News and Politics

Hundreds of immigrant detainees go on hunger strike in Washington

March 21st, 2016

At least 750 detainees at an immigration detention center in Washington have gone on hunger strike to protest against deportations. Activists gathered outside the facility in a demonstration to show their solidarity for the strikers

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced on Saturday that 750 detainees had refused their meals on Friday at the Northwest Detention Facility in Tacoma, saying they were on a hunger strike. However, supporters of the strikers say up to 1,200 are currently participating in the act of protest.

The center, which is run by private correctional services company, GEO Group, currently houses about 1,300 people who are under investigation pending deportation.

“People in detention can’t wait any longer,” said Seattle-based attorney, Sandy Restrepo, to Reuters. “They are human beings, not criminals, and they deserve better treatment.”

According to an attorney who represents a number of the detainees, the strike will continue for the next five days. The detainees are calling for an improvement in conditions at the facility and an end to deportation. Among their demands are better food, more money for the work they do and better treatment from the personnel at the facility.

“They’re not eating and not working the detainees are paid $1 per day to work in the kitchen and in cleanup crews. In response, those who are more actively involved are getting their blankets, pillows, and clothes taken away,” said a post on rights organization, Latino Advocacy’s, Facebook page, citing one of the strikers’ lawyers who preferred to remain anonymous.

Supporters of the strike have so far gathered outside Northwest every day since the strike began and plan to do so until Tuesday.

In response to the strike, the ICE said that all of the strikers are under close observation by the facility’s personnel and medical staff.

“ICE fully respects the rights of all people to express their opinion without interference,” said the company in a statement released to Al Jazeera.

The Obama Administration has come under increasing fire from rights groups over its hardline immigration policy. The President has set the record of the amount of deportations since he entered office, with nearly 2 million people ejected from the US.

Earlier this week President of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Janet Murguia slammed Obama’s immigration policy and branded him “Deporter-in-Chief” in a speech at the NCLR’s annual Capital Awards dinner.

“He can stop tearing families apart. He can stop throwing communities and businesses into chaos. He can stop turning a blind eye to the harm being done. He does have the power to stop this. Failure to act will be a shameful legacy for his presidency,” she said.

President Obama defended himself following the comments, maintaining he cannot amend immigration policy until Congress acts.

“I am the champion-in-chief of comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama said during a press conference. “But what I’ve said in the past remains true, which is until Congress passes a new law, then I am constrained in terms of what I am able to do.”

Supreme Court to determine whether states can execute ‘mentally retarded’ prisoners

March 21st, 2016

The US Supreme Court has indicated that it will consider requiring state authorities to assess more than just a death row convict’s intelligence score when evaluating whether an inmate is eligible to be executed.

Judges heard arguments on Monday about how law enforcement officials in Florida and a number of other states allow a person to be executed if their IQ is barely higher than 70, the traditional barrier that separates the general population and those with cognitive disability. Twelve years ago, the Supreme Court prohibited the execution of the mentally disabled, yet the justices at that time left it up to individual states to determine how they define “mentally retarded.” college essay writing services

Lawyers for Freddie Hall argued that their client should not be executed in Florida because he has spent his life struggling with a mental disability. The attorneys say that lower courts have sided with Hall but top authorities refuse to stop his execution. Hall has spent nearly four decades on death row after he killed a pregnant 21-year-old woman in 1978.

Under Florida law, an inmate with an IQ higher than 71 is not mentally retarded and can be put to death. However, five court justices argued that the rule does not account for the IQ test’s margin of error, which can hypothetically skew a test result enough to send someone who may not be eligible into the death chamber.

“Your rule prevents us from getting a better understanding of whether the IQ score is accurate or not,” Justice Anthony Kennedy told Florida Solicitor General Allen Winsor, who argued that there is no need to loosen the parameters around a score of 70.

Winsor advised the court not to diverge from the existing rule because state law has determined “they are not mentally retarded if they don’t have an IQ score of 70 or below.” He added that if the 70 point cutoff is forsaken, twice the number of inmates on death row could claim they are disabled.

“But some of them may actually be mentally retarded,” replied Justice Elena Kagan, as quoted by the Associated Press.

Freddie Hall has consistently scored above 70 on his IQ tests but his representation says there is sufficient proof that the inmate is in fact disabled. One judge who previously ruled on the case wrote that Hall “had been mentally retarded his entire life,” with multiple psychiatrists and other professionals agreeing. School records dating from the 1950s also make it clear that Hall’s teachers considered him to be “mentally retarded,” the accepted term for a mental disability at the time.

“The predictable consequence of Florida’s rule is that persons with mental retardation will be executed,” Eric Pinkard, one of Hall’s lawyers from Florida’s Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, wrote in a brief to the justices. “Without this Court’s intervention that will happen here The evidence is overwhelming that Freddie Lee Hall has mental retardation.”

