Later On

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

Archive for August 21st, 2014

Paying Jabbar Collins $10 Million Doesn’t Address Problems With Prosecutors

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A very good article by Joe Sexton in ProPublica taking a look at another failure of our criminal justic system. Add the things we’re learning in Ferguson MO, the increased militarization of the police and the casual devastation of SWAT raids to serve search warrants, it’s becoming clear that our criminal-justice system is simply breaking down—broken down, in many instances. The free market will NOT solve this problem, and I certainly don’t want a free market criminal justice system—we know the drive to grow profits.

What is required are politicians committed to governing rather than posturing, solving rather than ignoring problems. It will require mature, compassionate, thoughtful, careful adults, working cooperatively. So: don’t get your hopes up.

The article begins:

The dollar figure was so large and the public statements of vindication and concession so harmonious, one might have been tempted to think the system had actually worked.

A wrongly convicted Brooklyn man had won his freedom when a federal judge called out a local prosecutor for misconduct. And then, this week, with the help of an able lawyer, the freed man won a $10 million settlement from New York City, gaining possible financial security for life.

But ProPublica’s reporting over the last two years suggests that any such temptation to think the system worked in the case of Jabbar Collins should be resisted.

The system for identifying and punishing misconduct by prosecutors is badly broken, our reporting shows, and with the Collins case settling, a crucial channel for exposing systemic problems and ensuring they don’t recur may close as well.

So many shortcomings spotlighted by the Collins case remain unresolved.

Michael Vecchione, the prosecutor who gained a murder conviction against Collins in the 1990s and who was later accused of having committed an array of misconduct in the case, has to date faced no sanction.

And history suggests he won’t. He even managed to cash out a couple hundred days of vacation as he quietly left the Brooklyn district attorney’s office last year.

The taxpayers who paid for those vacation days are now on the hook for $10 million more, footing the bill for Collins’ wrongful conviction.

The lack of consequences for Vecchione — who was accused by Collins and his lawyer of intimidating witnesses, suborning perjury and lying about it all for years while Collins sat in prison — get at larger problems with the system of prosecutorial oversight.

Two federal judges ultimately came to damning conclusions about Vecchione’s conduct. They upbraided him in open court. But there’s no evidence they reported him to the state disciplinary committees appointed to investigate complaints of attorney misconduct.

The fact that it is not clear whether any state panel charged with policing attorneys has or will take up Vecchione’s history underscores what many have complained about for years: The state’s disciplinary system operates almost entirely in secret. Its rare disciplining of prosecutors, then, often remains unknown to the public, including the men and women later facing those prosecutors in court.

The system offers the innocent and the damaged only one meaningful recourse for exposing prosecutorial misconduct: a civil lawsuit. But such suits require years of expensive effort, and, of course, are only even theoretically available to those who have managed to win their freedom.

The Collins case, in this respect, highlights yet one more disturbing component of the way cases of misconduct are handled.

In a statement announcing the $10 million settlement, lawyers for New York City called . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2014 at 1:04 pm

When a company’s growth depends on putting more of us in prison, you want to know about their plans

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I think it’s obvious: business are driven to increase profits, and if your business is getting money from having people in prison, it’s obviously good business to get more of them in there—thus we get mandatory minimum sentences, 3-strikes laws, and the like: keep that revenue/prison population growing!

But we’ve entered a time of dropping crime rates, and if marijuana is legalized, then the drug pipeline to prison will take a hit. So how are the private prisons planning to cope with this?

We don’t know. For the first time, they have excluded press from their conference. I’m sure this will be dismissed as a “misunderstanding,” but I imagine the reason they have decided to go secret does not bode well for us.

And would businesses do that? Well, city governments do.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2014 at 12:53 pm

Posted in Business, Government, Law

In Ferguson, Cops Hand Out 3 Warrants Per Household Every Year

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This seems more like banditry than police work. And read the comments: it is the way cities avoid raising taxes—they need the revenue to function, and if they can’t get it through taxes, they get it through (legalized) robbery.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2014 at 12:34 pm

Can taxing the wealthy strengthen democracy?

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I would answer, “Yes, obviously,” but it turns out to be more nuanced than that. Very good brief article in the Washington Post.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2014 at 9:23 am

Posted in Government

The political education of Silicon Valley

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Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2014 at 9:13 am

Shavecraft #102 slant vs. Stealth slant

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SOTD 21 Aug 2014

Extremely nice shave today, and now I’m confused. The Shavecraft slant seemed to be a little less than the iKon stainless slant yesterday (though noticeably better than the Walbusch bakelite slant), and yet today it seems on a par with the Stealth, which is very close to the iKon stainless. The very slight difference—the Shavecraft really did a fine job today, partly because I’m becoming accustomed to the stubby handle, which I now sort of like—could be attributable to the Shavecraft’s blade being newer. I have to call it a tie, overall, and I would bet that all three razors are within margin of shaver error.

But first the prep: I got a fine lather from the R&B Omega brush and La Père Lucien shaving soap—and the lather lasted easily through the shave, so the R&B now supports lather well.

Three passes: WTG with both, XTG mostly the Stealth, ATG the Shavecraft. Fine shave, and both razors are very fine. I’m returning the Shavecraft now, but I will buy one when they’re released.

A good splash of Fine’s Clean Vetiver, and we approach the weekend.

 

Written by LeisureGuy

21 August 2014 at 9:04 am

Posted in Shaving

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