35 Burst results for "Justice"
Louisville Protests For Racial Justice Continue
"After the fatal police shooting of Briana Taylor. Protest for racial justice Continue in Louisville, Kentucky. We first immediately want to know that those officers immediately are fired and arrested and prosecuted.
U.S. Seeks as Much as $18.1 Billion From Purdue Pharma
"The US Department of Justice is demanding oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma pay as much as eighteen point one billion in penalties as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan. The Wall Street Journal reports on the civil side. The DOJ is seeking two point eight billion, which could be tripled under the law for tax dollars spent battling the US opioid epidemic, as well as kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies, and transferring cash to hide money from creditors on the criminal side. Federal prosecutors want purdue to pay a six point, two, billion fine and the forfeiture of potentially three and a half billion more over marketing and distribution that violated criminal statutes including anti kickback laws misbranding under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and conspiracy.
Loeffler knocks WNBA players for wearing shirts backing Democratic challenger
"Any way, but not just for the dream. Players to wear T shirts before the game, But players from every team playing tonight have been spotted wearing shirts. That's a vote Warnock. Now this is a Reverend Raphael Warnock, who is challenging the Kelly left her for her Senate seat. And somebody that presumably all these players have decided, is willing to fight for the things that matter to them, that is supporting the things that they support. And so when Elizabeth Williams afford for the dream talk, Tio ESPN, she said, Ah, you know, we want to make sure we could keep the focus on our Social justice movement. And funny enough. Reverend Warnock is somebody who supports everything we support just happens to be running in that seat, so it worked out really well. I don't know
Gun Charges Filed Against Los Angeles County DA Lacey’s Husband In Home Confrontation With Black Lives Matter
"The husband of a county D a Jackie Lacey, who's accused of pulling a gun on black lives matter. Protestors now facing misdemeanor charges. State attorney General Have your Sarah has filed three counts of assault with a firearm against David Lacey in connection with the confrontation in March outside the couple's home. Of course, we're encouraged and surprised, pleasantly surprised that the attorney general has chosen to file charges. Molina Abdullah's a cofounder of BLM, Ella, she says. David Lacey pointed the gun at her and others with her. She describes the experience is traumatizing. And while we hope for justice, we didn't we weren't under the illusion that we would get it. We weren't under the illusion that there would be charges filed. You know, the flip side of it is three misdemeanor counts is not in this. We know that if David Lacey was not who he is, he would be facing felony charges. David Lacey's attorney says in a statement that he and his client disagree entirely with Theeighties assessment, but have the utmost faith in the justice system and are confident that the correct result will be
DOJ to announce housing assistance grants for human trafficking survivors
"The Trump administration announcing Mohr than $35 million in Justice Department grants to nonprofits that provide safe housing for survivors of human trafficking. The White House says more than 70 organizations and 33 states will share the grants. The money will provide transitional or short term housing assistance to survivors and can also be used for rent utilities or related
A Look at Police Body Cam Technologies, and Where They Fall Short
"The nationwide protests over the killing of George, Floyd brought many things alight from racial inequality to police brutality. One issue that's come back to the forefront is whether or not police body cams are effective tools to hold officers accountable. I'm Roger Jiang. This is your daily charge with me senior video producer Butch Kerry who was a video out today discussing this various you welcome bridget. Thanks for having me. So body cameras really spiked popularity with the police back between fourteen talk about what really sparked this move answer where we are today yeah. It really began with Michael Brown because when he was shot by a white police officer in two thousand fourteen, there was no video footage to show it happened in the officer didn't face charges. So the family came out and Please request thought you know there's a movement that police can wear body cameras that was pushed even further by President Obama also saying that this should be the change for the future. Then there were federal grant setup to help departments pay for them. So you did have this big increase in police departments trying to help their relationship with the community and saying, Hey, we're going to have body cameras now but I mean that was present fourteen and I feel like we're still at the same place which. Is why I wanted to do this report and look into how do they work and why are we still at the same place and it really comes down to how different departments are using the cameras zero zillion talk a little bit about that and just to give our listeners a sense of how broadly there used. I, know you mentioned those grants to the Justice Department awarded place apartments in thirty states more than twenty three, million dollars for body Cam. So how many police officers actually use them? That the data right now, when you look at the statistics, it's looking like about half of our nation right now has officer some way or another obviously is hard to be exactly of small apartments, large departments but right now the idea looks like about half the country has law enforcement wearing some kind of camera or has tested out cameras some. In some way I, mean issues basic the you have officers wear cameras people will change their behavior when they know they're being recorded right there's more trust now when they're when there's a cameras more accountability these really lofty goals for one piece attack at there have been a few snags along the way. Of them being cost of storage because you have all these officers recording when they come into a situation every day. So figure, every officer has maybe three or four hours of recording everyday they have to store in the cloud. Well, how long are they storing that and how much is needing to be saved It's all different depending on every single up police department. So sometimes, it's months sometimes years and you're looking at costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. One department only had five police officers in the little town of Nebraska, and they were looking at something around fifteen grand. A year and this is like not folk is not feasible for every department to pay this because those those grants we talked about they don't cover ongoing storage costs. So some departments have been pulled out of using them because they don't see it's it's useful for them to be paying for it because the storage storage is definitely issued cost is an issue. These unforeseen costs are a real. Red Flag but bring it back to you know the ultimate idea that these cameras were supposed to bring accountability and to prove relations with the community was twenty and we're still protesting about police brutality Take things are worse than they ever are they have been. So what happened how did they fail to accomplish that goal? I wouldn't call them an outright failure, but it certainly is a failure in A. Couple of aspects one It goes back to how these tools are being used for one A officers have the ability for the most part right now to start and stop the recording on their own because they they really feel like you should have that kind of freedom. Do you really want a camera to be always turned on in every instance? No not when you're visiting someone at the hospital Having a private conversation or just you know having your lunch that said, what are the punishments if you don't hit that record button when you were supposed to or finding that there isn't a lot of incentive to do the right thing or I should say you know punishment if you miss a recording when you're supposed to at least that's what a lot of the researchers I talked to were saying that. If if you don't activate your camera, you know what's the consequence for that That's that's one area that's missing. Other area that that's missing is how can the public get access to this footage to be accountable? You countless studies have been done, and most recently they looked at all the studies and said, all right. What's the data we're seeing that there are fewer complaints against police officers. That's a good thing. We're seeing that police officers have footage to say, Hey, look I was justified that this was a false complaint against me. Great cameras are showing the truth in different aspects but a cameras show every angle of the story that happened and the cameras only as good as being able to release the footage. So some researchers I talked to said. We WanNA. See more data on can the public access when they want to receive some change now in New York City the mayor said that anytime now there is an incident where someone killed or seriously injured they will release footage but for a while there was this law that said, they don't have to release anything. We'll as a camera that you know. So so that's really the problem. I it comes down to not having a uniformed a set of rules or standards on win. This footage can be released in how it can be used. To the point of consistency, you mentioned New York City Mayor de Blasio a changes law he's fairly alone. He's he's sort of serve an isolated case right? Because the the rules are very greatly I don't think there's any kind of national mandate to be more transparent about when they released this footage ride, we're starting to see changes win the public points, their camera at a situation and out that officers didn't have their cameras turned on over in. Louisville when there was a shooting at the restaurant owner those officers who did not activate. Their cameras were put on leave a might my questions are okay they're put on leave but they're suspended. Where are you know the the more serious deterrence there? You know what's happening people are losing their jobs over it out win when government realized that the spotlight's on them you know but we have to look at what's going on in terms of using them. There is some technology though that is kind of starting to change that part of it like having a camera automatically turn on when it senses something's happening it could be win a Taser guns pulled out of a holster. It could be also not so serious like when it detects a police vehicle going at a certain speed or detects other kind of check marks author software so that Way If an officer is in the heat of the moment and can't remember to turn on their camera. It does it for them There's also talk about live streaming. So some of the cameras are able to have a superior back at home base tap into what that officer is seen in real time. That is a great advantage. When something serious is going down, they get a real time feedback. But. It's something that they're also can be push back with with police unions going wait a second I don't want someone seeing what I'm doing all times I don't live streaming only a few departments really have started to use livestream I. Think Cincinnati was one of the first that used the teaser brand of version of livestream on their cameras, and that was just February so very early for that technology but there's a lot of talk about that.
Father of DJ Henry calls out Sen. Ed Markey for lack of help since his son's death 10 years ago in New York
"Of a young black man who was killed by a police officer in New York some 10 years ago. Now calling out Senator Ed Markey for ignoring his prior requests for help Veces Jim McKay with the story D. J. Henry was a college student and athlete from East and killed after driving away from a police officer in New York, back in 2010 Thie officer involved did not face any charges. D J. Henry's father, den Roy Sr. On Social Media, saying he reached out to the Massachusetts congressional delegation about his son's case. Fortunately, Senator You were the only one who didn't Who didn't act if you truly are champion for change If you want a right side of social justice issues act that way when the cameras aren't on you, Senator Markey apologized to the Henry family last night. The Henrys have been longtime supporters of Congressman Joe Kennedy, who's running against and marquee for his Senate seat. There has been a recent push to reopen the Henry case, with celebrities voicing support and an online petition with over 300,000 signatures.
Orlando Magic's Jonathan Isaac explains why he didn't take knee or wear Black Lives Matter shirt Friday
"We had an incredible opening weekend of games name a star level player that player delivered at least once if not twice over the first three or four nights of the NBA's restart here in Orlando, we had crazy comeback wins. By the Houston Rockets, we had a dominant performance by. Jaanus over some little pesky pip squeak team from New England I forget who they might be. We got Marcus smart got fined for trying to work the officials. We've got storylines upon story lines. The clippers bounce back from their loss to the Lakers. Looking excellent and just throttling the New Orleans Pelicans. There's so many different directions that we can go Michael that I decided. Here's what we're GONNA do opening weekend heaters we're GONNA have just open ended questions are we're going to ping pong back and forth you give me your answers I'm going to give you my answers to these questions and try to cover as much ground as possible before we get there though I do want to double back quickly on the national anthem demonstrations that we touched on last episode, we got so many thoughtful emails from various members of the open floor globe on this subject, but I think there was a major development after we spoke on Friday. and. That involve Jonathan Isaac Meyers. Leonard Gregg Popovich Becky Hammon and one of the NBA referees all deciding to not kneel to not really participate in what had been in unified demonstration on Thursday. All of those people who chose to stand were obviously doing it on principle and they were doing it knowing there was going to be a lot of attention their direction. Now, if you look at Popovich amend the referee essentially, they were trying to just say, Hey, I support the the Social Justice Movement it's it's a private or personal decision for the referee said look I it's important to me to stand Meyers Leonard made a similar comment. Essentially. Saying that his brothers military service in the in the military service of close people in his life led him to WanNa stand to salute the flag. But within Isaac was a slightly different case and he actually used this entire demonstration opportunity to almost have a one man demonstration of his own. In his belief, the idea of the black lives matters movement quote unquote doesn't go hand in hand with supporting black lives. He also said that you know we shouldn't be necessarily judging things solely based on skin color that we should be trying to live a life basically you know in God's mold and try to live up to his standard, and that Jesus Christ was his personal savior and and that he wanted everyone to focus on that. Aspect of of living rather than the particular issue that was being brought forward with the black lives matter movement by the players he didn't really get any major pushback. Within the NBA Community people respected his right to make a stand. He actually not only did he stand during the national anthem? He didn't wear a black lives matter t shirt which many people notice because he was essentially the only player not to do that his whole personal story Michael took a crazy twist over the weekend and sad twist when he wound up tearing his ACL injury that's going to end his time here in Orlando obviously but also could cost him all of next season. So now talk about a whirlwind seventy, two hours for player who generated millions of us with his comments about the protests. I'm curious. Let's start with Jonathan Isaac. What did you make of his decision? After we've seen things settle in the last couple of days You know maybe it doesn't seem quite as Eye Opening as it did at that moment, but I'll admit I was I was surprised to see given the buy in from everybody on opening night. Right, I mean I just WanNa Start and say that it it really really is a bummer to see anyone get injured but particularly is ICK who was already on restriction he was already playing with a humongous brace on his leg from a previous injury that cost him a majority of this regular season before it was suspended. So I just I feel for him greatly. I I think generally speaking. The coverage of who stands in who sits I mean we talked about this heading in anticipated it I. Think I think the coverage is generally besides the point and it doesn't really get the point I feel like people are using. This as an opportunity to shame those who are standing in a little bit I mean Meyers Leonard. said, he couldn't sleep before he made the decision to stand and that's just like not. The whole focus or the point here right like. You can obviously Support Black lives and also stand for the national anthem. It is a symbolic gesture that is what it is in the case of Isaac. I really had a difficult time understanding even what his message was until you interpreted it the way that you did I mean I watched the clip of Him Multiple Times survey there I'm GonNa just GonNa read what he said I and then we can use that as a jumping off point because I don't WanNa torture what he said earlier and I might have done that. So sorry for that. He says quote absolutely I believe that black lives matter kneeling while wearing a black lives matter t shirt doesn't go hand in hand with supporting black lives. I. Don't think kneeling or putting on a T. shirt for me personally is the answer i. Feel like for me, black lives are supported through the Gospel. All lives are supported through the Gospel. We all have things that we do wrong. Sometimes, it gets into a place of pointing fingers. We all fall short of God's glory whoever will humble themselves and seek God and repent of their sins. We can see our mistakes and people's mistakes and evil in a different light. Racism isn't the only thing that flags our society, our nation and our world, and he basically said he wanted this conversation to get out of the realm of skin color because the answer to all of our problems in everything that goes on in our world is Jesus. So. when I watched the clip. I'll I'll be honest. I was a little confused where he was going to after typing it all out trying to marinate on what he was saying I think he essentially wanted to have a demonstration on behalf of his religious beliefs and that this was an opportunity for him to say look you know focusing only on one particular group I. Guess in his view, the black lives matter group and you know everybody wearing a t-shirt doesn't necessarily achieve the wider goal which would be presumably healthy living. You know honest living you know Living which to him as a higher priority I think that's where he was going with his statements.
