Ferguson decision, cont’d

By Walter Olson


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from Overlawyered.

PBS NewsHour “read and analyzed more than 500 pages of witness testimony and compared each statement to those given by [officer Darren] Wilson,” pulling together the results in this chart, which illuminates points where the witness testimony tended to help Wilson’s defense and where it did not; perhaps most surprising is how many questions he was apparently not asked. Prosecutor Robert McCullough managed the grand jury proceedings almost in the manner of a defense lawyer for the man facing charges, a strategy extremely unlikely to be repeated in the great majority of grand jury proceedings where the accused is not a police officer [Jacob Sullum] And Conor Friedersdorf notes that if you were looking for poster cases of wrongful use of lethal force for which police were not held accountable — even when there was video or other strong documentary evidence — many other cases would stand higher on the list than that of Michael Brown.

Tags: Missouri, police, prosecution

Ferguson decision, cont’d is a post from Overlawyered – Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

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Ferguson grand jury aftermath

By Walter Olson


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from Overlawyered.

  • Why none of the major methods for addressing claims of police excessive force — grand juries/prosecution, internal investigations, civil suits, personnel disciplinary procedures, civilian review boards, federal oversight — work very well, and what we may want to consider instead [Chase Madar, The Nation]
  • “Rand Paul Reacts to Ferguson: Reform Criminal Justice System, Petty Fines” [Robby Soave, Reason, quotes me] Incidentally, the Cato Institute has been working on police misconduct issues for more than 15 years [Cato Policy Report]
  • “As a front-line means of regulating lethal force, grand juries – which are secret, remote from the truth-finding of an adversary process, and dependent on prosecutors’ guidance – do not command broad public confidence.” [my brief reaction statement, posted at Cato] “How the Ferguson grand jury process works” [Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post] “in Dallas, grand juries reviewed 81 shootings between 2008 and 2012 and returned just one indictment.” [Ben Casselman, Five Thirty-Eight] Cato survey a few years back found only 7 percent of excessive force allegations against police resulted in indictments, 3 percent in convictions [Tim Fernholz, Quartz]
  • “What we know about who police kill in America” [Dara Lind, Vox]
  • “Anytime I’m involved in an officer involved shooting… it is always listed during my initial investigation as an assault on law enforcement” [Kevin Underhill/Lowering the Bar, who also dissected the grand jury report on Twitter] Journalists and investigators begin digging through the many volumes of transcripts and testimony released following the grand jury action [NPR on Officer Wilson’s testimony] Eyewitness testimony pointed various ways [Conor Friedersdorf]
  • Listen: Tuesday morning’s Diane Rehm show where I joined a panel discussing the Ferguson grand jury outcome, or a highlight portion;
  • “How Police Unions Stopped Congress From ‘Militarization’ Reform” [Dave Weigel, Bloomberg] Reform-blocking role of police unions part of wider, systemic problems [Ed Krayewski, Reason]

Tags: labor unions, police

Ferguson grand jury aftermath is a post from Overlawyered – Chronicling the high cost of our legal system

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“If Something Happened to My Child, I Couldn’t Live with Myself” — Unpacking That Statement

By lskenazy


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from Free Range Kids » Free Range Kids.

Most fascinating letter of the week (boldface and headings, mine):

Dear Ms. Skenazy: I am the mother of four young children and a reader of your blog, which was introduced to me about a year ago by several unrelated people. I hope you don’t mind that I have a response to your recent post, “The Cult of Kiddie Danger.”

I agree with your assertion that a component of your alleged “crime” in allowing your son to ride the NYC subway alone (and writing about it) was a sort of apostasy from the state religion of fear and helicopter parenting, but I think there’s something else to it.

Ultimately I think the furor about your parenting approach is that it contains an implicit suggestion (I’ll explain below) that you could live out the rest of your life if one of your children died.

Forbidden Thoughts

In 2005, a columnist named Ayelet Waldman was similarly criticized when she wrote that her husband was more important to her than her children, because her children would eventually leave her, but (she hoped) her husband wouldn’t. Indeed, she explicitly talks about how she would survive if one or all of her children died. And she was taken to task for it publicly.

