Sunday, June 24, 2012
The importance of law: fundraiser in London Tuesday for the campaign against joint enterprise
On Tuesday, June 26, there will be a fundraiser in London for the campaign against joint enterprise (below). The joint enterprise law enables all who are present or who can plausibly be associated with a person committing an act of violence to be charged themselves with the same act. See here. This results in Britain in an enormous number of people being jailed (17% of the prison population with life sentences compared to 3% for the rest of Europe is one indication) with a predilection for young blacks. But the predation extends, as this event indicates, to whites as well.
Jordan Cunliffe, a white 16 year old who suffered from acute keracotonus (he can only see some colors; he is effectively blind), was in a group of boys who had a confrontation with Garry Newlove. Newlove had been told by his daughter that they were vandalizing a neighbor's yard. Two of the young men struck Newlove, one kicked him in the throat, and killed him. These two men were rightly tried for homicide.
Cunliffe was present but did not take part in the attack. Though legally blind, the prosecutor, with the aid of a corrupt judge, excluded direct medical testimony at his trial about what the nature of keracotonus is (the case would not have survived). As a result of joint enterprise and prosecutorial and judicial malfeasance, Cunliffe was convicted and has now served four years in prison (part of a 16 year sentence; a 30 year sentence is a life sentence in Britain).
Prime Minister David Cameron singled out this crime as an example of "broken Britain." And he is certainly right that the assault itself was a horror. But what is broken in Britain (and in a different way in the United States) is the law. According to Blackstone's ratio, it is better than ten guilty men go free than that one innocent is thrown away. Jordan Cunliffe is blind. Jordan Cunliffe did not part in the assault on Gsrry Newlove. Jordan Cunliffe is in jail.
His mother Janet Cunliffe will speak about the case.
Worse yet, many more innocent people - especially young blacks and Asians - are in jail in England, which has a police state proportional, in terms of population, to the United States (the United States holds 2.3 million people in prison, 25% of the world's prisoners).* What happened to Jordan Cunliffe shows strikingly how an abuse against minorities extends at last to everyone. how whites also are hurt by racism as a form of divide and rule, how Pastor Niemoller's statement first they came for the Communists and the jews and I did nothing, and at last they came for me, and there was no one left to protest, lives on.
The other speaker is Paddy Hill, as IRA member, part of the Birmingham 6, wrongly convicted of a bombing in England. He served six years but has been found not guilty on appeal and released. He is, as it were, the Communist in the Niemoller poem.
It is easy to take law frivolously, to go on about one's life, to think that the presumption of innocence is of no great importance and that it is better to throw away "criminals." It is not.
Tuesday 26 June @ Tabernacle, London
For ticket information, see here.
Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) is a grassroots Non for profit campaign made up of volunteers who have loved ones wrongly convicted under Joint Enterprise. JENGbA is supporting over 300 prisoners who are maintaining their innocence including men & women and sadly many, many children as young as 13. Our aim is to highlight the abuse of this law to convict large number of people regardless of their involvement in a crime. We demand that wrongful convictions are reviewed retrospectively. Please come and support JENGbA’s UpRISING. You will learn how our British Justice system is systematically and corruptly incriminating innocent people. Don’t stand by and do nothing as this can and will affect someone you know.
PADDY HILL – Member of the Birmingham 6. Falsely imprisoned for 17 years
JANET CUNLIFFE – Mother of Jordan Cunliffe – Imprisoned under the unjust joint enterprise law for a crime he did not commit or even see – He is Blind
ALL FUNDS RAISED WILL BE USED TO FIGHT MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE
7.15pm SHOW STARTS
* There are substantial economic motivations in the corruption of the law, the increase in the prison population and the privatization of prisons in both societies. "In Prisons, Privatization, Patronage," New York Times, June 22, 2012, here, Paul Krugman underlines the discoveries by New York Times reporters about the privatization of prisons, the brutalization of prisoners and the escape of some who need to be locked up in New Jersey. He traces the extraordinary role of Governor Christie, once a lobbyist for Community Education Centers, in these abuses. Krugman underlines that privatization of core state functions - for the US, the military as well as prisons and, he could have added, voting (consider the role of computerized voting on machines which left no paper trail and for which the companies refused to allow government and other experts to look at the programs in the 2004 Presidential election), for England, prisons - is merely a boondoggle, a collaboration of the state and large companies, in the absence of competition, to make more expensive and corrupt every public activity. The motive of the politicians is gaining some short-term revenues from selling off assets (or hiding the real numbers of troops involved in aggressions and escalations); the costs are often kicked down the road and hidden by smooth words.