Saturday, July 22, 2017

President Trump tweets he has “complete” ability to pardon

President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet today that he has the “complete” ability to pardon, according to the Huffington Post.
Trump’s pardon claim came after The Washington Post reported that he had inquired with his lawyers about how pardons work and speculation he is considering pardons for aides, his family, and even potentially himself.
It’s unclear if he actually could legally pardon himself. The Constitution’s presidential pardon provision does not explicitly ban the president from doing so. But Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Democratic congresswoman who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate scandal, argued in a Post op-ed this month that the president pardoning himself would undermine the entire constitution.
“A presidential self-pardoning power would seriously undermine the rule of law. If presidents could self-pardon, they could engage in monstrously wrongful and criminal conduct with impunity,” she wrote. “That would utterly violate the framers’ belief in a limited presidency and in the idea that no president is above the law.”
To read more CLICK HERE

Thursday, July 20, 2017

DA candidate: Cutting health care 'jeopardizes public safety'

Larry Krasner, the Democratic candidate for Philadelphia district attorney, wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
In the name of health-care reform, politicians in Washington and Harrisburg [propose] . . . "curtailing important Obamacare protections and cutting back on Medicaid — threatens the lives of tens of thousands of Philadelphians."
It also jeopardizes public safety. When people are faced with chronic health problems or a life-threatening situation involving a family member, and have no options or support, they will act in desperation. When people are unable to afford treatment for behavioral health issues because they lack insurance, the criminal justice system often becomes the only societal structure that intervenes.
Under the American Health Care Act passed by the House of Representatives in May, 1.3 million Pennsylvanians would lose health insurance and 3,250 would die prematurely for lack of it, according to a statement from Marc Stier, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate’s proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act would eliminate federal funding for the Medicaid expansion and impose caps on traditional Medicaid. That would cost Pennsylvania more than $30 billion in federal funding between 2020 and 2026 alone, says a Manatt Health / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis.
Let’s look specifically at the impact these Medicaid cuts would have. Medicaid is not just a source of health care for millions of Americans, which allows them to remain productive and to take care of other family members. It is also the source of drug treatment and mental health services for the most vulnerable members of our population, including people reentering society from incarceration.
The Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act enables 160,000 more Philadelphians to receive mental health or substance-abuse treatment. According to the Mayor’s Office, almost 40,000 of them are using these services. Statewide, 140,000 people have used the Medicaid expansion for addiction treatment since 2015, the Wolf administration estimates. And nationwide, Medicaid expenditures on opioid-blocking medications such as naltrexone, which many low-income people rely on to kick their addiction, increased tenfold in 2016, according to an Urban Institute report. The demand for such treatment shows no signs of slowing down.
To read more CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mangino analyzes Yurich trial for WFMJ-TV21

Watch my interview on WFMJ-TV21 regarding the trial of Poland, Ohio doctor Joseph Yurich accused in a deadly boating accident two years ago on Berlin Reservoir.  A verdict is expected today.
To watch the interview CLICK HERE

The Trace: 4 Out of 10 Self-Defense Handgun Owners Have Received No Formal Firearms Training

More Americans than ever before own firearms for protection, but the percentage of people who undergo formal training on how to use their weapons has flatlined, a new paper published in the journal Injury Prevention shows.
The research, conducted by Ali Rowhani-Rahbar and Vivian Lyons, epidemiologists at the University of Washington, along with public health experts at Northeastern and Harvard, finds that 61 percent of all gun owners reported receiving formal firearms training. The researchers say this a statistically insignificant increase over the 56 to 58 percent of gun owners who reported receiving training in 1994, the last time a comparable survey was conducted, reported The Trace.
Of gun owners who said they own a handgun for the sole purpose of protection, 57 percent said they had received formal training. Only 14 percent of those who live with a gun owner, but who do not own guns themselves, have received safety training, which the authors say is a troubling finding considering how often accidental shootings or suicides are committed with guns that belong to a parent, spouse, or roommate.
“Despite the presence of training programs all around the country, it looks like they are not reaching a larger fraction of gun owners than they were 20 years ago,” said Rowhani-Rahbar. “I was surprised to see that.”
The researchers based their analysis on data from the National Firearms Survey, considered the first nationally representative investigation in more than two decades into how and why Americans keep weapons. The survey was conducted online in 2015 on behalf of a research team from Harvard and Northeastern universities by GfK, a market-research company. It surveyed nearly 4,000 Americans and oversampled for veterans and gun owners.
To read more CLICK HERE

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Report singles out federal prison in PA for poor treatment of mentally ill

