Archive for June, 2012

The White House Boys were abused juvenile inmates at the now-closed North Florida Youth Development Center, that was run by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. The ‘school’ closed last year, after running for 111 years, and the surviving White House Boys are now calling for a stop to child abuse.

On the campus was a building called The White House because of its color, where boys were placed in leg irons, beaten, raped, abused and tortured. Guards administered beatings with a three-foot leather and metal strap, and the beatings were often so severe that the boys’ underwear would become embedded into the skin and surgery was required to remove it. Here is a re-enactment video produced by Roger Dean Kiser and others:
This video contains graphic content.

Child advocate and author of The White House Boys: An American Tragedy, Roger Dean Kiser, established an activism/memorial website called thewhitehouseboys.com. Some of the surviving White House Boys traveled to Washington on June 22, to speak and rally in support of a bill to end United States corporal punishment in schools.

The trip did not go well. The speeches got no media coverage. The men are disheartened, and Mr. Kiser states that he is “not sure where to go from here.”

Here are Roger Dean Kiser’s speeches, delivered in Washington on June 21 and 22, 2012, and reprinted with permission.

THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I DID NOT LIKE MY COUNTRY
by Roger Dean Kiser
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note- I did not create these videos. They were uploaded to YouTube by LLMPapa. I found the analysis interesting. If you see a “web page not available” error message or a blank or black screen on any of the videos, please refresh the page. If you wish to view or join an ongoing discussion about the forensics and legal aspects of the case, please go here.





A photo of Richard Carmona, wearing his uniform and medals.

Photo: Tim NH / Flickr

On Monday, Dr. Richard Carmona, the 17th Surgeon General of the United States, released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling on SB 1070:

For decades, politicians in Washington have talked about this problem, but nothing ever gets done and Arizonans continue to shoulder the burden of a broken immigration system. SB 1070 is a product of the federal government’s failure to act. Today’s ruling does not help us secure the border, and it does not provide a solution for the 400,000 undocumented people living in Arizona.”

“As a deputy sheriff of a border county, I’ve witnessed first hand the human cost of not having a workable solution. I’ve seen the results of the violence and drugs, and I know the terrible toll that has taken on our community. But SB 1070 doesn’t help local law enforcement fix the problem. It’s a distraction that hinders our ability to build trust with the communities we serve.

SB 1070, also called Arizona SB 1070, requires anyone in the country (over age 14) for more than 30 days to register with the US government and carry papers at all times. Not having documents is a misdemeanor crime. More importantly, the new law “requires that state law enforcement officers attempt to determine an individual’s immigration status during a “lawful stop, detention or arrest”, or during a “lawful contact” not specific to any activity[9] when there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal immigrant.[10]” Dr. Carmona, who is critical of the new law, further states:

Our immigration problems are complex, but the solutions are simple: secure the border, develop a pathway to earn legal status and enact the DREAM Act. Leadership on this issue takes courage, but it also requires politicians to stop using immigration as a wedge issue to score political points.

It wasn’t long ago that two diametrically opposed leaders — President George W. Bush and the late Senator Ted Kennedy — came together to try to solve the problem. There was even a time when Senator John McCain and Congressman Jeff Flake favored a comprehensive approach that was practical and fair. It’s going to take a more honest debate and the political will to get it done – and that’s what’s been missing in Washington.

As a Hispanic who has served his border community for many years as both a doctor and as a Deputy Sheriff, Dr. Carmona offers both unique perspective and experience regarding Arizona’s immigration issues.

Dr. Carmona is a trauma surgeon, police officer, public health administrator, and politician. He is of Puerto Rican descent, and comes from humble beginnings; he was raised in Harlem, where he dropped out of high school at age 16 to join the US Army, where he earned his GED. He joined the US Army Combat Special Forces and began his medical career as a combat medic. After leaving the service as a decorated veteran, Carmona attended nursing school at a community college in The Bronx, and then college and medical school at UCSF in San Francisco. He further earned his Masters in Public Health in 1998 from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Dr. Carmona is a Tucson resident, where he was an attending physician and trauma director of a trauma program at Tucson Medical Center in the early 1990s, and where he enjoyed teaching the resident physicians.

Dr. Carmona left his position as the 17th Surgeon General under the Bush administration, and many applauded him for taking a stand by testifying and stating as follows:

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by Frederick Leatherman
Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog.

note: To join the discussion(s) about the Zimmerman case, please follow the link above to the law blog.

