Meeting Report – “Marked for Life: One Man’s Fight for Justice from the Inside” – April 19

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johnkarls
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Meeting Report – “Marked for Life: One Man’s Fight for Justice from the Inside” – April 19

Post by johnkarls »

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Usually no meeting report is prepared unless we are bombarded by inquiries about what happened.

[Indeed, our most-recent meeting reports had been for (1) our Feb 2020 meeting on “Hunger in America,” (2) our Jan 2021 meeting on “Civilization: The West and the Rest” which, inter alia, touched on the 2020 election, and (3) our June 2021 meeting on “Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion & the Future of Policing,” – implying that meeting reports are less frequent than 10%.]

HOWEVER, a tidal-wave of inquiries has poured in about our April 19 meeting.

Accordingly, following past practice Yours Truly has prepared the following report from his notes.

And each participant of the April 19 meeting is invited to post any additions/corrections s/he deems appropriate.


********************
Meeting Attendance & Qualifications To Approve a Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign


By way of background, Section 1 of www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org contains details of our 50 E-mail campaigns over our 17.5 years of existence to the nation’s (and, occasionally, the world’s) decision makers – MANY OF WHICH HAVE BEEN SURPRISINGLY EFFECTIVE.

A plethora of additional background information about each campaign is available by scrolling down past the first 8 sections of www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org which are numbered, following which is a cluster of unnumbered sections relating to each meeting in reverse chronological order.

Our standards for approving an E-mail Campaign –

(1) In attendance at least 6 of our now-223 members (all of whom have received notice in our weekly e-mails); and

(2) No more than one dissent.

For our 4/19/2023 meeting, 10 members read the focus book and registered to participate – 3 based in Utah and 7 participating from elsewhere around the country via Zoom.

Also participating in the meeting from Nashville TN were Sandra Wright Laribo (sister of our focus-book author) and her husband, Kenard Laribo.


********************
Proposed Action – Providing Criminal Penalties for a Willful Violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Requirement to Provide Criminal Defendants With All Exculpatory Evidence


The Suggested Discussion Outline (available at viewtopic.php?f=736&t=2324&sid=537543f7 ... d0a64ca836) was posted on our website 4/13/2023 and featured in the weekly e-mail to our 223 members which was sent pre-dawn on 4/15/2023. Sec. C of the Outline could not have been clearer –

“Please see Q&A-20 thru Q&A-26 of the First Short Quiz.

“In other words, providing criminal penalties for a willful failure to provide defendants with exculpatory evidence as required by the U.S. Supreme Court in Brady vs. Maryland (373 U.S. 83 (1963)).

“[NB: In the case of Isaac Wright Jr., the criminal behavior of the prosecutor and judge would have been exculpatory evidence whose disclosure to Mr. Wright was required by Brady vs. Maryland.]

“Technical mechanism --

“(1) Amendment of the Federal ‘Hate Crimes’ Law (Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) to include violations of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brady vs. Maryland disclosure requirement.

“(2) Criminal penalty -- IAW with the ‘eye for an eye’ principle, the same as the criminal penalty to which the defendant was exposed by the violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brady vs. Maryland disclosure requirement.

“Form of our petition --

“Letters to the U.S. President and to the Chair and ranking minority member of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.”

----------End of Sec. C Explanation----------


In addition, our pre-dawn 4/15/2023 weekly e-mail to our 223 members requested recipients to read the 4/13/2023 exchange of e-mails with “Solutions” which was posted on our website at viewtopic.php?f=736&t=2325&sid=537543f7 ... d0a64ca836.

In response to Solution’s request for additional context for the Discussion Outline’s Sec. C proposed action, the first of three comments said –

“The U.S. Supreme Court is famous for its decisions vacating criminal convictions for a failure to provide exculpatory evidence, a failure to advise the defendant of the right to counsel, etc., etc.

“But vacating criminal convictions is all the U.S. Supreme Court is able to do.

“It cannot legislate criminal penalties for miscreants who willfully refuse to follow Supreme Court requirements.

“So we are faced with a classic 'Catch 22'!!!

“Miscreants can misbehave with impunity!!!

“And can ‘stone wall’ defendants!!!

