ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

February 16, 2007

2007.02.16: Antiwar Bulletin: Sat. Demo to Cut Off War Funds

Filed under: Antiwar,Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 1:13 pm

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2007 12:55 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Sat. Demo to Cut Off War Funds

Bush says “Stay the Course”…
The Democrats can’t even pass a non-binding resolution opposing the surge…
The People must STOP the war

Saturday, February 17
Rally at 1 pm in Times Sq.
(Broadway btw. 41st & 42nd)
2 pm March to Senator Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer’s Office

February 17 is “No More $$ for War Day.”  In dozens of cities across the country, tens of thousands will take to the streets to demand that Congress cut off all war funding now.  Local organizers are planning marches, pickets, rallies, sit-ins, and other forms of protest and resistance.  We need money for jobs at a living wage, housing, health care, education, and rebuilding the Gulf Coast — Not for more war!

We will be marching from Times Square to the offices of Senators Clinton & Schumer.  Both of these Senators voted for the war, and have continued to support the war for four years, voting for every dollar that President Bush asked for.  Join us to demand that they cut off all war funding now.

Also: Sign the Open Letter to Congress – this will go to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Charles Schumer, and other leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Donate – Help us with the enormous costs of organizing in cities across the U.S.

Troops Out Now Coalition
55 W. 17th St. 5th Fl., Manhattan

February 14, 2007

2007.02.14: Brooklyn Scabs Get 37% More Funding

Filed under: ALAA History,Funding,Indigent Defense,Key Documents,Scabs — nyclaw01 @ 1:16 pm

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 2:54 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Brooklyn Scabs Get 37% More Funding

As reported by the February 10 NYLJ (below), the city has just given Brooklyn Defender Services — one of Giulliani’s nonunion defense contractors — a 37% increase.

While we suffer givebacks and soaring workload, this will allow BDS to raise salaries and hire more lawyers, thereby further undermining ALAA and 1199 members.

The background to this issue is discussed in the attached draft letter from September 10, 2001.


Defenders Contract Requires Increased Funding, More Cases

Under a new contract signed recently with New York City, Brooklyn Defender Services received increased funding and increased responsibilities for the representation of poor criminal defendants. The new contract boosts the 35-lawyer group’s funding by 37 percent to $5.7 million a year and requires its lawyers to take 90 percent of the cases on the arraignment shifts it covers. Previously, the group had been handling about 70 percent of the cases on its arraignment shifts, according to its executive director, Lisa Schreibersdorf. The old contract had required the group to handle at least 12,500 cases; the new minimum is 18,000. Ms. Schreibersdorf said the added funds have been used to hire nine lawyers, seven of them 2006 graduates, and to increase the group’s wage scale so that its lawyers’ salaries are more in line with those paid by the Legal Aid Society. The raises were retroactive to July 1, 2006, the new contract’s effective date.

February 9, 2007

2007.02.09: Urgent Petition to Free Gary Tyler

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 11:36 am

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 12:49 PM
To: Graciela Lopez; 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS; James Bernal
Subject: Urgent Petition to Free Gary Tyler

Over the past week, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has written three articles about Gary Tyler, an African American man who has been imprisoned in Louisiana since 1974 — with no end in sight — for a crime he did not commit.  This case is symbolizes both ongoing backlash against the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 70s, and the fundamental racism of the criminal justice system today.*

To demand freedom for Gary Tyler please sign (and forward to others) the petition at:

To help organize on Gary’s behalf, please reply to this message.

*Herbert’s final article in yesterday’s NYT is below.  Additional articles and information are posted at:


February 8, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
‘They Beat Gary So Bad’


Juanita Tyler lives in a neat one-story house that sits behind a glistening magnolia tree that dominates the small front lawn.

She is 74 now and unfailingly gracious, but she admits to being tired from a lifetime of hard work and trouble. I went to see her to talk about her son, Gary.

The Tylers are black. In 1974, when Gary was 16, he was accused of murdering a 13-year-old white boy outside the high school that they attended in nearby Destrehan. The boy was shot to death in the midst of turmoil over school integration, which the local whites were resisting violently.

The case against young Tyler — who was on a bus with other black students that was attacked by about 200 whites — was built on bogus evidence and coerced testimony. But that was enough to get him convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to die in the electric chair. His life was spared when the Louisiana death penalty was ruled unconstitutional, but he is serving out a life sentence with no chance of parole in the state penitentiary at Angola.

Ms. Tyler’s sharpest memory of the day Gary was arrested was of sitting in a room at a sheriff’s station, listening to deputies in the next room savagely beating her son.

“They beat Gary so bad,” she said. “My poor child. I couldn’t do nothing. They wouldn’t let me in there. I saw who went in there. They were like older men. They didn’t care that I was there. They didn’t care who was there. They beat Gary something awful, and I could hear him hollering and moaning. All I could say was, ‘Oh Jesus, have mercy.’

“One of the deputies had a strap and they whipped him with that. It was terrible. Finally, when they let me go in there, Gary was just trembling. He was frightened to death. He was trembling and rocking back and forth. They had kicked him all in his privates. He said, ‘Mama, they kicked me. One kicked me in the front and one kicked in the back.’ He said that over and over.

“I couldn’t believe what they had done to my baby.”

The deputies had tried to get Gary to confess, but he wouldn’t. Ms. Tyler (like so many people who have looked closely at this case) was scornful of the evidence the authorities came up with.

“It was ridiculous,” she said. “Where was he gonna get that big ol’ police gun they said he used? It was a great big ol’ gun. And he had on those tight-fitting clothes and nobody saw it?”

The gun that investigators produced as the murder weapon was indeed a large, heavy weapon — a government-issued Colt .45 that had been stolen from a firing range used by the sheriff’s department. Deputies who saw Gary before the shooting and those who searched him (and the rest of the black students on the bus) immediately afterward did not see any gun.

“I don’t know where the police got that gun from,” said Ms. Tyler. “But they didn’t get it from my son, that’s for sure.”

Ms. Tyler worked for many years as a domestic while raising 11 children. Her husband, Uylos, a maintenance worker who often held three jobs at a time, died in 1989. “He had a bad heart,” Ms. Tyler said.

She shifted in her chair in the living room of the small house, and was quiet for several minutes. Then she asked, “Do you know what it’s like to lose a child?”

I shook my head.

“I always felt sorry for that woman whose son was killed,” she said. “That was a terrible time. I remember it clear, like it was yesterday. But what happened was wrong. The white people, they didn’t want no black children in that school. So there was a lot of tension. And my son has paid a terrible price for that.

“They didn’t have no kind of proof against him, but they beat him bad anyway, and then they sentenced him to the electric chair.”

Ms. Tyler visits Gary at Angola regularly, the last time a few weeks ago. “He’s doing well,” she said. “And I’m glad that he’s able to cope. He tries to help the young ones out when they come in there. He always tells me, ‘My dear, you have to stay strong so I can stay strong.’ So then I just try to hold my head up and keep on going.”

She looked for a moment as if she was going to cry, but she didn’t.

“It’s just sad,” she said. “I wonder if he’ll ever be able to come out. I wonder will I live long enough to see him out.”

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