202 Chapters
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9780253017314

Hero or Villain? Persecuting a Defender of Human Rights v. Prosecuting a Criminal Suspect

David P Fidler Indiana University Press ePub

Hero or Villain?
Persecuting a Defender
of Human Rights v. Prosecuting a
Criminal Suspect

When the first stories about NSA activities appeared from June 5 to 8, 2013, the world did not know who provided the documents and information to journalists. Snowden, who had been working as a private contractor for the NSA in Hawaii, revealed himself as the source on June 9, 2013, from Hong Kong, where he had flown to avoid U.S. law enforcement. Once he was identified, arguments about whether Snowden was a hero or traitor began, focusing attention on his background and motivations for leaking classified documents and for leaving the United States. Snowden began explaining his actions in interviews in Hong Kong with the Guardian and the South China Morning Post. William Scheuerman (chapter 5) and others have identified Snowden’s statement at the Moscow airport in July 2013 as important for understanding what he did and why he did it. When he made this statement, Snowden was not sure where he would get asylum from the persecution he feared from the U.S. government for his defense of the Constitution and international law. Snowden eventually accepted temporary asylum in Russia in August 2013 and a three-year residency in Russia when this asylum ended.

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Medium 9781574413175

Epilogue: B. Reflections, Speculations, and Unsolved Mysteries

Bill Neal University of North Texas Press PDF

252

VENGEANCE IS MINE

How skillfully, how masterfully, did McLean, Johnson, Scott, and even Beal Sneed himself when he took the stand, play on those prejudices, those fears of female eroticism, which, unless decisively restrained, threatened their own manhood and honor, those fears that a northern encroachment of modernism was threatening their core values and their way of life. In the end, the only patriotic thing the jurors could do to protect the home of John Beal Sneed, and— even more importantly—to protect their own homes, and to protect the homes of all upright and right-thinking citizens of Texas was to send forth a clear and resounding message that this was not the North; that henceforth free love, promiscuity, female eroticism, lightness in women, easy divorces, as well as lustful libertines, and any other brand of northern modernism would not be tolerated.

Henceforth Texas homes would be protected!

Because . . . well, after all, because this was Texas.

In the end, it seems more than probable that the jurors, at least the jurors in the second Fort Worth murder trial, didn’t really believe that Lena was insane, didn’t really buy into that “moral insanity” charade. But they were willing to give Beal Sneed a pass on that to salvage his tattered pride. What the jurors did buy into, however, was the “protecting the home” fiction that the McLean-Johnson-Sneed team orchestrated so masterfully to resonate so well with the jurors’ inherited Victorian culture.

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Medium 9781626562080

Chapter 8 From Capital to Commons

Capra, Fritjof Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Because of the tremendous might of the mechanistic trap, an irresistible evolution toward disorder and destruction, as predicted by the second law of thermodynamics, seems unavoidable in human affairs. This grim picture of the world as a machine running down because of immutable mechanical human laws can produce disempowerment and despair unless we realize that, like the laws of nature, human laws are not necessarily cast in the mechanistic vision that currently dominates the common understanding. Moving beyond the current common understanding thus requires a long-term strategy to make the systemic paradigm shift politically relevant. In this chapter, we discuss three strategic objectives to pursue: disconnecting law from power and violence; making community sovereign; and making ownership generative.

The most important structural solution to the rush toward final disorder is to restore some harmony between human laws and the laws of nature by giving law back to networks of communities. If the people were to understand the nature of law as an evolving common, reflecting local conditions and fundamental needs, they would care about it. People would understand that the law is too important to remain in the hands of organized corporate interests.1 We are the makers and users of the law. If we are alone in front of the law, we are inevitably afraid. However, together we are the law! We must understand that the only real power we have as individuals and communities is to choose how to look at the law in the community. Do we recognize it as fair and legitimate in the broader goal to save civilization? Do we decide to abide by it or not? How much are we willing to put ourselves at stake to avoid what Hannah Arendt called the banality of evil?2 We do not need to be heroes—we only need to develop an ecological perception of society. We need a vision that defeats economic-induced individualism by locating the law at the level of social networks and ecological communities. We need, as a society, to pierce the ideological veil of a legal system that is abstract and mechanical, “owned” by the state, and kept distant from individual people by the professionalized culture of corporate lawyers.