Good morning, everyone. Yesterday was my birthday, so I took a little time off from blogging and did not post a new article or do a very good job of responding to many of your excellent comments. Y’all have a great discussion going on.

Commenter JD has asked what effect will all of GZ’s inconsistent statements and lies have on a jury, assuming this case goes to trial?

Put another way, just because he’s a liar, does that also mean he’s a murderer?

In this article, I propose that the answer to the question is, it depends on what he lied about and why he lied he about it.

Okay, for the sake of argument, let us suppose that y’all are members of the jury that will decide this case.

Let’s keep it simple today and just focus on GZ’s self-defense claim.

First, let’s start with some standard jury instructions.

The defendant has admitted to killing TM so that is an established fact.

The defendant claims he killed TM in self-defense and you are to presume that he did unless you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not kill in self-defense.

The defendant has no burden to prove he acted in self-defense. Since you must presume that he acted in self-defense, he has no burden to produce any evidence.

A reasonable doubt is a doubt for which a reason exists and it may arise from the evidence or lack of evidence. It is such a doubt as would exist in the mind of a reasonable person after fully and carefully considering all of the evidence or lack of evidence.

Evidence may be direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence is evidence that is perceived through the senses. Circumstantial evidence is evidence of a chain of circumstances that, according to knowledge and common experience, lead to a conclusion. One is not necessarily better or more reliable than the other. As members of the jury, it is for you to decide how much weight to give to any evidence admitted in this case.

A person may use deadly force in self-defense, if he reasonably believes that

a. he is imminent danger of being killed or suffering grievous bodily injury and

b. the amount of force he uses to defend himself is reasonably necessary to prevent being killed or suffering grievous bodily injury.

An aggressor cannot claim self-defense.

Okay, now some evidence with which to work.

The prosecution will be able to introduce during it’s case in chief some, none or all of the statements GZ made. This means that before he ever takes the stand, assuming he chooses to testify on his own behalf, the prosecution will have introduced all of his statements to the police, including his conversation with the dispatcher.

Recall that the dispatcher told him not to follow TM and, as a student in his last semester of Criminology, he was taught that an aggressor cannot claim self-defense.

The prosecution also will have introduced evidence that he had been advised that a neighborhood watch person is limited to watching the neighborhood and calling the police to report crimes and suspicious activity. He was specifically instructed not to contact or attempt to detain a suspect because that is a job for the police to handle.

Assume the autopsy report has been admitted and the Assistant ME who performed it testified that the muzzle of the gun was 2 to 4 inches away from TM when GZ fired the fatal shot. The bullet entered TM’s chest 1″ to the left of the midline and 1/4 inch below the nipple and penetrated the chest cavity proceeding straight through from front to back destroying the right ventricle of the heart, the lower lobe of the right lung, and collapsed both lungs.

Assume the rest of the evidence that has been released and y’all have discussed has been admitted.

The prosecution will argue that, given the nature of what he knew at the time and the lies he told, there is no question that he lied to conceal that he followed TM with intent to find him after he lost sight of him and detain him, using force if necessary, until the police arrived.

“These assholes, they always get away,” likely will repeated over and over at every opportunity by the prosecution, particularly in closing argument.

The defense will argue that there is a reasonable doubt in this case, given the nature of GZ’s injuries that show TM was the aggressor, not GZ.

Now assume you are a juror. Are you going to have a reasonable doubt (i.e., a doubt for which a reason exists) that he killed in self-defense?

Come on in, the water is fine.

By the way, please suggest any topics on this case that you would like me to write about.

note- hat tip to the editors at Firedoglake/MyFDL for providing the image for this post.

On June 18, 2012, ADX-Florence supermax inmate plaintiffs Michael Bacote, Harold Cunningham, John W. Narducci, Jr., Jeremy Pinson, and Ernest Norman Shaifer, filed a lawsuit against six prison officials and the Bureau of Prisons, “seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) to comply with its existing policies regarding the treatment of mentally ill prisoners, and with the requirements of the Eighth Amendment regarding medical treatment for United States citizens and others who have been committed to its custody.”

A photo of Florence-ADX Supermax prison behind massive fences.

ADX-Florence Supermax Prison (Photo: US Bureau of Prisons / Wikimedia Commons).