Leaked bodycam footage shows George Floyd arrest and death
"New footage of George Floyd's arrest and death have been leaked. The video is from the body cameras of two police officers involved in the arrest. CBS News Chief Justice and Homeland Security correspondent Jeff The Gaze has the details of footage from Alexander King's body Cam. It It shows shows Floyd Floyd resisting resisting the the officer's officer's attempt attempt to to place place him him in in the the squad squad car. car. You You hear hear him, him, pleaded pleaded I I don't don't have have the the car front. Also in the video fired former officer Derrick Show Vin, who's now been charged with second degree murder. Assumed as Floyd hits the pavement, You see show van's gloved hands on him and a neon Floyd's neck with a crowd gathering. The body camera video shows King taking Floyd's pulse. According to prosecutors, he couldn't find one. A video was obtained by the Daily Mail
How to Do #MeToo Without Prison
"When the METOO movement caught fire in two thousand seventeen. The loudest demands centered on calling out offenders and seeing them prosecuted. But metoo founder Toronto Burke has been clear that mass incarceration is not the solution. Today's guest. Dr. Eliza Ackerman agrees. Prison doesn't work. The fact of the matter is only three percent of people who commit rape will adversity a day behind bars. And, the process of going through the criminal justice system is incredibly incredibly harmful for survivors. They are disbelieved, they are victimized again. Their entire sexual history is put on display in the courts. So knowing all of that we are looking for something that actually decreases harm. decreases, violence increases, empathy decreases recidivism, and that's what we find with restorative justice. Dr Ackermann is a criminal justice professor at California State University at Fullerton where she specializes in research on sexual violence and sex crimes policy. She's also a pioneer in her field of resolving sexual violence through a process called restorative justice. So ordinarily, our legal system response to criminal behavior with three questions. Questions what law was broken, who broke it, and what punishment is warranted. But restorative justice asks who was harmed, what are the needs and responsibilities of everyone affected and how can everyone involved collectively repair the harm that was done. Basically, it's all about healing survivors, communities, and offenders today. Eliza is guiding us through the restorative justice approach to sexual violence. Would it feels like for survivors and why it's a promising path toward preventing sex crimes in the first place all to find out? How can we do me to without prisons? Harvey Weinstein in an orange, jumpsuit has come to symbolize me to era justice, but the movement's original vision resonates far more with transformative and restorative justice approaches. Right. So toward the end of last week's part one. On feminism and mass incarceration prison abolitionist. My Shinwari told us about the transformative justice model that model aims to resolve harm without creating additional harm and without involving the legal system at all restorative justice shares that goal, but it can be put into practice both. And outside the system, what it entails is creating safe spaces. For. Survivors and for people who have caused harm to talk about the impacts that sexual harm has had, and it gives the survivor, a safe space to talk about really the very intimate aspects of sexual violence and the aftermath of that. It allows the survivor to ask questions of people who have caused harm. It also allows those people who have caused harm to ask questions at gives them insight about the behavior Dave engaged in that they would never get. From being processed through the criminal justice system, the term restorative justice was coined in nineteen, seventy, seven by prison psychologist, Albert igla-s, but its core principles come directly from indigenous forms of conflict resolution like sentencing circles and peacemaking courts most. Restorative justice programs focused on youth offenders and family welfare cases. But in recent years, experts like Eliza have started applying it to adult cases involving sexual violence for a number of practical reasons. Yeah. Many survivors don't trust police to properly handle their claims and many know their perpetrators and don't necessarily want to face them in a criminal trial plus evidence suggests that the restorative justice approach is both more empowering for survivors that going through a criminal trial and that it's a more effective method for perpetrators to actually learn their lesson and not re-offend. COMES BECAUSE? People. See as soft. Right they see you've done something wrong. You need to do the time for it. But Harsh Punishment Austin to anything to reduce harm to anybody, and if you ask the men that I have worked with what they would rather do face may or face another survivor, sit in a prison south, they will tell you prison cell every time. So I think once people understand that restorative justice is not soft. And, that it's actually much much more difficult to do. Maybe they'll get on board.
7-year-old Zamar Jones, shot in the head in front of his West Philadelphia home this weekend, has died, police say
"Omar Jones has died after he was shot in the head caught in the cross fire over the weekend in West Philadelphia. Police have arrested one man and charged him with murder. Hey, Y W crime and justice reporter Christian Joe Hansen tells us cops are searching for two others, authorities say when 27 year old Christopher Linder began shooting at another man on Simpson Street near Race Street Saturday night around eight to other men fired back as seven year old Omar Jones was playing on his porch. Jones was struck in the head and has now died. All three ran from the scene, officials say. But Linder came back to get his truck neighbors on the block pointing amounts of police, Linder ran police saying officers chased him and arrested Him. Investigators say they have the shooting on tape and brought Linder down to police headquarters to interrogate him. Linder is charged with murder, recklessly endangering another person and a number of gun related crimes. He has two prior spending time behind bars for a gun conviction, and he was also sentenced to a minimum of five years for an aggravated assault and robbery conviction. He was out on parole. Police are still searching for the two other shooters. Kristen
Sequential Comparisons Could Mean Better Witness Identifications
"In two thousand, six, a twenty, six, year, old California man named your riot courtney was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and rape despite having an alibi for the time the crimes were committed to witnesses. They saw lineup the police station and they both identified the same person and he was convicted entirely based on those two eyewitness Accounts Salk Institute for Biological Studies neuroscientist. Tom. Albright he says years later the California Innocence Project looked into the case and it turns out that the DNA that was found at the crime scene was not the DNA of Courtney after eight years behind bars courtney was set free, but his case is not unique now. Of cases in which individuals have been exonerated based on post conviction DNA analysis most of these innocent people were sent to prison because witnesses miss identified them somebody. Out of a lineup and that information was taken seriously by the police in the jury believed it why witnesses sometimes get it so wrong Albright explains that our memory for visual events is notoriously flawed. Somebody tells us that they saw something we figure it must be true. They saw with their own eyes lineups. Witnesses photos of six faces, five of innocent people and one of the suspect the eye witnesses simply asked to identify any person that they remember from the crime scene but only having them pick their top choice doesn't account for how well the witness remembers that face. This issue can result in errors. Albright's team thinks there's a better way by tapping into the strength of the witness's memory in an experiment they had volunteers watch a clip of a grisly crime scene from an obscure Hollywood movie. The next day these studies subject witnesses viewed a six person lineup that show just to faces at a time think of an eye test better. Now or now. So on each hair witness will vote for one or the other the faces which one looks more similar to the person you remember from the crime scene, we've been tabulate that vote and the face that has the largest number of votes is the winner compared to traditional lineup techniques. The two faces at a time method lead to a less biased and more accurate identification of the fictional perpetrator people are far better at making relative judgments than they are making absolute judgements. The study is in the journal Nature Communications the researchers think their approach to lineups has the potential to reduce wrongful convictions resulting in more justice for
Why is Drinking Water So Unaffordable for So Many Americans?
"Our guest today are Nina Connie and Mary, grant and together we're GONNA find out why so many Americans can't afford drinking water. which is interestingly the one thing that every human being needs to survive. Nina and Mary Welcome. Hollow. Thank you for having me. I. Guess coming on. So we're here. We're grateful. Let's start off by just giving our listeners a a quick little who you are and what you do you know if you'd like to start. Show I am a British journalist based in New, York comnet environmental justice reporter for Guardian us. Basically interest is in. Who has access and who doesn't have access to clean. In water land, green spaces that sort of stuff. Exactly things that are necessary. Awesome will thank you for joining us Mary what your story. So I'm are the public water for all campaign director at Water Watch. We're a national nonprofit environmental organization in the United States and the heart of what we do is grassroots organizing mobilize regular people to build political power to move the bold and uncompromised solutions to our most pressing food water and climate problems of our time once again, like a couple slackers. Brian. Yeah. Who are these who got aim higher? Credible. Thank you much awesome introductions and then quick reminder to everybody. Our goal here is to provide some quick context for our topic today, and then we'll dig into. Action oriented questions and actions that everybody out there can take to to help fight in support alongside guys. So that people have water which seems like an insane thing to have to ask but where we are Awesome. So Nina in Mary, we do like to start with one important question that we ask everyone to set the tone. FOR THIS FIASCO So instead of saying, tell us your entire life story we like to ask. Why are you vital to the survival of the species and whoever would like to go first by all means jump in. And You didn't answer the harder question which was like, what's my name entitled early? I feel like it's only appropriate Mary steps up for this. Be Bold be honest. You are here for a reason. So water is just. For life everyone every person every living thing needs water in the heart of like what I care about what I'm mobilized that energized work on its mixture people have access to water that we're protecting our water supplies the future of the planet in for people from everyone needs water. It's just a basic human rights. It's a matter of justice and so I think it's not just me. It's a me being able to work with people being able to work with our organisers, our communication team great journalists like Nina to get the stories out there so that we can protect our water supplies a mixture of access to Internet homes. I mean again yes. Sounds like you could hire pinal. Thank you. Nina, what's what's your story I? I've already been living in the US but once? Before moving here I was. I was a reporter covering Central America Mexico of what lots of countries what can we've communities who have few little as and don't have access to these basic fundamental things like clean running water I did not expect to find the same in America I mean, this is supposedly the richest country in the world supposedly in the best of Western civilization and yet they're all millions and millions of ordinary Americans that in twenty twenty do not have access to clean running affordable water that is wild i. mean it's completely unacceptable and it's not no. I mean I feel like it's become normalized in this country you know for poor people to be. Pool people and people of Color and native Americans to be punished just for who they are. Into and not have access to these basic services and even things like clean air and adequate food, etc but it isn't normal it end really. America cannot claim to be the best in of. Civilization and democracy and and the richest country in the world and have people during the pandemic not having. To wash hands with I mean.
Group of Pac-12 athletes unite, threaten opt out unless athletes' demands of conference are met
"Pac 12 football players from multiple schools, petting a letter in the playerstribune threatening to opt out of fall camp in game participation. Unless their demands for fair treatment safety regulations and concerns over racial justice for college athletes are met by the conference that let her use the hashtag. We are united to explain the group's concerns.
Ben Shapiro on the Michael Brown Shooting
"I'm old enough to remember when Barack Obama went out there during the Ferguson riding and said, people don't make up things like this. He was talking about the Michael Brown shooting Michael Brown shooting by the way, it was a good shoot. In fact, it turns out that after another review of the Michael Brown shooting by officer Darren Wilson, it turns out five years after the six years after the case, the case has been dismissed again, according to the Daily wire. Amanda Prestigiacomo reporting ST Louis County Prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell announced on Thursday he will not be bringing charges against former Ferguson Police Department officer Darren Wilson were fatally shot Michael Brown, 18 back in 2014. Ring, a Thursday press conference. They'll announced the news by prefacing it as quote one of the most difficult things I've had to do, noting that his heart breaks before the Browns. The question for the office was a simple one could prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And when Darrin Wilson shot Michael Brown, he committed murder or manslaughter under Missouri law, Bell asked after an independent and in depth review of the evidence, we cannot prove that he did. He, by the way, is the county's first blast. Black prosecutor he reopen, reopen the case after taking office. One of the reasons he gained office is because of disapproval for no case against Darren Wilson, the first place and then he looked at the evidence, he said, Sorry. We can't actually make a case at his office conducted a five month review of witness statements, forensic reports and other evidence, the AP noted, adding his investigation does not exonerate Darren Wilson. But it's not the way the criminal justice process works. If you're not convicted, that doesn't mean you're not. Exactly that does not mean that you are exonerated. There is no exonerated standard in criminal law. There's just not prosecuted. So you also get to Claire not exonerated. That's not the way this works. L said. I know this is not the result they were looking for and that the pain will continue forever. Jim tally, Wilson's attorney noted Belle's review had the same conclusion as Bells predecessor. A grand jury and the usdoj was Obama's deal J. By the way, there was no crime. The Obama Justice Department at the time, pointed out that there was no crime but doesn't matter. Democrats have continued to lie about the Michael Brown shooting and use it as the basis for a political campaign to suggest that America and police officers are deeply
Justice Department schedules two more federal executions
"That comes weeks after it fought off last minute legal challenges has successfully resumed federal executions following a 17 year pause. The executions of Christopher of V. Alva and William Lacroix are both scheduled to be carried out in late September. The government Carried out three executions in July and to other executions had been previously set for August. This is use a radio news. Now you can fly anywhere in the world and paid
Portland protests peaceful after federal officers scale back presence
"This following an announcement that the presence of federal agents there are being reduced in Portland continues with more than 1000 gathering peacefully at the Justice Center and federal courthouse building to talk about the black light. S matter Movement. The phaseout of federal officers starting on Thursday created a shift in tone during protests both Thursday and Friday night. Demonstrations were peaceful, with federal officers gone from the streets. Also absent where the massive clouds of tear gas that had flooded downtown over the past few weeks. That is K y and TVs. Jennifer Dowling reporting. The search
And They Will Inherit It
"The film, salt of the Earth was made only a year or so after the strike and released in one, thousand, nine, hundred, eighty, four, it tells the story of our group of Mexican American miners to Ghana. Powerful mining company to demand their rights their fifteen month long strike includes some unexpected heroes and we'll explain that soon. But I you need to understand how radical the film was for the Nineteen Fifties. Politicians at the time were determined to root out secret communists from Hollywood. There were even public interrogation of filmmakers. Are you now have you ever been a member of the? Communist Party, this is audio of the interrogation of filmmaker Herbert Bieber Bearman in front of the House UNAMERICAN activities committee. To use this to. The motion, picture industry and. The Right? Not only be be Berman ended up serving time in prison and was blacklisted in Hollywood because of his suspected communist sympathies, and then he made salt of the Earth along with two other men who also been blacklisted. It seems pretty clear that salt of the Earth was an act of defiance. The government had sanctioned the filmmakers for his sympathies. So they made a movie that was unapologetically leftist. In one thousand, nine, hundred, fifty, four, the film was so controversial, only a few theaters across the US would show it. Salt of the Earth was essentially buried from public sight for decades. But in one thousand, nine, hundred seventies, she gano and feminist movements embraced the Phil. They saw it as an example of what social justice movements could actually look like. In two, thousand, eighteen producer. Traveled to Grant County New Mexico to uncover the story of what would come to be called the Empire Zinc strike. He wanted to find out how is sleepy mining town erupted into protest, and if almost seventy years later, anyone still remembers Sayer give them is going to take it from here. Before I tell you about what things are like in county. Now, I'm GonNa, tell you the story about how things were and we're going to start with our to Florida's. He was an important figure in the empire's ING strikes. Please come in. Thank you. My Dad Arthur. Florida's one hundred years old. One of the first. President Sir Locally. Local. Late Ninety is the name of the miners union in Grant County. By the way, we're going to hear about it a lot and our to Florida's was a union leader there in the nineteen fifties. Here, it's OK. Okay. I ever I have no problem with talking. Hundred. Be. Dumb. You're doing just fine. Sits in a wheelchair. His thin silver hair is neatly combed. His son. Larry leaves out a set of old photographs on the table. Here's head. Here's some of the actors from the movie, Clint Man Walking Out of the Union Hall Women Flannels and big brimmed hats smiling triumphantly at the camera. There's two is a full head of thick black hair. The photo is labeled local eight, Ninety Activists Nineteen fifty-three.
