Incarceration, Asset Forfeiture, Arrests, Informants, Police Raids, Search and Seizure

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Through A Different Lens: Shifting the Focus on Illinois Drug Policy

The Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy is pleased to invite you to a report briefing entitled Through A Different Lens: Shifting the Focus on Illinois Drug Policy, An examination of states’ solutions and applicability to Illinois What group is the fastest growing segment of the Illinois prison population? · Illinois' per capita rate of African-Americans incarcerated for drug possession offenses was first in the country, leading Mississippi, Maryland and Ohio. Is there a relationship between Illinois’ drug policy changes and the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans? · This paper highlights Illinois legislative changes, incarceration rates, & the impact on the criminal justice system in Illinois. Attending is free. Please RSVP by May 21st via calling 312.341.2457, and leave your name and number of attendees planning to attend the event.
Date: 
Tue, 05/22/2007 - 10:30am - 11:30am
Location: 
430 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL
United States

Minorities Must be Criminals, Otherwise There Wouldn't Be So Many of 'Em in Prison

New DOJ data confirming that minorities receive harsher treatment than whites during traffic stops came as no surprise to us. Last week I discussed the study, warning that DOJ's poor reporting could embolden racial profiling apologists, despite the obvious disparities revealed in the data. Unfortunately, I was right.

Profiling skeptic Steve Chapman now exploits DOJ's report in a widely published editorial that's as sloppy as it is wrong:
Why would black drivers be arrested more often? Maybe because African-Americans commit crimes at a far higher rate and are convicted of felonies at a far higher rate. In 2005, for instance, blacks were nearly seven times more likely to be in prison than whites.
This is textbook circular reasoning of the sort that will earn you an F in Philosophy 101. By Chapman's logic, police could stop investigating white people entirely and we'd soon see that minorities commit 100% of all crimes.

By relying on the argument that increased searches of minorities are justified by their criminality, Chapman exposes his own unfamiliarity with the data he's discussing. The previous DOJ report, released in 2005, addresses this issue directly:
Likelihood of search finding criminal evidence

Searches of black drivers or their vehicles were less likely to find criminal evidence (3.3%) than searches of white drivers (14.5%), and somewhat less likely than searches of Hispanic drivers (13%).
This data comes straight from a report referenced by Chapman, yet he insists that "a motorist of felonious habits is also more likely to have illegal guns or drugs on board," and "the average black driver is statistically more likely to be a criminal than the average white driver."

The great irony here is that Chapman offers his made up statements about the heightened criminality of minorities while arguing that racial profiling doesn’t exist. His premise fundamentally endorses profiling and any officer who agrees with him is highly vulnerable to the exact behavior Chapman denies. It is really just priceless to find gratuitous racial stereotypes in an article about how the days of gratuitous racial stereotyping are behind us.
Location: 
United States

Prison Art Gallery: Our First Online Auction in Partnership with a Top Justice Advocacy Nonprofit

Thousands of people visit our Prison Art Gallery in Washington, DC, and/or our outdoor exhibit at the corner of K St and Connecticut Ave NW, DC. But what about the many art lovers and justice advocates who don't come to DC? Now we have a way for you to view and acquire outstanding prison art. Introducing our first ever online auction. It's being done in partnership with NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) who will use a portion of the proceeds to further its important work. As usual with any prison art we offer either on our own or through a distinguished nonprofit such as NORML, a substantial portion of the proceeds goes to the incarcerated artists who created the work. As a prisoner of 10 years duration (and currently a performing artist), our director Dennis Sobin insists on no less. Please click the link below to be part of the auction excitement. You'll be helping hardworking people in and out of prison while helping yourself to bargains in superb original art. For more information, see http://www.prisonsfoundation.org/. Directions: Located three blocks from the White House, the Prison Art Gallery is served by two Metro stations (Farragut North on the Red Line, and Farragut West on the Orange and Blue Lines). Note that the entrance is on 16th Street, at the corner of K Street. Open Mon to Fri, 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 to 5:30 PM (also open evenings by appointment - groups welcome - admission is always free)
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Constitutional Challenge of Canada's Medical Cannabis Program

