April 19 2007: IS IT A CRIME TO BE POOR?

Screening of  The REAL DEAL, Tom Jones’ film on Los Angeles Poverty Department at the ALOUD series at the Central Library and panel discussion.



In the picture: Tom Jones, Madeleine Stoner, John Malpede, Kevin Michael Key, Andy Smith

Panel discussion with Tom Jones, film maker,
John Malpede,
founder and director of LA Poverty Department ,  
Kevin Michael Key,
community resident and proud member of LA Poverty Department, LACAN and Critical Resistence (a prison abolitionist group).
Andy Smith,
captain of the Central Division LAPD police force that is currently executing chief Bratton’s ‘broken window’s policy’ on Skid Row.
Madeleine Stoner
, teaches policy in the foundation curriculum of USC, macro practice in the health concentration, and mental health policy. Dr. Stoner’s major area of interest is homelessness. She has written extensively in this field. Her first book, Inventing a Non-Homeless Future: A Policy Agenda for Preventing Homelessness, was nominated for the Park Award of the American Sociological Association. During her sabbatical, Dr. Stoner served as Director of Social Services at the SRO Housing Corporation in LA. Dr. Stoner’s second book,The Civil Rights of Homeless People, analyzes litigation on behalf of homeless people. Its central argument is that all gains made by homeless people have been derived from class action litigation that has successfully challenged public efforts to disenfranchise them.

LA TIMES April 25, 2007 — excerpt
UD_2007_CuffedLAPD skid row searches found unconstitutional
A judge orders a change in tactics used in the city’s crime crackdown.
By Cara Mia DiMassa and Richard Winton, Times Staff Writers.

A federal judge has ruled that some Los Angeles police tactics in patrolling downtown are unconstitutional, raising questions about the city’s successful campaign to dramatically reduce the number of crimes and homeless people.

UD_2007_Battlingadrugwar UD_2007_Alledgedcounterfeiters  U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson found that officers question — and at times search — parolees and probationers without evidence that they might have committed a crime, which the judge said was unconstitutional. He ordered the LAPD to change its practices.


The complete article can be viewed at:


© 2007 The Daily Journal Corporation.   All rights reserved.
January 29, 2007 — excerpts
Public Defenders Say Plea Deals No Longer Available
By Anat Rubin – Daily Journal Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES – Since launching their “safer cities” initiative in early August, Los Angeles police have made 4,800 arrests on Skid Row. The program, police say, is aimed at making Skid Row a safer area. But opponents say the purpose is to clear the homeless and make way for development. As part of its enforcement effort, police say they have been targeting drug dealers who prey on the region’s homeless population.

Tough on Sales
Prosecutors also have been getting tough on drug sales stemming from Skid Row, an area in downtown Los Angeles that is home to the nation’s largest concentration of homeless people.
But some defense attorneys say their caseloads have doubled with homeless addicts who would have been brought in on possession charges just six months ago and are now charged with sales, usually of small amounts of rock cocaine, known as crack.

‘Blatant DA Policy’
And they contend the district attorney’s office no longer negotiates on drug sales cases coming out of Skid Row. According to 10 public defenders who talked to the Daily Journal, district attorneys now discriminate between a drug case coming out of Skid Row and an identical case coming from another part of Los Angeles County.
“This is a blatant DA policy that they are going to treat these cases differently,” said a public defender, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear her comments might negatively affect her clients. “It’s not abnormal for the DA to have a policy. But this policy is about targeting the homeless in that area because the city is redeveloping that area. It’s a policy to get people off the streets and into state prison, jumping right over rehab and jail.”

Read the whole article: http://www.dailyjournal.com