Court and Judicial Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on court and judicial corruption
A retired New York Supreme Court judge has claimed she was manhandled by a policeman after watching him beat a woman at the Zuccotti Park raids. Karen Smith was working as a legal observer when she saw a distressed woman pushed to the ground and beaten by an officer, she said. When she demanded he [stop], the unidentified cop pushed her against a wall and threatened her with arrest. Ms Smith had attended the raids ... to note down the names of people arrested as the Occupy Wall Street camp was cleared. She was wearing a fluorescent green baseball cap bearing the words 'National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer' to show she was not taking part in the protests. Ms Smith, who was also carrying a pad and pen, said the incident happened at around 1.30am on Tuesday at Dey Street and Broadway Street in New York City. Speaking to Democracy Now, she described the scene as ‘a paramilitary operation if there ever was one’. It was ‘what we call a stealth eviction’, she added. Ms Smith explained her son had participated in Occupy Wall Street and she had been ‘very concerned’ about his safety.
Note: We don't normally use the UK's Daily Mail as a reliable source, but as no other major media are reporting this story, we felt it warranted inclusion. The judge gives her own testimony in a video near the bottom of the article.
One week after a U.S. military airstrike killed a 16-year-old American citizen in Yemen, no one in the Obama administration, Pentagon or Congress has taken responsibility for his death, or even publicly acknowledged that it happened. The absence of official accountability for the demise of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a Denver native and the son of [Anwar al-Awlaki], deepens the legal and ethical murkiness of the Obama administration’s campaign to kill alleged enemies of the state outside of traditional war zones. Officials throughout the U.S. government ... have refused to answer questions for the record about how or why Awlaki was killed Oct. 14 in a remote part of Yemen, along with eight other people. The official silence about the death of the American teenager contrasts with the Obama administration’s eagerness to trumpet another airstrike in Yemen two weeks earlier. In that case, armed drones controlled by the CIA killed the teen’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki. [A] U.S. official said the airstrike was launched by the military’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC. The younger Awlaki was the third U.S. citizen killed by the U.S. government in Yemen in recent weeks.
Note: For deep background on reasons why the US government may have wanted to eliminate Anwar al-Awlaki and his son, click here.
Is it legal for the federal government to kill a U.S. citizen overseas, someone who has never been charged or convicted of a crime? Civil liberties groups are condemning the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, but many legal scholars say it is justified. No U.S. court has ever weighed in on the question, because judges consider these sorts of issues exclusively matters for the president. Anwar al-Awlaki's father, Nasser, with the help of the ACLU, sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and CIA Director Leon Panetta a year ago, when it became clear that the U.S. was targeting the younger al-Awlaki. But U.S. District Judge John Bates threw the case out, ruling that federal courts were in no position to evaluate whether someone was a terrorist whose activities threatened national security and against whom the use of deadly force could be justified. The ACLU lawyer who handled the case, Jameel Jaffer, said Friday that the U.S. program that targeted al-Awlaki was a violation of both U.S. and international law. "The government's authority to use lethal force against its own citizens should be limited to circumstances in which the threat to life is concrete, specific and imminent. It is a mistake to invest the president, any president, with the unreviewable power to kill any American whom he deems to present a threat to the country," Jaffer said.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the illegal prosecution of the "Global War on Terror", click here.
A Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison in connection to a bribery scandal that roiled the state's juvenile justice system. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was convicted of taking $1 million in bribes from developers of juvenile detention centers. The judge then presided over cases that would send juveniles to those same centers. The case came to be known as "kids-for-cash." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed about 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008, saying he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles, including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Ciavarella, 61, was tried and convicted of racketeering charges earlier this year. More than a dozen people who said they had been affected by the judge's decision stood outside [the court house in Scranton, PA], awaiting the sentencing. Jeff Pollins was in that crowd. His stepson was convicted by Ciavarella. "These kids are still affected by it. It's like post traumatic stress disorder," Pollins told the Times Leader. "Our life is ruined. It's never going to be the same".
