San Jose Mercury News: Santa Clara County DA program aims to boost reliability of eyewitness identifications

According to the Innocence Project, eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing. Implementing this program is a step in the right direction to make sure that justice can be properly carried out.  Submission post by Charisse Domingo

SANTA CLARA COUNTY DA PROGRAM AIMS TO BOOST RELIABILITY OF EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATIONS

By Tracey Kaplan
02/04/2012 06:40:08 AM PST

To boost the reliability of eyewitness identifications, every police department in Santa Clara County has recently begun videotaping or recording most witnesses as they pick out a suspect from a set of photos or a live lineup.

The practice, spearheaded by District Attorney Jeff Rosen, is the latest technique law enforcement agencies across the nation are using to try to reduce wrongful convictions. In the Bay Area, police in San Francisco, Oakland and Pleasant Hill are among those who also have adopted it.

But Santa Clara County is believed to be the only county in the state where every police agency from the Highway Patrol to campus officers at San Jose State has signed a protocol agreeing to it.

Continue reading

San Francisco Bay Guardian: SF Supervisors Urge City To Defy Federal Immigration Holds

The Santa-Clara-fication spreads.  Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a similar policy to Santa Clara urging the City to limit cooperation with federal immigration officials and not spend county resources to do ICE’s job.  Great job to the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee for pushing this forward, and to Supervisor Eric Mar for sponsoring the resolution.  We need more and more of our jurisdictions to turn the tide against the criminalization of immigrants.  Post by Charisse Domingo

 

SF supervisors urge city to defy federal immigration holds

by Steven Jones
12/14/11

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors yesterday (Tues/13) approved a resolution calling for the city to adopt stronger policies for resisting federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants who live here. It is the latest move to support the city’s Sanctuary City status and counter the federal Secure Communities (S-Com) program, a new database that allows the feds to circumvent local policies protecting local immigrants who have been arrested but not convicted of any crimes.

Continue reading

Arizonification vs. Santaclarification of enforcement policies

Members of the Probation Department of Santa Clara County question an inmate during... (Gary Reyes)

The following piece entitled On Crime Policy, Takes a cutting edge — some say risk — approach in the Mercury News highlights Santa Clara counties strategies around realignment and immigration detainers — both of which were influenced by community input.

By Tracey Kaplan, Mercury News: Long overshadowed by freethinking San Francisco, Berkeley and now protest-roiled Oakland, Santa Clara County has been eclipsing its lefty neighbors lately — with criminal justice policies that critics blast as risky but supporters call cutting-edge.

From its controversial stand against a federal policy on detaining jailed illegal immigrants to its open-arms, welcome-home stance toward newly freed state prisoners, Santa Clara County has struck the kind of permissive chord that puts Fox News pundits in a lather. Continue reading

Santa Clara County Counsel Sends ICE New Detainer Policy for the County

On October 21, 2011, just days after the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors passed a detainer policy praised by many community members, legal service providers, and immigrant rights advocates as one that balances public safety, honors civil rights, and protects immigrants, County Counsel Miguel Marquez sends off a letter to ICE notifying them of our County’s official stance.  Click below to read the letter….

Continue reading

When A Family Is Sentenced

Video by Jean Melesaine

This video was produced for New America Media’s “Growing Up Poor In The Bay Area” forum. 24 year old Moaseni Jr. Leasiolagi and his fiance Christina have 2 children, currently live in a 10×10 studio with his father and younger brother. They have been on welfare since their son was born and have been looking for jobs which has been hard since they both have criminal backgrounds.

San Jose Mercury News: Justices: Prosecutor committed ‘substantial’ misconduct but defendant should not have been freed

On Friday, September 30, 2011, a California appellate panel found that Santa Clara County prosecutor Troy Benson committed “substantial misconduct” in a criminal case that then resulted in a reversal of conviction for defendant Agustin Uribe.  Judge Andrea Bryan further freed Uribe, and her actions caused then District Attorney Dolores Carr to call for a boycott of her courtroom by her prosecutors.  Post submission by Charisse Domingo

Justices: Prosecutor committed ‘substantial’ misconduct but defendant should not have been freed

By Tracey Kaplan
9/30/2011

In a blistering decision that could jeopardize the career of a Santa Clara County prosecutor, an appellate panel found Friday that attorney Troy Benson committed “substantial misconduct” by testifying “untruthfully” about a child sex-assault case he handled, but ruled a local judge went too far when she freed the defendant in response.  Read more here….

A Glimpse Into Justice: Judge Manley’s Drug Courtroom is What the Justice System Should Be

Written by Gail Noble, ACJP Organizer
9/12/2011

The hallway was crowded with people waiting for Judge Manley’s courtroom doors to open at 9:00am. I did not know what to expect. This was my first time at Drug Court. I was there on behalf of a community member who came to ACJP who needed support.

Judge Manley began to address the court room, “I look forward to having people move on with their lives. There are eight to ten graduates this week.” He further instructed the courtroom.  “I do not want anyone laughing when a client’s case is being heard.” He also wanted everyone to clap for every client after their case is heard, even if they have failed. “I believe that they can get it right.”

As I watched Judge Manley’s courtroom operations, I could see justice playing out at its highest level. Clients looked like the weight of the world was being lifted off their shoulders. Justice was seeing them as a human being and not PFN#.

In one particular case, Judge Manley told the client to see her probation officer (PO) within the next couples of days. The client replied, “I don’t have any money, or transportation to go see my PO.” Judge Manley then said, “See your case manager. They will help assist with that.” A lady got up, and walked over, sat down beside her, and started talking with her. I guess her job was to make sure she was connected with a case manager who would assist with her financial needs.

A young man’s name was called. He stepped forward.  Judge Manley praised him for completing the program and spoke words of encouragement for his future. All of a sudden, Judge Manley got up from his chair, came down to the floor, walked up to the young man, and extended his hand to shake. They shook hands, and the Judge gave the young man a hug in the process.  I stared with amazement; everyone began clapping. I was moved by the caring and compassion that Judge Manley displayed towards the graduate and to all the other clients that followed.

Justice is not blind in Judge Manley’s courtroom.

Wall Street Journal: Santa Clara County Prepares for Influx of Inmates Into Jails

The not so good news: WSJ reports that Santa Clara County sends more people to prison than any other Bay Area County. The good news: Our County is going through a process to relieve ourselves of that distinction, and other counties from across the state are watching to see how transformative we can be in our local criminal justice strategies, particularly over the next couple months…

Santa Clara County officials hope county-run services such as this San Jose support group aimed primarily at women on probation will reduce the likelihood that participants will wind up incarcerated.

Bobby White, August 4, 2011

Santa Clara County is hastily drawing up plans to accommodate about 3,000 new inmates and parolees slated to move to county supervision from the state’s control this fall under a major shake-up of the California prison system.

Gov. Jerry Brown last month signed into law a bill that calls for jailing offenders who commit low-level crimes in county lockups instead of state prisons. The law, which also requires counties, rather than the state, to supervise newly released low-level inmates, was prodded by a Supreme Court ruling in May ordering California to sharply reduce prison overcrowding.

While all California counties face the mandate starting in October, Santa Clara sends more inmates to the state prison system than the Bay Area’s other counties—and thus will see more inmates move to its jurisdiction from the state. The shift means Santa Clara will now play a far larger role in housing and supervising offenders. Continue reading