Sunday, June 21, 2009

This is the mary cano type of business creates wit your tax money......isn't she worth the amount of services provided,????

"Ezekiel 25:17 - The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he that shepherds the weak from the valley of darkness for he is truly his brother's keeper, and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers, and you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

Ambulance firms raided in Medicaid fraud inquiry

Companies in Dallas, 11 other cities searched in billing investigation

12:00 AM CST on Thursday, December 7, 2006

By TANYA EISERER / The Dallas Morning News

Fraud investigators served 19 search warrants in Dallas and 11 other cities in a wide-ranging inquiry into allegations of fraudulent billing practices by ambulance companies, the Texas attorney general said Wednesday.

"This is a statewide fleecing of millions of dollars from Texas taxpayers of the Medicaid system," said Attorney General Greg Abbott. "There were billings that were either for more than the amount of services provided, or even billings for services that were not provided. [The] bottom line is we have a statewide operation cracking down on Medicaid fraud."

The investigation centers on ambulance companies suspected of submitting false claims to Medicare, Medicaid, private insurers and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.

The inquiry, Operation Easy Rider, began at least six months ago after the Texas Health and Human Services Commission reported discrepancies in billing practices, Mr. Strickland said. The agency oversees the disbursement of Medicaid funds.

"The fraud that we're dealing with really doesn't have anything to do with any kind of complexities that may exist in the system," Mr. Abbott said. "We're dealing with people who are just out and out cheating and lying to the state of Texas, stealing money from the taxpayers of the state of Texas.

"They thought, gosh, that [they] could take money by overcharging the state of Texas, overcharging the Medicaid system, maybe no one would see."

Officials declined to release further details, citing the continuing investigation.

The attorney general's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was involved in the operation, along with federal agents from the inspector general's office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the FBI, the inspector general's office for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

North Texas ambulance companies that were searched included Carefirst EMS on Centre Street and Judd Court in Dallas; Greater Dallas EMS on South Hall Street in Dallas; All State Ambulance Service in Rowlett; Advicare Ambulance Transfer Service in DeSoto; and Visions EMS in Cedar Hill.

Officials with the ambulance companies either declined to comment or could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Strickland also confirmed that law officers arrested the owners of an ambulance service in McAllen, Texas, as part of the raids.

Chris Heinbaugh of WFAA-TV (Channel 8) contributed to this report.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Why would Medicaid side with a wrongdoer? Federal medicaid and insurance inc sitting in a tree......

"Ezekiel 25:17 - The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he that shepherds the weak from the valley of darkness for he is truly his brother's keeper, and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers, and you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."


Medicaid has only a right of Subrogation

All the money recovered in most personal injury actions should go to the injured Plaintiff.
Avoid the conflict of interests in representing two competing parties, the injured Plaintiff and the State.
Attorneys are mistakenly creating "equitible liens" by suing for medical expenses in personal injury actions to the detriment of the client.

Medicaid, nationwide, has been considered to have a "lien" on any personal injury recovery such as motor vehicle accidents and "slip and falls" since its inception. That all changed with the United States Supreme Court decision in ADHHS v Ahlborn, 547 US 268 (2006). From that point forward, it should have been recognized that the Medicaid claim is actually one of subrogation. Unfortunately, to the significant and totally unnecessary financial loss of injured plaintiffs, the full impact of this decision has not been understood by personal injury attorneys.
Medicaid has only a right of subrogation as against a wrongdoer in a personal injury action. That is the fact. The statute [42 USC 1396(a)25 ] does not give the State a "lien". Why, therefore, do plaintiffs' attorneys across the nation continue to remit part of their client's settlement for their injuries back to the State? Why do they tell the injured client that there is a lien that must be repaid? Why, when they are possibly committing legal malpractice, should the attorneys be pleased that they have been able to get the State to reduce their claim to 50% from the standard two-thirds they normally claim? We all know that the attorneys take their full one-third off the top and then negotiations begin with the State. The attorneys are being fully compensated. Perhaps the injured client should have the same privilege.
The legal rationale of the bar generally and the flaw in their legal analysis is found in the form of the pleadings and in the scope of the General Release tendered at the conclusion of the personal injury law suit. The simple version is that if a claim by the injured plaintiff is made for medical expenses paid by another (Medicaid) and there is a release given by that injured plaintiff for all damages of any kind, including medical expenses, then the injured plaintiff has collected money that belongs to Medicaid. If Medicaid has paid an expense, if that expense is to be reimbursed, it must go to the one who actually incurred the loss, the payor, Medicaid. In a subrogation action, Medicaid is the "real party in interest" relative to recovery of medical expenses. If an injured plaintiff recovers another's medical expenditures, then he has created an "equitable lien". Since he has money that does not belong to him, he must pay it back to the State.
The error occurs in collecting the State's money in the first instance. Since the recovery of medical expenses is the State's right, let it bring about the collection. If the injured plaintiff in a fall down accident does not claim, prove nor release the State's rights, then all the money recovered in the personal injury action goes to the injured plaintiff. The methodology is straight forward: Do not claim medical expenses in the lawsuit. Specifically advise opposing counsel that Medicaid may have a right of subrogation for medical expenditures and that the client is not making a claim for any of those damages. This pleading should also be sent to the State representative in charge of Medicaid. That way, everyone is on notice that no claim is being made for medical expenses arising out of this accident. Finally, when the Release is exchanged, make certain that it is for "bodily injury, pain and suffering only" and that "any and all rights of subrogation by insurance companies and Medicaid are preserved and survive this settlement". Those statements, along with some other specific language, should make it crystal clear that the claim and resolution were for the bodily injuries, pain and suffering only.
Ahlborn held generally that were there was a "global" release for pain and suffering and medical expenses but the recovery was for less that full value and all parties stipulated to those conditions, then the recovery had to be allocated on a pro rata basis with the same percentage values going to the claimant and the State. Here, the recommendation is not to issue a "global" release but only a Release for "pain and suffering". Then there will have been no "equitable lien" created and, therefore, no obligation to share any of the proceeds with the State.
Attorneys will argue that insurance companies will not take such a release in a typical motor vehicle or "slip and fall" action. They must argue this because none have ever tired it. The fact is that carriers must accept such a release if the pleadings are proper and there is notice to all sides and parties that this is only a claim for injuries, pain and suffering. If the carrier refuses, then the injured plaintiff may need take his case to verdict. There he will obtain a judgment which can be enforced against the insurance company. The insurance company now must pay. And since the injured party did not claim nor prove medical expenses, those items still remain the property of the State to initiate a lawsuit or claim aganist the wrongdoer, not the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorney. This form of practice works. This practice directs more of the recovery to the party injured in the automobile accident or in the "slip and fall". It also avoids any conflicts of interest as the attorneys are only working for one claimant, the injured party. The attorney is not obligated to represent the injured party and the State for two separate, competing claims arising out of the same personal injury accident and being paid from a single source of money. It is better for the injured plaintiff. It is ultimately better for the attorney as there can be no claim of conflict of interests.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

each Federal department or agency, including the United States Postal Service, shall ensure, unless an undue burden

PL 105-220, 1998 HR 1385
PL 105-220, enacted on August 7, 1998, 112 Stat 936
codified as: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794d





(A) DEVELOPMENT, PROCUREMENT, MAINTENANCE, OR USE OF ELECTRONIC AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.--When developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic and information technology, each Federal department or agency, including the United States Postal Service, shall ensure, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the department or agency, that the electronic and information technology allows, regardless of the type of medium of the technology--

(i) individuals with disabilities who are Federal employees to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities; and

(ii) individuals with disabilities who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal department or agency to have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by such members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities.

(B) ALTERNATIVE MEANS EFFORTS.--When development, procurement, maintenance, or use of electronic and information technology that meets the standards published by the Access Board under paragraph (2) would impose an undue burden, the Federal department or agency shall provide individuals with disabilities covered by paragraph (1) with the information and data involved by an alternative means of access that allows the individual to use the information and data.


(A) IN GENERAL.--Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (referred to in this section as the 'Access Board'), after consultation with the Secretary of Education, the Administrator of General Services, the Secretary of Commerce, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, the Secretary of Defense, and the head of any other Federal department or agency that the Access Board determines to be appropriate, including consultation on relevant research findings, and after consultation with the electronic and information technology industry and appropriate public or nonprofit agencies or organizations, including organizations representing individuals with disabilities, shall issue and publish standards setting forth--

(i) for purposes of this section, a definition of electronic and information technology that is consistent with the definition of information technology specified in section 5002(3) of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (40 U.S.C. 1401(3)); and

(ii) the technical and functional performance criteria necessary to implement the requirements set forth in paragraph (1).

(B) REVIEW AND AMENDMENT.--The Access Board shall periodically review and, as appropriate, amend the standards required under subparagraph (A) to reflect technological advances or changes in electronic and information technology.

(3) INCORPORATION OF STANDARDS.--Not later than 6 months after the Access Board publishes the standards required under paragraph (2), the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council shall revise the Federal Acquisition Regulation and each Federal department or agency shall revise the Federal procurement policies and directives under the control of the department or agency to incorporate those standards. Not later than 6 months after the Access Board revises any standards required under paragraph (2), the Council shall revise the Federal Acquisition Regulation and each appropriate Federal department or agency shall revise the procurement policies and directives, as necessary, to incorporate the revisions.

(4) ACQUISITION PLANNING.--In the event that a Federal department or agency determines that compliance with the standards issued by the Access Board under paragraph (2) relating to procurement imposes an undue burden, the documentation by the department or agency supporting the procurement shall explain why compliance creates an undue burden.

(5) EXEMPTION FOR NATIONAL SECURITY SYSTEMS.--This section shall not apply to national security systems, as that term is defined in section 5142 of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 (40 U.S.C. 1452).


(A) EQUIPMENT.--In a case in which the Federal Government provides access to the public to information or data through electronic and information technology, nothing in this section shall be construed to require a Federal department or agency--

(i) to make equipment owned by the Federal Government available for access and use by individuals with disabilities covered by paragraph (1) at a location other than that where the electronic and information technology is provided to the public; or

(ii) to purchase equipment for access and use by individuals with disabilities covered by paragraph (1) at a location other than that where the electronic and information technology is provided to the public.

(B) SOFTWARE AND PERIPHERAL DEVICES.--Except as required to comply with standards issued by the Access Board under paragraph (2), nothing in paragraph (1) requires the installation of specific accessibility-related software or the attachment of a specific accessibility-related peripheral device at a workstation of a Federal employee who is not an individual with a disability.

