xenologer: (human monsters)
Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons: We throw thousands of men in the hole for the books they read, the company they keep, the beliefs they hold. Here's why. -By Shane Bauer

Solitary confinement is ruinous for human sanity, which makes it a crappy rehabilitation tool. Additionally, you can end up in solitary for pretty shady reasons.

As warden of San Quentin Prison in the 1980s, Daniel Vasquez oversaw what was then the country's largest SHU. He's now a corrections consultant and has testified on behalf of inmates seeking to reverse their validations. As we sat in his suburban Bay Area home, he told me it is "very common" for African American prisoners who display leadership qualities or radical political views to end up in the SHU. (...)

[A] judge ruled that "a prisoner has no constitutionally guaranteed immunity from being falsely or wrongfully accused of conduct which may result in the deprivation of a protected liberty interest." In other words, it is not illegal for prison authorities to lie in order to lock somebody away in solitary.


Read the whole article before you come say something in the comments. Yes, all four pages.
xenologer: (7/9 over shoulder)

I wanted to talk to some of you about Troy Anthony Davis. Today is Troy's Global Day of Action through Amnesty International, and in that spirit I wanted to tell you a bit about what's going on. I wanted to tell you how you can do very small and easy things that could save a man's life, just like it has been saved before by people doing exactly what many of you are about to do.

Many of you received an email, saw a blog post, or read a thread on a forum from me about the then-pending ban on capital punishment in New Mexico. A lot of you helped out, and sent a strong message to New Mexico's Governor. And we made it happen. I need you again. Troy needs you.

Many of you may feel that there is no excuse or appropriate situation in which the state should have the power to kill its citizens. That's fine. I am not one of you. I am one of those people who believes that there are some crimes for which death may be an acceptable response from the justice system.However, people have to have actually committed a crime. I mean, ideally, right?

Among many wrongful convictions is included Troy Anthony Davis. There is no physical evidence against him. The case is based entirely on eyewitness testimony, but seven of the nine witnesses recanted or contradicted their testimony. Some of those who've recanted stated that they originally testified under police coercion, and one of the two people who hasn't... is the prime alternative suspect (and whom nine people have already implicated in signed affidavits).

So Troy Davis is set to be executed because the alternative suspect and one other person are pointing the finger at him. That's it. Seriously.

Multiple times his date of execution has been called off. Georgia has decided--more than once--that there is insufficient evidence to execute Troy, and yet… this isn't sufficient evidence for them to grant him a new trial. Thanks, Georgia. His request for a new trial (that’s right, his appeal for an appeal) has been refused and an execution date is going to be set (again).

For more information about his case, check out the info Amnesty International has pulled together: http://www.amnestyusa.org/uploads/file/TroyDavisfactsandtimeline_2(1).pdf

I got involved in Troy's fight because a friend of mine who worked with me for the House of Representatives at the State House knows Troy personally, and has personally combed through the documentation of his legal battles. It was talking with her that got me interested.

When word came that his life was in danger (again), a lot of people got ready for another round of fighting. I didn't think I'd be involved until I read the letter that Troy sent my friend, dated March 10, 2009:

 

Hello Ashley,

Thank you so much for your lovely letter. It was nice to hear from you. I pray that you, family and friends are all doing well despite the stress from the Economy.

Personally, I'm holding up okay. They have another execution tonight for Bob Newland. The Parole Board refused to hear his case.

How did your finals turn out? I'm sure you did well. Are you still having bad dreams about being in my situation?

Maybe you're worried too much about my situation. Read Mark 11:22-24. Positive thinking can increase your faith. Don't dwell on the things you pray for, just give them to God and believe He'll take care of them.

Congratulations of getting a perfect grade doing your paper about my case. Say hi to your classmates and Professors for me.

The biggest problem with my case is the Anti-Terrorism/Death Penalty law prevents my new evidence from being heard. I htink the Judges know I'm innocent but decided to hide behind the law instead of helping correct this injustice.

