280 petitions

This petition won 1 day ago

Petition to CALIFORNIA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Michael Moore, Steve Soboroff, Gavin Newsom, Kamala D. Harris, Jackie Lacey

Free Nipsey Hussle Shooting Victim and Dismiss his Parole Violation

After just being released from a 20 year stint in prison, 56 year old Kerry Lathan was in Marathon Clothing Store being offered clothes by the store owner and rapper/community leader Nipsey Hussle as a welcome home gift to freshen his wardrobe prior to reconnecting with family and loved ones. Unfortunately moments later, he would be wounded during the shooting that killed Crenshaw's beloved Nipsey Hussle. After being treated at the hospital and released for his injuries, Mr. Lathan was arrested and taken into custody for violating his parole. One of the conditions of his parole was to avoid fraternizing with known gang members, and Nipsey was affiliated with Rollin' 60's Crips.Given the many barriers that individuals recently released from incarceration face upon reentering society, we should not be punishing those who are returning home to their communities with little choices left but to associate with friends and loved ones that welcome them with open arms. Regardless of affiliations, Mr. Lathan did not commit any crimes by being in the Marathon Clothing Store. And we should not equate Nipsey Hussle with just being a gang member -- as he was a philanthropist and beacon in Crenshaw that sought to bring positive change to his community and the people living in it. Kerry Lathan was merely in company of the same person that the Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore and Commissioner Steve Soboroff had agreed to meet with to find solutions for gang violence and LA youth. The day Nipsey was murdered, the Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff tweeted "I’m so very sad." But there can be no sadness surrounding the death of Nipsey, while also violating a person because Nipsey was trying to help. Kerry Lathan's parole violation should be dismissed immediately, and the California Department of Corrections -- along with the LAPD and Governor Gavin Newsom -- should continue to work with community leaders to find solutions for gang violence and also reassess how and why we violate our returning citizens during parole. We must end perpetual punishment now! This is what Neighborhood Nip would want.My name is Derick Bowers, and I am a senior leader at a national non-profit organization that provides holistic employment services for individuals returning from incarceration.

Derick Bowers
1,087 supporters
Update posted 22 hours ago

Petition to Andrew M. Cuomo, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Carl Heastie, Kevin S. Parker, Luis R. Sepúlveda, Jamaal T. Bailey, James F. Gaughran, John E. Brooks, Phillip M. Boyle, Andrew J Lanza, Jen Metzger, James G. Skoufis, Andrew S. Gounardes, Timothy M. Kennedy, James Sanders, Jr., Brian Benjamin, Gustavo Rivera, New York State House, New York State Senate


