Need A Lawyer? Better Have

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I admire lawyers. But even with my admiration, I cannot ignore a lawyer’s capability to end someone’s life due to loopholes or lack of money. It has been obvious that a guilty verdict while not based solely on it, includes money having a damn good impact on a jury’s decision. People with unfortunate finances are forced to have their choices served from the bottom of the barrel. And that’s not to insult public defenders. They are one of America’s underappreciated and underpaid experts dealing with lives who already had the odds laid out against them. But in the end, that doesn’t matter.

So tell me, which would you rather have: a Public Defender or a private sector Criminal Defense Attorney?

Of course in order to be a lawyer the basic degrees and exams must be completed. But once the bar has been passed, paths tend to differ. General requirements for public defenders are usually entry level asking for internship experience working co-counsel in multiple jury trials. When deciding to go to a private criminal attorney office, not only do they prefer people who already have those qualifications, many ask for completed education such as Juris Doctor, specialized experience. Some also require steady prosecuting experience. Moreover, many junior associates must have their Master of Law, an advanced law certification that has global credibility for career advancement.

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When it comes to workload, most lawyers have their work cut out for them. Unfortunately, when it comes to being a public defender, the demands have become outrageous. They have always had heavy caseloads with it increasing since 2011. An example would be issues in Los Angeles where they are only capable of handling 21% of the annual workload in compliance. Where does that leaves those in need of public defenders? Their lives are put in jeopardy due to professional responsibility. Multiple caseload studies that have been done in the recent years are saying the same thing. Workload deficiencies questions the equality in justice under the law. Hundreds of defendants wait in jail without representation. Look what happened to Kalief Browder.

This wouldn’t be that big of an issue if lawyers wanted to stay public defenders…but they don’t.

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And why should public defenders stay where they are? In 2015, places like Massachusetts had some of their public defenders unable to make a living wage.  We put people in those circumstances in charge of someone’s life. All over the country, the position of public defenders has had a high turnover rates for generations. Would you stay around if you were overworked and underpaid?

Private criminal attorneys, while their goals are the same, are able to approach their cases much differently. If they began to have a caseload that becomes overbearing, their clients can choose to go somewhere else instead of wait. It’s their money. On the other side, lawyers have every right to reject cases if they feel they cannot give 100% to their clients. It’s pretty convenient for all those involved.

Money is always an incentive.

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As for attorney resources, you can be sure that money will be involved. We cannot ignore those who do pro-bono work, but expertise, research, and advice do cost money. In fact, many districts across the country are suing their government due to lack of funding. Missouri claims that their public defenders only get an average of $356 per case in funding. Now I know that most people have seen some sort of investigative show and knows that a detailed case would need a little more funding than that. Additionally, who’s investigating the cases? Someone needs to be out there verifying information. That person would also like to get paid. But without funding, what happens? I know.  An example would be in New Orleans. They have eight investigators for 21,000 cases per year.

The salary between public defenders and criminal attorneys is astonishing but not because there are low quality expectations, rather experience issues. Public defenders have an average of $54k salary. There is a possibility to make 6 figures, but don’t expect it. They work for non-profit so the only real bonus is actually acquitting someone innocent. The private sector has a lot more opportunity for higher salary. They average $78k salary with more room for advancement. Of course, the fact that committing crimes is popular, and if you have money you have more options, the private sector is pretty competitive and a defense attorney could find themselves making about $160k per year.

And lets be honest. Who do public defenders defend? While private sector defense attorneys get to help those upper middle and high class people with steady incomes and trust funds, public defenders get to try to resolve the issues of the impoverished and the mentally unstable. Funny, we are finding that those are the ones that suffer from so much injustices.

So while there are reasons for the differences between public defenders and private sector defense attorneys, those who are affected by it have nothing to do with it. Yet their lives depend on whether or not they can afford all the amenities that comes with being able to pay for a defense. When will we look at the system dead at its core and say ‘man this shit if fucked up?’

