best. dog shaming. ever.
"“The jury has the right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” And it remains entirely legal for a jury to acquit, regardless of the evidence, as a means of resisting unjust laws and sentencing. Juries have nullified to protest injustices throughout American history—in defense of the Boston Tea Party, against the Fugitive Slave Act, against Prohibition.
Despite this proud tradition, nullification has been a well-kept secret since 1895, when the Supreme Court ruled that while juries had the right to nullify, judges were not required to inform them of this power. “
Whenever you see someone posting on social media about having jury duty, send them information on juror nullification. Its a very important right we have that can be used to resist the police state and the prison industrial complex.
On June 21st, I broke my ankle. Like a lot of people, I live hand to mouth and have no insurance. The hospital and doctor visits are expensive. Medical devices are expensive. Cabs to/from my medical visits are expensive. Losing wages while I can’t work is expensive. Life without the mobility to do all the things I used to do to have a decent quality of life is expensive. Asking for help is depressing as fuck, and I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have to.
What I need MOST is money. If you’d like to donate, click here.
I also need mobility. If you are in NYC and have a car and time (usually daytime mornings, the next of which is 7/3 around 9am-noon) to ferry me to doctor’s offices, feel free to shoot me a message. If you have a wheelchair you can loan me, that would make it easier for me to leave my home.
Summer has hit NYC and my AC is broken. This year, I can’t leave to go work out of comfy coffeeshops and libraries. The windows in my space won’t accommodate window units, so I need a standalone AC. If you can loan or donate one, it’s going to make a huge difference.(A friend offered to drop one off tonight, 7/1, but I need 2 strong people to get it up too-many stairs.)
That and some other items are on my Amazon wishlist.
Here’s something else you can ask people for to get mobility: sign up for über - you’ll get a promo code to send to friends, and when they sign up you get credits toward free rides. The only hitch in this plan is that not all cars are connected to getting paid directly thru uber, so I’m not sure if you can apply the credit to all rides. Still — worth looking into and could get you some free transportation.
I have both a line from a Walt Whitman poem and a gryphon tattooed on me (separate tattoos even) so this speaks to me!
Yesterday RedUP members Emma Caterine and Sur Madam spoke at a press conference/rally at New York City Hall and testified at the City Council’s Public Safety hearing on ensuring access to condoms through comprehensive, statewide legislation that would ban the use of condoms as evidence in ALL 14 prostitution related offenses in New York State. Look how badass it is when sex workers speak truth to power! (and read about what’s happening with the legislation in this New York Observer article)
Canada’s proposed bill to (re)criminalise sex work
In December 2013, Canada’s Supreme Court struck down three criminal codes affecting sex workers’ ability to advertise and work legally and safely.
The Canadian Justice Minister Peter MacKay claims it’s “uniquely Canadian”/”the Canadian model”, but it’s effectively the same End Demand crap as elsewhere: it ignores the rights of sex workers, is based on shoddy research, and gives police discretion to act against sex workers. They didn’t even warn the press about it.
Pivot Legal also has a great piece summarising the bill, breaking down what’s different from the previous Bedford law, provision by provision.
Today’s must read.
Earlier this month, on May 12, the NYPD banned the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution in three misdemeanor prostitution offenses in New York City. Recognizing that this is not enough, the Access to Condoms Coalition (of which Red Umbrella Project is a founding Executive Committee member) has been working with the New York City Council to introduce a resolution in support of comprehensive, statewide legislation that would ban the use of condoms as evidence in all 14 types of prostitution offenses, not just three. This afternoon, Councilmembers Jumaane D. Williams and Carlos Menchaca introduction this resolution.
RedUP Community Organizer Emma Caterine testified at the City Council briefing this morning about why comprehensive legislation is key, and she told this story:
There is an unfortunately large number of cases that rest on misconceptions driven by practices such as using condoms as evidence in promoting, soliciting, and trafficking prostitution offenses. In the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts (HTIC) in Brooklyn and Queens, the courts handle the misdemeanor offenses that the new NYPD directive covers for banning the use of condoms as evidence. But many of the defendants in this court were originally under different, more severe charges such as promoting and trafficking which is why the new NYPD directive is not sufficient to protect the health of all New Yorkers.
Condoms are being used as evidence of promoting, soliciting, or trafficking for arrests and later being dropped to charges prostitution and loitering: this wastes the resources of the court processing innocent people who they will inevitably dismiss the charges of anyways. I recently saw a case involving a woman accused of trafficking that highlights this problem. The defendant, whom I’ll refer to as Ms. Zheng, was continually pressed by the District Attorney’s office to accept a plea that included a forfeiture of $8000 even after the evidence against Zheng was insufficient to prosecute her for trafficking and her charge was dropped to operating a massage parlor without a license and moved to the HTIC. Why did it get moved there? Because Zheng is what is referred to as a straw owner, a person who may even be trafficked themselves who is written as the owner of property to protect the person actually committing the trafficking. In Zheng’s case, condoms were used as evidence to make the case that she was a trafficker. Not receipts in her name, not proof that she made money from the massage parlor that she supposedly owned, but condoms. And even after it was moved to the HTIC the DA’s office continued to push for their original plea. Luckily the judge immediately saw through this paltry rubbish the DA’s office had the audacity to call evidence and gave the woman an adjournment for contemplation of dismissal the next week.
Condoms are part of the lifeline that people in the sex trades have to maintain some control of their lives. The only way to preserve this lifeline is to ban the use of condoms as evidence absolutely, by a state law not at the mercy of the whims of whichever police commissioner currently occupies the position. Incomplete bans like the recent NYPD directive may protect some but will also serve to encourage NYPD to profile those doing sex work as pimps, johns, and traffickers so they can use the most evidence possible.
Maybe we should start a petition demanding that all future articles about the access to condoms bill feature a picture of a NYC CONDOM CAKE instead of the usual stock images? They even have the fondant shaped around the rolled up cake condom. CAKE CONDOM. That is all.