Wednesday, July 2, 2008

FREEDOM NOTES

On Sept. 4, 21-year-old Joshua Pomier will have served nearly four years in a detention center near San Bernardino, Calif. Pomier is charged with multiple counts of car theft and robbery. There are two deeply troubling problems with the amount of time he has spent behind bars. One, he has not been convicted of any of the crimes he's charged with. He had barely turned 18 years old when he and another juvenile were arrested for the crimes in September 2004. Pomier and family members vehemently protest his innocence. The even more tormenting problem is not Pomier's guilt or innocence, but the absurdly long length of time that he has been jailed awaiting disposition, any disposition, of the charges leveled against him. His bail was set at nearly a half million dollars, and there have been several delayed court dates. During that time, he has been relentlessly pressured to accept a plea bargain that will require him to serve a lengthy prison sentence. Pomier has refused, and continues to protest his innocence. Pomier is African American, and his dragged out incarceration without being convicted of anything is not unusual. In fact, he's a near textbook example of how thousands of mostly black and Latino young adults and juveniles languish for months, even years, in America's jails with high or no bail, receive shoddy or non-existent legal counsel, and are browbeaten and even threatened by harried, overworked, and often indifferent public defenders and prosecutors to accept deals. Mondo Globo

Craig Crawford - It is a simple question: Does the President of the United States have any authority for direct or covert (or privately contracted) action against Iran without congressional approval? But it is a question that official Washington prefers not to answer. Why? Because the answer is that both major party nominees want to preserve the option to conduct war against Iran without congressional approval. . . You would think that if Americans learned anything in the debacle that the Iraq War turned out to be, it would be that the nation's founders were absolutely correct in establishing Congress as the sole power for declaring war. Only in this way can the people play a direct role in deciding whether it is necessary to send their children to their deaths abroad. . . During George W. Bush's tenure, Congress has passed on every opportunity to assert its war powers. No matter who wins the presidency, the power to make war remains in the White House.

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