Banking While Black at TCF Bank

Sauntore Thomas probably felt pretty good about the fact that he, with the representation of his lawyer, employment law attorney Deborah Gordon, settled his employment discrimination suit against Enterprise Leasing Company. No, he didn’t hit the lottery, but he had three checks in hand when he walked into TCF Bank.

Thomas presented three checks written from Enterprise that day: One for $59,000. One for $27,000. And one for $13,000.

He wanted to deposit the first two and cash the third.* Continue reading

The Junk Science Of The “Rape Myth” Narrative

One of the great curiosities is how the same folks who are outraged by junk science in the courtroom when applied to certain cases, certain crimes, “bite mark” analysis for example, or “bullet lead” analysis, aren’t perturbed at all about the testimony of someone like “forensic psychologist” Barbara Ziv.

Ziv, a professor at Temple University, may be remembered from her testimony against Bill Cosby. Her putative “expertise” is in dispelling “rape myths.” To put it differently, she’s an expert in promoting the #MeToo narrative, the litany of excuses for why anything a self-identified victim does proves their truth. Remember everything? Guilty. Remember nothing? Guilty. Remember some but not all? Guilty. Ziv gives the excuse for why, no matter what the case, it proves guilt. And she’s quite good at it. Continue reading

Seaton: John Drinks At The End

The Grassy Knoll Pub is one of two watering holes in Mud Lick. With decor best described as “delightfully tacky conspiracy theorist,” it attracts residents and out-of-towners who enjoy the proprietor’s rants, free with every pint. Plus, the walls nearest the restrooms are usually redecorated each week with a brand new collage of photos, newspaper clippings, thumbtacks and yarn strands.

One night, the proprietor, a man named Jesse Custer, noticed a new customer in his mid sixties with graying hair and an authoritative demeanor. Even more noticeable were the men in matching black suits and earpieces who accompanied this new customer into the Knoll.

Custer, a lapsed Southern Baptist minister turned barkeep, was far less detached from the world than most of Mud Lick’s citizenry. As the graying, tired man asked for a glass of Bowmore 18, Custer politely asked him to wait a moment, then turned to the Knoll’s doorman. Continue reading

The Return of Cash

For a while, there was a hard push to eliminate cash as a medium for transactions. There are a host of reasons why people and businesses would prefer to transact business with plastic or digitally, but that was a business choice above the use of cash. The argument wasn’t just about the virtues of a cashless society, but that cash was the currency of criminals.

The key point is that deals done in cash weren’t on the government’s radar and couldn’t be proven by records. In contrast, deals done by plastic or digitally had records. They could be traced. They showed where you were and when. They showed how much money you paid, and thus how much you had, and whether you were hiding it from the government or paying out more than you should be able to, unless you were engaged in criminal conduct. Continue reading

Facebook, For The Prosecution

Omar Ameen is awaiting decision on whether he lives or dies. Iraq claims he’s a killer and wants him returned. The United States seems all too happy to comply, even though the Iraqi claim is almost certainly false and, should Ameen be sent back to Iraq, he will almost certainly be executed.

His contention is that he was living in Turkey at the time the killing was supposed to have happened, so he couldn’t be the killer.

The key point in the story is that committing the crime would have been physically impossible for Mr. Ameen, who was residing in Turkey and in the middle of his refugee application process at the time. The victims’ parents have also stated that Ameen is innocent of the crime. Ameen is the victim of a false accusation that seems to have been spread by someone with a vendetta against his family, and that false accusation was then accepted at face value and reproduced by American and Iraqi officials. By all other accounts, Ameen has been a law-abiding refugee who fled Iraq because he was in fear for his life, and now he is about to be sent back because of outrageous lies.

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The Stealth Juror: Why Risk Reversal?

The defense had 20 peremptory challenges, and they were gone before juror 11 was seated in the box. There was no red flag at first. On her jury questionnaire, she wrote that one of her hobbies was “writing novels.” Big deal. Except she studiously omitted a detail that was clearly salient.

Lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi responded by saying juror No. 11’s questionnaire included the fact that she enjoyed “novel writing.”

The juror indicated she enjoyed “novel writing” under the “hobbies and interests” section of the questionnaire, Weinstein attorney Donna Rotunno told CNN.

“Not, ‘I am writing a book on this topic,'” she said. “Big difference.”

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Sokolow’s Astute Observations On The Failure of Title IX

As a guy who earns his living off advising colleges how to run their campus sex tribunals to assure the guy loses while creating plausible deniability to avoid liability, and as president of ATIXA, the Association of Title IX Administrators, an association dedicated to the cause of believing the woman no matter what, Brett Sokolow has long been a primary cheerleader for his tribe, defending the inane and dishonest with rigor.

After all, without the cottage industry of campus sex policing for the sake of saving women’s feelings at the expense of facts and innocence, Title IX administrators would be constrained to get productive jobs. Because of this, Sokolow’s views haven’t been well-appreciated by anyone beyond those who benefit from the grift. Yet, in an LA Times op-ed, it turns out that Sokolow has some observations worthy of note. Continue reading

Short Take: Breaking The Code

The gravamen of the op-ed is about discrimination in housing, a phenomenon that’s gone on officially and unofficially for a very long time. Much as it’s prohibited by law, it still exists in the hands of folks who assume black folks are going to either steal from them or just can’t afford to live in nice white neighborhoods. As Karyn Lacy says, “Black people expend daily energy to counteract racial stereotypes and get fair treatment.”

In support of this indisputable reality, however, Lacy proffers a curious point:

When I talked two decades ago with more than 50 middle-class blacks who lived in the suburbs of Washington, I learned that their awareness of racial stereotypes led them to take on what I call “public identities”  meaning they would strategically deploy cultural capital, including language, mannerisms, clothing and credentials in ways that brought their middle-class status firmly into focus. From their experiences attending integrated high schools, many of these people had come to believe this was key to managing racism in interactions with white people. They hoped it would tip the balance of their public interactions so that class would trump race and persuade white people to treat them fairly.

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The Dude Presides

I did nothing in particular and I did it very well,

–Chief Justice William Rehnquist

The Constitution, Article I, Section 3, provides that “[w]hen the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.” What is meant by “preside” is left unsaid, meaning that it leaves a void, a vacuum. Politics abhors a vacuum.

But wait a minute. While McConnell is not mentioned in the Constitution, Chief Justice John Roberts is. Indeed, it is the Chief Justice of the United States who shall “preside” over the trial, not the Majority Leader. So why isn’t it up to Roberts to decide whether witnesses shall appear?

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Martin Luther King Day 2020

For old school liberals*, Martin Luther King is remembered for his monumental contributions toward changing America. Not for womanizing. Not for hating. Not for demanding that white America concede their failings and give up their job to the nearest black woman. He had a dream, and that changed America.

If he had that dream today, would he be canceled for being too centrist?

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