As long as people are willing to stand up and fight, changes will be made to right every wrong. You'll be one of those people who force a change and soon. Keep learning, keep praying, keep believing and never stop fighting for True Justice.

I'm proud of you being a Straight A student. Your parents have done a great job and I know they are proud as well.

Don't let the road blocks of this System slow you down. Just push them out of the way. Fighting for what you believe in isn't easy and some of those close to you may disagree. Stand firm Ashley.

Your friend,

Troy D.

 

Troy may be about to die, and people like you are the ones on his mind. People like you are the ones he believes need encouragement. So here's your encouragement.

Do something.

Here is a link to Amnesty International.

It'll take half a minute to do what they ask you to do. Just sign your name to tell Governor Perdue that people outside his state are watching. Use Amnesty's words, use your own, sign your name, whatever.

But do something. You think this won't work. But it has worked, and for Troy specifically. He is alive right now because people like you know his name, know his case, and care what happens to him.

Do it again. Do it now.

xenologer: (7/9 over shoulder)

I wanted to talk to some of you about Troy Anthony Davis. Today is Troy's Global Day of Action through Amnesty International, and in that spirit I wanted to tell you a bit about what's going on. I wanted to tell you how you can do very small and easy things that could save a man's life, just like it has been saved before by people doing exactly what many of you are about to do.

Many of you received an email, saw a blog post, or read a thread on a forum from me about the then-pending ban on capital punishment in New Mexico. A lot of you helped out, and sent a strong message to New Mexico's Governor. And we made it happen. I need you again. Troy needs you.

Many of you may feel that there is no excuse or appropriate situation in which the state should have the power to kill its citizens. That's fine. I am not one of you. I am one of those people who believes that there are some crimes for which death may be an acceptable response from the justice system.However, people have to have actually committed a crime. I mean, ideally, right?

Among many wrongful convictions is included Troy Anthony Davis. There is no physical evidence against him. The case is based entirely on eyewitness testimony, but seven of the nine witnesses recanted or contradicted their testimony. Some of those who've recanted stated that they originally testified under police coercion, and one of the two people who hasn't... is the prime alternative suspect (and whom nine people have already implicated in signed affidavits).

So Troy Davis is set to be executed because the alternative suspect and one other person are pointing the finger at him. That's it. Seriously.

Multiple times his date of execution has been called off. Georgia has decided--more than once--that there is insufficient evidence to execute Troy, and yet… this isn't sufficient evidence for them to grant him a new trial. Thanks, Georgia. His request for a new trial (that’s right, his appeal for an appeal) has been refused and an execution date is going to be set (again).

For more information about his case, check out the info Amnesty International has pulled together: http://www.amnestyusa.org/uploads/file/TroyDavisfactsandtimeline_2(1).pdf

I got involved in Troy's fight because a friend of mine who worked with me for the House of Representatives at the State House knows Troy personally, and has personally combed through the documentation of his legal battles. It was talking with her that got me interested.

When word came that his life was in danger (again), a lot of people got ready for another round of fighting. I didn't think I'd be involved until I read the letter that Troy sent my friend, dated March 10, 2009:

 

Hello Ashley,

Thank you so much for your lovely letter. It was nice to hear from you. I pray that you, family and friends are all doing well despite the stress from the Economy.

Personally, I'm holding up okay. They have another execution tonight for Bob Newland. The Parole Board refused to hear his case.

How did your finals turn out? I'm sure you did well. Are you still having bad dreams about being in my situation?

Maybe you're worried too much about my situation. Read Mark 11:22-24. Positive thinking can increase your faith. Don't dwell on the things you pray for, just give them to God and believe He'll take care of them.

Congratulations of getting a perfect grade doing your paper about my case. Say hi to your classmates and Professors for me.

The biggest problem with my case is the Anti-Terrorism/Death Penalty law prevents my new evidence from being heard. I htink the Judges know I'm innocent but decided to hide behind the law instead of helping correct this injustice.

As long as people are willing to stand up and fight, changes will be made to right every wrong. You'll be one of those people who force a change and soon. Keep learning, keep praying, keep believing and never stop fighting for True Justice.

