Ohio Latest in Reform Trend to Prevent Wrongful Convictions

On April 5th Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signed a reform bill that will help reduce wrongful convictions and improve the fairness and accuracy of our criminal justice system. Among the measures included are safeguards to improve the eyewitness identification process by requiring police to use a more accurate protocol for administering live and photo lineups. The new protocol reflects the growing awareness that eyewitness evidence is fragile, and much like trace physical evidence must be collected very carefully, or it may become tainted.

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Condemnation of Arizona's anti-immigrant bill goes national

From the Restore Fairness blog.

onight, Arizona’s future hangs in the balance as Arizona Governor Jan Brewer decides whether to sign SB 1070, one of the harshest anti-immigrant bill in recent memory, into law. The bill will be forwarded to the Governor’s desk this evening and could ostensibly be signed into law by midnight tonight.

Ironically titled the “Safe Neighborhoods Bill”, the bill makes it mandatory for state and local police to stop anyone based on a “reasonable suspicion” of being undocumented, effectively mandating racial profiling and creating panic across communities. Immigration law is within the domain of the federal government, not local police, but the bill is egregious even in its application of due process, allowing for the arrest of people without a warrant including day laborers and those who hire them. It also makes it mandatory for local towns and cities to share information with the Department of Homeland Security and any citizen can press charges against local administrations who they believe are not be enforcing the law.

If passed into law SB 1070 will have enormous repercussions on the United States. Already, a senator in Ohio is looking for a co-sponsor to introduce a similar bill, and similar movements are expected across many states. Condemnation of the bill has reached massive proportions and a cohesive movement of immigration groups, agriculture, labor, police foundations and civil rights groups is emerging.

It started with Congressman Luis Gutierrez  calling on President Obama denouncing the Obama administration’s silence on the bill. Condemning deportations that have reached 1000 a day, half of which are originating in Ohio, he said-

Giving police such a broad mandate to arrest and book people “suspected” of looking a certain way isn’t just an invitation to racial profiling, it’s like waving a green flag and saying “gentlemen start your engines”… If we allow police-state tactics in Arizona to continue, the level of basic community security will erode and civil unrest could escalate. The President must act now to diffuse the Arizona panic and take control of a deteriorating situation that could become a national crisis.

The media reacted almost immediately. In a heated exchange with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, Alfredo Gutierrez, editor of the La Frontera Times, criticized the SB 1070 bill for taking immigration law enforcement away from the federal Government, referring to it as a “civil libertarian’s nightmare…You don’t have to throw out civil liberties because you have a major issue.”

Vigils, rallies and press conferences against the bill are reaching a fevered pitch. Advocacy groups across the country, such as Amnesty International, Reform Immigration For America, NDLON, and the National Immigration Forum are joining groups in Arizona including the Border Action Network, the Puente Movement and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in denouncing the bill. A group of people are fasting until the bill is vetoed. PSA’s and two hotlines have been introduced to educate people about the bill and dispel some of the fear and panic created by its introduction in communities. The National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) is organizing a press conference outside the Department of Homeland Security HQ in D.C. to call on Assistant Secretary John Morton to denounce the bill, coming on the heels of demands by civil rights groups to end the 287(g) and other programs that mandate local and state police to enforce federal immigration law. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is taking legal action against the bill if signed into law, arguing that it violates due process and Supreme Court precedents, urging Governor Brewer to recognize that-

… This law is an open invitation to racial discrimination, community discord, and naked clash between state and federal government. The law’s constitutional flaws will inevitably attract costly legal challenges, to the detriment of all Arizona.

Take urgent action today and ensure that Gov. Brewer vetoes SB 1070.

Learn. Share. Act. Go to restorefairness.org

Democrats Moving On Up in Ohio

So sayeth Quinnipiac:

Democrats are having a mini-surge in Ohio as two possible candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat have come from behind to pass the Republican contender, and Gov. Ted Strickland remains ahead of Republican challenger John Kasich, 43 - 38 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

And President Barack Obama's job approval is up from a negative 44 - 52 percent February 23 to an almost even 47 - 48 percent today, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University poll finds.

In the Senate race, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher leads Republican Rob Portman 41 - 37 percent, reversing a 40 - 37 percent Portman lead February 24. Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner edges Portman 38 - 37 percent, reversing a 40 - 35 percent Republican lead.


Strickland's reelection lead matches his 44 - 39 percent lead February 23. The Governor's 49 - 40 percent job approval and his 46 - 35 percent favorability rating both are statistically the same as his scores in February. There is no gender gap in the Governor's race with 44 percent of men and 42 percent of women backing Strickland.

There are still a large number of undecideds in this survey, and the Democrats are far from a lock from holding on to the state's Governorship or picking up the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring George Voinovich. That said, it's hard to spin this one as bad news for the Democrats, or good news for the Republicans, for that matter -- especially with the well-known GOP candidates failing to even crack the 40 percent mark. So much for the notion that the Democrats are dead in the water ahead of November...

Maps of Ohio Elections

A few maps of Ohio’s presidential elections are posted/linked below, for your enjoyment. Each map comes with some brief analysis.

Ohio, 2008 Presidential Election

(Note: Because the Times stopped updating before all absentee/provisional ballots were counted, this map does not fully reflect the actual results. I have corrected the discrepancy.)

Senator Barack Obama wins Ohio by 4.6%, a solid but unimpressive victory. Mr. Obama performs poorly in traditional Democratic areas – the northeast and even Cleveland – but offsets this with unique strength in Columbus and Cincinnati. Senator McCain runs strongly in the Republican base.


Ohio, 2004 Presidential Election

President George W. Bush wins Ohio by a close but decisive margin. Senator John Kerry does extremely well – winning Columbus and Cleveland by what his campaign wants – but Mr. Bush’s exurban strength famously overwhelms this strength. Nevertheless, Ohio votes more Democratic than the nation, the first time since 1972.


Ohio, 2000 Presidential Election

Vice President Al Gore gives up Ohio before election-day; Governor George W. Bush wins the state by 3.5%. Perhaps, campaign strategists later muse, they should not have abandoned the state.


Ohio, 1996 Presidential Election

Incumbent Bill Clinton cruises to a comfortable victory – the best Democratic performance since LBJ (and before that, FDR). The former Arkansas governor runs strong in the industrial northeast and the Appalachian southwest, while severely undercutting Senator Bob Dole’s margins in Republican territory. It’s a classic Democratic victory.


Ohio, 1992 Presidential Election

It’s an exact replica of the 1996 map – except this time the Democratic strongholds are a bit less blue, the Republican strongholds a bit more red, and Ross Perot is running strong. Governor Clinton wins by a mere 1.8%.



Numbers Game

Tell POTUS That This Is Our Moment

In case you are tired of making your own New Year's resolutions, President Obama would like you to help him set his. He is inviting Americans to tell him what we think the administration's priorities should be for 2010.

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