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Articles by Gary Hunter

Affluenza Epidemic Rampant in Our Nation’s Criminal Justice System

by Gary Hunter

Af-flu-en-za /n. <L. affluentia, see AFFLUENCE + <LL. Influens, see INFLUENCE/: an acute and infectious disease caused by greed and favoritism in the judicial system and characterized by preferential treatment and lenient sentences for wealthy offenders.

 Following his testimony in the criminal prosecution of Ethan Couch, a Texas teenager who killed four people and injured two others while driving drunk, psychologist G. Dick Miller said, “I wish I hadn’t used that term. Everyone seems to have clipped onto it. We used to call these people spoiled brats.”s corruptive as cancer and more lethal than leukemia, affluenza rots the very fabric of our nation’s judicial system. Its victims number in the millions each year while courts, prosecutors and corrections officials help to fuel the festering malady. We have entered into an era that one journalist has called the “total moral surrender” of our criminal justice system, also known as the age of affluenza.

Couch was initially sentenced to probation, resulting in an eruption of public outrage. But that outrage is overshadowed by other examples where the wealthy have committed crimes and escaped serious punishment, as well as rampant, unrestrained corruption on the corporate level that likewise results in ...

Denver Sheriff’s Deputy Accused of Ignoring and Instigating Prisoner Attacks

by Gary Hunter

Video surveillance cameras captured jail guard Gaynel Rumer walking briskly past a cell where a prisoner was being beaten and tortured without ever looking inside. According to a lawsuit filed by Jamal Hunter the sheriff’s deputy actually encouraged the attack because he did not like the way Hunter would tease him. Several prisoners testified that they listened to Hunter scream until he lost consciousness as he was beaten and had his genitals scalded with hot water. Some who testified say they are still haunted by Hunter’s screams of agony.

According to Hunter’s suit he lived on a cell block controlled by gang members who brewed illegal alcohol and dealt in various other illicit activities. Hunter was singled out for retaliation because he supposedly snitched on his attackers and talked about them behind their backs. Other cell block residents say that Rumer often smelled of alcohol and would share personal information about other prisoners with the gang members. According to testimony, when Rumer did not initiate conflicts between prisoners on the block he would often ignore them and let combatants fight out their differences.

Rumer denies all allegations against him. According to his attorney Thomas Rice, “The Denver ...

California Health Care Facility Found Deficient and Unconstitutional

In July 2013, at a cost of $840 million, the California Health Care Facility (CHCF) opened its doors for the purpose of providing care for over 1,800 prisoners. Less than a year later, in February 2014, a court-appointed overseer halted admissions citing unsanitary conditions and deficient medical care.

The ...

Seventh Circuit: Jailhouse Lawyer’s Help No Reason to Deny Appointment of Counsel

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court ruling that denied appointment of counsel to a prisoner because he received legal help from another prisoner.

Ladell Henderson had a fifth grade education and had been diagnosed with a low IQ when he filed suit against ...

Illinois: Exonerated Prisoner Calls $80,000 Award a Travesty, Retrial Ordered

Nathson E. Fields spent 18 years in prison due to a conveniently “lost” file that would have cleared him. Fields was a member of the El Rukn street gang when he was convicted of a double homicide in 1986. After a dozen years on death row and another six in ...

Destined to Fail: the Negative Effect of Collateral Consequence Laws

Incarceration is intended as a deterrent to crime. But at least one report indicates that the opposite may be true. Dr. Tracy WP Sohoni of the University of Maryland received a federal grant to study the formal restrictions placed on a person as a result of being arrested and/or ...

Federal Guard Has Sex with Coworkers and Impregnated by Prisoner

Nancy Gonzalez was a guard at New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) when she became pregnant with a prisoner’s baby. The father Ronell Wilson was convicted in 2006, of the point-blank shooting of two undercover policemen. Ms. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal sexual contact with an inmate ...

Negligence not Grounds for Prosecution in Deaths of Wisconsin Prisoners

It was a Thursday in late July 2009 when Myron Weston, a prisoner at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), drank cleaning fluid from the supplies given to him to perform his janitorial duties. A short time later he was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed. By Friday he ...

New York Based Ex-Offender Assistance Program Sues Landlord for Discrimination

On October 30, 2014 the Fortune Society filed suit in United States District Court for the Eastern District in Brooklyn alleging that a New York City apartment complex’s refusal to rent to ex-offenders amounts to racial discrimination and violates both the federal Fair Housing Act and New York State law ...

Human Rights Report Reveals Inequities in U.S. Sentencing Practices

“Nation Behind Bars” is a 36 page report exposing the egregious effects that decades of unfair sentencing practices have had on U.S. citizens. Pointing back to the “tough on crime” stance taken by many politicians in their quest for election during the last three decades the report cites the ...