Note: Two crooked judges and a for-profit detention center company used millions of taxpayer dollars to systematically violate the rights of thousands of kids. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
[Introduction] An internal history of the United States government’s Nazi-hunting operation provides gripping new evidence about some of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades. The Justice Department kept the 600-page report secret for the last four years, releasing a heavily redacted version last month to a private research group that sued to force its release. A complete version was obtained by The New York Times. [From the document] In the 1970s, the public was shocked to leam that some Nazi persecutors had emigrated to the United States. There were calls for their expulsion and legislation was passed to facilitate their deportation. OSI was created in 1979 to handle the caseload. The Office of Special Investigations (OSI) is often referred to as the government's "Nazi-hunting" organization. While the cases and projects are individually fascinating, this report was not written simply to recount a series of unrelated but interesting undertakings. It is designed to serve as a teaching and research tool for historians, the media, academics, policy makers and the general public. While one would hope that the Holocaust was such an aberration that its like would never recur, the world has since learned of new and horrific genocidal undertakings. Bosnia, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq, Rwanda, Serbia and Sudan are among the all too-many countries involved. These societies will inevitably have to confront some of the same issues which faced OSI.
Note: This suppressed report contains clear evidence that top Nazi war criminals were given aliases and allowed to escape prosection by elements both outside and inside of government. For even more powerful evidence from released US government documents that top government leaders felt the need for mind control techniques developed by the Nazi's warranted secretly protecting and eventually working with some of the most heartless of the Nazis, click here.
The invasion of Iraq had no "legal basis in international law", the senior government lawyer Sir Michael Wood has told the Chilcot inquiry. Sir Michael ... was the most senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office at the time of the invasion. "I considered that the use of force against Iraq in March 2003 was contrary to international law," he said in a written statement. "In my opinion, that use of force had not been authorised by the (United Nations) Security Council, and had no other basis in international law." Jack Straw, then the foreign secretary, rejected advice that the war would be unlawful, the inquiry heard. Sir Michael wrote to Mr Straw on January 24, 2003 to express concerns about comments [Straw] made to then-US vice president Dick Cheney. Mr Straw told Mr Cheney that Britain would "prefer" a second resolution but it would be "OK" if they tried and failed to get one "a la Kosovo". Sir Michael commented that this was "completely wrong from a legal point of view". Sir Michael said this was "probably the first and only occasion" that a minister rejected his legal advice in this way.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the real reasons behind the invasion of Iraq, click here.
With a single, disastrous 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century. Disingenuously waving the flag of the First Amendment, the court’s conservative majority has paved the way for corporations to use their vast treasuries to overwhelm elections and intimidate elected officials into doing their bidding. Congress must act immediately to limit the damage of this radical decision, which strikes at the heart of democracy. As a result of Thursday’s ruling, corporations have been unleashed from the longstanding ban against their spending directly on political campaigns and will be free to spend as much money as they want to elect and defeat candidates. The ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission radically reverses well-established law and erodes a wall that has stood for a century between corporations and electoral politics. The founders of this nation warned about the dangers of corporate influence. The real solution lies in getting the court’s ruling overturned.
Note: The crux of the argument used by the Supreme Court is that under US law, corporations are treated as persons and therefore given Constitutional rights meant for people. Should we then give them the right to vote? For many key articles from reliable sources on serious flaws in the electoral process in the US, click here.
A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said ... President Bush is standing by "feverish legal theories" to justify actions which are unconstitutional. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., made the comments on the Senate floor during debate. Whitehouse said that ... he had examined "highly classified secret legal opinions" issued by the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel [OLC]. Whitehouse recounted that, "Sitting in that secure room, as a lawyer, as a former U.S. Attorney, legal counsel to Rhode Island’s Governor, and State Attorney General, I was increasingly dismayed and amazed as I read on." Whitehouse related three OLC legal opinions which he got declassified: "An executive order cannot limit a President. There is no constitutional requirement for a President to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order."; ... "The President ... can determine whether an action is a lawful exercise of the President’s authority"; [and] "The Department of Justice is bound by the President’s legal determinations." "Imagine a general counsel to a major U.S. corporation telling his board of directors, 'In this company the counsel’s office is bound by the CEO’s legal determinations,'" Whitehouse said. "The board ought to throw that lawyer out - it’s malpractice, probably even unethical." We are a nation of laws, not of men. This nation was founded in rejection of the royalist principles that ... 'The King can do no wrong'."
Note: To hear the revealing Senate speech on this vital topic by Senator Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, click here. For Whitehouse's comments on this topic on his Senate website, click here.
