“Dire Civil Liberties Predictions for 2014″

See if you can guess the twist ending! … [Read more...]

…And Charge Them for It

in action: ...First the agents strip-searched the plaintiff, examining her anus and vagina with a flashlight. Finding nothing, they took her to the University Medical Center of El Paso, where they forced her to take a laxative and produce a bowel movement in their presence. Again they found no evidence of contraband. At this point one of their accomplices, a physician named Christopher Cabanillas, ordered an X-ray, which likewise found nothing suspicious. Then the plaintiff "endured a forced … [Read more...]

“Five Wrongly-Convicted People the Legal System Kept on Screwing”: Cracked

yeah: As procedural drama TV shows have taught us, every conviction in the U.S. justice system is the product of meticulous DNA testing and forced sexual tension among the detectives. But what happens when the prosecution screws up and the wrong man ends up in jail? Usually they apologize, set the man free, and try to help everyone move on with their lives, like the mature, responsible grown-ups they are.Haha, just kidding -- it's actually physically impossible for people in authority … [Read more...]

In Defense of “Spiritual, But Not Religious”

So today I learned that I'm bizarrely defensive of this much-mocked self-description.I think my basic defense is that "spiritual, but not religious" means radically different things to different people, and some of those things are the result of profound and painful attempts to love and serve God. ("God, as you understand God," as they say.) Here are some things I think people may mean when they say that they're spiritual but not religious:* I had a consumerist relationship with a church … [Read more...]

Scenes from a Police State (Florida)

from the Miami Herald: Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in four years.He’s been searched more than 100 times. And arrested and jailed 56 times.Despite his long rap sheet, Sampson, 28, has never been convicted of anything more serious than possession of marijuana.Miami Gardens police have arrested Sampson 62 times for one offense: trespassing.Almost every citation was issued at the same place: the 207 Quickstop, a convenience store on … [Read more...]

“Why Should Thousands of Prisoners Die Behind Bars for Nonviolent Crimes?”: Liliana Segura

at The Nation: This past August, the Lafayette-based IND Monthly published a story about a 54-year-old man named Bill Winters, incarcerated at a medium-security prison in Epps, Louisiana. Winters, who is black, was arrested in June 2009, after he drunkenly entered an unlocked oncologist’s office on a Sunday morning, setting off a security alarm. When police arrived, he had rummaged through a desk drawer, and was in possession of a box of Gobstoppers candy. Winters was convicted of simple b … [Read more...]

“Hounding Whistleblowers Is Wrong”: David Cay Johnston

in Newsweek:...I think Keller, my former boss, missed the underlying issue: Why assume that leakers must risk all? Why assume leakers must be prosecuted? My Newsweek piece noted that the British Official Secrets Act included a "public interest" defense for whistleblowers, until Parliament cut it from the law in 1989. The U.S. should enact a public interest defense. Leakers could still face prosecution, but they could try to persuade a jury that their acts were justified in defense of the … [Read more...]


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