What were you doing when at 16 years old? Getting a driver’s license? Going to school and hanging out with friends? Or planning annual family trips to countries around the world? For Michael Vincent, however, his sixteen means going to prison with the possibility that he will never be able to live a life outside the walls.
Incommunicado detention is an oppressive police practice. It occurs when police hold somebody against their will and refuse to let them contact family or a lawyer. People in incommunicado detention are at increased risk of human rights abuses, including being coerced into a false confession or beaten.
Today is #WrongfulConvictionDay. This year, it aptly highlights the fight for police and prosecutor accountability and the role official misconduct plays in wrongful convictions.
This morning, the Supreme Court declined to hear a host of challenges to the qualified immunity doctrine. Even though some of the Justices have hinted over the years that they would be interested in revisiting this judge-invented doctrine—Justice Sotomayor has said it has become “an absolute shield” for police, and, this morning, Justice Thomas reiterated that he “continue[s] to have strong doubts” about the doctrine—it is disappointing that the Court has, again, shied away from reviewing qualified immunity, especially as nationwide protests demand police accountability.
The defense of qualified immunity is absurd. It means bad actors avoid culpability, and victims lose the ability to hold them accountable. As of yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to consider at least eleven challenges to the qualified immunity doctrine.
Something very bad is happening in the Cook County Jail. And it’s getting worse as I write these words. It has been one week since Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli stood before Cook County Chief Criminal Court Judge Leroy Martin, Jr. to argue that the “desperate times” for our nation and world demand bold action to protect the 5000 people confined in the Cook County Jail from the spread of the coronavirus—and to protect the correctional officers, healthcare workers, and legal workers who must enter the Jail on a daily basis, as well as all of us who share our communities with those brave workers.
On August 7, 2019, 600 ICE agents descended on Mississippi and executed the largest workplace raids in American history. More than 680 Mississippi residents were rounded up from six different chicken processing plants in five rural communities. Many of those detained have lived in Mississippi for more than a decade. All are hard-working members of our communities who want nothing more than to support their families and provide financial assistance to loved ones in their countries of origin.
On Friday, the Supreme Court, by a predictable 5-4 vote, permitted the Department of Homeland Security to refuse entry to noncitizens who are “likely at any time to become a public charge” by utilizing SNAP, Medicaid, or other public assistance.
Last week, Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign released his criminal justice proposal, detailing the reforms Bloomberg would undertake as president. It’s pretty rich to see the guy who ran on a tough on crime platform and who was responsible for the expansion and widespread implementation of stop and frisk try to rebrand himself as anything other than the center right politician he has been for decades.