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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Monday, February 19, 2024

‘Unconscionable’ criminal justice bills could fuel soaring incarceration in Louisiana | Louisiana | The Guardian

‘Unconscionable’ criminal justice bills could fuel soaring incarceration in Louisiana

"Reform advocates condemn raft of measures expected to pass under new far-right governor

close up of man speaking in suit and tie
Jeff Landry became governor of Louisiana last month. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Louisiana’s Republican-dominated state legislature is poised to enact a swathe of new criminal justice measures as a special legislative session convenes on Monday, leaving reform advocates concerned about soaring rates of incarceration that may follow.

The session, called by the state’s new far-right governor, Jeff Landry, will consider two dozen items including broad restrictions on parole eligibility, measures to resume executions, the lowering of the age limit for adult prosecutions, and changes to post-conviction procedures often used to remedy wrongful convictions or excessive sentences.

The results are likely to undo hard-won bipartisan reform efforts in 2017, which helped shrink the state’s prison population by about a quarter and led to Louisiana losing the title of America’s most incarcerated state, with the rate of imprisonment slipping below Mississippi’s in recent years.

Landry, the state’s former attorney general, came to office in January after a campaign centered on hardline law and order. A former sheriff’s deputy, he was sworn into office in a ceremony lined by flags associated with the “blue lives matter” movement that aligns with law enforcement and is often associated with white nationalism, marking the end of eight years of Democratic incumbency in the deep south state.

In announcing the session on 8 February, Landry argued a raft of new laws would “repeal soft-on-crime policies that enable criminals and hurt our communities” and pledged to “make our state safe again”.

While rates of violent crime in Louisiana have long been among the highest in the nation, the state has seen a significant decline since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. And as details of the proposed new laws came into focus, advocates expressed alarm at a number of severe measures they argued would do little to improve public safety, continue to disproportionately affect Black communities and cost the state billions to enforce.

“Our elected officials are pushing strategies that assume violence will always happen and there’s nothing they can do to prevent it other than just punish people,” said Sarah Omojola, director of the non-profit Vera Institute of Justice’s Louisiana office. “But what people in Louisiana really need and want is prevention.”

Among the bills state lawmakers are set to consider is one that would expand methods of execution, including legalizing the use of nitrogen hypoxia, the controversial suffocation procedure recently used for the first time in Alabama. The bill would also maintain the state’s use of electrocution as an available method and give confidentiality to providers of drugs for lethal injections.

Although nearly 60 people still sit on Louisiana’s death row, the state has not executed anyone since 2010. Its former Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, announced shortly before his final term ended that he was opposed to capital punishment, although he failed to meaningfully intervene during a mass clemency effort last year.

Other bills would lead to longer periods of incarceration for broad categories of cases by removing parole eligibility for extended periods of time to those deemed “dangerous offenders” by the state. Such a definition could be imposed not only for those convicted of violent crimes but also by raising previous criminal records, conduct during previous periods of incarceration and “any previous efforts to rehabilitate”.

Landry has also encouraged lawmakers to change the rules of parole board hearings to require unanimous decisions before granting applications.

The legislature will also consider undoing recent legislation that raised the age for most adult prosecutions to 18 in order to protect juveniles from abuse and harsh conditions in adult prison. It will also examine a bill that would significantly tighten rules on post-conviction relief for those seeking to overturn a conviction or sentence after exhausting appeals, by removing local prosecutors’ rights to waiving mandatory time limits to file applications.

Post-conviction relief has been a key tool in local prosecutors’ offices, notably in New Orleans, seeking to address past harms in the criminal justice system by re-examining historical cases involving prosecutorial misconduct, due process violations, and sentencing that was disproportionate as well as racially biased.

“This slate of items Landry has proposed are dangerous, expensive and disingenuous,” said Samantha Kennedy, executive director of the Promise of Justice Initiative, a New Orleans-based advocacy and legal group. “I think what it does is cover up misconduct and excessive sentencing mostly coming from the 1990s.”

Kennedy added: “These cases are fraught with all kinds of problems, and that is why we have a parole system and all these other checks and balances that this special session is proposing to destroy. It is unconscionable.”

‘Unconscionable’ criminal justice bills could fuel soaring incarceration in Louisiana | Louisiana | The Guardian

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