Federal agents do not need a search warrant to monitor a suspect's computer use and determine the e-mail addresses and Web pages the suspect is contacting, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. In a drug case from San Diego County, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco likened computer surveillance to the "pen register" devices that officers use to pinpoint the phone numbers a suspect dials, without listening to the phone calls themselves. In Friday's ruling, the court said computer users should know that they lose privacy protections with e-mail and Web site addresses when they are communicated to the company whose equipment carries the messages. The search is no more intrusive than officers' examination of a list of phone numbers or the outside of a mailed package, neither of which requires a warrant, Judge Raymond Fisher said in the 3-0 ruling. Defense lawyer Michael Crowley disagreed. His client, Dennis Alba, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of operating a laboratory in Escondido that manufactured the drug ecstasy. Some of the evidence against Alba came from agents' tracking of his computer use. The court upheld his conviction and sentence. Expert evidence in Alba's case showed that the Web addresses obtained by federal agents included page numbers that allowed the agents to determine what someone read online, Crowley said. The ruling "further erodes our privacy," the attorney said. "The great political marketplace of ideas is the Internet, and the government has unbridled access to it."
Note: So now every email you send and read can be monitored legally. Why didn't this make news headlines?
A federal appeals court rejected a fired FBI contractor's bid to revive her lawsuit against the government. Sibel Edmonds said she was fired from her job as a wiretap translator because she told superiors she suspected that a co-worker was leaking information to targets of an ongoing FBI investigation. The FBI said it fired her because she committed security violations and disrupted the office. The Justice Department's inspector general said Edmonds's allegations about a coworker "raised serious concerns that, if true, could potentially have extremely damaging consequences for the FBI."
Note: This article doesn't even mention 9/11, yet Ms. Edmonds has stated publicly that her testimony would put top government officials behind bars for their role in blocking information which could have stopped the 9/11 attacks. For more eye-opening information, click here and here. Read Ms. Edmond's open letter to the chairman of the 9/11 Commission to find out what key people in government don't want you to know about her testimony. See also her excellent website http://www.justacitizen.com She was also instrumental in forming a National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.
The American criminal justice system relies too heavily on imprisoning people and needs to consider more effective alternatives, according to a study released Wednesday by the American Bar Assn., the nation's largest lawyers' organization. "For more than 20 years, we've gotten tougher on crime," said Dennis W. Archer, a former Detroit mayor and the group's current president. "We can no longer sit by as more and more people — particularly in minority communities — are sent away for longer and longer periods of time while we make it more and more difficult for them to return to society after they serve their time. The system is broken. We need to fix it." Both the number of incarcerated Americans and the cost of locking them up are massive, the report said, and have been escalating significantly in recent years. Between 1974 and 2002, the number of inmates in federal and state prisons rose six-fold. By 2002, 476 out of every 100,000 Americans were imprisoned. In 1982, the states and federal government spent $9 billion on jails and prisons. By 1999, the figure had risen to $49 billion. Based on trends, a black male born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of being imprisoned during his lifetime, while the chances for a Latino male are 1 in 6, and for a white male, 1 in 17. The report contains numerous reform proposals. Among them: the repeal of mandatory minimum sentencing laws; more funding for substance abuse and mental health programs; assistance for prisoners reentering society; [and] task forces to study racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system.
Note: If above link fails, click here. The prison-industrial complex attracts huge profits and strongly supports laws like "three strikes" where third time offenders are automatically imprisoned for life, even for petty crime.
The Supreme Court today gave the Central Intelligence Agency broad discretion to withhold the identities of its sources of intelligence information from public disclosure. The exemption applies regardless of whether the information is shown to have a bearing on national security and regardless of whether the source of the information is a newspaper or magazine in general circulation. The decision, written by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, overturned a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That court, in ordering the release of the names of researchers who participated in a long-running C.I.A. study of the control of human behavior, had adopted a considerably narrower definition of the ''intelligence sources'' entitled to exemption. The C.I.A. project, code-named MKULTRA, was in existence from 1953 to 1966 and was designed to develop techniques for controlling human behavior. At least 185 private researchers and 80 institutions participated in the research. Officials of two organizations ... filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act in 1977 for the names of the researchers. Last fall Congress partly excluded from the Freedom of Information Act the C.I.A.'s ''operational files,'' which involve intelligence methods and sources.
Note: The official story is that all of the experiments to control human behavior failed. Yet if this is true, why did they spend so much money and so many years on it? And why is it necessary to keep secret who the researchers were? For reliable, verifiable information suggesting not only that the experiments were quite successful, but that they may be ongoing to this day, click here.
