Author Archives: Xena
This month our nation exceeded 25,000 years lost to wrongful convictions. The human suffering associated with the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of 2,795 innocent people is incalculable. Without the research and reporting of the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE), we likely would not know of or comprehend the truth or implications of this horrific milestone.
The report, “25,000 Years Lost to Wrongful Convictions” released today quantifies the reality of a justice system making its most egregious error: convicting an innocent person. The NRE defines an exoneree as a “person who was convicted of a crime and later officially declared innocent of that crime, or relieved of all legal consequences of the conviction because evidence of innocence that was not presented at trial required reconsideration of the case.”
The NRE has focused on exonerations since 1989. Here are a few highlights from the report:
• On average, each exoneree spent more than 8 years and 11 months in prison before release. Black exonerees spent 10.4 years in prison on average, whereas white exonerees spent an average of 7.5 years. Averages alone do not immediately reveal, for example, that 183 people spent 25 years or more in prison before they were exonerated of crimes they did not commit.
• Innocent Black defendants served a majority of the prison time, 14,525 of the 25,004 years at the writing of the report.
I like what you shared about Eleanor Roosevelt. She did some amazing things for the Tuskegee Airmen.
This post goes on to begin the rough draft of my current non-fiction WiP, Baby Acres: A possible Vision for Making Society Suck Less, in 60 Years. (Thanks, once again, to JYP and Tammy for the title ideas!!) The overall goal has been to lay out a roadmap for a fully inclusive society for all of us, so, I am turning, this week, to the introductory chapter, Chapter 0, of the book, in the hope that All HumanKind will eventually have each person’s basic needs met. This book lays out one possible path for getting to that point.
Introduction: Empathy-building as an ongoing part of all
Having cited some of the reasoning which led up to the inception of this project, we now delve into the foundational concepts behind each phase. Empathy-building, through various means, is a continual part of each phase, as without empathy, no…
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Minneapolis ex-cop Derek Chauvin was convicted of 2nd degree murder, 3rd degree murder, and 2nd degree manslaughter for killing George Floyd. On April 30, 2021, state prosecutors and Chauvin’s defense attorney argued in separate filings whether certain conditions should be considered in Chauvin’s sentencing. The prosecution’s filing argues 5 aggravated factors for consideration. Chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16 or 25, 2021, depending on what source you read. Chavin’s opposition for aggravating sentencing factors is linked here.
On May 4, 2021, Chauvin’s defense attorney filed a motion for a new trial. The motion is linked here.
I noticed on Twitter that some of Chauvin’s supporters represent the motion is for a mistrial or dismissal, and their presentation is focused on a juror attending a protest. Chauvin’s motion is for a new trial — a do-over. According to the Minnesota Rules for Criminal Procedure, Post Verdict Motions;
“A motion for new trial must be based on the record. Pertinent facts that are not in the record may be submitted by affidavit, or statements signed under penalty of perjury pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, …”
To get the court to consider the juror, Chauvin must produce affidavits, or statements signed under penalty of perjury. If I remember my teachings correctly, it cannot be hearsay. In other words, the statement must come from the juror or someone with direct knowledge that the juror was biased against Chavin and dishonest in his juror questionnaire. It must be signed under penalty of perjury. I do not think that a video of the juror and a photo taken from social media will substitute for sworn testimony. Of course, this is too long to put in a tweet. Anyway, we shall see what the court decides.
Stay safe. Wear a mask when out in public. Get vaccinated for Covid-19. Be blessed.
There was a time when I followed trials and posted daily on this blog the videos or reports of what happened in court. Although I still follow trials, I’m no longer able to write daily posts.
I watched former Minneapolis, MN police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial. When I was unable to watch live, I recorded it and watched in the evening. The two most impressive witnesses for the prosecution, in my opinion, were George Floyd’s girlfriend Courtney Ross, and pulmonary expert Dr. Martin Tobin.
Courtney Ross extinguished all demonizing of George’s opiate addiction. Dr. Tobin calmly explained how George died, even pointing out when his brain stopped receiving oxygen and his body went into seizure.
In this case, Derek Chauvin was held accountable for his decisions and actions that caused the death of George Floyd. As his eyes darted back and forth, up and down, Chauvin heard verdicts on three counts; 2nd degree murder, 3rd degree murder, and 2nd degree manslaughter — all guilty. He opted to have the judge decide his sentencing, which is scheduled 8 weeks from now.
The below video is the reading of the verdict. George, you are now free to rest in peace.
Just wondering out loud …
Thursday, I received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine. None of the vaccines are 100 percent effective. That is one reason why we still need to wear masks until everyone is vaccinated — but I don’t see that happening.
