Scott Hechinger Profile picture
Public defender. Imagining new ways to amplify perspective+story+narrative to end mass punishment & promote public health in its place.
Ella Sanders Profile picture Ed U. Caution Profile picture eDo Profile picture m rose Profile picture Liberal Cajun #Resist Profile picture 20 added to My Authors
25 Sep
“This is a case where, under the threat of death, a woman who had no prior experience with the criminal justice system pled guilty to a crime she didn’t commit. In fact, she pled guilty when no crime occurred at all.” The anatomy of a false confession:…
On July 19, 2005, at 4:15 p.m., Wilkerson entered a room at the Sheriff’s office & sat across from Sgt. Ricky Jones. "If, for whatever reason, you feel like you don’t want to talk to us just—I don’t want to talk to you. You ready to talk to an attorney, talk to an attorney.”
In response to his questions, Wilkerson told him she went to wake Tristan to feed him. She picked him up. The baby gasped and then collapsed. She called 911 and began CPR.

“That’s what I didn’t understand is why he just stopped breathing,” she told Sgt. Jones.
Read 18 tweets
23 Sep
Police cherrypick any increase in violence to scare the public into believing they’re necessary to prevent crime. But in doing so, they concede that they’re failing to prevent crime. So why do we keep paying them billions?
When crime is up, police blame every current or potential reform. When crime is down, police pat themselves on their backs for a job well done. When crime is both up and down, they do both at the same time. And the media is generally happy to transcribe their talking points.
I’m preparing for an interview on the “spike in crime” in NYC. And I’m looking at the NYPD’s own numbers. Violent crime is down at historic lows (close to 80% drop over last 27 years). And even just compared to last year: Rape, robbery, violent assault, grand larceny all down.
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep
I am sorry to inform you all that America is, in fact, not "exceptional."
Except for the facts that:
The United States has, by far, the highest incarceration rate in world.
Read 10 tweets
22 Sep
Abolish ICE. This man fought California wildfires while incarcerated. For pennies. Risked his life. And then when ready for release, prison guards reported him to ICE. Now caged. Facing deportation to Laos. His family fled as refugees when he was just…
Stay focused. Stay safe. ICE is back out in full force making arrests. You have rights when recording & documenting abuses by government. Pass it on.
From January to May, California prisons have transferred 500+ people into ICE custody. *This is a voluntary practice* that Governor @GavinNewsom can end today. Call the Gov's office at 916-445-2841 to demand #StopICEtransfers today.
Read 4 tweets
15 Sep
Taxpayers are paying $12 million to do the impossible: Make Breonna Taylor’s family whole. Taxpayers across the country invest billions *literally to pay for the fallout from police abuse, violence, murder.*…
The $300 million to settle NYPD lawsuits over the last five years, for example, could instead fund proven non-police violence interruption programs and summer youth employment in every neighborhood in NYC for the next 5 years.
The $327 million per year that NYC residents pay for police in schools with no impact on public safety, could instead fund full four-year scholarships for over 4000 students to attend NY state colleges.
Read 5 tweets
13 Sep
Praising the extrajudicial murder of a person who had not yet even been charged with a crime as governmental “retribution.” Perhaps the most dangerous words this vile tyrant has yet said.
Crime. No crime. Charged. Uncharged. Citizen. Or non-citizen. On US soil. Or not. By drone or by cops. Government shouldn’t be killing civilians even after conviction. But government killing of civilians w/o any process is authoritarian, illegal, & contrary to international law.
The US Torture Victim Protection Act contains a definition of extrajudicial killing: “Deliberated killing not authorized by a previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.” Image
Read 4 tweets
11 Sep
Imagine. You’re caged. Facing violence inside. Lost housing, employment, bills piling up. If you go to trial, it’ll be months if not years more jailed. And if you ultimately lose, a judge won’t be allowed to sentence less than 5 years. You’re offered probation. What would you do?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re innocent. Or stopped & searched unconstitutionally. Have a strong defense. Or yes, guilty. Between pretrial detention & mandatory minimums, the pressure to plead leads to guilty pleas & worse case outcomes than under otherwise same circumstances.
We often hear about the decision to plead “just to go home.” But if a person is offered a plea with additional time incarcerated—I.e. not time already served or probation—they’ll take it if it’s less than the terrifying mandatory minimum.
Read 5 tweets
10 Sep
There is a billboard now up in the heart of Times Square. Directly across from the NYPD station. With this message: “Hey NYPD. It’s us. NYC residents. The ones who pay your salary. “We paid $300 million to settle your lawsuits. You paid nothing. We need to talk.” Watch:
The $300 million to settle NYPD lawsuits over the last five years could instead fund proven non-police violence interruption programs and summer youth employment in every neighborhood in NYC for the next 5 years.
The $327 million per year that NYC residents pay for police in schools with no impact on public safety, could instead fund full four-year scholarships for over 4000 students to attend NY state colleges.
Read 6 tweets
10 Sep
“He pulled down their pants in public, exposing their genitals. Used his fingers to search for drugs inside their anal cavities. One man was “told to get on all fours while naked” before he was probed.” Lt. McCormack is now the 4th highest ranking in…
