Author Archives: SHG

It’s Official, And That Changes Everything?

Remember those videos, those dead bodies?  Yeah, well, who cares? But the Department of Justice issued a report on Baltimore police and legal journalists and passionate advocates lost their shit.  Yay, they scream. Yay, yay, yay, the government said so too. See? See?

Here’s the report. Read it and weep.

If you want the quick and dirty version, you can read Radley Balko’s recap instead, as he covers the high points.

I’ve read a lot of Justice Department reports on local police agencies.This is one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

And indeed, it’s bad.  But what’s interesting is that it’s nothing new. Not even a little bit. There’s nothing in there that you haven’t read here and elsewhere, or seen on video for that matter. The DoJ gives anecdotal examples of all kinds of horrible things being done in Baltimore, like cops strip-searching people on the side of the road for no reason. Continue reading

Will All The Crying Bring Back Mandatory Minimums?

While the battle to eliminate the simplistic, and dangerously ineffective, imposition of mandatory minimum sentences for last generation’s epidemic, drugs, continues to be fought, new voices, who neither learn from history nor demonstrate the capacity to grasp that their outrage and sad tears won’t change the impact, call to do it all over again. Because this time it touches an issue that they care about.

What should we do with the anger inspired by Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer who was sentenced to just six months in jail for sexual assault?

A movement to recall the judge who ordered that sentence, Aaron Persky, continues to gain support, with a celebrity-studded fund-raiser this month.

In California, legislators have proposed several bills meant to prevent short sentences for sexual assaults, including one that would require a mandatory-minimum term for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an intoxicated or unconscious person.

What should we do? Well, there’s always nothing, because one instance where a sentence doesn’t conform to your political agenda doesn’t require that the judge be burned at the stake or the law be burned to the ground.  And indeed, even Feministing’s Alexandra Brodsky realizes the idea of re-introducing mandatory minimums is terrible. Continue reading

The Tyranny of Gertrude

Lara Bazelon wrote a pretty good post at Politico about why Stanford law professor Michele Dauber’s jihad against Judge Aaron Persky for his sentence of Brock Turner is a terrible thing.

In a charge spearheaded by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber—a close friend of the victim’s family—an effort is underway to recall Persky from office. Sixteen state legislators have demanded that the California Commission on Judicial Performance investigate Persky for misconduct. Over a million members of the feminist organization UltraViolet signed an online petition voicing their agreement. The group also hired a plane to fly over Stanford during graduation carrying a banner that said, “Protect Survivors. Not Rapists. #PerksyMustGo,” and paid for a billboard on a nearby, high-traffic freeway that sends the same message.

Spare us all the heartfelt Persky was WRONG!!! comments. Whether he was or wasn’t, you wouldn’t have a clue, despite your parsing the million details, some true, some false, some relevant, some not, to justify your outrage. They’ve all been heard before. Got it. This is the worst injustice ever because RAPE!!!

But before reaching her point, Bazelon did something curious: Continue reading

The ABA’s Standing Committee On Lawyers With One Eye

It used to be the Standing Committee on One-Eyed Lawyers, but that was changed when it was pointed out that it was politically incorrect, and diminished One-Eyed Lawyers. Lawyers with One Eye was totally better. All other committees were subject to this committee’s approval, because the ABA was the land of the blind (though it can’t call itself that, because it would be hurtful).

Under the past president, Paulette Brown, the ABA died. In her post-mortem, she expressed how proud she was of her tenure. She promised that the “ABA would be ‘social engineers for justice,'” and she delivered.  Her goal was diversity and inclusion, not just for lawyers but for society, in the belief that the ABA held sway over the universe. After all, her views and those of the social justice engineers of the ABA could not be wrong.

“The ABA showed the world that a law degree is more than just a piece of paper. It is power,” she said. “And we put that power to great use.”