Resources:

https://www.lsac.org/llm/degree/jd-llm-difference

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/missouri/articles/2017-03-09/aclu-others-sue-missouri-over-public-defender-system

http://study.com/articles/Become_a_Public_Defender_Education_and_Career_Roadmap.html

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/paying-private-criminal-defense-attorney.html

Reasonable Death

It’s no secret that innocent people have died under the eyes of justice. For generations, it was a running joke. Now, although we want to assume that we are now assuring everyone is innocent until proven guilty, innocent felons are closing their eyes for the final time due to legal justice. And this does not include the climbing popularity of street justice.

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The big issue is not the fact that innocent people are still dying, but that the reasons dating back decades are still the same: misinformation from people who just want the case closed. This reason alone should push for a justice revamp. Instead, we are here in 2017 reminding the world that people are still dying for no reason.

We praise lawyers for helping criminals get away with crime yet so much doubt could still get people killed.

Leo Jones

Accused of killing a police officer, Jones proclaimed his innocence until the voltage spread through his body. He declared his confession was coerced by an officer who was later proven to be the guy he was accused of. After recanting his confession and many witnesses implicating someone else, a last minute pardon was ignored.

While his innocence was never actually proven, the fact that there was so much doubt cast on his guilt, the thought of a possible innocent man after MANY people coming forward saying ‘hey, I lied’ and ‘hey, no you got the wrong guy’ still dying should send chills. Reasonable doubt is supposed to prevent jail time. Confirmation of misinformation should avert death.

Leo Jones

Like many average Americans, Frank Lee Smith’s life was cut short due an unfair battle with Cancer. It would suck to know that being wrongfully convicted of rape and murder persisted his condition. He was exonerated December, 2000 after being originally convicted in the mid-80s.

Understandably, DNA testing was not popular back then, but Smith seemed to be convicted on wonky eyewitness testimony anyway. It was stated throughout the process that the testimony didn’t always seem trustworthy, sometimes generic. Later it was recanted. Police officers admitted to lying.

A man suffered until death because people were in a hurry close a case. Other suspects who had an opportunity to commit the crime were not pursued. Terrible line-up process. But what makes it all worse is that through this long and drawn-out process, there were many chances to rectify the many errors and still, an innocent man wasted away while waiting for mistakes to be admitted.

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This alleged cop killer had an eclipse of doubt cast over his case before Troy Davis died. Though his conviction has yet to be overturned, so many holes were being poked in his case, ROR should have been recommended. Why is it so shocking to hear that maybe police might be pressuring and coercing in order to finish the job? It wouldn’t be the first time. Witnesses have started recanting their testimonies. He’s still dead.

What more needs to be done before people start saying ‘maybe we’re wrong.’

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Even after no physical evidence being linked to the murder, Brian Terrell of Georgia was murdered by lethal injection anyway. Further that, the physical evidence that they did find contradicted indicting the man. Again, witnesses recanted testimonies quoting all types of selfishness.

These cases always make me sad. Evidence of prosecution coercion was proven a few times throughout the attempts to prove Brian’s innocence. People are not asking to just let everyone go, but when did reasonable doubt become reasonable death?

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Poor Gary Graham, executed 2000 after pleading his innocence for almost 20 years. It seems with this one, trying was a bonus. He was convicted on a quick witness testimony. This was after two other witnesses contradicted the first one. After all of this came out, the people who sentenced to death had the opportunity to hypothetically change their minds…sad the man’s still dead.

Ledell Lee

Right before I was going to conclude this piece, I came across Ledell Lee, a mentally handicapped man who was recently executed for a murder that it seems like he may not have committed. In saying that, the fact that again there was so much doubt cast on the case, the man still died.

Again, not only were there contradictions to the physical evidence, including it not matching him, there was evidence of judge and lawyer affairs and witness contradictions. His defense team didn’t even seem to care. Someone who is facing death, should not have to beg for DNA testing, especially since DNA has exonerated so many people. If the death penalty is only to prevent felons from committing crimes again, I think we should be all for clearing people!

