Category: Court System

The Lawless Presidency

Ethics Trouble Not Over for Jesse Jackson Jr.

Jesse Jackson Jr.’s resignation from Congress might end his once-promising political career but it doesn’t mark the end of troubles for the civil rights icon’s son. Just two weeks after voters re-elected him to a ninth full term, Jackson on Wednesday sent his resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner, citing his ongoing treatment for bipolar disorder and admitting “my share of mistakes” while confirming publicly for the first time that he’s the subject of a federal probe and cooperating with investigators. Federal authorities are reportedly investigating Jackson’s possible misuse of campaign funds and the House Ethics Committee is investigating his dealings with imprisoned ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. It was unclear how the committee would proceed following Jackson’s resignation. The committee could still decide to release a final report on him but it no longer has the power to punish Jackson. Jackson, 47, was never charged with wrongdoing and in his resignation letter wrote, “they are my mistakes and mine alone.” Jackson’s attorneys offered few details of the reported probe into misuse of campaign funds. “Mr. Jackson is cooperating with the investigation. We hope to negotiate a fair resolution of the matter but the process could take several months,” according to a statement from Jackson’s attorneys, including former U.S. Attorney in Chicago Dan Webb. “During that time, we will have no further comment and urge you to give Mr. Jackson the privacy he needs to heal and handle these issues responsibly.” CONTINUE READING

Obama Nominates Gay Black Judge to Federal Court

Yesterday, President Barack Obama nominated his first openly gay African-American judicial nominee for the federal courts. Judge William L. Thomas has been put forth for consideration for the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He’s one of seven judges nominated today and, if confirmed will be the second out African-American judge on the federal bench. “These individuals have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans expect and deserve from their judicial system,” President Obama said in a statement. “They also represent my continued commitment to ensure that the judiciary resembles the nation it serves.” Judge William L. Thomas has served as a Circuit Judge in Florida’s 11th Judicial Circuit since 2005, presiding over both civil and criminal matters. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Florida, representing underprivileged clients in criminal cases. He received his B.A. from Washington and Jefferson College in 1991 and his J.D. from Temple University School of Law in 1994.

Read it at Queerty.

Prop. 36: ‘Three strikes’ changes approved

California voters overwhelmingly approved changes to the state’s tough “three strikes” law on Tuesday, ending a practice in which prosecutors could seek 25-years-to-life sentences for defendants even if their latest offense – their third strike – was neither serious nor violent. The law, approved by state voters in 2004, aimed to lock up career criminals like Richard Allen Davis, who a year earlier had kidnapped and murdered 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma after an earlier string of assaults, robberies and abductions. But the law came under criticism when lesser offenders – a man who stole a truck and two bikes at Stanford, for instance, and another who stole a pepperoni pizza in Southern California – got 25-years-to-life sentences. The change in the law will allow an estimated 2,800 third-strike inmates currently in prison to petition the courts for a reduced sentence, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, and prevent an untold number of people from being charged with a third strike in the future. Proponents said Prop. 36 restored voters’ original intent: to lock up the worst serial criminals. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, a co-chair of the Prop. 36 campaign, said the measure’s passage would not only save money and allow nonviolent offenders to avoid spending the rest of their lives in prison, but also change the conversation in California.

With its passage, voters sent “a strong message to policymakers about what is considered acceptable to maintain public safety,” he said.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Prop-36-Three-strikes-changes-approved-4014677.php#ixzz2BY56W3G2