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"Broken Justice is hosted by me on the Nevada's reported by Frank Carlson and produced by Vita aaronson. Listen editing by Erica or Henry. Emily Carpio engineering by Tom. Satterfield production assistance from Chris. Ford fact checking by mile an Avia amber partido and Harry's on Takayasu in Alex Aguirre composed our theme music additional music by blue dot sessions. Rebecca oh so we will rick Suhair Khan and Liz flock all helped but this episode an especial. Thanks to Travis Dog Vanessa Dennis James Williams Julia Griffin. Dan Kuni Tony Wyatt Maze. Sydney Cameron Nick Masella John Yang Atoms Saraf Brennan Butler define Rhody. Tatty Morales Dima Zane Bill Seabrook Leeann aggie Kiro Joakim Sam Lane J. Juancho born Baldwin. Rachel Welford and end Morris Shannon. Thanks also to Bruce Kane. Jonathan Cherry Dan Danny and Cynthia Cotton W. E. T. A.. FM for all their help with the series. Sarah just is our executive producer and a special shoutout to baby hendry. We've fought the podcast would make its debut before you but you beat us to the punch welcome to the world pay. Let us know what you think of this show and send us your questions to podcasts. At Newshour Dot Org Tweet US at Newshour and leave us a review in apple podcasts. Check out our show extras on the website. That's PBS dot org slash news hour slash podcast.
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"Justice system <Speech_Music_Female> so <Speech_Female> frank after all <Speech_Female> all of this time <Speech_Female> after everything <Speech_Female> that ricky has been <Speech_Female> through it's <Speech_Female> not even like he's putting <Speech_Female> the whole chapter behind <Speech_Female> him and moving <Speech_Female> on and trying <Speech_Female> to forget <Speech_Female> he's reengaging aging <Speech_Female> with the same <Speech_Male> system <SpeakerChange> that failed <Speech_Male> him. <Speech_Male> Yeah Ricky <Speech_Male> I think he's <Speech_Male> always felt that <Speech_Male> his story was representative <Speech_Male> of a larger <Speech_Male> problem. And <Speech_Male> so yeah. <Speech_Male> He's working <Speech_Male> with the Midwest Innocence Project. <Speech_Male> He's helping set up <Speech_Male> new his innocence projects <Speech_Male> around the country. <Speech_Male> He wants <Speech_Male> to fight for change on <Speech_Male> this issue and to help to get more <Speech_Male> people out <Speech_Male> of prison. Who are wrongfully convicted? <Speech_Female> <SpeakerChange> <Speech_Female> You <Speech_Female> spent a lot of time with them. <Speech_Female> You've talked to him <Speech_Female> a bunch since he's <Speech_Female> been released <Speech_Female> for anyone in <Speech_Female> this situation. <Speech_Female> How is <Speech_Female> he not <SpeakerChange> more angry angry? <Speech_Male> <Speech_Male> <Speech_Male> I mean the short answer is <Speech_Male> I don't know like personally <Speech_Male> I can <Speech_Male> tell you what he says. <Speech_Male> And <Speech_Male> that's that he. He <Speech_Male> says <Speech_Male> when he was in prison he never for <Speech_Male> accepted a prisoner <Speech_Male> mentality. He <Speech_Male> always knew that <Speech_Male> someday he was going to get out <Speech_Male> and he knew that his innocence <Speech_Male> would be proven <Speech_Male> and so he had this <Speech_Male> faith things we're going to work <Speech_Male> out and so he <Speech_Male> refused to engage engage <Speech_Male> in prison <Speech_Male> life and <Speech_Male> so that's how he explains <Speech_Male> <Speech_Male> but still like for <Speech_Male> me <Speech_Male> talking to him. I'm still <Speech_Male> like there's gotta <Speech_Male> be some issues there right <Speech_Male> lane. He Says No I. <Speech_Male> I don't I <Speech_Male> don't feel that way. <Speech_Male> I don't feel angry. I feel <Speech_Male> like we need to make change. <Speech_Male> We <Speech_Male> need to work on these issues. <Speech_Male> <Advertisement> We need to change the <Speech_Male> <Advertisement> system. <Speech_Music_Male> <Advertisement> But he's not gonNA <Speech_Male> <Advertisement> he's he's <Speech_Male> not gonNA lose the life <Speech_Music_Male> that he has now <Speech_Music_Male> <Advertisement> to the life <Speech_Music_Male> that he lost in prison. <Music>
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"So they had a lot of this evidence back at the last hearing in two thousand and nine right. was there anything else. There was some new evidence to the judge heard from the states star. I witnessed from the original trial. The neighbor petitioner calls Mr Richard Harris. Step forward now. He was the one and who said that he was two thousand and one percent. Sure that Ricky. Kate killed one of the victims right. Exactly let me ask you this. When you testified under under oath at trial she were two thousand one percents? Sure you've been quantification. You tell them the truth mistake. Say I'm married a mistake. Playing the sample did not do it. That's not what I'm asking you. Don't you are here which you asking me but I'm telling you I'm sorry for my language. WHOA wasn't that the only direct evidence that they had in court that actually put ricky at the scene? Yeah so that was huge and from the stand. That neighbor apologized to ricky. Who was sitting right in the courtroom listening? So the state's key eye witness in this recanted but there was something else. Ricky's lawyers found evidence that the original prosecutor from his trial had withheld information information. That pointed to the three three other suspects. Ricky always said committed these murders and so one of the key questions at this new hearing was did the fact that the prosecutor withheld this information. From Ricky's lawyer amount to an unfair trial. Introduce yourself was yes My name is tracey Anderson and I am an attorney. Ornate and I would have previously represented Richard Shed at seven twenty two years ago. I think Theresa Andersson Ricky's public defender from the first trial. Was the last last person to take the stand. And she told the court that she'd always believed in Ricky Santa and she even broke down when she was asked how she could have used this information. Mistreating because there's so much that I didn't know that I should have now and I don't. I don't think it was something I could have known by myself. And I'm I'm thinking something where he could have known all himself. You know this was stuff that should have been turned over to me. If I had that information. You know I mean I I may have been able to and that's frustrating. There is a lot to unpack there and the thing is it's all stuff that should've should've pointed to Ricky's innocence. I mean you'd think he'd be exonerated right then and there. I mean during the four days of this hearing Ricky's family and friends were all gathered in this old courthouse in Gallatin often. His mom his big sister his kids even his granddaughter was there and many of them thought that at the end of the week the judge would just have to let ricky go But that's not what happened on the last day of testimony. The judge said he had a lot of reading to do before he could make decision and the court adjourned Ricky was approached by two guards who let him out of the courtroom down the stairs out the back of the courthouse where van was waiting to take them back to prison I thought today would be the dated. Justice will prevail. I caught up with Ricky's mother outside. The courthouse is just too much. How much can mother bear? You know. MM-HMM HERE's Ricky's big sister. I know he feels devastated. Feel like you know. But he's strong. I'm GonNa be strong song. I know that he is coming. Home was looking for the movie moment. That's Ricky speaking to me from prison the week after the hearing.
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"So Frank Wesley Bell. He's the Saint Louis County prosecutor. He's become sort of an unlikely player on this issue of public public defender Caseloads. How did that happen well to understand that it helps to know a little bit about his background? He actually started out. As a public defender. In Saint Louis County then then became a municipal judge and then a prosecutor and then following the protests in Ferguson and twenty fourteen. He ran for city council. Anyone I would like to introduce your next city councilman for four three per cent west and he helped negotiate reform in the Ferguson City. Police Department in courts. But Wesley knew the place where he could make the most change was in the county prosecutor's office. We've been talking this whole series about public defenders and their case loads but prosecutors play a huge role in determining how many cases public defenders have to take on after all it's the prosecutor who decides whether to bring charges against the defendant in the first place what those charges should be whether to offer a plea deal or an alternative to jail. Time Bell wanted to reform the system and to do that he needed to set the priorities and so late last year. Name is Wesley Bell. I'm running for Saint Louis County Prosecutor for a safer Saint Louis. He ran to become head of the county prosecutor's office and he won that race. Sixty seven year old. Bob McCulloch is defeated in yesterday's primary by Ferguson Councilman Forty three year. Old Wesley Bell. He officially took over in January and so we went to see him about six months after he'd been in office to see how things were going. So we're not. We're not okay I didn't Shea. What's the explained how he was trying to change the way Saint Louis County deal with crime from the prosecutor side of the equation if you have a prosecutor that's reasonable you tend to get reasonable outcomes? The so reasonable outcomes. What does that even mean? Well it means a whole host of things for example this year. He stopped prosecuting marijuana possession for people carrying less than one hundred hundred grams he stopped seeking jail. Time for child support violations. Another reasonable outcome. He said his office would expand alternatives to prosecution through drug court and Mental Health Court. And he's no longer looking to set bail for nonviolent offenders and that means more people can go home instead of waiting in jail to deal with their charges when we look at the reduction in the jail population with nonviolent offenders when we look at not prosecuting low levels of marijuana which I think is a waste of resources. I think that that is born out of that perspective and understanding that look we have limited resources. We'd rather reallocate in focus our resources sources serious in violence. There's so in other words prioritize who you prosecute we are prioritized to focus on violent offenders and so we wanted to find find out how to West these reforms effect public defenders. So here's one example. Since West they became county prosecutor. His office is now l.. Treating failure to pay child support as a civil issue not a criminal one and that means jail time is largely off the table and if a client isn't facing jail time they're not entitled title to a lawyer so that means fewer cases for public defenders. We were dealing with hundreds of child support cases and those cases. Also don't ever have a quick resolve because the whole point is you need money. Public clients. Don't have money so you ride the docket for a year sometimes more than nat and that's twelve. Beverly Harbor has been a public defender in the Saint Louis Office for four years. And she says this is made a huge difference. She also says what the prosecutor's Office has done to expand expand on mental health. Courts is really important too so those things have absolutely refocused. Our case load some of the minor. Possession charges Even property damage things like that the prosecutor's office is kind of getting ahead of that and before it even gets to us. Sometimes they're offering people diversion programs or instead of issuing it as a felony. Maybe it's being issued as a misdemeanor. All of those things impact our abilities to use our resources. Okay okay so that sounds like they're able to address some of those issues early clear. These cases earlier to Wesley mentioned this issue of plea deals yeah plea deals or how the vast majority Jordy of these cases get resolved in this system not through trial but through a deal with the prosecutor and so how it works is that a prosecutor might charge charge someone with drug trafficking within. They look all knocked this down and recommend the minimum sentence if you plead guilty today and since many public defender clients can't afford bail bill and they're told it'll be months before their public defenders can get to their cases. They often take those deals rather than sit in jail. Wesley Bell says that kind of overcharging to a forcibly will not happen in his office. You find the fair charge and if you have to try the case go traffic ace. WE'RE NOT GONNA force individuals Joel's to play. I don't think that that's just and I don't think it's ethical As of September nine months after Wesley started pushing these kinds of performs his office said the go population in Saint. Louis County was down fifteen percent. How well is the system working today? Right at this point I I think the system is working a lot better and I think there's some tangible things that we can look at so in theory Wesley. Changes seemed to mean. Fewer people need a public defender in the first place. Exactly and public defenders say. That's great because it allows them to focus on the cases that really need the most work the really serious serious ones but the problem is that those really serious cases they need a lot of work and so public defenders in Saint Louis County say even with Wesley Bells reforms is still not enough they still have too many cases so without an investigator without more attorneys. It's not gonNA make a big change if we don't have more bodies touching each one of these files and being there to advocate for a client. But there are other things changing in Saint Louis County outside of the prosecutor's Office this summer the Circuit Court judges in that county passed a new rule and it allows them to a point private lawyer to take on some of the public defenders cases when their overloaded and to determine who's overloaded overloaded. They're using Steve Hamlin's numbers are data guy from the last episode. The presiding judge in Saint Louis County is also considering creating a wait list for clients. Okay so all of that seems like progress. They're finally getting some traction with the judges but a wait list. How would that work? Yeah this is something that's currently happening in about half the state's public defender offices. Basically the officers used Steve Hamlin's numbers to set limits. On how many cases there public defenders can handle at any one time and when public defenders hit those is limits new defendants. Whether they're out on bond or sitting in jail can be added to a wait list so that means the public defenders stay at or near their limits. We'll wait. That sounds a lot like the same problem. They they had before with people just stuck in jail waiting for a lawyer. Yeah I mean you're right. There was essentially a weightless before but at least this way. The offices can prioritize the people in jail and so it's a bit more orderly but it doesn't do much for those clients on the wait list. They're still stuck in limbo waiting for a lawyer. What do we know about the weightless how many clients are actually on on them right now? Waiting will as of mid November across the state there were about fifty eight hundred clients on weightless that's not a small number. No it's not and Michael Barone who just recently recently resigned as the head of Missouri's public defender system told us he knows that and then he doesn't like forcing clients to wait. The decline are absolutely getting the brunt of this but he he says until the state puts up more money. That's the way it has to be. Where like any other State Department? The Department of Transportation says we need five hundred million dollars to resurface all the roads and fix all the bridges. And they're only provided two hundred and fifty million dollars. Well they're not going to resurface all the roads and fix all the bridges. They're going to do half of them and we're no