When It Comes To Appointing Judges, Our Pickers Are Broken

The WAPO had an article yesterday discussing the attempts of President Obama to get a more diverse mix of judges appointed at the federal level.

“Diversity in and of itself is a thing that is strengthening the judicial system,” White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said. “It enhances the bench and the performance of the bench and the quality of the discussion . . . to have different perspectives, different life experiences, different professional experiences, coming from a different station in life, if you will.”

Action must be taken to block bigots like Justice Antonin ScaliaWe are a diverse country and that is one of the things I love about the United States, but our history of equality sucks for many issues including race, religion, gender, L/B/G/T, mental illness, other disabilities and people with criminal convictions. We are strengthened by our diversity, why do we allow this? I remember when people were proud of their melting pot country.

In an isolated state like Alaska, a large amount of corrupt money is spread around by corporations, politicians are often corporate owned and there is a higher percentage of psychopathic lawyers. Lawyers have a higher percentage of psychopathy than the rest of the population to begin with, but many have come here because what they are is detected easier in more sophisticated and higher populated places and/or they can manipulate to become a big fish in a small pond. This is one reason we have big judge problems here. This is very similar to how someone like Scalia gets appointed to the SCOTUS. All judges should be appointed because they are the best at promoting justice at a level far above their colleagues, excellence and scholarly knowledge do matter. In many cases we have instead gotten appointments based on promotion of religious and political agenda along with those who favor corporate interests. Yes, this happens in Alaska even with your little rating system which is mainly done by those who benefit from certain people being appointed judges.

Of course there will be a huge effort on the part of the radical right to block as many women and minorities as possible from being judges whether state or federal. They are probably in panic mode. Those who have experience with prejudice, have compassion for the mentally ill, understand why children from abusive homes have problems, know about lack of opportunity, lack of education or who perhaps grew up in a low income area filled with drugs are better able to affect justice rather than allow the prosecutors to mindlessly railroad any and all defendants without regard to mitigating circumstances. We need judges who understand the truth about our corporate controlled society. A change in the justice system towards assisting people to heal and improve who they are rather than being warehoused, abused and set up for failure is not what the corporations making money off the suffering of people want, nor their political puppets.

We also have huge problems with state level court systems in need of balance and change, like the white supremacy system in Nome Alaska.
Just take a look at the court section of the Nome Nugget this week or any week, note the Native names of most of the defendants and read between the lines. About half the population there is white and the other half is mainly Native. There are a large number of violations of probation or conditions of release related to alcohol, other crimes related to alcohol or technical violations. Some of those technical violations are engineered, I should know. The behavioral health services are dysfunctional at NSHC and when I was there they did not return phone calls (this was also true in Homer) which resulted in those court ordered to get services being yelled at in court, accused falsely of lying and in some cases probation ordered treatment requirements were violated through no fault of the defendant. When I saw this I waited until I was called and said that BTW I did not get my phone calls returned from the Behavioral Health Services Department at Norton Sound Health Corporation either. That resulted in my hearings being scheduled in a separate room or at the very end of the day. Isn’t that special? The mental health treatment in much of rural Alaska is often worse than no treatment at all due to incompetent practitioners, practitioners who are being workplace bullied, workplace bullying causing all the best/most competent to be run off, ethical violations including gossiping about clients among agencies, and poor education.
They used anything they could to violate people. In my case they had the Public Defender Agency not inform me of court hearings so they could be used to have me incarcerated. I caught several of these attempts complaining to Judge Esch who blew it off. If he took action to keep me informed then how would they set me up as they did later? When they were eventually successful I had no idea there was any reason for a hearing. That resulted in 26 days of false incarceration, abuses from the DOC staff, my property stolen/destroyed, my cat harmed to the point of having to be put down after I tried to save her and blocking by the State Troopers of attempts to recover my property even with a court order allowing this, along with threats of being arrested for disorderly conduct due complaining to the trooper that he was not doing his job. I also became homeless. In that situation I was the victim of several crimes, but was treated as if I was the perpetrator. The DOC’s, DOL’s and court system’s partners in that crime were never charged with anything which means they may have been asked to do what they did or encouraged to fabricate most likely by the prosecutor, John Earthman. Retaliation for whistle-blowing is very ugly as we all know. Remember Judge Esch knew I had an alcoholic non-functioning public defender and so did her boss, Quinlan Steiner. It was also impossible for ADA Earthman to not have known considering how bad it was, the smell of the alcohol on her constantly might have been a clue or was the impaired public defender part of the plan? They were, well, OK with her and the manipulative liar that was appointed when the impaired one finally went to rehab.

