Thoughts about a genius and his addiction-
I have always believed the mark of a great artist is the ability to make the observer uncomfortable. Hoffman’s performance in Boogie Nights was a perfect example, brilliant in its conveyance of the character. I was truly saddened upon the news that his addiction to heroin took his life. No one will know why he went back, only he knew. It is one of the strange ways of this life, to ease the chaos, to hide, to succumb to weakness in the face of the truth? No one knows, but what a loss.
Chicago Detective charged in fatal off-duty shooting
By Stacy St. Clair and Jeremy Gorner
Tribune reporters 9:31 a.m. CST, November 25, 2013
Detective Dante Servin, 40, becomes only the second officer since 1997 to be charged in connection with a shooting. He was also charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct, and is expected in bond court later today.
Servin, who joined the department in 1994, has cooperated with investigators and met with prosecutors at his home in January to walk them through his version of events, his criminal defense attorney Thomas Brandstrader said.
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BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN AND STEFANO ESPOSITO
Carl Chatman walked out of the Dixon Correction Center Tuesday afternoon and into the arms of his tearful sisters and brother. His sister Dretha Miller threw her arms around his neck and cried, saying, “It’s over.”
Chatman’s siblings — Miller and Theresa and Willie Chatman — drove to Dixon to meet their brother after the Cook County state’s attorney’s office officially set aside his conviction for a 2002 rape at the Daley Center. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez — citing “failures of the past” — also set aside the conviction of Lathierial Boyd, sentenced to 82 years in prison for fatally shooting one man and paralyzing another man outside Wrigley Field in 1990.
“Our work as prosecutors is about seeking justice, even if that measure of justice means that we must acknowledge failures of the past,” State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters at the criminal courthouse at 26th and California.
“Justice was certainly delayed for Mr. Boyd and for Mr. Chatman, but we are hopeful that with today’s actions, it will not be denied,” Alvarez said.
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Contributing: Mary Mitchell
Copyright © 2013 — Sun-Times Media, LLC
The Untouchables: America’s Misbehaving Prosecutors, And
The System That Protects Them
Posted: 08/01/2013 2:18 pm EDT | Updated: 08/05/2013 11:25 am ED
NEW ORLEANS — Some questions seem particularly prone to set John Thompson off. Here’s one he gets a lot: Have the prosecutors who sent him to death row ever apologized?
“Sorry? For what?” says Thompson. The 49-year-old is lean, almost skinny. He wears jeans, a T-shirt and running shoes and sports a thin mustache and soul patch, both stippled with gray. “You tell me that. Tell me what the hell would they be sorry for. They tried to kill me. To apologize would mean they’re admitting the system is broken.” His voice has been gradually increasing in volume. He’s nearly yelling now. “That everyone around them is broken. It’s the same motherfucking system that’s protecting them.”
He paces as he talks. His voice soars and breaks. At times, he gets within a few inches of me, jabbing his finger in my direction for emphasis. Thompson pauses as he takes a phone call from his wife. His tone changes for the duration of the conversation. Then he hangs up and resumes with the indignation. “What would I do with their apology anyway? Sorry. Huh. Sorry you tried to kill me? Sorry you tried to commit premeditated murder? No. No thank you. I don’t need your apology.”
The wrongly convicted often show remarkable grace and humility. It’s inspiring to see, if a little difficult to understand; even after years or decades in prison, exonerees are typically marked by an absence of bitterness.
Not Thompson, but you can hardly blame him. Even among outrageous false conviction stories, his tale is particularly brutal. He was wrongly convicted not once, but twice — separately — for a carjacking and a murder. He spent 18 years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, 14 of them on death row. His death warrant was signed eight times. When his attorneys finally found the evidence that cleared him — evidence his prosecutors had known about for years — he was weeks away from execution.
A Conservative Case for Prison Reform
- By Richard A. Viguerie | 6/10/13
Conservatives should recognize that the entire criminal justice system is another government spending program fraught with the issues that plague all government programs. Criminal justice should be subject to the same level of skepticism and scrutiny that we apply to any other government program.
But it’s not just the excessive and unwise spending that offends conservative values. Prisons, for example, are harmful to prisoners and their families. Reform is therefore also an issue of compassion. The current system often turns out prisoners who are more harmful to society than when they went in, so prison and re-entry reform are issues of public safety as well.
These three principles — public safety, compassion and controlled government spending — lie at the core of conservative philosophy. Politically speaking, conservatives will have more credibility than liberals in addressing prison reform.
The United States now has 5 percent of the world’s population, yet 25 percent of its prisoners. Nearly one in every 33 American adults is in some form of correctional control. When Ronald Reagan was president, the total correctional control rate — everyone in prison or jail or on probation or parole — was less than half that: 1 in every 77 adults.
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When we compromise with democracy in order to achieve some other purpose, even when the purpose is to defend democracy, then we are in danger of losing it. The purpose of democracy is to enable people to live democratically. There is not greater or higher good….