Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mangino talks about Jordan Brown decision on WFMJ-TV21

Watch my interview on WFMJ-TV21 regarding the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling overturning Jordan Brown's juvenile adjudication of delinquency for the 1st degree murder of Kenzie Houk an her unborn child.
To watch the interview CLICK HERE

Mangino discusses Jordan Brown decision by PA Supreme Court

Watch my interview on Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling overturning Jordan Brown's juvenile adjudication of delinquency for the 1st degree murder of Kenzie Houk an her unborn child. 
To watch the interview CLICK HERE

Ohio executes man for Cincinnati murder 34 years ago


The 14th Execution of 2018
Ohio carried out its first execution of the year this morning, using a mixture of three drugs to execute Robert Van Hook for the 1985 murder of a Cincinnati man after the two met at a nightclub, reported WKSU and the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Van Hook broke into sobs before he was put to death July 18, 2018.
"I'm no good," he said from under the straps that held him to the lethal injection table.
He recited a Norse prayer used in a 1999 Antonio Banderas film and sang to himself before going quiet.
He gasped and wheezed briefly after the drug cocktail was injected into his veins, then died.
Van Hook's execution took place 33 years after he stabbed a man to death in a Cincinnati apartment. He nearly disemboweled the 25-year-old victim, David Self, after the two met at a Downtown Cincinnati gay bar.
Van Hook was the first killer from Hamilton County to be executed in seven years.
Along with prison personnel, 10 people and four members of the press traveled to Lucasville to witness the execution.
It was silent in the witness rooms when Van Hook entered the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. In a white shirt and black track pants, he glanced at those watching before climbing onto the injection table using a small metal stool. 
The Associated Press’s Andrew Welsh-Huggins witnessed the execution of Van Hook, who wished peace to the family of his victim, David Self, and recited a Norse prayer as he was put to death.
“There were no signs of obvious distress," Welsh-Huggins said. "His chest rose and fell rapidly, but it was not the extreme up and down high rising and falling that we have seen in the past. He wheezed several times for about a minute, and he sort of puffed his lips in and out and then he went still.” 
Van Hook arrived at Lucasville Tuesday morning and spent much of the day talking to his family, friends and attorneys, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith, who provided a timeline of his final 24 hours.
She said prison officials noted he was in good spirits, sometimes laughing and that his conversations were "upbeat."
One of his many visitors was Joe D'Ambrosio who spent 20 years on death row in Ohio for a 1998 Cuyahoga County homicide. He was freed in 2012 after his case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Van Hook received communion Tuesday night as well.
His final dinner: Three double cheeseburgers, three orders of french fries, a whole strawberry cheesecake with whipped cream, a large vanilla milkshake, and grapefruit juice.
He had a restless night only sleeping for about an hour. He mostly stayed in his bed singing and listening to music.
Wednesday morning, he refused breakfast but asked to finish the leftover cheesecake. He was witnessed performing a Buddhist chant with a friend.
About an hour before he was taken to the death chamber, he appeared to be meditating.
To read more CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Texas executes man for 2004 murder of shopkeeper


The 13th Execution of 2018
Texas executed Christopher Young on July 17, 2018 for murdering a store owner during a robbery in 2004, despite calls from some relatives of the victim that his life be spared, reported Reuters.
Young, 34, was put to death by lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in the city of Huntsville for the murder of Hasmukh Patel at his convenience store in San Antonio, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.
Young became the 13th U.S. inmate put to death this year, and the 553rd in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state. Prior to Young’s lethal injection, Texas had carried out seven executions so far this year.
Lawyers for Young, who is African-American, filed a last-minute appeal to halt his execution, arguing that race was a factor in the decision this month by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to deny a request to halt the execution.
A U.S. district court judge and an appeals court on Tuesday rejected the petition to spare his life.
Young’s lawyers had noted that the board had recommended clemency in a similar case earlier this year that involved a white death row inmate.
Those arguing for clemency, which was backed by the murder victim’s son, Mitesh Patel, wanted his sentence commuted to life in prison.
In his final statement, Young said: “I want to make sure the Patel family knows I love them like they love me. Make sure the kids in the world know I’m being executed and those kids I’ve been mentoring keep this fight going,” according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Texas contended that Young deserved to die for the killing, which came shortly after he had sexually assaulted and carjacked a woman.
“Young provides no direct evidence that any member of the board acted with racial animus,” Texas said in a legal filing.
Young was the 1,478th person executed in the United States since 1976, the 553rd person executed in Texas, and the 1,303rd person executed by lethal injection.
To read more CLICK HERE

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Vindicator: Ohio on right track with justice reform


Matthew T. Mangino
The Youngstown Vindicator
July 15, 2018
When crime rises, the first inclination of lawmakers is punishment. Longer sentences, mandatory minimums and extended periods of supervision all add to the cost of the criminal justice system with little impact on the rate of recidivism.
For politicians, that’s a tough sale to the public. Trying to convince taxpayers that it’s more prudent and cost effective to invest in rehabilitation rather than punishment can cost a lawmaker his job.
Ohio is in a position to proceed with meaningful sentence reform without waiting on politicians to act. A bipartisan coalition of community, law enforcement, faith and business leaders has proposed a ballot measure for November to reduce penalties for nonviolent drug offenders.
Signatures
Supporters of the “Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation” amendment submitted 730,031 signatures recently to the various county election boards. The Ohio Secretary of State has until July 24 to certify or reject signatures. To qualify for the ballot, 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio registered voters are needed.
The reform initiative comes at a time when Ohio is in the midst of one of the nation’s most lethal periods of drug abuse. Ohio’s drug overdose deaths rose 39 percent – the third-largest increase nationwide – between mid-2016 and mid-2017, according to figures released earlier this year by the federal government.
The state’s opioid crisis continued to explode in the first half of last year, with 5,232 Ohio overdose deaths recorded in the 12 months ending June 30, 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Just across the border, Pennsylvania saw the largest increase in overdose deaths during that same period.
The escalation of drug deaths in Ohio was nearly three times the 14.4 percent increase in deaths nationally, which grew to about 67,000 across the U.S., according to government estimates.
In Columbus, Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz said that the more recent estimates are even more grim.
“Compare the first three quarters of 2017 to the first three quarters of 2016,” Ortiz told the Columbus Dispatch. “So, an actual comparison day by day – we’ve already seen a 57 percent increase.”
Fentanyl is what’s mostly spurring the additional deaths, officials said. The synthetic opiate has been cut into the heroin supply and, in some cases, replaced heroin that’s sold on the streets, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Fentanyl is more deadly because it’s about 50 percent stronger than heroin and is being altered to create a more potent fentanyl, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Ohio’s reform initiative is risky. It is a long-term investment when people are looking for an immediate fix. Money saved from those affected by the amendment would be diverted to substance-abuse programs and to crime victims’ services.
Under the drug treatment and rehabilitation amendment, possessing, obtaining or using a drug or drug paraphernalia would be a misdemeanor offense, with a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail and $1,000 fine. First and second offenses within a two-year period could only be punished with probation. The amendment would not apply to drug dealers.
Half-day credit
Convicted individuals could receive a half-day credit against their sentence for each day of rehabilitative work or programming, up to 25 percent of the total sentence.
An individual on probation for a felony would not be sent to prison for a non-violent violation of probation.
The question facing policy makers: Is public safety better served by incarcerating drug offenders, or would drug treatment and prevention programs be more efficient and effective at curbing drug abuse and promoting public safety?
According to the Justice Policy Institute, studies by the nation’s leading criminal justice research agencies have shown that drug treatment, in concert with other services and programs, is a more cost effective way to deal with drug offenders.
Ohio appears to be on the right track.
Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George P.C. His book “The Executioner’s Toll, 2010” was released by McFarland Publishing. You can reach him at www.mattmangino.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
To visit the column CLICK HERE