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Medium 9780253001924

2 The Constitutional Foundations of the “Preclearance” Process: How Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act Was Enforced, 1965–2005

Edited by Daniel McCool Indiana University Press ePub

In July 2006, Congress adopted a revision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that reauthorized the “preclearance” requirements set forth in Section 5 for another twenty-five years and amended the legal standards to be applied in its enforcement, restoring the standards for assessing the purpose and effect of voting changes that had been altered by two recent Supreme Court decisions.1 Section 5 is often regarded as one of the act’s two most powerful provisions.2 In the preclearance process jurisdictions covered by Section 5, for the most part states of the former Confederacy, must obtain federal approval of voting changes, either from a three-judge panel in the District of Columbia or from the Department of Justice, before these changes become legally enforceable. Approval requires proof by the jurisdiction that the change “does not have the purpose and will not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color.”3 Shortly after its adoption the Supreme Court ruled that Section 5, like the rest of the act, was constitutional. “Congress concluded that the unsuccessful remedies which it had prescribed in the past would have to be replaced by sterner and more elaborate measures,” wrote Chief Justice Earl Warren.4 Twice since then the Court has upheld the constitutionality of Section 5, as amended.5

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Medium 9780253020925

1 Reaching the Flocks: Literacy and the Mass Reception of Ottoman Law in the Sixteenth-Century Arab World

Schull, Kent F. Indiana University Press ePub

Timothy J. Fitzgerald

C’est une étrange chose que l’écriture . . . Le seul phénomène qui l’ait fidèlement accompagnée est la formation des cités et des empires, c’est-à-dire l’intégration dans un système politique d’un nombre considérable d’individus et leur hiérarchisation en castes et en classes . . . Si mon hypothèse est exacte, il faut admettre que la fonction primaire de la communication écrite est de faciliter l’asservissement.

Claude Lévi-Strauss2

OVER THE PAST few decades, the study of Ottoman law has expanded in ways that defy brief summary. At root, many Ottoman legal historians have drawn inspiration from the concerns and questions prompted by the turn toward social history in the humanities at large. This, combined with more recent imperial and world-history turns, if dizzying, has meant relative boom times for interest in the Ottoman Empire and its legal culture(s) or system(s). One welcome result of all this attention has been the incremental counter-balancing of top-down, center-out type approaches to legal history with ones that highlight the determinative role played by ideas, institutions, and peoples beyond—sometimes far beyond—the imperial capital at Istanbul. Moreover, the interdisciplinary field of inquiry captured by the rubric “legal pluralism” has at last made serious inroads into Ottoman (and Islamic) legal studies, complicating our understanding of the legal scene in beneficial ways and rendering the Ottoman Empire more intelligible to those analyzing law and politics elsewhere and undertaking comparative study.3

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Medium 9781574411522

A Short History of Texas Prisons

Jorge Antonio Renaud University of North Texas Press PDF

A Short History of Texas Prisons

In order to understand the Texas prison system and how it deals with inmates and their families, you need to know a little of Texas prison history and the psychology that drives prison officials.

First, prisons don’t make money for the state, and this irritates bureaucrats to no end—that, with more than 100,000 able-bodied, convicted criminals at their disposal, the Texas Department of Criminal

Justice (TDCJ) cannot be labor intensive enough to at least break even, or make a dollar, as it used to. At one time, under the convict lease system—in which corporations or wealthy individuals would lease convicts from the state for private use—enough money was made so that

Texas didn’t need to appropriate funds from prisons. Convicts used to be leased to railroads, plantations, and mining corporations. However, the lessors—Ward Dewey Corporation of Galveston, which leased the entire penitentiary from 1871 to 1877; E. H. Cunningham and L. A. Ellis, who leased Huntsville prison from January 1878 to March 1893; and many others—spread the wealth around. They paid Texas officials for the right to have their hired prisoners pile up the profits.

