Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The GOP war on consumers and minorities heats up: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy that targeted racial bias

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Sylvan Lane reports in The Hill:

President Trump has repealed auto-lending guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), revoking a rule that was put in place to protect minority customers from predatory practices.

Trump’s signature on a congressional resolution erases the CFPB’s 2013 guidance targeting “dealer markups,” the additional interest that is added to a customer’s third-party auto loan as compensation for the dealer.

The president signed the resolution in a private White House signing ceremony.

Auto dealers, banks and their allies in Congress said the CFPB policy was an unfair and unfounded attack on an essential and harmless financing tool.

The move caps off an unprecedented use of congressional power, as lawmakers had never before passed such a resolution to revoke informal guidance from a federal agency.

Republicans and a small group of Democrats voted to repeal the CFPB guidance under what is known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA). That law allows a simple majority of lawmakers in the House and Senate to vote to repeal a federal rule; it also bans the agency from replacing a rule with a similar measure in the future.

The resolution cleared the House earlier this month after clearing the Senate in April.

While Congress has used the CRA to repeal more than a dozen Obama-era federal rules since 2017, this is the first time that lawmakers have successfully overturned guidance from a federal agency that had not been finalized as a formal regulation.

The CFPB took aim at dealer markups in 2013. Under former Director Richard Cordray (D), the CFPB warned auto dealers that the use of markups on third-party loans could lead to a lawsuit from the agency under anti-lending discrimination laws.

The CFPB and fair lending advocates have pointed to several studies, including one that was conducted by the bureau, that found racial disparities in dealer markups. Those studies found that minority customers often paid higher dealer markups than white customers with similar credit profiles.

While the 2013 guidance was not a formal rule, the CFPB used the policy to launch a slew of lawsuits against automakers and lenders it said violated fair credit laws with discriminatory markups. The CFPB and Justice Department sued Ally Financial in December 2013 for close to $100 million in fines and damages, and also sued Honda and Toyota for tens of millions of dollars over similar charges.

Opponents of the rule questioned the methodology behind the studies that showed discriminatory markups and accused the CFPB of exploiting a loophole to circumvent its lack of jurisdiction over the auto industry.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who attended the signing ceremony, praised “the hard work of Republicans in Congress” to stop “a rogue Bureau using its unchecked powers to sidestep due process and harm the very consumers it is charged with protecting.”

The CFPB policy seemed immune from repeal until last December, when the Government Accountability Office ruled that informal agency guidance could be repealed under the review law as if it were a formal rule. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who requested the analysis, introduced a resolution to repeal the auto lending guidance soon after. . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2018 at 8:15 am

Aim, bluff, lose: The art of not making deals

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Jennifer Rubin writes in the Washington Post:

