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21 July 2010


Report: Two-thirds of Michigan's industrial jobs in the advanced manufacturi...

A new report says two-thirds of Michigan's industrial jobs are in the better-paying and more secure advanced manufacturing sector.

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

Subtle Messages of the Courthouse

via Simple Justice by SHG on 7/21/10

A few days ago, the notion was raised that courthouses, the place where citizen jurors come to decide the fates citizen defendants, create an atmosphere that places officers in charge and on a pedestal.  We pass through magnetometers operated by marshals or court officers.  We watch as police officers roam freely, shown deference by everyone in the house because they are, after all, the embodiment of the government. 

Eric Johnson at PrawfsBlawg takes it further.

In many places around the country, the United States Attorney's office is in the same building as the federal courts. I've never liked this arrangement. Sure, it's convenient. And it probably saves the taxpayers money in many cases. But in a field where much is said about "avoiding even the appearance of impropriety," it is unseemly, I think, to have the government's advocates down the hall from the judges.
That we don't give this much, if any, thought demonstrates how ingrained our acceptance of the status quo, that they are the government and we are not, is.  We talk about the courthouse as a palace of justice.  The judges are the Kings, and the others are courtesans.  The defense is the perpetual outsider, seeking the largesse of the noblesse.

Why aren't courthouses built with some available office space for criminal defense lawyers?  How do we expect jurors to be herded through the doors and around the courthouses by court officers, who appear (if not in fact are) the first cousins of the police officers we tell them are liars? 

And as the lawyers who are in the employ of the government get to assume the name of The People, a group that includes The Jurors, does the fact that they share an elevator with the judge have any impact on their credibility and purpose?

Upon reflection the entirety of the construct suggests that to people that there is an inside and an outside within the judicial system, and we, the defense, are clearly on the outside.  Notably, we are the only group not in the direct employ of the government, though we are increasingly in its indirect employ, yet still don't get the benefit of an inside office.

A few years back, a decision was made that New York City criminal defense lawyers, who were as unworthy of trust as their clients, would be required to pass through the magnetometers like everyone else.  Everyone except cops, prosecutors and judges, that is.  It was for safety reasons.  They could be trusted.  We could not.

The president of the NYSACDL at the time, Dick Barbuto, was furious that we would be overtly signaled out as the only regular participants in the legal system who would be treated in this manner, and shot off a letter demanding the criminal defense lawyers be treated no differently than prosecutors.  The letter was not only brilliant in its incisive analysis of the situation, but incredibly forceful in its demand of the court administration that criminal defense lawyers not be treated like second (or third) class citizens.  within a few days, the administration relented, the policy ended and criminal defense lawyers were allowed to enter with their secure pass, as before.

While I've long used the word "prosecution" to refer to my adversary, rather than "People" or "Government", to avoid the taint that comes from the inherent sense that they represent the good while I represent the person accused of doing terrible harm, there are so many aspects of the courthouse construct that serve to reinforce the message that they are the trusted insiders and we, well, are not.

While there are, as Eric Johnson suggests, some sound economic and safety reasons for the status quo, there are also some subtle, and not so subtle, messages that are sent along with it.  These might be considered unintended consequences of the natural development of the criminal justice system, but it's not entirely clear that they are unintended.  It's also not quite clear that once recognized and challenged, anyone in power will lose any sleep over it.

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Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog


via by invisiblepeople on 7/21/10

Barry has lived in a tunnel underneath Las Vegas for two months. The tunnels are massive storm drains running under the city. luckily, Barry has yet to experience a rainfall, but his bed and everything else are propped up several feet off the ground just in case.

It’s hard to say how many people live in the storm tunnels beneath the neon. In a way it’s safer than living out in the extreme heat, yet in another it’s like living in a weird science fiction movie. Dark, dirty and completely different than the ‘normal’ world. I’ve been to lots of places where homeless people live, and going into the tunnels was a very surreal experience.

Like many homeless people, Barry is caught in the madness of bureaucracy. Because he has been to prison many Nevada social services wont help. And because he has only lived homeless for two months he is disqualified from others. Of course, finding work is near impossible.

That does not stop him from having dreams. He wants to go to culinary arts school. He wants to better his life. He wants to get out of the dark tunnels.

Special thanks to Matthew O’Brien

Posted via email from jimuleda's posterous

Bakery Square update: summer brings retailers, hotel, Google, and fitness to...

19 July 2010

I got a job and a plan!


via Prison Talk by BBKT on 7/19/10

It's not much of a job, but I'm glad for it!!! :D

I got hired on at a Subway franchise two weeks ago. They didn't ask on the app about felonies, but they asked later and I told them about it even knowing they wouldn't do a background check. I think what helped me is that my felony is not work-related, not violent, not drug/alcohol involved, and not against a person. So when I explained it, they said it wouldn't be a problem. Yay!

The owner of the franchise owns four stores in the area, so I'll be floating between the stores and better my chances of getting full time hours. I'm almost done with house arrest (2 more weeks) so after that, my time constraints will be lifted and I can work over the set 40 hours a week. I plan on getting hired at another Subway close to our house. I will then work my butt off for the next year to get our credit card paid off (lawyer fees) and my husband's car, and then start building our savings.

Has anyone tried work-at-home call center jobs through Rat Race Rebellion? I've heard good things about Alpine Access, but I think they run a background check. Can anyone give me some tips to getting in to this field? I want to do something while I'm sitting at home between my Subway shifts. I'm determined to milk my time for all it's worth! I know that CNAs here can get jobs fairly easily even if you have felonies. I know several people who have been hired on in nursing homes and convolescent facilities after they have put a few years between them and their convictions. Through my husband's work, I can get up to $6,000 toward tuition in this type of field. I want to do it, but I want the credit card paid off first.

Our ultimate goal is to get financially stable, wipe out our credit card debt and save enough money to start a family. I'm turning 27 tomorrow and we don't want this fenoly to govern the rest of our lives. We're ready to put it behind us and move on with our lives. :D

Posted via email from the Un-Official Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition Blog

the line

Crafted Systems: Modern Object, Collective Form Store Profile

via Apartment Therapy Main by Molly Anderson on 7/19/10

cslogo.gifPortland-based designer Aurelie Tu has teamed up with the YWCA women's shelter to create Crafted Systems, beautiful hand-interlocked felt objects. This project is helping women in transition develop skills and become economically empowered. Using a base of 7 interlocking shapes, all of the objects are crafted with 100% natural wool felt. Pure materials and a simple, honest concept.

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