Monday, July 16, 2018

Lynchings in the American west


Scholars of lynching debate its definition, some even concluding that it is impossible to define, reported the High Country News. One commonly used, but still contested, definition from 1940 listed several necessary conditions: “There must be legal evidence that a person has been killed, and that he met his death illegally at the hands of a group acting under the pretext of service to justice, race, or tradition.” Because definitions are difficult and evidence elusive, the precise number of lynching victims remains unknown. But the death toll hovers somewhere around 5,000.
For many Westerners, the word “lynching” brings to mind the vigilantes and what came to be known as “frontier justice.” The terms play on the long-held mythologies of a violent frontier where the need for justice sometimes preceded an established legal system. In this telling, men banded together to fulfill community obligations, punishing those who transgressed the laws of property (e.g., they stole livestock) or person (e.g., they raped women). White men formed posses and delivered swift justice to the guilty. This storyline goes back to some of the earliest Western historians, such as Hubert Howe Bancroft, who found much to admire in these actions. In his two-volume “Popular Tribunals,” in 1887, Bancroft characterized the San Francisco Vigilance Committees as “virtuous, intelligent, and responsible citizens with coolness and deliberation arresting momentarily the operations of law for the salvation of society.” Lynchings were regarded as exercises of sovereignty, the will of the people — as American as the frontier from which the nation supposedly sprang. Not surprisingly, the reality was more complicated.
To read more CLICK HERE


Sunday, July 15, 2018

"Good guy with a guy' rare and at times not good


The FBI examined 160 shootings between 2000 and 2013 and found that most of the violence ended when the assailant stopped shooting, committed suicide or fled, reported the Washington Post. Unarmed citizens successfully restrained shooters in 21 of those incidents, according to the FBI. Two attacks stopped when off-duty officers shot and killed the attackers. Five ended in much the way the attack at Louie’s did — when armed civilians, mostly security guards, exchanged fire with the shooters.
In the prominent recent examples, civilians have, as in Oklahoma City, successfully intervened in mass shootings. In November, Stephen Willeford, a former NRA instructor, shot a gunman who killed more than two dozen people inside a Sutherland Springs, Tex., church, hitting the attacker twice. The shooter fled and later shot himself in the head while under chase. And in June, a pastor and volunteer firefighter who had been through active-shooter training killed a carjacker who opened fire inside a Walmart store in Tumwater, Wash. In Oklahoma City two men shot and killed an active shooter outside a restaurant. 
But interventions by “Good Samaritans” also have ended in tragedy.
In 2014, husband-and-wife attackers killed two Las Vegas police officersbefore going into a nearby Walmart and firing a shot in the air. Joseph Wilcox, 31, a civilian with a handgun and a concealed-carry permit, pulled his weapon to confront the male shooter, but the man’s wife shot Wilcox in the chest, killing him.
When Prince George’s County police detective Jacai Colson responded to a 2016 attack on a police station in his street clothes, another officer mistook him for a threat and shot him.
“The shot that struck and killed Detective Colson was deliberately aimed at him by another police officer,” the police chief said.
Ronal Serpas, former police chief in New Orleans and Nashville who lived near Tumwater when he was chief of the Washington State Patrol, said such situations raise life-or-death concerns for police officers.
“How is the officer going to discern who is the Good Samaritan and who is not?” Serpas said. “They don’t have placards on the front of their shirts that say ‘I’m the good guy’ or ‘I’m the bad guy.’ ”
To read more CLICK HERE


Saturday, July 14, 2018

KDKA-AM:Former D.A. Matt Mangino Reacts To The Charges Against Michael Rosfeld


Former Lawrence County District Attorney and Member of the State Parole Board, Matt Mangino joined Robert Mangino to talk about the charges filed against East Pittsburgh police officer, Michael Rosfeld who is responsible for the shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose.  Matt Mangino said it is certainly a homicide, but whether or not it meets the elements of 1st or 3rd degree murder or manslaughter, a jury will have to decide. 
Listen to the interview CLICK HERE

GateHouse: NACDL Report: Defendants ‘are being coerced to plead guilty’


