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Archive for October 13th, 2015

Federal Judge Gives Green Light to Class Action Seeking Accommodations for Deaf Prisoners in Illinois

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

 

CHICAGO, IL -  A federal judge has granted class action status for a case filed to address the Illinois Department of Corrections’ (IDOC) systemic failure to provide critical accommodations to deaf and hard of hearing prisoners. Denials of accommodations include the IDOC’s refusal to provide American Sign Language interpreters and other alternate forms of communication. Without these accommodations, deaf and hard of hearing prisoners are endangered and deprived of meaningful access to religious services, healthcare, educational and vocational programs, telephones, televisions, library services, disciplinary proceedings, grievances, and pre-release programs.

In ruling that the case could proceed to trial as a class action, the court found:

“[T]here are considerable disputed facts as to whether IDOC has appropriate policies and procedures in place and whether those that do exist are sufficient or even practiced and enforced. … Plaintiffs presented significant proof of the systemic failures alleged.”

The lawsuit was filed by the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP, serving as lead counsel and providing representation on a pro bono basis; two Illinois non-profit legal advocacy organizations, Equip for Equality and Uptown People’s Law Center; and the National Association of the Deaf.

In addition to granting class certification, the judge denied the state’s motion for summary judgment, and held that there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial with the class’s claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and claims under the U.S. Constitution related to the free exercise of religion, due process, and cruel and unusual punishment.  The judge also denied the IDOC’s motion to exclude one of plaintiffs’ experts.

One example cited by the judge (opinion, p. 31, fn. 22) demonstrates the devastating consequences of doctors’ inability to communicate effectively with their patients in prison:

“Childress believes that ineffective communication with health care staff resulted in repeated episodes of uncontrolled diabetes, including one instance where he went into a diabetic coma, and progressive kidney disease and dialysis dependence.”

“We are pleased that the judge has granted class action status to our case so that we can address the widespread discrimination that deaf and hard of hearing prisoners face on a daily basis in Illinois prisons,” said Barry C. Taylor, vice president for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation, Equip for Equality. “The IDOC’s failures have forced deaf and hard of hearing prisoners to serve their time largely isolated from, and unable to effectively communicate with, other human beings.”

“The court properly concluded that we have presented significant proof of systemic violations of the rights of deaf and hard of hearing IDOC inmates, and that our clients should be treated as a collective group that faces similarly unacceptable and dangerous conditions, not merely as random individuals facing ad hoc infractions of the law,” said Bob Michels, partner, Winston & Strawn.

“We are very glad that the court recognized the terrible mistreatment of people who are deaf and hard of hearing in Illinois’ prisons. The fact that the Department of Corrections continues its refusal to follow the law and provide accommodations to this group of prisoners should appall every resident of Illinois,” stated Alan Mills, executive director, Uptown People’s Law Center. “To deny someone medical treatment, or to discipline them, because prison officials cannot effectively communicate with them, is unconstitutional, illegal, and morally unacceptable.”

“Deaf and hard of hearing people deserve equal access to education, religious services, medical treatment, and telecommunications – even in prison,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, chief executive officer, National Association of the Deaf. “The judge’s decision has made it possible for all deaf and hard of hearing prisoners to show as a class that the IDOC has been systemically depriving them of their constitutional and legal rights.”

A copy of the complaint and the judge’s ruling can be found at: www.equipforequality.org/?p=5671
Reference:  U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Holmes et al. v. Godinez et al. 11 C 2961

NAACP Files Amicus Brief With U.S. Supreme Court In Texas Voter Redistricting Case

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Baltimore –The NAACP joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in filing a joint amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Evenwel v. Abbott.  The case is a challenge to the well-established “one person, one vote” principle that legislative districts can be based on the total number of people who live within them.  In Evenwel v. Abbot, two registered voters in the state of Texas claim that because of redistricting which took place in Texas in 2011 for the state senate lines, their votes will count less in their new districts than if they were in another district.

The Court will decide whether the “one-person, one-vote” principle under the Equal Protection Clause allows states to use total population instead of voting-age population when apportioning state legislative districts. The brief highlights the impact that reversing this principle would have on minority and underrepresented people.  Since registration rates, age, naturalization status and language proficiency vary dramatically among racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and low-income people, a ruling in favor of the challengers would forfeit the right of many individuals.

“Our position has been that total population should be used in this type of redistricting context,” said NAACP General Counsel Bradford Berry.  “Otherwise, current barriers to voter registration, processing, and voter participation for immigrants, people of color, and citizens disenfranchised due to their criminal histories, will prevent these and other communities from being fairly and equitably represented by their elected officials.”