Sign this petition to tell the New York State legislature to pass the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act now. By signing, you can also help free Mr. William Blake from the torture of living in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. He has spent more than three decades locked in a 6’ x 8’ closet-sized cell. He is reportedly the longest-held prisoner kept in administrative solitary confinement in New York State. The Photograph During his 32-year prison stay, Mr. Blake has not spent one day outside of solitary confinement. He has gone years at a time without having a single visitor. After corresponding by mail with Mr. Blake for nearly two years, I was finally able to visit him this past January. He didn’t want me to visit him as a lawyer because we’d be separated by plexiglass and we’d have to talk through a small open window. He said he’d feel less human if I met him that way. So I visited him like anyone else and we were able to talk while seated across from each other at a stainless steel counter. The picture was taken in front of false backdrop at New York’s Great Meadows Maximum Security Correctional Facility. It is located near the Vermont border just outside of the Adirondack Park. There’s a story behind this picture, but I can’t go into it here and now. That’s me on the left. I’m an attorney, former judge, and an author. On the right and dressed in an extra-large (“X-L” was written in magic marker in large letters on the outside of his back collar) green prison jumpsuit, is Mr. William Blake. He showed me how he had to tear off the bottom hem of his jumpsuit by hand to shorten it so he would not trip over the extra length. I have met Mr. Blake a total of three times at Great Meadows just like any other visitor. At all times the prison personnel there have treated me professionally. I have witnessed their interaction with many other visitors. As far as I could tell, the staff acted professionally with them as well. Our Story In April of 2017, Mr. Blake first wrote me a letter and asked for pro-bono (free) legal help as an attorney. Later, I learned that he sent the letter to me at random along with about twenty other attorneys in New York State. There are about 177,000 lawyers in New York and I had not practiced a day of criminal law in my life. I knew nothing about Mr. Blake. Because I’m not a famous author, judge, or attorney, he knew nothing about me. Mr. Blake wrote me because he wanted my legal help to get him out of solitary confinement. He didn’t want my help to get out of prison. He wanted the opportunity to be placed with the community of prisoners in the general population. It is important to realize that Mr. Blake is not asking for a second chance. He’s asking for a first chance because he has not lived one day outside of solitary confinement since his sentencing in 1987. I wrote back to Mr. Blake and explained that I could not help him. As a solo lawyer, I was ill-equipped to devote the necessary manpower and resources on his behalf in a legal battle that would likely involve years of litigation and then years of appeals. I am the author of two thriller novels (Saving Babe Ruth and The Killdeer Connection) with a third, Caged to Kill, being released along with this petition. You can read more about Caged to Kill at this Amazon Link. You can read more about me at my blog at this link. While I couldn’t assist Mr. Blake in court, my conscience would not let me walk away. I thought that I could tell people about his plight via a story about a prisoner dealing with the effects of solitary confinement. I asked him to help me research the topic. Mr. Blake agreed, and we started a nearly two-year pen-pal relationship that helped me create my new novel. I hoped that Caged to Kill would help raise awareness of Mr. Blake’s situation. But I know when I write fiction, even inspired by true events, people always wonder if something is true or not. I didn’t want this to happen to Mr. Blake. I want to make sure that people see the true nature of the torture he deals with daily. When I learned that legislation was up for a vote in New York State that could gain his release from solitary, I decided I had to write this petition. The United Nations In 2015, the US government voted for, and the United Nations adopted, the Mandela Rules, which prohibit any person from being held in solitary beyond 15 days because it is torture. In 2013, the United Nations specifically cited the case of Mr. Blake as an example of torture. The UN Special Rapporteur concluded that the rights Mr. Blake “to be free from torture have been violated, and that the practice of solitary confinement in New York State violates the international obligations of the United States of America.” New York and other states currently place no limit on the total time a person can spend in solitary confinement. Colorado, for example, has implemented a 15-day limit on solitary and reduced the number of people in solitary from 1,500 to 18. The New York Remedy If the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act, (A. 2500 / S. 