“The man shivered because he said McCormack’s hands were so cold on the man’s testicles. Serrano said he found it especially strange that McCormack was doing this as a deputy inspector, when most commanding officers began to spend more time behind a desk.”
“McCormack is part of an effort to dominate & publicly humiliate Black men, part of a legacy of mistreatment by law enforcement and citizen mobs dating back to Reconstruction. “It’s about power. It’s about the police demonstrating their dominance of the streets.”
Read 12 tweets
7 Sep
NYT w/ in-depth look at how people—they call them “inmates”—hurt each other in Alabama’s prisons bc of cellphones. Make only passing reference to conditions that lead to desperation. Give corrections the floor to suggest answer is *vastly more money to prisons & officer salary.* Image
Less than 2 months ago, the NYT wrote on a scathing report from *Trump’s DOJ* about horrific “atrocities” in Alabama’s prisons overseen by the same corrections head the NYT let spin tonight on the need for greater investment in “rehabilitation.”…
A man “who died had intracranial bleeding, nose & eye socket fractures & six teeth knocked out. Corrections officers who had brutalized him said he fell from a bunk bed.” But tonight the NYT gives Alamaba prisons space to sell the need for higher salaries for officers.
Read 6 tweets
5 Sep
In the noise of national news, you may have missed that Lake Charles, LA was devastated by Hurricane Laura. And the public defender office was destroyed. Records gone. Defenders now homeless. Scattered through the state. Literally looking for their clients. They need help. More: Image
Their plea: "In this case 'we have no office' is literally true. Something like 100,000 in furnishings, fixtures, computers, office supplies, files, & every thing you can imagine. Gone." There's a GoFundMe now set up to help impacted lawyers.…
This public defender office was a leader. When the pandemic began to rage in Louisiana, they were one of the first to seek humanitarian release for people caged pretrial over the strenuous objection of the DA.…
Read 5 tweets
1 Sep
Meet Lacie Dauzat. The only public defender advocating for the release of 18,000 people arrested each year in East Baton Rouge. Since the pandemic, she's successfully gained release of over 1000 people. "I am actually your typical Southern girl." This:…
"I love to hunt, fish, do anything outdoors. I grew up on a farm in Bordelonville, a very rural, country town w/ no sidewalks & no stoplights. Raised by my aunt & grandparents, taught to believe you get more flies with honey & you give the respect that you would want in return."
“I sit alone in a bleak concrete-walled room in the Prison of East Baton Rouge. It’s hot. No windows & only hard wooden benches. The ceiling is covered in mold. Only sounds I hear are from the desperate people arrested within the last 48 hours, locked in cages just outside.”
Read 25 tweets
30 Aug
“While in prison I was paid 20 cents/hr to help others w/ legal cases. Decades ago I spotted a legal issue that put a lot of people behind bars.” On Calvin Duncan’s 23rd try the Supreme Court took up non-unanimous juries. He won. His fight isn’t over.…
“When I was lying on my bunk in Angola prison, the maximum-security facility in Louisiana, my dream of coming back to Oregon sustained me. I missed the parks, the hiking trails and the friendly people.”
“In 1982, I was 19 years old & learning the welding trade at the Job Corps program at Mt. Hood. I was planning to join the military. But someone called an anonymous tip line in New Orleans, my hometown, & said that a “negro male” w/ my name had committed a murder the prior year.”
Read 15 tweets
28 Aug
Because if you support Trump, you support & enable white supremacy, authoritarianism, fascism, systemic violence against Black people, abuse of power, unprecedented corruption, misogyny, xenophobic human rights violations, global unrest, cruelty, deadly lies, impunity for violati
Also there is nothing more outraging to Ari than privileged white people having outrage expressed at them. And among other things more deserving of his outrage, the thing I remember most about him was him proudly defending Bush’s torture tactics.…
Read 4 tweets
27 Aug
In 2019, teens from Queens were given a chance to attend a pro sporting event many for the first time. On supervised release instead of jail. Brought by social workers. The NY Post derided this “crook coddling” for “baddies.” But here's how they depict a white supremacist killer: Image
The NY Post helped repeal bail reform to jail thousands more Black & Latino people through fearmongering & hate. Calling Black & Latino people accused of crimes “Punks, Criminals, Jailbirds, & Inmates who get sprung.” The hate & disdain worked.…
Fearmongering from the NY Posts of the world (looking at you @chicagotribune) isn’t just disdainful. It’s dangerous. Enables harsher laws, blocks smarter reforms, & in NY, strengthened the cynical effort to kill common sense criminal justice changes, passed democratically.
Read 5 tweets
26 Aug
NEWS: At this pivotal moment, Chicago Mayor @LoriLightfoot is inciting fear. Calling for more police. Referring to calls to "defund" police as no more than a "nice hashtag." Chicago is not a war zone. Residents are not enemies. 20+ community orgs call for:
"When Mayor Lightfoot first ran for office, she visited one of our events in Hyde Park where we were collecting donations for Maurice Granton Jr.'s family after he was killed by police. Where is that support now?" India Jackson. Good Kids Mad City: Image
“Our obsession w/ locking up Black & brown people in record numbers & oversaturating communities w/ cops, all while defunding schools, shuttering community hospitals, & depriving residents of needed resources is actually the problem." Tanya Watkins. From: Image
Read 12 tweets
21 Aug
Lori Loughlin gets two months in jail.

