Author Archives: SHG

At The End, There’s A Cop

For the sake of preserving the integrity of what will follow, I’m going to publish, unmolested by my “patriarchal” thoughts, this post by Bridget Crawford from Feminist Law Professors:

Over at libertarianism.org, author Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes about “Carceral Feminism and the Libertarian Alternative.” Here is an excerpt:

[A]s ideologies and movements, libertarianism and feminism have a lot to offer one another. Not every libertarian matter is necessarily a feminist one, of course (and vice versa). Libertarianism can, however, provide a lens through which to view gender issues, and in doing so help counter the monopoly that a more coercive, carceral feminism has come to enjoy.

“Carceral feminism” is a term that’s gaining popularity, and it’s in many ways synonymous with progressive feminism these days. Progressive feminists will identify gender-based concerns, then immediately look to the state for solutions—via strict regulation, at least, or criminalization and jail in many instances. Carceral feminism is the relatively small but incredibly vocal voice within millennial feminism that says due process can be sacrificed if it means catching a few more rapists, hate speech should come with a jail sentence, and images promoting “unrealistic” female body standards should be banned by the government, among other things. * * *

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Grand Jury Secrecy In The Court of Public Opinion

Oral argument on a motion to release the grand jury transcript in the Eric Garner killing was held in Staten Island.

Christopher Pisciotta, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society, argued to Justice William Garnett that the “public questioned the fairness” of the way evidence was presented to the grand jury by the office of Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan. In early December, the grand jury declined to indict New York City Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death — a decision that sparked protests across the city and the country.

New York City’s Public Advocate, Letitia James, joined in the motion.

Matthew Brinckerhoff, the lawyer representing James, argued that the records were essential for lawmakers across the state seeking broader reforms to the grand jury system, which has come under scrutiny since the decision not to indict Pantaleo. “This case has been the catalyst for widespread discussions of reform,” Brinckerhoff said.

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There Is No “Officer Safety” Exception To The Constitution.

In an extraordinary article in Law and Order, a police management magazine, a point that has been made here innumerable times has finally been made in black and white: There is no “officer safety” exception to the Constitution.

Via ExCop-LawStudent:

The article, No “Officer Safety” Exception to the Constitution, Charles Huth, Jack Colwell, and Randy Means, Law and Order, Jan. 2015, is very clear that officer safety has gone too far.  They state:

A number of law enforcement agencies are currently under fire for their patterns and practices of “stop and frisk.” This is only the present manifestation of what has been for decades a national epidemic of illegal police practices rationalized by the mantra “officer safety.” Frisks are not supposed to be the rule in Terry-type stops; the rule would be no frisk. The same is true for handcuffing subjects and placing them in the back of police cars. (emphasis added)

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The Bronx Defenders Get Punished

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s criminal justice coordinator, Elizabeth Glazer, has handed down her “punishment” to the Bronx Defenders for the participation of two of their attorneys in the “hands up” video that the City and PBA used to deflect attention from truly serious matters, ranging from the needless killing of unarmed citizens like Eric Garner and Akai Gurley to the police insubordination and work stoppage because the mayor didn’t support cops killing unarmed citizens.

From the NYLJ, the two lawyers who were shown in the video, Ryan Napoli and Kumar Rao, have resigned and the Board of Bronx Defenders has suspended Robin Steinberg without pay for 60 days.

Though Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that every option was on the table as a consequence for the “Hands Up” video, including defunding The Bronx Defenders, Elizabeth Glazer, director of the mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice told the group Wednesday that she accepted the plan.

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Both Sides Now: The Perfect Victim Narrative

Cathy Young did the journalistically unthinkable. She looked at the other side of the story, this involving Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz, who has been carrying around her mattress as performance art to protest the fact that university has twice found the guy she alleged raped her not responsible.  While all eyes were on Sulkowicz, Young asked the young man, Paul Nungesser, what happened.

Because Sulkowicz didn’t get the outcome she wanted, she has chosen to become the poster person for rape “survivors.”

Nungesser’s accuser, Emma Sulkowicz—famous for carrying her mattress on campus as a symbol of her burden as a victim and a protest against Columbia’s failure to expel the man she calls her rapist—has become the face of the college rape survivors’ movement. Sulkowicz’s protest has garnered her awards from the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority Foundation; last month, she attended the State of the Union address as a guest of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

An impressive array of supporters. Nungesser, on the other hand, doesn’t get invited out much these days, and certainly not to the State of the Union address by a senator.  But he was “acquitted” of responsibility, which only proves Columbia is wrong, according to Sulkowicz’s supporters.  Except Nungesser has something Sulowicz doesn’t. Evidence. Continue reading

The Rationale For Concealment

At Hercules and the Umpire, the Honorable Forest Gump offered a modest proposal:

So, here’s an idea from a dolt. Prosecutors shouldn’t hide shit.

More specifically, why don’t federal prosecutors adopt an informal “open file” discovery practice for most matters, particularly run of the mill drug cases and the like. Screw Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16 and the Jencks Act.

