Creators of “participatory defense” – a community organizing model for people facing charges, their families, and communities to impact the outcome of cases and transform the landscape of power in the court system
We often say, the only reason he/she pulled me over is, because I’m Black/Mexican. This Chicago Police, is confortable saying, what most Policers Officers think. In reality the officer will say, I pulled you over because your right tail light is out, or your brake lights were not working, you were making a left turn and your blinker light is out, the tint on your windows is to dark.
This stop includes, the officer asking for your license in one breath, and the next breath, asking if anyone in the car is on probation or parole? If the answer is yes, it a whole new ball game, it give the officer permission, to search you, ask everyone for their identification, run a check on everyone, to see if anyone has any warrants,
The officer might say I smell Marijuana, or alcohol, the officer will require you, and sometimes everyone in the car to step out of the car and take the alcohol-breathalyzer to see if anyone is under the influence of alcohol/ controlled substance. if you just so happen to blow 00″s, you might find your self on the way to the Police Station for a urine and blood test, just to make sure. Continue reading →
This is a photo of ACJP De-Bug’s youngest member — only 14 years old, who had an immigration court proceeding today in San Francisco. He’s been coming to our weekly meetings for months now with his family and we’ve grown to know and love his quiet strength.
Scanning the courtroom, he was also the youngest person there who was facing deportation. The air was thick with apprehension, of not knowing what was going to happen, and greater than that — of the fear of ICE agents coming into court right then and there. In the waiting room that looks like a doctor’s office, the brown faces from Mexico, Central America, and Asia are furrowed. But this young man has incredible courage, far more than what he realizes himself. He stares down at his paperwork the whole time. The pro-bono attorney of the day rapidly runs through paperwork to give him and says will ask for a continuance. She battle-runs through the same set of questions we had seen her ask the Chinese person before us, and the Latino couple right before him. “Where are you from?” “Where is your family?” — All questions that are loaded and sterile at the same time, given the place we were at this morning.
They call his name from the bench and the pro-bono attorney motions with two fingers to come to the front. “You’re not alone up there,” I told him. “I know,” he says. “God is with me.” And he smiles. It’s only 5 minutes that he’s up there, but the wait was about an hour and a half. From the audience, I tell myself it’s all procedural today, but every pause of the judge pushes me closer to the edge of my seat. At the end, another court date is set, and he breathes a sigh of relief outside. He looks up again and can’t wait to run to his mom.
Young people should be thinking about school, sports, what music they like — not deportation proceedings. I am hoping the human side of the immigration system breaks through for this young man, and for all young people and their families. — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
Set in the backdrop of photographs by Charisse Domingo at a recent San Jose rally calling for justice for Trayvon Martin, San Jose poet Miguel Gonzales recites an original poem dedicated to Trayvon, the 17 year old who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, and other young men of color lost to violence.
Trayvon Martin’s Judge being replaced for a potential conflict of interest, glad small things like this are getting cleared up before the trial begins – Post Submission By Cesar Flores
Published April 18, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. – The judge in the Trayvon Martin case quit after the attorney for defendant George Zimmerman argued she had a possible conflict of interest that related to her husband.
Judge Kenneth M. Lester Jr. will now preside over the case. The next judge who would be in the court rotation, John D. Galluzzo, also cited a conflict, so Lester was selected, according to a news release from the court.
Florida Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler had said she would make a decision by Friday, when a bond hearing for Zimmerman had been set. Her husband works with Orlando attorney Mark NeJame, who was first approached by Zimmerman’s family to represent the neighborhood watch volunteer. Continue reading →
At last night’s ACJP meeting at East Valley Pentacostal Church, Becky took a call from a childhood friend who was wrongfully convicted and faces a life sentence. He has been incarcerated for the past 17 years. Today, ACJP begun the work to support him in his path to freedom. In the image, he is calling on speaker phone, with Becky listening while a pile of his paperwork is laid out on the table, waiting for us to review. Just after the call, we found out we got an ACJP member’s case from life to one year in county. So finishing beating one life sentence, and starting the path to beat another. Just another Tuesday night with Becky and the ACJP team at East Valley Pentacostal Church!