Matthew T. Mangino
GateHouse Media
July 13, 2018
week the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) issued a report on the “trial penalty.” According to the report defendants “are being coerced to plead guilty” because the penalty for exercising their constitutional right to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial is “simply too high to risk.”
According to the NACDL’s website, the report identifies and exposes the underlying causes of the decline of the federal criminal trial and puts forth meaningful, achievable recommendations to address this crisis.
In the report, NACDL examines sentencing and other data underlying the fact that, after a 50-year decline, fewer than 3 percent of federal criminal cases result in a trial.
Former Eastern District of New York Judge John Gleeson authored a foreword to the report suggesting, “Putting the government to its proof is a constitutional right, enshrined in the Sixth Amendment; no one should be required to gamble with years and often decades of their liberty to exercise it.”
Judge Gleeson is the same judge who told the New York Times in 2014,“Prosecutors routinely threaten ultraharsh, enhanced mandatory sentences that no one — not even the prosecutors themselves — thinks are appropriate.” Judge Gleeson said the way prosecutors use trial penalty, “coerces guilty pleas and produces sentences so excessively severe they take your breath away.”
The report contends that trial by jury has been replaced by a “system of pleas” which diminishes, to the point of obscurity, the role that the framers envisioned for jury trials as the primary protection for individual liberties and the principal mechanism for public participation in the criminal justice system.
Guilty pleas have replaced trials for a very simple reason: Individuals who choose to exercise their Sixth Amendment right to trial face exponentially higher sentences if they go to trial and lose.
Faced with this choice, individuals almost uniformly surrender the right to trial rather than insist on proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The report contends that defense lawyers spend most of their time negotiating guilty pleas rather than ensuring that police and the government respect the boundaries of the law.
Beyond a reasonable doubt — the bedrock of the criminal justice system — plays no role in an alarming number of cases. What this means is that an insignificant number of offenders heading off to state or federal prison were proven guilty of anything. Sure, those defendants acknowledged their guilt by choosing to enter a guilty plea; but shouldn’t the most revered legal system in the world provide something more in terms of protection for those accused of a crime?
On the other hand, can the criminal justice system function without plea bargains? The plea bargain, however unpopular or unseemly, is a much needed tool in the administration of justice. If the plea bargain were to disappear the criminal courts would grind to a halt. Several years ago, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said plea bargaining determines “who goes to jail and for how long. It is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system. It is the criminal justice system.”
Why shouldn’t there be a trial penalty? What reasonably prudent defendant, represented by a reasonably competent attorney, would plead guilty if she knew a conviction at trial would bring the same penalty as pleading guilty. A defendant would have nothing to lose by going to trial. The number of trials would increase as would the direct appeals and collateral challenges. A system that is already overburdened would be pushed to the limit.
The question is how to balance the fundamental principles of the U.S. Constitution with the mechanics of the criminal justice system? The NACDL report may well be a first step in finding that balance.
— Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George P.C. His book The Executioner’s Toll, 2010 was released by McFarland Publishing. You can reach him at www.mattmangino.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
 To visit the column CLICK HERE


Friday, July 13, 2018

Prosecutor suspended over profane social media rant


The lead gang prosecutor in San Bernardino County, California, has been placed on administrative leave after using the C-word to describe U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters on social media, reported the ABA Journal.
The prosecutor, Michael Selyem, was placed on leave as the county conducts a personnel investigation, according to San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos. The San Diego Union-Tribune and KABC have stories on Ramos’ decision, while the jointly owned San Bernardino Sun and Orange County Register broke the news about the posts.
The posts under Selyem’s name appeared on Facebook and Instagram; both accounts have since been deleted, according to the Register and Sun. In one post, Selyem wrote about Waters, a California Democrat. Selyem reportedly wrote: “Being a loud-mouthed c#nt in the ghetto you would think someone would have shot this bitch by now.”
He also wrote that a police shooting victim was a “s—bag” who “got exactly what he deserved.” And he posted an altered picture of Michelle Obama holding a sign that read: “Trump grabbed my penis.”
The Sun and Register received screenshots of the social media rants from an accountant who received them from a former employee in the District Attorney’s office. Selyem did not comment when contacted by a reporter for the newspapers.
San Bernardino attorney Stephen Levine told the publications he doesn’t defend the tenor of the posts but he has seen no evidence that Selyem’s personal beliefs influenced his professional responsibilities. Loyola law professor Laurie Levenson said she found the social media comments “appalling and unprofessional.”
To read more CLICK HERE


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Officer tattoos a concern for LAPD

For decades, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has struggled to combat secretive cliques of deputies who bonded over aggressive, often violent police work and branded themselves with matching tattoos, reported the Los Angeles Times.
A federal judge called out the problem nearly 30 years ago, accusing deputies of running a "neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang" named the Vikings within the Lynwood station. Others followed with names such as the Regulators, Grim Reapers, Rattlesnakes and the Jump Out Boys. Inside the county’s central jail, the 2000 Boys and 3000 Boys ran roughshod over the lockup’s toughest floors.
Now, despite past attempts by sheriff’s officials to discourage internal cliques, fresh allegations have arisen of deputies in the department’s Compton station adorned with matching skull tattoos.
One deputy acknowledged in a recent deposition that he and 10 to 20 of his colleagues at the station had the tattoos but denied there was a formal clique.
Attorneys representing the family of a black man shot by deputies during a 2016 foot pursuit have used the existence of the tattoos to argue there is a clique tied to the killing, which they allege was racially motivated.
It’s unclear whether the tattoos signal a return of a secret deputy group that celebrates violence or something more benign. But some law enforcement experts said it’s important for the Sheriff’s Department to understand what’s going on and make sure the clique mind-set has not returned.
“In addition to investigating the police shooting, the department should also look at the culture,” said Alex Busansky, a former prosecutor who served on a county commission that in 2012 found that the department’s tolerance of cliques contributed to excessive force in the jails. “A place where 20 police officers receive matching tattoos is a place where there is a mentality of us-versus-them, and that on its face is concerning.”
To read more CLICK HERE


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Third Circuit upholds NJ's new bail system


The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit  upheld a US District Court ruling that New Jersey’s new bail system, which does away with most cash bail, is constitutional.
The law was challenged by Brittan Holland, who was arrested for aggravated assault last year. He alleged that the new system created by the New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform Act was unconstitutional because it violated the Fourth Amendment, Eighth Amendment, and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.
The opinion, written by Judge Thomas L. Ambro noted that:
We find no right to these forms of monetary bail in the Eighth Amendment’s proscription of excessive bail nor in the Fourteenth Amendment’s substantive and procedural due process components. We also reject Holland’s “less intrusive means” theory of a Fourth Amendment violation, and so we hold he has not made a sufficient showing of a violation of that constitutional amendment. Without a constitutional right violated, and with reconsideration of current release conditions an option if circumstances suggest and a request made, irreparable harm does not exist.
The courts ruling comes in the middle of a controversy surrounding the cash bail system. This system, used in many states, was criticized [JURIST report] by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights for criminalizing those who do not have the funds to pay monetary bail. In April, the American Civil Liberties Union sued [JURIST report] a Texas county after it says the county jailed many defendants for being unable to afford the bail without a “meaningful hearing.” 
To read more CLICK HERE

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court nominee on hot-button issues


