Petition to Jerry Brown
Pass a Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights in California
California is close to passing a Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights that will guarantee comprehensive, common sense civil rights for survivors like me. In March of 2015, I was sexually assaulted by a man I was dating. When I tried to stop his unprotected advances, he forced himself on me. It’s hard to put into words exactly what one goes through after such a trauma. I think the best way to describe my experience is something akin to being on a roller coaster during an earthquake in the midst of a storm. I spent a year and a half lost in a sea of conflicting emotions, feeling like I had few options at my disposal. Legal action didn’t seem like an option- my case would have presented itself as "she-said-he-said"- and that silence filled me with shame and guilt as my assailant was free to attack another. I felt I had abandoned other potential casualties instead of doing whatever I could to halt future victimization. Not only had I felt silenced by my attacker, but after, I felt silenced by how few basic protections exist for someone like me. I'm now part of an organization called Rise, who worked to pass the first ever Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights at the federal level last year. We were successful but now states like California must enact these protections. Our legislation, AB1312 has already unanimously passed the state Assembly and Senate! Here's what it would accomplish if Governor Brown signs it into law: 1. The right to not have your rape kit destroyed before either 20 years or the statute of limitations has passed (whichever is longer).2. The right to be notified of your civil rights related to a sexual assault.3. The right to not be charged for your own rape kit examination.4. The right to access your own medical record related to a rape kit examination.5. The right to a copy of your own police report. Over forty states have backlogs for untested kits. Some states do not cover the full medical expenses of a kit, leaving survivors to pay their own way towards justice. Most states destroy rape kits before the statute of limitations for the crime has passed. The lack of these rights has inspired me to act. My story is not unique. I am still working hard every day to quiet the storm, calm the earthquake and hop off the roller coaster. I am still relearning how to live my best life. There are approximately 2.5 million survivors of rape and 8.6 million survivors of sexual violence other than rape living in California alone. That means there are roughly 11 million stories just like mine. 11 million Californians who are left to navigate a confusing and murky criminal justice system on their own- while at their most vulnerable. We are working to change that. We are working to better protect our civil rights and ensure that the criminal justice system can best support and protect our community, which sadly continues to grow. Let your voice be heard! Join me in telling Governor Brown to sign the California Sexual Assault Survivor's Bill of Rights- AB1312 If you live in California, please sign this petition, This is a crisis for 25 million survivors across America, and it's time for our legislators to do something about it.
Petition to Chuck Grassley, Bob Goodlatte, John Conyers, Dianne Feinstein, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, chuck schumer
Congress: Americans are Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Pass Civil Forfeiture Reform Now!
For over 35 years, I’ve run a dairy farm in rural Maryland. Through hard work, my wife and I built up a modest nest egg. But five years ago, the IRS seized our entire bank account—more than $60,000. In February 2012, two government agents came to my farm and told me they seized the account simply because my wife and I deposited cash in the bank in amounts under $10,000. I’m not a criminal, just a small-business owner who handles a lot of cash. We mainly sell milk at farmer’s markets, where customers usually pay in cash. My wife and I were never charged with a crime. But that didn’t stop the government from confiscating our hard-earned money. Thanks to “civil forfeiture,” the government can seize private property even if the owner hasn’t been convicted or charged with a crime. After years of fighting and with help from the Institute for Justice, I won back every single penny the IRS wrongfully took. But the civil forfeiture laws are still on the books and continue to harm thousands of ordinary Americans. In fact, just this week the Department of Justice announced that it was increasing the use of civil forfeiture to take property from Americans without convicting them of a crime.This needs to end, for good. Twenty civil rights organizations including the Institute for Justice, ACLU, and many others, have already called on Congress to pass reform, and now I'm hoping that you will join them. That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass three bills—the RESPECT Act, the DUE PROCESS, and the FAIR Act—and stop the feds from taking other Americans' hard earned money.