Authored by Lena Graber of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the “All In One Guide To Defeating ICE Hold Requests” is designed to help communities disentangle local police policy and practices from immigration enforcement. ACJP at De-Bug has been one of the key organizations in the Santa Clara County FIRE (Forum for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment) Coalition that helped secure the most progressive detainer policy in the nation, spearheaded on the Board level by Supervisor George Shirakawa. Our Coalition’s yearlong efforts are featured on this guide. As we’ve always asserted, it’s not public safety vs. immigrant rights, but public safety THROUGH immigrant rights. Post submission by Charisse Domingo
The ACJP crew had an early morning. We all saddled up and went to the Northern California Innocence Project’s (NCIP) monthly continental breakfast presentation.
It was very informative, looking at a different insight on how a testimony against a fellow inmate could become such a big mess due to what one inmate gains from giving a testimony.
A video that was shown about how an inmate got all of the information on his fellow inmate through posing as a criminal investigation officer and district attorney. He said that gaining evidence against another inmate in jail “is a market.”
Reflecting on the breakfast, I’m Glad I woke up early to go. Maybe you could come next time.
More information on today’s breakfast is below.
I Smell a Rat: The Use of Snitch Testimony in Obtaining Criminal Convictions
Speaker: Chuck Sevilla
Convictions based on the testimony of jail house snitches, someone who stands to gain something in exchange for his testimony against another, contribute to more than 15% of the cases of wrongful conviction overturned by DNA testing. Yet snitch testimony is frequently used at trial. Using case examples, we will explore the use and misuse of snitch testimony and the risks inherent in that use, such as: How and when do prosecutors rely on “snitch” testimony? What motivates snitches to provide this information. Why does California now require inmate snitch testimony to be corroborated?
As the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death calls the country to examine the racial inequities of the criminal justice system, the conversation must go beyond the impulse to only focus on the man who took his life, George Zimmerman, and the police who let him walk out of their station. If we are to have any meaningful impact on how the system really works, we have to go where the real power lies – with the prosecutors, the ones who control the levers of the system in counties and states across the country.
In Martin’s case, it was prosecutor Norm Wolfinger who decided that Zimmerman should be not charged or detained that fateful evening. That moment of choice by Wolfinger is the most revealing part of the Trayvon Martin tragedy in terms of the vulnerabilities of the criminal justice system. Wolfinger was not acting as a rogue decision-maker circumventing the rules of law enforcement – he was exercising “prosecutorial discretion” – the awesome legal authority given to prosecutors to decide if an act is a matter, or not, for the criminal justice system to consider. Continue reading →
With the Stanford Immigrants Rights Clinic, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Youth United for Community Action, ACLU North Peninsula Chapter, Comite de Padres Unidos, and Nuestra Casa, we at Silicon Valley De-Bug have helped lead efforts to stop San Mateo County Probation’s practice of juvenile ICE holds in San Mateo County. Families have come to De-Bug seeking support for their son’s or daughter’s cases where they have been caught up in juvenile hall and then sent to immigrant detention centers across the country — youth as young as 13. For the last four years, we’ve seen an increase in this number of families like no other, beginning with one mother from East Palo Alto who was so distraught at the thought of her 16 year old daughter being deported back to a country that she left when she was 3. We learned that it was her PO who reported her to ICE, and initially, we thought it was a mistake. But it turned out to be the complete opposite — this was actually routine practice. In fact, San Mateo County is the second highest referrer of juveniles to ICE in California — second only to Orange County, according to statistics obtained by Immigrant Legal Resource Center from the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
As part of the coalition’s efforts in the last nine months, we at De-Bug created this page, www.stopdeportingyouth.com, to highlight not just the practice of referring youth to ICE, but the strong stance that a broad-based coalition has taken to urge our county to do otherwise. We believe San Mateo County can do better. Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
Click here or on the picture below to take you to the site.
Death penalty banned in yet another state.-Post Submission by Cesar Flores
The vote didn’t come easy, but opponents of capital punishment got what they wanted early this morning in Connecticut when the state senate voted to approve a bill that would remove the death penalty from the books.
The state is now poised to become the 17th state to abolish the death penalty. Thirty-four states still have it.
According to this Hartford Courant story, the 20-16 vote came just after 2 a.m. this morning, after more than 10 hours of debate. The measure now moves to the state House of Representatives, where it has broad support, according to the story. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has pledged to sign the bill once it reaches his desk. Click here for a WSJ story that ran shortly before the vote.
The bill passed largely on party lines, with two Democrats joining the Republicans in an unsuccessful attempt to shoot down the bill. The bill would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release, but stipulates that the 11 men currently on Connecticut’s death row would still face execution. Continue reading →