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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review of Justice Department on Civil Rights

Justice Department Focuses On Civil Rights
NPR by Carrie Johnson - February 6, 2011

The Obama Justice Department wants to make protecting civil rights one of its legacies. So several U.S. attorneys across the country have started special units to devote more attention to building those cases. For the announcement of one such effort, Justice Department leaders traveled to Pittsburgh late last year. At the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, named after the prominent black playwright, civil rights division chief Tom Perez told a crowd filled with dozens of activists for racial and gender equality that they'd soon have another place to turn with their concerns. "There are roughly a dozen U.S. attorneys offices now that have established … dedicated civil rights units and we're working to raise that number substantially because this is about sustainability," Perez said. The Obama civil rights division prosecuted 237 criminal cases over the last two years — what officials call a record. But numbers aren't the only measure that prosecutors are using for success.

'We Are Open For Business'

Steve Dettelbach, the U.S. attorney in Cleveland, is leading a special group of prosecutors around the country who want to modernize civil rights enforcement. "In the civil rights area, one of the things that you have to make sure is that the people in some of these affected communities who don't always trust law enforcement know that we are open for business," Dettelbach said in an interview. U.S. attorneys are telling people about a law signed by President Obama in 2009 that expands the definition of hate crimes. The law now covers assaults motivated by a victim's gender or sexual orientation. The U.S. attorneys aren't getting any extra money because of the tight federal budget, so they are balancing civil rights as a priority with other demands. One of the busiest areas over the last two years is Arizona. There, U.S. attorney Dennis Burke sued a school system and is seeking documents from a controversial sheriff accused of discriminating against Latinos. Burke is paying a lot of attention to making sure that police follow the law. "We are training federal, state and local law enforcement and talking to them about federal civil rights, their responsibilities, what they can and should be doing, and ensuring that when they are out there they're cognizant of the rights of individuals they're interacting with, potentially arresting, potentially interviewing," Burke said. 'You Can Only Hide For So Long' Denise Coley has lived that lesson. Her son, Carlton Benton, died in the Lucas County, Ohio, jail six years ago after a sergeant beat him and left him in a cell. At first, officers said Benton, 25, died from natural causes. His mother never believed that. She says she's grateful to the FBI and the prosecutors who moved ahead with the case. "I feel like they did a wonderful job as far as presenting my case, my son's case," Coley said. "I knew that the truth would come out eventually. Because, like I said, you can only hide for so long." Last month, a judge sentenced one of the sheriff's officers to three years in prison for violating Benton's civil rights and writing false reports to cover up the beating.

Does Justice Practice What It Preaches? But some groups, particularly activists for the Muslim-American community, doubt that the Justice Department is always practicing what it preaches. One group called Muslim Advocates sued the FBI and the attorney general over surveillance practices that investigators use in places like churches and mosques. Muslim Advocates worries that the surveillance is itself a civil rights problem. And that it's leaving the wrong impression about Islam. Nura Maznavi, a lawyer with the group, describes the concern this way: "When you have that blanket of suspicion that's cast over an entire community, it essentially fosters this sort of paranoia and fear against the Muslim community." The Justice Department says those FBI surveillance practices don't discriminate against Muslims. Civil rights prosecutors at the department, meanwhile, have opened several investigations of violence against mosques and Muslims. Attorney General Eric Holder wanted to clear the air, so he went to speak to the Muslim Advocates group late last year. People who attended said he got a polite, if not warm, reception.


Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...

Lippman, Martin Named In Department Of Justice Complaint

Judges are obligated to uphold the laws, but instead some of them break the law, and then use their positions of authority to insulate each other against any accountability. This is the sad state of affairs in the courts of New York State, and what is at the heart of a Complaint filed with the Department of Justice - Civil Rights Criminal Division on Wednesday, April 4th 2012.

Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals was named along with Justice Latia W. Martin (Bronx Supreme Court) and (White Plains attorney) Janette A. Baxter in a Complaint to the Department of Justice alleging violations of 18 U.S.C. § 242, Deprivation of Rights Under Color Of Law, and 18 U.S.C. § 241, Conspiracy Against Rights.

The Complaint is the result of events that occurred during and the preliminary hearings in a matrimonial action in 2006-2007 alleging that Martin and attorney Janette Baxter used their positions as officers of the court to force Michael A. Hense, a resident of Westchester New York, to relinquish his ownership of his real property located at 94 Waterbury Parkway, Cortlandt Manor through a process of coercion, extortion and abuse of process.

Lippman is named as condoning these actions, after the fact, in an attempt to shield the state actors from any legal consequences arising from their actions.

“What can only be viewed as inexplicable is his reasoning dismissing an appeal alleging deprivation of property under color of law as posing ‘no substantial constitutional question‘. Given Lippman’s position and experience with the law, his summary dismissal of an appeal that so clearly involves an alleged constitutional civil rights violation can only serve to raise an appearance of impropriety to even the most objective observer.“-Michael Hense.

The law is the law. New York courts have consistently held that “It is well settled that before some alteration in the marital relationship, courts lack the authority, absent the consent of the parties, to direct the sale of the marital residence owned by the parties as tenants by the entirety” (Adamo v. Adamo18 A.D.3d 407; 794 N.Y.S.2d 413, Kahn v Kahn, 43 N.Y.2d 203, 371 N.E.2d 809, 401 N.Y.S.2d 47; Harrington v McManus, 303 A.D.2d 368, 755 N.Y.S.2d 661; Kayden v Kayden, 234 A.D.2d 345, 650 N.Y.S.2d 790).

Section 1983 of the U.S. Code imposes liability without defense on state and local officials who, acting under color of law in their individual capacity, deprive plaintiffs of rights created by the Constitution and federal law. Section 6 of the New York State Constitution reiterates that part of the 14th Amendment to The U.S. Constitution where it states “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law”.

New York’s Real property laws also reinforce the rights of ownership of real property as tenants by the entireties.

“It seems as if the parties named in the complaint think that somehow the laws don’t apply to them; that somehow they are above the law and can violate it with impunity; that they can manipulate the legal process to fit their own personal agendas. Our President said at a White House ceremony in 2009, that ‘Transparency and Rule of Law will be the touchstone of this administration‘. Here is an opportunity for the administration to come through on its promise. “ -Michael A. Hense


For additional information contact

Michael A. Hense
1150 Commonwealth Avenue Apt.407
Bronx, New York 10472

Anonymous said...

I was sent to prison so the police here would'nt have to look inexperienced and let out one shot his partner. case # 07-059 & #07-095. I have faulsified documents and the truth. can someone help me get my life back? My life has been ruined and the cops here have been getting away with it way to long. when citizens dont trust the law enforcment it can become much much more. please help. Thanks L. M.