Rule 16 is so limited as to be nearly worthless in terms of discovery, and Jencks Act (a/k/a 3500 material) comes too late to be of any use.  A kindly prosecutor (autocorrect keeps wanting to change “kindly” to “kinky.” I don’t know why.) will turn it over just in advance of trial. A less kindly one will provide it after the government’s witness has testified, right before cross, because that’s when defense counsel has plenty of time to wade through 11,000 pages of disclosure.  Surely the defense can conduct an adequate investigation over lunch. Continue reading

‘sup?

Many years ago, the patriarchy conspired to diminish the influence of women by crafting gender based language. By doing so, our forefathers sought to pigeonhole people by gender, with males addressed by such glorious titles as “Sir” and “Mister,” while women were denigrated with the diminutive titles of “Madam, Miss, Mrs.” and the dreaded “Ms.”

It was bad enough that the gender inclusive pronouns were male, flagrantly snubbing females by choosing to elevate male language as proper when mixed gender was involved. How ridiculous to pick one over the other, demonstrating male supremacy!  It was bad enough that they felt it necessary to distinguish people by gender at all, no less ignore the 37 other permutations of gender roles.

But finally, after all these years and so many needlessly hurt feelings, change is coming.  Via Robby Soave at Reason, the City University of New York has stepped into the breach to put an end to the flagrant sexism of patriarchal language. Continue reading

Give A Cop The Constitution

Most have had the opportunity to watch the video of San Francisco public defender Jami Tillotson get arrested for being a lawyer.  Some lawyers out in Frisco have decided to do something about it, and have started the SFPD Constitutional Education Fund.

Clearly, the SF Police Department is not familiar with 5th and 6th Amendment rights to counsel guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. That, or they just don’t care.

We have decided to provide that information in the form of handy pocket copies of the U.S. Constitution to the entire police department. According to this article, as of 2012, the SF PD should have 1,971 officers in patrol or other crime-fighting, non-administrative duties. Therefore, to be safe, 2,000 copies should be sufficient to give one booklet to every officer performing non-administrative duties. Pocketconstitution.org offers these booklets at the bulk price of $0.85 per book.

They’ve started an indigogo campaign to raise enough money to give a pocket Constitution to every cop on the San Francisco police force.  While the likelihood of cops actually reading the Constitution may be slim to none, it nonetheless makes the point that it exists and they, too, have to abide it. Continue reading

Save Bronx Defenders

There may be no better way to gauge the value and effectiveness of an organization than by its enemies, and the enemies of Bronx Defenders all wear blue.  After publishing this post on the controversy around their involvement in a music video, it became clear how badly the police hate Bronx Defenders.

And that would be reason enough to stand firmly with Robin Steinberg.

Almost immediately, a comment was posted here by a first-timer which included the full text of a New York Post article critical of the video and condemning Bronx Defenders for having anything to do with it.  The exact same comment was posted to WindyPundit’s blog, since trashed, who also wrote about the video, except under a different name.

This was the cops’ modus operandi after the killing of Garner and during their disrespect to the citizens of New York when they went on pseudo-strike.  And they’ve cranked up the smear machine to create the appearance of public opinion against Bronx Defenders in order to influence politicians. If nothing else, the PBA knows how to mobilize and manipulate public opinion to gets its way. Continue reading

Vote For Me and I’ll Set You Free

The title to this post is a string of words never uttered in any judicial campaign anywhere ever.  Among the numerous problems with elected judges (sorry, you Jacksonian democrats), one of the most unseemly is the things some will say when they will ask for your vote.

The accusations of the judge’s prejudice range from his 2008 campaign signs describing himself as “a prosecutor to judge the predators” to comments made during a Texas Patriots PAC meeting in March 2013 touting the fact that no one who was tried for civil commitment has been released into the community since he took over the bench in 2008.

Seiler also referred to the predators as “psychopaths.”

As a result of these gems of judicial wisdom, there has been a “flurry of defense motions granted for Judge Michael Seiler’s recusal in the 435th” in Montgomery Count, Texas.  But the prosecutor protests. Continue reading

My John Deere Gator: Like A Boss

About 24 inches of snow last week.  Another four inches Friday night. Then about eight inches last night.  The first snow was light and fluffy. The second wasn’t bad.  The snow last night was wet and heavy. Very heavy.

And so, I offer an homage to John Deere, the makers of my 6×4 Trail Gator with its 12 inch plow.

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It’s sleeping now, having been hard at work at 5 a.m. this morning. It deserves a good rest, as it did its job magnificently. Continue reading

Statistics, With Rigor

For those of you who, like me, sat through Statistics 101 thinking that it would be great if there was a long needle within reach so I could stick it in my eye rather than have to sit through any more lectures, much of the discussion about the “1 in 5″ rape epidemic stat that has driven the hysteria upon which evisceration of basic due process rights is grounded is problematic.

Sure, we understand basic statistical flaws, such as the lack of random sampling and itty-bitty sample sizes. Or there’s the facile interpretation of responses to conform to the outcome desired by the people conducting the study. Or the problems when definitions are fudged to the degree that “some guy stared at me at a party” becomes “stare rape,” which becomes rape.  Or rape is whatever someone decides it is the day after consensual sex.

But these are just the surface flaws.  We’re not qualified to parse the details with a statistician’s eye, so we rely on those who know what they’re really talking about.  One such person, new to the blogosphere, is Francis Walker. Continue reading