Here is what you need to know about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  He is 53, married and has two children.  He currently serves as a judge on the powerful US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Here's where he stands on some hot-button issues as established by CNN:
Abortion
Because he was a swing-vote in favor of abortion rights, Kennedy's departure from the court has sparked alarm among abortion rights activists that Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, could be overturned. In addition, Trump has long vowed to appoint justices who would reverse Roe and allow states to determine whether abortion should be legal.
Kavanaugh has not expressed outright opposition to Roe v. Wade.
One of his opinions likely to draw scrutiny from senators is a his dissent from a ruling of the DC Circuit last October that an undocumented immigrant teen in detention was entitled to seek an abortion.
In his dissent, Kavanaugh wrote the Supreme Court has held that "the government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion." He wrote that the high court has "held that the government may further those interests so long as it does not impose an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion." He said the majority opinion was "based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in US government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand." He added, however, that "all parties to this case recognize Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey as precedents we must follow."
Religious liberty
Kavanaugh's opinion in a case involving a challenge under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to the Affordable Care Act's so-called contraceptive mandate, Priests for Life v. HHS, has also drawn scrutiny. In a dissent, he expressed sympathy for the religious challengers. Making reference to the Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, he wrote that "the regulations substantially burden the religious organizations' exercise of religion because the regulations require the organizations to take an action contrary to their sincere religious beliefs."
In a line that has attracted some conservative criticism, however, Kavanaugh also wrote in his dissent that Supreme Court precedent "strongly suggests that the government has a compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception for the employees of these religious organizations."
Separation of powers and executive branch authority
In his time on the DC Circuit, Kavanaugh established a reputation as a skeptic of regulatory action supported by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration.
In 2012, he argued in a dissenting opinion that the EPA "exceeded its statutory authority" in a case challenging the agency over the regulation of greenhouse gases. In a separate 2014 opinion, Kavanaugh was again critical of the EPA, writing, "In my view, it is unreasonable for EPA to exclude consideration of costs in determining whether it is 'appropriate' to impose significant new regulations on electric utilities." 
Second Amendment
In 2011, Kavanaugh dissented from a majority opinion of the DC Circuit that upheld a ban that applied to semiautomatic rifles in the District of Columbia.
In his dissent, he wrote that the Supreme Court had previously "held that handguns -- the vast majority of which today are semi-automatic -- are constitutionally protected because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens."
Citing a previous high court ruling, Kavanaugh went on to say, "It follows from Heller's protection of semi-automatic handguns that semi-automatic rifles are also constitutionally protected and that DC's ban on them is unconstitutional."
 To read more CLICK HERE

Monday, July 9, 2018

Meth is back and it's more lethal than ever


While the opioid crisis takes the spotlight, prosecutors and police say they also have been coming to grips with the devastating rebound of meth, which is killing more people in America today than in the mid-2000s when it was the national problem everyone was talking about.
Deaths related to stimulants — mostly meth — were up nationwide by more than 250 percent from 2005 to 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Georgia, deaths involving meth have increased every year since 2010, more than tripling from 65 in 2010 to 200-plus last year, data from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation says. And those numbers don’t even include Gwinnett, Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb, where the data is tracked differently. But Atlanta U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak says the metro area also is seeing an alarming jump in the number of people using and a significant increase in deaths, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
To read more CLICK HERE

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Vermont first state to consider those under 21 for juvenile court


Vermont is using a first-in-the-nation law that will place some teenagers 18 and older in the juvenile justice system, reported The Associated Press.
A law signed by former Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2016 took effect July 1 and allows anyone 21 or younger charged with a nonviolent crime to be eligible for juvenile offender status. In May, a bill was signed into law by current GOP Gov. Phil Scott that will begin placing those under the age of 19 in the juvenile justice system by 2020, and raise the age again to those under 20 in 2022.
In both cases, the change in procedure does not apply to a dozen violent offenses, including murder and armed robbery.
Lawmakers said increasing the age in the juvenile system may prevent young offenders from committing future crimes. A study from the United States Sentencing Commission found those under 21 have the highest rate of recidivism, but the hope is that by placing them in the juvenile system and placing a greater emphasis on rehabilitation, the criminal justice system can help them age out of criminal behavior.
“If they make a couple of mistakes, they’d be dealt with in the adult court, where failure is a likely outcome,” said Sen. Dick Sears, a Democrat from Bennington County and sponsor of this year’s bill. “Or, they could be dealt with in a combined juvenile and adult system where some success is more than likely possible in preventing further criminal activity.”
Lael Chester, director of the Emerging Adult Project at Columbia University’s Justice Lab, said reevaluation of how the criminal justice system deals with young adult offenders is motivated by research in the past decade that shows the brain is not typically fully developed until the mid-20s.
“The 18th birthday is not magical; you do not suddenly become a fully fledged adult,” said Chester.
While 18 is the age of majority in Vermont and most other states, Chester said current law recognizes people under 21 should not buy alcohol, and car rental companies generally require customers to be 25.
Massachusetts, Connecticut and Illinois have also considered legislation that would raise the age in the juvenile justice system. On a smaller scale, jurisdictions across the country have experimented with programs that treat young adult offenders differently than their older counterparts.
To read more CLICK HERE

Saturday, July 7, 2018

GateHouse: Immigration tip line rekindles dangerous era

Matthew T. Mangino
GateHouse Media
July 7, 2018
Eighty years ago Winston Churchill was a lonely figure on the British home front, sounding the alarm about a growing menace in Europe — the Nazis. In October 1938 he gave a speech simulcast in England and the United States. The Defense of Freedom and Peace, also known as The Lights are Going Out speech, was an oratorical gem and made the case for standing up to Nazism.
One passage condemns the German authorities for promoting a culture “where children denounce their parents to the police, where a business man or small shopkeeper ruins his competitor by telling tales about his private opinions — such a state of society cannot long endure.”
Does it matter what religion or ethnic group is the target?
President Donald Trump continues to aggressively enforced immigration laws and has instituted a zero tolerance policy for immigrants entering the U.S. without authorization. According to the Washington Post, more than 2,500 children were separated from their parents in a crackdown that has since been stopped by executive order.
Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to take time to distinguish the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border from the ignominious conduct of the Nazis. When asked by Fox News host Laura Ingraham about comparisons between the immigrant detention facilities and Nazi concentration camps all Sessions could muster was, “Well, it’s a real exaggeration, of course. In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country,”
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Trump administration has, capped the number of refugees the United States accepts at 45,000 — the lowest number since the refugee program was created in 1980; rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program; barred entry from certain Muslim-majority countries; and ended temporary protected status for immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal, Sudan and Nicaragua.
“No administration in modern U.S. history has placed such a high priority on immigration policy or had an almost exclusive focus on restricting flows, legal and unauthorized alike, and further maximizing enforcement,” concluded the Migration Policy Institute.
The Trump administration’s laser focus on immigration has rekindled concerns trumpeted by Churchill three-quarters of a century ago.
In a nondescript brick office building in Williston, Vermont, a town of about 7,500 on the New York state border, the Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line does its thing. According to the VTDigger, a statewide news website that publishes government, politics and public policy reports, the tip line began in 2003 as an initiative designed to crack down on child predators. It has since expanded into a tip line for undocumented immigrants and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Data obtained by VTDigger shows that the number of ICE tips increased by 27 percent between 2016 and 2017. Tips received from across the country reviewed by Elisabeth Hewitt of VTDigger, revealed the following:
— A worker at a school called the tip line to report parents of children at the school. She reported them after she learned their undocumented status because she felt it was wrong for them to use public schools.
— An employee at a medical facility called to report a patient who did not have legal status. The patient had been receiving treatment for more than a year at the facility’s expense, according to the caller.
— A worker in a restaurant called to report his employer after he learned some of his coworkers did not have authorization to work in the country. He called in because he was forced to share some earnings with people he said were working illegally.
— A woman who was separated from her husband called to report him. She had known about his status for years. They were in a dispute over property.
A tip line that lets a competitor use the authority of the United States of America to eliminate a rival — harkens back to a tragic time in world history. America can, and must, do better.
Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George P.C. His book The Executioner’s Toll, 2010 was released by McFarland Publishing. You can reach him at www.mattmangino.comand follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
To visit the column CLICK HERE

