Scott Hechinger Profile picture
Civil rights attorney. Longtime public defender. Dad. Executive Director, Zealous. Fighting everyday to share the truth about public health & safety.
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May 11 10 tweets 4 min read
Wow. Fiona Apple is a real one. Watch this video. Calling for donations to bail out Black mothers for Mother’s Day. Her fans already came through w donations & spreading the word. Over $30k! Let’s “fetch the bolt cutters” & support even more. I just gave.
Two years ago, Fiona Apple popped up on a zoom call to get trained by local organizers to Court watch. Dedicated ever since. Her work has led to freedom, lawsuits, accountability.

The stories all here in this short video. She wrote & performed the score:
Mar 18 11 tweets 4 min read
“No judge has ever lost their job setting bail on someone.”

A NYC judge whispered that. To a public defender. Before depriving their destitute client of freedom. This happens every day. Judges are intimidated to throw poor people in cages.

Thread on a history of intimidation: Image Public defenders @elizaorlins & @APetrigh tell about the open secret of "justice" throughout the country People are deprived of liberty, not based on merit. But judicial fear of negative press.

Story is paywalled. So Im transcribing it…
Feb 17 12 tweets 4 min read
How copaganda works. Police, prosecutor, & prison interests use media to exaggerate & lie about "sensational" cases. Amplify them on repeat. Create the *perception* that "crime" or "migrants" are a "Crisis!"

Perpetual anger/fear buys votes & public opinion. Facts be damned. Image How copaganda works. Police release a highly edited video that doesn't include their unprovoked, violent, & unjustified attack on a migrant. Manufactured "outcry" ensues. Lawmakers call for sweeping policy changes. New video later released. It's too late. Profound damage done. Image
Dec 4, 2023 17 tweets 5 min read
An interesting story for you. Was catching up w/ a friend at coffeeshop. The mother of her friend walked by & joined us briefly. She’s from Chicago. She told us a story about talking to a Chicago police officer. Thanking him for his service.

What he told her will surprise you. As quick background, she is a white woman. In her 60s. Well off. Grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Now downtown. Forever Dem. Supported the end of cash bail. But is “fed up” w/ “all the violence.” Thinks “something has to be done.”

She saw a cop the other day & went up to him.
Sep 18, 2023 9 tweets 3 min read
Extraordinary work again from @TeenVogue -- the best justice journalism outlet in the country. On the day that cash bail is finally eliminated in Illinois, they release a critical explainer on "Copaganda."

How to identify & respond to lies & fearmongering about safety. Watch: Must watch. The week that cash bail is finally eliminated in Illinois, local experts debunk harmful myths that the media peddles about bail reform. In this @TeenVogue video explainer.

"This fear has been built up & stoked by media misinformation. A refrain. A scapegoat " Watch:
Aug 4, 2023 9 tweets 3 min read
Teen Vogue out again w/ the best in political commentary, justice journalism & truth. A compelling & easily digestible explainer on "Abolition."

New vision of safety: "If policing prosecution & incarceration created safety, we'd be the safest country in the world." Watch. Learn: When people hear the word "abolition" they think 'crazy leftist.' 'Idealistic.'

In reality: "We're the clear eyed ones. We have the whole history of the world to let us know what were doing now is not sustainable. We want a world where violence isn't the norm." Part 2:
Aug 1, 2023 11 tweets 5 min read
An important story to share. With a conservative Supreme Court for decades to come, state judges are more important & powerful than ever before.We should all care about state court decisions.

But right now, NY judges are fighting against any scrutiny. Calling it "intimidation." As a public defender, even judges would admit the outsized media influence on their decisionmaking. "What if I end up on the cover of NY Post?" So theyd condemn people to Rikers.

But soon as researchers began studying their behavior, judges attacked it as "dangerous." More: Image
Jul 27, 2023 9 tweets 3 min read
🚨NEWS: Congresswoman Cori Bush (@CoriBush) just announced she’s introducing legislation to end solitary confinement. This is momentous.

Ending torture. Enhancing safety. Bringing the US in line w/ the rest of the world. The End Solitary Confinement Act.

Read on for more info: The End Solitary Confinement Act does 4 things: 1) End all forms of solitary 2) Ensure that all separation/alternatives to solitary, regardless of what they are called, are the opposite of solitary 3) Enhance due process protections & 4) Create oversight & enforcement mechanisms. Image
Jun 25, 2023 10 tweets 2 min read
Across the country, prosecutors are charging people struggling w/ substance use for *murder* when their friends or family members accidentally overdose.

“Help! My friend’s overdosing. Call 911.” “You’re under arrest for murder in the first degree.”… So many horrifically tragic examples. The cruelty of prosecutors & lawmakers is obscene:

A 24-year-old in Oklahoma who delivered fentanyl to a friend’s apartment and warned “everyone to be careful” before his friend licked the empty fentanyl bag and died of an overdose.
Jun 16, 2023 5 tweets 4 min read
Teen Vogue out again with the best in political commentary, justice journalism, & truth. A compelling & easily digestible explainer on community Violence Interruption. "It's foolish to believe police can stop violence. They respond. Not prevent."