(b) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.--The Administrator of General Services and the Access Board shall provide technical assistance to individuals and Federal departments and agencies concerning the requirements of this section.

(c) AGENCY EVALUATIONS.--Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, the head of each Federal department or agency shall evaluate the extent to which the electronic and information technology of the department or agency is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities described in subsection (a)(1), compared to the access to and use of the technology by individuals described in such subsection who are not individuals with disabilities, and submit a report containing the evaluation to the Attorney General.

(d) REPORTS.--

(1) INTERIM REPORT.--Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, the Attorney General shall prepare and submit to the President a report containing information on and recommendations regarding the extent to which the electronic and information technology of the Federal Government is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities described in subsection (a)(1).

(2) BIENNIAL REPORTS.--Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, and every 2 years thereafter, the Attorney General shall prepare and submit to the President and Congress a report containing information on and recommendations regarding the state of Federal department and agency compliance with the requirements of this section, including actions regarding individual complaints under subsection (f).

(e) COOPERATION.--Each head of a Federal department or agency (including the Access Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the General Services Administration) shall provide to the Attorney General such information as the Attorney General determines is necessary to conduct the evaluations under subsection (c) and prepare the reports under subsection (d).


(1) GENERAL.--

(A) COMPLAINTS.--Effective 2 years after the date of enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, any individual with a disability may file a complaint alleging that a Federal department or agency fails to comply with subsection (a)(1) in providing electronic and information technology.

(B) APPLICATION.--This subsection shall apply only to electronic and information technology that is procured by a Federal department or agency not less than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998.

(2) ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINTS.--Complaints filed under paragraph (1) shall be filed with the Federal department or agency alleged to be in noncompliance. The Federal department or agency receiving the complaint shall apply the complaint procedures established to implement section 504 for resolving allegations of discrimination in a federally conducted program or activity.

(3) CIVIL ACTIONS.--The remedies, procedures, and rights set forth in sections 505(a)(2) and 505(b) shall be the remedies, procedures, and rights available to any individual with a disability filing a complaint under paragraph (1).

(g) APPLICATION TO OTHER FEDERAL LAWS.--This section shall not be construed to limit any right, remedy, or procedure otherwise available under any provision of Federal law (including sections 501 through 505) that provides greater or equal protection for the rights of individuals with disabilities than this section.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

how many participants in the Buc parade this year use the Lone Star card." ~a ? I suppose, a statement.? Ask a duchess......u no 'em 2?

"Ezekial 25:17 - The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequites of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he that shepherds the weak from the valley of darkness for he is truly his brother's keeper, and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers, and you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

It is bittersweet that CCCT refuses to list all comments but I am permitted to post all that I am able to see (mine especially).

So a special "YES"! to them.

Food stamp recipients struggle through the month

Associated Press
Originally published 03:00 p.m., May 17, 2008
Updated 03:00 p.m., May 17, 2008

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The hottest topics in the last 24 hours.

* District 32 race still partisan, despite claims (29)
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Danielle Brown stands outside a South Side market at midnight, braving the spring chill for her first chance to buy groceries since her food stamps ran out nearly two weeks ago.

For days, Brown has been turning cans of "whatever we got in the cabinet" into breakfast, lunch and dinner for her children, ages 1 and 3, who finished off the last of the milk and cereal long ago.

"Ain't got no food left, the kids are probably hungry," said Brown, a 23-year-old single mother who relies heavily on her $312 monthly allotment of food stamps a ration adjusted just once a year, in October.

This is what the skyrocketing cost of food looks like at street level: Poor people whose food stamps don't buy as much as they once did rushing into a store in the dead of night, filling shopping carts with cereal, eggs and milk so their kids can wake up on the first day of the month to a decent meal.

Here's what it looks like another way: The number of Americans relying on food stamps has climbed 6.1 percent in the past year, from 26.1 million in February 2007 to 27.7 million in February this year. Every state except for Arkansas and Colorado saw the food stamp rolls increase, led by Nevada and Florida both also hit hard by the housing crisis.

The sputtering economy, persistent unemployment and the mortgage crisis have all contributed to the increase. The U.S. Agriculture Department expects the overall number of participants to reach 28 million next year.

It all paints a picture that experts say is becoming more grim every month.

"People with incomes below the poverty threshold are in dire straits because not only are food prices increasing but the food stamps they are receiving have not increased," said Dr. John Cook, an associate professor at Boston University's medical school who has studied the food stamp program, particularly how it affects children.

On the South Side of Chicago, what it means is that people like Danielle Brown wait for the stroke of midnight, when one month gives way to another and brings a new allotment of food stamps.

Dennis Kladis began opening his family-owned One Stop Food & Liquors once a month at midnight nine months ago to give desperate families a chance to buy food as soon as possible.

"I'm telling you, by the end of the month they're just dying to get back to the first," said Kladis, who has watched other area stores follow his lead. "Obviously, they are struggling to get through the month."

For Lynda Wheeler, who receives $281 in food stamps each month, the rhythm of life has been one of shopping for food, running out of food and turning to churches, food pantries and friends for food. And all the while, she is doing things like cutting milk with water to make it last a bit longer.

"You get it on the first and it runs out by the 14th and 15th," said Wheeler, a single mom who brought her 14-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter shopping at midnight with the Link card, the Illinois version of food stamps.

The consumer price index for food rose 5 percent last year, the highest gain in nearly two decades. It is especially grim news for the poor.

Start with milk. Between March 2007 and this year, a gallon of milk jumped from just over $3 a gallon to nearly $3.80, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the same period, eggs climbed from about $1.60 a dozen to $2.20. Meanwhile, everything from white bread to chicken to tomatoes is more expensive than it was last year.

Just last summer, the maximum food stamp payment $542 a month for a family of four with a gross income of no more than $2,238 was enough to cover the USDA's "thrifty food plan," a bare-bones diet that meets minimal nutritional needs. Studies show that allotment now falls about $25 short, Cook said.

Because food stamp allotments are adjusted every fall based on the federal food inflation rate, recipients are months away from getting any relief. But even when that relief comes, advocates say, it won't come close to keeping pace with rising costs.

Meanwhile, demand is growing. The number of U.S. food stamp participants grew by 482,000 between October and February; in the same time period a year earlier, the figure dropped by 135,000.

And just getting to the store is a lot more expensive. Since October, the cost of gas has shot up nationally from $2.70 a gallon to $3.62, according to the Lundberg Survey, a petroleum market research firm. With 31 cents of that jump in the last month alone, Lundberg says there is a good chance the price will top $4 a gallon by the end of the summer.

That means the poor are spending money on gas that they might otherwise have used for food sometimes striking deals with people who have cars to buy them food using the only currency they have.

"Even if they don't have a car, they are using food stamps just to get a ride to the store," said Dan Block, a Chicago State University geography professor who has studied grocery store shopping in Chicago's poorest neighborhoods.

High gas prices were the reason 58-year-old Floyd Ogalvie made the 15-minute trip for the midnight opening this month in his electric wheelchair.

"My old lady, she drives, but she didn't want to drive to save gas," he said.

For starters, gas prices are not part of the equation. USDA spokeswoman Jean Daniel did say that the agency is trying to help and noted recipes for inexpensive meals are posted on the agency Web site.

But she said there is only much food stamp programs can or were meant to do.

"Food stamps were designed to be a supplement to the food budget, (they) were never intended to be the entire budget," she said.

If the USDA pulls $1.7 billion from a contingency fund of $6 billion this year to support the food stamp program, as it expects to do, that would be the largest withdrawal since $2 billion was pulled out after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The program saw a surge in demand that year as well, with the number of recipients climbing to 27.9 million in October and 29.8 million in November.

On Thursday, the Senate passed a five-year, $300 billion farm bill that includes $200 billion for nutrition programs such as food stamps and emergency food aid for the needy. Daniel said it was too early to say how the at will affect benefits to food stamp recipients and she knew of no provision in the bill to make the annual adjustment before the fall.

In the meantime, there are signs that the same people shopping at midnight on the first of the month may be getting hungrier sooner.

Maura Daly of America's Second Harvest, a national network of food banks, said food banks are seeing a 20 percent increase in the number of people turning to them for help. Much of that increase, she said, comes at month's end.

Diane Doherty, executive director of the Illinois Hunger Coalition, said she's seeing people more frantic for food than ever.

"The level of desperation is just frightening," she said. "People are calling, saying they have no idea what they are going to do."

But even as demand is rising, many food panties nationwide have been forced to cut back on the amount of food given to individual families because higher fuel costs and commodity prices have sliced into private donations to the pantries, Daly and others say.

What that means is the hungry are casting an ever wider net for food, showing up at pantry after pantry.

"We're seeing people come to us from further and further outside our geographical boundaries, (from) as far away as Indiana and southern Wisconsin," said Greg Nergaard, coordinator at Lakeview Pantry on Chicago's North Side. "What they say is they didn't know where else to go."

For now, many of the needy, including many in Kladis' store pushing carts laden with soda pop, bags of cookies and chips much of it cheaper than healthier food are doing what they can to stretch their shrinking buying power.

"The bottom line is, a mother trying to feed her kids is not really picky about what she puts in their bellies," said Dan Gibbons, executive director of the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation. "She just wants them full."

On the Net:


Advocacy groups:, and

A history of food stamps in the United States

1939-1943: People buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenses; for every dollar of orange stamps purchased, they receive an extra 50 cents in blue stamps to purchase surplus food.

1961: President John F. Kennedy signs his first executive order to expand food distribution and announces on Feb. 2 that food stamp pilot programs will be initiated.

1964: The programs expanded from eight areas to 43, with 380,000 people in 22 states participating. President Lyndon Johnson requests that Congress pass legislation making the Food Stamp Program permanent and signs into law the Food Stamp Act of 1964.

1965-1971: The number of people receiving food stamps climbs past 561,000 in 1965, then beyond 1 million in 1966, 3 million in 1969 and 10 million in 1971.

1974: The Food Stamp Program begins operation nationwide July 1.

1988: Development of electronic benefit delivery systems begins, leading to issuance of plastic cards instead of paper food stamps.

2008: The total cost of the program exceeds $33 billion, up from from $2.8 billion three decades ago, and 27.7 million people participate as of February.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture.

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(52) User Comments:
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 254809 on May 17, 2008 at 3:18 p.m.