Petition to Connecticut Bar Examining Committee
Admit Dwayne Betts to the Connecticut Bar
Dwayne Betts paid his dues to society for stealing a car when he was 16 years old, serving 8 years in prison. Instead of returning to a life of crime, Dwayne went on to become an award-winning poet, graduated from Yale Law School, and passed the Connecticut bar exam. Sadly, the state bar has now delayed his admission based solely on a 20-year-old conviction. But if we don't allow people with criminal records to re-enter society after serving their terms (through employment, housing, education, or voting), how can we be surprised when they reoffend? As a fellow Yale graduate and a Commissioner for the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department, I know that what Dwayne has accomplished is no easy feat. He took advantage of every opportunity we give juvenile offenders to help them make positive choices. But instead of celebrating his accomplishments, he's being told he can't become a lawyer because of a mistake he made 20 years ago. Let's tell the Connecticut Bar that Dwayne's redemptive work should be rewarded, not punished. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/opinion/admit-this-ex-con-to-the-connecticut-bar.html (Photo Credit: Alex Brandon)
Petition to Utah Governor, Orrin Hatch, Mike Brown
Justice for Alex Wubbels
Alex Wubbels is an ER nurse from University Hospital in SLC, Utah who was arrested for following hospital policy and looking out for the rights of her patient. Let's get behind her for doing to right thing. This petition is to raise awareness of the dangers of front line staff in healthcare. Alex was simply following protocol and protecting her patient. She was stuck in a rock and a hard place and protected her patient. It is a situation I'm sure myself and other RNs have found themselves in at some level and at some point in their career. I can't speak for what the patient did before they got to me, I will treat them with respect and protect their rights until they give me reason not to (like put me in danger). While I am never an advocate for putting someone's livelihood at risk without due process, I do think Officer Payne needs to have a formal written disciplinary action placed in his permanent file. If it is found that it has been a trend of similar behaviors during his time on the force, then he should be stripped of his badge. Additionally, I believe a public apology should be given by him to Alex. Alex, if you read this, I am a nurse just like you, and I have your back! #justiceforalex #donoharm This petition will be sent to the Governor of Utah, the SLC Police Chief, and Orrin Hatch, Senator of Utah. http://www.sltrib.com/news/2017/08/31/utah-nurse-arrested-after-complying-with-hospital-policy-that-bars-taking-blood-from-unconscious-victim/
Petition to Kim Foxx, Bruce Rauner
New trial for an innocent man
Detective Richard Zuley may be most famous for his notorious interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, but he first learned his torture techniques in the interrogation rooms of Chicago. Now, this 30-year veteran of the Chicago PD is under investigation for using illegal methods to coerce confessions that have put several possibly innocent people behind bars. One of his cases has already been overturned, and a man who spent 23 years in prison is now finally free. But while officials slowly make their way through the pages of evidence against this corrupt cop, my friend Lee Harris -- another of Zuley’s many victims -- still wastes away in prison. My name is Robert. From 2000-2001, I shared a cell with Lee. We became good friends. Like a lot of people in prison, he would go on about how he was innocent and how he had been wrongly accused, but I never knew what to believe. However, when I received letters from the “witness” who put him away, apologizing for lying on the stand, I started digging: Lee’s conviction doesn’t add up. And now that I am on the outside, I am doing everything I can to get him a new trial so he can prove his innocence. I am asking Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to grant my friend Lee Harris a new trial, so he can prove his innocence. He shouldn’t spend one more day behind bars while the true criminal is allowed to walk free. At first, Lee collaborated with Detective Zuley to help him find the real killer in the crime he is doing time for. Facing public pressure to find the killer, they pressed Lee for information using both threats and rewards. In one instance, Zuley offered him a $20,000 reward, and in another, he threatened to stop providing protection for his family, exposing them to retaliation. When they couldn’t find the real killer, they turned on their informant and charged him with the crime. They had no murder weapon or evidence connecting Lee to the crime. Yet, even with all these legal missteps and the lack of evidence, they still threw Lee behind bars for 90 years. He remains in jail to this day for a crime I am sure he didn’t commit. And I am not the only one: Chicago attorney Kathleen Zellner, who has won more exonerations than any other lawyer in the US, is now taking a closer look at Harris’ conviction. It’s time to grant my friend Lee Harris a new trial and let true justice be served. We cannot continue to keep this man behind bars while the real killer could be walking the streets. Please sign my petition and help me fight for justice for Lee Harris.