What is it? Watch and learn: When I tell people there's a different way-even for violence-than police, I get eye rolls. You don't have to imagine different.

Part 2 of the extraordinary @TeenVogue and @truthout
explainer on community "Violence Interruption."
Jun 1, 2023 18 tweets 5 min read
26 yrs ago. A 16 y/o boy (left) was sentenced to life w/o parole. Everyone agrees he didn't pull the trigger or intend to hurt anyone. He's a 42 year old man now (right w/ dad). Today he's coming home. Bc of a law called "good time." One of the lucky ones. I'll explain. Thread: ImageImage Michigan, like every other state, had some form of earned time off or “good time” until 1998–when Yusef was sentenced. After 1998, Michigan adopted 100% Truth in Sentencing. Removed any credit for positive behavior, programming, education.

Some of Yusef's art: Image
Jun 1, 2023 4 tweets 1 min read
This is insane. Rikers just unapologetically announcing they’ll no longer notify media when people they’re caging die. “I think it’s part of a series of attempts to isolate the jails from scrutiny to control the narrative,” said Kayla Simpson, staff attorney with the Prisoners’ Rights Project at The Legal Aid Society.
May 29, 2023 7 tweets 2 min read
Compared to historic crime lows just prior to COVID, there wasn’t a single locality in the country—red, blue, or purple—that didn’t see significant short term crime increases. Somehow, NYC, Chicago, & LA were singled out. Now crime dropping significantly. Where are the stories? Every person hurt is one too many which is why we need to look at facts and what they actually say.
May 27, 2023 10 tweets 5 min read
This misleading tactic of citing "arrest" data to influence policy happens everywhere. Chicago Sheriff Tom Dart just did it on electronic monitoring. Claims 129 people arrested running errands. No info on what arrests for, or how cases resolved. Chicago Sun Times gobbled it up. Politicians like Chicago's Sheriff Tom Dart are able to lie about "arrest data." It works. Says 129 arrested. Next day: Chicago Sun Times Ed board:

"Eliminate modest changes allowing people to leave their home twice a week to run necessary errands."… Image
May 27, 2023 16 tweets 4 min read
My newest op-ed is out. In it, I crunched some numbers. We hear all the time from police & prosecutors about "felony arrests" to get harsher policies passed. But what actually happens to felony arrests?

Over 80% of them are dismissed. A thread w/ facts:… As a public defender in Brooklyn for nearly 10 years, I saw how felony arrests were routinely overcharged by police & prosecutors, leading to dismissals and pleas to lesser charges or simple infractions.

Meanwhile, I saw how policies were being decided based on those same cases.
May 25, 2023 6 tweets 3 min read
122,840. This is how many people are trapped in solitary confinement in the U.S. for 22 or more hours on any given day. Let that sink in. A new report just came out. That finally assessed the total numbers of people the US tortures in solitary. A short thread: Solitary Watch & Unlock the Box just issued a new groundbreaking report that finally clarified the numbers of those caged in solitary confinement conditions the international community classifies as torture. More than major cities.

Read the full report:… Image
May 22, 2023 5 tweets 3 min read
Nikki Haley is out with a disgusting, racist, lie-filled, dangerous, fearmongering ad. Says: "We're going to make sure the blue knows we have their backs. We're going to make sure the criminals know we have their number."

A thread with some numbers from: Image As of 2023, Black people are 2.9 times more likely to be killed by police than white people in the United States.

From a live tracker at Image
May 21, 2023 5 tweets 3 min read
Teen Vogue out again with the best in political commentary, justice journalism, & truth. A compelling & easily digestible explainer on Restorative Justice.

What is it? How does it hold people accountable, heal trauma, & prevent any future violence. Watch and learn: Part 2 of the extraordinary @TeenVogue explainer on "Restorative Justice." When I tell people there's a different way-even for violence-than prison, I get eye rolls. You don't have to imagine different.

Over 90% of survivors prefer restorative justice when they know about it:
May 14, 2023 9 tweets 2 min read
Daniel Penny charged w/ 2d degree manslaughter for killing Jordan Neely. Class C violent felony. Min 3.5 yrs. Max 15. For context, a list of most common C-violent charges I saw as a public defender:

1. Representing young Black kids for possession of a gun (no use or violence). 2. Representing desperate people for petty theft of property out of building vestibules. Burglary in the Second Degree. Class C violent felony. Min. 3.5 yrs. Max 15.
Apr 26, 2023 14 tweets 3 min read
Yesterday, NYT published a dangerous article. Disparaged prosecutors fundamental duty to disclose evidence as simply "helping defense lawyers" & hurting prosecutors. 4 years ago, the NYT Editorial Board wrote one of the most powerful arguments in support of this duty. A thread: Up until 4 years ago, NY had among the most horrific evidence ("discovery") laws in country. Allowed prosecutors to withhold evidence till day of trial. Texas & nearly all red states far more progressive.

The NYT sounded the alarm. The law changed. Here is what they said then: Image
Apr 22, 2023 5 tweets 2 min read
None of this is funny. Musk has purposefully destroyed one of the most effective tools of local movements & advocates to be heard & connect with journalists, decision makers, & those with power to amplify critical messages and perspectives. Yea. Right.