Topic

autism

70 petitions

Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Governor Terry McAuliffe

Decriminalize Autism and Save Drew

Our son, Drew Harrison, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is currently serving three active years of a 50-year prison sentence. Drew’s Autism was not taken into consideration at trial or sentencing. We are petitioning Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. Drew reconnected with a woman he had dated in high school. The evening before inviting him to her apartment she shared her interest in BDSM, submissive sex. She told Drew that her boyfriend was too tired after work to please her sexually. Upon arrival she laid a blanket on the floor, she allowed him to massage her shoulders and feet, she showed him her semi-nude, erotic photos of herself and engaged in sexualized talk. In the bedroom he easily removed her shirt and pants. Drew gave the woman oral sex and put a finger in her vagina. When she told him to stop he stopped. The two of them texted and emailed back and forth hundreds of times post event. They even got together a few times. On one occasion they went to a bookstore where she pointed out an erotic BDSM book for Drew to buy. Six months after the evening in her apartment she reported to the police that the contact in her bedroom was nonconsensual. Those with ASD typically have a strike or two against them when entering a courtroom. The pace of questioning often exceeds their ability to process everything that is heard. Their high anxiety and repetitive statements can be mistaken as indicators of deception or guilt. Without an understanding of their unique way of processing information and their difficulty expressing anger appropriately a court can easily question credibility and reach a faulty conclusion.  Drew’s therapist testified that Drew has a strong desire to please, that he has learned to fake well in order to fit in. The judge interpreted this as our son’s ability to be deceitful and he used it as part of the reason for convicting Drew. He never asked the autism experts in the courtroom for clarification regarding Drew’s social and communication deficits.  In a letter presented to the judge Drew’s probation officer noted that Drew complied with all probation conditions for over two years. She stated that if this were a regular case without the appeal process she would request early release from probation. She added that Drew passed the state-issued polygraph without deception. Results were consistent with the not guilty plea Drew has maintained from the beginning.      The judge stated that he didn’t view Drew as a threat to the community or the woman. He emphasized that he was sending Drew to prison as a general deterrence to others because that is what the community would want him to do. Drew’s therapists are convinced that Drew is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. They warned the court that incarceration would be torture for our son. In prison Drew suffered a break down after abrupt medication changes and being moved from isolation into general population. To deaden his senses from loud clanging doors, the bright buzzing lights and the chatter of inmates Drew often wears ear plugs and wraps a shirt around his head. He struggles to navigate the unwritten rules of inmates. Drew lives in fear and overwhelm. He begs us, “Please get me out of here”. Prison visits are bittersweet. We are grateful to spend time with our son, but heartbroken as we see him deteriorate. We are asking Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. We ask for your support by signing this petition. My blog savedrew.com gives additional details and excerpts from transcripts. It shows the considerable reasonable doubt and injustice.  Thank you, Judy and John Harrison       

Judy Harrison
1,658 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to President of the United States, Donald Trump

NO EXTRADITION FOR LAURI LOVE!

