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Archive for July 18th, 2016

Racial Disparities in Police Use of Force Exceed Disparities in Arrests

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

From: The Sentencing Project

A new report by the Center for Policing Equity finds that racial disparities in police use of force cannot be fully explained by racial disparities in arrest rates. In “The Science of Justice: Race, Arrests, and Police Use of Force,” Phillip Atiba Goff and colleagues developed “a conservative estimate of bias” by comparing police use of force patterns with local arrest rates in 12 police departments between 2010 and 2015. After controlling for the black-white gap in arrest rates, they found that police officers were more likely to use five categories of force (including Tasers and hand/body weapons) against blacks than whites. For many departments, these patterns reversed when use of force was benchmarked against arrests for serious violent crimes, but the authors caution that this method of comparison falls short in part because these crimes constitute only a fraction of all arrests.

Finding that broader crime patterns are not driving racial disparities in police use of force, Goff and colleagues suggest that “scholars and practitioners should look at racial disparities in other situational factors (e.g. resistance, drug and alcohol use, and officer perceptions of dangerousness) to determine whether or not they explain racial disparities in force.”

Over 33,000 Justice Department Employees to Receive Implicit Bias Training

The Department of Justice has announced that 23,000 federal agents from agencies including the FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals Service, along with 5,800 U.S. Attorneys, will participate in implicit bias training over the next year. The training aims to prevent employees’ unconscious biases on characteristics including race, gender, and sexual orientation from affecting their decisions. The Department of Homeland Security, which employs 60,000 border patrol officers and agents, will not be required to participate in the training.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates described the training as “an important step in our ongoing efforts to promote fairness, eliminate bias and build the stronger, safer, more just society that all Americans deserve.” The plan has attracted praise and criticism, with law professor Destiny Peery cautioning, “In some ways, the discussion of implicit bias has come to the exclusion of discussion about systemic or institutional biases.”

Courts

How Judges Think About and Address Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice

In “How Judges Think about Racial Disparities: Situational Decision-Making in the Criminal Justice System,” Matthew Clair and Alix S. Winter explore how judges make sense of and address racial disparities at four points in criminal trials: arraignment, plea hearings, jury selection, and sentencing. Published in Criminology and based on interviews with 50 judges in a Northeastern state, Clair and Winter found that most judges in their sample attributed racial disparities, in part, to differential treatment by criminal justice officials including themselves. A sizeable minority attributed disparities only to the disparate impact of facially neutral laws and differences in crime rates.

The judges reported using two primary strategies to address racial disparities: noninterventionist and interventionist. As Clair and Winter explain, “Noninterventionist strategies concern only a judge’s own differential treatment, whereas interventionist strategies concern other actors’ possible differential treatment as well as the disparate impact of poverty and facially neutral laws.” They argue that the noninterventionist decision-making used by most judges “helps to explain the persistence of racial disparities in the criminal justice system despite well-intentioned judging.”

State Courts Do Not Represent the Communities They Serve

“The Gavel Gap: Who Sits in Judgment on State Courts,” a new report from the American Constitution Society, finds that state courts fail to represent the diverse backgrounds of the communities they serve. People of color make up 38% of the general population, yet they represent fewer than 20% of state judges. Researchers Tracey E. George and Albert H. Yoon created a database of biographical information on more than 10,000 judges serving on state courts, and compared the gender, racial, and ethnic composition of state courts to the composition of the general population in each state.

These disparities are significant because state courts handle most of the country’s judicial business. In particular, as BuzzFeed News’s Chris Geidner notes: “The people who oversee the overwhelming majority of the criminal trials that take place in the country do not look at all like the people appearing before them.” Addressing this problem, George and Yoon argue, requires improving the processes for training and selecting judges.

Indigent Defense

The Compounding Effects of Limited Indigent Defense in Tribal Courts

The United States Supreme Court unanimously held in United States v. Bryant that prior uncounselled tribal court convictions resulting in jail time could be used to enhance penalties in federal courts, writes David Carroll of the Sixth Amendment Center. In 1967, the court decided in Burgett v. Texas that uncounselled convictions in state and federal courts violated the Sixth Amendment right to counsel and could not be used as predicate offenses. But as Carroll explains: “The Sixth Amendment right to counsel does not apply to indigent defendants in tribal court criminal cases carrying up to one year in jail.”