The sputtering economy???
In April Only, Americans spent 1.23 BILLION on gaming systems....up 47% from last year....(look this up on in the first weekend, Iron Man made $100 MILLION PLUS!!!! And today, I could not find a parking spot at my local mall(I live outside of CC)....sputtering economy....please...

Persistent unemployment ???
Unemployment is actually down at this time....

The mortgage crisis???
Those ARM Mortgages are only 3% of ALL mortgages in the US...

Give me a break......people just need to get off their lazy butts and get a job....quit having kids that THEY CAN NOT afford....stop buying $100 shoes and $300 purses....I can go on and on...

PS. Ms. Brown said "Ain't got no food left, the kids are probably hungry," should of said, "I have no food left...." .....please learn to speak correctly, then maybe you can will be able to get a decent job....
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 348998 on May 17, 2008 at 3:33 p.m.

In Corpus she would have just sold her food stamps for 50 cents on the dollar to buy booze and drugs. It happens everyday!

P.S. Don't complain about something you are getting for free.
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 237092 on May 17, 2008 at 3:40 p.m.

in response to 254809

AMEN! I like what the article said about food stamps being designed to supplement the food bill not cover the entire thing.

These people, especially the young ones and those who are not physically disabled, should be ashamed of themselves. Grocery carts full of soda pop and chips?!?! What happened to kool-aid?? What about top roman noodles???

Quit having kids you can't afford and work and get a part time job if you need to.
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 454522 on May 17, 2008 at 4:40 p.m.

You all need to think about it. One day it could be you on food stamps. We should not make fun of people on food stamps, we all are going in that direction. The food stamp program is a wonderful program. I am a single mom on looking in to food stamps, are you going to make fun of me ?
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 248355 on May 17, 2008 at 4:51 p.m.

in response to 254809

"PS. Ms. Brown said 'Ain't got no food left, the kids are probably hungry,' should of said, 'I have no food left....' .....please learn to speak correctly, then maybe >you can will be able< to get a decent job...."

Perhaps, you might heed your own advice and learn how to write correctly. Just a suggestion.

a.k.a. the grammar police
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 234453 on May 17, 2008 at 4:51 p.m.

in response to 454522

I personally do not make fun of those who truly need temporary assistance. What I do make fun of, turn my nose up at, etc., are: those who sell their Lone Star cards for 50 cents on the dollar for drug money; those who abuse the system by continuing to have children they cannot afford to feed and take care of; and the sterotype we have all seen that buys food with the Lone Star Card and then loads it into a late model Lincoln or Cadillac.

If a person uses food stamps as a step up out of poverty or a bad situation - more power to them, but those families who spend a lifetime in the system and spread the "why work" mentality to the next generation - yes I have a serious problem with that.
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 710826 on May 17, 2008 at 5:24 p.m.

in response to 454522

You are right, absolutely right.

There is a lot to the saying "there but for the grace of God, go I".

There are some things that you can do in the interim to help. You mention being a single mom, are your child or children receiving proper child support, there are laws that can and will help with this?

Please do look into the many organizations in Corpus Christi that can lend a helping hand and I repeat, helping hand, not a handout that will make you feel as if you are losing your self respect and have to be concerned with " I am a single mom on looking in to food stamps, are you going to make fun of me ?"

God help and God bless.
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 254809 on May 17, 2008 at 5:28 p.m.

in response to 248355

thanks for the correction.....
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 348998 on May 17, 2008 at 5:34 p.m.

in response to 454522

I will make fun of you.

I grew up with two other siblings and a single mom she worked liked crazy, we wore cheap clothes and did not own a television. She tought me that although it easy if you work hard you can make it your own.

Get a second a job and teach your kids some character.
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 425944 on May 17, 2008 at 5:36 p.m.

I know a fellow that said he was going to buy T-bone steaks with the last of his food stamps. Now he's a nice enough guy, but he was going to buy steaks for him and his friends.

I just shook my head in dismay.

My family makes pretty good money, but we only buy T-bone steaks when there is a special occasion. At 7 dollars a steak for 4 people and the high price of propane or charcoal brickets to cook them, well, people who are on the welfare program should be spending their government handout more wisely.
Reply to this Post | Suggest removal
related links Posted by 711310 on May 17, 2008 at 5:40 p.m.

Before she decided to have those children, it would have been nice if she had asked me if I minded supporting them for her.
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related links Posted by 241057 on May 17, 2008 at 5:44 p.m.

There are places to go get food for free. Nobody has to starve to death. Check out community kitchens.
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related links Posted by 463408 on May 17, 2008 at 5:59 p.m.

Kudos to the USDA spokesperson -- she wz quoted as saying the Food Stamp program was meant to supplement NOT BE THE ENTIRE FUNDING FOR FOOD.

The government is an enabler. More and more people think the government/state is obligated to help. I can understand if a TAXPAYER falls on bad times, for ex: get sick, get laid off on so on. But to have 4 kids by 3 daddies and/or live with your baby daddy or worse their grandma WTF?

I think if you get funding and are a single parent, #1 you need to practice birth control, and if you can't get sterilized, because I have only 2 children because guess what??? it is expensive--- so if i can practice birth control federal receipents should be mandated too.

Also federal receipients should be able to get their funding after they prove they have a full time job and/or school 12hrs mininum. My mother worked and went to school at night and we did not have federal asistance. We learned not to ask for anything, we knew food and bills came 1st. Once we turned 16 we got a job and helped out like real families should.

so saying you are single parent is a cop out....not a good excuse.
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related links Posted by 447776 on May 17, 2008 at 6:17 p.m.

Gee, I have to pinch pennies when I go to the grocery store too. Oh yeah, I also have to go to work every day too. Sorry, not feeling sorry for the stampheads. All you single moms out there made the concious decision to sleep with the "fathers" of your kids. I had nothing to do with it so why should I have to pay for your mistake. When I make a mistake I have to pay for it myself. Go get a second job and take care of your kids. Call me cold and heartless but I've seen too many people buying crablegs and steaks with lone star cards. Screw that.
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related links Posted by 704275 on May 17, 2008 at 7:59 p.m.

When my husband turned into a drug addict, I had no choice but to leave, go on food stamps and go back to college. After college, I got a good job and got off food stamps.....Temporary and supplemental are the key words. Most women who receive food stamps are also eligible for WIC....WIC controls exactly what you can buy with their vouchers. You get milk, cheese, juice, eggs, and cereal on WIC. In addition, they give you baby formula and baby food.
I do agree that the deadbeats need to get a job!
As far as child support, it can be drawn up....enforcement is a different matter. I am currently owed $15,000 for one child. The Attorney General can't do much because my ex moved out of state. When they locat him at a job to garnish, he quits. He hasn't filed taxes in several years because they garnish his tax returns for his child. If they can't be served, then the AG can't take them to court. The AG is lame!
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related links Posted by 711040 on May 17, 2008 at 8:11 p.m.

I'm surprised. There seems to be a lot of intelligent people commenting on this article. I figured that there would be a bunch of liberal cry babies blaming Bush and everyone else for the higher price of food.and the condition that the stamp holders find themselves in. I retired after taking care to save a few dollars and plan how I would live on my fixed income. The higher prices for food is a problem, but I know I will find ways to deal with it without crying to a liberal government for help.
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related links Posted by 230619 on May 17, 2008 at 8:11 p.m.

Post 454522- If you are looking at getting food stamps, why is your lazy butt using a computer to blog when you should be looking for a second or third job. If you need more than three jobs to support yourself, you either eat too much or you shouldn't have had that many kids.

Why hasn't anyone blamed Bush yet?

Vote Democrat: It's easier than working!
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related links Posted by 253187 on May 17, 2008 at 9:05 p.m.

The problem with buying junk food because it is that it doesn't satisfy hunger or nutrition. I can eat a whole bag of Oreos and not feel full! In the article, it mentioned that she has a cart full of junk. In the long run, this doesn't pay off because the family eats junk quick and goes looking for more.

Maybe, some education before giving the food stamps. A film, class, etc.
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related links Posted by 463342 on May 17, 2008 at 9:17 p.m.

I dont feel sorry for "poor" people. There are no poor people here. Just irresponsible, or lazy people here. The people who claim to be poor are rich compared to people who are really starving around the world.

I was "poor" once. I was being irresponsible and had no job, no money, no food, no car. But because I was white, and a male, they denied me any sort of food stamps, or help of any kind. What does that tell you about the people complaining that the welfare that they get is not enough.
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related links Posted by 454522 on May 17, 2008 at 10:33 p.m.

post 253187- For your information I do work 3 jobs. I work full time, clean a church and clean people's house's. how do you like that. i also desire so time with my 9 month old. so you get a life. it's none of your business how many children i have. you must not have any thing to do. so their back off single mother's.
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related links Posted by 711762 on May 17, 2008 at 11:01 p.m.

It makes me sick! Most of the people you see using food stamps then pull out a wad of money to pay for other stuff it does not cover. Then out in the parking lot they get in a 08 lincoln or some other high end vehicle. Its just like anything else, if you know someone who works at these agencies you can get all the free money us hard working taxpayers have to pay. They should cancel welfare and food stamps and then maybe these lazy bums would have to get a job.
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related links Posted by 448291 on May 17, 2008 at 11:36 p.m.

There are one out of ten people working that get food stamps. I work two jobs and make $35,000 and I'm having a hard time making ends met. SO, for you cry baby's food stamp people. You need to stop bit----- and stop having kids so you can get more $$$$$$$$ on your food stamp card and go get a JOB. "O" buy the way- I would not even think of getting food stamps. I'm not a low life, like the nine non-working low life bit----- cry baby's. and driving a $40,000 plus car or truck with FIVE very very FAT overweight plus crying kids getting in eating candy. There is a job out there for you. All you have to do is get you overweight butt out there and find it.
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related links Posted by 252944 on May 17, 2008 at 11:43 p.m.

People make a carreer of the food stamp programs. I think they should only allow them help for 6 months. My husband and I spend 200 a wk buying groceries. It upsets me when people stare at my cart as if I was paying with Lone Star. Fortunately we both work and are able to provide for our kids. Some of these loosers have boyfriends going grocery shopping with them and buy the most expensive meats when we have to settle for chicken and ground beef at times. The government needs to put a stop to this. I feel for the children, but not for the lazy mothers and fathers who depend on the system!!
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related links Posted by 295476 on May 18, 2008 at 12:28 a.m.

Think Money Buys Happiness?

Now, We Meet The Real Losers.