different okay. So Missouri's public defenders are still trying to put their foot down. But do you say that Michael Barrett resigned. Yeah he he says after years of essentially doing everything short of setting himself on fire to raise attention for these issues. He's done he's gone back to New York where he's originally from to raise his family. It was described to me by my predecessor that it's like pushing a large boulder up a hill. Where you can't see the top of the hill you just have to uh-huh push for a long as long as you can and And then turn it over to the next person in line behind you so whatever happens in Missouri I guess will be up to someone someone else. Whoever replaces Michael Barrett? It's going to be someone else's problem okay. But that whole case load funding issue. He was trying to fix. It's not just a problem in Missouri. It's a problem in a bunch of other places so will what's happening. They're so beyond Missouri. Steve Hamlin is working to keep up the pressure on these systems by doing caseload studies and other states to give those states the same data that Michael Albert had to press these issues so the art of war. Every battle is won before it's ever begun. It's one by the choice of touring hiring and that's where we are. We're in the battle. The American Civil Liberties Union is also in that battle continuing to sue states and local governments across. It's the country including in Missouri and Missouri. The ACLU has adopted Steve Hanley numbers in its lawsuit against the state public defender system. The two parties are attempting to settle if that settlements approved by a judge it would mean major changes for the system and perhaps a way forward for other systems but Jason Williamson the lawyer at the ACLU working on these cases it says ultimately this legal strategy is only going to take them so far. While I would love to be able to do this in one fell swoop or certainly in a more sufficient way than going state by state or county by county and suing. People will do whatever we need to do. There is certainly a much bigger role at the federal government. Could play in in moving this ball forward and we've already seen this getting some attention in the early days of the twenty twenty race. Sentencing reform cash bail reformed. Investing in Public Defenders Diversion Program. We have a criminal justice system. That treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're innocent. Several Democratic candidates have plans to provide ride more funding for public defense as part of a broader pledged to criminal justice reform today in America eighty percent of the people in jail unbelievably art in jail for the crime of be poor. And it's not just Democrats this summer Alec. The influential conservative lobbying group announced its own support to better fund public defense and for years conservative billionaire. Charles Coke has been donating money to improve public defense across the country. Three okay so that's all good going forward but what about all the people who've already gone through the system right. The people who think their public defenders failed them that they're the reason they're in jail serving long sentences like none of this does much to help people like ricky kid right. Well there are many places like Saint Louis for example where prosecutors now reviewing claims of wrongful conviction and in some cases. Overturning those convictions. That didn't work for Ricky but this year after after many crushing setbacks we did finally get a new day in court I'm aware of the percentage of cases that a one loss but I always I have to wake up every day believing more on that after the break in the sixth democratic debate in the run-up to the twenty twenty presidential election will be held on December nineteenth in Los Angeles continuing. Its long tradition of providing a broad range of political coverage to the American public. The Newshour along with politico will host the debate watch on broadcast cast and online Thursday December nineteenth.
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"At some point when you get your face road to the mother now if you gotta you gotTa stand up in the last few years Steve has been trying to fight back and for many reasons. He's taken that fight to Missouri. Missouri is the epicenter of this whole movement to end this abandonment of the rule of all. Uh The question is. Can you fix something. That's been broken for so long. They do they have a nickname for public defenders. call him a public pretender. He's on my docket cases. They have one hundred nineteen of cases. Thirty one open cases. Hey here's your two hundred cases you have court in Twenty minutes to cross the street it up. I feel the stress of one hundred fifty souls or my tap it. Some of them were slipping through the cracks. Hello this is a free call from Ricky one hundred percent. Believe that I'm in prison today. Because because this is broken justice show from the PBS Newshour about the Public Defenders System in Missouri. And what it tells US Justice in America I'm omnibus and I'm Frank. Carlson from news headlines to analysis millions of people rely on the context independence and balanced the news hour offers watch read follow. Follow the news hour on broadcast and online every night..
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"They spit back in my face. You had warriors have your failed public defender. System Lawyers. Don't bow yellow brushed under the carpet. If somehow that's supposed to be okay. It's not okay Never be okay in the nation that that we live in That should never get it. BAFFLES IOS. May you know how the system could have not allowed ricky out that day. That was two thousand nine ten years ago. But Ricky's team didn't give up. They fought for years to get ricky back into court and this year they finally got another hearing another chance to lay out all their evidence. And prove- Ricky's innocence. Meanwhile as Ricky's been fighting his fight public defenders in Missouri Missouri have been fighting their own battle to take control of their caseloads at some point. Where you get your face rubbed in the mud enough you gotta you gotTa stand up and fight back? And they told us they found changing the status quo has a cost and not all of them are willing to pay it. How do I convince someone? Who Will I be able to practice ethically Not always know. Am I risking licensed by working here. Yeah probably wouldn't worker. That's on the next episode of Broken Justice.
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"All the failures. We heard about so far where things that happened in ricky kids original original trial well before ricky ever met Sean and Dan Right but things kept going wrong for ricky when he tried to appeal his original conviction in large part because he had to rely on the same public defender system that had just failed him. The first time in his appeals. His new public defenders were supposed to investigate claims. And look at the things that went wrong. Here Sean on O'Brien again. One of the most glaring things about this case is that in. All of Ricky's appeals where he is represented by public defenders? The word innocent listen does not appear one time there is nothing. They filed raises any question. That might make a judge deciding the case think there may have been a mistake here. His own lawyers never raised the possibility that their client was innocent. Yeah and John says if you don't raise these kinds of clams in your appeals and makes it much harder to argue them later and so with. Most of Ricky's appeals denied. As far as the state was concerned his case was done the process had worked a convicted killer. Taylor was behind bars for the rest of his life. Life Without Parole. Separate Fella my face and I just call myself trying to deal with it. The only way a twenty one year old tall are knew how to deal with it. Early on Ricky was held at Missouri's maximum security death row facility and at first. He didn't think he'd make a dark light. Those cold even if those hot outside I thought it was definitely scary for a twenty one year old. Well twenty two time who've never been in prison but ricky was determined to keep working on his is case finding some way to move it forward and to prove his innocence and in the meantime he also started working on himself. He says he took all the classes. He couldn't prison then. He started teaching teaching them. That's what I think. I've been successful that. Despite the ugliness of what a wrongful conviction can produce it also for me Allowed it to produce that thinks perhaps transferable to where if I'm able to reintegrate back in society I cannot continue along along the same line and type of It was during this time that ricky convinced. Dan roadhouse the investigator. And Sean O'Brien the lawyer. To take on his case. They worked for years and finally in two thousand nine thirteen years after ricky. I locked up. A federal court agreed to hear his innocence. Listen to repeal the kind he'd been waiting for and Sean thought the hearing was off to a great start on the first day as they were waiting for witness to arrive. The judge said you know one thing that really worries me about this case is that actually kid he really had poor representation God Almighty and then he continued. The Supreme Court says that everybody has to have counsel council. But I'm looking forward to the day that something goes up there and says they didn't get any representation because the states won't provide money for public defender system.
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"Okay so we just went through the first first failure in Ricky's defense. What about the second one? The second was the failure to knock down the state's case. The state relied on two by witnesses. The first was the daughter of one of the victims the little four year old girl who made that nine one one call four days after the murders took place. She was brought in by police to look at a photo. Oto Lineup and ricky kids photos there. So was the photo of a guy named Marcus Merrill. That little girl picked out Marcus Mel right away. But she didn't pick out ricky and remember witnesses said they saw three black men. Fleeing from the scene of the crime weeks went by police kept doing interviews but by April they only had one suspect in custody custody. Marcus Merrill so in mid April two months after the crime detectives brought that Little Girl Back for another lineup. It's the little girl in a room with people who know who they want her to pick and and she's already seen a photograph of one of these guys in the video. Rick Ricky's the only one in the lineup. Who she had also also seen in the photograph and allegedly she picks them out fast forward to the trial? The prosecutor caused the little girl up in court. When is your birthday? There's no audio available from this trial. So what you're hearing is a reenactment of the court transcript and that's coming up soon. Isn't it the prosecutor asked the little girl to look around the room and point out the men who are at her house that day. Ricky kid and his codefendant Marcus. Merrill are sitting right in front of her. The defendants are both black men and their lawyers sitting right next to them are white. Women couldn't have a more suggestive lineup. Because you've got lineup consisting of white lady Black Guy White Lady can you look around and do you see either of those two men that were at Your House that day with your day. She looks around. No she doesn't point to anyone. The prosecutor asks her again. You don't see them. You don't seat him here. The little girl doesn't pointed anyone. She she never identifies Ricky in court as the killer so the state only had two eye-witnesses and one of them fails to identify Ricky in court. So what about the other one. Yeah the second was a neighbor of the victims and he did pick rick out in court. He told the jury that he saw ricky. Come out of the victim's house that morning like quote unquote the Terminator Nater and gunned down one of the victims in broad daylight with gold plated forty five and as you heard in the last episode that neighbor said he didn't think it was ricky he told the jury he was quote Unquote Two thousand one percent sure it was ricky and so it was crucial for Ricky's public defender to impeach that witness to knock down his story and she tried to to do that but she didn't get anywhere but then later when Dan and Sean went back to investigate they found so much evidence that she could have used to raise questions about this witness and his story. Starting with the fact that other witnesses said they hadn't seen that neighbor standing where he said he was right in front of the house when the murders took place where he was would have a a significant impact on how well he was able to ide- who he saw. Also Sean eventually learned that the neighbor and a friend were smoking weed on the morning of the murders. Bruce that didn't come out during trial either. And so theresa could've used that fact plus everything else to undermine his story and to undermine the state story of what happened okay. Now we've gone through the alibi and the state's case but there was also a third problem. The question of who actually committed the murders now Dan and Shaun figured out who the real killers wear right right so once. Dan became convinced that ricky wasn't involved he started looking at the people. Ricky said committed this crime including his codefendant Senate. Marcus Merrill and buried in police reports was the name of a friend of Marcus. Who made everything clearer Eugene Williams? I remember member meeting with him. He did not want to be found. Eugene told Dan that on the morning of the murderers Marcus. Merrill was at his house when two other men came over a father and a son. Eugene said Marcus talked with the father and son about robbing a drug dealer just like George Bryant one of the victims and the father had a gun a forty forty five the same caliber found at the crime scene and the same kind of the neighbor. The state's eyewitness described wait with this guy's telling Dan seems like it alone could have changed everything exactly. And that's what Dan and Shaun Ricky thing to and what's crazy. Is that even. Though Eugene was listed police reports he said detectives never talked to him. And neither did Ricky's public defender to Anderson. When I met Therese earlier this year I asked her about all the things that Dan Sean turned up? How does looking at the kind of information how? How should we think about? I mean yeah. I think there's always things that you miss. I mean there's no question about it. My investigator and I did go out to the scene numerous times but a lot. A lot of times people aren't around or they don't want to talk to because they know why you're there and There're going to be a mess and that's just the way. Unfortunately that it is ricky. When I've talked to him about this? He said when he was first convicted he thought that he he had a bad lawyer. Cherry dead He sent he says he's since learned that he didn't have a bad lawyer yet about system and his lawyer didn't have time to do all the things that he would have wanted her. Do you think that's true. Yeah I think that's absolutely true. I mean I I will say that. The verdict was shocking to me. I mean it was emotionally hard so I can totally see where he walked away going. Oh my God i. I cannot believe this just happened to me. You know after this conversation with Teresa I kept thinking about how hard it is to separate the individual lawyer from the the system is operating in. I mean like so many other public defenders Theresa went into this line of work to help people like ricky and by all accounts. She went on to become a great lawyer. mm-hmm Sean O'Brien Ricky's lawyer now. And a former public defender. He sees that same conflict. I feel bad for the public defenders. I really do. They're great eight people and they have good hearts and I feel terrible form but I feel worse for their clients. The Sixth Democratic Democratic debate in the run-up to the twenty twenty presidential election will be held on December nineteenth in Los Angeles continuing its long tradition of providing a broad range of political critical coverage to the American public. The news hour along with politico will host the debate watch on broadcast and online Thursday December nineteenth.
