Open Thread

I’m on my way to Los Angeles for a few days for work.

Here are a few items to get your blood boiling…

bullet image Meet Jason Westcott, your latest, needless, inexcusable drug war tragedy

On the night of May 27, as armed men streamed through his front door, Westcott grabbed his gun. But the 29-year-old didn’t have a chance to shoot before he died in a volley of gunfire. And those who killed him weren’t robbers.

They were police officers from the same agency he had enlisted to protect his home.

bullet image Imprisoning Women for Addiction

At MCI-Framingham, women committed solely under Section 35 are, in many respects, treated worse than convicted prisoners. Like other prisoners, they are strip-searched, subjected to body-cavity inspections, and deprived of their personal possessions and dignity. But unlike other prisoners, they cannot visit the library, pray at the chapel, or participate in prison programs. In fact, civilly committed women at MCI-Framingham cannot even access the addiction treatment programs available to sentenced prisoners.

As Governor Deval Patrick has acknowledged, Massachusetts is the only state that incarcerates people suffering from addiction who have not been convicted of crimes. This lawsuit seeks to end that practice.

bullet image Via Diane Goldstein, comes this from the Center for Investigative Reporting: Doctor pleads guilty to billing fraud at Los Angeles-area rehab clinic

A Southern California physician pleaded guilty to falsely identifying teenagers as drug or alcohol addicts to justify millions in bills to the government’s rehabilitation program for the poor. [...]

The Redondo Beach doctor had been medical director since 1999 and was responsible for $46 million in fraudulent claims, prosecutors said. Whitson referred questions to his attorney, who declined to comment.

Four Atlantic counselors also pleaded guilty to fraud last year. They were accused of spending only a half-hour twice a week with students while fabricating the paperwork to bill for up to five 90-minute counseling sessions each week.[...]

At Atlantic, prosecutors stated that Margarita Lopez, Tamara Diaz, Cindy Leticia Ortiz and Arthur Dominguez enrolled students in substance abuse counseling even if they didn’t have an addiction problem. At the direction of their supervisors, they then fabricated counseling notes to justify billing the government for sessions that never happened. Dominguez, for example, was instructed to improve his fake paperwork if it appeared to be copied and pasted.

bullet image Terminal Cancer Patient Rushed to Hospital During Felony Trial for Medical Pot

Despite Mackenzie’s deteriorating condition, his trial is expected to be completed Friday, Linda Bowman, the judicial trial court supervisor at the Scott County Clerk’s Office, told The Huffington Post. If Mackenzie is found guilty, he faces at least three years in prison — a punishment that he’s said equates to a death sentence. [...]

District Court Judge Henry Latham ruled in May that Mackenzie is barred from using his condition as a defense in court during his trial as a reason for why he was growing marijuana, the Associated Press reported.

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