President Trump is caught in a vicious, losing cycle of his own making. First, take aim at an Obama administration policy or law. Second, declare that you have something much better. Third, roll out the “something,” which turns out to be nothing viable — in other words, fail.
This was the story on Obamacare. Trump vilified the law and promised the most magnificent plan ever. There was no magnificent plan that would cover more people, give more choices and cost less. Instead the GOP trotted out something that would have covered fewer people and cost some people more. It bombed. Trump is now reduced to trying to sink the Affordable Care Act bit by bit — but with no replacement. Trumpcare turns out to be a worse version of Obamacare.
Then there is the worst deal ever, in the history of mankind: the Iran deal. (Actually, I think it was the agreement to recognize Cuba with no human rights concessions from the Castros, but I digress.) Trump’s more mature advisers — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, former secretary of state Rex W. Tillerson (he was ineffective, but mature) and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster — headed off the storm for a while. Not to be denied, Trump eventually blew up the deal. Now his new secretary of state rolls out some fiery rhetoric and a threat to sanction Iran — as well as our own allies. We may well forfeit the benefits of the deal, drive the European Union into Iran’s arms and look downright foolish. We still have no specific plan to address the non-nuclear items we could have addressed while remaining in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Trump’s Iran policy turns out to be arguably less effective than President Barack Obama’s (since we no longer have allies at our side).
Pick any topic — trade with China, NAFTA, North Korea, etc. Trump goes in with maximalist demands, as if it were just another licensing deal or casino, with no idea how he is going to accomplish the end result. Alas, the international stage is not a TV show, nor can he conceal failures, as he could running a family business and exaggerating his wealth. His demands are often premised on things that just aren’t so (we “owe” someone the trade deficit, no one ever got a deal with North Korea, we are losing millions of jobs under NAFTA). He is either not educable, or his advisers are afraid to try. Together they run headlong into a wall (another silly promise, undeliverable!). He then is forced to blame others (usually Obama, sometimes Congress) or pretend he got what he wanted. (He keeps falsely telling crowds that he is building the wall.)
Rather than solve problems (expensive health-care premiums, theft of intellectual property) he creates new or bigger ones (even higher premiums, a trade war). His staff is forced to rush to rationalize and do damage control when he behaves impulsively, as he did in agreeing to a face-to-face summit with North Korea without understanding fully what he was doing. Trump acts rashly, and advisers rush to keep up and rationalize the outcome they didn’t expect and may not have supported. (The Post reports, “The biggest problem comes, experts [in Seoul] say, from Trump’s fundamental misunderstanding of North Korea’s interests. The regime in Pyongyang has never said it was prepared to unilaterally give up its nuclear program but has instead repeatedly made clear that this would have to be part of a ‘phased and synchronous’ process that would involve rewards for North Korea along the way.” Oops. That sounds like a rather large deal.)
Trump, the spin goes, likes to operate in chaos. That’s a convenient excuse for someone who has no idea what he thinks or what to do. The chaos certainly doesn’t stop at . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2018 at 8:04 am

Lavender morning with the Rockwell R3

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D.R. Harris again, and another shave stick. The Rooney butterscotch Emilion did its usual great job, and the Rockwell 6S with the R3 baseplate comfortably and efficiently removed every trace of stubble while doing no damage to me. A splash of Lavanda, and the day begins.

Tomorrow will be my last blogged shaving (and my last blogging) for several days. I am going to visit The Son and his family and not taking my computer. Blogging will resume on Wednesday of next week if all goes well.

For shaving, I’m packing the Simpson Case in its travel tube, D.R. Harris Marlborough and the matching aftershave, and taking the Dorco PL602.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2018 at 8:01 am

Posted in Shaving

Quantum Physics May Be Even Spookier Than You Think

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Philip Ball writes in the Scientific American:

It is the central question in quantum mechanics, and no one knows the answer: What really happens in a superposition—the peculiar circumstance in which particles seem to be in two or more places or states at once? Now, in a forthcoming paper a team of researchers in Israel and Japan has proposed an experiment that could finally let us say something for sure about the nature of this puzzling phenomenon.

Their experiment, which the researchers say could be carried out within a few months, should enable scientists to sneak a glance at where an object—in this case a particle of light, called a photon—actually resides when it is placed in a superposition. And the researchers predict the answer will be even stranger and more shocking than “two places at once.”

The classic example of a superposition involves firing photons at two parallel slits in a barrier. One fundamental aspect of quantum mechanics is that tiny particles can behave like waves, so that those passing through one slit “interfere” with those going through the other, their wavy ripples either boosting or canceling one another to create a characteristic pattern on a detector screen. The odd thing, though, is this interference occurs even if only one particle is fired at a time. The particle seems somehow to pass through both slits at once, interfering with itself. That’s a superposition.

And it gets weirder: Measuring which slit such a particle goes through will invariably indicate it only goes through one—but then the wavelike interference (the “quantumness,” if you will) vanishes. The very act of measurement seems to “collapse” the superposition. “We know something fishy is going on in a superposition,” says physicist Avshalom Elitzur of the Israeli Institute for Advanced Research. “But you’re not allowed to measure it. This is what makes quantum mechanics so diabolical.”

For decades researchers have stalled at this apparent impasse. They cannot say exactly what a superposition is without looking at it; but if they try to look at it, it disappears. One potential solution—developed by Elitzur’s former mentor, Israeli physicist Yakir Aharonov, now at Chapman University, and his collaborators—suggests a way to deduce something about quantum particles before measuring them. Aharonov’s approach is called the two-state-vector formalism (TSVF) of quantum mechanics, and postulates quantum events are in some sense determined by quantum states not just in the past—but also in the future. That is, the TSVF assumes quantum mechanics works the same way both forward and backward in time. From this perspective, causes can seem to propagate backward in time, occurring after their effects.