The Office of the Inspector General for the US Department of Justice  issued a report on criticizing the Bureau of Prison's (BOP) treatment of inmates with mental illnesses. The report singles out  a prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, having a pending lawsuit against it, alleging that the institution mistreated prisoners and denied adequate mental health services. According to the report, the BOP is violating its own recently implemented policy by keeping prisoners with mental illness in solitary confinement for toolong and denying them medical treatment. The American Correctional Association recommends that solitary confinement cells be no smaller than 80 square feet, but those at Lewisburg are a mere 58.5 square feet.
 Prisoners who suffer from mental illness are confined with other afflicted inmates which often results in violent confrontations that cause serious injuries or death. The report also found that many who arrive at Lewisburg prison with mental disorders are denied treatment and medication. "We believe that the additional requirements established by the new policy, along with no increase in mental health staffing, resulted in institution mental health staffs reducing the number of inmates, who are required to receive more frequent mental health care." According to NPR, the BOP's acting director agreed to conduct a "comprehensive review" of Lewisburg prison and adopt the recommendations provided by the report.
To visit Jurist CLICK HERE

Monday, July 17, 2017

SCOTUS reaffirms 'Brady' evidence needs disclosed only if likely to change outcome of trial

On June 22, in Turner vs. United States, the Supreme Court, by a 6 to 2 vote, affirmed the murder convictions of seven men. Unlike most Supreme Court decisions, Turner went largely unnoticed.
It deserves more attention, but not because it announced a new legal rule, wrote Professor Samuel Gross, of the University of Michigan on The Crime Report . Instead, Turner reaffirmed a terrible old rule that has done great harm to the accuracy of criminal trials, and will continue to do so.
The crime in the Turner case was horrific: in 1984, a middle-aged woman was grabbed off the street in Washington D.C., beaten, sexually assaulted and killed in an alley. The defendants were convicted on the theory that they were part of a group of a dozen or more who committed this atrocity. No DNA, fingerprints or physical evidence of any other kind connected any of the defendants to the crime.
Twenty-six years later, the defendants’ attorneys learned that prosecutors had concealed a laundry list of evidence that would have helped their defense at trial.
In particular, one witness identified a man at the scene of the crime as James McMillian, a local resident who was arrested several weeks later for beating and robbing two other neighborhood women, and was later convicted for robbing, sodomizing, and murdering a third young woman in an alley. And another witness testified that he heard moans—apparently from the victim—coming from inside a garage that was too small for a crime with 12 or even six perpetrators.
The Justice Department agreed that this evidence should have been disclosed at trial. The only issue was whether concealing that evidence made the trial fundamentally unfair, and requires a new trial.
In Brady v. Maryland, in 1964, the Supreme Court ruled that the government is constitutionally obligated to disclose evidence that is favorable to the defense in a criminal trial if that evidence is “material” to the case.
Later cases held that evidence is only “material” under Brady if there is a “reasonable probability” that the outcome of the trial would have been more favorable to the defendant if the evidence had been disclosed. Otherwise, under Brady, the prosecution may conceal favorable evidence from the defense and the trial court.
This standard is impossible to apply.
A prosecutor has to decide whether to disclose favorable evidence before the trial begins. At that point, she does not know what her own witnesses will say under oath (there are many surprises) let alone what the defense might put on. How can she possibly know before trial whether undisclosed evidence might tip the jury’s decision at the end of that trial? And who would trust a lawyer to make that decision about a case she herself is litigating?
Trial lawyers often believe, unrealistically, that their cases are airtight. In this setting, self-confidence is self-serving: it can lead prosecutors to decide that it’s OK to hide troubling evidence, which makes their job a bunch easier.
When a prosecutor does hide evidence, chances are nobody will ever know. If somehow it does come out, a court reviewing the case faces the same impossible question—what might have happened at trial if these facts had been known to the defense?—with an added twist: Judges are extremely reluctant to reverse jury verdicts and order new trials.
Not surprisingly, they usually conclude that concealed evidence was “immaterial” and therefore never had to be disclosed in the first place.
That’s just what the Supreme Court did in Turner. The majority points out that the hidden evidence is only exculpatory if McMillian committed the crime alone and not as another member of a large group. But none of the defendants disputed the prosecution’s claim that the victim was attacked by a group. Instead, each said that he was not involved, but his co-defendants might have been—and two additional defendants pled guilty and testified for the government in return for reduced sentences.
In that context, the majority concludes that disclosing the hidden evidence would have made no difference; presumably because there was little or no doubt that the defendants were in fact guilty.
However, as Justice Kagan points out in her dissent, no defendant argued that the murder was the work of a single person because they had no idea that there was evidence to support that claim. If they had known what we now know, the trial might have been totally different, including what was disputed and who testified. The two defendants who pled guilty might not have done so, and all of the defendants might have been acquitted—perhaps because they are innocent.I
Our best hope for avoiding tragic mistakes is to present all the evidence that matters the first time around.
Why not eliminate the “materiality” requirement entirely and treat access to exculpatory evidence like other aspects of a criminal defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial? If exculpatory evidence is concealed, it’s a violation of the Constitution, period.
This would not mean that every violation requires a new trial. Courts often uphold convictions despite constitutional violations, because they are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the violation had no impact on the outcome. But that’s a tougher exception to meet, and it includes a critical message: Hiding exculpatory evidence is always a violation of the constitution.
To read more CLICK HERE

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mangino talks about Trump, Jr.'s meeting with Russia

Watch my interview on WFMJ-TV21's Weekend Today Show regarding Donald Trump, Jr.'s meeting with the Russians.
To watch the interview CLICK HERE