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Medium 9780253001924

11 Looking Backward to and Forward from the 2006 Voting Rights Act Reauthorization

Edited by Daniel McCool Indiana University Press ePub

In the America promised by our founders, every citizen is somebody, and every generation has a responsibility to add its own chapter to the unfolding story of freedom. In the four decades since the Voting Rights Act was first passed, we’ve made progress toward equality, yet the work for a more perfect union is never ending.

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH, WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT
AT THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT REAUTHORIZATION
SIGNING CEREMONY
, JULY 27, 2006

We shouldn’t forget that better is not good enough.

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA, 42ND COMMEMORATION OF
BLOODY SUNDAY, SELMA, ALABAMA, MARCH 4, 2007

How much progress is enough?1 Is voting discrimination tolerable in our democracy, and, when it occurs, how is it best remedied? As the chapters in this book make clear, these were the core questions that animated the 2006 reauthorization of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (“VRA”) and that persist in its wake.2 They are not small questions. The VRA is recognized not only as one of the most important civil rights laws ever passed, but also as one of the most important laws of any kind in the history of the United States. It is a rare statute, which merges our nation’s past, present, and future; it bridges the cross-currents of the ugliest chapters of yesterday, today’s challenges, and our aspirations for tomorrow. A survey of the history of the right to vote in America reveals just how difficult it has been to reach this stage in our progress. There was a period in which the Supreme Court severely undermined, if not essentially foreclosed, the possibility of voting equality.3 For a long period Congress failed to confront flagrant and violent voting discrimination,4 followed by belated responses that proved inadequate to meet the scale of the problem. Supported by a well-documented history of voting discrimination and enacted as a result of courageous resistance to entrenched discrimination, the Voting Rights Act drastically altered the pattern of exclusion. Although the act’s special enforcement provisions have been extended four times, these provisions, which are central aspects of the VRA, continue to generate substantial debate, as the chapters in this book make clear.

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Medium 9781574411522

24 Helping Ex-Cons Stay out of Prison

Jorge Antonio Renaud University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter twenty-four

helping ex-cons stay out of prison

W

hy do we kill, or rob, or sell drugs, or write hot checks, or beat up strangers, or abuse and rape women and children? Why are we criminals? Is it because we are poor? Because we were abused ourselves?

Because our friends do it? Do our criminal actions arise from need, rage, despair, or simple greed?

I don’t know if anyone can answer these questions. However, once someone is convicted and comes to prison, that person is identified in a way and molded into something he wasn’t before. The guy on the corner who we suspected was “up to no good” is now a full-fledged convict, and a convict trying to stay out after release from prison will face a different set of problems than a young person who is just now breaking the law and has yet to go to prison.

I have no insights to offer those who wish to keep people out of trouble and out of jail. If you are reading this, it is probably too late for that, anyway. What I have to offer is hope—that with your help, your loved one in prison can, upon release, defy the odds and stay out. This may sound strange; hope, and suggestions on how to stay free from a man in for the third time, in the face of cold statistics that show almost sixty percent of all convicts returning to prison.