But one needn’t take this strange notion literally. Rather, in the TSVF one can gain retrospective knowledge of what happened in a quantum system by selecting the outcome: Instead of simply measuring where a particle ends up, a researcher chooses a particular location in which to look for it. This is called post-selection, and it supplies more information than any unconditional peek at outcomes ever could. This is because the particle’s state at any instant is being evaluated retrospectively in light of its entire history, up to and including measurement. The oddness comes in because it looks as if the researcher—simply by choosing to look for a particular outcome—then causes that outcome to happen. But this is a bit like concluding that if you turn on your television when your favorite program is scheduled, your action causes that program to be broadcast at that very moment. “It’s generally accepted that the TSVF is mathematically equivalent to standard quantum mechanics,” says David Wallace, a philosopher of science at the University of Southern California who specializes in interpretations of quantum mechanics. “But it does lead to seeing certain things one wouldn’t otherwise have seen.”

Take, for instance, a version of the double-slit experiment devised by Aharonov and co-worker Lev Vaidman in 2003, which they interpreted with the TSVF. The pair described (but did not build) an optical system in which a single photon acts as a “shutter” that closes a slit by causing another “probe” photon approaching the slit to be reflected back the way it came. By applying post-selection to the measurements of the probe photon, Aharonov and Vaidman showed, one could discern a shutter photon in a superposition closing both (or indeed arbitrarily many) slits simultaneously. In other words, this thought experimentwould in theory allow one to say with confidence the shutter photon is both “here” and “there” at once. Although this situation seems paradoxical from our everyday experience, it is one well-studied aspect of the so-called “nonlocal” properties of quantum particles, where the whole notion of a well-defined location in space dissolves.

In 2016 physicists Ryo Okamoto and Shigeki Takeuchi of Kyoto University verified Aharonov and Vaidman’s predictions experimentallyusing a light-carrying circuit in which the shutter photon is created using a quantum router, a device that lets one photon control the route taken by another. “This was a pioneering experiment that allowed one to infer the simultaneous position of a particle in two places,” says Elitzur’s colleague Eliahu Cohen of the University of Ottawa in Ontario.

Now Elitzur and Cohen have teamed up with Okamoto and Takeuchi to concoct an even more mind-boggling experiment. They believe it will enable researchers to say with certainty something about the location of a particle in a superposition at a series of different points in time—before any actual measurement has been made.

This time the probe photon’s route would be split into three by partial mirrors. Along each of those paths it may interact with a shutter photon in a superposition. These interactions can be considered to take place within boxes labeled A, B and C, one of which is situated along each of the photon’s three possible routes. By looking at the self-interference of the probe photon, one can retrospectively conclude with certainty the shutter particle was in a given box at a specific time.

The experiment is designed so the probe photon can only show interference if it interacted with the shutter photon in a particular sequence of places and times: Namely, if the shutter photon was in both boxes A and C at some time (t1), then at a later time (t2) only in C, and at a still later time (t3) in both B and C. So interference in the probe photon would be a definitive sign the shutter photon made this bizarre, logic-defying sequence of disjointed appearances among the boxes at different times—an idea Elitzur, Cohen and Aharonov proposed as a possibility last year for a single particle spread across three boxes. “I like the way this paper frames questions about what is happening in terms of entire histories rather than instantaneous states,” says physicist Ken Wharton of San Jose State University, who is not involved in the new project. “Talking about ‘states’ is an old pervasive bias whereas full histories are generally far more rich and interesting.”

