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  • ShereeKrider 4:10 pm on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: child prisoners, Civil RIghts, , , , , ,   

    We live in the only country in the world where a child can be sentenced to be in prison until they die 


    Juwan being interrogated

    We live in the only country in the world where a child can be sentenced to be in prison until they die.

    What’s worse is that it’s not even rare — more than 2,500 people who were sentenced as kids will spend the rest of their lives in prison.

    Juwan is one of them. He was a skinny 16-year-old kid when he was arrested after he saw a companion kill a pizza deliveryman. The shooter was never convicted, but because Juwan was present and had a gun, he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    Without the possibility of parole, Juwan will never have a second chance for rehabilitation.

    Just one year before Juwan was sentenced, the Supreme Court decided that mandatory juvenile life without parole was unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.

    The problem is — the decision left gaping loopholes and didn’t ban the sentence outright, meaning that Juwan and other children became victims of poor timing and inadequate policy implementation. While six states have moved to ban the practice, this barbaric punishment is still perfectly legal in 44 states.

    But the Department of Justice has the power to close some of these loopholes and set the standard on the federal level. By providing policy guidelines for U.S. attorneys, the DOJ can ensure that judges are empowered to use discretion and give appropriate sentences based on unique circumstances.

    Attorney General Eric Holder has already endorsed proposals that limit life without parole sentences for non-violent drug offenders. If he hears from thousands of us who support criminal justice reform, he can provide the tools needed to limit juvenile life without parole sentences.

    It’s time that we give kids like Juwan a second chance at life.

    PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK AND SIGN PETITION!

     
  • ShereeKrider 2:30 am on December 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Civil RIghts, , , , , tonya davis   

    OPEN Letter to Ohio Legislators and Washington DC 


     

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    by Tonya Davis on Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 9:33pm ·

    Lawmakers… Please don’t let me die knowing that this plant could have saved me and you denied the same access as 18 states and DC as well as the 4 federal patients. You can stand up for me and many folks like me..

    (I just want to say thank you for reposting my Open Letter Note.)

    Come on Obama Administration… I need access to the whole plant of cannabis. I do not buy …. sell or grow… I should have the right to grow it like tomatoes for my medicine. I should be able to use its oils and juice its leaf or eat is raw. or smoke a joint whichever I need at the time.End marijuana Prohibition TODAY!!! and also SAVE Americans at the same time. This plant is the only thing that could save my life. Facebooker’s will you share this everywhere please.

    This is an open letter to my Ohio legislators.

    I have nowhere else to turn. I hope you hear my cries for help and I hope you stand up for me. Representative Bobby Hagan will be  Re introducing the Ohio medical compassion act which I hope you will consider cosponsoring  in January 2013.

    It would merely allow Ohio’s doctors and patients to decide whether or not medical cannabis could benefit them or not. It would allow the department of health to keep an eye on the program and make sure there were no abuses. Anyone that is in the program would be in a database so that you can keep track of this act of compassion.

    We also believe that it would save Ohio taxpayers millions of dollars by not arresting, incarcerating  and prosecuting folks for making a choice using cannabis as medicine. we also believe that the Obama administration would not bother our program because there would not be storefronts or dispensaries selling the product.

    Over 73% of Ohioans support the compassionate use of marijuana..I am not sure you are aware but our sister state of Michigan has a medical cannabis program. We believe that we should have the same rights as those folks  just across our border.

    Also Colorado and Washington just legalized marijuana for personal use.

    My name is Tonya Davis and I’m your constituent. I am a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter. I could be your neighbor, friend, coworker. You have seen me at the Ohio Statehouse over the last decade in a suit rolling around in my wheelchair trying to bring your attention to alternative medication that is actually safer than aspirin. Yes I’m talking about medical cannabis and this has been my choice of medicine. For a long time you said to me to "bring in a doctor that supports this issue" I have!  you have said "bring in the science that supports cannabis as medicine" I have.. You have said " get a Republican on board" WE HAVE… we have jumped through the hoops that you have asked us to jump through.

    We have a certified petition for the Ohio alternative treatment amendment that was certified by the SOS and the AG October of last year. We currently have house Bill 214  that is being ignored in the health committee because our speaker of the house refuses to give it a hearing. Now I’m asking you to save my life.

    My whole life I have begged for help no one ever hears me. I will be heard this time because  this is my life I’m fighting for and I’m going to die on my terms.

    Our government knows that cannabis is a medicine and that it is a neuro protective and antioxidant. they have  patents on it.  I am literally fighting for my life and my independence as well as tryin to keep my cognitive thinking okay.  By allowing me the same access as the 18 states plus Washington DC as well as the four patients that are currently allowed on federal level …it is not harming anyone.