In a commentary published in The Marshall Project, Dominique Alan Fenton writes that although Native Americans are afforded rights outlined in the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, tribes determine the scope of indigent representation and they often cut public defense due to funding constraints. Fenton, currently a Youth and Family Court judge in Oglala Sioux Tribal Court, writes: “With no institutionalized defense presence, a judge or jury in our adversarial system cannot be expected to consistently arrive at proper conclusions of law with a vehicle that operates in such a profoundly imbalanced way.” Fenton calls on the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Justice to support public defense in tribal courts, and Carroll calls on Congress to amend the Indian Civil Rights Act.

School Discipline

African American Preschoolers More Likely To Be Suspended Than White Peers

New Department of Education school discipline data collected from more than 95,000 public schools show persistent racial disparities in rates of preschool suspensions. African American preschoolers were 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than their white peers during the 2013-2014 academic year. Overall, 6,743 preschoolers were suspended at least once, a 10% decline from the level reported two years earlier.

Psychology professor Walter Gilliam told NPR’s Cory Turner that black children’s higher rates of poverty may produce behaviors that perplex teachers, while teachers’ implicit biases “tend to hold African-American children as more culpable.” Gilliam recommends banning preschool suspensions – following schools in Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. – and giving teachers better training to manage their classrooms. Separate from the report’s release, Secretary of Education John King criticized public charter schools for harsh discipline practices that are often at the expense of students of color.

President Obama Speaks on Shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

President Barack Obama:  Good afternoon, everybody.  As all of you know now, this morning, three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge were killed in the line of duty.  Three others were wounded.  One is still in critical condition.As of right now, we don’t know the motive of the killer.  We don’t know whether the killer set out to target police officers, or whether he gunned them down as they responded to a call.  Regardless of motive, the death of these three brave officers underscores the danger that police across the country confront every single day.  And we as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement.  Attacks on police are an attack on all of us and the rule of law that makes society possible.

Earlier this afternoon, I spoke with Governor Edwards and Mayor Holden, and I offered them the full support of the federal government and reiterated my full support for law enforcement in Baton Rouge and for police officers across the country.  I also spoke to the Attorney General, and the FBI has already been on the scene.  And through the work of all levels of government, justice will be done.

Most of all, our hearts go out to the families who are grieving.  Our prayers go out to the officer who is still fighting for his life.  This has happened far too often.  And I’ve spent a lot of time with law enforcement this past week.  I’m surrounded by the best of the best every single day.  And I know whenever this happens, wherever this happens, you feel it.  Your families feel it.  But what I want you to know today is the respect and the gratitude of the American people for everything that you do for us.

Five days ago, I traveled to Dallas for the memorial service of the officers who were slain there.  I said that that killer would not be the last person who tries to make us turn on each other.  Nor will today’s killer.  It remains up to us to make sure that they fail.  That decision is all of ours.  The decision to make sure that our best selves are reflected across America, not our worst — that’s up to us.

We have our divisions, and they are not new.  Around-the-clock news cycles and social media sometimes amplify these divisions, and I know we’re about to enter a couple of weeks of conventions where our political rhetoric tends to be more overheated than usual.

And that is why it is so important that everyone — regardless of race or political party or profession, regardless of what organizations you are a part of — everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further.  We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric.  We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda.  We need to temper our words and open our hearts — all of us.  We need what we saw in Dallas this week, as a community came together to restore order and deepen unity and understanding.  We need the kind of efforts we saw this week in meetings between community leaders and police — some of which I participated in — where I saw people of good will pledge to work together to reduce violence throughout all of our communities.  That’s what’s needed right now.  And it is up to all of us to make sure we are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Someone once wrote, “A bullet need happen only once, but for peace to work we need to be reminded of its existence again and again and again.”