In criminal trials, judges routinely rule that certain evidence or testimony does not get presented to the jury. By and large, these rulings to exclude evidence benefit the defendant. In ... cases against animal rights activists, who face hefty charges for removing ailing animals from farms, the typical logic behind keeping evidence from a jury is flipped on its head. The prosecutors, rather than defendants, have sought ... to suppress all mention during trial of animal cruelty. Next month, a Utah judge will hear pretrial motions on the exclusion of evidence in a case against two members of the animal liberation group Direct Action Everywhere. The activists face charges of burglary and theft for removing two suffering piglets from a hog farm in 2017, for which they could be sentenced to more than a decade in prison. The Utah attorney general is seeking to exclude all evidence and testimony relating to the torturous treatment of animals. The activists filmed themselves entering the pork facility; they turned the camera onto the pigs – mother pigs with bloody nipples, pigs with huge open sores, dead and dying piglets on the floor – and filmed themselves removing the piglets. The prosecution argues that ... the activists' commentary on the grim factory conditions and any mention of the company's mistreatment of its animals would be unfairly prejudicial. That a prosecutor would move to preclude real-time footage of the alleged crime speaks to a frantic desire to foreclose any reckoning with the case's crucial context.
Note: Read more about how video evidence of animal cruelty is suppressed to protect factory farms. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Immigration-related crimes now make up the majority of all federal criminal prosecutions. While laws criminalizing entry have existed since 1929, they “were largely ignored for a century,” the lawyer and scholar César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández reminds us in a new book, “Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants.” In 1975, he noted “a mere 575 people” were charged with an immigration crime; in 1993, only 2,487. Contrast that with fiscal year 2018, when prosecutors brought 105,692 federal immigration charges. The criminalization of immigration, especially the scale at which it happens now, is a relatively recent trend, Hernández argues. And it ought to be reversed. In the 1980s and ’90s, legislation introduced new levels of criminality for immigrants, which in turn expanded the population of imprisoned people. As Hernández writes, “Congress denied immigration judges the discretion to release anyone convicted of an aggravated felony,” which includes serious offenses like murder but also shoplifting and tax fraud. Detention and deportation, once decided with considerable discretion, became mandatory for all sorts of offenses. The link between mass incarceration and immigrant incarceration is clear in the legislative history: The same 1986 law that created mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine created “detainers,” requests to local police to hold someone in jail until they can be picked up by immigration.
Note: Detaining immigrants has become a huge industry bringing major profits to those involved. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the court system from reliable major media sources.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the federal government can shield former government contractors from testifying about the torture of a post-9/11 detainee. The decision likely will make it harder for victims to expose secret government misconduct in the future. Abu Zubaydah was the first prisoner held by the CIA to undergo what, at the time, was euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation." During one 20-day period, he was waterboarded 83 times, 24 hours a day. During that period, the suspected terrorist was also slammed against walls, put in a coffin-like box for hours at a time to simulate live burial, and subjected to something the government called "rectal rehydration." In the end, the two CIA contractors who supervised Zubaydah's interrogation concluded that they had the wrong man. But when lawyers for Zubaydah subpoenaed them, the U.S. government blocked the move by invoking the so-called "state secrets" privilege. In this case, both the Trump and Biden administrations argued that even though the information about the torture program is widely known, confirming the existence of CIA black sites in Poland would jeopardize the U.S. government's relationship with foreign intelligence services. Josh Colangelo-Bryan, a lawyer who represents other Guantanamo Bay detainees, was ... critical. "There has been no accountability for the U.S. program that subjected people to torture," he said in a statement.
Note: Read more about the CIA's torture program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Hamblen County Jail has been described as a dangerously overcrowded “cesspool of a dungeon,” with inmates sleeping on mats in the hallways, lawyers forced to meet their clients in a supply closet and the people inside subjected to “horrible conditions” every day. Since 2013, the number of people locked up in rural, conservative counties such as Hamblen has skyrocketed. Like a lot of Appalachia, Morristown, Tenn. ... has been devastated by methamphetamine and opioid use. Residents who commit crimes to support their addiction pack the 255-bed jail, which had 439 inmates at the end of October. While jail populations have dropped 18 percent in urban areas since 2013, they have climbed 27 percent in rural areas during that same period. Almost everyone in the county jail is there because of charges related to addiction, said the sheriff, Esco Jarnagin. Defense lawyers have proposed other options to address the crisis, including a pilot program [that] would have allowed some low-risk defendants to avoid having to post bail. But judges rejected the proposal because of fears that defendants would flee, said Willie Santana ... who is now one of four lawyers in the Hamblen County public defender’s office. “The whole system is geared toward generating pleas and putting people in jail,” he said. For many inmates, that means the jail has been a revolving door. More than three-quarters of the 850 new cases that Mr. Santana handled in the past year involved a client who had previously been incarcerated.
