ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

June 22, 2000

2000.06.22: Urgent Request for Legal Observers

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 4:17 pm
Tags:

From: MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST [mailto:MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2000 1:42 PM
To: Everyone At The Legal Aid Society@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: Urgent Request for Legal Observers
Importance: High

ALAA has received two urgent requests to provide legal observers and other participants for two events today:

1.  12 Noon-?  Rally for stay of Gary Graham/Shaka Sankofa’s scheduled 6 p.m.  execution.  12 Noon-?  Bush campaign headquarters, 45 St./Madison Ave. (4/5/6/7/S to 42 St.-Grand Central).  Information:  IAC, 212.633.6646.

2.  5-9 p.m.  Protest at Rent Control Board vote on rent control increases.  Great Hall, Cooper Union, 7 E. 7 St. (Lafayette/Bowery)(6 to Astor Pl., N/R to 8 St.).  If you can serve as an observer, please call David Powell, 212.693.0553, x6.

Please also RSVP re the above by return e-mail.

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2000.06.22: Rallies for Shaka Sanfoka Today!

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 12:11 pm
Tags:

From: LHerschel@HQEAST.HQ [mailto:LHerschel@HQEAST.HQ]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2000 10:13 AM
To: Everyone At The Legal Aid Society@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: Rallies for Shaka Sanfoka Today!

Don’t Let Bush Kill an Another Innocent Man!

Today, at 7:00 p.m. EST, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Shaka Sankofa (formerly known as Gary Graham).  Around the country, major newspapers and magazines have highlighted the overwhelming evidence of Shaka’s innocence and many have called for a halt to the execution.

In addition to calling a faxing Bush today, everyone who can should come out to rally for Shaka  at noon and again at 5 at the Republican Offices at the Roosevelt Hotel (Madison and 45th Sts.)   We had great rallies there Monday and Wednesday.  There are demonstrations going on around the country, including an overnight vigil that happened in Houston last night.

Members of the Board of Pardons and Parole (the group that will make a recommendation to Bush about what action he should take in the case) are in the spotlight now.  We need to keep pressure on them as well, so I encourage people also to call and fax them (512) 463-1679 fax:-8120  They will be voting at noon Texas time (1 p.m. EST)

Bush knows that if he doesn’t go ahead with this execution, he’s opening the floodgates to questions about all the other people who’ve been executed and all the other people currently on death row.  Which means that anti-death penalty forces need to make sure that if he does go through with the execution, we will never let him live it down.  Stopping this execution would bring us a huge step closer to stopping executions in this country.

Hope to see you all out there this afternoon!

Below is the letter that Jesse Jackson and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty presented at the Republican HQ in Chicago on Monday:

To Governor George W. Bush and
> the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles:
>
>     This letter is to urge you to grant clemency in the case of death
> row prisoner Gary Graham (also known as Shaka Sankofa), who is
> scheduled to be executed on June 22.
>     We have grave doubts about Shaka’s convictionïand about the
> process that landed him on death row.  Shaka’s conviction for capital
> murder was based on the testimony of a single eyewitness.  Six other
> witnesses to the crime say that Shaka was not the killer.  Four people
> say that Shaka was with them at the time of the murder.  No physical
> evidence tied Shaka to the crime.  And police reports contained
> ballistics data which showed that Shaka’s gun couldn’t have been used
> to commit the killing.
>     Tragically, the jury in Shaka’s original trial heard little of
> thisïbecause Shaka’s lawyer was incompetent.  He barely prepared for
> this case of life and death, and associates say he believed his client
> was guilty.  Yet because of restrictions on death row appeals, the
> convincing evidence of Shaka’s innocence that his first jury didn’t
> hear has never been heard in court.
>     We also have grave moral concerns about this execution.  Shaka was
> 17 years old at the time he was convicted and has now spent more than
> half of his life on death row.  No advanced country in the world
> allows the execution of juvenile offenders.
>     Governor Bush and members of the pardons board, you have to act to
> stop a terrible injustice from happening.  We have come here todayïin
> the same spirit as others around the country who today gatherïto
> deliver this
> message: Don’t kill Shaka Sankofa in our name or in the name of
> justice.

2000.06.22: Shaka Sankofa

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 12:10 pm
Tags:

From: LHerschel@HQEAST.HQ [mailto:LHerschel@HQEAST.HQ]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2000 3:17 PM
To: Everyone At The Legal Aid Society@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: Shaka Sankofa

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted not to recommend any kind of relief for Texas death row inmate Shaka Sankofa.  It’s now in Bush’s hands.