1623) is passed by the New York legislature and signed into law by Governor Cuomo, then a person in New York may be held in isolated confinement no more than 15 consecutive days nor 20 days total in any 60-day period. At these limits, a person must be released or diverted to the alternative residential rehabilitation units with more out-of-cell time, programs, and therapy. Also, no person 55 years or older can be held in solitary confinement. Mr. Blake, now 55 years old, has spent almost 32 years of his life in solitary confinement or its equivalent in New York State prisons. That’s going on 11,680 days or nearly 780 times greater than the length of time allowed for by the United Nations. He lives in a 6’ x 8’ box alone for 23 hours per day. For recreation, he’s allowed to roam outdoors exposed to the weather in an empty cage alone for an hour per day, take it or leave it. Up until three months ago, he had no furniture in his cell--just room for a cot and a combination toilet/sink. Three months ago, they added a small desk, but he still uses his solid bedframe for a desk while he sits on his mattress on the floor. Good luck finding publicly available photographs of his living arrangements because they don’t exist. I have some sketches and that’s it. Meals are delivered through a slot in the door. There is continuous noise from people in mental anguish and the odors from desperate men can be overwhelming. As revealed by his first letter to me, Mr. Blake believes that his only remedy is to sue New York State for constitutional violations in federal court to at least get the chance to live with other prisoners in the general population. I learned later that Mr. Blake, representing himself, had already sued in federal court for his unconstitutional confinement in 1992 for the early part of his solitary confinement. Little good it did him. The case didn’t reach trial until 2005. He spent thirteen years in solitary awaiting trial. Though he won the case and showed that he was not given fair reviews of his solitary status for years, the jury awarded him $1.00 in damages. They found that even though he had not been given fair reviews of his status, the prison officials would have confined him anyway in solitary if he had been given fair reviews. The important thing to note here is that the federal court is either incapable or unwilling to properly review Mr. Blake’s solitary confinement. If he were to sue today challenging his solitary confinement, would it be another thirteen years for him in solitary before his case would come to trail again? Most likely, yes. You can plainly see that there is no remedy in the courts for Mr. Blake. But there is a remedy in the court of public opinion. The law of large numbers is more powerful than any court of law. Please sign this petition and tell New York State to stop torturing Mr. Blake and those similarly situated. Yes, Mr. Blake killed a police officer in 1987 and wounded another officer. What he did was horrible and he knows it. In 2011, he publicly apologized for his actions in open court and has been sentenced to a life sentence in prison for the crimes. He was not sentenced to a life sentence in solitary confinement. In writing and researching Caged to Kill, I have spent two years reviewing his case history and thousands of pages of documents that relate to his time spent in prison. I have personally interviewed him. I don’t believe that any of us should spend a lifetime being perpetually defined by the worst day in our lives, if we are capable of changing. Quite frankly, I don’t believe Mr. Blake is the same angry young man that killed the police officer when he was twenty-three years of age. Please understand that inmates who have killed police officers live in the general prison population. By and large, killing a police officer or anyone else doesn’t land you in solitary. Even David Berkowitz, who came to be known as the serial killer “Son of Sam,” lives in the general population according to an April 2006 press release from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. In the 1970s, he shot and killed six victims, injured seven others, and pled guilty to setting multiple fires in New York City. While the standards for acceptable behavior should be automatically adjusted when we put someone in a cage alone, they are not necessarily lowered. If you treat someone like a beast, they should be expected to behave like a beast. Imagine how you’d feel if you were locked in an elevator-size room day in and day out. How would you behave? But disciplinary tickets are often issued without considering that the prisoner is locked in a cage. It’s like saying, “You need to behave well while we torture you.” Even so, over the course of the past 32 years, there have been long stretches where Mr. Blake hasn’t had a single ticket for an alleged disciplinary violation even while treated like a beast. In the past five years plus, he has been written up only once for an incident for which he received counseling. But they still won’t give him the opportunity to get out of the box and live with the prison