I want to wrap this up with the familiar story of Emmett Till, the young man who was murdered for a lie. His murderers, who were heard bragging about what they committed were eventually acquitted. Just recently, the woman who started the chain of events admitted to her lie. Something people already knew to be true had finally been proven.

Although it is not surprising that cases like Emmett Till were just thrown away back then, it’s hard not to think about when we have:

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Even if they make it pass street justice, many people wait for other people’s bad decisions to put them to death.

I’ve been binging on Unsolved Mysteries lately and am upset that many of the cases have not been solved. I’m even more upset that many of the terrible cases that were solved, have felons who are today released.

But we still have this issue…

Sources:

Death Penalty Information

Frontline

Justice Really Isn’t Fair

It’s unfortunate to know that because of Annie Dookhan’s lack of morals, many criminals have lucked out and will be getting away with their crimes. My home state makes up a DMV fine that follows me out of the area, but we have possible clean slates on murder. But once you get pass that, you realize all of those innocent victims of the justice system may have a chance at a normal life now that the injustice has been revealed.

Aside from Dookhan’s criminal acts of judicial violations, a broader injustice is gaining momentum. Of course surprised was not the feeling that shot up my spin when I learned that dozens of people were being exonerated based on new evidence with thousands of other wrongfully accused following suit.

Thank you science for that! Can’t shun a revolutionary process based on one person’s selfish decisions. Not only has it given us endless shows to be entertained with, it has proven beyond a reasonable doubt many times whether a suspect is guilty or innocent. It’s something that those innocent felons in their final moments would’ve never taken for granted.

But there is something that scientific evidence may not always win against and that’s someone who doesn’t want to lose. As humans, it’s easy for us to become narrow-minded in a blink of an eye and although experience is supposed to wean out those who do not fit the title, we are seeing now that this may not be the result. May not have even been the intention by those in charge. That one thing trickles down to many other factors.

It may not be something that is announced regularly, but people are not always prosecuted based on the fact that they committed the crime, rather whether or not the state can win the case. Of course in their defense, the decision not to pursue in the present time takes away the chance of double jeopardy later. But what about those who just like to win?

In lookingPardon Quote1 at our history, a common factor in many exonerating  victims was the prosecution’s decision to massage the case not for proof, but for point and to be known with a high win rate in circles can be compelling.

While competitive behavior works well at pushing lawyers to do their very best to win, it may ignore the push for justice. Throughout history, we have seen prosecutions purposefully hide and deny things if it didn’t fit in their case jigsaw puzzles and those injustices led to many people wrongfully incarcerated. Moreover, it has also been seen that once something is proven otherwise, it’s hard for people to admit fault or defeat.

False or inaccurate eyewitnesses are also a way to open the odds of locking up
someone innocent. Although science has increasingly pokedPardon Quote2 holes in their testimonies, they are still wildly depended on. They have been proven to be sometimes unreliable, coerced, and bartered to felons. When you combine that with someone who wants to win, you may have a problem. More importantly, and something that must always remain a key factor: the less money a defendant can provide, the less decisions fall in their favor. When taking into account the innocent victims being bombarded in the system, wouldn’t someone be nervous if they “fit the description?”

There are many more reasons why innocent people go to jail and the proof is in the continuation of exonerating prison victims. This section of my page is to highlight the many injustices of systems while showing the necessity of some to feel the need to run. We have science now ready to prove an allegation right or wrong. What we don’t have is a system ready to accept fact over someone’s ability to win.Pardon Quote1 Horizontal1

Source: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/node/4900

Cannabis: Mixing Business and Pleasure

Photo Credit: Michael Joseph.

While states like Ohio and New Jersey suffered another night of endless overdoses and opiate arrests, a group of Cannabis leaders and lovers came together to enjoy a great Friday night and the ‘SENSI Night Event.’

Thousands of people, women and men alike enjoyed one another’s company as they laughed and shared information on philosophies, creations and future ideas of the Cannabiz nation. All this and cotton candy!

