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The Robing Room is a site by lawyers for lawyers. Our mission is to provide a forum for evaluating judges and magistrate-judges.
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Continue Reading: http://www.therobingroom.com/minnesota/FAQs.aspx?state=MN
Just when you think everyone is willing to submit to the system, a story comes out that defies that notion. Below is an article from The Dallas Morning News regarding Attorney Ty Clevenger. He assisted in the indictment of an attorney general as well as the removal of two federal judges in Texas.
The joke I make when Ty Clevenger and I arrive at a Plano coffee shop to talk is that he should sit with his back to the wall. It’s a Mafia thing. When someone enters looking for you, it’s not such a big surprise.
Ty Clevenger is a marked man, not in organized crime circles, but in the legal world of judges and lawyers.
“That’s funny,” he says about my joke. “An hour ago, I told my mom and dad at lunch that I’m going to sit with my back to the wall so I can see who’s coming in the door.”
Meet Ty. He’s a 47-year-old lawyer, East Texan raised on a small farm, an Aggie. He practiced law in Collin County for a time. Now he handles mostly civil rights cases in Texas. He lives out of state.
Lawyers play it safe. They want long careers. Not necessarily so with Ty. He’s a fearless, saber-toothed legal hit man for what he believes is right. His weapon of choice is a complaint letter or a legal brief.
Among those in his cross hairs: lawyers, federal judges, presidential candidates, the Texas attorney general, and in some Texas towns even lowly city council members.
I hadn’t seen it before my imprisonment, but have binge-watched 2 seasons since my release. Unlike other series, it didn’t take long to get burned out on the tedium of this show. Yes there are similarities with the show and real life incarceration, but keep in mind the series is about prison life and even though the terms are often used interchangeably, prisons and jails are different.
The United States has approximately 1.8 million people behind bars: about 100,000 in federal custody, 1.1 million in state custody, and 600,000 in local jails. Prisons hold inmates convicted of federal or state crimes; jails hold people awaiting trial or serving short sentences. The United States now imprisons more people than an
y other country in the world—perhaps half a million more than Communist China. The Prison-Industrial Complex
Once you arrive at RCCF, you are photographed, fingerprinted and charged a $20 booking fee. Once you’re booked and given inmate attire, you’re assigned to a housing unit. There are 3 different dorms for women. The main one has cells vs. bunk beds in an open room. I was assigned to the top bunk in Cell #7 and had 10 different “cellies” during my 4 months.(Oh and no pillows unless you have a medical reason to have one).
You can’t bring any hygiene items, electronic devices, or other personal items in, but you can purchase items from Inmate Canteen for outrageously exorbitant prices. RCCF inmates are given a hygiene bag after being admitted which includes a plastic cup, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, comb, an elastic hair tie and flip flops. No jewelry is allowed.
Pepsodent was the “real” toothpaste that you could order from Inmate Canteen and Suave products were like gold! Shampoo and conditioner was only 4 bucks a bottle. If you had it, you shared it with the dorm. Because I was on the lower tier, I constantly had people knocking on my cell door to “borrow” things, including water from my sink for their ramen noodles.
Rule violations may result in loss of good time, time spent in security, administrative segregation restitution and/or upward departure of established sanctions.
Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment The Eighth Amendment provides “[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” I guess the majority of judges didn’t get the memo!
“Over the last 30 years, for-profit prison corporations, such as Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corporation), have benefited from the dramatic rise in incarceration and detention in the United States. Since the advent of prison privatization in the early 1980’s, the number of people behind bars in the US has risen by more than 500 percent to more than 2.2 million people.
The result is an emerging “Treatment Industrial Complex” (TIC) — the movement of the for-profit prison industry into correctional medical care, mental health treatment, and ‘community corrections.’ Community corrections include corrections programs outside of jail or prison walls: probation and parole services including halfway houses; day reporting centers; drug and alcohol treatment programs; home confinement; electronic monitoring; and an array of supportive services such as educational classes and job training. Community corrections is a huge business, with three times as many people under “community corrections” programs as currently incarcerated in prison facilities.
While the prison industrial complex was dependent on incarceration or detention in prisons, jails, and other correctional institutions, this emerging “treatment industrial complex” allows the same corporations (and many new ones) to profit from providing treatment-oriented programs and services.
As a result, this emerging Treatment Industrial Complex has the potential to ensnare more individuals, under increased levels of supervision and surveillance, for increasing lengths of time—in some cases, for the rest of a person’s life. How For-Profit Prison Corporations are Undermining Efforts to Treat and Rehabilitate Prisoners for Corporate Gain
Law enforcement agencies can also get extra money from federal grants.
Community Corrections – Grants and Funding Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)
BJA supports law enforcement, courts, corrections, treatment, victim services, technology, and prevention initiatives that strengthen the nation’s justice system. BJA offers a Grant Writing and Management Academy and provides funding through a number of programs for corrections.
Federal grants are never free and they almost always come with strings attached. Federal “assistance” allows the feds to dictate state policies and even what the states do with large chunks of their own money.
The bottom line is whether it’s jail or prison, people are being incarcerated for non-violent and non-criminal offenses. It’s the money that drives this system and there is a lot of money to be made from criminalizing nonviolent activities and jailing people for nonviolent offenses.
The essence of nomocracy, the rule of law, is limitation of the discretion of officials, and providing a process by which errors or abuse of discretion can be corrected. Some discretion is unavoidable, because law cannot anticipate every eventuality or how to decide which law may apply to a given situation. What guidance the law cannot provide is supposed to be provided by standard principles of justice and due process, reason, and the facts of each case. Ideally, officials should be mutually consistent and interchangeable, making similar decisions in similar cases, so that no one can gain an undue advantage by choosing the official or exercising undue influence on the official or on the process he operates. We trust officials to exercise such discretion as they have with wisdom, justice, and competence, to avoid government that is arbitrary, insolent, discriminatory, prejudiced, intrusive and corrupt. Abuse of Judicial Discretion~ Jon Roland
“When I was a prosecutor, of course, I thought the system worked absolutely perfectly. When I was a defense counsel, I had some doubts. But I didn’t really see the magnitude of the problem.” – Judge Jed S. Rakoff
The Minnesota Court of Appeals provides the citizens of Minnesota with prompt and deliberate review of all final decisions of the trial courts, state agencies, and local governments. As the error-correcting court, the Court of Appeals handles most of the appeals, which allows the Minnesota Supreme Court to spend time resolving difficult constitutional and public policy cases.