My fellow Americans, only we can prove, through words and through deeds, that we will not be divided.  And we’re going to have to keep on doing it “again and again and again.”  That’s how this country gets united.  That’s how we bring people of good will together.  Only we can prove that we have the grace and the character and the common humanity to end this kind of senseless violence, to reduce fear and mistrust within the American family, to set an example for our children.

That’s who we are, and that’s who we always have the capacity to be.  And that’s the best way for us to honor the sacrifice of the brave police officers who were taken from us this morning.

May God bless them and their families, and may God bless the United States of America.  Thank you very much.

Immigrant Rights Organizations, Latino, Progressive, and Asian Caucuses Call on City of Chicago to Protect Residents from Deportation

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Measures Proposed in Chicago Push Back Against National Attack on Immigrant Communities as Anti-Immigrant and Xenophobic Rhetoric Takes Center Stage

Immigrant rights organizations in Chicago, the Latino Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and the Asian Caucus will hold a press conference today, Monday, July 18, 12:30 – 1 p.m. at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, Second Floor, to demand that the City Council pass the amendment to Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance, and make Chicago safer and welcoming for all its residents, regardless of their immigration status.

They noted that in the presidential race, there is a national attack against immigrant, refugee, and Muslim communities. The immigrant community also suffered a recent setback with the decision to strike down Obama’s executive action that would have protected millions of immigrant residents from deportation. This is a crisis situation for immigrants all over the U.S. The City of Chicago has an opportunity to stand up against the anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric by strengthening the protection offered to immigrants in Chicago at the upcoming City Council meeting on July 20th.

WHO: Alderman Cardenas, Rosa, Pawar, Waguespack and members of the Latino Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and the Asian American Caucus of Chicago’s City Council; immigrant rights organizations (full list below) and individuals directly impacted by the changes proposed to the ordinance.

WHEN: Monday, July 18, at 12:30PM – 1:00PM

WHERE: City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, Second Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60602

**Press conference will be in English with Spanish translation and chance for one on one interviews**

This press conference is organized by: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Organized Communities Against Deportations, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the National Immigrant Justice Center, Southwest Organizing Project, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos – Immigrant Worker Defense Project, the Latino Policy Forum, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Enlace, the Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, Chicago Community and Workers’ Rights and the Latino Union of Chicago, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Communities United

For more information, contact:
Brandon Lee, 773-271-0899, blee@advancingjustice-chicago.org
Lissette, 312-770-0350, organizedcommunitiesmedia@gmail.com

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at the National Organization Of Black Law Enforcement Executives 40th Annual Conference

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch:
Good morning – and thank you for the opportunity to be here today.  I want to express my gratitude to Executive Director [Dwayne] Crawford and President [Gregory] Thomas for their outstanding leadership of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.  It’s a pleasure to be among so many extraordinary partners, exceptional colleagues and good friends.  And it’s a privilege to stand with such an inspiring group of public servants devoted to promoting public safety, protecting national security, and defending the rights of every person who calls America home.

The last few weeks have presented a series of painful reminders of how difficult and important that work still is.  Just yesterday morning, three officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – and as we gather here today, American flags are again flying at half-staff across the country.  Families are again mourning loved ones robbed from them by senseless violence.  Police officers are again grieving for their friends.  And all of us are again heartbroken at the news of yet another tragedy; shocked by such callous disregard for human life; and dismayed at yet another instance of violence tearing at the fabric of our nation.

I condemn these heinous attacks in the strongest terms possible.  Agents from the FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshals are on the scene in Baton Rouge.  The Department of Justice intends to make available victim services and federal funding support.  We will also continue to offer any assistance to our local partners as they investigate this most recent tragedy.  As the president said yesterday, there is no justification whatsoever for violence against law enforcement.  And our hearts and prayers go out to the brave individuals we lost, and the friends and family members who loved and needed them – and who will need us, all of us, now more than ever.

I know that we in this room feel a unique perspective and a particular pain born of the broader experiences we bring to bear and the broader world in which we live.  After the murders of five officers in Dallas two weeks ago, one dedicated black officer, Officer Montrell Jackson of Louisiana, gave voice to the dichotomy often imposed upon us when he wrote, “In uniform I get nasty, hateful looks – and out of uniform, some consider me a threat.”  And yet even still, he urged all Americans – of every background and circumstance, every color and creed – “Please don’t let hate infect your heart.”