Please come out after work if you can to 45th and Madison and keep calling Bush.

June 19, 2000

2000.06.19: Legal Observers Needed Tonight

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 4:17 pm
Tags:

From: MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST [mailto:MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2000 1:10 PM
To: Everyone At The Legal Aid Society@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: Legal Observers Needed Tonight
Importance: High

ALAA has been asked to provide volunteer legal observers for tonight’s rally against the scheduled execution of Gary Graham/Shaka Shakofa on Thursday in Texas.  The rally takes place 5 p.m. on, Bush Campaign HQ, 45/Madison.

Please reply by return e-mail ASAP if you can participate.

June 16, 2000

2000.06.16: Support Antonia Codling & Other Defendants

From: MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST [mailto:MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST]
Sent: Friday, June 16, 2000 4:03 PM
To: Everyone At The Legal Aid Society@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: Support Antonia Codling & Other Defendants
Importance: High

Please show your support for those–including LAS Staff Attorney Antonia Codling–who will appear this Monday, June 19, on charges in connection with arrests made during protests against the police murder of Patrick Dorismond:

Manhattan Criminal Court, 100 Centre St., Part B (4 floor), 9:30 a.m.  Antonia was arrested while serving as an ALAA legal observer at the first protest against Dorismond’s murder.

Brooklyn Criminal Court, 120 Schermerhorn St, Part AP5 (8 floor).  Vigil:  8 a.m.; court appearance:  9:30 a.m.  Defendants include Errol Maitland, WBAI radio producer beaten and arrested while reporting live on the Dorismond funeral.  Maitland was hospitalized for eleven days and is charged with disorderly conduct.  LAS attorneys represent several of those arrested.

Please RSVP your attendance by return e-mail.

2000.06.16: Equal Justice News

From: MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST [mailto:MLetwin@HQWEST.WEST]
Sent: Friday, June 16, 2000 6:28 PM
Subject: Equal Justice News
Importance: High

*Please forward this information to others*
============================================
EQUAL JUSTICE NEWS
(Direct Circulation:  5335)
A free e-bulletin published by:
ALAA:  Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325 Rm. 702A, New York, NY 10012-3225
T:  212.343.0708  Fx:  212.343.0966

============================================
LIST INFORMATION
============================================
This bulletin contains information from the 800-member Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325 (NYC) concerning:

*Criminal, civil and juvenile legal representation for poor people
*Criminal justice
*Civil and human rights
*Social and racial justice
*Police abuse
*Labor
*Related issues

Readers Outside Legal Aid (NYC):
To subscribe:  LegalAidAttorneysBulletin-subscribe@topica.com
To unsubscribe: LegalAidAttorneysBulletin-unsubscribe@topica.com

============================================
IN THIS ISSUE
============================================
(1)  EVENTS
**Sat., June 17, Noon:  Protest Sexual Assault & NYPD Inaction at Puerto Rican Day Parade **Sat., June 17, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.:  Defend Immigrant Rights **Sun., June 18, 6 p.m.:  Protest Sexual Assault & NYPD Inaction at Puerto Rican Day Parade **Mon., June 19, 9:30 a.m.-:  Support Arrestees at Dorismond Demonstrations **Mon., June 19, 5 p.m.:  Stop Bush’s Execution of Gary Graham

(2)  ALAA TESTIFIES ON NYC INDIGENT DEFENSE

(3)  STANDING ALAA ACTIVITY & PROJECTS
**Speakers Bureau.
**Opposition to Operation Condor & Police Abuse

============================================
(1)  EVENTS
============================================
**Sat., June 17, Noon:  Protest NYPD Conduct at Puerto Rican Day Parade.  Central Park South/6 Ave. )(A/B/C/D/1/9 to 59 St./Columbus Circle, B/N/R/B/Q to 57 St., 4/5/6 to 59 St.).  Sponsors:  Riot Girrrll NYC, Feminist Living Labs, Street Harassment Project, Violence Against Women Act organizers, other independent feminists.  Info:  Fran Luck  212.982.8641, 212.713.5743.

**Sat., June 17, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.:  Defend Immigrant Rights.  Rally against automatic detention and deportation of all immigrants who have ever committed a crime.  INS, 26 Federal Plaza (Worth St.)(A/C/E/1/2/3 to Chambers St., N/R to City Hall, 4/5/6 to Brooklyn Bridge).  Sponsored by Citizens and Immigrants for Equal Justice.  Local contact:  Coalition for the Human Rights of Immigrants, 212.254.2591, <chri@itapnet.org><www.itapnet.org/chri>.