Quit whining and do something about it

and while yall are talking bout welfare why not address the corporate welfare, the fraud and the corruption transacting as we speak right here in South Texas. Go after someone who legally robs the Taxpayers exponentially compared to allof the FS clients combined.

You guys sound like a bunch of hypocrites

Are You Haters Having Fun Yet?


LOL ;)
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related links Posted by 248355 on May 18, 2008 at 3:22 a.m.

in response to 254809

You are very quite welcome.

Two of my stupid pet peeves are misspellings and grammatical errors.

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related links Posted by 245502 on May 18, 2008 at 3:47 a.m.

I would think you'd be more interested in the content of the post as opposed to checking for grammatical and spelling errors.

Oh..and btw.."very quite" welcome?
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related links Posted by 711521 on May 18, 2008 at 4:58 a.m.

Get over the critical pet peeves. Not all readers have the background you do Dave. You endup being very haughty and demeaning to those just attempting to simply express themselves.

I agree about people abusing the food stamp system. These people can eat steak all month long. I don't use food stamps and generally eat only one meal per day. I budget what I eat and purchase cheaper items frequently. Prices are rising and the easy street is running out. Get a job and take birth control! or better yet get neutered.
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related links Posted by 233751 on May 18, 2008 at 7:10 a.m.

The Lone Star card should have limitations on what it can purchase just like the WIC program. Staples like bread, milk, pasta, beans, veggies, certain cheeses and meats would be allowed. No cookies, sodas, chips, high end meats and cheeses. This would stop much of the abuse. Our system has the technology to do this now and no one is complaining about the WIC system, it works!
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related links Posted by 276111 on May 18, 2008 at 8:14 a.m.

I saw a couple buy groceries with a lone star card then loaded it up on a full dress Harley which cost at least $22,000 and was a newer model. Geez!!!! Shared prosperity at its finest. Darn democrats!!!!!
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related links Posted by 245313 on May 18, 2008 at 8:26 a.m.

I am so disheartened to read the comments posted here. So quick to judge, so quick to condemn, so quick to know it all. Must feel very proud of yourselves because everything YOU do is right....just because YOU do it means everyone else can or should. Get a grip people! I have some advice for you....if it upsets you to see the person in front of you in the grocery line using a Lone Star card, look the other way! Not all "poor" people are lazy, welfare cheating, abusers of the system....many have happened along something called LIFE! Instead of being so quick to condemn, try reaching out a helping hand. Truly, if this is how some of you really think, I pity the day for you that Jesus Christ comes back to this earth!
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related links Posted by 246009 on May 18, 2008 at 8:53 a.m.

The need to get J-O-B and stop making a way of life of all the freebies the government offers. There are plenty of jobs out there, it may not be "exactly" what you want to do but it's a job. You choose the path you want to go. Everyone has the same opportunity to succeed in life, IF they choose. Along with all the freebies are grants for a better education. Do something about it.
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related links Posted by 408032 on May 18, 2008 at 10:33 a.m.

There is nothing wrong with the food stamp program. To me that is just free money. The goverment takes my money in taxes and I just get it back in a lonestar card. My family has survived many decades on food stamps and will continue to survive for more years to come.
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related links Posted by 260556 on May 18, 2008 at 11:05 a.m.

I'm not about to bash all those food stamp recipients out there, BUT I am about to bash the ones who are receiving them by deceiving the system. I'm all for some people getting them when they are in need. (It doesn't matter how many kids or if you're a single parent ) BUt I've seen so many young ( late teens to early 40s) just so happy to be on the system. They are content for all the freebies they get. I know someone who receives about 300 a month (for one 2 yr old) PLus her 2 bdrm apt is only $50 a month. Not to mention a decreased rate for her electricity. This person is only 21yrs old. C'mon, at that age you're old enough to get a job and make a better life for yourself. (Did I mention since she's not married, she conveniently has her "working" boyfriend live with her and they have all of his income to spend on anything. This is the type of stuff that is WRONG!!! If the government increases the amount of food stamps, then they need to increase the minimum wage rate for ALL hard working individuals!!! What do ya'll think?
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related links Posted by 244675 on May 18, 2008 at 11:55 a.m.

This is a classic vicious circle. The more people on welfare programs, the more difficult it is to introduce any sort of welfare reform. Most of these folks would probably never bother to vote unless it's against a candidate proposing government assistance limitations. I'm all for helping people get out of a tough situation; I was in a bad way after my now ex-wife racked up 10K in credit card debt behind my back then took off with no intention of paying any of it. It was a struggle, but I sacrificed and got through it without gov't assistance or destroying my credit, now I'm doing fine. Career welfare is inexcusable and those who practice it should be ashamed. This is supposed to be the land of opportunity, not the endless free lunch.
Oh, and the previous poster who said it was none of our business how many kids she/he has, business is defined as the transfer of funds for goods or services. If my funds (taxes) are used to help support children you can't afford, that makes it my business to a degree. If you don't rely on the gov't then have all the kids you want. Otherwise deal with the consequences on your own, especially the folks who continue to have more children while already on the dole.
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related links Posted by 234453 on May 18, 2008 at 12:04 p.m.

in response to 408032

And just how much have you paid in taxes as opposed to how much you scammed the government out of during those decades you are so proud of? You are a classic example of what is WRONG with the system!
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related links Posted by 463408 on May 18, 2008 at 1:49 p.m.

in response to 454522

If you are receiving federal assistance - Medicaid to deliver the baby and get prenatal care, WIC, Lone Star Card then I hate to burst your bubble it is MY business, no let me correct myself it is EVERYONE's business how many children you have.

If you receive no assistance, be my guest and pop those puppies out. Otherwise get your tubes tied, get some job training and get a job so you and others like you can be SELF-SUFFICIENT and hopefully stop the "cycle" of poverty your children will be repeating.
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related links Posted by 463408 on May 18, 2008 at 2:05 p.m.

in response to 408032

Food stamp program is NOT free, you are abusing taxpayer dollars... and I doubt you contributed into the "system" more than you are taking out.

Lone Star is supposed to be TEMPORARY-- not a way of life. If you were surviving, you would not need the Lone Star card, you would be "surviving" on your own.. but losers like you will continue to drain the "system" and people that really need it get the bad rap.
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related links Posted by 233913 on May 18, 2008 at 2:19 p.m.

We could hire a bunch of retiree's to work part time for the government to supplement their social security ... and there only job would be to do investigative work on every food stamp and welfare recipient to see, what kind of car do they own, what have they purchased over the time period that they have been on welfare and handouts, who are they really living with - is there an income earner living in their home.... did they use the food stamps or sell them for cash to that Harley person.. so they could buy cigarettes and beer?... and if the answer is that they are an abusive, bottom feeder... living off our tax dollars while making no effort to be responsible for themselves... then cut them off. It would be money well spent.
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related links Posted by 699932 on May 18, 2008 at 3:54 p.m.

My income is close to 45K yearly- My daughter and I eat Banquete meals and Ramen Soup and we use tuna quite frequently. My daughter and I eat out either Friday or Saturday to rest from homecooked meals. Sunday we start all over again with simple foods and we eat out of napkins most times. My water bill doesnt shock me anymore. I like expensive clothing and expensive shoes and jewelry and I have a love for my expensive vehicle(paid in full). My daughter makes excellent grades all year so with her allowance she saves it for whatever she desires, which is Rock N Roll band t-shirts.

We have never ever asked for any governent handouts whatsoever and quite frankly- most of these people who are receiving food stamp vouchers I would like to think the great majority do temporary.For those who use the system and live off the government are those who are apparently lazy and have never been caught. The last time I ate steak was about three weeks ago! Lobster- whats that? My daughter and I survive just fine without expensive meals.My grocery bill makes me smile! Anyone need lessons on how to stretch a buck? Let me know, I have tons of reciepes ( providing you like tuna that is) lol
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related links Posted by 295476 on May 18, 2008 at 6:19 p.m.

Yeah right you got the idea,

"We could hire a bunch of retiree's to work part time for the government to supplement their social security ... and their only job would be to do investigative work on every Corporate Executive and Corporate Welfare recipient to see what kind of Boards they sit on, what kind of Property they own, what kind of Property their family owns and when and where in the hell did they get that crystal ball from? How many grants and non competing contracts have they received and the commonality amongst them all. Lets not forget the business expenses and the petty cash. What have they purchased over the time period that they have been on Corporate Welfare and / or receiving Government Contracts, Non competing "Business" handouts, What is the actual value of their home (not the appraised one), is their property tax appropriate for the actual value of their home, who are they really sleeping with - .... did they abuse or peddle their influence or for undisclosed amounts of cash under the table? How many times government grants included or paid for whiskey and women? And if the answer is that they are an abusive, bottom feeder... living off our tax dollars while making no effort to be responsible for themselves... then fine the heck out of them. It would be money well spent."
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related links Posted by 711504 on May 18, 2008 at 7:06 p.m.

I wish that I had $312 a month of FREE food for my family!

I struggle to pay my taxes, earn a living and get by on about $175 a month of food for a family of four. Thank God for Angel Food!

I really have NO SYMPATHY for those welfare addicts who milk the government for as many handouts as Barack Hussein Obama and his wicked racist minions will give in exchange for votes!

If you want to eat more -- GET A JOB!!!!
Oh wait...welfare recipients eat better than most teachers!!!!
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related links Posted by 295476 on May 18, 2008 at 7:31 p.m.

Go wait in the lines, go through the application specificities, allow yourself to be jerked around by the program administration and then comeback and tell us how lucrative & "free" the Welfare Program is.
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related links Posted by 295476 on May 18, 2008 at 10:40 p.m.

Why be a teacher if you have this bias against people who are "welfare" addicts as you claim?

It is teachers like you who have no intention of allowing a "welfare" student to succeed.

What kind of teacher are you?
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related links Posted by 237092 on May 18, 2008 at 11:52 p.m.

I wondered how many participants in the Buc parade this year use the Lone Star card. Especially the low rider cars with the girls up front and the kid(s) on their lap. I couldn't help but shake my head in disgust. Your tax dollars that provide free grocery money in the form of Lone Star cards, medical and dental insurance (Medi-caid) and WIC also probably helped provide those daddies all the cash they needed to pimp their rides.....
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related links Posted by 295476 on May 19, 2008 at 12:46 a.m.

All you fretting about what others got, know that the insurance company that charges you for health insurance is subsidized by the poor people.

