“Nicholas Chappelle spent almost a year in an Oregon prison after he was wrongfully convicted of driving with a suspended license. The reason for his incarceration? A shoddy DMV database. And the worst part is he’s not alone.
While it’s unclear just how many Oregonians have been wrongfully arrested or convicted due to errors in the database, at least 3,000 licenses have been mislabeled as indefinitely suspended. At least five wrongful arrests or convictions have been identified.”
“There is a possibility there were other elements to the deal. There might be something entirely secret that we don’t know and won’t know, something that it would be both in Russia’s and the US’s interests to keep behind closed doors. After all, that’s how the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved, through quiet diplomacy, a complete picture of which wasn’t clear until later.”
“Of the more than 11,000 federal inmates who were released to home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic, 17 were returned to prison for committing new crimes, according to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).”
“of the 17, 10 committed drug crimes, while the rest of the charges included smuggling non-citizens, nonviolent domestic disturbance, theft, aggravated assault, and DUI.”
“Jonathan Wall, a 26-year-old cannabis entrepreneur, has been confined at a federal supermax facility in Maryland for nearly 20 months, awaiting a May 2 trial that could send him to prison for life. Wall is accused of transporting more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from California, where cannabis is legal for recreational use, to Maryland, which allows only medical use.
Wall’s case illustrates the draconian penalties that can still be imposed on people for selling pot at a time when most states have legalized marijuana businesses. As far as the federal government is concerned, all of those businesses are criminal enterprises. But depending on how federal prosecutors choose to exercise their discretion, selling pot can make you millions of dollars as a state-licensed supplier, or it can send you to prison for decades.”
“Over the last year and a half, thousands of low-risk inmates were given the chance to serve the remainder of their sentences on home confinement. The move was meant to curb coronavirus transmission rates in overcrowded prisons. But the trial period has been viewed as a successful tactic beyond that of a COVID mitigation measure; of the approximately 4,500 released due to COVID, just three have reoffended, two of whom committed nonviolent crimes, according to Michael Carvajal, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).”
“The average annual price for a prisoner at home is $13,000; for an inmate at a correctional institution, it is almost 3 times higher at $37,500.”
“A federal judge in August sentenced Daniel Hale to 45 months in federal prison for informing the American public about secret drone killings by the U.S. military.
Hale is a former Air Force intelligence analyst who shared classified documents with reporter Jeremy Scahill. Those documents, published in 2015 at The Intercept and in a book called The Assassination Complex (Simon & Schuster), revealed that secret drone assassinations in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia had likely killed untold numbers of innocent people, a fact the U.S. government had concealed.”
“Hale’s sentence is an example of how the federal government misuses laws meant for spies who reveal classified information to our country’s enemies. Too often, it punishes citizens who reveal the government’s true behavior to their fellow Americans.”
“Kevin Strickland, Christopher Dunn, and Lamar Johnson all have something in common: they all have spent decades in the Missouri prison system, they all maintain their innocence, and the cases that led to their convictions have all fallen apart. Yet the men remain behind bars with no release in sight despite various government actors suggesting they should have their verdicts overturned.
It’s hard to cook up a more nightmarish scenario.”
“The fates of Johnson and Strickland are in the hands of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who insists on Strickland’s guilt and says that Johnson exhausted all his appeals.
If Schmitt does not petition for their verdicts to be overturned, it would be up to Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, to issue executive clemency. Parson yesterday released a list of pardons that included Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who attracted national media attention after waving their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis.
In the spirit of forgiveness and redemption, their pardoning makes sense; his failure to also pardon Dunn, Strickland, and Johnson does not. If Parson wants to make a point about prosecutorial overreach, he should grant mercy to prisoners incarcerated for crimes the government concedes they did not commit.”
“Convicted of white-collar crimes in 2013, the former investment broker was serving the remainder of his sentence on home confinement when authorities from a Newport News, Virginia, halfway house called to check in. He missed those calls, and for that, he has been sent back to federal prison for more than four years—despite the fact that electronic monitoring surveillance shows he was in his house that evening.”
“The former broker, who is currently expecting a daughter in September with his fiancée, served the bulk of his 13-year and eight-month sentence though May of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a wave of releases for certain prisoners. On May 31 of this year, unable to reach him via phone, the halfway house attempted to activate an alert on his ankle device. That function was down, according to the Press.
So an employee from the institution called the Norfolk police, who paid Martinovich’s house a visit. The officers mistakenly believed the residence to be the halfway house itself, so after arriving around midnight and knocking gingerly—failing to wake up and speak with Martinovich—they left the premises.”
“Even still, the government officials confirmed that the monitoring showed Martinovich was where he was supposed to be—his house. The device was not altered or messed with, per evidence from the FBP. But the agency proceeded with its conclusion regardless: He had “escape[d],” and thus deserves to spend years more behind bars after the government has already concluded he is not a threat to society.
Such punitive measures seem almost fantastical. Yet Martinovich has company. Gwen Levi attracted significant public attention last month after she, too, was deemed to have “escaped”—after attending an in-person word processing class. During the session, she missed a call from officials and was subsequently sent back behind bars. Levi, who was originally imprisoned on drug charges, was ultimately set free after a public outcry, though it remains to be seen if Martinovich will be lucky enough to witness the birth of his daughter.”
“a federal judge affirmed that Jake Angeli, the Capitol rioter known as “Q Shaman,” should be granted his request for organic food while being held in a Washington, DC, jail, citing his religious beliefs. It is puzzling that Angeli’s accommodations were met, not only because the DC jail found no research to show that an organic diet was a tenet of Shamanism — but also because it’s deeply hypocritical given the treatment of so many Muslim prisoners in this country who are denied, among other things, halal food. This demonstrates how so many white practitioners of faith are not just immune to discrimination, but are even awarded favors when it comes to treatment in prison.”