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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Alabama Justice and Corruption - Municipal Courts and Racketeering in Alabama

An article by Sue Bell Cobb, "I Was Alabama's Top Judge, I'm Ashamed of What I Had to Do to Get There...I never quite got over the feeling of being trapped inside a system whose very structure left me feeling disgusted."
Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/judicial-elections-fundraising-115503.html#ixzz3g4Q8lgIq  Image usage - Fair Usage - not for profit news reporting. 

Local Municipal Court

Citizens must ask the question, why did Scottsboro and other municipalities in Alabama, cancel their contract with Judicial Corrections Services, JCS? Why would our local courts facilitate Racketeering? The answer to that question may be found here - http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/splc-sues-private-probation-company-alabama-city-over-racketeering-scheme

 JCS, and municipalities utilizing their services, are being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, for allegations of Racketeering (RICO). SPLC alleges in their suit that JCS and municipalities utilizing JCS services have enabled a criminal enterprise specifically pointed at defendants that are poor and cannot afford an attorney. Additionally, according to the SPLC suit, Alabama law prohibits the charging of a probation fee in municipal court.  Complaint filed in Federal Court - http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/case/1_-_complaint.pdf

I have interviewed several defendants locally who faced prosecution in municipal courts. All the defendants interviewed are living under the poverty level and stated they could not afford an attorney. I asked each person interviewed: “What plea did you enter before the court?” All told me they were not allowed to enter a plea as they were not asked for a plea. The scenario goes like this: Defendant is taken to a back room by unknown parties, told to sign documents paying for court costs, charges will be dropped, pay court costs and go to JCS to pay the costs. They are given 2 documents, one from the court and another from JCS. The documents samples are pictured below, names and dates have been redacted to protect people’s privacy.

I’m not saying defendants are innocent or guilty, I am questioning what appears to be a violation of trust relating to judicial actions at the municipal level.  It’s the old story, 2 wrongs never make a right; someone must ask the question, who will correct what appears to be illegal activity of municipal courts? An independent investigation should be conducted to determine if local judicial procedures violate rights of the defendants and to answer the question, are local courts violating law?

Scottsboro Municipal Judge James Mick makes statement before Scottsboro City Council, Council Members ask questions - My Question is this, what is this about money or justice? It seems the issue involves money, not the fulfillment of justice via our system of courts.

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