Because I’m prone to allergies, I had the vaccination in a Prompt Care facility and had to wait a half hour after the vaccination before I could leave. While waiting, I wondered if America is doing the right thing by sending vaccinations to other countries now.
According to the CDC, no one knows how long the vaccinations will protect us. Three months? Six months? Twelve months? More than a year? No one knows. We’ve not had and tested Covid-19 vaccinations long enough to know. So, what happens if we find that vaccinations only protect us for 6 months, and we don’t have a supply to re-vaccinate all Americans who want to be vaccinated?
As many of you probably know, in September 2018, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer; Her2 positive cancer cells. It’s a progressive cancer, but thankfully there are two immunology drugs for treatment. As of March 1, 2021, I am now 2 years NED (No Evidence of Disease).
Sadly, my heart hurts for those still on the journey, and those whose journey ended.
Some of you might know Michael Hulshof-Schmidt. His blog is Social Justice For All. Michael’s husband is leaving the blog up, and I am grateful for that.
I don’t quite remember when it was that Michael and I met. It may have been in 2013 or 2014, but we became blogging buddies. Michael went through chemo for colon cancer, a massive heart attack, and then the cancer recurred in his liver. He put up a courageous fight, but on January 30, 2021, he transitioned.
Then there are other courageous people on the journey who find time to encourage others, such as Ilene of the Cancer Bus.
Now, I’m on conservative follow-up of every 6 months. My cancer marker tests have consistently scored 17 for over a year now. Any score under 30 is good. Meanwhile, I had surgery on my left foot in February and currently have sterile-strips on my big toe. Hopefully, I’ll be able to wear a closed-in shoe in a week. Read the rest of this entry
What we witnessed on February 13, 2021 with Mitch McConnell’s reason for voting not guilty in the impeachment trial of ex-president Donald Trump, is the Senate playing the Judicial Branch.
The question on whether the Senate had jurisdiction to hold impeachment trial was raised, and voted on. The Senate’s vote was that it had jurisdiction.
In a regular court of law, once a judge has ruled, the issue can no longer be argued, and jurors are instructed not to consider the issue during deliberations. However, the Senate is not a court of law. Mitch McConnell disregarded the majority Senate vote and used the issue of constitutional jurisdiction to acquit ex-President Donald J. Trump.
The argument over whether the Senate has jurisdiction to hold an impeachment trial for a government official no longer in office, is over a hundred years old. In 1862, it was federal judge West Hughes Humphries. In 1876, it was Secretary of War William Belknap. So, why hasn’t a federal court settled the question? Read the rest of this entry
Wonderful! I almost fell off my chair when I saw the photo from Twilight: Breaking Dawn 1.
Today, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Kamala D. Harris was sworn in as Vice President of the United States. There are many things to be proud of with this administration. When watching the swearing-in, I first sighed. It was a sigh of relief. No longer will Americans hear outright lies from the President of the United States, such as Covid-19 being no worst than a bad cold or the flu.
After I sighed, I cried, overwhelmed with a sense of relief, of honor, and a renewal in hope for our nation.
Congratulations Mr. President and Madame Vice President.
This video has become a tradition for the Holiday Season at We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident . Hope you enjoy! Be safe. Wear a mask.
In August, 2008, they started pouring-in. The “they” were “birther” cases arguing that Barack Obama was disqualified from being President of the United States on the allegation that he is not a “natural born” United States Citizen. As late as November 2010, the SCOTUS was still dismissing such cases. If anyone is interested in the majority of cases, there is a good list on Wikipedia.
The other day, Twitter was buzzing about the Attorney General for the State of Texas petitioning the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn election results in four states. In response to one such tweet, I tweeted the following;
Trump culture has made things unpredictable. After the death of Justice RBG, Trump’s brazenness to quickly appoint a Justice to the Supreme Court on the basis that he needed nine Justices to decide election controversies, made many voters nervous. I hoped that judges and Justices would adhere to the basic requirements before they hear a case.
Regardless of their arguments, Plaintiffs have to meet a requirement in order for any court to hear their claims. That requirement is “standing”. Read the rest of this entry
We the People of the United States of America have chosen sanity over chaos, compassion over hate, intellect over buffoonery, and respect over mockery and false bravado. We the People have chosen Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States. We have chosen well. To say that I am relieved would be […]YES!!!!!!!!!!! — Filosofa’s Word
Shout out to @Barkiologist for the information.
Orange County Register reports that Jordan Tygh, a regional field director for the California Republican Party, posted a photo on social media of “convenient locations” to drop their own ballots.
They are not official drop boxes. The fake boxes are located in Orange, Los Angeles, and Fresno Counties.
The California Secretary of State says that the fake boxes are located at local political party offices, candidate headquarters and churches.
