Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The President's "fixer" gets 36 months in prison

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, was sentenced to three years in prison and millions in forfeitures, restitution and fines by U.S. District Judge William Pauley III of the Southern District of New York, reported the National Law Journal.
The sentence was handed down after Cohen made a series of guilty pleas. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office prosecuted Cohen for lying to Congress, and the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted him for campaign finance violations, tax fraud and other charges.
Pauley handed down the sentence after Cohen’s emotional personal plea for leniency. As members of Cohen’s family openly wept, Pauley said that while Cohen’s willingness to plead guilty to a host of crimes in Manhattan, as well as to lying to Congress as part of Mueller’s investigation, and his contrition before the court were notable, they “did not wipe the slate clean.”
To read more CLICK HERE

McConnell: Senate will vote on FIRST STEP Act.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate will vote on the FIRST STEP Act, an expansive criminal justice reform bill, within the month, reported Jurist. The bill passed the House in May of this year and has awaited a Senate vote ever since.
McConnell previously said that the Senate would not vote on the bill this year. The legislation has drawn criticism from some Republicans for being soft on crime, but President Trump endorsed the FIRST STEP Act last month, which increased pressure on McConnell to move ahead with a vote in the Senate. The proposed criminal justice reforms would moderate some of the tough on crime laws of the 1980s and 1990s and enjoy support among Democrats and many Republicans.
The FIRST STEP Act sets out a series of prison and sentencing reforms designed to reduce harsh sentencing, facilitate rehabilitation and combat recidivism. The bill would expand judicial discretion in sentencing, reduce the length of mandatory minimum sentences, make the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 apply retroactively, expand incentive programs that reward good behavior and early release programs for non-violent, low-risk offenders in the federal prison system. The bill exempts violent offenders, including those convicted of human trafficking and terrorism, from early release programs.
The FIRST STEP Act is one of several bills the Senate will take up in the final weeks of the year before the 116th Congress is sworn in on January 3rd.
To read more CLICK HERE

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The President aka 'Individual 1' faces felony campaign finance violations

The New York prosecutors' Michael Cohen sentence memo contains the following line, “On approximately June 16, 2015, Individual-1, for whom Cohen worked at the time, began an ultimately successful campaign for President of the United States.”
According to the USA Today, the memo goes on to charge “Individual-1” with conspiracy to commit the same felony campaign finance violations that Cohen pleaded guilty to. There appears to be no question whatsoever that if Justice Department guidelines allowed it, Mueller would have already indicted Trump.
Apparently, though, Mueller was just too cryptic for the president who, after Cohen’s sentencing memo was released, tweeted out, “Totally clears the President. Thank you!
Now, the tragedy, at least if you are a member of Donald Trump’s inner circle: The net is closing in. The most interesting thing in the sentencing memo was Mueller revealing that the conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws was not just limited to “Individual-1” and Cohen. “Executives” of The Trump Organization (called “the company” in the memo) concocted a scheme to reimburse Cohen for his illegal campaign contributions without revealing that they were campaign-related.
It isn’t clear from the memo who the “executives” are, but there is a very small pool of candidates and most of them are members of the Trump family. One or more of them is almost certain to be indicted.
To read more CLICK HERE

Monday, December 10, 2018

Disciplinary Board recommends 1 year suspension for former DA

Former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller should be suspended for one year and one day, the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board has recommended, reported The Legal Intelligencer. The conduct at issue included having ex parte communications with judges and using a fake Facebook account to “snoop” on suspects.
The board’s recommendation, which was filed Thursday, is an increase over the three-month suspension that the hearing committee recommended in the case. The state Supreme Court must make the ultimate decision regarding Parks Miller’s disciplinary case, but if the high court imposes the lengthier suspension, it will add more than a few months, since attorneys suspended for longer than one year need to petition for reinstatement before they can begin practicing again.
Parks Miller faces charges stemming from ex parte communications she had in seven matters, most of which involved retired Centre County Judge Bradley Lunsford, as well as charges stemming from the creation of a fictitious Facebook account, which made friend requests to defendants and friended the pages of several establishments suspected of selling bath salts.
According to the disciplinary board’s 45-page recommendation, the Facebook issue raised a novel question in Pennsylvania of whether a prosecutor violates disciplinary rules by “engaging in a covert activity through the use of social media.”
Although the hearing committee had determined that the conduct was not a violation but only showed “lack of care” by Parks Miller, the disciplinary board said the conduct rose to the level of a violation.
“[Parks Miller] knowingly created a fake social media persona, provided access to a fake Facebook page to her staff, and indicated that the page should be used to ‘masquerade’ and ‘snoop’ around on Facebook,” the filing said. “The Facebook page created by [Parks Miller] and disseminated to her staff was fake, and constituted fraudulent and deceptive conduct.
To read more CLICK HERE