Members of the Sackler family who are at the center of the nation's deadly opioid crisis have won sweeping immunity from opioid lawsuits linked to their privately owned company Purdue Pharma and its OxyContin medication. Federal Judge Robert Drain approved a bankruptcy settlement on Wednesday that grants the Sacklers "global peace" from any liability for the opioid epidemic. "This is a bitter result," Drain said. "I believe that at least some of the Sackler parties have liability for those [opioid OxyContin] claims. ... I would have expected a higher settlement." The complex bankruptcy plan ... grants "releases" from liability for harm caused by OxyContin and other opioids to the Sacklers, hundreds of their associates, as well as their remaining empire of companies and trusts. In return, they have agreed to pay roughly $4.3 billion, while also forfeiting ownership of Purdue Pharma. The Sacklers, who admit no wrongdoing and who by their own reckoning earned more than $10 billion from opioid sales, will remain one of the wealthiest families in the world. Critics of this bankruptcy settlement, meanwhile, said they would challenge Drain's confirmation because of the liability releases for the Sacklers. "This order is insulting to victims of the opioid epidemic who had no voice in these proceedings," said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The Department of Justice urged Drain to reject the settlement. Attorneys general for nine states and the District of Columbia also opposed the plan.
Note: Purdue Pharma spent $1.2 million on lobbying just before making this deal. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
It began Friday night, when Trump informed Congress that he was firing Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community’s inspector general. This was nothing more than a vile act of political retribution. Atkinson fulfilled his legal responsibilities by informing Congress about a whistleblower complaint that exposed Trump’s impeachable crimes. What everyone else recognizes as following the letter of the law, the president views as cause for termination. On Monday, Trump turned his attention to the inspector general who oversees the Department of Health and Human Services, who had just released a report revealing the extent to which hospitals were struggling to meet the health care demands associated with treating COVID-19 patients. Trump labeled the report a “Fake Dossier” and suggested “politics” influenced it. On Tuesday, the president removed Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine. He had just been designated to oversee the newly created Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a watchdog panel authorized by Congress to conduct oversight of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. The same day, Trump said he had seven IGs in his sights. In the course of three days, Trump fired an IG for telling the truth, attacked another for exposing the totality of a health care pandemic, and removed another in a brazen effort to avoid being held accountable for how trillions of taxpayer dollars will be allocated. The sum of these actions is nothing short of blatant corruption.
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, was charged last year by the Trump administration in connection with the publication of secret United States government documents. On Tuesday, Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist living and working in Brazil, was charged, in a criminal complaint brought by Brazilian prosecutors, with cybercrimes in connection with his stories on private messages among Brazilian officials that revealed corruption and abuses at the highest levels of the government. The case against Mr. Greenwald is eerily similar to the Trump administration’s case against Mr. Assange. Last April, the Justice Department charged Mr. Assange with aiding a source, the former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, to gain access to a United States military computer database. In May 2019, the charges against him were broadened, and he was indicted under the Espionage Act in connection with the publication of American military and diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks. Both cases are based in part on a new prosecutorial concept — that journalism can be proved to be a crime through a focus on interactions between reporters and their sources. Prosecutors are now scrutinizing the processes by which sources obtain classified or private information and then provide it to journalists. Since those interactions today are largely electronic, prosecutors are seeking to criminalize journalism by turning to anti-hacking laws to implicate reporters in the purported criminal activity of their sources.
Much has been written about Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy businessman who sexually abused and trafficked underage girls for years. Yet so little had been heard from the victims, dozens of adolescents, some still wearing braces, who were cut out of the lenient deal that sent the town of Palm Beach sex offender to jail for only 13 months. That is the power of Perversion of Justice, an investigation by Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown that for the first time gives a voice and a face to some of the victims of the Epstein case. A decade after a secret plea agreement ... the victims - now women in their late 20s and early 30s - are still seeking an elusive justice. Brown first became interested in the topic of sex trafficking after completing a series on abuses at a Florida women’s prison. In her early research, the Jeffrey Epstein case came up repeatedly. Brown dug as deeply as possible into the behind-the-scenes machinations that characterized the Jeffrey Epstein prosecution. She was able to identify 80 possible victims, labeled Jane Does in lawsuits to protect their identifies as minors. She reached out to 60 of the women and eight agreed to talk about the case. Four victims ... spoke on the record and on camera, three of them for the first time. Efforts to keep details of the case secret ... are underscored not just by sealed court documents in various civil cases, but by emails between the prosecution and the defense, which talked about an “avoid-the-press” strategy and a deliberate campaign to keep the victims in the dark.
Note: Video of Epstein's victims speaking out is available at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
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