Contact: Philippe Lucas, tel: 250-884-9821, E: phil@thevics.com or Kirk Tousaw, tel: 604-836-1420, E: ktousaw@johnconroy.com In May of 2004, the Vancouver Island Therapeutic Cannabis Research Institute (VITCRI), a research and cultivation facility overseen by the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, was raided by the West Shore RCMP. Mat Beren and Michael Swallow were charged with multiple counts of cannabis production, and over 900 plants were seized and destroyed, temporarily leaving the critically and chronically ill members of the VICS without a safe source of medicine. The ensuing court case and Constitutional challenge - which is taking place from May 9th-18th in B.C. Supreme Court, 850 Burdett Avenue - will establish that the federal medical cannabis program is violating the constitutional rights of critically and chronically ill Canadians by a) unnecessarily restricting access to the program; b) supplying an inadequate source of cannabis; and c) instituting arbitrary limitations on production and distribution. "This ineffective, onerous and expensive program has long been an impediment to safe access" says Philippe Lucas, a medical cannabis user and founder of the VICS, "and clearly isn't protecting Canada's sickest citizens from arrest for their use of medical cannabis". The VICS legal team consists of Mr. John Conroy QC from Abbotsford, BC, and Mr. Kirk Tousaw. Witnesses for the defense include Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin (chair of the Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs), Dr. Robert Melamede (Biology professor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs). "We look forward to challenging the constitutionality of these regulations and demonstrating to the court that Health Canada is not meeting its obligations to Canada's critically and chronically ill", says Mr. Tousaw. If successful, this challenge will make the legal medical use of cannabis more accessible, and potentially legalize the community-based distribution of cannabis. A similar challenge in Ontario from 2003 resulted with the courts striking down the prohibition on the recreational adult use of cannabis in Ontario, thereby legalizing the personal use of cannabis for over 18 months. This case may lead to a similar outcome in B.C.
Location: 
BC
Canada

Video Showing Field Drug Test False Positives for Many Different Soaps

In the aftermath of the infamous "soap bust" of drummer Don Bolles of "The Germs" fame, Dr. Bronner's has released a video showing the NarcoPouch field drug test coming up with false positives for a range of natural soap products. Curiously "fake" soaps that are actually detergent-based are coming up negative. Read the full press release here. Watch the video (which also includes TV news footage about the incident) via YouTube below:
Location: 
United States

Press Release from Dr. Bronner's: Drug Test Kit Ideal for Testing Soap but Not Drugs

(More from Dr. Bronner's on the infamous "soap bust.") FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Adam Eidinger May 7, 2007 Drug Test Kit Ideal for Testing Soap but Not Drugs New Video Proves NarcoPouch® 928 Tests Positive on Various Natural Soaps and Negative on "Fake" Soap Based on Detergent Formulations ESCONDIDO, CA – The Bronner family, makers of the popular organic Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps have released a new video of NarcoPouch® 928 field drug tests of its soaps and other brands. The results prove that the test kit which was used to jail Don Bolles, drummer for the legendary punk band The Germs on April 4, will always give a false-positive for the drug GHB (Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate) if used on any true natural soap. However, in an interesting twist, the test will test negative for fake mislabeled "liquid soap" products that are actually detergent-based, not soap. The new video features David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, using the NarcoPouch® 928 on a wide variety of common natural soaps as well as detergent based fake "soap" products. The video can be viewed at http://www.drbronner.com/soap_test.html. "Our testing shows that real soaps which are made using the ecological time-honored process of saponification of vegetable oil will always test positive for GHB, while complicated synthetic detergent-based so-called 'liquid soaps' test negative," said David Bronner. "The NarcoPouch® 928 is a great test for determining if a product labeled 'Soap' actually contains real soap or not. It's ironic that the flawed GHB field test used by cops shows in a graphic immediate way true versus fake soaps. Fortunately for Don Bolles, the much more accurate confirmation drug-testing by the Orange County crime lab proved our soap did not contain the drug GHB." Detergents in fake soap products are usually made in part or even entirely from petroleum along with vegetable feedstocks. For instance, Sodium Myreth Sulfate, the main ingredient in JASON's so-called "Pure, Natural, & Organic Soap" is made by attaching ethylene oxide groups from petroleum to vegetable fatty acid, which also produces trace 1,4 dioxane as a side reaction. Olefin Sulfonate, the main ingredient in both Nature's Gate ORGANICS "Soap" and Kiss My Face ObsessivelyOrganic "Soap", is made entirely from petroleum. Cocamidopropyl Sultaine, the main ingredient in EO's so-called soap, is in significant part petroleum-based. Bronner laments: "Companies mislead consumers in conflating their detergent-based products with ecological biodegradable soaps, even calling these synthetic detergent products 'organic'. Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps are real soaps made from real organic oils, while these other so-called 'Soap' products are detergents made from petroleum and conventional vegetable material. They are not soap, they are not organic, they are not natural." The crime lab confirmation test that exonerated Don Bolles and Dr. Bronner's soaps of GHB, uses the GC-MS method which is much more accurate than the field drug test kits used by the Newport Beach Police. "Police departments nationwide should immediately stop using the ODV, Inc. field test for GHB as it is not accurate when used on soaps and who knows what other common household products," said Bronner. ODV, Inc, maker of NarcoPouch® 928 Inc is a subsidiary of Armor Holdings, Inc. The company has done nothing to alert police departments about the false positives when used on natural soap. According to retired FBI agent and forensics expert Dr. Frederick Whitehurst, "There is no effort by the National Academies of Science to validate forensic science protocols and there are no national standards for presumptive field drug tests. I believe our freedoms are being infringed upon because of fake science." To arrange an interview with David Bronner or Don Bolles please contact Adam Eidinger. ###
Location: 
Escondido, CA
United States

