Coming Up: Bills on Juveniles, Reentry, and Sentence Enhancements

Our friends at the Criminal Justice Information Network sent us an update on upcoming bills coming out of Sacramento that impact our communities. Checkout the descriptions of five below. We met one of the authors of AB 1706, the one about jury trials for juveniles facing strikes, and she makes some powerful arguments. — Posted by Raj Jayadev

From the Criminal Justice Information Network — The Assembly Public Safety Committee has scheduled its next hearing for March 20th. The Senate Public Safety Committee will hold its next hearing for March 27th. Letters of opposition or support are due to the Public Safety Committees one week prior to the hearing in order for your organization to be listed in the committee analysis, or official background information for the bill. Below are a few bills to watch out for as we approach March 20th. Continue reading

ACJP/De-Bug Member Wins Federal Civil Jury Trial Against Officer Who Used Excessive Force!

Three years ago Danny Pina walked into our Albert Cobarrubias Justice Project meeting at De-Bug with a cast on his arm, a busted nose, and a false resisting arrest charge — all for riding his bike without a light. He was determined to share the truth of what happened to him, and as it says in the paper, “bring the officer to justice.” He stayed committed, came to meetings regularly as he continued to work, and tried not to let the episode of injustice dictate the terms of his life. The District Attorney dropped the charges, and Danny, with De-Bug supporters, filed his claim against the city. When he city denied their liability, he retained an attorney and filed suit in federal court. They tried to offer him a settlement, but Danny wanted his moment in court. This past Monday, he had that moment, and he didn’t waiver from his mission. Continue reading

Ray Samuels: A Police Chief and Leader Who Championed Rights For All

Editor’s Note: Ray Samuels, former Newark Police Chief, passed away recently at the age of 58. Aram James, a civil rights organizer and former public defender, found a friend and trusted ally in Samuels through their common campaign against the Tasers, and shares his memories of the man he calls both a friend and inspiration.

First and foremost Ray Samuels was my dear friend—his sudden and unexpected passing has saddened me to the core (Ray died on February 17, 2012.) I think what stands-out most for me about Ray Samuels are his humble qualities – his decency as a human being, his lust for life and learning and his insatiable curiosity about other human beings. Ray always had a desire to be a problem solver, and he had no arrogance or pretense. His routine instinct was always to look out for the other guy first. Continue reading

NAM Ethno Blog: Is Prosecutorial Discretion Leading to Fewer Deportation Cases?

Are the prosecutorial discretion guidelines issued by the Obama administration last year having an effect on the number of deportation cases that the administration is pursuing?

By Leslie Berestein Rojas, New America Media — A new Syracuse University report suggests yes, federal immigration officials say no, and some lawmakers are calling “amnesty” nonetheless.
First, the report: Issued in recent days by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, the number of deportation proceedings begun in the nation’s immigration courts between October and December of last year (the first quarter of federal fiscal year 2012) “fell sharply to only 39,331 — down 33 percent from 58,639 filings recorded the previous quarter,” a drop of more than 10,000 cases filed. The report notes that since filings are typically lower at that time of year, the numbers were adjusted for seasonal drop-off. It continues:

This substantial drop may have been caused by the steps needed to implement the June 17, 2011 agency directive on prosecutorial discretion or as the indirect effect of the review announced August 18, 2011 by the Administration of all pending Immigration Court cases. The objective of these twin initiatives was to better target enforcement resources on high priority cases. Continue reading

Criminal Justice Information Network Connect Community Organizing to Legislative Change

Check out this insight on how any community group could make big changes in laws within legislation. – Cesar Flores


On a February Saturday afternoon in Monterey, California when most people are usually at home relaxing a group of us from San Jose attended the Criminal Justice Information Networks Legislative Seminar.


As a facilitator for the Albert Cobarrubius Justice Project at Silicon Valley De-Bug and East Valley Pentecostal Church I was one of the people to be invited.


Our organization works closely with anybody who has had entanglements with the criminal justice system, whether it be for themselves or for a loved one. Most people who find themselves in the criminal justice system usually feel alone and lost. We serve as a backbone and a guide for people to find their way around. Continue reading

Stark Digital Culture Mag: WEEKEND JAIL– Judges Just Don’t Understand

Check out this first hand account of a writer who gets adjudicated for a “crime” she never committed. In the article, author Kortnee Liegh shares a firsthand account of facing charges, going through the court process, and ultimately doing “weekend work” for her misdemeanor offense. The piece is also illustrated by Fernando “Force 129” Amaro Jr., a talented San Jose artist, and long-time De-Bug illustrator. Click the art to read the article.

Weekends by Fernando "Force 129" Amaro Jr.