Officer Montrell Jackson was among the fallen in Baton Rouge yesterday.  We are devastated by his passing, and that of his comrades.  But if we are truly to honor his service and mourn his loss – and the loss of his friends and colleagues, and of too many others who have been taken from us – we must not let hatred infect our hearts.  We must remember that no matter who we are, we all feel the same pain when we lose a friend or loved one.  We all share the same hopes for our children’s future, and the same anxiety for their safety.  We all share not only this country, but this brief moment of life together.  And the complex and challenging issues these tragedies have brought to the fore can only be met if we can find ways to work together.  As we approach this challenge, NOBLE’s voice is needed now more than ever to speak to the loss of humanity when any of us are judged at a glance – whether by the color of our skin or the color of our uniform.  NOBLE has been at the forefront of these issues since its inception.  From the time of Lloyd Sealy to the present day, you have always carried the banner of community policing that is now coming to the forefront of law enforcement thought.  We need you to raise it even higher in these challenging times.

At the Department of Justice, we are standing with you.  We are determined to do everything we can to bridge divides, to heal rifts, to restore trust, and to ensure that every American feels respected, supported, and safe.  We are advancing the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing – a blueprint for promoting effective crime reduction while building public trust.  We are offering our state and local partners funding, training, and technical assistance for critical programs and assets like body-worn cameras, de-escalation training, and education in implicit bias.  Our Civil Rights Division is playing a critical role in ensuring constitutional policing and accountability, and rebuilding trust where it has eroded.  Through our Office of Justice Programs and our Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, we will continue to give local departments the tools they need and the training they require to come home safely – from funds for bulletproof vests to training in officer health, safety, and wellness.  And we are supporting local jurisdictions as they implement innovative and collaborative initiatives that seek to make officers and residents allies – not adversaries – in the work of public safety.

The actions we have taken are vitally important – and but there is no doubt that we have more work to do.  We must continue working to foster trust between communities and law enforcement.  We must continue working to guarantee equal justice under the law.  And we must continue to build the more safe, more united, more perfect Union that remains our common goal.  I could not be more proud to be here today – to advance that mission, to support that cause, and to stand with you as we work to realize its promise together.  And I could not be more honored to introduce a man who has made that pursuit of justice his life’s work.

Attorney General Eric Holder came to the Department of Justice as a 25-year-old law school graduate focused on ensuring that public officials met their responsibilities to the American people.  And over the course of his extraordinary career – as a U.S. Attorney, as a judge, as Deputy Attorney General, and as Attorney General of the United States – he advanced the fundamental beliefs that animated him from the beginning; that animate this NOBLE gathering; and that animate law enforcement at its best: every individual deserves equality.  Every individual deserves respect.  And every individual deserves to enjoy the full blessings of American life.

Throughout his tenure as Attorney General, Eric Holder demonstrated his commitment to the rights of all Americans not only with words, but with action.  He helped to advance the dignity and equality of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters and their families.  He defended our most fundamental rights, including the right to vote – a right that is being increasingly attacked, particularly for communities of color.  He worked to resolve generations-old disputes through groundbreaking efforts in Indian Country.  He acted decisively to reform America’s criminal justice system through the Smart on Crime Initiative – a transformative reorientation of the way that this country approaches law enforcement.  And he began the hard work of rebuilding trust in law enforcement in communities where it has eroded.

Now, these actions were not always easy to take.  He often faced determined opposition and sometimes outright hostility.  But he recognized that as public servants, it is our responsibility to approach difficult issues with the fierce urgency that they deserve.  He understood, as you do, that staying in place and doing nothing will only erode the progress that so many have fought to achieve.  That’s a lesson I remember every day when I walk into the office of the Attorney General at the Department of Justice: that we must not burden future generations with the results of our lost time, our inaction, or our missed opportunities.  We must build a foundation of progress that gives them the chance to scale heights we never thought we could reach.  And we must strive, every day, to lend our best efforts to the work that remains at hand.

