On today’s episode, we’re doing three deep dives into recent updates and events. First up: NARSOL is putting Cobb County Georgia on notice of potential lawsuit. The sheriff in this county is inventing laws that gives them the authority to do home checks that they aren’t required to do. Second is Sheriff Gary Long of Butts County, also in Georgia, has filed a brief in the 11th Circuit. This is on the heels of the crushing defeat in federal court in October 2019 regarding posting Halloween signs in the yards of those on the registry. And last is a Federal Judge in Illinois issues permanent injunction for those being held past their release date due to the individual being unable to find housing.
[6:30] We start off with a small batch of news articles that tickled our fancy. An article from The Washington Post talks about why people plead guilty. Given the prospect of being found guilty of something…the prosecutor has immense resources available to them and the defendant has limited resources, is locked away in an unfamiliar place with mediocre food. Limited access to defend themselves or see and talk to family. It isn’t hard to figure out why someone would take a plea to end the misery as soon as possible.
[18:50] After that we talk about a prison job where you are a telemarketer making about 1/4 minimum wage. The company itself is still “paying” minimum wage, but the difference is going to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. We bat around the concept and not really resolving if we are for it or against it. It seems that this would be a significantly better job, both in quality and in pay, than most jobs that you can find in prison. Is there an exploitative component here? Mostly it’s just a Hmmmm in the end.
[30:04] Our last news article for the night is to use the notion of Michael Avenatti as a proxy to talk about solitary confinement. It isn’t hard to see how you would take a very violent person and separate them from general population. Avenatti is definitely not this person. Solitary confinement is a horrible way to live. Especially since he is pre-trial. He hasn’t been convicted of any crime at all. He should be presumed innocent, until proven guilty, etc. Like him, or dislike him. Your opinion is your own. But he shouldn’t be in solitary just because the Department of Corrections can’t handle it. He is having his civil liberties diminished.
[36:15] Our first main segment of the night is to talk about NARSOL is going to put Cobb County Georgia on notice for doing random checks at all hours of day and night; as late as 11:30pm and before sunrise in the morning. The Georgia statute doesn’t have a requirement to perform these checks (outside of special exceptions). Beyond that, they are requiring individuals to provide the hours of their work. These are things that are not in the statute. Sheriff Neil Warren was sworn in by putting his hand on the Bible swearing to uphold the law. But he doesn’t get to invent the law. The question is then will Sheriff Warren heed the notice and back off from doing these things, or will NARSOL have to go to the next step and file a court challenge forcing him to stop.
[51:00] In main segment number two we go into detail about Butts County Georgia, and Sheriff Gary Long, filing a 71 page brief to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the Halloween signs. We won an injunction for posting the signs in 2019. Which has a pretty high standard which means that are likely to prevail on the merits of the case. We get some description of the mootness doctrine which is a principle of judicial procedure whereby American courts will not decide moot cases that is, cases in which there is no longer any actual controversy.
Butts County Appeal Brief 1-21-20
[1:13:55] Our final main segment of the evening is a permanent injunction fought by Adele Nicholas and Mark Weinberg out of Illinois. They won this case at the district court level in March of 2019. These are for individuals that are being held past their release dates due to the incarcerated individual not being able to find adequate housing. Their 8th and 14th Amendment constitutional rights were being violated.
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