“But if each miscreant is exposed to criminal penalties for a willful refusal to follow Supreme Court requirements, s/he is forced to ‘think twice’ about whether anyone else might ‘blow the whistle’ to avoid becoming an ‘accessory after the fact’!!!”

----------End of First E-mail Exchange Comment----------


In addition, Sec. C of the Suggested Discussion Outline, quoted above, had begun with “Please see Q&A-20 thru Q&A-26 of the First Short Quiz” which is available at viewtopic.php?f=734&t=2316&sid=537543f7 ... d0a64ca836. Q&A-20 thru Q&A-26 had said –

Question 20

BTW, did our 3/16/2016 meeting 7 years ago cover many of the same issues as “Marked for Life” when our focus book was “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by NYU Law Professor Bryan Stevenson who is/was the founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization with, currently, a staff of 77 providing, inter alia, legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners denied fair and just treatment in the legal system?

Answer 20

Yes.

Question 21

Did our 3/16/2016 “Suggested Discussion Outline” website section contain not only a Suggested Discussion Outline with 852 views to date, but also a “Murder By Gun vs. Murder By Judicial System = A Difference?” posting with 2,288 views to date?

Answer 21

Yes – please see viewforum.php?f=436&sid=a8aa8ad8f9cfb76 ... 20cbec6686.

Question 22

Did our 3/16/2016 meeting consider launching one of our “Six Degrees of Separation” E-mail Campaigns to put “Murder by Judicial System” on a par with “Murder by Gun”?

Answer 22

Yes.

Question 23

Did that proposal fail to meet our standards (no more than one dissent with a minimum meeting quorum of 6) because two attorneys participating in the meeting thought that if the prosecutors or other miscreants lost their jobs, that would comprise sufficient punishment?

Answer 23

Yes.

Question 24

In the light of Isaac Wright Jr’s case, should we re-visit this proposal?

Answer 24

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

BTW, among the 613 Judaic Laws in the Torah (i.e., Genesis-Exodus-Leviticus-Numbers-Deuteronomy) are “thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Exodus 21:23-25.

NB: that although the foregoing is the basis for Sharia Law in Muslim countries and for English Common Law (which is what was dispensed in English Ecclesiastical Courts – the only courts in England until Henry VIII took the English church out from under The Vatican in 1534 AD), Christ did say in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-44, King James Version) --

[38] Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
[39] But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
[40] And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
[41] And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
[42] Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
[43] Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
[44] But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

But is this (“turning the other cheek” and “going the extra mile”) practical at the societal level of criminal law, vs. the personal level of morality???

If not, shouldn’t something be done about corrupt prosecutors and corrupt judges other than a mere “wrist slap”???

In this regard, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Brady vs. Maryland (373 U.S. 83 (1963)) that the prosecution must turn over to the defense all evidence that might exonerate the defendant. HOWEVER –

(1) The U.S. Supreme Court did not provide a criminal penalty for corrupt prosecutors who fail to do so, such as “an eye for an eye”; AND

(2) The U.S. Supreme Court did not provide a criminal penalty for CORRUPT JUDGES who are ACCESSORIES BEFORE/AFTER THE FACT by enabling such corrupt prosecutors WHICH (BEING AN ACCESSORY) ALSO MAKES THE JUDGE GUILTY OF FAILING TO PROVIDE EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE!!!

Question 25

BTW, isn’t it appropriate that Isaac’s lawless prosecutor committed suicide as a result of his misdeeds?

Answer 25

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

BTW, Roman Catholicism holds that suicide is a mortal sin (please see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 2280 - 2283 on p. 550) – even though, prior to 313 AD when Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity, the overwhelming majority of Christians upon their group being discovered, would commit mass suicide rather than lose their nerve upon being “fed to the lions” for the amusement of the public – indeed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 2473 on p. 593, proclaims that those early Christians (among others without specifically mentioning the early Christians) were NOT “martyrs” –

“He [the martyr] endures death through an act of fortitude. ‘Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God’”!!!

Question 26

Though hasn’t the Judge, Michael Imbriani, who concealed the prosecutor’s secret deals with illegal sentencing schemes, been insufficiently punished by simply being removed from the bench (since he was incarcerated on unrelated theft charges)?