Continue reading

Speak All You Want (But Get Away From Those Kids)

There isn’t a college professor alive who doesn’t believe, with all her heart and soul, in academic freedom. At least for her, because hate speech isn’t free speech, you know. But with the caveat that academic freedom must be exercised on the right side of orthodoxy, it must be protected. Even Jonathan Turley says so. At length.

The issue in this case is really not the merits but the threshold question of whether academics should be allowed to express their views on such issues regardless of their objectionable or questionable content. If not, it is difficult to see where the line is to be drawn between permissible and sanctionable speech. There are obviously a wide array of pro and anti speech related to Palestinians and Israeli policies or conduct. Much of this speech is heavily steeped in historical, religious, and political viewpoints. The emphasis should be on whether there is evidence of bias displayed toward students. Obviously, Oberlin is not a state school and thus does not fall under the rules government government parties. Yet, free speech is the coin of the academic realm. It is essential to learning that students and faculty feel free to exchange views as part of an open and robust debate.

Yup, you guessed it. Oberlin prof Joy Karega is back on the docket, but the focus has shifted from her exercise of free speech and academic freedom to the fact that she’s batshit crazy and needs help badly.  Who? Her: Continue reading

The New York Daily News: They Were Wrong (And They Still Are)

The New York Daily News did something that few, if any, newspapers would do. They published an editorial conceding that they were wrong. Wrong. That’s an amazingly bold move, and for that, they deserve props. They were wrong.

Three years ago this month Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled unconstitutional the NYPD’s program of stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people suspected of criminality.

The third anniversary of Scheindlin’s ruling — August 12 — presents an opportune moment to evaluate its consequences on the city after the passage of a reasonable amount of time.

While her findings remain as flawed today as they were then, New York has come through to a brighter day.

Judge Scheindlin’s findings weren’t “flawed.” They were well-known to every black kid on the street who hugged the wall of a tenement at the invitation of a random cop who needed to make his Compstat numbers. By the hundreds, thousands, even millions, kids were tossed. It happened far from the offices of the Daily News, so they didn’t see it. If you don’t see it, it never happened. They didn’t see it. Continue reading

A White Polemic On Title IX And The Preponderance Standard

Announcing a “white paper” is about as sexy as a new law review article or a doctoral thesis on how icebergs are patriarchal. But trusted ally, Tyler Kingkade, the white knight for fragile women, was there for them, and he would not let the Feminist Lawprofs down. He never has before and it wasn’t going to start now. Integrity be damned. He had a job to do and he would not fail them.

A group of more than 90 law professors from at least 50 different universities signed onto a white paper, released Sunday, defending the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance on how colleges should handle sexual assault cases.

Specifically, the law professors focus on how much proof is needed to determine whether a student accused of sexual assault is guilty in the eyes of their college or university.

A “Dear Colleague” letter released by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights in April 2011 was considered a wake-up call for schools to honor their obligation to handle sexual violence involving students under the gender equity law Title IX.

See what he did there? To “honor their obligation to handle sexual violence . . . under gender equity law Title IX”? Not a word that’s accurate, but Tyler brilliantly glossed over all of it to reach his windmill to tilt. Give him credit for shamelessness. But he’s a serious journalist (hey, he works for Huff Post, and if you can’t trust Huff Post, who can you trust?), so he does the obligatory bow to the contrary argument. Continue reading

Paul O’Neal, Dead But Not Recorded

It was only a couple days before that the Chicago Police Department was held up as a model of police progressiveness for having adopted the “procedural justice” approach to policing. Shooting Laquan McDonald in the street like a dog was old news. Concealing video of cops committing murder was the old way. There’s a cute new phrase in town, procedural justice,* and that changes everything!

Then it all fell to shit, because a few, maybe a couple, Chi town cops went and killed another unarmed black kid. Oh why, oh why, must you go and ruin a good theory? Why must you bring reality crashing down around the voices of reform who are trying desperately to talk up good policing? Why did you have to go and kill another unarmed black kid?

At least this time, the phonies caught a break.