That richness, Elitzur and colleagues argue, is what the TSVF gives access to. The apparent vanishing of particles in one place at one time—and their reappearance in other times and places—suggests a new and extraordinary vision of the underlying processes involved in the nonlocal existence of quantum particles. Through the lens of the TSVF,  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 May 2018 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Science

Pompeo speech on Iran reveals that Plan B consists of wishful thinking

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Jennifer Rubin writes in the Washington Post:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was supposed to announce the Plan B for Iran — how we were going to fix the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by exiting the deal without our allies. Instead we got bluster and a wish list unattached to a coherent strategy for attaining our goal. The speech was mislabeled as “a new Iran strategy.” It was missing the strategy — a cogent explanation as to how we will unilaterally obtain what we could not when we had a united front. On a more welcomed note, Pompeo said the Trump administration would go the treaty route. (One hopes the same is true with regard to North Korea, in which concern is growing that a desperate president will give away the store.)

Pompeo threatened to crush Iran with new sanctions. Vowing to make them the strongest sanctions in history, he did not explain how U.S. unilateral sanctions could be stronger than the multilateral sanctions that brought Iran to the table in the first place. Pompeo seems to have abandoned the pretense that European allies will exit the deal. Instead he hinted, but did not say outright, that we’d start slapping sanctions on allies who stayed in the deal. (“Over the coming weeks, we will send teams of specialists to countries around the world to further explain administration policy, to discuss the implications of sanctions we imposition, and to listen.”)

Pompeo listed 12 requirements for a new Iran deal, including ceasing all enrichment (even the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allows uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes)  and “unqualified” access to all sites as well as non-nuclear items such as withdrawal of all troops from Syria and ending support for Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen and for Hezbollah. As the Associated Press reported, “Taken together, the demands would constitute a wholesale transformation by Iran’s government, and they hardened the perception that what Trump’s administration really seeks is a change in the Iranian regime.”

Pompeo declared: “We will ensure freedom of navigation on the waters in the region. We will work to prevent and counteract any Iranian malign cyber activity. We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hezbollah proxies operating around the world and crush them. Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.” We have failed to do any of this to date, and it is entirely unclear why we could not have remained in the JCPOA. Moreover, having pulled out of the JCPOA without our allies, it is far from clear why they would cooperate with us on more ambitious undertakings.

The demands were so over-the-top as to convey a total lack of seriousness. “If you read the 12 requirements Pompeo listed for a new deal, it becomes immediately apparent that the administration does not take diplomacy seriously,” says Jake Sullivan, who served in various capacities in the Obama administration and was Hillary Clinton’s top foreign policy adviser during the 2016 campaign. “They set the bar at a place they know the Iranians can never accept. And the rest of the world, including our allies, will see that clearly. So now the question is, now that the U.S. has abandoned even the pretense of diplomacy, will secondary sanctions work? I think we will see the rest of the world drag their feet and look for workarounds, and the sanctions will be considerably less effective as a result.”

Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress was even more blunt. “It is delusional — the triumph of naive bluster over the hard-won experience of the unified effort it took with the rest of the world’s leading powers to get the 2015 deal,” he said. “There was a better pathway to strengthening the deal — one that strengthened support internationally and at home as well. But the formula Team Trump is using will weaken America’s hand on the nuclear issue and also will likely put us in a less advantageous position to deal with Iran’s destabilizing policies in the region and its support for terrorism.” Why is that? Katulis argues that the all-or-nothing-with-no-leverage approach “further fragments political support at home for U.S. engagement overseas and created unnecessary ruptures with allies at a time when we need to build coalitions at home and overseas to get real results.”

Indeed, our closest ally immediately threw cold water on the grand plan. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson remarked: “The prospect of a new jumbo Iran treaty is going to be very, very difficult. … I don’t see that being very easy to achieve, in anything like a reasonable timetable.”

In the short run, we can expect the European Union to negotiate with Iran to increase investment and support in order to keep Iran in the deal. The administration will then need to contemplate whether it is really willing to declare economic warfare on our own allies to force them out of a deal which, for now, Iran is in compliance with. We’ve gone from a unified front against Iran to a unified front against President Trump’s harebrained scheme. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 May 2018 at 12:31 pm

Congress is about to loosen the reins on the banking industry. Here’s why.

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Christopher Mitchell writes in the Washington Post:

Congress will soon send a bill to President Trump to pare several restrictions that were part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank bill, imposed on U.S. banks and other institutions after the global financial crisis. The new bill has several controversial provisions. Among them: it would relax rules on regional and community banks; free some large banks from the reach of “too big to fail” regulations that placed especially large banks under tighter government supervision; and raise the threshold where banks need to report potentially risky mortgage-lending activity to regulators.

