[L]awyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries. The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours. From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.
--Gideon v. Wainwright turns 50 years old today.
Photo: Scott Olson
The New York Times reports on gun violence in Chicago:
This city’s 471st homicide of 2012 happened in the middle of the day, in the middle of a crowd, on the steps of the church where the victim of homicide 463 was being eulogized. Sherman Miller, who was 21, collapsed amid gunfire not far from the idling hearse that was there to carry away James Holman, 32, shot to death a week earlier.
Read the entire article here.
The Ramblings of a Gun Nut (Who Also Happens to Be the Sheriff of Milwaukee County)
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke posted this bizarre essay on the Sheriff’s Facebook page today. It was taken down shortly thereafter, but can still be found at the link above. A sample:
Liberals don’t care about curbing violence because if they did they wouldn’t coddle and call for more leniency for criminal perpetrators. When a hold-up man sticks a gun in someone’s face and takes their money, liberals want to offer job training, they want the criminal to serve their sentence walking round in the community with a monitoring device on. How crazy is that.
All the left is interested in is having the government control every aspect of our lives. Calling for gun control is just another aspect of furthering their socialist agenda.All of these suggestions about the need for gun control are the mindset of sheep.
Then there’s a lot of really gross stuff about schools being ideal slaughtering places that I can’t even bring myself to quote…followed by:
I have a better idea to all this run and hide advice. An armed tactical trained officer or security officer in every school and public place (theaters, malls, etc) in America. How are we going to pay for it? With all the money we spend on “going green projects and other waste of money social service spending we do. And spare me the idea of more gun control. Gun control has never worked and never will. That’s a sheep mentality. It’s like saying lets capture all the wolves and then the sheep will be safe. Yeah right.
The whole essay (essay? I don’t know what to call it) is so repulsive it’s hard for me to post about it, but I think it’s really important for people to know that Sheriff Clarke is behaving this way.
Holy mother of God. This is a real book.
Apparently, it’s to help kids understand and cope with a parent’s arrest.
I’m looking forward to the sequel: The Day Daddy Knocked Over A Liquor Store & Took Us On The Lam.
Uh…this is a serious issue for a lot of kids. Especially African-American kids, since 1 in 3 black men will be incarcerated in his lifetime. I’m really happy that this is foreign enough to you to be funny - I was lucky not to grow up with this situation either - but for plenty of kids and parents in this country it isn’t. And it’s a good thing that this book exists to help those families - not something to be mocked.
How cruel do you have to be to make fun of children whose parents are incarcerated?
I decided to take a break from my Guardian ad Litem studying and of course this is the first post I see on tumblr…back to studying it is.
Less than nine months after Trayvon Martin was killed, another black teenage student was killed under suspicious circumstances.
The accused murderer is now claiming the same “Stand Your Ground” defense, over loud music.
Over. Loud. Music.
4 Milwaukee Police Officers Charged in Illegal Strip Search Case
Officers Michael Vagnini, Jeffrey Dollhopf, Brian Kozelek, and Jacob Knight have all been charged with felonies for allegedly conducting illegal strip searches and body cavity searches in public.
The charges include sexual assault, misconduct in public office, and conducting an illegal strip-search.
A copy of the criminal complaint can be found here. Warning: it’s really disturbing.
Right-Wing Radio Host's Racist Rant Against Derek Williams
Derek Williams died in the custody of the Milwaukee Police Department. His death has been ruled a homicide.
Right-wing radio host Mark Belling called Williams a “dirty rotten thug” and “a piece of garbage,” then tried to connect this case to Milwaukee’s infant mortality crisis, blaming “the pigs of mothers who are too lazy to put their children in a crib and roll over the top of them while sleeping on a futon on the floor.”
Contact information for Belling’s radio station, WISN, can be found here.
Marvin Wilson sucked his thumb into his adulthood, reads at a second grade level, has an IQ of 61, doesn’t know the difference between left and right, and as a child couldn’t wear a belt without cutting off his circulation. On Tuesday, barring a last-minute intervention from the US Supreme Court, he’ll be executed in Texas.
Film: At the Death House Door
Probation Fees Multiply, Firms Profit, and the Poor Go to Jail
Three years ago, Gina Ray, who is now 31 and unemployed, was fined $179 for speeding. She failed to show up at court (she says the ticket bore the wrong date), so her license was revoked. When she was next pulled over, she was, of course, driving without a license. By then her fees added up to more than $1,500. Unable to pay, she was handed over to a private probation company and jailed — charged an additional fee for each day behind bars.
For that driving offense, Ms. Ray has been locked up three times for a total of 40 days and owes $3,170, much of it to the probation company. Her story, in hardscrabble, rural Alabama, where Krispy Kreme promises that “two can dine for $5.99,” is not about innocence. It is, rather, about the mushrooming of fines and fees levied by money-starved towns across the country and the for-profit businesses that administer the system
The financial ability of the individual has no relationship to the scope of the rights involved here. The privilege against self-incrimination secured by the Constitution applies to all individuals. The need for counsel in order to protect the privilege exists for the indigent as well as the affluent.
While authorities are not required to relieve the accused of his poverty, they have the obligation not to take advantage of indigence in the administration of justice.
--Chief Justice Earl Warren. Today is the anniversary of Miranda v. Arizona.