Answer 26

What do you think??? Let’s discuss!!!

----------End of Q&A-20 thru Q&A-26 of The First Short Quiz----------


Q&A-20 said our 3/16/2016 meeting 7 years ago covered many of the same issues as “Marked for Life” when our focus book was “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by NYU Law Professor Bryan Stevenson who is/was the founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization with, currently, a staff of 77 providing, inter alia, legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners denied fair and just treatment in the legal system.

And Q&A-21 said our 3/16/2016 “Suggested Discussion Outline” website section contained not only a Suggested Discussion Outline with 852 views as of 3/26/2023, but also a “Murder By Gun vs. Murder By Judicial System = A Difference?” posting with 2,288 views as of 3/26/2023.

The latter was a de facto “meeting report” for 3/16/2016 meeting. It said (please see cross-link above) –


******************Beginning of De Facto 3/16/2016 Meeting Report******************

Most of us learn as a child to sleep on any important decision.

And I have slept on this for two nights.

Because it involves criticizing two of our long-time regulars for, effectively, being racists.

Though I am sure they would refuse to recognize their racism.

**********
Background

Our focus book (Just Mercy: A Story Of Justice And Redemption) describes how its author (Bryan Stevenson) and his organization have fought racially-based miscarriages of justice in America’s judicial system.

It was proposed by one of our long-time regulars, retired law school professor Thomas Chancellor.

One of the categories of justice miscarriage described in Just Mercy and stressed by Thomas was the willful withholding of evidence that would prove the innocence of the accused.

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court held in Brady vs. Maryland (373 U.S. 83 (1963)) that the Constitution requires prosecutors to disclose materially-exculpatory evidence to the defense.

Whether the withholding is inadvertent or purposeful, the so-called “Brady Rule” requires the conviction to be reversed. [Whether the materially-exculpatory evidence is conclusive of innocence will determine whether the government attempts to re-try the defendant.]

**********
The 2015 Record Number Of Conviction Reversals

A University of Michigan Law School Professor, Samuel R. Gross, edits The National Registry of Exonerations which reports that 2015 set another record for the number of innocent people who were determined to have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes, 40% of them being murder convictions.

Although all 100% of these wrongful convictions were probably not the result of the wrongful withholding of exculpatory evidence, Just Mercy indicates that a sizable proportion (if not the majority) are so caused.

And U/Mich Law Prof. Gross’ study, indicating Brooklyn and Houston lead the list for number of innocent people discovered in 2015 to have been wrongfully convicted, implies there was a strong whiff of impropriety employed by the prosecutors in those jurisdictions.

**********
Murder 101

Listening to Thomas Chancellor’s impassioned presentation, Yours Truly couldn’t help but realize from the mere possibility of a conviction being reversed in cases where prosecutorial misconduct can be uncovered, the real problem is that misbehaving prosecutors are not put at personal risk for their intentional misconduct.

Any first-year law student will immediately recognize that it makes no difference what is used to intentionally kill someone wrongfully.

It makes no difference whether you use a gun or a knife.

And it should make no difference whether you are a prosecutor and you use the justice system to wrongfully kill someone by intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence.

After all, you could reasonably foresee that your Unconstitutional Behavior would result in the execution of your victim.

And your motive for UNCONSTITUTIONALLY using the Justice System by suppressing evidence to kill people (for example, demonstrating a high conviction rate so you can be elected to higher office) should be no more meritorious than a young child in one of our inner-city ghettos, 75% of whom live in single-adult households headed by druggies so that the children are forced to steal just in order to eat, who panics while stealing food to survive, resulting in someone’s death.

**********
Sovereign Immunity

Listening to Thomas Chancellor’s impassioned presentation, Yours Truly immediately recognized that when prosecutors willfully suppress exculpatory evidence, they know they can do so with personal impunity because of Sovereign Immunity.

Sovereign Immunity is a quaint historical relic of Western Civilization that holds that “The King Can Do No Wrong” (usually expressed in Latin as “rex non potest peccare”) which probably derives from the quaint historical belief in Divine Right -- that a King is God’s representative on earth.

Even where Kings have been replaced by democratic governments, the quaint notion persists that the government cannot be sued unless it consents to being sued.

