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Causes of Wrongful Convicitons

Crowdfounding For Clemency

In 1994 Jeff Mizanskey was sentenced to prison for life without the possibility of parole. His crime was for possession and intent to distribute cannabis. Now, there is a campaign at crowdfunding to raise money to bring awareness of the case to the Governor of Missouri for clemency. 

Judge Vacancies Cause Delays In Courts

The Brennan Center for Justice released a study regarding the devastation the court system faces when politicians refuse to fill court vacancies. Interviews with more than 20 court employees, including judges, lawyers and clerks in 10 federal court districts, show that judicial vacancies are causing delays in courts which results in pressuring the accused to accept pea bargains.

 

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Militarizing the Police

Tom Dispatch has a very good article about how society changes when we use the police to help solve social problems and sooner or later everyone will be treated like a criminal.

From the "War on Drugs", "The War on Crime", "School to Prison", Immigration etc. everything has been criminalized to the point where we are increasingly living in a police state.

Click here to read the article.

Grants Incentivize Police Departments

Over the past several months, protesters alleging police misconduct have pummeled  Durham, N.C. police headquarters with rocks. Lawyers at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice requested public records to try to find why there was such divisiveness. Their findings revealed that a federal grant subsidizing drug enforcement operations at the department had a key “performance measure” emphasizing that police report their sheer volume of arrests. This appeared to be incentivizing the department to raise its overall number of drug arrests, which overwhelmingly affect the city’s black community. 

Read the full story here.

Life Sentences For Petty Crimes

According to a recently released report by the ACLU, more than 3,200 people were serving life in prison without parole for nonviolent crimes. Most of these crimes were minor drug related offenses, others were petty crimes.  A big part of the problem is mandatory sentencing guidelines for repeat offenders. This alone accounted for 83% of the life sentences.

Click here to see charts and read the article.

Risk of Detaining Low Risk Offenders

Many low-risk detainees are held in jail during pretrial. When these defendants are held for longer than 24 hours, they are nearly 40 percent more likely to commit new crimes before their trial, and 17 percent more likely to commit another crime within two years, according to a report released last month by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, a private foundation that funds criminal justice research.

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Police Brutally Beat Up Man With Down's Syndrome

Another instance of police brutality occurred when a police officer in Vista, California savagely beat a man with Down's Syndrome. 21-year old Antonio Martinez was walking to his family's bakery on December 18, 2012 when according to witnesses he was pepper sprayed and beaten.

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