In the Senate, Republicans unanimously supported the measure, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act(S. 2155); 16 Senate Democrats and Angus King (I-Maine) crossed the aisle to support the GOP push to deregulate. A related bill passed the House almost entirely along party lines, with no Democrats supporting the measure and only one Republican opposing it, and the House is expected to pass the Senate bill along similar lines on Tuesday.

Why is Congress unraveling crisis-era reforms so soon? Although the crisis ended less than a decade ago, rolling back tough rules after a crisis is par for the course, here and abroad.

Financial crises follow recurring patterns

International financial crises occur on approximately 10- to 15-year cycles, as tight regulations put in place in the aftermath of crisis are typically rolled back or eroded by financial innovations.

For a brief time after a crisis, public attention and concern about preventing the next crisis creates a push for increased regulation. But as the crisis fades into memory, so does public fear. Advocates for deregulation make their arguments again, their cause aided by the public’s lack of interest and confusion about complex regulatory rules. This can lead to an under-regulated financial system, resulting in a new crisis and a new public push for greater regulation.

Policy complexity helps drive cycles of reform and repeal

Financial regulation only captures the public’s attention in times of crisis. As political scientist Pepper Culpepper argues, some important policy areas often escape public scrutiny because they are so complex. Well-functioning financial markets are obviously of great importance to the economy. But debates over financial policy are often highly technical; how they affect people’s lives can be hard to see.

As a result, the public usually pays less attention to debates about the banking system and financial regulatory policy than do bankers and other financial actors with the technical knowledge to understand them. This matters because bankers typically prefer less regulation — and riskier banking systems — than the public. But without much public pressure from the other side, politicians have little reason to keep regulations strict.

That changes when a financial crisis hits, shining a spotlight on bank rules and bailouts

For instance, in the first years after the 2008 financial crisis, public anger over Wall Street bailouts gave birth to both the tea party on the right and the Occupy movement on the left. Elizabeth Warren, now a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, became a national political figure because of this debate, chairing first the congressional panel overseeing government bailout funds and then the newly created Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, which she had proposed.

A cratered economy in late 2008 helped to propel Barack Obama into the presidency and gave Democrats control of Congress. With tremendous public attention focused on the need to change the financial system, Democrats passed the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, the largest increase of government oversight of banks and other financial institutions since the Great Depression.

But now, eight years later, financial markets appear to be stabilized. Activists on both the left and right have moved on to other issues. And deregulation proponents have reemerged to push their cause.

Deregulation has limited bipartisan appeal

Politicians’ ideologies rarely change, even after events that might challenge them, as political scientists Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal outline in their research on “political bubbles.” Democrats almost uniformly voted for stronger banking industry regulation during the crisis. But with an improving economy, pro-deregulation Republicans, including Sens. Mike Crapo(Idaho) and Bob Corker (Tenn.), and Democrats, including Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, both representing Delaware, reemerge.

Republicans generally favor deregulation, and so have an easy time supporting a rollback of financial regulations. A revived economy allows Republicans to push to dismantle Dodd-Frank — especially appealing, as it means they’re rolling back one of Obama’s signature achievements.

But for Democrats, deregulation is a bit more complicated, as you can see in the split vote. Some Democrats, led by Warren, remain dedicated to strictly regulating the banking industry. They think that passing the current measure would start the country on a path to another financial crisis.

Other Democrats argue that the bill relaxes over-corrections, imposed hastily and in a time of crisis, that hurt smaller banks and the communities they serve. These Democrats, including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), want to loosen regulatory burdens on community banks because these institutions are the most likely to offer financial services to their rural communities. Others, including Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), argue that scaling back these rules will help give their low- and middle-income constituents greater access to credit. . .

Continue reading.