    I deserve that same access even though I am in the state of Ohio. I should not have to go die like a wounded animal in the woods. (going to a state that does have medical cannabis laws) where  I have no family and a support system.

    I am not a drug addict, suffer from mental illness or have any type of criminal record.

    I do have my Ohio doctors support , I have my pharmacist support… I have my out-of-state written recommendation from my cannabinoid specialist .  I have lived in same place for the decade ive fought for this issue. Here is a video clip of me and my cannabinoid specialist 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP5QOvkv77Y&feature=share

    My neurologist came into my hospital room and told me a year ago that there was nothing that they can do for me anymore except keep me comfortable and treat symptoms. I have massive calcium deposits on my brain. I have pseudo-hypo parathyroidism which has completely disabled me and caused major medical problems such as crippling arthritis ,diseased esophagus, hiatal hernia ….inflamed bowel disease with adhesions wrapped around it…. severe hypocalcaemia…. very high phosphorous..  my blood pressure is all over the map … my heart rate is through the roof. All of this can be proven and backed up. Will you do the right thing and support compassion not corruption?

    My future is bleak but I have an opportunity to change things and to protect what brain that is not damaged yet.  and most importantly die on my terms.

    I CHALLENGE YOU TO SEND THIS TO ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES IN WASHINGTON.

    ADDITIONALLY, MS. DAVIS WROTE THE FOLLOWING…..

    If anything happens to me I blame my government for not allowing me the same access as my sister state Michigan or the other 17 states and DC …. I want my President to open his heart and allow me to fight for what life I have left with dignity and feel like I belong in this world as well. No ones ever heard me. As a child being abused and molested raped …I tried to tell anyone that would listen I was not heard or protected from age 5 to 12 when someone believed me I was removed to an orphanage. This is just the beginning of how my life spirals I am asking you remove sick people out of this drug war. I can not understand for the life of me how you can do anything you want to smoke a lot of pot do not get caught and you can be president of the United States. But If you do get caught with one joint it can ruin your life. Can we use common sense for drug policy when it comes to cannabis? why can the sister state Michigan get compassion and we don’t? I could go on about my life and I will but not right now. So as you can see there is a way you can save me. If our doctors are smarter now which I believe they are. They are licensed in the state of Ohio… We trust them to write prescriptions / with our lives in their hands anyway why can’t we trust them on determining whether or not their patient can benefit from the use of cannabis as a medicine? DEA will still have their work because people will still break the law. let our law-enforcement get real bad guys those committing domestic violence, violent crimes, home invasions harder drug addictions anything where there is a victim. There has to be a middle ground. I am tired of feeling like I’m a criminal and I don’t deserve to have to live in fear. It is the worst feeling ever. Let me know what you think on the subject. President Obama you are the one president that could change my life forever. What harm does it cause to allow someone like me to use cannabis as a medicine? I should be allowed to use that plant in any form. You could be America’s hero you could be my hero. Please read my open letter to share with your friends I would like you to care enough to stand with me. You all know this drug war is a lie? Have a lot to say tonight. I also want to say I am watching my friends die off one by one and I’m ready when father God calls me home… I don’t have to die right away I believe that with all my heart. Okay I’m done for a while… I may continue my talk if my community is watching ,thank you for being tolerant of me. You guys gave me my voice. Some day you will hear my whole story my life didn’t change until my mid-30s. It’s been a vicious cycle of domestic violence rape home invasion theft..even kidnapping my life has been a nightmare. No one has ever heard me I always fell before things changed. my life is make life movie. I would call it "If Only Heard" I have a strong testimony and willing to share it as well.. God has been a big part of my survival. seems like I had to experience all this to understand so id be a strong servant. my life is in Gods hand as well as our government…

     
  • ShereeKrider 2:56 am on December 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Civil RIghts, , states rights   


    Marijuana Initiatives Spark States’ Rights Legislation No matter how its members feel about marijuana use, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers wants to ensure that states can move forward with their marijuana laws without federal interference and has introduced legislation to make that happen. http://www.rollcall.com/news/marijuana_initiatives_spark_states_rights_legislation-219708-1.html?pos=hln

     
  • ShereeKrider 1:07 am on October 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: appeals, Civil RIghts, , ,   

    Judge dismisses federal lawsuit over "forced catheterization" 


     

     

    Updated: 10:38 am | Published: 12:27 am

    Reported by: Jonelle Merrill
    Written by: Jonelle Merrill

    Gavel (ABC 4 News)

    Gavel (ABC 4 News)

    SANPETE COUNTY, (ABC 4 News) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit involving a young man who believes his constitutional rights were violated when police forced a catheter inside him.