The case has yet to be scheduled for oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court.  A decision prior to the end of the term in June 2016 is expected.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at the Justice Department Summit on Violent Crime Reduction

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
Washington, DC

U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch:

Thank you all for this productive discussion on what continues to be a profoundly challenging issue for our communities and our country.  As dedicated public servants and criminal justice professionals, you possess valuable experience, deep knowledge and critical insight about the ways we promote public safety and protect our citizens and  I am grateful that you have been able to participate in this conversation and share your expertise with me and with everyone assembled here.

We’ve covered a lot of ground today.  We’ve talked about the devastating effects of crime across the country and how it can break down the bonds that join us together.  We’ve talked about the shifting patterns of violence over time and how we have refocused on urgent threats while working to address enduring issues.  And we’ve talked about the difficulties of trying to break the entrenched cycles of poverty, criminality and dashed opportunity that impact our neighborhoods and degrade our communities.

Beyond these issues, we’ve talked constructively about the power of partnerships – not only between law enforcement officials at all levels of government, as embodied by this summit, but also between law enforcement and the citizens we serve.  That’s the kind of exciting and collaborative work I witnessed during my recent six-city community-policing tour, when I had the opportunity to see community leaders, public safety officers, elected officials and  young people joining together to build safer, stronger, more cohesive communities.

We’ve also talked about the ways the Department of Justice is bolstering this work, supporting our state and local partners and helping to advance our shared mission.  We are taking innovative new approaches to criminal justice and community policing, encapsulated by programs like the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, the Smart on Crime Initiative and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.  We are doing vital work with state and local law enforcement agencies through the recently expanded Violence Reduction Network, the Civil Rights Division’s efforts to ensure constitutional policing and major grant programs from the Office of Justice Programs and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.  And we are examining root causes of criminality and taking innovative steps to promote positive outcomes through organizations like the Federal Interagency Reentry Council – a government-wide body incorporating representatives of 20 federal agencies focused on helping formerly incarcerated individuals successfully transition back into their communities through education, workforce training and other important programs.  In all these efforts, we’re working tirelessly and creatively, through a variety of channels, to reduce violent crime, to promote officer safety and to restore community trust and security across the country.

We also understand that these are multifaceted issues that must involve more than one kind of response.  Criminal justice professionals have an important role to play – but even as we focus on what law enforcement can do, we also need to discuss how we can alleviate some of the problems that stifle opportunity and lead to violence in the first place – from poverty, to substandard schools, to homelessness, to inadequate mental health services.  That’s why we are focused on strengthening our partnerships with other government agencies including the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development.  It’s why we are examining holistic, comprehensive approaches.  And it’s why we will continue to build a strong and effective coalition to take on these complex challenges.

I want to thank everyone at the Department of Justice and at the White House who has made this convening possible, because gatherings like this one are a crucial part of forging productive partnerships and surfacing good ideas.  They allow us to learn from one another, to share stories and best practices and to find new solutions to old problems.  They make clear our shared determination to protect and empower our communities.  And they invigorate our individual and collective efforts as we look to the future and to the challenges that lie ahead.

I know that progress will not be immediate and certainly won’t be easy.  But I am confident that we are identifying effective ways to improve public safety – and putting them to good use.  I am encouraged by the spirit of engagement, the commitment to action and the ideals of service exemplified by the people in this room today.  And I am excited for all that we will achieve – together – in the days and months to come.

Thank you all for being here today.  Thank you for your dedication and hard work.  And thank you for taking part in this important and ongoing conversation.

 

Congress, Supreme Court Considering Reforms

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
From: The Sentencing Project

The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act Introduced in Congress: A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate that could be the most substantial criminal justice reform since the beginning of the “tough on crime” movement. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 takes a number of steps forward to reverse harsh penalties that have come at a ruinous cost to families and taxpayers while producing diminishing returns for public safety. Among the most salutary provisions of the legislation are measures to retroactively apply the crack cocaine sentencing reductions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 to individuals in federal prison and to expand use of the “safety valve” provision that permits judges to sentence below the mandatory minimum in many drug cases. Similar legislation has also been introduced in the House, co-sponsored by Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and ranking Democrat John Conyers (D-MI). You can ask your members of Congress to support the bill through this page.

Supreme Court to Determine Retroactivity of JLWOP Ruling: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in its third case in the past five years on the constitutionality of life sentences when applied to juveniles. Montgomery v. Louisiana seeks clarification on the retroactivity of the Court’s finding in Miller v. Alabama (2012), which determined that automatic life-without-parole sentences violate the 8th Amendment when they are imposed on individuals under 18 at the time of their offense. The Sentencing Project joined an amicus brief in support of the petitioner, along with dozens of justice and child-serving advocacy organizations, arguing that Miller v. Alabama represents a transformation in law, practice and jurisprudence which corrects for the now-discredited presumption that certain children cannot be reformed.
We’ll keep you posted on developments in all these areas in the coming months.