Sunday, December 9, 2018

President looks to bring back George H.W. Bush era attorney general

President Trump will nominate William Barr, the George H.W. Bush-era leader of the Justice Department who was known for his hardline approach to drug crime, as his next attorney general, reported The Crime Report. Speaking with reporters as he prepared to leave Washington for a conference in Missouri, he said Barr was his “first choice from day one,” though he acknowledged he didn’t know him until recently, reports Fox News.
“I think he will serve with great distinction,” Trump said.
If he’s confirmed, Barr would replace Matthew Whitaker, the former Jeff Sessions chief of staff who took over as acting attorney general last month.
Barr, 68, is a well-respected Republican lawyer who served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush. Although he is regarded as a bipartisan figure, given the political fights enveloping the Justice Department, any attorney general nominee is likely to face tough questions at a Senate confirmation hearing, the Washington Post reports.
The president has repeatedly accused the department of launching a biased investigation into his campaign and claimed that special counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a “witch hunt” targeting him and his aides.
Democrats want assurances the department’s next leader will resist political pressure from the White House; Republicans want assurances the department will operate investigations in an evenhanded fashion toward members of both parties. Barr’s past statements about the Russia probe, in which he has questioned the political tilt of Mueller’s team, could give some Democrats fodder to attack Barr’s nomination.
Republican operatives who support Barr noted he once worked alongside Mueller in the Justice Department and said his track record should ease any Democratic concerns that the department would see its independence eroded. One source said Barr has a bluntness that is likely to resonate with the president.
“The president is very, very focused on [a candidate] looking the part and having credentials consistent with the part,” the person said.
Barr’s daughter, Mary Daly, is a senior Justice Department official overseeing the agency’s efforts against opioid abuse and addiction. During Barr’s earlier stint as AG, DOJ issued a “Case for More Incarceration.”
In fact, in some quarters he is considered the “architect” of mass incarceration, Vox reports.
Civil rights advocates, for instance,  note that as deputy attorney general from 1990 to 1991, and as attorney general (1991-1993), he pushed for and helped implement punitive criminal justice policies, including a 1990 crime law that among other things escalated the war on drugs.
To read more CLICK HERE

