Author Archives: SHG

Sex At New York’s Colleges Is Screwed

Given the experience of politicians with sexcapades, one might hope they would be a little more circumspect in their embrace of the flavor of the month redefinitions of what constitutes a sexual assault for college students. After all, had that been the rule when they went to Fordham, there’s a good chance they would be digging ditches today.

But no. Neither New York’s leaderless Assembly nor Senate had the guts to say no means no, and gave in to Governor Andy Cuomo’s gift to his daughters. From the New York Times:

New York’s political leaders have reached a deal on one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s legislative priorities for 2015, saying they will adopt new laws intended to change the way sexual assaults on all college campuses in the state are handled.

The agreement, announced on Tuesday, proposes legislation that would establish a statewide definition of “affirmative consent,” and define consent as a “knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity.”

Which means . . . what? Continue reading

Montero’s Seven Year Wait

On the heels of the systemic killing of Kalief Browder, the teen who sat for three years, much of it in the SHU, awaiting dismissal of case, the New York Post went in search of other pre-trial detainees with similar prolonged detention. They came up with a doozy, Carlos Montero.

Carlos Montero, now 24, was with two pals when one fatally stabbed a man and the other slashed another during a robbery in Washington Heights on Oct. 23, 2008, authorities have charged.

Montero, who has spent six years and eight months in Rikers, attempted to get his case tried separately — while one of his alleged cohorts fights the DNA evidence — but the judge balked, and his lawyer won’t even seek bail for him now because he says it’s a lost cause.

“I’m depressed in here. I just want to go home,’’ said Montero, who entered the jail at age 17.

The next Kalief? Well, yes, in the sense that he was a teen when he went in, and his pre-trial detention has been outrageously long.  But that’s where the similarities end.  Unlike Browder, who was arrested for theft of a backpack, a relatively minor offense in the scheme of crimes in the big city, Montero was taken down for murder.  Continue reading

Innocence, Inc.

When Jeff Blackburn, a founder of the Innocence Project of Texas and its chief counsel, tendered his resignation, it raised a storm of controversy. Jeff was gracious toward his organization, but it wasn’t his way to go quietly into the night.  He didn’t quit without reason, and yet he didn’t seek to tank the organization he built that had accomplished extraordinary things.  It’s not that the legal system in Texas is so much worse than anywhere else, but that they like killing people down there.

But then came an “announcement” that was more than he could take.  It hit the fan from three sides, the IPTX website, the Houston Chronicle and a blog, Grits for Breakfast.  Aside from Jeff, the other person who ran the show was the IPTX executive director, Nick Vilbas.  Together, they made an underfunded, overworked organization do things that no one would have believed possible. They exonerated the innocent.

While Nick remains, as far as he knows, Executive Director, having made a promise to stay on long enough to facilitate the transition to “new management,” and honoring his promise to do so, because honorable guys do that, the announcement hit hard.  There was a new Executive Director. Not just new, but one who had worked at IPTX before, but was “let go” as he just wasn’t worth keeping on. Continue reading

New College Rape Survey, Same Old Crap

It’s been repeated so many times, by so many people, academics, politicians, media outlets, after having been thoroughly debunked that it’s just embarrassing.  So what to do when a narrative is built on a lie?  Throw a new survey!  And the Washington Post in conjunction with the Kaiser Family Foundation did just that.

As Ronny Reagan so effectively said, “there they go again.”

Twenty percent of young women who attended college during the past four years say they were sexually assaulted, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll. But the circle of victims on the nation’s campuses is probably even larger.

What? The 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted is for real?  Does that mean the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ report on Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995–2013 showing that it’s really 1 in 30 is wrong?  Don’t be ridiculous.

From Ashe Schow at the Washington Examiner: Continue reading

It’s Not Torture If A Doctor Is In the House

The role John Yoo played in the DoJ’s embrace of torture is well known, though it didn’t do much to hurt Yoo’s landing a cushy job torturing law students at Cal Berkeley.  But the New England Journal of Medicine notes, with obvious disgust, the bad things that happen when physicians and lawyers work too well together.

In December 2014, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture was released to the public. The 600-page report (a redacted summary of the still-classified 6000-page report) documents in disturbing detail the use by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of physicians, lawyers, and psychologists in its post-9/11 torture program at more than a dozen “black sites,” or secret prisons, around the world.

To begin to understand the torture, we believe it’s necessary to understand how physicians and lawyers collaborated to overcome their professional inhibitions.

See that?  Not to say that it’s undeserved, but it’s as if doctors’ mommies let their babies play with the bad boy lawyers, and look what happens. Continue reading

Faith Based Law

In a New York Times op-ed, Drexel lawprof Adam Benforado explains that the legal system’s failings are ours.

