Overcrowding Plagues Brazil's Prison System
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From Kim Kardashian To Mandatory Minimum Laws: Everything You Should Know About Alice Marie Johnson's Case

Since Mic released its video feature in late-Oct. 2017, the case of Alice Marie Johnson has begun to shine an intense light on her unfortunate situation while calling for legal reform.

Since Mic released its video feature in late-Oct. 2017, the case of Alice Marie Johnson has begun to shine an intense light on her unfortunate situation while calling for legal reform.

With people like Kim Kardashian-West – who per the publication spoke to current White House Advisor, Jared Kushner, regarding the case – in support of Johnson’s pardon, here are a few things one should know about the life and incarceration of this 62-year-old great-grandmother.

1. Not only did Alice Marie Johnson receive life in prison for a nonviolent offense, it was also her first offense ever.

After losing her job and husband, Johnson made what she describes as the “worst mistake of (her) life” and fulfilled a communications role in a multi-million dollar drug operation. This resulted in her being found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy in 1997 when the “mandatory minimum law” forced the state of Mississippi to sentence the single mother to life in prison.

2. 10 of Johnson’s 15 co-defendants testified against her.

The "mandatory minimum" is an inflexible sentencing law that came as the byproduct of the "War on Drugs." It resulted in many disproportionate prison sentences like Johnson’s. Yet, in most cases, the mandatory minimum can only be enacted by those who exercise their right to a trial. Because of this, 10 of Johnson’s co-defendants decided to evade this harsh penalty by taking plea deals that forced them to testify against her in exchange for a lighter sentence. This not only created an illusion that Johnson was more than a liaison, it also punished her for exercising her constitutional right to a trial by jury. She received life in prison without parole, plus an additional 25 years, while her co-conspirators received sentences ranging from probation with no time served to 10 years.

3. Barack Obama denied her clemency.

In 2014, then-President Barack Obama launched his CANDO project where his administration sought to find justice through clemency. Shortly after its establishment, Johnson was added as the number one woman in American prisons deserving of a pardon. But, despite this addition, Obama denied her petition for clemency with no explanation given. This decision made her one of the four initial top 25 CANDO entrants to still be in prison.

4. Prior to her incarceration, Johnson’s youngest son was killed.

In addition to losing her job of ten years, a divorce, bankruptcy, and gambling addiction, Johnson’s youngest son, Cory, was killed in a scooter accident in 1992. This personified a low point in her life as Johnson’s – who became a mother at 15 – only motive for involving herself in crime was to provide for her children.

5. Johnson’s story is unfortunate, but not unique.

Since entering prison in 1997, the 62-year-old became a grandmother and a great-grandmother. While her fight to be released to her family is still ongoing, her situation is not an outlier. According to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union, people of color fall victim to the mandatory minimum more than their counterparts. Through studies conducted in nine states and the federal system, the ACLU concluded that 80 percent of the 3,200 prisoners serving life without parole are black or Latino with most being convicted of nonviolent offenses.

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Tory Lanez Sued For Alleged Attack In Miami Nightclub

Tory Lanez is facing legal trouble over an alleged altercation that went down inside Miami’s LIV nightclub last year. Christopher “Prince” Harty, an up-and-coming artist and Miami promoter who appeared on Love & Hip-Hop: Miami claims that Lanez attacked him last November.

The onetime reality star alleges that Lanez, along with his entourage and security team, punched and attacked him in the nightclub. According to reports, Prince claims to have suffered blunt force trauma to his head, neck, and chest, in addition to contusions, bruises and anxiety, as a result of the incident. He is suing for unspecified damages.

“They backed me into a corner, and once I was there, they started stomping on me, jumping me,” he recalled to NBC Miami.

He believes that the friction stemmed from an Instagram post about music. “They felt that I was insinuating that they stole the record from me, and I was just like, no, I would never do that, that was never my intention. I had no issue with him at all.”

A portion of the incident was captured on cellphone video. Prince stated that he knew Lanez prior to the run-in, and helped get him into clubs before.

His attorney, Marwan Porter of Porter Law Firm, called the violent incident “a chronic problem” with Lanez who is accused of shooting Megan Thee Stallion in July. The 28-year-old recording artist has yet to publicly address either incident.

Hear more from Prince in the video below.

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Cardi B Opens Up About Filing For Divorce From Offset

Cardi B took to Instagram Live on Friday (Sept. 18) to air out a few things about filing for divorce from Offset.

The Bronx rapper made it clear that she didn’t file for divorce as a publicity stunt to promote her upcoming album. “I’m not doing it for clout and on top of that I don’t need stunts to sell music,” she said. “I’m not [trying to] brag but don’t ever say I’m doing anything for clout. My first album is three-times platinum and I didn’t need no stunts to do that. My [“Wap”] single is no. 1 worldwide why would I need stunts to sell music? I don’t need stunts — [especially] when it comes to family — to sell anything, so don’t play yourself.”

As for the reason for the divorce filing, the estranged couple simply grew apart. “Nothing crazy out of this world happened, sometimes people really do grow apart. I been with this man for four years. I have a kid with this man, I have a household with this man…sometimes you’re just tired of the arguments and the build up. You get tired sometimes and before something happens, you leave.”

“I just wanna' be a free bird,” Cardi said after questioning whether people secretly want infidelity to be the reason for the split.

“I am the f**king clout,” she added. “I never needed anything. I never needed no stunts to sell sh*t.Why would I need anything to sell my next album?”

Speaking of the new album, Cardi has been indecisive about choosing her next single because “WAP” did so well. “That means that my second single has to be even better.”

Towards the end of her venting session, Cardi reiterated that she’s focusing on her work, and revealed that she's starting new business for her daughter Kulture.


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Barack Obama Announces Release Date For ‘A Promised Land’ Memoir

Following the mega-success of his wife’s Becoming release, Barack Obama is poised to debut his own memoir, A Promised Land, this fall. The former president made the literary announcement on Twitter on Thursday (Sept. 17).

“There’s no feeling like finishing a book and I’m proud of this one,” Obama tweeted while explaining that he tries to give an “honest account” of his presidency in the book. The release will also touch on “the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our division and make democracy work for everybody.”

There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one. In 'A Promised Land,' I try to provide an honest accounting of my presidency, the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our divisions and make democracy work for everybody. pic.twitter.com/T1QSZVDvOm

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 17, 2020

The highly anticipated and introspective release takes readers on a “compelling journey” and details Obama’s “improbable odyssey from a young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world.” Included in the memoir are striking personal details about his political education, as well as landmark moments from his first term presidency.

The Obamas secured the reported $60 million book deals around a year after ending their tenure in the White House. Michelle Obama’s book became the best-selling memoir in history.

A Promised Land is currently available for pre-order at Obamabook.com. The memoir will be released on Nov. 17.

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