**Sun., June 18, 6 p.m.:  Protest Sexual Assaults and Cops’ Inaction at Puerto Rican Day Parade.
59 St./6 Ave. (Central Park South)(A/B/C/D/1/9 to 59 St./Columbus Circle, B/N/R/B/Q to 57 St.,
4/5/6 to 59 St.).  Sponsored by:  National Organization of Women-NYC Chapter; endorsed by National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, and others.

**Mon., June 19:  Support Arrestees at Dorismond Demonstrations.  Support those–including Legal Aid Society Staff Attorney Antonia Codling–who will appear this Mon., June 19, on charges in connection with protests against the police murder of Patrick Dorismond (stop by to show support even if you can stay for only a few minutes):

–Manhattan Criminal Court, 100 Centre St., Part B (4 floor), 9:30 a.m.  Antonia was arrested while serving as an ALAA legal observer at the first protest against Dorismond’s murder.

–Brooklyn Criminal Court, 120 Schermerhorn St, Part AP5 (8 floor).  Vigil:  8 a.m.; court appearance:  9:30 a.m.  Defendants include Errol Maitland, WBAI radio producer beaten and arrested while reporting live on the Dorismond funeral.  Maitland was hospitalized for eleven days and is charged with disorderly conduct.  ALAA members represent several of those arrested.

**Mon., June 19, 5 p.m.:  Stop Bush’s Execution of Gary Graham.  NY Republican Party HQ, Madison Ave./45 St. (E/F to Lexington-3 aves., S/4/5/6/7 to 42 St.-Grand Central).  Texas death-row inmate Gary Graham, AKA, Shaka Sankofa is an innocent man who was only 17-years-old when sentenced to death.  (His case was featured on the front page of last Sun.’s NY Times).  Sponsored by International Action Center and others.  Info:  212.633.6646, <iacenter@iacenter.org><www.iacenter.org>.

============================================
(2)  ALAA TESTIFIES ON NYC INDIGENT DEFENSE ============================================
On Weds., June 14, ALAA presented testimony concerning the crisis in NYC indigent criminal defense to the Committee on the Representation of the Poor in the First Judicial Department.

The testimony, which will also be submitted in written form, pointed out that the $30 million in cumulative city funding cuts to The Legal Aid Society inflicted by the Giuliani administration since Fall 1994 will make it impossible for the Society to continue to handle its current load of 200,000 criminal cases annually.

To repair the damage done by Giuliani’s attacks on indigent criminal defense, ALAA called for immediate:

*****Restoration of Legal Aid Society city funding to its 1994 level of $79m, plus inflation;

*****Abolition of Giuliani’s runaway (nonunion) defender organizations, which cost more, do less, and degrade standards of representation.

The seven runaway defenders are:
–“Appellate Advocates” in the Second Department (ex-LAS Criminal Appeals Bureau deputy chief Lynn Fahey); –“Bronx Defenders” (ex-Legal Aid attorney Dan Arshack and Neighborhood Defender Services deputy chief Robin Steinberg); –“Brooklyn Defender Services” (ex-Brooklyn LAS supervisor Lisa Schreibersdorf); –“Center for Appellate Litigation” in the First Department (Fahey’s husband and ex-LAS manager Bob Dean); –“Queens Legal Associates” (ex-Queens LAS supervisor Joe Vaccarino and ex-LAS attorney Laurie Zeno); –“New York County Defenders Association” (ex-Brooklyn LAS supervisors Michael Coleman, Carolyn Wilson and Kevin McConnell); and –“Battiste, Aronowsky & Suchow” in Staten Island.

*****Limit 18-B assigned counsel to non-conflict only, at increased rates of compensation.

Testimony on behalf of The Legal Aid Society was presented by Susan Hendricks (for the Criminal Defense Division and Criminal Appeals Bureau) and Monica Drinane (Juvenile Rights Division).

============================================
(3)  STANDING ALAA ACTIVITY & PROJECTS
============================================
**Speakers Bureau.
To request a speaker for your union, community organization, religious institution or other group concerning justice and labor-related issues, including those discussed below, please contact ALAA by return email or at 212.343.0708.

**Opposition to Operation Condor & Police Abuse (March 22, 2000).
In response to “Operation Condor,” ALAA reaffirms its commitment to provide each client with high-quality legal representation, including, but not limited to:

(1)  Thorough pre-arraignment client interviews, under conditions that are healthy and confidential;

(2)  Adherence to established arraignment shift hours;

(3)  Production of incarcerated clients for each court appearance;

(4)  Aggressive investigation and motion practice;

(5)  Participation of supervising attorneys in arraignment staffing; and

(6)  Appropriate legal action against, and publicity about, the pattern of false arrests and detention.

