Donald Trump Commutes Sentences For Inmates
Despite the chaotic coverage of the White House over the past several months, it seems as though some good has come from the administration with a gentle nudge from Kim Kardashian West. Trump choose to hear the case for Alice Johnson’s pardon after her story went viral and seen by West this past October. Johnson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 25 years after a first time, non-violent drug offense. Johnson has been serving her sentence since 1996 during which time she earned a degree and became an online mentor. After sharing her story which was picked up by Mic, a wave of social media response and outrage began to bubble over into mainstream media. Overall, Trump has decided to commute the sentences of over 100 inmates much like Obama did towards the end of his presidency. In addition to reviewing Johnson’s individual case, sources close to the White House say Trump, Mrs. West and her attorney Shawn Chapman spoke about an overhaul of the entire American justice system that would ensure persons trapped unfairly by the system would be freed and that laws carrying excessive or discriminatory sentences be eradicated.
The Bad: System Error Causes Confusion For California Voters
Reportedly, a random printing error is responsible for leaving thousands of California residents off the voter registry list which is expected to cause friction during the states primary process. The voting department isn’t certain how many counties were affected by the error but it is estimated that at least 1530 of the 4357 voting stations were caught unprepared, with at least 118,522 residents omitted from the list. Although Antonio Villaraigosa, a democratic candidate tweeted “I’m calling on @LACountyRRCC to keep the polls open longer because of the unprecedented number of voters left off the voter rolls. You have the right to vote. If you were turned away, return to your polling place & exercise your right to vote by requesting a provisional ballot,” it is unclear and unlikely they everyone received a provisional ballot in time. The 39th congressional district which has a high population of Hispanic-Americans is causing concern for the democrats who planned to win those votes and prevent Republicans from simultaneously winning the district and the needed seats to gain control of the House Of Representatives.
The Good: Milwaukee Police Face Criticism For Body Cam Footage
This week, video surfaced of several Milwaukee police officers arresting Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown after a verbal altercation between Brown and one officer escalated quickly into a physical onslaught with at least 5 more officers present. Brown’s lawyer Mark Thomsen plans to file a lawsuit against the department citing the need for accountability and transparency; at the time of the incident and subsequent investigation, no body cam footage had been shared and reports from police described Brown as aggressive, offering a slightly different story than what the new footage shows. In addition to tasing Brown, officers can be heard mocking his attempts at filing a civil suit and one officer even steps on Brown’s ankle as he’s been held. So far 10 city officials have called for an audit of all activity surrounding the incident and the individuals involved stating in a council issued letter: “It is our continued commitment that there be complete transparency around this issue along with swift and appropriate action to all those involved who violated MPD policies and procedures,”
The Bad: Judge’s Recent Recalling Doesn’t Change Abhorrent Sentences
The judge who gave Brock Turner 6 months in jail after a jury convicted him of 3 felonies following his sexual assault case in California back in 2016 will be removed from the bench. Judge Aaron Persky will be replaced immediately and is the first judge to be recalled in California since 1932. Persky’s light sentence for Turner’s crimes which could have held him in prison for up to 14 years made headlines after the victim’s statement at the sentencing hearing went viral. Identified only as Emily Doe, she told Turner: “(you’ve taken) my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence.” She also made it clear that she considered the 6 month sentence “an insult to me and all women.” Although the sentence was within the boundaries of the law, the news of the tenuous punishment sparked over 100,000 petitioners which swiftly moved California to enact a new state law requiring a minimum of 3 years in prison for sexual penetration of an unconscious victim. Although the new law is a win for victims, a campaign headed by a Stanford Law professor began to remove Persky from the bench permanently, citing his bias for the defendants in this and several other cases prior. Assistant District Attorney Cindy Henderson who has been a prosecutor since 1995 was officially elected to finish the remaining 4 years of Persky’s term.
The Good: Stock Surge Increases Wealth Of Many Chinese Employees
While some may tend to think that lawyers and PhD’s are the norm for cooperate millionaires, this week it was announced that a Chinese company with very humble begins has turned some of it’s most loyal staff members, including custodians and chefs into very wealthy partners. Sunny Optical Lenses Inc. made an unusual decision to hand out stakes of the company to early employees regardless of position. After just three decades those stakes have ballooned in value as the demand for the company’s products have surged with the popularity of smartphones and drones. Sunny’s stock value has risen 9500% over the past ten years, even surpassing Netflix’s formidable 7500% increase. “When money gathers, people will be apart; when money is scattered, people will gather,” wrote Wang Wenjian, who created the company in 1984. Wenjian is being praised as an amazing example of innovation within our new economy which relies heavily on technology’s progression. Although the company has not disclosed how many shares each employee has, owning just a 0.013% stake is enough to make you a new millionaire.
The Bad: Mental Health Institutions In Europe Fall Short Of Standards
Not only did none of the 75 institutions in Europe under review meet the standards of care set by the United Nations, the head of the World Health Organization’s mental health program called the finding “shocking”. This past week the WHO released it’s findings on patient care throughout several countries and reports suggest that not much seems to have changed by way of quality care or even empathetic interest. Some patients were found sleeping on floors or in beds with bug infestations, bathrooms and showers lacked doors and privacy, and even physical and sexual abuse was reported, one institution even forcing abortions. While these institutions are responsible for rehabilitating patients to be reintroduced to society as contributing members with housing and jobs, many facilities failed to offer job training, educational opportunities, or even simple stimulating activities; many patients were found sitting aimlessly throughout the day, most without the right to roam freely. Reports also indicate a lack of connectivity with the outside world, with restricted access to communication with anyone outside their immediate families, some failing to offer communication at all. “Residents often had literally nothing to do and were not given opportunities for learning or training in skills that might provide them with an occupation,” the report’s authors wrote. The findings have simultaneously brought shame and awareness to Europe’s consciousness, awakening responses from several top officials including former democratic health minister Norman Lamb who wrote:
“The treatment of people with mental health problems as second-class citizens is a global scandal which demands a global response.”
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