That is the idea that defines this extraordinary gathering.  It is the lesson that marked Attorney General Holder’s tenure.  And it is the principle that must guide us today: to seek “Justice by Action: Then, Now, and Tomorrow.”

My friends, the word “honorable” is just a title until it is inhabited by someone who lives it every day – someone whose moral compass has remained steadfast and true from his first job until the current moment.  Someone who endures challenge and difficulty in the service of his mission, in order to shield those who work to advance the goals of justice and equality.  Someone like our award recipient.  You could not have graced this award with a better or more inspirational name.  It is now my great pleasure to introduce my predecessor, my colleague, and my friend, the 82nd Attorney General of the United States: the Honorable Eric H. Holder.

Madigan Names New Solicitor General

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that she has appointed David L. Franklin to serve as the new Solicitor General in the Office of the Attorney General.

“I am very pleased to announce David Franklin as Solicitor General,” Madigan said. “David’s wealth of experience and knowledge of the law will serve the state of Illinois well.”

Franklin will succeed Carolyn Shapiro, who will return to IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she serves as Associate Professor of Law and founding director of its Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States.

“I want to thank Carolyn for her exceptional service to the Attorney General’s Office and to the people of Illinois,” Madigan said.

Franklin joins Madigan’s office from DePaul University College of Law, where he served as Associate Professor and was Vice Dean from 2011 to 2014. Franklin is also an Advisor to the American Law Institute and previously was a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, and George Washington University Law School. Prior to becoming a law professor, Franklin practiced as an associate at Covington & Burling LLP in New York.

Franklin clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

As Solicitor General, Franklin will oversee more than 40 attorneys in Madigan’s Appellate Division who work on behalf of the state, its officers and agencies. The Solicitor General oversees attorneys’ work in the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois Supreme Court and the federal and state appellate courts.

 

President Obama’s Weekly Address: Coming Together to Find Solutions

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, President Obama acknowledged that the aftermath of tragedies like we’ve seen in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Minnesota, can leave us struggling to make sense of these events. However, the President reiterated that the country is not as divided as it may seem. He said he saw it this week when he met with law enforcement on the challenges they face; when he traveled to Dallas for the memorial service of the five brave police officers who died while protecting protesters with whom they may have disagreed; when he convened a more than four-hour long meeting with police chiefs, Black Lives Matter activists, and state and local leaders; and when he participated in a town hall where he said there is no contradiction between honoring police and recognizing racial disparities exist within the criminal justice system. The President said that although these conversations can be challenging, we have to be able to talk about our differences. We have to be open and honest – not just within our own circles, but also with those who offer different perspectives. Because that’s what America is about – finding solutions not only through policy, but also by forging consensus and finding the political will to make change.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00AM EDT, July 16, 2016.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
​July 16, 2016

Hi, everybody.  It’s been a challenging couple weeks.  The shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge; the protests; the targeting and murder of police officers in Dallas – it’s left all of us struggling to make sense of things at times.  Now, I know that for many, it can feel like the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, and even widened.

But the America I know – the America I saw this week – is just not as divided as some folks try to insist.  I saw it on Monday, when I met with law enforcement to talk about the challenges they face, and how too often, we ask our police to do too much – to be social workers, and teachers, guardians, and drug counselors as well.

I saw it on Tuesday, when I traveled to Dallas for the memorial service for the five courageous officers who died in the line of duty – even as they were protecting protesters with whom they may have disagreed.

I saw it on Wednesday, when I hosted police chiefs, Black Lives Matter activists, state and local leaders, and others for a discussion that lasted more than four hours – a discussion on more steps we can take to continue supporting the police who keep our streets safe, and instill confidence that the law applies to everyone equally.

And I saw it on Thursday, at a town hall in D.C., where we talked about how there is no contradiction between honoring police and recognizing the racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system, and trying to fix these discrepancies.

These conversations were candid, challenging, even uncomfortable at times.  But that’s the point.  We have to be able to talk about these things, honestly and openly, not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with folks who look differently and think differently than we do.  Otherwise, we’ll never break this dangerous cycle.  And that’s what America’s all about.  Not just finding policies that work – but forging consensus, fighting cynicism, and finding the political will to keep changing this country for the better.

