of limited federal government and the separation of powers in broad terms. She avoided getting drawn into any political debates, such as when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., asked her about whether she believed there was a “public interest” in addressing climate change.

“Senator, I think you’re asking me for a personal judgment on the policy question and I’m not sure that’s relevant to the way I would do my job as a law enforcement official in a law enforcement agency,” she replied.

Though little is known about her thoughts on the Russia probe, lawyer Benjamin Wittes, a close friend of Comey’s, tweeted Friday that he has “confidence” in Brand. Wittes has been a big advocate for the independence of the Russia probe.

I think very highly of Rachel, who is a friend, a patriot, and a person in whom I have confidence.

— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) June 16, 2017

If Trump does fire Rosenstein, the Senate Judiciary Committee would be unlikely to approve a replacement unless he or she vowed not to shut down the special counsel’s investigation, which means Brand could find herself in charge of it for the foreseeable future.

“If the president thinks he can fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and replace him with someone who will shut down the investigation, he’s in for a rude awakening,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement Friday. “Even his staunchest supporters will balk at such a blatant effort to subvert the law.”

Feinstein is the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee that would approve any Justice Department nominations.

Read more from Yahoo News:

Photos: Congressional baseball game, 1 day after shooting

Lured to a wooded area of Fishtown, Pennsylvania, on 30th May 2003, 16-year-old Jason Sweeney was beaten to death for his $500 pay cheque.  The assailants were 18-year-old Edward Batzig Jr, who was Sweeney’s best friend, and brothers Domenic and Nicholas Coia, aged 19 and 18 respectively. Led to the area by the promise of sex with 15-year-old Justina Morley, once he arrived Sweeney was brutally attacked by the trio, who beat the boy to death with a hatchet, rock, and a hammer.  When they had finished beating him, the teenagers dropped a boulder onto Sweeney’s head, crushing it completely.  Autopsy later revealed that the only bone left undamaged on the young man’s face was his left cheekbone, and his face was so badly disfigured that Sweeney had to be identified with dental records.  The 4 teenagers split the money and used it to buy drugs, with Morley later admitting that she had also had sex with both Batzig and Nicholas Coia in exchange for heroin just days prior to the murder.

Batzig and the Coia brothers were all sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  After pleading guilty to third degree murder, Morley was sentenced to 17.5 to 35 years in prison in exchange for her testimony against the 3 boys.  In a jailhouse letter to Domenic Coia, Morley wrote:

‘I’m a cold-blooded [expletive] death-worshiping bitch who survives by feeding off the weak and lonely. I lure them, and then I crush them…I am guilty. But I still don’t feel guilty for anything… . I still enjoy my flashbacks. They give me comfort. I love them.’

Batzig and Nicholas Coia have both since been granted re-sentencing due to the Supreme Court’s ruling on mandatory life sentences for juveniles.  In 2015, Coia was once again sentenced to life without parole.