Judicial Follies

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Was this guy Hitler in a previous life?

Dwayne Dail served half his life, 18 years, in a North Carolina prison for a rape he didn’t commit. Given that his childhood sweetheart was pregnant at the time, he ended up spending his son’s entire life so far in jail; the boy grew up without him. Free for three months now and awarded what seems to the casual observer a paltry $360,000 for what he rightly calls not wrongful incarceration but ‘kidnapping’, this unlucky guy is back in court. For what, you ask? His baby mother is suing him for the back child support he never paid while imprisoned and while she raised their son alone. Said Dail, “Everybody wonders why I’m not mad. Well, I’m mad now.”

Again, bad cases make bad law but there is a real issue here: should settlements such as these be considered income? The judge is still pondering this doozy of a case.

Only the mother knows why she filed this suit without first asking Dail for a chunk; her son, now just getting to know his dad, reports being traumatized by all this. First his dad was a pedophile rapist (the victim was 12). Now he’s not. He’s out of prison, they’ve just met, and the mother he loves has Dad back in the place he fears most, a court room.

You gotta read to believe.

In New York, the first woman to be exonerated for murder, based on DNA evidence, has been released from prison after serving 13 years for killing her 13 year old daughter. She can muse on that ironic symbolism while they retry her for second degree manslaughter. And while the scumbag boyfriend and likely murderer enjoys the immunity he got for testifying against her. Man, that must keep him warm while the murder charge he just caught from a 1993 killing winds its merry way through the courts.

Since we’re on the subject of judges, laws and court rooms, here’s another one to make us citizens dread venturing into the halls of justice. A Niagara Falls judge went insane over a ringing cell phone in his court room. When no one would fess up to owning it, he turned his court room into a POW camp. The biggest surprise is that something was actually done about it; two years laters, he’s looking for a new job while he works on his appeal.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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