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Ted Rall | Miranda "Rights" / Slate.com

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio: A Modern-Day Bull Connor

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  • Maricopa County stands to lose $113 million in federal funds if Arpaio doesn't produce proof that he's not engaging in racial profiling.
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  • Arpaio's Abuse Of Power
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Marc Morial, Other Words

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In April 1963, while confined to jail in Birmingham, Alabama for leading peaceful civil rights demonstrations in what was then considered to be the most segregated city in America, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote an open letter challenging a group of local ministers and the nation to speak out against the brutal, segregationist tactics of the infamous Birmingham police commissioner, Bull Connor. Forty-seven years later, in Maricopa County, Arizona, there's another police official who seems bent on defying the Constitutional rights of non-white, law-abiding citizens.

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For more than a decade, Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio has been the subject of numerous investigations and lawsuits for his inhumane treatment of prisoners and overzealous enforcement of immigration laws, including Arizona statues that amount to outright racial profiling.

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Arpaio's Abuse Of Power,  Andrea Nill and others, Think Progress
Arpaio does enjoy a 61 percent job approval rating and has cemented Arizona's neo-Nazi and nativist votes

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The Mississippi Pardons

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The Scott sisters have been in prison for 16 years. Jamie, now 38, is seriously ill. Both of her kidneys have failed. Keeping the two of them locked up any longer is unconscionable, grotesquely inhumane.

Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Ken Mitchell

Bob Herbert / Damon Winter (New York Times)

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Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi has to decide whether to show mercy to two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, who are each serving double consecutive life sentences in state prison for a robbery in which no one was injured and only $11 was taken.

This should be an easy call for a law-and-order governor who has, nevertheless, displayed a willingness to set free individuals convicted of far more serious crimes. Mr. Barbour has already pardoned four killers and suspended the life sentence of a fifth.

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The Scott sisters have been in prison for 16 years. Jamie, now 38, is seriously ill. Both of her kidneys have failed.

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Keeping the two of them locked up any longer is unconscionable, grotesquely inhumane.

More...

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Need a Lawyer? Good Luck

Congress must approve the extra financing to provide legal services for struggling homeowners authorized in the financial reform law. It must also approve a substantial budget increase for the federal Legal Services Corporation, which helps finance these critical programs, and ditch senseless restrictions hampering its mission.
Access To Justice In U.S. At Third-World Levels

New York Times | NY

Across the country, programs that provide legal representation in civil cases to low-income Americans are so cash-strapped that they are turning away numbers of people. Hard-pressed Americans fighting foreclosure or seeking protection from domestic violence or access to medical care or unemployment benefits must often navigate the judicial system on their own or give up.

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For much of its financing, civil legal aid has relied on the interest earnings from escrow accounts that private lawyers often hold for clients. That has all but disappeared as interest rates have dropped. At the same time, deficit-plagued statehouses are cutting support, while federal dollars are not taking up enough of the slack.

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Access To Justice In U.S. At Third-World Levels, Says Survey, Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post

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  • The truth is that as a nation, we face nothing short of a justice crisis. It is a crisis both acute and chronic, affecting not only the poor but the middle class. The situation we face is unconscionable. -- Harvard Law Professor Larry Tribe
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  • Corporate America's Favorite Jurists Return
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Investigating Foreclosure Fraud

Yesterday (Oct 13), all 50 state attorneys general opened a joint investigation into the ongoing foreclosure fraud scandal that has led some of the country's biggest banks to suspend foreclosures.

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Progress Report, Think Progress

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Yesterday (Oct 13), all 50 state attorneys general opened a joint investigation into the ongoing foreclosure fraud scandal that has led some of the country's biggest banks to suspend foreclosures, as they sort out whether or not they improperly threw borrowers out of their homes. Multiple banks -- including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo -- have reportedly had foreclosure documents approved by "robo-signers": employees who were signing thousands of foreclosure documents a day, without verifying basic information. In many cases, as the Associated Press reported, these employees had no experience with mortgage banking at all.

According to employee depositions, "financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in 'foreclosure expert' jobs with no formal training." One bank employee reportedly said, "I don't know the ins and outs of the loan, I just sign documents." But the extent of the banks' problems extends beyond robo-signed paperwork to lost and forged documents and, as Reuters' Felix Salmon reported, knowingly selling investors mortgage bonds they knew were toxic. "The financial institutions would be well served by working with us to get it cleaned up," said Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. "And they'd also be well served to think about reaching negotiated resolutions with borrowers in cases where they've created exposure for themselves by committing fraud upon the courts."

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Access To Justice In U.S. At Third-World Levels, Says Survey, Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post

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  • The truth is that as a nation, we face nothing short of a justice crisis. It is a crisis both acute and chronic, affecting not only the poor but the middle class. The situation we face is unconscionable. -- Harvard Law Professor Larry Tribe
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  • Corporate America's Favorite Jurists Return
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