Regards,
Marc Mauer

Black Professor Joins With Hispanic Media Legend to Empower Minority Entrepreneurs

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Devin Robinson

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — On October 7th, 2015, hundreds of women gathered at the Chick-Fil-A headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Womens Food Forum Entrepreneurship Bootcamp sponsored by Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-A.
Professor Devin Robinson, leader of the Self-Made CEO Movement, was one of the featured speakers in attendance of this amazing event. He is an 8-time author, economics professor, and founder of the Urban Business Institute a training/ development agency which creates and cultivates competitive, mainstream, minority entrepreneurs. He has also generated almost $15 million in revenue for businesses whose CEOs have received his training and consultation.
During the conference, Professor Devin made his contribution to the event by using his entrepreneurial acumen and experience as well as his awareness of minority disadvantages in business to inspire and educate the attendees. At one point Professor Devin stated to the group of women: 78% of all companies that are successful for 5+ years have a female on their leadership team.
Along with the information that they received from the Entrepreneurs Bootcamp, all attendees were given a free copy of Professor Devin Robinsons book, Power M.O.V.E: How to Become a Successful Self-Made Entrepreneur.
Alongside Professor Devin Robinson was legendary media specialist and founder of the Adelante Movement, Nely Galán. Galán is well-known for becoming the first Latina President of Entertainment at Telemundo, producing over 600 television episodes for a variety of genres, and launching 10 television channels in Latin America. She has also had success in the commercial and residential real estate industries.
With her experience in entrepreneurship, by way of real estate and media, Galán shared information regarding financial and business acumen, branding, and marketing with the women in attendance.
The event was coordinated by the Womens Foodservice Forum, which hosts multiple entrepreneurial events annually across the country. WFF has been in existence for 25 years and has helped women excel in the restaurant industry.
For more information regarding future Entrepreneurial Boot Camps, visit www.WomensFoodserviceForum.com.

Secretary of State Jesse White Hosts National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero among honorees

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will host the office’s annual National Hispanic Heritage Month by recognizing the historic contributions of political and community leaders as well as sports figures.

White will honor Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez, , the honorable Illinois State Representative Linda Chapa La Via and Chicago Cubs baseball player Miguel Montero.

The event will be held Wednesday, October 14th, noon to 1 p.m., at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Concourse Level

The event will feature performances including a Mariachi band, Hispanic vocalists and a Mexican folk dance performance.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15th through October 15th – a time when the accomplishments and contributions of the Hispanic community are recognized across the country.

Cook County Approves New Technology for Public Defender’s Office

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Upgrade replaces antiquated system with efficient, modern solution
The Cook County Public Defender will be getting a new case management system that improves the handling of case initiation, subpoena management, investigations, case scheduling, managing expert witnesses and dispositions.  The $2.3 million purchase was approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners at their meeting this week.
“We want to make sure assistant public defenders can effectively manage their case loads as well as ensure that case information is stored electronically in a secured environment,” said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “This new system will also generate important information that will allow better office efficiency and attorney assignments.”
Cook County Public Defender, Amy Campanelli, said, “The new system will automate a number of processes and improve the efficiency of our operations. The system will reduce or get rid of many inefficient paper-based processes and eliminate redundant data entry.”
The new system is designed to be easily reconfigured, which will allow it to support future needs and work well with other systems. “The system will not only improve case management; it will improve the efficiency of operations for the office as a whole, allowing us to better fulfill our mission to protect the fundamental rights, liberties and dignity of each person whose case has been entrusted to our care by providing the finest legal representation.” Campanelli said, “The bottom line is that the system will help us be better prepared to represent our clients in court.
The new system, provided by Journal Technologies, will work on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices, allowing attorneys greater mobility.  Nationwide, more than 400 governmental agencies use this system.

Illinois Lottery Seeks Industry Feedback in Search for New Manager

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Posts Request for Information in initial search for new private partner

CHICAGO, IL — Moving forward in its search for a new private management partner, the Illinois Lottery has posted a Request for Information (RFI) to initiate an open dialogue with market participants and gain information as well as industry perspective.  The new RFI is the first public step in a process that will ultimately lead to a Request for Proposal and the selection of a new private manager, as required by the Illinois Lottery Law.

Through the RFP process, the Illinois Lottery will seek a private partner who will focus on overall profitability for the State, increase and broaden the current player base, implement new games, technology and platforms, as well as recognize and cooperate with the State’s obligation to comply with all laws and administrative rules. 

All responses to the RFI, due on October 28, 2015, will be considered and can come from experienced lottery managers, advertising and marketing experts, operators and vendors, or any consortium that can effectively respond to the Lottery’s needs.

The RFI can be found at:

http://www.illinoislottery.com/content/dam/ill/documents/subsections/Lottery%20RFI%20-%20Amended.pdf

Family & Activists Ask Lisa Madigan to Take Over Investigation of Killing by CPD from State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

From: Black Lives Matter Chicago

The Family of Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson requests IL Attorney General take over investigation from Cook County States Attorney on the one year anniversary of his death.

