Thanks to KPFA for interviewing ACJP organizer Raj Jayadev for their Morning Show to share De-Bug’s perspective on public safety, the power of personal stories, and how communities can challenge the courts,police misconduct, and the growing inequities of Silicon Valley.
Mini-Doc: Transforming the Courts Through Family and Community Participation
As we launch our training series for organizations to impact their local court system, we are releasing this mini-documentary to give a glimpse into the stories, strategies, and triumphs we have witnessed. From a mother freeing her son, to a church creating an ACJP hub, this video shows the early stages of our growth (recorded a year and a half ago.) Feel free to share as we are now offering trainings to groups or regions on how to start this practice in their communities. Check it out, and contact us if you want to discuss trainings!
For Trayvon Martin And America, Justice Hinges on Two Words: “Prosecutorial Discretion”
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
California’s Goal to Reduce Prison Populations Hinges on Counties’ Plans
By Raj Jayadev
Through a recent piece of legislation called AB109 that mandates a reduction in the prison inmate population, California counties are being given a rare, historic opportunity to re-imagine its public safety framework in a way that can dramatically strengthen our communities, unite our families, and rebuild the economy of our resource depleted state.
Or, we can just fill up our local jails with people who would have filled up our state prisons.
What path we take in the state’s fork in the road moment will be based on how counties envision, strategize, and act over the next two months, as counties need to submit their plan for what is being called “realignment” on October 1st, 2011. And as much as I hate to use a Silicon Valley catch phrase – Santa Clara County, as well as every California county, can shift the paradigm of our criminal justice system if we allow our more rationale thinking to prevail over the impulse to do more of the same in terms of incarceration. Continue reading
Stopping Deportations Before They Start ⎯ How Advocates Can Protect Immigrants Facing Criminal Charges
by Raj Jayadev and Angie Junck
On the heels of the one-year anniversary of a historic Supreme Court decision, attorney Angie Junck and organizer Raj Jayadev share lessons learned from a case of a San Jose man who beat a deportation order.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of Padilla v. Kentucky – arguably the most important U.S. Supreme Court decision to date in terms of the nexus between local criminal courts and federal immigration laws. This is also the first week of renewed freedom for Jeysson Minota, a 28-year-old legal permanent resident from Colombia who had been in and out of federal detention centers for the past four years due to charges stemming from graffiti. His detention and his ultimate freedom tell the story of the need and possibility of the Padilla standard.
New York Times: A Silicon Valley Group Gives Voice to Voiceless
In the following profile featured in the New York Times, Daniel Weintraub writes about Silicon Valley De-Bug, including the work of ACJP. He writes, “It is part alternative media, part community organizer, part youth center and now is immersed in the region’s criminal justice system on behalf of the accused and their families.”
By DANIEL WEINTRAUB, May 22, 2010
Adrian Avila was a 17-year-old street graffiti artist who had a job at a local hot dog stand when he wandered into the offices of Silicon Valley De-Bug eight years ago. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for. But he found it.
Today,Mr. Avila is 25, the organization’s art director and the owner of a T-shirt design and production company.
“It changed my life,” Mr. Avila, a Mexican national who came to this country with his mother when he was 5 and remains an illegal immigrant, said of the group. “It instilled this voice in me that I knew had to get out. All of a sudden I had an outlet to communicate my struggle, my experiences.” Continue reading