There are six levels of security in the Federal prison system. While many of these prisons have “Special Housing Units (SHUs) that are in effect jails within the walls of the prison (ie the SHU in Pelican Bay), in the case of ADX-Florence, the entire prison is a supermax detention facility. ADX Florence is the only Level Six prison in the country, and for this reason, it is often called “The Alcatraz of the Rockies.” However, Florence is in some ways worse, because at least Alcatraz had bars, whereas ADX- Florence is nothing but concrete and steel, which compounds the mentally crippling sensory deprivation treatment. In other words, some would argue that the conditions on death row are better than the conditions in supermax.

ADX Florence currently houses approximately 450 men. These men were not ordered to supermax by any jury, team of psychiatrists, doctors or judges. They were placed there due to decisions on the part of BOP staff, and sometimes the decisions are on a whim and totally without regard to the inmate’s mental illness. The detention length is beyond what would pass for a brief stay to correct a bad inmate behavior and can extend into many months or even years.

5. The BOP’s deliberate indifference to the proper diagnosis and treatment of ADX prisoners with serious mental illnesses has resulted in horrible consequences. Many prisoners at ADX interminably wail, scream, and bang on the walls of their cells. Some mutilate their bodies with razors, shards of glass, sharpened chicken bones, writing utensils, and whatever other objects they can obtain. A number swallow razor blades, nail clippers, parts of radios and
televisions, broken glass, and other dangerous objects. Others carry on delusional conversations with voices they hear in their heads, oblivious to reality and to the danger that such behavior might pose to themselves and anyone who interacts with them. Still others spread feces and other human waste and body fluids throughout their cells, throw it at the correctional staff and otherwise create health hazards at ADX. Suicide attempts are common; many have been successful.

Michael Bacote has a history of mental illness that is compounded by his prolonged detention in ADX. He:

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by Frederick Leatherman

Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog

I have suspected all along that Trayvon Martin’s cell phone would turn out to be the smoking gun in the Zimmerman case and I offer the following evidence for consideration and comment.

At the 4:47 mark during Detective Serino’s interview of George Zimmerman, after Zimmerman admits that he shot Trayvon Martin with a hollow point bullet, Zimmerman suddenly volunteers,

When he was hitting me, I don’t know what he was hitting me with. I thought he had something in his hands, so I grabbed his hands when I was on top of him and I spread his hands away from his body because he was still talking and I was on top of him. And that’s when somebody came and they had a flashlight too and I thought it was a police officer, so I got off him.

In addition to claiming that Trayvon had banged his head against pavement, Zimmerman also told the EMT at the crime scene, when the EMT was cleaning his wounds with peroxide, that he had been struck with an unknown blunt instrument.

The report concludes:

Cause of injury: Struck by blunt/thrown object (9640) Mechanism of Injury: Blunt.

We know that Trayvon Martin was not armed and the police recovered only one thing near Trayvon’s body that could have served as a blunt instrument: His cell phone, which was lying in the grass next to his body.

The cell phone is Exhibit DMS 7.

The police submitted Exhibit DMS 7 to the Crime Lab with a request for a latent print examination. See Lab Report dated March 12, 2012 (see page 119)

The results:

No latent print examinations were performed per information received from Special Agent Supervisor David Lee.

Exhibit DMS-7 was returned to the agency.

The use of fingerprint powder to dust an object for possible prints (the fine powder adheres to the oil ridges left by the print making it possible to see the print and “lift” it from the object using special tape) can interfere with a DNA analysis and make it impossible to obtain a result. For this reason, one must always do a DNA analysis first.

According to Trayvon’s girlfriend, just before the connection terminated, she heard Trayvon ask,

Why are you following me?

Then she heard a male voice respond,

What are you doing here?

Then she heard what sounded like Trayvon’s headset being yanked out of the phone.

She tried calling him back, but he never answered.

I suspect the phone was resubmitted to the DNA lab for analysis, and if it was not submitted, it should be because it may have George Zimmerman’s DNA on it.

I don’t know about y’all, but I do not believe Trayvon would have confronted George Zimmerman while he was talking to his girlfriend and suddenly started wailing on Zimmerman with his cell phone.

I can easily imagine, however, Trayvon hitting Zimmerman in self-defense with the cell phone because he had it in his hand and it was the only thing he had to use as a weapon when Zimmerman attacked him.

Do y’all think that the prosecutors know they have the trump card and they have not released the lab report to prove it because they want to hold it back as long as possible?