Look it up.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Because without a lawyer, a person untrained in the law has no idea what his rights are or how to assert them

"Ezekial 25:17 - The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequites of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he that shepherds the weak from the valley of darkness for he is truly his brother's keeper, and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers, and you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

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Lecture presented by Stephen B. Bright, director of the Southern Center for Human Rights and J. Skelly Wright Fellow at Yale Law School, at the Notre Dame Law School on February 15, 1996, and published in Volume 71, Notre Dame Law Review, page 845 (1996).

Copyright (c) 1996 University of Notre Dame; Stephen B. Bright

The use of capital punishment in America today presents a number of fundamental moral issues about our society and our system of justice. It is fitting that we address those issues here at Notre Dame Law School, which has a well-deserved reputation for raising moral issues, for a deep commitment to justice, and for responding to human needs with compassion.

Our society and the legal professional are failing to meet the need for legal services of many of those most desperately in need of such services in cases involving the highest stake, life itself. There are, of course, urgent needs in other areas besides capital punishment. Those accused of crimes which do not carry the death penalty, the poor, people of color, homeless people, people with mental impairments, people who are HIV positive, people in prisons and jails and many others are without lawyers to represent them in cases which involve their freedom, their shelter, their survival.

Those needs will be greater when you graduate from law school than they are today. But there could be fewer jobs and less resources for those who respond. And, as you know, you will be saddled with enormous debts. This presents a challenge, but it should not deter you from responding. Indeed, my message to you is that you have no choice except to respond Ä the needs and the times demand it.

Let's examine the needs and how individuals and institutions may respond to them.

Children and the poor are going to have a tremendous need for your services. The states are increasingly passing so-called welfare reform measures and Congress and the President are about to follow suit with a measure that will "end welfare as we know it." The result of these "reforms" will be to put thousands of children on heating grates to live.

This message to "get a job or starve" comes even as America's most prosperous companies are "down-sizing" Ä laying off thousands of workers who dedicated their lives to their companies. You will be practicing law in a world in which your fellow human beings are increasingly looked upon by the corporate structure and the government as disposable, as Charles Reich eloquently describes in his book, Opposing the System.1 A person can work hard all her life and suddenly, one day, lose her job, her health insurance, her home and everything Ä not because she did anything wrong, but because the company does not need her any more. Many of those who lose their jobs in this manner have little prospect of finding employment elsewhere.

Many of those growing up in our country today have little chance of obtaining a job because we have not met the promise of providing a quality education for all of our children. Of course, a quality education is essential for a job in today's world. Silicon Valley did not appear by coincidence in California. The opportunities offered there are the sweet fruit harvested as a result of the country's best system of higher education. But now that system is being raided to pay for unnecessary prisons. California now spends more money on its prison system than on its university system.

As a result of the denial of education, opportunity and even hope for so many of our children and their parents, the choice for many by age sixteen is not the one you had Ä which college to attend, what career to pursue. It is a choice between trying to find a minimum wage job at a fast food restaurant or getting in on the material wealth of the American dream through the only business available, the selling of illegal drugs.

As was pointed out recently by Steven Duke and Richard St. John:

Those who would eviscerate welfare contend that welfare recipients need the threat of severe deprivation to motivate them to seek a job. But all the evidence proves that there are no jobs for most of the people now on welfare . . . . A recent study of fastfood workers found 14 applicants for every opening.

There is another glaring gap in the reasoning of those who want to rescind the war on poverty: They assume that the only alternative a welfare recipient has is legitimate work. This overlooks the omnipresent alternative of crime.2

But America's children can still count on their government to fulfill one promise. Both the federal and state governments are committed to spend up to $30,000 a year on every child in the United States. All that child must do to obtain this government support is to try to medicate his depression or despair with illegal drugs or commit some other crime. The state and federal governments are absolutely committed to having a maximum security prison cell for any child who commits a crime Ä especially if that child is a person of color.

Some of those accused of crimes will be entered in a lottery Ä a lottery rigged by race and poverty. Out of thousands eligible, about 250 will be condemned to be strapped down and shot, hung, gassed, electrocuted or injected with lethal drugs.

Other industrialized nations have abandoned the death penalty. Recently the Constitutional Court of South Africa unanimously found the death penalty to be cruel, unusual and degrading punishment under that country's constitution.3 But we continue to sentence people to death in the United States.

I was in a Georgia courtroom last fall defending an African American facing the death penalty for a crime committed against a white person. We were trying to persuade the judge to remove the Confederate battle flag from the courtroom Ä it is a part of the Georgia state flag. The flag was adopted in defiance of the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education4 that schools be integrated.5 We were also asking the court to bar the state from seeking the death penalty against my client because of racial discrimination in the infliction of the death penalty in Georgia.

As we were litigating those motions, I was struck by several thoughts. The Olympic games are coming to Georgia next year. Georgia, like South Africa, has a long history of apartheid, racial oppression and racial violence. Yet now South Africa has moved ahead, it has joined the rest of the civilized world in abandoning capital punishment. But Georgia is still flying the Confederate battle flag in its courtrooms and burning people up in its electric chair while others celebrate their deaths outside.

But the problems are not limited to Georgia. The sad fact is that, increasingly, our state and federal governments are offering the young not hope, opportunity and equality, but the threat of incarceration and execution. Last summer, President Clinton began running television advertisements proclaiming his support for the death penalty and tough sentencing laws. In 1994, he signed into law a crime bill providing for the death penalty for fifty federal crimes.

The federal death penalty was brought back in 1988. Since that time the Justice Department has approved fifty-four capital prosecutions. All but nine have been against people of color. During the Clinton administration, Attorney General Reno has approved twenty-seven capital prosecutions. Twenty were against African Americans. Yet despite this sorry record, even more capital crimes were adopted last year.

In addition to providing for more death, state and federal governments pass new measures each year to provide for more incarceration. Longer prison sentences, mandatory minimum sentences, unreasonable and inflexible sentencing guidelines and other legislation such as "three strikes and you're out" result in more people serving longer periods of time behind bars at enormous cost. The United States now imprisons more people than ever before Ä over 1.5 million in both prisons and jails Ä and has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world.6 To keep up with the growth in prison population will require the construction of 1,725 new prison beds each week.

And legislatures are moving to make life even more unbearable for those crowded into prisons and jails. Alabama has brought back the chain gang.7 Its only purpose is degradation and humiliation of human beings for political points. A person cannot get much work done chained to another person. Alabama has also returned to the practice of having prisoners stand in the hot Alabama sun for ten hours a day breaking rocks with ten-pound sledge hammers.8 This activity serves no practical purpose Ä there is no need for the crushed rock Ä but apparently it serves political purposes.

Not long ago such barbarism would be seen as just another aberrational act by Alabama. Today, it starts a national trend. Arizona and Florida have already reinstated the chain gang and other states are contemplating it as well. And the Alabama legislature, continuing its role as the trend setter, is now considering a bill to return to caning as punishment for crime. Children even as young as thirteen are being prosecuted as adults. Not just in Alabama, where fourteen and fifteen year old children are serving sentences of life imprisonment without any possibility of parole, but all across the land.

As prisons and jails become even more overcrowded, conditions deteriorate. Yet legislation proposed in the United States Congress would restrict the ability of federal courts to provide relief for unconstitutional conditions in prisons.9 This legislation is based on irresponsible assertions by the National Association of Attorneys General and members of Congress that prisoner lawsuits are about nothing more important than soggy sandwiches or being deprived of watching football games on television or the use of electronic games.

Nothing is said about the unconscionable degradation and violence in America's prisons that was corrected only by order of federal courts in response to suits brought by prisoners. Judge Frank Johnson ordered the correction of barbaric conditions in Alabama's prisons twenty years ago. Judge Johnson found "horrendous" overcrowding with inmates sleeping on mattresses in the hallways and next to urinals; prisons were "overrun with roaches, flies, mosquitoes, and other vermin"; mentally disturbed inmates were "dispersed throughout the prison population without receiving treatment"; and robbery, rape, extortion, theft and assault were "everyday occurrences" among the general inmate population.10

Prisons in thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have been put under some form of court supervision because of the failure of state officials to operate constitutional facilities. For example, a federal judge found that residents of the California State Prison at San Quentin were "regarded and treated as caged animals, not human beings."11 At a prison in Pendleton, Indiana, the federal court found that inmates were shackled spread- eagle to metal bed frames for up to two and a half days at a time and "frequently denied the right to use the toilet and had to lie in their own filth."12 At the Southern Center for Human Rights, our docket of suits on behalf of prisoners is not about melting ice cream, but about the most fundamental human rights of people, such as the right to safety and security, to basic medical and mental health care.

It is the threat of punishment and degradation, not the promise of hope and opportunity, that we hold out to children who have the misfortune to be born into poverty, the victims of brutal racism, those who have the misfortune to be born into dysfunctional families, those who are the victims of physical, sexual and psychological abuse, and those who have the misfortune to be born with a deficit in intellectual functioning or some other mental impairment.

One would think that if all we hold out to these children is a prison cell, the chain gang and the electric chair, at least we could provide a little process Ä fair procedure with a good lawyer Ä before we take away their lives or freedom and subject them to such suffering and degradation for the suffering and degradation they caused others. And one would think that, at the very least, we would make sure that racial prejudice, which already puts so many at such a disadvantage, would not influence the severity of their punishment. But both fair procedures and the access to courts through competent and experienced counsel are being taken away even from those with the most desperate needs of all, those facing the executioner. And the courts are completely indifferent to the prominent role that race plays in the criminal justice system.

Since 1977, Chief Justice Rehnquist has waged a relentless war on the once great Writ of Habeas Corpus, which the Supreme Court described over thirty years ago as "the common law world's 'freedom writ."'13 It gives a person the right to go into federal court and assert that he or she has been imprisoned in violation of the Constitution. It gives a life-tenure federal judge the power, where there has been a constitutional violation, not to let the defendant go free, but to require the state to provide a new and fair trial. The Supreme Court once said "there is no higher duty than to maintain it unimpaired."14

But the Supreme Court under the leadership of Justice Rehnquist Ä later Chief Justice Rehnquist Ä has placed all manner of technicalities in the way of vindication of violations of the Bill of Rights.15 And now Congress and the President are poised to finish off the Writ. The Anti-Terrorism Bill that has passed the Senate includes provisions which would limit even further the ability of federal judges to set aside an illegally obtained death sentence.16 It will impose time limits that would treat capital cases like small claims cases.