That’s what America gives us – all of us – the capacity to change.

It won’t happen overnight.  The issues we’re grappling with go back decades, even centuries.  But if we can open our hearts to try and see ourselves in one another; if we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right, as equal parts of one American family – then I’m confident that together, we will lead our country to a better day.

Thanks everybody.  Have a great weekend.

Stevenson, Alabama, Police Chief Convicted of Civil Rights Offenses for Assaulting and Failing to Protect Arrestee

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

The Justice Department announced that a federal jury convicted the Chief of Police of Stevenson, Alabama, Daniel Winters, 56, of two counts of deprivation of civil rights under color of law: one count for beating an arrestee, identified as D.F., and one count for failing to protect the victim from harm.

According to evidence presented at trial, on March 22, 2015, Winters and a civilian friend went to a residence to investigate suspicions that property had been stolen from the friend’s business and was located at the residence.  Upon arrival, Winters and his friend entered the residence without a search warrant and encountered the victim, D.F.  Winters and his friend then began to beat D.F.  The beating moved outside where Winters and his friend continued to strike and kick the victim in front of the residence.  Over the course of approximately five minutes, Winters not only participated in the beating, but stood by watching his friend beat D.F. and did nothing to stop it.   A passing motorist called 911 to report the beating.  D.F. was left bloody with wounds to his face, chest and back and was taken to the jail at the Stevenson Police Department.  While at the jail, D.F. began to spit up blood.  A jailor requested Winters’ permission to call an ambulance, but Winters refused the request.  Eventually, the jailor received permission from another supervisor and D.F. was transported to a hospital where he received medical attention.

“This police chief abused his authority, broke the law and violated the public trust,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “When law enforcement leaders engage in egregious, unlawful conduct – as this defendant did here – they do a disservice to the thousands of hard-working officers who perform their difficult, demanding jobs each day with integrity and distinction.”

“Civil rights enforcement is a priority of our office and the trial team on this case did an excellent job of putting the evidence together and presenting it to the jury,” said U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance of the Northern District of Alabama.

Winters faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the civil rights charges.  Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 27, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Madeline H. Haikala of the Northern District of Alabama.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and Alabama’s State Bureau of Investigation.  The matter is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Laura Hodge of the Northern District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.

Source: FBI

Lyrics to my Soul: Abuse Victim’s Raw, Soul-Spilling New Book Proves Boundless Healing Power of Music. Hailed “Very Inspirational” by Critics

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
 
Sheena Carter’s ‘Lyrics to my soul: Sometimes the Only Comfort the Soul Can Find is Through Music’ takes readers deep into the life of the author, as she runs away from an abusive marriage, realizes just how deep her scars actually ran – and into the discovery that music is the only thing that can ease her pain. Spreading a powerful message to at-risk women around the world, Carter’s story is profoundly uplifting.
 
 
Bradenton, FL – For thousands of years, music has held the power to move people, inspire them and ultimately change their lives. It’s a powerful tonic that has become somewhat forgotten in the modern world, yet something still helping millions remember that hope can be found in the darkest of corners.
Florida’s Sheena Carter knows this first hand, using music to turn her life from an endless spiral of abuse into a victorious and triumphant existence that gets more prosperous by the day. For the first time, Carter is now taking her story public.
It comes in the form of ‘Lyrics to my Soul’, a most unlikely yet life-changing memoir.
Synopsis:

After leaving an abusive marriage, I thought things would get better. Unfortunately, my journey down this dark road wasn’t over. While I was able to get away from the abuse, the scars were deeper than I thought. The only thing that helped ease my mind was music. When I finally decided that I deserved a better life, amazing things started to happen. I hope to inspire others with my experiences and share these life lessons:

• Don’t Allow Others to Set Your Value.

• Life CAN Change Dramatically in a Short Period of Time.

• You Deserve to Be Happy Now!