    Stephan Cook, 22, brought the lawsuit against several law enforcement officers in Sanpete County and Ephraim City, claiming that they performed a forced catheterization on him, after he refused a drug test in 2008 while attending Snow College.

    As the plaintiff in the case, Cook claims the incident in question started on a quiet side road in Ephraim where he was parked smoking cigarettes inside a car with friends. Cook says police officers approached the car, suspecting the young men were smoking marijuana.

    "When they approached us, they said it smelled like marijuana, but we said no, we’re smoking cigarettes and we just put the cigarettes out like you asked us to," says Cook.

    Cook refused to offer a urine sample after the cops demanded it numerous times. He adds that he repeatedly asked for an attorney to be present.

     
    After obtaining what Cook’s attorneys call a "botched" search warrant, he was forced by police to be catheterized at Sanpete County Hospital.

    "The nurse told the officers to hold my shoulders while they catherized me, and after that they took me straight to jail," said Cook.

    According to the attorneys, Sanpete County Hospital still has not produced the urine sample as evidence, or even a record of Cook coming to the hospital. They say it further adds to their belief that the law enforcement agencies involved did not follow correct procedure.

     
    Criminal defense attorney Lindsay Jarvis calls the forced catheterization the ultimate violation of her client’s civil rights. "I would say anybody who’s in that position would feel as though they were sexually assaulted – yes. You’ve got a female nurse who is unbuttoning his pants while another individual holds him down. And then, they stick an object into his private parts."

     

    Prior to filing his civil lawsuit, Cook fought the case in criminal court, where he accepted a plea of abeyance. The agreement allowed him to admit to one count of possession of marijuana and a fine, in exchange for dropping the rest of the charges against him. According to Cook’s legal team, the federal judge dismissed his civil lawsuit partially due to the fact that Cook had previously admitted guilt. However, both Cook and his attorneys say the plea of abeyance was made under duress. The attorneys, who plan to appeal, say the ruling to dismiss the case on those grounds is just plain wrong. "Irrespective of whether he committed this crime, that’s irrelevant to whether they’re entitled to forcibly catheterize him," said attorney Justin Heideman.

    Peter Stirba, defense counsel for the Sanpete County officers issued this statement in response to the dismissal of the lawsuit: "The officers’ behavior was fully justified and certainly was not violative of any of Mr. Cook’s constitutional rights."

    Cook’s mother who is a fellow police officer for a different city strongly opposes the defense counsel’s statement, calling this a matter of police brutality.

    "This is a story of contemptive cops. He (Stephan) wouldn’t voluntarily pee, and they were gonna do whatever it took to get his urine – period," said Stephan Cook’s mother Holly Ziegenhorn.

    Cook wants to keep fighting and move forward with an appeal. He says he does not want another person to have to go through what he did. "I never wanted this to happen. I’m willing to stand up for everybody else who can’t," said Cook.

    CONTINUE READING…

     
  • ShereeKrider 8:39 pm on October 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Civil RIghts, , , Judge Scalia,   

    Judge Scalia On How “Easy” It Is to Deny You Your Rights 


     

    Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has again treated us to his “textualist” reading of the Constitution, telling an American Enterprise Institute audience that unfettered abortion access, “homosexual sodomy” and the retiring of the death penalty are all “easy” to decide against.

    Reports Seattle Pi:

    “The death penalty? It’s easy. Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy,” Scalia told the AEI faithful.

    […]

    “Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion,” Scalia added. “Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.”

    Scalia’s mantra is that the Constitution is not to be treated as a living, breathing document whose promise of Liberty evolves with its people, but rather an iron-clad relic that should be read as it was set down, and in only that way.

    This illuminating talk from Scalia comes as several marriage equality cases stand ready to be taken up by the Supreme Court, a number that will directly challenge the federal law that bans the government from recognizing same-sex marriages, the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Another case on the Supreme Court’s docket in the coming months, likely after the November elections it would now seem, will be the Proposition 8 case where a federal judge and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the voting majority of California violated state and federal guarantees of equal protection in 2008 by defining away the right to marry a same-sex partner.

    Scalia, a Reagan appointee, has sat on the bench for much of the life of the gay rights struggle. He has consistently found cause to rule against gay rights. Most notably, Scalia dissented in Lawrence v. Texas, the case that would serve to eventually make unenforceable state level bans on sodomy.

    In the dissent Scalia, while terming the sodomy ban “facially neutral” even though the Texas ban applied solely to homosexual acts, wrote:

    Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct…. [T]he Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed.