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Medium 9780253001924

3 Influence District and the Courts: A Concept in Need of Clarity

Edited by Daniel McCool Indiana University Press ePub

The concept of “influence district” is referenced frequently in discussions of minority voting rights and representational districting. An influence district is said to be a district in which voters constituting a cohesive quantitative minority of voters cannot elect a representative of their choice if their choice is a member of their own group, but can still be expected, given their level of presence in the district, to influence the legislative behavior of the person who is elected to represent the district. Theoretically the presence of any group satisfying these criteria could be the basis for calling a district an influence district for that group, but in application the concept has been applied almost exclusively to districts in which the group is a minority group protected by the Voting Rights Act (VRA), in particular African Americans and Latinos.1

Influence districts are one of three types of districts recognized by the United States Supreme Court in which minority voters do not constitute a majority of the voting age population. The others are “coalition districts” and “crossover districts.” In these types of districts, minority voters do have a reasonable opportunity to elect representatives from within their group based on predictable levels of support for those candidates from other voters. In the case of coalition districts, the other voters are members of other protected minorities; in the case of crossover districts they are typically white or Anglos voters.2 Influence districts, however, are districts “in which minority candidates do not win, but minority voters can play a significant role in electing candidates who will be sympathetic to their interests.”3

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Medium 9781574414325

Chapter 24 – Helping Convicts Stay Out of Prison

Jorge Antonio Renaud The University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

helping ex-cons stay out of prison

Why do we kill, or rob, or sell drugs, or write hot checks, or beat up strangers, or abuse and rape women and children? Why are we criminals? Is it because we are poor? Because we were abused ourselves? Because our friends do it? Do our criminal actions arise from need, rage, despair, or simple greed?

I don’t know if anyone can answer these questions. However, once someone is convicted and comes to prison, that person is identified in a way and molded into something he wasn’t before. The guy on the corner who we suspected was “up to no good” is now a full-fledged convict, and a convict trying to stay out after release from prison will face a different set of problems than a young person who is just now breaking the law and has yet to go to prison.

I have no insights to offer those who wish to keep people out of trouble and out of jail. If you are reading this, it is probably too late for that, anyway. What I have to offer is hope—that with your help, your loved one in prison can, upon release, defy the odds and stay out. This may sound strange; hope, and suggestions on how to stay free from a man in for the third time, in the face of cold statistics that show almost sixty percent of all convicts returning to prison.

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Medium 9781574414325

Chapter 8 – Recreation

Jorge Antonio Renaud The University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER EIGHT

recreation

TDCJ considers anything an inmate does out of his cell to be recreation, unless it is chow or part of his officially assigned duties. The official terms for recreation are either “programmatic activities,” which includes all officially sanctioned group meetings, and “non-programmatic activities,” which is essentially everything else.

Inmates spend most of their time at work, in their cells or socializing in the dayrooms or on the yard. Dayrooms are communal living areas. On most units, they open at 8 A.M. and close at 10:30 P.M. on weekdays and at 1 A.M. on weekends and holidays. They are open all day and are usually noisy and full of inmates. Most dayrooms have from four to ten tables, which seat four; from one bench to four, which seat from five to ten inmates; and have one or two televisions. Depending on the warden’s preferences, programs offered on television will range from the basic four networks to ESPN, USA, and various movie channels.

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Medium 9781626562691

10 A Wakeup

Schenwar, Maya Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It’s time to understand, go open-eyed into ourselves, into our deepest fears, among our underground youth, into the futureless future, and then rise up.
The time of sleeping is over.

—Luis Rodriguez, “The Wanton Life”

Emerging from a childhood seared by poverty and gang violence, poet Luis Rodriguez was incarcerated briefly in 1970. Later, his son spent more than thirteen years in prison. In “The Wanton Life,” Rodriguez writes of the prospect of a cultural awakening—not by way of brilliant innovation, but through the process of connecting, with both ourselves and those we have estranged, with eyes that remain open even as they drink in fear.

Incarceration may provide public reassurance that “dangerous” people have vanished and are therefore no longer in existence—but it also permits a different kind of closed-eyed comfort for those safely ensconced in non-prisonerhood. As Angela Davis notes, it veils homelessness.1 (Lacino, running from foster care, living in stolen cars—locked up.) It veils poverty. (Sable, lawyerless, helpless to fight the contorted charges against her—locked up.) It veils illiteracy. (The 97 percent of prisoners who are assessed as not “proficient” in reading and writing—locked up.) It veils drug dependency. (Kayla, passed out on the street, homeless and near death, a needle in her arm—locked up.) And it veils racism—the criminalization of black and brown people, persisting over the centuries under the mask of “justice.”