Since its release, readers and critics have come out in their droves with overwhelmingly positive reviews. For example, Penny comments, “This is a great book which describes a journey that many of us (women & men) have unfortunately gone through. What a brave young woman to open her heart and soul to tell her readers her very personal story. This should be a lesson to us all that there is hope and we can turn our lives around in a short period of time. Highly recommend this book!”
KJ adds, “I enjoyed reading this book not because it was a happy book for most of it, but because it shows that even in really dark times there is hope and it had a happy ending. Definitely recommend this book to someone who needs some hope that things can get better. I also liked the way the author tied in the songs as I can related to those songs too.”
Terri Vinovich writes, “A very inspirational book. And more so since I met Sheena several months ago and I can see how far she has come. Thanks for sharing your story!”
‘Lyrics to my Soul’, from Portable Empire Publishing, is available now: http://amzn.to/29xFofC.
For more information, visit the author’s official website: http://lyricstomysoul.com.
About the Author:

Sheena lives on the Sun Coast of Florida and enjoys spending time with family and friends, relaxing on the beach, painting, and playing with her furbaby Josie. Recently she made one of her dreams come true by opening Sparkles Boutique (www.sparkles-boutique.com).

Music has a powerful impact on Sheena and she looks to if for inspiration every day. She is committed to living a life filled with happiness, love, excitement, and adventure. It’s her goal to inspire others through her own personal experience, find happiness while establishing their own set of values through faith, and to never stop dreaming.

Treasurer Frerichs Returns Record-Setting $155 Million Through I-Cash Program

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
Average Return $2,900; One Estate Bequeathed $1.5 Million

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The state treasurer’s office returned a record-setting $155 million in forgotten cash and stock this past fiscal year, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said today. It is the largest amount in the program’s 55-year history.

More than 53,000 claims were fulfilled despite the budget impasse because unclaimed property funds are not encumbered by the state’s general revenue spending. The state’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30.

“I meet many people who are surprised to see their names on our unclaimed property list,” Frerichs said. “Checking the list is easy and the money certainly will be put to better use in the hands of its owners rather than the state’s vault in Springfield.”

The average return was $2,900. One estate bequeathed $1.5 million to six non-profits. The individual’s will was not immediately executed and the amounts were surrendered to the treasurer’s office. Frerichs’ staff successfully worked to fulfill the man’s wishes.

In Illinois, the state treasurer is tasked with safeguarding unclaimed property, such as life insurance benefits, forgotten bank accounts and unused rebate cards. Illinois holds approximately $2 billion in unclaimed property. Individuals can search a database for their name or the name of their business or non-profit at www.icash.illinoistreasurer.gov. Frerichs’ office never charges money to search the database or return unclaimed property.

 

About the Illinois Treasurer

The Illinois Treasurer is the state’s chief investment officer and Frerichs is a Certified Public Finance Officer. He protects consumers by encouraging savings plans for college or trade school, increasing financial education among all ages, and removing barriers to a secure retirement. As the state’s Chief Investment Officer, he actively manages approximately $25 billion. The portfolio includes $13 billion in state funds, $7 billion in college savings plans and $5 billion on behalf of local and state governments. The investment approach is cautious to ensure the preservation of capital and returns $28 to the state for every $1 spent in operations. The Treasurer’s Office predates Illinois’ incorporation in 1818. Voters in 1848 chose to make it an elected office.

Our Schools Remain Separate and Unequal

Posted by Admin On July - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS
By Marc H. Morial
President & CEO, National Urban League
Every Student Succeeds When Schools Are Funded Fairly

 

More than 60 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools are unconstitutional our schools are more segregated than they were in 1968. Over half of the nation’s preK-12 students live in poverty and 70 percent of the nation’s African American and Hispanic students attend a Title I school located in concentrated poverty. Yet, Title I schools receive less funding than schools in wealthier areas.

A 2011 study from the U.S. Department of Education showed that almost half of Title I schools received less money than non-Title I schools in the same district. This denies children an equal educational opportunity and undermines the purpose of these federal dollars.

The National Urban League has more than 100 years of experience providing direct services to underserved and vulnerable communities, and we know that this type of funding scheme will never give every student the opportunity to succeed. As a member of the congressionally chartered Equity and Excellence Commission, we recommended bold action to fix this problem and ensure resource equity in our schools.

Read my  op-ed column in The Hill ​for more information.

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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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