Two joints, 13 years

The Drug Policy Alliance is filing an amicus brief, petitioning the Louisiana Supreme Court to stop this madness. [The are] urging the Louisiana Supreme Court to review the egregious prison sentence of Bernard Noble, a 48-year old man who was sentenced to 13.3 years of hard labor in prison without the opportunity for parole for possessing… Continue Reading →

Ha ha

endorse rand

Poor Rand. He’s not ready for prime time:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul launched his presidential campaign Tuesday complete with a page to endorse the new presidential candidate.

The endorsements are then presented on a map of the United States.

The people on the endorsement map, however, appear to be stock images from a Italian photographer Andrea Piacquadio who goes by the name Olly or Ollyy on stock image sites,and according to his Shutterstock page, is based in Germany.

Indictments near?

Chris Christie - Cluck Cluck

The Times says soon:

It has been falsely predicted many times in the last year, but now it seems to be true: The federal investigation into the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge appears to be coming to a head, with an announcement of indictments as early as next week.

In recent weeks, people close to the case say, federal investigators have interviewed members of the Borough Council in Fort Lee, N.J., the town gridlocked when its three lanes accessing the bridge were narrowed to one for several days in September 2013 — a move at first bewildering, and later revealed to be the result of orders from aides and allies of Gov. Chris Christie.

The interviews were said to be largely perfunctory, the kind of t-crossing that investigators would do before wrapping up.

Subpoenas have made it clear that the inquiry has gone beyond the lane closings to include possible conflicts of interest and bribery. But the United States attorney for New Jersey, Paul J. Fishman, has said little about it, beyond that any news reports purporting to say what he was doing were “most likely wrong.”

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Shooting witness: Cop had control of the situation

This was a very powerful interview:

The bystander who recorded a South Carolina officer fatally shooting an unarmed black man eight times said the cop had control of the situation before he pulled out his gun.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, the witness, Feidin Santana, said he could hear North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager deploying his Taser on Walter Scott when he pulled out his camera phone. He said the two were on the ground before he started filming.

“I remember the police had control of the situation,” Santana said during the interview (above). “You can hear the sound of a Taser… I believe [Scott] was just trying to get away from the Taser.”

Slager was arrested Tuesday and charged with murder after the shooting, which occurred during a traffic stop on Saturday. Slager was charged only after the video was released, and the footage pulled the officer’s own account of the incident into question.

Audio of Slager’s call to dispatch was released today, and there are clear discrepanciesbetween that audio and Santana’s footage. Slager said he felt threatened because Scott allegedly reached for his Taser. Video evidences shows Slager dropping an object near Scott’s body after the shooting.

Santana has reportedly said he waited to release the footage to see how Slager would report his actions.

Driving while poor

Evesham Township Municipal Court

See, it’s not just Ferguson. This is a pattern all over the country:

In California, a driver who commits offenses as minor as driving without a seatbelt or littering faces a $490 fine, according to a new report by a coalition of civil rights groups, entitled “Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California.” Worse, if the driver, who may not be able to afford to pay such a fine, does not pay it off quickly enough or fails to appear in court, the consequence is a suspended license – a consequence that prevents them from driving to work to earn the money they need to pay off their fine. The result is a Catch-22, where the only way to raise the money to gain back their license to drive is to drive without a license and risk even more fines for doing so.

This predicament mirrors law enforcement practices in Ferguson that were exposed by the Department of Justice in March. Before the DOJ revealed patterns of egregious racial profiling and discrimination in the city, a group of civil rights attorneys filed a lawsuit claiming municipal courts in Ferguson were arresting and jailing an alarming number of people for unpaid traffic violations and other minor offenses. In 2013 alone, 33,000 arrest warrants were issued for Ferguson residents and people living in nearby counties, as courts raked in $2.6 million. But before the lawsuit was filed, most people weren’t aware of the egregious amounts of debt incurred from court fees each year.

Sadly, Ferguson isn’t the only place in America with a court system that thrives off of poor people’s debts. In California, four million people possess suspended licenses for failing to pay traffic citations — many of which have nothing to do with driving — and are subsequently thrust into a hole of debt they cannot climb out of.

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