Saturday, December 8, 2018

GateHouse: SCOTUS to decide Double Jeopardy issue in shadow of pardon debate

Matthew T. Mangino
GateHouse Media
December 7, 2018
Gamble was 19-years-old in 2008 when he was convicted of robbery in Alabama. Robbery is a felony in Alabama and according to state law, and federal law, a felon is not permitted to possess a firearm.
Fast-forward seven years and Gamble is pulled over for a traffic violation. Police in Alabama find a handgun and charge him as a “felon-in-possession” at the same time federal prosecutors charge Gamble under a similar federal law.
Gamble pleaded guilty in state court in Alabama and was sentenced to one year in prison. Subsequently, a federal court sentenced him to 46 months in prison for the same crime. Gamble made a constitutional challenge to the federal charge arguing it violated the Double Jeopardy Clause.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that no person can “be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb,” prohibiting multiple trials for the same offense.
Gamble’s claim was dismissed by a district court, and his conviction affirmed by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In its decision, the 11th Circuit found that the “Supreme Court has determined that prosecution in federal and state court for the same conduct does not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause because the state and federal governments are separate sovereigns.”
The “separate sovereigns” doctrine allows both federal and state prosecutors to charge an individual under the theory that the state and federal governments are separate government entities and being charged separately with state and federal crimes is not Double Jeopardy.
Gamble took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear his case. Supreme Court justices do not hear every case that is brought to them. A petitioner must get at least four justices to vote to bring the case before the High Court.
The question is can he get five votes to overturn the so called separate sovereigns doctrine? Gamble’s attorneys got a chance on Thursday to make their case, in front of nine Supreme Court justices.
Gamble’s lawyers argued that “Permitting consecutive prosecutions for the same offense simply because different sovereigns initiate them ‘hardly serves’ the deeply rooted principles of finality and fairness the Clause was designed to protect.”
Attorneys for Gamble argued that the founder’s intentions for the Double Jeopardy Clause and the Supreme Court’s interpretation are incompatible. Essentially, the founding fathers did not intend to permit a person to be tried twice for the same offense in any court and the Supreme Court, through the years, failed to fully appreciate the founders’ intent.
Some justices made it clear that those decisions by prior courts are the very reasons not to overturn the separate sovereigns doctrine. Justice Elena Kagan raised the issue, noting that the separate sovereign’s doctrine is 170 years old and 30 justices over the years have supported it. She suggested that stare decisis, the adherence to prior rulings, is at bottom a doctrine of “humility;” we don’t want to overrule an earlier decision or rule “just because we think we can do it better.”
The case has garnered a lot of interest as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Although Mueller’s name was never mentioned during the argument the implication is that the Court’s decision could have an impact on how much protection a presidential pardon provides.
Although the president’s power to pardon is enormous under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, he can only provide a pardon for federal indictments or convictions.
For instance, the president could pardon Paul Manafort with regard to his federal conviction, but a state court, which would be out of the reach of a presidential pardon, could pursue the very same charges for which Manafort, or others, were already tried, convicted and pardoned in federal court.
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 and follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
To visit the column CLICK HERE

Friday, December 7, 2018

Tennessee sends second inmate to the electric chair in about a month

The 23rd Execution in 2018
A Tennessee inmate became the second person to die in the state's electric chair in just over a month on December 6, 2018, nearly two decades after Tennessee adopted lethal injection as its preferred method of execution, reported The Associated Press.
David Earl Miller, 61, was pronounced dead at 7:25 p.m. at a Nashville maximum-security prison.
Miller was convicted of killing 23-year-old Lee Standifer in 1981 in Knoxville and had been on death row for 36 years, the longest of any inmate in Tennessee.
At 7:12 p.m. and after Miller had been strapped into the chair, Tennessee Department of Correction officials raised a blind that had covered the windows to a witness room. Miller looked straight ahead, his eyes seemingly unfocused and his face expressionless.
Warden Tony Mays asked Miller if he had any last words. He spoke but his words were unintelligible. Mays asked him to repeat himself, and his words were still difficult to understand, but his attorney, Stephen Kissinger, said he understood them to be, "Beats being on death row."
Officers then placed a large damp sponge on Miller's shaved head to help conduct the current before strapping a cap to his head. Water ran down Miller's face and was toweled off by an officer. Miller looked down and did not look back up before officers placed a shroud over his face.
After someone connected an electrical cable to the chair, Miller's body stiffened as the first jolt of current hit him. His body then relaxed before a second jolt came less than a minute later. Again, Miller's body stiffened and then relaxed. The blinds were pulled down and an announcement of the time of death came over an intercom.
No witnesses from either Miller's family or Standifer's were present for the execution, but Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor read a brief statement from a woman from Ohio who did not want her name given.
Taylor read, "After a long line of victims he has left, it is time to be done. It is time for him to pay for what he has done to Lee."
Miller had been on a date with Standifer, who had mental disabilities, and the two were seen together around town the evening of May 20, 1981. The young woman's body was found beaten and stabbed the next day in the yard of the home where Miller had been living.
Gov. Bill Haslam refused Miller's request to commute his sentence to life in prison. Miller's petition for clemency said Miller had been physically abused as a child by his stepfather and had been physically and sexually abused by his mother. The petition argued that evidence of the trauma and mental illness it caused should have been presented to a jury.
To read more CLICK HERE