Sovereign immunity is not only possessed by the U.S. Government, but the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that each of the Sovereign States comprising the United States has Sovereign Immunity including immunity from being sued in federal courts without the consent of the particular state.

However, it should be noted that a Sovereign can consent to being sued.

For example, the Federal Tort Claims Act permits citizens to sue the U.S. Government in certain circumstances, such as being injured by an E.P.A. employee who, in the course of her/his responsibilities, hits someone while driving negligently.

And the U.S. Government permits itself to be sued for some non-tortious behavior, such as for breach of contract if it fails to pay a supplier.

**********
The Still-Born Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign

Immediately realizing all of the foregoing, Yours Truly proposed that we consider a new Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign for both the federal and state governments to remove the sovereign-immunity shield from criminal prosecution for prosecutors who intentionally violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Brady Rule.”

After all, any first-year law student knows that absent Sovereign Immunity, a prosecutor who knowingly makes allegations while suppressing evidence that those allegations are false -- is guilty of criminal defamation.

And if those false allegations result in imprisonment, any first-year law student knows that absent Sovereign Immunity, the prosecutor is guilty of wrongful imprisonment.

And if those false allegations result in execution, any first-year law student knows that absent Sovereign Immunity, the prosecutor is guilty of murder. Because it really doesn’t matter whether the perpetrator uses a gun, a knife or a judicial system to do the killing.

**********
The Reason For The Opposition By Our Two Long-Time Regulars

We have always prided ourselves for approving only Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaigns for which there is unanimous agreement or, at most, one dissent.

We had 10 RSVP’s for our meeting (8 immediately and 2 subsequently).

They included 5 attorneys.

And I am embarrassed to admit that the two long-time regulars who opposed the Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaigns were attorneys. Though I will not embarrass them further for what I view as their racism by identifying them further.

We never got as far in our discussion as considering such matters as to whom the campaign would be addressed, whether there should be a higher standard of proof than the normal criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” etc., etc.

Their unalterable position from which they would not budge one iota no matter how the rest of us probed, was that prosecutors who intentionally defame and kill using the judicial system in violation of the U.S. Constitution according to the Supreme Court’s “Brady Rule” are subject to disbarment!!!

And their punishment for “murder by judicial system” should be limited to disbarment!!!

They were unable to explain why “murder by gun” or “murder by knife” can be prosecuted criminally, while “murder by judicial system” should not be prosecuted criminally!!!

Accordingly, I am forced to conclude that the reason for their position is racial.

Please “say it ain’t so”!!!

[So that I am not accused of a gender-insensitive remark aimed at females who don’t know (or care) much about sports, please permit me to explain that “say it ain’t so” is often associated with “Shoeless Joe Jackson” who played for the 1919 Chicago White Sox and was banned by Baseball Commissioner Judge Landis for participating in throwing the 1919 World Series.]

********************End of De Facto 3/16/2016 Meeting Report********************


********************
OUR 4/19/2023 REJECTION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION

As explained above, our standards are at least 6 participants after notice in our weekly e-mails to our 223 members with no more than 1 dissent.

And 10 of our members read the book and registered to participate in our meeting.

Among the 10 were 3 attorneys.

One of the 3 attorneys took the same view as the 2 dissenting attorneys at our 3/26/2016 meeting – that “prosecutors who intentionally defame and kill using the judicial system in violation of the U.S. Constitution according to the Supreme Court’s ‘Brady Rule’ are subject to disbarment” which should be the limit of their punishment.

Such a potential but uncertain “wrist slap” BTW makes highly unlikely that a prosecutor who defies the U.S. Supreme Court would be found out!!!

The dissenting attorney was joined by 2 non-attorney dissenters who stated that they had not been persuaded by all of the foregoing material which they had had 5 days to study and, if they had wanted, by further research.

Since our standards permit no more than 1 dissent, Yours Truly is confined to the solace of being able to say at The Pearly Gates with St. Paul (2nd Timothy 4:7): “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”


Respectfully submitted,

John Karls


PS - As mentioned at the outset of these notes, every participant of our April 19 meeting is invited to post any additions/corrections s/he deems appropriate.

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