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Posts Tagged ‘prison’

At the age of 23, he introduced two men who wanted to do trade with each other.

He has been in prison since. He will remain in prison for the rest of his life.

Link 1. Link 2.

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Check out the Reason TV video clip below about medical marijuana dispenser Charlie Lynch and his recent guilty verdict. (I had earlier blogged about this sad case here and here.)

I found the clip deeply disturbing. I hope you do too.

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The judge had only one option when he sentenced Cedric Bradshaw: life in prison.

Bradshaw had not committed murder, rape or armed robbery. His offense was failing to properly register as a convicted sex offender for a second time —- even though he had repeatedly tried to follow the law.

Indeed, Georgia’s draconian (and unique) law mandates that courts must pass a sentence of life in imprisonment against any sex offender who fails to register his address properly twice.

Click here for the entire story.

(Link via The Volokh Conspiracy)

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Rachel Hoffman was a college student and a bit of a hippie. She tried drugs and got caught. Police threatened her with prison time unless she agreed to become an informant and set up a meeting with the supplier to buy $10000 worth of drugs and weaponry, a purchase drastically out of character for a person used to buying a few grams of weed once in a while.

She did as the cops told her to. The suppliers, not surprisingly, smelt something very fishy. She never came back from the meeting.

Her body was found last week.

Welcome to the gruesome workings of the war on drugs, where collateral damage is normal and acceptable, where the enforcers are so steeped in morality that they would rather have people dead than high, where the only measure of success is how many people the cops arrest.

And where a young girl loses her life for daring to have a bit of fun.

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Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam, killed herself last week. She was due to be sentenced soon for offences related to an elite prostitution ring she ran from 1993 to 2006. In her suicide note addressed to her mother, she wrote:

I cannot live the next 6-8 years behind bars for what both you and I have come to regard as this ‘modern day lynching,’ only to come out of prison in my late 50’s a broken, penniless, and very much alone woman.

At the top of the suicide note were the instructions:

Do not revive. Do not feed under any circumstances.

In the note to her younger sister, Bobbie, Palfrey expressed her love and told her to “be strong for mom.”

“Also, you must comprehend that there was no other way out, i.e., ‘exit strategy,’ other than the one I have chosen here,” she wrote. “Know I am at peace, with complete certainty, I believe Dad is standing watch – prepared to guide me into the light.”

It is worth noting that Deborah’s impending prison time — that drove her to suicide — were for offences related to nothing less, and nothing more, than helping consenting adults engage in consensual sexual activity for money.

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Drunk drivers should be punished, no one doubts that. Yet this story, which I found while randomly surfing through some related news is, I think, a sad tale of vengeful justice, and deserves to be repeated.

For 40 years, Phil Cisneros worked as a heavy-equipment operator in the copper mines outside Globe. He was a family man, a big-hearted guy who taught his five kids and a bevy of nephews fishing and woodworking. In time, he administered those same lessons to his 15 grandkids.

He was liked by everyone and life had been good to him till his wife, Lucy, got Alzeimer’s.

It was a difficult time, a time that would drive many men to drink. Cisneros was one of them. He’d never been a teetotaler; prosecutors say he’d been busted for DUI in 1980. But with his wife’s health declining, a one-time problem became a frightening pattern. Cisneros got popped for no fewer than four DUIs from 1989 to 1992, barely getting out of jail for one before he was charged with the next.

Lucy died in 1993. Obviously, Cisneros was devastated. Five years later, in 1998, he got one more DUI.

It is, indeed, a terrible track record. But then something happened. Cisneros stopped drinking and driving — and, for that matter, stopped driving at all, according to his neighbors and family. He met another woman (coincidentally, another Lucy), fell in love, and got married again.

He didn’t even get a parking ticket in the next nine years. His behavior was impeccable. He was happy. After many years of misery and sadness, life seemed to have turned good for him again.

If the ultimate objective of the law is rehabilitation — to turn offenders into good people — Cisneros had already achieved it.

But then, in 2007, he was arrested again and sentenced to three years in prison. No, it wasn’t a new offence.

It turns out he’d never cleaned up that last offense from nine years ago. And neither the prosecutor nor the judge was in the mood to give him a break.

Apparently, in Cisneros’ absence, a jury had sentenced him to eighteen months in prison nine years ago and Cisneros wasn’t even aware of it, till the Border Patrol arrested him when he was returning from a visit to Mexico.

Cisneros’ family — a huge, close-knit group — begged the judge. They said that the old man suffered from a host of health conditions: prostate cancer, diabetes, pulmonary hypertension, sleep apnea, shingles, and shortness of breath. He’d already had double bypass surgery.

And his second wife had cancer.

But the judge wouldn’t relent.

Phil Cisneros was 83 when he was put behind bars last year. As feared, he was repeatedly hospitalized during his prison stay. Then he had a heart attack.

The family petitioned Governor Janet Napolitano for clemency: His death, they said, was imminent. Her board of executive clemency recommended his release, unanimously, on March 4.

Phil Cisneros was finally released on March 7 after a gruelling nine months in prison. On march 9, he was dead.

(The original articles that I used as my source are by Sarah Fenske and appeared in the Phoenix New Times. They contain much more than I have quoted; click here and here)

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