    While this may give us a rather face-slapping clue as to Scalia’s overall opinion of gay rights, the case may be of particular interest in that, with his dissent, Scalia found room to criticize the Court’s majority for its concern over the criminalization of sodomy leading to discrimination, citing that this ignored the will of the people:

    So imbued is the Court with the law profession’s anti-anti-homosexual culture, that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously “mainstream”; that in most States what the Court calls “discrimination” against those who engage in homosexual acts is perfectly legal.

    Proposition 8′s defenders have harped, seemingly to play a tune to which a conservative judiciary might hum, that the voting people of California, through the democratic process, decided against gay marriage and therefore the will of the people should stand — this of course sidesteps the fact that minority rights will nearly always and by their nature find disfavor at a majority poll.

    While Scalia’s approach to law, his “textualist” attitude, seems to give him easy answers on topics like abortion restriction and, to quote again “homosexual sodomy,” one can’t help but feel that a judge who knows how he will rule before he has heard the individual cases at hand might be going in with a level of bias that is, to say the least, concerning.

    However, for those of us familiar with Scalia’s views on a variety of topics, none perhaps more eyebrow-raising than his refrain that sex discrimination is Constitutionally sound, Scalia’s latest volley against reason and equality, and his apparent admission that being a Supreme Court justice is “easy” when it comes to issues like these, will not be a surprise.

    Equal rights proponents were never looking to Scalia for affirmation, but then Scalia’s celebrity has already been cemented among religious conservatives, legislators like Scott Brown, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney who has said he would be looking to appoint similarly minded judges.

    Scalia’s latest AEI talk serves, then, as a healthy reminder of what that would mean for America.

    Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/judge-scalia-on-how-easy-it-is-to-deny-you-your-rights.html#ixzz291bcIFf0

     
  • ShereeKrider 4:18 pm on April 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Civil RIghts, , , endocannabinoids, , , , , , , human, , , , , , , , vote, , Warfare and Conflict   

    Absolute Asinine Laws 


    Life in Prison for Hemp

    José Peña brought some roadside weeds home from Kansas. Cops decided it was reefer, and a Texas court sentenced him to life in prison – without the evidence. It took a decade for Peña to get back some of the pieces of his life.

    By Jordan Smith, Fri., March 16, 2012

    Life in Prison for Hemp

    José Peña was tired as he drove south toward Houston on the morning of Sept. 27, 1998. Following a quick trip north to Kansas in a rented van – to pick up the brother of a distant cousin’s son – he was on his way home to Houston, where he lived with his wife and four children. It was the kind of favor Peña often did for friends and family, no matter how distant the relation – and the kind of favor that irritated his wife. “I was tired, and I was trying to get home,” the 50-year-old recently recalled. “My wife was mad at me for doing favors for other people” when he could instead be home.

    That morning, just before 8am, Peña was cruising south down I-45, a little more than two hours from home. He was driving in the right-hand lane through Leon County when he passed a state trooper sitting in his car on the grass median. He thought nothing of it – just another Texas trooper on a long and nondescript stretch of highway – until he noticed the trooper pull out onto the road and follow him. The officer, Mike Asby, a veteran member of the Texas Department of Public Safety, drove in the left lane until his car was parallel with Peña’s. Peña looked over at Asby. “He pulled up next to me, and I looked at him because I wasn’t not going to make eye contact” with an officer whom Peña thought was definitely checking him out for whatever reason.

    Although Peña steadfastly maintains that he wasn’t doing anything wrong or unusual, Asby would later testify that Peña caught his attention because he was driving more slowly than the rest of traffic in a van caked with mud; when the van “weaved across the center stripe and also across the solid yellow line on the shoulder,” Asby testified in January 2003, he had to take action. “You’re required to stay in a single lane of traffic,” he said. He activated his lights and pulled Peña over.

    Within the hour, Peña would be in handcuffs in the back of the trooper’s car, headed to the county jail in Centerville on a charge of marijuana possession. Nearly five years later, Peña would be convicted and sentenced to life in prison for possession of what the state said turned out to be 23.46 pounds of freshly cut marijuana that Peña was transporting in the back of the muddy blue van. Although Asby testified that this was not a normal highway drug bust – “normally,” he testified, marijuana moves north from Houston, already “dried out, cured, and ready to be sold” – he was certain that what he found casually laid out in the back of the van was pot because it smelled like pot – and he knows pot when he smells it. “It’s something that you learned in [28] years of experience being on the road?” prosecutor Whitney Smith (now Leon Coun­ty’s elected D.A.) asked Asby.

    “Yes, sir,” Asby replied.