A note on the writer:

Christopher Mitchell is an assistant professor of politics and international relations at Mount Holyoke College. He is the author of “Saving the Market from Itself: The Politics of Financial Intervention” (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Written by LeisureGuy

21 May 2018 at 12:03 pm

The Mississippi Man Tried Six Times for the Same Crime

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David Leonhardt has a column about how criminal justice works in the US:

One morning nearly 22 years ago, four employees of a furniture store in a small Mississippi town were shot to death. For months afterward, local law-enforcement seemed stumped by the crime. Eventually, the top prosecutor — Doug Evans — charged a former store employee, Curtis Flowers, a black man who had no criminal record.

The case since then has been unlike any other I’ve ever heard of. Evans has put Flowers on trial six separate times — even though no gun, fingerprints or other physical evidence ties Flowers to the crime and no witness even puts him at the store that day.

At each of the first three trials, Flowers was convicted, but the Mississippi Supreme Court threw out all three convictions. The first two times, it cited misconduct by Evans during the trial, and the third time it found that Evans had kept African-Americans off the jury. The justices called it as bad a case of such racial discrimination “as we have ever seen.”

The fourth trial was the first to have more than one black juror, and it ended with a hung jury. The fifth also had multiple black jurors and likewise ended in a mistrial. The sixth trial had only one black juror, and Flowers was convicted, thanks largely to dubious circumstantial testimony that Evans had coached witnesses to give. I see no good reason to believe that Curtis Flowers is guilty.

Yet today he sits in solitary confinement, on death row, in Mississippi’s Parchman Prison. He is serving his 22nd straight year behind bars, having never been released between convictions. He will turn 48 years old next week. His parents continue to visit him as often as possible.

His heartbreaking, enraging story is the subject of a new podcast — the second season of “In the Dark,” led by Madeleine Baran of American Public Media — that’s already been downloaded more than two million times. The reporting and storytelling are fantastic, and I can’t capture all of it here. If you aren’t already listening to the podcast, I recommend it.

While the Flowers case is shocking in its details, it is all too typical in its broad strokes: The United States suffers from a crisis of unjust imprisonment. The crisis has been caused partly by powerful, unaccountable prosecutors, like Doug Evans. And the costs are borne overwhelmingly by black men, like Flowers.

We now know that dozens of innocent people have been executed in recent decades. Many others languish behind bars. My colleague Nicholas Kristof, in his latest column, told the story of Kevin Cooper, who’s on death row in California because of highly questionable evidence. Cases like these are the most extreme part of our mass-incarceration problem. As the legal scholar Michelle Alexander has noted, a larger share of black Americans are imprisoned than black South Africans were during apartheid. “A human rights nightmare is occurring on our watch,” she has written.

When Americans today look back on the past, many of us wonder how our ancestors could have tolerated blatant injustices — like child labor, Jim Crow or male-only voting — for so long. When future generations look back on our era, I expect they will ask a similar question. They will be outraged that we forcibly confined a couple million of our fellow human beings to cages, often for no good reason.

President Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, are trying to make the problem even worse, by locking up ever more people. But Trump and Sessions can’t squelch the burgeoning, bipartisan movement for criminal-justice reform. They can’t, because as the recent Pulitzer-winning author James Forman Jr. points out, criminal justice happens mostly at the local and state levels. “We should always remember that the fight is going to be at the local level,” Forman told NPR’s Terry Gross, “and, there, we continue to win.”

To take one example, manufactured jailhouse confessions are a common part of wrongful prosecutions (and are central to the Flowers case). With a shocking frequency, prosecutors and police coax so-called snitches to lie outright about what other prisoners say. In response, Texas enacted a lawlast year requiring the tracking of snitches and the disclosure of any plea deals to defense attorneys, who can then call the testimony into question in front of a jury. Rebecca Brown of the Innocence Project told me that the Texas law was “excellent” — and that the Illinois legislature had passed an even better version, awaiting the governor’s signature.

Elsewhere, some district attorneys are trying to make the system fairer on their own. It’s happening in Brooklyn, Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities. Most prosecutors, after all, are decent, ethical public servants. One change involves “open-file” policies, which give the defense attorney access to all of the evidence in a case. That may seem like an obvious step, and it’s the norm in civil trials. Yet it remains rare in criminal trials.

I don’t want to exaggerate the recent progress. As you read this column, thousands upon thousands of American citizens sit behind bars, unjustly denied their freedom. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 May 2018 at 11:55 am

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