I'm proud of you being a Straight A student. Your parents have done a great job and I know they are proud as well.

Don't let the road blocks of this System slow you down. Just push them out of the way. Fighting for what you believe in isn't easy and some of those close to you may disagree. Stand firm Ashley.

Your friend,

Troy D.

 

Troy may be about to die, and people like you are the ones on his mind. People like you are the ones he believes need encouragement. So here's your encouragement.

Do something.

Here is a link to Amnesty International.

It'll take half a minute to do what they ask you to do. Just sign your name to tell Governor Perdue that people outside his state are watching. Use Amnesty's words, use your own, sign your name, whatever.

But do something. You think this won't work. But it has worked, and for Troy specifically. He is alive right now because people like you know his name, know his case, and care what happens to him.

Do it again. Do it now.

xenologer: (7/9 over shoulder)

I wanted to talk to some of you about Troy Anthony Davis. Today is Troy's Global Day of Action through Amnesty International, and in that spirit I wanted to tell you a bit about what's going on. I wanted to tell you how you can do very small and easy things that could save a man's life, just like it has been saved before by people doing exactly what many of you are about to do.

Many of you received an email, saw a blog post, or read a thread on a forum from me about the then-pending ban on capital punishment in New Mexico. A lot of you helped out, and sent a strong message to New Mexico's Governor. And we made it happen. I need you again. Troy needs you.

Many of you may feel that there is no excuse or appropriate situation in which the state should have the power to kill its citizens. That's fine. I am not one of you. I am one of those people who believes that there are some crimes for which death may be an acceptable response from the justice system.However, people have to have actually committed a crime. I mean, ideally, right?

Among many wrongful convictions is included Troy Anthony Davis. There is no physical evidence against him. The case is based entirely on eyewitness testimony, but seven of the nine witnesses recanted or contradicted their testimony. Some of those who've recanted stated that they originally testified under police coercion, and one of the two people who hasn't... is the prime alternative suspect (and whom nine people have already implicated in signed affidavits).

So Troy Davis is set to be executed because the alternative suspect and one other person are pointing the finger at him. That's it. Seriously.

Multiple times his date of execution has been called off. Georgia has decided--more than once--that there is insufficient evidence to execute Troy, and yet… this isn't sufficient evidence for them to grant him a new trial. Thanks, Georgia. His request for a new trial (that’s right, his appeal for an appeal) has been refused and an execution date is going to be set (again).

For more information about his case, check out the info Amnesty International has pulled together: http://www.amnestyusa.org/uploads/file/TroyDavisfactsandtimeline_2(1).pdf

I got involved in Troy's fight because a friend of mine who worked with me for the House of Representatives at the State House knows Troy personally, and has personally combed through the documentation of his legal battles. It was talking with her that got me interested.

When word came that his life was in danger (again), a lot of people got ready for another round of fighting. I didn't think I'd be involved until I read the letter that Troy sent my friend, dated March 10, 2009:

 

Hello Ashley,

Thank you so much for your lovely letter. It was nice to hear from you. I pray that you, family and friends are all doing well despite the stress from the Economy.

Personally, I'm holding up okay. They have another execution tonight for Bob Newland. The Parole Board refused to hear his case.

How did your finals turn out? I'm sure you did well. Are you still having bad dreams about being in my situation?

Maybe you're worried too much about my situation. Read Mark 11:22-24. Positive thinking can increase your faith. Don't dwell on the things you pray for, just give them to God and believe He'll take care of them.

Congratulations of getting a perfect grade doing your paper about my case. Say hi to your classmates and Professors for me.

The biggest problem with my case is the Anti-Terrorism/Death Penalty law prevents my new evidence from being heard. I htink the Judges know I'm innocent but decided to hide behind the law instead of helping correct this injustice.

As long as people are willing to stand up and fight, changes will be made to right every wrong. You'll be one of those people who force a change and soon. Keep learning, keep praying, keep believing and never stop fighting for True Justice.

