Page one of our Statement of Principles circa 1990
Statement of Principles link. Page 1.
This statement of principles, if we were to edit it,
would contain a far more comprehensive list of areas of focus,
for if anything, unfortunately, the areas of systemic failure have grown over the past several years.
The need to protect the rights of the one, over the fickle whims of the mob would deserve space.
As well as some discussion on how to do so in a balanced fashion,
for this is a failure of process that our current system/s have encouraged, and allowed to
become a very destructive force. The issue of judicial reform is overly simply stated,
many would say that these processes already exist, in some cases
this is more true than in others, the process needs to be simplified and advertised for purposes of clarity, because those
most aware of judicial failing are often those that have suffered
because of those failings, and the trauma of these events can make it very difficult for these victims to seek effective redress as things stand now. The historic issue of jury instruction, jury nullification
is a huge issue that the typical citizen is completely unaware, and needs to be returned to what existed prior to, "what records indicate was the product of corporate lobbying?", a
processes that took place between approx, 1880 and 1910, when how our nations juries were
instructed on their rights/duties underwent a fundamental change. This process was further exacerbated by manipulations that the
historical record indicates were made approx, circa 1940's 50's 60's, to aid in breaking up the Ku klux Klan, getting
needed criminal convictions in support of the civil rights effort. ..But in taking these steps for truly righteous reasons, in
order to gain convictions that might not otherwise have been possible.. did we do terminal damage to our right to a trial
by jury, as envisioned by our nations founders?
In addition to these two aspects of our judiciary touched upon that are seen to
need some measurable degree of reform, there are
other problems as well, and it involves prosecutorial conduct, as well as a "Grand Jury" process
that has become terminally flawed. Prosecutors are important gatekeepers, not only entrusted to prosecute cases
but to also make sure that the cases being tried are being resolved
fairly. Under the auspices of the philosophy that better for
a hundred guilty go free than for an innocent to be jailed wrongly.
Over the years prosecutors have stepped away from their role as gatekeepers, and into one that is more adversarial, with perhaps a greater
interest in gaining convictions than making sure that those convictions should be sought in the first place. As far as our Grand Juries are concerned, at this time there are no meaningful provisions in place to protect the accused against a fraudulent
presentation of testimony or evidence. This allows countless
thousands to be indicted unfairly. In the "Land of the Free?", we now have over two million people in our prisons, No other country in the world even comes close
on a per capita or on just a basic, raw number basis. It is estimated that 5% of the people
we have imprisoned, many believe this number is higher, over the past 20 to 25 years,have been factually innocent. With the systemic failures in our judicial systems we
can't even get it right consistently on capital cases, with the advent/era of DNA testing we
are forced to accept that as a society we have been regularly putting factually innocent people to death.
December 3rd, 2010, We report that the "Death
Penalty Information Center" claims, has posted, that 138 people on death row have been exonerated over the past approximate 37
years.) A figure some view as conservative. Tip of the iceberg.
(Updated December 16th, 2011, As we have stated above, the original statement of principles is really inadequate..and
is only included to provide some historical perspectives to some of the formative processes behind our thoughts.. Also,
as far as judicial reform goes we need to seriously address one of the main elephants standing in the middle of the room,..That
being, since the 1980's, as we have increased case loads, we have failed to address funding issues, funding issues that have
since become serious problems that impact the quality of the U.S. judicial process on many levels..Please consider..Where
do you think "adjustments" have been made to the process in order to keep the higher volume of "case loads"
flowing smoothly through the goose? A goose that has been systematically starved of the needed resources to address the "due
process needs" of the individual cases..If you ask defense attorneys, they will tell you that the corners that have been
cut the most, have been procedural processes that existed in the past to protect the accused.)
Going back to the 5% figure, this means
that we now have approx, 100,000 factually innocent people in
our prisons and another approx, 300,000 factually innocent people
who have made it back out to the streets and are trying to make
a life for themselves, as permanent second class citizens. All these issues, and more, need
to be addressed somehow. We at the Sunrise Foundation have several cost effective, and easily implemented proposals
that we believe would greatly
improve the current situation. At least to get the ball rolling in the right direction.