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"For more than forty years. The PBS news hour has provided solid reliable reporting that has made it one of the most trusted news programs on television from news headlines Analysis millions of people rely on the context independence and balance. The News Hour Offers Watch read. Follow the news hour on broadcast and online every night. Frank after Ricky got convicted. How did he get this team to start working on his case will it didn't happen overnight? Rickie sat in prison for six years before he found this private investigator named Dan Roadhouse. Dan was the first one to really dig into what happened to Ricky. If you'RE GONNA easy to spot the funny when I met him on my hotel in Saint Louis. I asked him to bring his box of Ricky's case files so this is when he started pestering Estrin with letters and every once in a while you would call me in the office. Ricky started writing Dan back in two thousand and three three six years after he was convicted and he kept writing him and writing him and writing him begging him to look into his case. And if there's one thing I've learned about Ricky and talking to him over the last year here is that he is but Dan new ricky couldn't afford them. Though ricky dried he sent down a check for five hundred dollars never cashed that check and I explained this to ricky at the very beginning. I said look if you get fifty thousand dollars or if you've got a relative who won the lottery you you know I'll I'll work for money but You know I can't do this. Take your money a couple of years after ricky. I wrote Dan. His business had been doing well so he decided to take some time between Christmas and New Year's to poke around Ricky's case what I would I try to do is prove guilty because that might be the easiest thing for permitted the NFL could prove he was guilty. Then you know we would just cut to the chase and we'd call it a day. If I could not prove he was guilty then I would make every effort effort then to prove he was innocent and his. Dan went through Ricky's case going back to talk to witnesses combing through police records. He pretty quickly saw that. Things weren't adding up the more I dug into it. It was pretty clear to me that that he was in fact innocent. We know who the the actual actors were in two thousand six. Dan took what he found. A Sean O'Brien and you heard earlier. He's a law professor no nationally for his work. Overturning wrongful convictions. Especially for people on death row Dan growed house started the investigation in came to me and kind of beg me to take the case. I looked it over and I agreed to do it. Ever since Sean is represented represented ricky as as pro bono lawyer working alongside the Mid West Innocence Project. So Sean Getting on board with Dan says they both believe something went wrong right. What did they find nine? That made them believe that. We're a lot of things but you can break them down at a three basic categories. I was ricky's alibi. It was rock-solid number two. The state's case was weak and number three Dan and Shaun evidence of who actually committed the murders and that evidence didn't point to ricky and both Dan. Sean say Ricky's public defender didn't do enough to investigate any of those things. I would bet that an investigator that knew what they were doing could have spent spend twenty hours on that case and come up with some reasonable doubt maybe thirty hours so oh no. That's not a lot. I mean that's three or four days with lunch three or four days with lunch. That doesn't seem like a lot but there's a lot to unpack there. So why don't we start with the alibi. Sure Ricky says that on the day of the murders. He was with his girlfriend. Monica Grey all day not all alibis are created created equal. Some alibis are better than other alibis and you thought was a good L. High. I knew Monica was a good alibi in court. Ricky and Monica both told told the same story. They'd started the day with some errands including a trip downtown to Ricky Sisters Office just after eleven. AM which would put the miles away from the murders around the time they were taking place afterward. Became Monica dove out of the city to the county sheriff's Office that I wanted to go five for a hand up. Oh that's right. Because part of Ricky's alibi was that he had been at the sheriff's Office on the day of the murders right right and so rookie filled out this handgun application. I couldn't get it. The lady told me I needed a voter registration and some other documents so ricky left without the permit and later that evening after he got home ricky says he found out that George Bryant a drug dealer and a friend of his was dead and so was another man Oscar bridges. I sat there. Chopped and people backed up breaking story of where he'd been that day yeah ricky sister his citrus co worker and other people they saw that day there was no wiggle room. You know ricky was with Monica. Monica was with Ricky. You know for like six hours before and six hours. There's a after enduring the crime so it was a complete alibi. So Ricky has an alibi people back it up. Why didn't fly in court will dances? That comes right back. To Ricky's he's public defender Theresa Anderson and what she didn't do to interview and prepare the most important alibi witness ricky's girlfriend. She prep me for court The day of court art. Here's Monica remembering the run up to the trial. The only time I met with her was to give her ricky's closed for court but she prep me for court. The day of Monica says they didn't go through what questions Theresa would ask her on the stand. What the prosecutor might ask her? During Cross examination harmonica could prove she was remembering February. Sixth the day of the murders and not some other day I said what am I supposed to say. She's like same thing. You told the police. And that's it that's it. She didn't brought me at all. I spoke with Theresa about this and she disputes Monica's because account. She says they spoke multiple times by phone before her day in court but whether or not to resend Monica spoke. Before then Sean. O'Brien Ricky's lawyer now. Says Theresa didn't start working on Ricky's case soon enough. You can't really develop a theory of defense. You can't investigate. What witnesses tell you to see if you can independently verify it and remember? Sean isn't just a wrongful conviction lawyer at a law professor Sir. He's also a former public defender and so he knows how the system works and Shawna. Dan both say that Ricky's public defender started investigating too late to effectively corroborate. What what the alibi? Witnesses were saying not just Monica but the others too and so that made it easy for the prosecution during trying to poke holes in their stories. Sean says the cross examination Ricky's witnesses went something like this. When did you first find out? You're going to be a witness last Thursday. Well how do you remember. You're in March of nineteen ninety-seven where you were on February. Sixth of nine hundred ninety six. How do you know it's the right date? Aw You know. And and the witness doesn't have a good answer for that so it's easier for the prosecution to knock down the alibi witnesses exactly but there was still well that visit to the sheriff's Office. If Theresa Andersson could prove that Ricky and Monica visited the office on that day she could prove they were telling the truth about where they were on the day of the murders so to do that. She introduced the gun permit application the one ricky it filled out and sure enough. The date on that application said February sixth the day of the murders. The computer time stamp on that application also matched that day February. Sixth that all sounds good for ricky and exactly what Theresa should have been doing right but then when she called on the supervisor of the sheriff's Office to verify that information and the supervisor told the jury that the time stamp on Ricky's application didn't mean. It was submitted on that day it could have been submitted the day before it also could have been sent by mail and so it didn't prove anything when it comes to handling paperwork. Never Talk to the supervisor. And the reason for that Sean says is that the supervisor wasn't the person who actually handled the applications. But when Sean and Dan went back to investigate they found the clerk who actually process the applications in that sheriff's Office on that day and the clerk said that based on the time stamp Ricky's application had to have come in on the day of the murders and that the office almost never got them by mail. It backed up Ricky's alibi. It just makes it more and more likely that Monica's telling the truth about What Day was that? They went out to sheriff's office but because they didn't present those things in court the jury never heard them after the break. We'll tell you about the second problem with Ricky's defense. The failure to knock down the prosecution story for complete coverage of all things politics checkout news hours regular politics podcast in your apple. PODCAST APP search. PBS Newshour Politics from Capitol Hill to the White House from the twenty twenty election to a hot button political issues the PBS news hour politics. PODCAST is your one stop place to get independent balanced coverage of political news..
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"Content or to foster Monica name. While you're not working with him up on his face Jeevan got matt about this. I don't have your family too key. Colony bugging me. I'll talk to one person one time maybe here and there but basically lay off my band and that's not just ricky's memory. We have Theresa's letter to him from August nineteen ninety-six when she wrote you should be noticed that will take one phone call from you or Monica per per week. If I am available I will talk to your mother when she calls if I am available and then she ends up with this. If you cannot live with these terms I suggest you hire another lawyer so it clearly sounds like Theresa's frustrated and we know how overwhelm someone in her position would be at the same time same. Ricky has to be frustrated right because this is the one person who's there to defend him. Yeah I mean for better or for worse. They were stuck with each other then in August six months after the murders three months after being locked up ricky finally received the evidence the state had against him. The were too I witnesses. WHO said they could put ricky at the scene but there was no physical evidence tying him to the crime he felt even more confident? There was no case if only theresa would get on it but he was starting to get concerned that she never would. I don't think we have much work when it came to a strategy. I don't think she had at the resources and the time to follow up on things that I was screaming they needed to follow up on in September. He asked the judge judge to have theresa dismissed as his lawyer. He wrote in this official letter to the court that he'd only talked to her three times in four months and he felt that she hadn't helped him in any way but the the judge denied Ricky's request that same day when his trial finally came in March of nineteen ninety seven more than a year after the murders. Ricky was worried but he still hoped that his innocence would be enough to walk free voter traveling. You've found not guilty of I think they're going to see right. Theresa presented an alibi defence. Careening her story was that Ricky couldn't have committed the murders because he was somewhere else that day. Ricky it also told Teresa he knew who committed the murders right but theresa didn't think thinks she had enough evidence to introduce that theory so estate out of court and to prove alibi. Case Theresa called on seven witnesses to confirm ricky story which they did. There's no audio available from this trial. So what you're about to hear a reenactments from the court transcripts your name and all heavy state for the record These surname Ricky Kid. Ricky also took the stand time you got up that morning I believe around nine o'clock until the same story. He had since his arrest about being with Monica that day and visiting the Sheriff's Department at U Left's Mcdonald's where you headed to the sheriff's department. Why are we gonNA Sheriff's permit to get a government. Okay let's talk a little bit about them but the state fund away to poke holes ricky story and his witnesses accounts here's as a prosecutor cross examining the witnesses about how he could remember events for more than a year earlier. You can't remember what you did on the fourth of February I don't specifically about the February. It had been a year since the murders and so the prosecutors argue. Are you there. Ricky's witnesses were telling the truth just the truth about a different day and really a year later. How sure could the wins? Be about which day it was and then to prove ricky had had done it the state called on to eye witnesses. Who put ricky at the scene? The first was the daughter of one of the victims. The four year old girl who called nine one one but in court she couldn't couldn't point review out as one of the killers so that sounds like it is not good for the prosecution's case. No not at all but then the other eyewitness a neighbor of the victims. He told the jury that he was certain. He saw ricky kid shoot George Bryant Mr Harris sitting here today. How positive are you? Mr Kit Rickie Kit was the person you saw one thousand one. Let me finish my question. Walk out of the garage with a gun and shoot George Bryant in February six nineteen ninety six two thousand one essential. Ricky's trial lasted more than a week. The jury deliberated for just one hour and convicted ricky in another man of two counts of first degree murder and two counts.
