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California

CA: The Catalyst: Thelton Henderson

[themarshallproject.org 4/23/18]

s the judge climbed the watchtower stairs in Pelican Bay prison, he heard muffled gunshots below. When he reached the top, he looked into the prison yard and saw bodies lying in the dirt. One was his law clerk, spreadeagled on the ground in his suit, alongside dozens of inmates. Guards stood over them, guns aimed.

“My clerk was thinking he’s gonna die and this is his last day on earth,” Judge Thelton Henderson recalled.

What appeared to be the taming of a riot was actually an audacious performance, staged by the guards to impress upon the judge that prison was a dangerous place, best left alone by meddling outsiders.

That prison pageant in September 1993 was a tacit acknowledgement of the power one extraordinary judge held over California’s prison system. During his 37 years on the bench, Henderson did more than anyone to transform California’s notoriously overcrowded prisons into a great experiment in second chances.

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  1. Robert Curtis

    Something about what America is first at that bother me and should bother us all. Please watch this harsh video of truth… This video speaks from the heart. My a heart agrees:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML3qYHWRIZk

  2. Mike D.

    I wonder what Judge Henderson would say about the illogical Static 99R and Saratso schemes.

    • The Static-99R Is A Scam

      If you have the time and money, there is a very good documentary titled “Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson’s American Journey.”

      The documentary goes into detail to how CDCR guards staged the prison fight. Which sort of ties into your Static-99R comment because it seems that CDCR, for business and special interests, also staged the Static-99R’s efficacy. Nonetheless, it is very sad to see Thelton Henderson bound to a wheelchair… but I guess all of us get old one day. Henderson is one of the few good judges left on the federal bench that was appointed by Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately, Stephen Reinhardt — who was another Jimmy Carter appointee — recently passed away. Reinhardt, like Judge Henderson, was very aggressive in keeping abusive law enforcement in check.

      Say what you will about Jimmy Carter. Carter might have been a lousy President; but surely, Carter appointed a whole lot of good judges to the federal judiciary.

      Nowadays, we only have tyrants and ex-prosecutors being appointed to the federal judiciary. They all seem to ignore the Constitution… which will one day be to all of our detriment.

      • David Kennerly, The Government-Driven Life

        “Nowadays, we only have tyrants and ex-prosecutors being appointed to the federal judiciary.” This certainly seems to be the case. There has been a systematic vilification of defense attorneys in the media over many years such that they are no longer perceived as possessing the probity necessary to serve the interests of the country. They are the clichéd sleazeballs who will commit any foul legalistic sleight-of-hand to secure their depraved clients’ scot-free liberty. As if. Meanwhile, television prosecutors are depicted as honest, intelligent and fair-minded not to mention plagued by the tyranny of hopelessly outdated liberal pieties which justice can no longer afford. We now see what decades of this propaganda has led to, including a criminal defense-free judiciary.

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