Thursday, December 6, 2018

President could bring clemency process in house (White House that is)

President Donald Trump could create a clemency commission in the White House, suggests the Washington Examiner.
The commission would supplement or replace the Justice Department’s opaque Office of the Pardon Attorney, which critics say is inherently biased in favor of prosecutors.
A new clemency commission can be created without Congress. The idea has support from both left-wing and conservative advocates, who note Trump’s repeated musing about the unfairness of the criminal justice system, including a remark in October that “a lot of people” are in prison for “no reason” and that he was “actively looking” to address that.
Trump has nearly unchecked power to pardon or release federal inmates — an authority he’s already used in unconventional ways, breaking with stingy recent predecessors to give nine early-term pardons or commutations, including the first pardons to currently incarcerated inmates since the 1800s.
“The reason you haven’t seen anything done yet is that there are only 24 hours in the day, and this requires some thought,” said Heritage Foundation scholar Paul Larkin, who advocates a clemency review process headed by the vice president.
Larkin attended a September meeting at the White House hosted by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Kim Kardashian West joined a dozen reformers around a Roosevelt Room table, where guests discussed commission ideas.
To read more CLICK HERE

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Texas executes the fourth of the so-called 'Texas 7'

The 22nd Execution of 2018
Nearly two decades after the brazen prison break-out and cross-state crime spree that landed him on America's Most Wanted and eventually on death row, Texas 7 prisoner Joseph Garcia was executed on December 4, 2018 night in Huntsville, according to the Houston Chronicle.
In his final words from the gurney, he offered a quick prayer.
"Dear Heavenly Father," he said, "please forgive them for they know not what they do."
He was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m., 13 minutes after the lethal dose began.
In recent weeks, the 47-year-old convicted in the Christmas Eve killing of a North Texas police officer launched a slew of appeals, lawsuits, pleas for reprieve and requests for clemency. His last-minute legal moves raised questions about his initial conviction, the controversial "law of parties" and the source of the state's lethal injection supplies.
But on Friday, the parole board rebuffed the condemned man's request for clemency, and lower courts turned down appeal after appeal. By Tuesday morning, he still had a number of claims in front of appeals courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, and a long-shot bid for reprieve sitting on the governor's desk.
"I am on death row because of the actions and intent of others and because I am one of the Texas Seven, case closed," he wrote the Chronicle weeks before his scheduled execution. "Is it right that I should be murdered for something that I did not do?"
To some friends and family of the slain policeman – Officer Aubrey Hawkins – the answer is clear.
"Whatever participation he had, he went along with it," said Seagoville police Sgt. Karl Bailey, a long-time friend of the Hawkins family. "The whole thing was sparked by the escape from prison, the burglaries - it was a crime spree."
Though Garcia offered no apology in his final statement, he sent out a message of remorse through his attorneys.
"I want to offer my heartfelt apology to the family of Officer Hawkins, and the workers at Oshman's in Dallas," he said. "None of this was supposed to happen. I wish it didn't."
At the time of the breakout in December 2000, the Bexar County native was locked up in a prison south of San Antonio, serving a 50-year sentence stemming from a boozy fight that ended with one man dead. Garcia was convicted of murder, but he has long maintained that it was the other man - Miguel Luna - who attacked him, and that the fatal stabbing was only in self-defense.
Behind bars, he made friends with a charismatic thief named George Rivas. First, they bonded over a "poor man's spread" of prisoner-made food. Then, they plotted an escape.
Inspired by a book, their plan took months to prepare. They picked a crew, spread rumors among the guards, surveyed the grounds and gathered supplies.
On Dec. 13, they made good on their plot. Some of the men stayed back from lunch to wax the floors in the maintenance shop, according to trial testimony. Then, as guards, civilian staff and other inmates returned from eating, the men overpowered them and took them hostage one by one.
After gaining control of maintenance, two of the gang dressed up as prison workers to sneak into the armory and take control of the guard tower. Then they fled, driving out the gate in a prison truck.
They switched out vehicles at a nearby Walmart, where one man's father had left them a truck.
Once they realized the men were missing, authorities rushed to put up a roadblock - but the escapees missed it by about four cars. Headed toward Houston, Garcia looked out the back of the vehicle and watching police erect sawhorses in the road behind them, he told the Chronicle.
After pulling off a pair of robberies to load up with cash and supplies in the Bayou City, the fleeing prisoners left and headed north.
In the Dallas suburb of Irving, the seven escapees staked out an Oshman's sporting goods store. They got a copy of the newspaper and cut out the picture of a Scholastic Award winner, then glued his image to a WANTED poster.
Bearing their handmade sign and wearing security guard uniforms, two of the men went inside just before closing on Christmas Eve, aiming to bluff their way into the surveillance room to figure out how much of the store was on camera.
Once they did that, Rivas announced that it was a robbery. They took hostages and stole guns, money and supplies. But before they left, a lone police officer showed up.
Garcia says he was still inside the building when he heard the shots, but some of the other men offered different accounts.
In all, five men fired shots. Rivas admitted he was one of them – but the state never proved that Garcia was. He still maintains that he was inside the building when the shooting started.
Afterward, they fled to Colorado, driving straight into a blizzard. They stopped at motels along the way, then holed up in a trailer park near Colorado Springs. For a month, they posed as Christian missionaries before they were finally captured. One of the men – Larry Harper – killed himself rather than be taken back to prison.
The other six were sent to death row, and three have since been executed. To the former prosecutor who handled all six of the trials, a fourth execution date comes as a welcome relief.
"It's been almost 18 years," attorney Toby Shook told the Chronicle earlier this year. "It's satisfying that the actual sentence will actually be carried out."
In his final weeks, Garcia has launched an array of appeals. In one claim, he argued that his original Bexar County killing was actually self-defense and not murder. If so, he said, it shouldn't have been used as evidence of future dangerousness – something the state is required to show to secure a death sentence.
In a separate appeal filed in Dallas County, Garcia and his legal team raised claims of earlier bad lawyering, an allegedly racist judge and the constitutionality of using the law of parties to execute someone the state never showed was a shooter or ever intended to kill anyone.
Among Garcia's other pending legal actions is a challenge to the state's lethal injection procedures in light of recent reporting about the alleged source of the drugs. In recent days, he'd also tried lobbing a lawsuit at the parole board, arguing the seven-member panel had too many former law enforcement members to be representative of the general public.
But as his lawyers fought for his life, Garcia spent his final weeks coming to terms with his own regrets and trying to live "day-by-day" till the end. He prayed, he paced in his cell and, during a death row interview, he expressed remorse for the now-grown man left without a father 18 years ago.
"Man, I don't even know his name," he said. "That's a shame."
Choking up, he paused.
"I don't think there's enough words in the world to say to him what he needs to hear."
He was the 12th Texas prisoner executed this year. Another death date is scheduled for next week.
To read more CLICK HERE