"justice" Discussed on Broken Justice
"For complete coverage of all things politics checkout news hours regular politics podcast in your apple. PODCAST APP search. PBS Newshour Politics Addicts from Capitol Hill to the White House from the twenty twenty election to a hot button political issues the PBS Newshour politics. PODCAST is your one stop place to get independent independent balanced coverage of political news. Right there behind my colleague Frank. Carlson has spent a lot of time reporting eating on Missouri's public defender system. He's going to be walking US through this story. How are you could you doing so? Frank takes us to the beginning. Like a lot of people I had heard about public defenders. TV shows and movies generator remained silent. Attorney can't afford one. We'll be the as you hear over and over and over again in those crime dramas. If you can't afford to pay for a lawyer one will be provided for you. Okay when you say someone can't afford to pay a lawyer. How did they determine that? Will it varies from state to state in Missouri they base it on the federal poverty line. That's individuals who earn twelve thousand five five hundred dollars a year or less other states. Go with double that amount and you might think well. That's not a Lotta people. But in the justice system it's most people one study from the Department Department of Justice estimated that public defenders touch as many as eighty two percent of criminal cases and in Missouri last year. The State Public Defender's office handled ninety. Three percent of all the felonies ninety three percent. That's a lot. It's a huge amount and it wouldn't be a problem if they had enough lawyers but last year in Missouri the Public Defenders System which has is about three hundred and eighty lawyers held seventy five thousand cases and so with numbers. Like these you can see. Why Public Defenders Jeff Esparza the guy? We heard at the top worry about people apple slipping through the cracks. Yeah and I got to see what that looks like firsthand on our trip to Missouri. Earlier this year I visited one of Jeff's clients. He's an older. African American can man named Kevin Shepherd view of Brush Creek view brush cheat in Kansas City. This is it right here. The best view lucky man. Kevin Shepherd was fifty seven. When I met him at his apartment in South Kansas City? He hadn't lived there long and he didn't in have much furniture so he dragged in some chairs from the common area of his building gets small. When I met Kevin he talked a lot about his kids his grandkids and his fight against cancer? Hard headed doctors zero. You can't do this and you can't do that only this but I would try to eat my grandchildren come over Played Tag around the house and everything like that. Last year Kevin says he was living on social security disability and he was being evicted from his home so while he's packing one day says he lay down to take a nap and just his own eating asleep. BLAM BLAM Blam door more so I got up to see what's going on here. Comes these two guys to the door. According to Kevin Two men kicked open his door with guns drawn then he said he'd already had a break in so he thought these men were intruders. He grabbed his gun and chase them away from the House House and as I got to the door if fired a shot at and hit the door frame right beside my in about four inches from my head it turns out those two men were county employees delivering a fiction papers and they say that Kevin pulled a gun and threatened threaten them with it. Police arrested Kevin and took him to the Jackson County jail. He was charged with unlawful use of a firearm and he couldn't afford to post bail and on a side note here. This happens with a lot of public defender clients. Bail is a set amount of money. A defendant puts up to get out before trial. It's like collateral to say I'm not going to run and I'll show up in court and you can ask the court to reduce that amount or to set other conditions for your lease but you often need a lawyer to help you do that. And of course Kevin couldn't afford to pay a private lawyer either so he called the Public Defenders Office. He says they told him they would get him a lawyer. And in the meantime he just sat in jail well week later went to court after a week in jail. He still didn't have a lawyer and Kevin said he wasn't getting his medications and then he you had to sleep on a mat because there weren't enough beds. And if you imagine people urinating on the walls on the floor and everything overcrowding and I'm not used to being in in that kind of environment and look it's not just Kevin saying this about the Jackson County jail. There have been a lot about stories over the years about that place reports of overcrowding violence abuse and shop did. They wouldn't nate me out of here. I just figured they would let me go. More time passed and after Kevin was in jail for two months his case finally got assigned to Jeff who already had one hundred and five pending felonies on his plate and Jeff told the judge. He couldn't take anymore way. You can do that. Yeah actually public defenders are supposed to do that. They're professional snuggling. Tell them not to take more cases than they can handle. Because you can imagine doing that will hurt all the clients they already have so. That's what I tried to do. He told the judge he couldn't take Kevin's case. But the judge Said No. You have to take in. And I filed injury of limited appearance. I too many cases and representation of Mr Shepherd would make it so the I would materially put representation of my already existing clients at risk so I had to decline the case and judge standards said no but because computer glitch and a huge number of cases jeff already had. Jeff missed Kevin's next. Hearing so again Kevin's case got delayed this time so jeff could catch up. I I will like this is a nightmare and it can't be going on in. This is with this point. Kevin had a lawyer but he'd already been in jail for for two and a half months and Jeff had just started working on his case. So the first thing Jeff did was try to get Kevin out of jail. He asked the court for hearing and then the court denied that motion ocean. Each time I went to court I thought it would end but just continued and continued and continued and Dan finally with Jeff's help hundred eighteen days after he was arrested. Kevin got out of jail right but since he was being addicted when all of this started his home and all of his stuff were long gone is not about me as a person is not about me as an individual and what they've done to my life because they've destroyed no home no property i. I'm still trying to figure out how to who explain this to my grandchildren because all they thought Popol went on vacation. So I'm not. This is one of the things that Jeff means by people falling through the cracks people spending weeks or months jail because there aren't enough public defenders to get to their cases is quickly and because those clients are too poor to pay to get out on bail cases like this show how different somebody is treated treated if they are poor compared to somebody of relatively modest middle class means. If Mr Shepherd had had a friend friend or family member who could have lent him a thousand dollars he would have spent one day or no days in jail. He did not have those resources and remember it. Jeff had told the judge that he couldn't take Kevin's case because he already had two mini. Which means he had to put aside everything else to get? Kevin out there are there are definitely holidays coming up to. What was the first trial setting an entire week where I completely had to set aside everything else that had to be done on everybody somebody else's case Some stuff that was pretty darn important. Some things that I'm just now catching up on you know when I met Kevin this past June more than a year ear after his arrest he said he was determined to have his day in court and for the first time it came up in court that they wanted to make a plea deal in no way a plea deal is an agreement with the prosecutor if clients plead guilty often. They'll get a lesser charge or punishment in return. Why do you say no? I'm not guilty of a crime. I'm convinced the guy's GonNa see me through this. We kept in touch with Kevin after our trip to Missouri but after a couple of months he suddenly stopped returning our calls a couple of days past. And then we found out through Kevin's friend that Kevin had passed away without ever getting his day in court and around that time I happened to be in Kansas City and so I went back to see Jeff. He hasn't spoken with Kevin for a few weeks and so I gave him the news. Jeff told me the state would drop the charges and Kevin's case would be sealed. Does that feel right to you. You mean that. He died with this hanging over his head. No I I I guess I just got out of his death today. So truthfully I'm still processing it. Sorry I didn't mean to no no no no. It's fine you know I'm. Trials are very stressful. I'm not worried about me. But but they're very stressful for people. I'm glad that a sick man didn't have to go through days of what would have been extremely stressful occasion. Kevin Shepherd had a sick man who spent months in jail waiting for a lawyer. That's just one example in one state public defender system but the public defense crisis is playing out across the country after the break. How to public defenders manage all these cases and how else our clients affected and later? What happens in a more serious case with a life sentence.
"justice" Discussed on PEN America Works of Justice
"GONNA depart <Speech_Male> from my I prepared <Speech_Male> comments. I have <Speech_Male> three people in the elevator <Speech_Male> with me of Colorado <Speech_Male> Governor Jerry Police <Speech_Male> I have Mitch <Speech_Music_Male> McConnell and <Speech_Music_Male> I have <Speech_Music_Male> and I have Nancy <Speech_Music_Male> Pelosi. I'm GonNa tell you <Speech_Music_Male> why I have. <Speech_Music_Male> I know it's a scary <Speech_Music_Male> yeah. <Speech_Music_Male> Trust me. I know <Speech_Male> I'm GonNa tell you why <Speech_Music_Male> I have a governor. <Speech_Male> <Speech_Male> Jared Paul Ryan <Speech_Male> the elevator with me <Speech_Male> four days ago. <Speech_Male> I received the phone call <Speech_Male> that every parent <Speech_Male> fears my <Speech_Male> my <Speech_Music_Male> eleven year old son. Sasha <Speech_Music_Male> is a student <Speech_Music_Male> at stem school highlands <Speech_Male> ranch. <Speech_Male> My ex wife <Speech_Male> called me screaming. <Speech_Male> There's a shooting shooting <Speech_Male> at the school. We can't <Speech_Male> reach Sasha <Speech_Male> I raced <Speech_Male> to the school <Speech_Music_Male> and <Speech_Music_Male> we cannot reach my son <Speech_Music_Male> for <Speech_Male> five hours. My <Speech_Male> son was <Speech_Male> in the school shooting <Speech_Male> huddled in a closet <Speech_Music_Male> with his teacher <Speech_Music_Male> with a tennis racket. <Speech_Male> So of the shooter's <Speech_Male> came in then <Speech_Male> they'd be able to fight them <Speech_Music_Male> off for twenty minutes. <Speech_Male> He was in a darkened <Speech_Male> room hearing <Speech_Male> boom boom boom <Speech_Male> boom shots <Speech_Music_Male> go off <Speech_Music_Male> not knowing if <Speech_Music_Male> he's going to live or die <Speech_Male> the door <Speech_Male> opens. He doesn't know <Speech_Male> if he's going to <Speech_Male> see the shooter <Speech_Male> but it was a swat team. <Speech_Male> This <Speech_Male> was just four days ago. <Speech_Male> This is my son <Speech_Male> we need <Speech_Male> rational gun control <Speech_Male> laws and <Speech_Male> mental health programs <Speech_Male> for troubled <Speech_Male> youth. I lived <Speech_Music_Male> the nightmare. This was <Speech_Music_Male> literally. It's <Speech_Music_Male> we're still traumatized. <Speech_Music_Male> We're still dealing with it <Speech_Music_Male> so <Speech_Music_Male> I I know this is <Speech_Music_Male> slightly off topic <Speech_Music_Male> but this is something <Speech_Music_Male> that you know <Speech_Male> again is <Speech_Male> a major deal <Speech_Male> in Colorado. Are you think <Speech_Male> it's never going to happen to <Speech_Male> you but it did happen. <Speech_Male> Let me now return <Speech_Music_Male> since we're on the fifth floor here <Speech_Music_Male> to my prepared <Speech_Male> convents <Speech_Male> I am deeply <Speech_Male> concerned with <Speech_Male> issues. No criminal <Speech_Male> justice for American Indians. <Speech_Male> I'm fiction writer as <Speech_Male> well and I address <Speech_Male> these issues fictionally <Speech_Male> in my <Speech_Male> forthcoming novel winner <Speech_Male> counts which is coming July <Speech_Male> twenty twenty from ECCO <Speech_Male> Harpercollins <Speech_Male> and I am <Speech_Male> deeply concerned <Speech_Male> with the law <Speech_Male> the Major Crimes Act <Speech_Male> the Major Crimes <Speech_Male> Act and I'm on this now <Speech_Music_Male> I'm talking to <Speech_Music_Male> Pelosi McConnell the <Speech_Male> Major Crimes Act a federal <Speech_Male> law which only applies <Speech_Male> to American Indians <Speech_Male> and it means <Speech_Male> that American Indians who commit <Speech_Male> felonies on reservations <Speech_Male> are prosecuted <Speech_Male> in federal <Speech_Male> not State Court <Speech_Male> they go to the federal <Speech_Male> court system <Speech_Male> they go to federal prisons <Speech_Male> there. There is no parole <Speech_Male> in the federal system <Speech_Male> because <Speech_Male> of the Major Crimes Act <Speech_Male> which applies to one <Speech_Male> group only <Speech_Male> in this country native <Speech_Male> Americans are incarcerated <Speech_Male> at a much <Speech_Music_Male> higher level <Speech_Male> and it's not fair <Speech_Male> in the state court system <Speech_Male> sentences <Speech_Male> are less punitive <Speech_Male> and <Speech_Male> you have probation ovation have <Speech_Male> parole there is <Speech_Male> a law which applies <Speech_Male> only to <Speech_Male> American Indians <Speech_Music_Male> and then when <Speech_Music_Male> my people come back to <Speech_Male> the reservation <Speech_Male> <hes> they can't get jobs <Speech_Male> for the reason that my friend <Speech_Male> David here has said because <Speech_Male> they're felons <Speech_Male> and almost every <Speech_Male> regulation <Speech_Male> on reservation <SpeakerChange> says <Speech_Male> you can't get housing housing <Speech_Music_Male> and you can't get a job if you're <Speech_Music_Male> a convicted felon so <Speech_Male> creates a vicious cycle <Speech_Male> of poverty <Speech_Male> for incarcerated <Speech_Music_Male> people on my <Speech_Male> you know my reservation <Speech_Male> and others <Speech_Male> so the Major Crimes <Speech_Male> Act.
"justice" Discussed on PEN America Works of Justice
"Intra community violence right and no evidence that it improves public safety. Thank you in ten floors amazing. Let's pass the MIC. Take down this way to Beth. Tell US beginning Elevator Alabama yes yes. I'm a journalist and I write about prisons in Alabama. You can imagine what that's like and on my elevator or steps head coach of Alabama Crimson Tide Nick Sabin because I'm convinced if he doesn't get involved in this discussion people in Alabama just are not going to care about prisons so that would be my dream to talk to Nick Saban Zaven about what's happening in our prisons Alabama is I think the worst example in the failure of mass incarceration our prisons are completely overcrowded the most overcrowded in the nation the most violent the Department of Justice just call them cruel and unusual in a system wide investigation that I've been studying and writing about what does that mean for people who are locked up and these kinds of places. Aces it means that they live in constant terror in constant trauma. They are re traumatized over and over again. The system is broken. It is criminal genetic. It makes people all who are already traumatized need help worse. So how do we address these conditions of confinement in a way that's meaningful and sweeping and not just piecemeal through litigation which is how it's been addressed since the beginning of prisons in our country. I think Nick Sabin people like you need to care about this issue because it's all of our issue. It's not just an issue for people that have a loved one. That's incarcerated. It's not just an issue for people that work in the criminal justice system. This is all happening on our dime. We are paying for these tax payer run institutions to commit violence to be indifferent to people suffering and and so all of us have a stake in this and I think people have influenced need to speak out and demand that there be changes made in the system until abolition can be a real reality. We have to address address conditions of confinement moment because I think it is the human rights disaster of our generation happening. <hes> I also would like to tell Nick Sabin that there needs to be more of an even playing field across across the board and the criminal justice system between the prosecution side and the criminal defense side Alabama has no statewide public defender that means after you're convicted and you're in prison unless you're one of the one hundred and eighty people on death row. You are on your own trying to appeal your sentence. There are no resources given to the criminal defense side of law in many states but especially in the state that I live in <hes> but the guys that I talked to that are incarcerated rated that tried to appeal their sentences are working and unairconditioned cluttered law libraries that have typewriters and no copy machines. How do they make copies to send their appeals into the courts? They pay the administration a dollar dollar a page which they don't have or they hustle somebody else that's in the prison that can make the copies for them. So things like that lead to disparate outcomes. It's not about justice and there needs to be a more.