I'm proud of you being a Straight A student. Your parents have done a great job and I know they are proud as well.

Don't let the road blocks of this System slow you down. Just push them out of the way. Fighting for what you believe in isn't easy and some of those close to you may disagree. Stand firm Ashley.

Your friend,

Troy D.

 

Troy may be about to die, and people like you are the ones on his mind. People like you are the ones he believes need encouragement. So here's your encouragement.

Do something.

Here is a link to Amnesty International.

It'll take half a minute to do what they ask you to do. Just sign your name to tell Governor Perdue that people outside his state are watching. Use Amnesty's words, use your own, sign your name, whatever.

But do something. You think this won't work. But it has worked, and for Troy specifically. He is alive right now because people like you know his name, know his case, and care what happens to him.

Do it again. Do it now.

xenologer: (stronger loving world)
New Mexico governor abolishes capital punishment.
Richardson said he has long believed — and still does — that the death penalty was a "just punishment" in rare cases for the worst crimes. But he said he decided to sign the repeal legislation because of flaws in how the death penalty was applied.

"More than 130 death row inmates have been exonerated in the past 10 years in this country, including four New Mexicans — a fact I cannot ignore," he said.

"Even with advances in DNA and other forensic evidence technologies, we can't be 100 percent sure that only the truly guilty are convicted of capital crimes."
Thanks to all of you guys who replied to the poll I was spreading around.
xenologer: (stronger loving world)
New Mexico governor abolishes capital punishment.
Richardson said he has long believed — and still does — that the death penalty was a "just punishment" in rare cases for the worst crimes. But he said he decided to sign the repeal legislation because of flaws in how the death penalty was applied.

"More than 130 death row inmates have been exonerated in the past 10 years in this country, including four New Mexicans — a fact I cannot ignore," he said.

"Even with advances in DNA and other forensic evidence technologies, we can't be 100 percent sure that only the truly guilty are convicted of capital crimes."
Thanks to all of you guys who replied to the poll I was spreading around.
xenologer: (stronger loving world)
New Mexico governor abolishes capital punishment.
Richardson said he has long believed — and still does — that the death penalty was a "just punishment" in rare cases for the worst crimes. But he said he decided to sign the repeal legislation because of flaws in how the death penalty was applied.

"More than 130 death row inmates have been exonerated in the past 10 years in this country, including four New Mexicans — a fact I cannot ignore," he said.

"Even with advances in DNA and other forensic evidence technologies, we can't be 100 percent sure that only the truly guilty are convicted of capital crimes."
Thanks to all of you guys who replied to the poll I was spreading around.
xenologer: (ouch)
Keep going, John and Sarah. Keep rallying your base, and gods help us all if there's enough people in this country like Ashley Todd to actually get you two theocrats elected.

And for those of you who haven't been keeping up on this, a McCain campaign worker claimed she was mugged by a black man at an ATM (despite the ATM security camera clearly showing she wasn't even there) who took her money and then flew into a BlackViolent Rage when he saw her McCain bumper sticker. So he beat the crap out of her (and sexually assaulted her, of course, because you know they can't help themselves) and managed to hold her down long enough to carefully carve a letter "B" into her face that is backward unless Todd is looking in a mirror.

That's right, white folk. Better vote Obama, or else black men'll come after ur wimminz. Forever they'll be branded with a "B" for BlackBarack! Well, not forever. The "B" looks like it was scraped into her skin with a fingernail, and it'll probably go away in several days. PURE WHITE WOMANHOOD FOREVER TAINTED BY BARACK'S NIGRA THUGS! D:

Yeah, yeah, I know. But I assume if you've survived my journal this long that you can handle more sarcasm than most people. You've proven yourselves. If this is too much for you, go watch Blazing Saddles and come back when you've toughened up some.

The great part is that even Fox News is reporting that Todd admitted she lied about this mess, and is facing charges for it. And finally, finally Fox News is beginning to grudgingly admit that there may be some race-baiting up in this here presidential race! Ye gods, y'all!
xenologer: (never stand alone)
I love The Curvature. Every time I read it I find something that pisses me off, but at the same time it's stuff I feel I should know.

