In recent news: prosecutorial oversight, private sector donations, and progress on Guantanamo!
“Man Wrongly Convicted in ’97 Brooklyn Killing Settles with City and State”
Roger Logan is another victim of the overzealous Brooklyn detective whose questionable tactics “led to over a dozen unjust convictions,” [NOTE: COULD YOU HYPERLINK THE SECTION IN BETWEEN THE QUOTE MARKS AND HAVE IT LINK BACK TO LAST WEEKS NEWS ENTRY?] according to the Brooklyn D.A.’s Conviction Review Unit. After fighting for exoneration pro se, Mr. Logan was aided by the CRU in his claims against the city and state, recovering almost $7 million as compensation for the 17 years he was unjustly imprisoned.
“Innocence Project Criticizes Oversight of Prosecutors”
The Innocence Project takes the courts to task, analyzing instance of prosecutorial error and misconduct in 5 states, including New York. While the Project uncovered almost 700 cases of error or misconduct, it could find only a single instance of disciplinary action taken against the prosecutor responsible. Recommendations to prosecutor’s offices include formal policies, training on ethics and the rules of discovery, and internal review systems with real consequences for those found guilty of misconduct or a pattern of prejudicial errors.
“U.S.: Releases Signal Progress on Guantanamo”
Two Libyan prisoners whose incarceration violated international law (and would have violated U.S. law as well, if they had not been classified as enemy combatants) have been released to Senegal. 89 more prisoners remain detained at Guantanamo Bay, 35 of whom have been cleared for release. Human Rights Watch argues that the remaining prisoners face a fundamentally flawed military judicial process with a staggering error rate, pointing to the fact that half of the convictions obtained through the process have been subsequently overturned in U.S. federal appellate courts.
“Report Finds Sharp Increase in Veterans Denied V.A. Benefits”
A report released by veterans’ advocacy group Swords to Plowshares demonstrates that veterans are being refused benefits at the highest rate since the benefits system was created in the wake of World War II. Veterans who served after 2001 were twice as likely to be denied benefits as those who served in the Vietnam era, and four times as likely to be denied as those who served during World War II. The group suggests that the VA may be relying on “other than honorable” discharges as a mechanism for eliminating service members without providing time-consuming and costly medical care to which they would otherwise be entitled.
“NYC Homeless Veterans to Get $750G Boost from Private Sector Donations”
The Veterans Housing Initiative received substantial grants from the Real Estate Board of New York, Deutsche Bank America, and other sources to combat veteran homelessness in New York City. The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, has made eliminating chronic veteran homelessness a cornerstone of his administration.
“Jobless Rate Jumps for Recent Veterans”
The unemployment rate for veterans who served after 2001 is now at 6.3%, the highest it’s been in a year. The national unemployment rate is currently at 5%.
“Veterans, Schools Want NY State to Pay for Tax Break”
The Alternative Veterans Exemption program is an optional New York state-based tax program that gives a property tax break to former service members. However, unlike similar programs, the lost tax revenue is then reapportioned to surrounding property owners, increasing their tax assessments. The New York State School Boards Association and the American Legion back the plan of State Senator David Carlucci and Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, who have introduced legislation that would require the State of New York to pick up the difference, rather than New York property owners.