10 Reasons why Lauri Love should not be extradited by Alexander and Sirkka Love On 16 September District Judge Nina Tempia ruled that Lauri should be extradited to the US for alleged hacking of computers of various US Government institutions. The decision came as a surprise and shock to us, and to Lauri’s legal team who had presented clear and compelling evidence to the contrary. Here are 10 reasons why we believe Lauri’s extradition is wrong and should be blocked. The Extradition Act is flawedThe 2003 Extradition Act was drawn up during Tony Blair’s administration and in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist atrocity to make it easier to extradite terrorists and other dangerous criminals to the US. The treaty and its application have been controversial from the start and are seen by many as unbalanced as US only needs to show “reasonable suspicion” rather than any evidence to request extradition. Questions have been raised by politicians of all persuasions as well as the general public. In 2012 the Home Affairs Select Committee acknowledged that there was a low level of public confidence in the legislation. Lauri is a UK citizenLauri is a UK citizen and his alleged crimes would have been committed while he lived in the UK. Many countries (for example, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland) do not extradite their own citizens because they affirm their constitutional rights. It also seems that few, if any, US citizens have been extradited to the UK for crimes committed while they were living in the US. Extradition is punishment before trialExtradition is a punishment in itself, and it punishes a person who has not been tried and found guilty. Because Lauri exercised his legal right to oppose extradition, he would be taken in chains to a plane and then placed on remand in a high-security prison. Lauri would be considered a flight risk so there would be no possibility of bail. This pre-trial detention could be for months and quite possibly even longer than Lauri would serve in prison if he were tried and convicted in the UK. It would deprive him of his family life (which is one of the basic human rights), his country and culture, and place him in detention because of suspicion of a non violent crime that noone claims he benefited from personally. Preparing a legal defence in the US would be very difficultLauri’s pre-trial treatment in the US would be unfair. He would cease to be entitled to legal aid and would have to fund his entire US legal defence on his own. Lauri’s ability to prepare his defence would be compromised because of his lack of access to information, computers and other means of communication. This disadvantage would not arise if he was in the UK where he would be allowed bail and he would be working within a system that he is familiar with. Lauri’s mental and physical health would deteriorateLauri’s physical and mental health needs would not met in the US. Lauri has been diagnosed with Autism & Aspergers Syndrome which makes him vulnerable to adverse reactions to change (for example, all his hair fell out when we moved house in 2000), and to depression. He has been suffering from depression since his mid-teens and at times he has been suicidal. Lauri’s physical health is poor – he suffers from severe eczema, frequent bacterial infections and asthma. These conditions would be exacerbated by the stress he would be under if he were taken to US and all that he would have to face there. Judge Tempia acknowledged these serious health concerns despite ruling to extradite Lauri. She did not dispute the medical evidence Lauri’s legal team offered to support his diagnoses. Lauri is at a high risk of suicideThere is a real danger of Lauri taking his own life if he is extradited to the US. The evidence given by a number of witnesses during the extradition hearing concluded that the treatment of mental health problems and suicidal feelings is woefully inadequate in US prisons, and that the methods used to deal with suicide risk are dangerously flawed. In 2012, Theresa May as Home Secretary decided that Gary McKinnon’s “extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him taking his own life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with his human rights”. Gary, like Lauri, has Aspergers and suffers from depression; the two cases are strikingly similar. Theresa May’s decision was applauded at the time – what has changed? The US prosecution is heavy handed and disproportionateLauri is facing not just one but three extradition requests which means that he can be tried in three different states. The Americans say this is because his alleged hacking involved computer servers in different locations. What it boils down to is that each judge could give him the longest possible sentence allowed, and they could be added together so that he could face decades in prison. The prospect of such a massive sentence would add to the pressure of plea bargaining and make Lauri forgo his right to a trial and plead guilty rather than risk spending a huge amount of time in a foreign prison. Lauri could spend decades in prisonBecause of the three separate trials and also due to more severe sentencing policy in the US, Lauri’s sentence would be totally disproportionate compared with the sentence that he would receive in the UK for the same crime. His legal team have calculated a potential maximum sentence of 99 years, effectively a life sentence. Justice would be better served in the UKLauri could be tried in the UK. A change was introduced to the Extradition Act in 2013 that allows the judge to rule that it would be in the interests of justice to try the person in the UK instead. Surely it is “in the interest of justice” that Lauri lives and faces the consequences of his alleged actions in front of a jury of his peers, in his home country where he can be supported through his trial and possible punishment by his family and friends. How would justice be served by Lauri returning from the States in a body bag? There is no public interest in extraditing LauriJudge Tempia’s concluding comment was that “there is a strong public interest that the United Kingdom should honour its extradition treaty obligations with other countries.” Looking at the controversy and the concerns expressed by politicians of all persuasions, the media and the general public, it seems more appropriate to conclude that there is an even stronger public interest in reviewing extradition obligations so that we arrive at a treaty that is fair and balanced, and fully takes into account the human rights of each and every person.   Amber Rudd orders Laurie Love's extradition/Death Sentence Lauri needs your support more than ever. Here is how you can help MORE than 100 MPs are calling on President Barack Obama to block the extradition of an autistic British man accused of hacking into US computers An autistic man accused of hacking into US government computers would be at "high risk" of killing himself if he is extradited to America Federal Bureau of Prisons: Special Housing Unit Review and Assessment http://thecrimereport.org/2015/03/16/2015-03-troubling-use-of-solitary-in-fed-prisons/ US authorities should be “thankful” a British hacker targeted them instead of terrorist A conversation with Lauri Love British activist and alleged hacker has told a court he fears he will take his own life if he is extradited to the United States .Father fears son will kill himself A hacker's fight against extradition AN alleged hacker battling extradition to the US claims he wants to reassert the sovereignty of the British justice system.  