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Federal judge: Revoking driver's license for failure to pay fine unconstitutional

It's unconstitutional for the state of Tennessee to continue revoking driver's licenses from people who can't pay court costs, a federal judge according to the Tennessean.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger will have broad national and state ramifications, said Claudia Wilner, a senior attorney with the National Center for Law and Economic Justice in New York City who worked on the case.
Calling Trauger's ruling a "tour de force," Wilner said the order means more than 100,000 people in Tennessee can start the process today of regaining their driver's license. 
"Practically speaking, this is going to be a huge benefit to the low-income people of Tennessee who are going to be able to drive to work, take their kids to school, go to the grocery store, visit the doctor, without fear of being arrested and prosecuted for driving without a license," Wilner said in an interview. 
"Many, many people who have been unable to find work are going to be free to go back to work again."
Trauger's ruling orders the department to stop revoking the licenses and to reinstate the license of any individual who had theirs revoked due solely to non-payment of fees. The department must present a plan to the court within 60 days for how it plans to reinstate all of the licenses revoked under this law. 
A spokeswoman for the department referred comment to the Tennessee attorney general. 
"We are disappointed with the trial court’s decision and are considering all of our legal options," said Kelly K. Smith, a senior advisor in the office of the attorney general. 
But Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich praised the decision.
“This ruling will give relief to those drivers whose licenses are revoked only because they lack the financial resources to pay their fines and court costs," Weirich said in a statement. "Our hope is that this will be a positive step toward rehabilitation since offenders getting their driving privileges restored will make employment more feasible. Also, it will reduce our daily caseload and allow us to focus even more on violent crimes and property crimes.”    
There are similar laws in states around the country. Wilner said Trauger's ruling could influence other decisions elsewhere in the nation, one that could impact hundreds of thousands of people trying to improve their lives. 
"This is the first decision in the nation to hold that these kinds of suspensions or revocations without consideration of a person's ability to pay are unconstitutional," Wilner said. 
"The court’s opinion was so detailed and so thoughtful that we expect it to be extremely influential for other courts in other jurisdictions that will be considering the same question."
To read more CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4, 1776: 'All men are created equal'


Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Today, above all days, we should consider where we are as a nation and as men and women.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Concerned about Justice Kennedy's replacement: 'Go out and organize'


Here is an excerpt from Duquesne Law Professor Bruce Ledewitz's opinion piece for Jurist:
Jurisprudentially, Justice Kennedy’s replacement is likely to further consolidate the conservative interpretive methodology of originalism. Justice Gorsuch was perhaps the first expressly originalist Supreme Court judicial nominee since the disastrous confirmation fight over Robert Bork. But he will not be the last. Justice Kennedy’s replacement will probably also publicly embrace originalism.
As monumental as all this sounds, there is reason to question how important a more conservative Supreme Court will turn out to be. The most obvious positions of the post-Kennedy Court are likely to be negative. The Court will be less protective, or not protective at all, of the right to choose, the right to same-sex marriage, the rights of criminal defendants and the right to vote. But the Supreme Court will not actually threaten these rights. The Justices simply may not defend them.
There are exceptions to this judicial passivity, of course. The new Court will be even more anti-union. It will protect big campaign contributors from regulation. It will protect religious believers in the exercise of conscience. And the Court may even attempt to limit the power of Congress to legislate.
But even in its more affirmative positions, these actions by the Court would still be marginal in terms of American public life as a whole. Such actions may make it a little more difficult to overturn the current status quo, but that is all the Justices really can do.
That leaves matters to the rest of us—the voters. For the retirement of Justice Kennedy may have the unexpected result of leading to a genuine rebirth of American democracy. Yes, efforts are made, often successfully, to interfere with the will of the voters. Gerrymandering is openly practiced. Voter ID laws are adopted for partisan purposes. The anti-democratic structures of the Constitution—the Electoral College and the makeup of the Senate—also restrict majority rule. And big money wants to have its way.
Yet, with all that, the American people are not helpless. Basically, as the stalled effort to repeal Obamacare demonstrated, the will of the people still decides policy in America. We can have the country and the future that we insist upon. The question is really one of commitment. Anyone unhappy or fearful because of the retirement of Justice Kennedy has a clear path to follow—as the labor movement used to say, “go out and organize.”
To read more CLICK HERE


Monday, July 2, 2018

Presidents come and go, Justices serve for decades


President Trump's impact on this country may last much longer than his presidency.  With the ability to nominate another judge to the Supreme Court, Trump's rudderless presidency will leave its mark on America for decades to come.
The members of the conservative bloc on the Supreme Court are spring chickens, as Supreme Court justices go, reported the Los Angeles Times. Clarence Thomas is 70, Chief Justice John Roberts 63, Samuel Alito 68 and Neil Gorsuch, the first Trump appointee, only 50. It’s a safe bet that the replacement for Anthony Kennedy, who just announced his retirement at the age of 81, will be in his or her 50s or possibly younger.
Although Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, two of the four reliably liberal justices, are 64 and 58, the two other liberals, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, are 85 and 79. If Trump remains president past 2020, his opportunity to chisel a conservative supermajority into the court may be considerable and frightening.
To read more CLICK HERE

