There seems to be an ongoing competition between Harvard and Yale Law Schools to see which can be more ridiculous than the other. While Dersh does his best to balance out Larry Tribe on the Harvard team, Yale came on strong this week with its condemnation of prawf Amy Chua.
The Yale Daily News reported recently that a professor at the university’s law school, Amy Chua, had been disciplined for allegedly inviting students to dinner parties at her house in violation of a 2019 agreement with the dean. Current and former students of Chua’s sent dozens of emails to the administration to protest the decision. Some high-profile supporters condemned her treatment: One deemed it “sinister,” while others suggested it might be racist and sexist. Chua herself called the whole thing “surreal,” denied any wrongdoing, and demanded an investigation. Continue reading
No, it’s not the answer to all police abuse problems, as some have been disingenuously claiming to push their agenda to the unduly passionate, but abolishing qualified immunity is certainly a hugely important reform. And with the bipartisan support of Republican Senator Tim Scott, it should be a done deal. Yet, it’s not. How is this possible?
Sen. Tim Scott (R–S.C.) has reportedly proposed a compromise to rein in qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that makes it difficult for victims to sue government officials when their constitutional rights have been violated. Continue reading
The mood at the Knoll was different. That wasn’t necessarily good.
For starters, Jesse Custer left town three days earlier, citing a desire to attend a “religious retreat.” That was bullshit and everyone knew the Pub’s proprietor was headed to Vegas, but no one bothered the lapsed minister over it.
Tulip O’Hare, Custer’s long-time girlfriend, tended bar while Cass watched the door. Cass tried repeatedly to get Tulip let him have a go behind the bar. Tulip rejected the Irishman every time.
Rule one, Tulip thought. Never let Cassidy behind the bar. He’s at the door for a reason. Continue reading
One of the three foundational components of a public education, children need to read. Part of that is to teach them to love reading, to want to read, and part of imparting an appreciation of books is to read books to them so they learn to love books and want to read. So far, so good. But as long as we’re reading books to them, why not use the opportunity to send a message, to teach them something that the teachers believe they should know?
Heather has Two Mommies was published in 1989. In 2020, Ibram Kendi published Antiracist Baby. In between, a book was published that received somewhat less attention than either of these, but is coming into its own in the current climate. The MacArthur Elementary School in Binghamton, NY, put up a Youtube of someone reading Something Happened in Our Town for its students to watch. The Binghamton Police were not amused. Continue reading
At first, it was only about the ingredients for the usual mindless reaction. Black 16-year-old girl shot and killed by cop. What more could anyone need to know? Of course, it didn’t take long to find out.
The cry of “split second decision” making is often ridiculed, but this was the moment when the cop had to make a decision. Did he take out the person about to murder another person or not? Only in a fantasy world were there alternatives, like the cop shooting the knife out of her hand or asking the killer to take a moment while he pondered his choice of weapons in the expectation that his Taser might do the trick before the knife plunged into the heart of the victim. But a black woman was shot by a cop, and that can’t happen. Continue reading
A few years back, I got a call from a client who was deeply afraid. He donated money to the defense of a pretty awful guy who was, the client believed, being silenced. The client was a believer in free speech, not the miscreant’s underlying cause or beliefs, and thought that he should support free speech for the worst in order to protect free speech for the rest of us. It was an ACLU kinda thing, back when they defended the Skokie Nazis and backed constitutional rights.
But he later feared that the names of donors would come out and people would mistakenly believe he was a supporter of the guy rather than a supporter of free speech. He wasn’t but, given the climate, would anybody care or believe him? His fear was justified, but what were the chances the names would go public? Today, the chances seem pretty damn good. Continue reading
The verdict on all three counts, guilty. Does it say that the jury in one trial found one defendant’s guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, or does it reflect a shift in public perception of cops, of law enforcement, that enough is enough? Both? Something else? Interpreting the meaning of things like guilty verdicts beyond their inherent parameters is a game for fools and knaves, usually found on cable news, but one thing is clear: the jury convicted and it has validated the beliefs of a great many Americans that police are prejudiced, callous and too violent.
Put aside the legalities at issue in the conviction, most of which will ultimately prove insignificant. Don’t read anything more into the verdict than the jury found the facts. Legal issues on appeal aside, defendants are presumed innocent unless and until a jury find the defendant guilty. That has now happened. You accept the wins and losses alike. This is our system and that was the jury’s verdict. Continue reading
I was asked my best guess as to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin prosecution, and replied “It will either be guilty, not guilty or hung.” If the jury hangs, it will be a mistrial, not a verdict, of course, but the point is no one knows what a jury will do. That’s the point of juries, that we put the decision in the hands of “twelve good men and true,” and then wait.
Some people can’t wait. Maxine Waters, the person some people from California deemed wise enough to send to Congress, called for protesters to “get more confrontational” if Chauvin isn’t convicted. Others smeared the former (which is a nice way of saying some poor random person’s because these are really passionate critical thinkers) house of defense use-of-force witness Barry Bodd with blood and a severed pig’s head. Continue reading
An interesting study suggests that the Supreme Court is unimpressed with the fortitude, competence and basic reliability of the media, and has been for the past decade.
“A generation ago, the court actively taught the public that the press was a check on government, a trustworthy source of accurate coverage, an entity to be specially protected from regulation and an institution with specific constitutional freedoms,” wrote the study’s authors, RonNell Andersen Jones, a law professor at the University of Utah, and Sonja R. West, a law professor at the University of Georgia. “Today, in contrast, it almost never speaks of the press, press freedom or press functions, and when it does, it is in an overwhelmingly less positive manner.”
As we watch the video, we know that Karen Garner is 73 years old, maybe 80 lbs. and suffers from dementia. That can, and should, inform what we see. How then is it possible that Loveland, Colorado, police officer Austin Hopp engaged her so forcefully, so needlessly, so wrongly?
The background is laid out in a suit for excessive force. Continue reading