Here’s the reason for my proposed analysis: Whether we are good at math or not, we use an “expected value” calculation to decide whether to perform an activity or not. For each potential outcome, we multiply the “value” of that outcome to us (from negative infinity to positive infinity) by the probability that that outcome occurs. Then we add each of those results together. If the sum is greater than zero, we would be rational to perform that activity. If the sum is less than zero, we would be rational not to perform the activity.

A Literal Belief

When I discuss allowing my kids to go to the park alone when they’re a little older, friends and acquaintances say to me: “If something happened to my child, I couldn’t live with myself.” They mean that they literally couldn’t live. (Whether that’s true is another matter, but that’s what they mean.) They mean that the “value” to them of a dead child is negative infinity of the units that we use to measure value. Since it’s the worst possible value, it would necessarily be the same value if all of their children died, if their children and their spouse died at …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

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Quotation of the Day…

By Don Boudreaux


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from Cafe Hayek – Article Feed.

(Don Boudreaux)

… is from Caroline Baum’s Nov. 25th e21 article e21 Nov. 25th article, “Giving Thanks for Property Rights“:

One of the traditions the Pilgrims had brought with from England was a practice known as “farming in common” (the “common course and condition” to [Gov. William] Bradford). Everything produced became community property, to be allocated according to need as specified in the Mayflower Compact.

They had thought “the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing,” Bradford writes. Instead, “for this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.” Young, able-bodied men resented working for others without compensation, which they saw as an “injustice.”

After three winters of near-starvation, Bradford and his advisors decided to experiment when it came time for the spring planting. They set aside a plot of land for each family “that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard to trust to themselves.”

“This had very good success,” Bradford writes, “for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content.”

The women now went willingly into the field, carrying their young children on their backs. Those who previously claimed they were too old or ill to work embraced the idea of private property, eventually producing enough to trade their surplus corn for furs and other commodities.

Grateful for their ample harvest in 1623, the Pilgrims set aside a day of thanksgiving. “Any general want or famine hath not been amongst them to this day,” Bradford writes in an entry from 1647, the final year of his history.

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The entire bogus history of Palestinian Arab nationalism exposed by a stamp

By Elder of Ziyon (noreply@blogger.com)


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from Elder Of Ziyon – Israel News.

This is a stamp from British Mandate Palestine. It says “Palestine” in Hebrew, Arabic and English, but in Hebrew it adds the initials ?.?.(E.Y.), for Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, which is what Jews have always called the area.

In 1925, Arab leaders in Palestine were very upset over those two letters, so they went to court.

From the Palestine Bulletin, October 13, 1925:

As already reported, the Chief Justice, Sir Thomas Haycraft, and Mr. Justice Corrie, heard on Saturday last the complaint preferred by Mr. Jamal Husseini against the Palestine Government. The plaintiff demanded that the Court should oblige the Government to remove on “stamps” and other official documents the Hebrew letters “E-I” (being the initials for the Hebrew word, “Eretz-Israel,” leaving only the word “Palestine” in Hebrew.

Counsel for the plaintiff based his prosecution on Article 22 of the British Mandate for Palestine that states that anything inscribed in one of the official languages must be transcribed into the other two languages. The initials “E-I” (Eretz Israel) were inscribed in Hebrew only, in contravention to the provisions of the Mandate. The Chief Justice asked Counsel whether he would agree that the initials “E-I” be also inscribed in Arabic and English. Counsel replied in the negative. Their Honours then pointed out that the initials “E-I” was the translation of Palestine. Counsel contended that “E-I” was not the right translation of “Palestine” their meaning being “The Land of the Jews.” He said that “Palestina” was already inscribed, and that the affixing of the initials “E-I” was tautological. He was of opinion that their addition constituted a political point to prove that the land was that of the Jews. The Philistines and the Jews were two separate nations, existing at separate times, and the meaning of one did not apply to the other. He requested the Court therefore that: it should order the deletion of the initials “E-I” from stamps and other official documents in Palestine – or alternatively, to order the inscription of the words “Suria El Jenobia” (Southern Syria), Palestine’s Arabic cognomen.

That last sentence says volumes.

Jamal Husseini, who was one of the architects of the 1929 massacres of Jews and remained a major Arab leader in Palestine through the 1940s, felt that in order to keep things equal, Arabs should be able to officially use their own name for Palestine just as the Jews were using …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

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