One thing to mention, this event was completely free. $5 parking charge for the City of Denver and a 3 minute walk was all it took to meet great people, enjoy great music, and learn. Vendors enjoyed each other’s company…while spreading their mission of course.

Julian Marley – Photo Credit: Michael Joseph.

A Botanist from I&I Wholesales approached enthusiasts as they entered the bottom level to discuss his love for his creations. He uses his cultivation for both medical and recreational plant growth and is delighted that he could finally share his concepts with a growing audience.

As new benefits of Cannabis comes to light, leaders have spent tireless nights creating new ways to express them. The night proved many things, but once most pronounced: Cannabis can open doors to business in addition to wellness.

Doctors were raffling off free medical exams to receive the deserved benefits of Cannabis. Across from the medical experts, vendors offered help treating someone’s health without them having to face the stigma still pertinent with judgements and life-changing reactions. Relief from illnesses like anxiety, seizures, and anti-inflammatory issues had been showcased as e-cigs, rubs and delicious food fusions. Businesses used their products to collaborate on ways to keep bringing everyone together.

Thousands of people were raveled up someway in the heroin and opiate epidemic Friday night. Thousands of other people decided to network with Cannabis leaders and broaden their horizon on thoughts alliance of the Cannabis brand. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and just plain ol’ Cannabis lovers. Guess what? It wasn’t just a bunch of potheads sitting on a big couch.

Ignoring National Attention Begets Trickle-Down Effect

PrintBoth money and power have been proven to be devastating together and as they stand alone. Destructive in many areas or life quality. Think about it. After centuries of being told that money does not buy happiness, we actually have valid arguments to prove otherwise. 15 minutes of fame has been a steady trend for a couple of decades. Those in power make life-changing decisions and look where we are currently headed.

And while no one deserves to be violated, those who exploit the two are gaining ground to do so. We ignore it though. Money provides that power to do so and if the justice system told us anything, any indiscretion can be swept under the rug. Just check the world’s history.

It seems that we have no choice as an average middle class citizens to watch it happen and wait for it to hit home. And it’s getting ready to collide.

Of the many areas where money and power exploits both a circumstance and its outcomes, one has gotten a lot of media attention due to the delayed attention of human trafficking issue the world has: sex abuse.

It is said that there is a staggering 30.5% of women and 15% of menPrint experience sexual abuse at some point in their childhood. Most are violated by people they trust. With children, it’s easy to manipulate them into believing if they don’t fulfill this adult’s request, their lives’ will be affected. Make them understand the power of money, you have someone who is willing to make an authoritative figure happy as hell.

So we know it’s there, but why is it so rampant? While minorities seem to be slain over miscommunication, a trend of rich and powerful people have been getting away with sex abuse right in our faces with known children crying out for help. It’s hard to ignore the obvious.

Can I point out that this issue has been in our face the entire time?  It’s allowed because the people who we believe are to prevent it, are enabling it. Let’s take a look at the recent news. Millionaire financial advisor, Jeffrey Epstein was charged with allegedly engaging in sexual abuse with 40 minors.

This man was allowed to plead guilty to solicitation of underage girls serving 13 months and paying restitution. Current Labor Nominee and US Attorney Acosta was afraid of prosecuting him because of his powerful defense team even though he had growing evidence against the man. Have you ever heard of an attorney express fear of a public defender? Police Chief Michael Reiter expressed the fact that he got off easy. I’m sure he’s still enjoying life even with this bump on the road.

Things like this will continue to happen especially if we keep with the criminal justice system aligned to dis-proportionally and arguably illegally prosecute people on such a bias scale. While talented lawyers deserve to be paid for their time, the lack of ability to afford great work shouldn’t be life threatening as well the ability to afford to do so should not buy a get out of jail free card. Anyone convicted of raping their three year old daughter thought to rightfully go free? Then you should ask why an heir to DuPont was put on probation and not on a pitch fork to feed hungry lions. The power of money and the greed behind it, allows it.