This legislation would leave enforcement of the Bill of Rights primarily to state court judges. This sounds reasonable, but it overlooks that state court judges in all but a handful of states must stand for election.17 Those judges are not independent. In high publicity, high profile cases, enforcing the law may cost them their jobs. In the present political climate, an elected judge who grants relief in a capital case signs his or her own political death warrant. It has happened in California. Three justices of the state supreme court were swept from office because of their votes in capital cases.18 It happened in Mississippi.19 It has happened in other places, but often it does not happen because judges pay more attention to the next election than to the law in making their rulings.

There was an election last year for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Stephen W. Mansfield ran for a seat on the court on a three-plank platform: greater use of the death penalty, greater use of the harmless error doctrine, and fines for lawyers who file "frivolous appeals" in death penalty cases.20 Mansfield challenged an incumbent, a former prosecutor, who had served for twelve years on the court. Before the election, it was revealed that Mansfield had been a member of the Texas bar only a couple of years, that he had been fined for practicing law without a license in Florida, that he had almost no criminal law experience.21 Nevertheless, Mansfield won the election. The Texas Lawyer aptly described him after his election as an "unqualified success."22

Of course the most fundamental element of a fair process is the right to counsel. Because without a lawyer, a person untrained in the law has no idea what his rights are or how to assert them. I am sure that many of you were inspired to go to law school, as I was, by Anthony Lewis' marvelous book, Gideon's Trumpet. It is the story of Clarence Earl Gideon who was convicted in Florida and then filed his own handwritten petition with the United States Supreme Court saying it just was not fair that he did not have a lawyer at his trial. This ultimately led to the case of Gideon v. Wainwright,23 which held that the poor person accused of a felony is entitled to a lawyer. Anthony Lewis observed after the decision:

It will be an enormous task to bring to life the dream of Gideon v. Wainwright Ä the dream of a vast, diverse country in which every person charged with a crime will be capably defended, no matter what his economic circumstances, and in which the lawyer representing him will do so proudly, without resentment at an unfair burden, sure of the support needed to make an adequate defense.24

Over thirty years after Gideon was decided, this dream has not been realized. There is no public defender office in many jurisdictions; in some jurisdictions, the indigent defense work is assigned to the lowest bidder.25 It was recently discovered that in Putnam County, Georgia, the local sheriff appointed lawyers to the cases of poor defendants and refused to appoint lawyers who would not agree to the plea dispositions proposed by the sheriff.26

Congress cut off all funding in the fall of 1995 for a very modest program to provide some measure of justice to those facing the death penalty Ä the post-conviction defender organizations or resource centers that had existed in twenty states. The resource centers, created in 1987, were a relatively small program for the size of the problem. All together they had about 200 lawyers to deal with the post-conviction representation of over 3,000 people condemned to death. But the young lawyers who were at the resource centers during their eight years of existence proved what a difference you can make if you tackle a problem, work hard at it, build an expertise and are committed to justice.

Some of the resource center attorneys were right out of law school. They were not paid very much by the prevailing standards of the legal profession. But after two or three years, those young lawyers had mastered the complex areas of criminal law, the sub-specialty of capital punishment law, and the procedural maze of state and federal post-conviction law. Besides building their own expertise and applying it, they recruited lawyers from firms to provide pro bono representation. Many lawyers responded to the call. And they, working with the resource center lawyers, provided the highest quality of representation.

And they made a difference. Walter McMillian, who spent six years on Alabama's death row, is a free man today because the Alabama Resource Center proved that he was innocent of the murder for which he was condemned to die.27 Lloyd Schlup is alive today because the resource center in Missouri established his innocence.28 Curtis Lee Kyles is alive today because the resource center in Louisiana marshalled evidence of his innocence.29

In addition, these young lawyers, and the pro bono attorneys with whom they worked, exposed constitutional violations in other cases Ä violations such as failure to disclose exculpatory evidence, racial discrimination, and prosecutorial misconduct. These are not technicalities. These are constitutional violations that go to the very integrity and reliability of the system.

And because these lawyers and these programs made a difference, they came under attack by the National Association of Attorneys General, led by the new Attorney General of South Carolina who ran on a promise to replace the state's electric chair with an electric sofa so that more people could be executed at one time.30 Apparently the attorneys general consider it a bad reflection on our criminal justice system that innocent people are being sentenced to death. The House and the Senate responded by cutting off all funding last fall.

Those who depend upon government funding must recognize that a reality of our times is that if they are effective in helping the poor or people of color, there is a very substantial risk that the government will take away or reduce the funding or, as with the federal Legal Services Corporation, which makes legal assistance available to the poor in civil cases, interfere with their ability to help their clients by placing restrictions on their practices. Of course, that has always been the case in many states; the only programs that received funding were the ones that were completely ineffective. But at least the federal government could be counted on for some programs and the federal courts for some measure of justice that could not be obtained in the state courts. But now there is no commitment to access to the courts or to fairness on the part of our national leadership in either party.

The result is that many who most need legal assistance are without it. Many of the 3,000 men, women and children on death rows throughout the country are without counsel. Many of the lawyers from the capital resource centers who would have provided representation have gone to other jobs in other states. This leaves two choices. One is the states can execute the condemned without providing counsel for the post-conviction stages of review. The Supreme Court has held there is no right to counsel in state post-conviction proceedings.31 The other choice is to assign a lawyer who knows nothing about post- conviction practice and pay the lawyer a token amount for providing the appearance of some process. Alabama compensates lawyers $600 for handling post-conviction representation. An attorney who devotes the necessary time will be earning less than ten cents an hour. But the fees in Alabama are better than in Georgia, Mississippi and some other states. They pay nothing.

If the states do provide counsel, we can expect to see the same quality of representation during post-conviction that we see at trial. And the quality of representation at trial in capital cases has been a disgrace to the legal profession.32 For example, judges in Houston, Texas have often appointed to defend capital and other criminal cases a lawyer who occasionally falls asleep during trial.33 When a defendant in a capital case there once complained about his lawyer sleeping, the judge responded that the Constitution guarantees the accused a lawyer, but it does not guarantee that the lawyer must be awake.34 The trial of a woman facing the death penalty in Alabama had to be suspended for a day because the lawyer appointed to defend her was too drunk to go forward.35 The judge sent him to jail for a day to dry out and then produced both the client and lawyer from jail and resumed the trial. She was sentenced to death.

Last month, I handled a post-conviction proceeding in a capital case in Georgia in which the court-appointed lawyers did not make one objection during the entire trial, which lasted only one and a half days.36 Only one motion was filed prior to trial. One of the attorneys appointed to defend the accused had never heard of two important Supreme Court decisions in Georgia capital cases, Furman v. Georgia37 and Gregg v. Georgia,38 which provide the structure for much of the Eighth Amendment law governing capital trials. Another lawyer who has handled a number of criminal and capital cases in Georgia was asked to name all of the criminal law decisions of which he was aware. He could answer only Miranda and Dred Scott.39

The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed a conviction and death sentence in a case after receiving a brief from the lawyer that was only one page long.40 The lawyer did not show up for oral argument. One might have expected the Alabama Supreme Court Ä or the courts in the other cases I have described Ä to call a halt to proceedings where the lawyering was so bad and appoint new counsel, not only to protect the rights of the accused, but also so that the court could do its job. Do these courts care at all about justice? How can a court decide a capital case based on a one-page brief and without oral argument? But the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed without ever having adequate briefing or any argument. The client was eventually executed.

Poor people do not choose their lawyers. They are assigned lawyers by state court judges, many of whom are elected and are more concerned about the next election than the Bill of Rights. We must ask, is it morally right to assign a poor person a lawyer who does not know the law, who does not care enough to investigate, who is incapable of properly handling such a serious case, and then penalize the poor person for errors made by the lawyer?

Another great moral and legal issue that courts continue to ignore is the role that racial prejudice plays in deciding who dies. Edward Horsley was executed in Alabama's electric chair on February 16, 1996. He was the eleventh African American put to death by Alabama of the fourteen that have been executed since the Supreme Court allowed resumption of capital punishment in 1976. He and his codefendant were sentenced to death by all- white juries selected in Monroeville, Alabama.

Two African American men sentenced to death by an all-white jury in Utah were executed even though jurors discovered during a lunch recess a note which contained the words "Hang the Nigger's" [sic] and a drawing of a figure hanging on a gallows.41 No court, state or federal, even had a hearing on such questions as who wrote the note, what influence it had on the jurors, and how widely it was discussed by the jurors. William Henry Hance was executed in Georgia without any court holding a hearing on the use of racial slurs by jurors who decided his fate.42 The racial disparities in the infliction of the death penalty are undeniable,43 yet courts refuse even to hold hearings on such ugly racial incidents as I have described here.

But even if our system could provide the person facing the death penalty with a fair and impartial judge, a responsible prosecutor who was beyond political influences, a capable defense lawyer, and a jury which represented a fair cross-section of the community, it would not eliminate the discrimination and unfairness in the infliction of the death penalty. No procedure employed by the court during jury selection or trial can eliminate the centuries of racial prejudice and discrimination in our history. Beyond that, the task of deciding who should live and who should die is simply too enormous for our court system. And our courts do not function best when caught up in the politics and passions of the moment, which is almost always the case when a capital trial is taking place.

I am reasonably confident that this sad situation is only going to get worse because no one in a leadership position speaks out against it. That was not always the case. Over thirty years ago, the Attorney General of the United States, Robert F. Kennedy, observed, "the poor person accused of a crime has no lobby." And he did something about it. He, the Attorney General of the United States, became a lobby for the poor person. He found responsible leaders on Capitol Hill who responded to his call. Together they brought about passage of the Criminal Justice Act to give lawyers to poor people accused of crimes in the federal courts. One opportunity that will be open to you upon graduation is to work at one of the federal defender offices all across the country now in existence thanks to the leadership of Attorney General Kennedy. Attorney General Kennedy supported the Criminal Justice Act not because he was soft on crime Ä Robert Kennedy was a tough prosecutor Ä but because he believed in fairness. It was as simple as that.

But after the election of 1994, as the state attorneys general and politicians in both parties moved to take away funding for the resource centers Ä to remove the small fig leaf of fairness that did not begin to cover the injustices and inequities in the use of the death penalty Ä not a word of protest was heard from the White House or the Department of Justice.