Petition to Wayne La Pierre
Petition to NRA to Endorse and Lobby for the Michael's Law Amendment to 18 U.S.C. 926A
WHEREAS, the National Rifle Association ("NRA") has been attempting to effect "National Reciprocity" for gun permits for nearly a decade; and WHEREAS, the NRA has not, to date, been successful; and WHEREAS, even if such legislation were to successfully pass Congress and be signed into law by the president, we believe there is a good chance the law would be thrown out by the Supreme Court on 10th Amendment grounds, as using Federal power to coerce states that do not want to grant reciprocity into doing so violates "states' rights;" and WHEREAS, the Small Business in Transportation Coalition ("SBTC") has proposed an amendment to an existing Federal firearms-related statute (18 U.S.C. 926A; Interstate Transportation of Firearms) in furtherance of the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause, calling for the statute to be re-entitled: "Interstate Possession, Transportation and Carrying of Firearms;" and WHEREAS, this proposal is referred to as the "Michael's Law Amendment," in honor of an unarmed trucker named Michael Boeglin, who was shot and killed and burned in his truck on June 26, 2014 in Detroit; and WHEREAS, Americans travelling interstate are routinely the victim of gun violence with no means to protect themselves if the states they go to do not grant reciprocity, including, but not limited to, truckers like Randy Tomblin, Jerry Matson and most recently, a trucker shot today, January 27, 2016; and WHEREAS, this proposed law would apply to all Americans and would not require any Federal registration whatsoever, but would merely reaffirm the Second Amendment insofar as traveling from state-to-state is concerned and would preempt the ability of the states to make laws that apply to interstate transportation of-- and travelling with-- firearms; WHEREAS, the text of this proposed law, in its entirety, is as follows: 18 U.S. Code 926A; (Renamed): Interstate possession, transportation and carrying of firearms... (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of any Federal law or any Federal rule, a person who is an American citizen and is not otherwise prohibited by this chapter from possessing, carrying, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be entitled to carry on his person in a loaded, readily-accessible capacity and transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place in any state to any other place in a different state in accordance with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. (2) FEDERAL PREEMPTION The states are hereby preempted from regulating firearms that are transported into, out of, or through their state by a person who is an American citizen and is not a resident of that state, regardless of whether or not the firearm is carried in a loaded, readily-accessible capacity, pursuant to the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. NOW, LET IT HEREBY BE RESOLVED that we, the people of the United States of America, including, but not limited to, members of the SBTC and NRA, respectfully request the NRA leadership immediately embrace, endorse, and lobby for the passage of the SBTC's proposed MICHAEL'S LAW AMENDMENT in the interest of protecting all Americans' gun rights. (Click Here to join the Michael's Law Amendment group on Facebook).
Petition to Georgia Governor, Jackie Johnson, Assistant District Attorney, Chris Carr
Help us demand prosecution of the murderers of slain Army Veteran Taylor Justin Williams
As a mother, we plan out our child’s lives from the moment they’re born. Never did I imagine my son’s life would be so short-lived or ended so violently. Taylor was in the medical field saving lives, not taking them. He accomplished so much during his short time on this earth. In my heart, I feel strongly he had a lot more to accomplish. I miss him every minute of every day. This is a nightmare no mother would wish upon any other. To all involved in the murder of my son Taylor Justin Williams, I have this to say: You can’t imagine how devastating it is for any parent to receive a knock at the door to be told by police that their child is dead. To make this horrible situation even more overwhelming, I live 1800 miles away, therefore not allowing me to see for myself that Taylor really, truly was dead. My initial thought was maybe they made a mistake in the identification? When it partially sank in, I dropped to my knees crying hysterically for my baby. Please God no, not my boy. I begged and pleaded for God to give him back. Screaming throughout the house, “he’s mine and I want him back!” As family members start to fill the house and get the journey to Georgia in motion, I still wanted to keep the tiniest bit of hope that it wasn’t really my Taylor. My mind was in shock, I was vibrating unable to eat, drink or sleep. I just wanted to get to Georgia as fast as I could. When I finally was able to see my lifeless