Elheru Aran wrote: ↑
TimothyC wrote: ↑
Kamala Harris Assembles Campaign Staff Of Unpaid California Prison Laborers
WASHINGTON—On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that she would be running for president, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) reportedly began staffing her campaign Tuesday with unpaid inmates from California correctional facilities. “I’m so grateful to have such an incredible and devoted team headed up by my new campaign manager, Spider, as we work together to fight for American values,” said Harris of the two dozen non-violent criminal offenders who would reportedly work shifts of up to 72 hours out of her campaign office in exchange for three square meals a day and all the “Kamala Harris 2020” merchandise they could carry. “Whether it’s knocking on doors, leading focus groups, making phone calls, or helping prep me for upcoming media appearances, my entire staff will be comprised of unpaid prison laborers. Not only will this cut campaign-related expenses by up to $20 million, it will also allow inmates to spend time in the community and provide them with valuable work-related opportunities.” Harris added that due to a quirk in California state law, most inmates would be ineligible to work for other political campaigns once they’d been released from prison.
I don't think this is really the place to post an Onion article without making that clear.
The thing is, it isn't far off.
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/08/kama ... ey-general
Harris’s actions in the Daniel Larsen case are particularly concerning.
The Larsen case was a travesty of justice from start to finish. In 1999, when two police officers claimed they saw Larsen, who had earlier in his life been convicted for burglary, pull a six-inch-long knife from his waistband and throw it under a car, he was sentenced to twenty-seven years to life under the three-strikes law supported by Harris.
Forget for a second that the sentence was unduly harsh for the crime in question. Police had wrongly targeted Larsen for a search in the first place, and witnesses reported that it wasn’t Larsen but the man he was with who had thrown the knife. In trial, Larsen’s incompetent lawyer (who would later be disbarred) didn’t investigate a single witness, nor present one in trial.
Eleven years later, a judge reversed the conviction due to the lack of evidence and incompetence of Larson’s attorney’s. Yet two years later, Larsen was still in jail. Why? Because Harris, now a vocal opponent of mass incarceration, appealed the judge’s decision on the basis that Larsen had filed his paperwork too late — a technicality.
Tens of thousands of people petitioned Harris to release Larsen, and numerous civil rights groups similarly called on her to do the right thing. But even when he was eventually released from custody after fourteen years, Harris challenged his release, and five months later Larsen was back in court, fighting to stay out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
And there's more.
The limits of Harris’s approach are likewise evident in her actions on police shootings. She did back a bill that required reports on officer-involved shootings to be posted publicly online and mandated bias training and that justice department agents wear body cameras. But as district attorney, she refused to hand over the names of police officers whose testimonies had led to convictions despite the officers’ arrest records and histories of misconduct. As attorney general, she also opposed instituting police body cameras statewide and stood against a bill requiring her office to investigate fatal police shootings.
And it gets better.
Harris tried to dismiss a suit brought by California inmates over the state’s use of solitary confinement, with her office insisting “there is no ‘solitary confinement’ in California prisons” (despite this, the case ultimately turned into a landmark settlement that struck a blow against the practice). She tried to block a transgender inmate’s request for gender reassignment surgery. When a prosecuting attorney inserted a falsified confession into the transcript of a defendant’s confession, committing what an appeals court called “outrageous government misconduct,” Harris appealed the case, arguing that it wasn’t “outrageous” because it didn’t involve physical brutality.
The most ardent civil liberties defender.
It’s true that Harris ordered California parole officers not to enforce blanket residency restrictions on sex offenders. This order ended the unjust application of a law that in many cases made it impossible for someone convicted of a sex offense to live anywhere, and increased the homeless sex offender population by twenty-four times in three years. (In addition to the barbarity of making anyone homeless, sex offenders’ risk of reoffending rises dramatically with homelessness, arguably, and ironically, making the public less safe.)
But she had only done so after the state Supreme Court ruled the restrictions to be unconstitutional, and only after she had appealed the same decision by a lower court. Harris supported Jessica’s Law, the ballot measure that instituted these rules, back in 2006. Similar to her stance on the three-strikes law, her 2010 Republican opponent ran to her left on this issue.
Discriminates against religious minorities and loves civil asset forfeiture...
Harris was likewise a firm proponent of civil asset forfeiture, sponsoring a bill to allow prosecutors to seize profits before charges were even filed. Years before that, she opposed AB 639, a bill that aimed to reform asset forfeiture. The bill easily cleared the state assembly, but was soon scuttled by a united wall of opposition from law enforcement, with whom Harris was united.
There was also the case of the Sikh man who was barred from working as a prison guard because of his religiously mandated beard. Harris argued that his beard prevented him from being properly fitted with a gas mask, thus disqualifying him from the job, despite California’s corrections and rehabilitation department’s regulations allowing guards to have beards for certain medical reasons.
A number of civil rights and legal organizations — including the ACLU of Northern California, the Asian American Bar Association, and the Council on American Islamic Relations — wrote Harris a letter pointing out this inconsistency. She argued that the medical exemption only applied to guards who passed the mask fitting before the policy took effect, although the man’s attorney said this was untrue.
Lackluster on busting fraud by banks...
There was no better symbol of Harris’s inability to hold the people behind the foreclosure fraud to account than her Mortgage Fraud Strike Force. Opened to much fanfare in 2011 and employing twenty-five Department of Justice lawyers and investigators with a budget of more than $2 million to go after foreclosure fraud, the strike force managed to prosecute just ten cases in three years, an East Bay Express investigation in 2014 found.
The paper found that not only had the strike force prosecuted less foreclosure fraud cases than many other states, but it had filed fewer lawsuits than attorneys general in smaller states with fewer victims, and even fewer than some county district attorneys. Yet California led the country in terms of such scam operations, with many thousands of complaints since 2010. One housing rights activist who had lost his home in a fraud called the strike force a “public relations effort.”
Harris has repeatedly said she was limited in what she could do. When a man at the 2016 California Democratic Party convention asked her, “How many bankers went to jail?” she said they did the best with what evidence there was. “I too, like most Americans, am frustrated. Clearly crimes occurred and people should go to jail,” she told the LA Times last year. “But we went where the evidence took us.”
This demonstrably wasn’t always the case, however. Earlier this year, the Intercept obtained a 2013 memo to Harris from prosecutors in the attorney general’s office saying they had “uncovered evidence suggestive of widespread misconduct” at OneWest Best, and urging Harris to “conduct a full investigation of a national bank’s misconduct and provide a public accounting of what happened.” Yet Harris never did. (Coincidentally, Harris was the only Democratic Senate candidate in 2016 to get a donation from Steven Mnuchin, OneWest’s former CEO).
I could go on and on and on, because there's shit I know about her I'm not at liberty to discuss to protect the privacy of others; but this pretty much speaks for itself.