There’s a man caged in Prince George’s County, MD jail who pled 6 months ago to petty theft & *still hasn’t gotten his sentencing hearing.*

More from people jailed pretrial longer than she’ll serve
Lori Loughlin sentenced to 2 months.

I represented a man jailed pre-trial for 2 years on Rikers for low level drug sales to support his own drug habit.
I'm not upset Lori Loughlin was sentenced to “only” 2 months. Every moment caged in American prisons is horrific. As always, I'm upset that people who aren't rich, white, & connected (nearly everyone of millions currently caged) aren't treated with the same relative leniency.
Read 10 tweets
21 Aug
WOW. Talk about being called out on a fearmongering lie. NPR spent an hour on horrific conditions in PG County jail. Top prosecutor Aisha Braveboy, used her time to say "violent!" "public safety!" "strangulation!" Then a civil rights lawyer responded.…
"There is a person in the jail right now who has been held since mid-July on misdemeanor destruction of property & trespassing. The state's attorney (Aisha Braveboy) opposed him *even getting a bond hearing.* And he doesn't even have a bond hearing till September."
"There is another person in the PG County Jail who pled guilty to misdemeanor theft in February. And *is still there. Still hasn't had his sentencing hearing."
Read 7 tweets
21 Aug
🚨🚨🚨Cannot overstate significance of this. New Orleans just voted UNANIMOUSLY to pay the public defenders office the same amount as prosecutors. "That doesn't mean being equal, it means being able to do the job that we're called upon to do." A movement:…
Public defenders have been fighting for decades for basic funding in Louisiana. The state has been unwilling to do bare minimum. Relies on "user-pay"- fines/fees people already too poor to afford an attorney-to fund vast majority of public defense. Listen:
Meg is one of the public defenders who has been out on the frontlines for years screaming for basic fairness. She's seen her colleagues furloughed, especially now during COVID. She's seen the impact on thousands of people jailed w/o a lawyer. She's leading.
Read 5 tweets
20 Aug
“The sun rises over the houses. Abdi, a Somali man in his late 20s, is leaving his home on his way to work. He notices an SUV parked in front of his neighbor’s home.” A thread on your rights when documenting arrests & misconduct by law enforcement:
“When Andrea came outside, two men approached her. It was ICE.”
“If you witness ICE – or any law enforcement agents – making an
arrest in public, it is your right to film the interaction as long as you do not interfere with the arrest.”
Read 23 tweets
17 Aug
Out today: Children & families are being kidnapped & caged in hotels before being expelled from the US.

Out on Tuesday: A new animated know your rights film on how we can all document ICE arrests & hold them accountable.

A new addition to the campaign.
2 years ago, ACLU & Brooklyn Defender Services launched, an animated immigrant defense series written by lawyers & immigrant clients. This year, BDS teamed up w/ @witnessorg to launch a new video on how to document ICE arrests & abuses safely & ethically.
We Have Rights: When Documenting ICE Arrests will premier at 2pm EST on Tuesday, 8.18 on Facebook Live. The panel will feature friends & colleagues @ErikaAndiola of RAICES, @PaliMakam of Witness, & @NyasaHickey of Brooklyn Defender Services. I'm attending:
Read 9 tweets