On this day, October 12th, one year ago, Ronald Johnson, affectionately known as “Ronnieman” was murdered by George Hernandez, a Chicago Police officer, who has so far avoided prosecution. Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez has failed to complete the investigation and bring charges against the officer responsible for Johnson’s death. Johnson’s family, activists and community members gathered October 12, 2015, to honor Johnson’s life, call for the release of the dash-cam video and demand Attorney General Lisa Madigan take over the investigation at 53rd and King Drive at 6:30pm.

Letter to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:

Attorney General Lisa Madigan

100 West Randolph Street

Chicago, IL 60601

(312) 814-3000

October 12, 2015

 

Dear Attorney General Lisa Madigan,

 

The family and the community of Chicago, and other cities in Illinois, would like to ask you to please intervene in the investigation of the fatal shooting of Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson. On October 12, 2014, one year ago, Ronald Johnson was walking with friends when Chicago Police Officer George Hernandez shot and fatally wounded him. Johnson died before he was taken away by paramedics. Witnesses have said that police officers failed to identify themselves before opening fire on an unarmed Johnson and killing him, the result of the multiple gunshot wounds inflicted. Currently a judge has denied the release of the dash-cam video. The lawyer, Michael Oppenheimer of Erickson & Oppenheimer, Ltd., representing Ronald Johnson’s mother, Dorothy Holmes, has filed a motion to release the dash-cam video that captured the shooting.

Today marks the anniversary of his death, yet State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has not completed the investigation. In Cleveland, after a high speed chase through the city, officers fired 137 times on a car with a female and male passenger killing them both. Outraged by the incident, the Attorney General took over the investigation and completed it within days. In Baltimore, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby indicted six officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, who received a fatal spine injury while in police custody, in approximately a month. It has now been 12 months since Ronald Johnson has died.  State’s’ Attorney Anita Alvarez has still not completed her investigation.

We are asking you, as the Attorney General of Illinois, the chief prosecutor, to address the inaction by State’s Attorney Alvarez in reference to this shooting death.

What we know to be true is that Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson was not in possession of a weapon. He was shot by Chicago Police Officer George Hernandez multiple times while running away. George Hernandez’s bullets hit Ronald Johnson’s head, shattering his orbital lobes, his knee and hand. Ronald Johnson was not engaged in felonious activity, was unarmed and posed no physical threat. Per Illinois law, a person is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony (720 ILCS 5/7-1). Chicago Police Officer George Hernandez acted outside of the law and must be held accountable.

With respect to your office and position, the time to make a decision is now. Please step in and assist the State in making its decision to prosecute the Chicago Police officer responsible for the unjustifiable homicide of Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson.

 

Sincerely,

Dorothy Holmes and the members of the Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson family

 

Endorsed By:

Black Lives Matter Chicago

Chicago Alliance against Racist and Political Repression

 

CC:

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of IL Zachary T. Fardon

219 S. Dearborn St.  

Chicago, IL 60604

(312) 353-3500

 

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez

69 W. Washington, Suite 3200

Chicago, IL 60602

(312) 603-1880

Terry E. Hill’s Sensational New Novel “The Committee” Exposes the Dark Secret Behind America’s Top Politicians

Posted by Admin On October - 13 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

The Committee By Terry E. Hill

San Francisco, CA (BlackNews.com) — In his edgy and beautifully crafted style, critically acclaimed author Terry E. Hill gives readers a never seen before glimpse into the dark side of American politics in his new book, The Committee. Far from the accepted notion of one man, one vote, Hill reveals the sinister world of secret societies and mystical forces that control many of the countrys top politicians.

 
Camille Ernestine Hardaway is the first African American female mayor of Los Angeles, California. She has it all stunning good looks, power, a devoted husband, and influential allies. There is even talk in some circles of her running for Governor and maybe even president.

For two centuries, the mysterious women of a New Orleans family have led a secret society of the most powerful people in the country, known as The Committee. The group has selected every US president since James Monroe and control much of the country’s economy.

The Committee has decided Camille will be the first Black female president of the United States and use manipulation, intimidation, murder and the powers of a mystical candle to ensure her rising star reaches all the way to the White House.
About the Author:
Elev8.com, an online property of Hello Beautiful, profiled Terry E. Hill as the next E. Lynn Harris for his story telling gift. He and his writings have been featured on BET.coms monthly “You Gotta Have It” column, Crème Magazine, Black Literature Magazine and The Literary Network. While Hills writings are works of fiction, they continuously stir up conversation on important topics nationwide.

“The Committee” by Terry E. Hill, will be published on December 29, 2015 by Urban Renaissance – a Carl Webber imprint.

Photo Caption: Bookcover

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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