In response to the systemic police abuse that plagues New York City, of which “Condor” is a prominent example, ALAA reaffirms its support for far-reaching reform, including the immediate:

(1)  Abolition of the Street Crime Unit, “Operation Condor,” and all similar “search-and-destroy,” body count, and arrest quota units.

(2)  Dismissal of Police Commissioner Howard Safir;

(3)  Permanent federal monitoring of the NYPD, and implementation of such long overdue reforms as police residency requirements and abolition of the 48-hour rule;

(4)  Federal prosecution of the police officers responsible for the murders of Amadou Diallo, Malcolm Ferguson, Patrick Dorismond, and others;

(5)  Prosecution of each City official who illegally released sealed records of former Legal Aid Society client Patrick Dorismond;

(6)  Establishment of an independent state agency to aggressively prosecute future police violence and abuse; and

(7)  End to the “War on Drugs,” including the Draconian Rockefeller sentencing laws, which generates violent crime, police brutality, and mass criminalization, particularly against communities of color.

2000.06.16: Rally Monday to Save Shaka’s Life

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 12:11 pm
Tags:

From: LHerschel@HQEAST.HQ [mailto:LHerschel@HQEAST.HQ]
Sent: Friday, June 16, 2000 6:26 PM
To: Everyone At The Legal Aid Society@HQWEST.WEST
Subject: Rally Monday to Save Shaka’s Life

Just a reminder about the rally Monday at 5:00 for GARY GRAHAM/ SHAKA SHAKOFA, an innocent man on Texas’ death row!!

PROTEST TO SAVE GARY GRAHAM: MONDAY, JUNE 19, 5 PM, BUSH FOR PRESIDENT HEADQUARTERS, 45th and Madison

If you can’t get there till 6 or even 7, you should still come.  We need everyone we can get.

Also TELEPHONE GOV. GEORGE BUSH all week:  512-463-2000 or -1782  Fax 512-463-1849
Email letters:
http://www.governor.state.tx.us/email.html

or write:
George W. Bush
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

If you have time to write a letter and send it right away or fax or e-mail it, that’s probably the most effective of the above methods.

*   *   *   *
> On June 22nd, Gov. George W. Bush of Texas is scheduled to preside
> over the execution of 38 year-old Gary Graham.  If allowed to proceed,
> the execution would mark Bush’s 132nd execution as Governor
> —  accounting for about one-fifth of all executions in the United
> States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
>
> Graham’s execution would not only be a new record; it would be a
> tragedy. Gary Graham is innocent of the murder of which he was charged
> and convicted.
>
> As the police department’s own ballistic tests determined, the gun
> with which Graham was arrested and that allegedly linked him to the
> crime could not have fired the bullet that killed the victim. This
> evidence was not offered at trial. In fact, not a single shred of
> physical evidence has linked him to the crime.  Yet, despite several
> other crime scene witnesses who corroborated his innocence, Graham was
> convicted of murder and robbery solely on the questionable testimony
> of one eyewitness.
>
> Furthermore, Graham’s court-appointed lawyers at trial had never tried
> a capital case and conducted no investigation of the evidence —
> evidence which could have been readily discovered and established his
> innocence.  These attorneys even failed to cross examine in the
> prosecution witnesses on crucial matters.
>
> With the evidence of his innocence still unheard, Graham’s case has
> drawn national attention.  Recently, I was joined at a Capitol Hill
> press conference, by Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Minister Benjamin
> Muhammad(formerly named Ben Chavis), Gary Graham’s attorney, Richard
> Burr, and several activists, to call for a stay of execution and a new
> trial for Graham.  Surely, justice must prevail.  You can make sure
> that it does.
>
> Please call Gov. Bush at (ph) 512-463-2000 or (fax)
> 512-463-1849 and
> urge him to grant Gary Graham a stay of execution and a new trial.
> Withthe November presidential elections just months away, George W.
> Bush should call for a moratorium in the State of Texas so that
> decisions of life and death are not determined or complicated by
> “get-tough-on-crime” election year politics.
>
Imperfections in the judicial system, like those underscored in the Graham case, led me to introduce H.R. 4162, the Accuracy in Judicial Administration Act of 2000, which calls for a
> seven-year moratorium  on  the death penalty.
——————————————————-
> Jesse Jackson, Jr. – Congressman Second District of Illinois

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