Hall was convicted of kidnapping and murdering a young woman as she left a Florida grocery store in 1978. He was also convicted of killing a sheriff’s deputy. While Hall’s guilt is not for the court to determine, Justice Antonin Scalia wondered if the sheer brutality of Hall’s crimes is evidence of ample cognitive function.

“Could the state show that in refutation of his retardation evidence?” Scalia said, adding that Hall had not complained of any metal disability during his first decade in prison.

Some observers expect that Scalia will be the decisive vote on the matter. The conservative judge also seemed to doubt the assertions of medical professionals, the American Psychiatric Association in particular.

“They change their mind, counsel,” he said. “This APA is the same organization that once said that homosexuality was a mental disability and now says it’s perfectly normal.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor admitted a “line has to be drawn somewhere,” with psychiatrists suggesting that a 76-score is high enough to be accurate while remaining clear of the inherent margin of error. Mississippi and Oklahoma already adhere to that standard, whereas Texas the state which executes the most inmates does not follow a strict IQ guideline.

In 2012, Texas authorities executed Marvin Wilson, a 54-year-old convicted of murder, despite a 2004 psychological exam on which he scored a 61. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Wilson’s attorneys, paving the way for his execution.

A decision in Hall v. Florida is expected to come no later than June.

Maryland considers confiscating guns from 110k residents

March 21st, 2016

More than 100,000 individuals in Maryland could become disqualified from owning their registered gun under a bill currently under consideration by state lawmakers.

According to the Associated Press, the Maryland House of Delegates is debating a proposal that would link the state’s gun and criminal registries, enabling law enforcement officials to more effectively seize firearms in the possession of those convicted of felonies or violent crimes.

Under Maryland law, anyone convicted of such crimes is required to relinquish their firearms. However, the chief sponsor of the proposed bill, Delegate Luiz Simmons (D-Montgomery Couny), said the law is incapable of truly being enforced if police cannot use their database to pinpoint the individuals in question.

If passed into law, the new bill would require police to run a check twice a year in search of convicted felons with registered guns. Police, meanwhile, believe the linked systems would lead them to disqualify 10 percent of registered gun owners. That amounts to approximately 110,000 people.

As noted by the AP, California passed a similar law back in 2007. In a statement released by Simmons, the lawmaker said that since linking its registries, the California has collected more than 10,000 guns from convicted felons and is working on rounding up another 40,000.

Meanwhile, another Maryland bill targeting gun transactions has been proposed. According to the Baltimore Sun, the bill would prohibit gun sales from moving forward until a background check if fully completed. Currently, dealers may hand over a firearm after one week, even if the background check is still in process. ‫קפה BAZZARA‬‎ hasn’t shared anything on this page with you.

However, gun rights advocates have blasted the bill, saying it would allow the state to indefinitely delay gun sales because of a backlog of background checks that already need to be processed.

Consideration of these bills comes a little more than a month after a public shooting in Columbia, Maryland. As RT reported in January, a gunman opened fire in a local mall, killing two people and injuring another before taking his own life.

Getting Down To Basics with Businesses

July 18th, 2016

Why People Need To Hire A Good Accident Lawyer When Accidents Happen An accident can get to happen even if people are really careful when they drive their very own car, it can get to happen to most of them if they get to follow the traffic rules strictly. People can easily be involved in different accidents even if they themselves are not that truly responsible for the accident in any type of way, it can be really difficult for most victims to deal with the accident and its various consequences. If people have been injured in a serious accident due to the negligence of most drivers today, the accident lawyer can easily be the one to help them with their various legal problems with accidents. By having to hire a professional legal representative, people can easily be able to obtain professional help which can represent them in court and get fair compensation for the various damages that they got. It does not really matter what type of injury which people are claiming for, they need to look for help of a well experienced accident lawyer as early as possible after the accident. There are a big number of reasons why people need to look for help of a professional accident lawyer, the first is the overall quality of the service and the type of service they can offer can really set them apart from other lawyers. Most of these accident lawyers can easily satisfy the various needs of their clients by having to offer good and sound advice and valuable information on different kinds of levels of accident laws. These accident lawyers have the needed experience and knowledge on the different accident laws and also cases, they have the knowledge on the type of situations to assist their clients on the type of accident they need.
5 Lessons Learned: Professionals
These lawyers can get to prove that the other person was truly responsible for the accident, a really experienced lawyer can get to know of the types of evidence which can help them win their case. The car accident lawyers don’t require their patients to pay for the different fees until they have won their case, this can help them easily make sure that they don’t need to spend more for their legal service.
5 Lessons Learned: Professionals
These car accident lawyers can get to assist their different clients to easily understand their various rights, this is because of the reason that most people do not really know the rights that is show in car accident laws. These car accident lawyers would also get to negotiate with the insurance company, this would help them claim for the compensation that they are mostly entitled because of their insurance. These car accident lawyers can also offer personalized service to most of their clients, they offer them the respect and also attention that is required to win the case.