THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Punishing innocence must end. HB 2675.

From the UTNE Reader Blog, this snippet at the very bottom. Links below will take you to the full report. I'm posting this as a reminder to folks to take the following action, posted first, making the system more fair and opportunities for exoneration more accessible, at least in Arizona. This bill needs to be put on the Judiciary Committee's agenda next week. The appeal came to me today from a friend with a wrongfully convicted child in Arizona's prison system:


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HB 2675 - "Erroneous Convictions"

Call and Fax today and next week to get this bill put on the Agenda.

Rep. Driggs makes the decision. Contact him first, then the Judiciary Committee members.
fax: (602) 417-3007  
tel: (602) 926-3016

Contact information:
AZ Judiciary Committee-HB 2675

 AZ House Members:

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"It's time for laws that "help the people", rather than laws that give more power to the police and the prosecutors, who have ALL the resources to go after the people who pay for this.

Remember Ray Krone?  The Arizona Legislature apologized and said, "we must do better next time".  Well, it's next time and nothing has changed except to sweep wrongful convictions under the rug.

Once the County has to pay for carelessness and malicious prosecution of innocent people, then maybe they will then begin to do their job, starting with following established protocol in investigation with highly qualified people. The taxpayers have been bilked long enough on the "fear-mongering" sound bytes and "label" of the day -- "high-profile" witch-hunts.

Wrongful convictions in Arizona have been swept under the rug in the Maricopa County Attorney's office. 

The State Legislature apologized to Ray Krone, wrongfully convicted and exonerated in 2006, and said we have to do better next time.  Well, nothing has changed except the state is in financial collapse with all the felonies County Attorney Andrew Thomas has thrown into the court system, jails and prisons, like a wrecking ball (read "Jingle Jangle" by Jim Rix and  "Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment" by Mona Lynch).

The jails and prisons are over-crowded and unsustainable. Almost 50% with NON-violent inmates, who are no harm to society.  

Mandatory minimum sentencing has been used as a weapon by the prosecutors to get their "conviction", rapidly making the U.S. #1 Jailer in the world, with Arizona #1 in the West in percentage of growth (Pew Report on the States).  MMS allows the police, lawyers, prosecutors, judges and victims rights advocates, to fail to do their jobs. They have become "processors" -- processing peoples' lives faster than parking tickets; defendant' s choice -- take a "plea" (en masse) or go to trial (a Kangaroo court). This money making industry for some is at the expense of innocent peoples' lives and at the root of a decaying society, which is where Arizona finds itself.

Innocent people with a NON-violent first offense are being sent to prison for years and DECADES in Arizona. Families are being destroyed daily, children's lives and the future society of Arizona hangs in the balance.  Overzealous prosecution of "easy" convictions while discarding the tough cases is unacceptable.

Someone needs to be held accountable for this failure of the criminal justice system. It starts with the police and the prosecutors.  The County should pay for their wrongful convictions. Then we might see an end to the race to convict and incarcerate.

Once again, HB 2675 must be put on the Agenda.  Show the people that you believe in fair justice and want to "right the wrongs" that have destroyed innocent peoples' lives."

 
Arizona Coalition for the Wrongfully Convicted - an Innocence movement

Arizona Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform

NCCJR National Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform

Freedom March for the Wrongfully Convicted -2009 

FREE COURTNEY BISBEE

PETITION FOR COURTNEY BISBEE:

PETITION: Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Scheme is Morally Unacceptable

------------the Innocence Project Report: 250 Exonerated------------

How 250 Prisoners Got Their Lives Back

ExoneratedThe Innocence Project is celebrating the latest prisoner to be exonerated through DNA testing in the United States by detailing his case and the cases of each of the 249 wrongfully convicted who came before him. The report, 250 Exonerated: Too Many Wrongfully Convicted also offers a crunching of the exoneration numbers, among them:

- There have been DNA exonerations in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

- The top three states for DNA exonerations are New York (with 25), Texas (with 40) and Illinois (with 29).

- 76% of the wrongful convictions involved eyewitness misidentification.

- 50% involved unvalidated or improper forensic science.

- 27% relied on a false confession, admission or guilty plea.

- 70% of the 250 people exonerated are people of color (60% are black; nearly 9% are Latino; 29% are white).

Source: The Innocence Project 

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