The shooting happened after officers chased a stolen Jaguar convertible through the South Side before it collided with a police cruiser on a residential street. Two officers opened fire. Cameras captured some early stages of the encounter, but not the fatal gunshot, apparently fired by another officer after Mr. O’Neal fled the crash scene on foot.

Continue reading

Honeypie, You Are Driving Me Crazy

What sort of male lawyer would call a female lawyer “honey” in court? A jerk? Sure, but lawyers sometimes behave like jerks for a reason. To demean a female lawyer, push her buttons?  Most female lawyers will rip your head off if you try to play that game. There is no tactical advantage to be gained by doing so. Instead, you’re far more likely to give your adversary a reason to go to extreme lengths to destroy you and make your client’s life as miserable as humanly possible.

What sort of male lawyer could call a female lawyer “honey” in court? An incompetent loser.

Of course, there are also male lawyers who are just old school sexist, who use such demeaning language without any tactical purpose. It’s just the stupid crap that comes out of their mouths. It shouldn’t, and they should gain a sufficient level of awareness so that they stop saying stupid crap. If they’re too old, or too unaware, to grasp that such stupid crap is offensive, they need to be told.

And then there are male lawyers who are well aware of the fact that their words are offensive, serve no tactical purpose, and yet use them anyway. These are the misogynists. Yes, there are actual men who are misogynists, despite the fact that the word has been reduced to meaninglessness by its overuse. These lawyers need a hard smack, as they’re malicious in their language. Continue reading

Don’t Tread On The Color Purple

Among the aspects of life of the poor, underprivileged students at Yale that made them unable to eat or sleep was that the people in charge of their residential colleges held the title “master.” Though the word “master” had nothing to do with slaveowners, it was sufficiently reminiscent to compel its elimination.

The argument, at the time, was that the elimination of the word made students feel better and did no harm (aside from undermining tradition, which is way overrated), so what was the big deal? Why not make a fairly easy change that would assuage the feelings of students, regardless of the lack of any substantive connection between the word “master” and their feelings about the word?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has now been asked to hold that the wearing of a hat bearing a likeness to the Gadsden flag, the snake with the words, “Don’t tread on me,” can create a hostile work environment in a federal agency.

Complainant maintains that the Gadsden Flag is a “historical indicator of white resentment against blacks stemming largely from the Tea Party.” He notes that the Vice President of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters cited the Gadsden Flag as the equivalent of the Confederate Battle Flag when he successfully had it removed from a New Haven, Connecticut fire department flagpole. Continue reading

Hooray Female Olympians (and Title IX)

This year’s Olympics will bring an important change for American athletes.

American women were not exactly a powerhouse at the 1972 Summer Olympics: They won just 23 medals, compared with 71 for the U.S. men. The women were absent from the medal podium in gymnastics. They didn’t win a single gold in track and field, managing just one silver and two bronze.

But something else happened that year. The U.S. Congress passed Title IX, which bars sex discrimination in education programs receiving federal money. Sports wasn’t the focus of Title IX. In fact, quite the opposite.

Well, not exactly true, but since few remember (or care to remember) that Title IX was sold to the public as a means of offering women parity in athletics, there’s no reason not to completely revise history to conform to whatever current trends demand. Continue reading

The Plumber Problem

It was my third home, and I was ready to do some serious work to make it just the way I wanted it.  I hired a contractor, Frank, to redo the master bath. Frank was a good guy, who did the kitchen already, and we loved his lead guy, Vinny.

It’s important that you like the people you will be living with day after day when doing a home renovation project. Regardless of whether they’re skilled, they become like family. Either you welcome them every morning or dread their arrival. We liked Vinny, and were always happy to see him show up for work at our home.

Having reached the point where I was comfortable indulging in the fixtures that I really wanted in my bathroom, I picked out a sink made in Italy. It was expensive, but it was what we wanted. And it would take 12 weeks to arrive, which meant it was a huge commitment. The plan of action for the renovation of the master bath basically revolved around the sink. This sink became the driving force of the project’s timing and focus. It was all about this sink. Continue reading