"justice" Discussed on PEN America Works of Justice
"That I mean are you listening to me. Welcome to Housing Works Bookstore. My Name's Rosie. I'm the director of public programs <hes> and I was part of the group who conceived of the series of which this event is the fourth and final installment <hes> a series around the relationship between mass incarceration in writing and literature exploring for many directions and how the two intersect and <hes> tonight we will hear about the efforts that are being done both from a kind of big five corporate level down to very grassroots level level <hes> in terms of making publishing and writing more accessible for folks who have experienced incarceration its shape or form <hes> but before we get started. I'm just GonNa talk tiny bit about housing wax on the bookstore store and how the two are related so can you just raise your hand. If this is the first time you've been to housing works bookstore so we have a couple of New People <hes> the bookstore sells books clearly but the interesting thing about all the books in Harris that they've been donated to us by by individuals and by companies <hes> we get things like you know collections from dead relatives people who are cleaning out the garage is and you know then Mary maybe they watched. Marie Condo said he books is enough. I don't need these other four hundred. That wasn't my experience I couldn't I can pot with them but it was interesting after that program came out that we got a lot of donations nations are clearly spoke to lots of people <hes> so yeah <hes> we raise money to support housing works which is an organization that works with Folks Affected by homelessness and H._I._V. Aids in New York. We've been doing that since the late eighty s originally you're part of act up New York which is a coalition of <hes> organizers and activists responding to the AIDS crisis and since then we've grown into an eight hundred person organization offering housing and Healthcare Grief Counseling Mental Health Care Job Training Dining. We have a reentry program for folks who are coming back into that communities after incarceration. We have a small program where we work with flexible currently incarcerated and many many other things we have a legal department to help people who have experienced H._i._V. Decriminalization or <hes> oppression due to the H._I._V. Status <hes> we also bust our employees out of jail when they've been arrested for civil disobedience which happens a lot <hes> and our President Charles King is oftentimes being arrested <hes> up in Albany <hes> in DC on civil actions against you know basically the oppression due to poverty <hes> which is affecting more people although <hes> the new rates have H._i._V. Infection in New York have plummeted limited in recent years. I think the the new rate of <hes> infections was five thousand so thanks to US and other organizations in New York <hes> where actually winning so that's cool <hes> and you can support us in other words that we do by okay buying books and spending money in the cafe you can volunteer with us. It's really really fun and a nice way to become part of our community. We have fourteen thrift stores across the city and in Queens Brooklyn as well <hes> where we have you know home wise and clothes food and bric-a-brac which is like a wig would but just means the random stuff that you do need and you could donate to those two if you'll moving or if you're just clearing outside yeah follow us on social media and you can keep up with all of events we have <hes> a big social justice series starting in a couple of weeks. The festival of that is a conversation with <hes> folks from various <hes> legal organizations talking about <hes> Progressive Prosecutors Progressives D._a.'s and and <hes> what that actually means in practice and when folks are elected on progressive platforms how we can as a community hold them accountable to those <hes> because I don't know if you've been following but a lot of progressive prosecutors end up not being very progressive so <hes> you know they have a lot of power and they're really big pot of criminal justice reform or transformation do have the power if they are willing to use it to make big steps towards ending mass incarceration so come along to that and yeah thank you for coming this evening so the event is split into three conversations and the first one is going to be moderated by Mitch S Jackson who is an amazing writer and activist and advocate <hes> he's the author of survival math with which just came out and the residue years which won many awards and was critically acclaimed and Mitch is going to be talking to Cathy Belden from script. He's also his editor and has worked with other incarcerated writers formerly incarcerated writers data's and Tim McConnell from up who is the editor of Nico Will Book Cherry so please join me in welcoming these three fantastic humans to the stage big round of applause..
"justice" Discussed on PEN America Works of Justice
"Basically is a crack doc had for couple of decades but right when he was doing that was when the drug wars taking off and Cleveland was really embroiled in the whole like dramatics of the drug war and so I thought that it was really his this chapter it made sense to take like a detour into talking about the drug war nationally but also in Cleveland and how that was playing out across the country similarly in chapter about when I think it's chapter after four when the guys <hes> initially go to jail they're sentenced to death row. They were sentenced to death for this crime initially but at the time there was this whole really dramatic legal fight on a national scale at the Supreme Court about overturning death death penalty statute so I was really fascinated me. I think it's kind of a forgotten now we just assume that we have capital punishment but there was a time in this country where we had this incredible debate about capital punishment where capital punishment statutes were actually being overturned and so I thought it was really fruitful to go on a detour down there and talk about that whole drama and in fact that was eventually why these guys their death sentences were converted to life in prison was because of a Supreme Court decision so I I always knew I had to keep my eye on that may narrative spine but I knew that there was a lot of rich texture there to go elsewhere and there's many many detours I think every chapter was kind of built around what happens with the individual case but but then what was happening around Nationally that sinks in with that first original narrative the title of this book obviously <hes> The references the Kendrick Lamar Ledger you know a classic album good kid is it the pure coincidence the <hes> which you know and so I feel like one of the challenges oftentimes as journalists writing about problems that have existed for a long time is trying to make people I still care trying to make it feel fresh <hes> so in addition to the very contemporary title. How did you go about trying to make this story which began thirty years ago feel fresh today? We'll know the title is exactly why you're you're one hundred percent right. I like wanted to have that Kendrick Lamar reference in the title to plant a flag in the here and now because I was terrified that people would read this story. As old news or you know from a lesson lighten part of our our national history but these are issues that are very much there today and I almost didn't have to do it because as I write in the book you know Wiley Bridgeman and Rickey Jackson walked free after thirty nine years both on November twenty first two thousand fourteen and within twenty four hours Tamir Rice was killed by the Cleveland Police. You know less than a mile or two from where they from adjust center where they walked within twenty four hours. Oh Yeah it was within twenty four hours. Yeah maybe forty eight now. Who's it was that week it was well? He was shot on Saturday. These guys get off Friday. Sean Saturday and to mirror actually died on Sunday so yeah so the symbols of of that of just the confluence of historical events was so powerful to me that it was really clear that these obviously are the issues that were still dealing with today so I almost didn't need to hit over the head too much because I thought that that was really clear and I do think you know what really surprised me. In the book. I was talking more about the way that the war on crime starts with all these federal grants basically supersizing police departments. I didn't know about any of that but just fed into the more into this idea about how this is still what we're untangling. I mean we're we talk about prison reform and in criminal justice reform today what we're talking about is untangling the things that happened in the seventies eighties nineties. That's what we're still dealing with so yeah forgive me if this question gets too deep into the media weeds but but as a fellow former all weekly writer I got you know. The story was born in all weekly <hes> as I read this story. If I didn't know you would have been like this guy wrote for fucking weekly at some point just to kind of the noir blunt very direct stylus stylized elements of it right and obviously today either very few. Maybe half weeklies were when we got started. <hes> what role did your experience at at the scene at Miami New Times Broward New Times at all week was that you worked play in the way you knew dewey thought to write this book. The way knew how to write this book beyond just the obvious that you wrote it out or not weekly what role that experience Plante and how you wrote it. Let's just it. It's a different type of journalism. I think that you know we're really in in danger of losing especially for younger of us. Who you know not everyone can get that prized internship to Harper's or the New York Times or The Washington Post and for me you know all weeklies? It was an avenue that I it was like a world I could actually touch and you know the free license like the the the attitude of creativity of going after the big stories. <hes> Albert knows this but these types of stories criminal justice reporting is really hard to get people especially editors to get interested in for a lot of reasons I mean they're very time intensive and they take a lot of resources houses and take a lot of months and so it's hard to get people editors to green light them but it all weeklies I feel like there's an attitude of very much green lighting it and also you know there's this whole debate now about the objectivity of journalism which is way above my pay grade to get at but I know you you probably had this experience to at all weeklies. You're very much taught that like there are bad guys and you have to take a swing at him and it makes you a better reporter because if you're going to say such and such an Asshole your reporting better be there to say such and such as an asshole and that's well. I think you've seen a lot of generation of reporters. You know yourself included others who are here who have gone on to more mainstream outlets from all weeklies because the reporting and writing is so good and we're definitely losing that like if vied worked at the Cleveland daily the Cleveland daily the Plain dealer I would never have written this story. No one would ever have let me write a five thousand word story about a case from nineteen seventy five you know and that's what we lose when we lose those publications. I think one of the fun little Easter eggs in the book is when you mention how you went from you. Took your talents from Cleveland to Miami around the same time. Lebron did yeah well He. He he blazed the trail but then I went after that was when I was in my like screw Cleveland. No one cares here. I'm moving to Miami. What <hes> so I grew up in San Francisco and then many years later I returned to the city as a reporter for the weekly there S._f.? Weekly what was it like reporting onto city that you knew so well from a different perspective. What new things did you learn about your city? It made me fall in love with it really in a weird way and also get infuriated at it in a weird way. Someone once told me that you it's special experience reporting on your hometown right. I think you'd probably find that as well because this place that you thought you knew his all of a sudden been made completely new to you and economists you I know for me at least it. It made me feel a little complicit in what was happening downtown and was happening in the neighborhoods in the black communities because I hadn't been so aware of growing up and I felt that you know my ignorance of that stupidity was complicity and keeping keeping it going so that was another kind of check to it and there's a I start the book off of this Rebecca solnit quote that I think really sums it up very well so really kind of opens your eyes. I think in a new way and makes it a new place so I think we're ready to open it up to questions because I'm out of good ones <hes> also before I forget everyone should watch the today show tomorrow morning right the Kyle's going to be on it. We'll be on the days ing unless something happens. I'm going to try to not get kyle to dry tonight. Wake up tomorrow who ask questions yeah and the project very involved. Eventually this earth was found to be innocent lease India and that brings my donald trump. He still thinks they did it in D._N._A.. Me There's this I can't. I'M NOT COMING ABOUT DONALD TRUMP but there is a whole is actually a psychological phenomenon. That's really written about by a lot of people in the innocence movement called Tunnel Vision which is really and it happens. It's on. It's hard to conceptualize as you think because it's just this refusal to admit that you're wrong about something might happen in your daily life with your spouse or whatnot. You refused to say no no no. This is the fastest way to the grocery store now. It's this way it's like no mine was still fast but you know like you can see the seeds of that type of psychology and and particularly when you're dealing with matters of life and death and prosecutors and police you can understand why they would just be so hooked into their yes. I was right. This guy was wrong. I can't be right and it's actually really shocking to hear like you said when D._N._A.. Science says we were actually wrong. Many of these officials in people who are paid by the state still will maintain in this weird bizarro world that they are right and something's wrong with the science chance. I don't know what the cure to that is but that's a very that's a phenomenon that's been written about among the innocence movement very very much was cruelly is twitter. I mean mostly. Thanks for that because that's good perspective for sure I think Mo- where I see the most resistance is among prosecutors because the prosecutors offers you know the police build a case and then the prosecutor in a way is supposed to be an arbiter of that case whether enough is enough evidence to bring us the trial technically legally legally speaking enough evidence and so you see it way more with prosecutors. I think that they're more. More resistant to admitting errors right the Earl.
