Articles Posted in Due Process Rights

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I read numerous judicial opinions. I’ve read thousands (really, thousands). But sometimes an opinion stops me in my tracks, and I have to read it over again because I know it’s a ripple in the sea of judicial restraint. These ripples are few and far between. These ripples are a little blip. But they are a blip that is meant to grow and catch a wave, turning into or joining a tsunami of change. And that is what I found in Estate of Jones v. The City of Martinsburg, et al., Cause No. 18-2142 (4th Cir. Jun. 10, 2020).

In 2013, Mr. Wayne Jones, a black man experiencing homelessness was walking on the sidewalk when he was stopped by law enforcement. Immediately, the encounter escalated and never stopped. By the end of this encounter, Mr. Jones would be dead: “Armed only with a knife tucked into his sleeve, [Mr. Jones] was tased four times, hit in the brachial plexus, kicked, and placed in a choke hold. In his final moments, he lay on the ground between a stone wall and a wall of five police officers, who collectively fired 22 bullets.” A police officer asked him whether had a weapon. Jones asked what a weapon was. He was told, by the officer, a list of examples (knife, gun, etc.). Mr. Jones answered he might have “something.” He did. A small blade tucked in his right sleeve.

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Black Lives Matter Protestor, December 2014 — photo by Robert Stribley

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“All New Yorkers, regardless of income, race, religion or immigration status, should have the opportunity to use the court system to advocate for themselves and their interests.”

— Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages–

The first of its kind in the country, the New York State Office of Court Administration issued a directive Wednesday April 17th, 2019, barring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers from arresting immigrants at state courthouses without a warrant signed by a federal judge. In addition to the judicial warrant (as opposed to an administrative warrant), judges must now be informed of ICE’s presence within the courthouses so that they can review and sign the warrant prior to an individual’s detention.

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due-process-300x172Two of the most fundamental rights from the U.S. Constitution are the right to due process and the right to be free from false arrest. Anyone who has taken a basic Civics class knows that every person in America has the right to be heard before deprivation of their life, liberty, or property. Contrary to those fundamental principles, NDH Lawyers’ most recent case is one where those two rights were stripped from a student at Virginia Tech University. His name is Yunsong “Bellamy” Zhao. Bellamy was arrested unlawfully by the Virginia Tech police and then expelled from the university without an opportunity for due process.

Bellamy is arrested based on false evidence, according to the Complaint

Bellamy came to the U.S. from China on a student visa to study at Virginia Tech in 2017. He was 19 when he arrived and started college. He spent his 20th birthday in jail. Always having a fascination with America, he taught himself English by watching movies. He became interested in American law enforcement and gun culture. Once he moved to Virginia, he bought a used police car from a dealership in Roanoke; he thought it was cool to cruise in his blue and silver Crown Victoria. He got a good deal on the car too.

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