April 28, 2012

Occupy the Jury Box

Taking a look at the concept of Jury Nullification to combat the prison plantation. We set up a Facebook page called Occupy the Jury Box to push this concept to the broader Occupy movement.

April 27, 2012

Political Prisoner Radio - Free Russell Maroon Shoats

Sis. Theresa Shoatz is a long-time prison activist, organizer, and daughter of Russell "Maroon" Shoatz, a dedicated community activist, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member of the Black Panther Party, soldier in the Black Liberation Army, and US-held prisoner of war. Now 68 years of age, "Maroon" has been held at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Greene in southwestern Pennsylvania for nearly 40 years, 30 of those in solitary confinement. During this time he has earned a reputation amongst prison staff and prisoners as a leader because of his consistent support for human rights inside and outside the walls. Prison officials claim that Shoats is a security threat due to past escapes and attempts, though new evidence has surfaced that his continued solitary confinement is based on secret and fraudulent evidence of a non-existent plan to takeover a prison in the 1980s. Prison officials also identified Maroon's political associations as a basis for continuing to torture him via solitary confinement. He has been unable to hold his children or grandchildren or interact with others in a humane setting during this time, despite not having violated prison rules in two decades. He has suffered severe psychological anguish and his physical health has been worsened by the stress of prolonged isolation.

 Supporters of Russell Maroon Shoatz have launched a campaign to have him released from the torturous solitary confinement that he has been held in for more than twenty years. A letter-writing and petition campaign has been launched and supported by the nation's leading human rights legal organizations, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild, along with the Human Rights Coalition, a prison abolitionist organization co-founded by Maroon.

An evening of music, spoken word and discussion on Maroon’s life is eagerly anticipated for May 5th, 2012, 6-8pm, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 521 W 126th Street, New York, NY 10027. This event is FREE and open to the public!! Please visit the website for more information: http://russellmaroonshoats.wordpress.com/

April 26, 2012

President Obama's Marijuana Hypocrisy

We welcome James Mooney of LEAP and the Oklevueha Native American Church back to the program. Tonight we discussed some of the recent heat the Obama Administration has been getting over Drug Policy in general and Marijuana policy in particular. James is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition which is a non-profit advocacy group made up of former members of Law Enforcement who speak out against continuing the failed policy of Drug Prohibition.

 The Oklevueha Native American Church which James helps leads is the only US Government recognized church allowed to use herb which includes marijuana. To find out more about reasons to join them click here for information on their AP card.

April 25, 2012

NJ Weedman case to highlight conflicting New Jersey state laws

Ed Forchion aka NJ Weedman will face marijuana possession charges on May 1, 2012 inside a New Jersey courtroom. While he is the named defendant in the case, it is the NJ Weedman’s plan to put New Jersey on trial or more specifically its state drug laws. Through a little known legal process called Jury Nullification, Forchion hopes to convince jurors that they have the legal right to find any defendant innocent of laws that they believe are wrong and harmful to citizens. He gave an example about people who were facing charges for refusing to turn in runaway enslaved Africans in accordance with The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Some jurors refused to convict people indicted under the law for aiding enslaved Africans. Forchion also recently completed a road trip across America from his residence in California. He was visiting family in New Jersey where he has lived and run for numerous political offices while engaging in marijuana legalization efforts, that during a “traffic stop” he described as racial profiling, he was found in possession of about 1lb of marijuana that he uses to treat health ailments. Forchion is recognized in the state of California as a medical marijuana patient. Ironically, New Jersey approved medicinal marijuana legislation, which is now state law around the time of Forchion’s arrest.

Examining Kwame Toure's criticism of Montgomery Bus Boycott, Sanford Police

Breaking news to report in an Marisa Alexander case update. I have been watching "The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975" and decided to post a video excerpt of comments from Kwame Toure aka Stokely Carmichael about the Montgomery Bus Boycotts. This provoked some interesting comments on Youtube that made me think the issue deserves further scrutiny. The Sanford City Commission voted today to not accept the resignation of Police Chief Bill Lee despite his role in allowing George Zimmerman to walk after he shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. He also participated in smearing Martin among other things. President Obama has been on blast recently by Jill Stein who is seeking the Green Party nomination as well as a former Democratic operative over the drug war which he continues to prosecute from the Federal level even though he said he would not when campaigning in 2007. He was also taken to task by Latin American leaders over the failed Drug War.