Kristin Collins
1,343 supporters
Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Bob Steinburg, Bill Cook, Roy Cooper

"Kendall's Cameras" for NC Special Needs Classrooms

Kendall has autism and was physically and verbally abused, suspended, threatened with criminal prosecution and repeatedly mocked at school. Kendall now suffers from extreme anxiety and panic disorder.  She still suffers nightmares and meltdowns from the trauma she endured. Kendall's experience highlights the need for cameras in our special needs classrooms. Cameras will allow us to monitor over 200,000 special needs children and should be considered a protection for everyone. Kendall's story is not unique.  Some of our most vulnerable children are subjected to cruelties while they are at a place we should expect them to be safe. "Something is very wrong when our children are unsafe at school," said George Miller (D-CA).  We plan to meet with legislators to convince them that  "Kendall's Cameras" are something we need for our schools but we can't do this alone. Please watch our video above and sign this petition in support of not only Kendall but all of our children.  In 1998, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis estimated that 3 individuals with special needs die every week in US schools and Institutions due to abusive practices like restraint and seclusion. The Hartford Courant, which had requested the study, concluded that the actual toll could be three to ten times higher than estimated. Please check the update section for stories from other families to support our need for classroom cameras. 

Toni Kriss
2,845 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to U.S. Senate, Chris Smith, Maxine Waters, Michael F. Doyle, U.S. House of Representatives

Prevent Wandering Related Tragedies- Support Kevin & Avonte's Law for the Autism Community

Every special child deserves safety. Much to our dismay, after months of waiting and anticipation, Kevin and Avonte’s Law was not signed into law before the Senate’s last session of 2016. The bill is crucial for special needs families whose loved ones are prone to wandering. Each year the number of tragic, preventable wandering deaths rises - our community deserves safety!This bill, which is now back to square one in terms of the legislative process, aims to protect individuals with special needs from the dangers of wandering by allocating funds to train first responders and to provide parents with GPS tracking devices.How will Kevin and Avonte’s Law keep our children safe?This legislation is an extension of an existing law which protects Alzheimer patients prone to wandering. Kevin and Avonte’s Law will ensure schools and law enforcement agencies get the necessary funding needed to train first responders to deal with wandering incidents.The law will also make funding available for GPS tracking solutions, which many families must pay for out of pocket, to ensure wandering incidents don’t end in tragedy.Why didn’t the bill pass?Addressing privacy concerns, the bill underwent last minute changes. The new version of the bill allows the use of tracking devices for purposes other than locating people that have wandered, such as tracking people to prevent them from harming others. Also, it became clear that funds allocated under this law would deplete funding for existing community programs instead of allocating a new budget. The bill in its new wording had to go back to the Senate for reconsideration and did not pass. What can we do?   Share your support for Kevin and Avonte’s Law! Contact your representatives and urge them to support this necessary law to protect our citizens with special needs. Sign and share this petition, help spread the word, together our voices will be heard.

AngelSense - Protecting Children
13,742 supporters