Some of the most compelling entries for me about about violence against transgender individuals. It's startlingly common for a transgender person to be murdered and then have their deaths (and lives) trivialized by insinuations that murdering people whose gender identities don't match what's in their pants is somehow more understandable and excusable than murdering people who fall in love with others of the "wrong" sex. This next entry is not her most recent example of this, but it's the best one to start with, I think.

Killing a Woman Because She’s Trans “Not a Classic Hate Crime."

Angie Zapata was murdered in July. Allen Ray Andrade, who has admitted to beating Zapata to death, supposedly became uncontrollably “enraged” upon learning that she was transgender after a sexual encounter. This is, of course, a common defense in such murders (known as “trans panic”), and one that apparently plays into bigoted public sensibilities that transgender individuals are unethically “fooling” people and of course no one would ever knowingly have consensual sex with them. It’s also worth noting that Andrade claims to have only learned Zapata was transgender by sexually assaulting her, grabbing her genitals without her consent. He then saw it as an excuse to kill her.

(snip)

“This is not a classic hate crime, where an individual is beaten to death because of their orientation. This is a case when an individual reacted irrationally and unlawfully to learning they had been fooled,” said Robinson.

“Fooled.” “Not a classic hate crime.” Why isn’t it a classic hate crime? The argument doesn’t hold up — the defendant did kill Zapata because of her gender identity. He sexually assaulted a woman, in the process discovered that she was transgender, and as a direct result he chose to beat her to death. Ergo, he killed her because she was trans, and this is not hard to follow logic. So allow me to translate. What Robinson really means is: “This is not a classic hate crime, because this time the defendant had a good reason.”

There’s no other way to put it. There’s no other reason to use language like “duped” and “fooled.” There’s no other reason to use this as an argument unless you’re trying to show that there was an understandable, if “irrational” reason for the murder.

As this blogger cites in another entry, according to the Human Rights Campaign, "transgender individuals in America have up to a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered. One in twelve. Let that sink in." This is in contrast to the average person, whose chance of being murdered is about 1 in 18,000.

Not only are they more likely to be killed because they're trans, but their killers can get their charges reduced because even if you can't really excuse it, it's understandable to be faced with a transgender person (even when you were looking for one) and fly into a violent murderous rage, just because the surprise was so traumatic for you.

If anyone reading is looking for some way to help with this, I suggest making whatever donation you can to one of these organizations. At least check them out, and for the gods' sake if you hear people slurring transgender people, or you read it online or whatever, just remember how far people take that sentiment. Just remember what it really means to say, "Man, if I found out some hot girl had a dick I'd lose it." It's not just the excuse of a narrow-minded idiot. It's the excuse of a killer. Don't let anyone use it, no matter who they are.
xenologer: (hope)
I was linked this article today.

The gist of this recent Supreme Court decision is that the death penalty in America shouldn't be resorted to unless the crime involves espionage or treason, or the crime results in the death of the victim. The context is whether or not people who sexually abuse children should be faced with capital punishment as an option.

Now, on the one hand... if someone raped anybody that I know, I don't know that I'll be responsible for my actions in the matter. That counts both for a child and a grown adult. In that sense, I can understand why many people have a problem with this ruling. After all, it's natural to want to hurt and even eliminate someone who hurts us badly enough, and the rape of a child is not just an offense to the whole community, but downright damaging to the whole community.

But the rape of an adult woman is, too. The UN Security Council just equated it to a war crime. It happens in war because, as the article states, "rape is a deliberate war tactic meant to intimidate and destroy communities." This is coloring my reception of this ruling. As the article I first linked states, "The Supreme Court banned executions for rape in 1977 in a case in which the victim was an adult woman."

If we executed people who rape children but not people who rape adult women... I feel that would create a harmful double standard. To say that raping kids is morally more reprehensible than raping adult women kind of smacks of the old view that raping virgins was a grievous evil, but raping adult women (who might have had sex before) was merely rude.