WHAT would it take to achieve true criminal justice in America?

Imagine that we got rid of all of the cops who cracked racist jokes and prosecutors blinded by a thirst for power. Imagine that we cleansed our courtrooms of lying witnesses and foolish jurors. Imagine that we removed every judge who thought the law should bend to her own personal agenda and every sadistic prison guard.

We would certainly feel just then. But we would be wrong.

From the outset, the premise is marred by the stated goal, “true criminal justice.” Is there such a thing? If there is, would we really want it? The knee-jerk reaction is, “of course we would, numb nuts. Why wouldn’t we?” Continue reading

The Public Accommodation Formerly Known As SJ

Walter Olson, at Overlawyered, here and hereAmy Alkon and Hans Bader have gone to town on an Economist article about how the Americans with Disabilities Act may change the nature of the internet.  Where once there were websites and blogs, there will soon be public accommodations.

Generally, the First Amendment gives you the right to choose who to talk to and how, without government interference. There is no obligation to make your message accessible to the whole world, and the government can’t force you to make your speech accessible to everyone, much less appealing to them. 

But that, of course, is speech.  And the internets are a thing, even if only virtual.

But now, the Obama administration appears to be planning to use the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to force many web sites to either accommodate the disabled, or shut down. Given the enormous cost of complying, many small web sites might well just go dark and shut down. Continue reading

Tamir Rice: The Clearest Picture Yet

More than six months after a two second encounter, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department released its “findings” about the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, because “’Transparency is essential for an intelligent discussion of the important issues raised by this case,’ said Timothy McGinty, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor.”

Transparency does not come from the video of Tamir’s death. It doesn’t come from the decision of Judge Adrine that probable cause appears for prosecution.  According to the New York Times, it comes from the sheriff’s report.

But the sheriff’s investigation provided the clearest picture yet about what happened on Nov. 22 outside the neighborhood recreation center that Tamir frequented, and where just before the shooting he had been using a newly acquired fake gun that looked strikingly like the real thing.

Continue reading

In Search Of Stolen Valor

On the twitters, my pal, Eric Mayer, showed me video after video of men and women walking about in public wearing military uniforms, pretending to be soldiers when the closest they came to being in harm’s way was a paper cut.  Unsurprisingly, real soldiers and former soldiers, of which Eric is proudly one, take umbrage at the poseurs.

As can be seen in this video, it’s something that sufficiently disturbs those whose lives were at risk that they feel compelled to go out of their way to test, and to prove, that others are liars.  Stolen valor.

Continue reading

Killed By Cops? Blame The Constitution

It is a US Supreme Court precedent based upon The Constitution. If you read the case, the reason the doctrine exist is that police aren’t going to be asked to wait until they are shot or stabbed or punched or otherwise hurt—to wait until the threat materializes and causes physical harm to them. They are privileged by The Constitution to use deadly force in those situations where see a threat to them.

— Judge John P. O’Donnell, Politico, June 12, 2015

Up to now, the discussion out of Ohio had been that Judge O’Donnell was one of those “academic” judges, smart but still a judge.

As for his acquittal after a bench trial of Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo for killing Timothy Russell and Melissa Williams after leaping on the hood of their car and firing 15 rounds directly through the windshield into their bodies, the locals took issue with Judge O’Donnell’s “but for” analysis only because it had never before appeared in Ohio law and was completely novel and without precedent. Inside baseball details. Continue reading

The Nobel Prize In Sexism

Remind me again what you won the Nobel Prize for? Oh wait, you didn’t. But Tim Hunt did for Physiology or Medicine in 2001 for groundbreaking work on cell division.  So the 72-year-old Nobel Prize winner wise-cracked a quasi-joke?

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” Mr. Hunt said Monday at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea. “Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry.”

It fell like a lead balloon, as the room went dead silent.  But then, Connie St Louis, the director of the science journalism program at City University London, took to the twitters to spread the outrage of another Brit who tells a bad joke.

Some female scientists responded by using sarcasm: Continue reading

Carry A Big Stick, But Drop It On Command

When the kids get home and dad asks what happened at camp today, maybe they will finally say more than “nuttin.”  From CBS Local in Miami:

Fritz was reportedly shot by an officer Thursday morning at 350 NW 13th Street, near Gibson Park in Overtown. Police say the shooting occurred just outside the nearby library’s entrance.

The dead man, Fritz Severe (when is the last time a media reported a killing and used the first, rather than last, name of the deceased?), was mentally ill and homeless, but a regular in the area.  Also in the area was a group of about 50 children from a summer camp.

[Witness Nichelle] Miller was at the park when it happened – so were about 50 children who were apart of the summer camp. Continue reading