I want to see that report.

This artistic piece by Dustin Farrell, is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.


Here is the direct link,
for more information.

One Room School House - Cochran, GA
image by James Davidson on flickr.

This is a story from the Great Depression, as told by Letty Owings, age 87. It is a true account of country school and community.

In rural Missouri during the Great Depression of the 1930s, each elementary school was different. Rather than fit into any pattern, the one-house schools were community governed, and each community had a social stratification. Mine was a mining-farming community, and the farmers lorded it over the miners, even though, in some cases, the miners made more money.

There was supposed to be a county school superintendent, but there was never any factual supervision because the superintendent only visited maybe once a year. Each community had its own clerk, and the school board, which consisted of a half a dozen farmers, decided who was hired in the schools.

The school was supposed to be in session for eight months, but this never happened, because the kids were needed on the farm to work. Usually the school session ended in April, and kids would begin farm work at sunrise.

The school had no electricity, plumbing, or central heat. There was a coal stove in the floor, and if you got too close to it, you roasted. If you got too far, you froze. There were 42-46 kids in the class at any given time, often sharing seats. The room smelled. Impetigo and bronchitis were common and chronic. Kids had sores and coughed all the time. We all shared one dipper, in a cistern. The toilet was an outhouse that was built when the school was built. We sometimes had a Sears Catalog to use in the toilet, but often not. The toilet was never cleaned, because there was no real way to get water to it.

We were not grossly unhappy as school kids. We didn’t know anything else. We did not see ourselves as different compared to others. There was nothing to compare to. There was no radio, TV or newspaper. Nobody ever thought about poverty. It may seem unbelievable to us today, but back then, we never saw anything else. We were six miles from the closest paved road.

It was a stratified society with the miners at the bottom. The miners were often known to drink and beat their wives, but they went to work in what were nothing more than tunnels in the ground. There were no safety regulations, just tunnels. Kids were sent in, and injuries were common.

I rode with my dad, who was a farmer, on a horse, through the community, to record the names of kids who were supposed to be in school. Often, the miners took to the woods when we showed up, or claimed they did not have any children. We knew they did. Many of the homes had no flooring, and one family had buried their dead twins in the floor of the house. The level of humanity was beyond what we can imagine today. We did not think anything about it. Life and death was just all a part of life.

There was no playground at the school, but sometimes the kids had a rope to play with, or, if a kid got a set of jacks for Christmas, we shared those. Tablets cost a nickel and pencils were scarce, so most kids went without. When a pencil got down to the nub, we attached a stick to it. Lunch might be a syrup bucket or an occasional boiled egg and home made bread, but certainly no butter. Kids were often hungry.

The library was an old bookcase in the back, with mainly old agriculture books; the school board decided to have them instead of encyclopedias. Teachers were only required to have some kind of schooling for one year, it didn’t matter what kind of schooling, and there was no certification for teachers. When I was five, I started school, but, the teacher was mean, so I left school and returned in the second grade, which was okay because I could already read.

There were four of us in school who stayed together: Norman, Betty, Pete and I. School kids were constantly in and out of school, with the miners sort of in the shadows, but the four of us stuck together. Norman and I were related. We met when we were both five; his father had gone blind. Betty’s father was a mine superintendent and an alcoholic, and Pete’s mom and dad ran a store in a clapboard shack that they lived in back of. The four of us were inseparable.

The men in the community often went to the pasture to play baseball on Sundays during the Depression, and the kids would go to watch. One Sunday, one of the men hit a ball and then he threw the bat. The bat hit Pete. Pete developed meningitis, and we were never allowed to see him when he got sick. The men would ride on horses around the community to report on Pete’s condition, and we heard of the seizures that would twist his spine. Back then we called them “fits.” There was no medication.

Pete died in August. He was eight years old, and his death affected the whole community. It affected me because we had played together.We had lost somebody, and it was traumatic when there were so few people that we were close to.

I wanted so much to give a gift to Pete.

My mother gave me a nickel to buy a gift. I went to Hicks Store and bought a lavender ribbon. My sister and I picked some day lillies, and we tied the ribbon around them, real pretty.

There was no funeral and the kids were not allowed near the grave. We gave the lillies with the lavender ribbon to somebody to put on the grave, and we stood on the hillside to watch. They were the only flowers Pete had.

Now there were three of us.