community. His status in solitary is supposed to be reviewed regularly every 30 or 60 days, depending on the regulations in force at the time. But New York has missed many reviews over the past four years. In fact, the state may have missed more reviews than it has actually written during this time frame, according to Mr. Blake. Mr. Blake is not allowed to attend and participate in any solitary status reviews that may occur. He is not allowed to have legal counsel represent him at the reviews either. That’s a shame because I would be willing to represent him and even testify on his behalf. When he does receive a written solitary review, they talk about his original crime or his most recent ticket as if it happened yesterday, even if it was years or decades ago. At no time do they tell him what specific behavioral goals he needs to achieve in order to earn his release from solitary, despite repeated written requests by him. Once someone is placed in solitary, the goal automatically should be to release that person from solitary if at all possible. But such a system does not exist for Mr. Blake. It’s like the famous roach motel commercial for him: He can check into solitary, but he can’t check out. It makes no difference if he’s an angel or the devil himself while in solitary. No matter what, he’ll still find himself in solitary or be sentenced to more solitary for any infraction, real or fabricated, even if there’s no end to his solitary sentence to begin with. Madness? You bet. As you can see, there is no remedy for Mr. Blake currently in New York’s prison system. It’s amazing that Mr. Blake hasn’t killed himself, gone mad, or committed any acts of self-harm while he’s been held captive. Many inmates do these things when faced with this situation. Mr. Blake spends much of his time reading, writing letters, writing stories, and writing poetry. He has had a poem published along with several essays. If he gets out of solitary, he told me he’d like to offer a course in writing for other prisoners. Conclusion There are capital-punishment states and there are life-sentence states. New York is neither for William Blake and those like him. What we have currently in New York for Mr. Blake and others like him is a torture state. This situation is a crime against humanity. It also is a threat to our society and communities when we victimize these tortured prisoners and then release them into our neighborhoods. If and when inmates do finish their sentence while in solitary, they are released directly into the streets and dumped on your doorstep. Prison officials have said publicly that wouldn’t want to live next a person straight out of solitary. Only the deranged knowingly support a state government that has a policy of torture. We know it exists; now we have to make it stop. It’s our justice system and it’s up to all of us acting together stop this cruelty. All William Blake wants is the opportunity to live in the general prison population. If passed and signed into law, the HALT legislation will give him that opportunity because he’s 55 years old and will not be subject to solitary confinement under this proposed law. But there are many inmates who are trapped in solitary. In sum, there is no remedy in the system and there’s no remedy in the courts for Mr. Blake. If the legislation doesn’t pass, Mr. Blake and others like him will be tortured in solitary confinement for the rest of their lives. PLEASE HELP: (1) FIRST AND FOREMOST,  PLEASE BE A HERO AND SIGN THE PETITION TO END THE TORTURE OF WILLIAM BLAKE ALONG WITH OTHERS IN NEW YORK STATE AND BEYOND. TELL GOVERNOR CUOMO AND THE NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE TO GIVE MR. BLAKE AND OTHERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE IN THE GENERAL POPULATION BY PASSING THE LONG-TERM (HALT) SOLITARY CONFINEMENT ACT (A. 2500 / S. 1623), AS DRAFTED. (2) IF YOU'RE A READER, CONSIDER BUYING A COPY OF CAGED TO KILL. "MEDIUM" JUST NAMED IT AS THE "FIRST MUST READ OF 2019."  IF YOU ENJOY IT,  LEAVE A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE BOOK ON AMAZON TO HELP RAISE AWARENESS OF MR. BLAKE’S SITUATION AND THAT OF OTHERS TRAPPED IN SOLITARY. EVERY COPY HAS LINKS IN IT TO THIS PETITION AND READERS ARE SIGNING THE PETITION DAILY. YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BOOK AND PURCHASE IT HERE AT THIS AMAZON LINK. (3) COMMENT BELOW ABOUT WHY YOU SUPPORT THIS CAUSE SO WE CAN RETWEET YOUR COMMENTS TO RAISE MORE AWARENESS. (4) I HAVE STARTED A GOFUNDME CAMPAIGN TO HELP SUPPORT THE CAUSE. ANYTHING YOU CAN AFFORD, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, WILL HELP. CLICK THIS LINK TO GO TO THE GOFUNDME PAGE. (MONEY CONTRIBUTED TO CHANGE.ORG GOES TO CHANGE.ORG AND I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT). (5) EMAIL THIS TO YOUR FRIENDS OR, IF HAVE A MAILING LIST OF PEOPLE WHO MIGHT SUPPORT THE CAUSE, PLEASE CONSIDER EMAILING IT TO THEM.   THANK YOU FOR SIGNING THE PETITION AND FOR ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN DO.  Use the hastags: #HaltSolitary, #FreeBillyNow, #Justice, #CagedToKill