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Monday, December 3, 2018

NRA losing its grip on politicians?

Increasingly, the gun control debate has become a true debate, with those silenced speaking up, according to Roll Call. Doctors, long admonished with NRA advice “to stay in their lane,” have added their voices, informed by having to deal with the shattered bodies that represent the aftermath of gun violence. Many doctors have sought a middle ground, allowing gun ownership as well as the training and the research on gun violence that has been barred by NRA-backed laws.
My gun-owning family — admittedly more my husband than me — falls into that middle ground. He chose to drop his NRA affiliation and his favored gun range when its mandatory NRA membership tipped from practical tips into political advocacy.
Apparently, he is not alone.
The National Rifle Association of America reported $98 million in contributions in 2017, down from nearly $125 million in 2016, according to The Daily Beast, even though it has in President Donald Trump a champion it helped elect. The NRA’s more than $128 million in dues last year was a drop from the $163 million it took in the year before, the report said.
On their own, states, such as Connecticut, where Sandy Hook shook residents, have enacted some form of stricter gun regulations since then, more than 200 gun-safety laws across the country.
When churches and synagogues now have to worry about security as well as saving souls, politicians and a weary public confronted with weekly instances of gun violence that flash into the headlines before making way for the next tragedy might be more willing to find a different solution, in which the NRA plays a part but is not in charge.
To read more CLICK HERE