PrintThen you have celebrities coming forward as childhood sex abuse survivors in one of the perfect situations to get away with it. Cliché Corey Haim was laid to unrest with extreme signs of the result of what we chose to ignore directly and indirectly: substance addiction, guilt, and other self-destructive behavior. He didn’t go peacefully in the night and he tried to point out the obvious. For every Corey Haim, think of all the unnamed children having their outcry’s masked as mere bad behavior.

Elijah Woods makes a claim that child actors are often preyed upon. The trafficking system is organized and protected. Common denominator if you haven’t seen a pattern: money. They can’t speak as loudly as people with power.

Corey Feldman, Corey Haim’s right hand man and the person who was persecuted for a recent performance corroborated his friend’s claim that he was abused. These children trusted these adults in power. These adults with money. Money that has proven to control outcomes in certain financial favor. Industries with money remained protected by power and those who are victimized remain silent because of their lack of control of ironically, their own money.

These people come out and express their reasons for being silent about their battered and senseless situation and they are disbelieved and called coward for not pressing head on in their cavalry. Ignoring that each step on the way down the rabbit hole of sex, money, and power. Ignoring that children are easily manipulated to believe anything adults say.

And when they throw money into the mix and feel that someone should risk their
livelihood when no one else would hear them cry. Forgetting that the same reason that the abuse was allowed to continue is the same reason why they can’t find peace in admittance.

And to wrap this conversation up in a spiky blanket. We watched Printcelebrities parade in front of us knowing what was going on behind the scenes accepting it because we couldn’t tell for sure. Financially powerful people have been brought up before our eyes and the accusations wind up somewhat normalizing it. So where does this leave our everyday people who are violated behind closed doors?

 

 

Growing Up White

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Yes I’m black. To some though, I wasn’t. To some, I wasn’t good enough. No real explanation. Just blanket statements.

Some people spend part of their lives shaping themselves to commit to an already planned out existence. But each step was like a needle to the arm: you didn’t die, but you felt it and you remember what happens the next time you encounter it.

Here’s just one of many stories that left a bad taste in my mouth. The culprits may not have realized, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.Print

Growing up black in a white neighborhood in itself is interesting, but it made traveling outside of it confusing. I already knew that people were called colors that they were in fact not, but outside of the suburbs there were also levels to this said color.

While playing outside on the streets of Ilion Avenue, my siblings and I were always told we talked white. I would see my sister’s eyes bulge like their death was gaining pressure. She hated it more than I did.

I never understood why telling us we talked liked a color and that talking that way should be shameful. But hey, most of them barely left the burrow and always asked to play with my Skip-it so who’s ashamed now?

As we got older Printand more color escaped the depths of a government controlled cycle where only a few were okay with their outcome, the criticizing began to change a little. The preteens have now lived life and could tell me a few things. And now were telling me I wasn’t black enough.

First, I sounded white (ew, I guess is what was supposed to say). Now, for some reason, I wasn’t black enough. Almost like a secret timeline they kept track of for final judgement. Sad, I had no clue I was being tested.

Again, wasn’t sure how I was really supposed to take that. I know how I did take it and have a journal for a year in high school to prove it. But here I was, black, sounding white, not being black enough.

Skip ahead to adulthood. After years and years of being told  I sounded like the wrong color, and my color was not enough to be a part of the color group, I was now beiPrintng told the color I was supposed to be and sound like was no longer the latest tea.

That tasted like shit.

A long monologue about love, and many of us got the cliff notes: “You’re too loud, angry, and independent.”

I don’t care who you love, just don’t beat down someone else to justify it.

The Irrelevance of Modern Politics

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As the presidential campaign begins creeping out the dark corner, many of us are excited to see the jumble of idiots trying to convince us that their rich background can understand what the middle class and lower class is actually going through. But it should be funny. The big problem with any political campaign is that the drive to go into politics revolves around…guess it! MONEY! Not current overwhelming conditions. Money has been the foundation of political power for generations and those who don’t have the money or the right networking affiliations, but has the drive, knowledge, and passion for the progress of America, usually never stands the chance. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at it from a few angles.