Now, granted, I think raping children is weirder than raping an adult woman, but that doesn't make it worse. Just weirder. To say that an adult woman is morally more rapeable than a child really is a throwback to days that I don't think anyone wants to see us repeat. Sexual violence should be treated the same way across the board, no matter what stage of life the victim is in.

Personally I have my reservations about capital punishment in practice, but that's a topic for another day. Right now I'm concentrating on the fact that rape of adults and children is being treated the same way by our legal system, and I think that's a good thing.
xenologer: (hope)
I was linked this article today.

The gist of this recent Supreme Court decision is that the death penalty in America shouldn't be resorted to unless the crime involves espionage or treason, or the crime results in the death of the victim. The context is whether or not people who sexually abuse children should be faced with capital punishment as an option.

Now, on the one hand... if someone raped anybody that I know, I don't know that I'll be responsible for my actions in the matter. That counts both for a child and a grown adult. In that sense, I can understand why many people have a problem with this ruling. After all, it's natural to want to hurt and even eliminate someone who hurts us badly enough, and the rape of a child is not just an offense to the whole community, but downright damaging to the whole community.

But the rape of an adult woman is, too. The UN Security Council just equated it to a war crime. It happens in war because, as the article states, "rape is a deliberate war tactic meant to intimidate and destroy communities." This is coloring my reception of this ruling. As the article I first linked states, "The Supreme Court banned executions for rape in 1977 in a case in which the victim was an adult woman."

If we executed people who rape children but not people who rape adult women... I feel that would create a harmful double standard. To say that raping kids is morally more reprehensible than raping adult women kind of smacks of the old view that raping virgins was a grievous evil, but raping adult women (who might have had sex before) was merely rude.

Now, granted, I think raping children is weirder than raping an adult woman, but that doesn't make it worse. Just weirder. To say that an adult woman is morally more rapeable than a child really is a throwback to days that I don't think anyone wants to see us repeat. Sexual violence should be treated the same way across the board, no matter what stage of life the victim is in.

Personally I have my reservations about capital punishment in practice, but that's a topic for another day. Right now I'm concentrating on the fact that rape of adults and children is being treated the same way by our legal system, and I think that's a good thing.
xenologer: (hope)
I was linked this article today.

The gist of this recent Supreme Court decision is that the death penalty in America shouldn't be resorted to unless the crime involves espionage or treason, or the crime results in the death of the victim. The context is whether or not people who sexually abuse children should be faced with capital punishment as an option.

Now, on the one hand... if someone raped anybody that I know, I don't know that I'll be responsible for my actions in the matter. That counts both for a child and a grown adult. In that sense, I can understand why many people have a problem with this ruling. After all, it's natural to want to hurt and even eliminate someone who hurts us badly enough, and the rape of a child is not just an offense to the whole community, but downright damaging to the whole community.

But the rape of an adult woman is, too. The UN Security Council just equated it to a war crime. It happens in war because, as the article states, "rape is a deliberate war tactic meant to intimidate and destroy communities." This is coloring my reception of this ruling. As the article I first linked states, "The Supreme Court banned executions for rape in 1977 in a case in which the victim was an adult woman."

If we executed people who rape children but not people who rape adult women... I feel that would create a harmful double standard. To say that raping kids is morally more reprehensible than raping adult women kind of smacks of the old view that raping virgins was a grievous evil, but raping adult women (who might have had sex before) was merely rude.

Now, granted, I think raping children is weirder than raping an adult woman, but that doesn't make it worse. Just weirder. To say that an adult woman is morally more rapeable than a child really is a throwback to days that I don't think anyone wants to see us repeat. Sexual violence should be treated the same way across the board, no matter what stage of life the victim is in.

Personally I have my reservations about capital punishment in practice, but that's a topic for another day. Right now I'm concentrating on the fact that rape of adults and children is being treated the same way by our legal system, and I think that's a good thing.

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