Thursday, February 25, 2010

No recusal where the judge in a death penalty case is sleeping with the prosecutor?

"Charles Dean Hood was sentenced to death in 1990 by a Texas judge who
had been sleeping with the prosecutor in his case. It took Mr. Hood
almost 20 years to establish that fact.
But he finally managed to force the two officials to testify about their rumored affair in the fall of 2008. They admitted it.

Texas’s highest court for criminal matters, its Court of Criminal
Appeals, considered all of this and concluded that Mr. Hood should be
executed anyway."

The full article is here.

For a more entertaining article on the same topic, see the AboveTheLaw article here.

Sign a Petition to Stop the Execution of Troy Davis!!

"Troy Davis has been scheduled for execution three times without ever having a hearing on evidence that he may be innocent. On August 17, the US Supreme Court finally granted him that hearing. While this is welcome news, we must continue to let Georgia authorities know that we support full justice for Troy Davis. Sign the petition today!"

Go here to sign the Amnesty International petition to stop the execution of Troy Davis!

Death Penalty Week starts next week!

Final Event of Death Penalty Week-See you there!

The Death Penalty & Morality: Is it Wrong?  An Informal Discussion with Professors Johnson and Heise
Part of NLG's annual Death Penalty Week
Friday, March 5th, 12:20 in the Student Lounge
Refreshments will be provided
Co-sponsored by: GPSAFC
Open to the Graduate Community

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Death Penalty Week Events, continued

"The Death Penalty & Innocence: An Exonerated Death Row Inmate Speaks"
A talk by Joseph Amrine, former death row inmate, sentenced to death in 1986, and exonerated in 2003.
Part of NLG's annual Death Penalty Week
Thursday, March 4, 12:20 in the Lounge
Refreshments will be provided.
Sponsored by NLG, Co-sponsored by GPSAFC, CLSA, and the Death Penalty Project
Open to the Graduate Community

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

American Concentration Camps - 68 Years Later

"Over the next eight months [after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order no. 9066 on February 19, 1942], 120,000 individuals of Japanese descent were ordered to leave their homes in California, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. Two-thirds were American citizens, representing almost 90 percent of all Japanese Americans. No charges were brought against these individuals; there were no hearings; they did not know where they were going, how long they would be detained, what conditions they would face, or what fate would await them. They were told to bring only what they could carry. Many families lost everything." - from Geoffrey Stone, Perilous Times (New York: W.W. Norton, 2004)

This all, "despite the fact that not a single documented act of espionage, sabotage, or fifth column activity was committed by an American citizen of Japanese ancestry or by a resident Japanese alien on the West Coast." (Personal Justice Denied, report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, established by Congress in 1980)

It's truly outrageous that this happened and it's even more outrageous that I don't believe I learned about it in the public school system. If I did, it certainly didn't sink in until law school. (The only time I think it might have come up was when Mr. Greenburg's textbook of choice in 10th grade was Zinn's A People's History, but I really don't remember much from that year). Thankfully, I've learned about the mass detention of Japanese Americans twice in law school now. Korematsu v. United States--the case President Ford called a "tragedy"--was a part of Constitutional Law and is now a reading for National Security Law. Part of the shock is that our American narrative, found in school history books and heard on news programs, leads us to believe that we were the innocent saviors of WWII. We were the ones who reluctantly joined in the fray, and we were the ones who saved the world from the evil Hitler. I'm not saying we shouldn't have participated in the war--I don't know enough about history to even begin that argument--and I'm obviously more than glad Hitler was stopped--and I'm truly thankful for those who risked their lives for a just cause. I am saying that I wish our narrative was more honest and reflective. I think it's important to know that America was not entirely innocent and it's important to reflect on why these mistakes happen so that we can prevent them from happening again. Part of growing up is seeing the complexities in every moment. As we hear chants of "USA USA USA" for the olympics, please keep in mind that our history is not entirely without mistakes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No one likes Citizens United

According to a recent poll by the Washington Post, everyone hates the Citizens United ruling. Ok, maybe not everyone, but 85% of Democrats, 76% of Republicans, and 81% of independents are opposed to it.

So yeah, pretty much everyone. For more, go here.

Cheney Torture Confession

"I was a big supporter of waterboarding," Cheney confessed.

See this article for a brief enumeration of the various crimes (in addition to torture) he's committed and confessed to.

<<"Speaking with a sense of impunity, he casually negated a key line of defense that senior Bush officials had hidden behind for years – that the brutal interrogations were approved by independent Justice Department legal experts who thus gave the administration a legitimate reason to believe the actions were within the law.

However, on Sunday, Cheney acknowledged that the White House had told the Justice Department lawyers what legal opinions to render. In other words, the opinions amounted to ordered-up lawyering to permit the administration to do whatever it wanted.">>

How has he not been indicted?! For a pretty good article on how blatantly he's admitted to being involved in torture, covering up torture, and obtaining illegitimate authorizations of torture, go here.

Also, please click here to sign a petition urging Attorney General Holder to prosecute Dick Cheney for torture and war crimes.

This is absolutely disgusting.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Upcoming Events

"The Death Penalty & Empirical Data: The Transformation of Capital Punishment"
With Professor Eisenberg, Henry Allen Mark Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Statistical Sciences
Part of NLG's annual Death Penalty Week
Tuesday, March 2 at 12:20 in Room 390
Snacks will be provided.
Co-sponsored by GPSAFC, Cornell National Lawyers Guild, and CLSA
Open to the Graduate Community

"The Death Penalty & Sentencing: Telling a Life Story, Saving a Life"
A talk by Ms. Caryn Platt Tatelli, AM, LCSW, an independent mitigation specialist for death penalty-eligible defendants.
Part of NLG's annual Death Penalty Week
Wednesday, March 3 at 3:45 in the Lounge
Snacks will be provided.
Co-sponsored by GPSAFC, Cornell National Lawyers Guild, and CLSA
Open to the Graduate Community

Caryn Platt Tatelli, AM, LCSW, is an independent mitigation specialist for death penalty-eligible defendants.  Defense teams hire her at the outset of a case and work with her through sentencing or until the client becomes death penalty ineligible.  As part of her work, she interviews the defendant and the defendant’s family, friends and other key witnesses, such as teachers, neighbors, employers, and correctional officers in order to piece together the defendant’s life story.  She conducts a complete investigation into the defendant’s biopsychosocial developmental life history with a thorough review of education, medical, psychiatric and employment records.  She seeks out the most effective expert witnesses on the issues that are most relevant to the particular defendant.  Ms. Tatelli assists the defense team in determining which mitigating factors are most compelling and strategizes with the defense team regarding the best ways to present the mitigating evidence at sentencing.  Ms. Tatelli has worked exclusively on capital cases for 15 years and has worked on cases in both federal and state jurisdictions, in all phases:  pre-trial, post-conviction and clemency.  She authored the Simmons clemency petition which ultimately resulted in the elimination of the death penalty for juveniles across the country.  She has also worked extensively with victims' families in an effort to simultaneously meet their needs and achieve a favorable outcome for her client.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hiring Death Squads is Coming Back to Haunt U.S. Companies

"Dole Foods and Chiquita may be on the verge of facing justice for 'pacifying' their work force, suppressing labor unions and terrorizing peasant squatters in Colombia."

Find the full article here.