Sunday, December 2, 2018

GateHouse: The president’s tweets tell a story

Matthew T. Mangino
GateHouse Media
November 30, 2018
President Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticize Special Counsel Robert Mueller as the U.S. Senate was voting down legislation to prevent Trump from firing Mueller.
Trump: “When will this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt, one that has shattered so many innocent lives, ever end-or will it just go on forever?”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, justified the senate vote by saying, “This is a solution in search of a problem. The president is not going to fire Robert Mueller. We have a lot of things to do to finish up this year without taking votes on things that are completely irrelevant to outcomes.”
Trump wants Mueller silenced and for good reason. As the walls begin to close in the president’s vitriol toward the special counsel and the rule of law intensifies.
Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen recently pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Trump company real estate negotiation. Cohen is cooperating with Mueller, who is investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor by hacking Democrat emails and promoting fake news about his opponent Hillary Clinton.
Trump: “He (Mueller) is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other.”
Last week, President Trump’s attorneys submitted his written answers to a series of questions from Mueller about Trump’s knowledge of the Russian government’s efforts to assist his 2016 bid for the White House.
The inquiries include only a portion of the questions that Mueller has sought to pose to Trump for nearly a year, when he first requested an interview with the president, reported the Washington Post. The topics cover activities during the campaign and do not delve into questions about whether Trump has sought to obstruct the probe into Russian interference.
Trump: “The now $30,000,000 Witch Hunt continues and they’ve got nothing but ruined lives.”
Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone’s late-night telephone calls to Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign have come under increasing scrutiny. Mueller seems to be very interested in whether Stone served as the conduit between Trump and WikiLeaks as the group was publishing hacked Democrat emails.
Conspiracy theorist, and Stone friend, Jerome Corsi, who recently turned down a plea offer, released excerpts to Newsweek of a forthcoming book in which he alleged Stone asked him to tell WikiLeaks to hold off on releasing some of the hacked emails in order to distract from the release of the Access Hollywood tape.
Trump: “Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue....”
Mueller’s keen interest in the Stone-Trump relationship was revealed this week in a draft court document in which prosecutors drew a direct line between the two men - referring to Stone as someone understood to be in regular contact with senior Trump campaign officials, “including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump.”
According to the Washington Post, the inclusion of the president by name in the draft filing rattled his legal team and indicated how closely the special counsel is scrutinizing what Trump may have learned from Stone about WikiLeaks’ hacked emails.
Trump: “Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief.”
As though things were not bad enough for Trump and his associates, the special counsel revealed Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman-turned-cooperating-witness, violated his plea agreement by lying to the special counsel.
This seems to indicate Mueller no longer needs what many observers believed would be his key witness. He got everything he could out of Manafort. Using that information, Mueller has connected the dots with other key players and now the investigation is moving forward fast and furious.
Manafort must face a judge with a conviction at trial of serious criminal offenses and now a breached plea agreement - the result of lying to the special counsel.
Things do not look bright for the former campaign manager and may be a harbinger of things to come.
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 and follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
To visit the column CLICK HERE

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Iowa inmates claim constitutional right to pornography

Fifty-eight Iowa inmates are suing state officials in federal court, seeking $25,000 each in damages, claiming they have been denied a constitutional right to pornography in the state's prison system, reported the Des Moines Register.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Des Moines, seeks to overturn a new state law that has shut down designated "pornography reading rooms" in Iowa's prisons. The law also prohibits inmates from having nude photos in their cells. The ban includes Playboy magazine, which has long been allowed in the state's nine prisons, which hold 8,575 inmates.
The plaintiffs — who are all inmates at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility — are led by Allen C. Miles, 70, who is serving a life sentence for the stabbing death of Cheryl Kleinschrodt on March 3, 1982, in Des Moines. The suit claims the law was enacted under the guise of "morality," and blames "religious tyrants" who have no regard for the U.S. Constitution or Declaration of Independence.
The lawsuit also contends that if female correctional officers employed in Iowa's prisons for men can't handle an environment that includes photographic matter featuring female nudity and related matters that "they should find employment elsewhere."
To read more CLICK HERE