    Just Trust Us

    There are at least two problems with the official story of Peña’s arrest and prosecution. First, Peña is adamant – and has been since 1998 – that what he was transporting was not marijuana, but actually hemp, pot’s non-narcotic cousin. Peña says he found the plants growing wild in Kansas and cut them down, thinking that he could use the stems and leaves in the various craft projects he made with leather and wood in his garage workshop; there was no doubt in Peña’s mind that what he was transporting was not marijuana. The second, and eventually more decisive problem with the official story of the Peña bust, is that prior to his trial, officials with the Department of Public Safety lab in Waco, where the plants were taken for testing, completely destroyed all of the case evidence – all 23.46 pounds of plant material – and then also lost the case file with all of the original documentation of the lab’s work on the case. By the time Peña was finally tried – more than four years later – there was absolutely no evidence to show the jury; instead, the state relied completely on the “experience” of Asby and of Waco lab supervisor Charles Mott (now retired) to persuade jurors that what they say they saw and tested was actually marijuana.

    It worked.

    That is, it worked until late last year, when Peña’s conviction was finally overturned by the Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest criminal court, and Leon County subsequently dismissed the charges for good. In the intervening decade, however, Peña’s case became a political hot potato, catching the attention of judges and lawyers across the state who watched as the 10th Court of Appeals, based in Waco, played tug-of-war with the Austin-based CCA over the power of the Texas Constitution, and whether it affords citizens greater rights and protection against state power than does the U.S. Constitution.

    It’s a conflict that has left the state of Texas divided and may mean – at least for the time being – that persons tried for crimes in one part of the state will be afforded greater protection from prosecutorial errors or malfeasance than are others. Frankly, says Keith Hampton, an Austin defense attorney who represented Peña just before his case was dismissed, you just “don’t see this happen very often.” Ulti­mate­ly, whether the protections gleaned from the Texas Constitution by the 10th Court will remain in force and be applied to all Texans is still to be determined.

    Weeds, Not Weed

    Peña had a knack for creating handcrafted leather and wood items that sold like hotcakes, he says, at flea markets in and around Houston. He made personalized shellacked plaques and leather key chains with popular first names spelled out in tiny beads, and at a dollar a key chain, they sold well. So when he first saw the hemp plants growing on the roadside near Manhattan, Kan., they gave him an idea. He would take the plants – which, to an untrained eye, look exactly like marijuana plants – press the leaves, and then use them on plaques or affixed to the small leather wallets that he also had become expert at making. He recognized these as “volunteer” hemp plants – they grow wild across the country, reminders of the days when hemp farming was commonplace and even, during World War II, encouraged by the feds as supporting the war effort. By the Kansas roadside, they were scraggly and abundant. When he pulled into the Tuttle Creek State Park outside Manhattan, and saw the plants growing everywhere, he “loaded … up.”

    Indeed, Peña thought nothing of the fresh-cut plants that he’d laid out in the back of the blue van he was driving. He knew – partly from experience of having smoked pot when he was younger, and partly because he knew that hemp was once a major agricultural commodity – that the plants were nothing more than weeds that looked like weed.

    However, that’s not how Asby saw it. To him, it was clear that one thing, and only one thing, was taking place. Peña was moving a large amount of marijuana to Houston – as unusual as that might be, Asby acknowledged.

    Peña repeatedly told Asby that the plants were hemp, and his insistence clearly gave some pause to Asby and the two backup officers who soon joined him. The three men stood next to the van pondering the notion that a plant could look like, but not actually be, marijuana. “I … questioned them, I said, ‘Well, he says it’s not marijuana,'” Asby recalled in court. “I knew that there was a substance called hemp and I was asking them. … And I asked them, ‘You ever heard of something like marijuana, just hemp, that is legal to have?'” he continued. “I don’t know that there is a legal kind. That was the question I was asking the officers: ‘Have you ever heard of this … where marijuana was cut and it turns out to be legal?'”

    In the end, Asby was unpersuaded. “I just know marijuana smells like marijuana,” he testified in 2003. “And I have never found anything that I thought was marijuana that wasn’t.” He cuffed Peña and hauled him off to jail.

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  • ShereeKrider 4:21 pm on March 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Civil RIghts, , constitutional rights, , , , religious rights,   

    The Declining Influence of the U.S. Constitution 


    The Declining Influence of the U.S. Constitution.

    via The Declining Influence of the U.S. Constitution.

     
  • ShereeKrider 2:56 pm on March 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Civil RIghts, conspiracy, , ,   

    DEFEND YOUR CONSTITUTION BEFORE IT IS TOO WEAK TO DEFEND YOU! 


    constitution

     
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