Tom Swyers
778 supporters
Update posted 1 day ago


Help Our Family Keep a Brutal Murderer Behind Bars

On July 25th, 1999, Brandy Southworth was brutally murdered by Andrew Beckman. Brandy was 19 years old at the time, and she had a 6-month old son.That day we lost a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and friend. her beautiful 6-month old son lost his mother. Brandy was a beautiful, passionate young woman and a loving mother. The world suffered a great loss once she was taken from us.Andrew Beckman made a choice, then planned the murder of the mother of his child. This was proven in court, and the key piece of evidence of the premeditation was a letter he wrote to a friend after he was arrested. He showed no remorse, and stated he made a choice to kill her because she was turning his friends against him and he was facing jail time due to non-payment of child support.On July 25th, 1999, he dressed in all black clothing, and came to her home with a butcher knife. He cowardly lied in wait until she was home alone with her son. Brandy was a small, petite woman. Physically, she had no chance of defending herself from the 44 severe wounds inflicted upon her with this large knife. She was brutally murdered, and her son was left alone.Andrew Beckman showed no regard for life, nor has he shown remorse. He has a parole hearing in June, 2019. Please sign this petition to show your support for the parole board to deny his parole and grant maximum continuance, which means he would not be eligible for parole again for 10 years.This petition and the signatures will be given to the parole board prior to his parole hearing. We hope this show of support will add weight to their decision along with the photos and impact statements being provided by family and friends.Andrew Beckman will only be 41-years old this June. He is young enough to have the ability to do this again. Please help us protect society from this evil monster.

Lori Gilbert
3,883 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Eric Greitens

#SpareRussell a painful death - stay his execution

The Missouri Supreme Court has scheduled Russell Bucklew to be executed on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. His previous execution date in 2014 was stayed by the United States Supreme Court because of his rare health condition that could cause him great pain during the execution process. Russell faces a heightened risk of a botched execution due to medical condition and Missouri's shady source of drugs. Sign this petition to ask Governor Greitens to show mercy and spare Russell a painful, gruesome death. Russell's medical condition, cavernous hemangioma, causes weakened and malformed blood vessels. During the execution process, tumors in his nose and throat could rupture and bleed. And because of his condition, lethal injection drugs may not circulate properly. Anesthesia could be rendered ineffective, and he could choke and slowly bleed to death. The U.S. Supreme Court already found his medical condition reason to stay his execution in 2014. Today, Russell continues to suffer from this same condition. Carrying out this death sentence would be inhumane, especially in the context of many other recent botched executions around the country.  Sign this petition now to ask Governor Greitens to stay Russell's execution. Russell was convicted and sentenced to death by a Boone County jury in 1997 for killing a romantic rival. He has been in prison for two decades now, and an inhumane execution will not restore or undo the harm he caused so long ago.   We do not ask that he be exempt from accountability for his crimes - we only ask that Missouri avoid its own horrific display of how the state can use its power to take life so ineffectively and inhumanely. Our justice system, and particularly our response to violence, fails to heal our communities. We need a response to crime that does not perpetuate the cycle of violence. The death penalty is rife with errors and inconsistencies, fails to deter crime, and has a steep cost in not only financial but human terms. Death is not justice, and we should not execute this man. EDIT: In light of the recent Buzzfeed investigation revealing that Missouri's source of lethal injection drugs is a backwater, shady pharmacy with multiple citations and lawsuits against it, we must stop this execution.   As BuzzFeed found, "Foundation Care, a 14-year-old pharmacy based in the suburbs of St. Louis that has been repeatedly found to engage in hazardous pharmaceutical procedures and whose cofounder has been been accused of regularly ordering prescription medications for himself without a doctor’s prescription... Foundation Care is what is known as a compounding pharmacy, one that mixes specialty drugs that are not readily available on the market. These pharmacies are more loosely regulated than traditional manufacturers, and slipshod practices at some of them have led to tainted drugs and deadly disease outbreaks." Foundation Care has also had multiple lawsuits from employees, one of which is ongoing and alleges that "Foundation Care violated state or federal regulations by reselling drugs returned by patients, purposefully omitting the names of ingredients in drugs it prepared, and failing to notify other states about a $300,000 settlement with Kansas over allegations of Medicaid fraud. The suit also accuses one of the pharmacy’s founders of 'regularly and frequently' ordering prescription medications for himself without a prescription, a crime that carries up to a year behind bars." Learn more about Russell, Missouri, and the broken death penalty at our website:

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
12,022 supporters