Those of us who remember Robert Kennedy hoped that someone might at least say: "Wait, if we are going to have the death penalty, if we are going to kill our own people Ä even our children Ä at least we must give lawyers to those accused of crimes." And not just a stable of plug horses that would not be accepted by a decent glue factory, but real lawyers who know what they are doing. It is a matter of fairness. We hoped that someone might say: "Wait, we cannot gut the great Writ of Habeas Corpus. Life and liberty are too precious. Even in this material world, life and liberty should have the protection of the federal courts." Our country could have benefitted from a lesson in fairness and due process from the President or the Attorney General or some of the leaders in Congress.

Those are some of the challenges. What can we do about them?

It can be difficult to find a public interest job Ä not as hard as some think, but it is certainly more difficult than finding a job with a law firm. As I said earlier, there are no public defender offices in many jurisdictions where those accused of crimes have the greatest need for competent legal counsel. And it is getting harder. Many of the capital resource centers have closed. The civil legal services programs are also under attack for providing too much justice. They are being cut back and restrictions placed on their work. And of course you have those law school debts.

Law schools and human rights organizations must come to the rescue. The legal profession must respond to the challenge. And you as individuals must respond to the problems I have described.

A number of law schools have responded. The University of Texas Law School now has a capital punishment clinic which provides an outstanding experience for students and desperately needed help for lawyers defending capital cases in that state. The Capital Clearinghouse at the Washington and Lee College of Law has helped improve the quality of representation in Virginia. Loan forgiveness programs are making it possible for law school graduates to take jobs which pay very little but allow them to respond to desperate needs. Yale and New York University are among the leaders in providing full loan forgiveness for students who go into public interest careers. Law students at many institutions have created public interest foundations, through which those who have well paying jobs make contributions to enable other graduates to accept public interest jobs and pay their loans.

Our program, the Southern Center for Human Rights, has benefitted tremendously in the last six years because each year we have had a Skadden Fellow, a new law graduate whose salary and benefits were paid for by the fellowship foundation of the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Now in its seventh year, the Skadden program provides two-year fellowships for twenty-five law graduates. Thanks to that program, we have had three outstanding lawyers who would not have been with us otherwise. There are clients who are alive today who would be dead were it not for our Skadden Fellows. It is time for other firms to follow Skadden's lead.

Some people concerned about the death penalty created last year the Harry A. Blackmun Fellowship at our office. That fellowship is making it possible for us to put another recent law graduate in the field to respond to these desperate needs.

Judy Clarke, the federal public defender in Spokane, Washington, recently donated her fees for representing Susan Smith in South Carolina, $83,000, to the South Carolina Post-Conviction Defender Organization so it could establish a fellowship to provide representation for condemned inmates.44 This contribution was made by a public defender who is providing representation in the courts to poor people every day. Where is the rest of the legal profession? Lawyers have a monopoly on access to justice; they have a duty to see that it is not only available to those who can pay.

But what is also needed is the response of individuals who are willing to go where the needs are. The legal services offices that survive, the public defender offices that exist, and the various public interest law projects, like my office, are not going to offer you jobs a year before you graduate like the law firms do. The reason is we do not know if we will be cut back thirty percent or eliminated completely.

But those offices will need you at some point. Last year, two of my third-year students at Yale Law School were discouraged in January because they could not find public defender jobs. But by May they were calling for help in deciding between the three public defender offices that had made offers. Another recent graduate worked for a criminal defense lawyer in Atlanta while he waited for his bar results and an opening at a public defender office. He passed the bar and will start practicing with the public defender office in Atlanta next month.

I also urge you to explore creating your own programs, your own non-profit public interest law projects Ä not offices where lawyers get rich, but places where people get justice. But to do that, you must settle for less in material rewards than what other lawyers are receiving for their work.

It is easy to lose perspective. Remember that it is no sacrifice to receive the same income as that received by teachers, farmers, workers on the assembly line and other good, decent working men and women who raise families and contribute to their communities. To the contrary, it is a great privilege to devote one's life to things that are important and about which you care passionately.

You who will someday graduate from law school have the opportunity to become what Martin Luther King, Jr., in one of his many great sermons, called "drum majors for justice." Dr. King described the drum major for justice as one who speaks the truth Ä no matter how unwelcome it may be and no matter how uncomfortable it may make the listener Ä and as one who gives his or her life to serving others: to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and Ä particularly important for lawyers Ä to visiting those who are in prison, and to loving and serving humanity.45 He described his goal as a drum major for justice: "I just want to be there in love and justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world."46

Follow the example of a young lawyer who graduated from Howard Law School, opened a practice in Baltimore and handled civil rights cases and became a great drum major for justice Ä Thurgood Marshall. Follow the example of a nun who ministered to the poor in the projects of New Orleans and on death row at Angola Ä Sister Helen Prejean.47

I offer my office as an example of what you can do only because it is the one I know something about and we have had some experience in surviving in hard times without much money. We have never received any government money. We must spread very thinly what little money we have to provide justice for those most in need of it. And that requires living a simple life, not letting a lot of material things clutter our existence.

We pay everyone the same, whether secretary, senior lawyer, or junior lawyer. Our annual salaries have been as low as $8,500. Now, everyone makes $23,000. You can live on this amount. I have lived on such a salary for the last thirteen years. But, of course, so have many other people in our society who work at jobs that are not nearly so interesting and fulfilling as what we do.

A law firm may pay one partner $600,000 or even more. At the Southern Center for Human Rights, that is the entire operating budget for a year for nine lawyers, three investigators, one paralegal, three administrative people and a number of law students. With that we provide representation in fifty capital cases and twenty-four cases challenging prison and jail conditions.

There are other possibilities. The new technology of today enables us to practice law from our homes with a computer, a modem, a printer, a telephone and a fax machine. It is possible to maintain very low overhead so you can charge reasonable fees for services or even barter, as William Kunstler often did with his neighbors.

Consider practicing law not in Washington, New York or the Bay Area, but in communities where there has never been a lawyer who would question the status quo, who would give African Americans the same representation as white people, who would give the poor the same representation as the rich. You can change that. Those communities are not hard to find. Get a map of any state in the Union. It will be full of them.

We live in a society where it is possible to isolate ourselves from the poverty, the racism, the injustices that affect the lives of so many people. The culture of becoming a lawyer is one in which there is almost overwhelming temptation to take the job that pays the most money to pay those debts; but then it is so easy to fall into a costly culture of BMWs, big houses, and summer homes. There is so much money available and so many good uses we can think of for it, that it is easy to give in to the twin evils of complacency and complicity.

I urge you to commit yourselves today not to do that. As Elie Wiesel said in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, "Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately."48 I have not had enough time to describe all the desperate needs, only some of what needs to be done to work toward finally realizing the promise of Clarence Earl Gideon's case.

Your time, your talents and your commitment are urgently needed. Let me give you an example of how much you are needed. Cornelius Singleton, a mentally retarded African American youth on death row in Alabama, went eight years without seeing the lawyer assigned to represent him in post-conviction proceedings. Can you imagine what it must be like to be on death row for eight years and not see a lawyer? Not to know whether you are going to be executed the next day, the next week, the next year? To have no idea what is even happening on your case? Do you see what a difference you could make if you had been Cornelius Singleton's lawyer? Just by going to see him, by counseling him, you would have provided a valuable service.

We cannot solve all the problems, but we can lend a helping hand and our professional skills to those who most need us. Like those who helped slaves escape to freedom as part of the underground railroad before the Civil War, we can help people reach safe passage, one at a time, from the injustices which threaten to destroy them.

And what a difference you can make to those individuals whom you help. Last summer, one of my clients, Tony Amadeo, who had been condemned to die by Georgia when he was only eighteen years old, but whose death sentence was set aside due to racial discrimination,49 graduated summa cum laude from Mercer University. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot make a difference as a lawyer.

And we can bear witness to the injustices we see until we shake our fellow citizens out of the indifference which we see about us.

I leave you with the challenge issued by Justice Thurgood Marshall, six months before he died, in accepting the Liberty Bell Award in Philadelphia. Justice Marshall was frail. He was in a wheelchair. But by the end of his remarks, it was observed that "his voice was as booming as [it had been] in those magnificent times when he argued before the Supreme Court."50 Justice Marshall said:

I wish I could say that racism and prejudice are only distant memories . . . and that liberty and equality were just around the bend. I wish I could say that America has come to appreciate diversity and to see and accept similarity. But as I look around, I see not a nation of unity but of division Ä Afro and white, indigenous and immigrant, rich and poor, educated and illiterate. . . .

Look around. Can't you see the tensions in Watts? Can't you feel the fear in Scarsdale? Can't you sense the alienation in Simi Valley? The despair in the South Bronx? The rage in Brooklyn?

We cannot play ostrich. Democracy cannot flourish among fear. Liberty cannot bloom among hate. Justice cannot take root amid rage. We must go against the prevailing wind. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. . . . We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and an absence of leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better. Take a chance, won't you? Knock down the fences that divide. Tear apart the walls that imprison. Reach out; freedom lies just on the other side.51

That's the challenge. To continue the work which Justice Marshall so nobly advanced in his great career at the bar. Now it's your turn.

I hope to see you in the courts.

. Charles Reich, Opposing the System (1995).

. Steven B. Duke & Richard St. John, Less Welfare: More Crime, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan. 14, 1996, at B1.

. The State v. Makwanyane, Constl. Ct. of South Africa, June 6, 1995, reprinted in 16 Hum. Rts. L.J. 154 (1995).

. 347 U.S. 483 (1954) (holding that racial segregation in the public schools violates the Equal Protection Clause); see also Brown v. Board of Educ., 349 U.S. 294, 301 (1955) (requiring that desegregation of the public schools proceed "with all deliberate speed").

. Coleman v. Miller, 885 F. Supp. 1561, 1569 (N.D. Ga. 1995) (finding that the flag was adopted "as a statement of defiance against federal desegregation mandates and an expression of anti-black feelings").

. 1,725 New Prisons Beds a Week; Biggest 1-Year Spurt in Inmate Population, Atlanta Const., Dec. 4, 1995, at 1A (reporting a Department of Justice announcement that there are 1.1 million inmates in prison and another 484,000 in jails, giving the United States an incarceration rate of 565 per 100,000, higher than even Russia, which had been the world leader).

. Rick Bragg, Chain Gangs to Return to Roads of Alabama, N.Y. Times, Mar. 26, 1995, at 16; Brent Staples, The Chain Gang Show, N.Y. Times Mag., Sept. 17, 1995, at 62.

. Alabama to Make Prisoners Break Rocks, N.Y. Times, July 29, 1995, at 5.

