Tag Archives: justice

Sadness, Grief and Anger–From Selma to Ferguson to Baltimore

by Debilyn Molineaux, Coffee Party USA, CPUSA Newsletter, 5/7/15

As I write this today, I am watching what is happening in Baltimore as reactions to a death of an unarmed man in police custody has led to violence. I grieve for our loss of community — or the potential of community — as we retraumatize each other, over and over again. I’m angry that my “it’s not my problem” attitude has contributed to today’s violence.

I’m privileged to have grown up in a world where my contributions are wanted, valued and needed. What if I had grown up in poverty, without one or both parents, where violence was part of everyday life, mental illness was untreated and addiction just a way to cope? What if I had grown up in a community where justice was fleeting or missing? Making a contribution to others would be not just more challenging, but perhaps impossible.

continue reading at CPUSA Newsletter

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Filed under Race, Ethnicity, Immigration, Rights, Justice, Law

A Small Step Toward More Mercy

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, December 22, 2013

President Obama’s decision on Thursday to commute the outrageously long drug sentences of eight men and women showed a measure of compassion and common sense. But it also served to highlight the injustice being done to thousands of prisoners under federal sentencing laws.

In issuing the commutations, Mr. Obama blamed the “unfair system” that is keeping thousands behind bars solely because they were sentenced before August 2010, when Congress reduced the vast disparity between the way federal courts punish crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses. The three-year-old federal law, the Fair Sentencing Act, allows prisoners to petition a judge to shorten their sentence, but it does not apply to nearly 9,000 prisoners who were already serving time when it was passed. While Congress is considering legislation to make the law retroactive, any such fix is far from assured.

In addition, thousands more federal drug prisoners are serving unjust sentences for other reasons, including mandatory minimums that punish anyone connected to a sales or trafficking operation based on the overall weight of the drugs, regardless of how minor a role that person played. For many of these people — including Clarence Aaron, who received three life sentences for a first-time, nonviolent drug deal, which Mr. Obama commuted — there is no prospect of helpful legislation on the horizon. Their only hope is executive clemency….

read more at New York Times

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Filed under Law, justice

Too big to fail, too big to prosecute

letter, Daily Local News, 1/2/13

In the summer of 2012, The U.S. Department of Justice terminated its criminal investigation of Goldman Sachs, confirming that none of their bank executives would face criminal charges for their actions during the financial crisis of 2008. Justice officials defended their decision, stating, “Even though greed and other moral lapses were evident resulting in the financial crisis, the conduct was not necessarily illegal.” So it’s alright to rig interest rates, launder money, forge mortgage documents, and engage in securities fraud. Apparently large banks are not only “too big to fail,” they are also “too big to prosecute.”

It is interesting to compare some recent events. UBS AG, a large bank in Switzerland, faces a fine in excess of $1 billion for attempting to manipulate global interest rates. To date, no one at the bank has been charged with any criminal offense.

Barclays P.L.C. was recently fined more than $500 million for rigging interest-rate benchmarks in order to profit from speculating on interest-rate derivatives. To date, no one at the bank has been charged with any criminal offense.

In the fall of 2012, HSBC Holdings P.L.C., Europe’s largest bank, agreed to settle federal and state charges of money-laundering  for a payment of $1.9 billion. This is punishment for the bank laundering more than $200 trillion between 2006 and 2009 for drug cartels and other criminal groups. To date, no one at the bank has been charged with any criminal offense.

Now, let’s go back a few years and look at what happened to Martha Stewart. In 2001, Ms Stewart sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems, after receiving nonpublic information about the stock. In 2003, she was indicted on several counts of securities fraud, along with a charge of obstruction of justice. She was found guilty in 2004 and sentenced to 5 months in federal prison, after which she served 5 months of electronic monitoring and 2 years of supervised probation.

For her actions, Ms. Stewart paid a fine of $30,000 and in addition paid $137,019 as treble damages for the losses she avoided by using nonpublic information in her 2001 stock sale. She was also prohibited from serving as CEO or CFO of any public company for 5 years.

A few years ago, Plato declared in The Republic (I, vi, 331): “Justice is giving each one his due.”

Oh, for the good old days.

Roger J. Brown, East Fallowfield

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