Sunday, July 1, 2018

School district hires firm to gather intelligence about potential threats


After school shootings around the nation where officials missed warning signs, Orange County Schools has hired a firm to scan students' social media posts for danger signals, reported the Durham Herald Sun.
The district is paying a little over $10,000 a year to the Vermont-based Social Sentinel firm to use software to search for keywords pointing to threats of violence, suicide and other self-harm, and bullying 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The software searches Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, Periscope and other public sites. It does not look at private sites.
When it flags a word or phrase, it notifies Sherita Cobb, the school system's director of Student Support Services, to evaluate whether it is a true threat or a false alarm. Cobb told the school board Monday night she is working to have at least one Orange County sheriff’s deputy alerted as well.
Social Sentinel claims to search for thousands of keywords, including "kill,” “die” and “bomb."
Cobb said when she gets an alarm, she looks at posts before and after the post in question to help decide whether it is a threat.
Superintendent Todd Wirt said Orange County is one of two school districts in the state using Social Sentinel.
Privacy concerns
Numerous firms offer to scan social media, but Social Sentinel is unique in focusing on schools.
That concerns some who question whether the company's work invades students' privacy.
“I think anytime we’re expanding school officials’ ability to monitor student activity outside of school I think that should give students and parents pause,” said Mike Meno, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina.
Meno said the Orange County Schools’ including the Sheriff’s Office concerns him as well. “North Carolina has some real ongoing problems with the school-to-prison pipleline, referring students from schools to the legal system," he said. "We know from data that those tools are often used disproportionately against students of color, increasing the school-to-prison pipeline.”
But the school board's attorney, Jonathan Bloomberg, supports the move and calls it brave.
“We’re in a new frontier,” he said, “but I certainly support the ‘rather know it and deal with it’ approach than sort of stick your head in the sand.”
DPS spokesman Chip Sudderth said district leaders in Durham have begun talking about using such a service.
"We've had some initial conversations," Sudderth said. "We're evaluating the cost effectiveness and the effectiveness of those kinds of programs.
He said whether such monitoring of students' social media violates their privacy is also part of the conversation.
"Those services track information that is released on the public internet, so we are not only evaluating the cost effectiveness and effectiveness of such services, but also issues related to student privacy," Sudderth said.
To read more CLICK HERE

Saturday, June 30, 2018

GateHouse: Kennedy’s legacy includes the evolution of juvenile punishment

Matthew T. Mangino
GateHouse Media
June 29, 2018
When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement there was a mix of nostalgia, dismay and alarm. Kennedy is 81-years-old and has been a judge for 43 years — 30 on the Supreme Court. It would be a bit disingenuous to suggest his announcement was a shock.
My law career began the year Kennedy was confirmed. He came as an afterthought to the beleaguered conservative Robert Bork. President Ronald Reagan nominated Bork to the Supreme Court, but he failed to be confirmed following a raucous and bitter battle in the U.S. Senate.
Kennedy’s record on the Supreme Court has demonstrated that the struggle to keep Robert Bork off the court was worth the effort. Kennedy has been a moderate voice on the court during some turbulent times, thus the dismay at his departure.
The alarm is for good reason. President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his second Supreme Court justice. With the court evenly divided and the voice of moderation leaving, President Trump can use his acknowledged litmus test for a new justice — overrule Roe v. Wade.
Although America is facing uncertain times it is worthwhile to reflect on the impact that Kennedy has had on American jurisprudence. Certainly, there are his swing votes on same-sex marriage, gun control and campaign finance, but I believe Kennedy’s most impactful decisions grew out of the criminal justice system.
In 2005, in a case known as Roper v. Simmons, Kennedy was the deciding vote in abolishing the death penalty for juvenile offenders. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and went beyond merely writing that imposing the death penalty on juveniles was cruel and unusual punishment.
Kennedy wrote in Roper that juveniles are cognitively immature and therefore less culpable. The brain development argument sent the issue of juvenile punishment in a whole new direction.
The juvenile criminal court system is distinctly different from the adult criminal court system. Adult court is about retribution and incapacitation. The juvenile system is not punitive. The focus has always been on rehabilitation and is oriented toward the treatment of young offenders.
Kennedy wrote in Roper, “It is difficult even for expert psychologists to differentiate between the juvenile offender whose crime reflects unfortunate yet transient immaturity, and the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption.”
When Roper was argued, death penalty opponents floated the idea that life without parole was an appropriate alternative to the death penalty. However, Kennedy’s brain development argument lends itself to arguing that life without parole is inappropriate for any juvenile offender regardless of offense.
In 2010, Kennedy was once again the swing-vote in a 5-4 decision out of Florida banning life in prison for juveniles convicted of non-homicide offenses. In Roper, Kennedy wrote that juveniles have a “lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility”; they “are more vulnerable or susceptible to negative influences and outside pressures, including peer pressure.”
In the Florida case, Kennedy wrote, “No recent data provide reason to reconsider the Court’s observations in Roper about the nature of juveniles. ... developments in psychology and brain science continue to show fundamental differences between juvenile and adult minds.”
In 2012, the high court took Kennedy’s reasoning a step further. The court ruled that a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole imposed upon a juvenile violated the Eighth Amendment. Kennedy’s legacy lies in infusing dignity into the criminal justice system as it relates to juveniles. Thirteen years before Kennedy’s opinion in Roper the Supreme Court had upheld the execution of juveniles 16 years of age and older.
Today, 13 years after Roper — chiefly through the reasoning of Justice Kennedy — teenagers are no longer subject to the death penalty, they are much less likely to face life in prison and now, more than ever, their age and mental acuity are factors to consider at the time of sentencing.
Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George P.C. His book The Executioner’s Toll, 2010 was released by McFarland Publishing. You can reach him at www.mattmangino.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
To visit the column CLICK HERE


Friday, June 29, 2018

The President's contempt for the judiciary is dangerous


Kevin Judd and Keith Watters writing as part of the Defending Justice Series of the American Bar Association Journal contend, President Trump’s utter lack of respect and understanding of the need for an independent judiciary is exemplified when he debased Judge Curiel on racial grounds and also made ad hoc criticisms against the court of appeals. 
A judiciary without the faith of the executive is a danger to a free and open society. Citizens rely equally on each of the three branches of government for the administration of governmental affairs. When citizens lose confidence with the branch of government responsible for interpreting the laws, all of our institutions are diminished.
President Trump’s attacks upon judges and judicial decisions undermines the legitimacy of the courts. This diminishes the purpose of having not only a system of checks and balances, but of having a neutral court that can operate independently. Derogatory tweets and criticisms from the executive branch must not be allowed to intimidate the judiciary. For centuries, Americans have relied on fair courts to prevent government overreach and to maintain the constitutional rights of its citizens, regardless of the political motivations of the other two government branches. Allowing the federal courts to serve as an impartial and independent body free of executive interference is crucial to preserving the ideals of the United States of America.
The head of state’s disrespect and contempt for one of the bedrock principles of democracy demonstrates why an independent judicial branch is essential. The executive branch cannot usurp the judicial branch, and the executive branch should not attempt to abrogate this core constitutional structure. Our system of checks and balances has proved to be the bedrock of our democracy. The Constitution safeguards judicial independence; however, separation of powers ensures that each branch must accord the others a certain level of deference. As the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon, no person, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.
To read more CLICK HERE


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Texas executes the 'ice-pick killer' in spite of health concerns