White people are just as likely to commit crimes as blacks or other ethnicities and in this example Native Alaskans, especially when it comes to drug and alcohol use. Then why are Natives in Nome Alaska arrested at unbelievably high rates compared to the whites? There are many white alcoholics in Nome, I observed and worked with many. The laws that have been passed against transporting alcohol and the high number of bars and liquor stores per capita in Nome keep the little prison there filled for job security. When people are traumatized they will self-medicate to kill the pain no matter what their ethnicity. Keeping the pain flowing by use of the courts and medical/psychiatric malpractice and bullying fuels the prison system and helps certain people retain their power over the community. I detest people who make a lot of money off the misery of others.

The ACLU’s report on the state of the prisons in Alaska was published in March of 2010. One of the issues they sited was the over-representation of Native Alaskans in the prison system.

Page 125:

Alaska Natives make up more than a representative proportion of the population of the
average Alaska facility. While Alaska Natives make up about 18% of the state’s population, Alaska Natives constitute about 36% of all prisoners in custody. This overrepresentation is hard to ascribe to just one source. A complex mix of factors likely affects the disparity. Alaska Natives are more likely to be convicted of alcohol possession and importation offenses simply because “dry” and “damp” towns are concentrated in majority-Alaska Native areas. A lack of community resources – especially substance abuse and mental health treatment – in majority-Alaska Native areas may leave some Alaska Natives with substance abuse or mental health problems that go untreated, resulting in more individuals ending up in the correctional system than in community-based treatment . Simple income disparity – as almost 40% of prisoners in Alaska jails are awaiting trial – may preclude the release of many Alaska Natives on bail. A cultural inclination to conflict avoidance may promote guilty pleas. Real disparities in treatment based on conscious or unconscious racial motives from judges, probation officers, attorneys, police officers, jurors, or other parties to the criminal justice process may also impact the proportion of Alaska Natives convicted of crimes and sentenced to incarceration in Alaska.

From the UAA Justice Center's Alaska Justice Forum, Fall 2012/Winter 2013, Vol. 29, No. 3-4:

Members of two minority groups, Alaska Natives and Blacks, are incarcerated at levels very disproportionate to their percentages in the general population. Alaska Natives comprise about 15 percent and Blacks 3 percent of the state’s population (according to the 2010 U.S. Census). However, 36 percent of the offender population in 2011 was Alaska Native, and 11 percent was Black. Although the incarceration rate for Alaska Natives is disproportionally high, in 2011—for the first time in 3 years—the number of Alaska Natives in correctional institutions decreased slightly—by 1 percent.

What a dramatic change, I nearly got the vapors I was so stunned by that 1% decrease in the numbers of Alaska Natives incarcerated. Wow, the courts and probation department are really making some changes. Perhaps it’s all those people the DOP has found with an imaginary illegal substance (it doesn’t exist, but if it did it wouldn’t be a controlled substance anyway) who actually have “prescription strength Tylenol” at the DOP and have punished all those bastards for their heinous “violations” of their probation in daring to possess a legal OTC with a delusional prescription strength that only the DOP staff can see.

Remember when Palin appointed Joe Schmidt the DOC commish promised to make changes?

"We want to keep our eye on the Alaska Native population as well because they're over represented in the prison system almost 2-1. About 18 percent of the state is Alaska Native, while 36 percent of our prison population is Alaska Native," said Joe Schmidt, the Corrections commissioner
Joe Schmidt and the DOC gave it their all...1%. Add this to the problems with the courts in Alaska and you can see the political and corporate powers that be intend no changes.


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