boy, who was always full of energy, I once again dropped to my knees. I heard a loud, guttural sound and was later told that it came from me. It’s true, my son is dead, gone forever never to hug me or tell me “love you” again. I beg God to take me too, please! We aren’t supposed to bury our children. I will NEVER FORGET, as no loving mother would. You took a part of my heart and soul the moment that knife plunged into my son’s body repeatedly causing fatal stab wounds. Nobody from your group tried to stop you nor did you try and control yourself from stabbing my unarmed son numerous times. Then when my son’s friend tried to pull his lifeless body away from you, you continued to stab his unarmed friend numerous times as the others looked on. As my son lay there lifeless and gurgling (as described by one of the four) I have to wonder did anyone feel remorse, sadness, empathy? I think about what was described to me, and it pains me every minute of every day. Was my son scared? What was he thinking? Did he say any last words? Was he sad to be torn from his life? I’m terribly sad because he died so brutally with no love around him, alone with nobody to care and hold him as he gurgled on his own blood. I’m dying inside as I write this. It’s shocking to realize how people are so desensitized to death and destruction. Their behavior and the legal system’s delay in taking action is very disturbing. Residents in the area should be fearful, this type of behavior demonstrates anger with no control and this could very easily happen again in my opinion. Taylor wasn’t the only one murdered that fateful night. I too was murdered, not physically but emotionally. I will admit I wanted you to murder me too so I could be with my son. You took an integral part of me. You changed my journey in life to one I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Let me remind you, very strongly, that I will never forget and I will fight for justice until it is served. This is now my full-time job. I love you my son, Taylor Justin Williams.#JusticeForTaylorWilliams - Nichole Williams, Grieving Mother
Petition to Governor Mary Fallin, The Honorable Mike Hunt, Speaker Charles McCall
Glynn Simmons has been languishing in an Oklahoma prison for 42 years, since being convicted of a robbery/murder in 1974. There is no evidence linking Glynn to the crime. The prosecutor in his case has expressed regrets over how he tried the case, and the victim’s own sister has written multiple letters to Glynn’s parole board begging for his release on the grounds that he is an innocent man. Several witnesses came forward at Glynn’s trial to testify that Glynn was not on the scene, or even in the state, at the time of the shooting. He was in Louisiana, where he’s from, and didn’t fly into Oklahoma until after the crime had been committed. But Glynn was still convicted, based on the testimony of one witness, a woman who was also shot and injured during the store robbery in question. She had already picked a handful of different suspects in as many as nine prior police line-ups, and the state had admitted that she was most likely confused and a “dead-end” witness. Glynn’s public defender failed him miserably, and made no move to disprove her testimony against him (this lawyer was later disbarred for his incompetence). Another eyewitness to the crime refused to point the finger at Glynn, and Glynn’s attorney did not bother to call her to the stand. Glynn was sentenced to death. Oklahoma's death penalty mechanism was later declared unconstitutional, and all death sentences were converted to Life. Had it not been for this decision, Glynn would be dead today. As it is, he has not been allowed to truly live. He was just 22 years old when he was convicted. He’s now over 60, and is still forced to beg parole board members and attorneys to reexamine the evidence. Despite this, he says he believes in the system and has hope that he will receive mercy before it’s too late. Society's awareness concerning wrongful convictions is evolving. Citizens are starting to realize that police and prosecutors, like all humans, make errors. What is absolutely stunning is that our state government seems to feel it has no duty to correct its errors --- even errors that cost citizens their freedom and their lives. Fighting for Glynn's freedom can be a first step we take toward true justice for all. Please take a moment to watch the video, which gives you a good sense of the staggering amount of evidence supporting his innocence. Then, please sign this petition calling on the Oklahoma County District Court and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater to grant Glynn Simmons’ application for post-conviction relief. For information on how you can get involved with this campaign, email Gwendolyn Fields at firstname.lastname@example.org. View video statements from former prosecutors and victim's sister expressing concern that Glynn was wrongfully convicted: KFOR News Video