The 12th Execution of 2018
Bible, the man known as the “ice-pick killer,” accused in a series of murders and rapes, was put to death by lethal injection in Texas on June 27, 2018 following unsuccessful appeals for other execution methods that his attorneys said would be more humane for an elderly and sick prisoner. reported the Washington Post.
Attorneys for Bible argued that death by lethal injection would be inhumane and could result in a botched execution given Bible’s plethora of medical problems. They proposed two alternatives: death by firing squad or by nitrogen hypoxia — execution methods that are not legal in Texas but have been allowed in a handful of states.
Bible was pronounced dead at 6:32 p.m. Central Time, the Associated Press reported. The serial rapist and child molester was sentenced to die in 2003 for raping and murdering a young wife and mother in Houston more than two decades earlier.
Despite his attorney’s fears, Bible’s execution occurred without complications. He declined to give a final statement and stared at relatives of two of his victims who watched through a window, according to the AP. After the drugs were administered, he muttered that it was “burning” and that it “hurt.”
Bible’s attorneys said he was suffering from heart failure, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s, diabetes and several other illnesses. They argued that scars from several surgeries would make it difficult, if not impossible, to access a vein for a lethal injection. And even if the execution team managed to insert the needle, Bible’s veins were likely to rupture once doses of saline and pentobarbital begin to flow, according to a complaint filed this month in federal court in Houston.
Once Bible, who uses a wheelchair, is strapped to a gurney and lying flat, he will gasp for air and choke, attorneys argued.
In 1998, while in custody for another rape in Louisiana, Bible confessed that he had killed Deaton, court records say.
Death by firing squad is allowed only in Utah, Oklahoma and Mississippi. Utah had avoided the method for several years, but the state reversed its policy in 2015 by making death by firing squad a backup execution method. Utah carried out the country’s most recent execution by firing squad in 2010, when the state put convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner to death. That was also the last execution that Utah has carried out.
In Oklahoma, death by firing squad is a last resort if other methods were deemed unconstitutional. Mississippi joined the two states last year.
A handful of states, including Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama, allow execution by nitrogen hypoxia, which involves placing a condemned person in a gas chamber and depriving them of oxygen. In March, Oklahoma made an unprecedented decision to use nitrogen gas to execute death row inmates after state officials had been unable to obtain lethal-injection drugs.
Bible is the 12th man executed in the country this year.
To read more CLICK HERE


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Justice Kennedy announces retirement, court expected to move to the right

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced that he is retiring from the Supreme Court, a move that will give President Trump a chance to replace the pivotal justice and solidify a more conservative majority on the court that plays a crucial role in American life, reported the Washington Post.
Kennedy cast the deciding vote that found a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. He determined how far government may intrude on a woman’s right to an abortion; whether attempts to curtail the corrupting influence of campaign contributions violated free speech; and how and when it is appropriate for government to exercise affirmative action.
His decisions shielded juveniles and the intellectually disabled from the death penalty, although he refused to find capital punishment unconstitutional. He found that those seized in the fight against terrorism had rights in U.S. courts. And that is only a partial list of the issues on which he was key.
Kennedy, 81, was appointed by President Reagan in 1988, the year that I became a member of the bar. His departure could mark a dramatic move to the right by the Robert's Court. Kennedy said in a statement released on the last day of the term. He said his final day will be July 31.
Kennedy’s role at the center of a court equally balanced between more predictable conservatives and more consistent liberals made him the most essential member of the modern court.
His opinions often spoke of “dignity” and “liberty,” and his notions of how the Constitution provides for and protects them had an outsize effect on Americans.
To read more CLICK HERE

Homicide charges filed against police officer who shot Antwon Rose


Criminal homicide charges have been filed against Michael Rosfeld, the officer who fatally shot 17-year-old Antwon Rose, Channel 11's Rick Earle has confirmed.
To read more CLICK HERE

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment releases 270-page report

I served as a member of the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment.  Our committee compiled the 270-page report, commissioned by a 2011 Senate resolution.  Data was compiled in part by the Justice Center for Research at The Pennsylvania State University and the Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness. 
Our committee was charged with looking at the cost, bias, impact on and services for family members of death penalty inmates; mental illness, counseling, alternatives, and more.
Governor Tom Wolf has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in Pennsylvania while awaiting the findings of our report.
To read the Report CLICK HERE

Immigrant children expected to represent themselves at immigration hearings

Immigrant children separated from there families at the boarder may be required to represent themselves at immigration hearings. Can a 3-year-old possibly grasp the fundamentals of the American justice system and defend themselves in court?
Judge Jack Weil believes so, according to The Christian Science Monitor. The Virginia-based judge has said in support of the US government’s position that "unaccompanied migrant youths don’t need attorneys in immigration court."
"I've taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of patience," Judge Weil said. "They get it. It's not the most efficient, but it can be done." 
Most legal profession do not agree.
 “They are just completely disoriented, and they are in the middle of their trauma,” immigration lawyer Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch told the Huffington Post. “Their singular focus is ‘Where’s my mommy and how will I get back to her?’ So all of this other business is almost irrelevant, when, in fact, a lot of these people are fleeing violence, and if they get sent back they could be killed. And yet the child can’t focus on that.”
At the hearings, a judge will ask the children basic questions ― name, date of birth, home country ― and whether they admit or deny allegations, such as if they crossed the border illegally. Children who go through this process without parents or a lawyer have to describe why a situation back home is so bad that they shouldn’t be deported. If successful, they can apply for asylum or other forms of relief.
Kimi Jackson, the director of ProBAR, an organization that provides legal assistance to immigrants, said that in some cases migrant kids are so young that they might not know their parents’ names or be able to speak. But even if they can talk, most children who go through the court system on their own have no idea what is happening. In 2016, Lincoln-Goldfinch filmed a mock deportation hearing with her 3-year-old child to protest a California judge who said kids should be able to represent themselves in immigration court. When she asked, “What defense to deportation are you seeking?” her daughter responded, “Hide and seek.”
The confusion is even worse for children who have fled violence at home only to be separated from their parents upon arriving in the U.S. Mary Lehman Held, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Tennessee, says these children’s brains are stuck in “fight, flight or freeze mode” due to extreme stress, which makes it hard for them to remember information. Elissa Steglich, a clinical professor in the University of Texas School of Law’s Immigration Clinic, thinks the fact that their developing brains are experiencing layers of trauma means “it will be particularly challenging if not impossible to get a full story from many of these children.”
To read more CLICK HERE

Monday, June 25, 2018

Mangino talks immigration on WFMJ-TV21 Weekend Today

Watch my interview on WFMJ-TV21 Weekend Today discussing immigration raids on Ohio businesses and the Trump Administration policy of separating border families.
To watch the interview CLICK  HERE