I’ve never been one to vote based on issues that are not relevant to my life or the betterment of this country, such as climate change. For at least two decades, I’ve personally heard Republicans say they were voting for a politician because they are anti-abortion and/or anti-gay rights. I always asked if they planned to have an abortion and if they are gay? To that, they wanted to quote from the Bible, in which I had to remind them that the United States does not have a theocratic government.
Frankly, I’m tired of hearing Republicans say that they don’t understand how Christians can be Democrat when Democrats made abortion legal in the United States. That is simply not true. At the time of Roe v. Wade, six (6) of the Justices on the Supreme Court were appointed by Republican presidents.
Voting because of wanting laws that control the lives of others is a bit like wanting to be a control freak. Many of these same folks do not comply with the Executive Orders of Governors to wear a mask when out in public to prevent the spread of a virus that can be deadly. They want to exercise their freedom of choice. Hypocrites!
I remember when abortion became legal in New York State. It was in 1970. I remember Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade was a case filed in 1971 and was decided in 1973. Roe was a woman who resided in the state of Texas. At that time, Texas only allowed legal abortion if the life of the mother was at risk. Among Roe’s arguments was that she could not afford to go out of Texas to obtain a safe, legalized abortion.
At the time that Roe v. Wade made itself through the judicial system, Richard Nixon (R) was president of the United States.
The nine Justices on the Court and the president who appointed them were; Read the rest of this entry
Thanks to followers, visitors, and participants, past and present.
Last month I received notification from WordPress that it was my 8 year anniversary. My, time does fly. These past 2 years makes it seem much longer. The breast cancer treatment journey caused months to fly and at the same time, time slowed down. I suppose one has to have been or is on that journey to understand, because words are insufficient to describe how time can move slow but at the same time, move fast.
It was a year in March that I had surgery and was declared NED/NEC (no evidence of disease/ no evidence of cancer). Then there were post-surgical treatments with immunology drugs for 3 months, followed by tests, followed by physical therapy. July marked my one year anniversary since ending post-surgical treatment. I’m still receiving treatment for some of the side-effects that chemo left behind.
In 8 years, three of my best friends have died. We also lost at least one blogger to death, and several disappeared without a word. I miss them all. There are bloggers I met in 2012 who no longer blog, but are on Twitter. Read the rest of this entry
I originally blogged about these cases on Dec. 7, 2013. Since then, there has been additional information, including the filing of and decision in a civil lawsuit.
Both cases are in the State of Illinois but different counties about 27 miles apart. When committing the crimes, all defendants in both cases were residents of the City of Rockford. All defendants were charged with murder under the same state law.
Let me be clear that this post is not about the innocence or guilt of the defendants. It’s about racism yielding privilege for some and inequalities for others. It’s the type of prejudice that prosecutors might not realize motivates them to make decisions. It’s the type of politics that call Black defendants “violent offenders” but offers White defendants, charged with the same crime, pleas for lesser offenses and shorter sentences.
In the Black Lives Matter Movement, there is talk about how Blacks and Whites are charged for the same crimes, but Blacks are given longer sentences. Mostly, people who bring up that issue speak in terms of marijuana possession or misdemeanor crimes.
The cases I present here would not have been misdemeanor crimes even if no party had been killed.
Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/9-1 states in pertinent part:
“A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits first degree murder if, in performing the acts which cause the death, he is attempting or committing a forcible felony other than second degree murder.”
This law is generally referred to as felony murder. Simply put, if a person is committing a felony and another person is killed during the commission of that crime, the person or persons committing the crime are charged with murder. The sentence for felony murder carries a mandatory minimum of 20 years. Read the rest of this entry
By Robert A. Vella The breaking news that hit late yesterday shouldn’t be surprising. We already knew that Donald Trump is pathologically narcissistic and sociopathic. We already knew that he isn’t mentally competent enough to serve as President of the United States. We already knew that he is ethically and intellectually unfit to fulfill the […]The un-American, traitorous U.S. President exposed — The Secular Jurist
Just after I posted Trump’s Suspension of Travel From Europe Sealed America’s Fate For Major Covid 10 Spread, news came out that Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, developed a national testing strategy. Donald however, was looking for a re-election advantage. As reported in Vanity Fair,
Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.
That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said.
I took another look at the Department of Homeland Security’s list of airports allowing the landing of planes from Europe carrying American citizens. There are 13 airports on the list. Other than Texas, Georgia and Florida, the planes were not allowed to land in other southern states.
Donald Trump exploited Covid-19 , intentionally allowing the virus to infect Blue States, not provide testing through the federal government, and blame Democratic Governors for the spread and lack of testing.
Now, the Lincoln Project has come out with a video about it.