Military Casualties in Mexico’s Anti-Drug War

Location: 
Mexico
Publication/Source: 
Mexidata (CA)
URL: 
http://www.mexidata.info/id1358.html

More than 100 people arrested at Nimbin Mardi Grass

Location: 
Nimbin, NSW
Australia
Publication/Source: 
NSW Police Force (Australia)
URL: 
http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/recent_media_unit_information?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZjdXN0b21zY3JpcHRzLnBvbGljZS5uc3cuZ292LmF1JTJGbmV3cyUyRmRldGFpbHNfbWVkaWEucGhwJTNGTWVkaWFJRCUzRDkzNjQmYWxsPTE%3D

Marijuana Activists Brutalized by Moscow Police During Annual Demonstration

Eugene Kazachenko distributed the following disconcerting report from Moscow yesterday:
Dear sisters and brothers! My name is Eugene Kazachenko. I'm from Moscow, Russia. Today, some hours ago my friends from Marijuana march were arrested. They tried to stretch the banner with calling to legalize marijuana. The goal of this march was legalization marijuana for medical use. Now there are about 20 people arrested. The police was very cruel with marijuana activists. With fear for life of our brothers and sisters my friends and I are receiving periodical news of Radio station Ekcho Moskvy ("The Echo of Moscow"). This is the only free radio channel, which real informs of social and political life in Russia. It informs that Police has placed people by faces on the ground. Police has dragged girls upon the ground and has beaten young men. Policemen have banged young men by their faces about parked cars. In the police department some young activist was beaten so cruel that this has caused coming an ambulance. The representatives of The Federal service of drug control have accused all delaying activists in biased attitude to narcotics. Without any reason they have accused participants of Marijuana March in propaganda of narcotics. At the police department some policemen are trying to plant the drugs to activists. However attorney was not passed to his clients for legal defense. On entrance with the sub-machine-gun in hands the policeman did not let to attorney to come into the door of the police department. Marijuana March was organized by Cannabis Legalization League. At this moment all of delaying marijuana activists are in Presnentsky administrative (misdemeanor) court of Moscow (phone number of this court: +7 495 254-53-59). They are accusing for undertaking unsanctioned meetings. This position of government disagrees with 31 articles of The Constitutions of Russian Federation and Public International law. Though many religious confessions concern with a rehabilitation and spiritual counseling for drug abusers, however they never call any attention in regard to the realistic position of medical cannabis. Regrettably Christians and other religious circles of Russia do not raise a voice in rights protection of drugs consumers from unjustified state repression. Because of unchangeable and increased repressive policy of Russia in attitude to consumers of drugs the religious figures are positioning itself apart of to questions of government drugs policy. Hypocritically the majority of them tacitly agrees with official drug policy or on the pattern of flattering politicians they loudly convicts all people, which voice opinion for legalization hemp as a medicine. With respect, Eugene Kazachenko MDiv of Moscow Theological Seminary
Location: 
Moscow
Russia

Atlanta Police Nearly Killed 80-Year-Old Woman Two Months Before Killing Kathryn Johnston

It has now been reported that a mere two months before killing 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, Atlanta police conducted a very dangerous, similar raid on the home of 80-year-old Frances Thompson. The supposed drug dealer, named "Hollywood," didn't live there. (Read more about it on Radley Balko's The Agitator blog, the most continuous source of information on the problem of SWAT teams/paramilitarization of policing.) You'd think the Atlanta police would learn from one experience and take the steps needed to avoid making the same mistake. Then again, you'd think police nationally would learn when people wind up dying in these raids. But they keep doing it over and over and over...
Location: 
United States

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