Money Drives Professional Gain Like I described in a previous blog post, money is a huge part in campaigning for yourself or a mission. If you don’t believe that, ask yourselves why millions of people and businesses pay into marketing profusely. It’s why you will always see multiple types of marketing positions available. When you have an endless amount of money to pour into a campaign, you can focus less on fundraising and more on being one step ahead. More than likely, you will have access to highly qualified campaign managers, better financial assistance, better potential fundraisers, etc. While this may not be the case 100% of the time, let’s come together and realize that money gives a good push in the direction you want. Try moving to your dream destination with no money. Try buying your favorite car with no money. Try raising a family with no money. Try advertising your skills to millions with no money. (except for the irrelevant people who desire is to exploit). Money has a huge control on most decisions. Denial is why the middle class in tipping towards the lower class. Many lower and middle class citizens who have a passion for forward thinking and change for the positive couldn’t even dream about the money that pours into standard political campaigns let alone receive anything close to what the 1% does and because broke=dumb in this country, people rarely decide to choose what the broke person is trying to explain because, money.

Money Provides Reason Do you really think middle class Marcy could raise anywhere close to the politicians we come to love (on opposite day)? Most politicians will never understand the current condition of the middle and lower class. This is a sad admittance, however, we are in an era and in a generation of adult from broken homes, volatile situations, deprived school systems, extremely ignorant held beliefs passed down. Reasons for change but no money to prove validity. We are also a generation of adults who are more opened minded and willing to change coupled with experience dealing with the lives of middle and lower class people. Add being one of the most financially repressed American generation relative brings us to 2015 confirming that what we have been told over the years has been a lie. As for the high class, why change if there’s always gain? Doesn’t their money prove that?

Money Provides a Stable Flatline (ignorance sometimes included) Having the born-in wealthy control the current conditions is like having a general manager from a retail store invited to become a head coach in the NBA. Yes you may have some management experience and your work attendance is perfect, but do you really understand the concept and the situation? Most Americans are not born into easy opportunities and must experience much in order to evolve. Our political power should reflect as such. When it comes to change, relative to the American spectrum, few are open to big ones. There’s a reason why the phrase “he’s set in his ways” will never go away. There’s much less persuasion when you have more information available. But when these current politicians take what they’ve learned many wealthy, uneventful years ago and announce them, you tend to forget that we are supposed to be the country of forward thinking and future planning. When you sift through the internet babble, you will find many people who actually want and are willing to help change the direction of this country and have good reason to. Unfortunately, many of them are broke (hint). Meanwhile those with financial stability can say the most ignorant of things and have people justify their words.

Want to Play a Game?

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Money Drives Influence – But Not Always The Answer Let’s talk a little about climate change. I am not a scientist and I will not claim that I know it all (or much) when it comes to that subject. I know that the scientists who accept the change in climate are arguing whether or not the changes occurring are natural or man-made. But if you listen to politicians, they already have the answer and instead of finding a solution, they continue to argue who’s right. Meanwhile, there’s a drought in California, floods in Texas, melting ice in Antarctica, but we have to get down to the nitty gritty: Who’s winning the debate. During their political campaign, I can guarantee the redundancy speeches of the current issues going on with this country with climate change being a button to push. It’s a wonderful argument to debate. But the current political process will not address the solutions, rather point why their opponent bi-proxy shouldn’t be president. And we’ll listen not because they are providing solutions, but because we will be reminded over and over again who they are through the marketing techniques they spent thousands upon thousands…upon thousands to shove in our face. We’ll listen to our favorite media organizations backing the politicians because they help pay their salary. We’ll ignore those who are speaking solutions into the world because…well we probably didn’t hear them because MONEY GIVES YOU A LOUD ENOUGH VOICE TO BE HEARD! Now if the rich used their superpowers for good then I wouldn’t be writing this. Could you imagine if Superman was secretly Bizarro?

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