Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Congress on the Spot as Fall Session Begins

Congress Returns To Session With Lots to Do


By Derek Gilna


            In another reminder about how fragile the fabric of government can be, the U.S. Congress returned to work Tuesday with only two short weeks to pass legislation to prevent yet another government shutdown.  Although both sides have agreed that they wish to avoid that, this topic will be distracting Congress for at least a short while from other pressing business, such as criminal justice reform.

            Numerous prisoner relief or prisoner-friendly reforms are on the table in Washington, but as yet, none of them have made it to the floor for debate, been passed, put on the President’s desk for signature, or signed into law.  That’s something to remember the next time you hear a rumor stared by someone with a cruel sense of humor.  Senator Charles Grassley has promised some news this week, so we will be hopeful that it is something that will bring real sentence relief.

            The train of criminal justice reform is gathering speed and it will be hard to stop.  Whatever your politics,  the recent Snowdon revelations about government surveillance, the “Black Lives Matter” program attack on police injustices, and the Washington Post revelation that even local police departments illegally spy, has shown the government’s grip on the surveillance state has loosened quite a bit in the last few months, although it can be of scant solace to the already incarcerated.

            The fact of the matter is that most arrests and convictions could not occur without some form of surveillance, and what human wants to go through the time-consuming process of swearing out an affidavit for a warrant that the judge might not grant.  It’s always easier to use some form of covert surveillance, out of the prying eyes of the public, to get the information you need, so that you can get a “win” in court, rather than achieve a just result.

            I examine dozens of fact situations and court dockets a week, and I can safely say that in over two-thirds of them I have found evidence of either police or prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance, Brady violations, and the like.  The facts are there for the taking. Reexamine your case for these tell-tale signs, make note of them, and pass them on. Although perhaps the current case holdings do not directly benefit you, a new case that might is perhaps just over the horizon, with just your fact scenario.  The pace of attacks on criminal sentences is rapidly accelerating as the media, the public, and the judiciary all begin to see the extent of the problem.  We are here to help.


Federal Legal Center, Inc, 113 McHenry #173, Buffalo Grove, IL  60089