Saturday, June 23, 2018

GateHouse: Immigration raids devastate communities

Matthew T. Mangino
GateHouse Media
June 22, 2018
Crying toddlers being snatched from their parents’ arms and images of young people huddled behind fences in detention centers exploded into a political crisis for President Donald Trump and Congress, as they sat idle while people of every persuasion denounced the practice of separating immigrant children from their families.
Caving under mounting political pressure, President Trump signed an executive order ending the separation of families at the border, despite administration officials’ insistence that only Congress could resolve the situation.
The anguish doesn’t stop at the border. Two weeks ago, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 114 workers at a gardening company in Ohio. In April, ICE raided a meatpacking plant in rural Tennessee and arrested 97 immigrants. In January, ICE raided dozens of 7-Eleven stores nationwide, adding to the mounting arrests.
This week, ICE arrested 146 immigrants at a meat-processing plant in Northern Ohio. ICE said a year-long investigation into Fresh Mark revealed that the company may have knowingly hired undocumented workers.
“Unlawful employment is one of the key magnets drawing illegal aliens across our borders,” Steve Francis, a special agent in charge for the Homeland Security Investigations, said in a statement obtained by the Washington Post. “Businesses who knowingly harbor and hire illegal aliens as a business model must be held accountable for their action.”
Although ICE released several suspects for “humanitarian concerns, such as health or family considerations,” the agency said most of the undocumented workers “will be detained in facilities in Michigan and Ohio while awaiting removal proceedings.”
The tragic impact of the investigation is readily apparent. Families separated, children afraid to go home, parents in fear of further arrests. Those left behind unable to support themselves.
However, that is only the initial impact and it is concentrated on those directly attached to the arrests. In time, those indirectly connected will begin to feel the pain of these raids.
Elizabeth Oglesby, an associate Professor of Latin American Studies and Geography at the University of Arizona, conducted research in Massachusetts, Iowa, and South Carolina during the President George W. Bush era. She found that large-scale raids are local disasters, even for those not directly affected.
In an article first published in The Conversation, she cited the impact of mass immigration arrests.
Postville, Iowa, suffered immensely after an ICE raid on a company known as Agriprocessors. The company nearly collapsed after losing its workforce, devastating the small town’s economy. The plant stopped paying property taxes, real estate values plummeted, and local restaurants and other businesses closed.
To stay in business, Agriprocessors hired a string of temporary legal workers, mostly young, single men, including early release prisoners, and homeless people. The sense of instability and unease in the town, made inhabitants yearn for the undocumented workers and their families.
Oglesby wrote about an ICE raid in 2007, at the Michael Bianco factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The plant made backpacks for the Pentagon. Six hundred ICE agents arrested 361 people causing economic hardship throughout the region.
In 2008, ICE raided the House of Raeford poultry plant on the outskirts of Greenville, South Carolina, arresting more than 300 workers.
A House of Raeford manager told the Charlotte Observer that 90 percent of his 800-person plant is Latino and turnover exceeds 100 percent a year.
It is unclear how many illegal immigrants work in the labor-intensive, unskilled poultry industry, reported the Observer. One 2006 study estimated more than a quarter of meat-processing workers nationwide were undocumented.
The residual effect of an immigration raid not only removes the illegal workers from their jobs but also the law abiding legal immigrants and the able-bodied red blooded American citizens, as well.
Postville lost one-third of its population after the 2007 raid, as undocumented workers who evaded arrest fled. Oglesby described how high school students in Postville made a photo banner to remember friends whose desks were suddenly empty.
Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George P.C. His book The Executioner’s Toll, 2010 was released by McFarland Publishing. You can reach him at www.mattmangino.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
To visit the column CLICK HERE


Friday, June 22, 2018

SCOTUS: Police need search warrant to track suspect's movements through cellphone


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police generally need a search warrant if they want to track criminal suspects’ movements by collecting information about where they’ve used their cellphones, reported The Crime Report.
The 5-4 decision is a victory for privacy in the digital age. Police collection of cellphone tower information has become an important tool in criminal investigations. The case marks a major change in how police can obtain phone records, according to The Associated Press.
Authorities can obtain information about the numbers dialed from a home telephone without presenting a warrant. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s four liberals.
Roberts said the decision is limited to cellphone tracking information and does not affect other business records, including those held by banks. “We hold only that a warrant is required in the rare case where the suspect has a legitimate privacy interest in records held by a third party,” he said. He added that police still can respond to an emergency and obtain records without a warrant.
Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissented. Kennedy said the court’s “new and uncharted course will inhibit law enforcement” and “keep defendants and judges guessing for years to come.”
In a separate dissent, Alito said, “I fear that today’s decision will do far more harm than good.” He said “it guarantees a blizzard of litigation while threatening many legitimate and valuable investigative practices.”
The appeal was brought by Timothy Carpenter, who was sentenced to 116 years in prison for his role in robberies of Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores in Michigan and Ohio. Cell tower records that investigators got without a warrant bolstered the case against Carpenter. Investigators got the cell tower records with a court order that requires a lower standard than the “probable cause” needed to obtain a warrant.
The American Civil Liberties Union, representing Carpenter, said a warrant would provide protection against unjustified government snooping. Technology companies including Apple, Facebook and Google urged the Justices to continue bringing Fourth Amendment law into the modern era, reports the New York Times.
“No constitutional doctrine should presume,” their brief said, “that consumers assume the risk of warrantless government surveillance simply by using technologies that are beneficial and increasingly integrated into modern life.”
To read more CLICK HERE


Thursday, June 21, 2018

East Pittsburgh police shoot unarmed fleeing teen in the back killing him


East Pittsburgh Police officer shoots a fleeing 17-year-old boy three times in the back killing him.  The officer had been sworn into the police department just hours earlier, reported the Huffington Post.
Antwon Rose was killed Tuesday night while fleeing from a car that had been pulled over in connection with an earlier shooting in North Braddock, Pennsylvania, according to WTAE TV.
A post on the Allegheny County Police Department’s Facebook page described what happened:

An East Pittsburgh police officer saw a vehicle matching the description on Grandview Avenue which also had ballistics damage to the rear window. The officer stopped the vehicle near Grandview and Howard Street in East Pittsburgh.
The officer took the driver into custody. While he was putting the driver into handcuffs, two other occupants ran from the car.
One individual ― a 17-year-old male ― was shot by police. He was transported to McKeesport Hospital where he was declared deceased.

Rose was not armed, Allegheny County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Thirty-three yeas ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tennessee v. Garner, the Fourth Amendment prohibits the use of deadly force unless it is necessary to prevent the escape of a fleeing felon and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of violence to the officer or the community. The Tennessee statute at the time was unconstitutional as far as it allowed deadly force to prevent the escape of an unarmed fleeing felon.
To read more CLICK HERE