"justice" Discussed on PEN America Works of Justice
"And so they would look at the Paper Cup the Paper Cup as I said was gone and according to people at the innocence project was after reading my reporting about the witness in this case this little boy whose name was Ed Vernon that was when they decided that they really needed to focus on the testimony that the DNA in this was not and it's a really big gamble because courts don't like witnesses who come back back decades later days later and say I lied in court because the judicial standpoint is that will look how you trustworthy I mean you see it was Michael Cohen Today. I mean like you know they're saying you're you said you lied then and now you're saying you're telling the truth. How can we believe you now? In the courts are very very strong on that point that they don't like witness recantations but I felt in my reporting and in the innocence project the Ohio Innocence Project came to see that that was the only area of sunlight in this case. I was the only place where there was any room for trying to get these guys out. I think so rick Jackson's wounded three men who were wrongfully convicted here thirty nine years thirty Rickey Jackson when they were finally exonerated generated he had been incarcerated for thirty nine years continuously that was at the time the longest wrongful conviction in U._S. history. What's what failed here in the system? How did it feel so badly? What happened well? It's impossible to talk about this without talking about race. I mean these were three young black guys in Cleveland in nineteen seventy five. Every police officer who worked on this case was white. The prosecutor's office was white. The judges were all white. The juries were majority white. I mean race was is a huge factor. You're also talking about Cleveland had been embroiled in a lot of racial conflict like many American cities. There'd been a race riot. There had been a very famous shootout which I talk about in the book called the Glenville shootout which a lot the people kind of forgotten about but it was in one thousand nine hundred sixty eight a group of black militants opened fire on a bunch of Cleveland Police officers in a neighborhood called Glenville in Cleveland and this was before the Black Panthers were kind of had a national reputation Asian and so if you're a white moderate sitting at home watching T._V.. What you're seeing is opened armed racial warfare breaking out in American city which had never happened before during the civil rights era and so that really raised used a curtain on a new era the civil rights movement particularly in Cleveland heightened the relationship and the animosity between the police department and the African American community and so that was in sixty eight th you're talking about seven years years later? These guys are sucked into the criminal justice system still very much in everybody's mind. It's still very much in play speaking of white people in the role. They played in the story. You're a white person as far as I know <hes> boy you're reading about three black people into story that is very kind of racially fraught. What sort of considerations did you take? <hes> what would that like. How did you kind of make sure you didn't cross any lines anything wrong doing anything problematic? What was that process like for you? And how do you make sure you got it right now. I mean that's a great question and it's important. It's an important question to consider and I'll answer it with the story. So when I first met Ronnie when I first met Cuomo the guy who I met in two thousand eleven and he told me the story with the big box documents excited I did believe him but probably maybe like one percent or maybe five percent of me held back from fully believing him at the time and that was because I felt that the criminal justice I felt that the criminal justice system couldn't really convict innocent people and then have them sit in jail for decades and decades. I felt that there had to be these safety nets or guardrails within the system that if someone was actually wrongfully convicted you know within a certain amount of time the appeals process would flag them and they'd get out and that was so stupid of me to think that and very quickly I realized. How stupid that was as I was reporting the story and very quickly I realized that the only reason I had thought that was because I was white suburban middle class and I had never come into contact with the wrong end of the criminal justice system before so that really kind of shook me in a way about how I approach these stories about telling stories about communities different than mine and I realize that you kind of have to check your perspective at every step of the way so I hoped writing the book that I did that and I was at least mindful and I there's a great book by William Finnegan From The New Yorker? I think it's called Dino's book cold new world or yeah. It's a great book but and again another White New Yorker writer WHO's writing about dot com low income communities of color mostly and he what I love about that book is he interrogates his own perspective at every step of the way within the book and I thought that I had to like interrogate myself and my own perspectives in the same way and I hope nope eventually that that did it in a way that was respectful to the stories what I think one of the most beautiful aspects of this book I think is is not just in a literary sense but kind of in a repertory oriole fence was that you don't just kind of present this as an isolated systemic problem you frame it within this tapestry of institutional failures across the city where does the criminal justice the system and and the things that it did to black resident of Cleveland fit into that wider picture of institutions in Cleveland well I mean I think that we incorrectly look at wrongful. Conviction stories all probably know about you've probably seen keenum on T._v. and like the six o'clock news or C._N._N.. or it's like such and such has gotten out of jail after X. number of years and people say oh what's the first meal you're gonna eat or what you know what's changed the most in the five seconds that you've been free these really shallow way that we approach wrongful conviction and it goes even beyond that I think that most of the narratives we reach for when we talk about wrongful conviction we tend to focus very specifically on individual cases. We say this person because of have you know a pile of bad luck or circumstance was sent away for something they didn't do but we don't look at them systemically and we really don't consider them in the broader kind of in a wonky way of philosophical asaf away as a wrongful conviction representing really the the most biggest perversion of our values as a country for a country that supposedly ruled by law so I really felt that I wanted to expand it. I knew that this story Tori I knew that there are many ways to look at this beyond this and it got very very specific. I mean in terms of like the city of Cleveland but this one for a lot of American cities you're talking about a time in the early nineteen seventies when the federal government in reaction to the riots in the civil disobedience of the sixties around the civil rights movement. The Federal Government has dumping millions of dollars in federal grants on local police departments that just basically escalating you know what we now call the war on crime and that was all fed by the the federal government and in particular in Cleveland after I talked about the Glenville shootout I mean now they're sitting on a pile of federal money that they can use and of course that really rolls right into the drug war really rolls into what we now call at the age of incarceration which these are still the things that we're trying to untangle today. There are three main characters this book obviously <hes> as a writer I just kept thinking how challenging would have been to sit down and be like three main characters who all went through the exact same thing. What how did you figure out how to balance them as characters without being repetitive while still giving all of them there do? How did you kind of go through that now? That's a great. That's a great great question yeah so I decided that especially early on I would give each guy his own chapter so the first chapter after the prologue is very much sunk into kwami genre or slash Wiley Bridgeman at the time his perspective perspective a later chapter gives you Ricky Jackson's perspective later chapter gives you Wiley Bridgeman perspective and I really tried to sink each chapter into a particular perspective of someone who I was talking about. It didn't like obviously when you conceptualize stuff in the head you think at all you'll pull it off seamlessly and it wasn't so don't think every chapter has specific perspective because sometimes they get mixed up but you know I knew that there was a chapter yeah I wanted to do about at Vernon and from Ed Vernon's perspective I knew like I hate writing in the first person but I knew that I had to write my own way in the story and so I knew that there would be chapters or two from my perspective so I just tried to find that kind of anchor point for every chapter and hope that it kind of lead things along but like I mentioned the football analogy that kind of guiding thing in my head is that everybody in a way move the story forward narrative LII A and it was just who is who was I gonna WHO's GonNa be my person in each chapter to move it forward. This is a book about wrongful conviction though right on the front <hes> so as soon as you open the book. You know what's going to happen at the end. How how did you maintain the narrative dramatic tension? What was your kind of method going into that your mindset going into that knowing that as soon as you cracked a book open and you know what's going to happen at the end? How did you write it to keep the reader going? Why just knew that there were so many dramatic of you know if if the central narrative guys didn't do it guys get out of jail if that was essential narrative love I knew that there were so many like byways that I could go off they were super interesting historically and from from a real big picture perspective for an example do one chapter about Ed Vernon? Who is the witness in this case the guy who testified and all the trials and sent these guys these innocent men to jail so in the chapter about him? I talk about how after he had done this as you got older you know he became a really bad crack cocaine addict and lived on the streets Cleveland..
"justice" Discussed on PEN America Works of Justice
"Or you know bio three. I guess go crazy. I'm GONNA bring up to the stage and I'll cates. He's going to talk a little bit hopefully like with more enthusiasm spirit than me about the pen prison justice writing program and on Robbie's coming to yes great. Please give a big round of applause folkets roby. Thanks Rosie. I'm thrilled to see such a good turnout for this event. Give yourselves around of applause for giving a shit. That's not it's. It's a difficult topic so I know it's hard to have enthusiasm. We're talking about difficult things. My name is Kate's Meissner. Thanks for the INTRO Rosie. I'm the program director of the prison injustice writing program at Penn America America. I'm Robert Pollock the prison writing program coordinator at Penn America. We have long titles a pen America. If you don't know where Red Round the corner so we love that we get to do this with our neighbor housing works with Rosie's vision as well <hes> we're an organization at the intersection of human rights literature and freedom of speech. Our program has been in existence for four decades. I'm really proud to say <hes> we send actually I'll let Robbie talk a little bit about the prison writing program and then I'll pass back for the justice justice aspect of our work sure <hes> our program was founded in the wake of the Attica uprising <hes> writers that <hes> decided to do something about the conditions inside prison especially regarding education nation in having voices be heard they started the prison writing program in which they provide mentor ship with prison writers who are writing and fiction nonfiction drama memoir and they engage in letters back and forthwith prisoners all over the country. It's one of the longest running programs of this type. We'll have an annual contest where prisoners can submit their work and get it published. Nationally recognized in some cases led to people on death row being thing off death row in some other sad cases people who've won have never received their congratulations letters because they were executed so this is the kind of the gravity that we deal with <hes> in order to honor of the work of the men and women that submit to us we attempt to treat their work as if they are writers and not just incarcerated or prison writers they're. They're people who write who happen to be in prison. <hes> we have a book. That's over on the table. It's also up in a racks here. It's an anthology of the award winning work from last year. We're really proud of it. It's a collaborative work between artists and illustrators on the outside and the writers on the inside who've Kinda poured their hearts out in these winning pieces and they're honorable mentions and there were very happy to be working on a new one with this year's upcoming winners to be announced. That's we also provide a handbook for the writers in prison. I have to mention that we're very proud of that. It's distributed nationally. We send out about five hundred a month to beginning writers who are like. How do I write a sonnet? You know this is how you do it in the book <hes> but we're very glad you're all here here. Thank you and lastly we we also have a brand new writing for justice fellowship it opens April first of their any writers in the audience for next year we award pretty major Aram's between five and ten thousand dollars commissioning writers emerging and established rush to create projects that are illuminating critical issues connected to mass incarceration such as tonight's work not a fellow of our program but in the same vein so in that on that note we're trying to do more advocacy more events more being in the national conversation about ending mass incarceration and we're very proud to be partnering on this event and I know you're really ready to hear a Kyle Vian conversation about his book so I think we can probably turn it over to our guests in <hes> doing tonight. Thanks for coming out. Thanks for coming out. I'm Albert a reporter Buzzfeed says Kyle. He's a reporter at the Washington Post. He just wrote this great book. <hes> which I'm so excited to talk about and honored to be here <hes> I remember when when I first heard <hes> when Rickey Jackson I got exonerated a few years ago <hes> I think that might have been before we even met in person so yeah I think it was before but but kyle birth we both Kinda came up in the all weekly theme nutrisystem knew of each other had like editors and common <hes> and I remember when I heard about that and I had read Kyle's original story in the Cleveland scene about that case <hes> I I just remember thinking like this is this is why we do. This is why we do journalism is to there's no greater impact than bringing freedom to somebody who otherwise would not have freedom right so that being said you know I've been a criminal justice reporter. You've been a criminal justice reporter. <hes> if you guys haven't been criminal justice reporters part of the job is getting a bunch of letters and and folders and files from people in prison who tell you who tried to convince you that they're innocent so that you will read about this case. I assume you probably got a lot yes as well. What was it about this one that made you pick it up and decide like this is worth pursuing disguise might actually be innocent now? It's a great question because I actually remember and I was working at the Cleveland scene. which is an alternative weekly like Albert mentioned you know similar to the village voice I guess in style or village voice our I._p.? In style in in length and tone in the type of articles they did but I remember when I first started working there I would open up a desk an old deaths drawer and just find tons of prison letters and I write about this in the book that it just seemed for years. He's just piled up because they are very difficult and they are easy also to ignore Oren fortunately for a lot of reporters this particular case in two thousand eleven. I was approached through an attorney. I knew who I'd worked with. Some other stuff kind of famous Cleveland Civil Rights Attorney named Terry Gilbert who came to me and said I've got this case this guy. He says he's he didn't do it. You know the rest but I think there might be actually something there would you be. I can't do anything legally as a lawyer because the cases and at that point yet would you be interested in working on it and I'm Marie said it could take a lot of work but there might be something there and I was like yeah the guy call me and I hit send on that email and within probably fifteen minutes. I got a phone call from a guy named Columbia Jammu who told me one thousand nine hundred seventy five he his brother and his best friend had been wrongfully convicted of a robbery and murder and it was all on the basis of the testimony of a twelve year old boy and it sounded and remarkable agreed to meet with him and honestly one of the first things that made me believe him when we actually sat down and got together as he had this big box documents which if you're not a criminal justice reporter you probably don't know but that makes our hearts flutter ladder because that shows that there's actually something here you know there's actual legal documentation to the story and when I had that first meeting with Columbia Jammu he just kind of also exuded a lot of credibility to to me because he wasn't trying to convince me. He wasn't desperate that I believed him. He was basically like look. This is what happened at the time he had pulled out and he had gotten married he had a job. He owned a house so his life had moved on but he has his brother and his best friend. We're still incarcerated for this crime that he said they didn't commit and I. I thought that the fact that he wasn't trying to sell me on. It was really really pointed to his credibility. This is just what happened. I could take it or leave it or believe it or not <hes> so so those are kind of weird factors that went into my head when I was thinking about it when we first met a any reporter direct about anything you're right the story expecting it's going to change the world and lead to all these changes when people see the reporting you've done in the injustice you've exposed but usually like ninety percent of the time that doesn't lead to anything. Nobody really cares what you're ever a point in the reporting process where you you got the sense that. This could actually lead to something really big and if so at what point that had happened I report on this case in two thousand eleven. I learned very quickly through the reporting that these guys were innocent and the reason was because I compared the witness testimony eh there were three separate trials in this case and I compared the witnesses testimony in each trial and it was all over the place and in some places it was physically impossible. What this guy with this boy had said it happened on top of that I had found witnesses who had actually been with the guy my guys when they were supposedly committing this crime so alibi witnesses what we'd say in the court and then I had found a guy who actually saw the murder happen who knew these guys in the neighborhood and knew it wasn't them doing it so like from a journalistic point of view? I thought I was I had it made. I thought this thing was bulletproof and the no you're totally right. Though the story came out in two thousand eleven and absolutely nothing happened it was crickets and I felt actually pretty fairly devastated because it wasn't about me it was I had gotten really close to Kwami Shamu the guy who had been out who I've been working on the story with and I just felt that maybe either I I wasn't good journalist or journalism wasn't good enough to kind of crack the apathy that has created over a lot of people's feelings on these issues so I went on thinking that you know I'd give it my best shot I couldn't do it and I didn't know what else would work. In this case unbeknownst to me. The Ohio Innocence Project had read my reporting had taken up the case as I say I describe it as I carried the football as far as I could down the field and then they had to pick it up and take it the rest of the way wh- where were you when you found out the exoneration. It's going to happen what you remember about that moment. That was crazy because I had you know I was feeling all down on myself and stuff. I'm a bad reporter journalism socks and really you know I wasn't going to pay the bills by doing that as a reporter so I actually took it out on the city and I was like fuck Cleveland like everyone here sucks they don't recognize great journalism when they see it. No no but I did get really sour on the town. I eventually moved to Miami Beach to take a job at the weekly in Miami the Miami new times and just out of the blue one day. I got a phone call from the Ohio Innocence Project in early two thousand fourteen gene and they said you know buckle your safety belt basically because the witness in this case has recanted filing on this case and at that point I got the call Kwami who I had become very very close with and deliver that news and it was kind of great honor of my life to be able to deliver that message but really nothing was nothing was for sure at that point either because even if you have a witness who can't the testimony from a case at this point decades old. There's there's no there's no shirty that that case will still be overturned and this case <hes> did not involve D._N._A.. Evidence which which as mentioned in the book the overwhelming majority of cases is that are exonerated that the innocent projects even even takes on are ones that have d._N._A.. Evidence because you can't turn away from science threats ladies or what was it about this case that one <hes> led the innocence project to pick it up despite the lack of evidence evidence and to what evidence emerged that was able to lead to the exonerations despite the lack of DNA well. That's a great point and I think that's actually appoint worth repeating is that because the innocence movement which was founded here in New York. It was very focused on d._N._A.. For a lot of good reasons because like you said you can't argue with DNA so if you're trying to convince a criminal justice system that this criminal justice system convicts wrong innocent people you need to have that bulletproof scientific evidence to be able to say see you're getting this wrong so a lot of innocence projects that have grown around the country have been very much geared towards DNA in the Ohio. Innocence project was not alone among that they most of their cases were D._N._A.. Based but they also took Nana cases but I think you know they had a file on this case before I was ever involved and they were focused on d._N._A.. Aspects of this case which were incredibly small and really insignificant part of this case there was a I mentioned it was a robbery homicide. It was a money order salesman who was shot. He was doused with acid and shot leaving a convenience store and there was a paper Cup that had the acid in it and so the Paper Cup disappeared disappear like right away like that shit was in a garbage can probably like a week later but the innocence project was very convinced that they need to work on the D._N._A...