. Stop Turning Out Prisoners Act, H.R. 667, 104 Cong., 1st Sess. (1995). After some modification, the restrictions were adopted as the Prison Litigation Reform Act by the Congress as a rider to the Omnibus Rescission and Appropriations Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-134, and signed into law by President Clinton on April 26, 1996.

. Pugh v. Locke, 406 F. Supp. 318, 322-27 (M.D. Ala. 1976), aff'd as modified, 559 F.2d 283 (5th Cir. 1977), rev'd in part on other grounds, 438 U.S. 781 (1978) (per curiam).

. Toussaint v. McCarthy, 597 F. Supp. 1388, 1400 (N.D. Cal. 1984), aff'd in relevant part, 801 F.2d 1080 (9th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 481 U.S. 1069 (1987).

. French v. Owens, 777 F.2d 1250, 1253 (7th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 817 (1986). These are, of course, only a few of the many examples of unconscionable constitutional violations that could be found in America's prisons before they were corrected by federal lawsuits brought on behalf of prisoners. For an excellent and sobering account of conditions in the Mississippi State Pentitentiary over the decades before federal court intervention, see David M. Oshinski, "Worse than Slavery": Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice (1996); see also Nils Christie, Crime Control as Industry: Toward GULAGS, Western Style? (1993) (a description of failures of the American prison system by an eminent Norwegian criminologist); Susan P. Sturm, The Legacy and Future of Corrections Litigation, 142 U. Pa. L. Rev. 639 (1993) (describing reforms accomplished through corrections litigation).

. Smith v. Bennett, 365 U.S. 708, 712 (1961).

. Id. at 713 (quoting Bowen v. Johnson, 306 U.S. 19, 26 (1939)).

. The Court has limited the availability of the Writ to vindicate constitutional rights by adopting strict rules of procedural default, see, e.g., Smith v. Murray, 477 U.S. 527, 533-36 (1986); Engle v. Isaacs, 456 U.S. 107, 130-34 (1982); Wainwright v. Sykes, 433 U.S. 72, 88-91 (1977); Timothy J. Foley, The New Arbitrariness: Procedural Default of Federal Habeas Claims in Capital Cases, 23 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 193 (1989); by excluding most Fourth Amendment claims from habeas corpus review, Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465 (1976); by requiring deference to fact finding by state court judges, see, e.g., Patton v. Yount, 467 U.S. 1025 (1984); Sumner v. Mata, 439 U.S. 539 (1981), after remand, 455 U.S. 591 (1982), after second remand, 464 U.S. 957 (1983); by making it more difficult for a petitioner to obtain an evidentiary hearing to prove a constitutional violation, Keeney v. Tamayo- Reyes, 504 U.S. 1 (1992); by adopting an extremely restrictive doctrine regarding the retroactivity of constitutional law, Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989); James S. Liebman, More than "Slightly Retro:" The Rehnquist Court's Rout of Habeas Corpus Jurisdiction in Teague v. Lane, 18 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 537 (1991); by reducing the harmless error standard for constitutional violations recognized in federal habeas review, Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619 (1993); and by restricting when a constitutional violation may be raised in a second habeas petition, McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U.S. 467 (1991).

. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, signed into law by President Clinton on April 24, 1996, Pub. L. 104-132, requires deference by federal courts to decisions of state courts unless the decision is "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law," id. s 104(3); establishes a statute of limitation for the filing of habeas corpus petitions, id. s 101; further restricts when a federal court may conduct an evidentiary hearing, id. 104(4); and adds new barriers to hearing a successive habeas corpus petition, id. s 105; see David Cole, Destruction of the Habeas Safety Net, Legal Times, June 19, 1995, at 30.

. Stephen B. Bright & Patrick J. Keenan, Judges and the Politics of Death: Deciding Between the Bill of Rights and the Next Election in Capital Cases, 75 B.U. L. Rev. 759, 779 n.89 (1995) (in 32 of the 38 states that have the death penalty, state court judges must stand for periodic election or retention).

. Governor George Deukmejian announced his opposition to Chief Justice Rose Bird because of her votes in capital cases and warned two other justices he would oppose them unless the death penalty was upheld. Leo C. Wolinsky, Support for Two Justices Tied to Death Penalty Votes, Governor Says, L.A. Times, Mar. 14, 1986, at 3; Steve Wiegand, Governor's Warning to 2 Justices, S.F. Chron., Mar. 14, 1986, at 1. He eventually campaigned for the removal of all three justices and the voters responded by voting all three from their positions. Frank Clifford, Voters Repudiate 3 of Court's Liberal Justices, L.A. Times, Nov. 5, 1986, pt. 1, at 1 (describing results of election and commercials in the last month of the campaign which insisted "that all three justices needed to lose if the death penalty is to be enforced").

. David W. Case, In Search of an Independent Judiciary: Alternatives to Judicial Elections in Mississippi, 13 Miss. C. L. Rev. 1, 15-20 (1992) (describing how Justice James Robertson was defeated by a "law and order candidate" who had the support of the Mississippi Prosecutor's Association). Robertson was the second justice to be voted off the Mississippi Supreme Court in two years for being "soft on crime." Andy Kanengler, McRae Overwhelms Justice Joel Blass, Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.), June 6, 1990, at 4A; Tammie Cessna Langford, McRae Unseats Blass, Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), June 3, 1990, at A1.

. Janet Elliott & Richard Connelly, Mansfield: The Stealth Candidate; His Past Isn't What it Seems, Tex. Law., Oct. 3, 1994, at 1, 32.

. Id.; John Williams, Election '94: GOP Gains Majority in State Supreme Court, Houston Chron., Nov. 10, 1994, at A29.

. Jane Elliott, Unqualified Success: Mansfield's Mandate; Vote Makes Case for Merit Selection, Tex. Law., Nov. 14, 1994, at 1.

. 372 U.S. 335 (1963).

. Anthony Lewis, Gideon's Trumpet 205 (1964).

. For a description of the lack of indigent defense systems and the state of indigent defense, see Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, 103 Yale L.J. 1835, 1849-55 (1994).

. Judy Bailey, Does Sheriff Run Putnam's Indigent Defense?, Fulton County Daily Rep., Nov. 10, 1995, at 1.

. Peter Applebome, Black Man Freed After Years on Death Row in Alabama, N.Y. Times, Mar. 3, 1993, at A1.

. See Schlup v. Delo, 115 S. Ct. 851 (1995).

. Kyles v. Whitley, 115 S. Ct. 1555 (1995) (finding a violation of due process by the prosecution due to failure to turn over exculpatory evidence).

. Marcia Coyle, Republicans Take Aim at Death Row Lawyers, Nat'l L.J., Sept. 11, 1995, at A1, A25 (describing the effort of South Carolina's Attorney General and other members of the National Association of Attorneys General to eliminate funding for the post-conviction defender organizations even though the organizations had established the innocence of at least four men condemned to die); David Cole, Too Expensive or Too Effective? The Real Reason the GOP Wants to Cut Capital-Representation Centers, Fulton County Daily Rep., Sept. 8, 1995, at 6 (pointing out that eliminating funding for the capital representation centers would increase the cost of providing representation, but decrease the quality).

. Murray v. Giarratano, 492 U.S. 1 (1989).

. For a more comprehensive discussion of the problems of deficient representation in capital cases and the reasons for it, see Bright, supra note 25.

. Paul M. Barrett, Lawyer's Fast Work on Death Cases Raises Doubts About System, Wall St. J., Sept. 7, 1994, at 1 (describing Houston lawyer Joe Frank Canon, who is known for hurrying through capital trials like "greased lightening," occasionally falls asleep, and has had 10 clients sentenced to death); Ex Parte Burdine, 901 S.W.2d 456, 457 (Tex. Crim. App. 1995) (Maloney, J., dissenting) (noting testimony of jurors and court clerk that defense attorney slept during trial).

. John Makeig, Asleep on the Job; Slaying Trial Boring, Lawyer Said, Houston Chron., Aug. 14, 1992, at A35.

. Record at 846-49, Haney v. State, 603 So. 2d 368 (Ala. Crim. App. 1991), aff'd, 603 So. 2d 412 (Ala. 1992), cert. denied, 113 S. Ct. 1297 (1993).

. Judy Bailey, A Poor Example of Indigent Defense, Fulton County Daily Rep., Jan. 16, 1996, at 1 (describing hearing in Fugate v. Thomas, Super. Ct. of Butts Co., Ga., No. 94-V-195 (Jan. 10-11, 1996)).

. Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972) (striking down Georgia's death penalty statute).

. Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976) (upholding the death penalty statue enacted by the Georgia legislature in 1973 in response to the Court's decision in Furman).

. Transcript of Hearing of Apr. 25-27, 1988, at 231, State v. Birt, Super. Ct. of Jefferson Co., Ga. No. 2360 (1988) (on file with author). The lawyer was referring to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), and Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857). Dred Scott was not a criminal case.

. Brief for Appellant, Ex parte Heath, 455 So. 2d 905 (Ala. 1984). The brief is set out in full in Bright, supra note 25, at 1860-61 n.154.

. See Andrews v. Shulsen, 485 U.S. 919 (1988) (Marshall, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari).

. See Hance v. Zant, 114 S. Ct. 1392 (1994) (Blackmun, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari); Bob Herbert, Mr. Hance's 'Perfect Punishment,' N.Y. Times, Mar. 27, 1994, at D17; Bob Herbert, Jury Room Injustice, N.Y. Times, Mar. 30, 1994, at A15.

. For further discussion of the influence of race on the imposition of the death penalty and the failure of legislatures and courts to deal with the problem, see Stephen B. Bright, Discrimination, Death and Denial: The Tolerance of Racial Discrimination in the Infliction of the Death Penalty, 35 Santa Clara L. Rev. 433 (1995).

. Clif LeBlanc, Smith Lawyer Donates $83,000 in Fees, The State (Columbia, S.C.), Feb. 2, 1996, at B3; Andrew Blum, Defender Proffers Fees, Nat'l L.J., Apr. 15, 1996, at A7.

. Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. 259- 67 (James M. Washington ed., 1986).

. Id. at 267.

. See Helen Prejean, C.S.J., Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States (1993) (describing her work with death row inmates).

. Wiesel's Speech: This Honor Belongs to All the Survivors, N.Y. Times, Dec. 11, 1986, at A2.

. Amadeo v. Zant, 486 U.S. 214 (1988).

. A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Justice Clarence Thomas in Retrospect, 45 Hastings L.J. 1405, 1430 (1994).

. Carl T. Rowan, Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall 453-54 (1993).