Packratt Is Gone as SentenceSpeak Appears
I generally try to keep my real name off the site and tend to be uncomfortable having my name associated with the site… though it’s not hard to find my name associated with the site in a number of places already.
The reasons for that have been two-fold. First it would hamper my ability to find and maintain a job in the industry I work in if it were common knowledge that I’m a police accountability activist. Believe it or not, speaking out against police misconduct isn’t looked upon positively by most people in our society.
The second reason is due to the risks anyone takes when they do speak truth to power… being that those people in power that you speak truth to generally don’t like that truth to come out and, sometimes, they decide to use that power against you for doing it.
Unlike blawgers like me, whose work inherently involves the risk of invoking the ire of power, a guy like Packratt took a huge risk in starting his National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project, a project that has provided an enormous amount of information for the rest of us and proven to be a huge, critical resource. Still, doing good helps little as the baton descends in its arc toward a skull.
I will shed my pseudonym here and just post under my real name since keeping my name off the site has grown less and less effective as time has worn on. Hopefully, by doing so, it will give the project a little more legitimacy in people’s minds while also allowing me to be more active in speaking to the issues of police accountability and transparency in public settings… even though I know there is likely to be a price to be paid at some point for doing so.
So says David Packman. It takes guts to go from pseudonymous to open, particularly when you realize what drove David to start this project. Yet he's made the decision, both because it was happening around him anyway and because he didn't want the pseudonym to undermine the integrity of his work. It was a bold move. Let's all do whatever we can to make sure that David never suffers for the help he's provided and the risks he's taken, if you get my drift.
Elsewhere in the blawgosphere, Berman posted of a new sentencing blog sponsored by FAMM, Families Against Mandatory Minimums. The blog is called SentenceSpeak, and states its purpose to be:
a forum for educating the general public about sentencing injustices and engaging and finding common ground with "unlikely allies" such as fiscal conservatives, former prosecutors and judges, law enforcement, and members of sentencing commissions. SentenceSpeak is a place for sharing unique perspectives on sentencing policies.
The writing is easily understood and quickly digested, and the content is controversial. There are two authors of the blog, both pseudonymous. FAMM has proven to be a highly credible source of information and done some great work in the sentencing field. As for the blog content, it's unclear whether it represents FAMM's position or just that of the unknown authors.
I would expect that it will be directed toward non-lawyers, and thus be a bit on the simplistic side as shown by this post about sentencing for unconvicted conduct, but still a great resource for those who would otherwise have neither knowledge nor access to this sort of information. And it uses some pretty interesting graphics to spice things up.
For non-lawyer sentencing nerds (their description, not mine), this is a very interesting blog and something that you might want to let the families of convicted clients know about.