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Medium 9781574414325

Chapter 1 – Diagnostic

Jorge Antonio Renaud The University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER ONE

diagnostic

Since October 1, 1849, when a horse thief became the first person to be held in the state’s custody instead of by local law enforcement, Huntsville has been synonymous with Texas prisons. The beautiful town of Huntsville—nestled in the midst of the state’s most lovely forests; four votes from being state capital instead of Austin; adopted home of General Sam Houston—is, nonetheless, by virtue of that first prison, fated to always be linked with prisons in the minds of Texans. That unit, built in what would soon be downtown Huntsville and known as the Walls, also soon included the growing system’s administrative offices. Over a century later, as the system began to expand rapidly, it became obvious that a separate unit was needed as a processing center. The Diagnostic Unit, built in 1964 a few thousand yards from the original Walls, became that intake unit. While there are now other units that may also serve some of the functions as the Diagnostic Unit, (now called the Byrd Unit), it was the first, it remains the most thorough, and it is the one I will use as a model.

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Medium 9781574411829

4. Boot Camps

Gail Caputo University of North Texas Press PDF

CHAPTER 4

Boot Camps

BACKGROUND

Boot camps are highly popular residential intermediate sanctions typically used for young offenders and provide for very structured and military-like activities such as strict discipline, physical training and labor, drill, and a regimented schedule of daily activities. Boot camps differ from other intermediate sanctions in that participants are incarcerated, albeit for short and intensive terms, participants are often under the jurisdiction of state or county correctional departments and therefore considered inmates, and many boot camps are located on or near prison grounds.

Although the term boot camp is often used synonymously with shock incarceration, boot camps are actually only one form of shock incarceration. Shock incarceration programs vary, but the common feature is that an offender is confined for some period; this incarceration experience is typically brief but intense. As the term suggests, the idea behind shock incarceration is to provide a deterrent shock or jolt to the offender. To achieve this sense of shock, boot camps are structured and emphasize discipline and rigorous physical training. Boot camps differ from other forms of shock incarceration in that participants are separated from other inmates, participate in physical training drill, and the atmosphere of the program is militaristic in nature with a strict daily structure of activities (MacKenzie & Shaw, 1993).

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Medium 9781574413175

Chapter 9: “Because This Is Texas”

Bill Neal University of North Texas Press PDF

9

CHAPTER

“Because This Is Texas”

The Second Fort Worth Murder Trial of John Beal Sneed

LODGED IN THE POTTER COUNTY JAIL in Amarillo under

indictment for the murder of Al Boyce, John Beal Sneed once again petitioned for bail.1 The Amarillo district attorney, H. S. Bishop, opposed it. District Judge J. N. Browning agreed, finding that “proof was evident” that Sneed was guilty of having committed the offense of premeditated murder. As Sneed’s defense lawyers had done only nine months earlier in Fort Worth, they contended that proof was not evident that Sneed had committed premeditated, first-degree murder.

Just as they had done in the Colonel Boyce murder case, McLean did not deny that Sneed killed Al Boyce or deny that Sneed had killed him intentionally. Nevertheless, McLean contended, the most that the state could prove against Sneed was a manslaughter charge, and therefore, Sneed was entitled to have appropriate bail set for his release. In making this argument, McLean relied on the “insulting words or conduct” directed toward a “female relative” statute as he had during Sneed’s first murder trial. The effect of that statute was to reduce the grade of that offense from what would otherwise have been premeditated murder to manslaughter, two to five years, provided that the defendant killed the libertine at their “first meeting” after the enraged relative learned of the insulting words or conduct.

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